Patch 2.1.0 for Legends of Runeterra is the first time new cards have been added to the game since the previous Call of the Mountain expansion. While this release is far more limited as it totals only 15 new cards, it serves as a fun appetizer to hold over fans till the next full expansion drops next month. Being released in conjunction with the games’ Lunar Celebration event, fans can get their hands on many of the new cards, along with an exclusive card back, by taking part in the festivities. The celebration will also feature new cosmetics including a board, card backs, emotes and a new guardian.
But enough about events, let’s talk about the new hotness that’s coming in Patch 2.1.0. First, let’s take a look at the newest champion for the Targon region: Aphelios!
New Champion: Aphelios
Aphelios is a three cost 3/3 whose text reads “Nightfall: Pick a Moon weapon to create in hand. Each round, the first time you play two other cards create the phased moon weapon in hand if you don’t already have one. Level Up: You cast 4+ moon weapons.”
His champion version comes with the standard +1+1 to his stats and text reads “Nightfall: Create a moon weapon in hand. Each round, the first time you play two other cards or round start, create the phased moon weapon in hand if you don’t already have one. Your moon weapons cost one less.”
Now your first question is undoubtedly: what are moon weapons? Each of Aphelios’ moon weapons are represented as two cost slow speed spells. Numbering five in total, these spells are:
Calibrum: Deal three damage to target follower. Phase Severum or Gravitum.
Severum: Give an ally +1+2 and lifesteal this round. Phase Gravitum or Infernum.
Gravitum: Stun an enemy. If it is a follower, stun it at the next round start. Phase Infernum or Cresndum.
Infernum: Give target ally +2+1 and overwhelm this round. Phase Cresendum or Calibrum.
Cresendum: Summon a two cost follower from your deck. If it has nightfall, activate it. Phase Calibrum or Severum.
As you can see, these cards offer a wide range of possibilities for Aphelios to work with. However, you also probably noticed how his text referenced moon phases. So what exactly does that mean? Well, let me tell you.
Each of the weapons represents a phase of the moon. The two phases that are named at the end of each card are the next phases in the sequence. When a player casts one of the moon weapons they are given the choice of which of the two phase options they wish to go to next. The next time Aphelios sees the player play two cards, the chosen weapon in the cycle will be created in your hand.
The last thing to note about Aphelios is that Gifts from beyond is his champion card. I give my thoughts about the card itself below.
Thoughts: Aphelios seems like an interesting champion. His leveling condition definitely pushes him toward a more small unit rush style of play, since his moon weapons will most likely require the player to play units under the curve. With all this creation happening he also seems like a possible addition to the augment decks as well. Nevertheless, his versatility could be a big strength, or he could find himself far too often with the wrong spell in hand. We’ll have to wait and see how he plays out.
Next on our exploration of Patch 2.1.0 is the other new cards coming to Legends of Runeterra. While the other regions each got a new spell, along with its new champion, Targon got three new creatures, two new spells, and a new landmark to add to its ever-growing arsenal of tricks. Let’s take a look!
Gifts from Beyond: A two cost burst speed spell that’s text reads “Pick a moon weapon to create in hand.”
Thoughts: This feels like a must addition for any Aphelios deck as it gives the player more freedom with getting the moon weapon that will work best in a given situation. It will also aid in accelerating Aphelios’ level up by allowing him to access another moon weapon on a turn, so there is also that.
The Flight: A one cost unit with 2/1 stats whose text reads “Elusive. Nexus strike: Draw one and shuffle me into the top three cards of your deck.
Thoughts: A 2/1 stat line for one is an average attacker under normal circumstances. The fact that it has elusive is a big bonus for it. Its nexus strike ability is a good card draw this is balanced out by the fact that after activation you send the creature back to your deck.
Star Bone: A two cost burst speed spell that reads “If you behold The Messanger, grant celestial allies everywhere +1+1.”
Thoughts: While I can’t see this card getting play in any serious decks, it looks like a lot of fun. Making the star doggos bigger and better is something I will definitely want to take a crack at in a purely for fun Targon deck.
The Fangs: A four cost unit with 3/2 stats that reads “Lifesteal. Play: invoke a celestial card that costs three or less.
Thoughts: I can definitely see this guy getting some play. A 3/2 lifesteal for four mana is only slightly below what I would expect the stat line to be without the second effect. However, when you tack on the invoke effect, the value for this card climbs, making it worth the cost for sure.
The Veiled Temple: A four cost landmark that reads “Each round, the first time you play two other cards refill two spell mana and give your ally +1+1.
