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Balance Analysis (November 2017) Part 2

Damien4794Damien4794 Posts: 78Member
edited November 2017 in Card Balance Discussion
Click here for Part 1. All discussion goes here.

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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.

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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.

Hog Rider – 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.

Elixir Collector – 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 – 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.

Elite Barbarians – 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.

Cannon Cart – 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.

Logbait – 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.

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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!

~Damien4794

CHANGELOG
16/11/2017:
- 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

17/11/2017:
- Spear Goblins: removed count buff – most people in comments think it is overkill
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Comments

  • FusionBoltFusionBolt Posts: 179Member
    Nice changes! The only thing is, Rage and Freeze shouldn't have a change in mechanics. And both can be good too. All cards have a downside.
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  • CarlsonCarlson Posts: 1,059Member
    All good, but RG and EB need a nerf, not a buff, they are currently too powerful in this meta.
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  • Damien4794Damien4794 Posts: 78Member
    Carlson wrote: »
    All good, but RG and EB need a nerf, not a buff, they are currently too powerful in this meta.

    Hmm, I don't see any top players use RG or EB at all.
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  • CarlsonCarlson Posts: 1,059Member
    edited November 2017
    But between 3000-4300 you will see A LOT of those, overused and overpowered. But I agree on a hog nerf, overused and maybe powerful. Or convert RG and EB to epic, that way they wont be too powerful but keep stats.
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  • Damien4794Damien4794 Posts: 78Member
    Carlson wrote: »
    But between 3000-4300 you will see A LOT of those, overused and overpowered. But I agree on a hog nerf, overused and maybe powerful

    It's due to overleveling, which is out of the scope of this analysis. If overleveling didn't exist and everyone is forced to use them at level 9, I don't think they would even appear at all.
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  • CarlsonCarlson Posts: 1,059Member
    Agreed with that. But convert them to Rare
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  • JcttehTheWiseJcttehTheWise Posts: 1,871Member
    edited November 2017
    Ok, first of all, I must congrats you for your hard effort you put making this huge balance thread. I'm sure that testing all the decks must have been tedious for you, but with awesome results.
    Now let's talk about the content of the thread itself...
    This balance suggestions list is based on tournament standard interactions and does not take into account level interactions, frequency of overleveling, use rates on ladder or different Arenas’ metagames.

    Nice to point this. Balance changes shouldn't take care of trivial problems that must be solved with other changes, such as matchmaking algorithm, level caps or things like that. However, I feel that usage rates should be considered since card balance are the only way to modify them, buffing or nerfing a card makes it look more or less attractive for players to use it. Aiway, I see you considered this point by buffing overused cards' alternatives such as Battleram, so good...
    Inferno Tower, Inferno Dragon: Resets to tier 1 when shields are broken

    Sincerely I had no idea that this change wasn't implemented yet, since it was suposed to be applied on october update. It's a change that completely makes sense since shields are a seccondary HP bar, not an implement to the main HP bar.
    Cannon: Hitpoints +9%

    One of the changes I see most needed. Now this card is completely overshadowed by Tesla, even Tombstone, and I think buffing its HP is the best they should do with this building, since damage is fine as it is.
    Barbarians: Damage +7% (affects Barbarians, Barbarian Hut, Battle Ram)

    Other change very needed. The damage buff helps these guys to be a good 5 elixir option, dealing better against swarm or building targeters (I think this should be enough to prevent a Hog-Zap push to damage tower, which is fine since it compensates their weakness to Fireball).
    Skeletons: Hitpoints +13%, damage +13% (affects Skeletons, Skeleton Army, Tombstone, Graveyard, Witch)
    Graveyard: Duration to 9sec (from 10sec), spawns 14 Skeletons (from 16)

