Feb 3rd 2017 Force Arena Balance Update Thoughts On Patch Notes

Leader Balance Changes

▶ Bossk

  • Dev Comment: When creating Bossk’s skill, we knew there was heavy potential for snares to be a bit too strong. We are modifying Bossk’s Skill “Elektro Net” to reduce the CC time, as when chained with other snares and stuns like Energy Pike Trap, it became very oppressive.

Electro Net – Snare duration has been decreased from 3.5 sec to 3 sec.

Bossk is a really strong leader, especially in 2v2 so I can understand the adjustment. The .5 second nerf on his snare is not a big deal. The bigger nerf to Bossk is actually the nerf to IG-88. He will still be a strong Empire leader to contend with, but not in the top 3 anymore.

▶ Grand Admiral Thrawn

  • Dev Comment: Although his early offensive power is quite low, his offensive capabilities increase based on how long he survives. When designing the mechanic, our calculations worked out that he was going to be OK. However we found that his Attack power boost can snowball a bit too fast and coupled with his skill makes it even faster. We are going to be keeping an eye on his performance after the patch, and we have faith that he will still be able to prove himself on the battlefield.

Student of War – The interval between Damage increase buff has been increased from 5 sec▶ 6 sec Skilled Commander – Buff duration has been decreased from 6 sec▶ 4.5 sec

This is a double nerf to Thrawn and is quite damaging. I don’t have the win rate numbers and raw data that netmarble has access to but I feel this is overkill on the Thrawn nerf. His passive builds up at a slower pace and most importantly his active has had 1.5 seconds removed from the buff. That is a very big nerf and while I still like Thrawn as a leader he also drops out of my top 3 Empire leader picks.

▶ Boba Fett

  • Dev Comment: Boba Fett is a very strategically interesting leader with his ability to ignore terrain with the Jet Pack. However, his basic attack stat doesn’t meet the difficulty in safely using that ability. We are raising his Attack Power slightly to help him deal more damage in battle.

Attack Power increased 68 ▶ 71

Boba was in need of a buff because he has been underwhelming since global launch. The slight damage buff is not as big of a deal as the Slave I change however I still don’t see him being a top Empire leader to contend with.

▶ Director Orson Krennic

  • Dev Comment: Director Orson Krennic was designed to control the battlefield with his superior Energy Recharge rate. However, the condition to activate his Special Ability is difficult to achieve with any kind of advantage. We will be modifying his special ability so that players who use him can control the energy he generates easier.

Advanced Weaponry Before: If the number of Enemy Turrets is more than the number of remaining Ally Turrets, the Energy Recharge rate increases by 20% After: Energy Recharge rate increased by 10% [with no activation conditions]

I love this change. I dislike passives which require you to be losing to take advantage of them (Krennic, Jyn, Dengar, etc) and so I rarely use these leaders. Now Krennic doesn’t need to be losing to have an energy gain advantage. He gets a constant 10% energy recharge rate at all times. This is a great buff for Krennic and I will be using him more post update to see how viable he is.

▶ The Grand Inquisitor

  • Dev Comment: We really enjoy the way the character plays, he is graceful yet deadly. We have realized however that his base stats being a little lower than other melee leaders makes him significantly more difficult to use. We are going to make a few adjustments that help keep his evil presence on the field for longer.

HP increased 1204 ▶ 1228 Dash speed increased by 15% Consecutive attack power increased by 50%

This is the most significant buff for this balance update in my opinion. I already liked Inquisitor but he was outmatched by most melee leaders. The HP buff, dash increase & combo attack power increase are all great improvements to his kit. I feel like he will be the new “Suicide Luke” and has a lot of tools to get into turret range and start smashing apart your towers. I’m going to be playing a lot of inquisitor post-update.

▶ Luke Skywalker

  • Dev Comment: His fast movement speed shows the recklessness that Luke had, however when he rushes into everything and escapes without much effort at all, something needed to be tweaked. Opponents will still fear Luke, but we are hoping that these new changes will make him much more manageable.

HP decreased 1302 ▶ 1250 Dash speed decreased by 20%

It’s no surprise that Luke was tuned down in this update after the many complaints about him. The HP nerf is not as important in my opinion has his speed decrease. His run speed was what allowed him to be so annoying, being able to aggro a turret at any time and do good chip damage if you were out of position. Now he’s going to die in one less hit and get to the turret slower which makes the suicide luke strategy much less viable. Unfortunately I feel that rebel leaders are somewhat underwhelming right now so I still feel Luke will be a top 3 leader post update.

▶ Sabine Wren

  • Dev Comment: Sabine Wren’s consecutive attack combination is current really, really strong. We are going to try and keep the identity of the character, however we will make an adjustment to try and balance her more in battle.

Consecutive attack power decreased by 20%

I felt that Sabine was in a really good place before this update but maybe the numbers showed otherwise. This isn’t a huge nerf but after the last nerf to her passive she’s definitely not the leader she was at launch. Again, because rebel leaders are underwhelming right now, I still feel she is a top 3 rebel leader pick.

Unique Card Balance Changes

▶ IG-88

  • Dev Comment: IG-88’s unique skill has a large AOE effect. Along with Bossk, IG-88 was critical to dominating the battlefield as empire. As we see in the higher levels of play, IG-88 may be too effective compared to other Unique Cards. We are however letting IG-88 terrorize the battlefield with more damage in his normal attack. We are raising his Attack Power whilst toning down his Skill Attack Power.

