Greetings! It’s been almost two months since the 2018 end-of-year balance patch and we’ve already seen a ton of interesting metagame developments. Special shoutouts to Onpoong for putting on such awesome Ultimate Battle showmatches in the offseason and to Dark for showing especially great games. Now that we’ve had some time to gather feedback, reflect, and witness the changes in action, we think we’re ready to make some adjustments. In addition to tweaking some of the units we’ve changed in the 4.8 patch, we’d also like to reinforce some of the initial stated goals of the end-of-year patch. These include, but are not limited to, bringing more parity to the late game of various matchups and increasing opening and composition diversity in PvZ.
*Mag-field Accelerator research time increased from 79 seconds to 100 seconds.
We’ve gotten a lot of varied feedback on the strength of Cyclones in TvZ, but as we feel counterstrategies against Cyclones are still developing, we think it’s too early to hit this matchup too heavily. At the same time, we do feel the Mag-field Accelerator upgrade comes online a bit too quickly, and we’d like to more directly target the initial strength of Cyclones when used as part of TvP proxy all-ins.
*High Impact Payload weapon range increased from 10 to 11.
We’ve received feedback that TvP late-game still feels Protoss-favored. We believe that by further pushing the Thor’s anti-Massive role, we can open up other late-game TvP options, such as ranged Liberators and Battlecruisers.
Additionally, we’d like for Thors to be slightly more powerful at dislodging enemy Liberators, which we believe will reduce the importance of air control in TvT and promote mid/late-game interaction.
As range adjustments have historically been very impactful, we’ll be keeping an especially close eye on this change.
*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.
As with Cyclones, we believe Battlecruiser strategies and counterstrategies are still being developed and would like to see how this plays out.
*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.
Nydus Network/Nydus Worm
*Nydus Worm health increased from 200 to 300.
*Nydus Worm armor while emerging decreased from 6 to 5.
We haven't seen many Nydus Networks used so we'd like to make a few changes to remedy this. First, we believe Nydus all-ins are significantly less powerful than we initially intended due to a combination of the Transfuse nerf and the ability to pre-target them before they pop. Increasing the health is intended to allow Nydus Worms to be more resilient against low numbers of units with moderate damage, such as Stalkers and Roaches. This could be especially useful for Zerg players who are trying to be offensive against Cannon contains. At the same time, we’d like to reduce the Nydus’ armor to maintain its relative durability against Terran and Marines.
*Nydus Network and Nydus Worm initial unload delay period decreased from 0.36 to 0.18.
*Nydus Network and Nydus Worm unload period decreased from 0.36 to 0.18.
*Nydus Network and Nydus Worm load period decreased from 0.18 to 0.09.
By changing load and unload periods, we hope to improve how fluid the Nydus feels when used as a mobility tool. Our intent is to make the Nydus Worm more useful in its mobility role without returning its all-in role to the full power of its invulnerability days.
*Gateway build time increased from 27 seconds to 30 seconds. Warp Gate cooldown remains unchanged.
In patch 4.0, we changed Chrono Boost from a persistent effect to a more concentrated charged effect. In practice, this had a large effect on the first units that were built from key structures, such as the first Adept, Oracle, or Warp Prism. Since this change, we’ve been hearing feedback that it’s difficult for Terrans to expand to a low-ground natural, because a Chrono Boosted Adept would cancel it too easily on smaller maps. This interaction is often cited by Terran pros for why TvP macro play feels at a bigger disadvantage than before. We’d like to address this by adding a slight delay to how long it takes an Adept to show up at an enemy base.
*Warp Gate research time decreased from 114 seconds to 100 seconds.
We’d like to revisit the research time of Warp Gate for a variety of reasons across all three affected matchups. In PvT, most offensive options are currently not limited by Warp Gate timing, so we don’t believe this change will have the most significant effect in this matchup. In PvZ, this change could allow Gateway units to more easily fulfill a defensive role that the Oracle currently partially fulfills. That is, Protoss would be able to more easily defend against Baneling busts and more easily expand to a third, either with the support of an Oracle or in lieu of an Oracle. In PvP, strengthening Warp Gate would hopefully disincentivize the Stargate tech path, one that has traditionally been weak against Gateway pushes.
*Blink research cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.
While we’re certainly seeing more Robotics Bay experimentation in PvZ, we’re still not completely satisfied with the amount we’re seeing. As such, the next few changes are partially designed to push Robotics Bay play just a bit more.
For this purpose, we’d like to decrease the research cost of Blink, an ability that has traditionally synergized very well with Robotics Bay tech.
In PvP, we believe this change would allow for an easier counter to Stargate openers and a smoother transition to Disruptors.
*Cost decreased from 200/100 to 150/100.
We previously proposed and tested this change with the goal of promoting Robotics openings and mid-game Robotics Bay play in PvZ. However, we eventually decided against it, because it would both reinforce the popularity of Immortals in PvZ and the strength of proxy-Robotics Facility in the context of Cannon rushes. After some additional thought, we’d like to reintroduce this change and pair it with the Immortal change below.
*Cost increased from 250/100 to 275/100.
In combination with a Robotics Facility cost reduction, we believe this change would achieve our initial goals without overly strengthening Immortals and proxy-Robotics Facility.
*Movement speed increased from 2.63 to 3.01.
*Gravitic Boosters upgrade now increases movement speed by 1.51, up from 1.31.
We’d like the Observer to be more able to compete with scouting options from the Stargate.
*Removed the Light attribute.
*Added the Armored attribute.
In our previous community update, we talked about Stargate mirrors becoming more popular with the new patch. We believe this is partly because Oracle openings are so powerful against an opponent who doesn’t respond with Phoenix. With this change, we’d like to allow for smaller numbers of Stalkers to be able to defend Oracles. We’ll also be monitoring how this change impacts PvT.
Partially because we’d like to observe the results of this and the Warp Gate change, we will not be changing the behavior of beam weapons in the upcoming patch.
*Movement speed decreased from 3.5 to 3.15.
*Acceleration decreased from 2.8 to 2.1.
We received feedback that Tempests may be a bit too mobile, especially against Terran. We’re looking to especially focus on changing the unit’s acceleration, as it would more directly affect its ability to kite and disengage from fights. After these changes, we’ll be paying close attention to how effective Vikings and the new Thors will be at warding off Tempests.
Our current plan is to release this update, along with the new ladder season, on January 22nd, but this is subject to change. As always, let us know your thoughts, and here’s to another exciting year of StarCraft!