Cards of Runeterra: Shadow Isles

Since the terrible events that happened there, the thriving archipelago once known as the Blessed Isles has turned into a place of torment and misery. Its former inhabitants - turned into spiteful spirits or monstrosities - feast on the souls of all living beings foolish enough to set foot in their domain. Many have tried to come to the Shadow Isles, lured by the appeal of a tempting promise, but only a few have managed to return unscathed. Their spirits have joined the Mist, while their bodies now feed a gruesome ecosystem.

It is said that every once in a while, The Black Mist traverses the ocean and reaches the land of the living, stretching its ghastly tendrils, hungry for more souls to claim. Beware of its eerie appearance and flee as soon as you see it, for it will strip you of your life force with no more than a touch.

Writing: Froggy0
Editing: Wusubi, ShadowplayRed, Minuano

Champions of the Shadow Isles


The cards


Just like the Mist that saps the life out of everything it comes in contact with, this region boasts an impressive number of cards with a Drain effect. This can make you very hard to kill, as you will be able to recover HP in a pinch while damaging or destroying opposing units. You may have heard people say that “no one heals themselves by wounding another” but they simply don’t know the ways of the Isles.


This type of card is ideal when you need to deal with units that don’t have much health, but what about the other ones? Fortunately, the region is gifted when it comes to killing things and it does offer more… radical tools. With these, you can be sure that no amount of health will be sufficient to save your opponent’s minions from their doom.


By combining these two types of removal cards, the faction can provide answers to most unit-based strategies. You could say that the Isles are still blessed in a way, by the incredible control potential they possess. These tools will help you survive until the later rounds, where you will be free to unleash your own lethal threats onto your opponents.



The gameplay of Shadow Isles doesn’t only revolve around killing enemy units, it also revolves around killing... your own. Harnessing the power of the Isles comes at a cost, and there are multiple cards from the region that require sacrifices to be played in order to trigger their strong abilities. Use them with caution and don’t rely solely on them, because should your board be empty, they will sit in your hand and watch you lose the game from there.

Fortunately, the region also has plenty of minions meant to be sacrificed and used as fuel by the cards aforementioned. These come in two forms:


- Cheap minions generally equipped with the “Last Breath” keyword. These units are usually weak on their own, but will generate a lot of value when they get killed. They synergize especially well with the cards above because both can reach their full potential at the same time, making for some satisfying power plays.



- Valuing quantity over quality, there are cards that generate small, replaceable tokens that you won’t mind sacrificing. These tokens often come in the form of Spiderlings that can also work very well as an archetype of their own, swarming the board and buffing each other up for a quick kill on the opponent.


Spiders tend to represent the more aggressive side of the Shadow Isles, but there is another option available if you want to rack up damage on the enemy Nexus. Embodying the concept of glass cannon, the cards with the “Ephemeral” keyword will die either when they strike or at the end of the round. In exchange for this frailness, they hit hard for a low mana cost.



They will force your opponent into unfavorable trades, as they will have to block and lose units to save their health total, knowing that the attackers would have died regardless. You can choose to use these cards defensively, as they will prove to be great blockers.

Most Shadow Isles units are great at dying... but it’s all for a purpose! Indeed, you will find cards that trigger their abilities when allies get destroyed. Whether they died from the Ephemeral condition, from enemy blocks or from your own doing, these cards will give even more value to their noble sacrifice.


As easy as it is to die on the Shadow Isles, the people and creatures that live here aren’t fortunate enough to be put to rest after they pass away. They will be reborn, forced to fight once more under the Mist’s command. To showcase that aspect of the Isles, the region includes several cards that allow you to return units from the metaphorical graveyard, so they can be used again, only to be sent back to oblivion shortly after.


How to play against the region


- When striking for lethal against Shadow Isles, consider that your opponent could have ways to recover health or deal with some of your units (or both). Securing a kill with some extra damage will improve your odds of winning.

- If the enemy isn’t pressuring you or contesting the board, don’t overextend and keep some backup cards in your hand. You don’t want to lose the game to The Ruination.

- If your opponent attacks with units like Cursed Keeper or The Undying, they may want you to block and kill them to get value out of them. If you are in no danger of dying, it can be wise to take the hit and retaliate with your own units, as they will always win the race.

- Sometimes, removing an opposing threat will not be enough, as they will be able to resurrect it times and times again. Don’t let the pressure down and try not to drag games for too long against these grindy types of decks.



When it comes to bringing death upon everything in sight, the Shadow Isles are unmatched. Whether you need to scour your opponent’s forces from the board or to squeeze your army of undead dry, the Isles will always provide. Their army of ghosts and spiders are yours to command, as long as you’re ready to offer them a soul in return. Tread carefully though, and don’t let it be your own.

About Froggy0

Although some like to call him a mad scientist, Froggy is to card games what a 3-star chef is to cuisine. Representing the quintessence of French gastronomy, his decks will never leave you on an empty stomach, even though they can get a little… experimental at times. He is also a top player and he likes his opponents with a pinch of salt. To all the lactose-intolerant people out there, be careful, because his preparations often contain large amounts of cheese.