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Guide to Every LoR Champion

January 16th, 2020 | jscaliseok
Every region in Legends of Runeterra has four champions. Each deck can have six champion cards in it, but they cannot have more than three of a single champion. Most builds use two champions (with three of each card) but some have mix-and-match three champions, while others choose to have less than six.

The following guide breaks down all of the champions from each region; exploring their stats, abilities, and level-up requirements. From there, it goes over what styles those champions like to play and what decks can best make use of them.

Remember, we have guides for LoR Regions and LoR keywords if you find yourself needing more details!


Demacia

Lucian


Lucian is an incredibly aggressive leader that perfectly slots into any board-centric build. A 3/2 for three is quite aggressive to begin with, especially with quick attack making it almost impossible to block him. He comes down early and strikes often.


However, what makes him shine is his second form. Once he flips over, Lucian becomes a 4/3 with double attack. That much pressure is a nightmare to block and quickly leads to lethal damage. Even more powerful is the fact that once an allied unit dies, you get to ready your attack.

In a fast deck being able to ready yourself over and over ends games in a hurry. Your opponent either doesn't block and takes damage, or they do block and give you a token.

Lucian also does not take much to level up. You either have four or more allies die in combat (something that's going to happen in most Demacia games) or his wife, Senna, Sentinel of Light, goes down.

Similar to his leveled-up ability, that creates a problem for your opponent. If they block to prevent damage, they make Lucian stronger. If they let damage through, you're getting them that closer to death.

For that reason, he is one of the premier champions for any aggressively-slanted Demacia deck. Elites and challengers both love what he brings to the table. Extra Relentless Pursuits are quite nice as well.


Fiora


Fiora is perhaps the most unique challenger in the game. Though she allows you to win through traditional means, she provides an alternate win condition. If you kill four units with Fiora (two in her first form, two when she's leveled up) you win the game.


However, while her challenger ability enables her to pick off weak units, Fiora's 3/3 body is typically too weak to get the job done. Rather, you want to use her in combination with other regions that can protect her as she attacks.

Ionia is Fiora's best friend. The region has plenty of barriers to go around, allowing her to dodge both combat and damage with ease. Being able to keep the warrior safe from units and spells helps her shine. In fact, most Fiora decks, though they have other means of damage, typically focus on winning through her. Everything else comes second.


Garen


The Elite leader himself, Garen is quite the beater. At five mana, he slots perfectly into the Demacia curve, backing up powerful four drops like Silverwing Vanguard and Vanguard Firstblade.


Garen is an aggressive midrange leader through and through. His regeneration makes him fantastic in combat, and Garen's Judgement is a great way to take down other board-focused decks. His leveled up form is fantastic as well.

All you have to do to get Garen into his second form is strike twice. That may seem difficult on a crowded board, but his regeneration in combination with Demacia's protection spells make that easier than it first seems.

Once he levels up, Garen, like Lucian, readies your attack. However, he doesn't wait until units die. Rather, he provides you with a token every turn. That type of power is something most decks cannot handle, especially when you're coming in with a full board of strong units.


Lux


Unlike the other three champions in this region, Lux does not care about combat. Rather, she's all about spells.


The 3/4 mage is a control machine, but it does take a little bit of work to get her there. While she has a barrier the turn she comes down, seeing 6 or more mana worth of spells requires a specific deck design to make happen.

When playing Lux you typically want to go into other regions for high mana cost burst spells or a lot of cheap burst spells that will help you level her up before your opponent can interfere. She's not a blocker, but once she upgrades her Final Sparks kill just about everything your opponent throws your way.

Being able to back up spells, both big and small, with zero mana four damage bolts of light is an incredible way to control the board. Not only that, but the sparks also have overload. That allows them to hit the enemy nexus when used on small units, ensuring nothing goes to waste.

Prismatic Barrier, while a decent card, is nothing to write home about. What makes Lux shine is the ability to create Final Sparks over and over again, turning even the most mundane spells into damage.


