Riot has posted their patch notes for the upcoming Expeditions Preview Patch, which starts tomorrow morning at 8am PST (11am EST). You can still pre-register to get access to the game at the LoR website. This patch makes changes to 40+ existing cards and other minor details. We'll have our card database updated as soon as possible to reflect the new cards. Make sure you check out our new deckbuilder for Legends of Runeterra!
- 40+ Card changes
- Cards like Deny on the watchlist
- Updated some visuals and icons
- Clicking opponent's deck shows Champions included
- Minor tweaks to deckbuilder
- Couple of starter decks modified due to underperformance
- Size of player nameplates decreased
- Various bug fixes
Patch Notes for Expeditions
This is our first major update to the game, and it's a big one–there's a new Expeditions mode, 40+ card updates, and a bunch of technical improvements. Let's break it all down. The new game mode is here. In the Expeditions mode, you draft a deck as you go, overcoming as many opponents as you can with an evolving set of cards. Check out this video for the full details:
As a bonus for playing this preview patch, all your Expeditions this week are on us! Select "Expeditions" from the Play tab and use the free Expedition Token or the 8000 shards that have been added to your inventory to embark.
A Quick Note on Card Updates
Before we get to the good stuff, we'd like to ask you to bear with us as we wax philosophical and give an important disclaimer:
You should NOT expect this number of changes at one time to be the norm. LoR is still in very active development, which goes for the cards just as much as the features, bugs, polish, etc.
That said, the scope of these changes reflects a core tenet of our design philosophy that we want to be super transparent about:
We want LoR to always feel fresh and think card updates are a key way to achieve that. We're intentionally trying a LOT of things before launch so we can find a sweet spot for the amount of change that happens at once. Ideally, these updates are exciting, but not overwhelming, and lead to the feeling that there's always a new deck to discover, but not an entirely different game to learn.
You may have seen our recent articles diving into our progression philosophy and reward numbers; we'll eventually do something similar for our balance philosophy, but we're not ready quite yet–like we said, this patch is more about ongoing development and less about live balance. For now, here's an extreme summary of our high-level goals for balance:
Every champion should have a deck where they're the best fit.
Non-champion cards should have at least one deck where they're a good option.
Regions should have at least one competitively viable deck.
The meta should support the widest possible array of competitively viable decks.
To be clear, we definitely won't hit these goals all the time–they're meant to be difficult, aspirational targets that we aim for in our never-ending quest to keep improving the game.
As that quest continues, we plan to check in with you all on balance around once a month (when we patch). When we talk about balance and card updates, we'll generally discuss three categories (sometimes not all at once):
What're we changing: Surprising, I know.
What we're keeping an eye on: Stuff we think might need tweaks, but are still evaluating or considering how to best update.
What we're intentionally NOT changing: Cards we're not changing for REASONS, despite the fact that some of you might be clamoring for us to do so.
Ok, enough preamble. Let's dive into the changes.
Lux & Final Spark
I guess you could call this LoR's very first rework. Lux is an iconic character who was falling short of our champion bar in a few ways: tough to build around, didn't have a great deck to call home, and her dream–blasting your hapless foes with multiple Final Sparks–was too difficult to realize (a real shame given the visual payoff).
Now, Lux drops later in the game with more defensive stats, but is much less clunky to level up and threatens to take over the game once she does. At the cost of slightly reduced power, Final Spark now casts for the excellent price of FREE, and you even get one immediately upon leveling up to get the light show started.
To top it all off, you can now conjure two Sparks in a single turn; heck, THREE is technically possible, and we can't wait to see the clips. Overall, Lux should now be much easier to build around and level up, with satisfyingly spectacular results once you do.
Garen was a bit too narrow in usage at his old price point, and often had better options in his "best fit" deck–Elites, so we’ve dropped his cost and stats by one each to make him a more flexible inclusion in a wider variety of decks.
We want champions to be cards you can build a deck around, not just automatically included for a given archetype. Draven was pretty much universally optimal in any Noxus aggro deck, so we're reducing his raw stat power to make sure you have to put in more dedicated effort to unlock his power.
