Lately, patch notes days have become a bit tiresome. We all come in with very high expectations – built upon the experience of having the greatest balance patches in the past. Now, this patch 1.13 is only the first one since the most recent release of cards in Monuments of Power, so typically we don’t expect any balance updates at this time. But as of late, we still constantly see changes still rushed in for these in-between patches.
I believe overall, the changes that are made after just 2 weeks period are generally pretty bad for the health of the game. Trying to keep up with the meta this way is extremely difficult, which usually leads to the patches feeling like they completely missed. I think it would be best for them to go back to a monthly balance cadence for many reasons – but that is another article entirely. For now, we have two card updates that I will break down, and then we will jump into rating the new K/DA spells.
Here we essentially see them pulling back half of the previous changes to Lee Sin. The last time he was changed he had his cost reduced by 2 and his health reduced by 2, but now they are upping his cost and health by 1. Obviously, this one is a very tricky champion to balance. Honestly, something like Lee Sin is good for the game. A combo deck that has the potential to finish the game before turn 8 is important for the health of the meta. But right now, the community is very unhappy with how Lee Sin functions, and it is rightfully so. He currently can consistently kill you at 20 Nexus health by turn 6-7 – and you have very little interaction around that (unless you are running very specific cards). Changing his cost to 5 can help in some ways. He no longer can be played directly on-curve after Mentor of the Stones, which led to obnoxious board states as early as turn 4. The main problem here is that the bad feeling of getting one-turn-killed with little interaction will remain relatively the same. And when this dynamics is something the community dislikes intensely, it is important to address that for the health of the game – sometimes regardless of the numbers behind the scenes.
This is another nerf that I am not too fond of. Bilgewater does hold a very strong power level, and it is mostly due to the same cards that we see over and over again. Recently, we have witnessed nerfs to Petty Officer and Jack, the Winner, and this is now the third card getting under a nerf hammer. I get it, this spell was crazy strong for 2 mana, especially with a Keg on board. Now though, for 3 mana, it seems not that great without a Keg, but still worth it when supported by one. It might be a healthier spot for the card overall, but this does hurt a few decks that aren’t super deserving of a nerf (like anything relying on this card for a Plunder proc). I just find myself thinking there are other more problematic cards than this in Bilgewater’s burn strategy, and other decks get caught in the line of fire here. We will see how this one shakes out in the coming weeks, but this is a huge nerf to a key card that sees a lot of play. It’s essentially the Mystic Shot of Bilgewater. Ok, rant over. Let’s break down those K/DA cards!
Here’s our rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, proven itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes. (Sejuani, Riptide Rex…).
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes. (The Harrowing, Twisted Fate, Mystic Shot…).
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes. (Yasuo, Culling Strike, Statikk Shock…).
- 2.0: Can be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks (Vanguard Sergeant, Thorny Toad…)
- 1.0: Doesn’t find its place in the meta (Unstable Voltician, Parade Electrorig…).
Go Hard/Pack Your Bags – 1.5
This card is very interesting, but probably not that competitive. Essentially, you need to run this at a 3-of and also draw them early so you can start stacking your deck with more copies. For the late-game, you’re building towards an insane 1-cost Slow spell that is a board wipe plus 5 Nexus damage. In order to pull off this consistently though, you’ll need to load your deck with a ton of card draw. It is a Shadow Isles card so you do have access to some draw there, and combining it with even more card draw from other regions could enable Go Hard. We should also note that Zap Sprayfin can tutor this card, which is kind of interesting. I like the design here, but I don’t think we end up seeing much of this.
Go Get It – 2.5
This is my personal favorite out of the lot. It has a ton of interesting uses. The fact that you can use this on a unit with a strong summon effect and proc that summon effect twice more this round is pretty massive. There is a high ceiling for this. Imagine using it on Tiana Crownguard, The Rekindler, or Empyrean Hatchling. This can also act as a strong ‘dodging’ spell as well that also allows you to immediately replay the unit for free. It really fits in with Ionia’s themes overall and it is a card that I am extremely excited to build around.
Out of the Way – 2.0
This is one of the craziest effects we have seen on a card. Making buffs permanent is pretty nuts, and there are a ton of options here. It will be a blast experimenting with which buffs actually work with this. However, at 5 mana and it being a Slow spell will really cost you some tempo. Buff-based decks already don’t see a ton of play, and even though this is in Targon and fits that theme, I think it is just too slow and too counterable to be consistent.
Give it All – 2.0
This card really makes Mind Meld and Pack Mentality look childish. Yes, you are required to have one unit with big stats on the board, but raising all the power and health values of all your units to the strongest one is incredible, and on top of that everyone gets all the keywords you have!? That is a really strong game finishing card. Combine this with Elusive, Overwhelm, or Fearsome and you have your win condition.
Still, I am rating this quite low for two reasons. This has not been a very strong strategy in the past because it is very counterable to rely on a Slow spell. Your opponent has plenty of time to react. A Deny, The Ruination, or plenty of other indirect counters exist. The other reason is – well, this card is a Piltover and Zaun card. Right now, that region is just seriously struggling. They have not gotten a new champion yet with Call of the Mountain releases, while Vi, Heimer, and Ezreal all got nerfed. On top of that, there is a major identity crisis in the region, outside of just being able to deal straight Nexus damage. The only redeeming point to Give it All is that Heimerdinger with this card is funny since he has access to a ton of keywords.
Feel the Rush – 4.5
This is the highest rating I have EVER given a card. Feel the Rush terrifies me. I think it automatically replaces Warmother’s Call in all of those decks, and can also be added to plenty of other Freljord decks that weren’t running Warmother’s Call. There are multiple reasons why and I will go through them here.
Firstly, you get the two units promised as soon as this card resolves, not at the end of the round. If you have the attack token, you just simply swing with them. The two most obvious champs to pull are Tryndamere and Trundle. Trundle will probably be leveled at this point, meaning both of these champs would have Overwhelm. On top of that, Trynd has removal protection built-in. So if your opponent ends up wiping the board, you will just level your Trynd.
Another huge reason why I see this just as a straight-up replacement for Warmother’s Call is because you don’t have to deck build specifically around it. You can now run all the good early stall tools that you want to without the fear of your Warmother’s Call pulling out a crappy unit. The only thing this does not have compared to Warmother’s Call is the inevitability factor – pulling a unit every turn until the game ends can be better in specific situations as compared to Feel the Rush one-time effect. Like I’ve already said, this card terrifies me especially with Trundle already being a card that probably needs a nerf, and with how strong ramp already is. No one wants ramp mirrors in this game.
Personally, I would rather have seen different balance changes even if that meant we had to wait 2 more weeks. Both of those from the ones we got don’t excite me much and won’t change a whole lot – but again, this is not the main balance patch. Once the 1.14 update hits, we can judge everything a little more harshly to determine if the meta will shift enough to make people happy. As far as the K/DA cards go, I am actually finding myself surprisingly happy. These are really cool designs that all have very interesting effects. Even the ones that don’t seem super strong are still very interesting, which is a great sign. The only one that really makes me worry is Feel the Rush. You can catch me running 3 Deny from now on out! If you want to hear more of our thoughts on these changes and these cards, we sat down with Swim recently to discuss it all. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the event!