If you’re tired of seeing your powerful spells Denied, or are sick of losing to the Rhasa, the Sunderer plus Commander Ledros late game power of Shadow Isles, than brace for good news. Riot Games confirmed which cards will be changed in Legends of Runeterra patch 0.9.0, which is expected to land today.
Shadow Isles and Ionia nerfs
Shadow Isles is indeed the region hit the hardest. Rhasa and Ledros now cost an additional mana to play, which in turn means one more turn for the opponents to flood the board and try to kill the SI player. Wraithcaller, one of the core cards of the Mistwraiths deck, is no longer Fearsome, which will allow defenders to chump-block its strong 4/3 body with some throw-away units.
The Ionia region has also been hit. Deny now costs 4 mana up from 3 and it cannot be cast just with the spell mana pool: you’ll need to keep some of your main mana available too. Inspiring Mentor, the go-to 1-drop for the powerful I/D Elusive burn deck, has also been nerfed to only grant +1/+0 to units in hand, instead of +1/+1. Yes, he is now a 1/2 and not a 1/1, but that’s unlikely to make a huge difference.
The biggest hit on Ionia, however, is the stat nerf to Kinkou Lifeblade. The Elusive Lifesteal follower, a critical tool to surviving aggro decks, has been nerfed from 2/3 to 2/2. This not only makes him easier to kill, but takes away from his combat trade capabilities, as he no longer can block 2/2 units without dying. This will show in the Elusive mirror match-ups where Kinkou Lifeblade will die to Shadow Assassins and and even Navori Bladescouts.
Champion buffs and meta predictions
These balance changes open the gates for new potential meta kings. Piltover & Zaun cards have been untouched, which is good news for various Heimerdinger controls or Ezreal combos. With Elusive decks no longer able to stack health from Inspiring Mentor, cards like Mystic Shot become that much more powerful, as they can snipe away the new Kinkou Lifeblades.
Yasuo/Katarina or Yasuo/Zed tempo/control decks could also see a resurgence. Since beta’s launch, they’ve balanced on the edge between Tier 1 and Tier 2 but never quite broke in as a top deck due to the fast midrange metagame that formed.
Overall, the meta should slow down a bit, even though decks like the S/N Spider Aggro remain untouched. Shadow Isles decks, on the other hand, might look towards playing versions similar to the Lucian/Hecarim Aristocrat decks, which gained recent popularity.