This is a guide for how to maximize your card collection within Legends of Runeterra. It is intended for players of all levels of experience with special attention to beginners and from casual to hardcore grades of activity. It assumes you have already completed the "Prologue" rewards path that you are given when you first start a new account.
The 7 tips for building your collection are:
- Get your Vault to at least Rank 5 -- preferably Rank 10 or higher -- every Thursday
- Get your region rewards to Level 8 in every region
- Get at least 3 PvP wins each day
- Clear your daily quests
- Spend common and rare wildcards freely; be thoughtful with epic and champion wildcards
- Make use of your Expedition Tokens
- Plan ahead for your first competitive constructed decks
One note before we dive into each point deeper: while LoR is extremely generous with in-game rewards, building your collection will be a marathon not a sprint. Realistically, it will probably be 4 weeks before you start to feel comfortable with your collection sans any cash purchases. Therefore, these guidelines are framed as manageable weekly habits rather than an aggressive one-and-done task list.
1. Get Your Vault to at Least Level 5 / Preferably Level 10 Every Thursday
Most of your cards will come from your weekly Vault every Thursday morning, which will award you cards and shards based on how much XP you accrued the previous week. On Thursday, you'll be able to open your Vault from the previous week and your Vault progress for the current week will reset to Level 1. Win or lose, every match you play in LoR should give you at least a little XP so you don't have to do much more than play to progress your Vault Level. Every subsequent Vault Level gives better rewards than the last, but there are important "bumps" at the following thresholds:
- Level 2 adds an Expedition Token
- Level 5 adds a random Champion card
- Level 10 changes the random Champion to a Champion Wildcard
If you have been playing daily, you should find it very easy to accrue the 13,000 XP necessary for Level 10, but if you've been less active then you might want to take stock of your progression sometime Monday-Wednesday to see what if you can/should cram for one of the above milestones. The Champion Wildcards can be used to craft a copy of any champion of your choice; therefore new players will really want to make great effort to hit Vault Level 10 every week. That said: good luck could turn the random Champion from Vault Levels 5-9 into a champion you were considering crafting anyways. At the worst: LoR has duplicate prevention for Champions and Epics, so random Champions make a nice consolation prize that will never go to waste.
In addition to the Expedition Token and Champion card, you will receive 3 Chests. These Chests will contain at a minimum a certain quantity of random Common and Rare cards proportionate to your Vault Level, but you will find they frequently upgrade to wildcards, Epics, and sometimes even Champions. Many veterans will encourage you to drive to Level 13 every week as this will yield a guaranteed 3 Diamond Chests, the highest quality Chest. While this is an realistic "stretch" goal if you are playing 60+ minutes daily, players shouldn't feel obligated to play any more past Level 10. The difference between Level 10 and Level 13 is usually only additional Common and Rare cards, and those become negligible after you have been playing for several months.
2. Get Your Region Rewards to Level 8 in Every Region
As soon as you complete the "Prologue" rewards path, you'll unlock Region Rewards. Like your Vault Rewards, these give cards based on XP. Unlike Vault Rewards, Region Rewards never reset. Also: Region Rewards will only give you cards from the corresponding region (with the exception of wildcards, which you can always use to craft cards from any region). Each Region Reward track is in parallel with its fellows; you can only progress one at a time but you are free to shift from region to region without penalty.
We recommend the following practice for optimizing your Region Rewards:
- Activate any region besides Targon and progress it 1 -> 4.
- Once you hit Level 4, switch to another non-Targon region and repeat #1. Repeat this for every region, saving Targon for last.
- Pick your favorite non-Targon region and now progress it 5 -> 8. Repeat this until all regions are at Level 8, again saving Targon for last.
The reason for prioritizing Level 4 on every region is to rush wildcards -- you'll want those ASAP to start crafting improvements for your decks. The subsequent race to Level 8 is for the Champion Capsules which will yield a random Champion, a random Epic, and 3 random Rares. And the reason for saving Targon for last is because every region except Targon provides +50% bonus XP up to Level 12.
After every region is at Level 8, we believe how to continue is a matter of personal preference:
- If you want to absolutely optimize the number of total cards you receive with no respect to what regions they come from, then continue with the "sets of 4" approach mentioned earlier and continue leveling all regions evenly
- If there's a particular champion you'd really like to receive, you might want to race for that region's remaining Champion Capsules to try your luck.
