Legends of Runeterra

Best Legends of Runeterra starter decks to get grinding in beta

by Isaac McIntyre
Riot Games

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With the arrival of Legends of Runeterra’s open beta, a host of new players will be diving into Riot’s collectible card game, and will need a deck right away. Here are five easy, but still strong, decks to get you straight into the action.

Riot Games released LOR’s closed beta in late 2019, revealing their take on the tactical card game genre flavored with League of Legends lore to the world. The beta went public on January 24, and thousands of players poured into the game.

Legends of Runeterra offers a fresh take on the CCG genre and brings plenty of unique mechanics, flashy card combos, iconic characters, and new interactions that will have both LoL fans and card game enthusiasts excited.

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There's plenty of ways to play Legends of Runeterra now the open beta has started.

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While Legends of Runeterra is steering away from genre trendsetters Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone in the way the in-game battle is played, there are still a host of vintage archetypes that transcend different CCG titles.

To help you get the most out of the grind, here are a few of the best Runeterra starter decks that will give you the winning edge when climbing the ladder — from Midrange and Control, to fast-paced Aggro, and the exciting Recall combo.

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Legends of Runeterra cards like Fleetfeather Tracker have quickly proven their worth as powerful early cards with plenty of extra value.

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Demacia–Freljord Midrange

Champions Followers  Spells 
Garen x1 Omen Hawk x2 Radiant Strike x2
Tryndamere x1 Fleetfeather Tracker x2 Single Combat x1
Avarosan Senty x3 Brittle Steel x2
Vanguard Sergeant x3 Avalanche x2
Laurent Protege x2 Back to Back x2
Avarosan Marksman x2 Judgment x1
Bull Elnuk x3 Detain x1
Babbling Bjerg x3
Radiant Guardian x1
Troop of Elnuks x3
Avarosan Hearthguard x1
Alpha Wildclaw x2

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Midrange is the middle road of any CCG — plenty of on-field threats in the form of minions and powerful champions, and a few powerful spells mixed into the deck to make sure you have answers to keep your board state stocked up.

Demacia–Freljord is no different, focusing on early choices like Fleetfeather Tracker, before building into end-game threats through Tryndamere and Garen. Big threats like Bull Elnuk and Radiant Guardian can both also swing in for major damage too, and can be backed up by utility minions like Babbling Bjerg.

Most importantly, your biggest characters are backed up by spells like Judgment, which can force a reset if you use one of your strongest allies to clear the field, while Back to Back can boost your smaller allies like Laurent Protege to end the game.

If you enjoy grinding your way through mid-game battles, and overwhelming your opponent with some of the scariest, strongest allies in the game, then midrange is definitely the best place to start in Legends of Runeterra.

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Tryndamere has become one of top champion picks in the Legends of Runeterra beta.

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Shadow Isles–Freljord Stall Control

Champions Followers  Spells 
Elise x2 Omen Hawk x2 Glimpse Beyond x2
Tryndamere x1 Ravenous Butcher x2 Vile Feast x3
Braum x1 Avarosan Senty x3 Brittle Steel x2
Hapless Aristocract x2 Avalanche x2
Cursed Keeper x3 Black Spear x2
Avarosan Marksman x2 Withering Wail x2
Ethereal Remitter x2 Grasp of the Undying x1
Babbling Bjerg x2 Harsh Winds x2
Avarosan Hearthguard x1 Vengeance x1

Like any good card game, LOR also boasts a cheap control deck based on grinding down your opponent, denying them threats, and basically just out-valuing the player across the table from you.

This control deck is based around removing followers with single-target effects, and wiping the board with area-of-effect spells. Avalanche and Withering Wail both fill that end-game role well, while Cursed Keeper offers another interesting option.

Once you’ve removed everything your opponent is trying to do, and cleared the board, it’s time to bring in near-unkillable champion Tryndamere to deliver some explosive late-game damage, and close out the game in style.

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Dark champion Zed's powerful shadow strategies have made sure 'Red Deck Wins' has arrived in Legends of Runeterra.

Zed–Jinx Aggro Rush

Champions Followers  Spells 
Zed x2 Inspiring Mentor x3 Thermogic Beam x2
Jinx x2 Astute Academic x3 Rush x3
Navori Conspirator x3 Mystic Shot x3
Keeper of Masks x2 Will of Ionia x1
Greenglade Duo x2
Shadow Assassin x3
Scaled Snapper x2
Golden Crushbot x2
Kinkou Lifeblade x3
Jeweled Protector x1
Chempunk Shredder x1
Augmented Experimenter x1
The Empyrean x1

Red Deck Wins. Zerg Rush. Face Hunter. The classic aggressive build has had many names over many games over the years, but one thing is for sure—it always makes its way into the new card game, and this time it’s led by champions Zed and Jinx.

In Legends of Runeterra, the best aggro mechanics are ‘Elusive,’ which means a card can only be blocked by another Elusive unit, and ‘Quick Attack,’ which allows a card to strike before its blocker in the attack phase.

These lethal, fast-paced abilities mean you can swarm over your opponent either without being blocked, or without being damaged. Then, once you’ve got your enemy within striking distance, finish the job with Zed and his two 4/3 shadows, both of which are armed with the quick attack mechanic as well.

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Katarina is a key part of the new Recall combo deck.

KatarinaYasuo Recall Combo

Champions Followers  Spells 
Katarina x2 Sparring Student x2 Recall x2
Yasuo x2 Inspiring Mentor x3 Guile x2
Navori Highwayman x2 Steel Tempest x1
Navori Conspirator x2 Deny x2
Greenglade Duo x2 Will of Ionia x2
Fae Bladetwirler x3 Intimidating Roar x1
Greenglade Elder x2 Decisive Maneuver x1
Arachnoid Sentry x2
Legion General x2
Jeweled Protector x2
Minotaur Reckoner x1
Yone, Windchase x2

While our aggro, midrange, and control decks are all relatively cut and dry in their objectives, there are always players that want to test the limits of what they can do in a turn, and pull off the more fun combos against their opponents.

In Runeterra, an early starter deck that allows you to pull this off is built around the ‘Recall’ mechanic, and powered by popular League of Legends champions Katarina and Yasuo with their level-up abilities.

The idea is to stuff your deck full of followers that have powers activated by entering the battlefield, like Greenglade Elder, who provides allies a +1/+1 boost when it drops, or Yone, Windchaser, who stuns to enemies upon its arrival.

Then, with Katarina, Yasuo, or other minions like Navori Conspirator, and spell Recall, you bring those cards back your hand, and play them again for more value. This added value allows you to defeat your opponent with far more resources.