As the beta season of Legends of Runeterra continues to wind down, Riot has provided an update on the state of the game via a post on the game’s blog. Amongst touching on things such as new modes, new cosmetics, and economy changes, Riot provided some insight on some possible card balance changes coming to the game in future updates.
Chief among those balance updates is a focus on Shadow Isles, which has retaken the throne as the game’s strongest region in the 0.9.0 meta after a strong start from Piltover & Zaun. This is in large part to problem cards such as the one-mana spell, Mark of the Isles, and the three-mana unit, Frenzied Skitterer, being included in basically every Shadow Isles deck.
“Shadow Isles has been performing as the best region holistically by a decent margin. This is partially due to Shadow Isles having a ton of outright power, but also because it’s incredibly strong at doing what it’s good at compared to other regions and their respective strengths,” Riot says. “And on the flipside, Shadow Isles’ intended weaknesses—such as frail units and the inability to protect its units—are too easily mitigated by cards like Mark of the Isles and Frenzied Skitterer.”
By this logic, it will be interesting to see if Hecarim gets nerfed as well, since he wasn’t mentioned by name in the blog post. As a six mana champion with six health, Hecarim is a very sturdy unit, and by no means should be considered “frail.” Although the card was unofficially added to the watchlist a while ago, Riot is very hesitant to nerf champions.
See this tweet from Steve Rubin, Live Design/Balance Lead for the Runeterra team.
Consider Hecarim on our unofficial watchlist. Champs have some special constraints with a higher bar for even small change.
We’re exploring ways to move some of his raw power into his Ephemeral package, while still leaving him as a viable but not auto-include finisher option.
— Steve Rubin (@RubinZoo) February 17, 2020
Another aspect of future balance considerations for Riot is RNG, or variance.
“We’ve always held the opinion that games should feel decided by players and not cards. RNG has a place, but it shouldn’t take the lead, and good RNG design creates novel circumstances that players can adapt to,” Riot says. “We’re always watching how these designs are received (looking at you, Elnuks), and will make tweaks where needed to bring them in line.”
This should be a welcomed development for many players, as Troop of Elnuks is arguably the highest variance card in the game. It’s frequently able to single-handedly swing games as soon as it’s played. Runeterra streamer, “MegaM0gwai,” plainly stated his opinion on the card earlier this month.
Redesign Troop of Elnuks plz.
— Mogwai (@MegaMogwai) March 5, 2020
Overall, this was a very thorough look at the future of the game that included a lot of information spanning a wide variety of topics. Riot intends to officially release Legends of Runeterra soon on PC, alongside a mobile version.
Max is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, Washington. Armed with a BS in Game Design, he is mainly focused on covering Call of Duty, Legends of Runeterra, and streamer culture for Level Push.