Legends of Runeterra developers introduced a new draft mode called Expeditions today, which allows players to build a deck from scratch and compete in a seven-game tournament. While this may be overwhelming for players new to the digital card game genre, there are certain strategies you can employ to ensure a successful run.
All card games, more or less, follow the same archetypes—and LoR is no different. You use units to fight head-on against your opponents while casting spells to give yourself an advantage. Drafting a deck in Expeditions, however, forces you to make critical decisions with limited options. But whether you’re a drafting novice or a deck-building connoisseur, a few tried-and-true methods will help you rack up wins and scoop up top-tier rewards.
Here are some tips for besting the competition in LoR’s Expeditions.
Curb your mana curve
There’s nothing more disheartening than going three turns in a card game without casting one spell or unit. And while normal deck building gives you the option of adding or removing cards as you wish, Expeditions has no such luxury.
A “mana curve” is the organization of your deck based on how much a card costs to cast. Ideally, the majority of your deck should hover around two, three, and four-cost cards, with any units costing more or less than that being limited. This ensures that you have at least one card to summon on each turn.
In Expeditions, players choose from one of three bundles each round, or “pick.” While you should definitely opt for power picks in the early rounds, players should start paying attention to their mana curves around the halfway mark. If you see you have tons of five-cost creatures but no two-cost spells, you might want to consider changing your pick preferences.
But it’s important to mention that Expeditions mana curves may differ a bit from constructed deck formats. Due to the difficulty in nailing down a cohesive strategy, many players pile on strong high-cost units that will carry the late game.
Even if your draft goes horribly wrong, Expeditions is extremely forgiving. Players are offered additional cards to choose from after each match. And if you see your mana curve is off, LoR gives you the opportunity to trade your cards for others in hopes of mending your failing deck. You also get two chances, or “trials,” in each Expedition run.
Removal, removal, removal
Destroying your opponent’s units is a trademark of any card game. And that takes even more precedent in Expeditions because of how unlikely it is for your adversaries to have drafted counters for them.
Each region has its own set of removal cards and players will likely stick to two regions when drafting. This gives you plenty of options for taking out enemy units to make way for direct hits on your opponent’s Nexus.
Demacian spells tend to offer bonus attack or defense stats to allied units. Barrier can even make a unit invulnerable to the next damage they take. While buffing your units is helpful, you need to be taking out enemies as well. That’s where Striking comes in. Buffing your units and forcing them to fight others, either using the Challenger ability or spells like Single Combat, can give you agency over who fights who. Detain, whose mana cost was recently lowered to five, is also a great spell that “Captures” an enemy unit, removing it from the game until its captor is destroyed.
Freljord is great for controlling the tempo of a match. Use Frostbite spells, like Flash Freeze or Harsh Winds, to lower enemy units’ attack to zero. This will protect your units while destroying your opponents’ creatures in battle. And picking up Avalanche or an Anivia will help you deal direct damage to your opponent’s units.
Using Shadow Isles Drain cards, like Grasp of the Undying, will deal damage to enemies while healing your Nexus for that same damage. Noxians have tons of removal cards that either deal direct damage or flat out kill your opponent’s units. Pick up Blade’s Edge for a fast one-damage ding or kill units with Noxian Guillotine and Culling Strike. Piltover and Zaun users can stock up on Mystic Shots, which deal two damage to anything.
And while Ionian spells tend to protect your own units with Barrier or Recall, Deny allows you to counter any of your opponent’s spells or skills. This can be great for protecting your assets and undermining your adversary.
So make sure you pick up spells that will wipe out your opponent’s board and earn you a one-way ticket to the victory screen.
Units over spells
Removal spells are imperative to giving you the edge. But if you draft too many, you won’t have any units to actually damage the Nexus with.
While respecting your mana curve, you should make sure the number of champions and units you have combine for around double your amount of spells. The most efficient drafters will pick up units and champions that also have removal abilities. Anivia deals one damage, two if she levels up, to all enemies whenever she attacks. Ezreal creates a Mystic Shot every time he deals damage to the enemy Nexus. Lux creates a Final Spark every time you spend six or more mana on spells—the list goes on.
And units that have high attack and defenses, like Cithria the Bold or Battering Ram, are extremely beneficial for the late game. When all your opponent’s removal cards and creatures are gone, you can summon menacing behemoths to finish your opponent off.
Players eager to get their fix of Expeditions, along with LoR’s second preview patch, only have five days. The second preview patch ends on Nov. 19.