We have made it through another year, and the spectre of Season Five looms on the horizon. What other changes will accompany the map? What gods will see full rekits or massive redesigns? Is Ares going to be a warrior? Tune in next week for more Dragon Ball Z! Wait. No. This patch introduces a god with a ridiculous kit, and increases the strength of several gods. The trend is definitely more “buff the low-end, don’t nerf the top-end.” To a certain degree, it makes a lot of sense. There is going to be a tremendous power shift as people figure out the new map and establish new metas. It’s a better proposition to adjust a few gods up, leave items for their reworks at the start of Season Five, and don’t nerf anything. I understand the desire to alter Ullr, but it’s unnecessary at the moment. Good calls, design team.
Cerberus, Doggie of Frustration
Great googly moogly. The god’s kit is craaaaaaazy. He’s built to be a huge counter-pick, but that just means he’ll get banned out early if he’s not prioritized. Of course, prioritizing him will change the opposition’s draft. This puts him in a weird spot at a high-level, but he is exceptionally strong.
His passive is built-in sustain combined with built-in pestilence effect. Well, 20% heal reduction rather than 25%, but the point remains. Whenever an enemy god within 40 of Cerberus heals, he heals for 40% of the heal, and the enemy’s heal is reduced by 20% That is stellar anti-heal, coupled with something of a heal-redirect instead of a damage-redirect. It’s prevention and punishment. Again, it’s potent enough to be singled out as a counter-pick ban if you are going the sustain route. If you don’t ban it out…then what are you doing?
On top of that, he has a splash/burst mechanic that deals significant damage, with something of an unreliable stun. Hitting all attacks is harder than you might believe. Of course, this is somewhat countered by the breath doing a tremendous amount of work. It’s a stacking magical protection shred and slow. The shred stacks up to 60 and the slow up to 36%.
The third ability is a wonky-ass leap that is also a wonky-ass heal. It also alters his basic attacks to cleave the soul-thingies released upon his leap. It’s a really weird version of a heal over time. The leap is really bad, however. This is the wonkiest skill.
His ult is a high-damage displacement skill that offers tremendous CC after a meaningful wind-up. It’s a pull that flings in a specific direction, offering a LOT of distance. This ult is just crazy good.
All-in-all, Cerberus is a stellar specific-use guardian with a lot of finesse gameplay. Mastering Cerberus will offer the team he is on a huge advantage, and the control offered is a leg up on many guardians. This will be a stellar gods.
The Rest of the Gods
All of the changes to the gods are relatively minor, though all are buffs.
Anhur gets his impale change to act like Kuzenbo’s sumo slam. Impaled targets deal damage to creatures they pass through. The idea is that his clear can no longer be shut down by opponents willing to soak the impale. It is the latest in a trend to simplify and homogenize gods within roles. Part of this is in response to performance rate of the gods, and part is in response to the simplification of the game to lower the barrier of entry to the gods. Anhur has been considered one of the more complicated hunters for some time.
Chaac has long been considered a god that doesn’t do enough to justify being picked. To address that, his rain dance now slows attack speed from 5-25%. It used to do this a while back, but it was removed as it made him a boxing god. However, with buffs and new gods, the change looks more reasonable and is a specific counter-pick. Still, he has to go deep to get as much value as he can, or use the rain combo for positioning and utility.
Buffing Hun Batz’s damage is a strange move. He’s always on the edge of being an incredibly strong pick because of his ult. Increasing his poke isn’t necessarily too much, given his mobility is a bit iffy. Still. It’s a balancing act to make it just enough with getting Hun Batz in every game because of his ult. Iffiest change, by far.
Terra has been in a sorry state post-nerf. Increasing the slow strength and duration certainly won’t hurt, but it also won’t help. She needs more help, but is in a sticky situation because of her ult. It’s rough.
Zhong Kui is another character who doesn’t see a lot of play. His changes would fit into last patch, given it’s a mana decrease. However, it also leaves the book’s basic attacks in place, translating to a damage increase. It’s a good change. It helps his gameplay loop, but doesn’t fundamentally change it.
Overall, this patch’s changes are fine. It’s a reasonable amount of changes prior to a massive patch. Big changes would be too much and have either too much or no lasting impact. As this is between pro seasons, there is even less of a risk. In short, this seems fine.