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Yangzera's Review of the 4.11 Balance Changes

Yang talks about the balance changes in 4.11 and how they'll impact the Eternal and standard metagame!

What’s up everyone, it’s me again and this is the article to talk about the upcoming 4.11 balance changes! To be quite frank, I didn’t expect a lot of balancing, but Riot turned a complete 180 and flipped the meta over our heads. I’ll briefly talk about the changes I think will impact the game less and then do a recap on what I think will happen to both formats in the end. Let’s get right into it!

Nerfs

Divine Whirlwind

Divine Whirlwind

This is a very warranted nerf and it will slow down JannaJanna NilahNilah’s clock by a lot of health points, actually. It’s less relevant in Eternal since the deck has access to some extra burn from Ruined RexRuined Rex, but in Standard this will reduce a lot of the deck’s burn potential. If you could realistically burn people from 10~12 hp before, you’re looking at a 7~8 HP range now. This drastically slows down the deck and allows for more tempo strategies to try hitting the field.

Janna

Janna

This nerf is good in a way that it will slow down JannaJanna’s level up by a full round in pretty much every scenario where she would previously level up. There’s also no way she can level up on the very next round after being played, which is a very good and needed change. For Eternal, I don’t think Twisted FateTwisted Fate is suddenly better than her in the BW/PZ deck by any means, and she will probably still be NilahNilah’s best pairing.

Champions' Strength

Champions

This card was released as 8 mana, grant +4|+4 and Scout, was nerfed to 9 mana, then was nerfed to 8 mana +4|+4 but with no Scout, and now it was nerfed again back to 9 mana, still with no scout.

And it’s still one of the best cards in Demacia.

Startipped Peak

Startipped Peak

It would be a pretty decent nerf if they didn’t unprint Cosmic CallCosmic Call. Invoke decks are just not good now it feels like and this is insult to injury.

Unprints

Cosmic Call

Cosmic Call

To be quite frank, everyone would agree with me if I said the whole problem with this card was going Cosmic CallCosmic Call into Living LegendsLiving Legends. To fix this problem, you don’t have to remove the card from the game. It would be much more pleasing to change the Big Invoke from the 8 mana version to a mid tier Invoke. It’s still a nerf, since you have a lot less chances at hitting Living LegendsLiving Legends now and have to run actual invoke cards on top of triple StarshapingStarshaping, and putting a mid tier invoke is also more balanced then a small invoke since you can’t go Mountain ScryerMountain Scryer into Cosmic CallCosmic Calling The MessengerThe Messenger or The ChargerThe Charger into play immediately and preventing a tempo loss. I am saddened by this change but it is what it is.

Concurrent Timelines

Concurrent Timelines

It had to die somehow. I also think that this change could justify the card going back to 1 mana, but I’m glad it didn’t. Timelines is an insufferable deck to play against because it will very often create games where neither player has control over its outcome. This type of design is not cool to play as or against. With all that being said, RIP bozo won't be missed.

Buffs

Swain

Swain

Maybe they were afraid of bumping his level up quest back to 12 damage because of the newly released dragon, but I wouldn’t mind it after the Watchful IdolWatchful Idol nerf.

Dame the Despoiler

Dame the Despoiler

Overwhelm mentioned! It’s really hard to evaluate this card because SamiraSamira got killed and we haven’t heard of her ever since, but it is now a unit you can battle fury and add into your GnarGnar DariusDarius deck.

Dedicant of the Challenge

Dedicant of the Challenge

This card needs either a keyword or another stat to be worth playing, in my opinion. I don’t know if Brash is the correct keyword, but maybe a 2/3 could make it work better.

Protective Broodfather

Protective Broodfather

This got changed to become a Titanic unit for Clash of GiantsClash of Giants purposes, in my opinion. I don’t think it does a whole lot to change the decks that maybe wanted to play it. There’s no reason to play this in your Sigil deck because you’re in Freljord – the best region in the game – and can just play AnaakcaAnaakca instead, tutoring any attacking follower, not just a dragon.

Tryndamere

Tryndamere

Ain’t no way 8-mana-do-nothing is ever getting played from hand, especially now that Boadir of Blackened IceBoadir of Blackened Ice is a card.

Warmother's Call

It’s an interesting buff, and there are some good cards to be pulled from Freljord like AnaakcaAnaakca, Boadir of Blackened IceBoadir of Blackened Ice, maybe the new demacian boat. If this card gets played, it’s not going to be the centerpoint of its deck, but a top-end card to try and outvalue the opponent in your “ramp into broken cards” deck.

Commander Ledros

Commander Ledros

It’s a pretty nice flavor change that Ledros gets to smack the nexus for half health and just instantly end the game. You could maybe justify a deck that wants to Revitalizing RoarRevitalizing Roar into Commander LedrosCommander Ledros and then use the remaining mana to Harsh WindsHarsh Winds fearsome blockers out of the way to connect him. I don’t think you ever want to pair it with AtrocityAtrocity again because NasusNasus and the buffed They Who EndureThey Who Endure are just infinitely better targets.

