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Legends of Runeterra cards: keywords, effects, and abilities

Looking to find out what the cards are in Legends of Runeterra? From basic cards to creatures - we've got you covered


After the Legends of Runeterra card effects and abilities? Sometimes your opponents will play a card, and you end up dead. Don’t worry, we got you. This is a guide to the Legends of Runeterra card effects we’ve discovered so far- when you might need to watch out for them and sometimes what they mean in relation to other card games you might have played.

So, what are these so called Legends of Runeterra card effects in the first place? That’s not their official name, however it’s the best way we can think of describing them. Effects can happen when you place a card down, an ally dies, an enemy dies, pretty much in a whole manner of ways. There are reactive and passive effects, and if you aren’t paying attention to the text at the bottom of another player’s card, it can mean life or death.

This guide won’t take you through the Legends of Runeterra champion’s effects or the Legends of Runeterra tier list, because they deserve a whole guide on their own, but more the keywords and phrases when playing Legends of Runeterra cards you should be looking out for as you battle your enemies.

Legends of Runeterra cards: basic text keywords

Words you’ll see in the main body of text below a unit’s name. These are normal conditions and can be fairly passive in some cases.

  • Play: When you play this card, this effect will happen
  • Attack: When this card attacks, this effect will happen
  • Level Up: Specific to champions. When these conditions are fulfilled, the card levels up, a nice animation occurs, and a new ability is in play
  • Last Breath: The equivalent of a Hearthstone deathrattles. As this card perishes, this effect will happen
  • Stun: Targets an opponent to stun, which renders them useless for the next round
  • Recall: Reclaim a card you have played. Be aware that this card will be face up in your hand so your opponent will still be able to see if even if it isn’t in play
  • To play…: In order to play this card, fulfill its requirements
  • Lifesteal: The attacking card will gain the amount of life they take from the other card. For example your unit does three damage, and in return receives three health
  • Frostbite: You set an enemy’s power (attack)to zero for the rest of the round. After the round, it will return
  • Enlightened: When you have ten max mana
  • Fleeting: These cards are literally fleeting. They will disappear from your hand once the round ends.
  • Weakest / Strongest: defined by the power level of the cards. If you unit will attack the weakest unit on the board, it will attack the one with the lowest power level.
  • Nexus Strike: A trigger which does off when attacking a nexus directly, mostly associated with the Piltover & Zaun champions
  • Obliterate: Completely remove from play. Not even resurrection will save it, and last breath doesn’t activate.
  • Allegiance: When summoned, this will activate. If the next card in your deck is of the same region, this effect comes into play.


Legends of Runeterra cards: big keywords

The big bold words with symbols underneath a unit’s name. They grant the unit special abilities.

  • Challenger: The equivalent of Magic’s Provoke action. Player chooses which enemy card blocks this attack
  • Fearsome: Unit can only be blocked by another unit with three or more power
  • Can’t Block: Does what it says on the tin. When on the defence, you can’t use this card to block another card
  • Quick Attack: Unit can attack instantly
  • Barrier: Negates the first damage the unit would have taken. Lasts one round
  • Tough: This unit will take one less damage from opposing units
  • Overwhelm: Any excess damage dealt to an opposing unit, is dealt to the enemy Nexus
  • Regeneration: Unit recovers all health at the end of the round
  • Ephemeral: The unit will die at the end of the round, or after it strikes


Legends of Runeterra cards: creature classifications

These are the classifications used to categorise some cards into groups. So far we have:

  • Elite
  • Spider
  • Poro
  • Elnuk
  • Tech

These card groups lead to synergies. Best example is the card ‘Troop of Elnuks’ which summons all the Elnuks you have in the top ten cards of your deck, creating a lot of value.


There are three types of spells that appear in Legends of Runeterra. Each can be played in different situations and even counteracted by your opponent.

  • Fast: Cast before, during or after combat, and can be reacted to with fast or burst spells. They do count as a turn however.
  • Slow: Cast be cast before or after combat but can be responded to by your opponent. Much like playing a unit.
  • Burst: Immediate spells, and often buffs. Don’t count as a turn and cannot be reacted to.

Before you master the keywords on Legends of Runeterra cards, check out our guide on how to play Legends of Runeterra before you dive into the Legends of Runeterra open beta. If you want to put your Legends of Runeterra cards to good use, check out the best Legends of Runeterra decks to get you started as well as all the Legends of Runeterra regions they belong to.