Major Rebalancing Overview (October 2019 Edition)
Hi guys, and thank you for checking out our article, where we walk you through the major buffs currently set for the end of October.
After waiting nearly 2-3 weeks, we finally got a preview of the promised buffs to the following heroes:
Some of these heroes have never seen mainstream use; others have seen limited use or previously been supplanted in their roles - Elson, Tenebria, etc.
Meanwhile, some have gained entirely new identities - Specimen Sez and Assassin Cidd, especially.
Please keep in mind that these buffs are only PROPOSED buffs and Smilegate may decide to change them (though this is unlikely).
These buffs look promising, so let’s get on with the analysis!
Specimen Sez (aka, Spez)
S2 gains 15% additional stun chance. S3 gains an unconditional 30% DEF piercing, retains the 100% DEF pierce on stunned targets, and gains the Extinction effect on kill (previously unique to Lilibet).
Specimen Sez got a MAJOR buff to his ability to keep targets down for good with Extinction, supplanting the other user of Extinction, Lilibet.
A short comparison of the two shows us the following differences between Spez and Lilibet:
30% unconditional DEF penetration
Resetting S3 on kill
Higher base ATK
Higher base SPD
Higher base CritC%
Better Artifact Selection
Lower ratio (But NOT overall damage. Despite having a 1.5x ratio vs Lilibet’s 2.0x or 2.6x with Soulburn, Lilibet breaks even with him on a target that has 1,000 DEF or less. She only does more damage on Soulburn. Thank you to Okloio for pointing this out.)
No Soulburn on S3 (he still has the hilariously bad S2 soulburn)
Much lower DEF
Slightly longer cooldown on S3 if it doesn’t kill
For an attacking hero whose job is killing specific heroes, however, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. The cons themselves aren’t even that bad - Spez’s lower ratio is fully compensated for with his DEF piercing, his much lower DEF doesn’t matter in such an offensive role, and the slightly longer cooldown on S3 is irrelevant if he kills his target (which he should, barring any misses). Speaking of misses, his neutral element prevents misses from occurring normally. He even gets 6% more crit to make building him easier.
He unfortunately still suffers from misses, like everyone else, so don’t expect that to go away anytime soon. You can and will critically fail to hit an important target despite his neutral element.
Specimen Sez’s new tools allow him to be a strong wall/stall breaker, and he massively punishes overly defensive teams that rely on resurrection. We could be seeing a strong breath of fresh air on the offensive side, instead of the regular cleave offense. He’s also a strong candidate for GW, where he can break important semi-tanky targets and stop them from getting back up.
“*chuckles* I’m in danger.” - Arbiter Vildred, probably clutching his MLDB ever tighter
Every other tank/bruiser also puckers their lips, because Spez is now one MEGA WARHEAD.
S1 gains 20% more damage. S2 decreases Speed in addition to CR. S3 gains 75% AoE Sleep chance.
Tenebria got some significant utility value and a very nice damage increase, but we don’t foresee her place in the PvP meta being overly changed. She is still somewhat slow for a mage, at only 108 base Speed, making her a poor initiator, and even with a 75% sleep chance and a CR pusher, she will still struggle with being a Fire hero in an ice meta, leading to misses, and the very common immunity set seen in higher-tier PvP/GW.
That being said, she gets some fantastic value out of these buffs, as seen below:
S1 gets 1.2 ATK scaling on her monstrous base ATK (3rd highest ATK)
S2 AoE Speed Down is VERY strong and has excellent synergy with her CR knockback
S3’s sleep chance stops boss adds cold turkey
If you feel like being risky, you can run low crit-rate DPS for frontloaded alpha strike damage, though the 75% sleep chance CAN mess you up here
Fire element and great morale make her amazing in Raid/Hell Raid; she also has double of AoEs for this purpose
In conclusion, despite not being horribly effective at dealing with PvP in the current meta due to her skill mechanics and poor opening Speed, she is likely to make a BIG splash in hard PvE content.
Lastly, the counter set might see some extra use due to the massive CR boost if she puts an enemy to sleep.
She makes Hell Raid and most PvE content kiss her feet.
S1 hits 2 targets (instead of 1) and transfers 2 debuffs (instead of 1). It also heals him for %mHP. S2 gives blind immunity in addition to stun/silence immunity. S3 grants DEF+ for 2 turns.
Zerato is a champion now. For real this time. In a previous review, I was critical of Champion Zerato - his low ratios, his low durability, his weakness to blind, and his limited debuff spreading all conspired to pigeonhole him into a “could be useful, if only…” role.
