When Legends of Runeterra entered its open beta stage, the developers made clear that it was their intention to make balance adjustments once per month. So far, so good: today Riot Games revealed the balance changes they're implementing in Legends of Runeterra in March. The next patch, which goes live this week, will address the balance of Hecarim, Kalista and a bunch of other cards.
Adjustments to Hecarim are a welcome sight to many. While the Legends of Runeterra meta was still quite diverse, the undead warhorse was one of the most frustrating units to deal with. Especially in combination with cards such as The Rekindler, which revives the strongest allied champion, Hecarim could easily dominate the board repeatedly. Though Hecarim's cost will stay the same, his health will drop from six to five. To somewhat compensate for the loss, Hecarim will require one less Ephemeral unit to attack in order to level up.
Additionally, once leveled up, Hecarim's passive will grant Ephemeral units three more attack power, instead of two more. Onslaught of Shadows, Hecarim's champion spell, is reduced in cost by one mana, though the two summoned units have one attack less as well.
The development shared the follow comments regarding the change: "Hecarim has been seeing a lot of play, but in most situations he wasn’t ever leveling up, which indicated he had too much “generic” power and not enough payoff for a specific type of deck where he might really shine. We're looking to shift Hecarim's power deeper into his Ephemeral synergy while leaving him a viable, but weaker, option for Shadow Isles decks in general."
Another Shadow Isles inhabitant, Kalista, is being adjusted too, tweaking how she plays early.
The developer comments read: "Kalista was the least played champion last patch, and considering Shadow Isles is the most played region, that’s not a good sign. Kalista wasn’t meeting the “exciting to build around” bar we have for Champs, so we've redesigned her to much better fit into decks that are interested in killing or reviving their own units."
At level one, Kalista's base health is now three instead of two. Her text has also become much easier at the first level. She no longer bonds with an ally or gives it a buff. Instead, she just has the 'Fearsome' keyword, and now needs four allies to die in her presence if she wants so level up. Once upgraded, Kalista gains more effects. The first time she attacks during a round she summons an Ephemeral copy of the strongest allied unit that died this game. Said unit tanks all the damage Kalista would've taken otherwise.
Though Kalista herself is being buffed, her champion spell receives a hit by the nerf hammer. Black Spear, one of the strongest spells in the game, sees its cost increase from two mana to three mana.
However, the change is not being made to hurt Kalista, as the developers state: "Shadow Isles as a region is too versatile with cheap spells at one to two mana, which allows SI to get ahead (and play from ahead) too easily. We’re breaking that power and efficiency up with changes to Black Spear and Mark of the Isles, two cards that often use one or two spell mana to kill a three or four cost unit, and which also synergize well together for even more power."
All balance adjustments:
Hecarim (level 1): Changed health to 5 (was 6). Leveling up requires you to have attacked with 7+ Ephemeral units (was 8+).
Hecarim (level 2): Changed health to 6 (was 7). Ephemeral allies have +3 attack (was +2 attack).
Onslaught of Shadows: Cost changed to 2 mana (was 3).
Spectral Rider: Attack power changed to 2 (was 3). (These are the units summoned by Hecarim level 2 and Onslaught of Shadows).
Kalista (level 1): Changed health to 3 (was 2). New text: Level up: I've seen 4 allies die. (Still has Fearsome).
Kalista (level 2): Changed health to 4 (was 3). New text: The first time I attack each round, revive an attacking [Ephemeral] copy of the [Strongest] dead allied follower. This round, we're bonded and it takes damage for me. (Still has Fearsome).
Black Spear: Changed cost to 3 mana (was 2).
Border Lookout: Changed to 'Vanguard Lookout.' Now is also an Elite.
Chump Wump: Changed health to 3 (was 4).
Crowd Favorite: Changed health to 1 (was 2).
Navori Conspirator: Changed attack power to 2 (was 3).
The Rekindler: Changes cost to 7 mana (was 6).
Troop of Elnuks: New text: Play: For the top 6 cards in your deck, summon each Elnuk and shuffle the rest into your deck. (Was: Play: Summon each Elnuk in the top 10 cards of your deck.)
Unstable Voltician: Buff effect (+4 attack power & Quick Attack) now also is granted after playing a spell that costs six or more even if Unstable Voltician is on the board already.
Riot gave a special section to the Mageseeker cards, explaining: "Mageseekers are among some of the most interesting characters in Demacia that aren’t, you know, soldiers. Keeping the “all cards have a home” principle in mind, we weren’t satisfied with how the Mageseekers ended up in beta, so we’ve reworked them as a group. Our goal was to make these cards more well-rounded in all forms of play, while providing Lux and other expensive spell archetypes more options in deckbuilding."
Mageseeker Inciter: Changed attack power to 4 (was 1). Changed health to 3 (was 4). New text: Grant me 2|+2 once you've cast a 6 cost spell this game. (Was: Play: Discard a spell to grant me Power equal to its cost.)
Mageseeker Investigator: New text: Create a Detain once you've cast a 6+ cost spell this game. (Was: Play: If you cast a spell this round, remove all text and keywords from an enemy follower.)
Mageseeker Persuader: Changed cost to 2 mana (was 6). Changed attack power to 3 (was 4). Changed health to 2 (was 1). New text: Grant me 1|+1 and [Challenger] once you've cast a 6 cost spell this game. (Was: [Challenger] Play: Discard a spell to grant me Health equal to its cost.)
Brood Awakening: Changed cost to 5 mana (was 6).
Flash of Brilliance: Random spell created now always costs 6 or more mana (was: any random spell).
Iceborn Legacy: Changed cost to 5 mana (was 3). Now grants an ally and all copies of it everywhere +2|+2 (was +1|+1).
Mark of the Isles: Grants an ally +2|+2 (was +3|+3).
Pack Mentality: New text: Give allies +2|+2 and Overwhelm. (Was: Give an ally and other allies of its group +3|+3 and [Overwhelm] this round.)
Poro Snax: Changed cost to 3 mana (was 4).
Rummage: When played with only 1 other card in hand, Rummage will only draw 1 card (was 2).