We've got a huge set of patch notes today from Riot for the upcoming 2.18.0 Legends of Runeterra update.
You'll want to read these carefully because it talks about the philosophy about card balance and itself contains details on a ton of card balance updates. Also, we can expect card balance changes between expansion releases now.
This patch kicks off the Between Worlds ranked season, and with it comes a major update on live balance, a variety of card updates, and some quality of life changes & bug fixes. Let’s get to it!
An Update on Card Updates
As promised back at the launch of Beyond the Bandlewood, we’ve got quite a few card updates for this patch. Before we jump into that, though, we wanted to share an update on the overall philosophy and targets for live balance moving forward.
[A fairly long] tl;dr - we feel that live balance updates are important to improve LoR’s overall player experience and, so moving forward, expect to see regularly-occurring scheduled card updates targeted towards impacting the meta, nerfing clear overperformers, buffing underperformers, and generally improving deck diversity. These updates will be staggered in between expansion releases.
The card updates in this patch were built using our updated philosophy, so you can expect something similar in scope and priority in upcoming patches as well!
For those interested, let’s get into a little more detail on exactly what this philosophy entails - otherwise feel free to skip down to the 2.18.0 card updates below!
What is a live balance philosophy?
We use this terminology a lot, so it’s important that we’re all on the same page as to what it exactly means. For the LoR gameplay team, our live balance philosophy is the set of principles that determines what could or should be changed, when it should happen, and why we do it. It’s a “live” balance philosophy because changes are largely determined by data from gameplay on the live server, on top of surveys, direct player feedback, and our gameplay analysis team (GAT), a team that playtests and advises on various aspects of cards and overall balance considerations before they go live to players.
How are we supporting live balance moving forward?
Internally, we’re organizing our processes and refining our priorities for live balance to ensure we’ll have consistent, impactful card updates during each expansion cycle.
We’ll be planning for regularly-scheduled balance patches to hit between expansion releases. We avoid significant balance patches immediately upon an expansion’s release, since new card releases will inherently impact the existing meta and it can take time for things to develop and settle. Too much time between releases and card updates, however, can lead to the feeling of a “stale” meta. Moving forward, the hope is that this new set of processes and priorities will address the feeling of a “stale” meta and any decks that are breaking metrics quickly, rather than having to wait months for a new release.
In most cases, that means you’ll see a balance patch every other month. Due to a staggered release schedule throughout the remainder of the year, however, our next live balance patch is scheduled for January 2022, a month after the release of the Magical Misadventures expansion. After that point, you should see a live balance patch about every other month.
Why are we updating our live balance philosophy?
To put it simply - it’s more fun this way. We don’t want to actively punish decks that are performing well, but we know it can be a drag to constantly face the same meta decks for an extended period of time. That’s not necessarily a new philosophy, but what is changing is the rate and consistency of changes moving forward to more directly address that particular pain.
We also have additional guardrails to inform what kinds of changes we want to make, which we’ll get into next!
What are our targets for live balance?
This patch is our first crack at a set of card updates under our updated live balance philosophy, so it should serve as an example of what to look forward to with future balance updates. The focus here is to:
- Tone down some cards that are overly-impactful in the current meta
- Reduce frustrating matchups
- Encourage greater region diversity
- Improve overall quality of life for some underplayed champions and archetypes, and encourage experimentation with them
We’re excited to finally be able to share these details with you all! As always, we’ll continue to keep an eye out for feedback and thoughts around this update to make sure we’re hitting our goals and addressing genuine pains to offer the best possible experience in Legends of Runeterra.
Without further ado, let’s get into the changes coming in this patch!
NAMI (LEVEL 1)LEVEL UP REQUIREMENT: You’ve gained 7+ spell mana this game. → You’ve gained 8+ spell mana this game
Nami was a little too explosive when leveling up as early as round 4, so we’re increasing her level up requirement to slow her down a bit.
DRAVEN (LEVEL 1)BASE STATS (LEVEL 1): 3|3 → 3|2
DRAVEN (LEVEL 2)BASE STATS (LEVEL 2): 4|4 → 4|3
We’re bringing down Draven’s health to reduce his overall power without impacting his exciting, axe-juggling elements.Our next set of changes for champions in this patch focuses on quality of life updates for champions who could use just a little extra help to enable their potential:
TRISTANA (LEVEL 2)CHANGE: Level 2 Tristana now grants herself Impact as well as her allies.
NOCTURNE (LEVEL 2)CHANGE: Level 2 Nocturne now retains Nightfall: Grant an enemy Vulnerable and give enemies -1|-0 this round.
EKKO (LEVEL 1)LEVEL UP REQUIREMENT: You’ve predicted 5+ times. → You’ve predicted 4+ times.
AURELION SOL (LEVEL 1)LEVEL UP REQUIREMENT: Round End: Your allies have 25+ total Power. → Round End: Your allies have 20+ total Power.
RENEKTON (LEVEL 1)LEVEL UP REQUIREMENT: I’ve dealt 12+ damage. → I’ve dealt 10+ damage.
LUX (LEVEL 1)BASE STATS (LEVEL 1): 6-cost 4|5 → 5-cost 3|5
LUX (LEVEL 2)
BASE STATS (LEVEL 2): 6-cost 5|6 → 5-cost 4|6CHANGE: Final Spark can be cast to directly attack the enemy Nexus if they have no units on the field.
