Top Games

Legends of Runeterra the Saltwater Scourge Lab Explained

Gangplank, the Saltwater Scourge
Gangplank, the Saltwater Scourge / Photo courtesy of Riot Games

Legends of Runeterra recently surprised its players with an all-new updated Lab, The Saltwater Scourge. In this roguelike and RPG-like mode, players battle across a map, drafting a deck and acquiring special powers as they make their way to the final boss, Gangplank.

The Saltwater Scourge is an updated version of Lab of Legends, Runeterra's fan-favorite PvE mode. In this updated Lab, there's a greater variety of AI opponents, a new gold and experience system, and new options like cutting a card. It's the next step in Riot Games' experiment in creating a permanent PvE game mode.

If you're new to the Lab, here's a breakdown of what you need to know.

Legends of Runeterra the Saltwater Scourge Lab Explained

Players can play as Miss Fortune, Tahm Kench, or Twisted Fate. Each starter champion comes with their own deck that you'll slowly add to as you play.

Across the map, there are various battle nodes, a mini-boss in the center, and Gangplank at the very end. You'll need to clear a battle before unlocking the nodes beyond it. The number next to a battle indicates the level of difficulty of that battle. The mini-boss can be Swain, Karma, or Azir, and is determined at the start of the run.

Legends of Runeterra The Saltwater Scourge map
Battle across the map

After each battle, you'll get to pick one out of three cards to add to your deck, and gain some gold and experience. Gold is used to purchase cards at shop nodes; experience helps you level up, which offers important rewards like passive powers, new champions, and champion items. It's recommended to level up as much as you can by clearing more battles before fighting Gangplank, because passive powers in particular are extremely helpful. You'll get passive powers at levels 3, 5, 7, and 8, with 8 being the max level.

Aside from battles, you'll also come across shops, healing nodes, treasure chests, and event nodes, all of which offer various rewards. If you don't like a reward, you can always leave it, or come back to it later.

  • At the shop, there will be six cards on sale - three on the top shelf and three on the bottom shelf - that you can purchase. Keep in mind that you can purchase up to three copies of each card, and you can always come back if you don't have enough gold.
  • At healing nodes, you can choose either to heal half your max HP, or to cut a card from your deck. It's important to save some healing spots for before you face Gangplank.
  • Treasure chests are simple - you get either one of three cards for free, or a pile of gold.
  • Event nodes are indicated by an exclamation point, which can offer a variety of rewards. Some function like a shop or a treasure chest; others offer unique opportunities like paying HP to cut cards or purchasing another passive power.
Legends of Runeterra The Saltwater Scourge shop
Purchase cards in the shop

Gangplank is a powerful boss, so keep him in mind when you are drafting your deck. Try to fit in some ways to clear his Powder Kegs, which can deal tons of damage to you if you're not careful, or ways to clear Gangplank himself. Healing is another important asset that provides long-term sustain, so look for units with Lifesteal or items that heal your nexus.

Unlike in Lab of Legends, if you die in this mode, you can try again from where you left off - you'll just receive a lower Skill rating at the end. When you complete the run, you'll be judged on your Skill, Speed, and Wealth. Here's what you need to get an S in each category:

  • Skill: complete the run without dying and without healing at healing nodes.
  • Speed: complete the run in under 35 minutes.
  • Wealth: complete the run with over 1,400 gold.

The Saltwater Scourge adds to the original Lab of Legends experience, and is an engaging roguelike mode that will likely have players coming back for more. With the announcement of a major PvE event coming in November, Runeterra fans have much to look forward to when it comes to PvE game modes.