Legends of Runeterra Patch 0.9.2 arrives on Tuesday, March 17, and is set to deliver a huge number of balance changes. Many of those are nerfs to the most problematic cards of the current meta, heavily targeting the (considered by many) overpowered Shadow Isles region.
And it starts with possibly the strongest champion in the game: Hecarim.
Hecarim nerfed, Kalista buffed
Hecarim has been the go-to champion finisher of Shadow Isles (SI) decks since day 1. A 4/6 for 6 mana, an attacking Hecarim would spawn 6 more points of attack in disposable Ephemeral units — quite the bargain. At 6 health, he was hard to kill too, prompting many players to look for ways to revive him over and over again and push damage.
The new Hecarim has reduced stats (4/5 and 5/6 in leveld up form) and his Spectral Riders are 2/2 and not 3/2. This tones down both the offensive power of Hecarim and his ability to stay alive for multiple turns. Good nerf!
On the other hand, Kalista has grown tougher, her stats now 4/3 and 5/4 in leveld up form. She no longer “bonds” with an ally but when she levels up, she revives an Ephemeral copy of the strongest dead ally which will also absorb damage for Kalista. The champion looks way more interesting to play now, that’s for sure.
Black Spear, Mark of the Isles, The Rekindler nerfed
Yes, there are more Shadow Isles nerfs. Black Spear‘s cost has been increased to 3 mana up from 2, which makes it way less versatile of a removal. Beforehand, Black Spear was perhaps the best targeted removal in the game and now it will be more difficult to squeeze it on curve.
Mark of the Isles and The Rekindler have also been touched. Mark now grants +2/+2 and not +3/+3 — still a good buff, but not enough to kill really strong cards. The Rekindler costs 7 mana up from 6, but his effect remains the same, so likely he’ll remain as a power card in Shadow Isles reanimator decks.
Crowd Favorite, Navori Conspirator, Troop of Elnuks nerfed
The next nerfs target some of the most used followers in the game. Crowd Favorite is a staple in S/N Spider Aggros and would often hit the board as a 7/7 for 4 mana. The card is still strong, but one less health will make it easier to kill.
Shadow Assassin, more Shadow Isles cards on the watch list
Spiders are next on Riot’s watchlist, as all of Elise, Frenzied Skitterer, and Glimpse Beyond are being monitored. “Elise and Frenzied Skitterer are both durable, versatile, and evasive threats we’ve seen used in a larger number of decks than we think is healthy,” writes Runeterra’s comms lead Dillon Buckner, adding about Glimpse beyond that:
“Glimpse Beyond is an efficient card advantage tool that doubles as a synergy play in many Shadow Isles decks. We’ve decided to watchlist Glimpse, as the card advantage combined with the ability to soft-“Deny” strikes or certain spells can be frustrating to play against. That said, we’re hoping it can stay at its current cost, as Glimpse Beyond is a pivotal core card for Shadow Isles and its synergies.”
Shadow Assassin is also being watched as “the most played card in Legends of Runeterra”, and the team is testing various changes so that the card can “feel right”.