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Hirooo

Balance Proposal: Thugs

Do you agree with this change?  

23 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you agree with this change?

    • Yes
    • No, I prefer a different change (submit proposal in reply)
    • No, this card does not need a change
    • I don’t have enough expertise to determine that


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Thugs

Card Changes:

• Looter Ability removed


Discussed card changes:

While thugs see some use in PvE and the proposed change will diminish that, thugs are very problematic for PvP game play. They are highly impactful in the two most common match ups as they are strong in a mirror and against shadow. While their short term strength in most fights is not over the top, their efficiency due to looter is. Thugs can easily produce drastic energy advantages even when trading badly on the battlefield.

Looter itself creates a lot of hidden strength in a game being very straight forward in communicating advantages or disadvantages. A dropped well or monument or a couple energy parasites getting to your power well unhindered are very clear sings something went wrong. With thugs and the included looter you would have to analyze a replay carefully to know the amount of energy created over the course of an engagement. Its very hard for a player to judge if his current play worked out and how strong he is compared to his opponent. Because of this we wanted to rework looter as whole. One idea was to change the energy generation from creating new energy to only take energy out of the void pool of the player. This would keep the concept of looter in place. Units in combat would create a short term energy advantage due to increased void return but would not quickly snowball a game due to energy generation. But since we are currently heavily limited in whats possible to change we will have to wait a while on an ability rework. We still plan to reintroduce looter to thugs once we can redesign the ability.

Since looter was the trouble point of thugs, we discussed if they would need further nerfs or buffs without the ability. The removal is a drastic reduction in efficiency and the unit did not dominate dazed fights before the energy generation changed flow of battle. Further reducing its strength did not seem necessary.

It was pointed out, that thugs themselves are lackluster in stat/energy efficiency as they are comparable to several 50 energy cards in tier one. The slot thugs fill in fire is rather unique and the use case for the other 50 energy cards is very different. Here is a more thorough explanation about the topic from RadicalX:

Spoiler

Northguards are not used because Frost T1 has Masterarchers & Frostmage who build up a sufficient set up to counter S units. Wrathblades are not played too often because in Shadow Mirrors unit spread patterns are completely different to the matchups with Fire involved as there is no need to split up against Eruptions. This allows much cleaner focusfire making squishy melee units like wrathblades generally less effective. Skeleton Warriors are tanks, who are fully viable.
Thugs will most likely remain useful in the Fire T1 mirror. Their hp/cost efficency is about 15% higher compared to the average Fire T1 unit, allowing fire players to push advantages through choke points more effectively as eruptions are less effective against them. The Shadow matchup requires a different approach to be played effectively anyways. A cost reduction to something like 50 gives Thugs an hp/cost value that would make triple hit eruptions ineffective.


Chosen card changes:

While we are not convinced, thugs will be in a good spot after the removal of looter, we would like to test how they perform without the ability. The nerf might warrant a stat increases to keep them relevant. While looter is in the game it is very hard to calculate, how strong of a buff would be needed. Because of this we chose to remove the ability keeping in mind we might have to buff thugs soon afterwards. As soon as an ability rework seems feasible, we plan on revisiting looter and might adjust thugs with a reintroduction of the ability.

Update:

Since we now expect to be able to change the looter passive in itself, we will not change thugs until the passive gets changed.

Edited by Hirooo

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I would be fine with no change at all, but here are several potential suggestions to nerf the unit other then removing looter

1. decrease hp pool,

2. (not sure if that’s currently the case already) deactivate looter while dazed,

3. Make looter a toggle at the cost of movementspeed (my favourite),

4. increase summoning cost,

5. change counter to m size 

 

ofc combination of the above is possible

If technical limits exist maybe just delay until Kubik has it resolved

Edited by LEBOVIN

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For PvP, the big problem really is the lack of transparency with regard to how the card generates power (and how much power it generates).  I pretty much agree with everything Hirooo said here and I think that removing looter is an acceptable interim change while the ultimate goal should be to rework the ability so that it moves power from void rather than generating free power.

I would suggest a slight buff in the meantime (5-10 power cost reduction or a slight stat boost), because I don't think that Thugs will be very useful if looter is removed.  They saw very little use before looter was buffed, and that's not because people didn't try to use them.  They would still be helpful (though far from essential) in fire mirrors, but not worth it vs shadow any more (still nice to have, but not worth the deck slot), I think; so they would only see use in a very fire-heavy meta.

On 8/9/2019 at 11:26 AM, LEBOVIN said:

I would be fine with no change at all, but here are several potential suggestions to nerf the unit other then removing looter

1. decrease hp pool,

2. (not sure if that’s currently the case already) deactivate looter while dazed,

3. Make looter a toggle at the cost of movementspeed (my favourite),

4. increase summoning cost,

5. change counter to m size 

 

ofc combination of the above is possible

If technical limits exist maybe just delay until Kubik has it resolved

Your idea #3 may actually be a very good compromise for retaining the unit's usefulness in PvE, though I think it would need a slight buff to still be good in PvP (like cost reduction to 55 power) due to the greatly increased amount of micro needed to get use out of the ability with this change.  That said, I still think that reworking the ability to move power from the void is the ideal solution.  Your other suggestions don't really solve the PvP problems, though.  Waiting until Kubik figures out how to change abilities is pretty reasonable too; I don't think that the card is quite problematic enough to warrant immediate changes.

Edited by synthc
ImaginaryNumb3r likes this

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6 hours ago, synthc said:

Your idea #3 may actually be a very good compromise for retaining the unit's usefulness in PvE, though I think it would need a slight buff to still be good in PvP (like cost reduction to 55 power) due to the greatly increased amount of micro needed to get use out of the ability with this change.

Well the current proposal is complete removal,

this change allows for easier kiting for the opponent and therefore increases skill to use the card. Sounds like a fair price i think.

for the m counter change remember that only 1 s unit squad can attack the m unit they would fight against, so in an open fight of 2 thugs vs 1 now trooper 1 squad could only watch 

Edited by LEBOVIN

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I vote for another change where speedrunners and pvp'ers will be imo satisfied:

 

Simply only decrease the HP -70

Fire vs Shadow will be more balanced due to the fact that the shadow player has more chance to kill dazed thugs in an open field fight since the problem in this matchup is always the open field fight for shadow. Additional to that on maps like for example Elyon its inevitable that you have to go for an open field fight because the middle is map control and this is essential.

Edited by Deldrimor
ulvfdfgtmk likes this

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I agree that the looter ability is the main problem from thugs but to completely remove an ability is the wrong approach.

Just by changing the effect from gaining power out of nothing to gaining power out of void would be already good enough i think.

But since i think that is not possible for the devs to handle a slight Hp or Dmg nerf would be already good enough as a nerf to just lower the threat of them a bit or maybe increase the cost to 65 power. Sure it would make them also worse against Frost and Nature but they are anyway bad in this matchups. I dont think they ever play a big role in pve since Nomads or Scavenger is way better due to the swift and mine combo and the fact that pve mobs dont give power from the looter ability.

 

Edited by ImperatorSK
Loriens likes this

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As an update to this apparently it's possible to make it so looter doesn't activate unless the thugs have been attacking (like batariel flames)
PvE players want this so looter is preserved as a pve mechanic. If looter doesn't activate unless the thugs have been attacking for several seconds, any pvp player can micro units away from thugs so they don't activate looter. in Pve enemies don't run away.

Biggest downside to this is that it's not very clear when looter is active. Imo that's not really a problem since only a couple people know what it does now, so this change could even be done "invisibly" and most players would not realize anything has been done.

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