Rotation Candidates From Every Region in Runeterra Part 1: Targon, Shurima, and Shadow Isles

In the first entry of this series, Raphterra lists down his picks for card rotation candidates from Targon, Shurima, and Shadow Isles.


Hey all, Raphterra here again! This is the continuation of my article series about Card Rotations in Legends of Runeterra. In the previous article, I wrote about everything we know so far about rotations in LOR, as well my personal thoughts and views on the controversial topic. In the next three entries of this series, I will list down the potential card rotation candidates from every region in Legends of Runeterra.

This article will cover my picks for rotation candidates from Targon, Shurima, and Shadow Isles.

Criteria For Card Rotation Candidates

We don’t have information yet regarding the exact number of cards that will get rotated in 2023. For the sake of this article, I will be listing down 5-6 rotation candidates for each region. I’ll also briefly discuss some “controversial” or “hot” cards that I chose not to include in my predictions. Before we start, I’d like to share my criteria for the cards that I picked out as rotation candidates:

  • Cards that are difficult to balance – these are cards that are too strong or too meta-present if left as is, but are too weak in their nerfed states. These can potentially be unnerfed fully or partially as they get rotated into Eternal.
  • Cards that limit future card designs – these are cards that are so good in combination with something so fundamental to the game that future card designs are limited by those cards’ interactions e.g. Twisted Fate with card draw.

Author’s note:

  • Cards that underperform because they don’t work well within their regions – these are cards that are currently too weak, and will need radical departures from their current designs. This is the case for Vladimir; Riot has stated that he will potentially get buffed as he rotates into Eternal while they plan for his “triumphant return in 2.0 form”. These cards would be very difficult to speculate on, so I won’t be attempting to predict them in my articles.

Rotation Candidates For Targon

Pantheon’s Fated Package

Pantheon‘s Fated package was a long-time meta staple, but several nerfs to its key units toppled it from top-tier status. Pantheon is a potential limiter for future card designs. The Fated package becomes stronger and stronger with the release of every new card that targets units. We saw Fated pop off with the release of Yuumi and Attachments in Beyond the Bandlewood, and again with Equipments in The Darkin Saga.

If Pantheon and his followers get rotated into Eternal, we may see some Fated nerfs get reverted. Personally, I think reverting the stat nerfs to Pantheon and Saga Seeker is completely fine. This might be subjective, given that this was one of my favorite decks in the game.

Other Nerfed Landmarks, Spells, and Followers

The Veiled Temple was the star landmark of the Aphelios champion expansion, but it hasn’t seen any competitive play since its nerf in Patch 2.5. I wouldn’t mind seeing a partial buff to The Veiled Temple‘s stat grant from “+1|+0” to “+0|+1”.

Zenith Blade was a staple in Pantheon Fated, as well as in a controversial deck of the past era: Zoe Lee Sin. If Zenith Blade‘s nerf gets reverted, we might be able to play both Pantheon Fated and Zoe Lee Sin close to their prime forms in Eternal.

Sparklefly single-handedly shut down aggressive strategies back when it had a mana cost of 2, but it immediately became unplayable with a mana cost increase in Patch 2.18. It could be another potential candidate for the “revert and rotate” treatment.

Notably Absent

Aphelios and Leona were two champions that I was considering for Targon. However, after thinking about it, they seem to be in a fine spot in the current meta. They would probably be powerhouses in Standard once the other powerful cards rotate into Eternal, but I think they could be easily balanced with some nerfs. Pre-rework Aphelios / Crescendum would’ve definitely been prime candidates for rotation since they limited future card design for 2-cost units.

Rotation Candidates for Shurima

Akshan’s Warlord’s Palace

Similar to Pantheon, Akshan is also too good with the fundamental game aspect of targeting cards. Akshan and Warlord’s Palace continue to get better with each new expansion. Some recent examples would be the usage of Momentous Choice in Akshan Lee Sin, and the equipment cycling strategy in various Akshan decks running The Darkin Bloodletters.

