Legends of Runeterra is Riot Games’ collectible card game, set in the same universe as League of Legends. A large part of the champions found in League of Legends have been split across six factions in Legends of Runeterra, namely: Demacia, Freljord, Ionia, Noxus, Piltover and Zaun, and Shadow Isles. In this article we’ll take a look at the four champions from Ionia, their second level, their Champion Spells and any other cards related to them.
The official lore describes Ionia as follows: “Known as the First Lands, Ionia is an island continent of natural beauty and magic. Its inhabitants, living in loosely collected provinces, are a spiritual people, seeking harmony with the world. They remained largely neutral until their land was invaded by Noxus—this brutal occupation forced Ionia to reassess its place in the world, and its future path remains undetermined.”
The Ionian champions in Legends of Runeterra are Zed, Shen, Yasuo and Karma.
Zed is among the squishiest champions in Legends of Runeterra. At two health, most units are able to kill him with a single blow, and most damage dealing spells take care of him as well. The Quick Attack keyword ensures that Zed takes out low health enemies before they can strike back. But when employing Zed, it’s not just him you’re hiring. Upon being dragged into combat Zed summons a Living Shadow with stats equal to Zed’s. For one round it’ll fight by Zed’s side, but since it has Ephemeral, it’ll die at the end of the round or after it has attacked.
The Living Shadows are key when it comes to levelling up Zed. After the Nexus has been struck twice by Zed and his Living Shadows, Zed upgrades to four attack and three health base stat line. He keeps the Quick Attack, and his Living Shadow’s become identical copies of Zed in every sense: aside from the stat line, they also carry the keywords Zed has with them. That means Living Shadows at minimum will have Quick Attack, but if you’ve given your Zed ‘Tough’, ‘Elusive’ or any other keyword, the Living Shadows will get them too. They do stay Ephemeral, however.
If your Zed is on the brink of being eliminated and you’re not quite ready to say goodbye, his Champion Spell Shadowshift will come in handy. For three mana it takes any ally out of combat and places them back on the summon bench, returning them to safe harbors. A 3/2 Living Shadow replaces the recalled unit, making sure the incoming damage is still blocked.
Shen is a sturdy champion, who doesn’t easily take out enemies. At two attack Shen can only deal with small units himself, but his five health does allow him to take a beating. Shen’s role isn’t necessarily to shine, though. Shen is a supporting champion, who shines when he’s played alongside impactful allies. Upon play, Shen chooses an ally. When at any point both Shen and the supported ally enter combat to attack or block, the ally receives Barrier, negating the next damage dealt to it.
When four or more allies have received Barrier while Shen is in play, he reaches level two. At three attack and six health Shen can still not kill most enemies, but can fend off just a little bit longer. Once more it’s his ability that shines, though. Aside from the supported ally being granted Barrier, any ally that receives Barrier while Shen is in play also receives a significant damage buff. Three attack extra turns the tables in most units’ favor, or at least badly wounds the opponent.
Stand United, Shen’s Champion Spell, is about surprise tactics. It’s quite costly, but keep in mind that essentially you’re dealing free damage to the next enemy units facing off against your shielded allies. Although Stand United does help Shen’s levelling process significantly, it’s at Shen’s second level where you can truly outplay your opponent. If they think they have safely lined up blocking units, for example, a quick swap can end those opponents before they know what hit them.
Yasuo is a swift predator in Legends of Runeterra. He’s not that powerful by himself—there are plenty of units and champions with four attack. With Quick Attack though, he strikes before the enemy does, meaning that Yasuo won’t take damage if said unit is killed off first. But the true Yasuo appears when enemies are Stunned or Recalled, and he swiftly strikes to deal two damage to them. It’s chip damage, for sure, but it’s free damage nonetheless.
It’s difficult to level up Yasuo, and rightfully so. Once you’ve Stunned or Recalled six or more enemies, his trait evolves to do even more damage; level two Yasuo deals his attack damage to the stunned or recalled enemy. Five damage is a considerable amount and oftentimes enough to deal a fatal blow, making Yasuo a nuisance to face, but a blessing to have. Once Yasuo has levelled up, it’s unlikely you’ll lose board control again. Especially Yone, Windchaser, the seven mana 6/6 that stuns two enemies, pairs fantastically with Yasuo.
Stund and Recall effects are sparse in Legends of Runeterra, and rightfully so. They’re among the most frustrating cards to face. However, if you decide to add multiple Yasuos to your deck and happen to draw one while another Yasuo is in play already, you’ll be granted Steel Tempest, Yasuo’s Champion Spell. For three mana it Stuns any attacking enemy. It’s a Fast spell, so your opponent does have time to respond with, for example Deny.
Atop the Ionian champion mana curve sits Karma. Much like the other champions from Ionia she doesn’t have the greatest statistics. A five mana 4/3 is nothing to brag about, as it even dies to a large portion of two mana costing units. But Karma’s not meant for the early game, she’s a value-oriented champion. She generates a random spell at the end of every round, testing your ability to adapt to new situations.
The fact that Karma is meant for late game strategies becomes even more obvious when you level her up. Firstly in order to level her up, you must reach having ten regular mana—spell mana doesn’t count. At level two Karma loses her spell generating ability, but turns into a spell slinging menace. Every spell you cast is cast twice, choosing the same targets for the second cast, without consuming extra mana. This doubles the power of most spells. Exceptions are, for example, spells that grant a keyword, like Barrier or Challenger.
But if you’re truly looking for value, you’re going to want Karma’s Champion Spell, Insight of Ages. For two mana, it creates a random spell. Nothing special there. At ten mana, when you’re Enlightened, that’s doubled to two spells for just two mana, which already is great value. If you have a level two Karma on board and you play Insight of Ages, you get four random spells for just two mana, which is arguably the most value any card will grant you.
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