Playtest 182 - New Poison Squad, Vex Rework, Balance and Pathing Work

starfighterstarfighter Member, Administrator
edited January 21 in Patch Notes

Tonight's playtest features the debut of the new Poison squad, an experimental Vex rework, a major Alder buff, lots more substantial balance changes, and more pathing work!


There is a new Poison Squad! This squad aims to deal damage slowly over the time with vicious poison!
- Basic Attacks of all poison units apply POISON -- Dealing 30 damage over 15 seconds. POISONED units cannot be healed and cannot recall.
- Hero - Poison Man - Lobs a grenade that applies poison. Ultimate is PLAGUE, a slowly growing explosion that damages and poisons enemies.
- T1 - Poison Archer - A basic ranged unit that applies POISON
- T2 - Poison Shaman - Has Caustic Eruption ability - After 3 seconds, target unit takes 60 damage. If poisoned, target unit takes another 60 damage and spreads poison to nearby units
- T3 - Sludge Monster - Enormous unit with no attack. Instead, it slows and gradually devours units inside of it. Seriously, you’ll love this unit.

This squad is only half complete. We’re putting it in for initial thoughts!

Vex Rework

We're experimenting with a Vex rework - the in-progress squad is named DEV_Fire. More work is planned here, but like Poison, we wanted to get out an early version for initial thoughts.
- The hero and T1 are unchanged.
- The Pyrosaur is now the T2. The Pyrosaur's auto-attack is now a flame breathe. The flame breathe does moderate damage and sets affected units on fire. The flame breathe can also be activated as an ability at any time.
- The Ignitor is now the T3. Conflagorate has been removed and replaced by a new ability, Oil Grenade. Units affected by Oil Grenade are covered in oil and will take significantly more damage from being set on fire.


Hive has been substantially buffed, and the T3 has been completely reworked to now be an actual fun unit!

  • Hero

    • Initial HP and physical resist have been increased.
    • Initial starting damage has been reduced.
    • The ultimate now has much shorter range.
    • The ultimate now briefly telegraphs where the Beeltepocalpyse is going to emerge.
  • T1

    • Damage increased from 14 to 20 per shot
  • T2

    • HP buffed from 525 to 750 and physical resist increase from 0 to 25.
    • This unit no longer has a cleave ability - now all of its attacks cleave.
    • Attack cooldown has been increase from 1.4 to 2.2
    • This unit now has access to a new ability, Burrow, unlocked via an upgrade. Burrow is similar to the Captor Burrow Rush but does not stun enemies nor spawn beetles.
  • T3

    • New ability - Place Nest. Places a Beetle Nest at target location. The nest is visible to enemies and can be destroyed. After 15 seconds the nest hatches, releasing 8 beetles.
    • New ability - Silk Shot. Fires a blast of silk in target direction. Affected enemies are wrapped in silk and disabled for ten seconds.
  • Beetles

    • Beetle HP has been reduced from 90 to 60.
    • Beetle notice range has been substantially increased. This means beetles that emerge from Beetle Nests will automatically attack nearby enemies without the player having to command them.


  • Seedbot range increased from 5.5 to 6.5
  • Tree of Life health increased from 300 to 550
  • Needlefern health increased from 130 to 340
  • Needlefern range increased from 8 to 12
  • Needlefern duration increased from 15s to 30s
  • Needlefern upgrade changed from [Duration +15s / Range +7] to [Duration +15s / Range +4]
  • Bramblethorn Goliath armor type changed from Normal to Heavy (takes more damage vs basic ranged, less damage vs C type units)
  • Bramblethorn Goliath HP increased from 875 to 1150
  • Bramblethorn Goliath now phases through allied units


  • Average speed of all units dropped by 15%
  • Scuttleguard roll ability speed bonus increased from +125% to +175%
  • Aquadillo cannonball ranged increased from 14 to 17


  • Terrapin Trooper HP dropped from 250 to 225
  • Terrapin Trooper no longer heals while out of combat
  • Howling Commando splash damage dropped from 75% to 50% of base damage
  • Howling Commando attack dropped from 75 to 60 damage
  • Trample range of Rustborn Rhino increase from 25 to 32.


