Legends of Runeterra Patch 0.9.2 Notes: Hecarim Nerf, Kalista Rework & More!

The biggest balance patch to date is set to go live tomorrow at 9:30 AM Pacific Time. It includes crucial adjustments to Hecarim & Kalista as well as more than 15 other card updates. Check out the full patch notes below, or visit the official Legends of Runeterra website

Here’s an infographic by SaucyMailman with all the card changes:

Patch 0.9.2 brings the second big batch of balance and card updates for Open Beta, including several full reworks—check out the new Kalista and Mageseekers roster. We’re also continuing our efforts to improve game pacing and feel, and making tweaks to Expedition archetypes.

Card Updates

HECARIM (LEVEL 1)

HEALTH: 6 → 5
LEVEL UP:
 You’ve attacked with 8+ [Ephemeral] units. → You’ve attacked with 7+ [Ephemeral] units.

HECARIM (LEVEL 2)

HEALTH: 7 → 6

OLD TEXT: Attack: Summon 2 attacking [Spectral Rider]. [Ephemeral] allies have +2 |+0.

NEW TEXT: Attack: Summon 2 attacking [Spectral Rider]. [Ephemeral] Allies have +3 |+0.

ONSLAUGHT OF SHADOWS/HECARIM’S ONSLAUGHT OF SHADOWS

COST: 3 → 2

SPECTRAL RIDER

POWER: 3 → 2

We’ve tweaked Hecarim to be less of a powerful finisher in any deck and more of a specialized Ephemeral deck bomb. Hecarim has been seeing a lot of play, but in most situations he wasn’t ever leveling up, which indicated he had too much “generic” power and not enough payoff for a specific type of deck where he might really shine. We’re looking to shift Hecarim’s power deeper into his Ephemeral synergy while leaving him a viable, but weaker, option for Shadow Isles decks in general.

We reduced his health by 1 at both levels to make him easier to bring down. Hecarim attacks also tended to spread too much damage, which rarely allowed good blocking options, so we’ve adjusted the riders to 2|2 to allow better counterplay when the Shadow of War charges in (we’ve also adjusted Onslaught of Shadows to match). We’ve also reduced his quest trigger to 7+ Ephemeral attacks and increased his level 2 Ephemeral buff to +3|+0 to ensure Hecarim is more of an awesome option for Ephemeral decks and that his Riders can still terrorize the board.

KALISTA (LEVEL 1)

HEALTH: 2 → 3

OLD TEXT: [Fearsome] Play: Bond with an ally. Grant it +2 | +0 while we are bonded. Level Up: I’ve seen 3+ allies die.

NEW TEXT: [Fearsome] Level up: 4 allies die

KALISTA (LEVEL 2)

HEALTH: 3 → 4

OLD TEXT: [Fearsome] Play: Bond with an ally. Grant it +2 | +0 while we are bonded. Attack: Revive that ally.

Kalista was the least played champion last patch, and considering Shadow Isles is the most played region, that’s not a good sign. Kalista wasn’t meeting the “exciting to build around” bar we have for Champs, so we’ve redesigned her to much better fit into decks that are interested in killing or reviving their own units. She’s also now more appealing in Ephemeral decks given the synergy with her Level 2 version. Lastly, her statline makes her more reasonable as an option in Fearsome aggro decks.

Kalista’s fragility was a key issue, so we’ve given her extra health at both levels along with the Level 2 damage negation. Changing the timing of the bond to attack rather than play should also eliminate some previous frustrations that occured when she didn’t hit the board from your hand. 

This Kalista change comes at a tricky time due to the strength of the Shadow Isles, so we wanted to be extra careful with her power level and therefore made her level up a bit harder to achieve, while also shifting power from the bond bonus into her base stats.  Like previous champion reworks such as Lux and Anivia, we’re initially more focused on the Champion’s gameplay dream than nailing power level, so if we see her under or overperforming, we’ll make small changes to adjust.

BLACK SPEAR / KALISTA’S BLACK SPEAR

COST: 2 → 3

This change is being made separately from Kalista’s. Shadow Isles as a region is too versatile with cheap spells at one to two mana, which allows SI to get ahead (and play from ahead) too easily. We’re breaking that power and efficiency up with changes to Black Spear and Mark of the Isles, two cards that often use one or two spell mana to kill a three or four cost unit, and which also synergize well together for even more power. We hope these changes add more decision-making and variety when it comes to which Shadow Isles spells to play.