Freljord

Braum


Braum is an incredibly low-impact champion with a ton of upside. A 0/5 with challenger may seem odd at first glance, but he needs to take damage in order to level up. As such, you want to use Braum on small units early in the game to quickly get him to level two.


Once flipped, Braum turns into a one-man army, summoning Mighty Poro after Mighty Poro. For that reason, he is a great option for Frejlord midrange decks that want ways to swarm the board. He also provides extra support for Poro-based builds running Poro Snax and Iceborn Legacy.

Braum is powerful in the early game, but also quite fragile. Taking two or three damage may not seem like a big deal, but that then opens him up to direct damage spells or combat tricks. To avoid that, it is best to play him with support cards that provide him buffs (such as Take Heart) or give him barrier.

The seven health he gets in his leveled-up form is very hard for decks to deal with. While Braum is not a card you build an entire deck around, he is an extremely strong unit in a midrange list filled with other strong units.


Ashe


The ice queen herself, Ashe is all about Frostbite. Not only does she herself Frostbite units on the other side of the board, but she levels up through frozen bodies. Any dedicated Freljord deck will have no problem meeting her requirement, which is one of the biggest reasons to play her in the first place.


A 5/3 that is tough to block is aggressive enough on its own, but in her leveled-up form Ashe becomes a monster. 6/4 worth of stats is great, as is the ability to take away Frostbitten blockers. The Crystal Arrow she creates is a great utility tool as well, giving you the ability to take out your opponent's board for just two mana.

Frostbite decks can be either midrange and control, and Ashe slots into both builds. You can level her up quickly and push through damage using Frostbite to get rid of blockers, or you can utilize her ability to stall out the board and slow down your opponent. It just depends on what shell you prefer.

As an added bonus, Ashe doesn't need to be on the board to gain level-up ticks. That means she often comes down in her second form during the later turns of the game.


Anivia


Few champions are more powerful than Anivia. While the 4/3 cannot block, that rarely matters. All she wants to do is attack. Anivia is an incredible card because of how well her ability and level-up requirement work together. Even at six mana she's more than worth it.


The icy phoenix does one damage to all enemies when she attacks, regardless of whether she dies or not. That, combined with the four attack, adds up in a hurry. However, what makes her truly terrifying is that if you block her, she turns into an egg that then turns into her second form.

Once Anivia gets leveled, she becomes an absolute powerhouse. The two damage to all enemies is incredibly strong, clearing out small units in droves while also putting pressure on the enemy nexus. As a bonus, as with her first form, she goes into egg form when killed. No matter how you deal with her, she has to die twice.

The six mana champion is a key part of Frejlord midrange builds, and her ability is so powerful that she makes up the core of several decks. Many regions love her ability, but the ones that can copy it multiple times, such as the Shadow Isles, make the best use of it.

Though your opponent may not want to kill Anivia, there are many ways to make her die on her own. That includes turning her ephemeral with Mark of the Isles or sacrificing her with Glimpse Beyond. She is also best friends with The Rekindler. In fact, those two make for one of the strongest combos in the game.


Tryndamere


Tryndamere is one of the largest and strongest finishers in LoR. Not only does he represent a ton of damage (eight with overwhelm) but his first form is immune to death. In fact, killing him just makes him stronger.


Eight mana is a lot to pay for any champion, but the cost is more than worth it for slow Frejlord builds. While most champions help solidify or backup a game plan, Tryndamere is a pure finisher that you slam on the board once your opponent has no threats.

His power comes from the fact that there's no easy way to answer him. Eight overwhelm represents a ton of damage, especially if you only have small or frostbitten threats on your side of the board. If you do manage to stop or kill him, he simply turns into a 9/9 with three relevant abilities.

Tryndamere is simply the best finisher champion in the game. If you like going long, or if you enjoy decks that steadily break down their opponent, he's the way to go. There's even a case to be made for him as a curve-topper in a midrange build.


