Legends of Runeterra glossary: What does each keyword mean?

Legends of Runeterra has over two dozen keywords attached to followers, champions and spells. But what do they mean? Many of them you’ve probably encountered in other card games, but some are specific to Legends of Runeterra.

May this keyword glossary be your helpful guide in the colorful world of Runeterra and its card game complexity.

What is Allegiance in Legends of Runeterra?

When you play a card with Allegiance, the effect will trigger if that card and the top card of your deck are of the same faction. Naturally, this works best in one-faction decks, as you’ll guarantee 100% effect trigger.

So far, there’s only one Allegiance card for each faction with Vanguard Bannerman, Kinkou Wayfinder, and Avarosan Outriders among the more powerful ones.

What is Barrier in Legends of Runeterra?

Barrier effects last for one round and will negate the next damage dealt to the follower or champion. As such, it’s best to activate them before combat, so that you soak the damage. If you are playing against Barrier decks, however, try to pop the shield with some light damage before dealing the big one.

Potent cards with Barrier include Shen and Lux champions, as well as the Ki Guardian cantrip.

What is Burst in Legends of Runeterra?

You will find the Burst keyword on spells. Burst ensures that the spell effect will resolve immediately and the enemy can’t react to it by playing another spell in response, or trying to Deny it.

There are a lot of great Burst spells in Legends of Runeterra, such as the powerful card draw Progress Day, or the Ephemeral buff Mark of the Isles.

What is Challenger in Legends of Runeterra?

Units with Challenger can choose which units to block them during your attack phase. You can use this to either snipe weak units of your opponent, or prevent unfavorable blocks, opening the gates for more effective damage delivery.

Braum and Thresh are great examples of Challenger cards, but Fleetfeather Tracker and Rimefang Wolf are two other cards that you will see played in a lot of decks.

What is Double Attack in Legends of Runeterra?

In normal Runeterra battles, units strike each other at the same time. But there are exceptions if one unit has Quick Attack (see below) or Double Attack. Units with double attack strike twice: once, before the enemy unit; and again when the two units strike each other simultaneously.

So far, Lucian and Senna are the only two cards with Double Attack after they level up.

What is Drain in Legends of Runeterra?

This one is very simple to understand. When a card with Drain deals damage, it heals your Nexus for that much. So when Grasp of the Undying deals 3 damage to a unit, it restores 3 back to your Nexus.

What is Elusive in Legends of Runeterra?

Elusive units are unblockable by any other unit that also doesn’t have the Elusive keyword. It’s one of the most powerful keywords in Legends of Runeterra and you can see it on strong champions like Ezreal but also big bombs like The Empyrean or Jae Medarda.

What is Enlightened in Legends of Runeterra?

Players become Enlightened when they reach the maximum number of 10 spell crystals, not counting the up to 3 spell mana you can store each turn. It’s a late game mechanic which often empowers mid game units like Emerald Awakener or Feral Mystic.

The new Anivia will also level up if you’re Enlightened, unlike her previous iteration.

What is Ephemeral in Legends of Runeterra?

Ephemeral is a unit keyword that “kills” the unit if one of two conditions are met: the unit strikes something, or the round ends. Ephemeral units usually have great stats for their mana cost to compensate for their fleeting lives, and make the core for some of the best decks in Runeterra.

Look to Shadow Fiend, Shark Chariot and the effects of Zed and Hecarim for some great Ephemeral units.

What is Fast in Legends of Runeterra?

Like Burst and Slow (see below), Fast is another keyword that defines spells. Like Burst, Fast spells can be played at any time, but unlike Burst, they still allow the opponent to respond.

Already there are over 30 fast spells in Legends of Runeterra, ranging from removal spells, to card draw, to counter-spell effects.

What is Fearsome in Legends of Runeterra?

Fearsome units are scary (duh!), so that only big units dare oppose them. Fearsome units can only be blocked by enemies with 3+ Attack. You will find the keyword on small followers like Precious Pet, to powerful late-game units like Commander Ledros or a level 2 Tryndamere.

What is Fleeting in Legends of Runeterra?

Fleeting is basically Ephemeral for spells. Fleeting spells disappear from your hand at the end of your turn, so make sure you play them before that. Think of Ezreal‘s Mystic Shots as the best example.

What is Frostbite in Legends of Runeterra?

