Gretorp's Blog
[HoTS Thoughts] Beta Balance Update #11 – January 9, 2013

Hello Everyone.  Balance Patch was put up on January 9th 2013, and this is a place where I’ll voice my thoughts.  I put {} <==these brackets to show that the changes are meant to be together.

I’ll be doing these a lot more often.


         Terran Changes

  • Train Reaper no longer requires a Tech Lab Addon.


  • The Battlefield Awareness passive ability has been removed from the game.
  • Movement speed increased from 3.38 to 3.75.
  • The Nitro Packs upgrade has been removed from the game.
  • P-45 Gauss Pistol weapon damage decreased from 4 +9 vs. Light to 4.


Reaper is a scout now.  Reaper changes have been specifically used for scouting purposes in the beginning stage.  This affects all the matchups.  There’s almost no reason why a reaper shouldn’t be built since it provides you with the best scouting of your opponent in tvz and tvp, and has a lot of utility in tvt with openings.  

Reaper no longer raids.  With 30% of its original DPS, the reaper no longer really has the capacity to do strong raids.  It takes 12 shots to kill a single SCV now, and the same for an unupgraded marine.  That’s not going to be sufficient even in strong numbers.  It did seem weird to see a reaper killing hellions so easily, but these will just tickle, and the apm used to micro these units to kill others will probably be a waste of time.

BattleField Awareness Change is good.  This ability was way too powerful.  Seeing up ramps and through smoke clouds limits a lot of map makers creativity imo.  It just offers so much power for other units. 

Potential Changes

[Add?] BattleField Experience. Similar to Voidrays, grants +2 damage to light units for every attack made to an enemy units, up to +8 or +10 damage (4 shot or 3 shot scvs/unupgraded marines respectively).  Has reset of 10 seconds out of battle.

    This enables raiding still but only in situations where your opponent doesn’t react.  Attacking buildings or your own units won’t proc this damage counter and you have maybe 10 seconds until reset and you attack for 4 damage instead a max of 14.  

[Add?] Time bomb.  Loved the idea in the alpha version of WoL.  Ability with __ cooldown.  Plants bomb on targeted unit with 15 health that has same priority targeting as any other unit(forces opponents to retarget.  Maybe 10 second timer on that.  Does 40 damage.  15 damage splash.  Allows you to get in and raid, but again punishes players that don’t react.  Times and strength has to be modified of course.  Just guessing with numbers.

Overall Understanding of unit and changes

Unit is switching role to only scouting to counter crazy ranges of protoss, terran, and zerg.  Terrans have trouble after 4:30 with tvz, and tvp where queens and stalkers pop(around that time) respectively.  Roach allins and 1 base play is still very strong.  

Less attack, more mobility = scout only.  Maybe we don’t want raiding?  Just thoughts.




  • Attack speed changed from 1.9 to 2.
  • The Infernal Pre-Igniter upgrade no longer increases Hellbat weapon damage.
  • Napalm Spray weapon damage increased from 10 +9 vs. light to 18 +12 vs. light.
  • Splash damage radius decreased from 110 to 45.


Nerf to Hellbat is needed.  In its current form(pre January 9th) it’s too strong.  Zerglings are really bad against, and the queens don’t really have that much ability to deal with these units b/c of the insane HP.  It’s a rebalance but testing will show if the nerf was enough or too much.  I agree with this though good choise.




  • Caduceus Reactor
  • No longer improves the healing rate of Medivacs.
  • Upgrade cost decreased from 150/150 and 110 seconds to 100/100 and 80 seconds.

Emergency Thrusters ability renamed Ignite Afterburners.


Looking @ Ignite Afterburners (Emergency Thrusters) in isolation is going to be stronger.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they change it and just see healing rate difference afterwards.  TvZ should be detracted a bit by ultralisks IMO, so I don’t think this is a change to TvZ.  Rather TvT and TvP.  TvT is becoming a bit less mobile and more turret focused.  TvP will be affected at end game.  Still better for stats imo.



  • Seeker missile
  • Energy cost decreased from 125 to 75.
  • Primary target damage reverted from 300 to 100.
  • Seeker Missile once again deals splash damage.
  • The delay time prior to firing has been increased from 3 to 5 seconds.


Burst Damage delays by 2 seconds.  Might not be too big of a deal but gives ability to kill them obviously.

Seeker Missile more accessible and 2 potential missiles per raven instead of 1 in a given battle.  

No longer kills most units now which is good.  Bl’s shouldn’t die to one shot.  Collo shouldn’t die in almost 1 shot.  etc.

This is a nice balance nerf to raven



Siege Tank

  • Siege Tanks no longer require an upgrade in order to enter Siege Mode.


Stable openings

1-1-1 will be significantly stronger in TvP.  TvT will be a lot more stable.  Once you see an attack coming it takes 30-40 seconds to move across the map.  45 seconds to make a tank means you have pretty good stability in early game 1-2 base against mass bio/combat shield timings.  TvZ doesn’t really change much imo since widow mine/hellion should dominate early game, however it does make vs roach allins a lot more stable.





