Dev Notes: Card adjustments in 1.4
In addition to our normal commitment to game balance and metagame diversity, many of the card changes in this patch (particularly the rework-level ones) are part of more focused efforts to address issues or opportunities across several groups of cards—specifically Epics, Freljord, and steal-from-deck effects.
Epics in LoR are generally intended to be exciting cards with compelling, unique, and powerful effects. This can make for some really fun or game-changing options, but also leave some of them feeling overly expensive or unwieldy to use. For this patch, we’ve adjusted underutilized Epic cards from each region with the goal of reinvigorating them for all levels of play, and we hope you find homes for them in some of your decks!
Freljord as a region has seen a relatively low playrate for some time, particularly in higher ranked play. While it’s seen a bit more play recently, it’s often splashed for a few specifically powerful cards (like Sejuani) rather than a general regional toolbox. We felt general champion viability and appeal was a particular culprit, and have made changes to Braum and Anivia to make them more attractive options for a wider variety of decks and help Freljord line up better with the other regions in usability.
Finally, we’ve adjusted Bilgewater’s steal-from-deck mechanic to work in a more healthy way by drawing cards from the bottom of the enemy deck, rather than the top. This kind of effect now also has a dedicated keyword, Nab, which reads “Draw a non-champion card from the bottom of the enemy deck.”
Thank you for your continued feedback on how we can continue to improve LoR’s gameplay. We hope you enjoy the changes I covered along with the other balance adjustments, and can’t wait to see how they inspire your deckbuilding!
New Mode: Gauntlet
Gauntlets are limited-time competitive modes with unique deckbuilding rules. The Gauntlet will open every Friday through Monday, with each weekend featuring a single format from the Gauntlet rotation.
The first Gauntlet begins June 26 and will use standard deckbuilding rules as we test-drive the underlying tech; a second type of Gauntlet, Singleton, joins the rotation on July 3, and will challenge you to build a deck using no more than one copy of each card.
In addition to XP based on your number of wins, everyone who takes on a particular Gauntlet format will receive a special icon, while those who make it to seven wins will earn the exclusive Gauntlet Conqueror icon. In the future, we plan to add more exclusive rewards and improve the Gauntlet mode overall, using the technology to build our way to full-scale in-game tournaments.
Ranked Rewards + New Season
- The Season of Plunder ranked season has now ended, and ranked reward icons (see below) will be distributed with this patch based on your performance.
- Ranked will be disabled until 10 AM PT, June 24, when the Season of Fortune will begin!
- Ranks will be partially reset for the new season:
- Master accounts will drop 800LP (8 divisions).
- Diamond and Platinum accounts will drop 750LP (7 divisions + 50LP).
- Gold and Silver accounts will drop 675LP (6 divisions + 75LP).
- Bronze and Iron accounts will reset to Iron IV.
Masters LP update
- Master tier now uses an LP system rather than one based on ladder position.
Up until now, Masters tier has been rank-ordered by player MMR, but we’ve realized this has some unfortunate downsides—mainly that it was unclear how much your rank could change in a single game, and losses could feel overly punishing.
Now, instead of displaying your rank order within Masters, you’ll see your current Masters LP, and upon first entering Masters, you’ll get an initial LP amount based on your MMR relative to other players in Masters. From there, your LP gains and losses will be determined by a combination of factors including your MMR, your opponent’s MMR, and how much LP you have compared to other players in Masters. These values are centered around 20 LP (the same amount of LP gained or lost in Platinum and Diamond) and can range from a maximum of 25 to a minimum of 15. At the end of each season, Masters players will be reset to Platinum 4, regardless of how much LP you have.
Our hope is that this brings much needed clarity to the ranking process while keeping Masters tier the apex of competitive play in LoR. Let us know how the new system feels, and good luck making it to the top!
DARIUS (LEVEL 2)
HEALTH: 5 → 6
We’re increasing Darius’ health at Level 2 to make him more durable and consistent, increasing the payoff for meeting his level up condition and giving Noxus aggro decks a more appealing top-end option.
