Let’s preface this by stating that I am still going to play Legends of Runeterra, but I am no longer going to engage with the community in a meaningful way.
Those who have been around since I began streaming in May 2020 will know I started because of my decent skill at Legends of Runeterra, and my background in card games in general was another string to the bow. I’d played Yu-Gi-Oh as a hobby since the cards first launched in the UK, and then progressed and continued to play competitively to this day.
I was in the closed beta for the Riot Card game, played it religiously on buses and trains to work, and when I wasn’t writing something or boring offices with the research I’d done, I was playing Legends of Runeterra. I got hyped at every expansion, every new region adding some more flavour to the universe I have been invested in for over a decade now. Things sounded peachy in the Bandit Camp.
In 2021 came the Shurima expansion, bringing more champions with great mechanics and playstyles into the game. But the flagship champion was the emperor of the great region itself - Azir. In the second part of the expansion around a month later, we also received Irelia, and combining the champion abilities and mechanics of Irelia and Azir was a match made in heaven. They were almost built for the synergy and to make a strong, competitive deck that required a semi-decent amount of game knowledge to play. Not unbeatable, just strong.
Unfortunately, many players became extremely frustrated with the strength of the deck.
I enjoyed the deck because it was a new “gimmicky” mechanic that was almost entirely inspired by the “death by a thousand cuts” saying. Summon multiple units to attack each turn, without spending your attack token. In playing the deck, I managed to consistently get 3 attacks per turn, which does seriously add up.
I have always been a sucker for gimmicks and unique mechanics. I picked up the SPYRAL archetype in Yu-Gi-Oh on the release of the first few cards because I loved the interesting way you had to play it. Granted when support came for it later, I was sitting on a Tier 0, £400+ meta deck that defined the format, but the point still stands. After the banlist hit, taking some of the cards with it, I still played it. Though the reaction to me showing my SPYRAL cards on the table in regional tournaments yielded the same result as me playing Azir Irelia in the ranked ladder; people hated me.
I understand not liking matchups in card games. Everyone who has ever played Runeterra, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic, Hearthstone, or anything else, will have an opponent playing a deck they hate facing. That’s perfectly fine. I have my own less-favourable matchups (looking at you Scargrounds). However, what is not okay is insulting the people playing these decks.
I saw venom, vitriol, and viciousness aimed squarely at those who chose to play Azirelia (Azir-Irelia combo). Some people were calling for restrictions or banlists akin to physical card games, some people were calling for boycotting those who play the deck by instantly forfeiting games, denying them the chance to play and have fun; almost literally banning them from the game.
This level of toxicity crept in under the radar and reared its ugly head. I play League of Legends. I have for nearly 11 years, so I know what toxicity looks like. Also ventured into the unsafe waters of Call of Duty lobbies in the 2000s for a good chunk of my teenage years, but Legends of Runeterra presented a wholesome, engaging community that was all about having fun and exploring the lore of the universe that many of us love. I expect to be abused in League of Legends. I don’t expect to be abused in Legends of Runeterra. The trademark “Riot Toxicity” has spread from League and Valorant into a game where there is no communication between players in lobbies. I’m sick of it.
Before people start whining about me saying I’m “mad because bad” or calling me a “meta slave” or whatever else, I regularly take “meme decks” designed around one funny interaction into the competitive side of it. But I don’t want to see both regular players and content creators alike throwing insults or shade at people who play a deck they don’t like. It doesn’t belong in Runeterra, and it doesn’t belong in card games.
I’ve left every Facebook group I was in dedicated to the game, many of the community Discord servers I was in have been vacated. I am glad I switched to D&D on Twitch because it’s a super supportive community. I made many friends in the Legends of Runeterra sphere. I still continue to be friends and support streamers like LanUP, TippyTipz, and samychann, but there’s only so much I can take.
Until attitudes drop, I won’t be coming back. Bandit can be found creating worlds for our D&D campaigns and playing games on his twitch channel here.
Get yourself involved in the Yu-Gi-Oh world, with the Kaiba set. #
Or enjoy Runeterra lore in the one place toxicity can't reach, the books.
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Keep it Gamer. Keep it Commie.