The new patch arrived in StarCraft II. It brought a few bugs that will have to be fixed, but most importantly, it brought re-design of the balance. We were able to watch HomeStory IT Cup XX, as well as some practice games and pro gamers’ streams.
Thus, we can make the first assumption of what will change in the StarCraft II meta in the upcoming seasons.
Before going into conclusions, let’s take a look at the final changes.
- When Battlecruiser makes a tactical jump (teleport), it will be stunned for 1 second. During that period, it can receive damage, but nothing can cancel a teleport.
- A Raven‘s Interference Matrix will now coast 75 energy (increased from 50). But it will also last 8% longer.
- The Hellions’ blue-flame upgrade cost will be 100/100 (decreased from 150/150).
- Thors will deal more damage over time: they will have lower attack damage but higher speed. Previously it was 40 (+15 vs. Massive) with a cooldown of 1.7; now, it’s 25 (+10 vs. Massive) with a cooldown of 0.9.
- Liberators‘ range upgrade will move from the tech-lab to the Fusion Core. At the same time, it will increase their rage by only 3 (was 4 previously). Still, we consider this a buff, because now it’s much easier to do a transition into ranged Liberators.
- Medivac‘s boost upgrade (reducing the boost cooldown by 5 seconds) will move to the Fusion Core too. It will also increase the Medivac’s basic speed by 18%. A ‘boosted’ speed will remain the same, though.
- A Creep Tumor can’t be canceled anymore.
- An Overlord‘s speed will now cost 100/100 (decreased from 75/75).
- Infested Terrans removed from the game. Instead of it, Infestors will have a new ability called Microbial Shroud. It will be a cloud that will cover the ground units under it to reduce the incoming damage from the air by 50%, lasting 11 seconds. Its radius will be 3, casting range 9 (same as a Neural Parasite ability before the patch.) It can be researched after Hive, costs 150/150, research duration is 79 seconds.
- A cast range of a Neural Parasite ability will now be 8 (decreased from 9). It also won’t be able to target ‘heroic’ units (currently, it’s just a Mothership).
- Brood Lord‘s attack radius will now be 9 (decreased from 12).
- A Nydus Worm will now cost 75/75 (increased from 50/50) and will have a cooldown to summoning of 14 sec (precisely as its build time). Basic load and unload speed will be twice as big as previously, but there will be a new 100/100 upgrade to revert it to the old rate. The duration of the research will be 57 seconds, available after Hive.
- Lurker Den building time will be 57 (decreased from 86, so 33% faster.)
- Lurker‘s attack range will be reduced by 1 (9 to 8), but there will be a new 150/150 upgrade to increase it to 10. The upgrade will be available after Hive; researching duration will be 57 seconds. The burrow speed upgrade will be tuned to 57 seconds, too (was 54 previously).
- Charged Zealots won’t do damage on impact anymore. Instead, they will gain 14% more passive speed.
- Adepts’ Resonating Glavies research will not give them a 40% attack speed buff anymore. Instead, they will gain a 60% buff for 6 seconds after a teleport to their shade.
- An Observer will move 13% slower, and its speed upgrade will give a 15% less addition as well.
- Tempest‘s anti-air attack range will be 14 (decreased from 15). His health will change from 150 to 200, shields from 125 to 100 (so 25 more in total and more basic health).
- A new upgrade will increase the speed of Void Rays‘ speed and acceleration by 33%. The upgrade will be available in the Fleet Beacon for 100/100; the research duration will be 57 seconds.
- Mothership’s Time Warp ability will now affect air units, and its delay after cast will be 50% lower. Mothership will also be ‘Heroic,’ so a Zerg can’t apply a Neural Parasite it.
Terran vs. Zerg Changes
As Elazer stated, the biggest nerf to a Zerg in this match-up is that you can’t cancel a Creep Tumor anymore. That will significantly reduce the creep-spread in the early phase of the game; however, there will be a decent skill-cap for a Terran to deny it effectively, still. So that will only matter much at the highest level of play.
Thors can deal with Locusts in the air far more effectively now, and Hellions/Hellbats can get their blue-flame more comfortable. Thus, along with the Nydus nerf, a Swarm Host style became less powerful. Thors don’t do that much damage against Brood Lords with the first shot (which matters), but Brood Lord’s range decreased, so they still match each other around the same as previously, but if Thors can survive long enough, they win.
So Blizzard attempted to bring Lurkers into TvZ, and many players try it actively. They even play it both against mech and bio. We already saw Eric beating TIME with Lurkers even before the patch, and on HomeStory Cup, Reynor used them a lot. Pretty much the only nerf to Terran in this match-up is a Liberator range, but a Neural Parasite nerfed too, so they are still matched around the same as previously.
Conclusion: a Terran became stronger in TvZ, especially mech.
Terran vs. Protoss Changes
People talk a lot, trying to realize if new Zealots are even weaker. The general approach, as per now, is that they are somewhat different. They don’t damage infantry on impact anymore; however, if they count is enough, it’s tough to kite them, as their speed is higher. But they are weaker during fist warp-ins, so Protoss players can’t play that greedy anymore. And that should help to balance things out now because the main concern previously wasn’t just Zealots’ strength, but rather the situation when a Protoss is always ahead in the game.
Some Terrans, such as Special, also try a new mech against Protoss, using blue-flame Hellions, Cyclones, and Mines. That composition doesn’t need upgrades because Cyclons and Mines deal damage with abilities, and Hellions gain enough from the blue-flame upgrade. This required loads of micro and attention, but possibly can work.
Conclusion: a Terran became slightly stronger in TvP
Protoss vs. Zerg Changes
Nydus–Swarm Hosts were the biggest issue in the match-up lately. However, the only change to that is the Nydus load and unload speed decrease. Void Rays got the speed upgrade that can force some Protoss players to try building them to deny a Nydus play (hoping to use them later in the game). But even though they will now be better against Corruptors, a Fungal–Parasitic Bomb is still a hard counter to them.
At the same time, Zergs got a Lurker buff. Apparently, more of them will switch to Lurker, and so a focus will go away from Swarm Hosts. Countering Lurkers as Protoss is not easy as well, but we are not yet ready to say that it is a match-up issue.
So the state of a match-up mostly lays in the Lurker vs. Protoss battle — can they handle it or not.
Conclusion: a Zerg is still stronger
In TvT, they don’t use Ravens as much, because they can’t cast as many Matrixes anymore. Thus, a match-up became more predictable, as sometimes it’s hard to do aggressive plays against a well-sieged opponent. We need to see how the players will adapt to this change, but as per now, it seems that TvT became a little bit more straight-forward.
In ZvZ, Reynor and Serral showed us pretty much everything that can be possibly pulled out in the match-up. We must admit that there’s a lot: while Lurkers are still an ultimate late-game, mass-Muta and Corruptors with Vipers are viable too, as well as many melee and ranged attack options. So ZvZ is very interesting now, at least at the highest level of performance.
In PvP, pretty much nothing changed, as lads keep harassing each other with a proxy tech. Adept-based compositions will be even more cheesy, and zealots will lose a portion of their power. That can lead us to micro-demanded compositions, which seem to be a good thing.