Pros talk about patch 4.8.2 and the latest Terran and Zerg balance changes.
Hello and welcome to part two of this article, where in this part we’ll be talking about the new terran and zerg balance changes that hit our screens on Tuesday.
Struggling to understand how that extra thor range will effect TvP? Or if an extra three seconds to make an adept will cancel that terran command centre? Then read on and read the opinions from three pro gamers who have been kind enough to offer up their thoughts and analysis for us.
If you missed part one of this article, talking about the new map pool, that article is here.
Joining me again is the amazing Australian terran Seither, incredible Indian zerg player Demi, and the astounding American protoss Astrea. All three of these players will be involved in the upcoming WCS Winter event, so be sure to tune in and watch them in what looks to be a very exciting tournament.
My first question to these three was in the light of the ‘big’ balance changes that hit our screens only two months ago, did you feel that these changes were needed in the first place? Or would it have been better to let the meta develop more?
“I was disappointed [the ‘big’ patch] wasn’t bigger, I think after a year the game gets a bit stale and changing it up keeps it fun. This current patch is misguided, it’s just the intended changes don’t make sense for what they want to achieve. They need to change something for TvP straight games that they haven’t addressed.”
“Personally I would have preferred them to have been constantly testing stuff out. I was wondering when we’d get another patch but I’m glad it’s here. I think certain changes like the battlecruiser one was very much needed. A lot of terrans were opening viking into battlecruiser and in my mind the battlecruiser is not a harass unit in the early game. I’m glad that’s getting nerfed.”
“I don’t think so, I think the meta is still changing with the current patch. I think blizzard mentioned that they’re seeing a lot of changes and I don’t think the current meta [would have been] where the meta [ended up]. I like a lot of the changes overall but the timing feels weird to me, right before WCS. I wouldn’t have minded a patch like this after WCS."
Mag-field Accelerator research time increased from 79 seconds to 100 seconds.
This change was meant to impact the strength of cyclone TvP proxy all ins, without overly affecting the TvZ matchup where there was varied feedback on the cyclone mech style.
“They said it’s to stop terran proxy all ins, I just don’t think they are good or seen often. They said they weren’t sure how cyclone mech vs zerg was developing and I agree, sometimes I get a good start with that and it feels great and other times I get shit on.”
“The main focus of the nerf was TvP so I guess vs zerg you just wait a little longer before you move out, maybe zerg can hit a timing before it comes online if zerg gets an early advantage.
Maybe zerg can abuse that 21 second window without the upgrade but if they go macro, cyclones don’t have a hard counter unless they overstay their welcome and get flanked.”
“This change might have some impact [with] the fact that they’re already changing oracles to armoured. I was thinking that cyclone marine all in might be really strong against stargate oracle plays but I don’t know. This is super speculative but I think this change will make that all in a lot harder to pull off.”
High Impact Payload weapon range increased from 10 to 11.
By pushing the thor’s anti massive role, Blizzard are hoping they can make TvP late game more balanced rather than the feedback that it is protoss favoured. Blizzard are also wanting thors to be better at dislodging enemy liberators which they are hoping will hopefully reduce the importance of air control in TvT.
“Well they say it’s for TvP late game, no one is going to play that, thors are just so bad in that match up. Against zerg it’ll help a little if you play the old mech push style when they just get brood lords out but that style sucks now and it’ll never help late game. In TvT it makes the new Innovation mech style slightly stronger.. it’ll just turn onto an air war though in my opinion.
I wish the thor had a role it just doesn’t seem to, you make them against mutalisks because you have to but they suck since they got double nerfed.”
“It might make them a bit better against brood lords but the problem with thors is that they are so slow, I’m not sure how much of an impact it will have but we’ll see.”
“It’s the funny meme. I don’t think the reasoning [Blizzard] put there makes any sense. Just silly, maybe Avilo will be happy.”