QUINN (LEVEL 1)BASE STATS (LEVEL 1): 3|4 → 3|5
QUINN (LEVEL 2)BASE STATS (LEVEL 2): 4|5 → 4|6
BRAUM (LEVEL 1)BASE STATS (LEVEL 1): 0|5 → 0|6
BRAUM (LEVEL 2)BASE STATS (LEVEL 2): 1|6 → 1|7
Followers, Spells, and Landmarks
SPARKLEFLYCOST: 2 → 3
Sparklefly’s combination of lifesteal and elusive make it an extremely effective as a buff target when resolved early. We’re increasing the cost to bring it more in line with similar effects.
TWINBLADE REVENANTKEYWORD: Challenger → Fearsome
Twinblade Revenant was proving a bit too effective at shutting down enemy boards. We’re swapping out Challenger for Fearsome to retain the Revenant’s role as a recursive threat.
TENOR OF TERRORBASE STATS: 2|3 → 1|3
BASS OF BURDENBASE STATS: 3|2 → 3|1
Tenor of Terror and their partner in crime were too effective at enabling go wide Impact strategies, so we’re bringing their stats more in-line with their cost.
RELENTLESS PURSUITCOST: 3 → 4
CHANGE: Now grants a target ally +1|+1
We’re taking a look at the minimum that Rallies can cost across the board. We’re moving Relentless Pursuit up to 4-cost to open up more room for counterplay against aggressive Rally decks, but added some new functionality to retain its role as a viable option alongside Golden Aegis.
STONE STACKERSBASE STATS: 2|2 Tough, Impact → 2|3 Impact
The stackers were slightly too powerful as resilient Impact threats, so we’re swapping out Tough for a point of health.
Base Stats: 3|4 → 2|3
The travelers have been a bit too effective at shutting down late game decks, so we’re making them a little easier to deal with.
Our next set of changes focuses on Targon as an individual region - we’re buffing a number of cards that reinforce their strengths as one that “goes tall” through card creation:
MOONDREAMERBASE STATS: 3|5 → 3|6
LUNARI PRIESTESSBASE STATS: 2|1 → 2|2
SOLARI PRIESTESSBASE STATS: 1|2 → 2|2
RAHVUN, DAYLIGHT'S SPEARBASE STATS: 5|5 → 5|6
THE SCOURGEKEYWORDS: Challenger → Challenger, Overwhelm
Next, we have a few light buffs to help give folks a reason to love Dragons again:
DRAGON’S CLUTCHCHANGE: Draw 2 different Dragons or grant Dragon allies +1|+1 → Draw 2 different Dragons or grant Dragon allies +1|+1 and Overwhelm
RUINED DRAGONGUARDBASE STATS: 2|4 → 3|4
HERALD OF DRAGONSBASE STATS: 1|1 → 1|2
Finally, some miscellaneous buffs to round things out:
FACES OF THE OLD ONESBASE STATS: 0|2 → 0|3
We’re giving Faces a buff to help revitalize Freljord ramp decks that have fallen by the wayside.
VANGUARD SERGEANTBASE STATS: 3|3 → 3|4
Demacia decks can struggle to finish games without relying on rallies. Buffing the Sergeant helps make big, wide buffs more viable FOR DEMACIA. - (Designer’s note - caps optional)
DESS & ADACHANGE: Damage dealt to all enemies now scales with Darkness damage increases.
Dess & Ada’s effect was inconsistent with similar Darkness effects, so we’ve addressed that with this change.
Additionally, we’ve made rules changes to Trinket Trade, The Traveler, and Loping Telescope - these cards will no longer be able to create themselves when played. Moving forward, additional “create” cards will not be able to create themselves.
Upcoming Labs Updates
As mentioned in the 2.17.0 notes, a reminder that it’s nearly time for some new experiments! Lab of Legends, Saltwater Scourge, and Ultra Rapid Draw will be cycled out in patch 2.19.0 on November 10. Be sure to earn your Malphite and Gangplank card backs and get some high-octane Ultra Rapid Draw games in before then!
Round Start Effect Update
- All Round Start effects now resolve before game-ending or unit-killing effects.
Prior to patch 2.18.0, Round Start effects resolved for the active player first. In practice, this meant a match with two players with full Bandle Trees would have the active player’s Bandle Tree to resolve first, ending the game. Now, the same situation will result in a draw. This change makes Round Start effects consistent with rules for Round End effects, which resolve in the same way.
- Unit Keyword displays have been optimized to show more icons without overlapping one another. This update is sponsored by The Arsenal.
- Ranked rewards from the Beyond the Bandlewood season are being distributed with the release of this patch as we kick off the Between Worlds ranked season. Good luck on your climb!
- Unique descriptions have been added for champion skins in the Store and Collection.
- Fixed an infinite loop issue where Glorious Evolution would allow a player to summon Evershade Stalker an unlimited number of times.
- Mimic will now correctly copy non-Champion spells and will no longer reveal created cards to the opponent.
- Fixed a bug where Prank could occasionally increase the cost of a card beyond playability or drop its health to 0.
- Spellshield will now correctly block Strafing Strike.
- Curious Shellfolk will now correctly create copies of champions when used with Predict.
- Overgrown Snapvine and Tristana will now display correct keywords.
- Fixed an issue where Prank would not target landmarks in the opponent's hand.
- Fixed an issue where Darkness could be created in-hand before a cast copy is resolved.
- Zilean’s ability will now correctly duplicate Relic of Power and Sentinel's Hoard.
- Fixed several UI, UX, and general visual bugs to improve overall game clarity.