The Runeterra patch notes 4.1 are officially out! A lot of powerful cards that were dictating the meta got hit with nerfs. Katarina, Quietus, Jinx, and Kayn were toned down after a long time of over-performing on the ranked ladder and tournament scene.
The patch has a lot of buffs, major and minor, that will shake up the meta and give a boost to different archetypes.
Patch 4.1 also adds two new cards to the game: Soul Cleave and Castigate. Soul Cleave will be a popular choice for players to experiment with and try to find innovative interactions.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers of patch 4.1!
The popular Gwen Katarina was hit by two nerfs: Katarina and Quietus. Katarina’s power was reduced by 1, which should help take away from her aggression. However, her recall mechanic is untouched, meaning she’ll still be able to play her role as a Rally activator for the deck.
In hindsight, the -1 Power shouldn’t affect the archetype too much, however, it does enable a lot of counterplay. Cards like Troll Chant and Scrying Sands can now shut down a Katarina attack and allow you to block and kill her.
Speaking of Quietus, the 1-mana spell has long been a reliable cheap removal option. Its ability to shut down expensive low-power units made it impossible for a lot of decks to exist in the meta. Champions such as Braum, Galio, and Veigar were too difficult to set up and keep on the board. The tempo loss to a 1-mana removal card was not worth the risk.
With the new change, Quietus can kill units if the total of their Power and Health is 4 or less. The new change should allow for more cards to exist in the meta and may necessitate reconsidering the inclusion of the card in some lists.
The Jinx buff has brought decks like Jinx Lulu, Ekko Jinx, and Draven Jinx into the spotlight. Jinx Lulu and Ekko Jinx have been extremely popular and two of the best choices for competitive play.
Mega Death Rocket’s damage drops to 3, giving the opponent more time to win before the burn damage closes out the game.
As for Poro Cannon, the card now costs 1-mana, which slows down the early aggression the deck can impose, especially with a Lulu and Flame Chompers! combo.
The Ekko version won’t be affected much by the Jinx nerf. You might find yourself in need of that 1 damage to close out the game, but overall the deck seems to still be solid. The shift in the meta and rise of new decks will dictate whether the deck remains in the top tier.
Drawing your champions at the right time was so consistent that it allowed players to remove a copy of each champion from the deck.
The change might force players to reconsider the old deck list and add a third copy of Kayn and/or Aatrox.
The archetype should still hold up well in general, but expect to have your champions on the board later than what you’re used to. You’ll also be more reliant on actually drawing your champion than tutoring them in the early stages of the game.
Ornn received a +1|+1 stats, giving him a more threatening presence on the board. As for Jax, he now has a base Overwhelm keyword when leveled instead of relying on The Light of Icathia. This is a good change if you’re looking to give Jax a real weapon while maintaining his Overwhelm keyword.
Jax Ornn suffered from its lack of cheap removal spells. This comes to an end with Fish Fight gaining the Weaponmaster attribute, allowing you to include the card with any Jax deck.
Illaoi gained +1 power, helping her kill units, put more offensive pressure, and level up faster.
Additionally, Tentacle Smash‘s mana cost was reduced to 3. This is a powerful removal card in Illaoi decks and can help you accelerate your champion’s level-up condition.
Lastly, Nagakabouros now offers value immediately on play, spawning two tentacles to empower your board. The buff might not be enough to justify adding it to the list, we might see a one-copy inclusion as late gameplay.
- Notable Mentions: Lissandra, Kayle, Shyvana, Lucian, Shard of Reverence, Shadowshift, Maokai.
Lissandra Taliyah used to be a meta-dominant deck, and with Lissandra’s buff in Patch 4.1, we might see a return of the Thrall overwhelm deck. The advancement of the Frozen Thrall can set up a powerful board if Taliyah or Promising Future are played on the landmark.
Kayle can now drop on the board a turn earlier with the mana cost reduction. My main problem with Kayle was its difficult to level her up. With a wide board of units, Kayle dropping on turn 5 and setting up a swing can help her level faster.
Lucian‘s change will allow you to play him earlier and start working on his level-up. It’s difficult to assess if the change will be enough to bring Lucian back into the meta. Lucian can exist in decks capable of turbo-leveling him up and taking advantage of the Rally effect he provides.
Shyvana‘s level-up condition has increased but now she doesn’t have to be on the board to level up. This comes in handy int he case you don’t draw Shyvana in the early stages of the game. Moreover, her Strafing Strike costs now 2 mana, letting you pick off pesky units much easier.
Shadowshift‘s mana cost is down to 2. We might start seeing the card added to Ionia decks as a protection tool.
Deep keeps receiving tiny buffs here and there. Maokai’s power goes up to 2, allowing him to block and kill cheap units.
The patch brings a lot of buffs to underplayed cards! It’ll be exciting to see the community’s new creations and how the meta will develop in the upcoming weeks.