BORDER LOOKOUT → VANGUARD LOOKOUT

ELITE: Yes

Border Lookout has been promoted to the Vanguard! While this isn’t a massive change to his playability, we do think this serves our design goal of “every card has a home” a bit better.

MAGESEEKER INCITER

POWER: 1 → 4

HEALTH: 4 → 3

TEXT: Play: Discard a spell to grant me Power equal to its cost.

NEW TEXT: Grant me 2|+2 once you’ve cast a 6 cost spell this game.

MAGESEEKER INVESTIGATOR

OLD TEXT: Play: If you cast a spell this round, remove all text and keywords from an enemy follower.

NEW TEXT: Create a {Detain} once you’ve cast a 6+ cost spell this game.

MAGESEEKER PERSUADER

COST: 6 → 2

POWER: 4 → 3

HEALTH: 1 → 2

OLD TEXT: [Challenger] Play: Discard a spell to grant me Health equal to its cost.

NEW TEXT: Grant me 1|+1 and [Challenger] once you’ve cast a 6 cost spell this game.

Mageseekers are among some of the most interesting characters in Demacia that aren’t, you know, soldiers. Keeping the “all cards have a home” principle in mind, we weren’t satisfied with how the Mageseekers ended up in beta, so we’ve reworked them as a group.

Our goal was to make these cards more well-rounded in all forms of play, while providing Lux and other expensive spell archetypes more options in deckbuilding.

CROWD FAVORITE

HEALTH: 2 → 1

Crowd Favorite has quietly been an overperformer for Noxus aggro decks; Overwhelm combined with large base stats (especially health) can be hard to interact with, and Crowd Favorite often matches the value of Champions in specific aggro decks. We’re reducing the big guy’s health by one to allow some more counterplay when he’s played on curve, while still leaving him as a powerful option for hyper-unit aggro or swarm decks.

ICEBORN LEGACY

COST: 3 → 5

OLD TEXT: [Burst] Grant an ally and all allied copies of it EVERYWHERE +1|+1.

NEW TEXT:[Slow] Grant an ally and all allied copies of it EVERYWHERE +2|+2.

Iceborn Legacy hasn’t seen much play, with the payoff clearly not providing enough deckbuilding inspiration, and we’re hoping a doubled effect at a higher investment offers a more appealing prospect.

PACK MENTALITY

OLD TEXT: Give an ally and other allies of its group +3|+3 and [Overwhelm] this round.

NEW TEXT: Give allies +2|+2 and Overwhelm.

The old version of Pack Mentality was both a tad confusing and generally ineffective. Our goal with this changes it to improve it as a finisher for go-wide tribal strategies, while also making it more of an option for non-tribal decks.

PORO SNAX

COST: 4 → 3

Poros is currently the worst performing Expedition archetype by a large margin. We’re hoping this change helps Expedition decks while also giving Poros a boost in Constructed.

TROOP OF ELNUKS

OLD TEXT: Play: Summon each Elnuk in the top 10 cards of your deck.

NEW TEXT: Play: For the top 6 cards in your deck, summon each Elnuk and shuffle the rest into your deck.

While we want some levels of randomness to create varied gameplay experiences, we don’t think RNG at Troop’s previous level should be prevalent in the competitive metagame. We considered a redesign that would be more deterministic, but we wanted to preserve Troop as a linchpin in Counterfeit Copies decks. So, we’ve busted out the hypergeometric calculator and done some playtesting to find a better rate for the Troop that allows more dedicated Elnuk decks to be powerful, while reducing its effectiveness in decks just looking to splash the Elnuk package for value.

NAVORI CONSPIRATOR

POWER: 3 → 2

Conspirator is an above-rate Elusive unit while also offering a large amount of utility for “bounce” decks. Because it mainly sees play in heavy Elusive decks, reducing his power by 1 should make the overall Elusive curve more reasonable.

CHUMP WHUMP

HEALTH: 4 → 3

Chump Whump is a threat that’s often played both for that sweet mushroom value and its surprisingly good stats, making it a bit too generically strong in all Piltover archetypes. One of P&Z’s weaknesses is having mediocre unit stats, and value cards like Whump shouldn’t be too effective in combat.

FLASH OF BRILLIANCE

OLD TEXT: Create a random spell in hand. Refill your spell mana.

NEW TEXT: Create a random spell that costs 6+ in hand. Refill your spell mana.