Probably not too relevant to the topic of card rotations, but Akshan was also a part of controversial “infinite combo” decks that abused Fount of Power‘s discount effect.

If Akshan gets rotated to Eternal, I don’t think we will see a revert to his recent nerf. Even post-nerf, he still sees relevant competitive play in the modern meta.

Landmark Synergies and Cool Finishers

Taliyah has the ability of doubling up on landmarks with powerful effects. She might not be too strong in the current meta, but the release of a single powerful landmark can quickly put her over the top. She’s potentially a limiter for the design of future landmark cards. Promising Future was in a similar spot, but it probably will never see play at its current mana cost. If Promising Future ends up getting rotated, it might go down to 5 mana.

Void Abomination is my biased, personal choice for card rotation because I’d love to be able to play a prime, 8-cost Void Abomination in Eternal. The evolve archetype still sees some fringe competitive play in Mono Kai’sa, and it’s likely that the archetype becomes more viable with new expansions. I think having Mono Kai’sa Evolve be viable in Standard while having Void Abomination Evolve be viable in Eternal would be a nice way of being able to play different forms of an archetype on two separate formats.

Notably Absent

Kai’sa, Rite of Calling, and Ruin Runner are cards that you could argue for a “revert and rotate” treatment. However, I personally think that their pre-nerfed forms would be too strong even for the Eternal format. There isn’t an elegant way to partially unnerf Ruin Runner and Rite of Calling, and a full revert should be out of the question.

You could probably partially revert Kai’sa‘s nerf, but I think she’s already in a good spot in her current state. She’s pretty weak in the present meta, but she could get better as Riot releases more units with different keywords. If her power level goes overboard, stats nerfs should be enough to balance her out without making her unplayable.

Rotations Candidates for Shadow Isles

Overused Champions

Viego came into the game in the Sentinels of Light champion expansion in 2021. Once the Ruined King hits the board, Viego decks can often just play the stall-and-pass game until Viego levels up. Viego wasn’t overly powerful, but he hard countered most midrange decks. You often will have no way to win unless you have removal for Viego.

Viego was a consistent meta-staple until his cost increase from 5 to 6 in LOR Patch 3.16. After this nerf, he effectively disappeared from any competitive deck. The developers might decide to revert Viego‘s nerf and allow him to shine again in Eternal.

Outside of Viego, I don’t see any clear cut rotation candidates from Shadow Isles‘s champions. If I had to pick another champion, I’d be looking at Gwen. She’s currently in a similar spot to Viego, wherein she’s been seeing consistent high-level play since her release in Forces From Beyond. It’s possible that the developers decide to include her in the card rotation instead of giving her a heavy nerf.

Spooky Followers and The Ultimate Finisher

Cursed Keeper and Rhasa The Sunderer are two followers from Shadow Isles that dominated in Foundations and Rising Tides. We may see full (7-cost Rhasa The Sunderer) or partial (4/3 Escaped Abomination) nerf reverts if they are included in the first batch of card rotations.

The Harrowing was one of the first cards that stood out to me for potential rotation candidates. It could be limiting design for future cards since it’s very synergistic with units with on-summon effects. Examples for this would be The Rekindler, Fallen Reckoner, and Risen Reckoner.

Notably Absent

Quietus is a very prevalent card in the current meta because of its ability to efficiently remove low-power units. Its utility to destroy equipment is very relevant against Darkin and Aatrox midrange decks. I’m personally fine with Quietus‘ current power level, but I could understand the view of those who think otherwise. However, Quietus doesn’t really fit my criteria of candidates for card rotation. It’s a card that could probably stay in Standard with a small balance change.

Pack Your Bags could be a candidate for rotation with a partial nerf revert – maybe you could bring it down to 4-cost? However, in my opinion it can stay in Standard in its current form.

Closing Words

That’s it for now! I will release the next article of this series in a few hours, covering Piltover & Zaun, Noxus, and Ionia. Stay tuned!

Did I miss out on other card rotation candidates for the regions I covered in this article? Do you disagree with some of my predictions?

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on YouTube, Discord, or Twitter!

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