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Patch 2.18 Card Review

Its Jasensational, back at it again to review the latest patch together with all of you. With patch 2.18 introducing a whopping 25+ nerfs and buffs to cards, there’s a lot to cover.

Its Jasensational, back at it again to review the latest patch together with all of you. With patch 2.18 introducing a whopping 25+ nerfs and buffs to cards, there’s a lot to cover. If you haven’t checked out the previous article on patch note predictions, be sure to check it out here and we can compare together my initial thoughts and how in line they were with Riot’s. In this review, we will use a simple rating system to summarize my thoughts on the impact. So grab a snack and let’s jump into it.

 

Rating:

 

Meta: Will see play in a tier 1-2 deck.

Better: Change has a positive impact. Will at least see more experimentation

Patch Modcheck: Non-impactful change

Worse: It’s in a worse spot, but will still be played. Like a ApheliosAphelios or IreliaIrelia before their demise

Deleted: Unplayable, or easily replaced by better cards

 

1.Draven Sion

 

To no one’s surprise, DravenDraven SionSion was one of the main targets for nerfs this patch around. The two changes to this deck were to DravenDraven and Twinblade RevenantTwinblade Revenant

 

DravenDraven

Stats: 3/3 > 3/2

Rating: Worse

Generally, it’s pretty hard to overstate how impactful of a change this is. We’ve seen it in the past where FioraFiora, and to a lesser extent ApheliosAphelios, lost that one point of toughness and dropped off the map. However, I think this change is less relevant to specifically DravenDraven SionSion. DravenDraven still does his job of generating a Spinning AxeSpinning Axe on play, and applying pressure with its quick attack keyword. Sure, DravenDraven now dies to a Mystic ShotMystic Shot, but most decks in the current meta still have trouble dealing with a two health unit versus a three health unit outside of combat. Unless we see a surge in more removal based decks, I don’t think DravenDraven’s role in SionSion decks has changed much. Still, I didn’t quite expect the LoR team to “axe” DravenDraven this patch. 

 

 

Twinblade RevenantTwinblade Revenant

Stats: 4/3 Challenger > 4/3 Fearsome

Rating: Better or Worse?

Honestly, I’m very careful to say that this is a nerf to the card. It is a huge nerf to DravenDraven SionSion’s midrange gameplan, removing their tool to remove key backrow units or engage in value trades for tempo, but it gained the Fearsome keyword in return. Should Bandle City still remain as a large part of the meta, this card becomes a real threat. Risen RiderRisen Rider was already tricky to deal with, and now the deck has an additional 4/3 Fearsome body that can be cycled infinitely. Bandle Tree decks will cower at the sight of this. At the end of the patch, the fearsome sentinels like Demacian Sentinel and Buhru SentinelBuhru Sentinel were appearing to prey on the lack of fearsome blockers in the Bandle City meta, and Twinblade RevenantTwinblade Revenant is here to add onto it. Without a change to Lost SoulLost Soul, this card will still be seen in SionSion decks to level.

Overall, I predicted that SionSion would become slower, but that is not the case. SionSion still levels on turn seven, and existing decks still don’t have a great way of dealing with it. I see DravenDraven SionSion as still a strong deck that will continue to exist, but may have to shift gears to account for a difference in matchup tables. They could even abandon their midrange strategy and steer towards more of an fearsome aggro with burn style of deck instead.

 

 

2.Zoe Nami

 

Next up on most players’ lists was NamiNami. A super strong elusive engine that could burst out stats on stats as early as turn four, but couldn’t be removed reliably on turn four.

 

NamiNami

Text: Level up after you’ve gained 7+ spell mana this game > you’ve gained 8+ spell mana this game.

Rating: Worse

Okay okay, so I was one mana off the level up condition. You got me again Riot. But either way, NamiNami now starts off one turn slower, needing an additional turn to level up, unless you’re running a one mana attune card like OtterpusOtterpus or Shellshocker Shellshocker , unless… you’re running Flash of BrillianceFlash of Brilliance. But in ZoeZoe NamiNami in particular, this will usually mean that NamiNami will level up on turn five, which is kinda of a big deal. This will delay your ability to come back into the game with a buffed SparkleflySparklefly and give the opponent more room to close in. Speaking of SparkleflySparklefly

 

SparkleflySparklefly

Cost: 2 > 3

Rating: Deleted

If you wanted to gut the deck, this would be the most crucial change. The biggest effect of this change is that you can no longer tutor out SparkleflySparklefly using CrescendumCrescendum off of Gifts From BeyondGifts From Beyond. This also means you do not have mana to play out SparkleflySparklefly on the turn you level NamiNami, making the comeback mechanic of this deck essentially two turns slower. 

