Legends of Runeterra: Demacia Region Guide
So you want to join the ranks of Demacia…you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, we’ll cover Demacia’s champions, its signature mechanics that make it unique, and some of its synergies with other regions.
By the end of this article, our goal is that you’ll really understand Demacia as a region and be able to create your own decks with our Legends of Runeterra deck builder. Check out our other articles that explore Freljord, Ionia, Noxus, Piltover & Zaun, and Shadow Isles.
“Demacia is a strong, lawful society with a prestigious military history. It values the ideals of justice, honor and duty highly, and its people are fiercely proud. Demacia is a self-sufficient, agrarian society, with abundant, fertile farmland, dense forests that are logged for lumber, and mountains rich with mineral resources. It is inherently defensive and insular, partly in response to frequent attacks from barbarians, raiders and expansionist civilizations. Some suggest that the golden age of Demacia has passed and unless it is able to adapt to a changing world – something many believe it is simply incapable of doing – that its decline is inevitable. Nevertheless, Demacia remains one of the dominant powers in Valoran, and boasts the most elite, well-trained army in all of Runeterra.” – from Universe.
Mechanics and Playstyle
Demacia, being the premier martial faction along with Noxus, has a heavy focus on playing units and cards that use combat to solve their problems. All of their mechanics revolve around utilizing their units or increasing their effectiveness.
To win combat Demacia utilizes buffs, Barrier, and Challenger to make sure their units get the most favorable trades.
The region likes to make people play their game so they feature many cards that have the Ready Attack mechanic in order to be in a state of constant combat. Ready Attack allows you to attack multiple times in one turn.
Equipped for Combat
Demacia has a large number of units and spells that grant allies increased stats to show the region’s flavor of strength in numbers and working together in an army.
This helps keep unit health up after they’ve survived a combat and synergizes with other effects to greatly increase their effective HP.
The longer your units stay alive and on the board, the more value they’ll get from AoE stat buffs and other perks.
Survive with Tough and Barrier
Tough causes a unit to take 1 less damage from all sources. Demacia is home to nearly every Tough card in the game.
The mechanic is absolutely devastating against decks that rely on small creatures and incremental damage as it can reduce damage to 0.
This synergizes perfectly with their ability to buff their units health so they can milk the most value out of Tough.
Think of it as a temporary invincibility shield like Kayle’s ultimate in League of Legends except it only lasts one hit instead of a time duration. If you’re a Hearthstone player it’s very similar to Divine Shield.
Barrier is yet another defensive mechanic Demacia has access to (Ionia is the only other region that has this mechanic). It’s important for them to have so many defensive mechanics for their units because they are completely reliant on winning through buffing and protecting their units,
Fight on your Terms
Demacia is a region of skilled duelists and masterful generals who can will the battlefield to their favor. In Legends of Runeterra, this is reflected by their ability to access Challenger and Ready Attack mechanics.
Challenger allows an attacking unit, like Laurent Protege or Silverwing Vanguard, to force an enemy unit to be its blocker. Challenger gives Demacia a way to kill or deal with specific units and reinforces their role as a martial faction that thrives in offensive combat.
This is necessary because Demacia has no cards that directly damage or kill units. The best removal they have is Detain (which we’ll cover in a bit).
Demacia can also force engagements with the Ready mechanic, which causes you to gain an Attack Token (check our Mechanics Overview guide for more on this).
If you use this mechanic after an attack, this means you can attack again. Keep in mind that you can only have one Attack Token at a time so try to avoid using a Ready mechanic before you use your Attack Token.
Only the two military factions, Noxus and Demacia, have access to the ready mechanic. Ready Attack synergizes with the board centric style of Demacia. It allows them to end the game quickly on turns that they have a stronger board than their opponent.
Capture and Purify
Outside of it’s brave soldiers and knights, Demacia also has another side to it in its Mageseeker identity. Magic is sort of controversial in this region, to say the least, and it’s shown by Demacia’s reliance on its combat prowess rather than its ability to cast spells.
When you play Mageseeker Investigator, you have the option to discard a spell in order to create Detain in your hand. Detain is quite useful as its the only card with Capture in the game (at least on launch).
Capture prevents a unit from being able to attack or defend while the ally that is activating Detain is alive.
For those familiar with Magic the Gathering, this mechanic is very similar to the white color’s mechanics and it is unique to Demacia.
Demacia has to protect the allied unit that uses Capture otherwise they’re down in card advantage but that isn’t much of an issue with the large number of protective tricks like Barrier and buffs that Demacia has access to.
Demacians also have access to another very unique card, Purify. This is a 2-cost card that has an incredibly powerful effect, “Remove all text and keywords from a follower”. This can be used to remove buffs and shutdown powerful effects.
