Hearthstone vs Legends of Runeterra: Which is Better?

Choosing the Best Collectible Card Game

Hearthstone versus Legends of Runeterra

Collectible card games are a bustling genre in the gaming landscape. Two prime contenders, Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra, are vying for players’ attention. However, the choice isn’t always clear-cut: Hearthstone or Legends of Runeterra? Which one delivers the more satisfying experience? Let’s analyze each aspect in greater detail.

Gameplay

Inspired by the lore-rich Warcraft series, Hearthstone offers turn-based matches between two opponents using pre-assembled decks. The game’s dynamics are simple yet engaging, making it perfect for those who enjoy quick sessions full of strategic decisions. Hearthstone’s wide variety of cards allows for countless deck combinations, promoting creativity in strategy. Collecting the best cards in Hearthstone will give you an edge over opponents.

Gameplay of the Hunter class in Hearthstone

Legends of Runeterra, on the other hand, provides a different approach to gameplay. Although it also features two-player matches, the way the turns are structured diverges from Hearthstone. Players get to react to each other’s actions during a round, leading to dynamic and ever-changing game situations.

Gameplay of Legends of Runeterra
In Legends of Runeterra, there is an attacking phase and a blocking phase

Adding a unique mechanic—Champion cards that evolve as you meet certain conditions—adds an extra layer of depth, turning every match into a nail-biting combination of strategy and foresight.

Card Collection and Progression

The process of card collection is a central element in these games, and both Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra handle it differently. Hearthstone uses a pack system, where players acquire new cards through packs, either purchased with in-game gold or real money. It makes the card collection a game of chance, adding an element of excitement each time a new pack is opened. However, the progression can feel slow, and high-tier decks may take a long time to build without monetary investment.

Building a deck from Death Knight cards in Hearthstone

The game also regularly introduces new expansions, keeping the gameplay fresh and exciting.

Legends of Runeterra offers a different approach. Instead of random packs, it has a region-based progression system. Players choose a region to earn rewards from, allowing a more targeted collection strategy. If you only want to build decks for the Ionia region, you can select a reward path that only gives you cards from that region.

The rewards system in Legends of Runeterra

Furthermore, directly buying specific cards using earned currency makes progression feel fair and less grindy, appealing to players who prefer a more controlled and strategic collection process.

Artwork and Aesthetics

Both Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra shine in the art department. Hearthstone’s art draws heavily from its Warcraft roots, creating a magical and whimsical aesthetic.

King Krush in a game of Hearthstone
The Hunter class is focused on summoning beasts to aid you in battle

Each card features detailed and colorful designs, and the game board itself feels alive with small interactable elements, giving the game a charming, playful feel.

Legends of Runeterra, on the other hand, offers an aesthetic that mirrors the League of Legends universe. Its art is more realistic and edgy, with highly detailed card designs and immersive boards that change based on the champions you have in your deck.

The aesthetics and art style of Legends of Runeterra

The character animations in Legends of Runeterra add immersion, offering a slightly more intense visual experience than Hearthstone.

Community and Competitive Scene

Hearthstone, being older, has a firmly established community and competitive scene. Regular tournaments, both official and community-organized, keep the game alive and competitive. The Grandmasters league, the highest level of competition in Hearthstone, sees players worldwide compete for fame and prizes, indicating a thriving competitive landscape.

The Hearthstone Grandmasters World Championship winner of 2021

Legends of Runeterra, despite being newer, is not far behind. It’s quickly building a robust community with engaged players fueled by Riot Games’ history of supporting competitive play. The game is gradually rolling out its competitive scene, with tournaments like the Seasonal Tournaments offering players the chance to prove their skills.

The World Championship in Legends of Runeterra

The competitive scene in Legends of Runeterra shows excellent promise for the future. Riot Games’ smash hit, League of Legends, is arguably the most significant competitive game ever. They have the experience and wherewithal to branch out into the collectible card game industry.

Hearthstone vs. Legends of Runeterra: The Verdict

Deciding between Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra isn’t about pointing out one as the champion of collectible card games. Instead, it’s about recognizing what each game brings and aligning those attributes with your preferences as a player.

Hearthstone

Hearthstone, a game that has been around for a decade, is a testament to Blizzard Entertainment’s experience developing engaging games. It is a polished product, offering an easy-to-learn yet hard-to-master gameplay, which appeals to both new and seasoned players. It’s a game that has stood the test of time, with consistent updates and expansions, adding fresh content to keep players engaged.

Hearthstone Single Player Gameplay
Today, Hearthstone has a wide variety of game modes and experiences

Furthermore, Hearthstone offers an enriched single-player experience. With years of accumulated content and a series of free adventures, it provides a wealth of solo entertainment.

Single Player content in Hearthstone

However, it’s important to note that Hearthstone can feel more grind-oriented, requiring a substantial time investment to build a competitive deck, particularly for those not inclined to make in-game purchases. The game is designed to persuade players to buy packs.

Hearthstone Mechanics has an excellent breakdown of this model and covers Hearthstone’s current in-game economy:

Legends of Runeterra

Legends of Runeterra, while newer and less experienced in the collectible card game genre, holds its own remarkably well. Its gameplay offers strategic depth and is accompanied by a fair progression system.

The Home screen in Legends of Runeterra

The game is generous with rewards, reducing the grind associated with card collection. This feature can attract players who prefer not to spend too much or like a quicker progression.

Building Decks in Legends of Runeterra

Despite its merits, it’s worth noting that Legends of Runeterra may experience some growing pains, given its relative inexperience in collectible card games. Although its single-player experience is not as extensive as Hearthstone’s, it’s an area that could improve with time as more expansions and updates roll out.

Which is Better?

Your choice between Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra comes down to personal preference. If you seek a more polished and established game and don’t mind the grind, Hearthstone is the better pick. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a less grindy experience, generous rewards, and are willing to navigate through a newer game’s potential growing pains, Legends of Runeterra might be the better choice for you.


Summary

The Hearthstone or Legends of Runeterra debate boils down to personal preference. Both games offer rich experiences in their own right, featuring unique gameplay mechanics, immersive artwork, and a vibrant community. So, what do you value most in a collectible card game? Once you answer that, your choice will become clear. Whether you venture into Hearthstone or Legends of Runeterra, you’re in for an epic strategy and fun gaming journey.

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Avatar of Ethan Floyd
Ethan is the founder of Shark Games and oversees all site content. He's been a dedicated gamer for over 15 years, Over this course of time, he has developed a passion for both digital card games and story-driven adventure games. He's reached the "Legend" rank in both Standard and Wild modes in Hearthstone. God of War Ragnarok is his favorite game of all time, and he's 100% completed every game in the Ratchet and Clank franchise (except for the garbage ones on handhelds). He also sucks at League of Legends.