LoR Patch Rundown (Patch 2.18.0)
In this patch breakdown and new card review, we’ll discuss all the buffs/nerfs/adjustments from the latest balance changes.
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.
Nami changing from needing seven gained spell mana to eight for her level-up condition is huge. This makes it so you can’t pass-pass-spell-pass and then play her leveled on turn four.
This is particularly a nerf to the Zoe Nami deck since the Fizz deck doesn’t level her fast.
Overall, this is a great change by keeping her functionality but nerfing her in the deck she was a bit too good in.
Combined with the Sparklefly nerf later, Zoe Nami definitely took a big hit this patch.
Draven going from a 3|3 to a 3|2 changes the game as we know it since he’s a key card in a ton of meta decks such as Draven Sion Aggro, Draven Caitlyn, Draven Ezreal and Draven Jinx.
He was a bit too good for his cost so this nerfs all his decks slightly. Draven is now answerable with Mystic Shot and in general, is easier to deal with.
When you combine this nerf with other nerfs Draven decks are receiving, this will shake up the current meta game.
This Tristana buff is extremely nice to give her more payoff for her level up. At first glance, it might not seem like much, but Impact stacks in Runeterra so she can start to really pack a punch.
Every time you summon a multi-region ally she gains an Impact stack and they gain impact as well.
If she is not dealt with she can easily deal 5+ damage per attack which is exactly the payoff she needed.
This is a nice quality of life buff so drawing a leveled Nocturne feels a bit better.
Overall the tier and function of Nightfall will be exactly the same and remain a tier 3 deck.
However, this still does make Nocturne feel better for Nocturne players everywhere.
Ekko received a slight buff on his level-up condition, needing four Predicts now instead of five. This makes him a lot more potent in his own decks.
A lot of times, players hold off on playing Ekko until he’s leveled so you can get three powerful Chronobreaks put into your deck.
This allows you to do this a turn or so sooner, save mana, and overall make the deck faster.
Ekko decks function around the same but should be slightly faster and overall slightly buffed as well.
Aurelion Sol has a ton going for him this patch and may be one of the big winners. He’s been reverted back to needing 20 power to level up which is much more achievable than 25.
Since he often wins the game on the spot when leveled, he’ll be able to turn into the powerhouse he’s meant to be more often. This buff is not the only thing Aurelion Sol has going for him this patch.
Additionally, a ton of cards were buffed from Aurelion Sol decks such as Dragons and Daybreak cards for Shyvana/Aurelion Sol or Leona/Aurelion Sol respectively.
The Scourge also has been given Overwhelm which Aurelion Sol can add to your hand.
This gives you another reliable finisher in Aurelion Sol decks. One of his main threats, Aloof Travelers, has been significantly nerfed this patch as well.
This means you won’t encounter it as often and Aurelion Sol will be successively leveling more frequently.
With Aurelion Sol being buffed, his support being buffed, and one of his main threats being nerfed, I expected him to be significantly more viable in this metagame.
Renekton has been buffed from needing to deal 12 damage to dealing 10 damage. This is actually pretty huge considering before you needed to attack with a buffed Renekton twice to level him.
Now, you only need to attack with him buffed from his effect once, and then regularly once to level. This is a great buff for Mono Shurima to level Renekton and achieve the Sun Disc quicker.
This is also a generic buff for Overwhelm since he can level faster and start packing on huge damage.
Right now, Ravenous Flock decks packed with Arachnoid Sentry were holding Renekton back, but the nerf to Draven and Lost Souls might dissuade them and allow Renekton to rise up.
Lux received a huge buff this patch. Losing one cost is huge for the small trade-off of having fewer attacks. Playing her as a unit with Barrier on turn 5 can stop an entire enemy’s tempo in the mid-game and help you establish field control.
Once she holds down the mid-game you can pair her with Aurelion Sol to be your win con for later, which was previously a tier 1 deck.
To see if she is a threat in the metagame will depend on how it shapes up and how good her support is.
One thing is for sure though, Lux decks everywhere received a huge buff.
