Along with the release of Rek’Sai, Pyke, and Ekko, Patch 2.11 brought with it the largest amount of balance changes we have ever seen in a single update. To the utter surprise of us all, there was a stunning number of 47 changes total in the patch notes!
A lot of these are minor stat tweaks, but there are also some extremely important ones here as well. If you’re a newer player – or a returning player looking to jump in on all the fun of the new release – you might be feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of changes. But don’t worry, in this article, we will go through what I think will be the 5 most impactful buffs and nerfs you should look out for, and give my reasoning behind the choices.
There is a ton to be excited about in Patch 2.11, and a lot of new decks and old archetypes will win from the huge meta shifts, so let’s examine some of the changes that will guide the new environment!
On his release back in February of this year, Aphelios was incredibly strong. Over time, Riot took several steps to address his power – first, he was nerfed by losing 1 health, then his Moon Weapons went up from 2 mana to 3 mana. Additionally, The Veiled Temple, which acted as his core supporting engine, had been changed and no longer was giving out health buffs.
As a small compensation for all these hits, his champion spell Gifts from Beyond was buffed from 2 mana to 1. But the damage was done, and as a result, Aphelios – once a dominant force on the ladder – completely fell to obscurity. As you can see, so far he has only existed in 2 fashions: over-powered and irrelevant. Now with his health going back up to 3, will he finally be in a healthy spot?
At his height, Aphelios could do everything. He out-valued other champions consistently and was probably the most flexible champion in the game. His weapons allowed you to adapt to any in-game situation perfectly.
Even though Moon Weapons weren’t affected by the buff and still cost 3 mana, now is a great time to revisit Aphelios. Targon has since received quite a few new cards, there are plenty of new 2 drops for Crescendum to pull, and at 3 health, Aphelios will be a lot more resilient.
There once was a time where Karma ruled the meta, control decks were running rampant, and Ionia was the most problematic region in the game.
There were several variations of Karma decks that were dominant on the ladder at one point or the other before her original nerf – most notably Karma Ezreal, Lux Karma, and Spooky Karma. The game was played at a slightly slower speed then and that allowed these late-game decks to shine.
So, all of it was going on about a year ago, and it was the time when Karma decks were targeted by the balance changes very often. When she herself was adjusted to cost 6 mana – at first it didn’t appear to be a huge deal, but as the meta kept evolving she eventually has been pushed aside and never been the same since.
Similarly, now it might seem that reducing Karma’s cost by 1 shouldn’t be that impactful, but when you look at the rest of this patch you can start putting the pieces together: there’s a very solid chance for an Ionia control resurgence.
Karma was a really big fan favorite for control players, and any buff will certainly cause people to revisit her. At the current point in time, so many expansions later, there are a ton more spells in the game as well, which can all create interesting scenarios when doubled with the power of Level 2 Karma.
I don’t want to sound too dramatic, but this change could single-handedly make Bilgeawater a really solid region once again.
Outside of Twisted Fate decks, so much of Bilgewater relied on 2 mana Make it Rain in the past. When this card was moved to 3 mana, it felt so much worse, and trust me – I tried to make it work for a very long time.
Make it Rain being back at 2 mana is a massive buff to all Plunder cards, which haven’t seen a whole lot of play lately. Being able to remove some early drops and get a Plunder activation for 2 mana was huge in the past.
Along with that, this buff affects Miss Fortune’s power level, since Make it Rain is her champion spell. Now, drawing that second Miss Fortune will feel significantly better! And don’t forget that in this update she will also get Overwhelm back on her Level 2 form!
Personally, this change to Make it Rain is the one I find myself most excited for coming into Patch 2.11.
This might be one of the most contradictory changes made in Patch 2.11.
For those of you reading who have not been playing the game for very long, Will of Ionia used to cost 4 mana originally and was nerfed to 5 mana. During the Era of Control that marked the first half of the last year, Will of Ionia dominated Legends of Runeterra.
Setting midrange decks back a turn by forcing them to replay their big unit used to put them so far behind. Will of Ionia was also used against other controlling late-game decks to bounce their big threats back efficiently to buy time.
From the experience of the previous meta, you must know how hard a fast-speed recall can be to play around – Homecoming has been working miracles for Irelia Azir. Now, in a control deck, where you don’t have a ton of your own units to recall, Will of Ionia perfectly fits as an extremely versatile tool to disrupt your opponent’s game plan.
If there’s any card on this list that will have the biggest impact, I would bet it will be this one.
In the past, whenever any deck wanted Rummage – it ended up being treated as an absolute staple in that archetype.
Most recently it was being run to great use in Discard Aggro and Draven Ezreal. Previously it has been seen consistently in control decks like Karma Ezreal and midrange or combo decks featuring Twisted Fate.
This card’s history of effective use goes back to the very beginning of the game, where it had been a great cycling tool, or – in conjunction with cards generating other cards (Draven, Chump Whump, Ballistic Bot) – a pure card advantage vehicle.
This card inherently has never felt ‘over-powered’, but it was so much better than most of the other draw options. That ended up limiting your deck building because Rummage felt like your best choice every time.
Starting from Patch 2.11, if your strategy is still focused on the discard package or you’re running fodder generators like Draven, you will still most likely find space for Rummage in your deck. But otherwise, if you’re playing Piltover and Zaun and look for some draw, you can finally feel okay with looking elsewhere.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and also the speculations of which changes from Patch 2.11 will be the most impactful.
This is only 5 out of the 47 balance updates we got, so there are plenty more that will certainly have an impact as well! What do you think should be on this list? Thanks as always for reading 🙂
This week The Twin Sunz Podcast will be welcoming the Empires of the Ascended Set Lead Mark ‘Riot G-Major’ Sassenrath on their show to talk all about the design of the Rise of the Underworlds expansion. Catch this upcoming episode on Friday on the TwinSunz Youtube channel!