Legends of Runeterra


Disintegrate: Get the scoop on the polemic, interactions, and how to counter

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Annie's spell has been giving us much to talk about in LoR. This article gathers all the information about it, so no one gets lost!

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Introduction - What is Disintegrate?

Disintegrate came out in the most recent expansion, Worldwalker, and has been affecting the game a lot since then. But first, it's necessary to present the card.

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As you can see, it is a 2 cost only removal which can slay any unit, as long as it takes damage in the round. If we have, for instance, Blade's Edge, which is only 1 mana and a fast spell, you spend just 3 mana to slay ANY enemy unit. And if you, by chance, is playing Annie/Ezreal, which brings copies of Progress Day!, and are able to draw not only Disintegrate but also Blade's Edge, it is possible to slay a unit with only 1 mana. Yes, the spell is quite strong. But that isn't even the reason behind most discussions about the card.


What has been giving us much to talk about are the interactions of this card with certain keywords, especially Barrier and Tough. Would you like to understand all of this better? So, let's go!

To write this article, I based myself off the streamer, player and my team's CEO, Joeysticks's video, who tested and gathered every interaction with the card. If you want to see everything I am presenting here, and even other examples in practice, I suggest you watch her video.

Interactions with Barrier and Tough

If you use Disintegrate in a unit with Barrier and she takes damage, in combat or through a spell, it also dies! The expected would be that the damage taken would be absorbed by the barrier and only that would be removed, but no, it dies instantly.

The same happens with units that have Tough. If the opponent puts Disintegrate in your Tough unit and uses a Ice Shard, which in theory doesn't damage units with Tough, it will also slay your unit.

To understand these cases better, it is necessary to understand how these two keywords work.

Disintegrate + Tough

Tough states that the unit takes 1 less damage from all sources and, in this sentence, it is possible to understand the reason Disintegrate works in these units. They take 1 less damage, but they are still taking damage, even though it is 0 damage. Got that? So, with the landmark The Scargrounds, all units with Tough hit by Death Lotus or Ice Shard, still get buffed! The damage is not visible, but they took it and survived it, so the landmark works and makes all units get buffed.

Another example is to have a Tough unit in the same board as Galio in his level 2 form. For those of you who don't remember, leveled Galio states that "Each round, the first time an ally takes damage, rally". So, if the unit has Tough and takes 1 damage (which becomes 0 and isn't visible), still, you'll get the rally effect.

That being so, considering the rules of the game, the interaction between Tough units with Disintegrate are correct.

Disintegrate + Barrier

The text from Barrier's keyword states that "Negates the next damage this unit would take" and here is where we will need to make a more accurate interpretation, because the word negate makes it seem as if the unit is not taking damage, but yes, it is, but the damage stays in the barrier. Considering that the barrier is in the unit, in theory, it is taking damage, even though it doesn't get damaged. Got that?

Here, again, I bring Galio as an example, as he also grants the rally effect at the moment a barrier unit has taken damage in its barrier. Again, the unit isn't visibly hurt, because the damage is in the barrier, but the barrier is in the unit, so the game understands as if that unit had taken damage, and that is why the rally happens.

Though it seems weird, the interaction is correct and it is the same as it happens with Disintegrate, so, here too we don't have any rules being broken.

Disintegrate + Tryndamere


Another interaction that gave us much to talk about was Disintegrate with Tryndamere. The text from this champion's level 1 states that "Instead of dying, I level up", so what happens when Tryndamere is marked with Disintegrate and takes enough damage to kill his level 1 form?

He also dies on level 2. Might seem weird, but the interaction is correct. Tryndamere didn't become another unit, it is still the same, so it is still marked with Disintegrate when he levels up, and the game considers the game he took the first time and kills him again.

The same thing happens, for instance, if you frostbite level 1 Tryndamere and kill him. When he levels up, he remains frostbitten. With stuns, the same thing happens. So, once again, the interaction with Disintegrate is correct.

Riot's Take

RubinZoo, which is part of the Legends Of Runeterra's game design team, spoke out in a tweetlink outside website about these interactions with Disintegrate.

He also said they don't intend to change the rules, as there are established cases (such as The Scargrounds with Tough), but that they may change Disintegrate's text. However, it is not something to expect at the moment, but yes, will be discussed among the design team members.

My Opinion on Disintegrate

I think the card is very strong, especially for its low cost, but I don't think it's broken. At the same time that there are many removals in the game, there are also many ways to answer these removals (by the way, this is the next article's subject), so I think everything is working properly. If it is to be nerfed, I think its cost could be increased in 1 mana.

About all the discussions which have been going on about Disintegrate, I think it's healthy. It is always nice to discuss and understand the rules of the game better. I only think it's a bit much when players decide to curse the game, the devs, and even those who decide to debate the card's matter and its interactions.

Ways to Counter Disintegrate

Now it's time to learn how to counter this card! What if I told you that there aren't only one or two, but actually plenty of ways? That's right!

There are so many that I won't even talk about them all, but let's go: firstly, quite effective and at the same cost of Disintegrate, we have Nopeify!, which denies the spell. Still in Ionia, we have plenty of other spells which offer recalls, swaps among units and other negations such as Memory's Cloak and Deny.

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In Shurima there is Ancient Hourglass and Rite of Negation, which also work very well against this spell; Freljord offers the spell Three Sisters, where we have Entomb, which you can use in your own unit and protect it.

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But this card's biggest counter, without a question, is Spellshield. Units which already come with Spellshield such as Sivir, Galio and Aurelion Sol, can be more relaxed, because the opponent is forced to play more than two spells to deal with only one unit, and in Targon we have the spell Bastion, which grants Spellshield to any unit. That is without mentioning the evokes, which can create Moonglow, a 2 mana spell which grants Spellshield to a unit.


As I said, there are many ways to counter the spell, so I won't list them all, but most of them are there.


Now that we come to the end of the article, I wanna know more about you, who is reading this article: What do you think about the card Disintegrate? Is it fair? Does it need a nerf? Tell me down below in the comment section ;)