Everything you need to know about the next Legends of Runeterra expansion

Inverse went hands-on with Empires of Ascended.

The League of Legends card game is getting a little bit bigger. Legends of Runeterra: Empires of Ascended is the latest expansion for the game, and it introduces the desert region of Shurima to the game. With it comes lots of new cards, some new mechanics, and more Labs.

Inverse had the chance to go hands-on with this update ahead of its release too! This is everything we know about Legends of Runeterra: Empires of Ascended, the latest expansion to the League of Legends card game and Hearthstone's biggest competitor.

When is the Legends of Runeterra: Empires of the Ascended release date?

The next expansion for Legends of Runeterra is nearly upon us, as Riot Games confirmed that the release date of Empires of the Ascended is March 3, 2020. This date marks the start of the wider set of 2021 expansions, which will also fall under the Empires of the Ascended set banner. Still, expect this to be the biggest update for the game since August 2020's Call of the Mountain.

Is there a Legends of Runeterra: Empires of the Ascended trailer?

Yes, there is! When Riot Games announced this new expansion in February, a cinematic trailer following Omari as he explores Shurima was released. You can check that out below.

If you're more curious about new champions or other cards' specific abilities, the official YouTube channel for Legends of Runeterra shows those in action. We recommend checking those videos out if you want to see how new champions play as well as their impressive level-up animations.

Who are Legends of Runeterra: Empires of the Ascended's new Champions?

9 new champions are coming to Legends of Runeterra as part of this new expansion. They are Renekton, Taliyah, Jarvan IV, Lissandra, Nasus, Kindred, Sivir, LeBlanc, and Azir. These characters should be familiar to League of Legends players, and Riot Games has found unique ways to adapt each character's playstyle to a card game format.

Champions are special cards in Legends of Runeterra as they can actually level up when certain conditions are met. One of the most impressive things about Empires of the Ascended's new champions are the extremely well-detailed and cinematic level-up animations that play when it happens. The developers tell Inverse that these animations will work better on mobile and that they are looking into updated the less impressive animations for older Champion level-ups.

What are Legends of Runeterra: Empires of the Ascended's new cards?

Overall, Empires of the Ascended will bring 110 brand new cards to the many. Many of these will be part of Shurima, the new desert region that this game introduces, and contain new gimmicks. That said, some cards are also getting added to other regions.

It remains to be seen how all of these new cards will shift the larger meta overall, though the new Sun Disc landmark card will surely give Shuriman decks a late-game boost once it's fully restored and proceeds to draw and level up Ascendant.

Renekton is one of the new champions coming to Legends of Runeterra.

Riot Games

What is Legends of Runeterra's 2v2 United Front Lab?

With Empires of the Ascended, Riot Games is branching out by introducing new Social Labs. These unique Lab scenarios differ from regular gameplay, and United Front changes up the typical 1v1 format players expect from card games. Instead, two players will have to work together to beat another team on two.

One is on offense and the other is on defense, so 2v2 gameplay slots into Legends of Runeterra's attack and defense phase system very well. Inverse was able to try this Lab early, and it was an impressive and exciting change for a genre that has become fairly stagnant.

It does require a lot of communication to be truly successful, as a bad defensive player can easily sabotage their partner before they can attack. Still, it's worth giving a shot if you have many friends who also play Legends of Runeterra.

What are Legends of Runeterra: Empires of the Ascended's other updates?

Some other additions are coming to this card game as part of the new expansion. These include a Mastery System for champions, which unlocks special borders for your cards the more you use them. If you stick to the same couple of Champions in your decks, this will be a visual indicator of your dedication.

Also, there will be a new Event Pass themed around Empires of the Ascended and Shurima will be available, so you can get some new Emotes and other personalization items. Deck slots will also get expanded from 30 to 50. Every region getting new cards will also get an expansion to its region road, so you have a reason to go back and level them up even if you've completed every one so far.

Legends of Runeterra is available now for iOS and Android.

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