Keywords and Game Vocab | Legends of Runeterra

This page covers all the terminology that is used in Legends of Runeterra.

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Positive Keywords

These keywords are "positive" in that they buff units. Units can have multiple keywords.

Keyword Definition

lor-keyword-augment.png Augment

Units with Augment gain +1|+0 whenever they see you play a created card.

lor-keyword-barrier.png Barrier

Barrier negates the next damage the unit would take. Lasts one round. (In other words, lasts only that round the unit is summoned or the Barrier is given.)
  • Barrier doesn't stack.
  • Drain and Lifesteal won't heal the ally Nexus when targeting or striking a unit with Barrier.
  • Overwhelm: Barrier doesn't prevent Overwhelm damage to the defender’s Nexus.
    • Example: If you are blocking a 3|1 Overwhelm unit with a 1|1 Barrier unit, the damage allocated to the Barrier unit would be negated, but the Nexus will take the allocated other 2 damage.

lor-keyword-challenger.png Challenger

When attacking, Challenger units can choose which enemy unit blocks them, forcing enemy units into combat.
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  • Challenger is capable of overruling keywords like Can't Block, Immobile, Stunned, or Elusive, forcing units with those keywords to block.

lor-keyword-deep.png Deep

You are Deep when your deck has 15 or fewer cards remaining. When that happens, ally cards with the Deep keyword gain +3|+3.

Not generatable: When a card generates a random keyword, it cannot generate Deep.

lor-keyword-double-attack.png Double Attack

When attacking, a Double Attack unit strikes both before AND at the same time as its blocker.

Not generatable: When a card generates a random keyword, it cannot generate Double Attack.

lor-keyword-elusive.png Elusive

Elusive units can only be blocked by other Elusive units.
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  • Challengers can force Elusive units to block. Likewise, an Elusive unit with Challenger can force a non-Elusive unit to block.
  • Some spells can swap the positions of units in combat. If such a spell is cast, a non-Elusive unit could end up blocking an Elusive unit.
  • Giving a unit Elusive after it’s already been blocked won’t undo the block.

lor-keyword-evolve.png Evolve

You've Evolved once you've seen 6+ unique positive keywords in play among allies this game. Units with the Evolve keyword gain +2|+2.

Not generatable: When a card generates a random keyword, it cannot generate Evolve.

lor-keyword-fated.png Fated

Each round, the first time a unit with Fated is targeted by an ally, the Fated unit is granted +1|+1. Targeted cards must be in play—targeting cards in your hand does not count towards Fated.

lor-keyword-fearsome.png Fearsome

Fearsome units can only be blocked by units with 3+ Power.
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  • Fearsome units with Challenger can choose to pull lower powered units.
  • Fearsome units with less than 3 Power are still scared of other Fearsome units and cannot block them.

lor-keyword-formidable.png Formidable

Formidable units strike with their Health instead of their power.

Not generatable: When a card generates a random keyword, it cannot generate Formidable.

lor-keyword-fury.png Fury

Units with Fury are granted +1|+1 when they kill an enemy unit.

lor-keyword-hallowed.png Hallowed

When allies attack, give your leftmost ally +1|+0 for each Hallowed ally that died this game.
  • You can check your Hallowed tally by tapping your deck.

Not generatable: When a card generates a random keyword, it cannot generate Hallowed.

lor-keyword-impact.png Impact

When a card with Impact strikes while attacking, it deals 1 to the enemy Nexus. This keyword can stack.

lor-keyword-lifesteal.png Lifesteal

When a unit with Lifesteal strikes, the ally Nexus gains Health equal to that unit's Power.
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  • Barrier: Units with Lifesteal will not heal their ally Nexus when striking a unit with Barrier, or if the blocker is removed. (See Barrier for other unique keyword interactions.)

lor-keyword-lurk.png Lurk

If a card with Lurk is the top card of your deck when an ally unit with Lurk attacks, grant Lurker allies everywhere +1|+0. Max once per round.