COST: 7 → 6
When compared to other similar champions like Nautilus (same cost) or Karma (same level-up condition), Anivia’s power level and kit weren’t quite matching up outside of very specific strategies. A cost adjustment should help her see more effective and widespread use.
ANIVIA (LEVEL 2)
COST: 7 → 6
COST: 3 → 4
POWER: 0 → 1
ADDED TEXT: The first time I survive damage, summon a [Mighty Poro].
We’re looking to preserve what players liked about Braum’s old design while adjusting him to have healthier gameplay patterns that are also a better fit for more Freljord decks. While his cost has increased, his new baseline power and access to a Mighty Poro at level one should make him more widely usable. Similarly, adjusting his leveled-up stat boost to a more typical +1|+1 should improve his general power and ability to end games.
BRAUM (LEVEL 2)
COST: 3 → 4
POWER: 0 → 2
HEALTH: 7 → 6
SUPER MEGA DEATH ROCKET!
Created by Jinx (level 2)
COST: 2 → 1
Jinx’s Rocket offers a satisfying payoff but could use a bit more consistency, especially in Expeditions.
Followers & spells
POWER: 4 → 5
HEALTH: 4 → 5
Genevieve has stiff competition at her cost and we’d like her to be a more generally appealing option, so she’s getting a straightforward stat boost to improve her impact.
SPELL SPEED: Burst → Fast
We like the idea of Unyielding Spirit’s dream (making an immortal unit), but it’s definitely been contentious and was ultimately resulting in some toxic gameplay patterns.
When it comes to new content, we typically want to allow players time to solve for metagame problems with existing tools—hell, we think it’s a big part of the fun of card games. In this case, that played a part in us not initially changing Unyielding Spirit, but we ultimately feel the card is too prone to causing frustrating results and needs additional options to be countered.
HEALTH: 2 → 3
Basilisk Rider didn’t quite incentivize Noxus allegiance strategies well enough. Similarly, many aggressive Noxus decks are ignoring more expensive Noxus units in favor of burn or utility cards from other regions, and we want to provide more tools for traditional Trifarian-based aggressive decks.
OLD TEXT: Play: Transform all cards in your hand into [Decimates].
NEW TEXT: When I’m summoned, create 3 [Decimates] in hand.
Ol’ Captain Decimate is meant to be a late game finisher against slow decks, but discarding your hand (and requiring cards in hand to do anything) was a bit too high variance for that role, so we’ve adjusted his effect to simply create Decimates in hand.
COST: 7 → 6
Aurora Porealis had too steep a cost for no immediate impact, so we’re moving it down in cost to allow it to be used without falling so far behind.
COST: 4 → 2
POWER: 3 → 2
HEALTH: 4 → 3
OLD TEXT: When I’m summoned, draw 2 Poros if you have a Poro ally.
NEW TEXT: When I’m summoned, draw a Poro if you have a Poro ally.
Accompanying our changes to Braum, we’re adjusting Poro Herder to provide Poro decks a more appealing on-curve option.
SHE WHO WANDERS
ADDED KEYWORD: [Regeneration]
One of the OG bombs in LoR back during beta, She Who Wanders has seen better days. We think she could use a boost when it comes to being a huge, gameshaking bomb for niche decks, so we’re adding Regeneration to help her close out games.
THEY WHO ENDURE
COST: 6 → 7
They Who Endure provides a massive payoff for decks that can kill many of their own units, but is a little too efficient and flexible. With this change, we want to preserve that payoff while allowing more time for opposing plans to develop.
COST: 8 → 4
POWER: 6 → 3
HEALTH: 4 → 3
OLD TEXT: When the enemy summons a follower, grant it Ephemeral.
NEW TEXT: [Quick Attack] Strike: Create a [Shadow Fiend] in hand.
The strength of Ren’s old effect warranted a sizable mana cost, which left the card tough to build around (and often not fun to play against). We’ve fully redesigned it with the goal of giving Ephemeral decks more options for units that can be played to set up future plays.
COST: 8 → 6
HEALTH: 6 → 4
POWER: 6 → 4
OLD TEXT: [Elusive] When I’m targeted, draw 1.