Flash of Brilliance is a highly efficient card that can be a bit frustrating to play against in conjunction with Heimerdinger or Lux, especially when it RNGs into more cheap burst spells. However, it’s a satisfying, core card for Heimerdinger (and sometimes Lux), so we don’t want to change it too much. Making the random spell cost 6+ will be more in line with the design intent of the card fitting into big spell decks from Piltover or Demacia.

RUMMAGE

OLD TEXT: To play, discard 2. Draw 2.

NEW TEXT: To play, discard 2. Draw 2. If you have exactly 1 other card in hand, discard 1 to draw 1.

Rummage couldn’t be cast when you only had 2 cards in hand, which isn’t a huge problem, except with a Level 2 Jinx. It’s a small change, but one that should make Rummage feel better overall.

UNSTABLE VOLTICIAN

OLD TEXT: When I’m summoned, grant me 4|+0 and [Quick Attack] if you’ve cast a 6 cost spell this game.

NEW TEXT: Grant me 4|+0 and [Quick Attack] once you’ve cast a 6 cost spell this game.

We’re lining up Voltician to work similarly to the new Mageseekers. This change is all upside to a card that was severely underplayed, so hopefully the increased option of when to cast that 6+ spell will help Voltician see more play.

BROOD AWAKENING

COST: 6 → 5

This change is part of an overall shift of some strength in Shadow Isles from raw power to synergy. Dedicated spiders decks normally skip out on playing this card in favor of the more Fearsome builds; this adjustment should help make Brood a more viable option in Constructed.

MARK OF THE ISLES

OLD TEXT: Grant an ally +3 | +3 and [Ephemeral].

NEW TEXT: Grant an ally +2 | +2 and [Ephemeral].

To add to what we said for Black Spear, Mark was pulling too much weight for a 1 cost card. It was an awesome burst protection spell that also served as super effective removal when combined with a small unit, all on top of its capability as a lethal finisher (especially in multiples). Players will have access to a 1 cost spell almost all game, so they shouldn’t have the levels of outright versatility that Mark offered.

THE REKINDLER

COST: 6 → 7

LoR is designed to allow Champions in play for multiple turns, so it’s an important and satisfying reprieve to get rid of a Champion that is about to level up. Rekindler at its current rate too strongly breaks the healthy play pattern of removing Champions, so we’re upping its cost.

The Watchlist

Elise / Frenzied Skitterer

We’ve previously mentioned keeping an eye on Fearsome units as a whole, so consider this an addendum directed at specific cards. Elise and Frenzied Skitterer are both durable, versatile, and evasive threats we’ve seen used in a larger number of decks than we think is healthy. We want to take it slow when powering down regions and avoid over-nerfing cards, so we’re hoping the changes to other Shadow Isles tools reduce the effectiveness of these spiders. For now, we’ll continue to monitor the strength of these two and make additional changes in the future if needed.

Glimpse Beyond

Glimpse Beyond is an efficient card advantage tool that doubles as a synergy play in many Shadow Isles decks. We’ve decided to watchlist Glimpse, as the card advantage combined with the ability to soft-“Deny” strikes or certain spells can be frustrating to play against. That said, we’re hoping it can stay at its current cost, as Glimpse Beyond is a pivotal core card for Shadow Isles and its synergies. Similar to Elise, our tuning options here are constrained given Glimpse’s low mana cost design, and any change at all may end up severely nerfing it. If we see indications that Glimpse is overly problematic even after the other Shadow Isles changes settle, we’ll reconsider.

Shadow Assassin

Shadow Assassin is the most played card in Legends of Runeterra, and for good reason. Reasonable Elusive stats plus free card advantage make this card a near auto-include for Ionia and a frequently “splashed” card for other regions. We’ve discussed and tested out number-based changes (such as 1|2, 2|1 or 4c 2|2), but none of them left the Assassin in a spot that felt right. For now, we decided to watchlist Shadow Assassin and continue to monitor her for potential changes in the future.

Game Pacing & Feel

Last patch, we improved the feel and speed of basic moments you encounter every game. We’ve made further progress in 0.9.2, and are also tweaking specific cards and interactions that we’ve heard are especially rough on both your turn timer and your sanity. Highlights include:

  • Continued general improvements, including smoother blocking and clearer action cues as you play units and spells.
  • A variety of Poison Puffcap animations take less time and can overlap with one another, for beautiful rolling waves of mushrooms.
  • Draven’s Spinning Axes take less time when both created and cast.
  • Level 2 Hecarim’s buff visuals are significantly faster, especially across many Ephemeral allies.
  • Eager Apprentice, Inspiring Mentor, and Tortured Prodigy now take a more appropriately short amount of time for their simple effects.
  • The discard animation is now faster and clearer, and opponent discards now properly reveal the card before disintegrating.