Not generatable: When a card generates a random keyword, it cannot generate Lurk.

lor-keyword-overwhelm.png Overwhelm

If the Power of an attacking unit with Overwhelm exceeds the defending unit’s Health, the excess damage goes to the defender's Nexus.
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  • When removing blockers: Normally when a blocker is removed, the attacker receives and deals no damage. However, If an attacking unit with Overwhelm has its blocker removed, all the damage goes through to the Nexus.
  • Barrier: Barrier doesn't prevent Overwhelm damage to the defender’s Nexus.
    • Example: If you are blocking a 3|1 Overwhelm unit with a 1|1 Barrier unit, the damage allocated to the Barrier unit would be negated, but the Nexus will take the allocated other 2 damage.
  • Overwhelm is only active when attacking (not when defending).

lor-keyword-quick-attack.png Quick Attack

Quick Attack units strike first when attacking. If the blocker dies before it can strike back, the attacking Quick Attack unit comes out of combat unscathed. If the blocker survives the attack, it strikes.
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  • Example: If a 3|1 Quick Attack unit is attacking, and it’s blocked by a 5|3 unit, the blocker dies as the Quick Attack strikes and deals its 3 damage first. With its blocker dead and unable to strike back, the Quick Attack unit comes out of battle unscathed.
  • Quick Attack is only active when attacking (not when defending).

lor-keyword-regeneration.png Regeneration

Units with Regeneration heal to their max Health at round start.

lor-keyword-scout.png Scout

When you attack with only Scout units, you "ready your attack," meaning you will immediately regain the attack token after your Scout units attack.

Scout works only once per round.

Not generatable: When a card generates a random keyword, it cannot generate Scout.

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  • When you attack with only Scout units, your attack token is overlaid with the Scout icon so you know you're readying your attack.
    lor-scout-attack-overlay.png
  • Scout is only available when attacking (not when defending).

lor-keyword-spellshield.png SpellShield

SpellShield negates the next enemy spell or skill that would affect the unit.
  • SpellShield doesn't stack.
  • A shield protects one time only, so multi-target spells will still affect anyone who exhausts their SpellShield with the first spell.

lor-keyword-tough.png Tough

Tough units take 1 less damage from any and all sources (while attacking, while blocking, from spells, etc).
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  • Barrier: Tough is “under the Barrier." A Barrier will block damage and get removed before Tough comes into play to reduce the damage. So if a unit has Barrier and Tough, and you hit it with 1 damage, the Barrier will be destroyed.

Negative Keywords

These keywords are "negative" in that they generally have a debuffing effect on units.

Keyword Definition

lor-keyword-CantBlock.png Can't Block

You can’t declare these units as blockers.
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  • Challenger units can force Can't Block units to block.
  • Can't Block units can be given Vulnerable and be forced to block.

lor-keyword-captured.png Captured

A Captured card is removed from the game. It returns to the board when the Capturing unit leaves play.
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  • The captured card can trigger summoning effects when brought back to the board. This action will also remove debuffs and damage on the captured unit.

lor-keyword-ephemeral.png Ephemeral

Ephemeral units die when they strike or when the round ends.

lor-keyword-fleeting.png Fleeting

Fleeting cards discard from your hand at round end.

lor-keyword-frostbite.png Frostbite

Sets a unit's Power to 0 until the end of the round. When a unit is frostbitten, it can still be buffed to gain Power through spells and effects that round.

lor-keyword-immobile.png Immobile

Immobile units can't attack or block.
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  • Challenger units can force Immobile units to block.
  • Immobile units can be given Vulnerable and be forced to block.

lor-keyword-silenced.png Silenced

Removes all keywords, abilities, and ongoing positive and negative effects.

Doesn't affect damage (Power or Health) or subtype.

lor-keyword-stunned.png Stunned

Stunned units are removed from combat, and they can’t attack or block this round.
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  • Stunned units can still attack through the use of spells or abilities.
  • Challenger units can force Stunned units to block.
  • Stunned units can be given Vulnerable and be forced to block.

lor-keyword-vulnerable.png Vulnerable

A unit that is Vulnerable means that any enemy unit can challenge it, forcing it to block.


Game Vocab: Activated Effects and Triggered Abilities

Abilities or effects that activate or trigger when some condition is met.

Special interactions:

  • When a trigger has a lor-skill.pngSkill icon, enemies can react when the trigger is executed.
Keyword Definition

Allegiance

When summoned, if the top card in your deck matches the region of the summoned unit, do the effect.

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  • Example: If you summon Basilisk Rider and Darius is at the top of your deck, because they are both from the Noxus region, your Basilisk Rider will receive its Allegiance effect: It gains +1|+1 and Overwhelm.