  • The Vortex ability has been removed from the game.

Mothership Core

  • The Envision ability has been moved to Oracle.


  • The Time Warp ability has been moved to the Mothership Core and the Mothership.


Right now I find a little overlap, although not completely, with Time warp and forcefield.  This gives a couple of interesting things though as the mothership core will give a couple more offensive options.  Timewarp is going to be used in a lot of allins now with gateway only builds.  I think that’s something very tough to stop in PvZ.  PvT shouldn’t change a lot since I’d rather have a giant turret rather than a slow, and offensively might buff blink allins/2 base blink builds.  PvP who knows D:

Vortex was already out.

Buff for Protoss since oracles don’t want to use their energy to time warp.  They want to save it for more important things.  100 kill worker games xD

[Edit w/ TT1’s thoughts] 

After TT1 gave his input I can’t help that i missed a lot.

PvT: Banshees are a bit stronger now since you’re forced down either starport or robo tech to defend against cloak.  Not saying this wasn’t the case in WoL but relative to having envision on Mothership, you could go to twilight council and not be afraid of banshees.  Represents a decrease in variance of builds.

Also Widow Mines are buffed since they require robo or stargate once again.

PvZ:  ”i think the moship got a huge nerf, having detection on it was so strong in tvp n zvp. could have skipped robo for faster upgs in…stalker moship and early pressure with them, forced alot of lings from the z and it allowed u to clear creep, good map control” -TT1


[Edit with iMpJinX ’s thoughts]

iMpJinX gave his input too about PvP that is i missed.

PvP DTs were very standard since they are so accessible with their decrease in cost, they maintain a lot of map control, and could be merged into archons for strength.  I’m personally not sure about this since since I think stargate and robo deal this without giving the DT’er a big advantage/disadvantage and I believe blink stalkers are still a fine way at apply pressure and delaying DT’s or even winning the game in certain scenarios.  Mshipcore strengthens blink play substantially.

iMpJinX makes a case that taking envision off of Mothership bottlenecks the Protoss a bit more.  While I think that’s true, compared to WoL, there’s still power in air and stargate imo, but I can see JinX’s case.

Follow iMpJinX at @iMpJinX 




  • Fungal Growth damage decreased from 30 +10 vs. Armored to 30.


Just like vortex, slowly moving away from relying on Infestor as the goto composition in ZvX matchups.  I like it



  • Mutalisk Regeneration passive ability renamed Tissue Regeneration and its tooltip has been updated to improve clarity.


Awesome ^.^_v

Overall good changes imo.  

All my opinions are also very subject to change.

HoN! Amun-RA and his competitive influence

We have seen a big decline of RA in competitive play and I made the statement that it’s because he takes so much farm to be relevant in matches.  This stems from his 3 moves necessitating him to be in the fight for the entire period of the battle.  I would say Path of destruction has a lower hit rate as opposed to other stuns than lets say pyromaner’s or torturer, simply based on how it is executed.  Ignite requires him to be next to his enemies(the action), and ashes to ashes is the same deal.  

Ra’s health pool is rather mediocre as well.  His strength gain is only 2.0+ as opposed to someone like Kraken who scales much faster; 3.0+ .  

Hence, to use Ra effectively and ensure that he has the ability to be relevant, he must have an advantage in farm on his opponents.  

All of this is just to conclude that Ra needs farm.  How much farm is the question.  It will be dependent on your opponents mostly, but if there is any top farmer, then Ra will have to rice much longer due to the fact that it is more likely that the other top farmer has DPS to take down a ra or stop his dominance over a fight.  There of course is high variance in what I just said since it depends who is heavily farmed, but we can say that at higher level play, it’s most likely the carry/semicarry taking that kind of farm.

Ra needs farm, and normally you’ll see him dominate bottom lane for legion or top lane for hellbourne.  as he gets to level 8-9, he becomes a machine and just keeps taking every single creep from lanes.  At around level 12, he is able to combo a creep wave making his presence in lane very fast.  

He then goes to jungle to farm. Why?  because he needs to maintain an advantage.  If he loses the advantage in creep, then what happens is his relative strength weakens significantly in fights.  

NOTE i’m not saying he can’t gank, I’m talking just theory.  There are always situations where he should gank/counter gank etc.

So he take 1 lane and about 2-3 camps worth of jungle depending on the side.

if we look at the total lanes we control, normally we control our short lanes and we give up our long lanes due to ganking problems.  If you have control of all 3 lanes, then obv you have an advantage as is.  so let’s say we have our short lane plus half the lane in mid(a lot of action for center control normally) and the jungle.  We can estimate around 1.5-2.5 lanes depending on how dominant our center control is.  If RA takes 1.5 lanes, we’re talking either 100% - 60% of the total creep farm thats possible for the team, leaving your teammates severely underfarmed.  

