Legends of Runeterra Guardians of the Ancient Spoilers Discussion
Legends of Runeterra’s upcoming expansion is Guardians of the Ancient, so it’s time to look at some spoilers! A relatively small expansion, we do know for sure that the 42 card set will have three Champions: Irelia, Malphite, and Zilean. Every day, LoR’s social media will be revealing new cards that are coming with this expansion, so we’ll, in turn, be keeping you up to date! There will be some awesome cards we can imagine, especially thanks to the unique champions that are on the way. Zilean, Malphite, and Irelia are all, in one way or another, incredibly unique in the League of Legends meta.
Will Malphite take reduced damage and dive frontlines? Will Zilean be resurrecting your champions? Will Irelia manage to avoid nerfs in each patch despite desperately needing it? We’ll have to see! We’ll be keeping you up-to-date on all the latest spoilers for the Legends of Runeterra expansion, Guardians of the Ancient!
A new keyword has appeared and that’s Blade Dance. With Irelia showing up, this probably isn’t a surprise. Remember the 1/1 Blade minion we revealed at the start? When you play a Blade Dance minion, it summons that many Blade minions and they get a free attack. The Blossoming Blade, which is a 3/3 for 4 with Blade Dance 2, summoning it grants two Blades. Ribbon Dancer is on the same camp, as a 2/1 Blade Dance: 1 for 2 mana. Both are in Ionia, and so it may be exclusive to that faction.
Make sure to check back daily for the latest spoilers!
Cithria, Lady of Clouds (10-Cost Elite Minion): Okay, I see you, Cithria! Boy, she’s really come up in the world. This latest version of Cithria is a 10/10 for 10, and she also has Challenger. When she’s summoned, double other allies’ Power and Health, and grant them Challenger. This doesn’t read “until the end of the round”, so it looks permanent! She’s going to be a fantastic late-game bomb to make sure you win exchanges and battles. I’m a really big fan of what she’s got going on here. It’s gorgeous artwork and a quality card.
Ardent Tracker (6-Cost Elite Minion): A 6-cost with Scout? Could be pretty useful in the mid-game, especially as a ⅗. When you summon an Elite, you reduce the cost of this card by 1! So you can run it easily in Demacian Elites, and get this for maybe 4 or something instead. Love this, and I love that deck archetype (unless I’m playing against it).
Succumb to the Cold (4-Cost Burst Spell): Quick, easy, useful. Frostbite an enemy (reduce its power to 0) and summon a Frozen Thrall for yourself! We always need more Frozen Thralls in Lissandra decks, so I’m glad to see this. 4 mana sounds worth it to me.
Buried in Ice (9-Cost Slow Spell): Do you want a way to make your opponent have no way to block, so you’re sure to win? Buried in Ice is the card for you! It Obliterates each enemy (so they are completely removed from the game permanently), and summons a Frozen Tomb in each one’s place. Now, this could bring back the cards you obliterated, thanks to the ability of Frozen Tomb. So just cast this when you’re ready to swing for lethal.
Dancing Droplet (1-Cost Minion): This 1/1 for 1 has Attune (refill 1 spell mana when summoned) and Elusive. However, when it’s recalled, you draw 1. All of a sudden, I see what we’re going to do with Shadows of the Past. Looks like we might be seeing some cards that “When Recalled, do X,” and that would be pretty fun. Worst case, we use this, get some free card draw.
Lead And Follow (2-Cost Fast Spell): A very simple, but useful spell, especially at Fast speed. This recalls an ally to create a Flawless Duet in hand! With enough mana, you could cast Irelia, get a Flawless Duet, bounce her back with Lead and Follow, cast her again, and drop another Flawless Duet, to make sure you are constantly flooding the other player with more damage than they possibly know how to handle. In the late game, this could easily turn into a game-winning bomb. Pair this with Bladesurge and some spell mana, you’re going to rip someone’s Nexus into tiny bits. Irelia’s just so powerful, I’m a big fan of what she could do with cards like Yasuo and Shen.
Coastal Defender (4-Cost Minion): If the Blade Dance ability counts as a Summon, we can do a lot of damage with this card. A 2/6 for 4, when you summon an ally, this minion receives +2/+0 for the round. If we can drop a few Blade Dances at once on a turn where we have the attack, you can possibly hit someone for 10+ with just Coastal Defender. For a common, they really sound like a lot of fun.
