League of Legends is running its Lunar Revel event for the Lunar New Year through Feb. 19, and that means a new sale on its Hextech Crafting loot assets.
This deal contains arguably the best sale Riot Games has done for Hextech assets if you’re a player who likes gambling on skins. But, as is usually the case with these kinds of things, you’re going to have to spend a significant chunk of change if you want the best goodies.
What stuff costs in League
Riot added a loot system to League of Legends’ existing a-la-carte cosmetics store in 2016. So if you only play a few characters, or if you don’t like gambling, you can just buy the skins you want. The vast majority of new skins have been priced at 1,350 Riot Points, or about $10.
Riot offers a selection of skins for half-price every week, but with over 700 skins in the game, you might have to wait a while for the one you want to go on sale. Also, some of the game’s best skins — including event-linked Legacy Skins, Legendary (1,820 RP or $14) and Ultimate (3,250 RP or $25) tier skins, and anything released in the last six months — are not included in half-price sale rotations.
For the rest of the skins — or for folks who are impatient — there are Mystery Skins, also only available during some events. They let you buy a random skin for a champion you own for 490 RP ($3.75), or a random skin for a champion you own from the 975 or higher RP tiers for 790 RP ($6).
Alternatively, there’s Hextech Crafting: loot boxes that yield “shards” of champions or cosmetics that can be upgraded using currencies called essence, or dismantled to obtain essence. Regular, year-round Hextech boxes cost 1,950 RP ($15) for a bundle of 11, or 177 RP ($1.35) each. These chests can contain skin shards, champion shards, ward skin shards or icons.
Most of the things these boxes can contain which are not skin shards are worse outcomes than getting a skin shard. If you’re buying Hextech loot to get skins, about 40 percent of regular boxes are disappointing.
Riot has sold special Hextech boxes during events that only contain skin shards, but those premium boxes came with a premium price. A common bundle was 11 skins-only boxes for 2,500 RP ($19.25), or 227 RP ($1.75) per shard. Some of these boxes have included a chance to contain more bonus boxes in addition to the skin shards or, as was the case with last year’s Lunar Revel, have included other bonus currencies to sweeten the deal.
League’s most expensive gambling bundle ever
This year’s special event box is called a Revel Orb. It is guaranteed to contain a skin shard, and might also contain:
- another, bonus Revel Orb
- a Revel Grab Bag, which contains five skin shards
- a Hextech Gemstone, 10 of which can be combined to create a Hextech-exclusive skin
- a Golden Revel Token, which we will discuss later on
This year, on top of the regular $19.25 bundle of 11 of these orbs, Riot is offering a “Lunar Legendary Bundle,” which costs 5,500 RP. I’ve been converting RP prices to dollars at an exchange rate of 130 RP to $1. This box costs $42.30 at that price, but Riot gives you an extra 2,000 RP if you buy $100 at once, meaning you get 150 RP per dollar. You probably buy RP in larger increments if you’re considering this bundle, so that’s $36.67.
This bundle contains 24 of the Revel orbs, plus a Revel Grab Bag that contains five more skin shards. You also get 96 Revel Tokens. The bundle costs 189 RP per shard If you get zero bonus orbs or Grab Bags, which is a small premium over the cost of a regular Hextech box for the benefit of excluding most of the least desirable outcomes from the loot pool. This is the first time the price of a guaranteed skin shard has been below 200 RP.
This is a significantly better deal when compared to the 2,500 RP bundle of 11 boxes. This bundle costs only 500 RP more than two of those bundles, but you get seven extra shards. That brings the price per shard of the entire bundle down by about 17 percent.
The deal gets much better if you get some bonuses, and you’re likely to because of the possibility of the Revel Grab Bag. I opened two of these bundles and ended up with 44 skin shards from the first and 41 from the second, which means I paid only 129 RP per shard.
I watched a bunch of box opening videos on YouTube to try to get a slightly less anecdotal view of how often you can expect to see the Grab Bags. It turned out I was pretty lucky, but my odds weren’t hugely out of line with what you can expect when you buy in bulk. One or two Grab Bags and a few bonus orbs seemed to be common outcomes, but it’s possible to get none.
How much can you save?
Let’s assume you get 35 shards out of this bundle, which seems like an average or slightly below-average result. You paid 157 RP per shard. Now what can you do with them? Probably the best option is to pick out the ones you like and upgrade them with the essence you get from the rest of them.
