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Jubilant Poro Judgment Jury-Rig Kalista Kalista's Black Spear Karma Karma's Insight of Ages Katarina Katarina's Death Lotus Kato The Arm Keeper of Masks Ki Guardian Kindly Tavernkeeper Kinkou Lifeblade Kinkou Wayfinder Laurent Bladekeeper Laurent Chevalier Laurent Duelist Laurent Protege Legion Drummer Legion General Legion Grenadier Legion Marauder Legion Rearguard Legion Saboteur Legion Veteran Leveled Anivia Leveled Ashe Leveled Braum Leveled Darius Leveled Draven Leveled Eggnivia Leveled Ezreal Leveled Fiora Leveled Garen Leveled Hecarim Leveled Heimerdinger Leveled Jinx Leveled Kalista Leveled Karma Leveled Katarina Leveled Lucian Leveled Lux Leveled Shen Leveled Spider Queen Elise Leveled Teemo Leveled Thresh Leveled Tryndamere Leveled Vladimir Leveled Yasuo Leveled Zed Living Shadow Lonely Poro Lucian Lucian's Relentless Pursuit Lux Lux's Prismatic Barrier Mageseeker Conservator Mageseeker Inciter Mageseeker Investigator Mageseeker Persuader Magnum Opus Mark of the Isles Midenstokke Henchmen Might Mighty Poro Minah Swiftfoot Minotaur Reckoner Mist's Call Mistwraith Mk0: Windup Shredder Mk1: Wrenchbot Mk2: Evolution Turret Mk3: Floor-B-Gone Mk4: Apex Turret Mk5: Rocket Blaster Mk6: Stormlobber Mk7: Armored Stomper Mobilize Mushroom Cloud Mystic Shot Navori Bladescout Navori Brigand Navori Conspirator Navori Highwayman Night Harvest Nimble Poro Noxian Guillotine Oblivious Islander Omen Hawk Onslaught of Shadows Pack Mentality Parade Electrorig Paralyzing Bite Phantom Prankster Plaza Guardian Plucky Poro Poison Puffcap Poro Herder Poro Snax Possession Precious Pet Prismatic Barrier Professor von Yipp Progress Day! 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LoR Region Breakdown & Playstyle Guide

January 15th, 2020 | jscaliseok
Legends of Runeterra is split up into six different regions, each with its unique champions, spells, units, and abilities. When building a deck, you can use cards from a single one, or blend two together. As such, it helps to know how each one operates and what playstyles they offer.

Rather than going into specific decks (we'll save that for other guides) this breakdown will cover the specific themes present in each region and explore how they work on a larger scale. We also don't dive into Champion or Keywords, but you can check out their full details in our Keywords Guide and Champions Guide.



Every strong deck in Runeterra benefits from blending two different regions together. However, Demacia has the option to stand on its own. That is because of the Elite mechanic, which rewards you for playing specific Demacia units with each other.

Many cards within the region, including Vanguard Redeemer, Vanguard Sergeant, Silverwing Vanguard, and the champion Garen, all have the "Elite" tag. While the tag does nothing on its own, it synergizes with other faction cards like Swiftwing Lancer, Vanguard Squire, and Battlesmith. Elites feed off of each other. The more you have, the stronger your board becomes.

Buffs and Barrier

Another hallmark of Demacia is the ability to protect their units. The region loves to swarm the board and end games quickly. That plan only works if your units can stick around for a few turns. To achieve that, there are many ways Demacia can make its cheap units just a little bit stronger. It does that by giving their units extra stats or barrier.

Most of Demacia's spells, including Stand Alone, Riposte, Back to Back, Redoubled Valor, and For Demacia!, focus on keeping their units alive. Barrier is incredibly handy, especially in a deck that wants to attack, while persistent buffs make even the smallest knight a true powerhouse.

It should also be noted that there are several powerful units that provide buffs or barriers as well. Cithria the Bold is a universal +1/+1 on a stick, while Laurent Bladekeeper and Vanguard Bannerman both help shore up your weak early game units as you move into the middle turns. Brightsteel Protector offers great early game potential and Brightsteel Formation protects all units you've had stick around until turn nine.

This side of the region operates in a simple way. Play a lot of units early and then make them so big that your opponent cannot properly answer them.


Battle is tactical, which is why Demacia cares so much about controlling combat. This region has a large Challenger subtheme, which gives them a lot of agency over who attacks what. Buffing units is great, but it gets even better when you can make your 4/4 attack a 3/3 instead of into a 5/5.