We’ve also made a first step toward improving turn timers. We have more work and tuning to do here, but the kind of frustrations players were experiencing in some scenarios (not getting to finish actions, not getting to act at all on their turn, etc.) was unacceptable, so we’ve immediately shipped some quick fixes. Next up, we’re looking at early game turns that go too long, late game turns that are over too quick, and the frustration of being “roped” turn after turn by opponents who aren’t actually playing the game. Keep telling us about the worst-case scenarios you’re encountering.

  • Casting a burst spell now puts some time back on your turn timer.
  • You’ll now get some extra time on your turn after your opponent casts spells on theirs (to guard against a bunch of your opponent’s end-of-turn Burst spells eating away your turn).

Expeditions Archetypes

Demacian Steel has continued to be one of the strongest archetypes, so we’re removing a solid card that fits in another archetype and replacing it with something more situational.

  • Added: Mobilize
  • Removed: Back to Back

Noxian Might has proven too reliable at taking huge chunks of the enemy’s Nexus with cheap, aggressive units backed by similar spells, so we’re removing an efficient burst spell in favor of one that will give the opponent an opportunity to react.

  • Added: Guile
  • Removed: Elixir of Wrath

Shroom and Boom is an archetype that can be very strong when everything comes together, but it’s still a little inconsistent overall. We’re removing a slower Elusive unit in favor of a spell that synergizes with cards like Eager Apprentice and Assembly Bot while providing blockers to buy time for the shrooms to work their magic.

  • Added: Scrapdash Assembly
  • Removed: Amateur Aeronaut

Spellbound more directly revolves around casting spells that cost at least 6 mana due to the new Mageseeker changes, so we’re replacing a spell that’s just a little too cheap with one that fits the bill.

  • Added: Back to Back
  • Removed: Detain

Relentless has been helmed by Garen on the Demacia side, which has helped him become the most played champion in Expeditions. To mix things up, we’re replacing him with Lucian, who has a Rally effect on both his champion spell and his Level 2 form. We’re also replacing a unit that saves your other units with one that makes them easier to trade to better support Lucian’s level up.

  • Added: Lucian, Laurent Duelist
  • Removed: Garen, Brightsteel Protector

Battle Scars has still been underperforming, so we’re removing some of the more inconsistent utility cards in favor of ones that are more directly powerful. (Note: The first two swaps were communicated in the 0.9.0 patch notes but didn’t make it in until now.)

  • Added: Might, Alpha Wildclaw, Avarosan Marksman, Battle Fury
  • Removed: Blood for Blood, Bull Elnuk, Kindly Tavernkeeper, Starlit Seer

Shadows and Dust is simply more dependent than most archetypes on having a solid, cohesive deck since Ephemeral units get stronger the more you’re able to commit to them.

  • Increased the chance that Shadows and Dust will appear in Wild Picks when it’s your primary archetype.

Total Recall has been struggling to find enough consistent damage sources that can finish off an opponent, so we’re removing one of its weaker cards in favor of an additional Elusive unit.

  • Added: Amateur Aeronaut
  • Removed: Golden Crushbot

Arachnophilia could use a little more flexibility in how its spiders clash with much larger enemy units.

  • Added: Elixir of Wrath

Language Support

We’ve added additional language support to LoR—more to come. New players should be correctly auto-detected, while existing players can swap languages in their login screen settings.

  • Spanish (LatAm) now supported.
  • Portuguese (Brazil) now supported.

Bugfixes

  • Players should now be able to edit/save decks even if they’re at the deck maximum.
  • Players should no longer occasionally get stuck in full art view when receiving a friend challenge.
  • Plaza Guardian and Scuttlegeist no longer revert to their full mana cost after being summoned.
  • The Rekindler is now highlighted in hand when it will successfully revive a champion.
  • Black Spear and Shunpo can now target allies.
  • Dawn and Dusk should no longer occasionally cause pink streaks when cast.
  • Accelerated Purrsuit’s resolution animation should now play correctly.
  • Spinning Axe VFX cleaned up.
  • “I survived” effects on units should no longer activate when units are dealt 0 base damage.
  • Miscellaneous crash fixes.
  • Miscellaneous card font fixes.

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