Legends of Runeterra Patch 2.9.0 brings nerfs to Azir/Irelia, buffs to Taliyah/Malphite archetype

With Azir and Irelia getting nerfed, the Watchers may loom on the horizon.

Image via Riot Games

Legends of Runeterra’s Patch 2.9.0 is coming tomorrow, June 2, bringing four changes to both top-tier and underperforming cards on the ladder.

As the second patch after Guardians of the Ancient’s release, the latest update aims to nerf Azir and Irelia’s support, which has been a popular deck on the ladder, while buffing Taliyah and Malphite, two of the weaker champions that have struggled in recent metas.

In addition to presenting the card changes, Riot has discussed its goals for live design updates and provided more insight on how it decides which cards to update and why. Since card games are notoriously difficult to balance, Riot said it uses complex data models on varying aspects like card/region usage, win rates, lists, performance against specific decks, player ranks, disparity of win rates, and much more. Riot also surveys the community regularly to see how player feeling toward the meta is, in addition to the raw numbers gathered.

Instead of blasting multiple problematic cards at once, Riot hopes to lead with small changes so that collateral damage can be avoided and decks that don’t need fine-tuning won’t get hit too. The design team also hopes for players to find new ways to evolve the metagame without interfering with too much live design, allowing the community to potentially find answers with new playstyles and solutions. Riot fears that if it changes too many cards too quickly and too often, then the process of figuring out this puzzle won’t allow the community to shift the meta on its own without the need for live design.

Riot shared that certain cards are difficult to decide on how or when to change (Azir and Irelia as a direct and recent example), while some cards, like Taliyah and Malphite, are much easier to choose when to buff.

Aside from card changes, Riot is bringing massive updates to Lab of Legends and quality-of-life changes to the newest two-vs-two Duo Queue lab. The Lab of Legends changes add five new champions to the roster and 18 new powers to select from, so players will have to take their time to learn all the new content.

One important change that will affect how you can play with your friends is that cross-region friend play is no longer supported. From the current wording provided, it seems like there’s no chance for it to return right now. But Riot did tease that there will be more upcoming social features to look forward to.

Here are all the important notes from LoR Patch 2.9.0.

Card updates

Champions

Taliyah (Level one and two)

  • Base Stats:
    • Level 1: 2|4 → 3|5.
    • Level 2: 3|5 → 4|6.

Malphite (Level one)

  • Level Up Requirement: You’ve summoned 12+ mana of landmarks. → You’ve summoned 10+ mana of landmarks.

“Both Taliyah and Malphite have struggled to find a home in the meta,” Riot said. “We like how the deck plays and these buffs add more power into the champions in a way that shouldn’t drastically change their archetypes. Taliyah should feel a little more sturdy and Malphite should level up more consistently.”

Followers and spells

Blossoming Blade

  • Cost: 4 → 5.
  • Base Stats: 3|3 → 4|3.

Inspiring Marshal

  • Cost: 5 → 6.
  • Base Stats: 4|5 → 4|6

“It’s become clear that the Irelia and Azir deck is too powerful,” Riot said. “Ultimately, we decided to focus our changes on Inspiring Marshal and Blossoming Blade to ensure that our changes focus on this deck. We want to reduce the amount of collateral damage to other decks, such as Azir Burn and Azir/Lucian, both of which we think are healthy for the game. This specific deck will remain on our watch list and we will continue to monitor its performance over time.”

Labs

  • Patch 2.9.0 brings new champions, powers, and more to Lab of Legends.
    • New starting champions added: Irelia, Zilean, Malphite, Lissandra, and Fizz have been added to the starting champion roster. Get a Malphite card back for completing a run with each of them.
    • New support champions added: Sejuani, Leona, Yasuo, and Viktor have been added as draftable champions during a run.
    • More powers: 18 new powers have been added – 10 Common, five Rare, and three Epic.
    • Taliyah rocks now (hopefully): Taliyah’s deck has been updated.
  • Riot is making a few changes to Duo Queue, Shared Spoils as well:
    • More deck consistency: Players can now bring 0-2 decks with them rather than 0-3, so they’ll always see any decks they bring as options.
    • Queue up: Players will be given a chance to add their teammate as a friend if they’re solo queueing.

Miscellaneous

  • As announced in the 2.7.0 patch notes, with the release of Patch 2.9.0, Cross-Shard Friend Challenge will no longer be supported:
    • As LoR continues to grow, we’re beginning to run up against challenges caused by outdated tech. Cross-Shard Friend Challenge is one of our main culprits and it’s currently taking resources that we need to develop some of LoR’s most exciting features planned for further along in the pipeline. We’ll have more information on social features for LoR in the future.
  • Overtime has been adjusted for best-of-three matches. While in Overtime, players now have 25 seconds to complete their turn.

Bug fixes

  • Fixed a visual bug when attempting to purchase cards or prismatics while inspecting cards in the Collection.
  • Fixed an issue where skin names were formatted incorrectly in some languages.
  • Fixed an issue where a Quest had a duplicate criteria for completion.
  • Scrying Sands now correctly gives an enemy -2/-0 even if the player casting it cannot Predict.
  • Spellshield now correctly blocks Scrying Sands.
  • Irelia should now correctly create Bladesurge in hand on attack the turn she levels up.
  • Fixed an issue where champions with Barrier would sometimes incorrectly show the wrong keyword.
  • Give It All should now correctly raise the power of allies with negative power.
  • Moon Weapon should no longer cause spells to overlap in the cast region.
  • Howling Abyss should no longer incorrectly trigger Deep or Sun Disc animations.
  • Howling Abyss should no longer create invisible cards in hand.
  • Vladimir’s Crimson Pact should no longer incorrectly damage allies to his left if he is removed from combat before the effect.
  • Several improvements to text across the game in our continued effort for text consistency.

You can try out the updated Lab and new ladder meta when LoR Patch 2.9.0 is released tomorrow, June 2.