  • Sprite HP increase from 60 to 70
  • Sprite attack cooldown decreased from 1 to 0.8
  • Conduit attack cooldown increased from 1.5 to 2.2


  • Removed an upgrade that decreased the root/unroot time for Purifiers.

Neutral Weapons

  • Seige Titan damage reduced from 600 to 300 per shot
  • Glass Cannon HP increased from 400 to 650


  • Arrival of 8x gems is delayed 3 minutes (arrives at ~22 minutes instead of ~19 minutes)


  • Units should better push non-moving units out of the way.
  • Fixed several bugs where units were taking sub-optimal paths, preventing them from getting to the front of battle.
  • Fixed several bugs that prevent a unit from finding gaps between allies to fit through (some other bugs still remain!


  • Which squads were the most fun to play? (Not the strongest, just the most fun!)
  • What squad matchups did you play? Were there any clearly problematic squads or bad matchups you noticed?
  • Were there instances where pathing behaved unintuitively or incorrectly?
  • Please rate the early/mid/late game from 1-to-5!


    • Which squads were the most fun to play? (Not the strongest, just the most fun!)

    Played Wind and Vex tonight, both felt quite fun. Overall I think Wind is my favorite to play at the moment but it runs into some of the most frustrating moments as well because there are some situations where you can't do anything (Poison was the biggest offender tonight- the ult was impossible to engage and the tier 3 was very difficult to engage as well). Still, when you can pull off a cool play with the Ult + mass sprites it feels incredibly fun to play. I'm also not sure how fun Wind is to play against since it must feel like you can almost never move out aggressively vs Wind without getting surrounded and killed. On the whole though, when playing against equally skilled or more skilled opponents who didn't pick Vela I feel like Wind doesn't really have a chance at the moment.

    Vex felt strong but very generic to play. The Tier 3 didn't feel particularly good at the moment, and their Tier 2 was strong but I rarely got to use their ability in a meaningful manner past the early game. The nice thing about playing Vex though was that there was never a situation where I felt helpless- I was even able to play 2v1 for an extended period of time and by keeping close to towers and engaging smartly I didn't feel hopeless at all. On the flip side Vex didn't feel like he had any 'amazing' moments while playing him, just really solid and smart, not at all flashy.

    • What squad matchups did you play? Were there any clearly problematic squads or bad matchups you noticed?

    Wind vs Poison was basically impossible, mostly because of the Ult which instantly killed my units and the DoT which made it impossible to heal / recall / ect and took away like a third of the Sprites' health, and the tier 3 was quite strong against sprites too (but easy to avoid). Wind vs Hive felt difficult but not unplayable, mostly the mass beetle spam and the Tier 2 with it's new cleave felt hard to play against. Otherwise Wind felt like playing on a razors edge, which I found fun.

    Vex felt very balanced and didn't seem to outright lose to anyone.

    • Were there instances where pathing behaved unintuitively or incorrectly?

    There were a few moments using Wind's ult where the ult randomly spawned in seemingly random directions. Other than this the pathing felt quite intuitive.

    • Please rate the early/mid/late game from 1-to-5!

    Hard to say, I think it depends a lot on the squad / matchups. Usually mid game feels the most fun, but when you have a bad squad matchup or end up gem starved mid game can feel absolutely terrible. Early game feels pretty static at the moment, I feel like I have more choices than I used to but not a whole lot. Late game feels pretty good, having an advantage doesn't automatically win you the game but it does give you an advantage, while playing from behind is both possible and fun. The 8 Gem nodes coming out later seemed to help delay the weird gem spam that typically happened. So right now I'd say-

    Early Game: 2
    Mid Game: 1 -> 4 depending on matchup. 'Even' matches feel great, broken matchups feel terrible and frustrating.
    Late Game: 3

  • bycebyce Member

    Played as the one and only Poison Man! Versus Eris on bottom. It seemed to be a pretty even matchup, with both squads constantly trading units. It was fun trying to hit Poison Grenades on clusters of units while they could dash away. If they used their dash early, I knew I had a good chance of landing a money grenade.

