GM here, offlane/tank main – Malth has almost always been my solo laner of choice since his release. And yes, I have usually taken tormented souls against enemy Auriels, DS uthers and Palm kharazims. I've played with the new Tormented Souls a few games, and I found it difficult to use effectively because of the mana burden.
The normal ability sequence:
You cast E + W to get in on the enemy group. Pop R, hold down Q, and get two more W's to re-position / escape over the next 4 seconds. It opens some pretty interesting options, and I love the thought process behind this change. But here is the mana use:
1xE = 50 Mana
1xR = 100 Mana
3xW = 90 Mana
3xQ = 75 mana
Total = 315 Mana
So, in order to use the updated ultimate the way it's intended, you've just used more than half your mana in 4 seconds.
At level 13, you have 620 mana. Let's assume that you are pretty good with your mana, and have 80% mana when the teamfight starts. You cast a few E's and Q's before actually commiting to the dive. So let's say you "commit" with 65% mana (still pretty good!), equal to 403 mana at level 13. You cast abilities as normal, and 4 seconds later you have:
403 – 315 + 16 (regen over 4 seconds) = 104 mana left.
And that's if you've done a very good job managing mana. In most cases, after you cast R and your abilities, you'll finish tormented souls with 0% mana.
Even the level 18-20 fights will leave you with less than 25% mana before the teamfight has been decided, in most cases.
Problem: Balancing around the power of R itself will again, boil down to, can Malthael eliminate everyone before his R runs out, because otherwise he'll have no mana. This was a big problem before the addition of cleave, and the reason they reworked him in the first place.
Suggestion: I would suggest reducing the mana consumption of W (which is rarely used in waveclear scenarios so doesn't really affect early game mana tension) and the mana consumption of tormented souls (level 10, so same applies). Then, you can leave the power of tormented souls at a reasonably low level, and Malthael can still get value from it without being all-or-nothing.
Edit: It's important to note that Malthael is not Jaina or Kael'thas, with long cooldown periods in between shorts bursts of mana consumption. His abilities have cooldowns of 2, 5, and 8, respectively. He's expected to continuously cast abilities in teamfights. So repeatedly leaving him with low mana in every teamfight regardless of prior attention to mana consumption makes balancing his ability power much more hit-or-miss / Chen-esque. It's not healthy.
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