Patch 2.9: Azir Irelia Nerf, Taliyah & Malphite Buff

The balance patch contains only 4 card updates, but on the bright side - Lab of Legends enthusiasts have a lot coming their way!

‘Guardians of the Ancient’ mid-season balance patch brings only 4 card updates – two adjustments targeted at Azir Irelia, and direct buffs to Taliyah and Malphite.

This type of patch in-between big card releases is usually the time when Riot shipped big balance updates in the past, sometimes changing upwards of 15 cards to shake up the meta. However, it seems that now the dev’s approach shifted to be more conservative, which prompted a disappointed outcry from the vocal part of the community on Reddit and Twitter.

However, even if you’re disheartened by the lack of balance changes to constructed, don’t miss out on the big update that is coming to Lab of Legends – Irelia, Zilean, Malphite, Lissandra, and Fizz have been added as playable champions in the mode!

Patch 2.9. will be playable at approximately 11AM PT, June 2. Below are the official patch notes, originally posted at

Card Updates

We’ve seen a lot of conversation in the community lately on the topic of live design; players are passionate about it, and we’re passionate about it as well. We believe that live design is strongly connected to one of our fundamental beliefs, which is that every player should be able to have access to all cards and all decks without spending money. That fundamental aspect of Legends of Runeterra unlocks our team to be able to make card updates without punishing players for past card and deck acquisition choices.

Ultimately, our goal is to make Legends of Runeterra the most fun we can. When making live design decisions, we don’t focus on any single aspect. We use complex data models on card usage, region usage, win rates, deck lists, performance versus specific decks, different formats, different ranks, win rate disparity, performance over time, etc. We also consider a complex model of how decks feel relative to the meta, and we survey the community regularly to learn how players feel about cards, specific decks, archetypes, metagame health, game modes, cosmetics, future game content ideas… the list goes on and on.

We try to focus our changes to be as targeted as possible and to avoid collateral damage or unintended consequences to decks we don’t want to affect. Making a small amount of changes can have large impacts on the metagame. We also try to let the community find new ways to evolve playstyles and the metagame to change over time without live design card changes. One of the amazing things about the card game genre is the ability the community has to explore and discover new strategies that can dramatically shift the meta over time without any card changes. That process is fun, and we don’t want to artificially disrupt that process by implementing live design card changes too quickly or too often.

However, there are times when it’s clear that changes are necessary to ensure the experience is fun and exciting. Taliyah and Malphite are both clear examples that need live design attention. It’s an easy decision to make, because so many of our inputs into the decision making process clearly indicate that Taliyah, Malphite, and their primary deck are not meeting our standard. Irelia and Azir are not so obvious, because there are different inputs that contradict each other and it takes time to gather information to make a decision. In the first three weeks of Guardians of the Ancient we have seen Irelia and Azir’s deck rise and fall in popularity and efficacy. Over time, our decision on whether or not we should make balance changes on the deck has shifted.

We love the play pattern of Irelia / Azir, as well as Blade Dance. We’ve learned that a ton of players love it too, and we want to keep the feel of the deck intact. However, our most recent information indicates the deck is just too powerful, so we’re making two very targeted changes. We hope to maintain the fun while opening up opportunities for other strategies and to reduce the frustration of playing against it. We’ll continue to monitor the metagame as it evolves and will consider more changes going forward if necessary.

We’re always learning and improving Legends of Runeterra and our processes. Sometimes we’ll make mistakes, but we’ll always do our best to listen to all of our players, and improve along the way. We’re all on this journey together, and the community’s passion and love for the game inspires us to always do better. Thanks for the feedback over the last few weeks – keep it coming!

– Dovagedys


LEVEL 1: 2|4 → 3|5.

LEVEL 2: 3|5 → 4|6.


LEVEL UP REQUIREMENT: You’ve summoned 12+ mana of landmarks. → You’ve summoned 10+ mana of landmarks.

Both Taliyah and Malphite have struggled to find a home in the meta. We like how the deck plays and these buffs add more power into the champions in a way that shouldn’t drastically change their archetypes. Taliyah should feel a little more sturdy and Malphite should level up more consistently.

Blossoming Blade

COST: 4 → 5.

BASE STATS: 3|3 → 4|3.

Inspiring Marshal

COST: 5 → 6.

BASE STATS: 4|6 4|5

It’s become clear that the Irelia and Azir deck is too powerful. Ultimately, we decided to focus our changes on Inspiring Marshal and Blossoming Blade to ensure that our changes focus on this deck. We want to reduce the amount of collateral damage to other decks, such as Azir Burn and Azir/Lucian, both of which we think are healthy for the game. This specific deck will remain on our watch list and we will continue to monitor its performance over time.


Patch 2.9.0 brings new champions, powers, and more to Lab of Legends!

  • New Starting Champions Added: Irelia, Zilean, Malphite, Lissandra, and Fizz have been added to the starting champion roster. Get a Malphite card back for completing a run with each of them!
  • New Support Champions Added: Sejuani, Leona, Yasuo, and Viktor have been added as draftable champions during a run.
  • More Powers!: 18 new Powers have been added – 10 Common, 5 Rare, and 3 Epic.
  • Taliyah Rocks Now (Hopefully): Taliyah’s deck has been updated.

We’re making a few changes to Duo Queue: Shared Spoils as well:

  • More Deck Consistency: Players can now bring 0-2 decks with them rather than 0-3, so they’ll always see any decks they bring as options.
  • Queue Up: Players will be given a chance to add their teammate as a friend if they’re solo queueing.


  • As announced in the 2.7.0 patch notes, with the release of patch 2.9.0, Cross-Shard Friend Challenge will no longer be supported:
    • As LoR continues to grow, we’re beginning to run up against challenges caused by outdated tech. Cross-Shard Friend Challenge is one of our main culprits, and it’s currently taking resources that we need to develop some of LoR’s most exciting features planned for further along in the pipeline. We’ll have more information on social features for LoR in the future.
  • Overtime has been adjusted for Best-of-3 matches. While in Overtime, players now have approximately 25 seconds to complete their turn.


  • Fixed a visual bug when attempting to purchase cards or prismatics while inspecting cards in the Collection.
  • Fixed an issue where skin names were formatted incorrectly in some languages.
  • Fixed an issue where a Quest had a duplicate criteria for completion.
  • Scrying Sands now correctly gives an enemy -2/-0 even if the player casting it cannot Predict.
  • Spellshield now correctly blocks Scrying Sands.
  • Irelia should now correctly create Bladesurge in hand on attack the turn she levels up.
  • Fixed an issue where champions with Barrier would sometimes incorrectly show the wrong keyword.
  • Give It All should now correctly raise the power of allies with negative power.
  • Moon Weapon should no longer cause spells to overlap in the cast region.
  • Howling Abyss should no longer incorrectly trigger Deep or Sun Disc animations.
  • Howling Abyss should no longer create invisible cards in hand.
  • Vladimir’s Crimson Pact should no longer incorrectly damage allies to his left if he is removed from combat before the effect.
  • Several improvements to text across the game in our continued effort for text consistency.
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