Weapon Refit research time increased from 43 seconds to 100 seconds
“The Weapon Refit upgrade was not initially designed with early-game battlecruiser rushes in mind, and we feel these rushes in TvZ come online with full power a bit too quickly. Thus, we'd like to delay the full might of the rush without completely removing the build from the game,” Blizzard said.
“This is going to sound crazy but I’m of the opinion that this is a buff. I think the best battlecruiser build is to make one and then play bio, if zerg is a lazy scouter they will only see if I’m going yamato or not. So now I don’t have to fake the upgrade because zerg will expect it not to be there, free 150 gas!
I don’t think the battlecruiser builds are very good really, technically it’s a nerf [but] I don’t think it’ll change much to be honest.”
“By the time the first battlecruiser teleports in they usually have yamato ready so you lose a queen and the fact they nerfed it’s research time to 100 seconds is pretty freaking big. So this [time] around as long as you have queens correctly positioned and you pull your drones away, the first battlecruiser shouldn’t really do anything.
When I asked Demi if it will make battlecruiser builds obsolete he said, “It’s hard to say, you won’t feel the impact of the first battlecruiser. You will only feel it when you get two and by then zerg should be on four bases and 80 drones so terrans might sway away from it.”
“This doesn’t really mean anything. I can’t remember the last time I saw a battlecruiser in PvT. I guess 43 to 100 seems big. I’m surprised it wasn’t 43 to 70 or something like that.
Anabolic Synthesis upgrade now increases Ultralisk movement speed off creep by 0.82, up from 0.41.
“We’ve received feedback that this upgrade isn’t as impactful or as noticeable as we’d like, so we’ve doubled its effectiveness from 10% of the unit’s base speed to 20%. This new speed off-creep will allow ultralisks to slightly outpace Stimmed Bio even when they aren't kiting.”
“I think this one cannot possibly go through, it sounds so dumb to outrun [stimmed] bio. You can’t play bio against it for sure. I think it’ll ruin those scrappy bio games that don’t get played much unless you’re ByuN. Zerg’s are just going broods now because they can’t lose a fight."
Seither on if zergs will switch to ultras instead of brood lords because of this change,
“If the terran is trading a lot I think now it’s better to go ultras. Zerg is doing well vs terran in straight games, they don’t need a buff.”
“It means stutter stepping will be a lot harder for terran players which might encourage zergs to take more fights off creep since the ultra off creep is fast."
I asked Demi if the ultra would simply be a headache for terran players,
“If it goes through, you can never attack into a zerg with ultras, you just have to turtle.”
“I’ve heard that terrans are afraid of this one. If stalker colossi actually becomes a meta thing then ultralisk infestor will legitimately be really good against that composition, especially with this change.
I doubt zergs will do that but maybe they will, some zergs like to experiment. I think it would be strong I just don’t think zergs will do it.”
Nydus Network / Nydus Worm
Nydus Worm health increased from 200 to 300.
Nydus Worm armor while emerging decreased from 6 to 5.
Blizzard said they haven’t seen many Nydus Networks used. While the all-ins are less powerful than they intended, the health buff is in the hope the worm can be more resilient to low numbers of units with moderate damage, possibly to be offensive in the face of a cannon contain.
“My brain isn’t large enough to know what to do with the nydus. I guess they just really want it to be a thing past dirty all ins.”
“I could see it being used a lot more in ZvZ. I think if you’re someone like Bly you benefit a lot from this change. More hit points means it will be a lot harder to kill it, unless you see it coming from a mile away.”
“I still think that nydus worms are good in PvZ. I just never see zergs use them. I think they’re strong. If zergs experiment with this change then I think it can get some usage. I don’t think it’s balance destroying or anything so it’s potentially a good change.
It seems to me like blizzard are trying to increase the number of mainstream strategies so that if you’re a Starcraft 2 viewer watching any given match, you’ll see a bunch of different things at the highest level so if that’s their goal, it seems like a good change to achieve that goal.”
Stay tuned for part 3, where Seither, Demi and Astrea will go over the big changes that effected protoss in the 4.8.2 patch!