Lor Patch Rundown (Patch 2.1.0) + New Aphelios Expansion Cards
In this patch breakdown and new card review, we’ll discuss all the buffs/nerfs/adjustments from the balance changes along with all the new cards from the Aphelios expansion.
We recommend following along with the official Riot patch notes if you’re looking for their explanations related to game design.
Overall, we’ll be focusing on how impactful the changes are in regards to their strength in the game and the general meta.
For more insights, be sure to also check out Swim’s video with his thoughts on the patch:
Miss Fortune (nerfed)
Miss Fortune’s was nerfed by removing her Overwhelm from her lv 2 form.
This shouldn’t change too much because you usually are in a winning spot when you level Miss Fortune, but sometimes the Overwhelm makes the difference when going for game.
Viktor was buffed by creating a Hexcore Upgrade in hand when he is played as well as Round Start. This is a huge buff and makes Viktor significantly more viable.
The ability to start tacking on keywords from the turn he is summoned can start getting him rolling as a win-con much faster.
This also makes him stronger by triggering his Augment the turn he is summoned, and can also be used as discard fodder for Poro Cannon, Rummage, and Spacey Sketcher.
Followers, Landmarks, & Spells
The Grand Plaza (nerfed)
The nerf to Grand Plaza is huge and will shift the meta. First off, Scout decks and Targon Demacia Plaza decks take a few nerfs this patch so they will be a lot weaker.
Decks like Lucian Hecarim that don’t utilize the health buff are slightly nerfed but mostly unchanged.
Plaza being nerfed can allow other midrange decks to be stronger, as well as cards returning that were hurt by Grand Plaza like Heimerdinger.
War Chefs (buffed)
The War Chefs buff will hopefully make him see more play. War Chefs is a card that can be used in Scouts and Lulu support decks as a key 2 drop.
War Chefs combos well with Fleetracker, is a solid 2 drop, and works towards leveling up Lulu. War Chefs changing from a 1/3 to a 2/2 is both a buff and a nerf though.
War Chefs can trade with cards now that have two health such as Mountain Goat, but War Chefs loses some of his bulk for trading and becomes weak to cards like Avalanche and Mystic Shot as well.
Homecoming was discounted to 4 mana which makes it much more viable.
This card could be good in a Yasuo deck to reuse Concussive Palm while also recalling enemy units and working towards Yasuo’s level up.
Another role for this card in that deck could be to protect Yasuo from a removal spell while also recalling an enemy unit.
Greenglade Elder (buffed)
This is a nice buff but overall Greenglade Elder still has the same role. This card shouldn’t be in any high tier decks but extra attack stat gives it much more room for experimentation.
Captain Farron (nerfed)
Captain Farron was nerfed to create 2 Decimates instead of 3. This nerf mostly leaves him unchanged in decks such as Ez Draven where you rarely ever use his 3rd Decimate.
This could hurt certain decks such as Overwhelm or Pirate Aggro decks that splash Captain Farron as a 1 of for top end.
Captain Farron can be seen as slightly changed but he overall does the same thing and completes the same role.
Blade of the Exile (buffed)
Blade of Exile going to 1 mana is a huge buff for Riven decks.
The mana commitment is much lower so you are able to do multiple things per turn along with activating Blade of Exile, as well as if they can deal with Blade of Exile it’s not as big of a deal.
This gives Riven decks a lot more luxury in how they map out their turns.
Blade Squire (buffed)
Blade Squire going to 2/1 is also a huge buff to Riven decks. Before, Blade Squire was usually too weak to trade with anything and didn’t put on much pressure so people could ignore it.
Now when it’s attacking for 2/1 people have to deal with it or they take more damage, as well as it gets better trades.
Hush going to 3 will make the game a lot more diverse and will have huge implications on the game.
Hush being nerfed allows for a lot more strategies to be viable such as Riven, Viktor, and other decks that like to go in on buffing one unit.
In general, this makes Hush more of a commitment so if they use Hush on you it may cut off other options for their turn.
This also nerfs Targon decks overall that have used Hush’s versatility to deal with the multitude of threats they are up against.
Pale Cascade (nerfed)
The Pale Cascade nerf affects a lot of different decks. This change nerfs Lee Sin and Targon decks such as Zoe Diana in a pretty straight forward way.
1 less attack gives them weaker combat trades, damage output, and use out of their 2 mana.
This does also hurt a lot of tier 2-3 decks such as Nightfall, Fearsome, and Noxus Targon Overwhelm.
So it makes some of the top decks weaker but also hurts some of the weaker decks out there, particularly Nightfall since it was one of their key cards.
Aphelios Expansion Cards
The herald of the new set around which everyone else is going to flock. Moon man over here is an absolute engine of value.