They Who Endure

They Who Endure

You can Endure+Atro face again and we’re back to 2020! In all seriousness, TWE is just a different flavor of NasusNasus, and I don’t know if you want to play one over the other. To be quite frank, if you are in Freljord this means Boadir of Blackened IceBoadir of Blackened Ice is an option, but then why are you banking on Endure to win you the game again…?

Necrotic Arachnoid

Necrotic Arachnoid

This card now fits much better into ViegoViego decks. It already did fit in as a one of or maybe 2, but I hope this placebo change encourages more people to try it out, since one thing that ViegoViego decks lack historically is access to face burn especially after AtrocityAtrocity got rotated.

Spirit Leech

Spirit Leech

Alongside the new self-slay card, Spirit Leech Spirit Leech not randomly dying to 1 mana cards anymore is a pretty good thing for SI. Maybe now the archetype got enough buffs that it’s playable?

The Etherfiend

The Etherfiend

This card still has the problem that the unit you’re sacrificing can be removed and the skill will fizzle entirely, but maybe if we’re targeting The UndyingThe Undying then that’s ok.

Seal in Steel

Seal In Steel

The weapon being 2 cost now sounds pretty strong considering you can use cards like Catch!Catch!, TumbleTumble or equip it directly with the Demacian cards, but my problem is that it locks you into playing PantheonPantheon VayneVayne.

First of all, PantheonPantheon has no problems getting big, so you’d want this weapon to retain keywords aswell. Second of all, recent PantheonPantheon decks kind of rely on Sacrificial ScholarSacrificial Scholar for value, and the Obliterate part will make it so you are not getting your spells back if you happen to use it on him. It might be an ok card if your intention is to save big stats that were getting removed previously and maybe Catch!Catch! them into an attacker that’s not being blocked, but it sounds gimmicky for me to say it’s good without actually playtesting the deck.

Bandle Tree

The Bandle Tree

Explorer cards make this irrelevant, in my opinion. If the people want The Bandle TreeThe Bandle Tree to be unplayable, they can absolutely make it happen.

Katarina

Katarina

Now that Opulent FoyerOpulent Foyer was fixed, I think KatarinaKatarina can be reverted. If Freljord decks become too dominant in Eternal – which I personally don’t think they will –, Katarina Yasuo could reappear as a meta call against them.

Preservationist

Preservationist

I don’t know what Landmark you want to advance with this, since Explorer cards exist now and high countdown landmarks aren’t the best thing to protect. There is a chance Sun Disc makes an appearance this meta and I would believe PreservationistPreservationist can make the cut on the deck.

Desert's Wrath

Being able to cast this card with only spell mana is huge, and there is payoff in it on both Xolaani the BloodweaverXolaani the Bloodweaver and just AzirAzir in general. It’s definitely worth testing now compared to previously.

Spirit Portal

Spirit Portal

I think this card lacks a situation to be good at. If you want to buff a big board and push damage for a face burn finish, Sneezy Biggledust!Sneezy Biggledust! just seems better. If you actually care about the +1|+1 granted buff, that begs the question if it’s not better to just be a Demacia Champions' StrengthChampions deck with Inspiring LightInspiring Light instead.

Frenzied Skitterer

Frenzied Skitterer

Whatever buff makes Frenzied SkittererFrenzied Skitterer easier to pull off with Soul CleaverSoul Cleaver is concerning. At 3 health, it dodges a lot of fast speed combinations of removal and pulling this two-card combo off means your opponent just isn’t blocking fearsome anymore. Very scary buff.

Tornado Warrior

Tornado Warrior

Bandle City gets yet another 1 mana 2/1 and officially becomes the anti-Legion RearguardLegion Rearguard region. It’s more fragile to removal now, but if you really want to save this unit in a Bandle/Ionia deck, you absolutely will be able to.

Overgrown Snapvine

Overgrown Snapvine

You were definitely using this card for the summon effect with things like Vile FeastVile Feast or even sometimes Jury-RigJury-Rig. I think this card has some chance to see peripheral play because it now has a keyword, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still pretty bad.

The Early Meta

Janna Seraphine Boadir of Blackened Ice

I think these three cards will shape the meta since they’re doing stronger things then any other deck. For eternal, I can definitely see SeraphineSeraphine dominating the game especially now that Invoke and Timelines were killed. The format can deal with Boadir, but as for standard…

Standard is probably going to become a one-region format. Freljord is just doing stronger things then any other region at the moment and I expect it to really dominate the game in the near future. Maybe there are ways to fight it back, but Boadir of Blackened IceBoadir of Blackened Ice just looks way too good of a card in an already strong region that dodged all balance, on top of the JannaJanna changes dialing back the one deck that could have a chance against it.

Sky SplitterSky Splitter will dominate standard, while Eternal will have a combination of it and Troll ChantTroll Chant. I expect Freljord to keep dominating the meta, both in ladder and in tournaments – at least in the beginning.

We’ll only have 10 days to discover this patch until the Eternal open, so I’ll definitely be back in a few days with an analysis of the ongoing meta and how it’s developing – keep an eye out for it!