Challenger is all about tempo, which is why it fits into this region so well. You can either run out early minions like Fleetfeather Tracker or Laurent Protege to protect other key units (such as a Lucian) in a swarm deck, or you can go full challenger with cards like Laurent Duelist, Fiora, and Laurent Chevalier.

Silverwing Vanguard and Swiftwing Lancer are both great challenger cards because they support the Elite archetype as well.


The final aspect of Demacia is being able to ready your attack. Attacking twice, or getting an attack token on your opponent's turn, is one of the strongest plays in Runeterra. While this ability will never be played on its own in the same way Elites make up their own deck, it provides a solid finisher in builds that want to apply pressure.

Tianna Crownguard and Relentless Pursuit are two examples of this ability at work. However, a Leveled Garen or Leveled Lucian gives you extra attack tokens as well. That is one of the main reasons they make great commanders for Demacia's armies.



It should come as no surprise that the frosty reaches of Freljord utilize ice as a weapon. Many cards in the class have the Frostbite ability, which sets a unit's attack to zero for the round. It can be used defensively, but it also makes a fantastic tempo tool for midrange decks.

Ashe is the Frostbite hero of choice, both providing and leveling up from ticks, and she gets support from a wide range of spells and units. Feljord has many early game Frostbite spells, including Flash Freeze and Brittle Steel, to stave off early aggression. Those are then backed by Harsh Winds and Winter's Breath for late game plays, as well as Icy Yeti, Rimetusk Shaman, and Icevale Archer.

Beyond that, the faction has many ways to kill zero attack units. Winter's Breath is a great example, but Shatter and Rimefang Wolf both enable the archetype as well. All of those pieces work well for a late-game stall build, as well as a board-focused midrange decks that seeks to end the game with a Leveled Ashe.


There are plenty of unit buffs to go around in Freljord, and that is because a lot of their cards work with the Overwhelm keyword. Being able to run over your opponent's blockers is great, especially when you can pump out large body after large body.

While Feral Mystic and Mighty Poro are a bit too small to take advantage of the keyword, Scarmaiden Reaver, Scarmother Vrynna, They Who Endure, and Alpha Wildclaw are not. Avarosan Outriders also has one of the best allegiance payoffs in the game, and Tryndamere is a terrifying late-game beater.

If you seek to go this route, it is best to pair up with some of the extremely strong overwhelm cards in Noxus.


Though it does not have as many tools as other archetypes, it is worth mentioning that Freljord has the only two ramp options currently available in Runeterra. Catalyst of Aeons and Wyrding Stones both give you an extra mana gem, which goes a long way for decks trying to get to the top of their curve quickly.

Though those cards work well within Freljord, they are typically used to support another region as a way to get out powerful champions and large units a few turns early.


There are three different tribes within the Freljord region: Yetis, Poros, and Elnuks. Though weak on their own, they all have certain tools that reward you for playing them.

Poros swarm the board through their cards, as well as a Leveled Braum. From there, they use Heart of the Fluft and Poro Snax to grow and overwhelm the opponent.

Bull Elnuk, while weak on its own, can be summoned out from the deck by Troop of Elnuks for a powerful tempo play. However, if you want to copy the Elnuks for maximum value, you're going to have to look into other regions.

Yetis, while strong of their own, are all about playing undercosted 5/5's. Avarosan Trapper, Tall Tales, and Yeti Yearling put Enraged Yetis into your deck, which then makes your top decks that much stronger.

It is also worth noting that both Pack Mentality and Iceborn Legacy offer great support to any of the above three archetypes.



Ionia is a region between two worlds. It has some fantastic control tools, but it is incredibly aggressive as well. That damage push comes from the elusive keyword, which helps early minions sneak through blockers with ease.

This archetype thrives on cards like Navori Bladescout, Inspiring Mentor, Sparring Student, Greenglade Duo, and Silent Shadowseer. Being able to get in fast damage is key for elusive decks. Early swarm units backed up by cards like Kinkou Wayfinder or Shadow Assasin can lead to a lot of damage very quickly.

However, there are a few late-game elusive options as well. Windfarer Hatchling and The Empyrean are both solid finishing options when it comes to getting in the last bits of damage. They aren't best suited for a pure aggro deck, but can be finishers for other midrange builds.

Recall / Stun

Thanks to the power of Yasuo, Ionia loves to both stun and recall units. They have many spells ( Will of Ionia, Shadowshift, Steel Tempest) that help you recall or stun both you and your opponent's units.

This archetype uses those spells in conjunction with Fae Bladetwirler and Yasuo to control the flow of the game. From there, it tempos the opponent down with big payoff cards like Yone, Windchaser and Minah Swiftfoot. Play a unit, get rid of the opponent's, then hit for damage. Rinse and repeat.