When a unit with Frostbite hits another unit, the victim has its Attack reduced to 0 until the end of the turn. While this number can be buffed after, most of the time a Frostbitten unit won’t deal damage that turn.

Ashe, Flash Freeze and Rimetusk Shaman are three of the core cards for Frostbite decks, combined with the Rimefang Wolf, who eats Frostbitten units for breakfast!

What is Last Breath in Legends of Runeterra?

Last Breath effects trigger upon the unit’s death, but only its death. Last Breath will not trigger if the unit is recalled, detained, or obliterated (see below).

Staple Last Breath units include Avarosan Sentry for card draw; Cursed Keeper for summoning new units; and The Undying for persistent units that grow bigger every time they die.

What is Lifesteal in Legends of Runeterra?

Lifesteal is the unit variant of the Drain keyword for spells. When a Lifesteal unit deals damage to anything, its Nexus is healed for this amount of life.

What is Nexus Strike in Legends of Runeterra?

Nexus Strike effects occur when the unit or spell deals damage directly to the enemy Nexus. There aren’t many such cards in Runeterra, but the ones that exist are quite powerful, including the Elusive Ezreal and the very (very!) annoying Teemo.

What is Obliterate in Legends of Runeterra?

Obliterate is the worst thing that can happen to a card. Obliterated units are completely removed from the game: they cannot be revived and their Last Breath effects do not trigger.

The only card with Obliterate so far is She Who Wanders: a powerful late game minion that tramples all life!

What is Overwhelm in Legends of Runeterra?

When two units attack each other during combat, if the attacking units has Overwhelm, it will carry all excess damage from killing the blocker onto the enemy Nexus.

An example: a 6 Attack unit with Overwhelm attacks a 3 Health unit that is defending. It will use 3 of its Attack to kill the defender and deal the other 3 to the enemy Nexus.

Most Overwhelm cards have high attack power, with Tryndamere being the king of them all.

What is Quick Attack in Legends of Runeterra?

In combat, units with Quick Attack will deal damage before units without. Units with Quick Attack will benefit from the effect only if they are the attackers and not the blockers and if they kill the blocker first, they won’t deal their own damage.

Lucian, Senna, Draven, Jinx, and Katarina are all champions with Quick Attack.

What is Recall in Legends of Runeterra?

When you Recall a unit, you return it to its owners hand. Although the unit is not lost forever and can be played again, it loses all buffs and debuffs on it and its Last Breath effects don’t trigger.

Will of Ionia and the eponymous Recall spells are prime example of the mechanic and you can combine them with Yasuo to build powerful tempo decks that constantly bounce threats back to their owners’ hands.

What is Regeneration in Legends of Runeterra?

Unit damage in Legends of Runeterra doesn’t heal up like in Magic: The Gathering… unless the unit has Regeneration. In this case, it will restore all its hit points at the start of each round, ready to continue fighting in full strength.

Braum and Garen are the premier Regeneration cards in Runeterra.

What is Slow in Legends of Runeterra?

Slow spells are the third type of spells after Burst and Fast. You can cast Slow spells only outside of combat and you cannot cast them as a response to other spells or effects.

Because of their clunkiness, Slow spells usually have more powerful effects. Think Avalanche, Dawn and Dusk, The Ruination, The Harrowing, etc.

What is Stun in Legends of Runeterra?

Stunned units cannot fight. A stunned unit cannot attack or block and if it’s in combat, it gets removed out of it immediately. The effect lasts until the end of the round.

Champions like Yasuo like units getting stunned and you can do it with cards like Arachnoid Sentry, Guile or Yone Windchaser.

What is Support in Legends of Runeterra?

Support is the only mechanic in Legends of Runeterra which checks where units are positioned on the board. Units with Support don’t buff themselves, but the ally on their right and the effect triggers if the Supporting unit is attacking.

This way, Shen can give Barriers to his allies, and Herald of Spring can grant them Lifesteal.

What is Tough in Legends of Runeterra?

Tough units are harder to kill as they reduce all incoming damage by 1. It doesn’t sound like much, but unless you have big sources of damage and instead rely on multiple spells/attacks to kill something, getting past the Tough keyword can be a problem.

Tough is a typical Demacian keyword and you’ll see it on Vanguard Defender, Vanguard Cavalry and Tianna Crownguard.