Zinneia, Steel Crescendo (8-Cost Minion): An Elusive ⅗ for 8 sounds really bad at first. But when you activate a Blade Dance, this minion also attacks with the Blades. You can get free 3 damage on top of the Blades, and as an Elusive, it feels very safe. It’s nice to be able to attack without having an Attack Token. This also has Play: Blade Dance: 1, so simply playing it will get at least a potential 4 damage.
Irelia (3-Cost Champion): Ahh, she who evades nerfing consistently. Irelia’s been revealed today, and she looks to be a force of nature. A 3/2 with Quick Attack, she costs 3 mana. You can get her Level Up before she even hits the field too. When Irelia’s summoned or Round Start, she creates a Flawless Duet in hand if you have the Attack Token. It’s going to be a strategy to never play her if you aren’t on the attack, that’s for sure. But what does she level up from? By having 12+ Allies Attack. With all the Blade Dance cards, that’s going to be wildly easy! Then we have to ask the question, what’s next for her?
Before we cover Level Two Irelia, her ability grants a 1-cost slow, temporary spell, Flawless Duet. It’s very simple. It casts Blade Dance: 2. That means if you have the attack token, you get two attackers for 1 mana. With Zinneia in play, it becomes the Blades plus another potential 3 damage. That’s pretty awesome right on her own.
Level Two Irelia is now a 4/3 Quick Attack, and she still creates a Flawless Duet in hand when summoned or if you have an attack token. But now, when allies attack, it creates a Bladesurge in hand. Anytime your allies attack, too. You could Blade Dance, Bladesurge, Blade Dance again. . . I’m a really big fan, but I wonder how long it will take before cries of “Nerf Irelia!” come to Legends of Runeterra.
Bladesurge is a 0-cost Burst Spell and it Swaps Irelia with an ally. That means you can swap one of your Blades out for Irelia, suddenly making the free attack a lot more dangerous. Then you can attack with her again. Anytime you set up a Blade Dance, you could throw Irelia into the mix. Just make sure you can also protect her from dying (Shield, Regeneration, Buffs, what have you).
Vanguard’s Edge (7-Cost Slow Spell): This will also help get your Irelia to Level 2. This casts Blade Dance: 3, but an ally will also attack with them! This still counts as a free attack that doesn’t remove your attack token, getting plenty of free damage. That’s why it’s a 7-cost Slow Spell, then. You could drop a huge attacker down (a 12/12 or something) and just mow someone down. This is also Irelia’s spell, so if you draw a second of her, this is what you get.
Shadows of the Past (5-Cost Fast Spell): This is a terrific way to potentially win a game. The only downside is if you have buffed units, those stats will reset if you cast them again. This spell is also a terrific way to remove threats from the board. What you get when you cast Shadows of the Past, you Recall each ally and summon a Living Shadow in its place. Living Shadows are 3/2 Ephemeral units. So you do this on your attack, bounce your allies back, and swing for 12 or so damage hopefully. Your opponent either has to block them and potentially lose powerful units or take a bunch of unwanted damage. This is a card I’d play when I know the opponent can’t do anything about it, to make sure I win. Conversely, you can play this in your opponent’s turn before battle to bounce your allies back and put safe bodies down. At worst, your opponent loses nothing, and at best, you remove threats and safely put your allies back down.
Syncopation (2-Cost Burst Spell): Ready for more annoying Ionian spells? I know I am! This one Swaps two allies at Burst speed! What a fantastic way to save a forced blocker, and put someone much stronger in its place. A very sound card, and one I’m excited to use.
Thrashing Snapper (1-Cost Minion): Torn on this one. Thrashing Snapper is a 2/1 for 1, but when an enemy blocks it, it gains (this creature) +3/+0 for the round. No Overwhelm though, so the damage won’t get through. With other buffs/abilities, this could be very good. It’s also a great way to completely eliminate a threat for 1 mana. Your opponent is going to have to gauge if it’s worth losing a creature to not take 5 damage on turn 1.
Incisive Tactician (8-Cost Minion): This minion has Reputation to reduce its cost down to 6, which is pretty useful. Either way, when you summon it, it Rallies, so you get an Attack Token. Either way, this ⅘ is awesome. That’s just what Noxus needs, a way to have their huge creatures hit a second time that turn! Love to see it.
Monster Harpoon (6-Cost Fast Spell): Can you deal damage to your opponent’s Nexus first? Then Plunder triggers, and this now costs 3 mana! It also deals 5 damage to a unit, so it can be fantastic as a removal option if you can do just a tiny bit of damage first.
Bone Skewer (2-Cost Fast Spell): Now this is an interesting card. Bone Skewer is a 2-cost Fast spell, and it makes an ally Strike an enemy. Then it moves to the top of your deck. What I wonder, is if that creature of yours would die, would it still go to the top of your deck? This is a card I want to experiment with. It could be really fun to use, that’s for sure. Especially if that minion has a “Play” trigger.
