LoR vs Yu-Gi-Oh! Comparison by a Top Player for Both Games
Hey everyone NicMakesPlays here.
I’ve played Yugioh competitively for 10 years and have top 4’d or won majors, regionals, and nationals.
I also have hit Rank #1 most seasons in Legends of Runeterra.
Today I wanted to compare Legends of Runeterra to Yugioh, showcase some differences, and what Runeterra can learn from them.
Explosive and exciting turns
One of the biggest perks of Yugioh is all the decks are fun to play with and against, and this is due to the game’s explosive and exciting nature. Every deck comes with the ability to make strong boards, break boards and keep up in card advantage. This makes for satisfying combos on your first turn, as well as board-breaking puzzles when you go second, and wars of attrition.
Even lower-tier decks are able to do these things so every game feels exciting. One of the biggest issues with Legends of Runeterra is that I feel like the devs think more about if decks are fun to play but now how they feel to play against.
This leads to a lot of frustrating play patterns that people don’t enjoy. In Yugioh with every deck being able to combo, break boards, and grind in their own unique way it recreates exciting and enjoyable games against every matchup.
The only exception is trap heavy control decks which are fun in their own right because they mix things up.
Little to No RNG
A lot of game developers have the misconception that games need rng to be exciting, yet Yugioh has no RNG and is extremely exciting in every game.
The aforementioned fundamentals of the game solved how a game can be fun without RNG.
The low amounts of RNG also make the game more skillful due to not losing out to randomly generated cards or pulling out wins that otherwise shouldn’t have happened.
Decks are also very consistent due to the abundance of tutors and searchers, so the games reliably come down to the more skillful player winning.
This is because each player is able to search their main engine pieces as a toolbox at any given time, instead of hoping to draw the right card at the right time.
I also personally enjoy LoR having a low number of searchers because it’s a different experience. It makes you have to play well with the cards you have which are skillful in their own right too.
Interactive Play Patterns Instead of Polarization
One of the biggest complaints people have about LoR is its polarization and uninteractive play patterns, which leads to people saying games are “decided on the login screen”. Every deck in Yugioh has the tools to combo, break boards, and grind with tons of options at your disposal.
This leads to a “the better player wins” or winning from mastery of your deck scenarios. In Yugioh it’s not about who wins the matchup, but rather knowing how to play the matchup so your deck always has a chance.
This is one of my favorite parts about Yugioh and one of the biggest differences between the games. I have been playing Yugioh competitively for over 10 years and I don’t think I’ve ever thought “I lose because of the matchup” instead it’s rather “I lost because I didn’t know how to play the matchup”.
Yugioh also has tons of interaction on both players’ turns due to your units having on-field effects, and a plethora of cards you can use from your hand.
Units having effects on the enemy turn does give a nice layer of interactivity but are better suited for games without mana to mitigate your opponent’s explosive turns, so I like that LoR doesn’t have them.
In general games with mana are more restricted in what you can do per turn and can leave scenarios where you feel like you have low player agency, especially against polarized play patterns.
Less Highrolly, More Consistency
A lot of decks in Runeterra become much more powerful if they draw certain cards on curve such as Miss Fortune in Scouts on 3 or Twisted Catalyzer in Darkness on 2.
In Yugioh, the abundance of searchers allows your decks to be consistent so you can reliably have what you need at the right time.
Since both players are able to do this, it creates a lot of “the better player wins” scenarios.
This is amplified by the fact you can search your deck regularly as a toolbox and have all your options at your disposal.
This also rewards good deckbuilding because you can tech in cards and search them out for certain matchups.
It also allows you to answer strong openings as well and makes mirror matches feel more skillful instead of whoever drew better.
In general, there are a lot of things LoR can learn from Yugioh, but I do like how different LoR is and its approaches as well.
I do like the slower approach LoR has so that it’s clear when decks are combo, control, midrange, or aggro, instead of Yugioh where every deck is a mixture of all 4.
The lack of searching does give a Poker-esque style where you have to try and play your best out of each hand as well. I think things can be improved in terms of enjoyable play patterns for the opponent, less RNG, and less polarization.
Although they are fundamentally completely different games, especially with the mana aspect, some ideas can be taken away to mitigate LoR’s problems.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask Nic during his streams.