The Elder Scrolls: Legends already stands apart thanks to its unique setting, but the expansive lore and rich history of The Elder Scrolls isn’t enough to make a truly standout strategy card game. Legends also distinguishes itself with exciting tweaks to the strategy card game formula, including the addition of lanes, card training and Prophecy cards, which can abruptly tip the scales in your favor if your deck is stacked right. Here’s a look at how these three factors contribute to make Legends a competitive card game like none other.
Stay in Your Lane
In Legends, the play mat is split into two lanes, which immediately opens up a new world of choice. Will you place your creature in the same lane as one of your opponent’s creatures, and risk them attacking and destroying your card? Or will you place it in an empty lane, allowing your card to survive a bit longer, but possibly putting yourself at greater risk by spreading your offensive and defensive capabilities?
“Just that simple choice of deciding which lane to put your cards in is not only fun for you,” explains Paul Dennen, Creative Director at Legends developer Dire Wolf Digital, “but it also avoids that problem of the person having control of the board and you having to just hand your cards over to be destroyed. If you have control over one lane, I can choose to play my creature in another lane. I can start to win in another lane.”
And then there are lane effects to consider. In many battles, one of the lanes provides a round of protection for each newly placed card, called Cover. While in Cover, a card cannot be attacked until your next turn, allowing you a chance to strike first, either at other cards in the same lane or at your foe directly. “Direct attacking games are great in that they’re kinetic and intuitive, but it can be a bummer to play creatures that are easily destroyed before they ever attack,” Dennen says. “The two-lane system has more feel-good opportunities, especially with the Cover lane.”
Cover isn’t the only lane effect you’ll encounter. In the campaign and the Arena you might find yourself on a field where one of the lanes has a fun effect. For example, creatures in one lane might be granted a random item, or maybe you’ll encounter a graveyard lane where the dead will rise again as Skeletons.
“There are a lot of other lane effects. They often pop up in order to create an interesting or thematic situation based on the campaign – or in solo Arena, just to throw some wrenches into your gameplay decisions,” adds Dennen.
Every time you lose five health, a rune around your avatar will break and you’ll draw a card from your deck. If that card has the Prophecy ability, you’ll be able to immediately play it for free. Stack your deck with more Prophecy cards to increase your chances of successfully interrupting your opponent’s turn with a potentially game-changing addition to the play mat. Drawing a Guard could stop your challenger from delivering a fatal blow by throwing up a wall between their creatures and you. Or you could draw a helpful Action card that grants you some bonus health.
“There’s certainly luck involved there,” says Dennen. “I might not hit my Prophecies, but at least I had a hand in putting them in my deck. That’s a significant factor.”
But rune shattering doesn’t just give you the chance to interrupt your opponent’s turn. There are some cards that benefit from shattered runes. Take the Morthal Executioner, for example.
When an enemy rune is shattered, the Morthal Executioner gains +2 to attack. Then there’s the Dawnstar Healer, which grants you three health every time an enemy rune is destroyed. Cards that benefit from rune shattering are typically found in Strength and Willpower decks, so you may want to invest there if that fits with your particular strategy.
“The fact that your card flow changes because of the runes is pretty cool,” says Dennen. “It’s not just one card per turn. Even if the card you draw isn’t a Prophecy card that you can immediately play, you’ll still be adding another resource to your hand that you can play on a later turn. We want people to always feel like they are experiencing something new and different.”