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Patch 2.18 Predictions

With the Beyond the Bandlewood Expansion, we’ve had, in my opinion, one of the most diverse and quickly evolving metas in RuneTerra, both on ladder and in tournament formats.

 

Hey all, Jasensational here. With the Beyond the Bandlewood Expansion, we’ve had, in my opinion, one of the most diverse and quickly evolving metas in RuneTerra, both on ladder and in tournament formats. As “old” as the meta is, having gone about a month and a half since the last patch, there continue to be new decks and ideas to experiment with. With each passing week, new decks have sprung up to surprise players with powerhouses such as Bandle Pirates, the turbo level Gangplank aggro deck; Poppy Ziggs, the newest take on a burn deck with strong tempo openers; and Sentinel Fearsome Control, a PNZ SI control deck with the sentinel package to pressure the opponent. 

 

At the same time, some of the strongest staple decks like Draven Sion, Zoe Nami, Poppy rally have dominated the top of the meta since their inception early on in the season, and it’s about time to shake things up. With patch 2.18 on the horizon promising a sizable patch similar to the last big shakeup, here are some of the changes we might expect.

 

 

  1. Draven Sion

 

Going into the Beyond the Bandlewood Seasonals, Draven Sion was the deck that players were constructing their lineup and strategies around. As a very solid midrange deck that seemingly never ran out of value through lots of cycle, discard fodder, it could end games with a leveled Sion on curve and finish with burn. To top it off, this deck has very few bad matchups, making it a very strong all-rounder. There are very few decks at the moment that have ways of dealing with a leveled Sion, especially on curve. Decks like Drarven Caitlyn have been bullied out of the meta by the overwhelming presence of Sion because they just couldn’t do anything about it.

 

 

Lost Soul

 

One of the most overtuned cards in the deck is Lost Soul. This card provides the deck with infinite discard fodder as well as a 4/3 challenger to help steamroll tempo. It is also a key card to very quickly level up Sion to ensure that he is leveled on play. I could see some sort of change to adjust the card’s power level.

 

Cost: 8 > 6

Stats: 5/4 > 3/5

Text: Stays the same

 

As a card, it’s rarely played out and used almost always for its discard value. A stat reduction of the main card itself will have very little effect on its own, but it will indirectly affect Sion’s ability to level as fast. One of its core mechanics is to serve as an infinite discard engine, and I think this aspect should remain untouched as it is unique and interesting.

 

An alternative side nerf to the deck would be to reduce the cost of Lost Soul to six. This goes inline with a stat adjustment so that it is not overtly powerful to actually play out, but most importantly this allows Aloof Travelers to have a meaningful impact by reliably discarding Sion

 

 

Twinblade Revenant

 

As obnoxious as the card comes off of, I don’t think that it’s the biggest problem for the deck. It is just a super solid card that fits the deck’s gameplan. I don’t particular expect a change to this card, but if there is one, this might be an adjustment. 

 

Cost: Stays the same

Stats: 4/3 > 4/2

Text: Stays the same

 

The card is reminiscent of Merciless Hunter, both cards which serve similar purposes, but of course Twinblade Revenant allowing the player to infinitely cycle. A similar change to it would make sense.

 

 

Sion

 

Should only Sion be affected, I could see a change like this.

 

Cost: 7 > 8

Stats: Stays the same

Text: Stays the same

 

Leveled Sion is extremely strong, even game-winning, and an increase in cost could reflect the power level to bring it in line. This gives other decks one extra turn to close out the game or one more draw/mana to find an answer. A cost increase would also make it potentially vulnerable to Aloof Travelers.

 

 

  1. Nami

 

While Nami has seen experimentation in the SI, PNZ, and Bandle City regions, it’s main home is in Targon, being able to combo with Gifts From Beyond to tutor out and buff Sparklefly as a win con and a way to stabilize games from behind.

 

 

Nami

Cost: Stays the Same

Stats: Stays the Same

Text: Level up after you gained 7+ spell mana > after you gained 9+ spell mana

 

The explosive power of Nami being able to level on turn three and instantly start buffing elusives can be especially overwhelming, given her 3/4 statline and a suite of protection spells. Any deck with Nami relies quite heavily on her, so it doesn’t need a very big change for it to be impactful. Making her level up from seven to nine means that the soonest you can level Nami is turn four, making her one turn slower. In certain matchups where Zoe is played on turn one, players have already been leveling Nami on turn four. A change like this is similar to the change to both Azir and Irelia that slowed down that decks explosiveness, but still retained its spot in the meta. 

 

 

2.5.Poppy

 

Honestly, I believe Poppy is in a good spot. Her effect is powerful enough to be flexible enough to slot into most Bandle City Swarm decks, and synergistic enough with Demacia rally. And it’s great to have strong cards in the game. I look at cards like Twisted Fate and Aphelios that allowed bizarre and obscure champions/archetypes to exist that otherwise wouldn’t have, and I think Poppy allows for that too.

 

Poppy decks in general have also been kept in check from the presence of Draven Sion, or decks that don’t run protection spells like Poppy Ziggs, which is currently the highest played version of Poppy, there are good answers to kill Poppy. I don’t think Poppy needs to see any changes.