Piltover & Zaun
Chirean Sumpworker (2-Cost Minion): Chirean Sumpworker relies on having multiple copies of this card. It’s an Elusive ½, and when you summon another copy of this card, you obliterate this one and transform allied Chirean Sumpworkers everywhere into Sumpworks Posse cards instead. Now they’re 4/2s for 2, still have Elusive, and attacking with it deals 1 to enemies and the enemy Nexus. Wow, talk about value! Just getting a few of these can do horrifying numbers to your opponent.
Adaptatron 3000 (1-Cost Tech Minion): A ⅓ for 1, when you summon a Tech (type of minion), they share keywords. It’s very easy to understand, and potentially incredibly powerful. I haven’t seen much in the way of “Tech” minions, but I have a feeling we won’t have to wait long to see how this synergizes with other cards.
The Wings and The Wave (1-Cost Minion): This is a weird little buddy. It’s a 0/1, but when you play it, you play it as one of two other minions instead. Either First Wave (0/1, summon a Prey minion) or Last Wind (3/3, to play it, kill an ally). Could be a great way to sacrifice a minion to get something bigger on top of that. I can see this being used in ramp/aggro Shadow Isles decks. This will certainly see play.
Time In A Bottle (2-Cost Focus Spell): A card that uses Predict! Huzzah! It Predicts and then advances an allied Landmark by 2 rounds. An incredibly useful spell, especially at 2 mana. Predicting gets us a card faster than normal, and this feels like the continuing trend of pushing Timed Landmarks will continue. I don’t hate that idea, though. Some of the previous expansions’ Timed Landmarks were a blast. This leads me to think that we’ll see Zilean in tomorrow’s spoilers for Legends of Runeterra’s Guardians of the Ancient expansion.
The Clock Hand (8-Cost Minion): What a potentially powerful card for Landmark decks! I was not wild about that 8-cost at first. Then I realized what it does, and I’m much more interested. This creature, when summoned, creates two Instant Centuries in your hand. Instant Century is a 0-Cost Focus spell. It summons a random Landmark with Countdown, or it advances a Landmark 4 rounds. Now that sounds infuriating. That’s already very useful for Landmark decks, and it’s a 4/7. So far, I’m a fan of it.
Zilean (2-Cost Champion): Oh boy, Zilean! I have to say, the art for him is gorgeous. He’s a ¼ for 2, and when he’s played, he creates 4 Time Bombs in your deck and then Predicts. Hopefully, that lands one of them. When he’s seen you destroy 2 allied Time Bombs, he levels up. Before we go on, let’s talk about what those Time Bomb cards are.
Time Bomb is a 4-cost Landmark. When it’s summoned, draw 1 and advance other allied Time Bombs 1 round. They have a Countdown of 1, which deals 1 damage to enemies, and the enemy Nexus. So they pop off very fast. With all the Predicting we have in Shurima, it’s going to make it easier for us to find the Time Bombs.
The leveled-up form is a ⅔, and at Round Start, he has an incredible ability. You create a Fleeting copy of each non-Fleeting card he saw you play last round. Creatures, Landmarks, whatever! They don’t cost 0, but it lets you make some potentially really powerful combos. I’m a fan of what Zilean can do, and I kind of want to see him with someone like Swain or Vladimir, just for the non-combat damage his Time Bombs do. Pure-Shurima will be a big one for him too. This is thanks to his spell, Chronoshift, which I’ll cover shortly.
Preservationist (5-Cost Minion): A 4/4 for 5? It better do something really useful. Fortunately, it does! It Advances an allied landmark by 3 rounds when this creature is put into play! This could instantly trigger some of your Landmarks with Countdown abilities. Plus again, a 4/4, so it’s not something that’s going to go away easily. It might be a fun target to duplicate and make the Sun Dial restore that much faster.
Imagined Possibilities (1-Cost Focus Spell): A very simple, powerful spell, this one. For 1 mana, it creates a random landmark with Countdown in hand or advances your landmarks by 1 round. Essentially, it’s a weaker Instant Century. That’s okay, though, because we don’t have to wait and cast an 8-cost Minion first. If you choose to make a landmark, though, it may not be one you want to play immediately on top of that.