Ionia

Zed


Zed is one of the best aggressive champions in the game. Not only does he have a 3/2 body complete with quick attack (making him almost impossible to block early on) but his Living Shadow is a great tool for aggressive and ephemeral builds.


On top of that, Zed's level up ability is quite easy to achieve. So easy, that it forces your opponent to play in an unfavorable way.

Throwing a small body in front of Zed or his Living Shadow stops them from hitting the nexus, but it does so at the cost of board presence. As such, your opponent can either lose their units, or they can let your Zed reach his next level. That's a lose-lose for any deck trying to stave off pressure.

Pure aggressive regions like Noxus or the Shadow Isles love to have Zed coming down on turn three due to how much damage he can get in. However, he is also incredibly strong in ephemeral builds because he enables cards like Shark Chariot without being an ephemeral unit himself.

It is also worth noting that he creates a unit that dies each round, which helps trigger cards like Black Spear or Rhasa the Sunderer.


Yasuo


Yasuo is a straightforward-but-powerful champion that only works in Stun or Recall builds. Though you can play one or the other, he is best in a deck that does both.


Yasuo is a tempo-oriented champion through-and-through. Stun and Recall are very similar abilities in that they both allow you to pace the game. Putting a minion back in your opponent's hand slows down their pressure, while stunning units ensures they can't get at your nexus or block your damage.

What makes the 4/3 so powerful is that he compounds on that tempo by adding hard removal to the equation. Two damage might not seem like a lot, but it takes down early game units and finishes off larger ones.

In addition, Yasuo's second level is extremely strong. Stun and recall are both good abilities, but they only deal with units for one turn. That might be good when you need the last bit of damage, but it's weaker when you're fighting for control of the board. A leveled-up Yasuo elegantly fixes that problem by turning into a removal spell on a stick.

Making every stun or recall spell/ability in your deck read "deal five damage" is fantastic, especially because of how easy it is to get Yasuo to the next level. In a dedicated deck (typically Ionia/Noxus) he almost always comes down leveled up during the later turns of the game.


Shen


Shen is a solid support champion with limited use in his own region. A 2/5 body for four is nothing to get excited about, but the ability to give a supported ally barrier is great with cards that want to live a turn. That includes Fiora (his main use) in addition to smaller cards like Greenglade Caretaker or Sparring Student.


Shen's strength comes from how easy he is to level up. Seeing four barriers may seem like a lot, but he gives one a turn on top of any spells you might have. That means he switches in four turns at the very latest.

Once leveled, the ninja becomes extremely difficult to deal with. Not only does his health go up to six, but giving barriered units an extra three power makes both attacking and blocking a nightmare. Fast and burst barrier spells get extremely strong around a leveled-up Shen, as do cards like Brightsteel Formation.

Shen is not a champion that needs an entire deck built around him. He is a support tool that helps other strong cards live. As such, he is almost always paired with Fiora. Demacia has quite a few barrier cards, and Fiora needs all the protection she can get. In fact, it is rare to see one champion without the other.


Karma


Karma is a champion aimed at midrange or control decks that don't mind playing a slower game. She is powerful because, unlike most champions, both her first and second form bring something powerful to the table.


A 4/3 for five is not great, especially on a body you don't want to attack or block with. Even so, getting a random spell each turn is a lot of value that can quickly outpace your opponent if they don't have enough pressure on the board.

In addition, casting spells twice goes a long way in the right decks. Double damage is fantastic, as is double draw and double AOE. A Mystic Shot being able to kill a four health minion or Insight of Ages creating four spells can change the game in a hurry.

Karma is weak to aggressive decks, which is why she's best in control builds with a lot of early game removal. She's best used with Piltover and Zaun for the spell synergy, Shadow Isles for the inherent control, or Frejlord with Frostbite. Anything that runs strong spells aimed at stalling out the game and getting to ten mana.