This is a big deal for the deck, but maybe not so much for NamiNami in particular. NamiNami has already been seeing experimentation in Bandle City and PNZ, and will still have a home in those regions. Targon unfortunately will no longer be the powerhouse that it used to be. NamiNami decks might not be tier 1 anymore, but will still retain their explosive strength if they can stabilize for one extra turn.

 

 

2.5.Poppy

 

In the end, they decided to not touch PoppyPoppy, which somewhat goes with what I predicted, but maybe for different reasons. But that is not to say that decks with PoppyPoppy didn’t get affected slightly.

Relentless PursuitRelentless Pursuit

Cost: 3 > 4

Text: Rally > Grant a unit +1/+1. Rally

Rating: Borderline worse/deleted

Now this doesn’t directly affect PoppyPoppy, but many of the existing rally decks used PoppyPoppy to apply insane amounts of pressure, such as the Bandle City or Ionia variants. With both rallies, Relentless PursuitRelentless Pursuit and Golden AegisGolden Aegis taking up the four cost slot, it’s much harder to weave in rallies while maintaining board. A deck like PoppyPoppy ZiggsZiggs is largely unaffected by this change.

 

 

3.Bandle City Changes

 

As predicted, we also got a few hits to some of the key followers within the Bandle City Region.

 

Stone StackersStone Stackers

Stats: 2/2 Tough > 2/3 

Rating: Patch Modcheck

This is probably the least significant of the changes. The strength in Stone StackersStone Stackers is the ability to attack without contest on turn two, due to the lack of three attack units to stop it. Having three health versus two health and tough doesn’t change anything, besides blocking it with a two attack unit then pinging it. This is still significant, but investing two resources into one, while also still taking impact damage is what makes the card so strong already. 

 

Aloof TravelersAloof Travelers

Stats: 3/4  > 2/3 

Rating: Worse

If you’ve been following along with a general trend in this article so far, then you’ll know why this change is much more impactful than simply shaving off some stats. Aloof TravelersAloof Travelers was one of Bandle City’s only fearsome blocker follower, and now that it is down to two attack, it loses that as well. The statline is acceptable and this will be a playable card, but now probably won’t see play in DravenDraven SionSion or other straight up midrange decks. Depending on the presence of fearsome units in the meta, I could see this card getting significantly less play as well.

 

Tenor of TerrorTenor of Terror / Bass of BurdenBass of Burden

Stats: 2/3  > 1/3 / 3/2 > 3/1

Rating: Deleted

Tenor of TerrorTenor of Terror getting hit with a double whammy as much as it double impacts the opponent. Not only does this house of a tempo card deal less damage on the attack, it also creates a very vulnerable target with Bass of BurdenBass of Burden that can now be easily pingable by many different regions and decks. Players may look to shift completely to Lecturing YordleLecturing Yordle to fill in the four drop slot. Still situational picks off of Bandle City MayorBandle City Mayor and Loping TelescopeLoping Telescope

Overall, hits to Aloof TravelersAloof Travelers and Tenor of TerrorTenor of Terror are great starts, though, I’m a little surprised that they didn’t end up touching Bandle City MayorBandle City Mayor or Lecturing YordleLecturing Yordle. Bandle City will still remain a strong regain altogether and decks like The Bandle TreeThe Bandle Tree or PoppyPoppy ZiggsZiggs or Curious ShellfolkCurious Shellfolk will largely remain untouched.

 

 

4.Targon

 

Well, I asked for Targon buffs and I’ve received? Let’s speed through the changes to the region.

 

MoondreamerMoondreamer

Stats: 3/5  > 3/6 

Rating: Patch Modcheck

If there was a card on my buff list, this was not one of them. The strength of a card like The TravelerThe Traveler was that it was a flexible pick with a randomly flexible outcome. At one mana cheaper too. A slight buff here does little, as this card was never ran in invoke archetypes regardless. 

 

Lunari PriestessLunari Priestess / Solari PriestessSolari Priestess

Stats: 2/1 > 2/2 / 1/2  > 2/2

Rating: Better

Out of the Targon/Invoke package changes, I think this one shines the brightest. One of Solari PriestessSolari Priestess’ main weakness was the loss of tempo when played on curve, and having an additional attack does wonders in allowing it to trade down even in faster matchups. It’s slightly less impactful for Lunari PriestessLunari Priestess since it already could trade down with two attack. The range of invoke from Lunari PriestessLunari Priestess and it’s poor ability to curve out makes it awkward in slower decks, but it might see more experimentation in Nightfall decks.

 

Rahvun, Daylight’s Spear

Stats: 5/5 > 5/6 

Rating: Better

Big statted boy was already hard to kill, which makes a change like this not as impactful. It’s already one of the strongest cards in the Daybreak archetype, and without better buffs/support across the rest of the archetype, it’s unlikely this change holds much significance. Unlikely to splash in other decks purely for its stats.