Well, most of that has now been fixed. As seen below, Champion Zerato gets some excellent value out of his new kit:
S2 gives blind immunity - now he can’t miss the critical debuff transfer chance
Hits 2 targets with S1, allowing him to splash two enemies with debuff transfer
Transfers 2 debuffs at once (there are a seriously limited number of heroes who can inflict MORE than two debuffs at once)
S3 grants him strong durability for 2 turns because of DEF+
S1 grants him additional durability with a %mHP-based heal
As a result, Champion Zerato is now a fairly complete package; he has more damage (though not better ratios) due to S1 splash, better debuff transfers, immunity to the blind that plagued him in PvP, and the durability (via healing and DEF+) that he so badly needed to keep the counters rolling.
Of course, he isn’t without his shortcomings. We don’t foresee him being a potent defensive force unless you’re defending against players with a single-minded “Use Dizzy on everything” approach, mostly due to his AI. Smart players know enough from the hell that is Abyss Sez not to debuff him, and he’s very weak to first-turn spike damage, before he can fire off his S3.
That being said, he is a strong tool on offense, as his AoE ATK/DEF break S3 and his debuff transfer are excellent for breaking past stalling teams, or even clashing with debuff-heavy bruisers.
He’s good in debuff-heavy PvE fights as well, and his morale value is very, very high, making him a good overall Raid/HellRaid option.
Helps break the stalling debuff comps and can get you to places in Raid much easier. Due to his overall versatility, he can be good everywhere.
S1 replaces Poison with 50% DEF- for 2 turns. S3 removes 20 Souls from the enemy team and grants EVA+ buff for 2 turns.
Let’s go over a little of what makes his new and more complete kit tick:
128 whopping base Speed
Unresistable 20 Soul Destruction on S3
Rage-inducing EVA+ for 2 turns on S3
50% 2-turn DEF- on S1
Dodgey Thief Artifacts
Move aside DEF teams; we’ve got a new mechanic here!
ACidd is the first hero to ever receive something that exclusively affects attacking teams when set to defense - his S3 destroys up to 20 of the enemy team's Souls, regardless of Hit/Miss/EffR%.
This heavily denies Soulburns and removes a primary advantage of arena offense/GW teams. In addition, he’s now one slippery bastard, with access to Evasion+ on his S3 (which his AI WILL use at the beginning of every encounter) and much better synergy with existing Thief artifacts such as Violet’s Talisman and Moonlight Dreamblade.
Of course, there were things about him that didn’t change very much as well:
His ATK value is still low, not breaking 1K+
His S3 still has weird ENEMY Speed scaling
S1 is a crapshoot (though a better one)
Also, despite this new mechanic, enemies can just:
Bring another Tagehel’s Ancient Book *rolling eyes*
But at least they’re forced to consider the opportunity cost of having to run another mage with another high-leveled Tagehel’s Ancient Book, and it can serve a purpose by pigeonholing the enemy team composition.
All things considered, Assassin Cidd is much improved as a Hero overall, with his unique Soul destruction, better team synergy, and much better survivability. He also fills a unique niche on defense teams and we are likely to see him a lot going forward.
S3 gained 40% stun chance (up to 90%).
While certain a very powerful buff to her reliability, Dominiel needs more than just an (almost) guaranteed stun to shine in Arena.
Although her kit gets quite a bit more power out of the stun percentage, it’s unlikely to change her position or usage in PvP, as she does not have the “Ignore Effect Resistance” Soulburn. She is also quite slow for an opener, clocking in at just 112 SPD (still slower than many PvP openers, but NOT slower than ML Ara; good catch /u/MunitionsFrenzy!)
Making Dominiel similar to SB Ara tempo-wise was not the way to go (she's a bit faster than SB Ara at getting turns, but doesn't do the damage). Dominiel was previously headed in a good direction due to her rather unique S2 Shield/Reflect combination, but due to the weird buff decision, it looks like Smilegate has decided to do a complete 180* turn away from her unique mechanics and tried to frontload her S3.
It's also worth noting that, with some Soulburn support, she can pull out nearly back-to-back S3's, a niche that ML Ara CANNOT fill.
Strawberry milk is still best milk. Dominiel’s stun buff is not useful where it really matters, as it did nothing to accentuate her actual strengths or to shore up her weaknesses.
S1 gives 15% CR, S3’s random bonus effects modified to remove (ATK+, Barrier, Speed+) and (Greater ATK+, Continuous Healing) added.
Rin got an additional gambl-ey bit added to her S3, with the new jackpot being Greater ATK+, and some of the less useful stuff (ostensibly) being removed. In addition, her S1 now grants her 15% CR when used, opening up some… weird build ideas with Counter/HP sets, but more importantly, giving her more consistency due to her mediocre SPD (though this is a problem that plagues almost all Soul Weavers).