    The new Poison squad is, to speak your Californian language, hella fun! It's kind of crazy trying to micro your big, goofy Sludge Monster and your weak little Poison Man, but while I was ultra focused on doing so, I couldn't help but smile at it all. Difficult to master, but a blast to play! I couldn't help but laugh when I saw my first T3 unit roll out. I can't wait to see the big ooze ball model you create for it!

    I don't know if I liked Poison Man's ultimate too much. It's a cool ability that's commonly seen in other MOBA games, but putting it on the hero makes it really hard to pull off. As an Atlas player your instinct is to protect your hero, so it feels weird just charging him into the thick of battle. An experienced player is going to easily snipe the hero before the ultimate can do anything, I think. Losing your hero really puts you behind, so I feel like the risk is too high for the reward.

    The Poison squad does heavy damage at long range. I really liked the feel of it. It seems to have the best harass ability out of all the squads I've played. However, once you get the Sludge Monster it kind of breaks the flow of things. They're way slower than the rest of your units. The squad really changes once you get them. You did say the squad is only halfway finished, so I don't want to say the tiers don't fit together just yet.

    Unit pathing felt PERFECT this build! I didn't have any issues whatsoever! Well done!

    Neutral changes felt pretty good. A lone Titan pushing your towers definitely isn't so scary anymore.

    Early: 4 (maybe could be a little more to do; feels slow but, hey, it's early game)
    Mid: 5 (nonstop action!)
    Late: 3 (not enough late-game fireworks going on yet -- it just kind of creeps up on you, where you're like, "well I guess there's nothing left to do but try to kill their building before they kill ours")

  • Squads

    Fun to Play?
    (1.1) - The most fun to play tonight was Hive. First time I had the chance to try, and I really like the ability set. R_HIVE_T3_PlaceNest is really cool, in particular, as is the Burrow Rush. The rush can still be annoying, as it tends to land Xaphid in the middle of packs instead of at the front line, at which point he almost seems to get target locked and tended to insta die. The others I played didn't really feel like they clicked.

    Squad Matchups
    Note: I haven't had enough bandwidth to learn/pay attention to the damage types of squads, so maybe these are obvious outcomes.

    Poison w/ Eris vs. Eris/Alder
    (2.1) - Poison against Alder was tough. Swamp Sludge seemed ineffective, in particular because the unit needs to apparently be among the opponent's units to have any impact, which virtually puts a tree of death right on top of it. With low apparent damage from poison, it seemed to have no impact.

    Hive w/ Ryme vs. Eris/Poison
    (2.2) - Hive seems tough to make work. I like the abilities a lot, but it was very tough to keep up with the attack speed of the opponents. The spawnables seemed to melt in engagements, so the only minimal traction I was able to get was with the mines. Versus poison, it can be tough unless you burn some cycles to look at them, to see when poison has warn off on units, but since you are still able to send a recall command, it's very easy to issue the command and forget about it.

    Ryme w/ Celesta vs. DEV_Fire/Celesta
    (2.3) - We tried tank rush with Ranger early defense. There was a brief period where we had an advantage but that went away once the other team got tanks, at which point it was very difficult to move out. We managed to get some traction by moving the front around some, dragging it north and back, but still, very difficult to do anything. Ice Frog was ineffective.

    Hydros w/ ? vs ?/?
    (2.4) - Played one game as Hydros, but I don't remember the matchup, and my internet crashed, so I don't think the game completed or for some other reason does not show up in the replay list (so I couldn't go back and check the list). I'm pretty sure it was against Warpman as one of the opponents. It was a really fast attacking T1, which alone made Hydros kind of feel ineffective as plate just got chewed through by the rate of attack alone. For a squad that is used to feeling tanky, it evaporated in engagements, which was startling.


    (3.1) - Had some really annoying pathing issues tonight. Had a scuttleguard get stuck behind another in front of it and a wall. Had a lot of cases where, I think, issuing a move command to a unit off-screen that was previously attacking didn't stick, like it would get aggro'd and keep attacking the opponent.

    (3.2) - I also had a lot of hotkey issues tonight. The big one isn't something new, but it seemed to be happening alot tonight: after assigning captor to a hotkey, often a doubletap wouldn't center the camera, and in one game, it actually would center the cam on one of the buildings in my base, even after repeatedly clearing and reassigning the hotkey.

