Bard’s Departure and Kai’sa’s First Nerfs | Assessing All The Nerfs In Patch 3.13!

Patch 3.13 notes are out! In this article, Raphterra gives his personal assessment of all the nerfs in this huge balance patch.

Introduction

Hey there, Raphterra here! The promised day has finally come, Legends of Runeterra Patch 3.13 notes are out!

In this article, I share my personal assessment of the impact of all the nerfs in Patch 3.13. I will classify each nerf in the following categories:

  • Low Impact: Will not affect the card / deck’s power level and play patterns.
  • Medium Impact: Will matter in certain situations, but not high enough impact to lower the card / deck’s overall power level.
  • High Impact: Affects many scenarios and lowers the power level of the card / deck.
  • Meta Defining: Significantly lowers the power level of the card / deck. May cause high-tier decks to fall out of the meta completely.

Bard: Chimes don’t start planting until you have 3+ mana gems

Bard: Chimes don't start planting until you have 3+ mana gems

This is a meta-defining change.

The nerf potentially kills most aggressive and midrange Bard decks: Bard Illaoi, Shen Bard, Ahri Bard, etc. Games that snowball out of control due to free Chimes in the early turns will no longer happen. The chances of activating Chimes in the mid-late game has also significantly lowered.

This change may force Bard decks to transition to slower, control-oriented strategies. Maokai Bard might be the only existing deck that can survive the upcoming meta transition. This is the perfect time to learn how to play the deck, and I have you covered with my full guide on this fun control deck!

Second Skin: Focus > Slow; Supercharge: Cost +1; Ancient Hourglass: Cost +1

These are high-impact changes.

With Second Skin being changed to slow speed, Kai’sa decks would now pass action / priority before attacking with newly-acquired keywords. Most importantly, this opens up opportunities for counterplay through interacting with the unit being targeted by Second Skin. For example, players can now use Vile Feast or Mystic Shot as a response to a Valor + Second Skin combo.

Supercharge‘s cost increase will slow down the deck’s explosive combo turns. Kai’sa can still become a powerful win condition for her decks, but would now require more planning and preparation. Decks with cheap, efficient removal can now very effectively counter Kai’sa! Will Tri-beam Improbulator decks return to the meta next patch?

A nerf to Ancient Hourglass has been warranted for quite some time. The card is too cheap for the protection that it provides in a region that’s already focused on having high-impact champions. This change also affects several decks outside of Kai’sa Demacia: Mono Viego Shurima, Xerath Zilean Control, and Taliyah Ziggs Combo.

Decks that go all-in on the Kai’sa combo gameplan will be heavily affected by these changes. However, I’m predicting that there will still be a high-tier Kai’sa deck in the next meta: Kai’sa Sivir or Kai’sa Akshan. These decks can still rely on powerful midrange units like Void Abomination and Void Blaster.

Illaoi: Health -1; Tentacle Smash: Spawn -1

These are meta-defining changes.

Outside of Illaoi Bard, Illaoi‘s midrange Tentacle-focused decks felt very fair. In Patch 3.13, these decks might have died for Bard‘s sins, unfortunately. The nerf to Illaoi‘s health will make it harder for her to survive enough trades and consistently level-up.

A nerf to Tentacle Smash was warranted because the tempo swings that it can create is too much for its cost, similar to Tri-beam Improbulator before it was nerfed. If left unchanged, this card would probably eventually become a problem in the meta. Non-Tentacle decks like Twisted Fate Nami are already using Tentacle Smash as a universal removal tool.

Frozen Thrall: Countdown +1; Blighted Ravine: No Nexus Damage

These are high-impact changes.

Adding +1 to Frozen Thrall‘s countdown will slow down Lissandra Taliyah‘s combo attacks. These delays are very impactful for a midrange/combo deck that relies on big attacks to win. Opposing decks will now have more time to prepare for the Frostguard Thralls’ assault, and the Thralls archetype may need to run more advance cards like Imagined Possibilities, Preservationist, or The Clock Hand.

The change to Blighted Ravine is a targeted change for Thralls, preventing them from finishing off the Nexus with the landmark’s burn damage. For other Freljord control decks, Blighted Ravine remains mostly unchanged.

The changes slowed down and reduced Lissandra Taliyah‘s ability to output damage. In the next meta, I think Thralls will still be a decent playable Tier 2 deck.

Boom Baboon: Power -1

Boom Baboon: Power -1

This is a high-impact change.

Boom Baboon is a key early unit for several P&Z decks: Aphelios Winding Light, Trundle Timelines, Draven Sion, and Lulu Swarm. Stat changes like these are very impactful for low-cost units. This significantly affects Boom Baboon‘s ability to push Nexus damage or to trade effectively against other units ( it’s no longer a Fearsome blocker! ). Boom Baboon will probably still see play in strategies that focus on the discard synergy, but the early power output of those decks has been greatly reduced.

