[Guide] How does mana work in Legends of Runeterra?


Many card games, especially the competitive ones, require a resource to be spent in order to play cards. In Legends of Runeterra, you need to spend mana in order to play cards. In this guide we’ll explain exactly how mana works in the game, and highlight a couple of cards that have unique interactions with the mana system.


Both players start a game with zero mana. After you and your opponent have decided which cards you want to keep in your opening hand, the first round starts. At the start of each round, including the first one, both players gain one more mana to spend each round, regardless of whether they’re the attacker or defender. This goes on until ten mana is reached, at which point you’ll stop earning extra mana to spend.


As can be seen on the right, the bottom player spent one mana to play a card. The top player now can choose to spend their mana or not.


There is a unique feature in Legends of Runeterra when it comes to mana: the game has so-called “spell mana”. When you don’t end up spending all your mana in a turn—also known as “floating” mana—up to three mana is stored. This is mana you can exclusively use to cast spells. 


The idea behind spell mana is that in theory, when you ended up floating mana in your previous turn, you’re behind on board because your opponent potentially did spend all their mana on cards. With spell mana you can do just a bit extra the next turn to catch up again. Unspent spell mana is stored indefinitely. When you cast a spell though, it will use up spell mana first before tapping into your regular mana.


Both players have full regular mana, but the bottom player has one extra spell mana.


When casting a spell, the spell mana that’s been saved will be used first. The leftover mana required to cast the spell is drawn from the regular mana pool.
(Notice the highlighted gems, glowing in white)


While spell mana may be easy to grasp, it’s one of the more complicated aspects of Legends of Runeterra to master. The great players distinguish themselves by thinking turns ahead about which spell they may draw from their deck, and save up spell mana long before. Of course, sometimes you’re forced to respond to your opponent immediately. Learning to think one or two turns ahead, and what you may need spell mana for to swing the board in your favor, will massively improve your results.


There aren't many cards that directly manipulate mana in Legends of Runeterra—it's a powerful mechanic to manipulate. There are a few though, and below are a few examples of cards that have special interactions with the mana system in the game.


Wyrding Stones are a temporary way of gaining mana. The extra mana crystal does disappear at the end of a round, but as long as your opponent doesn’t kill the unit, you’ll always have one more regular mana to spend than your enemy does. Wyrding Stones fit best in so-called “ramp” decks, which build a mana advantage quickly and play more expensive cards than the opponent.


Much like Wyrding Stones, Catalyst of Aeons is best suited for ramp decks. Its effect is a bit more powerful though. Catalyst of Aeons gives you a permanent extra mana gem to spend, up until you reach ten mana—no need for a unit to be alive like with Wyrding Stones. It heals you for a little bit as well, and the fact that it’s a Burst spells means that your opponent cannot counter it.


Tortured Prodigy manipulates mana in a different way. While the unit doesn’t make a big splash on the board with its three attack and four health for five mana, it has a lot of potential. If you have many small allies on board and a few good, cheap spells in hand, Tortured Prodigy can allow you to play many more cards than your opponent can, swinging the game in your favor.


Images via Riot Games.

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