The last Legends of Runeterra patch for the open beta is coming this week and bringing in a slew of changes to a variety of champions, as well as one card that has defined the meta for the past few weeks. Full Legends of Runeterra Patch 0.9.4 changes here.
Vanguard Bannerman nerfed
Vanguard Bannerman has been a meta-defining card since Patch 0.9.2. The 4-mana 3/3 unit came with a powerful +1/+1 buff on all units, including himself, which made Bannerman Midrange decks incredibly powerful. They were easy to play too, featuring powerful curves that resulted in often unkillable armies, even by the most powerful control decks.
The new Vanguard Bannerman will now buff only other allies with +1/+1 and not himself, meaning he’ll stay 3/3 until buffed by another Bannerman. This puts him in the range of most removal, including Get Excited! and Grasp of the Undying, as well as popular 3-attack followers like Frenzied Skitterer.
Frenzed Skitterer nerfed
Speaking of Skitterer, he’s been arguably the most popular non-champion unit for Shadow Isles. The card is just too versatile: not only does it have decent 3/3 stats for 3, but it can be used on the offense (buff other spiders) and defense (decrease the DPS output of the enemy).
In Patch 0.9.4, Skitterer’s stats will be 3/2 down from 3/3. This puts it in range of Mystic Shots and makes blocking with it less lucrative. Even if Skitterer blocks a 1/1 unit, it is now in range of Vile Feast or Withering Wail or Blade’s Edge.
Yasuo, Kalista, Katarina, Draven buffed
All four of these champions have great design, but their power level has been too low to make a dent in the meta. Yasuo and Katarina are a match made in tempo heaven, but these decks are slow and gimmicky. Yasuo is also within range of 3-damage removals, making him easy target.
In the next patch, Yasuo will gain 1 extra health, making him 4/4 for 4 mana and 4/5 when leveled up, which should help with his survival. Katarina, on the other hand, will create a fleeting Blade’s Edge when played, giving her some extra removal.
Draven is another Noxus champion that will get buffed. Previously, Draven needed to strike with one Spinning Axe twice, which almost never happened. Now, Draven needs to strike with two total Spinning Axes, making his level up easier. This should power up Draven a bit and make Ezreal/Draven burns even stronger in the new meta.
Karma, Ezreal on the watch list
Karma and Ezreal have been meta-defining champions almost since day 1 of open beta. Karma has been the core of the strongest control decks in Runeterra, including the old Karma/Heimer decks, the popular Spooky Karma controls, and the new king of controls: the Karma/Ezreal OTK combo.
Ezreal, on the other hand, is a champion whose focus is, as Riot put it, “more on removing all of your opponent’s plans than advancing your own”. While Ezreal decks are difficult to play, their style is not very interactive. Ezreal remains hidden in the deck until he levels up, and then comes down when a one-turn-kill from burst spells is possible. You will rarely see an Ezreal attack directly, as his frail body is easy target.