    (3.3) - Hydros formations didn't seem to stick as much tonight. There was more convergence when moving again. (Hydros is the one where I notice it the most)


    Early: 2
    (4.1) - Early game wasn't that much fun, perhaps because of not having a clear picture of what the damage types are going to be in a matchup. Felt like early game was mostly learning what range was appropriate, and once you kind of started to get an idea of how to engage, you were already pretty far behind.

    Mid: 3
    (4.2) - Mid game was okay tonight. The games tonight didn't seem to have as much of the positioning and engagement shaping as it did previously, which kind of sucks. I feel like this is due to the damage types, but could also be mismatch. Not sure.

    Late: 3
    (4.3) - Late games were snow-bally tonight, almost universally. By the time we got to late game, our opponents had a ton of levels on us, to the point that one game pretty much ended before I had my ultimate. There didn't seem to be much of late game, really at all.

  • CycleCycle Member, Moderator

    Seed is back baby! The buffs to Alder make it feel like how it used to for me, prior to the T1 unit change. I feel strong again, but not invincible. I feel like I have many avenues of strategy, builds, and to improve.


    This squad seems amazingly fun to play and very very strong. I did not play a single game as them since I wanted to focus on Alder. Alder v Poison Man is a tough matchup, since Alder's main strength is being the only squad with healing. No healing for both Tree of Life and also Re-cycle makes engaging very difficult. I would put Poison Man as the one of the two hardest matchups for Alder, the other being Eris. Nothing felt unfun to play against - I felt like I could make better strategic and tactical decisions to gain an edge in the matchup. For example, the Sludge Monster eats Seeds, so it means I can't put Seeds down mindlessly. I found the matchup really interesting.

    Vex Rework

    Playing against Vex, I actually didn't notice the difference at all.


    Playing against Hive, I didn't notice the difference at all again. The mines can be scary but I feel like if I play well, I'll never get hit by any. Seeds trigger mines as well. Possible idea (if not already implemented): mines only trigger if a target is inside the trigger radius when the mine would explode. So if I walk in and see the radius, the mine will only explode if I remain in the radius. Otherwise, the mine re-conceals.


    Ohhhhh mannnn everything is great again.
    - Increased Seedbot range is amazing. I don't feel as dead against Eris anymore (but still at a reasonable disadvantage) and don't feel like I have a ridiculous advantage vs other squads.
    - ToL health is so great. Poison Squad kills this ability, and also target firing is still strong, but I don't feel as helpless using ToL. Feels very right.
    - Needlefern OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING. The biggest difference I noticed was in the Alder v Eris matchup. I finally have the tool I need to not be completely dead. I wish I could play another 20 or so 1v1 matches against Eris to hone the strat. I pretty much rushed a single Grove Tender and used the Needlethorn to zone. God I love this so much. Currently in the game there's a bug where recalling a non-hero unit resets ability cooldown, and I've been abusing this a lot with Grove Tenders to use their abilities a bit more often than normal. In subsequent playtests I'll not do this anymore, since this bug will be fixed. Wow Needlefern is great.

    Glass Cannon HP

    enemy glass cannons felt much much less "glass". Tough to kill. Maybe I should have made more :D

    have to leave now, may post more later. most important thing I felt this playtest was that Alder was super fun to play and I felt like I had a billion options. Even losing was fun since using Needleferns was rewarding. Not being able to heal vs Poison was tough, but I think it's something I can learn to play around.

  • Which squads were the most fun to play? (Not the strongest, just the most fun!)

    I only played Poison and Eris for this test, two games each. Eris remains fun for me, though it's very difficult to feel useful if she falls behind. I want so badly to enjoy the Poison squad (simply due to my own penchant for damage-over-time effects), but it honestly felt like the poison itself was super super weak damage-wise. Preventing healing and recalls for a long duration felt cool, but if I didn't have ult or T2 units, my overall damage output felt very low.

    What squad matchups did you play? Were there any clearly problematic squads or bad matchups you noticed?

