Labs Forces from Beyond

Labs Return! Overview of the Returning Labs in Forces from Beyond

Labs Forces from Beyond

Hello there everyone, Dragonguy here today to greet you all with the exciting return of Labs to Legends of Runeterra with Forces from Beyond. The return of Labs was a pleasant surprise, and brings with it 3 new modes to jam games on.

Labs have been gone for quite some time though, and players either don’t remember them, or never got to experience them. So today, I’d like to do a quick overview of each of the three new modes to help get people up to speed and get into the game. Without further ado, let’s start off with my favorite mode, Ultra Rapid Draw.

Ultra Rapid Draw

Ultra Rapid Draw

Ultra Rapid Draw is a fast paced game all about making the most of the cards you draw. While all of the cards you can play are the same, the rules for the game are a bit different. Here are the major differences to be aware of.

Deck Construction

You don’t build a deck for this mode, your deck will be filled with randomly generated cards at the start of each game. This leads to a lot of game diversity, as both you and your opponent will be playing a different deck every game.

Starting Mana and HP

You start the game with 4 mana gems, full spell mana, and 25 Nexus HP. You do NOT gain a mana gem each round start, limiting you to 4 unit mana each turn unless you ramp. 

Card Cost

The cost of cards are reduced in this mode based on what their initial cost is. These costs are as follows:

  • 0, 1, 2, mana: 0
  • 3, 4, mana: 1
  • 5, 6, 7 mana: 2
  • 8+ mana: 3

Drawing Cards

The mode is called rapid draw for a reason, as you’ll draw 6 cards at the start of every round. Every card in your deck is fleeting. To counteract this, every other round you generate a Prolong, which removes fleeting from a card in hand to save it for later.

It may sound like a lot, but it’s pretty easy to start picking it up after only a few games. This shouldn’t take long, as games are incredibly fast, which is great if you’re looking for a few fun, fast games. Since you can get any card, you’re able to set up some pretty ridiculous combos and plays that aren’t possible in constructed (ranked and normal), and can even win as early as turn 1. 

If you haven’t dived in yet, here are some tips to help you out.

Respect Nothing

If you have a card you want to play, but are worried about the opponent having an answer, remember this: “If they have it, they have it.” Then slam that card down. This mode is all about making flashy plays, and since every card is on the table, it’s incredibly difficult to play around anything. So, don’t.

And that’s all the tips I have for you. With that, we’ll go on to the next mode, Welcome to the Jungle.

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

Up next we have Welcome to the Jungle, a constructed format with the twist of jungle monsters being present for both players. Here are the differences to be aware of.

Deck Construction

All decks playable in constructed can be played in this format, letting you take your ladder decks into the jungle. If you do not know what to play, or don’t want to use the decks you have, the game has an option that will give you one of 3 decks constructed for this mode. If you want to, you can even go and craft decks specifically for this mode. If you do go for this route, be aware that the following 2 cards that will be replaced if they are in your starting deck:

This makes these 2 cards essentially banned, and that’s because they are able to kill the first jungle monster, Crimson Raptor, on turn 1. What are these jungle monsters? Let’s dive into it now.

Jungle Monsters

The big twist for this mode is the jungle monsters, which occupy a space on both players’ boards. These jungle monsters:

  • Are vulnerable, immobile, and occupy a space on your board.
  • Cannot be silenced or recalled back to hand
  • Cannot be overwritten if you have 6 units on board
  • When a jungle monster dies, their last breath will trigger and place their associated spell in the opponent’s hand. Next round start, a new jungle monster will be summoned.
  • If you have 6 units on board, the new jungle monster will overwrite your weakest ally.
  • If you remove the jungle monster by other means (obliterate, transform effects, etc.), a new jungle monster will still spawn next round.

As for the jungle monsters, there are 4 different jungle monsters that will spawn at various points in the game after the previous one is slain. Here is the first jungle monster to spawn, Crimson Raptor.

When slain, it will create a Razor Sharp in hand, a spell with the above 3 options. All of these are quite strong, and all have their situational uses. After Crimson Raptor dies, the next jungle monster to spawn is Ancient Krug, followed by Enraged Herald. The cards you acquire from these monsters have the same 3 modes options as those listed above, except they are more powerful. One important thing to note is that these cards are all fleeting, meaning that you need to use ’em or lose ’em.

