Labs Guide – A.R.A.M: Rules, Best Champions and Strategy Tips
With Patch 1.5, Legends of Runeterra have introduced a brand new game mode called ‘Labs’. Labs are a collection of experimental rotating game modes, built around some changes to the classic LoR ruleset. They are intended to be more chaotic and casual than recently launched Gauntlet mode.
The first Lab in the rotation is ‘A.R.A.M.‘ It is named so as a tribute to popular League of Legends mode ‘All Random, All Mid’, where players get random champions and fight in a single lane.
- Duration: 2 weeks, July 8 – July 22;
- No entry fee, unlimited play;
- No constructed deck required to enter.
- Standard XP for play: 200 XP per win, 100 XP per loss (changes to 50 XP after fifth loss in a single day);
- Special Labs Quests could be received as Daily Quests: ‘Play a Labs game’ for 1000 XP and ‘Win a Labs game’ for 1500 XP.
- At the start of the game, you are offered four random champions as shown above. You can replace any champion you don’t want with a random one.
- Note that a ‘champion select screen’ is not a ‘mulligan screen’. The champions you choose to replace do not return to your deck.
- After you lock-in your champions, the 40-card deck is generated automatically based on your selections. Each champion has an associated ‘bucket of cards’. Therefore, the 40-card deck consists of 4 champs and 4 ‘buckets’ of 9 non-champion cards.
- Your 4 champions can all be from different regions, and so your deck can combine cards from up to 4 different regions as well.
- Each player starts the game with each of their 4 selected champions in hand and additionally draws 3 cards at the start of Round 1.
- Each player starts the game with 3 mana available in Round 1.
- When a champion dies, a copy of it is shuffled into a player’s deck.
Tips & Strategy
- 4 champions always start in your hand and so they dictate the pace of the game and heavily impact the outcome. To end up with the best line-up, you have to evaluate the champions correctly and have a good curve of champions.
- Because the game starts at 3 mana, most of the 3-costed champions rise in value. Draven, Fiora, Miss Fortune, Kalista are almost always good keeps as they provide a massive tempo burst. Zed is a huge bomb and he is probably the best Round 1 play. Ezreal and Katarina are the only 3-mana champs which I would throw away most of the time.
- 4-costed Quick Attack champions Jinx and Yasuo are also good because they often remain uncontested in the opening rounds when on the offence. Braum is the best defensive option early, with Maokai as a close second. Twisted Fate has been underperforming in A.R.A.M. compared to his impact in Expeditions.
- At 5-cost, we are looking for either midrange beaters or Challengers. Garen, Thresh and Vi are the best picks here (however, note that Vi is a bit worse than usual because she has only 2 rounds in hand before you reach 5 mana). Heimerdinger is at best when you either have Karma or Lux alongside him in your line-up (due to the spell-heavy structure of those champions’ card buckets).
- At 6-cost, Hecarim and Sejuani are best in the aggressive line-up (i.e. when you have the ability to push tempo with 3-costs starting on Round 1), while Karma, Lux and Anivia are great as control win-cons.
- I’d avoid picking Nautilus at all as you will rarely have enough tools to activate Deep quickly. 1- and 2-costed champions are also generally underperforming in A.R.A.M. You’d almost always prefer to start the game with a 3-cost on Round 1 instead.
- This mode can feel somewhat similar to Expeditions when it comes to the champions’ impact and power level. Consult with our Champions Tier List for Expeditions to get an idea of the champs that could work best in A.R.A.M. environment. In particular, you can use the ‘Base Value Grade’ assigned in that article to champ cards to evaluate them roughly in A.R.A.M.
- It is a reasonable strategy to keep good champions from the same region in your line-up to minimize the total number of regions in your deck. The fewer regions you have – the higher the chance to have a synergy going. For example, I would always keep Darius if I also have Draven and I’d tend to not mull Lucian if I also have Garen or Quinn.
- To learn what champions synergize with each other in the A.R.A.M. environment the best, check out the Expeditions Archetypes list. There are pairings of champs that form the archetypes in that mode. Those same archetypes have likely guided the design principles behind champion buckets in A.R.A.M.
Have fun in A.R.A.M and stay tuned with us for guides for the Labs modes to come!