 

The ScourgeThe Scourge

Text: Challenger > Challenger and Overwhelm

Rating: Better

As impactful as this change is, it usually comes off as a win-more. Not only do games have to extend onto turn ten without the Targon player not already winning because they’ve either stabilized or out-valued the opponent, but you also need to not have a board either. As a win condition, it is likely the last option to pick over The Great BeyondThe Great Beyond or The Immortal FireThe Immortal Fire. It’s a cool change that confuses why it wasn’t in the original card design, but impact wise to Targon, again I think it’s lacking.

Overall, Targon changes are quite underwhelming. There’s no clear direction where the buffs want to land, and the small invoke buffs might not be enough. I would’ve liked to see the Targon champions included in some capacity so that Zoe isn’t trying to carry all the weight. But, I will say that no matter how big or small a buff is, they will inspire experimentation, and maybe Daybreak is the new midrange counter we all needed in this patch.

 

 

4.5.Dragons??

 

So who had Dragons on their 2021 Bingo List? In spite of the Targon changes, it seems that there is one archetype (and region combo) in particular that the LoR team seem to be pushing, and that is Dragons.

 

Dragon’s Clutch

Text: Draw 2 Dragons or grant Dragon allies +1/+1 > Draw 2 Dragons or grant Dragon allies +1/+1 and Overwhelm

Rating: Meta

Probably the most insane card from the patch. In the past, the conditional buff had a very niche use to surprise opponents into value trades, but giving Dragons overwhelm now creates a reliable finisher that Demacia and Targon usually lacked. This is like putting an The AbsolverThe Absolver onto a leveled SivirSivir, but better. Five stars out of five stars. 

 

Ruined DragonguardRuined Dragonguard

Stats: 2/4 > 3/4 

Rating: Meta

Three drop with premium stats and archetype synergy? Sign me up. I think this card was already kinda nuts, but never really saw play as Dragons were not represented, but sure we can give it one more attack. Looks like an easy auto-include in any dragon focused deck, that allows early scaling into ending games with Dragon’s Clutch.

 

Herald of DragonsHerald of Dragons

Stats: 1/1 > 1/2 

Rating: Better

Mana discounting cards have historically been quite scary, case examples being Mountain ScryerMountain Scryer and the newest Bandle City MayorBandle City Mayor. If people were complaining that the mayor was hard to deal with at two health, well step aside because Herald of DragonsHerald of Dragons comes down one turn earlier. It’s still debatable whether or not this card will make the cut as it’s a very weak tempo play for turn two, and the mana discount isn’t as impactful late game, but being able to curve ShyvanaShyvana into Screeching DragonScreeching Dragon on turn three and four can be huge. In a slower meta, I can see this card thrive in Dragon decks.

 

Aurelion SolAurelion Sol

Text: Levels with 25+ total ally power > Levels with 20+ total ally power

Rating: Better

Aurelion SolAurelion Sol sneaks into this section as the honorary dragon. I’m unsure if Dragons is where Aurelion SolAurelion Sol is going to fit in, as I see Dragons as more of a midrange deck than an out-grind value kind of deck. Not sure if the meta will slow down enough for Aurelion SolAurelion Sol to fit back in, but the reverted level up condition likely won’t change too much for similar reasons as why The ScourgeThe Scourge receiving overwhelm is likely not as impactful. When Aurelion SolAurelion Sol comes down on board with a board of 20+ power, you’re most likely already winning the game. Although, Aurelion SolAurelion Sol in a Feel The RushFeel The Rush or Targon’s Peak deck is quite strong, as having a one card “I flip Asol” now is a great way to cheese opponents.

Overall, if LoR was looking to push an archetype into the meta, Dragons look like a promising deck to try out during the first week. With a strong, defined win condition that can come down at a flexible moment and stat buffs across the board, I predict Dragons will rise up to tier two. 

 

 

5.Champ Buffs Across the Board

 

TristanaTristana Lvl 2

Text: Grants Impact to Dual-region allies > Grants Impact to Dual-region allies and herself

Rating: Meta

I always believed that TristanaTristana was criminally underrated and under-experimented, so I’m happy to see her get some love. Stacking up Impact on herself creates a greater threat to the opponent, being forced to trade in a unit to block, while also taking a few points of impact damage. In metas where healing is practically none, this change will be noticeable. In my own brews, this buff has great applications in my Give It AllGive It All deck, where I can stack up 5+ Impact across my entire board. In other cheese decks, like with conjunction with Shell GameShell Game or AmbushAmbush, the extra damage can go a long way to destroy the opponent’s nexus.

