Legends of Runeterra, the digital card game spin-off of the incredibly famous and South Korean-slash-China-centric MOBA League of Legends, will be in open beta during this Lunar New Year. Pre-registered players can actually jump into the game right now.

Which means it’s time to address the Baron Nasher in the room: what’s the microtransaction like? Is it similar to other digital card games like Hearthstone? The open beta has a fully-functional cash store with a bunch of currencies to work with. Let’s break it down:

No Booster Packs? No Problem!

Unlike Hearthstone and similar digital card games, Legends of Runeterra doesn’t force you to buy booster packs and hope to randomly receive the card you want. Instead, cards can be purchased directly using either premium currency or resources earned through playing various modes like Expeditions, the prologue, and ranked mode.

Extra Card Equals Extra Shards

One thing worth pointing out is that you can only have three copies of a card in your collection. If you receive a fourth copy of a common or rare card, it will be automatically broken down into Shards. If you receive a fourth copy of an epic or champion card, it will be turned into a different card of the same rarity that you do not already own.

Buying Cards With Shards

Yes, all your Shards can be used to buy individual cards, similar to Hearthstone’s Dust system. Apart from breaking down cards into shards, you can also acquire this resource by completing quests or from a weekly chest called the Vault. Here’s the cost breakdown:

  • Champion cards – 3,000 shards
  • Epic cards – 1,200 shards
  • Rare cards – 300 shards
  • Common cards – 100 shards

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What Are Coins In Legends of Runeterra?

Coins are Legends of Runeterra’s premium currency. Just like in most F2P titles of its ilk, you can only get coins by using real money. You can use Coins either to buy specific cards or on various cosmetics.

Here’s a breakdown in US$:

  • 475 coins – US$5
  • 1000 coins – US$10
  • 2050 coins – US$25
  • 3650 coins – US$40
  • 5450 coins – US$60
  • 11,000 coins – US$125

You Have Wildcard Prices To Factor In

Wildcards come in four rarities: common, rare, epic, and champion. Each wildcard can be redeemed directly for a card of the corresponding rarity. Wildcards can be bought for real money or earned as rewards.

If you are purchasing Wildcards using coins, be aware that you can only buy so many of each rarity a week. This is Riot Games’ attempt to slow down how quickly players can acquire every card in a set and ensure that you always have something to work towards.

Here’s the current price guide for Wildcards:

  • Common Wildcard – 10 coins (maximum purchase of six a week)
  • Rare Wildcard – 30 coins (maximum purchase of six a week)
  • Epic Wildcard – 120 coins (maximum purchase of three a week)
  • Champion Wildcard – 300 coins (maximum purchase of three a week)

There’s A Starter Bundle If You’re Feeling Generous…

This bundle contains 66 cards, 11 from each Region (LoR’s deck types) and costs 1800 coins. It’s currently on sale for 75 percent off, however, and can be purchased for 475 coins.

This seems like a no-brainer to any beginning player, especially while it’s on sale. But really, it’s up to you if you feel like contributing to Riot Games’ next F2P venture.

You Can Buy Cosmetics Using Coin

One of the main cosmetics you can purchase in Legends of Runeterra are the boards that matches are played on. Using a specific board will change the appearance of your side of the arena. There are six boards of varying styles and costs 990 coins each.

The other main cosmetic you can purchase are Guardians, who sit on your board and look cute; nothing more. There are four different guardians, with each of them costs 590 coins.

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You Can Get Shards and Wildcards Without Paying A Single Cent

Basically, just play the heck out of the game every single day. Again, just like in an F2P title on your phone. Here’s how:

  • The Weekly Vault: This chest is redeemed once per week but levels up based on how much you play that week, increasing the value of its rewards.
  • Daily Quests: Each day you’ll receive a new quest with a specific objective like casting spells or winning with a certain deck type. Quests reward experience points to help level up your Weekly Vault.
  • Expeditions: This is Legends of Runeterra’s draft mode, which rewards a variety of resources based on well you do.
  • Prologue: This is a one-time set of rewards you earn when you first start playing Legends of Runeterra. To complete each step of the prologue and earn the associated reward all you have to do is earn XP by playing games and completing quests.

Is This System Fair?

Even at an early stage, Legends of Runeterra feels generous. Here’s why:

  • There are no booster packs filled with random cards.
  • You can buy the exact card you want, either with premium currency or crafting resources.
  • You have a variety of ways to earn in-game resources to craft new cards through quests and the Weekly Vault.
  • Extra copies of Epic and Champion cards are converted to a different card of the same quality instead of Shards.
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