The first major update to Legends of Runeterra is set to go live tomorrow, with some card balances and changes to the overall economy. Check out the full patch notes below, or at the official Legends of Runeterra website. Here’s a handy infographic of the card changes by u/saucymailman of reddit (click on the image for the full size):
Patch 0.9.0 brings with it the first card updates of open beta, along with tweaks to XP and Expeditions rewards. We’ve also got Dev Notes covering our approach to balance in Set 1, as well as ways we’re planning to address player feedback regarding the UI, deckbuilder, the speed of in-game animations.
Balance & Set 1
Since this patch includes the first balance updates of the beta (and many players’ first balance update since starting LoR), we’d like to briefly recap our goals and how you can expect to see them manifest over the several patches that happen between new card releases.
When we look at balance in LoR and consider changes, we have some high-level, aspirational targets we use to guide our long-term efforts:
- 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.
While buffing cards in pursuit of these targets is the fun part, we will also power down cards where necessary. When we do, we want to avoid over-nerfs (cards and their archetypes / decks should remain playable) as well as minimize collateral damage to cards or decks that aren’t the actual target of a given change. We fully plan to monitor changes, rather than drop them and forget, and will make further tweaks in future patches as needed.
Additionally, we plan to approach balance with a seasonal mindset, adjusting our methods as the meta goes through different stages between sets of new cards. Once we’re out of beta and get into our regular cadence of releasing new sets, it should look something like this:
- New set of cards released.
- First balance patch: mostly “medium”-sized number changes based on our early sense of outliers.
- Second balance patch: Significant updates to underutilized cards, and the main patch where you can expect any major champion updates.
- Third balance patch: Limited number changes to stabilize any meta issues.
- Next set of cards released.
Just to be clear, this is a pretty loose framework (so be ready for some exceptions), but it generally describes our intent to make sure card changes support the experience of discovering all the possibilities of a new set and meta.
– RubinZoo, Live Balance Lead
UI, Deckbuilder, and Animations
We’ve heard a bunch of player feedback regarding UX and usability issues. We’ve already started to address this with what we’re working on now, including some small changes with this patch.
In particular, you’ve let us know about issues with deckbuilder, and we know it’s important that we get that experience to a higher quality. We’ve got a few improvements in this patch, and down the line you can expect to see a redesign of how card counts are displayed, as well as how many cards you’re able to see on the screen at once. In the future, we’ll also look at how we display your various currencies and wildcards, and ways to make crafting cards easier.
Throughout the beta, we’ve been on the lookout for ways to make gameplay snappier and more responsive, and the length of some animations has come up as something we can improve. We want our game to look good, of course, but it also needs to feel good, and we don’t want visual effects to feel excessive in a way that obstructs gameplay. In upcoming patches you’ll see both sped-up animations and increased freedom to make moves without being blocked by in-progress animations.
Thanks so much for your feedback, your patience, and help making LoR awesome.
– Teemopalooza, Principal UX Designer
LUX (LEVEL 1)
POWER: 3 → 4
HEALTH: 4 → 5
Lux’s weaker statline made it a little too difficult to utilize her as a linchpin, “build-around-me” card. Buffing her stats will help her ability to both stick around as an engine and act as a meaningful threat on her own.
LUX (LEVEL 2)
POWER: 4 → 5
HEALTH: 5 → 6
YASUO (LEVEL 1)
LEVEL UP: You Stun or Recall 6+ units → You Stun or Recall 5+ units
While testing Ionia changes internally, we found that Yasuo was catching collateral damage from changes aimed at elusive and handbuff decks. Inspiring Mentor was one of the best cards to utilize while leveling up Yasuo, and together with Deny would provide pivotal protection (extra important when heavily building around Yasuo). We’ve also found Yasuo often difficult to level up in Expeditions, especially when not paired with Noxus. This quest buff should address both issues.
Followers & Spells
BACK TO BACK
COST: 5 → 6
One of the things we love about LoR is that combat tricks are very playable in our constructed format, which really contributes to compelling, interactive gameplay moments. That said, Back to Back can be a huge blowout Burst-speed trick that often leaves opponents without profitable avenues for playing around it. We like this kind of effect, but such a swingy card ultimately warrants a higher cost.
HEALTH: 1 → 2
Battlecaster isn’t seeing a ton of use, so it’s getting a small buff to help it line up better with other two-drops and make it a more compelling option for Noxus decks.
HEALTH: 2 → 3
“Battle Scars” decks have been underperforming, and the Noxus side of the theme has been a bit one-dimensional. Improving Crimson Curator should increase both options and viability for these decks.
COST: 3 → 4
Deny is moving from watchlist to changelist after rigorous internal testing and debate. While there are good arguments for Deny to exist at three mana, ultimately it’s proven too prevalent and disruptive to the metagame, heavily restricting viable card options.
