Hello, Raphterra here! This is the continuation of my series on card rotation candidates from every region in Legends of Runeterra. This article will cover my picks for rotation candidates from Piltover & Zaun, Noxus, and Ionia.
Below are the links to my previous articles about Runeterra’s upcoming card rotation:
- The Benefits Of Card Rotation and How It Fixes Legends of Runeterra’s Issues
- Rotation Candidates From Every Region in Runeterra Part 1: 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.
- 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 Piltover & Zaun
The Usual Suspects
Ezreal is a combo champion that has been part of several top-tier decks throughout different eras: Ezreal Karma, Ezreal Kennen, Ezreal Seraphine Noxus, and very recently, Ezreal Seraphine Bandle City. He has undergone several nerfs and changes, yet he still somehow manages to be part of new polarizing combo strategies. Ezreal will always benefit from the release of new spells or new spell-related champions, and I would be very surprised if he isn’t included in LOR’s first batch of rotations.
Similar to Ezreal, Seraphine and Back Alley Bar are two cards that would also get better as more cards are released. The factor of random generation also adds to their controversial status among the community. Despite this, I’m doubtful that they’ll be rotated in 2023 since they’ve only been released recently. The playrate and winrate of Seraphine decks have gone down since the nerf to Back Alley Bar, but it might just be a matter of time before the next polarizing Seraphine build gets discovered.
Nerfed Tech Weaponry
Tri-beam Improbulator and Ballistic Bot were key units in Ezreal Draven, a classic Noxus control archetype. Tri-beam Noxus was a top-tier deck starting from its creation in Call of the Mountain all the way to Rise of the Underworld when it was finally nerfed. This was almost 10 months of being at the top of the meta; Tri-beam Improbulator just kept getting better as more 3-cost cards were released.
Ballistic Bot was a flexible card that did a lot of things for a 2-cost unit. It has its obvious use case as a constant source of Nexus damage every turn, but it’s also a Discard fodder generator for cards like Rummage and Sump Dredger. Furthermore, it can grow into a late game threat if it’s given the Elusive or Overwhelm keyword.
After the recent hotfix nerfs to Aatrox and Vayne, Jinx arguably became the strongest champion in the game. However, I think that she doesn’t need to be rotated into Eternal since she’s balanceable. Reducing Super Mega Death Rocket!‘s damage to 3 should be enough to keep her in check while still allowing her to be competitive.
The Darkin Harp is another powerful card from Piltover & Zaun. It doesn’t have many use cases within the region of P&Z, but it’s very effective when equipped on Demacia‘s challenger units. Similar to Jinx, I think it can remain in Standard with a balance change, which should probably be a reduction to its power.
Rotation Candidates for Noxus
Overused and Underused Champions
In Patch 3.6, Katarina went from being a meme to becoming the most flexible champion in Noxus. Her buff allowed her to become a part of several high-tier decks like Yasuo Katarina, Viego Noxus, Red Gwen, and Leona Katarina. Katarina’s not necessarily overpowered, but I couldn’t single out other Noxus champions as potential candidates for rotation.
Riot confirmed Vladimir for rotation, and they hinted at potentially buffing him as he rotates into Eternal. Crimson Disciple getting unnerfed and rotated could be one of the potential changes to help out Vladimir excel in Eternal.
Nerfed Spells and Followers
Legion Deserter seemed like a card that had potential for several fun deck builds. Unfortunately, his interaction with Viego‘s Encroaching Mists warranted a change to his keyword (Overwhelm to Fearsome). He could be one of the stars in Eternal if he rotates with some compensations buffs.. a new keyword maybe?
Twinblade Revenant is another Noxus follower that received a keyword change (Challenger to Fearsome). Challenger was definitely too strong for a region like Noxus, but playing the old school challenger Twinblade Revenant decks was one of my memorable experiences in Legends of Runeterra. Personally, I’d love to be able to relive those experiences in Eternal!
Draven being rotated and getting back his 3/3 statline could be a possibility, but I don’t think this will happen since he seems in a good spot as he is right now. Decimate is in a similar situation. Many players, including me, thought that Decimate would no longer be playable after its huge nerf in Patch 3.16. However, the current popular burn aggro builds like Leona Katarina and Miss Fortune Pirates still run Decimate as their mid-game closer.
Rotation Candidates for Ionia
The Lone Monk in Ionia
Ionia was home to several controversial combo decks throughout the history of the game. Despite this, I surprisingly couldn’t pick out any other champion for rotation aside from Lee Sin. Lee is still resting after the recent nerfs to Ionia, but it should be obvious why he’s a rotation candidate. He’s very similar to Ezreal and Seraphine. The release of new spell-synergistic cards can always awaken him from his current meta slumber.
Irelia is in this article only because the devs revealed her as one of the confirmed champions for rotation. After thinking about this for some time, I realized that this might be a preemptive move from the developers. It’s possible that one of the new champions planned for release in 2023 could be highly synergistic with attacking, and the Riot didn’t want that champion’s pairing with Irelia to break the standard format.
Ionian Hookmaster and Young Witch are two nerfed units that probably need reverts before they become relevant again. However, they may become too meta-defining for Standard in their unnerfed forms. Unnerfing them, then rotating them to Eternal could be the correct solution.
Pre-nerf Kinkou Wayfinder was a card that had potential for fun interactions (epspecially with Teemo!). However, Kennen‘s release in Beyond The Bandlewood showed that Kinkou Wayfinder was going to become too strong as Riot releases more 1-cost units. Getting a partially reverted version of Kinkou Wayfinder should never happen in Standard, but Eternal might be the right venue for that type of power level.
Ahri and Kennen were cards that I initially considered for the “revert and rotate” treatment. However, their reverted versions might wreak too much havoc in Eternal. After their nerfs, these two champions don’t see much competitive play in the current meta. With the other powerful champions rotating into Eternal, Ahri and Kennen could get their chance to shine again in standard.
Even if the developers don’t revert and rotate these champions, they could still get the chance to thrive in Eternal if their partner cards get the “revert and rotate” treatment. Kinkou Wayfinder could be Kennen‘s instant pairing, while a partially reverted Bard could be Ahri‘s partner in crime.
With that, I’ve covered 6 regions so far! The next article will be the final entry in the series, where I will discuss the four remaining regions Freljord, Demacia, Bilgewater, Bandle City, as well as my rotation candidates for Runeterran champions. Stay tuned!