Okay, let’s discuss this before we begin. Path of Champions is not included in the LoL client like Teamfight Tactics is, but it is a game mode inside Legends of Runeterra which is a game based on League of Legends lore, thus, still can be considered an LoL game. Now that that’s out of the way…
Path of Champions is a deckbuilder roguelite inside Legends of Runeterra that was released back in November 2021, but if you’re going to be more in-depth about its origins, then it actually was released back in March 2021 under a different name: Lab of Legends.
The game has been released for months but only recently was I able to discover it, through accident, even, when I was just relaxing and going through Twitch channels and, by random occurrence, wanted to see what’s up with Legends of Runeterra, a game I played for a good few months like a year or so ago. I tuned in to watch a popular streamer, forgot who he was, and there it was, the Path of Champions being played in all its glory.
I was amazed at what I saw but, at the same time, was hesitant because I didn’t want to get sucked into getting to LoR again, but I eventually gave in.
Upon entering the game, I was met with Jinx which I think is a good choice because she is one of the most popular League characters, and her Runeterra decks are easy-to-use, fast, and effective. There was some dialogue and it actually has some story, but similar to most roguelites, it’s just minimal and the focus is really on the gameplay.
Speaking of gameplay, it still follows Legends of Runeterra’s rules, but with roguelite mechanics sprinkled in. To give people some perspective as to what I’m talking about, we’ll compare some of the game’s mechanics to that of Slay the Spire‘s, which is undoubtedly the most popular deckbuilder roguelite in the world.
The map layout is very similar to StS, albeit with far fewer routes, and one thing that PoC does that StS doesn’t is a section I call the “warmup” section which consists of three linear locations starting from the “Power” location where you select a power among 3 selections. This is comparable to Neow in StS giving you different rewards for you to choose from. Powers are classified from common to legendary and give your run a little oomph, from buffing your weakest creatures, to giving you free minions in play before the game even begins, to even adding Champions to your deck.
After selecting your power, you’ll be taken to the next location which is a combat location that aims to get your feet wet with the deck you have. It’s unlikely you’ll lose in this location, and once you’ve beaten it (we’ll talk about this later), you’ll go to the next location, which is the “Support Champion” location. This is similar to the “Power” location in which you’re given three options, only this time, you’re given 3 packs of cards as options, each pack containing 3 cards with 2 of each card, and one of them is a champion card. The path now opens up after this location until you reach the final boss which is indicated at the start of your adventure.
During your adventure, you’re given an option as to which path you’d like to choose, whether you want to go to a shop, a gold chest, a healing spot, or maybe you just want to fight more mobs. Speaking of which, whenever you beat a normal enemy, you’ll gain coins and battle rewards, the latter giving you a choice on which card you’d like to add to your deck, similar what battle rewards in StS. Sub-boss battles, which happen halfway and are usually against another Champion, give you an additional bonus: a full heal.
Once your adventure is over, you gain access to your current Champion’s screen where you’re able to do a number of things. You can view their stats, Star Powers, Champion Level, starting cards on your Champion’s deck, and equipped relics. The Star Powers, Champion Level, and Relics give you permanent bonuses for that champion so you’ll be even stronger on your future runs.
And speaking of Champions, while Slay the Spire currently lets you control 4 characters in total, that amount is tripled in Path of Champions as you have 12 available champions! You start with Jinx, and once you’ve played a few quests, you’d be able to unlock certain champions, and that process repeats until all champions are unlocked. The champions are Jinx, Yasuo, Lux, Miss Fortune, Annie, Bard, Darius, Garen, Illaoi, Jhin, Lee Sin, and Vi.
To be quite honest, I never expected to play Legends of Runeterra again, not because it’s a bad game, but because the grind that comes along with getting better cards and getting to the higher ranks is something I prefer not to bring unto myself, but Path of Champions is just too good a deckbuilder roguelite to pass on, and I think I’ll play this one for a while until I’ve unlocked all Champions.