Quinn received a nice stat buff by giving her +1 extra health.
Although this makes Quinn a bit better, the patch is bittersweet as Relentless Pursuit, which is a key card in Quinn decks, was nerfed this patch.
On the bright side, this does allow Quinn to attack more safely to help herself achieve her level up condition and trade better.
Overall, Quinn will be as good as Scouts are in the metagame. I can see the deck learning towards an anti-meta route with Stony Suppressor as result of the Relentless Pursuit nerf.
Braum received +1 health as a stat buff as well. This doesn’t change the functionality of Braum, but it does allow him to be safer from removal spells.
I don’t see this changing Braum decks tier in the metagame too much.
This is only a slight change and Braum’s decks are a bit reliant on drawing The Scargrounds. Overall, not much of a change but a buff is a buff nonetheless.
Followers, Spells, and Landmarks
This is one of the bigger nerfs of the patch as Sparklefly was one of the main reasons Nami Zoe was a menace in the metagame.
Being an Elusive with Lifesteal made it a prime buff target and insanely powerful for 2 mana.
Now that she costs 3, she is slower and more expensive. One key interaction in Nami Zoe was that Sparklefly could be summoned from the deck with Crescendum.
This is no longer possible since she costs 3 mana. Sparklefly is nerfed significantly in not just Nami Zoe but Targon decks everywhere.
This is debatably the biggest nerf of the patch alongside Sparklefly. Twinblade Revenant losing Challenger makes it half the threat it used to be.
A reoccurring Challenger allowed decks to have removal every turn and clear threats such as Bandle City Mayor with ease.
Now with Fearsome, it’s overcosted and can’t help control the board anywhere near as well. This is a fair change since the perk of Lost Soul/Twinblade Revenant is the recurring card advantage.
This card advantage will still continue, but be much less impactful. This is a huge nerf to decks such as Draven Sion, Draven Caitlyn, and anything using the Lost Soul discard package.
Tenor of Terror
Tenor of Terror was a potent threat in a ton of Bandle City centric decks. This card allowed for easy 1 damage pokes in Ping City, aggro pressure in Ziggs Poppy, and a great swarm in Bandle Tree.
Now that Tenor and his brother are nerfed, this should be much easier to clear and trade into. This nerfs all these strategies across the board that were tearing up the metagame.
This also makes Bandle decks weaker in general since this card was commonly picked off Bandle City Mayor and Loping Telescope.
I expect a lot of decks to replace this with Lecturing Yordle if they haven’t already.
Relentless Pursuit was nerfed so that Rally effects cost more in general. This is a huge nerf to Demacia decks everywhere such as Lulu Poppy Bandle City, Lulu Poppy Elusives, and Akshan Sivir.
I expect most decks to drop this card in favor of Golden Aegis. Unfortunately, a lot of Rally decks don’t get that luxury since they were running 5-6 Rally cards.
This nerfs them straight up and will make them a ton weaker.
Stone Stackers received a slight nerf from being a 2|2 with Tough to being a 2|3 without Tough.
This shouldn’t change the card too much, but if you pile it on top of the other nerfs these decks are receiving it adds up. This will make Ping City and Ziggs Poppy slightly weaker.
This is another one of the biggest nerfs of the expansion. Aloof Travelers has an insanely potent effect that can generate free card advantage or ruin the enemy’s entire gameplan straight up.
Before when Aloof Travelers was a 3|4, this wasn’t a big commitment and could be even cheaper when discounted by Bandle City Mayor.
Now that Aloof Travelers is a 2|3 it’s more of a commitment since it trades worst.
This is a big change since it makes it riskier to play Aloof Travelers and gives the opponent the opportunity to punish and take over the board.
Moondreamer has been given one extra health. This shouldn’t change much but it does allow Moondreamer to trade better while gaining yourself a Celestial card.
If you combine this with Solari Priestess and Lunari Priestess nerfs it could add up and give Invoke decks more viability.
Lunari Priestess gained one more health as well. Same as Moondreamer, this shouldn’t change much but can add up for Invoke decks.
