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Looking to learn Legends of Runeterra? Expeditions teach you how to build decks, at a price

The Expedition mode is the most fun I’ve ever had playing a card game

Legends of Runterra Expeditions Image: Riot via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

After Slay the Spire taught me how to build a deck, I was ready to tackle Riot’s Legends of Runeterra card game head-on.

Like any card game, Legends of Runeterra takes time to learn, and even longer to remember all the different cards. But Legends of Runeterra’s draft mode, Expeditions, makes for the perfect learning experience. Which is why it’s so unfortunate that you have to pay with in-game currency or real bucks to enter. But is it worth it?

What are Expeditions in Legends of Runterra?

Legends of Runterra Expeditions
Once you enter the Expedition, you have two Trials
Image: Riot via Polygon

In the Expeditions game mode, I pick out random different cards until I have a complete deck and two Champions (powerful cards you build synergies around).

When my deck is complete, I can test it against other Expedition players. If I win, I can tweak my deck, but if I lose twice in a row, my Trial ends. I get two Trials (deck builds) per Expedition, and when I finish both Trials, I get a reward based on how many wins I had.

Why Expeditions are better than the tutorial

Legends of Runterra Expeditions
When you start your trial, you get to pick two Champions
Image: Riot via Polygon

Legends of Runeterra’s many tutorial scenarios helped ease me into the game’s mechanics. But the pre-built card decks can only take me so far. I still don’t know all the cards, so I don’t understand what another player could use to thwart my tactics.

But Expeditions solve that problem. When I go in to draft a deck through Expeditions, I have to carefully read every card I choose. If I don’t read what the card does and study its potential, I might accidentally add numerous cards with zero synergy to my deck — a recipe for disaster. My first few expedition decks were not good, and I lost very quickly. But each new time I build a deck, I make more progress than I had before.

Now I know that if a Fiora Champion card kills four units in a game, I automatically win. But her low stats can make that difficult. So if I want a Fiora deck, I also want Shen (a Champion card that gives protective barriers to allies), and spells like Riposte to give Fiora bonus damage and a barrier. The more I know, the more I win.

But I’ve lost with these cards too, and I know which enemy strategies counter my favorites. Because of Expeditions, my game knowledge is way up. I understand the play styles of Runeterra’s six different regions, and I can use that knowledge to build decks that work well together.

Are Expeditions worth it?

Legends of Runterra Expeditions
Lose two matches in a row and you lose your trial!
Image: Riot via Polygon

Expeditions are the most fun I’ve had in Legends of Runeterra, but I can’t escape the knowledge that I paid for the experience. After my first token — which I picked up as a beginner’s reward — I spent $10 for 900 Coins. That’s enough for three Expeditions, or six Trials.

My rewards for the mode are completely dependent on how I do. If I kick ass and get several wins, I get some new cards to add to my collection and a tiny amount of Shards — which I can use to craft even more cards, or save up for another Expedition. It has been a quick way to fill up my card collection for Ranked or Normal mode, but it didn’t come for free — and that will certainly be a hurdle for many players. But if you’re just looking to learn, you can play for free after your third Expedition in a week — albeit without the rewards.

As a learning experience, it’s hard not to recommend Expeditions. After my Trials, I feel like I almost know the game backward and forward — although my ranked games prove I still have more to learn. But that knowledge earned is well worth my 10 bucks.

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