Hey, Agigas here!
Patch 3.4 was teased on Friday 22th April with an infographic and was promised to be a very large, champion-focused patch.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the most impactful changes of this update. Here’s the rating scale we’ll be using to evaluate cards prior and after their respective changes:
|S||Meta staples. |
Excellent enablers and/or payoffs that allow powerful decks to exist.
|A||Powerful cards. |
Not meta-breaking, but push their archetypes and command the respect of the meta.
Mystic Shot, Decimate, Pyke.
|B||Neither impressive nor bad. |
Playable, quality role-players in their archetypes.
House Spider, Death’s Hand.
|C||Underwhelming card. |
Needs a very specific niche to perform, overall doesn’t get played much competitively.
Blade’s Edge, Tornado Warrior.
13. Vanguard Squire: C+ -> B+
Elite is an archetype that hasn’t been viable for a very long time now, and this patch aims to correct that. When Elites are good, Vanguard Squire shines, and as a synergy-driven unit, this card becomes stronger as other Elite units get buffed.
Moreover, Vanguard Squire also gets directly buffed in a quite impactful manner. With its cost going down to 3, it will now be far easier to fit Vanguard Squire in our sequence of plays early on, snowballing the game exactly like Elites want to.
12. Nasus: B+ -> A
This revert to Nasus will offer a reminder of what the champion used to do back when he was dominating the meta. With this keyword, the champion will be way harder to chump block, which is everything this big stat stick wants.
However, let’s not overreact, Nasus is not truly going back to his old self. The meta has evolved a lot since the last time he had Fearsome and the overall power level is now higher. Moreover, Escaped Abomination still is nerfed. That said, the buff will bring some more power to the Nasus Thresh deck – likely not enough to get the deck into Tier 1, but enough to make it more on-par with the current meta power level.
11. Buried Sun Disc: S -> A+
Not so long ago, a nerf to Buried Sun Disc would not be something we could imagine, but since Azir’s buff in patch 3.14, the card has been heavily polarizing the ladder.
This nerf is rather small, but it will eventually delay the Sun Disc’s transformation by a turn or even two in some games, which will make the deck less explosive. The mono Shurima archetype is still likely to continue being competitive in patch 3.16, but this change will not go unnoticed.
10. Leblanc: B -> A
While Leblanc never has been super oppressive in the meta, she often has found several good decks such as Reputation or Freeze in the past. With this buff, the champion starts being more than just a stat stick quicker.
With Mirror Image accelerating the pressure Leblanc can offer and finding some interesting synergies with summoning, attack, and last breath effects, there is no doubt that this buff will be impactful on the champion.
9. Ambush: A -> B+
As time went by, Ambush gained more and more popularity, as it tends to create massive threats that a lot of archetypes are not prepared to defend themself against.
With the mana cost of the card going up, the decks using it will now be a little more clunky on the finishing line.
The change is not as important as it would be if we were aiming to cast Ambush in the early game – Ambush is often a mid or late-game play when one mana is less likely to make a difference. Still, there will be situations where this mana will prevent the player from playing the way he wants to or even make him miss a lethal opportunity.
8. Callous Bonecrusher: C -> B+
If there is one lesson we’ve learned in Legends of Runeterra, it is to not underestimate evasive keywords, such as Overwhelm or Elusive. These keywords can easily be abused to become win conditions and will help a lot to increase the pressure on the opponent.
When played with the Reputation, Callous Bonecrusher will be terrifying and very hard to block without losing nexus health in the process – all that for a modest 3 mana cost, making it quite easy to play something else in the same turn.
However, reputation is not easy to trigger early on. That said, with its high stats the card will at least help progress toward Reputation when it’s not activated yet. In high-synergy Reputation decks, I expect Callous Bonecrusher to now be a good addition.
7. Hyara Allseer: C+ -> A–
Among the most recent champions, Udyr was the one to completely miss the mark despite many players willing to give him a chance. Too slow for too little of a payoff, the whole package felt really weak by today’s meta standards. And as a Stance-synergy card, Hyara Allseer was forgotten.
