Legends of Runeterra


LoR: Complete Patch 4.4.0 Analysis - What is strong now?

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In this article, I'll analyze thoroughly all changes from Patch 4.4.0 which will go into the game on 26/04 and how they should impact the Runeterra ecosystem.

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переведено Joey Sticks

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рассмотрено Tabata Marques

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Legends of Runeterra's 4.4.0 Patch Notes are here! This Wednesday, 26/04, expect to see some changes to the game. In this Patch, we've had many interesting changes which will definitely change the face of the LoR competitive ecosystem in the next few days.

Let's deeply analyze all the changes and discuss the Runeterra's future.

Patch 4.4.0 Complete Analysis


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Nerfs are usually the easiest part to analyze in the Patch Notes. Usually, they tackle problematic cards or cards that are too strong, which we are all familiar with and annoyed by daily in the ranked ladder.


I believe the devs applied these Nerfs with the goal of slowing down the aggressive rhythm Midrange decks were setting, which will allow other lists and strategies to not be as easily punished by simple, "on curve" plays made by some of these decks.

Let's take a look at the changes:

Ashe Noxus

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Ashe - 4+ enemies frostbitten -> 5+ enemies frostbitten:

This change makes this champion less incisive and slower. Ashe is currently the best alternative to deal with Midrange lists, as she is very consistent and strong.

The idea behind this change wasn't completely killing this champion, but make her lest consistent, and this way other anti-Midrange strategies might also come up in the meta. This way, players won't be forced to play Ashe LeBlanc every time they want to win against Demacia decks and others.

Reckoning - 6 mana -> 7 mana:

This spell alone is responsible for completely ending strategies which benefit from small blockers. Once Reckoning is very strong in the meta, any deck that might want to summon small units on board is automatically discarded from the competitive radar of decks.

By increasing this spell's cost, it is now possible to gamble competitively on lists that try to position small units, and decks that benefit from Norra's portals, for instance.

Burn / Elusives Package - Samira Fizz

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All Out - +2/+2 -> +2/+1:

This card is for sure one of the most hated cards ever since rotation came to LoR. It is a very cheap spell that combos way too easily with Samira's kit, and also gives you many defensive resources "for free".

I believe this change won't cause a massive win rate drop in the lists that use this card, even more so because this change only really forces Aggro players to use All Out in different and less defensive ways. So, this card will remain extremely strong and consistent.

Wiggly Burblefish - 6 mana -> 8 mana:

Burblefish has been a problematic card for a while now, as it is too easy to play extremely low-cost spells currently. This nerf is quite heavy and will definitely affect the consistency with which Samira decks closed out games a lot.

With this change, the Samira Fizz list will have to go through a review and find other ways besides Wiggly Burblefish to summon elusive units in critical turns.

Inferna - 1|5 -> 1|4:

Inferna is currently the most important unit for Samira Fizz's card draw combo, and this follower was a bit too consistent.

This change won't affect the consistency of the card much, but will definitely make it easier to be removed. Particularly in matchups against decks which benefit from challenger units, which are now tougher on Inferna.

Daybreak Package

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Leona - Daybreak 4 times -> Daybreak 5 times:


This was one of the changes I predicted in my article which I wrote my Wishlist for Patch 4.4.0link outside website

It is a nerf that makes a lot of sense, because Leona is occupying a very particular spot in the meta: She is one of the few tools in the game that stuns and removes, currently, and on top of it, she gains barrier.

Leona is just too well-rounded, and was also coming down on the board leveled very easily. This champion is made to be strong, but she is too strong, and this change tries to slow down a bit of her uncontrollable strength that she can put to practice very early in the match.

Sun Guardian - 2|3 -> 2|2:

This was another change "predicted" by me. Sun Guardian used to be the safest resource hoarding tool Daybreak had.

As it nows enters the board as a 3/3 unit, Sun Guardian is now more susceptible to removals and is no longer a defensive fortress for the Daybreak list.

Control Package - Karma Sett Piltover&Zaun

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Karma - 4|4 -> 4|3:

This change almost doesn't affect anything in this champion's consistency, unless in extraordinary cases. Karma would only truly become worse if she came into the board in range of Mystic Shot with 2 health points; with 3 health she will still do the same things she used to do before.

But, in extreme situations in which she comes into the board before turn 10, she is a bit more vulnerable to removals.