    As a preface, two of my games for this test had a player who was new to RTS games and unfortunately was placed solo bot both of these games and seemed to get beaten by more experienced players. This drastically altered the flow of the game, allowing the opposing bot player to apply additional pressure to the top side of the map and/or push so hard bottom that myself and my other top-side teammate had to pull back, so feedback on the matchups in those games, beyond the early game, feels very muddy, and I don't even remember what I was up against in the first game, we just got destroyed.

    Game 2: Eris/Grath vs Eris/Alder

    Eris/Grath feels weaker than Eris/Alder. Alder's crowd control felt like it lent itself to more favourable engagements for an Eris teammate than Grath's does in the early game.

    Game 3: Eris vs Celesta

    This matchup is pretty even in an a-move battle, but Eris' superior mobility and burst damage early on allow her to make better trades. Everything changes in the midgame when Celesta gets Purifiers. I felt like I had no way to make a favourable engagement on an entrenched position. Eventually I opted to just be elsewhere on the map, taking the bottom gem camp and applying pressure top, all in the hopes of catching Celesta's Purifiers on the move or on their own. Even with the range upgrade, Apocalytes couldn't safely cast meteors without carefully sacrificing several sandstingers.

    Game 4: Poison vs Celesta

    Early on, I felt as though I dealt very little damage to Wisps, even after landing multiple successive Poison bomb things (PoisonMan's D). Midgame, I stacked a large amount of armor upgrades (to counter Purifier damage) and a few ability upgrades (at Alientree's recommendation). T2 units helped contribute some burst, but on a long cooldown. Everything changed once I got the poison nova ult, as this easily obliterated Celesta's entire Wisp army, leaving me able to clean up Purifiers (which was satisfying because those things are pure evil).

    Lategame, after getting an All-Consuming Gelatinous Mass on the field, which blew me away with how big it is. I loved the acceleration it had, really giving it a kind of blob feel even without a blob graphic. I was, however, underwhelmed with its damage output once it got to its targets. The poison squad's poison just felt underwhelming as a whole, mostly working as a damage amplifier for Poison Shaman (and apparently making Cycle very sad).

    Were there instances where pathing behaved unintuitively or incorrectly?

    I had one or two instances where my units started walking the other way, and I don't believe I was clicking the minimap at the time, just near walls.

    Please rate the early/mid/late game from 1-to-5!

    Early: 2-4, depends on matchup. In well-balanced matchups where players deny gems and make small tactical trades, it's a 4. In bad matchups where one side sits on their hands waiting for enough resources to do things, it's pretty butts.
    Mid: 3? Maybe? Mid-game spices things up a lot, as players get more stuff, which can either exacerbate certain bad matchups, or drastically swing others. Still not sure when it's good to be moving around the map overall, but I feel like mid should be a good time to do so.
    Late: 3-4. Late game fights are still awkward to me; I immediately lose track of my units as soon as they mix with another deathball, but the abundance of abilities being used makes these fights exciting nonetheless. Siege titans feel drastically weaker, which is great because they were silly, and this overall makes the lategame feel more like you can fight back.

  • I played a very specific Hive build in all my games, and more or less steam-rolled my opponents. This is the build: I start tech level 2 immediately, and do not build any tier 1 units. When the game begins I send my hero to grab two gems, then run him back to build the first expansion. Meanwhile, tech level 2 is done and I start building Scarabs. Once the first two Scarabs are out I can bully my opponents squad of tier ones and clear the Titans from my forward expansion easily. I continue building Scarabs, then Hive Queens, and then go into defense and attack speed upgrades as well as the upgrade to beetles and sometimes the Burrow Charge. I never built a single tier 1 unit.


    So the Scarabs wreck squads composed of squishy tier one units, provided I can catch them. Eris was a fun match-up because of high risk on both sides. Scarabs can destroy all her sandstingers in seconds, but they are very hard to catch, and are very capable of taking down a Scarab. I felt this match-up was perhaps balanced until I got my Hive Queens and my hero's ultimate.

    Alder's Living Vines and Deeproot Terror abilities can shut down my team, Seedbots also tank Scarabs fairly well. The plates on Hydros' squad protect them pretty well from the Scarabs, but the Beetlepocalypse is another story.

    Scarabs laugh at Purifiers (though they are good at killing swarms of beetles).

    I don't think I played directly across from either Grath or Ryme. Those might have been more difficult match-ups.


