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redditMarch Client Update Balance Changes Ideas. Reworks to Reduce Toxicity and a Rulebook Change

Soul Crusher

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Heya! Since balance changes switched to quarterly, I decided to switch to making wishlists quarterly, too. I don't want to post several of them between updates since this strategy only works well with negative posts. This wishlist includes:

  • More suggestions than in my old wishlists (since it's for a whole quarter), including ones that would require a client update
  • Changes in bold
  • Hard data: Grand Challenges 3d data over the last 2 months
  • Community opinion: Tier list as rated by 50+ redditors in r/ClashRoyaleSerious * (took this info last month)

This is something I'm doing for the first time, and it's there to show the general opinion of people with adequate knowledge of the game. It's not something I considered much. It is more meant to imply that not only data supports me, but also most of the serious community. Even on S Tier cards, there would often be a couple votes that put the card into the F Tier.

  • Explanations of why I chose the cards and their exact changes, in which the most important points are in bold italic

Here are my ideas, starting with format changes, then rulebook changes, reworks, regular changes and finishing with small tweaks.

Tiebreaker changes

Change 1: Coinflips introduced all around the game, except for friendly battles

Coinflips are a feature in duels that proceeds after a tiebreaker fails to deduce a winner. I believe it would be a good idea to introduce them all around the game to discourage tie-trading. The only way to achieve a tie would now be a 3-crown tie or a tie in friendly battles. GL if anyone tries to coordinate a tie-trade like this.

But coinflips are unneeded in games without stakes, so they shouldn't exist in friendly battles.

Change 2: Tiebreakers only resort to a coinflip if the opponent's Princess Towers have the same hitpoints as your Princess Towers, and the opponent's King Tower has the same hitpoints as your King Tower.

Otherwise, the tiebreaker always considers the two lowest towers currently on the field, not stopping after destroying one (unless it destroys a king). This makes the probability of a coinflip in regular battles astronomically low.

Change 3: Bandit can no longer survive while dashing and deal damage during a tiebreaker

Last bug in the video here.

Rulebook change to initial attacks

  • Initial Attack Time is now shown on cards' stats
  • Adjustments to always be between 0.3sec and 1sec
  • Adjustments to always be a multiple of 0.1sec

The affected units:

  • Archer, Valkyrie, Fisherman, Bomber (0.1sec > 0.3sec)
  • Goblin Brawler, Balloon (0.2sec > 0.3sec)
  • Royal Hog (0.25sec > 0.3sec)
  • Dart Goblin (0.35sec > 0.3sec)
  • Inferno Tower (Re-target time: 1.2sec > 1sec)
  • Electro Giant (1.4sec > 1sec)
  • And a few

Initial attack speed. A stat that can make or break a card, as shown many times, yet it is hidden from us. So let's get it all tidy and ready to be revealed.

Only a few units take longer than 1sec or shorter than 0.3sec to initiate their first attack, and they have a sharp or a sluggish animation while doing so. These changes would allow attack animations to play much more smoothly while also being reasonable for balance. 0.3 seconds is still really quick and 1sec is still really slow, so this does not limit balancing options. Keeping initial attacks in this range just makes more sense.

While the point is in consistency, it's worth mentioning that I believe 5 of the changes improve game balance and only 2 of them aggravate it. 4 more are addressed in other ways lower down. Some of this may need to be addressed in future balances. Here are the specifics of what I consider to be relevant:


Archers nerfed: Use 4-13%, Win 45-55%, B Tier

Bomber nerfed: Use 2-4%, Win 41-50%, B- Tier


Fisherman nerfed: Use 9-14%, Win 53-60%, S- Tier

Balloon nerfed: Use 12-17%, Win 50-54%, S Tier

Goblin Cage nerfed: Use 12-16%, Win 51-56%, A Tier

Dart Goblin buffed: Use 3-6%, Win 38-51%, A- Tier

Inferno Tower buffed: Use 3-5%, Win 30-40%, B Tier

Elixir Golem Rework

Elixir Golem:

  • Hitpoints +32% (1196 > 1584)
  • Death spawn changed to 3 Elixir Blobs!!!
  • Speed increased to Medium
  • Range increased to Melee: Medium

Elixir Blobs:

  • Hitpoints +77% (299 > 528)
  • Damage +33% (52 > 70)

Usage 1-3%, Win 35-45%, B Tier

Now here's the basics of the rework: You have a much more powerful Elixir Golem that spawns three MUCH more powerful Elixir Blobs. There aren't any Golemites, though. This reduces the overall impact of the card, but also gives your opponent one less elixir in the end.