    I'm not sure what to say about this. 1 elixir skeletons are suposed to be distractors, not tank killers (as Guards), so I'm not sure if a damage buff would be healthy to larries. Also, the HP buff doesn't make too much sense, because (I think) interactions won't change due to the low HP of the card. Summarising, damage buff seems dangerous, and HP buff not really needed. I personaly think that the card is balanced making its job: low risk and low reward.
    Bats: Hitpoints +13%, damage +13% (affects Bats, Night Witch)
    Bats: Count -1
    Night Witch: Hit speed to 1.7sec (from 1.5sec)

    I agree with the Bats change, veeery good distrators, but the Night Witch balance would be a failure for me, because if you want to compensate a buff to Bats, then nerf bat-related Night Witch mechanics, not the Night Witch herself! I would increase the bat spawning period + 0.2 secs.
    Witch: Damage +12%
    Ice Wizard: Damage +12%, hit speed to 1.8sec (from 1.7sec)
    Ice Golem: Damage and death damage +13%

    Since these changes are suposed to be paired with skeletons and bats changes, I don't have too much to say here.
    Wizard: Damage +12%

    Wooow +12% damage...
    Another dangerous change from my view. I feel that Wizard is quite balanced right now, despite the preferences of pros of Executoner. Maybe it must be the Executoner itself who needs some tweaking with his axe...
    Bomb Tower: Lifetime to 50sec (from 40sec), hitpoints -5%

    This is one of those cards that feels to be underused not because of its stats, but the mechanic itself. There's no need of a ground splash building for players, and they already have Inferno Tower as a tanky building. Since the aim of the building is to destroy swarms, it should have an elixir cost decrease in order to create more possitive elixir trades with swarm, since most of them have a 3 or less elixir cost. Other good option could be a massive rework of the card, turning it into a Wizard Tower, so it can target air and ground, but it will deal less damage and will have less HP.
    Mirror: Mirrors cards 2 relative levels higher (from 1)

    Naaah... I don't think this will make players use it...
    However, your argument is great: increasing the level of the duplicated card to compensate the +1 elixir cost is great, but why don't you apply this but in backwards? I mean, take out the elixir increase and problema solved. ALso, they won't need to design level 15, 13, 10, 7 commons, rares, epics and legendaries stats, respectively.
    Royal Giant: Damage +7%

    I agree with this since RG is awful at tournament standars. I would also nerf his HP to compensate the damage buff, or increase the first hit delay to compensate the buff.
    Prince: Hitpoints +4%, damage +4%

    Mmmmm… for me it would be better to buff Prince’s charge mechanic instead of his own stats, in order to prevent a posible tank killer outclassing. Maybe reducing the time taken to charge or increasing the dealed charged damage…
    Spear Goblins: Spawns 4 (from 3)

    Spear gobs seem very well balanced with the last change. I personally see OP having a 4th Spear Gob, outclassing Guards and 1 elixir skeletons as distractors.
    Mega Knight: Hitpoints -9%
    Since this change is based on previous change, I won’t add anything here…
    Mortar: Bug fixes
    Just the same as the Inferno change (well, at least this time I already knew it :p ), something needed to be fixed.
    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
    Freeze: Now does damage upon casting, duration fixed at 4sec
    For me this is the cherry of the cake of this thread. A marvellous way to avoid the duration increasing by levels, which is one of the most unbalanced features right now. Just awesome.
    Now some more points:
    - It was surprising that you didn’t mentioned auto pig push issue in the Hog Rider explanation. Do you think that it should remain like that?
    - I don’t think that RNG should be touched. I wouldn’t like to see programmed deck cycles; they could make the game repetitive in some way. Pump just needs some tweaking to reduce the punishment power of the card, like reducing its HP to be one shot by Lightning.
    - Curious that you just mentioned Log Bait as the main problematic deck nowadays. I would better say that CYCLE decks are strong, due to the unbalanced cycle cards such as Knight or Ice Spirit. I personaly think these two cards need a nerf urgently.
    - Also I missed some cards such as Guards, Clone or Health, cards that seem to need an urgent buff.
    Nothing more to say. Again, congratulations for the hard work you putted making this thread, @Damien4794 !
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  • TrainerGoshiTrainerGoshi Posts: 46Member
    edited November 2017
    This is a joke right??