    Raw power aside, I really enjoyed this swarmy, aggressive play-style, and hope it can be preserved during balancing. Here are my thoughts:
    - Scarabs are a little OP, but not the real problem. I like that they now cleave by default, as it gives them an identity and a clear role/counter-play. I think they just need their offense and/or defense tuned down a bit.
    - Beetlepocalypse does a ton of damage, and I have found it especially effective at destroying structures. As soon as I hit level six, its fairly simple to poke in and destroy my opponent's forward expansion before they can respond. I think this should spawn some number of regular beetles.
    - Also, the range of Beetlepocalypse is so short now that the beetles might as well be spawned at the hero's position. This could make the ability into more of a defensive buffer for the hero. A directional skillshot that spawned beetles in a line would also be cool.
    - The Place Nest ability of Hive Queens was very fun and visceral to play with, and allowes some fun harassment tactics. I think it is important that this ability be preserved as a major source of the squad's strength, since it creates a cadence between onslaughts. As is, the cooldown seems very short, and the nests should probably be more fragile and defenseless.
    - I can't really talk about the tier 1 since I didn't build any, but I have a thought. Explosive mines could kind of be there own squad. Why not have the Hornets bury beetles in the ground? When enemies get close or their timer expires, the beetles pop out of the ground and attack. This would allow Hornets to create a temporary frontline for themselves.


    One benefit of OP Scarabs was that it was very obvious when they were trying to move through enemy units instead of attack them. It was pretty common for Scarabs to try to squeeze through a tiny gap or push other units out of the way rather than circle around.

    My hero and Scarabs can't burrow under walls, and it got pretty awkward when they face-plant into them and stop moving. The hero sometimes fails to spawn beetles when this happens.

    Game Progression

    I didn't really get a normal sense of game progression since my opponents where always on the defensive and falling behind. I'll say 3-4-5 because I really enjoyed the way Hive kicked into gear in different ways as the game progressed. In the early game I'm using Scarabs to block gem collection. In the mid-game my ult lets me swing team engagements. In the late game the Nests let me harass and sustain pushes towards the nexus.

  • SpideyCUSpideyCU Member
    edited January 21

    I managed to sneak in one game last night before having to turn in. I'm sure I'll have more feedback after Sunday's session, but I wanted to get these thoughts out while they were fresh in my mind.

    • What squad matchups did you play? Were there any clearly problematic squads or bad matchups you noticed?

    Since I only had time for one game, I went with my safe pick, Hydros. @Cycle was playing Alder with me in top, and I gotta tell ya, I felt completely useless vs Poison that was also on top with us. The fact that literally every unit in that squad was able to apply poison meant that my entire group was flashing red. Thus, my hero's only ability in the early game (Healing Waters) was useless. I had to virtually skip Quadrapii because they were just very expensive Brine Barrier casters.

    In order to try and compensate for lack of healing, I tried going defensive on my upgrades with resists and then getting Aquadillos ASAP. However, I still felt like all I did was buy time for Cycle to do some damage before I inevitably melted. This changed slightly in the mid-to-late-game when I got Turn the Tide on Hydros - at that point we were able to win a few engagements but it felt like too little, too late.

    Some of this was a learning experience - I guess I'm supposed to keep staying away from the Swamp Sludge as opposed to killing it? I'm guessing that's why it's a slow-moving unit? But that's tough to do when the Poison squad stays in a death ball around the Sludge and they have a range advantage vs my melee units. It felt like I was really hard countered and I couldn't do anything.

    I'll answer the other questions after I have a few more games under my belt in this patch!

  • LefLef Member

    Which squads were the most fun to play? (Not the strongest, just the most fun!)

    I exclusively played Hive and Vex. Of the two, I find Hive to be the more fun.

    What squad matchups did you play? Were there any clearly problematic squads or bad matchups you noticed?

    Vex into Celesta continues to be frustrating for me when I play Vex. Not having a way to get onto Purifier range without getting smashed is paralyzing. There should be bad match ups so that you have to play with your team mates, but this one seems a bit too harsh for Vex. I will say that the new Pyrosaur is so good at crushing wisps. While this evens the match a bit, it only increases the inactivity of the match up. Now Celesta can't fight Vex, and Vex can't chase. I don't know what I should be trying to accomplish here since I can't leave my area undefended but I also can't attack.