Noxus

Katarina


Few plays are more powerful than getting an attack token. That is why Katarina is one of the strongest Noxus champions in the game. She is all about attacking, and does so with lethal efficiency.


A 3/2 with quick attack is not easy to block in the early game, especially when that 3/2 just needs to strike once to level up. Often, your opponent will let Katarina hit their face to keep their board, which then provides you with an attack token on a stick.

Katarina is amazing because, unlike Zed, your opponent has no good way to play around her. Though you can block Zed or his Living Shadow to delay his level up, Katarina advances no matter what she strikes. Your opponent can always kill her, but they only have one chance to do so. After that, she's coming back with a vengeance.

Katarina is a cornerstone for any aggressive Noxus build. Her first form fills in the curve and brings the pain, while her leveled-up form ends games in a hurry. Any strong early game deck only needs one or two extra attacks to close things out. Katarina does that and more.

As she recalls herself every time she strikes, Katarina is also fantastic alongside Yasuo in a Noxu/Ionia tempo build.


Draven


Another early quick attack body, Draven is a damage-focused champion with a unique ability. Every time he strikes, you get a Spinning Axe that provides you one extra attack at the cost of a card in your hand. That might not seem like a great trade off, but it helps push damage, trade on board, and level up Draven.


Once Draven hits level two, he becomes a powerhouse. Four quick attack creates tough trades, while the overwhelm ensures he gets in chip damage over small blockers. Striking with two Spinning Axes is not difficult in a deck with a lot of early game minions, and getting two a turn can cut your opponent to ribbons in no time at all.

There are two main ways to utilize Draven's ability. You can play him in a pure aggro build, where you have few cards in hand and only care about damage, or you can use him in a pure discard build alongside Jinx.

Whatever you go with, just note that you want to be on the aggressive side when Draven's in your deck.


Vladimir


If self-damage is your goal, Vladimir is the champion for you. The five mana 5/5 has a unique ability that works on two different levels. One, it can trigger Crimson cards like Crimson Curator for extra value over the course of a game, or it can buff up "survive damage" cards like Scarmother Vrynna or Braum.


The way you play Vladimir depends on what you want to get out of your deck. His ability is best-suited for midrange builds that want to get in chip damage while also hurting their own cards. That can be done in both an extremely aggressive or slower midrange way.

Vladimir works well with Shadow Isles, who don't mind losing their own cards, and he's also fantastic with Frejlord's endless supply of survive damage units. Though his leveled-up form is almost irrelevant due to the fact that it simply gives him +1/+1 and an extra ability, his first form has a lot of utility when played in the right way.

It is also worth noting that Vladimir can play as a finisher in a go-wide token build. Decks that want to swarm the board typically have issues closing out games though strong boards. The 5/5 fixes that issue by turning every attacking token, whether it gets blocked or not, into a damage source.


Darius


Darius is a big overwhelm champion that only has one goal in mind: damage. The aggressive finisher serves as a top end card for any deck that wants to kill their opponent very, very quickly.


Six mana is a lot to pay in any aggressive build, especially for a low-end region like Noxus. However, the trade off is an incredibly easy-to-trigger level up requirement that perfectly blends in with the deck's goal.

Nobody will ever play Darius for his first form. A 6/5 with overwhelm is bad, even if the most aggressive builds. What makes him useful is his second form, which almost guarantees a large chunk of damage on your opponent's nexus.

Treat Darius as more of a direct damage spell than anything else. Though he might attack and live, that's not the point. The goal here is to get your opponent to ten or less health by turn six, slam the big boy, and swing for the fences.


Piltover & Zaun

Teemo


Few champions have more focus than Teemo. The small-bodied champion is the cheapest in the game because his stats don't matter. Rather, he's all about planting Poison Puffcaps (mushrooms).


Unlike other heroes, who have a bit of flexibility, Teemo needs to be in a mushroom deck to make the most of his ability. He is a natural fit with cards like Chump Whump and Mushroom Cloud to get him to level two right away.