What this means, is that your allies must be either heroes that don’t require as much farm (shaman, andromeda etc) or heroes that farm off your opponents (fayde, pebbles, parasite).  

So now the enemy has two options to beat a RA type lineup.  They can lockdown your jungle, either forcing constant battles in there while RA is not big yet, or forcing RA off lane to the long lane(which isn’t safe to farm jungle), reducing his GPM, OR they can take advantage of the nerfed 4 heroes and hard counter them completely.  

You see it a lot in RA games and it should be very apparent.  This type of playstyle, imo, is obsolete and I think RA should be used in a very small amount of circumstances.  He’s a soft counter to a lot of lineups, but gets hard countered very easily with correct play and planning.

I believe armor is better than shields and I’ll explain why.

Couple of factors:

There exists more internal structure for mostly all units (except archons) than shields.
Amor starts with at least +1 on all units
Shields Regen
Shields apply to buildings as well
shields cost 100/100 more than armor
We get forge upgrades for our army normally.
Normally the first upgrades will hit before we are at 100 supply.

Lets go deeper into Zealots and Stalkers since that is the backbone of our composition.
Zealot life: 100 health, 50 shields
Stalker life: 80 health, 80 shields

If we get shield upgrade for Zealots, you can see its less effective than getting health. We can’t say exactly what the efficiency would be because that’d depend on the unit attacking you. Let’s take a marine and a roach.

Zealot vs marine

marines deal 6 dmg.
No upgrades: 29 shots to kill a zealot (9 to kill shields, 20 to kill health)
+1 armor: 34 shots to kill zealot (9 to kill shields, 25 to kill health)
+1 shield: 30 shots to kill zealot (10 to kill shields, 20 to kill health)

So from this we can see that the +1 armor affects the zealots a lot more when against marines. The effects: +1 armor makes marines(although not really accurate in big fights b/c of other units in compositions and potential for overkill)approximately 17.25% more inefficient, where as the +1 armor only makes them about 3.5% more inefficient)

Zealot vs Roach
No upgrades: 10 to kill a zealot(4 to kill shields, 6 to kill health)
+1 armor: 11 to kill a zealot (4 to kill shields, 7 to kill heatlh)
+1 Shields: 10 to kill a zealot(4 to kill shields, 6 to kill health)

Hence we have slightly higher efficiency with +1 armor (reducing roach efficiency by 10% although again not super accurate based on compositions and overkill)

Its hard to understand intuitively with the stalker. You would think that since shield and health are the same, that it wouldnt make any difference. Wrong! It does make a difference! But it only shows with the super small attacks ie marine, zerglings, zealots, broodlings.

I’ll just say look at it this way. +1armor/shields is good however +2 armor/+0 shields eats into the damage efficiency of the units you’re going against. So for zerglings, if you get +1shields, you’ll have +1 armor/+1 shields making the zerlings 20% less efficient(from 5 attack to 4 attack).

Now if we have +2 armor/ +0 shields, we have half that its full attack 100% efficiency against the armor, but against structure it’s 40% less efficient. What would you rather have? 40% less efficiency on half or 20% less efficiency on all. Hard to tell right?

what we’re trying to see is the sign is
(health / [damage*.80]) is less than greater than or equal to .5*health/damage + .5*health/[damgage*.6]

this isn’t completely accurate because theres spill over from the shield damage going into health. In other words, theres leftover shield damage that is applied to the health, but keepin mind that the left over damage gets the armor applied. So if it’s 4 dmg left over and you have +1 armor or +2 armor it gets applied. This will actually almost always help the +2 armor case with all the current SC2 protoss units except for the archon.

If you simply each side, you will actually get
15*health/[12*damage] is LESS THAN 16*health/[12*damage] meaning the right hand side is more than the left. That means there exists more overall health with having half 40% than having both 20%.

Keep in mind that we used a zergling damage (5) to justify the percent by which you take reduced damage. The effectiveness scales to even as the damage burst damage output starts becoming much higher.

Ok that’s the math to the STALKER, not to all units. Our conclusion from all of this analysis is that +1 armor is better for these basic units, but the question is now if the resources are going to be utilized and how the game progresses and continues.

What it comes down to: If we get armor we have to use it. This means fights have to happen. It is the better to get the armor because our units have more life. It has good long term effects because the higher the armor, the weaker our opponents DPS becomes. A great example of this: would you rather have just a straight 100 life with 10 armor, or 10 compartments of health with 1 armor in each one. What happens when you fight against someone who has 11 attack? This is a great example on how building the armor is better when proportions of health to shields are similar or in favor of the hp with more armor.

I think theres a very unique case of builds where you’re going to be harassing and NOT losing units/not trading. You are just dealing damage and maybe blinking out. In that case, we want to utilize the recharge time of shields, and give our shields more life. That’s the only case I could see this being viable. The long terms effects aren’t nearly as strong as armor, therefore no good continuation.

I hope this helps!