Churning out follower removal, spare two drops, tempo stuns, Lifesteal, or even Overwhelm to finish a game Aphelios has got everything you need.
Expect him to slot into a variety of different archetypes and very likely find some sort of tier one deck to make his own. Look to hear more about this power-house in articles to follow
For more thoughts on Aphelios and his Moon weapons, check out our Aphelios reveal impressions.
Gifts From Beyond
Aphelios’s champion spell unfortunately doesn’t really measure up to the man himself.
Part of the reason he is so powerful is the threat of ongoing value as well as the 3/3 body to scrap in combat when necessary.
Taking those away for only a one mana decrease, even though spell mana can now be used, does not a particularly competitive card make.
The flight is a persistent Nightfall enabler, an aggravating source of chip damage, and sometimes a little bit of extra card draw at just the right moment.
He’ll never affect the board that much, but for everything else, this is your friend.
He’s just looking for a good Nightfall or elusive aggro deck to call his home.
Because it needs one specific card in The Messenger to function I think this card may be more meme than dream, unfortunately.
Who knows though, maybe this newest incarnation of Poro Snax will be able to invoke some more respect from the world at large than its slightly fluffier brethren have been able to collect.
The Sky Shadows
This card is so close to being an amazing Nightfall enabler. Unfortunately, it is just one word short, in that it had one too many words.
If this refilled all mana as opposed to just spell mana it might be destined for greatness, but as it stands most of the best Nightfall targets are creatures, and the shadows don’t actually let you get them out any faster.
Holy busted value nonsense batman. For four mana we get a body that can trade reasonably well into other three and four mana plays, gain us some life, and go get an under costed body or even an Equinox.
Expect to see this as a three of in any and all Targon lists being made in the near future. I would not be surprised if this is the best card from this mini-set.
The Veiled Temple
Man, pour one out to the Riot development team because it is so hard to balance landmarks.
On one end we have amazing effects like Star Spring and Grand Plaza, and then we’ve got Monastery of Hirana and this brick.
It will try to gain you back the tempo you lose by paying four creature mana to do absolutely nothing, but it doesn’t seem likely to be able to.
I’m relegating this to meme-tier personally, though I’d be happy to be proven wrong.
Stun spider finally got a big brother. The question is whether his bigness can make up for his increased mana cost.
All things considered, I’m inclined to say it’s unlikely, but I could see this finding its way into Nightfall lists as a one or two of to top out curves and try to push through those last couple points of damage with the big Overwhelm booty.
Flurry of Fists
This card has Riven’s name written all over it, left, right, and center.
Only time will tell if the crazy combo kill potential represented here along with her recent buffs will be sufficient to give Riven the time in the limelight she deserves, but for now, I will count myself among the cautiously optimistic.
As much as the last card was begging us to play Riven this one really wants to talk about Anivia, with just a hint of the Undying on the side for you dedicated fans out there.
Dropping Anivia plus this on turn six to get an early Rekindled Anivia or comboing with undying to slam out a Grizzled Ranger both sound like pretty sick play patterns.
Whether they’ll be enough to shoulder up into the upper tiers is a real question, but Gluttony deserves some serious testing.
I have to admit I’m at a bit of a loss for what this card is meant to do. It’s not quite a finisher and not quite a removal spell and not quite good enough to be a build-around Plunder card.
Maybe some monkeying around with it in the next couple weeks will show us an amazing home for this gem in the rough but I’m not currently holding my breath.
Speaking of breath, I don’t think I’m really interested in holding too tightly to this card either. It has some huge payoffs, don’t get me wrong.
Unfortunately, the deckbuilding restriction of needing dragons, plus the slow speed, plus the mana cost mean that most of the time you’ll be better just running Concerted Strikes and Single Combats for your Demacia removal needs.
Piltover & Zaun
A card that asks to be discarded to provide real value in the form of a card to play next turn is frankly a little bit frightening when paired with any of the myriad Piltover and Zaun decks that love to through their cards away.
I will personally be a bit surprised if this does not find a powerful home in some discard based archetype, whether it is aggro, control, or even the newer combo degeneracy that Twisted Fate/Fizz provides.
While Regeneration is a crazy powerful keyword most of the time when you play this card you are going to be in serious danger of your opponent just killing the target that turn before you get value.
That said, if this ever effectively gets down on to a Fiora I will be personally quaking in my boots from two games away.
When you put a high mana slow speed spell into your deck you really have to get an awful lot of mileage out of it for it to be a good choice.
However, Wild Claws looks like it has serious chances to deliver that necessary value.
Removing a blocker and potentially pushing through dangerous or even lethal damage is pretty impressive for just five mana.
I’m going to start calling this the Noxian Atrocity now and do not expect to stop for the near future.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask NicMakesPlays during his streams (usually 6PM-1230AM EST).