Patch 4.2.0 Analysis
It's finally time for the first Variety update in Legends of Runeterra in 2023. And many changes have come to the game, so things can get a bit too chaotic in the next few days. That being said, I decided to analyze this patch deeply to help you better understand what will most likely happen in the next few days in LoR. Let's Go!
It looks like our friend Avarosan Sentry traveled for too long and ended up dying, but at least he's determined. Anyhow, these two cards are identical, only the region is changed.
The idea behind that is to unlink this type of mechanic to only the Freljordian region and make space for Shadow Isles to pair with other regions without losing access to this type of interaction, which is quite healthy for this region. This card isn't broken, or too strong, but for sure comes into the game as a *staple.
*(cards that are strong and iconic, and, in general, complement well any archetype, and can be included in most decks, such as Pokey Stick, Vile Feast and Ravenous Flock).
This card is OK. It works as an engine for decks with the idea to buff stats of cards in hand. It has a relatively fair mana cost for the effect it has, and has a moderate snowball effect potential.
It is a great addition to the game, and I believe it doesn't hurt LoR's ecosystem, in general. It can end up flying under the radar of players in the first few days, but eventually it might be a great alternative to help Kayle and Bard archetypes, even though it is quite mid.
Blocking Badgerbear is the symbol of Demacia's anti-elusive identity. The stats of this unit are spectacular, in comparison to its mana cost, and it is also an Elite follower. It can serve as a thermometer for metas in which Elusive units are very dominant.
A unit that prevents future problems with this very problematic keyword. Maybe now, this card won't shine too much, but it will always show up to hold off the meta when it's necessary, and that's why it's so important to the game.
Though this unit has a very interesting effect, and it is an effect which is very welcome to the Bandle City region, I believe it won't see much play.
Unfortunately, Banana Blaster competes with cards that are much more interesting for the same mana cost, such as Aloof Travelers, and removals such as Buster Shot. I believe archetypes that buff cards in hand are still under the radar as well.
Maybe with the new changes, this card can find its place under the sun in Runeterra's meta, but I believe that is very hard to happen.
Unfortunately, Shurima wasn't as well represented in the new changes and cards. This card has an interesting idea, which matches the Shurima identity of tutoring champions.
But I believe this effect is done a bit too weirdly and not at all efficient. Obviously, as it is a unit with a crazy effect, you can expect it to be tested out quite thoroughly in the first few days, but it will be miserably forgotten after the first week and will never see play again.
This card has the potential of being the best spell in the whole game. It brings a very strong effect which has synergy with plenty of existing decks, which are also quite strong, such as Heimerdinger and Jayce or Seraphine lists, and even Noxus control archetypes such as Ezreal and Annie.
The possibilities are endless with this spell, and therefore, you can expect to see it dominate the meta in the next few days. We might be coming back to a value meta, or a combo decks meta, as a result of this card's existence. I wouldn't be surprised to see a hotfix nerf to Formula to make it cost 7 mana. Piltover & Zaun will probably go back to being the best support region in the game.
This might be the card that generates the most debate about it being good or not, or if it will be used or not. An argument against it would be that mana ramp cards already exist, in general, and grant you immediate resources that are more valuable, but they also cost 5 mana.
Winter's Touch gives you an empty mana gem for 4 mana, and a card draw that might be interesting for future turns. The truth is that this card is great, but its playability rate will be very much linked to the personal tastes of the players of this archetype.
In the same way some prefer to use Rite of Negation instead of Deny in some decks, it will be the same for this card, when compared to other mana ramp tools. It will be interesting to see how Winter's Touch will adapt to the current meta, considering lists for this archetype are still very relevant in the competitive scene.
I believe this might be a very healthy card for the game, and it promotes creativity in deck building, which makes Runeterra an even better game.
Unfortunately, it is already a trend: cards with the best arts are the worst in new sets and variety packs. String-Puller is a card that has a very high cost for a mediocre effect, which currently has no space at all in the meta.
This card has a synergy which is a bit too slow for the spider archetype, and it also seems a very slow addition for pressure lists such as Katarina Gwen. I can't see a very prosperous future for our dear new spider.
Historically, cards with mana reduction effects are very strong in combo lists. And this unit, despite having a very high mana cost, and also mediocre stats, can be an amazing tool for some crazy combo in the future.
I believe we won't see the best and most efficient way to play with Serene Sky-Singer in the first few days, but the clock will always be ticking until it is a potential threat to the Runeterra meta.
Another card that can create debate in the community regarding how good this follower actually is. This card has an interesting potential snowball effect, but it seems to have a very high cost and very low stats.
It might be a follower that will see a lot of play in the first few days, but its presence in decks might be very brief and quite muted as there are better ways to combo and finish matches.
The future of this card might be the most uncertain of all new additions to Runeterra, and I wouldn't place my bets on Mischievous Marai straight away.
Thoughts on New Cards
In general, these are cards that bring pointer ideas for deckbuilding, and I believe that was the big theme for this mini-set.