Shen decks are often overloaded with tools to keep him and his followers alive, but he had so much health that it was tough to take him out even when opponents get past the wall of tricks. We want opposing players to have a more realistic shot at taking Shen down once they manage to land a blow.
Thresh & The Box
We've removed Thresh's old healing effect and bumped his health to compensate. It had some cool play patterns, but also some extremely complex implications that often just frustrated both players.
We also want both players to have more room to play around Thresh's level-up quest, so we've upped the threshold while extending the counter to units on both sides of the board. Now, Thresh players can fully embrace the Shadow Isles' "kill my units for fun and profit" toolkit, while opponents have a bit more opportunity to bring Thresh down before he levels up. Plus, Thresh definitely doesn't seem like one to care WHO'S dying, only that there's dying going on.
Finally, we've overhauled The Box. We've junked its formerly narrow design, and replaced it with a new effect that works great with Thresh's quest and adds another option to the Shadow Isles' best-in-class removal suite.
Similar motivation to that behind the Thresh changes–Kalista's old mechanic entailed a ton of complexity for both players, so we looked for a clearer way to achieve similar results. Kalista now features some evasion to help her still deal damage on her own, plus an ally buff that'll present opponents with a familiar quandary–take free damage, or kill the ally and contribute to Kalista's quest.
This is mostly a thematic-driven change, but also gives players running spider synergies more flexibility in turning them on.
Followers & Spells
The combo of sizable stats and such a potent effect in a single package warrants a slightly higher cost.
We'd like Demacia decks to have more access to interactive spells, and a cheaper Detain should be an appealing option for a wider variety of decks.
The old design wasn't particularly usable in any deck. Now, the Investigator should have a more meaningful, straightforward role–especially in decks built around the new Lux–while remaining delightfully thematic.
By effectively turning spell mana into regular mana, Mobilize offers a rather unique effect that we think provides too much potential acceleration at its old cost.
This bad boy simply offered too robust a statline for its cost. We want Noxus aggro decks to succeed because they hit hard, not because they're also very resilient to removal, so we're lowering its survivability while preserving its offensive potential.
For a card intended to support Noxus' aggressive gameplan, Intimidating Roar's Fast speed also made it an extremely powerful defensive trick. Slow speed focuses the card on its intended use case while making it less potent as a catch-all tool.
Precious Pet's effect was unique and interesting to play with, but unfortunately far too powerful at such a cheap cost, rendering it a near auto-include in Noxus decks. For now, we're valuing its role in the card set as a cheap, aggressive spider, so we're doubling down on that while tossing its old effect back into our design bank for now.
For a sweeper with such high potential to be one-sided, Reckoning was just too easy to slot into decks at its old cost.
She Who Wanders & Balesight
We knew going into the first preview patch that this one was a TAD overtuned, and you all sure recognized it as well. "She Who Wins" proved devastatingly powerful, with only the narrowest options for counterplay–we particularly didn't like that she Obliterated champions along with the rank and file. She Who Wanders is definitely still intended as a top-rate finisher, but the several changes we've made should give opponents more of a fighting chance (both to win and, ya know, have fun).
Avalanche had some nasty edge cases in the form of draws and "guess I'll die" situations for control decks. We fixed that.
Heart of the Fluft
Heart of the Fluft's effect is a big, dangerous one to take place at Burst speed, so we'd like players to have more of a window to interact with their opponent's efforts to set up an overpowering Fluft.
Wyrding Stones was a little too explosive at its old price, so we're ticking its cost up by one and giving it more health to compensate its secondary role as a blocker.
This change is mostly Expeditions-inspired–we found that the card was a bit too beefy at its rarity and was crowding out other choices.
Navori Bladescout was a little too all-or-nothing–outstanding in the right situation, much less so in the wrong ones. We're toning down its extremes so it's a little less explosive but more consistently useful.
Its old cost made Sown Seeds more narrow in usage than we'd like, and its potent effect enabled a particularly linear, all-in Elusive deck that made for pretty non-interactive games against unprepared players. With that in mind, we're nerfing its power to rein in the potential for abuse, while lowering its cost to fit the new power level and improve flexibility.
