Following Taliyah’s reveal earlier today for Legends of Runeterra’s next expansion, Empires of the Ascended, Riot is adding more Landmarks to the game.
The developer, in partnership with Mobalytics, showed off nine new collectible cards from the region of Shurima: Stoneweaving, Shaped Stone, Sai Scout, Hibernating Rockbear, Desert Naturalist, Salt Spire, Rock Hopper, Unraveled Earth, and Ancient Hourglass.
The abilities of the new cards
Stoneweaving is an Epic one-mana Burst spell that looks at three different random Landmarks from any region that you can afford with your current mana after casting. Afterward, you select one to add to your hand. Shaped Stone is a Common one-mana Burst spell that gives an ally unit a temporary +1/+1 stat boost. This boost is increased to +3/+1 if you summoned a Landmark at any point during the game.
Sai Scout is a Common three-mana unit with 2/4 stats and a Play ability that has her use the new keyword, Predict. If you selected a Landmark with her ability, she gains the Elusive keyword. Hibernating Rockbear is a Common two-mana Landmark with a Countdown of three. After the timer counts down to zero, the Landmark will Obliterate itself to summon a Grumpy Rockbear with 5/4 worth of combat stats.
Desert Naturalist is a Rare four-mana 2/4 unit that has a Skill ability that activates when played that can destroy a Landmark. If you destroyed your own card with her effect, a Grumpy Rockbear will be summoned.
Salt Spire is a Common four-mana Landmark with a Countdown of two. Once the appropriate amount of time has passed, a Grumpy Rockbear will be summoned. The Salt Spire also has an extra ability that grants your strongest +2/+2 worth of bonus combat stats if you summoned four Landmarks throughout the game.
Rock Hopper is a Common two-mana unit with 3/1 combat stats and the ability to summon a Rolling Sands Landmark to your board when he’s summoned himself. Unraveled Earth is a Rare three-mana Burst spell that summons two Roiling Sands and draws you one card.
Rolling Sands is a Landmark that essentially serves as a trap. It stays on the board until your opponent summons a unit. Afterward, the Roiling Sands will destroy itself to grant it a permanent Vulnerable debuff.
Finally, Ancient Hourglass is a Rare two-mana Fast spell that Obliterates an ally and summons a Stasis Statue in its place. The Stasis Statue is a Landmark with a Countdown of one. Once the turn ends, an exact copy of the Obliterated ally will be summoned in its place.
In addition to being Taliyah’s champion spell, Stoneweaving is an interesting card that can serve as a curve filler and help you potentially find extra copies of Landmarks that you’d try running in your deck.
Here are all the mana breakpoints of Landmarks that can be found through Stoneweaving:
- Buried Sun Disc
- Ancient Preparations
- Hibernating Rockbear
- Star Spring
- Hexcore Foundry
- Monastery of Hirana
- The Grand Plaza
- The Scargrounds
- The Slaughter Docks
- Salt Spire
- The Veiled Temple
- Noxkraya Arena
- Targon’s Peak
- The University of Piltover
- Vaults of Helia
- The Howling Abyss
What all these varied mana costs mean for Stoneweaving’s success is that if you’re trying to find a specific Landmark, the less mana you’re left with, the more likely you are to find it since there are only five different Landmarks that cost two or less. Once you have more remaining mana, the number of cards that you’ll be able to find increases, making it less consistent.
Shaped Stone is comparable to Demacia’s Radiant Strike, except it’s just a better version due to its potential upside for more stats. For one mana, the ability to give a unit three more power in a pinch can lead to some surprising trades—and having one extra health can help it survive combat or removal to turn the tables.
Sai Scout has a fair stat line for its cost. And if you have enough Landmarks in your deck, you have high potential to grant her Elusive, one of the most powerful keywords in the game. Aside from trying to find a Landmark for her optimal form, you can also use the Predict mechanic to avoid a Landmark and find a specific card if you’re in a desperate scenario.
Hibernating Rockbear is one of three cards that can summon a Grumpy Rockbear. Out of the three, Hibernating Rockbear is best when played early due to the Countdown ability forcing you to sacrifice tempo before getting any payoff. In addition, Taliyah has powerful synergy with this Landmark due to her ability to duplicate it with its exact time remaining, allowing you to summon multiple Grumpy Rockbears.
Desert Naturalist is a powerful card that serves as Shurima’s Landmark removal option or as a chance to summon 7/6 worth of stats if you’re willing to destroy your own Landmark. Thanks to how Buried Sun Disc works, Desert Naturalist might make it worth running a copy even without any Ascended champions since you can play the Sun Disc on turn one and the Naturalist on turn four.
Salt Spire is similar to Hibernating Rockbear in how it pairs with Taliyah. If you can play the Salt Spire on turn four and Taliyah immediately after, you can get 10/8 worth of stats once the Countdown finishes. In addition, if you played two other Landmarks earlier in the game, this increases to 14/12, which is massive for turn six.
Rock Hopper and Unraveled Earth both have the ability to summon Roiling Sands, which can change how your opponent plays. For his stat line, Rock Hopper can contest the board early and trade into many different units, but his one health makes him weak against chump blockers and cheap removal spells. Once Roiling Sands applies Vulnerable, it’ll be best to use Rock Hopper to battle the summoned unit before a removal spell can hit him (assuming the unit is worthy to trade into).
Unraveled Earth is essentially a three-mana cantrip that can replace itself but also provides more trading opportunities thanks to its ability to summon two Roiling Sands. If your opponent is trying to avoid playing their weak but high-value unit, they may need to waste more time trying to avoid gaining the Vulnerable debuff.
Roiling Sands can also pair up with Renekton since challenging a unit with Vulnerable will activate his Challenger ability. If he can perform two attacks against Vulnerable units, he’ll reach his level two state much quicker.
Ancient Hourglass can serve as protection for your units that are about to die to removal. If your opponent is trying to use a Vengeance, Ruination, or any damage spell, you can trap it in stasis for one turn to let it live another day. In addition, if you can play Taliyah afterward during the same turn, you can get two of the same card before the Countdown activates.
You can try out these cards and more when LoR: Empires of the Ascended becomes available on March 3.