When testing this change internally, we found that play patterns involving Deny tended to feel more fair. Holding up Deny now always costs at least one mana per turn that you’d otherwise use to develop your board, a cost that makes for more involved decision making than when Deny was fully castable with spell mana.
HEALTH: 1 → 2
OLD TEXT: Play: Grant an ally in hand + 1|1
NEW TEXT:Play: Grant an ally in hand + 1|0
Inspiring Mentor was providing too much curve efficiency and resilience to Ionia decks, with the stats granted to the buffed unit often overly protecting them by putting them out of range of similarly-costed removal. Curving Inspiring Mentor into one or even two 4|3 Navori Conspirators was too powerful a play pattern considering its consistency. With this change, we’re ensuring an intended weakness of elusive units—their low health—can be more exploitable.
POWER: 3 → 4
HEALTH: 3 → 4
This change is complementary to the one made to Inspiring Mentor, as we don’t want to over-nerf the “Handbuff” archetype. Shifting power from Mentor to Protector (and into later parts of the game) should increase deckbuilding options and give opponents a bit more time to react or set up their own game plans.
HEALTH: 3 → 2
We previously mentioned that we’ve been keeping an eye on Elusive strategies, and working to identify any specific candidates to adjust. One of the intended weaknesses of Elusive decks is that fast decks should be able to effectively race them, since Elusive units are naturally smaller and less cost efficient. Kinkuo Lifeblade often closed that door on what should be a fundamental weakness of the deck, so we’re adjusting its stats to decrease blocking power and make it easier for opposing decks to answer.
COST: 8 → 9
POWER: 8 → 9
OLD TEXT: PLAY: Cut the enemy Nexus Health in half.
NEW TEXT: PLAY: Cut the enemy Nexus Health in half, rounded up.
Commander Ledros is an extremely powerful game-ending bomb that also acts as a recursive threat, and is flexible to boot, offering both excellent stabilization in close games and close-out potential for aggro decks that might’ve otherwise come up short. Overall, Ledros was a bit too good at “undoing” whatever previously happened in a game, especially for a card that doesn’t require any synergy to be effective. A card that does so much should incur a higher opportunity cost and provide opponents more room to win before and after it’s dropped, so we’re bumping its cost up to nine, which will not only delay Ledros’ arrival but also allow less flexibility when recasting it. To partially compensate, we’re bumping Ledros’ power by one—if it connects, it should be ending the game.
BLADE OF LEDROS
OLD TEXT: Cut the enemy Nexus Health in half.
NEW TEXT: Cut the enemy Nexus Health in half, rounded up.
RHASA, THE SUNDERER
COST: 7 → 8
Rhasa offers consistent blowout potential across many matchups, and the required setup is cheap to achieve in Shadow Isles. This often makes Rhasa difficult for opponents to profitably play around, and can leave them in a rough state where they know they’re going to get Rhasa’ed but there’s not much they can do about it. The rate was just too favorable, so we’re bumping Rhasa up to eight mana in order to give opponents more room to play against it.
KEYWORDS: None → [Fearsome]
We’re removing some raw power from Shadow Isles with our other changes, as it’s just doing too many things too well. On the other hand, we do want to help players build more synergy-driven Shadow Isles decks, so we’re providing small buffs to Scuttlegeist and Tortured Prodigy to make them more compelling options for those kinds of decks.
POWER: 3 → 4
KEYWORDS: [Fearsome] → None
Wraithcaller has been a dominant value card for Fearsome-based decks—the combination of two bodies, boosting all Mistwraiths, and evasion made this among the most efficient cards in LoR. Considering the free Mistwraith already comes with Fearsome, we’re cutting the keyword from Wraithcaller to reduce the amount of evasion and overall value it puts on the board.
LoR is built around a central pattern of interactive, interesting combats. One of the reasons we were keeping an eye on Elusive decks and ultimately made some changes is that when firing on all cylinders, they removed much of that interactivity. In large concentrations, Fearsome can have a similar impact—once it becomes very difficult to block, the points of interaction shrink and a lot of the interesting back-and-forth in the game disappears. For now, we think the changes in this patch plus some existing tools provide enough counterpressure on Fearsome, but we’ll be keeping an eye on those units and their supporting cards.
Collectively, the card updates in this patch represent a general reduction in the power of tools that aggressive and midrange decks have to combat control strategies (specifically, ways to reach inevitability). While control decks haven’t been problematic so far during beta, we’ll be keeping an eye out to see if they’ve been overly powered up by these changes or their consequences.
We’ve heard feedback that it can be hard to tell whether units’ effects allow opponents to react or not, so we’ve added that info to tooltips.
- Units with effects that allow opponent reactions now have a “Skills” icon next to “Play” or “Attack” in the card text.
- Hovering on the icon will bring out a tooltip explaining that the Skill allows opponent reactions before resolving.
- Units with effects that do not allow opponent reactions will not have this icon.
- Created cards now have a tooltip that tells both players what created them.
