So I watched a video on youtube posted by Legends of Runeterra player and expert deck builder Mega Mogwai called Progress Day. There, he, Swimtrim, and ImpetuousPanda talked the current state of the game. They spoke about a many of thing and though I agreed with a lot of what they had to say. I wanted to interject some thoughts of my own. As sporadic as they may be.
So first and foremost I think the current climate of strategy card gaming in general is off. And I don't know if it's because of the age we live in or because we've moved card games to digital. But I think it's very weak that in a game like Legends of Runeterra a master deck builder can just post a winning deck online; and with little to no effort another player can copy, play, and ride that deck to masters. This problem being exacerbated by the fact that Runeterra has a very generous rewards system. And maybe it's just sour grapes, but I think its dumb. That said, I do appreciate the fact that you've got to understand the game and the essence of the deck in order for you to be good at it most times. (Looking at you Burn). But again, I still just would rather create a build from scratch, influenced by another deck I've seen. That to straight up ripoff a deck and call myself good at the game.
There was some talk about nerfing "Pilfered Goods" and I not only don't understand it but couldn't agree more. The whole point of the card is to be disruptive. May it be Feljord or other. You make it take from the bottom of the deck or make it cost more and it makes the card silly. I don't really use the card and I hate when it's used against me. However, I think for what it is, it's pretty balanced out. You have to remember, you're paying mana to steal a card that does not synergize with your deck. And in the case of it's plunder, you have to do damage for that second card draw. To nerf a card like this would be completely asinine as would see a lot of people no longer using it.
And again I get that the argument here is that Freljord is affected the most by it. And, yes. It completely is. However, I don't rank Freljord as low as these three. All three of them had Freljord at the bottom of their lists. And I think that's crazy. There is so much untapped Frel-potential that it's ridiculous. Now maybe it's just that I'm not the caliber of player they are and/or face off against. But I think Freljord is an easy top 4. If I were to drop my list based off of what I've seen online and experienced first hand. It would go Bilgewater, simply because of Sea Monsters. Toss and Nautilus is just nasty and it's so easy to achieve. I personally think that the whole deep mechanic is very broken. I'm playing games where my opponent has effortlessly summoned Nautalus by like turn 5. Only to be followed by a ton of 0 cost 7/7 or higher sea monsters. And I mean, maybe it's me and the deck types I'm running...but that shii cray!
As far as the rest of my list goes. It would probably see Shadow Isles second, then Freljord, then Demacia, followed by Piltover. And really Piltover and Ionia fight for that 6th spot with Noxus placing last for me. This think with Ionia is that the region is very reactive. If you fall behind with Ionia you're constantly playing catch up. And I understand that they have a elusive crew that can be hard to manage. But it is manageable. And most Ionia cards are so expensive, one misplay can cost you the game. I don't know how many times I've shrugged off a "Will Of Ionia" only to come back and win the game. Now AGAIN, I'm playing at a different caliber of opponent than these 3 guys are, but I firmly believe that since these are some of the guys building the decks that everyone is playing that once I got to their tier I would see just as much success. Ionia in the right hands is devastating. But you've gotta be a near expert player.
And lastly, as for Noxus. It's just not powerful enough. It's powerful, but not in the way other Regions are. Yes! It's a key component in Burn Decks right now. And YES! It's apart of one of my favorite decks that I created to play. A deck that I've seen marginal success with might I add. It's just that with Noxus you need percision planning and for everything to go right. Otherwise you can find that thing go very wrong, very fast. And that's why I rank it at the bottom. Hell, if you look at the Meta Tier List on Moba Analytics; outside of burn, a deck with Noxus in it comes in 13th. That's saying something assuming I'm reading that list right.
Now a lot of the conversation around Runeterra is balance. And not just of the cards but of the actual ability to play. Casuals vs Competitive. And I honestly think there is no conversation to be had on that front. From Riots stand point they want as many people playing their game as they can get, however, I feel in my heart that this game is built for a casual player at it's core. Games like Legends of Runeterra is like chess to me. There is no casual chess. You play to win, and you win with the better strategy. So when you talk about making cards more complex, or not doing so because it may alienate a part of the player base. I say bring it on. Games are about player evolutions and learning how to compete. Having a few cards that are a bit more complex would be a great thing for the health and longevity of the game.
Now its had to talk about Balance without touching on "Stand Alone", "Unyielding Spirit",
and "Ranger's Resolve". Now, rangers resolve should probably just be a 2 or 3 cost spell. I think at 1 mana, the ish is ridiculously powerful. Like it can change the game in an instant and you can still have left over mana to make more things happen. That to me is the easy one to fix.
However, something has to be done about the other two. They are fundamentally broken and can change the pace of the game dramatically. At only 3 cost "Stand Alone" gives 3/3 to a lone card on the field. And at burst speeds, that is fricking ridiculous. Then you have "Unyielding Spirit" which yes, cost 8 mana, but still. At burst speeds, these cards are impossible to counter. I understand that there ARE answers to these cards, but they are VERY region specific and there are only 2 that can respond.
I think if you just make those cards interactable, it can change the vibe. This gives every region an opportunity to solve the problem before it hits. In stead of trying to find the answer later. They don't have to become slow spells...but if you make them fast it gives one an opportunity to respond. Leaving those two spells, at their cost, at burst speeds, is damaging to the game. It turns strategy into how to defeat this specific instance. And that's not healthy for the competitive scene, but if you really want to appeal to the casual player this type of thing is infuriating.
Legends of Runeterra is killing the strategy card game right now. And that's not to say that the game is flawless, but Riot is doing the best that they can. And I believe that if they continue to keep the players in mind that this game will go far. And it has true potential to not only rival Hearthstone, but Magic The Gathering as well. I'm loving the new region, Nautalus aside. And am excited to see what comes next. I hope Patch 1.2 comes with some much needed balances, nerfs, and boosts.
To check out the video that inspired this article. Check it out here!