for Part 1. All discussion goes here.
Prince: Damage +10%
The Prince has one of the lowest win rates in the game, and it is no wonder. The ‘golden man’ who was the king of Arena 1 seems to have some issues with being so easily countered in competitive play. At 5 Elixir, a Goblin Gang counters it for 3 with the majority of the Goblins still alive, and the now-defunct Prince + Dark Prince push can be stopped easily with the ‘tank and spank’ method for way less than 9 Elixir.
The Prince doesn’t shine in defense either, with the Mini P.E.K.K.A able to output way more DPS to incoming tanks. Add in a Skeleton Army to the tank and you see a daddy trying in vain to shoo away a surrounding crowd of 5-year olds. The Prince is stuck in a situation where its stats look decent by comparison, but nearly all of its roles can be outperformed by other cards with a stronger niche.
Since it gets countered by swarms, the most appropriate way to classify the Prince is as a ground DPS troop with high counterpush potential. Hence, the logical buff is to bring him closer to a DPS niche by increasing its DPS.
Mega Knight: Hitpoints -9%
All the buffs to his pouncing targets above, as well as indirect nerfs to its counters, could lead to the birth of a new predator of the Arena. To counterbalance him, some of his hitpoints have to be shaved off.
Mortar: Bug fixes
Since the update, Mortar has been infected with an extremely debilitating bug, likely due to another missed cup of coffee, leaving Woody rather sad and depressed. Returning Mortar into the meta may help to return archetype equilibrium by making siege a more accessible option for newcomers.
Rage: Increases damage per hit of units by 3 relative levels per level, radius to 4 tiles (from 5), duration fixed at 7.5sec and no longer scales per level
Lumberjack: Rage duration fixed at 7.5sec and no longer scales per level
Rage and Freeze both suffer from a wide range of problems that prevent them from being used at their maximum potential.
First and foremost, duration should never be scaled per level. This pathetic excuse for wasting time and gold to level it up have left a big discrepancy between its performance at level 1 and at max level. Instead, I tried to give it a new stat that is more worth leveling up than duration – the increase of the damage per hit. Instead of uniformly increasing the damage per hit uniformly like some have suggested, it would be nice if we take a leveled approach to this new idea. For example, a level 4 Rage will make common units (regardless of level) deal the damage of a level 12 of that common, or 3 relative levels higher than the Rage, while a level 5 Rage will make them perform at level 13, also 3 relative levels higher.
Second, Rage has a huge radius that does not always get used to its fullest. In order to maximise effectiveness, shaving off the unneeded radius is necessary. Combined with the damage per hit increase described above, Rage will become a much more concentrated puddle of purple juice that will hopefully find new life in the more rush-oriented decks.
Freeze: Now does damage upon casting, duration fixed at 4sec
To fix the duration of the Freeze spell, it needs a bit of a rework. Instead of purely immobilising troops for a few seconds, it will have a ‘snap freeze’ effect where troops are mildly damaged by the sudden onset of chilly temperatures. The damage will not be significant and will just be enough to kill Skeletons, or similar to the Poison’s DPS (i.e. 57 at level 1, 75 at level 4). Since it is a spell, it would do reduced damage to crown towers akin to other direct damage spells (i.e. 23 at level 1, 30 at level 4).
After the change, Freeze will likely remain a ‘spicy’ card that does not crop up often in gameplay. Despite that, it will no longer be as useless as it is now as it could do minor damage to crown towers to finish them off in overtime.
A total of 26 cards were changed during this round of analysis. There are some other changes that are commonly requested by the community, but which I do not think need changing at the moment. Here are some of these cards along with why I don't think they need a change.