    Hive is really strong now. I'm not sure what it's bad match up would be since the Tier 2 and the Tier 3 both cover different bad match ups that the tier 1 have. While I had frustrating situations, the only time I felt that it was squad specific was against Poison. I think that's largely because Poison ult is insane, but that's just numbers.

    Were there instances where pathing behaved unintuitively or incorrectly?

    A few times units crowded against each other to attack a unit instead of continuing into a concave even without anything restricting their movement.

    Thoughts on the new Vex:
    The squad still feels much the same, but the introduction of the new Pyrosaur did wonders for its mid game. Having that desire to get and stay in range of the Pyrosaur dramatically changed my playstyle. Old Vex was probably the most 'deathball' of all the squads. All long range units essentially only left me to manage Vex himself since all of my units could hit things relatively easily. The new Vex makes me need to get pyrosaurs in position and try to maximize their conical attack/ability. I also think their unique attack cadence made this difficult but not impossible. I am not a strong multitasker, so I was barely able to handle this aspect of the squad, but that just means its do-able by the average person. It fills in a lot of what Vex was missing, namely a unique playstyle that sets him apart. The discussion at the tail end of the test of what separates Vex and Poison is pretty much this. From an aesthetics standpoint, Fire dots and Poison dots converge them, but actually playing the squads could not feel more different. I'm reserving judgement on the new Ignitor, but it seems like a suped-up version of the Sparkbot, which should be cool.

    Thoughts on Hive changes:
    Giving some heft to the tier one is definitely in the right direction, but they're still a little on the awkward side until you have Mine upgrades. They're mostly there for map control and suck in straight up fights. That isn't terrible and I'd much rather they keep their identity of Mine Control than get pushed into a more combat centric role. The new Scarab is overtuned, but really fun. The burrow charge augments the hero really well and I'd hate to see them lose the ability to reposition and get all your melee units together easily. The new Queen is eggsellent. Eggs and hard disables help both the, "Max T2 and brawl," and the "Max T1 and Mine," styles. Hive feels really adaptable to what the opponent is doing. Not in an on-the-fly way but they have multiple different builds based on what you're against. While other squads have versatility, it felt especially prominent with Hive.

  • JeekarooseJeekaroose Member
    edited January 22

    Which squads were the most fun to play? (Not the strongest, just the most fun!)

    I played...poison once, eris twice and celesta twice, I think? Eris continues to be superfun with the increased T1 caps; huge swarms of sandstingers feel so powerful and are so fun to move around in battles. I've been completely ignoring apocalytes and almost entirely ignoring dervishes and I still feel like I can win basically any matchup purely with good sandstinger micro (and lose basically any matchup with bad micro, in my less inspiring moments), which...might not be a good sign, actually, but does feel really satisfying.

    Celesta I experimented with a much more wisp-heavy build than I've tried in the past (in one game literally getting 30 wisps and the range+hp upgrades before building anything else -- I might be addicted to T1 units in general, haha), which was surprisingly effective, although honestly it was probably only enjoyable because we won that game convincingly; I could imagine playing from behind with that kind of setup would be super depressing given how one-dimensional it is.

    Poison on the other hand felt very disjointed and not very satisfying to me. Their T1 guys were...okay, I guess; their damage seemed pretty mediocre overall, although that was probably partially because like 75% of the impact of the poison was literally out of sight so I had no idea how effective it was being. The hero ability for basically the entire first 10-15 minutes felt completely worthless because of how trivially easy it was to poison all my enemies with just t1 autoattacks, so that was pretty bleh. Later on it was kind of almost useful for poisoning large clumps of units in lategame fights but I think mostly the poisoned units died/the fight ended before the damage would've been relevant.

    The t2 unit I just never really got a sense of how useful it was; I could almost never manage to notice its ability going off and doing damage, it was way too subtle (or way too little damage? The numbers seem like they should be significant, but really I have no idea).

