10 Balance Changes Demacia Needs
Hey everyone, Kuvira here, back at it again with another design article featuring the proud military kingdom of Demacia!
Surprisingly, Demacia is the region that I ended up working on the most.
I’ve come up with over 30+ changes to different Demacia cards from the foundation set to the latest expansion.
In this article, I decided to showcase 10 changes without including any champions.
Let’s get started
1. Petricite Broadwing
Petricite Broadwing is the most played Demacia unit, followers and champions included. It’s present in almost HALF all Demacia decks despite being tied to the formidable archetype that was introduced in the latest expansion.
Demacia already has its fair share of Challenger units, but Petricite Broadwing is by far the best. A 2 mana 0|3 Challenger with formidable is way too strong.
Every card in the game has a value floor and value ceiling, meaning that every card provides X amount of value in the worst-case scenario and Y amount of value in the best case. Cards that have a high floor X and high ceiling Y are always better than cards with the opposite values.
Petricite Broadwing’s value floor AND ceiling are way too high. In the worst-case scenario, it’s a 2 mana 3|3 Challenger unit that trades into something and dies, the opponent will always be down on value if they try to remove it with a spell since it has 3 health, Get Excited, Culling Strike, etc… all cost 3+ mana compared to Petricite Broadwing that costs 2.
The card’s ceiling is also extremely high. When combined with cards like Troll Chant, Shield of Durand, Elixir of Iron, or any other spell that buffs health, Petricite Broadwing becomes unkillable with damage spells and starts trading with big champions and followers without dying.
Formidable is a keyword that weakens followers when they take damage but it’s not enough of a drawback for this card to not be overpowered.
Figuring out how to change Petricite Broadwing was pretty challenging. The cost can’t really be changed since 3 mana would break the curve of the archetype it was designed in and the only changeable stat is its health, which is also impossible to change, 2 health would be too weak. All of this means that the only alterable factors are its keywords, the problem is that it has to keep Formidable since it’s the archetype it belongs in, and challenger can’t be changed since it’s a bird, and ALL BIRDS in Demacia have Challenger.
This is the change that I came up with:
This change is obviously very similar to Fleetfeather Tracker but Petricite only gets Challenger for the round after you play a unit.
I feel like this is a great condition that reduces both of Petricite Broadwing’s value floor and ceiling. Making the card still playable in the Formidable archetype but less of an auto 3x in every single competitive Demacia deck.
Dawnspeakers is a card that holds a lot of sentimental value to me, it’s the first card I’ve ever crafted for the “Dawnspiders” deck that everyone was playing during the first weeks when
the open beta got released. This deck was actually made by Precipic and me in closed beta.
If you guys were curious, it looked like this. Believe it or not, this was the first-ever LoR meta Deck and ladder was full of mirrors of this during the first couple of weeks.
Dawnspeakers was used here to buff the spider-filled board and make everything huge. Unfortunately, when people started playing Burn, Control, and Elusives, Dawnspiders disappeared from the meta.
Dawnspeakers is a pretty unique card, I believe it was designed to fit in Lucian/Senna decks since those archetypes already benefit from allies dying. The problem is that the round end effect is somewhat clunky, you don’t get anything when an ally dies until the next turn which is too slow. On top of that, it’s reliant on board but needs you to kill your own units, this leads to emptying hands fast.
The rework that I’m suggesting should help the card see play in the archetype it was initially designed to synergize with while making it considerable in other decks like ephemerals swarm.
The instant effect can create interesting spots that the opponent has to play around. This new version can be used to protect a unit by sacrificing another with Single Combat for Example, or push damage when used before or during attacks.
3. Radiant Strike
In the spirit of helping Lucian and his archetypes, I want to talk about Radiant Strike. +1|+1 at Burst speed for 1 mana isn’t that bad, in fact, this card has seen play during Shen/Fiora metas where cheap combat tricks were really important.
Unfortunately with the game’s power creep, Radiant Strike completely stopped seeing play when better combat tricks like Troll Chant, Sharpsight, and Pale Cascade… got released.
The rework I’m suggesting is meant to make Radiant Strike a great spell in the “allies dying” archetype of Demacia and other SI decks, especially now that Sharpsight isn’t a staple combat trick after its nerf.
This change makes sense with Demacia cards like Radiant Guardian Vanguard Redeemer, Dawnpeakers, Lucian, etc… Primarily when combined with Shadow Isles.
4. Kadregrin the Ruined
Kadregrin the Ruined is a Demacia dragon that came out during the Viego/Akshan expansion with the Ruined followers package. It was meant to work with Viego and or Dragon decks.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t seen play in either of those archetypes. In fact, it’s in the top 5 least played Demacia cards and this is mainly due to its very underwhelming effect. A 6 mana follower that grants another dragon or champion challenger on play is such an expensive effect for its cost.
I’m assuming that the idea was to stay in Demacia’s challenger flavor while giving Dragons and Viego decks a way to remove the opponent’s units by challenging them.
I wanted to keep the same initial design goal when reworking this card, so I came up with this:
This is still very flavorful since Demacia is all about strike effects and provides a much more powerful effect than just Challenger.
Kadregrin the Ruined can now be played on defense turns and actually do something, instead of paying 6 mana for no effect that same turn. I can see this new version in many Dragon decks, curving it with Shyvana to level her on defense/before the attack, or with Fused Firebrand since it has Spellshield. It also doesn’t feel awkward to play Kadregrin the Ruined on Screeching Dragon now which is very important for Dragon archetypes.
Apart from Dragons, this change also works really well with Viego. It allows you to sacrifice an ally to trigger Viego’s effect and remove a unit from the opponent’s board.
5. Vanguard Lookout
Have you guys ever put this card in any of your decks? No? Neither have I. 4 health on turn 2 is a great defensive stat, the problem is that it has no effect at all apart from being an Elite.
It has never seen play in elite decks and will never see play if it doesn’t actually do something to help the archetype. Even though Elites got multiple huge buffs in the latest patch in addition to a unique new spell, the archetype is still not seeing enough play on ladder. However, the changes have moved elites from a meme archetype to a playable one which is nice.
I remember LoR devs have said in the past that their goal is to make every card at least considerable/playable in some decks, meme or not, as long as they’re seeing play.
Elites is a deck that vomits out units on the board and buffs them all to put pressure on the opponent. One of their main weaknesses is card advantage since Demacia is not known for having draw or card generation. The rework I’m suggesting for Vanguard Lookout should fix that issue.
This is inspired by one of my favorite Demacia cards, Egghead Researcher. This change should help Elite decks replenish their hand after getting their units removed while also working with Elite-specific cards like Penitent Squire and Vanguard Squire.
Egghead Researcher was played in decks outside of Dragons, Lux/Karma, Fiora/Shen, etc… and I expect Vanguard Lookout to also see play in archetypes other than Elites which is nice in terms of deckbuilding creativity and deck diversity.
The rest of these changes are pretty self-explanatory so I won’t be writing as much about them:
6. Tianna Crownguard
7. Kadregrin the Infernal
8. Brightsteel Protector
9. Golden Aegis
I want to thank “Zinke”, an LoR player and friend who helped me with some of these changes, mainly Radiant Strike.
Feel free to DM me on Twitter if you have any questions or just want to talk about LoR stuff!