Legends of Runeterra 0.9.0 Patch Breakdown
Patch 0.9.0 of Legends of Runeterra is on the way, and with it comes the first changes to cards in the open beta! That’s pretty big on its own. We’re seeing the meta shaped right before our eyes, but that’s not the only big change coming to the game.
We can also look forward to Expedition and XP adjustments, and the developers are also looking at some cards for potential nerfs in the future (including some that I actively use). The developers also discuss Set 1, and what their plans are long-term for balance and the champions used in the card game.
Balance in General, Set 1 | Legends of Runeterra Patch 0.9.0
For many people enjoying Legends of Runeterra, like us, this is the first major patch we get to see in the game. That’s nothing to be ashamed about, that’s for sure. But the Legends of Runeterra team have several goals for the game, and they wanted this patch to make that absolutely clear.
When they look at the game and consider changes, they have targets that they aim to make sure will be clear in every card.
- Every champion should have a deck where they’re the best fit, and their “dream” can be realized.
- Non-champion cards should have at least one deck where they’re a good option.
- REgions should have at least one competitively viable deck.
- The meta should support the widest possible array of competitively viable decks.
Now, I will say this about that: I have not run into a single card that is “completely useless”. They’re willing to buff cards that are weak, but the Legends of Runeterra team made sure to say they’re also willing to nerf cards, in patch 0.9.0 and beyond.
They aim to keep an eye on all changes made, to make sure collateral damage is as low as possible. If tweaks have to be made, they say they will not hesitate to do so. The Legends of Runeterra team also revealed the phases of updates, for when they hit Set 1:
- New set of cards released
- First balance patch: mostly “medium”-sized number changes, based on the early sense of outliers.
- Second balance patch: significant updates to under-utilized cards, and the main patch to expect major champion updates in.
- Third balance patch: a limited number of changes to stabilize meta issues.
- The next set of cards released.
That’s a sound set up. This will likely be easy to maintain at first since there aren’t a massive amount of cards just yet. Hopefully, this won’t slow down too badly, the longer the card game is around. We don’t want the game to be 100% balanced, but the game should not be dominated by one or two decks. So we hope to see balance, without making the game bland or dominated by one style of play. Half the fun of card games is having some truly obnoxious builds.
Card Balance/Updates | Legends of Runeterra Patch 0.9.0
We only have two major champion changes in this update, and I both like and dislike this. Part of me was hoping to see an Elise nerf, so that I never have to see that jerk spider again, but alas. But the positive side, one of my most-used champions received a much-needed buff!
A lot of followers and spells saw changes in this patch, mostly nerfs to make them slightly less powerful. A lot of it seems to be aimed at making the elusive and handbuff decks a bit less ridiculous. Oh sure, right as I start stomping with an Elusive deck. . .
So let’s talk about these! First up, is Lux! Lux is pretty weak, and she’s hard to build around as a champion. She’s a threat, but she’s not easy to keep around to make her a threat. Before, you had to simply hold her in hand until you’re ready. So, Lux receives a Power and Health buff, for both level 1 and 2.
Lux (Level 1): Power: 3 -> 4, Health: 4 -> 5
Lux (Level 2): Power: 4 -> 5, Health: 5 -> 6
Honestly, this is just enough I think. She’s very easy to bring low, without letting her get online, and that’s not so great. Lux is a champion that I’d like to use in one or two decks, but she just wasn’t able to stay on the field long enough. This could be the jump-start she needs.
But let’s talk about who deserved the buff the most: Yasuo! Now hold on, hold on. I know I railed about him in League for years, but Yasuo in Legends of Runeterra lets me actually play him well! Yasuo suffered collateral damage thanks to changes aimed at Elusive and Handbuff decks, such as Inspiring Mentor. This, alongside Deny would let you prep Yasuo for massive success.
He’s very difficult to use in Expeditions too, from what the developers say (especially when not paired with Noxus). I can definitely agree. Instead of making his stats better (or worse), Patch 0.9.9 of Legends of Runeterra make his quest to upgrade far more reasonable.
Yasuo (Level Up): You Stun or Recall 6+ Units -> You Stun or Recall 5+ units.
I love playing Yasuo, and this should make him slightly easier to use. My Yasuo deck is probably about to receive some changes though (slotting out some champions I put in it previously). But this patch seems to be aimed pretty hard at nerfing. Let’s look at some of those!
Followers & Spells:
Here’s a spell I’m glad it’s seeing a nerf in Legends of Runeterra’s 0.9.0 patch: Back to Back! It’s an incredibly powerful spell that gives a temporary +3/+3 buff to two allies, and it’s Burst Speed. They pointed out that it’s very useful in constructive, and creates some awesome moments.
