We recommend following along with the official Riot patch notes if you’re looking for their explanations related to game design. We’ll be focusing more on how impactful the changes are in regards to their strength in the game and the general meta.
Our key going forward will be green = buffed, red = nerfed, and yellow = adjusted (stats/abilities may have shifted but still has a similar relative strength).
- Hecarim has been one of the most powerful champions out there, being included in many of the top decks in the recent meta decks like Ephemeral Midrange and Fearsome Rally.
- It turns out that generating 10 Power per attack with one card is pretty good (and that’s without even being leveled up).
- The time has come for the shadow centaur man to get the nerf bat. Hecarim will be losing 1 Health (in both level 1 and level 2 forms) and his Spectral riders will be losing 1 Power.
- In exchange, his new level up ability will be +3|+0 instead of +2|+0, making him lean more into his Ephemeral deck identity instead of being an almost universal SI inclusion.
- As a result of this nerf, his champion spell (and the vanilla Onslaught of Shadows) will be decreasing by 1 mana to compensate for the Spectral Riders it summons being nerfed as well.
- Kalista is finally seeing some love as she was a strong contender for the worst champion in the game.
- She was just too easy to kill and didn’t offer enough upside to be included in the decks that she’s designed for (aggressive Fearsome decks).
- Receiving 1 extra Health will put her out of range of Mystic Shot and prevent her from dying to a single 2-Power chump blocker.
- She’s losing her +2||0 bonus Power to a bonded ally in exchange for a much better leveled up ability.
- Now, she’ll revive her strongest dead allied follower as an attacking Ephemeral. Any damage Kalista would take is diverted to her bonded ally.
- This gives Kalista much more survivability post-level up and allows her to do some cool things like bringing back a Wraithcaller (which would summon a Mistwraith) in an aggressive deck or reactivating a Commander Ledros in a slower deck.
- It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Kalista, however, as her champion spell, Black Spear (along with its vanilla version) is seeing a 1 mana cost increase.
Followers & Spells
Border Lookout –> Vanguard Lookout (buffed)
- Getting the Elite tag for the Demacian soldier formerly known as Border Lookout has been a popular community request and Riot has made it happen.
- Unfortunately, the decklist for Elites is already pretty tight and there are already a good amount of Demacian 2-drops that are still going to be better than Lookout.
- So overall it’s good news for the card but won’t make much of a difference for Demacia and might even be a tiny nerf to Swiftwing Lancer.
Mageseeker Inciter (buffed)
- Mageseeker Inciter was previously a pretty awkward card and just felt out of place since Lux’s rework.
- Now he’ll be easier to slot into decks since he doesn’t require you to discard powerful spells in order to come online.
- He’s still sort of clunky since he’s pretty easy to remove for a 4-drop and you’ll need him to survive two turns if you’re playing him on curve.
- However, dropping a 4|3 with upside isn’t the worst thing and a 6|5 on turn 6 is pretty solid, so give him a shot and let us know what you think.
Mageseeker Investigator (powershift)
- The previous Investigator was probably the best of the trio since it was pretty easy to get value out of her Purify-like ability with a low-cost spell.
- Detain can be situationally better depending on the meta so we have this listed as a powershift.
- We still aren’t sure if you can activate the 6+ proc of the Mageseekers multiple times or if it’s just one, so we’ll have to experiment with that to know for sure.
- If it’s just a one-time thing, she’ll likely just be a situational tech card in slower metas.
Mageseeker Persuader (buffed)
- Out of the three new Mageseeker versions, we believe this one is the best and will likely see more play than the others.
- A 3|2 body is always useful on curve in the early game and the added Challenger upside is nice as the keyword always has value at all stages of the game.
Iceborn Legacy (powershift)
- We’re a bit confused by this change as it’s supposed to be a buff but we aren’t convinced that it’ll actually be better so we’re listing it as a powershift.
- Sadly this card was bad and will still be bad as a two-mana increase isn’t worth getting a +1|+1 increase.
