It’s that time again: Starcraft 2 balance changes! And as a wave of terror washes over you in anxious preparation of learning your favorite race has been nerfed, you can relax.
Well, as long as you don’t play Protoss.
Before delving into the actual changes, your impending cardiovascular failure can be forestalled with one caveat: these changes have been applied to the Public Test Region (PTR), so they’re not quite official, yet. That said, the vast majority of PTR changes have been enacted in the past, so unless the world’s testers (or Tester, for that matter) determine these updates are game-breaking or don’t directly help fucking Terrans (they do), odds are you’ll be seeing this stuff hit the real game soon.
But, as you can probably guess, the biggest changes will directly affect the oh-so-popular 4-Gate build. Hint: they didn’t make it better.
Starcraft 2 PTR 1.3 changes
Spore Crawler: Root time decreased from 12 to 6.
Before you get excited, read this sentence again to verify that this change only affects Spore Crawlers, not their more popular cousins Spine Crawlers. In essence, you will now be able to more easily defend against air and cloaked units as Zerg, which could be especially helpful if you’re trying to get Spore Crawlers in position more quickly following expansion Hatchery placement. Or, you know, if you just want to make your Spore Crawlers dance around like puppets. Not a huge change, but it will give IdrA one less reason to complain about Protoss air harassment.
Ghost: Cost changed from 150/150 to 200/100.
Since minerals are considerably easier to come by than is Vespene, switching 50 gas for 50 mins is a great trade, especially since Terran players can employ
CHEATS MULES to harvest that crystalline gold even faster. This change is a straight buff to Ghosts, making them more affordable and less exclusionary of other gas-heavy tech research.
Bunker: Salvage resource return reduced from 100% to 75%.
Blizzard loves fucking with Bunkers, and this nerf means Terrans will have to take Bunker placement a little more seriously since scrapping them is no longer completely free. As a Protoss player, I can’t feel bad, especially considering Protoss is the only race that lost its mobile defenses (Zerg crawlers can still uproot and Bunkers can still be salvaged, but Phase Cannons were removed from the game in an early build).
Archon: Archons are now a massive unit.
Making Archons massive is a very welcome buff to a severely underrepresented unit; this update indirectly addresses many of the Archon’s weaknesses. In PvP, Archons are no longer dominated by Sentries spamming Force Field, and can in fact directly counter Force Fields just by being on the front lines of combat. Archons also can’t be Graviton lifted by Phoenix squads any more, making these angry spheres of energy more useful in mixed Warp Gate/Stargate unit compositions. While they will take 20% more damage from Void Rays, Archons should generally be beefy enough to handle VRs at equal supply cost, assuming they’re uncharged. In PvT, Archons are now a solid unit against MMM* bio builds, since Concussive Shells no longer affect them. In PvZ, Archons were always useful, and this patch won’t change that.
Pylon: Pylon power radius has been decreased from 7.5 to 6.5.
Well, this sucks, but I understand the reasoning behind it. As is, it’s simply too easy to place proxy Pylons in places that allow a Protoss player to warp units onto an enemy’s ramp or into the back of his/her base. A 13% reduction in Pylon radius (24% reduction in area) will make certain exploitable positions impossible while also forcing a Protoss player to put proxy Pylons at greater risk if they’re going to be used to warp units into enemy territory. All in all, a fair trade.
Cybernetics Core: Research Warp Gate time increased from 140 to 180.
Gateway: Sentry train time decreased from 42 to 37; Stalker train time decreased from 42 to 37; Zealot train time decreased from 38 to 33; Warp Gate unit train times remain unchanged.
Well, this is what you came for. The gist of the matter is that 4-Gate builds have taken a blow, since front door pushes have been bumped back by 40 seconds.** That said, the tech still costs the same, but the additional time may give Terran and Zerg players more time to prepare; Protoss players may find that with an extra 30-40 seconds before a big push, openings other than 4-Gate may be more viable in PvP. It’s important to note that build time for tier 1.5 Gateway units have all been lowered to well under 40 seconds, meaning a player going 4-Gate on defense will still be able to have the same number of units at the six minute mark as he/she had before; they’ll just have to queue them via standard Gateway production while Warp Gate research finishes.
I’m excited for this change, since I was never a big fan of 4-Gate (was anyone?) and an extra 30-40 seconds could be enough time to make Stargate or fast Robotics play more feasible in PvP. My only compunction about this change is that with a 33 second build time on Zealots, it’s likely players will see an increase in 2-Gate Zealot rushes, as was the case the last time these units had a 33 second training period. While this could lead to cheese, it’s probably a fair trade for not having to face 4-Gate play in every single match.
- Fixed a bug where Ghosts could not quickly EMP the same location.
- Fixed a bug where players were still able to stack flying units on top of each other.
Ghosts are marginally better. Viking flowers are truly, really dead. Yawn.
**Not factoring in Chrono Boost, which every Protoss uses.