Chronoshift (7-Cost Burst Spell): Sure, it’s expensive. But with level 2 Zilean, this could be hilarious. This gives an allied Champion “The next time I’d die this round, fully heal me and grant me +3/+3 instead”, and that could be amazing in combat. That’s the brilliance of this card. You can also use this to sacrifice a card for something, and just bring them back with Chronoshift! It’s also a heal card. You know who I want to see this used on? Maybe Tahm Kench. Since it seems to prevent the death trigger, perhaps he gets to keep the people he’s eaten.
Scrying Sands (1-Cost Burst Spell): Remember when I said “Predict is powerful with Zilean?” Well here’s yet another way to help get those Time Bombs. Scrying Sands is a 1-cost Burst spell, and it gives an enemy -2/-0 this round and also Predicts. We can stop a foe from being dangerous in combat, and also look through a few cards to put something in our hand? It’s quality stuff, that’s for sure.
Rockfall Path (2-Cost Landmark): Another short-timer Landmark, after the Countdown of 2 ends, you Obliterate the Weakest enemy. That means it would permanently delete the weakest foe from your opponent’s board. A fantastic thing to see if your opponent has a powerful card they never swing with, but it’s low stats.
Earth Elemental (4-Cost Minion): A ⅗ for 4, this Elemental with Overwhelm gains +3/+0 once you’ve summoned 4+ landmarks this game. It sounds really feasible, given these new cards. I’m also glad to see some Overwhelm options in Targon, making it possible to make Targon decks that just run people down.
Blue Sentinel (2-Cost Minion): Here’s a minion that summons a Landmark when it dies! Blue Sentinel is a 2-cost ⅔, and once it dies, you summon a Crest of Insight. Crest of Insight is a 2-cost Landmark, and it has Countdown of 1. When it fades away, you gain an extra mana gem for this round. Huzzah, more mana! That could really come in serious handy with proper timing. I’m a fan of this as a temporary way to Mana Ramp for key moments.
Solari Sunhawk (2-Cost Minion): An excellent minion, it’s a got a great Daybreak effect. Again, Yasuo smiles. Solari Sunhawk’s Daybreak Stuns the strongest enemy. Just free stun+Damage (with Yasuo)? You love to see it. Plus it’s a ⅔ for 2, so it’s got an intense amount of value as a Common. You’d figure it would be a little weaker, but I’m glad it isn’t!
Stonebreaker (6-Cost Minion): If you’ve summoned 4+ landmarks this game, this creature deals 4 damage to an enemy, and 2 to their Nexus. It’s also a 6/4 for 6, and so you wouldn’t ever want to cast this until you have that pre-requisite set up. A solid, reliable creature, and it doesn’t cost more than it should. Zap down a weak enemy, get some non-combat damage on the Nexus, and prepare to swing in for a bunch.
Malphite (7-Cost Champion): Okay, I’m a really big fan of Malphite. I may loathe him in League of Legends, but here? I can use this. He’s a bit costly though, as a 6/10 for 7. He has Tough, so he takes 1 less damage. All he needs now is Regeneration. To Level Up, you need tohave summoned 12+ mana of landmarks. He doesn’t have to witness them, either. When you level up, if you have the attack token, create an Unstoppable Force in hand. Make sure you only level up on your turn with that in mind.
Unstoppable Force is a 2-cost slow spell that Stuns all enemies.
Level 2 Malphite is really big and really mean. A 7/11, it still has Tough. When it’s summoned, or Round Start: If you have the attack token, create an Unstoppable Force in your hand. We can stun lock someone down and win that way! Malphite works exceptionally well (conveniently), with his own spell, (Malphite’s) Ground Slam. A Fast-cost 4 mana spell, it stuns a unit. Then you deal 3 damage to it if you’ve summoned a landmark this game. Big fan of Malphite, and now all those Landmarks suddenly make a lot more sense.
Spiral Stairs (3-Cost Landmark): Quite a few Landmarks being revealed for Targon! It comes with a Countdown of 3, and when it pops, you create a Seed of Strength in your hand. This grants a 0-cost spell that you have to cast this turn. It grants an ally +3/+2 and Overwhelm, and it’s not temporary! This is definitely going into my Soraka/Tahm Kench deck to make my creatures that much bigger. Big fan of this short-term Landmark.
Eye of the Ra-Horak (5-Cost Landmark): All this stun is making me want to play Malphite/Yasuo. They do synergize perfectly in League of Legends, after all. What else stuns in this faction? Eye of the Ra-Horak! It has Countdown: 1 – Stun the weakest 2 enemies. If this is our first spell for the turn (Daybreak), it summons a copy that has Countdown: 2. With Yasuo, this and Malphite is basically a free clear of the enemy defensive line all the time. I’m a huge fan of all of this nonsense.