Patch 1.14 Balance Changes Breakdown
Here we are – 4 weeks after the release of Monuments of Power, having our first large balance update. And my goodness it is a large patch. Last time out we were left with just two changes that were rushed as emergency nerfs, but here we have what should be the final set of changes before our very first Seasonal Tournament. This is setting up the meta for the first big Legends of Runeterra in-client tournament. Going into that, there are some very obvious things that needed to be addressed. So let’s dive in and see what changes Riot has presented.
Shyvana has underperformed since her release. There are fundamental problems with the Attack and Support abilities in general since they are only active on offense. There are various ways to overcome these downfalls however and the problems with Shyvana go beyond that. Overall, her power level just felt a bit low. Bumping her power by 1 point is a good start as she will be a bigger threat and will trade more efficiently as well as reaching her level-up condition more quickly. I want Dragons to have a place in the meta as a deck somewhat like Scouts but a bit heavier in the curve, and this buff is a good step towards that.
What is a patch without another change to Vlad? This one is very interesting. They have lowered his level-up condition which is pretty significant because getting to the part of the game where he has Regeneration is a big deal with Vlad. On top of that, you now have the ability to choose which units will be affected by his Attack ability and which are not, giving you additional player agency. This is really significant as sometimes Vlad’s ability can be a downside for some of your units – overall, it will be now extremely fun to play around with.
Leading to this patch, my biggest want was to see Trundle nerfed significantly. He has been dominant at 5 mana since his release. He stabilizes the mid-game extremely well, offers a lot of flexibility with his Ice Pillar, and then even becomes a win condition by himself. He just did way too much. And, well, nerfing his health by 1 and the health of his Ice Pillar by 2 is exactly the type of change I wanted to see. Lowering his health limits his board presence and allows more counterplay. The Ice Pillar might need to see more fundamental changes down the line, like making it Immobile (it’s a fricken pillar of ice how ss this not Immobile!?), but hitting its health by 2 should make it a lot easier to deal with as well. Overall these are extremely important changes and will make Trundle more bearable while keeping his overall play patterns the same.
This is probably the spiciest change of the patch, as it is more of a rework of how Ezreal functions. Ezreal is always a hot topic come patch day, but the last nerf was way too harsh, and overall Piltover and Zaun have suffered enough lately. So, seeing any buff to that region is fine by me. Ezreal now levels up when 6 enemies are targeted, but his Nexus damage output once leveled has been reduced. He will only ping the Nexus for 1 when casting a spell unless that spell targets an enemy – then he will ping the Nexus for 2. This greatly reduces the potential for Burst-speed OTK’s, which has always been an awful interaction to be on the receiving end of. I know a lot of people are very excited about this change, and I think it will breathe a lot of new life into Ezreal. Only time will tell if that is a good or bad thing for the meta.
This buff reminds me a lot of the Shen buff, probably because Taric reminds me a lot of Shen. 3 power is a big difference since now Taric can trade much more efficiently and even block Fearsome units. Taric hasn’t been the strongest champion since his release, so I like this change and hopefully, we can see more of his Support archetype in the meta.
Other than the Trundle nerf, this to me is the biggest nerf in this patch. Reverting Wyrding Stones back to 3 health will allow a ton more counterplay against Ramp decks. Right now we are seeing so much ramp in the meta, and that will still probably remain so. But at least now, when the Wyrding Stones gets dropped on turn 3, you might have answers. A 1-health difference on an early unit is a huge nerf and I could list so many ways to kill off these new Wyrding Stones before your opponent gets to their next turn.
A lot of people have been asking for a buff to Funsmith and we’ve finally got one. Bringing this card down a mana is a huge deal, as it allows you to afford more spells the turn you play it. Buffing this and Ezreal in the same patch does scare me a good bit, but if the goal here was to make this card more enticing they have accomplished that. Again, with how bad of a spot Piltover and Zaun is in, any buff to this region makes me happy right now.
If you know me at all or listen to my podcast, you probably have heard me crying about Black Spear at one point or another. Changing Black Spear to 3 mana back in the day was one of my least favorite changes ever. Even decks that ran plenty of death triggers weren’t running this card because it just simply was not worth the mana cost. Well, this time they haven’t changed the mana cost, but they bumped up the damage to 4 and that is significant. Since this is Kalista’s champion spell, that also serves as an indirect buff to her as well. Pair this along with the Lucian and Tianna changes we see in this patch and it all feels pretty awesome for that archetype.
There has been a lot of community feedback on Riptide Rex, but as of late he has not been super prominent so this change comes in at a slightly awkward time. I believe the main reason we haven’t seen much of Rex lately is because of the Ramp meta where he feels not all that powerful. But if the meta shifts back to more a midrange style, then Rex again would pop up and the complaints would come back. So even if this change comes at a weird time, I think it is the right call and slightly reducing his power level is for the best.
I am shocked at this buff but I absolutely love it. As I previously stated, Dragons have not been all that powerful but the Eclipse Dragon has been one of my favorites still, as it has a lot of flexibility. Adding 2 more health to a unit with Fury is awesome. This unit can now really stick on the board and be a presence on top of using its bonus effects.
Finally, we have some clarity on the issue with Lucian and Sejuani. If you don’t know, those two champions were worded identically but functioned differently. Now they are all on the same page and can trigger their level 2 effects on the same turn they are leveled. This is a direct buff to both Lucian and Jinx as they now reach their power spikes without delay. There will still be weird situations with these, but still the pilot now has more agency to maximize usefulness with these champions.
On top of these changes, there are also a few smaller buffs to Tianna Crownguard, Fuzzy Caretaker, and Minah Swiftfoot. All of those buffs are minor but are gladly welcomed as those cards have not seen a ton of play lately.
Overall I am very happy with this patch. The balance changes are on point and there are a whole lot of them. This might be the biggest non-expansion patch we have seen in the game, and it comes at a very good time. This should make for a fun shake-up to the meta for the next month when people will be grinding out games in preparation for the Seasonal Tournament. Beyond just the balance, we also have an awesome new Lab, a new mode for Gauntlets, and the long-awaited Spectator Mode! There is a lot to be happy about here, and I can’t wait to dive in!