Caustic Riff - 3 mana -> 4 mana || Flow: -1 mana -> Flow: -2 mana:

Caustic Riff is the card responsible for checking aggressive lists currently. This change intends to make this card an expensive investment, in case you don't prepare a turn beforehand to use it.

This way, aggressive lists have a bigger and better window to answer, as Caustic Riff is now a more predictable play.

Drum Solo - reduces the cost from -2 -> reduces the cost to -1:

This is the heaviest nerf and I believe it will slowly retire Drum Solo. This card was already too heavy a card draw sometimes, and has always been a resource which, when played, made you lose almost an entire turn to do so. Now with the reduced costs going to only 1 mana less, I don't see any reason to run more than one copy of this card in any Control list.

Variety Nerfs

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Opulent Foyer - Round Start: If you have the attack token, Summon a Ghastly Band.:

This was another change I discussed in my article. It is a change which can be hard to interpret, but basically means: you only get one Ghastly Band if you have the attack token at Round Start. In case you get an attack token, and it isn't Round Start, you don't get anything.

That targets the card's quality of life, once the interaction of this landmark with Scout units is just too strong. This way, not summoning a Ghastly Band every time you attack, it makes sure one card alone doesn't carry Hallowed's entire archetype, which allows other cards to shine.


Ambitious Cultist - set its cost to 0 -> set its cost to 0 this round:

A very meaningful change. Cultist is a very safe tool for Varus lists, and the spell it creates can be extremely strong in certain matches.

This change aims at focusing the development of Ambitious Cultist more focused on activating the spell it creates immediately, instead of just playing it and getting a 0 cost tool in hands. It is a relatively heavy nerf and I believe Varus decks will now use only 2 copies of Ambitious Cultist.


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Buffs are the hardest part to evaluate in the Patch Notes. In Patch 4.4.0, the dev's idea was to reinforce Targon's other region identities, not just Daybreak, and also bring a bit more strength to a few forgotten champions and archetypes.


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Cygnus The Moonstalker - 6 mana 5|3 -> 5 mana 3|3 Elusive:

This change to Cygnus is quite weird and looks more like a Nerf than a Buff. So, let's classify it as an adjustment.

It still does practically the same thing, which is to give Elusive to an allied unit. But, it now does it a turn before. In my opinion, this change won't make any difference, and we still won't see Cygnus being played.

The Cloven Way - 5 mana 5|4 -> 4 mana 4|3:

This is a bit more meaningful, and The Cloven Way can now, who knows, see competitive play. This card carries the effect of Aphelios' long gone gun, Gravitum, which is very strong, and as we can't use his moon weapons anymore, The Cloven Way only needed a little push to appear in decks as a flexible alternative to pressure and control the board.

Moondreamer - Play: Invoke. - Nightfall: Reduce that card's cost by 1.

This change seems quite promising, because Invoke is a loved archetype by a big part of the community. But, I still think Moondreamer is too expensive as a follower which doesn't have enough stats to compete with other Targon cards in the current meta. I don't see this card coming into any deck, even after this fascinating change.

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Targonian Tellstones - now comes with: Behold the Infinite, Hush and Blessing of Targon:

This change is quite meaningful. These Tellstones have always aimed at bringing useful spells to a deck list, without that much of a deckbuilding cost.

But, the Targonian Tellstones were never used, because the quality of the spells in this card was never too interesting. Now you have access to Targonian Tellstones, which can help you look for win conditions, and also silence enemies with Hush without actually needing to bring these cards in your main deck.


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Azir - 13 allies -> 12 allies:

Azir is very forgotten currently. This Buff can give this champion some clout, but even then, I believe his problem isn't his level up condition, but the lack of synergy and followers that can combo with that. I, particularly, didn't like this change, because I think in a nearby future, when more Shurima cards are added to the Standard format, Azir can become too strong again.


And, this change directly affects the Eternal ecosystem too. That is quite worrying, as the Eternal Ranked Season is almost here, and we all know Azir already dominated before rotation - and can become a problem again.

Nasus - 2|2 -> 3|3 :

Unlike Azir's change, Nasus really needs a push to work. And I believe this change can be what was missing for him to finally feel more comfortable in the current meta.

I still think building a Nasus list is not the right idea to play the game even after this change, but it can be what this champion needs to start appearing as an alternative to answer the meta.

