Hello, dear champions in the making.
So, the newest LoR PvE mode has released and I’m sure a lot of you have already dived headfirst into it. Personally, I enjoyed it a lot – this new take on how to deliver the story of the different champions we get to play as.
The little comic books, references, and story choices that will impact the later stages of our run all combine to make this PvE a great experience, and from what I have read about it so far, the community looks to share my verdict.
In this piece, I want to discuss how to maximize your chances of getting through the mode with each champion. While the mode in its basic difficulty isn’t such a big challenge, there are still some basic important rules in order to get through the various challenges effectively.
Also, if you wish to try and get the best grades at the end of your run, you will have to be efficient in your approach to The Path of Champions.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the musts (and some must not’s) that will improve your chances of completing the mode.
1. Know the Gameplay Nature of Your Champion
For example – Jinx isn’t a value, lategame-oriented champion. Jayce isn’t good at pushing for all-out aggressive gameplay.
The champion decks in this mode are actually fairly well-tuned in that regard, as most champions will be offered alongside supporting cards that encourage a playstyle they are good at.
So while certain cards you might get along the way can still justify a change in your gameplan set by a champion, focusing primarily on your character’s strengths will go a long way in building a cohesive deck.
Let’s group all the champions according to the nature of their gameplay:
- Aggro – Early pressure into damage: Jinx – Miss Fortune – Zed.
- Tempo – Board and resource-based battles: Yasuo – Lulu – Ekko – Caitlyn – Irelia.
- Off-tempo – A slower early phase that spikes once in its comfort zone: Pyke – Nami – Twisted Fate – Lee Sin – Jayce.
- High-synergy – Maximising the champion’s specific ability: Vi – Tahm Kench.
Obviously, this list isn’t set in stone and I encourage you to be creative, especially in a PvE mode where the fun also comes from creating impossible combos in other game modes.
2. Manage Your Spending and Deck Size
Gold is there to serve as the currency when you visit a shop to add cards to your deck, card upgrades, or to buy a reroll token.
Note that spending does impact your ‘Wealth’ grade (winning without spending nets you a better grade). If you are looking to get the best possible grade, I would obviously recommend not to spend anything on your run, unless you feel your deck really is subpar and needs help to beat the upcoming boss.
But most importantly, recognize that buying cards can also have another negative side-effect – diluting your deck. Mathematically speaking, every time you add a new card to your deck, you reduce the chances of drawing every other card.
Unless things went in a very weird direction, your starting champion is likely to be the best card in your deck. Because of that, any card you add to your deck, in reality, is just a little worse than it seems on paper – simply because the mere fact of including it in your deck, reduces your chances of drawing your champion.
This is also why removing cards from your deck usually is so good.
This simple logic leads us to a conclusion – favor spending gold on upgrades that aren’t significantly impacting your deck size. Those are: attaching an item to one of your cards, buying a reroll token, or using gold for special events and encounters on the map.
3. Leverage Powerful PvE-Exclusive Cards
In this mode, the devs have included some unique cards you will not be able to play anywhere else. These cards are very special because they don’t adhere to the balance guidelines that govern LoR PvP modes. Simply put, they are intended to be much better than all the other cards at the same mana cost.
For example, in Jinx’s deck, you will be able to find a “Rocketboarder” – a 2-mana 3/3 with the Quick Attack keyword, and “Pow-Pow” – a 2-mana spell that deals 3 damage to any unit at Burst speed.
If your champion is often your main carry, these cards usually are your best lieutenants to achieve victory. I would highly recommend relying on those PvE-exclusive units to solidify your early game – they will rarely if ever be matched for the same cost by your opponent, both on offense and on defense.
The Burst spells are particularly great to set up better attack turns. When using them on defense, however, waiting for the opponent to attack before using them might not end up being the best play against a chaotic AI.
4. Get Familiar with Powers
The powers can be pretty hard to get accustomed to, especially if you have a long PvP background where both players follow the same rules.
Even if you’ve taken the time to read everything carefully at the start of the game, it is easy to forget about Powers as the game state becomes more and more complicated and you have to think about other aspects of the match.
In Path of Champions, Powers play a role that is bigger than in any LoR PvE modes that came before. Every encounter will have a different Power – often several of them at once, both on your side and the opponent’s, each of them leading to very different situations.
Sometimes what was a terrible card becomes a great tool given a particular Power, while a great card you know from PvP suddenly becomes a suboptimal investment.
When reading and memorizing Powers, especially take note of ‘global Powers’ – those which affect both players the same way.
5. The Elusive Keyword Sets the Game to Easy Mode
The AI feels like it has improved in this PvE mode, and its emote game is definitely on point. But there is still one thing where it struggles – and that is playing against Elusive.
If you can pile on some bonuses into the same Elusive unit and are willing to hard mulligan for it game after game while sacrificing the other units in order to keep your Nexus safe, you have a simple yet deadly recipe for The Path of Champions. Quick Attack and Overwhelm are the other two keywords that will let you abuse AI in a similar manner.
Obviously, not every champion deck will have that kind of unit in their arsenal, and some of them aren’t even pushing for a fast-paced gameplan. For Tahm Kench, for example, it would be close to impossible to mount such a strategy.
When a champion pushes for a value gameplan, I would recommend thinking of a way to deal with Elusive and Quick Attack units yourself. In my experience on the mode, these two keywords can be pretty common on some maps (Ionia and PnZ) and can snowball into a lot of damage if you aren’t prepared.
6. Don’t Rely on Healer Map Nodes
This last piece of advice probably is the most important one on this list: do not rely on the healing nodes that are there on the map.
Unlike Saltwater Scourge lab, where you could move freely and come back to unused healing nodes, Path of Champions does not allow you to go backward. Therefore, you either take the healing you’re given right this moment – or give it up for good.
This means two things. First, you can’t control when you want to heal, and second, if you’ve taken too much damage in a fight, you will have to play perfectly from now on as there is no possibility of getting several heals in a row.
So, after getting screwed a few times because I thought I was much safer than I actually was, I realized I needed to take care of my healing needs on my own.
Lifesteal units and healing items that you can attach to your cards are the best ways to solve this problem. Note that you can also drag out games that you know you have already won just to dig into your deck and play some heals to go back to full life.
Also, if you want to shoot for a higher ‘Skill’ grade, you will need to skip healing nodes as much as possible – those impact your final scores.
The Path of Champions honestly is a great PvE mode. It isn’t perfect of course – if we want to nitpick, there will always be things to talk about and to improve.
For example, I believe currently the mode has too many fights against low-level opponents designed to lower your health to make a boss fight harder. I feel they tend to take a lot of time while not being particularly fun to do, and simply require nothing more from you than to just play towards the fundamentals of the game.
A fewer number of more challenging encounters with some puzzling mechanics and good storytelling to wrap it up would be a much better use of the 10 minutes I spent beating up some Piltover plebs. And the state of my deck and health as I was approaching the upcoming boss fight would largely be the same too.
But overall, The Path of Champions looks like another improvement to what was already good PvE content with the Lab of Legends of the Saltwater Scourge. The biggest new feature, and what I would especially like to see more in the future, is the storytelling around each character.
Outside of simply discovering the lore behind a champion, I feel like this is the part of the mode that was making my experience the most distinct and different from ladder or any PvP mode. Seeing the story unfold in front of me helps me relax and enjoy the game, enhancing the feeling that I am not playing a mode where my goal is to rack up some points first and foremost.
As for myself, you can find me on Twitter, wandering the lands of Runeterra or helping future pro players get a foot in the competitive world.
Good game everyone,