We’re pretty happy with the diversity of strategies and archetypes that can perform well in Expeditions, but are making some tweaks to a few outliers.
Demacian Steel has been consistently overperforming due to a full roster of units with strong statlines, so we’re adding in a common card that’s on the weaker side but mixes up what this archetype brings to the table.
- Added: Chain Vest
Battle Scars has proven great at pumping up the Power of its units, but could have a tough time actually closing out games, so the addition of Might will allow those units to go over the top of opposing blockers. Alpha Wildclaw is also being swapped in for Bull Elnuk to give the archetype a stronger late game.
- Added: Might, Alpha Wildclaw
- Removed: Blood for Blood, Bull Elnuk
Suit Up has also been overperforming due to the consistency of Challenger units backed up by Frostbite and Barriers, so we’re enabling the Battle Scars changes by making the opposite unit swap here.
- Added: Bull Elnuk
- Removed: Alpha Wildclaw
Shroom and Boom has been struggling lately, leading us to remove some underperforming cards like Get Excited!, which isn’t as exciting when you’re hoping to use your Mushroom Clouds to actually put shrooms in the opposing deck. In their place we’re adding Assembly Bot and Plaza Guardian to reward you for casting Mushroom Clouds, as well as Statikk Shock as a flexible removal spell that helps you not run out of cards.
- Added: Assembly Bot, Statikk Shock, Plaza Guardian
- Removed: Academy Prodigy, Chempunk Shredder, Get Excited!
Finally, we’ve also made some minor improvements to the way the shopkeeper selects trades, so you’ll more often be offered compelling choices.
- Shopkeeper trade logic improved.
XP & Expeditions Rewards
“Play the way you want to play” is an incredibly important goal for our progression systems—we want players to feel LoR respects their time regardless of whether they prefer to climb Ranked or jam AI games. With the help of your feedback, we identified some tuning issues that encouraged players to play in ways they might not want to simply because it was the optimal way to get XP.First up, end-of-trial bonus XP was too high relative to other modes. The bonus XP is meant to account for the slower pace of Expeditions matches and time spent drafting, but it was so high that it was really just the optimal way to grind XP. We don’t players to feel forced to grind Expeditions to build up their collections, so we’re reducing the XP granted when completing a trial.
- 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
To complement this change, we’re tweaking daily adjustments to PVP win XP to help out folks looking to heavily grind XP or just play a ton. We want to make sure constructed PVP wins always offer a reward, and that 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
We’re also re-designed the XP structure for Friend Challenge. While we want matches against friends to be rewarding, the previous values overly encouraged snap concessions and win / loss trading to reap full PvP XP.
- 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.
Moving on to Expeditions rewards, we’ve heard some frustration that a 6-win run rewarded only 33% of the Shards (1000) needed to play another Expedition. While we believe overall Expedition rewards are in a good spot, we’re shifting some of the rewarded Shards from 7 wins to 6 wins to make sure the latter achievement still feels appropriately 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).
PC FPS Options
On PC-only, we’ve added an FPS option in the settings menu. The drop-down has three settings:
- 30/60: The previous default, with 30 FPS during non-interactive moments and 60 FPS during interactive ones (grabbing and moving cards, etc.). Balances battery consumption and responsiveness while interacting with cards, so we recommend this setting for battery-operated devices.
- 60: Locks framerate at 60 FPS. Roughly doubles battery consumption compared to 30/60.
- 60+: The game will try to run as fast as possible, up to 240 FPS. Will drain batteries very quickly. Some animations may run faster than intended, which can lead to rare crashes when rapidly navigating through the client.
- Deckbuilder improvements
- Mana curve now indicates number of cards at each cost.
- Bugfix for “MAX” card count text not showing up.
- Deck import & export now copies from/to device clipboard.
- Minor visual polish and readability improvements.
- Board visuals
- Corrected a repeated grass texture on Summoner’s Rift board.
- Cleaned up and reduced intensity of lens flare effect on Demacia board.
- Corrected occasional lighting issues when resolving certain spells on faction boards.
- Players on old client versions will now see a message asking them to restart the client and update, and will be unable to queue until doing so.
- Master tier rankings now more fluid based on how master players are performing against each other (previously released hotfix).
- Claimable rewards on region roads now more strongly highlighted.
- Patch sizes generally decreased.
- Friend Challenge stability improvements.
- Store now marked with a badge when new content is available.
- In-client messaging for maintenance updated for clarity.
- Players should no longer get stuck on the loading screen when signing out of League of Legends while signed into LoR.
- Players logging into LoR from different devices should encounter fewer crashes.
- Fixed issues with region quests not progressing as expected.
- Fixed rare issues with players not receiving XP after games.
- MASSIVE nerf to high APMers: Players can no longer discard the same card to multiple Spinning Axes by quickly chaining them (previously released hotfix).
- Anivia’s summoned from deck will now correctly level up if her condition has been met.
- Players should no longer get stuck on “Connecting” if their opponent disconnects while loading.