With buffs to Udyr’s archetype this patch, Hyara Allseer goes from being a one-time effect to a repeatable one. This makes it way easier and faster to snowball the game away with Stances in the mid to late game and to buff up Udyr.
Hyara Allseer still is quite an expensive unit, but with that change, she will now make up for her cost given enough time.
6. Garen: C -> B+
With his cruel lack of effect on level 1 and the impossibility to level right on play, Garen has been a very underwhelming champion so far as he regularly offered nothing more than a 5/5 regeneration body.
With this buff, the champion will bring more on-play impact, making the Elite deck more difficult to contain in the midgame, all the while keeping the big level-up payoff of the champion.
5. Ballistic Bot: S -> A
Ballistic Bot has been the region-defining unit for Piltover & Zaun for quite some time now, and the more time passed by the more the card felt overwhelming. With its high health, card generation, and fast-growing attack stat, the card was very hard to contain for a 2-cost unit and had pretty much no real downside.
Now starting at 0 attack, Ballistic Bot will need a bit more time before becoming a threat. While this doesn’t change much in the late game where Ballistic Bot’s attack will still be higher than it needs, it is extremely impactful on the early turn, making it a lot easier to attack and defend against Ballistic Bot.
The card will still likely be very good and included in a lot of Piltover & Zaun decks as it still does its job very well, but will now have a weakness that other decks can benefit from.
4. Yordles in Arms: S+ -> A+
Yordles in Arms has been at the top of the win rates charts for a very long time now, consistently getting a solid spot in Tier 1. This massive stats buff made a massive threat out of any unit, which goes perfectly with Bandle City’s ability to flood the board with units all the while generating a lot of value.
With this nerf, the weak units that are getting buffed by Yordle in Arms will all be slightly less threatening. While the change might not seem like much, it will make it much easier for the defending player to get some good trades and/or stay high enough on nexus health to not get in range of the opponent’s burn reach or next attack.
3. Udyr: C+ -> A+
With his level-up condition being completely disconnected from the rest of his mechanics, Udyr often felt very weird to level up. He was sometimes being really hard to level or sometimes leveled up without gaining much stats. Unless you were pretty much always using Ram’s Stance, the champion was very awkward.
With this change to his level-up condition, Udyr will now be way easier to level and build around, as we don’t need anymore to care about dealing consistent damage to the opponent’s face.
The extra attack point is also a nice little bonus for the champion, though it doesn’t change much. With his easier, faster, and more consistent level-up condition, and the help of a better package, it looks like Udyr could now become a very good champion.
2. Bandle Tree: S -> C
While Bandle Tree was not seeing much play because of a very unfavorable meta for it, the card itself was still a very strong alternative win condition, often criticized for how hard it was to interact with.
With this change, the win condition is extremely harder to activate. Not only early units won’t count toward the Bandle Tree, but this change also makes it so you have to play The Bandle Tree on the curve and therefore lose tempo. Moreover, if the Bandle tree gets destroyed, you will lose all progress toward the win condition, making the matchup against landmark removals wayharder.
With this massive change, there isn’t much of a reason to play the Bandle Tree anymore on the ladder.
1. Rule Change – Ezreal: S -> S+ (and many other cards getting buffed)
There is one massive change in the patch that might be overlooked by players focusing on card changes – the rule change. With “Cast” merging with “Play”, cards that care about spells being cast will now be a lot harder to interact with, as their effect will trigger at burst speed.
This change is pretty terrifying when it comes to Ezreal, which will now be able to damage the opponent’s nexus at burst speed with fast spells and/or a slow spell.
Instead of having to carefully put spells on the stack, often opening yourself to the opponent removing Ezreal as an answer to prevent the damage to go off, it will now be very easy to play all your spells at once on the stack, immediately killing the opponent without giving them the opportunity to answer in any way.
While this change is particularly impressive for Ezreal, this card is not the only one affected. Lux, Heimerdinger, Jayce, Nami, Fizz, Fated units, and more, will also strongly benefit from this change.
The Patch expectations were high, with many big champion changes being promised. While several champions’ changes were a lot less impactful than what players thought (I’m looking at you, Darius!), there also are some interesting ones. Moreover, the rule change in the patch will without a doubt change the way the game plays.
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