What’s up everyone, Yangzera here and for this article we’ll not talk about decks and instead I’ll remind you of a few cards from each region that you have to be aware are coming back not only for when you’re building your Eternal ranked decks but also for when you’re actually playing the game, as some of these high impact cards will come back to the game in a big way. So without further ado, let’s get to the list!
Special Parameters For Cards
A bunch of regions simply lost too much historically powerful cards, so we have to settle on some rules before some people jump on my neck when they see I didn’t include a specific card they hated playing against or can’t wait to get their hands on again. For this list, I’m considering the cards as they are right now in Eternal, before the balance patch and variety set are announced, and when taking into consideration the decks they’re played, I’m considering the decklist without new cards and with cards in them as they are right now, buffed or nerfed. This will alleviate a lot of conflicts of which cards are better or worse as we’re not considering each card’s most powerful state (if they have ever been nerfed). Also, each section for each region will have the four cards ordered from strongest to weakest, in my opinion, just so we can have some discussion going on in social media if you want to spark it to have fun while we wait for the patch.
Pokey Stick is undoubtedly the best card in the entire region – and the entire game, in my opinion –, closely followed by Aloof Travelers. The third and fourth spot were a toss up for me, as we have cards like Lulu and Stress Defense, as well as arguably Poppy. The reason I didn’t choose either of the three is because Lulu has only seen meta play alongside Flame Chompers! or Boom Baboon, but with Poro Cannon costing 1 mana now, the reason you play her at all has been weakened a lot. Same goes for Poppy, since Golden Aegis is five mana and Relentless Pursuit no longer targets an ally, rendering Poppy Taric Decks pretty much unplayable. The strongest argument here is for Stress Defense, and I would not feel bad for swapping it with Curious Shellfolk, but Inventive Chemist as a one mana 2/1 with an upside is premium in an environment where we’ll have Legion Rearguard back into the game.
Bilgewater didn’t lose too many powerful staples and the best three cards were really easy to pick. I had a bit of trouble picking between Fortune Croaker, Jaull-fish and The Dreadway, but ended up picking Croaker for being a generally good card to have in a deck, where Jaull-fish and The Dreadway, while very strong cards in the decks they’re played, are super limited to a specific archetype. Fortune Croaker’s flexibility makes it claim the number 4 spot in our Bilgewater list.
Lux and Ranger's Resolve managed to grab the top spots of our list only because every single Demacia staple that’s coming back is currently in their nerfed version. Golden Aegis, Back to Back, Radiant Guardian, Sharpsight and Vanguard Bannerman are all currently nerfed versions, and any of them would make it in if their nerf had been already reverted. I firmly believe Lux Jayce as it was when the rotation kicked in will be a contender for the top spots of the meta, and that’s why she’s above Ranger’s for me. If I were to rank these cards by their most powerful state, it would probably be Sharpsight(+2/+2), Golden Aegis(4 mana), Back to Back(5 mana) and Vanguard Bannerman(also buffs itself).
This was probably the easiest top 4 cards. If you’re fuming at me for not including Blighted Ravine, I’m only putting Troll Chant over it because Ravine is still in its nerfed state. Feel The Rush and Spirits Unleashed are the most obvious picks while Trundle is the best third pick. The only consideration really is between Chant and Ravine, and as a Blighted Ravine enjoyer, the card feels much worse when it isn’t burning the opponent’s nexus for 2.
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Ok, first let me ask the Lee Sin simps to put their pitchforks down. Ten spells quest Lee Sin is a very bad card. And I mean very bad – especially when Momentous Choice is also nerfed to 2 mana. That being said, it’s extremely difficult to find a fourth card to the list and I settled with Health Potion because I’m more then sure that if any Karma or Seraphine Ionia deck ever gets viable it’s because of doubling Health Potion. This card has the potential, in its current state, to carry archetypes on its own, and isn’t depending on any revert. Of course Lee Sin would make it in if he was reverted, but I would personally rate Ionian Tellstones above Lee Sin if both got reverted, even if Tellstones did not get Homecoming back, which is why I’m choosing Health Potion over him this time(I also want to see people mad).
The reason I’m not adding Eye of the Dragon – or even considering adding it – is that I don’t think it will even see play on refined lists, since Pit Professional plus Smooth Mixologist is oftentimes much better board presence then Eye plus whatever nonsense you’re adding to your deck solely to activate her.
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Legion Rearguard is the most toxic card in the game and I cannot wait to be salty that my opponents always triple draw it against me. I wish Draven and Katarina were higher up on the list, but their nerfed states are pretty weaker compared to the average card we have coming back to Noxus. Decimate simply isn’t a playable card at 6 mana while Powder Pandemonium exists, and the rest of the cards that were rotated can’t get into the power level of any of the previously mentioned ones, making Noxus a pretty easy region to pick the top 4.
Piltover and Zaun
I’m not counting Aloof Travelers for this one because he already made it into the Bandle City top four, but he would definitely have a spot here. Ezreal and Viktor are simply good cards and will be used in the meta, their only difference is that one is healthy and the other isn’t. Only time will tell how eternal breaks these champions, but I predict they will be very good. Get Excited! is a good card that will be used in both control and aggressive piltover based decks and Thermogenic Beam is just an auto include one-of staple in pretty much every piltover deck that isn’t playing for an aggressive win condition. Honorable mentions for Concurrent Timelines, Fallen Feline and Ballistic Bot, pretty good cards that don’t make it into our list for a variety of reasons.
It was really hard to decide on the fourth card for the Shadow Isles list but I settled with The Box because I think the current Standard meta would be partly dominated by it. Vile Feast is historically the most used card in all of competitive, and that will not change – it’s simply too good of a card. Atrocity at fast speed comes as the easy second place, followed by Elise, one of the best champions ever created, viable in any and all archetypes.
This was a pretty difficult list to make, because there are insane cards in both Xerath and Rite of the Arcane. Thankfully Acolyte's Reliquary, Ruin Runner and Shaped Stone haven’t been reverted yet, or else this would be a pretty hard list to make. The standard meta proved us that The Absolver is a quintessential card for Shuriman decks to have an actual way to close out games, and its absence in the meta pushed Akshan out of viability. Preservarium is a staple in most Shuriman decks and Endless Devout enables a plethora of archetypes. Sivir stands above Xerath and Rite of the Arcane because the first is only competitively viable in one strategy and the other really depends on Endless Devout to be super playable – Sivir is just an all around great champion to slap in any build as a one-of or to be built around in a Shurima plus Demacia shell and that’s why she makes the top 4 spot of the list.
Aphelios is undisputably Targon’s best card and grabs the top spot of our targon list. Zoe and Spacey Sketcher, while already being great staples of the region, were also massively buffed with The Serpent going back to a 2/1 challenger for 0 mana. I was torn between Goat, Taric and The Flight for the fourth slot, but ultimately ended up with Mountain Goat rounding out the list due to it being an extremely flexible card.
And those were my top 4 returning cards for each region in Legends of Runeterra! I hope I could make justice for all of the great cards returning to ranked with the new Eternal season and hopefully this will spark discussion in the community as we’re getting closer and closer to the actual patch coming out. Tag me on social media if you decide on making your top 4 picks and let’s talk eternal! Thank you so much if you’re made it this far into the article and, as always, I’ll see you guys very, very soon.