Once you hit Teemo's 15 mushroom threshold, the 1/1 becomes a real force. 15 caps is not a lot in terms of damage, but that 15 turning into 30 turning into 60 stacks up in a hurry. In fact, he typically only needs one or two attacks to put a real clock on your opponent.

Teemo can work in both aggressive and control shells. When in an aggressive build, his mushrooms serve as extra damage that chip away as your opponent draws through their deck. In control, you use him as your sole damage source while you control the board and run your opponent out of cards.

Either way, the way you use Teemo is simple. Plant as many mushrooms as you possibly can and then multiply them when you get the chance. It is also worth noting that, as so many mushroom cards work with spells, his decks can make use of cards like Assembly Bot and Plaza Guardian.


Ezreal


If you like spells, Ezreal is for you. The seemingly innocent 1/3 is a lot of value packed into one card. Though he doesn't put on a ton of pressure or do much in combat, his elusiveness ensures he'll draw you a Mystic Shot just about every turn. Then, once he levels up, he puts a quick clock on your opponent's nexus.


Leveling up Ezreal does not require him to be on the board. Even so, it is not something that most decks can easily achieve. He is best used in control decks that spend most of their time targeting and killing the opponent's units. A full spell-based deck does the job, as do slow regions like Shadow Isles, Ionia, and Frejlord.

Ezreal is good at stopping early aggression thanks to his Mystic Shots, but he does not realize his full potential until he levels up. Once in his second form, the three drop hits for two and then gives you two damage for each spell you cast. That ends games in a hurry, especially when paired with free Mystic Shots.

The 1/3 is an incredible champion because he plays two roles. He can get used early to generate removal spells and board control, but he is also a finisher in his own right. Few decks can stand up to four damage a turn, and a deck with a lot of cheap spells can do a lot more than that.


Jinx


Jinx is the payoff for any dedicated discard build, making her a fantastic aggressive champion decks that wants to end the game quickly. She's an early beater that gives an aggro deck everything it could ever want.


As with most cheap champions, Jinx comes with a solid body backed up by quick attack. On top of that, she rewards you for not having any cards in hand. There are two ways to make that happen. You can play a lot of cheap units, or you can play discard effects like Get Excited! And Draven's Spinning Axe. Either way, you need to get rid of your cards when Jinx is on the board.

Simply put, the 4/3 has one of the best leveled-up forms in the game. Not only does she give you two cards a round, but she also creates a Super Mega Death Rocket! when you use those cards.

Where Ezreal generates a lot of pressure through other cards, Jinx does it on her own. The four damage from the Super Mega Death Rocket! stacks up quickly and the two cards you draw every round gives you an endless supply of gas. If you like going face, Jinx is the way to make that happen.


Heimerdinger


Heimerdinger joins Ezreal as one of the best spell-focused champions in LoR. The five drop loves spells and turns them into one of his many turrets. All of the robots affect the board in different ways. What makes them great is that they provide you bodies in a deck with little to no units.



Heimerdinger must be in a deck with a lot of spells. He loves control regions like Ionia and Shadow Isles, but gets most of his value from P&Z. You want a wide spread of different mana costs to create many different turrets. Burst spells are also important to ensure you can get value from the champion before he dies.

It is also worth noting that all of the turrets have one health, with the exception of T-Hex. As such, Heimerdinger decks want a few eight mana spells somewhere in the build. Extra copies do turn into Progress Day!s, but you often want something more.

Though he is quite easy to level up, Heimerdinger's second ability is inconsequential. The extra stats are nice, but they don't truly impact the board any more than the first. Tacking on a free body to each spell you play is what makes him special.


Shadow Isles

Elise


The Spider Queen herself, Elise is an army-in-a-can perfect for more aggressive builds. A 2/3 body is not the scariest in the world, but her fearsome ability makes it easy for her to get in early chip damage. In addition, the attacking Spiderling she summons both adds to that pressure and gets her closer to level two.