- There's also nothing wrong with just alternating between your 2-3 favorite regions to get more random cards from those regions
You might notice that the final levels of the road are sometimes segregated as a "Chapter" dedicated to the newest expansion and its champion. If so: these rewards from these levels will only be the latest expansion, including a guaranteed copy of said champion from the corresponding Champion Capsule. Once a new expansion is released, a new Chapter is created, the previous Chapters are deleted, and all levels from previous Chapters are reverted to normal rewards. If there is a specific champion from the most recent expansion that you really want to play, then you might be tempted to focus solely on that Region Reward track to unlock this free copy. Be advised this strategy really only works well if you already have a lot of progress on that particular Region Road -- the XP requirements between Levels 16 and 20 in particular is deceptively greater than their neighbors.
3. Get at Least 3 PvP Wins Each Day
Both points #1 and #2 require XP to fuel, so it's important to keep a steady flow. Every day, your 1st/2nd/3rd wins against a human opponent will gain 400/200/100 bonus XP, respectively, which will help greatly towards those goals. Ideally you would do this literally every day, but if that is not a realistic goal for you personally know that you can still effortlessly hit Vault Level 10 playing only 4 days week. The key takeaway here is that LoR rewards multiple shorter play sessions better than a single long "binge" session. Also, be aware that this bonus XP is only available after you've completed the Prologue and unlocked Region Rewards -- if you haven't done that yet, you might want to grind out the "Challenges" (tutorial missions) to get enough XP to finish off the Prologue.
One trap new players often fall in to is assuming that Vs Player Normal ("unranked") games will be casual and newbie-friendly. While Normal mode does try to use some hidden form of matchmaker ranking ("MMR"), new players often report being partnered with experienced ones with decks are often just as powerful as anything on Masters ladder. Conversely, though, at the beginning of a new expansion everyone's ranks are reset and lower tiers will be filled with competitive players trying to climb back up. We recommend new players try games in both Ranked and Normal modes to find which most often pairs them as against opponents with comparable skill and deck power.
Alternatively, the Expeditions and Labs modes will provide players with decks and both provide the same per-match XP rewards as Vs Player mode. Expedition mode has some added benefits which we'll discuss in #6.
4. Clear Your Daily Quests
The other method for generating significant XP are your Daily Quests. Every day, a new Daily Quest will be added to your queue up to a maximum of 3. (Cosmetic Quests and Special Quests like the Spirit Blossom events don't count towards this limit.) These quests persist so you don't need to complete it that same day, but if your queue is full with 3 existing quests then it's very important that you complete at least one so you don't "miss" tomorrow's quest. Most quests will be worth 1,000 XP, but a few more difficult ones are worth 1,500 XP. You can also reroll any quest, and if you don't use your reroll it will accrue with the next day's for a maximum of 2.
This is a juncture for honestly assessing how much you will play. Many hardcore players will advise you to always reroll any 1,000 XP quests with the hope of converting it into a 1,500 XP quest. Some will even advise you to intentionally avoid completing 1,000 XP quests for the possibility of converting it into a 1,500 XP quest later. While this is the theoretical optimal way to maximize your XP gains, we appreciate that it assumes a large time commitment to the game and is not not a practical solution for all players. In other words: if you are literally playing LoR every day then go ahead with the aforementioned approach, but if you have a more casual play schedule then don't hesitate to just clear all Daily Quests as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Also know that if you are in a pinch, you can clear most quests in the Vs AI mode. This isn't the preferred method as you'll be getting less per-match XP and none of the daily PvP bonus XP mentioned in #3, but if you are struggling to fulfill a particular quest against human opponents (e.g., "Win with X in your deck"), then this is an alternative.
5. Spend Common and Rare Wildcards Freely; Be Thoughtful with Epic and Champion Wildcards.
LoR has the following resources:
- Wildcards can be converted into any card of equivalent quality (Common, Rare, Epic, or Champion)
- Shards can be used to craft any card (100 for Common, 300 for Rare, 1200 for Epic, or 3000 for Champion) or buy an Expedition run
- Expedition Tokens are redeemable for 1 Expedition run
- Essence is used to upgrade individual cards to a prismatic cosmetic
- Coins are purchased exclusively with real-world cash and can be exchanged for specific cards, Wildcards (shard price/10), Expedition runs, or various cosmetics
Feel free to spend your Common and Rare wildcards freely -- if you are hitting Vault Level 10 and progressing your Region Reward tracks, you should find both regularly restocked. Be more selective in how you spend your Epic and Champion wildcards, however, as they are considerably more scarce. This advice goes double if you are using a Free-To-Play (F2P) approach as you will want to focus your precious resources towards your first few competitive decks -- more on that in #7.