Thoughts: This card feels like it could be one of the more potentially meta impacting new cards in Patch 2.1.0. With it aiding multi-card play strategies through both it’s granting of extra mana as well as buffing units, which if your multiple card plays are comprised of units they will obviously be smaller in size, this seems like a great way to push a rush strategy while ensuring you always have a couple of mana available for a critical spell cast when needed.
The Cloven Way: A five cost unit with 5/4 stats that reads “Nightfall: Stun an enemy. If it is a follower, stun it again at the next round start.
Thoughts: This card feels quite strong to me. Gaining a great nightfall ability that helps you control the board, possibly for two turns, is a big yes from me. With the only downside being the unit’s four health stats, I will gladly add this to my nightfall deck immediately. Phew. That’s all the love Targon is receiving in the new expansion. But while it may have gotten the bulk of the attention, each of the other factions receives a new spell in Patch 2.1.0. And some of these are definitely worth a look.
Flurry of Fists: A three cost burst speed spell for Ionia that reads “Grant an ally +1+0 and quick attack. If it already has it, grant it double attack instead.”
Thoughts: I can definitely see how this card could have the potential to unleash some nasty surprises on some unsuspecting opponents in the post Patch 2.1.0 meta. Gaining a double strike can make a unit deal huge amounts of damage. Even if it doesn’t make it’s mark in a viable competitive deck this is definitely the kind of card casual players love to break out on people.
Gluttony: A three cost fast speed spell for Shadow Isles that reads “Kill an ally with last breath to summon a follower from your deck that costs one more.”
Thoughts: This feels like a card that has some potential. With a lot of early last breath units, I can easily see a deck utilizing this to smooth out its curve when needed. Go ahead and kill your Cursed Keeper. Not only will you get it’s last breath effect, but also fetch your Kalista from your deck. This can be guaranteed if she is the only three cost unit you run. I can see real potential here.
Powder Pandemonium: A four cost slow speed spell for Bilgewater that reads “Summon a Powder Monkey and give a random enemy vulnerable this round for each time you’ve activated plunder this game.”
Thoughts: I feel like this card is a solid mid-late game play for Bilgewater. If a deck is focusing on the plunder mechanic, by turn six or later it has certainly trigged the effect at least three times, though probably more. Being able to get three or more free attackers who damage the enemy nexus on death, as well as being able to most likely dictate how the opponent blocks for a turn could spell victory in a lot of cases. I think this card has some significant promise.
Molten Breath: A six cost slow speed spell for Demacia that reads “An ally with fury strikes the two weakest enemies.”
Thoughts: As the only units with fury are currently dragons, it seems like this card could have some potential. With the smallest dragon in the game sporting a solid four attack, and most coming in higher, I can certainly see plenty of board states where a dragon’s attack should be high enough to drop the two weakest enemy units. But, most dragons are also fairly expensive, and with cheaper cards that let you strike enemies in Demacia, and them not requiring fury as a prerequisite for use, I think this card may not see a ton of play in the post Patch 2.1.0.
Stress Testing: A one cost burst speed spell for Piltover and Zaun that reads “Remove fleeting from all cards in hand. When I’m discarded draw one fleeting.”
Thoughts: Honestly, I have no idea. I can almost see where this card could combo with some fleeting card generation in P&Z, but whether or not it will be worth the effort is something I can’t wrap my brain around. I look forward to seeing the experiments people will try with it though.
Troll Gifts: A two cost burst speed spell for Freljord that reads “Grant an ally regeneration. If they already have it, grant them +2+2 instead.
Thoughts: This card seems pretty spicy. With all the cards in Freljord that get bonuses when they survive damage being able to allow them to heal back to full after taking their stat-boosting hit sounds pretty awesome. Put in a Freljord and Noxus deck and you have even more potential targets to keep getting work out of thereupon surviving damage triggers.
Wild Claws: A five cost slow speed spell for Noxus that reads “An ally strikes an enemy. If it has overwhelmed, excess damage is dealt to the enemy nexus.
Thoughts: This card I am excited for. With my current Noxus/Piltover and Zaun deck having access to both numerous units with overwhelm, or cheap ways of getting it thanks to the reforged mechanic, I can see all kinds of moments where this could potentially be a game-ender. A nasty surprise for sure.
While it doesn’t deliver a ton of cards, Riot’s first champion expansion still feels like it brings some potential shake-ups to the meta going forward after Patch 2.1.0. Also, these new cards will be coming in with a fresh batch of balance changes as well. If you want to know which cards got nerfed or buffed check out Riot Games’ full patch notes here.