Legends of Runeterra Expeditions Guide: Champions Tier List

UPDATED FOR PATCH 1.1

When a player embarks on a new expedition trial, the very first decision he has to make is to pick two Champions for his deck. This choice is quite important as it will guide a whole draft in a particular direction.

The Expeditions mode algorithm offers a player new choices based on the cards he has already included in his deck during previous picks. So, knowing the criteria by which to select your starting champions comes a long way. The tier list presented in this article is a tool to help with that crucial drafting decision.

  • This guide is intended for newer players who have not yet had a chance to experience every archetype and champion in Expeditions mode.
  • The tier list below evaluates each LoR champion card in a ‘first pick scenario’ only.
  • Expeditions mode offers a player card choices within certain pre-built archetypes and their card pools. So, we have to think of champions as of staples from certain archetypes. The quality of those archetypes associated with a particular champion affect the tier list and our grades.
  • As you score more and more wins in a trial, you will also add new champions to your draft deck. However, at those later stages many more factors affect your pick decisions than in the pure ‘first pick scenario’. By then, the deck will dictate your choice – in particular, synergy and mana curve will be crucial to consider. As such, the lines drawn by the ‘first pick’ tier list can become blurry.

The Tier List of Champions

Compiling the list, for each champion we took two parameters into account: 1) base value of a champion; 2) the quality of the champion’s archetypes in Expeditions.

Here’s the grading scale that was used to rate the ‘Base Value’ of each champion:

  • 5.0: The best of the best, pick every time you see it;
  • 4.0: A bomb, but not unbeatable;
  • 3.0: Good, perfectly playable champion;
  • 2.0: Low-end playable;
  • 1.0: Avoid this champion.

After the ‘Base Value’ grade for each champion was determined, we then added or subtracted a few points from it depending on the playability of the champion’s archetypes. Those ‘Archetype Modifiers’ are ranging from -1.0 to +1.0 points. The resulting ‘Final Grade’ is then used to assign a ‘tier’ to each champion.

ChampionBase Value GradeArchetype 1Archetype 2Archetype ModifierFinal Grade
TWISTED FATE4.0First to the DrawSmash and Grab1.05.0
ZED4.0DisciplineShadows and Dust0.54.5
VI4.0Smash and Grab0.54.5
SEJUANI4.0Raiding PartySuit Up0.54.5
LUX4.0Spellbound0.54.5
HEIMERDINGER4.0SpellboundCataclysm0.54.5
HECARIM4.0Shadows and Dust0.54.5
GAREN4.0Demacian SteelCrimson Guard0.54.5
GANGPLANK4.0Raiding PartyMega Keg0.54.5
FIORA4.0Suit UpShield Wall0.54.5
TRYNDAMERE4.0Ancient Evil04.0
THRESH4.0Death’s Door04.0
SWAIN4.0Mega KegDisruption04.0
NAUTILUS4.0Terrors from the Deep04.0
KARMA4.0EnlightenmentTotall Recall04.0
KALISTA4.0AfterlifeRetribution04.0
QUINN3.0Scout it OutRelentless0.53.5
MISS FORTUNE3.0Scout it Out0.53.5
ELISE3.0Arachnophilia0.53.5
DRAVEN3.0ScrapheapArachnophilia0.53.5
SHEN3.0Shield Wall03.0
MAOKAI3.0Terrors from the DeepAncient Evil03.0
LUCIAN3.0Retribution03.0
LEE SIN3.0Spell Slingers03.0
JINX3.0ScrapheapFishbones03.0
DARIUS3.0Noxian Might03.0
ANIVIA3.0EnlightenmentCloning Program03.0
YASUO3.0Disruption– 0.52.5
FIZZ3.0Spell SlingersFishbones-0.52.5
ASHE3.0Frozen Solid-0.52.5
VLADIMIR2.0Battle ScarsCrimson Guard02.0
TEEMO2.0Shroom and BoomTotall Recall-0.51.5
KATARINA2.0Relentless02.0
EZREAL2.0Cloning ProgramDeath’s Door02.0
BRAUM2.0Battle ScarsFluft and Tuft-1.01.0

Disclaimer No.1: Expedition is a fairly diverse and well-balanced game mode, and any champion – even the one in Tier F – can carry the deck to 7 wins. Tier list reflects only a relative strength, while it is your deckbuilding and piloting skills what matters the most.

Disclaimer No.2: The order of champions within each tier is random and doesn’t matter.

Tier S+

Twisted Fate

Tier S

Zed, Vi, Sejuani, Lux, Heimerdinger, Hecarim, Garen, Gangplank, Fiora

Tier A

Tryndamere, Thresh, Swain, Nautilus, Karma, Kalista

Tier B

Quinn, Miss Fortune, Elise, Draven

Tier C

Shen, Maokai, Lucian, Lee Sin, Jinx, Darius, Anivia

Tier D

Yasuo, Fizz, Ashe

Tier F

Vladimir, Teemo, Katarina, Ezreal, Braum

The Role of Champion Cards in Expeditions

There is a notable difference in how the players generally think about champions in Expeditions as compared to the constructed mode experience.

In the regular deck-building, the LoR heroes are very often the central figures for each particular deck. A champion card is essentially the core of its deck’s game plan. For example, Ezreal Combo builds aim to stall the game, evolve the champion card, and then close out the match using a bunch of cheap spells that trigger Ez’s special ability for direct Nexus damage. Without The Prodigal Explorer himself, the win would never be possible.

However, in Expeditions champions play a role that is much more humble. Don’t get me wrong, Fiora would still be a threat and one of the best cards in your deck. And just as in Constructed, you would surely have a few ways to protect her during duels and make the combat phase hell for your opponent. Still, Fiora would more often act as a pure value card rather than a core engine.

Part of the reason here is purely mathematical – in Expeditions, you start off with just 2 champions within 30-card deck (1:14 ratio). As you play you get additional picks and may end up with 4 champions in 36 cards total (1:8). In constructed, dedicated decks play 6 champions within 40 cards (less than 1:6 ratio) – and that is not even accounting for additional card draw and selection. Put simply, there are not as many champions in your Expedition deck so their role in the game plan of a draft deck is different.

There’s no rule without an exception, but basic guideline here should sound like this. Think of your champions in Expeditions as of huge bombs that raise the power level of your deck significantly – however, they also rarely to make or break your run. Don’t overestimate their importance!

Thus we conclude our overview of Runeterra champions in a draft environment. Expeditions are a great way to learn the game and build up your collection, so hopefully our tier list will help with your trials. Please, feel free to share your thoughts on the tier list and good luck in your next Expedition!

Rainmaker

Rainmaker’s love for Magic: The Gathering and League of Legends has unsurprisingly acted as fertile soil for his immense Legends of Runeterra passion. His goal is to constantly get better in and enjoy all the aspects of this game – be it brewing, tuning, piloting, drafting or whatever else LoR will have to offer – and report all of his experiences along the way!