Along with a brand new region and a plethora of new cards, Legends of Runeterra’s “Rising Tides” expansion introduced a divisive new mechanic. The “yoink” mechanic, as it’s colloquially referred to, grants players the power to steal cards off the top of their opponent’s decks, and right now comes in the form of two cards.
“Black Market Merchant” is a two-mana unit that draws a card from the enemy deck when the plunder requirement is met. It also reduces its cost by one. The main offender however is the two mana burst spell called “Pilfered Goods,” which draws a card from the enemy deck, and draws two if you’ve plundered that turn.
The "Yoink" mechanic was a design mistake @PlayRuneterra
We don't wanna be Hearthstone k thx.
— Mogwai (@MegaMogwai) June 18, 2020
Losing to your own cards is often frustrating, and it looks like Miguel “MegaMogwai” Guerrero has had enough. “The “Yoink” mechanic was a design mistake. We don’t wanna be Hearthstone k thx,” the streamer tweeted.
Mogwai brings up an interesting point in the second half of his tweet. The introduction of this mechanic has indeed led to the game feeling more like Hearthstone in some instances. Aside from its cost, one of the main complaints about Blizzard’s card game has always been its reliance on RNG. Mechanics such as “Discover,” and cards such as “Burgle” are perfect examples of how adding more variance can make a game more unpredictable.
Admittedly, this can lead to exciting games, with insane swings and general wackiness, but it’s a double-edged sword. Losing a game because your opponent got lucky with the perfect card and or interaction caused the game to get uninstalled on a semi-frequent basis for many players.
Riot’s iteration had done a much better job on this front. Despite being a card game, Runeterra still generally does a good job of making players feel like their success or failure ultimately lies in their hands. These two cards have somewhat put that feeling in jeopardy, however, as they’ve introduced a little too much unpredictability to what’s supposed to be a skill-based game.
The community has been thinking of ways to change these cards in order to make them less frustrating to play against. Some have suggested revealing the stolen cards to the affected player so they know what to play around, while others suggested changing it so that it just copies cards instead of outright stealing them. Whatever the case, there are a lot of creative ways to lower their power level, and luckily, Riot has been very open to community feedback so far.
Players might not have to wait that much longer for a change, as Riot added card stealing to their watchlist as part of their 1.2 patch notes. A change might be coming as soon as next week, when patch 1.4 goes live.
Max is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, Washington. Armed with a BS in Game Design, he is mainly focused on covering Call of Duty, Legends of Runeterra, and streamer culture for Level Push.