– Yes, I know that some people are getting frustrated over seeing him in ‘every single match’. However, I do not see this as a big issue at the moment as part of the problem arises in overleveling, which is not in the scope of this analysis. The other part of the problem (concerning the competitive scene) is the absence of Battle Ram (its main competitor) and most of its counters (Cannon, Tesla etc.). This has been solved with the changes to the Cannon, Bomb Tower, Inferno Tower and Battle Ram above. Compared to the Inferno Tower, the Bomb Tower is better equipped to deal with Hog and rush pushes and could help suppress Hog usage when it becomes a more viable choice again.
– The ladder players cry about the Hog Rider, but the competitive players are crying about the Elixir Collector instead. The reason for this is due to the outcome of matches involving the pump relying heavily on starting hand RNG. If the pump or pump counters are toward the back of the cycle, it can be difficult to prevent the opponent from obtaining that valuable extra juice. This problem is amplified in high-level competitive gameplay where the outcomes of single matches can result in major differences in standings and prizes. However, I think the most effective way to fix this issue is not in changing the pump itself, but instead solving the general problem of starting hand randomness which gives players a random advantage over their opponents.
– Zap is ubiquitous in the Arena, having a wide variety of uses in different decks. Even when it cannot kill Goblins, it is quite safe to say that Zap is the most used card in the game. However, it does not need any change at the moment as any change may hurt the metagame and cause chaos in the food web of card interactions. Furthermore, my experience with using and playing against Zap does not indicate any sign of the spell being too valuable for its cost. Nevertheless, I will be keeping close watch on this spell as a userate above 50% can be considered unhealthy for any card no matter how ‘balanced’ it feels.
– Most of the ladder issues with this card can be attributed to overleveling, again out of the scope of analysis. The card has a remarkable userate in challenges, but its winrate is not as impressive. In my opinion, Elite Barbarians should be kept as a spicy card as it is currently, with only a minor indirect buff from the Royal Giant change, as its winrates do not warrant a buff at this stage.
– Although it looks useless at the moment, it is actually seeing usage in high-level gameplay in the ‘Cannon Cart Graveyard’ deck and various others. The perceived weakness of the Cannon Cart may be due to players being unfamiliar with its mechanics or not having it at a decent enough level. They may even have dismissed the card as weak even before leveling up the card due to the scarcity of gold and the limited request capacity of Epic cards.
– A few complaints have surfaced recently on the dominance of Logbait in the current metagame, but I feel that the current success of this deck can be partially attributed to the dominance of Inferno Tower. From my personal experience with this deck, I find it to be quite resistant to overleveled cards, and it helped me push to my second-best trophy count of 3600 (best is 3700 with Lavaloon many months ago). I also find myself relying on the Inferno Tower most of the time to take out tank units. Once that card is fixed, Logbait users can no longer turtle up as well against heavy beatdown pushes as the Inferno will now get countered more easily with Guards. If the Inferno Tower fixes prove insufficient, we might consider breaking the synergy between some of the cards in the deck. I am no longer using this deck.
That’s it for this analysis! The decks I have experimented with are P.E.K.K.A Miner Control, Lavaloon, Logbait, Splashyard (NW variant), Mega Knight Hog Control and X-Bow (cycle and Sparknado variants). Card levels are 9/7/4/1 in all cases.
If you think I’ve missed out something, or inadvertently done something which may affect the metagame adversely, please mention it and give reasons to support your argument. If it is convincing enough, I will make changes accordingly. Also, please don’t hesitate to give constructive feedback on this analysis, and how I could improve for the next one!
- Skeletons, Bats: removed HP buff, removed corresponding changes to other troops – not needed, will not change any equal level or Mirror interactions
- Witch: added spawn speed buff – to attain Witch-Night Witch equilibrium
- Wizard: Added hit speed counterbalance – responding to comments saying 12% is too much.
- Royal Giant: changed to hit speed buff – hit speed would be more appropriate as it fires very slowly
- Prince: Damage +10% (from hitpoints +4%, damage +4%) – to make it more like a DPS troop
- Spear Goblins: removed count buff – most people in comments think it is overkill