Clash Royale September Balance Update Breakdown
Tue 4th Sep 2018 - 7:42pm
Supercell has decided to implement monthly balance updates for Clash Royale. This is a vast improvement from their previous philosophy which applied infrequent changes that usually rolled out with the next large update, occasionally leaving large gaps of time between fixing game-changing bugs (e.g. Executioner upon release) and balancing newly released cards (e.g. Night Witch). Frequent balance changes keep the game fresh by mixing up the meta and allowing for experimentation to create and combat new decks. It also prevents any overpowered cards from dominating too long without a response. Supercell will now step-in when necessary, as shown with the quick nerf of Royal Recruits.
However, one concern I have is that mandatory scheduled updates may produce frivolous balance changes. I hope changes are not made for the sake of change and that each decision is well thought out. Supercell and The Rum Ham are doing a fantastic job so far and I hope it continues that way especially since CRL is currently underway. CRL can assist in the balancing process as well because we can see the most commonly used and banned cards at the very highest level of play which should result in higher quality changes. Now, onto the balance changes!
Valkyrie: Hit Speed slower 1.4sec -> 1.6sec
Valkyrie has become one of the most powerful cards, offering too much versatility and being used in a plethora of decks. The reduction in hit speed will allow the Valkyrie to still fill its role dismantling ground-based swarm troops but limits its single target strength. This change should give players more options when creating a deck.
Royal Recruits: Damage +12% and Deployment Change
No surprise, Royal Recruits needed a buff since their elixir cost was increased. A 12% damage buff seems quite significant especially, since there are 6 troops played. We will see if the buff is enough to warrant an increase in usage, at 8 elixir it can be a serious investment but I would love to see them used more.
Barbarian Barrel: Elixir cost decreased 3 -> 2, Area Damage -9%, Range shorter 7 -> 5, removed knock back
Barbarian Barrel lived in the shadow of The Log and was due for a buff. The elixir decrease alone makes the card more viable and could potentially rival The Log. The damage reduction coincides with the changed cost and while the shortened range and removal of knock back appear to be nerfs, they may simply result in a change of functionality that is not necessarily better or worse than before.
Witch: Hit points -3.5%
Slight tweak to make the Witch more vulnerable to spells but maintaining her uniqueness and functionality as a troop. Reasonable change that won’t have a significant impact on the meta but keeps the card balanced.
Prince: Hit points +5%
An unexpected change, Prince was really popular before his last nerf then dropped off drastically. I don’t think this will bring him back to his former glory. He will probably see a resurgence in use, but 5 elixir is still fairly expensive compared to cards that fill a similar role.
Lightning: Damage +5%
Finally, Lightning gets a buff! It has been an eternity since Lightning was a staple spell in the meta, with players opting for the cheaper alternatives in Fireball and Poison. While this is a step in the right direction, I am unsure if it will be enough. I think the main problem with Lightning has been the range. Extra damage doesn’t do much when it already kills the intended targets (Musk, EW, Witch, NW, etc).
Royal Hogs: Hit Speed slower 1.1sec -> 1.2sec
The ability to split Royal Hogs allows them to almost always inflict tower damage and/or force a lot of elixir to defend. Slower hit speed is going to hinder their damage output slightly. I am glad that Royal Hogs were not overnerfed and we can see how this adjustment plays out along with the other changes.
Cannon Cart: Range shorter 5.5 –> 5
The one change I disagree with in this update. The Cannon Cart had been cast aside for too long but recently we witnessed a surge in usage, I think it could have used a little more time before justifying a nerf. I especially do not agree with shrinking its range. The range forced a player to react quickly when a Cannon Cart was crossing the bridge in order to prevent it from locking on to the tower and reducing the range gives the defender a little more time to react.
Zappies: Changed reload mechanics
Solid change to prevent awkward Zappie v Zappie scenarios. A slower first attack after moving is a good start but they may require further changes if they remain one of the most used cards.
Overall satisfying balance changes that will help shake up the meta and lead to the development of new decks and hopefully see more cards used at the competitive level. I am looking forward to observing the changes and how players adapt in the upcoming week of CRL.