We want to be cautious with big stats attached to sweeper effects, and Corina's top-end potential was devastating in the right deck. We love the interesting deckbuilding choices presented by her effect, so we decided to keep it intact while increasing cost and reducing stats to rein her in.
This is another change driven by Expeditions, where Assembly Bot was the core of a hilarious (the first time at least) but extremely degenerate deck. While making changes, we're also taking the opportunity to simplify the card's play patterns.
Potential Nexus damage was a bit too much on top of everything else this card offers, so we're removing that capability while retaining its core strengths.
As you can see from some other changes, there was a lot of incidental damage to the enemy Nexus in Piltover & Zaun, all with the potential to be buffed by Funsmith. Chempunk Shredder's intended role is unit control, so we removed the splash damage to the Nexus to allow us more space to make exciting direct damage cards in the future.
Eager Apprentice is an appealing follower for Piltover decks built around spells, but we felt it was coming down a bit too late to suit its secondary role as a speed bump blocker, and was a little awkward when trying to get maximum spell mana out of it. We think its new design will be a better overall tool for spell decks, including Lux's new-and-improved deck.
Chompers may seem a relatively innocent part of the discard deck, but it was an amazingly flexible tool for pushing through damage, locking up multiple potential blockers, and ambushing at Burst discard speed. Thematically and mechanically, we want Chompers to generally tie up a unit for one combat, not many, so we're reducing its health.
Flash of Brilliance
Flash of Brilliance was a fun tool for the "six-cost spells matter" deck, but the Lux changes gave us the flexibility to streamline this card and make it a better fit for the new Lux / Heimerdinger deck.
Rising Spell Force
Buffing-only spells are intended to be used only on your own units, so we're updating this one for better clarity.
We don't think it's healthy for players to be able to kill their own units at Burst speed without interaction–especially things like Cursed Keeper! In general, we want units entering and exiting the board to occur at Fast speed or slower to allow interaction, so this change is designed to line Absorb Soul up with that philosophy.
See Absorb Soul above.
Grasp of the Undying
This is complementary to the Rising Spell Force tweak–we want "destructive" spells to be able to target any unit to provide synergy opportunities with "damage me" units (like Braum) and "kill me" units (like Cursed Keeper).
See Thresh above.
The old design was nifty, but not quite powerful enough to make it a meaningful option for the decks that want this kind of effect. The new version continues to play to the Shadow Isles' strengths, but should be more usable.
This change is targeted at the extremes, in the form of massive heals against wide boards or with a damage boost from Funsmith, which could be frustrating to play against and offered an often overpowering tool for control decks. As consolation, you've now got a guaranteed minimum heal to plan around.
We love Brood Awakening's flexibility for a "swarm the board" card, but it makes for an extremely powerful effect that we'd like to slightly delay hitting the board.
Fiora has an amazingly powerful effect, but requires quite a bit of work to jump through all the hoops. There are three aspects of Fiora we're watching: her overall win rate, her ability to punish strategies that play smaller units, and the frustration of attacking into her. Thus far, we think there are lots of benefits to having such a unique and fun build-around champion in Legends of Runeterra, and she hasn't yet reached a level where we think a nerf or redesign is needed.
Copying, reviving, and giving Ephemeral to Anivia are all intended gameplay, but can sometimes be exceptionally frustrating to play against. We don't think numbers tweaks will fix these interactivity problems, so no changes for now. Instead, we're watchlisting the Cryophoenix with the intent to modify how she functions and find a better balance in the future.
Deny has a powerful, unique effect, and we think that its prevalence during the first preview patch was due to the outsized impact of big mana / late game / She Who Wanders decks and Deny's role in defending against them. Now that we've adjusted many of the tools that contributed toward the power of those strategies, we expect the reactive power of Deny to decrease in a similar way. We're still keeping watch on it, and if we see significant fractions of the meta playing Ionia specifically to gain access to this tool, we'll consider rebalance or redesign.
Card visuals & clarity
We've updated assorted card visuals and icons, as well as the text on a couple champions (just for clarity, no functional changes).
Vlad level-up effects updated.
Magnum Opus (Corina Veraza's ability) visuals updated.
Heimerdinger text updated to better reflect functionality.
Katarina text updated to better reflect functionality.
Vladimir text updated to better reflect functionality.