This style of deck is played with Noxus, which also offers a ton of powerful stun cards to flesh out the list.


Though all of the above archetypes come with an aggressive or tempo slant, Ionia loves to pair up with other regions to play control. That is the result of the Enlightened keyword, which rewards you for having ten non-spell mana crystals at your disposal.

Ionia isn't going to make it to turn ten on their own (they simply don't have enough removal) but they do have strong spells like Insight of Ages, Deny, Shadow Flare, and Ritual of Renewal to stay alive. Karma is the backbone of this archetype, providing you great value and a strong finisher.

Recall, which slows down attackers, is a natural fit for Ionia control decks as well.


In the same way Freljord has ramp, Ionia also provides barrier. This is mainly a support tool for other regions, and it is a great way to protect Fiora. Shen helps control combat, while spells like Ki Guardian keep your units alive. Greenglade Caretaker can also get out of hand in a dedicated Barrier built.

Ionia will never have enough tools to run barrier on its own, but this sub-theme is one of the strongest support options in the entire game.


This region has a small ephemeral theme as well. Though not powerful enough by itself, the region loves to pair with the Shadow Isles to offer extra early game aggression.

Silent Shadowseer is one of the best aggro units around, and cards like Death Mark provide a bit of versatility that Shadow Isle ephemeral cards lack.



Noxus is all about aggression. The region brings the pain in two ways: powerful early units and overwhelm. Almost all of the cheap units in Noxus either have pushed stats ( Legion Rearguard, Precious Pet) or do direct damage ( Legion Saboteur, Crimson Disciple).

Once you get in hits with cards like Trifarian Hopeful or Reckless Trifarian, you next want to back it up with larger overwhelm units. That includes the champion Darius in addition to Crowd Favorite, Shiraza the Blade, Kato The Arm, and Battering Ram. Katarina also pours on the damage.

Just note that, while this archetype can hit hard, a lot of the units cannot block to make up for it. That makes this archetype susceptible to damage from other aggressive decks as well.

Stun and Removal

A big reason Noxus works so well with Ionia is their strong stun subtheme. The class has a range of incredibly powerful stun options all throughout their curve. Spells like Intimidating Roar and Decisive Maneuver keep the board locked down while also building up cards like Legion General or Yasuo (when paired with Ionia).

Minotaur Reckoner also keeps your opponent's threats at bay, and Arachnoid Sentry is a great way to push through early damage against a large body.

Stun is a good tempo tool, but Noxus also has more than a few ways to kill units. Death Lotus cleans up tokens, while Culling Strike and Whirling Death offer ways to take care of the early board. Noxian Guillotine is incredible if you can make use of its condition, providing double the value in one card.

Reckoning is this region's AOE option. Though it is slow, if it hits it can be devastating for your opponent is set up at the right time.

Crimson Self-Damage

The Crimson units in Noxus are incredibly unique because they love to hurt themselves. This archetype, led by Vladimir, uses self-damage to generate a lot of value throughout the game.

Beyond their hero, Crimson runs on cards like Blood for Blood, Crimson Curator, Death Lotus, Transfusion, Crimson Disciple, and Crimson Aristocrat.

With all of the small pings being thrown around, Crimson units also work well with the "survive damage" commonly seen in Freljord. Tough units, which can simply shrug off the one damage, can be paired with this theme as well.


Though not as prominent as the above two archetypes, Noxus does have a small discard theme backed up by Draven. This style cannot stand on its own, but cards like Arena Bookie work extremely well when paired with a dedicated Jinx deck.

Piltover and Zaun


There are a few ways to play Piltover and Zaun (P&Z) but none of them are as prevalent as spells. The entire region is fueled by strong spell cards, and there are plenty of payoffs for playing them.

Though there are a few directions to take spell-based P&Z decks, control is the best way to go. Not only do you get early board control cards like Mystic Shot and Scrapdash Assembly, but you get powerful end-game tools like Trueshot Barrage, Progress Day! and Corina Veraza. Removal is vital in any good control build, and this region has some of the best around.

Ezreal and Heimerdinger are slow cards that come with big payoffs for extending the game. If you want a pure spell deck, they are the champions you want to play. Assembly Bot and Plaza Guardian both reward you for pumping out cheap spells too.

There are two ways to take a spell deck. You can use cheap spell cards like Flash of Brilliance and Eager Apprentice to back up or buff strong units, or you can make an all-in spell build that only runs a few units.