NEW TEXT: When I’m targeted and survive, draw 1.
Jae’s line of text is really exciting as a build-around possibility, but his cost and stat profile often made it feel like a trap to do so. We’re adjusting him across the board with the goal of making the dream (or parts of it) more consistently attainable.
Created by Cursed Keeper
HEALTH: 4 → 3
It can be extremely difficult to come back against aggressive Shadow Isles decks if they get off to a quick start and you fall behind early. We want Escaped Abomination to be a bit more answerable in the early game, especially in the context of Cursed Keeper + Blighted Caretaker curves that create a large board advantage while contributing to synergies.
COST: 10 → 9
The Harrowing is meant to be a splashy finisher for Shadow Isles decks, but it’s struggled to find a home. We’re dropping its cost by one to help out more synergy-driven Shadow Isles strategies.
POWER: 2 → 1
Deep decks have generally been in a good spot, but their tools for creating early game presence have been stronger than we want for a deck that can sink you in the late game. This adjustment should make sure Deep decks are playing from behind a bit more often.
COST: 8 → 7
Mind Meld was simply too costly for its effect.
HEALTH: 1 → 2
We want to both give a boost to Barrel decks and provide a more effective option for aggressive Bilgewater decks—this buff should help push Petty Officer towards its intended role as a versatile option that allows more decks access to Barrels.
Drawing from the enemy deck has been a contentious mechanic in Rising Tides, and we’re making a change to address some of the frustrations players have experienced. First, let’s call the effect by its new keyworded name—Nab—which has the important difference (versus prior functionality) of drawing from the bottom of the enemy deck rather than the top.
Previously, these effects caused unintentionally sharp match-ups with any deck looking to manipulate the top of their deck (particularly Freljord deck buff strategies). We also understand that it can feel particularly frustrating to have the card you were about to draw used against you, regardless of there being no general statistical difference in drawing from the bottom.
As a minor note, this change will also prevent Nab effects from filtering your opponent closer to drawing their Champions—while this could be an interesting tradeoff, it wasn’t an explicit design goal for the mechanic and we think it’s worth losing in the name of overall improvement.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the impact of these changes, and are open to making further adjustments as necessary.
- Effects that draw from the enemy deck now draw from the bottom of the enemy deck (rather than the top).
- New keyword implemented—Nab: Draw a non-champion card from the bottom of the enemy deck.
BLACK MARKET MERCHANT
HEALTH: 2 → 1
We want to preserve the Merchant’s role as a lynchpin of Nab decks while making it easier for opponents to remove, and harder for players to protect and build up multiple copies in the backline.
Card text consistency
Since launch, we’ve heard a lot of good feedback regarding card text consistency issues, and will continue to make improvements over time as needed. This patch, we’ve made a variety of consistency and clarity changes covering several issues, including:
- Various usage consistency (“fleeting,” “I see,” “create,” “shuffle”).
- Swapping “next round” to “next round start” to clarify exact timing.
- “Enemies” vs. “the enemy Nexus” consistency.
- Swapping written-out numbers to digits where possible.
- Rules text on the following cards (both collectible and non-collectible) updated for clarity and/or consistency:
Arena Bookie | Avarosan Trapper | Back to Back | Bloodsworn Pledge | Brightsteel Formation | Brothers’ Bond | Chief Mechanist Zevi | Chump Whump | Concerted Strike | Double Trouble | Final Spark | Jinx (level 2) | Lee Sin (both levels) | Lux (level 2) | Magnum Opus | Pick a Card | Plunder Poro | Pool Shark | Powder Keg | Sapling Toss | Sejuani (level 2) | Senna, Sentinel of Light | Shen (both levels) | Shen’s Stand United | Stand United | Super Mega Death Rocket! | Tall Tales | The Leviathan | The Undying | Twisted Fate’s Pick a Card | Twisted Fate (level 2) | Vi
For legends who extend their senses and strike with skill.
Unrivaled genius in Zaun. Beloved companion in Piltover.