Attack Power to Leader/Squad increased 144 ▶ 152 Attack Power to Building increased 73 ▶ 76 Skill Attack Power decreased 150% ▶ 125%

Pretty significant nerf to IG-88 and Bossk. If the 25% decrease on his AOE cast prevents him from clearing swarm units like Mauraders, this is going to be a huge nerf to Bossk. The main advantage of IG-88 was that he was 2 cards rolled into one. He was an AOE clear + strong unit at a cheap energy cost. Now you will need an IG-88 drop plus sandtrooper or bossk missile to clear a lot of swarms.

▶ Governor Pryce

  • Dev Comment: Compared to the relative popularity of Grand Admiral Thrawn, Governor Pryce is a unique card which is hard to use or even make space for in a normal deck. We are hoping that we can make her more useful and effective by lowering her cost.

Required Energy cost decreased 5 ▶ 3 Skill Cool Down Time increased 10 sec ▶ 12 sec

This is the one redeeming buff for Thrawn. Pryce energy cost is reasonable now and her recharge rate is now 12 seconds per energy. So you only have to keep her alive for 36 seconds to refund all of your energy spent on playing her. Prior to this I didn’t use Pryce in Thrawn decks but she is now a pretty important addition.

▶ Imperial Royal Guards

  • Dev Comment: To make the Imperial Royal Guards more threatening on the battlefield, we have increased their HP.

HP increased 400 ▶ 480

EP is in a bad spot right now so the Royal Guards buff is a nice improvement. They were outclassed by Bladesmen in a lot of regards and this will put them more in alignment. If you use EP, consider using both RG & Bladesmen for a strong single target burst deck.

▶ Slave I

  • Dev Comment: We have found that this card is difficult to use due to the high energy cost and a small range. Although this upcoming change may not make it easier to use, we are hoping that it will come in handy with its lowered energy cost.

Required Energy cost decreased 4 ▶ 3 Damage dealt timing modified

I’ve always disliked 4+ energy support cards and that included Slave I. It was really a garbage card prior to this buff. Even now I wish they would do away with all support uniques and make Boba’s/Bodhi’s unique some type of squad card like the rest of the leaders but this is a nice change for now. Slave I is probably the best AOE card in the game now with it’s pull + damage. Slave I + Boba missile is going to be devastating to rebel leaders who swarm at the wrong time.

▶ Ben Kenobi

  • Dev Comment: Ben Kenobi’s skill Mind Trick is a game changer skill that is really strong. We are modifying his skill because the energy swing can be far too overwhelming.

Mind Trick – Range decreased by 20%

This isn’t really a big deal and mostly applies to low-mid tier players. Obi Wan isn’t really used very often at high tier play due to how expensive and risky he is as a unit. And Ben can still use mind tricks on Light Vehicle & Heavy Gunners which is the most valuable units he can capture. Now you will see less LV + troopers or bladesmen captures but Ben is still a decent unique in 2v2 games or low-mid tier play.

Other Card Balance Changes

▶ Hyper-Adrenal

  • Dev Comment: We felt that at its cost, this card overlapped a little too much with other Leader abilities and skills, meaning the 3 energy slot was left to other cards. We’re trying to bring this card to a more energy competitive slot, so that it can be used in more styles of decks.

Required Energy cost decreased 3 ▶ 2 Duration time decreased 6 sec ▶ 4.5 sec

I like this change, you might start seeing this card more often in rush decks.

▶ Tie Bomber

  • Dev Comment: The Tie Bomber card has huge potential for dealing damage to high HP units and structures, however it was neglected. We will be reducing its energy cost to make the Tie Bomber more useful, especially for leaders that have Energy Advantages like Grand Moff Tarkin and Director Orson Krennic.

Required Energy cost decreased 5 ▶ 4

Not enough to make me want to use it. As I said before I don’t like any 4+ energy support cards, this one included. I guess it could be decent in 2v2’s when used with a leader like Tarkin.

▶ Zabrak Assassins

  • Dev Comment: A card that has both Stealth and High Attack Power, in theory, sounds amazing, however, this card has been neglected by most due to the high energy cost. We are hoping that by reducing it to 4 energy, leaders of the Rebel Alliance will be more wary of a potential assassin ruining their day.

Required Energy cost decreased 5 ▶ 4

This is a very interesting change as they decreased the energy cost of assassins without adjusting any stats. I feel this is a great improvement for Empire. I will be testing out this card a lot post update but I feel that a stun + assassins drop is going to be way more effective than Bladesmen and melt enemy leaders. They also add an additional counter to tanks/wookies. Unfortunately ZA’s are still very week against turrets so I will still be running Bladesmen but overall a welcome change.

▶ Imperial Jumptroopers

  • Dev Comment: Similar to Boba Fett, these Jumptroopers are a great unit which are still a little too weak. We hope that by increasing the range, we can improve their tenacity in combat.

Range increased 7 ▶ 7.5

I’m pretty sure jumptroopers used to have 7.5 range and they nerfed them in the soft launch. I like jumptroopers but they can be cleared too easily by a grenadier/ion mine so I don’t see them being used much more with a range buff. I would’ve rather have seen a slight hp/dmg buff here but we’ll see how it plays out.

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