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LoR - Summon Conditions : Everything You Need to Know!

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In this article, we'll discuss summon conditions, a mechanic that only lets you summon cards if you meet a few conditions in the match first. We'll talk about all the cards in the game with this effect, and some exceptions that break this rule.

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переведено Joey Sticks

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рассмотрено Tabata Marques

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Today, we'll discuss a curious feature in LoR: "summon conditions", that is, prerequisites you need to fulfill before you can play an ally or a spell. They're usually described in the texts of these cards themselves.

This mechanic is extremely simple in Legends of Runeterra compared to how it is in other TCG's, but there are still some cards in the game that have quite crazy or expensive conditions we must meet before we play them.

So, let's go through these conditions and see some cards that have them!


Darkin Weapons - Spend A Certain Amount of Extra Mana

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All Darkin have a certain summon condition: "spend this specific amount of extra mana to play me". This means that, to play a Darkin itself, not just their weapon, you need to use the amount of mana that is described in their weapon's effect.

For instance, to play The Darkin Aegis, you may use 5 mana instead of 2 and play it as Joraal.

This condition is as simple as it gets, and the player only needs to have enough unit mana (spell mana doesn't count) to summon the card.

The cheapest Darkin is Joraal, at 5 mana, and the most expensive is Taarosh, at 10 mana.

Frostcoat Cub is the only card that also has this condition but isn't a Darkin. You may use 6 mana to summon it as a Frostcoat Mother instead.

Spend All Your Mana

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These cards force you to spend all your mana to play them, including your spell mana.

As you play, their mana value turns "red" and is equal to the current mana you have.

You may play Thermogenic Beam and Production Surge for 0 mana, and either deal 0 damage or summon a 0-cost turret (MK0: Windup Shredder), respectively.

As for Epic Scraptraption, you can't play it for 0 mana because it summons a unit whose stats are based on how much mana you spent on it. As the smallest unit you can summon is always 1/1, you can't play Epic Scraptraption for 0 mana. It is simply impossible to summon 0/0 units.

Might of the Vanguard works similarly to Epic Scraptraption. The difference is that the unit you'll summon is a Dauntless Vanguard, which has 3 health, and that's why you can't play Might of the Vanguard for less than 3 mana.


Don't mix up "Discard" effects with "summon conditions that force you to Discard something".

There are cards like Zaunite Urchin which state something like, "Discard a card to draw 1", but you don't necessarily need to Discard a card in your hand to summon Zaunite Urchin on your board. The same happens with Blowback: you may discard more cards to increase the damage you deal with this spell, but you can still play it and not discard any cards from your hand if you don't want to.

There are also some cards that you can only summon or play if you discard a card from your hand. They are:

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Out of all of these cards, Brash Gambler has the most expensive summon condition: she forces you to discard two cards from your hand to summon her on the board. Salvaged Scrap also forces you to discard two cards, but its effect lets you choose up to two cards. So you may discard just one card if you want to.


Put a Card from your Hand In your Deck

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You can only play these cards if you put one card from your hand back in your deck.

Putting cards back in your deck is an extremely slow effect that leaves the player with 2 cards less in their hand after they activate this effect. This is incredibly slow and may give a lot of advantage to your opponent. As a result, most effects that put cards back in your deck create some type of immediate "bonus" in your hand, or create some value long-term for you.

This also happens with the "Updraft" mechanic as well - it gives you some value long-term because it discounts the cost of the cards you shuffle back into your deck.

Pick a Card brings back the value you lost because on the following turn you'll draw 2 extra cards, but they'll be fleeting.

Slay an Ally

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You can only play these cards if you slay units on your board.

I'll highlight The Darkin Halberd, which has now shown up twice in this list. Besides the fact it has the most expensive summon condition out of all Darkins, it also has a summon condition that forces you to kill an ally unit if you want to equip it as a weapon to another unit.

You can say the value of The Darkin Halberd's summon condition is relatively more expensive than just slaying one single unit (like the other cards) because to play The Darkin Halberd you need to have two units on the board. You need one unit to slay, and another to equip to put The Darkin Halberd on the board. This is quite different from Ravenous Butcher, for instance, which only needs you to have 1 unit on the board.

Ancient Crocolith also needs you to have two allies on the board.

But the unit with the most expensive summon condition in the entire game (for usual cases), without a question, is Dune Swallower, which forces you to slay 3 allies or destroy 3 mana gems.

What brings us to our next topic, which is "destroy mana gems"!

Slay an Ally or Destroy Mana Gems

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These cards (all apart from Dune Swallower) are part of the Ascended archetype. Each Ascended has a ritual card that forces you to either slay an ally, or destroy a mana rock as a sacrifice. That is their extra summon condition.

Rite of Calling is Nasus' ritual, Rite of Dominance is Renekton's, and Rite of the Arcane is Xerath's. As for Rite of Negation, you can associate it with Zilean, considering its description states that it is a chronomancy ritual. This means only Azir doesn't have a ritual card.

Strike an Ally or Deal 3 Damage to Your Nexus

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These two Shadow Isles Dragons are the only cards in the entire game with this summon condition: "Strike" an ally or deal damage to your own Nexus.


They represent how Viego's black mist corrupted Runeterra dragons, and were a good way to introduce the "Dragon" subtype into Shadow Isles.

However, as Riot never revisited this game style again, their summon conditions became extremely specific. The only summon condition that is more specific than theirs is…

Navori Conspirator

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This card's summon condition is the most unique of all: Return a unit on the board to your hand.

Even though "Return" is everywhere in Ionia, Navori Conspirator is the only card you can only play on the board if you Return another unit. This makes its summon condition unlike any other condition in the game.

Special Cases

Keep in mind that even though cards that Transform into other cards, mainly Gnar cards, have a condition to Transform, they don't count as "being summoned" because you're just Transforming them into another card. So, we won't consider Gnar cards because you don't play them from your hand or summon them on the board with an extra summon condition. You just Transform them.

Units from Countdown Landmarks

We can say that units we can only summon from countdown landmarks are units with a "summon condition". Their summon condition is the landmark itself counting down.

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These cards summon Vilemaw, but they have the following summon condition: "if 3+ allies died this round" and "once I've seen 3 Fearsome or Nightfall allies attack", respectively.

Non-Collectible Units from Level 2 Champions

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You can only summon these two units if you level up the champions that create them. Even though Tibbers doesn't have an extra summon condition, you can only get it after you meet a condition (level up Annie), which makes it a special case.

As for Watcher, it costs 17 mana, but you can play it for 0 mana after you summon 5+ units that cost 8 or more mana. Even though this effect isn't exactly an "extra summon cost", it can be considered an extra summon condition, as you can't summon units that cost more than 10 in LoR.

This makes Watcher a unit with two indirect or special conditions (whatever you prefer) to summon it. The first one is to level up Lissandra, and the second is to play 5+ units that cost 8 or more.

The entire Emperor's deck also fits this category, considering you can only summon or even get them if you level up Azir and destroy the Buried Sun Disc.


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You can only summon Catastrophe if you play Purrsuit of Perfection and played 20 "new" cards (cards that are different from one another) before.

This unit is a special case because you can still play Purrsuit of Perfection even if you didn't meet its condition, and not summon anything as you do. However, as you can only summon Catastrophe if you meet the condition above, it still deserves a spot in our list. It may be the most expensive summon condition in the entire game.


Final Words

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