 

 

3.Bandlewood Package

 

Riot hit the nail on the head with this region on launch. It’s flavorful, strong, and highly played. But as more cards come into the game with it, some forward looking changes may need to be made.

 

 

Aloof Travelers

 

Everyone’s favorite and least favorite card. An absolutely insane card that draws a card, discards a win condition for the opponent, and is an absolute house at a 3/4 statline. It’s almost auto-included in any non rally Bandle City deck, seeing inclusions in Tree, Darkness, Shellfolk, and Draven Sion.

 

Cost: Stays the same

Stats: 3/4 > 3/2

Text: Stays the same

 

The ability of Aloof Travelers is what makes the card, but at the moment it’s statline makes it a no-brainer to run. It has to have a downside for playing it, and should pay the price with weaker stats. It can still be Manifested as a choice pick, but now decks will have to decide if they want to run this card, or make it a tech choice for the meta.

 

Bandle City Mayor

 

This card has been the cornerstone of both card generation and mana discounts to allow Bandle City decks to spew onto board. 

 

Cost: Stays the same

Stats: Stays the same

Text: Play: Manifest a random dual-region follower > No longer Manifests

 

I think the power to play Mayor on turn three, and then be able to supplement a curve involving a Loping Telescope and a Poppy on turn four is what a card like Mayor is designed for. Players should be forced to respect its ability and either bank mana for removing it on sight, or accepting some mana discount value out of it. However, I don’t see why it also needs to have the ability to Manifest on top of it, giving it flexibility in an aggro deck to use it to curve out, or in a value deck to outgrind.

 

Loping Telescope

 

Cost: Stays the same

Stats: Stays the same

Text: Stays the same, but can no longer Manifest itself

 

In my opinion, telescope is a fun play pattern card, opening the floor up to crazy plays and a high skill ceiling for picks. However, the ability to go infinite on itself, especially paired with mana discounts from Bandle City Mayor is a little too much.

 

 

Lecturing Yordle

 

Cost: Stays the same

Stats: 3/5 > 3/4 

Text: Stays the same

 

It’s no question how impactful seeing this card come down on turn four can be. It has an insane statline with a powerful effect. While it’s not pre-nerf Merciless Hunter by any means, the power level of this four drop is quite high.

 

 

4.Potential Buffs for Bandlewood Cards

 

Now patches aren’t always to put down certain cards or decks, but also a great chance to breathe life into others. Here are a few changes or ideas for archetypes that I would like to see more support in from the set.

 

 

Justice Rider

 

Caitlyn’s package as a whole has felt underwhelming, and currently she is mostly splashed in Draven Caitlyn as a 3/3 quick attacker or in Teemo Caitlyn that relies more on puffcaps.

 

Cost: Stays the same

Stats: Stays the same

Text: Whenever your opponent draws, plant one Flashbomb Trap > plant two Flashbomb Trap

 

This puts it in line with Sting Officer and opens up better support and potential exploration for Caitlyn as an archetype.

 

 

Safety Inspector

 

Do you know what this card does? Me neither until I found it while scrolling through my collection. Landmark decks like Xerath or Arsenal builds have seen experimentation, but are a couple of cards short.

 

Cost: 6 > 5

Stats: 6/6 > 4/4

Text: Round start: create a Inspection Passed! in hand > Play: Destroy a Landmark to deal 3 to anything. 

 

This is basically Rite of the Arcane on a stick, with the obvious downside that it requires unit mana. With a play effect instead of a round start, it has immediate impact and can serve as a little bit of burn in more aggressively slanted Landmark Ziggs decks.

 

 

5.Other Regions

 

 

Finally, I just want to touch up on representation of regions in play and meta, and some wishlist items that I would enjoy.  

 

The first is Targon. Targon’s representation is hugely propped up with decks like Zoe Nami and Zoe Lee Sin, but the rest of Targon is lacking. However, no singular other Targon champion sees much play besides Zoe. Even the invoke strategies have largely disappeared with nerfs to The Fangs and Starshaping. The champions in Targon just aren’t at the same power level compared to many other regions, and I would love to see some buffs to introduce more Targon variety back to the meta.

 

Secondly is Freljord, having a zero deck regional representation at AM Seasonal top 32 and one player qualifying for top 32 with Freljord. A large part of this is that past Freljord decks like Ashe Nox or Frezreal have been brought down with the presence of Draven Sion, so only slower control decks like Feel The Rush or Thralls have seen small representation. This may be fixed once Draven Sion gets a slight hit, but otherwise Freljord falls into a similar place like Targon, and I would like to see some help too.

 

But otherwise, again, the game feels great and region representation for the most part are doing quite well.

 

 

Closing Thoughts

 

 

Honestly, I’ve been impressed with the card strength and deck diversity coming at the end of the expansion. With some tweaks to the top decks and of course, new cards, I expect the meta to be in an even better spot. These are the main items that I would like to see tweaked, but the Legends of RuneTerra team might have even more in store for us. Look forward to the patch, and make sure you stay tuned to a meta prediction article afterwards as well. This has been Jasensational, and thank you for reading.

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