Legends of Runeterra - A beginner’s guide to Expeditions
Useful tips for players who want to try out LoR’s draft mode.
It’s been a couple of weeks since Legends of Runeterra (LoR) launched on mobile, but that hasn’t stopped a meta from developing. If you’re getting tired of facing the same old flavor of the week netdecks every time you log on to play ranked, LoR has the solution for you: Expedition mode. In addition to challenging your play skills, this mode tests your deck building capabilities (or lack of) in a fun, not so high stakes mode which rewards you based on your performance.
If you haven’t played it before, Expedition is LoR’s version of the draft mode. Players are presented with random cards (not from their collection) to choose from and assemble a deck. With this new deck, players go up against other opponents with drafted decks of their own.
The aim of the mode is to clock in seven wins before you lose two matches in a row. Each time you start an Expedition, you’ll get two trials. If you lose one trial, you’ll get another chance to start again with a fresh deck and victory count.
Like in the other card games, playing this draft mode costs an entry fee. In LoR it is either 2000 shards, 200 gold, or 1 Expedition token (given to you when you unlock the weekly vault). However, if you win enough games, you’ll make back the equivalent of the entry fee and more.
Expedition mode works a little different from regular matches:
- Players can have more than three copies of a single card, keep this in mind when selecting powerful cards - your opponents can also do the same.
- Players can use cards from up to 3 different regions (up to the 6th pick - other regions will not appear after the 6th pick) - different from the standard maximum of 2 regions.
The mode starts with players picking one of three sets of cards. Each set contains one Champion and two cards from the same region. From the third pick onwards, players select one of three sets of cards. These sets contain two cards each, based on the regions of the cards selected in the previous rounds. These sets of cards will alternate between Synergy and Wild.
Synergy means that the cards will match any archetypes you have previously picked, and Wild will feature random archetypes that may or may not work well with your existing cards. Wild will allow you to pivot the direction of your deck if you feel that you’ve made suboptimal choices, or add a splash of . For the last pick, you’ll get to trade (from a list of 3 cards) one of your cards for another in the corresponding row.
In this mode you have to win seven matches. Except for the final 7th match, where you’ll only get one chance - each match gives you two chances before you lose the trial.
While this game mode seems like it favors the lucky at first, there’s a lot of skill involved in making the cards you have available work for your deck. After each match, you’ll also get the opportunity to adjust your deck by making trades or adding champions and extra cards. This allows you to keep making improvements as well as correct any bad cards you might have drafted. Also, like in regular games - you will still need to outplay your opponents, regardless of the deck matchup.
With all that said, here are some tips to help you with your Expedition.
In these limited deck formats, strong creatures will be the winning conditions for most players. This is because of the limited card pool, there’s no way to guarantee spell combinations to win the game. The next best thing to use are strong creatures to beat your opponent to a pulp.
But what beats strong creatures? Other strong creatures (if you’re willing to sacrifice them) or creature removal spells. Spells that can deal damage, remove creatures from the game, and so on are all very viable in this mode. When your opponent has no creatures, they usually won’t be able to win.
If you aren’t presented with many removal options, be sure to save them for your opponent’s strongest creatures. Keep this in mind when playing as well - your opponents won’t have the answers to everything, but there’s a chance they’re keeping a useful removal spell in their hand for your creatures - try to play around this by baiting with less valuable creatures or responding with other spells.
Speaking of creatures, you’re going to want creatures that are hard for your opponent to deal with. Be it creatures with Elusive, Overwhelm, Fearsome, or just high health. When your creatures are hard for your opponents to deal with without making large sacrifices, the game becomes much easier to win.
Creatures can also function as limited removal spells. For example, look at the 5/1 Trifarian Gloryseeker. Once it’s on the board, your opponent has to take 5 damage each attack, or use another creature to stop it. If they lose a creature in the process doing so, the Gloryseeker has basically functioned as a creature removal spell.
Ease of Execution
Pick cards with conditions that are easy to fulfill: if you draft a card that requires you to discard it to be useful, and you don’t find any other cards to help you discard, it’s not going to be very good. Pick cards with conditions such as - when an ally attacks, or when an ally is summoned, or Last Breath, and more. It’ll be easier to make full use of them.
Trying to build a deck around niche conditions is a double-edged sword (Poison Puffcaps anyone?). While you can end up with a very powerful combo deck, it can also trap you into picking suboptimal cards that are weaker overall. Be wary of this and only commit to a strategy if you’ve got a lot of good cards to execute it.
With all that being said, if a card is strong regardless of its condition, draft it anyway. For example, Devourer of the Depths - 6 mana for a 4/4 with a free removal spell attached is decent, even without its Deep bonus. Once your library thins out, it becomes even stronger.
Take note of your mana costs. There’s no point having a deck full of powerful 6+ mana creatures if you can’t do anything from turns 1-5 - you might be dead by then. Having a good curve, with more spells around the 3-4 mana mark will make your deck easier to play. Being able to drop a threat 5 rounds in a row is probably better than one large threat that may or may not be immediately dealt with on round 6.
Burst and Fast spells
Burst and fast spells can be very useful. Utilize them to preserve your more powerful creatures during combat, wipe out opponent’s strong creatures, or to deal finishing blows with unblocked attackers.
Starting with a good hand
Mulligan well - you don’t want your 6 mana card in your opening hand if possible. Start with a good number of castable threats. There’s no worse feeling than not having a card to play while your opponent drops a new creature four rounds in a row.
Be wary of your Nexus
Take note of your life total when it starts dropping - you never know when a Decimate might be flying to your head the following round!
Have some faith
Never give up. Each round gets you closer to a chance of you drawing the card you need to turn things around. When you’re struggling in a game, do your best to stay alive for that topdeck moment. You never know, it might be just around the corner!
There’s a lot more to discover in Expedition mode and we hope this guide will help you kickstart that journey. Stay tuned for more Legends of Runeterra content on eGG Network!