Perhaps the best aspect of Elise is her level up ability, which requires very little work in a dedicated deck. Needing three or more spiders at the start of a round is easy for spider decks, and it allows her to come in and instantly level up during the later stages of the game.

Many early game heroes, such as Lucian, need a bit of time to get going. That makes them weak when drawn later on. You will find no such issues here.

When leveled, Elise can take over a game. Giving all spiders fearsome is strong enough on its own, but providing them with challenger truly takes her over the top. This ability can be used in two ways. You can either take out units as you see fit, or you can choose to get blocked by small blockers and allow your spiders to attack unfettered.

A spider deck cannot work without Elise leading the way. Even so, she does not have to go into a dedicated spider build. An early 2/3 that floods the board with tokens is great for aggressive midrange builds that seek to go wide. If she levels up off her own summon ability, great. If she doesn't, she still represents a strong threat.


Kalista


Kalista is a unique champion with an average first level and incredibly strong second.


Her first bond ability, while nothing exciting, can work in a dedicated aggro deck. The +2 attack will stack up pressure against control decks or slow midrange builds, especially if your opponent has an awkward draw. The ability to attack early and not worry about small blockers (thanks to fearsome) is nice as well.

Kalista makes her money through her level up ability. She wants to be in aggressive decks, which commonly have a problem attacking into stronger units. If Kalista bonds with a powerful early game unit (such as Iron Harbinger or Ravenous Butcher) it makes it extremely hard to answer.

Your opponent needs to deal with the champion. However, as she has fearsome, your opponent needs to sacrifice a larger body to make that happen. Even if they do block her, the bonded unit tends to get through for extra damage. She is not a card that will be around for long, but she helps get your opponent to zero in a hurry.

The biggest issue with Kalista is that she needs to see three allies die to level up. That can take a while, which goes against her aggressive nature. To get there, you want to play her in a fast deck with a lot of sacrifice, or an ephemeral/token build where you're going to lose small units every turn.


Hecarim


Hecarim is one of the best finishers in the game. Like Elise, he brings an army with him when he attacks. However, rather than getting a simple 1/1, the Shadow of War gets two 3/2 Spectral Riders that provide a ton of pressure.


Hecarim has two uses. First, he plays well as a top-end finisher for an aggressive ephemeral deck. Not only does this route ensure he's leveled up when he comes onto the board at turn six, but it also means he'll bring back Shark Chariots in addition to his riders.

With one chariot, the leveled-up champion is a staggering 20/12 worth of stats over three bodies. On his own, he is still 16/11 worth of stats, and 5 of that attack comes with overwhelm. That's more than enough for lethal.

As Hecarim is so strong, he's a great option for midrange and control builds as well. Though he may not level up in such decks, his first form provides more than enough power to take over a game.

In this way, you remove your opponent's minions and steadily run them out of cards. Once they're out of answers, you slam the champion and attack for nine. One more turn and the game is over.


Thresh


If you like killing units, Thresh is for you. Like Kalista, he needs to see units die to level up. However, he counts units on both sides of the board and has some control over which units die thanks to his challenger ability.


Though Thresh's mana cost keeps him out of aggressive builds, he plays a key role in both midrange and control decks. The ability to grab any three-health-or-less unit and kill it is a great way to pace the game, especially if you can take out multiple cards.

Thresh's second level is also quite strong. Being able to summon an attacking champion saves you a ton of mana and gives you the chance to cheat cards into play. You can only do it once, but that's more than enough. This ability is best used with other powerful champions like Tryndamere or Anivia.



Every single champion in Legends of Runeterra is unique. They have their own abilities, spell cards, and leveled-up forms. Figuring out how they all work together may seem overwhelming, but that's part of the fun.

There are two ways to build a deck. You can find champions you like and then figure out which cards work with them, or you can find an archetype you want to play and then pick the champions that best supports it. No matter which way you go, the above guide will give you everything you need to start or finish your next build.
(Last Updated: February 6th, 2020)

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