Attach lor-keyword-attach.png

Play an Attach unit on an ally to give it the Attaching unit's stats and keywords. When the ally leaves play, the Attach unit is returned to hand.
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  • A unit can have only one lor-keyword-attach.pngAttach unit or lor-keyword-equipment.pngEquipment at a time. Attaching to a unit that already has an Attachment or Equipment will return the previous Attach unit or Equipment to the player's hand, and remove the associated stats/keywords that were being given by that card.
  • You can choose to play Attach units attached to an ally or placed on the board by like a normal unit.
    lor-attach-unit-choice.png

Attack

When the unit attacks, do the effect.
  • Attacking with the attack token, free attack, Scout, and Rally all count.
  • Cards that command to "strike each other" do not count as an attack.

Attack Strike

When the unit strikes when attacking, do the effect.

Attune lor-keyword-attune.png

When summoned, units with Attune refill one spell mana.

Auto-Equip

Automatically equips the specified equipment from hand or play when summoned, creating it first if needed. If a unit already is already equipped, the previous equipment returns to hand. 

Countdown

When the countdown reaches 0: Triggers an effect, then the card self destructs.

Counts down 1 at Round Start.

Daybreak & Day

If it's the first card you play in a round, do the effect.
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  • When the Daybreak effect is available on cards in your hand, you’ll see a sun icon atop those cards.
  • Special card: When Rahvun, Daylight's Spear is on the board, it is perpetual Day for allies: The Daybreak bonus activates for any Daybreak cards you play as long as Rahvun, Daylight's Spear remains on the board. (Nightfall cards still get their effect when it's Day, as long as it's not the first card played.)
    • Just because it’s Day on your board, doesn’t mean it’s the same for your opponent, and vice versa.
  • See also: Nightfall (similar thematically)

Enlightened

When you have 10 max mana gems, do the effect.

Flow

If you played 2 or more spells or skills last round, do the effect.

Last Breath lor-keyword-last-breath__2_.png

When the unit dies, do the effect. 

Level Up

Champions level up when their unique level-up condition is met.
  • "I've": Applies to that instance of the champion. For example, if you level up Vi ("I've struck for 10+ Damage"), and then that Vi dies, the next time a Vi is summoned, that instance will need to strike for 10+ damage again to level up.
  • "You've": This means you as the player this game, so the level up condition doesn't depend on an instance of a champion. For example, Ahri levels up when you, the player, have recalled 6+ units this game. If she dies, next time you summon Ahri, she'll be summoned as her leveled-up version because her game-wide condition is still true.

Nexus Strike

When a unit strikes the enemy Nexus, do the effect.

For a unit to strike the Nexus, it must attack unblocked or use abilities like Overwhelm that allow it to damage the enemy Nexus.

Note: Impact does not trigger Nexus Strike.

Nightfall & Night

Triggers an ability when played if it's not the first card you play in a round.
  • Attacking with the attack token, free attack, Scout, and Rally all count.
  • Cards that command to "strike each other" do not count as an attack.
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  • When the Nightfall effect is available on cards in your hand, you’ll see a moon icon atop those cards.
  • See also: Daybreak (similar thematically)

Origin

Regionless Runeterran champions each have a unique origin, which acts as a region. (Your deck can contain 2 total regions and/or origins.) Review the Runeterran champion's origin informational card to learn what cards you add to your deck at deckbuilding time.
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  • Origins can have unique effects during or before the game. (For example, Bard's origin, The Wandering Caretaker, has a Round Start effect.)
  • Origin-as-region example: Kayn's origin, The Shadow Reaper, allows you to put any Cultist cards into your deck during deckbuilding. So for example, you could put all of these Cultist cards into your Kayn deck if you wanted to–even though there are 5 regions listed here–because his origin allows you to.
    lor-cultist-card-sampling.png

Play

To trigger a unit's Play trigger, it has to be played from hand to trigger its special effects. (So, creating or reviving a card that has a Play effect won't trigger its effect because the card wasn't played from hand–that is, dragged from your hand to the board.)

Plunder

If you damaged the enemy Nexus this round, do the effect.

Reputation

Reputation activates when your allies have struck for 5+ damage at least 4 times during a game.

Round End

At the end of each round, do the effect.

Round Start

At the start of each round, do the effect.

Skill lor-skill.png

A unit's spell-like effect that allows enemy reactions.