Try to reserve your shards towards crafting Champions. While it isn't awful to use them towards the other quality cards in a pinch, your collection will ultimately be most limited by its pool of champion cards so devoting your extra shards towards them should be a priority. And never spend shards on a craft when you can use a wildcard instead. We also do not recommend spending shards towards additional Expedition runs unless you strongly prefer the Expedition mode over constructed gameplay.
Finally, be judicious in which champions you chose to craft. Champions often fall into 1 of 2 camps: "Generally Powerful" or "Powerful under Certain Conditions". Sejuani, Zed, and Draven are examples of "Generally Powerful" champs who can adapt to any deck; Lux, Yasuo, and Ezreal are examples of the latter who really want the entire deck to be build around them to succeed. While there is nothing wrong with crafting the "Powerful under Certain Conditions" cards, you'll want to prioritize "Generally Powerful" Champs for your initial crafts as you'll be able to leverage them over more decks and can use them as fillers in decks where you are a little short of the prescribed Champion cards.
6. Make Use of Your Expedition Tokens
Between vaults and various other rewards, you will routinely receive Expedition Tokens which are redeemable for one free Expedition run (a drafted mode comparable to Hearthstone's Arena or MtG's Draft). We highly encourage new players to make a concerted effort to play these Expeditions -- not only is it a fun game mode, but it gives bonus cards and XP based on how well you do. It also is entirely drafted, so you'll get to try out new cards as well as not be handicapped for having a smaller collection.
That said, Expedition mode just isn't for everyone. If you find yourself accruing Expedition Tokens that you don't plan to use in the foreseeable future: consider "burning" them. Tell the game you want to start a new Expedition and then instantly retire with a 0-0 record. You won't get any XP for this, but you will instantly receive an Epic Capsule which will include at a minimum 1 random Epic, 2 random Rares, and 2 random Commons. Sometimes you might even get an upgrade to a Champion.
7. Plan Ahead for Your First Competitive Constructed Decks
While there is nothing stopping you from playing Expeditions and Labs modes exclusively, most players will want to play in the constructed formats. Unfortunately, there is a significant power jump between the 3 starter decks (4 if you count the "Freeze and Decay" deck from the daily login rewards) and your average opponent's deck in the constructed formats. This creates a bit of a chicken/egg problem: you will need better cards to improve your decks, but your in-game rewards will mostly depend on winning games. Therefore your biggest challenge as a beginner will be creating your first viable constructed decks from your very limited collection.
If you have any intention on spending cash to purchase cards, now is where it will do the most good. If you're strictly F2P, however, don't fret -- it will require some ingenuity and much patience, but you can still build a strong enough deck to win games and collect XP without ever spending a dime. This will require a good deal of planning too, which we'll cover it in this guide on upgrading your starter decks from scratch.
Within the shop's "Featured" page, you have the option of purchasing various card bundles with coins. Usually there is a premade deck with a 10% discount and a "Starter Bundle" with a 75% discount. The "discount" is relative to what that full set of cards would cost you if you bought each card in the decklist individually using coins (i.e., shard price/10). For both, the price will be prorated for any existing copies you already own -- e.g., it would cost 0 coins if you had a full collection.
In both cases: we don't recommend players purchase these card bundles unless they just really want to expand their collection immediately. The issue is that they are all-or-nothing purchases that will saddle you with several expensive cards you probably wouldn't want to buy on their own, and that effectively negates the value of the discount. The bundle decks are always substandard lists compared to other meta decks. The "Starter Bundle" is a little more tempting due to its more generous discount, but a lot of that cost will be going to pay for Epics like Shiraza the Blade, Ren Shadowblade, and Winter's Breath -- all of which have seen virtually no play in the constructed format. In general, we feel most players who want to pay cash for cards will better appreciate buying specific cards a la carte rather than buying any of these card bundles.
The exception to this guidance is cosmetics. While cosmetic items have no bearing on whether you win or lose, many players find they enhance the experience and are worth buying. Sometimes, a particular bundle may include a mediocre deck with some special exclusive cosmetics that are not available for individual purchase -- if this is the case, the player might feel the value of those exclusive cosmetics overshadows the deck's mediocrity enough to justify the purchase. If you find yourself in this condition, be aware that you can view the premade deck's decklist and spend wildcards and shards to "pre-craft" its cards prior to making the purchase -- this can lower the bundle's price in coins.