For those who want to try online card games for the first time, the first question would usually be, “which online card game is good?” This is a valid question since online card games require players to invest a ton of their time to gather, create, perfect, and master their desks. So when it comes to popular online card games, two titles come to mind: Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra (LoR). These two games have similarities and differences, so let’s take a look at these and determine which is the better option for newcomers.
Origins and Tenure
Both Hearthstone and LoR were developed and published by two of the most well-known gaming companies, Blizzard Entertainment and Riot Games respectively. It is worth mentioning that these card games were created as supplemental games from their companies’ beloved titles.
Hearthstone is a card game based on Blizzard’s Warcraft universe, while LoR derives from Riot Games’ League of Legends (LoL). Hearthstone and LoR have a strong fan base and community that can help players ease into their respective gameplay. However, Hearthstone has a bigger community than LoR since it’s been out longer. Hearthstone was released back in 2014, while LoR was released just last April 2020.
Hearthstone’s gameplay revolves around deck-building and card collecting. Players will pick a hero from ten different classes and create a deck of thirty cards that they would use to battle opposing players.
Each hero has specific powers and cards that they can use to tilt the combat in their favor. A coin is tossed before the start of a match to determine which player goes first. The first player would then draw three cards from his or her deck, while the second player would draw four.
Each player can choose to replace which of the initial cards they have drawn. Afterward, the turn starts with each player receiving a mana crystal which they can use to play cards. Succeeding turns will give players additional mana crystals—up to a maximum of ten. Players start with 30 health, and the first player to get his opponent’s health down to 0 wins.
Legends of Runeterra employs similar gameplay mechanics, but with some slight variations. Players get to choose between eight regions that each have a number of champions they can add to their forty-card deck. Up to two regions can be combined, and only six champions can be included. Champion cards have powerful abilities that can lay waste to opposing decks. Each player starts with 20 health, and the first one to whittle down their opponent’s health to 0 is the victor.
Game Pace and Flavor
Hearthstone and LoR have relatively quick matches, depending on how well you know your deck. A match usually ends after seven or eight rounds, but if you’re struggling to get your combo out, it is best to surrender the game for the meantime. This way, you can work the kinks out of your deck to make your combos stronger and reliable.
Both games also allow players to be creative with their decks. For digital card collectors, both Hearthstone and LoR boast excellent card designs that have varying depth in terms of lore. This makes collecting them an enjoyable experience since both games draw their cards’ backstories from the original games. That’s Warcraft for Hearthstone and League of Legends (LoL) for LoR.
LoR or Hearthstone: The Verdict
By and large, Hearthstone is an easier card game to learn since players only have two copies of cards on their deck. This makes deck-building a bit more straightforward. Players would just need to determine what kind of deck they want to run, and determine the best combinations to fulfill it. But since its release, Hearthstone has a ton of additional expansions and cards that aren’t readily available for players.
This also means that players who are just starting out might come across older players who have more cards and decks at their disposal. Oftentimes, this can lead to the newer player eating more losses than wins. Newer players can grind their way to get better cards, but this also means trying to keep up with more experienced players in the game.
Conversely, LoR is a relatively new game. While the meta has been steadily shaping up based on current patches, the card base isn’t that overwhelming yet. This means that new players have a big window to learn the basics and figure out which strategy best suits them.
Due to these reasons, LoR is a better entry point for newcomers. They still have the elbow room to experiment with different deck builds without worrying whether they’d get smoked by opponents, or falling off the meta altogether.