    The 'slime' t3s were hilarious and pretty fun to wander around with in the midgame, although I had some pathing issues (I've been told they're supposed to have phased movement so they can run things over, but I could never get them to actually move past enemy units -- they'd just get stuck and kinda bump up against them, even with explicit move orders) and they felt really anti-synergistic with the rest of the poison mechanic in general -- to do anything with the slime you pretty much have to hard commit with it, which is what the earlier tiers seemed worst at.

    The poison nova ult was actually pretty fun when it worked, although again it felt like it had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the squad -- its immediate damage felt very impactful (in that it murdered things outright) and the poison largely irrelevant -- and was especially weird in that it necessitated finagling my hero into the middle of a fight, which he was decidedly not tanky enough to do if the bad guys were paying any attention. Tl;dr didn't really enjoy, but then again squad is probably not really aimed at me anyway so w/e.

    What squad matchups did you play? Were there any clearly problematic squads or bad matchups you noticed?

    Poison vs Alder
    I don't really remember anything notable about this matchup; seemed okay, although given poison seems pretty bad in general to me maybe that means it's a really good matchup :p. Hard to say.

    Eris/Alder vs Eris/Poison
    Again, poison just felt extremely weak -- I don't even feel like we (Eris and Alder) played that well, and we still seemed to basically just run over our side of the map. Possibly this was just because of our comp having a bit of a frontline to tank damage while our opponents didn't, but I never felt threatened by any of poison's units in the slightest. They just seemed to hang out for a while doing piddly damage and then die. Poison grenade was actually a lot more noticeable playing against it than with it, but was overall pretty easy to dodge and even when it hit a huge clump of units it didn't seem to really matter.

    Eris/Poison vs Ryme/Hive
    Seemed pretty easy overall; Hive's t1 units and mines alike continue to be pretty non-scary. Maybe I need to play some against Deaucalion's scarab strat :p

    Celesta/Alder vs Hydros/Poison
    This was the game where I went pure Wisps, and just let my ally's Alder plants tank for them, which as a strategy progressed over the course of the game from doing alright to just shredding through all the enemy units. Even when Hydros's units managed to close the gap to my units (fairly often, since there weren't all that many Alder units to get in the way -- especially once aquadillos showed up) they just didn't do very much damage and would get focused down easily.

    Celesta/Vex vs Celesta/Ryme
    This was far and away the most degenerate-seeming matchup -- we poked out a little bit and had some small skirmishes, and then the opposing Celesta rushed Purifiers I assume as fast as is possible and set them up in the middle of (our north part of) the map, which made the entire game slow to a crawl for the next 10 minutes, as we were forced to loiter around our side of the map doing nothing until I could get up to t2 and match my opponent in Purifiers, stopping their push and resulting in a long stalemate; I then rushed (for certain definitions of 'rush' -- it took a while) Purifier range and we managed to take a lot of ground with the window where our opponents were outranged, and overall maintained the momentum through the end of the game despite them eventually getting Purifier range as well; overall though it felt veeeery one-dimensional, the entire 2v2 being far too dominated by a single unit and a single upgrade. It's possible the optimal response was not to engage in the Purifier arms race at all, but I couldn't think of any other particularly good options, and the times our opponents tried to break the stalemate (before Purifier range) were pretty ineffective overall. Summary: Celesta mirror is icky.

    Were there instances where pathing behaved unintuitively or incorrectly?

    Seemed largely ok, barring the aforementioned slime issues. There were still some occasional units-being-completely-trapped by units with collision sizes larger than they looked, which was frustrating, but less overall than in the past I think. Hive's hero's burrow ability also seemed to have wonky (and hilarious-looking) interactions with walls, but since I didn't play as him at all this test I can't speak to how that worked in much detail.

    Please rate the early/mid/late game from 1-to-5!

    4/3.5/2? Maybe? I think earlygame and midgame both have their appeal -- running around microing small fights early on and then slowly developing a bigger army and having team/army compositions interact more in the midgame are both fun, but the endgame definitely feels very swingy in ways I don't understand at all (when the game is remotely close, anyway) and as gems become ridiculously prolific and neutral weapons start appearing in goofy numbers, the part of the game I really enjoy -- the squad units fighting against each other -- becomes less important/prevalent.

    tl;dr i'm really verbose, MY BAD GUYS

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