Recently, I've seen a few posts that claim the game has become Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS) because decks that have either 70-30 or 30-70 matchups appear balanced. While this is just untrue for most decks, it is true for Elixir Golem decks. Elixir Golem decks are some of the most RPS: they either win hard or lose hard against the meta. Now, I have to mention that unless you play Elixir Golem, RPS doesn't determine your games so much. Even for Elixir Golem, it's 95% skill and 4% RPS. But it does result in matches being unfun.

Battle Healer, another considerably annoying card, is also primarily used with Elixir Golem. Every Elixir Golem deck has Healer. I will excuse her, though, as Elixir Golem's mechanics are part of what makes the synergy and Healer can actually be found in some not-so-toxic decks.

I don't want to just rant, but I simply have so much to say about this card. A total overhaul is needed beyond any shadow of a doubt. Many of you might not acknowledge it as an issue, because nowadays Elixir Golem is weak and Healer is easier to blame, but it is easily one of the most toxic cards in the game. There's little difference between mediocre and pro gameplay with it, besides pros' consistency. Maybe you'd say "it's good that lower-skilled players have cards they can use" but I will disagree. The card is inherently flawed beyond just being low-skill. I'll explain below. I really insist on this rework.

CWA: Pro Ranks Top 20 Decks from LOWEST to HIGHEST Skill! (Vulkan rating Elixir Golem as the least skilled deck in the game. This is pretty old, but Elixir Golem decks haven't changed much since)

Elixir Golem was also overpowered in the past and it only got health nerfs and a hit speed standardization, not fixing the underlying issues. At this point it is just a half-relevant card that people only tolerate because it's not the meta.


The first issue with the card is how swarmy it becomes. It's hard to put in words, but in many matchups everything gets melted while trying to deal with the latter phases. Heal effects are the best in medium swarm decks, which the golemites phase really capitalizes on, and so Healer and Heal Spirit are good with EGolem alongside with Rage to increase the healing. So if you can't deal with a push, it will get healed back and you will get 3-crowned. Elixir Golem is basically a magnet for yet more cards that are considered toxic. Being swarmy is not an issue on its own, but it just so happens to amplify the other issues.

The next issue with the card is the disconnect between elixir you spend and elixir you put on the board. I believe that an Elixir Golem that doesn't give elixir would cost about 5 elixir. So you get the stats of a 5 elixir card for 3 elixir, giving you an advantage of 2 elixir instantly. In the long run, you lose 2, but some of that elixir might be wasted by the opponent thanks to the sheer advantage you got and used. Then if you get a second Elixir Golem down, you are now 4 elixir up front. One of my decks for Clan Wars II is an EGolem one and this is how some of the most disgusting 3-crown wins happen. In the early days of the pro scene, often both players would ban Elixir Collector to have a sort of "Gentleman game" and not abuse the downward spiral of not being able to stop these custom elixir advantages, which is what Elixir Golem does without there even being any counterplay. Nowadays, the equivalent is that a lot of pros were upset when an Elixir Golem deck finished #1 on ladder, saying that "it doesn't count".

Actually there is a counterplay that devs kept talking about: getting elixir from the blobs.

Probably the biggest issue is how long it takes to gain some of the lead back. You first need to get through an Elixir Golem with 1196 hitpoints. Then, only after then killing an Elixir Golemite with 598 hitpoints, you can start getting elixir by killing an elixir blob with 299 hitpoints. That makes it 1993 damage you need to deal to get just the first elixir. Add 300-400 is added because of wasted damage and it's 2400... except wait, actually you need to deal 300 more damage to get to a blob because EGolem got healed by a Heal Spirit. Also, 100 more because of the Healer. And 100 more, and 100 more... Not to mention your units will probably retarget to the support or the other golemite before starting to attack the blobs, and that each split might reset the attack animation of your units.

Basically, if you use a few point attackers instead of splash, it can often take 3000+ damage, as much as a 5-elixir Giant, just to pop a single blob and start recovering from the disadvantage. This is an awful lack of counterplay on most occasions. All of the high-damage splash attackers that counter this, like Wizard and old Executioner, are/were divisive cards. Besides, with the limited number of cards that handle this, it actually adds to the RPS.


With the changes, the overall hitpoints of the card are reduced from 3588 to 3168 (-12%)

Not so swarmy anymore: The number of units in Elixir Golem goes from 7 to 4, and from 3 splits to 1. The average hitpoints of a unit increase from 513 to 792 (more than 50%), reducing the wasted damage and re-targets of your defense.