- If it was a +3|+3 increase it would be a different story but for now, it’s just too niche, too slow, and too memey.
Pack Mentality (buffed)
- Pack Mentality was just a bit too weird and clunky with its “give an ally and other allies of its group” effect.
- With this new change, it’ll be similar to the For Demacia! acting as a finisher in unit-heavy aggro decks.
- By having an AoE Overwhelm buff, it allows you to simultaneously deal direct damage while forcing your opponent to sack their entire board.
- We should definitely see more Pack Mentality here and there but most likely as a 1x or 2x at most.
Poro Snax (buffed)
- This is just a simple mana buff to make Poro Snax and Poro decks more enticing.
- Unfortunately, there really hasn’t been a staple Poro deck yet and this card buff won’t be enough to change that.
Troop of Elnuks (nerfed)
- Troop of Elnuks has been one of the most controversial cards recently due to the amount of RNG it had in a game where RNG is pretty rare.
- With the decrease from 10 to 6, it’s pretty GG for this card – if you’re an Ezreal Control player, you’ll have to adapt to a different variant but the archetype should still be strong.
Navori Conspirator (nerfed)
- Surprisingly, this is the only hit to Elusives this patch and it honestly isn’t that big of a deal.
- It might be harder for you to race against certain matchups but this will likely still be a standard inclusion in Elusive decks due to how useful its bounce effect is.
Crowd Favorite (nerfed)
- Crowd Favorite has been a staple in aggro decks like Spiders and it could be a bit too easy to make him huge unless your opponent had an AoE clear like Avalanche or Withering Wail.
- Now it’ll be easier to remove him or kill him with a chump blocker so it’ll be rarer for him to get two swings off.
- Since he still has Overwhelm he should definitely maintain relevance in the decks he’s designed for.
Piltover & Zaun
Chump Whump (nerfed)
- A 4|4 body for a 4-drop is really solid in LoR because removing anything beyond 3 Health is pretty difficult in this game. Now add one of the best effects for P&Z and you get Chump Whump.
- Despite the nerf, Chump Whump will still likely see a ton of play for his effect but now it’ll get removed by the likes of Black Spear and Get Excited!
Flash of Brilliance (powershift, leaning slight nerf)
- Heimerdinger could pop off for days with Flash of Brillance generating burst spells and some turns would just create ridiculous swings of momentum.
- By limiting it to 6+ spells, it’ll create more powerful spells overall but will have less single turn combo ability.
- Before, you could have awkward situations where Rummage was a dead card in hand.
- With the ability to discard 1 card, it’ll have increased reliability. It may not seem like much, but every action and turn matters for aggro decks.
Unstable Voltician (buffed)
- Unstable Voltician could be pretty clunky before since it was a 5-drop that you couldn’t really play on 5.
- Now, it’ll have more flexibility so you can play him on turn 5 and then activate him on turn 6 with a spell.
- That being said, we still think he’ll be pretty bad so don’t expect him in many decks just yet.
Brood Awakening (buffed)
- Brood Awakening wasn’t seeing much play, even in Spider decks.
- With the mana cost decrease, it’ll likely see more play but will probably be more of a situational inclusion depending on the state of the meta rather than an auto-include.
Mark of the Isles (nerfed)
- Getting +3|+3 with a 1 mana card was just a bit too insane as it was a finisher that was difficult to play around and could easily trade up for a ton of value.
- The “penalty” of Ephemeral doesn’t really matter when you’re hitting to win the game.
- Every point of damage is valuable when against an aggro deck so this is certainly a nerf but Mark of the Isles should still see a lot of play despite the change.
The Rekindler (nerfed)
- The last of the Shadow Isles nerfs is to The Rekindler.
- When paired with his buddy Hecarim, he could create insane turns that were difficult to play around, especially since you can’t Deny his ability.
- By increasing his cost to 7, he’ll be a lot slower and clunkier.
- He’ll still be situationally good, but along with the other SI nerfs, definitely won’t be a 3x inclusion anymore