However, it can be a huge, blowout Burst trick that prevents players from having any options to deal with it. It’s perhaps far too swingy at any point in the game. So, with that in mind, it’s seeing a slight change. It will be much harder to double-cast it, I think.
Back to Back: Cost: 5 -> 6
A card that isn’t seeing much use is the Arena Battlecaster. So with that in mind, the devs are giving it a slight buff to hopefully give it more use in the Noxus decks. I mean slight. It’s getting a tiny health buff, but it might be just enough.
Arena Battlecaster: Health: 1 -> 2
A style of deck that seems to be underperforming, according to their metrics, is the “Battle Scars” deck. That deck is built around “surviving damage”, and one of the cards in this style is getting an update. Crimson Curator is going to get a little more health too so that maybe he can stick around longer.
Crimson Curator: Health: 2 -> 3
I really like this change in particular, because Crimson Curator has a perhaps underrated ability. Surviving damage gives a random Crimson unit into your hand.
This is a change I’m both excited and upset about because I’m on both sides of the fence: Deny! Oh come on, you had to know that Deny was gonna get a nerf. It’s too good. So many decks run Ionia, just to have access to this counterspell.
After a great deal of testing, Deny is far too good at 3 mana to be anything but OP and disruptive. You can still store Spell Mana to make sure you have a Deny to play a tiny bit early in the game, but this is a smart move. Now you have to consider using Deny just a little harder, instead of playing it willy nilly on turn 2. 3 mana was too good.
Deny: Cost: 3 -> 4
Another card I use a lot of that’s seeing a much-needed nerf is the Inspiring Mentor. He could absolutely ruin the curve of a game, especially if you can recall him back into your hand. You could make some of your creatures that needed to be weak ridiculously strong, in particular, Elusive units. They’re supposed to be low health, to balance their strength.
Inspiring Mentor: Health: 1 -> 2, Text Change:
Old Text: Play: Grant an ally in hand +1/+1
New Text: Play: Grant an ally in hand +1/+0
He’s still awesome and still makes your burst damage potentially infuriating. But he’s not going to make your Zed impossible to kill in the early game, that’s for sure. However, all the handbuff cards aren’t getting nerfed, so don’t worry. In fact, Jewelled Protector is getting a buff!
They shifted the power from the Mentor to the Protector to increase potential deckbuilding options. This should also help give the opposing player more time to set up their own strategies before you bulldoze them down.
Jewelled Protector: Power: 3 -> 4, Health: 3 -> 4
Oh, Elusive decks. They’re so good. Other fast/aggro decks should be able to race them effectively though, but cards like Kinkou Lifeblade made that all but impossible. It had lots of health, and lifesteal, and you could easily get back into the game. You buff Lifeblade, swing, and suddenly, you’re back at 20 health on your Nexus.
Kinkou Lifeblade: Health: 3 -> 2
This makes it significantly easier to kill, without making it worthless. It still steals life, you just have to be a bit more careful about how you use it now.
So, let’s talk about another card that is good all on its own: Commander Ledros. You don’t need to synergize, or do any fancy stuff to make Ledros good; right out of the box, they spell disaster. No matter what’s happened in the game, it seems like Commander Ledros can just undo it.
The idea is that they are going to increase his cost, but also the power. It’s going to be a bit harder to get that cast, and then the follow-up cast. But if Commander Ledros does his thing, he ought to be a game-ender.
Commander Ledros: Cost: 8 -> 9, Power: 8 -> 9, New Text:
Old Text: Play: Cut the enemy Nexus Health in half.
New Text: Play: Cut the enemy Nexus Health in half, rounded up.
I like this change because it will make it a little harder to combo him into a win, but it will be far more impactful and satisfying. Speaking of the Shadow Isles, they’re getting some other changes.
Enter Rhasa, the Sunderer! Rhasa is incredibly strong in several matchups, and being Rhasa’ed and comboed can be incredibly demoralizing. It’s just too easy to do some amazing, disruptive things with Rhasa, the Sunderer, so that’s getting slowed down slightly.
Rhasa, the Sunderer: Cost: 7 -> 8
It’s not all downsides in the Shadow Isles, though! In fact, a much-desired change is happening to Scuttlegeist. Synergy is a key in CCGs, but Scuttlegeist was lacking something to make them worthwhile. It and Tortured Prodigy are both being slightly buffed, in fact, to make them more optimal and desirable.
Scuttlegeist: Keywords: None -> Fearsome
Tortured Prodigy: Power: 3 -> 4
One of the best [Fearsome] cards in Legends of Runeterra is about to see some nerfs, and I’m glad for it. Wraithcaller was just too good. It adds another body, that in turn, buffs all of the Mistwraiths everywhere. When you combine that with [Fearsome], it’s just a little unfair about how much value it has. So that’s being fixed.