You no longer get a 2 elixir lead just by playing it: This lead you get is massively reduced. In my opinion, Elixir Golem would now be worth around 4.5 elixir, reducing this effect by about 25%. Elixir Golem would be more of a cheap cycle-style tank than a powerhouse. Also, because the golem walks faster (by 33%), split pushing will only happen when the opponent is already in the middle of defending the first one and possibly has some of the ground taken back.

The opponent Actually has counterplay: While popping one blob is a little more work (1993-->2112), there is only one re-targeting on the way. But perhaps the more important thing is the reduction of wasted damage. After the Golem pops, you can simply fireball the Elixir Blobs and get your lead back. This would massively discourage heal combos and give rise to less toxic Elixir Golem decks. Meanwhile, it would also encourage taking another look at Healer and Heal Spirit in the future.

So what will Elixir Golem be about? I don't know. Maybe beatdown-cycle hybrids? Or split pushing? After trying to imagine it, I thought it was weak, so just to "play it safe", I also buffed the melee range. The current short range looks visually weird for such a huge guy.


I am disappointed that Elixir Golem has come to be this. I knew from the start its problems were deep. Frankly, not many people in the community, even the pro community, think about things this way. People make up their opinions based on how they feel in battles, which made complaints like "the blobs deal too much damage" take over general concerns about the card's design as they were easier to implement. This led us to some of the most obnoxious decks in the game. It needs to be fixed already. Please.

Freeze Rework

  • Cost reduced to 3 elixir
  • Duration -37.5% (4sec > 2.5sec)

Usage 3-5%, Win 41-52%, C+ Tier

Even though Freeze's duration was reduced from 5 to 4 seconds, it remains one of the cards that if you see in a deck, you know the deck will be toxic. The reason for this is obvious: it completely halts counterplay, freezing your units for very long.

Two years ago, Freeze was given damage while its duration at level 13 was reduced by 34%. This change made Freeze a lot more bearable, but it is still toxic. When Clash of Clans reworked their Freeze spell into a little frosty bottle, I was thrilled, thinking that Clash Royale might follow this direction. But it's been a few years and this hasn't happened.

Freeze would be way less frustrating to face if it didn't last for as long. So I'm suggesting this change. Ideally, Freeze retains a ~3% use rate, but those 1.5% of losses don't feel unfair.


Barbarian Barrel nerf: Barbarian deploy time increased (0.5sec > 1sec)

Usage 29-35%, Win 53-58%, S Tier

This card makes me question why devs let some cards rot for years and others shine for months. Should've been balanced before balance changes ever became quarterly.

Lava Hound nerf: Hitpoints -5% (3150 > 3000), Sight range increased (5.5 > 7.5)

Usage 7-10%, Win 55-59%, A+ Tier

Lava Hound is inarguably a very strong win condition. For a long time, it has boasted a 55%+ winrate. Also, it features a sight range inconsistency that forces buildings to be played in less convenient placements. So I'm giving Lava Hound a small nerf and fixing this frustrating inconsistency.

Hunter nerf: Bullets reduced to 9 (removed rightmost bullet)

Usage 22-28%, Win 55-59%, S Tier

Hunter has held an extraordinary winrate for many seasons, which shows there's more to him than his versatility. This suggested change is pretty big, but not as big as it looks since the rightmost bullet is the one that least often hits enemies. Switching to an odd number of bullets also happens to fix an inconsistency with Hunter's aim leaning to the right.

Electro Spirit nerf/rebalance: Chain zaps -3 (9 > 6), Damage +7.5% (84 > 91)

Currently: Use 15%, Win 56%

Electro Spirit was thought to be weak until recently, when it started boasting a massive use and winrate and got on top ladder even despite often being underleveled. These changes shift its power a little bit, and in combination should add up to a nerf.

Increased damage: It makes the ESpirit more damage-based and consistent with Ice Spirit. But mostly, it makes the card more level-dependent. Currently, it's questionable whether it should even be upgraded to max level, as doing so improves few interactions but allows for easier king tower activations when it is cycled. I believe there should be no cards where it is questionable whether upgrading is beneficial at all.

Less chaining: It counteracts the damage buff. But mostly, it makes the card more predi ctable. Currently, it's near-impossible to predict what the last few zaps will strike and whether they will strike at all.

Miner nerf: Underground movement speed increased, 0.5sec "burrow out" time introduced

Usage 21-28%, Win 54-58%, A+ Tier

Basically, Miner would travel faster underground, but just before he comes out of the ground, he would stop and take a moment to burrow his way out, revealing his exact tile. Overall, the travel to a princess tower would take about the same amount of time.