Hobby: Unregulated experimentation
- 3 new card backs available for purchase.
- The Blind Monk
- The Tidal Trickster
- The Bounty Hunter
- 3 new emotes available for purchase.
- The Lee Sin Bundle now available for 1332 Coins. Bundle includes:
- Lee Sin’s Iron Will (board)
- The Blind Monk (card back)
- An exclusive Lee Sin icon
As usual, the primary goal of these changes is to help out some struggling archetypes (e.g., Fishbones, Scrapheap, and Spell Slingers) while reducing the potency of others that have been overperforming (e.g., Afterlife, Disruption, and Noxian Might).
We’ve also made a tweak to improve the consistency of tri-region drafting by reducing the chances you’ll see Wild Pick options from archetypes that aren’t confined to those regions. For example, if you’re drafting Demacia, Freljord, and Noxus, you’ll now see more packs from archetypes that only contain cards from those three regions (such as Suit Up or Battle Scars), and fewer packs from archetypes that include other regions (such as Retribution or Raiding Party). We’ll be watching the results of this change closely and may adjust further in a future patch.
- While drafting a tri-region deck, significantly reduced how frequently you’ll be offered Wild Pick options from archetypes that include cards from other regions on their roster.
- Added: Mark of the Isles, Phantom Prankster, Splinter Soul
- Removed: Glimpse Beyond, Neverglade Collector
- Added: Avarosan Marksman
- Removed: Stalking Wolf
- Added: Vengeance
- Added: Blade’s Edge, Shadowshift
- Added: Chum the Waters, Rising Spell Force, Scrapdash Assembly
- Removed: Coral Creatures, Daring Poro, Hired Gun
- Added: Culling Strike, Shunpo
- Added: Armored Tuskrider
- Removed: Mobilize, Savage Reckoner
- Added: Crimson Disciple, Imperial Demolitionist, Savage Reckoner, Used Cask Salesman
- Removed: Armored Tuskrider, Clump of Whumps, Rummage, Zaunite Urchin
Shadows and Dust
- Added: Glimpse Beyond, Shadow Fiend, Warden’s Prey
- Removed: Sapling Toss, Vengeance
- Added: Double Up, Pilfered Goods, Pool Shark, Salvage, Spirit’s Refuge
- Removed: Jailbreak, Rivershaper, Rush, Sleight of Hand, Will of Ionia
- Added: Recall
- Removed: Zephyr Sage
- Wild Pick Bonus Chance increased to High (from Medium)
Vault cap + bot account bans
While we’re always working to protect players from botting and similar activity, we generally won’t share specifics. However, this patch we’re making a minor change to the Vault as part of these efforts, and would like to provide some context.
Recently, we saw a spike in botting attempts associated with the infinite bonus capsules offered past level 13 of the Vault. As part of our ongoing efforts to combat this kind of activity, we’re capping bonus capsules at 25—still functionally infinite for humans without offering the same level of botting incentive. We’ve also issued an associated wave of account bans (Riot account-wide), and are adding automated elements with this patch. As always, thank you for your reports on suspicious account behavior
- Vault bonus capsules now capped at 25.
- Teemo level-up effects polished.
- Players will no longer always act first in Play vs AI matches.
- Added some under-the-hood safety measures so players can creatively format decknames without potentially causing crashes.
- Fixed an issue where Arena Battlecaster would sometimes become invisible when attacking.
- Fixed an issue where Vi would sometimes not have appropriate buffs when copied by Dusk and Dawn.
- Fixed an issue where a cardback could become stuck over the center of the board and block player actions.
- Fixed an issue where Stand Alone wasn’t displaying a gold highlight when its requirement was met.
- Fixed an issue where players would sometimes be unable to target certain units or interact with specific game elements.
- Fixed an issue where the Play options on Petty Officer would sometimes display rarity gems.
- Fixed an issue where Boosted XP rewards would display incorrectly when completing multiple quests and earning a daily PVP bonus after a single match.
- On iOS, fixed an issue with excessive iCloud usage.
- Fixed an issue where Expeditions pick options could sometimes go missing.