Strike

When the unit strikes an enemy unit or the enemy Nexus, do the effect. (Striking happens when a unit deals damage using its Power. Units with 0 Power can't Strike.)

If it succeeds in dealing damage, it has struck.

Support

When attacking, Support units give the ally to their right a special effect or ability that round. 
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  • For example, Young Witch's Support trigger gives her supported ally (ally to her right) Quick Attack and +1|+0 that round.
    lor-support-ui-hint.png


Game Vocab: Actions

These terms have specific actions in Legends of Runeterra.

Term Definition

Advance

Progress a Countdown Landmark by X amount.

Blade Dance

Start a free attack with X many summoned Blades.

Drain

Heal your Nexus for the amount of damage dealt.
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  • Barrier: If you attempt to drain a unit with an active Barrier, you will not do damage to the unit nor heal your Nexus.

Forge

Grant an ally +1|+1. If the ally is equipped, grant it to their equipment instead.

Free Attack

Declare an attack with the specified card(s). The cards are moved to the attack position on the board, and can trigger Attack effects.
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  • Note: Free Attack is different from cards that just say to strike an enemy. A card that says "strike each other" (Example: Single Combat) can trigger Strike effects, but does not count as an Attack, and doesn't trigger any Attack effects.

Improvise

Equip a random equipment from a depleting pool of equipment. If the unit was played from hand, you can choose from two random equipment from the pool.
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The starting pool of improvised weaponry consists of the following 2-cost cards:
  • Combat Reel
    +2|+1, Attack: Gain 1 spell mana
  • Fishawhack
    +2|+0, Overwhelm
  • Pan O' Pain
    +2|+0, Tough
  • Pot O' Pain
    +1|+2, Impact
  • Sandworn Amulet
    +2|+0, Fearsome
  • Shepherd's Authority
    +3|+2, Can't Block
  • Fix-Em 5000
    +2|+0, Quick Attack
  • Upcycled Rake
    +1|+0, Scout
When only one card remains, the pool refills.

Invoke

Create in hand 1 of 3 randomly selected Celestials.

Manifest

Create in hand 1 of 3 randomly selected cards.

Nab

Draw a non-champion card from the bottom of the enemy deck.

Obliterate

Remove from the game completely. Doesn't cause Last Breath and can't be revived.
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  • Units that are Obliterated aren't slain and haven't died. They're just gone.
  • Obliterated units aren’t included in or affected by effects that hit “everywhere.”

Predict

Pick 1 of 3 cards from your deck. Shuffle the deck and put that card on top. (Unpicked cards are reshuffled into your deck.)

Rally

If you don't have the attack token, get an attack token.
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  • This is the only time you might see an attack token on both sides of the board. In this example, the enemy had the attack token, then we played Golden Aegis, which gave us an attack token, allowing us to attack this round.
    lor-rally-attack-token.png

Recall

Return a unit to hand and remove all effects applied to it. This includes any given or granted buffs, debuffs, or bonuses.

Reforge

Create 1 of 3 random Blade Fragments still needed to restore the Blade of Exile. Once you've played all 3, create the Blade of the Exile.

Spawn

For each Spawn: Summon a 1|1 Tentacle, or if you already have one, grant your strongest Tentacle +1|+1.

Toss

Obliterate X non-champion cards from the bottom of your deck. This is especially useful when you're trying to go Deep.

Types of Spells

The spell types and their speed in gameplay. 

Spell Type When you can play it

lor-spell-burst.png Burst

  • Can be played whenever you may act and in reaction to enemy skills and Fast and Slow spells.
  • Resolves instantly and allows you to continue to play other cards.

lor-spell-fast.png Fast

  • Can be played whenever you may act and in reaction to enemy skills and Fast and Slow spells.
  • Resolves after your opponent has a chance to react.

lor-spell-focus.png Focus

  • Cannot be played during combat or when other spells or skills are pending.
  • Resolves instantly and allows you to continue to play other cards.

lor-spell-slow.png Slow

  • Cannot be played during combat or when other spells or skills are pending.
  • Resolves after your opponent has a chance to react.

Basic Terminology

Other terms that have specific meaning in LoR.

Term Definition

Allies

Allies refer to your units. 

Board

Where your cards are in play.

Behold

You behold something if you have it in play or in hand.