Complementing Draven is Jinx, another fantastic discard champion with an incredibly strong upgraded form. There are two ways to take this archetype. You can either run a low-curve aggressive deck to quickly empty hand, or you can shed cards through things like Zaunite Urchin, Rummage, Flame Chompers!, Sump Dredger, and Get Excited!.

Either way, when paired with Draven, Leveled Jinx is a powerhouse with an extremely high damage output. Her missile is one of the strongest cards in the game, and most decks cannot handle a unit that draws two cards a turn.

The strongest payoff (other than Jinx) for running discard is Augmented Experimenter. The six drop not only helps control the board, but it also refills when you're out of cards. Discard decks, despite their goal, need cards once they meet their requirements. Nothing does it better than experimenter.


Spells dominate P&Z, and mushrooms are an offset of that archetype. Clump of Whumps, Puffcap Peddler, Mushroom Cloud, and Chump Whump all put Poison Puffcaps into your opponent's deck, which are then multiplied with Teemo.

As this deck style is quite slow, it operates as a spell-based control deck over anything else. However, rather than using Ezreal or Heimerdinger as finishers, it uses constant damage and inevitability.

For that reason, Mushrooms are best when backed up by regions with access to strong removal spells or AOE options. The constant stream of poison spells generated by the mushroom minions works with cards like Assembly Bot as well.

Shadow Isles

Sacrifice and Resurrection

As with Noxus, Shadow Isles loves to hurt its own units. However, rather than pinging them for one, it outright kills them. Many of their cards are ahead of the curve, but they can only be played by sacrificing other units. That includes cards like Ravenous Butcher and Ancient Crocolith.

There are also a few Isle spells that require you to kill your own units. Atrocity, when paired with Last Breath units, can be a handy removal spell, and Glimpse Beyond is one of the most efficient draw spells in the game. Absorb Soul also lets you get quick health, especially when used on something that's going to die anyway.

Of course, if you kill units you also need to bring them back. Though not as prevalent as the other themes in the region, there are a few Shadow Isle cards that can resurrect fallen soldiers. Chronicler of Ruin kills and revives an ally (making it great for Last Breath decks) while Mist's Call and The Harrowing bring your units back from the dead.

The Rekindler gets special mention here because, as it can resurrect a champion, it is the backbone of many decks. There are a range of champions across many regions that are quite powerful. Being able to get them back for six mana alongside another body is fantastic. In fact, the 5/5 is one of the main reasons so many regions team up with the Shadow Isles.

Last Breath

There's no reason to kill off your own units without a big payoff. Rather than just lose tempo, the Shadow Isles generate value through a plethora of Last Breath units.

Cards like Warden's Prey and Cursed Keeper provide you amazing value for the sacrifice cost. In fact, being able to kill those units is the backbone of many different aggressive builds. They are also good tools for slower midrange decks that want something to make use of on the early board.

Phantom Prankster, Rhasa the Sunderer, Tortured Prodigy, Scuttlegeist and, while not explicitly Last Breath cards, also benefit from when your own units die.


Where Ionia dips into the Ephemeral theme, Shadow Isles fully embraces it. Hecarim is an absolute beater of a card, generating massive amounts of damage in one push, and The Harrowing is a great top-end play.

Most Ephemeral decks are incredibly aggressive. When paired up with Iona's early game, cards like Shark Chariot, Iron Harbinger, Soul Shepherd, Stirred Spirits, and Onslaught of Shadows generate massive amounts of damage out of nowhere.

It is also worth noting that, since Ephemeral units die as soon as they strike, they are great tools to use with cards that want other units to die. Phantom Prankster is especially strong in such builds. If you want to go slower with the deck, Rhasa and Spectral Matron make great top-end plays too.


Shadow Isles is quite adept at killing, not just their own units, but the opponent's as well. They have strong aggressive builds when teamed up with Iona, but can also slow the game down with other regions like Frejlord and P&Z.

The region has access to The Box and The Ruination, two of the best AOE options in the game, alongside Vengeance, Grasp of the Undying, Withering Wail, and Black Spear. There is even possession, which lets you steal units and sacrifice them to your other cards.

While they need a bit of help in dealing with a fast push, when paired with a strong early game region they can be a true powerhouse for players who like pure control.

The six regions of Runeterra all bring their own style to the table. Though strong on their own, the regions get much more powerful when they get a chance to team up. Almost all great decks utilize cards from two regions for increased synergy and better combos.

Studying the above breakdown will give you insight into each region, providing you information on their different archetypes and playstyles. From there, you can figure out which ones might work well together, as well as the ones that will work best for you.
(Last Updated: January 27th, 2020)

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