This is a long post, but I've tried to organize it to be easier to read, in rough order of least to most controversial. I know most people are focused on PvT, but I think the Zerg matchups are in a very weird spot, so I'm focusing on that here.
- Observation: The Zerg matchups, and especially ZvT, are weird. Serral's winrates are still high, but the playstyle diversity on the Zerg side is extremely limited, focused on high-drone-count defensive play with heavy emphasis on counterattacks in order to get into a favorable late game. Zergs are severely punished for overextending with their main armies in a way that Terrans are not.
- Potential cause: Zerg midgame armies trades too well on creep and too poorly off creep. The most reliable win condition in both ZvT and ZvP is therefore to force an allin with counterattacks and defend it with a perfect defensive engagement on creep. Because Serral's mechanics are infallible, he is imperious at this playstyle, because he will execute the perfect defensive engagement much more consistently than any other Zerg.
- Aim of solution: Buff zerg armies off creep, nerf them on creep. This gives zerg more potential to attack with their main army pre-hive. It also shifts the vZ matchups to center a little more on good army engagements and less on clearing creep (though clearing creep will always be important). This rewards active play and aggressive trading while nerfing the importance of a perfectly-controlled main fight.
Specific changes (numbers TBD; happy to make a test mod if this seems interesting to people):
- Change centrifugal hooks to give banelings more speed increase off creep, less speed increase on creep. In conjunction with the baneling's centrifugal hooks HP nerf / reversion in patch 5.12, this will hopefully keep banelings at a healthy power level off creep, but make them less oppressive on creep
- There's the age-old interaction where speed banes off creep are slower than stimmed marines; I think that can be safely changed without breaking the game. Though this does mean the many hours Diamond Terrans have spent in marine split challenges (myself included) are [partially] negated.
- Change muscular augments to give hydras more speed increase off creep, less speed increase on creep. Change metabolic boost to give zerglings more speed increase off creep, less speed increase on creep.
- Both of these changes are to reward zergs for stepping off creep and also to punish zergs for being out of position on creep.
- Change anabolic synthesis to decrease ultralisk collision size. Almost nobody has complained about ultras being overpowered, and they still choke up zerg armies, especially off creep. This doesn't change their use in late game ZvP engagements, where they are the only ground unit, but makes them better on counterattacks and more able to retreat from counterattacks.
- Remove adaptive talons movement speed bonus off creep. Lurkers are a great defensive unit but are a very boring unit on offense, since it outranges static defense. The goal is to shift counterattack strength from lurkers to ultralisks, which have more counterplay (static defense, walls) while keeping the lurker as a strong defensive anchor.
- Serral's signature 4 lurker 20 ling counterattack squad is so oppressive in late game ZvP because it scales infinitely well vs cannons and retreats very easily once units arrive to clean them up. Ultras and banelings are more interesting counterattack units since they actually scale vs static defense depending on the commitment.
Additional changes for specific interactions:
- Change shield battery healing range to be longer in range of a nexus. This makes holding various 3 base allins in ZvP (hydra bane, hydra ling) busts easier. This also incidentally increases protoss defensive strength in PvT without significantly buffing proxy stargate.
- Maybe decrease queen movement speed on creep? Queens are a very strong defensive unit and are necessary to hold many pushes. Nerfing their movement speed will keep their strength vs allins roughly similar while making it easier to out position them. But this could make certain builds very hard to hold (e.g. glaive openings, or hellion openings). Maybe look at this later.
- Increase roach base movement speed; speed with glial reconstitution is the same. Early game openings like cyclones and glaive adepts may become very difficult to stop with slower units, and maybe a small buff to the roach pre-glial-reconstitution can help.
- "lmao you're such a Dark simp, you're just buffing all of his favorite units." Yes, I am a Dark simp. I think it's an uncontroversial opinion to say that he's been the single most entertaining championship-caliber zerg for the large majority of LotV, since he is always sharking for opportuntities to extract value out of each and every one of his armies. I think buffs to Dark's playstyle (without making it broken) will make the game more interactive and exciting.
- Zerg does not tend to benefit from map control in its matchups, because a perfect defensive engagement is a catch-all against most playstyles. I think this is unhealthy: when PvT was at its most interesting, it was a lawless tug-of-war between disruptors and the Terran siege units for map control, because neither side can break an offensive formation, and the matchup was at its most entertaining. Similarly, I think that pushes like 8 rax should kill Zergs if they get across the map untouched. My proposed changes will make it easier to chip down the push coming across the map (including the infestor changes), but make it more punishing once the push has arrived.
- A common complaint in TvZ is that it's impossible to kill the Zerg; the philosophy of this patch also addresses that, making it easier to punish Zerg on their side of the map
- These changes reduce the strength of creep, which will also help lower level players (and Dark lmao) without changing the game too much for the pros.
- Increased ling bane movement speed off creep indirectly nerfs the ghost, since they will be much easier to catch.
- Creep will still be valuable, since you can see the enemy setup and engage accordingly.