Will Freljord Finally Shine Again? | Assessing All The Buffs In Patch 3.19!

Join Raphterra as he gives his assessment of all the buffs in Patch 3.19. Is Freljord finally going to shine?

Introduction

Hey there, Raphterra here! Following my assessment of all the nerfs in Patch 3.19, it’s time to talk about the patch’s buff changes! Legends of Runeterra Patch 3.19 brings small buffs to some champions, and several variety card buffs targeted towards underplayed archetypes. In this article, I share my personal assessment of the impact of all the buffs in Patch 3.19.

Similar to my previous article, I will classify each buff in the following categories:

  • Low Impact: Will not affect the card / deck’s power level and play patterns.
  • Medium Impact: Will matter in certain situations, but not high enough impact to strengthen the card / deck’s overall power level.
  • High Impact: Affects many scenarios and strengthens the power level of the card / deck.
  • Meta Defining: Significantly strengthens the power level of the card / deck. May result in new high-tier decks.

Patch 3.19 Champion Changes

Varus: Target 8+ Allies → Target 7+ Allies

This a medium-impact change.

In Patch 3.18, Varus has seen competitive play in Varus Pantheon. Targon Fated is one of the few archetypes that targets units consistently and can reliably level-up Varus. This buff might now allow Varus to be ran in other regions, since he’s slightly easier to level-up. Good change!


Jinx: Now creates her first Super Mega Death Rocket! on Level Up (Cannot create another that turn.)

This is a high-impact change.

Jinx receives a quality-of-life change! This will affect situations where you would level-up Jinx using Rummage, Poro Cannon, or Zaunite Urchin. Getting Super Mega Death Rocket! without needing to spend actions to re-empty your hand can be the difference between winning or losing. This change might be enough to bring Jinx back to the mid-tiers. I’m still hesitant to say that this will be a meta-defining change, just because Discard Aggro is very counterable with the right tech cards.


Jax: Equipped allies have dealt 15+ damage → 12+ damage

This a high-impact change.

Vayne Jax was already a very powerful deck in Patch 3.18. Despite the nerf to Vayne‘s Tumble in Patch 3.19, I think the deck will still remain to be a powerhouse due to Jax‘s buff. Level 2 Jax is a force to be reckoned with, capable of ending games very quickly when combined with Rally effects. Due to the nerfs to Golden Aegis and Relentless Pursuit, Vayne should still be Jax‘s partner in crime when you play him with Demacia. This change might open-up Jax to be played in other regions too, but I think those decks will always be inferior Jax archetypes when compared to Vayne Jax.


Gwen‘s Snip Snip Snip!: Drains 2 minimum

This is a medium-impact change.

This buff will affect spots where Level 2 Gwen is removed, weakened, or frostbitten. These spots are very situational, but sometimes draining an additional 2 damage wins games. Good quality-of-life change for the Hallowed archetype!


Yordle Domination Incoming?

Paparo The Great: Create a Yordle → Manifest a Yordle; Grant other Allied Yordles → Grant all Yordles

Swole Scout Redesign: 3c 2|2 When I’m summoned, grant me +1|+1 for each Yordle ally.

Yordle Newbie Redesign: 1c 0|2 When you summon another Yordle, give me +2|+0 this round.

Bandle Tellstones: Keeper’s Verdict → Electro Harpoon

These are high-impact changes.

Bandle City‘s Yordle package has received several buffs in recent patches; Riot is really pushing for the archetype to become competitive. The changes/reworks to Yordle Newbie, Swole Scout, and Paparo the Great seem to be aimed at giving Yordles a more consistent and explosive early curve. Swole Scout and Paparo the Great give Bandle City more options for its 3-cost slot. A Yordle swarm deck would likely revolve around attacking with a buffed-up Yordle Smith and a wide board of high-statted Yordles.

I’m predicting that Yordle Swarm will be a Tier 2 deck, at the minimum. There’s no way that the archetype is still bad after all these changes, right? The nerf to Golden Aegis and Relentless Pursuit might have been a pre-emptive nerf to prevent the upcoming Yordle domination!


Freljord Upgrades!

Shatter: 2c → 1c

Rimefang Wolf: 3|2 → 2|3

These are high-impact changes, possibly meta-defining.

