Bandle City: New Keywords, Most Promising Cards & Theorycraft Ideas So Far

Shane reviews the cards and mechanics that've been spoiled over the weekend.

Compared to previous sets and expansions, the reveal season for Beyond the Bandlewood has gotten off to quite a different start.

First, they introduced the Dual-region cards, reworking four existing champions – Teemo, Fizz, Lulu, and Heimerdinger. After this, they have slowly begun to reveal more cards from Bandle City interspersed with a few cards from other regions.

Plenty of new mechanics, keywords, and of course, deck ideas have been unleashed upon us – though no champions up until the Poppy reveal on August 16th.

Today I will go over each new keyword, review three of the most interesting cards that caught my attention from the August 12-15 spoiler batch, and then give you a quick theorycraft with each of those!

  • Manifest

This keyword has similarities to Invoke and also to Discover from Hearthstone. We will have to see how LoR will implement this mechanic and see more of the concrete examples, but overall Manifest cards will have a more wide range of results on average as compared to Invoke since the pool for Manifest isn’t as tailor-made as Invoke’s pool of Celestial cards. Ultimately I think the mechanic is strong because generating additional cards is huge, and I am hoping the randomness of it does not get out of hand. 

  • Impact

We now have our first ‘stackable keyword’, and I really love it. ‘Stacking’ means that a unit can have several instances of the same keyword on it – for example, a follower with Impact x3 will deal 3 damage to the opposing Nexus after it strikes while attacking. Impact allows you to go wide with lots of units and even if your opponent has blockers you will get damage through. The ability to stack it compensates for the relatively low power level of a single instance of Impact on a unit.

  • Prank

On reveal day people either loved or hated this mechanic, no in-betweenness. Prank allows you to manipulate your opponent’s hand and hit important cards at not that steep of a cost – and sometimes in a very big way (just look at how they’ve massacred my boy Rivershaper in the screenshot above). If this ends up being strong it will be very frustrating to play against, but it could also end up like previous hand disruption cards in Legends of Runeterra (Hunt the Weak) and not see a ton of play. Only time will tell! 

Aloof Travelers

In card games, disrupting the opponent’s hand can be extremely powerful. We have not seen a ton of such effects in Legends of Runeterra so far, and the ones we have had up until now have been pretty underwhelming.

That changes with Aloof Travelers. Obviously, they have some great synergy with Shrooms by forcing your opponent to draw additional cards, but the really interesting effect is making them discard the highest cost card, regardless of what type of card that is.

This has some seriously strong potential to hit key targets and swing matchups. For example, in most Lee Sin decks, he is the most expensive card, meaning you can easily snipe him. Against most aggro decks you can get rid of a Decimate or a Gangplank. And finally, against control, you can get rid of their expensive finishers or combo pieces like The Dreadway or Commander Ledros.

Hidden Pathways

There is an obvious comparison that can be made between Hidden Pathways and Deep Meditation

Both allow you to hard-cast them for 5 mana to draw two cards, but Deep Meditation can get only spells.

Where they differ is the condition to reduce the cost of the spell.

Both will only be run in specific decks that can reliably meet that condition, but on the surface Hidden Pathways seems a lot easier to meet, meaning it will be a reliable draw 2 for 3 mana at Burst speed, which should be a staple for Bandle City decks. 

Shark Trainer

There is a lot going on with this really unique 7-drop.

Firstly, he is a dual-region Bilgewater and Bandle City card. He has Attune which is a fairly rare keyword and has a pretty insane effect.

If you can make the most of his effect by getting multiple attacks off in the same turn while having spare spell mana to summon several 4/2 Overwhelm Short Tooth, then this could actually be quite the finisher.

We have already seen success with similar effects in an early aggressive onslaught of Blade Dance decks, so something that can push harder – even if a bit later in the game – has real potential.

Some of the initial reveals from Bandle City come as direct support to the Shrooms archetype, obviously led by Teemo’s new dual-region champion card. Here is my early take on what a strong Shrooms deck could look like, with a lot of forced draw and a high density of Shroom-planting effects without being reliant on the Puffcap Peddler. I really like how these cards have breathed new life into this archetype and provided it with more options. 

Viktor Pranks created by twinsunz • last updated 2 years ago

One theme that Bandle City is really pushing in these reveals is card creation – so many of the new followers generate cards on their own or feature the new Manifest mechanic. This made me think of pairing the region with one of my favorite champions, Viktor! The new Prank Mechanic also seems like a decent way to control your opponent as you build up your Augmented units. Obviously, Hidden Pathways is a dream draw effect for Viktor decks.

Since the community absolutely adores the play patterns of Blade Dance, I had to feature it here! This is a take on Miss Fortune and Irelia which has always been the second-best Blade Dance deck behind Azir Irelia. As I was saying previously, the Shark Trainer provides quite an interesting top end in a deck that can attack multiple times a turn with Scouts and Blades. Add in the Field Musicians for some draw and extra spell mana and the Shark Trainer looks even better! 

Closing Words

The spoiler season this time around had an unusually slow start – the first four days did not contain any champion reveals. However, things will most certainly ramp up soon and we’ll be in for one of the most intense reveal seasons we’ve ever had.

August 16th is when we’ve got our first champion – Poppy. We should expect a total of 9 champions in this expansion, and given the fact that the release comes out on August 25th, it means that we’ll likely be seeing a new champion reveal every day from now on!

So brace yourselves, and as always tune in to RuneterraCCG for more spoiler reviews and theorycraft articles!


Shane has played strategy card games since before he could read, thanks to his older brother teaching him how to memorize what each card did. Currently, he is the Host of the Twin Sunz Podcast, a Legends of Runeterra podcast and community with offerings for players of all levels of skill.

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