Kennen and Evelynn Back To The Dumpster? | Assessing All The Nerfs In Patch 3.16!

Patch 3.16 changes are out! In this article, Raphterra gives his personal assessment of all the nerfs in this huge balance patch.


Hey there, Raphterra here! Riot released a preview of the upcoming Legends of Runeterra Patch 3.16 on Twitch, and this might be one of the spiciest patches in the game! As usual, I will be writing articles on what I think of all the balance changes.

In this article, I share my personal assessment of the impact of all the nerfs in Patch 3.16. 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.

Hate Spike: Reverted to 2-cost; Mark of the Storm: Reverted to 2 damage.

These are meta-defining changes.

The buffs to Hate Spike and Mark of the Storm were two of the most impactful changes during the last big balance patch. These two changes brought new Tier 1 decks to the ladder meta: Ezreal Kennen and Evelynn Viego. The reverts will probably bring those decks back to where they were previously: Tier 2 at best, most likely even lower.

Ezreal Kennen and Evelynn Viego will probably struggle to get their footing back in the meta. Both decks received even more nerfs this patch, which I will get into in the latter part of this article. The archetypes may need more support cards or balance changes to be back to Tier 1 status.

I’m very happy to see that Riot is willing to immediately revert on changes that might have been too much. This is a step in the right direction for sure!

Concurrent Timelines: Cost +1; Targon’s Peak: Cost +1

These are high-impact changes.

This change will significantly slow down Trundle Concurrent Timelines, since the deck usually wants to play units continuously on curve. They potentially need to skip transforming units in the first two turns, which will have a significant reduction on their early tempo and board presence.

I think that the archetype will still be strong and can still see play in high ranks. Transforming Weaponmasters and Trundle‘s Ice Pillar with Concurrent Timelines are still very strong plays. Buried in Ice with It That Stares is still one of the best control/tempo plays in the late game.

If Targon’s Peak decks ever had a chance to become high-tier, that now all goes out the window with this nerf. Targon’s Peak is now an even bigger tempo loss at 6-mana, and it will make the curve for the deck very awkward. I personally like this change, since I never enjoyed facing Targon’s Peak decks in ladder. The deck feels very frustrating to play against, and is very dependent on luck and randomness.

With this change, I’m predicting that Targon’s Peak will no longer see any competitive play outside of niche meme strategies.

Viego: Now a 6-mana 6/5; Rite of Calling: Cost +1

These are meta-defining changes.

I mentioned in a previous article that Viego needs to be nerfed at some point, and that time has finally come. Viego has always been a part of a high-tier deck in almost every meta: Viego Legion Deserter, Viego Evelynn, Viego Shurima, etc. His playstyle can also be polarizing; some decks just won’t be able to do anything against Viego and Invasive Hydravine. I personally expected a reduction to his stats, but the developers went for a harsher change by increasing his cost.

I believe this change will put Viego decks out of high-tier status, and will potentially be only Tier 2 or lower. Viego decks don’t have good units to play on Turn 5 outside of their champion. This cost-increase will also make Viego more vulnerable to hard removal; it’s a lot more difficult to protect the Ruined King with Deny or Rite of Negation.

Rite of Calling was also nerfed to become a 1-cost spell, which will affect for decks running only one champion like Mono Viego, Mono Kai’sa, Mono Akshan, etc. I definitely agree with this change since players will always abuse Rite of Calling if it stayed at 0-cost.

Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed: Health -2

This is a high-impact change.

I personally don’t understand this change, Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed felt good but didn’t feel overpowered at all. This nerf makes him a very huge tempo loss on Turn 6. You can’t rely on his body to trade well into other units; even 2-mana 3/2 units will now trade into Sai’nen!

I think that this change will make Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed virtually unplayable. Only Ezreal Kennen ran Sai’nen, and the developers already hit that deck with Mark of the Storm‘s nerf. Personally, I feel that there are other cards on Ionia that could’ve been nerfed to bring down the power level of the region. However, it’s possible that this is a pre-emptive nerf for the upcoming new expansion in a few weeks time.

The Harrowing: Cost +1

This is a high-impact change.

This is a nerf to Gwen Katarina, a deck that was one of the powerhouses earlier in this season. The Harrowing puts you in a position where you don’t really want to kill units, since they can threaten to revive them all as early as Turn 6. Some decks just have to hope that they don’t have this finisher spell in hand.

While the winrate of Gwen Katarina lowered once the playerbase learned how to play around its gameplan, I definitely still agree with the nerf to The Harrowing. The card would likely cause problems in the future as more cards are released. It’s is still a viable win condition, but it’s now at a more “fair” mana cost for what it does.


Riptide Sermon: Unit Damage -1, Nexus Damage -1

This is a meta-defining change.

Riptide Sermon definitely needed get nerfed since it did too much for a single card. This change will affect two high-tier decks: Pirate Aggro and Gangplank Sejuani Plunder. The card caused too much of a tempo advantage with its ability to remove and spawn a unit in one action. Lowering its unit damage makes it harder remove most midrange units on it’s own. Riot also lowered its Nexus damage to reduce the card’s viability in Burn decks.

Even with this nerf, I think Gangplank Sejuani is still a strong deck and can stay relevant in the meta as a Tier 2 deck. On the other hand, Pirate Aggro will probably be relegated to the lower tiers because of this next nerf..

Decimate: Cost +1

This is a meta-defining change.

The developers actually decided to increase Decimate‘s cost to 6! This is a very huge nerf. Noxus burn will probably not see any relevant competitive play for the time being. I’ve never played a lot burn decks, but I feel this is too much of a hit to those archetypes. A slow spell that costs 6 and deals 4 Nexus damage seems too expensive to be worth running.

This change might slow down the game a lot, which may give way for slower strategies to become meta-relevant again. Just keep in mind, Riot may revert this change quickly if the effects are too adverse. Riot was willing to quickly revert on their buffs to Hate Spike and Mark of the Storm, which would hopefully mean that they are also willing to do the same for nerfs!

Overall Thoughts and Closing Words

Overall, I believe all the nerfs in Patch 3.16 are either high-impact or meta-defining. However, I personally don’t necessarily agree with the nerfs to Decimate and Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed. I think not nerfing Nami was a big miss if the developers really wanted to completely shake-up the meta. That being said, we have huge buffs alongside these nerfs which I will cover in another article shortly after this. Stay tuned!

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

Articles: 88