It’s especially powerful since it has Burst speed to it can be used reactively during combat as a trump card. Keep in mind, however, that champion cards do not count as followers, so don’t try to use it on that enemy Darius.
In this section, we’ll discuss the Demacian champions in order from lowest mana cost to highest.
If you’re unfamiliar with how champions work, check out our LoR mechanics guide.
The TL: DR is:
- Every deck can have up to 6 total champions, only 3 of the same kind.
- Champions fulfill conditions to level up.
- When they level up, they become stronger and gain new abilities. Leveling up causes all copies to level up.
- Only one copy of a specific champion can be on the board at once. If you draw other copies while a champion is on the board, they will transform into a spell form until that champion is removed. Playing the spell will shuffle the champion back into your deck instead of going to the graveyard.
Lucian is a great aggressive card. He’s incredibly difficult to kill in combat during the early game thanks to Quick Attack. Unless you have early removal he’s probably sticking around which risks letting him level up.
Building around Lucian requires using lots of small throw away units that you don’t care if they die. This ironically lends him to synergizing with Shadow Isles (which we’ll cover more later) who can use cards like Haunted Relic and Onslaught of Shadows to summon lots of ephemeral units to trigger his level up in one round.
Similar to his version on Summoner’s Rift, Lucian makes for a strong early game skirmisher since he can take out a lot of low-cost units due to having Quick Attack.
Quick Attack allows Lucians damage to apply before his enemy’s so if he attacks and is blocked by a 2|2 unit for example, Lucian will survive to live another day and he would kill the 2|2.
Lucian can level up by being on the field while 4+ allies die or a Senna, Sentinel of Light (aka his wife from lore) dies.
Senna herself has Quick Attack and will get buffed and gain Double Attack if Lucian dies, so they make quite the dynamic duo if they’re on the field at the same time.
Double Attack allows a unit to attack twice, first time being a Quick Attack and the 2nd being a normal attack. This allows a Double Attacker to be able to take down a high Health target or be able to dish out massive damage to a Nexus if it isn’t protected.
Lucian Leveled Up
After seeing his friends or wife die, Lucian gets angry and levels up. In this form, he gains +1|+1, Double Attack, and the ability “The first time an ally dies each round, ready your attack.”
This ability means that if you block and one of your allies dies during your opponent’s turn, you get a round of attack. It also means that if you’re able to attack before an ally dies, you will gain ANOTHER Attack Token if an ally dies, allowing you to attack again.
Lucian’s Champion Spell
Lucian’s champ spell is certainly on theme with his League of Legend theme kit he can cast it as a Fast speed and chase down an opponent with another wave of attacks.
So in theory, you could use your Attack Token, proc Lucian’s champion ability for another wave of attack, and then use Lucian’s Relentless Pursuit for another wave of hurt.
Fiora uses her Challenger effect to force duel against weaker units and trigger her effects. Challenger allows the unit to choose which enemy will block them.
Building around Fiora requires you to be able to buff her strong enough to win duels against any unit and to keep her alive long enough which Demacia is well equipped to do with various buff cards and barrier effects.
As such, she pairs well with the extra barrier effects from Ionia or buff effects from Freljord.
To reach her leveled up form, Fiora has to kill 2 enemies. Normally this would be difficult since 3 Health will often trade, however, with Challenger you can look to set up blocks against units with 1 Power.
Be careful though, if your opponent is experienced, they will be looking to kill Fiora with their removal due to how powerful her leveled up form can be.
Fiora Leveled Up
When Fiora enters her leveled up state, the pressure is on! She gains a new ability that presents another win condition besides directly destroying the enemy Nexus.
If you’re able to buff her with stats and protect her with mechanics such as Barrier, Fiora can solo carry you like she can on Summoner’s Rift.
Fiora’s Champion Spell
If you draw another Fiora when you have a Fiora in play, it will turn into Fiora’s Riposte. It synergizes very well with the champion since she can increase her ability to trade into high Health targets and can be protected in a pinch due to barrier.
Since it’s a Burst spell Fiora’s Riposte can be used in the middle of combat to clutch out a situation that your opponent would have won otherwise.
Lux is a card that takes a bit to get going but once you have her up and running she destroys whatever is in her way. If you want to get more spells and magic out of Demacia, she’s your champ.
If you want to play cautiously then you can play her on curve and use her one turn of barrier to safely get to 6 mana which you can use to trigger her level up.
Ironically, Lux works well with the Mageseekers who can discard her Final Sparks to power themselves up or discard cards from your deck and use the Final Sparks generated by Lux as pseudo card advantage.