The final and strongest Jungle Monster is Baron Nashor, a massive 6|12 that gives you Hand of Baron when slain. Baron Nashor won’t spawn until after an Enraged Herald is slain, and he provides a powerful, game ending spell. Hand of Baron is meant to end the game, as it rallies, gives allies +3|+3 and overwhelm. Unlike the other spells you get from the jungle monsters, this is not fleeting, meaning you can hold onto it for just the right moment to deploy it.

Jungle Invade

One last thing about this mode is the card Jungle Invade. On your turns where you don’t start with the attack token, you will get it in hand. The card lets a non-jungle ally strike a jungle enemy. This gives you a cheap way to go after your opponent’s jungle monster when you don’t have the attack token.

Gameplay

Other than the jungle monsters, the gameplay for this mode is the same as constructed. While the deck building rules are the same as constructed, the choices for cards can be different. Will you try to rush down the opponents jungle monsters to quickly gain access to their spells? Will you opt to run protection for your jungle monster to slow down your opponent and give you time to get into the game? Will you completely ignore the jungle monsters entirely and try to focus on rushing the opponent down? All of these are valid strategies, and the mode feels rewarding for playing and building your deck well.

If you like brewing your own decks, but wanted to try something different, this is the mode for you. The format is far from solved, giving you a lot of flexibility in what cards you want to run.

If you don’t want to go through the process of making your own deck for the mode, it’s got you covered. You can choose any deck you already have, or choose to play one of the premade decks, which will be one of 3 different options.

United Front

United Front

United Front is a Co-op PVE lab that is making its return. It’s been over a year since we last had the opportunity to play Co-op, and I’m glad to see it return. Let’s dive into the mode to see how it works.

Deck Building

You do not get to construct a deck for this format. Instead, at the start of the game, you will see 4 different champions to choose from, and your partner will see 4 different champions. Each of you will select one of the champions to play, then draw a starting hand that includes a copy of the champion in it. 

Co-Op

The big draw for this mode is that you aren’t playing by yourself: you are playing with another player. This can either be a random player if you queue online, or you can invite a friend to play with you. If you are able to, I would highly recommend trying to play with a friend, as it is much more enjoyable when you can directly communicate with your teammate.

At the start of the game, you will be given the role of either the attacker or the defender. The game starts with your attacking player getting the attack token, meaning you’ll always attack on odds and defend on evens.

Both players have their own hand of cards and their own decks they draw from. What they do share is their mana, board, and life total. Only one player is the active player, and thus able to play cards. This is determined by if you’re the attacking or defending player.

Every round start, the active player will get a card that lets you give a card from your hand to your partner with some benefit attached. With this, you and your ally can get access to cards your deck doesn’t have. 

Gameplay

The first 3 turns of the game, the enemy summons Noxian units to rush you down. At the start of turn 4, a small cutscene will trigger with either Darius, Draven, or Swain, and they will then be summoned. This determines which champion you are up against, and each of them play differently. If you want to win, you’re going to need to work together to take them down.

It’s great to have Co-op labs back and be able to play Runeterra with friends again. While we’ve been able to play against our friends in friendly challenges, it’s nice to finally be able to play with them again.

Closing Thoughts

The return of labs is amazing for Legends of Runeterra and finally gives players more variety in how to play the game. 3 new modes is a lot, and each one brings something unique with it. Ultra Rapid draw provides quick entertaining games with a lot of randomness to keep things fresh game to game. Welcome to the Jungle provides a new constructed format you can casually play or try to break. United Front offers you and your friends a way to play together while holding back the tide of the Noxian army.

If you’re looking for new ways to play Legends of Runeterra, the return of labs has something for you. Thank you all for reading, have a wonderful day, and I hope you’re able to enjoy the new Labs!

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Dragonguy

Dragonguy is a just a guy who enjoys playing some fun LOR decks. After taking targon's peak and Deep to top 32 of Guardians of the Ancient, he's been constantly looking to improve his game. Also, he's been playing a lot of Path of Champions lately, and is really enjoying Jinx.

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