Glory's Call - 6 mana -> 5 mana:

This card has never seen play, and I believe even with this Buff, it still won't. Glory's Call effect is very dependent on how strong Ascendants are in the meta, and even when Ascendants were very strong, this card still didn't see play. Now that they are not even on the radar, this card will probably remain useless.


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Soul Harvest - spend 4 mana -> spend 3 manas to kill a champion:

This change is quite meaningful. Currently, this is one of the few removals which are an 'auto-include' in Shadow Isles lists, and this card being able to be played more optimally really makes it easier for Control decks with this region to stay in the meta.

Currently, spending mana is a very recurrent problem in Shadow Isles, so, definitely, this is a very welcome Buff.

Kadregrin The Infernal - +2|+2 -> +4|+4:

This change doesn't change much. I still think Kadregrin The Infernal will remain unplayed. This follower is very expensive for an effect that doesn't bring a consistent win condition, so even when increasing the stats it shares, I believe it will remain shelved.

Priestess of Desert Light - Draw a Champion -> Draw a Champion and Grant it +2|+2:

One more change that doesn't affect the current game state at all. The problem with this card is that its mana cost is too high for its effect. Once there are more efficient and cheaper ways to draw spells, granting them +2|+2 doesn't change anything, and this follower will remain useless.

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Mirror Image - Removed +5 Power requirement:

This Buff is quite dangerous, as Ashe LeBlanc is currently too strong in the meta. But, it is a change focused on the card's quality of life, and it aims at unchaining LeBlanc from the Reputation archetypes.

Mirror Image will still work the same way in the Ashe LeBlanc list, but now this Noxian mage will be able to venture into other combos and regions.

Bandle Gunners - Rework: 10 mana 5|5 Spellshield: I cost 1 less for each multi-region ally you've summoned this game. When I'm summoned, grant me Impact 3 times.

This is a very promising change, and makes Bandle Gunners an alternative win condition for Bandlecity lists that use Tristana besides that champion.


The multirregion archetype is starting to come up again, and with this change and the nerf to Reckoning, it is quite likely Tristana lists come up again.

Advanced Intel - 1 mana -> 2 mana, draw 1:

This might be the most promising change out of all. The Flashbomb Traps archetype is already relatively popular around. As we've seen previously, the Nerf to Drum Solo was quite heavy and Piltover&Zaun is losing cards that draw cards.

But, now it has an option that besides drawing cards, combos with the current Control archetype in this region, and also has a low cost, so, it is everything this region wants at the moment. I believe this card will be an auto-include for all Control decks in Piltover&Zaun when the Patch comes out.

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Retired Reckoner - 2|6 -> 3|6 :

This card has never seen play. And I don't believe this change will make it see play any further. It is a quality of life buff that will probably not affect the meta at all and go by unnoticed.

Deathless Knight - 6 mana -> 5 mana:

This card will also go by unnoticed by players. As it happens, there aren't enough interactions in the game to make this card work currently. So, even with a reduced cost, this card will still not see play.

Prank Rework

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Prank - -2 attack removed. +2 cost -> +1 cost (only for units/landmarks/equipment)/ -1|-0 e vulnerable-> -2|-0 e vulnerable:

Pranks are currently one of the few Bandlecity control tools which remained in the Standard card pool. So, it makes complete and total sense to change some of the effects of this card.

The Devs' idea is that Prank isn't as meaningful when played to increase the costs of a unit or landmark and equipment. Instead, the Debuffs focused on everything but spells are more focused on bringing the vulnerable keyword now. -2 cost can only be applied to spells too.

I believe this change won't change as much the interactions with Prank in the meta, but it will definitely throw those sorts of cards into the players' radars.

What was left out

> Varus Samira is still a big threat, and this list flew under the Nerf radar completely, so, it will definitely dominate the game's competitive ecosystem in the next few weeks.

> Karma Sett will remain an extremely strong and consistent list even after the nerfs. Coins weren't nerfed, even though many people in the community wanted a change in this card, and it went by unchanged. So, Karma can still freely combo in the same way it combos today with Coins, no issue.

> Aatrox Vayne has been a very consistent alternative as a list that fills lineups as a third deck, and will remain one of the best options for that. This deck only benefits from the changes in Patch 4.4.0, so, you can expect to see more of Demacia in the next few days.

> Deep was indirectly buffed in this Patch, so, this deck, which was already strong, will keep popping up.


Final Words

This was my analysis on Patch 4.4.0! If you've read this far, you're now filled with knowledge about Competitive LoR's next few weeks.

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