Unfortunately, the other shoe on Riot’s improving event-based Hextech sales dropped in November, when the essence overhaul reduced the amount of Orange Essence awarded for dismantling shards by nearly half. Previously, a shard for a 975 RP skin yielded 375 Orange Essence when dismantled. Now you get 195. An Epic shard used to be worth 450. Now, it’s 270.
You need to crush about twice as many shards to upgrade one as you used to. So, while a bundle like this gives you more shards than you used to get for the same amount of money, you’re not getting more essence. The benefit of this is that you get more choices about what to upgrade.
The average value of a skin shard right now is about 200 Orange Essence. It costs 1,050 Orange Essence to upgrade an Epic shard, and 1,520 to upgrade a Legendary shard. That’s a little more than five extra shards for the Epic, or a little less than eight for the Legendary ... plus the shard that’s being upgraded.
One of these legendary bundles should give you roughly enough currency to upgrade six Epic-tier skins (8,100 RP) or four Legendary-tier skins (7,280 RP) for your 5,500 RP.
The other option besides upgrading or dismantling your shards is a “reroll,” which lets you spend three Hextech skin shards to get a random unowned skin permanently. Essentially, three shards is a mystery skin. This has historically been a suboptimal way to use shards for most players. One Orange Essence is worth about one RP, so prior to the Orange Essence nerf, the essence you could net from three shards was usually worth a lot more than the 490 RP a mystery skin costs, and three shards generally cost more than 490 RP.
Rerolling is now a better deal, since shards are worth less. The interesting thing about this bundle is that three shards breaks even with the 490 RP cost of a mystery skin, if you get more than 33 shards out of your 5,500 RP bundle.
This bundle is the first time Hextech assets have been cheap enough that doing a shard reroll is likely to be cheaper than buying a mystery skin. When three shards cost less than a mystery skin, the option to upgrade shards is free, so, despite the Orange Essence nerf, this is still the best Hextech sale Riot has ever done.
The other stuff in the box
Here’s what those Revel Tokens do. There are three new skins for this event:
- Lunar Guardian Nasus
- Lunar Guardian Warwick
- Lunar Empress Lux
These are all 1,350 RP Epic-tier skins, and they’ll become legacy skins after Feb. 19, which means you’ll only be able to get them from Hextech crafting or mystery skins until they return to the shop for next year’s Lunar Revel. You can’t get the skins with the tokens. You have to buy them for $10 each or get them through crafting.
However, there are special loading screen borders and icons for each of these skins, which can only be purchased with Lunar Tokens. Loading screen borders are only available during the initial event to launch the skins. The borders cost 64 tokens each. You can get about 150 tokens from doing a line of quests during the event, but that’s not enough to get all three borders, so if you want them all, you’ll need to buy something with money to get extra tokens.
The 96 Revel Tokens you get with the 5,500 RP bundle is also exactly enough to buy a Golden Revel Token. Riot added special icons and golden chromas for Lunar Revel skins from previous years, and they each cost a Golden Token. If you main a character with a golden chroma, you’ll probably want at least one of these. Golden Tokens can also drop randomly, and rarely, from the Revel Orbs.
If you don’t care about that stuff, 44 Revel Tokens buys you an extra Revel Orb, so you can actually get two more orbs with the tokens that come with the boxes. You can still do the quests and spend the free Revel Tokens to get three free Revel Orbs if you don’t buy anything at all.
It’s still a lot of money
If you have purchased non-event Hextech loot or mystery skins in League before, the Lunar Legendary Bundle is a better deal than those items. If you’ve purchased event bundles that contain guaranteed skins, or if you’re looking at the smaller bundles in this sale, the 5,500 RP bundle is 17 percent cheaper. Riot limits you to one bundle per 24 hours, but there’s time to buy several if you’re a big spender and you want a bunch of skins.
It’s always possible that there could be better deals in the future, but it’s also possible that Riot won’t do a box this good again anytime soon. With the price of rerolls now lower than mystery skins and approaching weekly-sale rotation values, significantly better deals on Hextech stuff don’t seem likely.
So if you’re interested in spending on Hextech or mystery skins, now is the time to do it. The only reason to hold off is if you want to save some of your money for things like special event passes or loading screen borders.