One of the main mechanics in Runeterra are the keywords, which are bonus effects cards can have. But did you know there are several hidden secrets about keywords? Some can even help you better understand how some game interactions work.
For that reason, I decided to add to this article everything Riot never told you, and which you need to know, about Runeterra keywords.
Positive and Negative Keywords
These are all the positive keywords in the entire game. They have this name because they give your units a beneficial effect.
However, there are negative keywords, which, as you've probably guessed, give your units negative effects. They are:
We also have a few cards that have Can't Block, which, just like Ephemeral, was one of the first negative keywords to be added to the game. The most famous cards that have this keyword are Noxus units; Legion Rearguard, Trifarian Gloryseeker and Reckless Trifarian.
We have several other cards that have this Can't Block keyword, but we don't have any card in the game that has the Can't Attack keyword. However, there are Immobile cards, which is an effect that is the combination of Can't Block with Can't Attack. Some of them are: Obedient Drakehound, Watchful Idol and Powder Keg.
There is only one collectible card that has Vulnerable: Golden Narwhal.
There are no collectible cards that have Fleeting, Captured, Frostbitten, Stunned or Silenced in the game, so far.
Did you know the keywords in the image above are the only ones that can be generated through random effects? Yeah, it is impossible to generate Deep, for instance, when you play your Viktor's Hex Core Upgrade.
Actually, most keywords associated with an archetype, or a specific group of cards, can't be randomly generated. Lurk, Deep, Formidable, Evolve and Hallowed are keywords that are part of specific archetypes, and also can't be generated.
Fated is the exception to this rule, even though it is a keyword that is obviously associated with Pantheon's archetype and his followers. Fated, unlike the other ones, can be randomly generated.
Scout, back in the day, could be randomly generated, but it was removed from this list as it was a keyword that was too strong when created randomly, particularly by Pantheon.
The only keyword which isn't part of any specific archetype and also can't be generated is Double Attack, which would be too strong if it was generated this way.
Keyword Interaction with Transform
When you Transform a unit, it keeps all bonus keywords and stats from the previous unit. This means everything the old unit gained, through some effect, while it was on the board or not, is kept after it is Transformed.
This means that, when you Transform a Petricite Broadwing, of instance, the unit it is Transformed into will have Challenger, but it won't have Formidable, because Formidable is a keyword that this unit has naturally, and Challenger comes from Broadwing's bonus effect text.
This also happens with the unit Keeper of the Box: it gains Lifesteal after you equip a unit. Keeper of the Box has Fearsome by default, so, if you Transform it, and you equip an ally in the match, the Transformed unit won't have Fearsome, but it will have Lifesteal.
Equipment cards are also retained through Transformations.
> The most common keyword in champions is Quick Attack, which is repeated 28 times, counting with Jayce, which can choose between Quick Attack or Challenger, and Jax, which has Quick Attack due to its weapon.
We have 3 units tied for the title of the unit with the most keywords by default. They are:
I'll give an honorable mention to Obedient Drakehound, which has Can't Block, Can't Attack and Quick Attack, but, as the game identifies Can't Block and Can't Attack form one keyword when they're together, which is Immobile, this card, in theory, only has 2 keywords.
> When a unit already has all possible keywords and creates another one, it will always generate Impact. This used to happen quite frequently with The Arsenal in Taliyah Ziggs lists. Impact is the only keyword that stacks.
> Double Attack doesn't work with Ephemeral units, because the Ephemeral unit can only survive through one attack. Which means, it will never attack twice.
> There is a keyword called Can't Take Damage or Die, which is an effect level 2 Sett gets when he attacks, and which level 2 Taric grants to himself and his allies when he attacks. Even though these units can't take damage or die, they can still be Obliterated.
> If you generated a follower with Deep during your match, even though you aren't playing with a Deep list, even if that unit was killed during the game, the VFX for when you reach the depths will still play.
> The combination of keywords which is considered by the community as the worst one is Elusive with Challenger, because Elusive units don't like battling other units, and Challenger promotes this game style, making Challenger useless in any Elusive unit in the game. Currently, we have two units with this combination: Yusari and The Shadow Assassin final level .
> "Pulling" into combat a unit with Vulnerable is equivalent to Challenging a unit with the Challenger keyword.
> Tough is the only keyword that can be granted to your Nexus.
If you read this far, now you know everything about Runeterra keywords!
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