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Patch Notes 4.4 Thoughts on Nerfs

Uncover the implications of the latest balance patch, exploring nerfs and unexpected meta shifts in the world of competitive Runeterra.
Patch Notes 4.4 LoR Legends of Runeterra

Hey guys, Yangzera here back to pumping out content and today we’ll finally start to cover the new balance patch and its implications on the meta. There was a dev stream on monday where RubinZoo and Vriss talked about context on the balance changes and I really recommend you watch it, it’s really insightful on how devs operate on things and their philosophy behind stuff. Without further ado, let us discuss the changes! All imagery used today is courtesy of The Runeterra Report, go check them out on twitter if you haven’t yet!

Toning Ashe Noxus Down

It’s really interesting to me that they chose to nerf ReckoningReckoning instead of Trifarian AssessorTrifarian Assessor, since as discussed in my AsheAshe LeBlancLeBlanc guide earlier on in the season, ReckoningReckoning isn’t exactly the most powerful card in the deck, but it has the highest blowout potential, even though opponents have to walk into it by either not playing around or being forced into a “if they have it, they have it” situation, but it’s noticeable that against more experienced players on the deck, you’re more often than not losing to how valuable a big Trifarian AssessorTrifarian Assessor round is. Still, it’s a big change that will make Reckoning an even more telegraphed card, meaning that if you’ve walked into it, you definitely deserved to.

The AsheAshe nerf is also very interesting because we’ve seen how the deck has evolved into only running a few copies of cheap Frostbite cards and going low on big Harsh WindsHarsh Winds like effects. This will for sure make AsheAshe level one round later most of the time since you’re mostly leveling her up with a Flash FreezeFlash Freeze and her attack effect, instead of over-leveling her by using Harsh WindsHarsh Winds when Ashe was already 3/4.

Hurting Fizz More then Samira

The weird thing about this patch is that while All OutAll Out was deservedly addressed, SamiraSamira is going unchanged. It’s pretty weird, because the All Out change together with the Wiggly BurblefishWiggly Burblefish and InfernaInferna nerfs will tone down the powerlevel of FizzFizz SamiraSamira, but as the metagame developed in this week after the Runeterra Open, we can see that Fizz Samira isn’t even the best Samira deck anymore, with VarusVarus taking the spot as her preferred partner. We’ll have to see how it plays out, as there is still a small nerf coming for the VarusVarus deck, but I’m skeptical that we’re going to have a World Qualifier Championship dominated by SamiraSamira VarusVarus.

Burble’s nerf is ok, I don’t have much to say about it. It’ll make your pop-off Shelly round happen later on which is good, and I’m still amazed that Burblefish dodged the standard rotation, but here we are again.

Inferna’s hit is super important, because now she will just die to SettSett challenging her, and that’s very relevant. Losing a base health point on top of losing an extra health point on All OutAll Out makes the deck much more fragile to damage based removal and challengers, which in my opinion is a healthy place for the strategy to be at.

The Most Successful Rework

Leona and the Daybreak package’s rework was really a massive hit from the devs, and I can see it pains them to have to nerf this archetype, but it was a long time coming. Sun GuardianSun Guardian will no longer be unkillable on curve and Daybreak players have to be smart about managing their attacks and board if their goal is to build a big Guardian. Leona’s nerf on her quest also helps opposing decks have more breathing room, since dealing with Leona when she comes down leveled (and sometimes even already having her barrier active) can be extremely unpleasant to deal with, and would snowball the game extremely quickly. Toning down the pace and reliability of these units will help other strategies have a little bit of extra time to fight back and gather resources to deal with the overwhelming force of Noxus Daybreak.

A Bold Decision

It probably came as a surprise to most people that KarmaKarma’s interaction with CoinCoins didn’t get touched, but I’m glad the devs bit the bullet and called the deck fair. Now I wouldn’t exactly call it “fair”, as KarmaKarma 2 plus Place Your BetsPlace Your Bets is generally a two-card combo that spells “win the game”, but as RubinZoo said, your opponent had nine entire rounds to close the game, so combos that can only come online at round 10 should have some flexibility on how strong they are. I think the Caustic RiffCaustic Riff change will be a big deal for Karma decks trying to survive, as using four mana for this spell in a deck where you don’t really like to go out of your way to activate flow can be a tough pill to swallow, since you can’t really just cast it with your banked mana, you have to tap into unit mana and now Ionia decks really care about unit mana! Obviously they don’t care about unit mana as much on later rounds like 7 through 9, but so does the opponent, as the one damage point from Caustic Riff is probably not doing much on a round 7 or later board-state.

Drum Solo’s nerf comes as a bit of a surprise, but a change I’m not against – most draw power cards are weighed as 3-mana draw 2 but in a clever way, like FormulaFormula, Deep MeditationDeep Meditation and now Drum SoloDrum Solo too.

A Long Time Coming

Opulent FoyerOpulent Foyer’s interaction with Scout and Rally was finally removed, I can rest in peace now. This is a bit more of a personal hatred towards GwenGwen strategies in particular, so my opinion here is extremely biased. I wish the card was just deleted from the game, but this change is enough for me. Anything that reduces the power of Gwen and Hallowed in general is a win for me so keep it up, Riot!

Now Ambitious CultistAmbitious Cultist’s change was told to be something that goes more in line with Drum SoloDrum Solo’s change, as having potential 0-cost cards that can sit in hand waiting to blow the opponent out are frustrating to deal with, but it’s also a welcomed change as it’s the only “real” nerf to SamiraSamira VarusVarus, the current strongest deck in the game. It will make it harder for you to just pile on resources for a big SamiraSamira rally turn on later rounds but also helps you just not get blown out by cards from any regions. I’d like to see more changes to SamiraSamira VarusVarus, but we’ll have to make work with what we have, and so far it looks like the deck will still remain the best thing you can do in the standard meta.

But Yang, where’s the buffs?

I cover all the buffs in this article! Go check it out and let me know your thoughts on the whole patch on social media!

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