Some champions used a Helmet Bro icon to track quest progression–we've updated the icon to a chevron system. RIP Helmet Bro.
Offensive keyword (Overwhelm, Quick Attack, and Double Attack) visualization updated–their effects will now only display while players have an attack token (i.e. when they'll have an effect on combat).
In-Game Deck Inspect
Clicking on either player's deck in-game now also shows any champions included in the deck (in addition to the deck's regions). In a future patch, we plan to improve this feature further by announcing champions at game start, so players don't need to inspect decks every match.
Context second this time, since this is an outwardly small change we'd like to talk about at possibly surprising length!
Champions are a unique class of cards within LoR–a foundation, really–that represent a huge part of the story of each match, and one of our long-term goals is increasing excitement and strategic interaction around the champions each player chooses to bring to a match. Making those choices visible to both players unlocks all kinds of opportunities–we can play champion animations, VO, and interactions right from the beginning of a match, or build "from deck" visuals to make level-up progress more satisfying and clear for champions like Ezreal and Hecarim. On the gameplay front, it offers interesting, game-to-game choices around how to mulligan, when to take aggressive action, how to pre-empt your opponent's strategy, etc.
Finally, we think this approach opens up champion design by letting us explore designs that might otherwise be too difficult to consistently counter, since opponents will have the visibility needed to make preemptive plays. This is particularly exciting for us as we face the task of translating so many champions to LoR–we want every champion we add to the game to offer truly unique gameplay and brewing possibilities, and we can't wait to push the limits.
With all that said, we recognize potential risks here-we're talking about deck details that are sometimes hidden information in other games. Our testing has been positive, but we're keeping an eye on gameplay (things like predictability and deckbuilding incentives) and your feedback to make sure this (and any similar changes in the future) are an overall positive.
Deckbuilding flow could be better–we've made some minor tweaks for now, and plan to explore further improvements down the line. We're keeping a close eye on your feedback regarding these changes and other ones you'd like to see, so let us know what you think!
You can now right-click to inspect cards in your decklist, including unowned cards from an imported decklist (real talk, this is the best change of the patch).
The decklist now stays open when browsing the unowned cards view. This one's not perfect yet, and there are some tradeoffs (more difficult to track your wildcard counts), but we think it's worth it–again, let us know what you think.
Two of the starter decks underperformed a bit during the last preview patch, so we're making some tweaks.
Piltover & Zaun + Ionia starter deck
-2 Rush, +2 Scaled Snapper
-2 Greenglade Lookout, +2 Keeper of Masks
-2 Intrepid Mariner, +1 Chempunk Shredder, +1 Get Excited (brings Get Excited count to 2x)
Shadow Isles + Noxus starter deck
-1 Shiraza the Blade, +1 Captain Farron
The AI was showing a bit too much disrespect–it should now more often block obvious lethal damage, and not play spells for no benefit (like healing a full health unit).
Player nameplates reduced in size, and no longer visible during champ level ups.
Discarded cards added to Action Log.
There've been QUITE a few of these since the last preview patch, so just highlighting some of the bigger / more hilarious ones.
Fixed an issue where players would occasionally get into a bugged state and receive a new quest on every login.
Fixed an issue preventing the Vault from progressing past Level 9 for some players.
Fixed issue where Vault progression would sometimes not display correctly on the end-of-game screen.
While it was flavorful, Ruination will no longer occasionally crash the game.
Surrendering a tutorial with an open prompt will no longer crash the game.
Overwhelm damage will no longer occasionally crash the game.
Quickly casting a bunch of Burst spells will no longer crash the game.
Opponent's revealed cards will no longer flicker.
Playing Warden's Prey while Spider Queen Elise is in play will no longer mute all VO.
Eggnivia transform effects will now play properly.
The board will no longer occasionally turn blue when Ashe levels up.
You'll no longer sometimes be matched against the mysterious "_" (opponent's names sometimes displayed that way during matches).
Nexus explosions will no longer occasionally throw the game camera off-kilter.
Hovered cards in deckbuilder should no longer occasionally get stuck on the screen.
Fixed an issue causing service notifications to sometimes not be visible.
Various stability improvements.