More Frostbite buffs! Who would’ve expected this?! Freljord gets its own version of Ravenous Flock with Shatter‘s cost reduction. Giving a region access to a cheap, efficient removal spell tends to increase the region’s overall power level (similar to how Hate Spike and Quietus affected Shadow Isles). Arachnoid Sentry + Ravenous Flock is a staple removal combo for Noxus, and I’m expecting Icevale Archer + Shatter to be similar for Freljord.

Rimefang Wolf also receives some love; its improved statline should make it more resilient against removals. Rimefang Wolf‘s challenger keyword can also become particularly powerful in this era where equipment cards are being ran in several decks.

This might be the end of Freljord‘s reliance on other regions for efficient removal. I’ve already found success with Ashe Pantheon in the previous patch, and I’m looking to experiment further in Patch 3.19. I find it hard to believe that there won’t be a Tier 1 Frostbite deck after all the recent buffs to the archetype.


Troll Scavenger: 1|3 → 0|4

This is a high-impact change.

Troll Scavenger‘s new and improved statline should help in stabilizing the early game for Freljord‘s ramp decks (Feel The Rush, Warmother’s Call, Tryndamere, Buried In Ice). Maybe Troll Scavenger can be included in equipment decks running the recently buffed Wrought Colossus? Probably not, but it’s worth thinking about!

Bone Club: +4|+4 → +5|+5

This is a low-impact change.

Bone Club receives better stats, but I don’t think this changes the card’s playability. Paying 5 mana for a vanilla 5/5 statline still won’t be worth it for equipment-centric decks. However, if this card would ever see play, it would probably be in an Overwhelm midrange deck.

Spirits Unleashed: +1|+1 now granted to allies Everywhere

This is a low-impact change.

Udyr‘s champion spell, Spirits Unleashed, gets a much needed buff! This is a step in the right direction, but I’m doubtful that this change will affect Udyr‘s current status in the meta. Spirits Unleashed still doesn’t do anything to progress Udyr‘s gameplan, and I don’t see this card being good enough to be maindecked in other Freljord decks.

Wrought Colossus: Created copy now costs 4c

This is a high-impact change.

Wrought Colossus got upgraded, and it looks like a straight-up real finisher right now! If you can manage to survive and safely reach the later turns, you will likely win the game by swarming the board with multiple Wrought Colossuses. The competitive viability of decks running Wrought Colossus will be very meta-dependent. If the meta is slow enough where most matches reach the late game, Wrought Colossus should be very competitive!


Will Noxus Control Return?

Ravenbloom Conservatory: Countdown 12 → Countdown 11

Lord Broadmane:  2|4 → 3|5

These are medium-impact changes, possibly high-impact for Ravenbloom Conservatory.

Ravenbloom Conservatory gets a slight revert to its nerf, which might honestly be enough to bring it back to the meta. There are several new cards from The Darkin Saga that could be useful for this archetype: Quietus, The Violent Dischord, High Note, Drum Solo, etc. I haven’t seen Tybaulk since the nerf to Ravenbloom Conservatory, and I honestly didn’t think that the archetype needed to be nerfed. I think that Noxus control was a really fun archetype to play, and I don’t mind seeing it back!

Lord Broadmane also receives a statline increase, but he’s still a huge tempo loss on Turn 6. I don’t think he would be included optimized decks; there are just better cards to play for 6 mana.


Other Notable Buffs

Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed:  3|3 → 3|5

This is a high-impact change.

Sai’nen Thousand-Tailed‘s nerf was reverted, rightfully so! He was never the problem, and he shouldn’t have been nerfed in the first place. Sai’nen is now back to being a good card, but I don’t expect to see him in competitive decks due to all the other nerfs to Ionia.

Duskrider: 5c 3|5 → 4c 3|4

This is a medium-impact change, possibly high-impact.

Great change for Nightfall! I think Nightfall is a high-potential, underplayed archetype in the past few patches after the buffs to Diana, Nocturne, and the recent addition of Moonlit Glenkeeper. A 4-cost Duskrider could be the alternative finisher that the deck needs to finally breach high-tier status. Players have started to take notice of Daybreak with the rising popularity of Leona Diana Shadow Isles; hopefully Nocturne Nightfall follows this trajectory too!