As I'm writing this, Miner has a 55% winrate in Wall Breakers decks, 57% in Lava Hound decks, and 54% in other decks. This kind of range has held for many months. He is all around a little too strong, besides just being used with other strong cards. I normally avoid being controversial, but this list of balance changes would be incomplete without a Miner nerf. I was still careful with the nerf I decided on, although I expect it to be controversial still

This change aims to make it possible to consistently react to Miner's exact placement tile. An issue a lot of players have with Miner is that once he is sent to a tower, it's random whether you'll predict it correctly or take several hits. Imagine if there was no indication of whether Goblin Barrels are tricky: that's what Miner is like, just with less punishment if you get it wrong. Some say this is skill-based because it asks you to read your opponent, but that's not the case when there are several equally good Miner placements and a skilled player can choose at random. The burrow time makes Miner spend 0.5sec on the tile where he is going to appear, so fast reactions at the last moment would be possible. This mostly nerfs him in competitive, where he is the most prominent.


Goblin rebalance: Melee Range increased (0.5 > 0.8), Rulebook Initial Attack (0.2sec > 0.3sec)

Goblins: Use 1%, Win 40-50%, C- Tier

Goblin Gang: Use 7-11%, Win 40-50%, B+ Tier

Goblin Barrel: Use 7-11%, Win 40-47%, A- Tier

The new rule on initial attacks hurts goblin cards when they're already not so great. So I gave them a melee range buff, bringing them to the standard Melee Short. I'm sure most players wouldn't notice this.

It should be a very minor buff to Goblins and not much for Goblin Gang and Goblin Barrel.

Mother Witch: Changes to The Curse mechanic

  • The Curse does not expire
  • The only exceptions for The Curse are now shields and buildings.
  • Units with a death spawn don't turn into hogs, the death spawn units now inherit The Curse (i.e. Lava Hound's curse is transferred to the pups)
  • Cursed Hogs: Rulebook Initial Attack (0.25sec > 0.3sec)
  • Units with death damage don't get affected by The Curse when turning into hogs (bugfix)

Usage: <1%, Insufficient data for win rate data, C- Tier

Mother Witch is already designed in a way that favors attacking smaller units, so her curse doesn't need to expire when she attacks a tanky troop. Besides this, if Mother Witch's curse affected death spawns, she would become a better counterplay against a few extra units, mostly Lava Hound, Elixir Golem, and especially Skeleton Barrel.

This helps with the problem that she often feels like dead weight in decks. You would no longer necessarily lose all 10 games before facing a Graveyard.

While these changes might not be enough for Mother Witch, they finess her Curse mechanic, which would make it easier to balance her in the traditional ways in the future.

Heal Spirit rebalance: Damage +235% (27 > 91), Healing -9% (332 > 300)

Usage 1%, Win 40-47%, C Tier

Heal Spirit doesn't feel right with reduced damage. None of the spirits on the Royale arena are particularly combative, they all just want to give hugs, and Heal Spirit is no different. Even with its weak stats, its healing is still disproportionally massive. I insist that's what should be nerfed instead of its damage.

Guards buff: Damage +7.5% (90 > 97)

Usage 1%, Win 30-45%, C+ Tier

The recent rebalance of Guards wasn't much of a buff, unsurprisingly. So I gave them a much more definitive buff here. Even though it doesn't change many relevant interactions, it's quite a big increase.

Other small changes, bugfixes, and consistency

Cannon inconsistency fixed: Initial attack faster (1sec > 0.6sec).

Usage 1%, Win 25-40%, C- Tier

Changed to have the same initial attack speed as Cannon Cart, as it was supposed to 20 seasons ago. Cannon might even become viable with this change.

Tornado inconsistency fixed: Crown Tower Damage reduced to 30% of regular damage (24 > 21)

Usage 22-26%, Win 50-52%, S- Tier

Not very relevant to game balance, but it's a thing.

Royal Ghost bugfix: Now takes damage from centered melee splash before his first attack

Third bug shown here.

Symmetry tweak to 6 cards: Deployment flipped based on the lane they are played

  • Barbarians, Bats, Goblin Gang, Royal Hogs, Minion Horde, Royal Recruits,

Cards with 2 or 3 units in them abide by this rule. These six don't, which results in all sorts of inconsistent interactions

* For considering tiers, I took each vote as S=4, A=3, B=2, C=1, F=0; for M being the mean of all votes, I used the floor function of (M-0.5)x13/3 to decide how many tiers above F the card was, with negative being F- (only Mirror) and more than 12 being S+ (only Knight)

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