Legends of Runeterra’s new single-player mode is fan service at its best

Legends of Runeterra is a stunning check out the world of League of Legends, with great deals of world-building at every turn. The champs come with their own supporting casts, prolonged art scenes, and unique mechanics. However at the end of the day, it’s still a competitive card video game — the tradition and art is a supporting function to the core gameplay. The video game’s new single-player mode changes this though; the Path of Champions is a narrative campaign.

The Path of Champions has the player choose one of a few starting characters from League of Legends tradition. While features like the Lab of Legends offered players the ability to go through a single-player roguelike mode, the Path is much more focused on individual stories. None of these are canon; they’re more like fun ‘what if?’ narratives that let the protagonist run wild.

The starting pool of champions includes many familiar faces from the region of Piltover and Zaun, and they’ll each have narrative comics related to their campaigns. Champions from other regions won’t have these comics; they’re a little bonus to run alongside the narratives on Netflix’s Arcane. With Jinx’s campaign, we get to see her confrontations with characters like Caitlyn as she works her away out of Zaun and through Piltover. Every victory earns the protagonist — in this case, Jinx — some more experience points, cards for her deck, and special abilities. Since there’s no balance to worry about (these upgrades don’t carry over into the video game’s PvP modes) the developer can go wild with buffing up the game’s champions.

Each victory makes the hero a little bit stronger, and occasionally the player gets to make choices. “Hmm, do I ransom off Sheriff Caitlyn for some spending money… or do I throw her into prison?” It’s great to be able to build up a character’s arsenal, recruit more friends, and watch them evolve into an overpowered, beastly version of their usual selves.

This is something that makes Legends of Runeterra all the more appealing. Riot has already sunk resources into the game’s card art, lore, and cast. There are plenty of League of Legends players who have been following the card game to learn more about the world, and now Legends of Runeterra can better accommodate that narrative thirst. It’ll be interesting to see how the Path of Champions develops in response to fan feedback. The Path of Champions will be part of Legends of Runeterra’s Patch 2.19, which will be released on Nov. 11, along with brand-new champ Jayce.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.