Wraithcaller: Keywords: Fearsome -> None
Watch List | Legends of Runeterra Patch 0.9.0
One of the things on their Watch List, we’ve already seen changes to: Fearsome. The reasons for looking at Fearsome are similar to the eye on Elusive that was had. Fearsome can be just as similar and devastating.
They think that the current changes will alleviate some of the pressure Fearsome has, but they will keep an eye on the units and supporting cards for Fearsome decks. Fearsome can remove the back-and-forth aspect of the game, especially if the other player has zero high-strength creatures. Personally, I think they should look at Elise giving all spiders Fearsome, but that’s just this reporter’s opinion.
Alternatively, Control is also being looked at. Control’s power is being reduced slightly in this patch. While control decks aren’t problematic right now, we’ve played enough card games to know how that’s gonna go. They’re keeping an eye on the strength of control though, to see if it winds up being too strong somehow.
Expedition Changes | Legends of Runeterra Patch 0.9.0
Expeditions are awesome! They have several archetypes that give the player access to certain cards. Some of these archetypes are being adjusted in Legends of Runeterra 0.9.0’s patch. We’re going to give you a brief look at what to expect:
- Added: Chain Vest
- Added: Might, Alpha Wildclaw
- Removed: Blood for Blood, Bull Elnuk
- Added: Bull Elnuk
- Removed: Alpha Wildclaw
Shroom and Boom:
- Added: Assembly Bot, Statikk Shock, Plaza Guardian
- Removed: Academy Prodigy, Chempunk Shredder, Get Excited!
In addition, we can look forward to some Shopkeeper trade logic improved. Most of the trades I saw were absolutely rubbish, so the newer choices ought to be much better, going forward.
XP & Expeditions Rewards:
One of the big slogans for Legends of Runeterra is “Play the way you want to play”. This is true, whether you want to grind ranked, or AI matches. The developers have identified some tuning issues regarding grinding XP. The way it is now, players likely play the way they get the most XP, not the way they want to play.
End-of-Trial XP bonuses were a bit high compared to other modes. It’s meant to account for slower pace of Expeditions matches, and the time spent drafting. Regardless, it was really optimal for grinding XP, but they don’t want players to feel forced. Here’s what you can expect:
End-of-trial XP reduced:
- 0 wins: 100 → 50
- 1 win: 300 → 150
- 2 wins: 500 → 250
- 3 wins: 700 → 400
- 4 wins: 900 → 600
- 5 wins: 1200 → 800
- 6 wins: 1500 → 1000
- 7 wins: 2000 → 1500
Conversely, they are adjusting the daily adjustments to PVP win XP, to help players that want to grind XP, or just play a whole bunch. The goal is to make sure that constructed PVP wins always offer a worthwhile reward, and players don’t feel forced to play AI matches, just because they’re out of PVP XP for the day.
Reduced XP adjustments for daily PVP wins—you’ll now receive more XP at high numbers of PVP wins in one day, and will always receive at least 100 XP for constructed PVP wins:
- Base PVP win XP: 200 in Normal / Ranked, 100 in Expeditions (no change)
- 1-10 wins: full XP (no change)
- 11-15 wins: -50 XP → full XP
- 16-20 wins: -100 XP (no change)
- 21-30 wins: -150 XP → -100 XP
- 31+ wins: -200 XP → -100 XP
This is a fantastic addition, too. But on that note, Friend Challenge XP has also been adjusted! They want players to play against their friends, but don’t want people to abuse that as a free way to get exp. So there are some rewards changes. Here’s what you get:
Friend XP Changes:
- Friend Challenge wins now grant 100 XP for the first 5 wins, and 0 XP for 6+.
- Friend Challenges losses / ties now grant 0 XP.
- Friend Challenge matches no longer count towards daily PVP wins / losses or first wins of the day bonuses. They still count for quest progress.
Finally, Expeditions Rewards! Something they’ve heard is that the frustration is that a 6-win run rewards only 33% of the shards (1000) needed to play another Expedition. They believe Expedition rewards are in a good spot, but they’re shifting some of the rewarded Shards from 7 wins to 6 wins, to make sure going on a 6-streak still feels rewarding.
- 6-win Expeditions reward now 1500 shards (was 1000), as well as a random champion
card and golden chest (unchanged).
- 7-win Expeditions reward now 3000 shards (was 3500), as well as a champion capsule (unchanged).
There are some technical, misc. Changes you can find in the link right here. I’m very excited for Legends of Runeterra patch 0.9.0 though, even if it nerfs some things I love and cherish. But it is still a series of changes, not for change sake, but for the overall health for the game.
You love to see it.