Buffs/Bonuses

Positive keywords, increased stats (Power or Health), and other given/granted positive effects of a unit.

Cost

Mana cost to play a card.

Draw

Putting a card from your deck into your hand.

Enemies

Enemies refer to your opponent's units. 

Everywhere

In play, in hand, in deck, in discard, and even if created or summoned later.
  • Obliterated units are not included in "Everywhere"

Foe

Your opponent in The Path of Champions, LoR's PVE adventure mode.

Give

Temporarily gives increased stats or buffs for that round only.

Grant

Permanently grants increased stats or buffs.

  • Note: If the unit is Recalled, it loses any buffs/debuffs/bonuses and comes back as its original self when summoned.

Health

Your unit's defense stat. This is the number on the lower right of the card. Damage to your Health persists to future rounds. Here are some ways that you can replenish a unit's Health:
  • Regeneration
  • Recalling the unit restores the unit back to its original stats (removing any buffs and debuffs) when it returns to hand.
  • Spells and effects that heal

Kill (Died)

Units die when they're removed from the board via combat, spells, or abilities. This includes self-killing units like Ephemeral units.

Note: Obliterated units aren't considered dead/killed or slain; they're completely removed from the game.

Mana gems

You summon cards by paying the cost of the card with mana gems or spell gems. See Let's Talk About Mana. Mana gems incrementally unlock as you progress through rounds (start: 1, max: 10), and refill at round start.

New

Something is new when it's the first of its kind you play this game. A new region is a region you haven't played yet this game. A new card is a card you haven't played yet this game.

Nexus

You and your opponent each have your own Nexus. You win the game by being the first to get the enemy's Nexus down to (or below) zero.

Play

Playing a card means dragging it from your hand to the board.

Power

Your unit's damage-dealing stat. This is the number on the lower left of the card.

Region

Every card (including spells, landmarks, and equipment) in Legends of Runeterra has one or more regions. Your deck can include cards from up to two regions*.

Special regions:

  • Multi-region cards can become either of its listed regions.
  • *Runeterran champions each have a unique Origin, which acts as a region. (Your deck can contain up to two regions and/or origins.) Review the Runeterran champion's Origin informational card to learn what cards you add to your deck at deckbuilding time.

Slay (Slain)

Slain is more narrowly specific than Died. A unit is slain when it's killed via spells/skills/effects/abilities or by striking with another unit. (Self-killing, like from Ephemeral, doesn't count.)

Stats

A unit's Power and Health stats.

Strongest

The strongest unit is the one with the highest Power.

See Tiebreaker Rule.

Subtype

At the top of some units (or at the bottom of some spells), there will be a word, like Cultist, Poro, or Lurker.

That means the unit is a subtype, which primes it for synergistic buffs with spells and units that interact with that subtype.

Weakest

The weakest unit is the one with the lowest Power.

See Tiebreaker Rule.

Types of Cards

Card Type Description

Unit

Units are champions or followers you can summon onto your board. They have Power and Health and can be used to attack your opponent's Nexus.
  • Champions level up when they meet their level up condition.
  • Followers do not level up.

Spell

Spell cards exhaust when you play them. You can play certain spells on your turn, in reaction to spells or skills cast by your opponent, or during combat phase, depending on the spell type.

Landmark lor-landmark.png

Landmarks are special places of power throughout Runeterra that you can bring to your board. They take up a space on your board and they can't attack, block, or take damage.

While they are in play, some landmarks have a persistent aura or conditional effects, while others have effects that trigger once their countdown is fulfilled.

Landmarks are removed by:

  • Fulfilling their countdown
  • Recalling them (Example: Homecoming)
  • Destroying them (Example: Aftershock)

Equipment lor-keyword-equipment.png

Equip to a unit to grant the listed bonuses for as long as the equipment remains equipped. If the unit leaves play, the equipment returns to hand. Each equipment can be played at most once per round.
  • Units can have only one Attach unit or Equipment at a time. Equipping a unit that already has an Attachment or Equipment will return the previous Attach unit or Equipment to the player's hand.

Boon

A type of created effect card. A boon attaches to another card in the ally's deck. When that card is drawn, the boon card's (typically beneficial) effect activates.

Trap

A type of created effect card. A trap attaches to another card in an enemy deck. When that card is drawn, the trap card's (typically damaging) effect activates.
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