Legends of Runeterra


LoR - Variety Patch 5.2: Review of the New Cards

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In this article, I'll analyze all 10 new cards that were announced in the first variety patch of 2024. They'll be available to play in the game from February 28th onward, and will possibly change LoR's meta in a radical way. Let's see if these cards really are that strong.

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The first variety patch in 2024 is here, and, as usual, I'll bring you my full analysis of the new cards.

Variety patches are designed to tune existing decks, present new deckbuilding ideas, or add tools that neutralize some type of strong mechanic in the meta.

We'll grade these cards from ★☆☆☆☆ (one star) to ★★★★★ (five stars):

★★★★★ - Incredibly strong card that will probably define the meta.

★★★★☆ - Strong card that will play in several meta decks or be extremely strong in a particular deck.


★★★☆☆ - Good card that will only really play in one specific meta.

★★☆☆☆ - Mediocre card that will perform reasonably in a specific deck.

★☆☆☆☆ - Bad card that will not see any play.

This article was based on my 4-year experience casting and playing LoR professionally. You are welcome to give the new cards your own grades in the comment section!

Kashuri Swipe

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

This spell reinforces the Control region identity in Noxus, which is currently restricted to Eternal. Even though we have a few cards in Standard that support this game style, we're still missing several resources in this format to truly have a complete Noxus control deck as we used to have.

Cards like Ravenous Flock and Death's Hand have pivotal roles in current Noxus decks, and they're only available in Eternal.

As a result, we can assume this spell won't fit any specific deck in Standard, but it might be interesting after the 2024 rotation comes along.

This card's main idea is to focus your damage on the targeted unit, even if your opponent heals it as the stack resolves. Like so, even if you don't kill your target, it will still take damage.

Not to mention, you can use the 2 points of direct damage to slay early game units as well if you need to.

Taloned Strike

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

So far, we've never had a Bird tribal deck in Runeterra, and this card might be what was missing for that to happen.

Anyone can see Riot has been promoting this archetype for a while now, like with Royal Shimmerwing, for instance, which, despite not being a strong unit, could be part of this Bird archetype.

A deck with this game style would be full of Challenger units, considering this is the main keyword we find in Birds in this game, and would probably work as a Dragon list that focuses much more on controlling the enemy board with Challenger.

As we've never had a deck with this style, it is fair to give this spell a medium rating, considering we don't know what a Bird tribal deck looks like. However, considering global effects historically have always been strong, this card might surprise us. Due to these factors, it deserves 3 stars.

Chained Caster

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

This is one of the most hyped units in the new patch because right away it brings a new mechanic and also an entirely different game style that involves "cards with strong stats, but with some sort of drawback". In this case, Chained Caster Curses itself with Shackles when it enters the board.

This card costs 0 mana, which seems incredibly strong, but players at the "LoR Invitational" event, hosted by Riot two weeks ago, tested this unit, and it didn't do that well. The fact Shackles cost 2 mana makes it a bit expensive, and disrupts the unit curve of Midrange Targon decks.


If this were a Demacia unit, it would be a lot different, but it is a Targon unit, and very few archetypes support this game style. And the few that exist either don't perform that well in Standard, or are Eternal decks.

Therefore, unfortunately, Chained Caster deserves 3 stars. As much as it is extremely aggressive, it disrupts the unit curve in Midrange lists, and forces an entirely new game style that we still haven't been able to build right.

Prancing Sea Spirits

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Rating: ★★★★☆

The handbuff archetype got one of the best cards ever in this variety patch.

Prancing Sea Spirit will be one of the best Elusive cards for Bard lists, and it will practically double any type of bonus stat they get, considering it summons an identical copy of itself on the board.

So, with 3 chimes, you'll have, for 2 mana, two 4/4 Elusive units on the board, ready to attack your opponent.

Not to mention, we don't necessarily need to use this card in Bard lists because we can include it in Azir Irelia lists in Eternal to level up Azir faster.

You can also use Prancing Sea Spirits in Gwen Zed lists as an Elusive attacker that boosts both Greenglade Duo and Shadow Apprentice.

Bladebound Berserker

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Bladebound Berserker will be one of the best cards for Udyr lists, and will entirely change the decks with this champion.

This follower will open up a gigantic array of possible combos with other regions that Udyr lists haven't managed to explore yet, besides Freljord/Demacia.

