Legends of Runeterra: Beyond the Bandlewood was released today with the game’s Patch 2.14.0.
As the first set of multiple expansions, which usually brings a new region, Bandle City will instead be LoR’s final region. The tenth region’s inclusion is an exciting time for fans of the game. A new kind of card, ones with dual-region, also allows for more flexibility in deck building.
With Worlds happening next month and the sixth Seasonal Tournament taking place the month after, players are hoping to figure out strategies that will find their place in the upcoming meta.
Here are the 10 best Beyond the Bandlewood cards that will carve their own spot within the ladder and tournaments.
10) Pokey Stick
Whenever a new region is added, assessing its effectiveness can be a sizable task at first glance. However, an easy way to judge its initial cards is to look at its removal and utility spells, and Pokey Stick delivers in this regard. Dealing one damage at fast speed for two mana has already proven to be a premium effect in LoR with cards like Vile Feast. Instead of summoning a unit, you get to draw a card, which is a potent effect in any card game.
While comparing cards across different games seems like a foolish task, saying Pokey Stick is a Fast-Speed Shiv from Hearthstone can give the spell a fair baseline to consider from.
Card creation has become more ubiquitous in LoR ever since Cosmic Creations launched back during Targon’s release cycle. Bandle City already does not lack the tools to make cards, thanks to units and spells like Yordle Squire and Trinket Trade. Card draw is a premium treasure within the game, and being able to draw two cards for three mana has been a fair price to pay when compared to other similar effects already in the game.
Whatever direction you aim to take Bandle City in, and no matter the region you pair it with, Hidden Pathways will be a potent tool to refuel your hand at any stage in the game.
Piltover and Zaun’s newest champion adds a new set of traps in the form of Flashbomb Traps. Compared to Poison Puffcaps, the Flashbombs focus on hitting the opponent’s board as opposed to their Nexus. In an aggressive board-centric meta that LoR is currently experiencing, this can turn the tide in key scenarios if you’ve planted enough traps.
With two new powerful six drops Ava Achiever and Corina Mastermind, trap strategies have a strong way to finish out games after you’ve spent the early stages of the game setting up your opponent.
As the first dual-region champion to make the list, Poppy allows you to build her within the confines of either Bandle City or Demacia. Abilities that give a temporary boardwide +1/+1 have proven to be powerful within LoR’s history with cards like Cithria the Bold and Genevieve Elmheart. With Poppy being able to do that starting turn four, and her bonus stats granted to herself and allies being permanent, opponents will need to worry about being able to deal three damage while you have enough mana to play her.
If your opponent fails to answer her, Poppy will become a daunting threat that can only ever keep scaling upwards every round you’re able to declare an attack. While it may be rare to level up Poppy, the ability to give a permanent +2/+2 stat increase and the Impact keyword to your allies means the game will end even sooner if it somehow wasn’t already decided in your favor.
6) Station Archivist
As one of the more interestingly designed cards of the expansion, Station Archivist gives Piltover and Zaun styled decks that have a fair emphasis on spells some more value and utility. The Archivist effectively lets you draw a spell if you’re able to play it the same turn that you create it.
Her ability works well with decks that want to cast premium spells or cheap removal like Go Hard and Mystic Shot. While the value that she provides is limited yet strong, it gives both you and your opponent more knowledge of your immediate future draws.
5) Waste Walker
Ever since Merciless Hunter was included with Shurima, the region has gained an identity of having strong three drops, and Waste Walker will build upon that idea. While some followers have conditional stat increases that only happen once, like Barkbeast or Shadow Apprentice, Waste Walkers can scale indefinitely as long as you have enough Landmarks which get destroyed.
While large stats can be aimless on their own, combined with a keyword like Overwhelm, the opponent will be unable to ignore the Waste Walker for long if you destroy enough Landmarks.
The Undead Juggernaut Sion brought a wealth of new tools which aim to go beyond the aggressive identity that discard effects are usually known for. Sion oftentimes will level up by the time you play him on turn seven. With new followers like Fallen Rider and Lost Soul, your cards with discard conditions attached become less costly.
Out of all of these followers, the biggest standout of them all is Reborn Grenadier. Even if Sion and his overall group of cards fails to make a dent on the meta, then this effectively zero mana 3/2 Ephemeral unit will give an extra early game edge for Discard Aggro Draven Jinx decks that already exist in the current meta. If you do play Reborn Grenadier for his mana cost, then he serves as an extra enabler for your cards which need to be discarded.
While the two share a spot due to how close they are together in design, Senna has the higher chance to find success outside of the pairing. This is due to her ability to turn any Slow spell that kills or deals damage into a Fast spell. However, if the Redeemer decides to team up with the Tiny Master of Evil and Bandle City, then she can gain access to followers which help empower the Darkness like Twisted Catalyzer and Stilted Robemaker.
While piloting either champion will be difficult in a meta where efficient units and combat tricks exist like Merciless Hunter and Twin Discipline, proper usage of these control tools will guarantee you grind out any opponent thanks to their ability to generate Darkness which can remove most units, especially if the damage scales up enough.
As the most versatile champion on this list, Nami is not bound to any singular archetype and can flourish in any deck aiming to cast multiple spells. In existing regions, Nami has potential with Targon (with Zoe or Aphelios), Ionia (alongside Lee or Karma), and Piltover and Zaun (pairing with Viktor). If you look towards the new region of Bandle City, Nami can use all of the cheap spells like Pokey Stick and Prank.
Within Bilgewater, Nami can lean in towards aggression with cards like Marai Songstress and Fizz (who is now dual-region with Bandle City.) If aggro decks aren’t your style, Avatar of the Tides and Fleet Admiral Shelly both facilitate and allow for ridiculous spellcast-chaining, rewarding you if you ever stabilize with either on the board.
Nami’s second level is much better than her level one form, and leveling her up isn’t the most difficult, since accruing spell mana over the course of the game is fairly routine. Be mindful, while using the Attune keyword counts towards her level up progress, any excess mana you have at the end of your turn while you have spell mana will not aid the Tidecaller in reaching level two.
When compared to the champion he was partnered with in design and synergy, Ziggs blows Xerath out of the water due to his cheaper mana cost and better stat line for his cost. Aside from working well with Countdown and self-destructing Landmark abilities, Ziggs on his own is already a potent card that can deal a lot of incidental damage towards the enemy’s Nexus and their blocking unit.
Focusing on non-Burn lists which actually use Landmarks, Ziggs has enough tools in both Shurima and Bandle City to succeed. With cards like Waste Walker and the new Inventive Chemist, there will be a few games where Ziggs will reach his second level, and turn up the heat against opponents.
Whenever your Landmarks are destroyed, even if it’s by your opponents’ hands, then they will take extra burn damage, which will put your opponent on a clock if you have enough Countdown Landmarks ticking down.
You can collect these cards and try them for yourself now. LoR: Beyond the Bandlewood is officially available on PC and mobile.