Why Lab of Legends is So Important for the Future of Legends of Runeterra

Shane is fascinated with the Lab of Legends mode and believes the success of it is the sign of bigger things to come.

If you have not played Lab of Legends yet, you are really missing out. Whether you are a competitive or casual player, this mode has so much to offer.

At its core, Lab of Legends is a single-player roguelike deckbuilding experience. That was a lot of words, so let me break it down for you a little bit. 

In Lab of Legends, you pick a champion you want to play in a series of AI encounters. It comes with a prebuilt deck that you will run your first match with. As you win games, you will be able to add cards, items, and passive powers to your deck that will allow you to progress and grow in strength.

RuneterraCCG has published some guides, covering the basics of the strategic approach you want to use in the Lab of Legends. If you’re interested in that, check out these two articles by Den: ‘Deckbuilding and Strategy Tips’ and ‘A Guide to Passives and Items‘.

In this article, rather than going into strategy, I want to talk big picture. What exactly is it about this mode that I think will be a massive portion of Legends of Runeterra’s success? Well, the truth is, it’s multiple things, so follow my train of thought here as I break it all down.


Importance of Single Player Experience

Having a strong single-player experience in a mobile game is extremely crucial. Before Lab of Legends, there really weren’t a ton of great options for this in Legends of Runeterra. Of course, you could play against the computer with decks you made to test some wild deck concepts, but that gets really boring, really fast. Now Lab of Legends offers a really unique gaming experience for free.

Roguelike games in general are extremely popular and there have been some major success stories. Take Slay the Spire as an example. This is a roguelike deckbuilding game that has so much replayability, and it is available on almost every gaming platform.

Beyond the card game genre, you can find plenty more immensely popular roguelike games like Hades, Bastion, Trials of Fire, and much more. All of this is to just point to the demand among the gaming populace for games that have really high levels of replayability.

Current Lab of Legends roster features 10 champions

Lab of Legends offers exactly this. Not only it is completely free, but you actually gain experience and progress your Weekly Vault, Quests, Region Roads, all while simply playing – to help build your collection for other modes.

Recently they’ve also added multiple difficulty levels to Lab of Legends and new champions to play as. The new difficulty levels will keep you coming back for more as you have to complete the easier ones before you can try the harder ones. And let me tell you from personal experience, they are extremely challenging.

This gameplay loop can become extremely addicting quickly. You will want to finish runs and push your build in various unique directions each time you play. Additionally, since this is a single-player mode, you can simply enjoy this at your own time and pace. You won’t have to worry about turn timers, or your opponent taking forever. This makes for a really enjoyable experience that moves at the speed you want it to. Sounds perfect for a mobile game right?


Unlimited Power

One of the main reasons people love card games so much is the deckbuilding experience. Being able to come up with an idea and create something truly powerful is very alluring.

In usual PvP and PvE modes, you are limited to the cards that are available to you through your collection. Lab of Legends expands this by offering items and passive powers that allow you to come up with insane combinations and synergies.

A lot of these take inspiration from actual items in League of Legends or even other cards from Legends of Runeterra. Do you want to make your Zed the Ultimate Assassin? Well, you can buff him up with multiple items and acquire some rally effects on top to turn him into a killing machine.

Braum and his infinite flock of Omen Hawks

Or do you want to make some crazy unlimited loops as a Combo Master? Well with the Archangel’s Staff item you can refund all of the mana you pay for a card. This allows you to loop some insane effects to make for hilariously powerful combos. Maybe summoning an army of Poros is more your speed. Lab of Legends also can offer you that experience!

There’s beauty and the drive in the process of mixing and matching all these unique items and powers with the various champions and their pre-existing decks.

When Legends of Runeterra announced Labs, they said it would be a playground for experimentation, and they have provided just that. In Lab of Legends, you can let your wildest ideas come true as you try to craft the perfect run through it all. And if it fails, you can simply just retry right away – no stress, no pressure.


Expanding the Lore

The last topic I want to touch on is more of a prediction of the future of modes like this. It is very apparent that Legends of Runeterra has already greatly expanded the lore of the League of Legends universe. This game has developed so many great characters, locales, and regions over its very short lifespan thus far. This is something League of Legends fans have wanted for a very long time.

I believe that is one of the main directions we are headed with LoR. They can easily expand the Labs design space and future more modes and put in a lot of thematics. Legends of Runeterra already has stories weaved within the card interactions, so why not play out these stories in the Lab? Legends of Runeterra already does event passes based on specific occasions, so why not have an additional Lab mode to play that fits a particular lore-related theme?

The League of Legends universe has expanded immensely over the past year. Riot is really pushing the boundaries and develops several different titles now belonging to various genres, and Legends of Runeterra is a big part of that. In my opinion, the Lab of Legends will play a major part in this.


Closing Words

Lab of Legends is a free, compelling, experimental playground that has so much potential. This is by far the most any Lab has gotten in terms of attention, and rightfully so. It offers so much and its success should be eye-opening for the developer team. People want a lot more of this style of experience. I know plenty of people who have made this the main way they play Legends of Runeterra.

Lastly, I would like to thank and congratulate Shawn Main and Xian Li, who worked on Lab of Legends for making such an awesome mode! Shawn teased recently that they will be focusing on ‘new efforts’, for which Lab of Legends ‘was the first tip of the iceberg”. Congrats to them on the success of this mode, and I am very much looking forward to the rest of that iceberg.

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Shane

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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