    Why would the Ice Wizard get a hit speed nerf and not the Witch what the heck??

    Barbarians one shotting Goblins? No no no...

    Yet another balance change idea full of bias...

    No Hog Rider nor Elixir Collector change nor an obvious and expected Zap Buff to counter the nasty spell bait deck.

    Hog Rider needs something to "kill" it just as Supercell killed RG and Elite Barbarians and many other cards. I'd suggest a hit speed nerf coupled with an initial hit speed nerf as well (+0.2 second for both values). Maybe -5% HP too not sure if that one is necessary.

    Elixir Pump well... You Fireball/Lightning/Rocket it and then you got 3 Musketeers and Minion Horde coming at you. So you have to save your spell and let your opponent gain a huge elixir advantage on you that's absurd. I think this card should cost 7 elixir.

    Zap obviously needs to one shot Goblins again just look how broken some combos are (Goblin Barrel + Goblin Gang + Inferno Tower...).

    You also forgot to mention Knight and Ice Spirit. The most broken defensive combo ever.

    Nuff said, Knight needs an hp nerf and Ice Spirit a radius nerf.


    Talking about buffs you didn't mention the Flying Machine at all which desperately needs something. It's too weak for 4 elixir I'd make it cost 3 elixir instead.

    I could agree on the other buffs you suggest they would be a nice addition to the game.

    Giant Skeleton could get a speed buff (From Normal to Fast) and an HP buff. Maybe even a death damage radius increase.

    Arrows could also get another travel speed buff, Zap & Fireball still outclasses it in every way.


  • WubWubWubWub Posts: 423Member
    edited November 2017
    I don't like any of these changes other than bug fixes. That's pretty much it. You're trying to buff cards by increasing statistics that change with level. That's not the way to buff cards like these.
    If you look at my balance thread, I change statistics that don't change with level. That is the way to truly balance cards. Change their minor mechanics until they fall into the niche they're supposed to be in.
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  • CarlsonCarlson Posts: 1,059Member
    edited November 2017
    Wait, wait. May iask. Why does everyone want to buff e barbs and rg that would ruin 2v2, ladder and challenges even more. And at least 10% of players will more or less quit because of them being too powerful
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  • Damien4794Damien4794 Posts: 78Member
    Carlson wrote: »
    Wait, wait. May iask. Why does everyone want to buff e barbs and rg that would ruin 2v2, ladder and challenges even more. And at least 10% of players will more or less quit because of them being too powerful

    Not challenges, RG is very weak at tournament standards. Ladder is a different problem altogether, and requires a different set of changes (i.e. to restrict overleveling of commons and rares). This analysis covers tournaments and challenges only.

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  • MirrorkatMirrorkat Posts: 13Member
    Personally I don't think Prince needs a buff.
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  • PuzoPuzo Posts: 456Member
    Carlson wrote: »
    Wait, wait. May iask. Why does everyone want to buff e barbs and rg that would ruin 2v2, ladder and challenges even more. And at least 10% of players will more or less quit because of them being too powerful

    Because those cards are weak. RG is ok when overlevelled. EBs are bad even in that case.

  • LegoTrooperLegoTrooper Posts: 187Member
    But why buff spear goblins to OP? They're balanced and with any more boosts will come into the very OP territory. And why no nerf to hog if there is no buff to ram? We all know hog is 10x better than ram. (Battleram is only somewhat good in 2 deck hog has more than 20).
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    I'm still waiting for battleram to get buffed..... Because I have more success with a level 5 skelebarrel than a tourney standard ram.
  • Damien4794Damien4794 Posts: 78Member
    But why buff spear goblins to OP? They're balanced and with any more boosts will come into the very OP territory. And why no nerf to hog if there is no buff to ram? We all know hog is 10x better than ram. (Battleram is only somewhat good in 2 deck hog has more than 20).

    I did buff Ram. It's together with Barbarians.
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