This card tends to get better with time, and can be a nightmare in Eternal. After the 2024 rotation, depending on which champion returns from Eternal, we might see Aphelios Udyr lists, for instance, which will double the weapons created by Aphelios.

A direct comparison we can draw with Bladebound Berserker is Flamecaller Caprine, which also works as a 4 mana unit you want to protect and buff.

Therefore, this theme can become more and more present in Freljord decks after this patch, and, as Udyr was buffed recently, these lists can become quite popular.

Sneaky Swap

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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Unfortunately, Bandle City is going through it. For some time now, this region has been a bit unstable since it didn't get any champions last year, and most of its new cards throughout 2023 didn't give it any clear path to follow. We also don't know which identity it will take on in 2024.

Therefore, it is extremely difficult to assess Sneaky Swap because it is a spell that doesn't match any Bandle City archetype currently, and it also doesn't bring much to any deck that brings this region as a support region.

This card might not seem interesting now, but maybe, after the 2024 rotation and the new set, it will make a bit more sense (just like most Bandle City cards from the past year - we're talking about you, Sugary Snare!)


Horned Swarmcaller

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Horned Swarmcaller is the first Shurima Dragon, and it reinforces the Warden of the Tribes identity that is popular when we discuss Shurima decks nowadays.

The Buried Sun Disc lists are, bit by bit, becoming Warden of the Tribes lists after the changes made to this landmark. Now, with a Dragon as an option in Shurima, this strategy can become even stronger.

Silencing keywords is also an incredibly strong mechanic, not to mention you'll also grant -1/-0 to two enemy units for just 6 mana.

Right away, Shurima's turn 6 has become much better and extremely defensive because now you can use a unit with decent stats that partially controls the enemy board.

Kai'Sa lists might be a bit better as well now that we can use Fury, as it is a keyword that is available in this region.

Chakram Dancer

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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Now, Bilgewater can Drain, which is originally Shadow Isles' region identity. We debated this with LoR devs on social media in the past few days, and they said Bilgewater has always had healing options, but they were never the focal point in this region. Citrus Courier and Ebb and Flow are good examples of that.

Even then, Chakram Dancer doesn't really match any archetype we have right now, but it might surprise us after the new set comes along, in March.

Just like Bandle City, Bilgewater has been going through an identity crisis, and the only decks this region supports right now are Nilah lists, which are stronger in Eternal.

Therefore, a new age of Control Bilgewater lists might be upon us with Chakram Dancer, but, for now, this card will probably not see a lot of play because it is a bit too slow.

Erastin, the Disgraced

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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Erastin's issue is that it needs to attack to activate its effect, and, even then, it is not a powerful effect for a unit that costs 8 mana.

One of Shadow Isles' biggest issues is that cards from this region are too expensive. Erastin fits perfectly into the category of cards in this region that cost too much and have mediocre effects.

Unfortunately, as it is incredibly expensive, we'll hardly play it in Shadow Isles lists, considering we must always be careful and not spend too much mana when we play with this region, if we want to have enough mana to use our spells. Ideally, we need to have at least 7 mana when we play Shadow Isles lists, so cards that are more expensive than that need to be extremely strong, or they won't even be considered as options.

Terror of the Tides is available in Standard, costs the same as Erastin and has a similar effect, but it is much stronger, and it still doesn't see any play, not even in Deep decks, which can play it for 4 mana.


Overall, despite Erastin having a recycling ability, this interaction will hardly influence the outcome of most your games. This is a "win more" condition effect that is very slow. It's a cool effect that many players will try to make it work in the first few days of the patch, but it probably will not be that good as we think it is.

Prototype Porobot

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Prototype Porobot is a phenomenal, innovative card that will recycle cards in Jayce archetypes. The main bonus with this unit is that you'll always have at your disposal an Elusive unit on the board that will always return to the battlefield when we play a 6-cost spell.

However, you need to have this 6-cost spell in your hand to activate the Last Breath effect in Prototype Porobot.

This follower's greatest asset might be hidden in classic Poros archetypes, simply because it is another Elusive Poro that also has Attune.

You don't necessarily need to activate its Last Breath while playing this archetype because Prototype Porobot will have bigger stats, considering Poro Snaxs and this archetype's support spells.

This card might revolutionize Poro decks, which are already quite powerful, and give this beloved archetype a new face.

Final Words

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If you read this far, thank you! Now you know all my thoughts regarding the new cards in the variety patch.

Don't forget to share and comment. See you next time!