 

NocturneNocturne Lvl 2

Text: Nightfall: Grant an enemy Vulnerable and give enemies -1/0 this round

Rating: Meta

Nightfall Aggro as a deck has always slipped in and out of the meta in the past, but has fallen out once Stalking ShadowsStalking Shadows got nerfed to three mana. However, the power level of activating NocturneNocturne’s ability now at burst speed with Unto DuskUnto Dusk can prove powerful given the current strength of fearsome in the meta. DoombeastDoombeast as a card has historically been good against burn based aggro decks, especially when healing is so sparse. I have good hopes for a resurgence in Nightfall given this change.

 

EkkoEkko

Text: Level after 5 predicts > Level after 4 predicts

Rating: Better

I imagine a change like this tries to give EkkoEkko more room outside of specifically Shurima to actually level up. At the current moment, I don’t see this as a super impactful change, as without more predict support in regions outside of Shurima, it’s hard to build an impactful EkkoEkko deck outside of it. While I’m no EkkoEkko expert, I don’t particularly think being able to level EkkoEkko slightly faster makes the champion better, so we’ll see if someone can make something happen.  

 

RenektonRenekton

Text: Level after I’ve dealt 12+ damage > Level after I’ve dealt 10+ damage

Rating: Better

I think this change is quite strong. RenektonRenekton being able to level up after an attack and a block can be quite strong, or even in conjunction with strike cards like Whirling DeathWhirling Death or Concerted StrikeConcerted Strike. In a vacuum, leveled RenektonRenekton is very powerful, but right now it’s being outshined by SivirSivir. Quick attack and spellshield are just more impactful and allow better attacks without having to worry about survivability. It’s a good buff, but meta impact is hard to say.

 

LuxLux

Cost: 6 > 5

Stats: 4/5  > 3/5 

Rating: Better, praying for Meta

Mana reductions for Champions is no joke. When you see a Champion becoming cheaper, everyone wonders if it is the next big thing. LuxLux on five allows you to curve into a six cost spell on turn six, which is great, but LuxLux still suffers from being in Demacia where spells historically suck. The buffs show great promise, but until LuxLux takes her spirit journey to PNZ or Targon, there’s no great flexibility in what she can do.

 

QuinnQuinn

Stats: 3/4 > 3/5 

Rating: Patch Modcheck

One of QuinnQuinn’s weakness was not being able to attack herself in situations to level her quicker. The extra health point will allow that, but the increase in cost of Relentless PursuitRelentless Pursuit will have a stronger negative impact than the buff to QuinnQuinn’s statline. Still outclassed by PoppyPoppy in her own deck, still likely unplayable. 

 

BraumBraum

Stats: 0/5 > 0/6

Rating: Patch Modcheck

I’m glad Freljord is getting some attention too, but this ain’t it chief. The issue with BraumBraum was never really about his survivability, and lots of decks right now can race past you if your turn four is so tempo negative. Again BraumBraum folds to fearsome units which are in business at the moment. It’s hard to imagine this buff will push BraumBraum or Freljord into major significance.

 

6.Misc Changes

 

Faces of the Old OnesFaces of the Old Ones

Stats: 0/2 > 0/3

Rating: Better

Being able to come down on turn two and having more survivability is a good sign for this card. Being able to start ramping from turn two can be great, as the mana advantage scales quickly. In conjunction with the Aurelion SolAurelion Sol buff, Targon’s Peak may find a home in the meta.

 

Vanguard SergeantVanguard Sergeant

Stats: 3/3 > 3/4 

Rating: Patch Modcheck

I’m unsure if this is supposed to be part of LuxLux package, but if it is, I’m not sure I want to be running it still. Sure as a blocker it is great now, but the value of this doesn’t seem great. 

 

Dess & AdaDess & Ada

Text: Damage dealt to all enemies now scales with Darkness damage

Rating: Meta

At the end of the Into the Bandlewood season, Dess & AdaDess & Ada has been a great answer to many of the swarm decks, with a two damage board clear. In conjunction with Twisted CatalyzerTwisted Catalyzer and VeigarVeigar to scale damage, this can become a reliable board clear against even the beefiest midrange decks. A lot of instances with Darkness against slower matchups, both board states have some units sitting around and not attacking. This card allows for a potential alt win con by swinging board state in one turn, then getting chip damage in, the way DravenDraven EzrealEzreal used to play with Tri-beam ImprobulatorTri-beam Improbulator or like a leveled MalphiteMalphite.

 

Manifest, Loping TelescopeLoping Telescope, Trinket TradeTrinket Trade, and The TravelerThe Traveler

The way created cards work now, and going forward is that they can no longer create themselves, so no more Traveler or Telescope chains. Which is a good and healthy change that I expected. So good on them and good on me.

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