You may want to consider playing her later in a match after your opponent has used their removal options on other cards before using her as a finisher rather than straight up on turn 5. If she’s able to survive for several turns, she can often secure you a match.
Lux Leveled Up
When Lux levels up, she regains Barrier along with the ability “Attack: Create a Fleeting Final Spark in hand. She also upgrades to being a 4|5 unit for some extra Power and Health.
As a Fleeting spell, Final Spark must be cast or it will be lost at the end of the round. It also has Overwhelm which causes any leftover damage to go directly to the enemy Nexus.
Final Spark is useful for clearing out blockers and whittling down your enemy’s total life with Overwhelm if they continue to drop weaker units in the way. Since you’ll often have leftover mana saved up in the late game, it will often be used as a discounted rate.
Lux’s Champion Spell
Lux’s champion spell is Prismatic Barrier. This can be used to help ensure that your Lux on board can generate more Final Sparks or help another big threat stay alive in a pinch. Since its a Burst spell, it can be used during combat.
Garen works best when you have a board that is ready to pressure to end the game when he levels up. This is a little too slow for dedicated aggro decks, but decks looking to utilize big, resilient mid-late game units will benefit a lot from this effect.
If you are ahead on board then you can also combo him with other cards that can ready your attack, like Relentless Pursuit, so that you can chain multiple attacks in one turn for lethal damage.
Even before he levels up, Garen is a beefy unit as a 5 cost 5|5 with Regeneration. Regeneration causes a unit to heal back to full health at the beginning of the next round.
Due to this and his strong stats, Garen is one of the more reliable champions to level up since he only needs to strike twice.
Garen Leveled Up
Once he levels up, Garen increases to a 7|7 and gains a new ability, “Start of Round: Ready your attack.”
This means that regardless of whether it’s your turn or your enemy’s turn, you will ready an attack against your opponent, allowing you to really apply the pressure and look to end a match. Remember that you normally only get an attack token every other round in LoR.
Garen’s Champion Spell
If you have a Garen on board, Garen’s Judgement makes a great board wipe to clear the board of blockers. A big threat or even your Garen with Regeneration can swing for 6 or 7 and make quick work of any units.
Since you can bank up to three unused mana as spell mana, you’ll often be able to cast this at a discounted rate in the late game.
Synergies with Other Factions
In Legends of Runeterra there are many, many synergies to take advantage of by strategically pairing with other regions. In this section, we’ll be discussing a few of them for Demacia but there are definitely way more.
Use our Deck Builder to experiment and let us know in the comment section below what you think would work!
Freljord (Garen + Tryndamere)
Demacia and Freljord can work together in order to bring out the most in their big units.
Cards like Garen and Tiana Crownguard give the combination access to the “Ready” mechanic which allows them to have an explosive string of turns when they finally are able to establish a board.
If played on curve, Garen will level up effect will trigger the same turn you can play Tryndamere.
This is around the time that you will be slapping down huge threat after huge threat letting you threaten combat with large units every round to quickly end the game.
Ionia (Fiora + Shen)
With the high number of protective cards at this combination’s disposal, you can use risky and high payoff cards like Fiora with more confidence that they can survive. This is especially exemplified when you realize how well Shen works with her.
The turn after Fiora is played, Shen can be a continual source of protection for Fiora granting her Barrier every time she attacks while Fiora Challenges the correct unit to keep Shen safe from taking hits.
If your opponent doesn’t have the right answers, you’re 4 unit kills away from winning through Fiora’s Level Up ability.
Shadow Isles (Lucian + Kalista)
If you’re a fan of League of Legends lore, you’ll know that it’s sort of cruel to make Lucian work with Shadow Isles. That being said, this unlikely pairing of factions has great synergy.
This combination uses Shadow Isle’s ability to generate disposable Ephemeral units to trigger effects from both regions that happen when an allied unit dies. Ephemeral units automatically die at the end of a round.
Lucian and Kalista work well together because they both trigger off the same condition which allows you to create a deck that focuses heavily on that effect. Also, round 2 Lucian curves perfectly into round 3 Kalista which she can immediately bond to.
Even if the Lucian dies because of the bond, if Kalista levels up, she can continually bring back a strong champion combat after combat. If the Lucian is leveled up their opponent risks getting OTKed (0 to death’d) by a Double Attacking unit if they don’t block.
We hope you enjoyed our deep dive on Demacia! Check out our other articles that explore Freljord, Ionia, Noxus, Piltover & Zaun, and Shadow Isles, LoR is a brand new game and we’re still figuring it out ourselves, so if you have any suggestions for decks or other feedback, let us know in the comment section below.
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