Legends of Runeterra:
Shadows of the Sands (Custom Set)
Create a custom Shurima set of 133 cards - 63 from Shurima and 10 from each other region. I'm looking to go back to my roots that brought me to the Game Design world and create a new card game set to the recently released Legends of Runeterra. The region of Shurima, in particular, is meant to introduce a new style of play to the game that builds upon already existing styles - using spells to summon and buff your own units to push for board control.
What brought me here?
About 12 years ago, I dipped my toe into the world of Game Design without even realizing it. At the age of 10, I started making a card game for my friends and I. It had no name and the cards were just drawn with pencil on small sheets of paper. I remember fondly making my first "cycle." It was known as the "Winged Cycle" and included such masterpieces like "Winged Pyramid" and "Winged Box."
This hobby eventually turned into me making board games through middle and high school, then eventually going to college for Game Design. Card Game design, if you can even call what I did back then "design," was what brought me down this road to where I am today.
Where are we now?
Since I went to college for Game Design, I have focused on Level Design. Yet, I've always had this love for card games. I'm an avid Magic: the Gathering player, and have come in and out of Hearthstone ever since it's release, joining and quitting depending on how much fun I'm having during that set.
I've tried a plethora of other card games as well, but nothing quite matched up to Magic for me. Then, I got into the Legends of Runeterra beta, and I quickly fell in love. After doing some retrospect, I realized that my roots were in card games, and I would love to go back to those roots and design cards for Legends of Runeterra! So this is my crack at it - not to just try and make the set for fun, but also in the hopes that this very set I'm creating will eventually help land me a job on the Legends of Runeterra team.
Shurima is full of mages and monsters-like beings. They have the strong mages such as Tailyah, Azir, and Xerath and the monstrously strong beings, known as the Ascended, such as Nasus and Renekton. And, they even created the Darkin - Aatrox, Varus, and Rhaast (Kayn's scythe). On top of that, they were like the Rome of Runeterra - conquerors of land and sand constantly expanding their empire and becoming the pinnacle of civilizations, only to eventually be destroyed by the hands of Xerath.
And with all that information, where did I land on for the design of the set? Well, 3 different things are at the forefront of the Shuriman lore that I have dived into for the past couple weeks. First, battle and power. Much like Noxus, they are about strength and power, leading me to wanting to push this set to being more offensive. Second is education and learning, since that was a huge part of both Azir and Xerath's lore that lead to their respective rises in power. This lead me to want to push the spells towards this. And third is an undefeated army ready to take down any foe. This lead me to want to push towards board control, as opposed to Noxus's emphasis on pushing for the enemy Nexus.
Put that all together and my design philosophy for Shurima became the following - use spells to buff your army (as opposed to single units) and use those units to push for board dominance. I also wanted to add an extra twist on it though, and what better way to do this than take inspiration from one of the most famous war-based tactical games - Chess? Through this inspiration, I put extra emphasis on board positioning.
Lastly, I decided it would be best to take inspiration from already existing regions in the game. After all, a new region doesn't need to make everything new and completely turn the game on its head. In fact, it shouldn't do that - it should be able to comfortably assimilate with already existing classes and seamlessly fit into and help create other strategies. And so, the two regions I took inspiration from were Demacia and Ionia.
Demacia is, I would say, the pinnacle of regions within the game looking to create board control through strong minions that beat other minions. This is prevalent from how many cards with Challenger they have, which get to attack whichever unit they want, to cards like Detain and Single Combat, which allow your units to take out enemy units. And, many of their spells look to use their own units, though often it's single units of their own. Shurima, however, is looking to buff their whole army and win through their strong army, as opposed to strong duelists.
Ionia is the pinnacle of spell-based control classes. The more spell-focused and control-based decks look to reach late game and play defensive. However, and more particularly with the latest expansion Rising Tides, they have a focus on casting spells often. I wanted to take some of their spell-themed focus and translate it into Shurima as well.
New Mechanic - Piercing
The first mechanic I added for this new set was Piercing. On top of that, I'm developing cards that hit adjacent units when they are attacking, putting more emphasis and decision making on both players when deciding what order to attack with their units. Of course, board positioning already matters when attacking in the game, but I look to push that even more. Also, since piercing only works when they attack and deals their full damage to the enemy on the right of their blocker, this leads piercing to be strongest in decks wanting to attack a lot and buff the power of their units.
These often are going to be more offensive-based decks, pushing Shurima's identity as more offensively-oriented However, unlike the usual aggressive strategy, this translates aggression towards board control to then push for a win. Destroy the opponent's army, then destroy the opponent.
More in progress.....