If you really look at it, a great portion of them are cards that need a specific build in a deck for their effects to be properly taken advantage of. This type of approach is very welcome to the game, and it incites a practice of deckbuilding which is very healthy for Runeterra, as it promotes the interaction between players on social media, sharing their decks and new ideas.
That fills the game with never-before-seen interactions, and makes the experience, both competitive and casual, much better. The general rating I give to the new cards is: ★★★★☆ - great set.
This change is a quality of life change to Riven that won't affect at all her win rate, and it is a buff that will really go by unnoticed.
This is another change that will go by unnoticed, because it is a small nerf that won't affect the game at all. This card was already not used in any Demacia list, and the only time you could see Silverwing Vanguard was when it came from a Norra portal, after this champion was already at her level 2. To prevent having way too big blowouts when this unit comes in a portal, the text was adjusted.
This change promotes a bit more interactivity with the board in Evelynn's support cards. I believe that, outside this archetype, Steem will remain unused, and only time will tell if he really will become a good card.
Certainly, it is a follower with a much more interesting effect now, but I don't see this card seeing play, even after this buff. Even though the keyword Scout is quite strong, I believe it is still not enough to make Steem finally see some action on the battlefield.
This buff is very relevant. This card is already a very strong engine for the Azir Irelia archetype, and even Evelynn herself benefits from this unit. Now with an additional health point, Domination is out of cheap ping removal spells, such as Pokey Stick and Vile Feast, which makes it easier for her to share stats across the board, which is all you want in aggressive lists.
This change unfortunately came in a bit late into the game. This card would have been amazing in the Jinx Lulu list, but unfortunately, after the nerfs, this deck completely disappeared from the meta, and I believe this card won't be enough to bring back Jinx from the ashes.
Anyhow, the region change allows this region to be played in Piltover & Zaun decks now, and it helps it see play in other discard lists a lot. However, I believe it is a change that will go by a bit unnoticed by competitive players.
Even if this card refilled your whole spell mana, it still wouldn't see play. It is a card with a very weird effect, for a deck that doesn't exist currently, in a region that doesn't interact with this game style all that well. It is a landmark that will certainly remain seeing absolutely 0 play.
I bet most of you didn't even know Wraith of Echoes existed. And you'll still not see it anywhere, because this change is irrelevant, and this card will still remain unused. Its effect is very mediocre, and there are much more efficient ways of sharing stats to the board.
Finally, a relevant change. This card has seen play in combo decks and Anivia lists, but it was forgotten as it was a card that was a bit too slow, and very vulnerable to landmark removal. Now as it costs 4, alongside the popularity of Anivia's archetype nowadays, which is increasing, it might finally see play again.
This nerf states the official death of this card. The greatest strength of Reveler's Feast was to play it after you've declared the attack, this way surprising your enemy with a lot of damage. Now this card forces you to take a proactive decision, which for the deck it saw play in, it is not interesting at all.
I don't see this card being played in any archetype at the moment, but, I believe this decision of killing the card, for now, is very wise on Riot's part, as it has always been a bit frustrating to play against it.
I officially declare another death in this patch: Atrocity. The greatest strength of this card was always the possibility of it being used as an answer to removal, and now that this is no longer possible, I don't see why use it at all in any list.
This change directly affects the popularity of Tristana decks, and I believe these lists will become very muted in the next few days. Another big factor to consider is that now, in slower metas, control lists will probably not choose Atrocity as a finisher, or win condition; as a result, you can expect these decks to go looking for other, more creative, options to end their matches.
Wandering Shepherd was becoming a very safe alternative for pressure lists to find alternative ways for their win conditions, in case you found the Overwhelm and Scout equipment. In this case, at least for now, it is possible to remove Shepherd easier in case you're suffering against the free value it creates to the board.
This change doesn't alter the efficiency of Rahvun, Daylight's Spear much. The difference is now this card won't be able to trade with 5 or more attack units. Removal spells that deal with Rahvun currently, will still remove it after the patch, as usual.
Maybe there will be a slight growth in the popularity of decks with Enraged Yeti, as this list was just beginning to peak lately. Now that Leona and Kayle have lost a potential blocker to Yetis, certainly the Noxus Daybreak list will feel a bit disadvantaged. But other than that, I believe it is a very welcome change that doesn't necessarily retire this card.
Thoughts on Buffs and Nerfs
I believe the only relevant change is the nerf to Atrocity, and other than that, these are Nerfs and Buffs which almost don't change the game at all. Obviously, the changes are mostly quality of life changes, but the buffed cards will hardly see play, except for Vaults of Helia.
Lately, Riot has acted very cautiously when it comes to Buffing and Nerfing, and it has worked out. It seems the company prefers solving game issues by adding cards, instead of altering existing cards drastically. I like this type of balancing philosophy, despite these changes seeming, mostly, pointless.
Anyway, I would like to see a few more relevant changes next time, and for that my overall rating for Nerfs and Buffs is ★★★☆☆. Good changes, but, in general, not very relevant.
The greatest strength of this Patch is for sure the new cards, and I'm anxious to see how they do in the meta in the next few days.
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