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, Shadow Isles, and Bilgewater. In this article we’ll take a look at the four champions from Noxus, their second level, their Champion Spells and any other cards related to them.
On the official Runeterra map, Noxus is described: “Noxus is a brutal, expansionist empire, yet those who look beyond its warlike exterior will find an unusually inclusive society. Anyone can rise to a position of power and respect if they display the necessary aptitude, regardless of social standing, background, or wealth. Noxians value strength above all, though that strength can manifest in many different ways.”
Draven is one of the most aggressive champions in Legends of Runeterra. And, befitting his character, he aims to be the star of the show. For three mana you get a champion with three attack, three health, and importantly: Quick Attack. This ensures Draven strikes first in the combat phase, and kills off three-health or lower enemies before they can injure Draven. When he is played for the first time or is on the offense, Draven doubles down on his aggression. He generates zero mana Spinning Axes: Burst spells that give one extra attack to an ally, at the cost of discarding a card.
Those Spinning Axes are key to leveling up Draven. While in theory the spell could be applied to any ally, Draven needs to have struck twice while having the Spinning Axe buff in order to reach level two. Alternatively, he can strike once with two Spinning Axe buffs applied to him. Once he does, he receives a +1/+1 bonus and most of his effects stay the same. However, he also gains the Overwhelm effect, further asserting his aggressive nature.
Should you already have a Draven in play and draw a second copy, that second copy turns into the Champion Spell Whirling Death. In line with the offensive strategy Draven embodies, Whirling Death aims to clear the path in front of any ally that’s on the offense. Whirling Death lets any combatting friendly unit deal its attack damage to any enemy on the combat field.
Katarina is an unusual champion. Her stat line isn’t fantastic—a three mana card with three attack and two health dies to most enemies. To compensate, she does have the Quick Attack keyword. But this is where it gets weird: after striking and before the enemy unit has a chance to attack her, Katarina recalls to your hand. She generates some immediate value as well, in the shape of a Blade's Edge with the Fleeting keyword, meaning you have to use it this round or it'll disappear.
Here’s the kicker: after that first attack and subsequent recall, Katarina immediately levels up to a four mana champion, with the usual +1/+1 buff. At level two, the phrasing of Katarina’s effects is less ambiguous. She keeps the Quick Attack keyword, and still jumps back to your hand immediately after striking. Furthermore, upon being played she gives you another attack token, allowing for a second offensive round.
Katarina is all about chipping away at the enemy. Yes, the fact that you have to play her again every single time and commit four mana after she has levelled up does leave you with less wiggle room to play other cards. But unless the enemy has a spell or skill that deals three damage before Katarina can attack, she’s around forever. You don’t need to play her, but she’s always a viable option.
The Champion Spell of Katarina is simple, but effective. Area of Effect (AoE) cards are among the most powerful effects in any card game. Although you do sacrifice your own battling units’ health too, you have a significant edge as you can control which allies to play before casting Death Lotus.
Vladimir levels up his vampirism in Legends of Runeterra, and converts it into extra aggression. His stat line is reasonable but not exceptional—Vladimir will evenly trade with most units that cost the same. What makes Vladimir so interesting is his skill Crimson Pact. When you’ve committed your attackers, and Vladimir is among them, he queues the skill to deal one damage to all the other allies. For each ally he hits, he deals one damage directly to the enemy Nexus.
The damage dealing trait of Vladimir isn’t necessarily what levels him up, but it does help quite a bit. Vladimir reaches level two when six or more of your allies (including Vladimir) have survived any damage source. Given that Crimson Pact deals damage before the other units attack, its effect contributes to Vladimir’s upgrading process. Once leveled up Vladimir turns into a 6/6 with the same effect, plus the Regeneration keyword to help him sustain and push out damage consistently.
In case Vladimir’s Crimson Pact isn’t quite enough to help him level up, or if you just need a quick buff at all, Transfusion will help you out. For two mana it takes one health from any ally, and applies a temporary +2/+2 buff to any other ally. It’s a Burst spell too, so your opponent won’t have a chance to respond to it.
Swain, the Grand General of Noxus, has only one thing in mind: dealing damage. A lot of it, preferably. His own attack power isn't too impressive, but he compensates for it. Whenever he does strike the enemy Nexus, his ability triggers and another three damage is dealt directly to the enemy Nexus. To support Swain's ability to hit the enemy Nexus he has the Fearsome keyword, meaning enemies with less than three attack power cannot block him.
Once you've dealt twelve damage to the enemy Nexus through non-combat means, be it spells, Swain's ability, or something else, Swain spreads his wings and levels up. He receives the usual +1/+1 buff, and his abilities are upgraded too. Instead of dealing three damage to just the enemy Nexus, that damage is applied to all enemies in play. It significantly weakens even the strongest enemies in play. Additionally, whenever you deal damage directly to the enemy Nexus, Swain stuns an enemy. He targets the Strongest (highest attack value) enemy sitting on the back row, meaning the targeted enemy isn't attacking or blocking yet.
Swain's Champion Spell, Ravenous Flock, is a cheap, high-damage spell. Dealing four damage for just one mana is extremely powerful, but the spell has its conditions. It can only be cast on enemies that have either already received damage, or enemies that have been Stunned. Still, that's generally fairly easy to do, so don't underestimate the power of Ravenous Flock.
Darius rounds up the Noxian champions in Legends of Runeterra, and he sits quite high up the throne. With six attack power he ranks second of all champions in the game. Whereas his Demacian counterpart Garen is all about control, Darius is about stomping the opponent into the ground with as much ferocity as possible. With Overwhelm, Darius directs any excess damage dealt to opposing units straight to the enemy Nexus.
The Overwhelm ability helps Darius directly with levelling up. When the enemy Nexus reaches ten or less health, he transforms. Not with the usual +1/+1 bonus, mind you, but by gaining four more attack power. Darius level two is hell-bent on taking out any opponent as soon as possible. Only She Who Wanders has enough health to prevent any Overwhelm damage from seeping through, and she pays for it with her life.
To help you get the Nexus below ten health, and to deal a possible final blow, Darius’ Champion Spell is Decimate. It’s a Slow spell, meaning it has to be cast before any unit has been readied for combat. Should it be cast, however, it deals a significant amount of damage: four health is twenty percent of the Nexus’ full health. It’s costly, however, and the opponent can prevent it from being cast relatively easily.
Images via Riot Games.
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