This change is the big one that matters for the Invoke cards. Solari Priestess going from a 1|2 to a 2|2 allows her to trade significantly better than before so this change is of higher impact.
Another huge thing is that Solari Priestess was often played in a variety of tier 1 decks by herself, whereas Moondreamer and Lunari Priestess weren’t as popular.
On top of all this, Rahvun is also being buffed this patch which further supports the Daybreak package.
I assume this change was made to keep the stats of Lunari and Solari Priestess mirroring each other. I expect to see a lot more Solari Priestess decks running around with all the Invoke and Daybreak buffs.
Rahvun, Daylight’s Spear
This is a huge buff for Daybreak decks. Rahvun is one of the key cards in Daybreak which enables Daybreak effects to be played at any point in the turn.
Rahvun also gives you a free card on summoning. Now that he is a 5|6 he trades better which can scare off enemy attackers and let him defend the field.
The longer he stays on the field the more you can reap the benefits of his effect and take over the game. Combine this with Solari Priestess buffs and Daybreak deck can very well be on the rise.
The Scourge is a Celestial card that was a powerful finisher but often left the opponent alive for a few extra turns.
Now that the Scourge has Overwhelm it should more reliably finish the game and establish itself as a powerful 10 cost game-ender.
This is a buff for Invoke decks and Aurelion Sol decks since they are the ones who have access to this card.
This is another buff for Dragons this patch. Usually, Dragon’s Clutch was used just for its ability to search two Dragons and the occasional +1|+1 in niche scenarios.
Now it’s a legitimate consideration between the two effects. This card can double as refuel or a win-con now which is unique and powerful in its own right.
Ruined Dragonguard is a newer card that now has the potential to see competitive play. Dragon decks traditionally didn’t have amazing options for their 3 drop spot.
They often played Laurent Protege or another 2 drop on turn 3.
This allows them to have a well-statted 3 drop that demands to be cleared or can rack up your Dragons tons of stats. A card that had its health buffed, yet demands removal and can trade well has a lot to offer.
Herald of the Dragons
Herald of the Dragons going from a 1|1 to a 1|2 is just the buff Dragons needed. Before Dragons didn’t have too much synergy as a deck, but now all Dragons are able to more reliably be played 1 cost cheaper.
This helps the deck curve out better and fix hands that are too expensive. Previously, Herald of the Dragons died easily to Make it Rain, Vile Feast, and the multitude of 1 damage pings from Bandle City.
Now Herald of the Dragon is able to stay on the field more often and make Dragons feel like a complete deck. This is a huge buff for Dragons and I expect some variant to see play in the metagame with all these changes.
Faces of the Old Ones
Ramping is a key flavor of Frejlord that isn’t as potent as it once was. After a great performance at Worlds, people have been looking towards Feel The Rush as the main SI/Frejlord control variant of the season.
Now that Faces of the Old Ones was buffed it can stay on the field longer and allow you to benefit from the extra mana. If ramp will be good or not is metagame dependent, but this certainly helps its case.
The +1 health on Vanguard Sergeant makes him a ton better. Demacia thrives on having good stats and combat trades.
Now you have a 3 drop that can do that as well as giving you a potential game ender later on.
The question is, what deck does Vanguard Sergeant fit in exactly? One option is the newly buffed Lux to level her and start getting more Final Sparks!
A lot of older archetypes like Elites still aren’t much better in viability from this. But I could see Vanguard Sergeant being splashed in Lux decks or Shen Jarvan.
Dess and Ada
Last but not least is the buff to Dess and Ada. Previously Dess and Ada dealt 2 to all enemies, which isn’t too impactful because by turn 8 most units have higher health.
Now Dess and Ada can be a late game board clear with a nice body.
This is great for decks like Darkness that thrive on outgrinding opponents. Dess and Ada certainly has a place in Darkness now and can seal a game for you in the right matchups.
- Draven Sion Aggro
- Draven Caitlyn/Ezreal
- Nami Zoe
- Rally decks
- Ziggs Poppy
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask NicMakesPlays during his streams (usually 6PM-1230AM EST).