Reaver’s Row: 5c → 4c

This is a medium-impact change, possibly high-impact.

I wouldn’t even think that Reaver’s Row would be playable if I didn’t see the discussions on Twitter regarding this landmark. There’s apparently some experimental builds using Taliyah and Reaver’s Row as a go-wide win condition. Reaver’s Row going down to 4 mana allows it to be curved directly into a Turn 5 Taliyah. This would result in wide board of decently-stated Fearsome units. Personally, I’m very doubtful on this concept’s competitive viability. However, this sounds like a very interesting concept, and it won’t hurt to do some experimentations with it!

Wrathful Rider: 7|3 → 8|3

This is a low-impact change, possibly medium-impact.

Wrathful Rider being at 8 power won’t matter if it trades evenly into 2-drops. That being said, it could potentially find a home in combo decks. Wrathful Rider can deal a lot of damage if given the Overwhelm keyword with Might or Riven‘s Blade Fragments.

Laurent Duelist Redesign: 2c 2|2 Play: Grant an ally in hand Challenger.

This is a medium-impact change, possibly high-impact.

With Golden Aegis and Relentless Pursuit being nerfed, I’m expecting the developers to start giving Demacia a new region identity. They started by redesigning Laurent Duelist to become a cheap combo-piece. Using Laurent Duelist with Renekton or Sivir are the first things that came to my mind after seeing this change, but I’m sure that there are more viable concepts out there! This new Laurent Duelist is the type of card that would just keep getting better as more cards are released.


Other Low-Impact Card Changes

I classified all the following card changes to be low-impact, and for each one I’m going to briefly discuss why I think that these changes won’t affect the game too much.

Escaped Abomination: 4|2 → 3|3

Escaped Abomination in its prime was played for its ability to threaten Nexus damage while also being able to survive multiple trades. It’s usually used with Blighted Caretaker (Saplings can drag away blockers), and I think changing its statline to 3/3 significantly weakens its damage potential.

The Darkin Ballista: No self damage on equip

Removing The Darkin Ballista‘s self-damage is a step in the right direction, but it probably won’t see play until Naganeka of Zuretta gets buffed.

Hexbliterator: 5 damage →  6 damage

Celestial Impact: Also Heals your Nexus 3

Hexbliterator is actually a decent card at 6-damage, but it doesn’t really fit into any of P&Z‘s existing archetypes. P&Z Shadow Isles control would still rather run Vengeance to secure kills. Celestial Impact is in a similar state; Sunburst will still be the preferred option for hard removal in Targon.

Ibaaros: 0|0 → 1|1

This is more of a quality-of-life change for Ibaaros, making it so that it no longer dies instantly when silenced. It’s playability pretty much stays the same as it was before Patch 3.19.

Safety Inspector: 6c 6|6 → 5c 5|5

Safety Inspector receives a cost decrease, but it still has the problem of being a dead card if you don’t have any allied landmarks to destroy. That being said, I think that it would only take a few good card releases for Safety Inspector to become viable.

Shadowblade Fanatic: 3|2 → 3|3

Shadowblade Fanatic, even at 3/3, still doesn’t fit into the gameplan of its intended archetypes (Varus combo, Kayn midrange, Ephemerals).

Gorlith The Unscalable: 0|10 → 0|12

Gorlith The Unscalable? More like Gorlith The Unplayable. Jokes aside, Gorlith is too expensive for what it does. Adding 2 health to its statline won’t change much.

Pathless Ancient: Costs 2 less for EACH unit recalled this round

Pathless Ancient is too situational, and it doesn’t help that Ionia‘s recall archetype was gutted with the nerf to Ionian Tellstones.

Void Seeker: Can now hit champions after you’ve Evolved

As a control player, I find Void Seeker to be a very cool card. Unfortunately, the Evolve package follows a midrange strategy. An Evolve control tool like Void Seeker would only see play if we receive more control-oriented Evolve cards in the future.


Closing Words

The buffs in Patch 3.19 felt like a mixed bag of balance changes. Some changes are great, some are decent, but I think that several ones won’t have any impact on the meta. From the developers’ standpoint, I think that they didn’t want to go overboard with the buffs because Worlds is coming in a few days time. That being said, I think that they will be successful in making several Freljord archetypes competitive again.

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

Raphterra
Raphterra
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