Station Archivist: Health -1, now Shuffles the deck

Station Archivist: Health -1, now Shuffles the deck

This is a medium-impact change.

The nerf to Station Archivist‘s health makes it vulnerable to Mystic Shot or Undergrowth and makes it easier for low-cost units to trade into it. This change will slightly affect the board presence of decks like Heimerdinger Jayce or Ezreal Caitlyn, but Station Archivist will still see play due to it’s powerful ability of getting a free spell from your deck.

Adding a shuffling effect to Station Archivist removes the player’s ability to know what cards are on top of their deck. This is a very elegant solution to Akshan Infinite Combo decks, and will also matter for predict-heavy decks like Ekko Zilean and Mono Zilean.

The Winding Light: Loses Overwhelm

The Winding Light: Loses Overwhelm

This is a medium-impact change.

The Winding Light losing Overwhelm potentially reduces it’s damage output by 6. The card is still a very powerful finisher if you can setup a wide board, but it loses it’s effectiveness when paired up with only 1-2 units. It’s now similarly designed to Cithria the Bold; they give big buffs to allies, but the main body can be chump blocked by smaller units.

This change combined with the nerf to Boom Baboon are huge hits to the P&Z Aphelios Winding Light deck. However, The Winding Light will probably still find a home in another swarm deck. Maybe it’s time for Nightfall to return? Check out my full guide on Nightfall control, the deck I used to climb to Top Masters a few patches ago!

Ravenbloom Conservatory: Countdown +2

Ravenbloom Conservatory: Countdown +2

This is a medium-impact change.

This is Riot’s answer to the Tempo / Control / Burn deck, Katarina Twisted Fate. Tybaulk is very powerful in these types of strategies, and playing against multiple Tybaulk summons can be very overwhelming to face. This change makes it slightly harder for decks to enable Tybaulk‘s powerful effect.

The impact of this change will not be too noticeable in spots where Ravenbloom Conservatory is played early, but will affect scenarios where the landmark is drawn late. Decks that rely on Tybaulk will still be playable, but they may need to mulligan more aggressively for Ravenbloom Conservatory.

Papercraft Dragon: Cost +1

Papercraft Dragon: Cost +1

This is a high-impact change.

The nerf to Papercraft Dragon finally came! Pairing up Papercraft Dragon with Fizz or Ruin Runner leads to very polarizing and frustrating play patterns. Even if these decks are not too popular recently, this change would need to happen eventually.

Fizz Riven and Akshan Renekton are the two meta combo decks that rely on Papercraft Dragon. Fizz + Papercraft Dragon would probably still be a playable combo since it would still have auto-win games against matchups like Jayce Heimerdinger or Ezreal Caitlyn.

Akshan Renekton will feel this nerf a lot more. It will no longer be possible to have Ruin Runner, Papercraft Dragon, and Rite of Negation available on Turn 6. This is crucial since the deck has some consistency issues, and it can struggle to survive that long against aggressive strategies. Similar to Thralls, this is a combo deck that relies on big attacks. Delaying those attacks can be the difference in winning or losing!

This was one of the cards that I was afraid Riot would leave untouched; thankfully I was wrong!

The Stagehand: Health -2

The Stagehand: Health -2

This is a low-impact change.

A slight nerf to Annie Jhin! However, a health reduction to The Stagehand will matter only in very niche situations. It’s now removable with Mystic Shot or Avalanche, but The Stagehand usually dies immediately due to Ephemeral anyway. Could this be a preemptive nerf for the upcoming expansion? We might be getting more support for Jhin or Ephemerals soon!

Defiant Dance: Cost +1

Defiant Dance: Cost +1

This is a medium-impact change.

Defiant Dance is very punishing for midrange, combo, or control decks since it removes a unit while also starting a Blade Dance. Casting this spell while having Azir and Emperor’s Dais on board can cause big tempo swings since it forces blocks on Sand Soldiers.

Increasing Defiant Dance‘s cost is a good change to keep Azir Irelia in check for the next meta shift. Mana management has been slightly easier for this deck due to Irelia getting Attune. Azirelia will still be a good counter deck against slower control matchups. After receiving a new support card in Domination, the deck has become more consistent in terms of setting up a strong combo board.


Overall Thoughts and Closing Words

In my opinion, Patch 3.13 might be one of the best patches in terms of card nerfs. The nerf hammer hit all the decks that dominated the past patches, and I’m expecting a totally fresh game in a few days!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on YouTube, Discord, or Twitter!

Raphterra
Raphterra
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