It’s important to note Rin’s S3 mechanics - she actually has TWO separate buff pools to pull from, which post-patch, are likely to look like this:
|Heal Over Time
You’d think that the Heal Over Time would be in the defensive buffs column, but that may not necessarily be true going forward, as it was formerly in the offensive column. We’ll have to wait until patch day to find out.
What this actually means is that there is still a great degree of variance, but you’re likely to have a 2/3rds chance to roll ATK+ or CritD+ for your offensive buff, which are extremely useful (Note: Critical Damage Buff does not allow you to bypass the total Crit Damage cap of 350%). The odd one out is CritChance%, which you ideally won't be relying on... which makes it rather useless.
You're then 2/3rds likely to roll EVA+ or DEF+, both of which are great survivability options, though Debuff Immunity is also very nice.
As you can see, Rin got overall consistency upgrades. She’s a good option for content where you can afford to not have specific buffs for certain turns, and her overall throughput is improved due to getting self-CR boosted constantly.
Not a bad choice for a Soul Weaver now, although the crapshoot-y nature of her skillset will probably get to you. Still, a fun option.
S1 dispels 2 buffs. S2 passive's Shield is now granted to the lowest-HP ally at beginning of battle.
Arowell got some straightforward buffs, which allow her to do the following:
Function as a discount F. Ceci for 1 squishy ally
Dispel somewhat consistently on S1
And really, that’s about all she got, making for a rather disappointing ‘rework’. She could certainly have used some more buffing.
In comparison to the vaunted defensive queen, Fallen Cecilia, Arowell has a lackluster shield (same ratios as F. Ceci’s, but her much lower base HP hurts it significantly), the shield is ST only, and she has a 2-buff Dispel at 75% instead of a 100% Provoke on S1.
There’s really not much to see here. F. Ceci is, of course, much better, though I suppose you could go for Arowell if you’re really on a shoestring budget.
Rather insignificant buffs. Take Eaton if you want a cheap Light tank; at least he has damage redirection. Doesn’t compare in any way to Fallen Ceciilia (not that we expected her to, but at least have your shield be larger than Dignus Orb! FOR SHAME!)
S2 gains 50% unconditional evasion instead of unlocking evasion based on current HP.
This is a massive buff.
...too bad Mirsa as a whole is still a rather incomplete hero.
Here’s what she can do well:
120 Speed; blazing fast first turn disruption
2-turn Silence on S3
50% 2-turn Speed debuff
...and here’s what she can’t do well:
Damage (low base ATK, despite solid ratios)
Reliably silence heavy bruiser comps
Contribute to the team effort (her off turns are really poor)
Deal with Immunity set in any way
This is a direct result of being centered around a single, simple concept (DODGE!), but with seemingly no concrete goal in mind. As a speedy disruptor, Mirsa SHOULD have the following to make her a more complete package: Irresistable Soul Burn S3 to make sure the Silence actually lands, and a way to remove Immunity set coverage. Here’s to hoping that they fix that with her eventual Exclusive Equipment.
Mirsa is a good idea, but an incomplete one. Pray for an eventual EE upgrade.
Elson ...THE BLIP
S2 cooldown decreased by 1, S3 cooldown also decreased by 1, and S3 gains teamwide healing
Well, Elson just *blipped* back into existence. Unfortunately, like Peter Parker, he’s missed some time and probably needs a bit more to catch up with everyone else who left him behind. This is a good start, though, since he got the following:
Extra team healing
More ST healing
Lowered cooldowns all around
Unfortunately for him, though, neither Rikoris nor Tieria got blipped back into existence, and without all 6 gems in the Infinity G- I mean, all 3 members of the Holy Trinity, Elson himself just isn’t as impressive any more.
All things considered, however, he is now in a much better place due to being able to do what Soul Weavers generally do best: heal people.
“Anyway… this is nice.”
Elson is back, boys... though he probably also needs his Exclusive Equipment to catch up to the meta.
Calling it now! One of his options for his Exclusive Equipment is -1 CD on S3!
Wrap-up and Conclusion
Well, that's all for the current review.
Small heads-up; Kise does not have an announced buff preview... yet. I'll get to that as soon as Smilegate gives us more information.
Lastly, Corvus IS getting nerfed at the same time that these buffs occur. You can read more about it here.
If you've got any questions for me, feel free to reach out! You can always find me on the subreddit or on Discord at Burtgang#9627. I look forward to reading/hearing all your feedback!