Instead of focusing on the lurkers, why not change the ultralisk?

starcraft 7 - Instead of focusing on the lurkers, why not change the ultralisk?

Looking at the ideas from the latest balance update, i really like the direction that the balance team is going for. I don't like that the new spell of the infestor costs 100 energy, and i'm not sure how effective hydras will be against skytoss, since it's hard to chase a skytoss composition with High Templars / Disruptors with ground units, but the ideas are really cool (thank god for the removal of the infested terran).

What i don't like in the new patch, is the change to a specific unit;


  • Lurkers are an invisible long range lurker, they are fast, and more effective in small numbers than broodlords (3 or 4 lurkers are a thousand times better than 3 or 4 broodlords). Since they are easier to split, there's a real possibility that they can be even stronger at turtling than broodlords.

  • It has a good chance of messing up ZvZ. If you think roach ravager vs roach ravager is boring, at least we can have a bit of variety with muta plays, and it's a composition that is supposed to be always fighting. If you make lurkers too acessible too early, the chances of the game devolving into lurker rush with mass spores into a hive rush are huge, and ZvZ is going to be even worse than it is today.

  • With the zealot change, zergs will be able to go back to hydra rushes, and hydraling lurker pushes in ZvP are going to be insanely strong.

The lurker as a unit is an interesting one to buff because it works as a 2.5 unit that you can still use in the late game, so it smooths out the zerg transition, and may work as a way to extend the mid game. But considering the worrying points, it's not a unit that you can buff lightly.

The Ultralisk

Instead of focusing on a unit that can be problematic, we could focus on the ultra, a unit that's far easier to change if it's too weak or too strong. So, my suggestion is the following:

Remove the armored tag from the ultra. Reduce the initial armor of the ultra by 1, reduce the armor given by chitinous plating by 1.

Just so you can have a comparison, armorwise this is basically the current ultra without the chitinous upgrade. Firstly i'll talk about the benefits of these changes:

This makes ultras usable in ZvP, since they wouldn't be completely shat on by immortals. Ultras are a good unit in zoning out High Templars, and with 5 armor they would still be good versus interceptors. With the new infestor spell, and considering ultras are easier to transition than broodlords, the chances of you having a game that keeps being aggressive and dynamic even in the late game is big, since it makes a lot harder for the protoss player to just transition into skytoss.

  • One of the things that worries me in late game ZvMech is that most maxed out terran compositions were always countered by broodlords. So the balance was always paper thin. If the broodlords were too strong, the zerg player would have the advantage. But right now, with the broodlord nerf, and the changes to thors, it looks like terran mech has the advantage (how are you going to break thor tank lib?).

  • Looking at ZvT bio, it also helps since one of the big problems of terran right now in transitioning to late game is that when the zerg gets there, it's really hard for the terran to change his composition as fast as the zerg does. With this, ultras are weaker against marines, the same against ghosts / libs, and stronger against marauders and tanks. That means that the terran doesn't need to transition so radically anymore.

  • It doesn't fuck up ZvZ.

Of course, that idea is not failproof, i'll highlight the main problems that i see with this change and how to adress them:

  1. LBHydra into Ultra, or better, the baneling in general, may become too oppressive vs terran. Since you would have less of an incentive to add more marauders to your composition, the zerg composition may become too strong and force the terran to turtle (i said specifically ling bane hydra because a terran would normally make tanks against it, and not widow mines).

  2. In ZvP right now, zerg has a power spike at the start of the mid game, with ravager ling bane until protoss is able to get to 160+ supply. With ultras being easier to transition to than broodlords, it's possible that they, coupled with creep, will force the protoss to just play turtle the entire game, since they would never be able to have the same openings that they have right now while the zerg player is transitioning to broodlords.

  3. It can make a Ultra broodlord composition be too strong, since they are really mobile tanky units, that are good in small numbers against most harass options of the other races.

So, the main worry that we need to have is that by buffing the ultra, we could make zerg too oppressive in mid~late game, so we would need to focus on how to supress that:

  • If these are too strong, blizzard could always roll back the bane HP buff, nerf the ultra HP, or just give further nerfs to the creep.

  • Blizzard could give further nerfs / changes to the broodlord. But i think this is not a likely case, considering that with the infested terran change, zerg doesn't have an ultra reliable and low cost anti-air unit anymore, so you simply wouldn't have the effective supply to easily protect your broodlords.

I believe that making the ultras the go-to zerg late game unit would be a lot more beneficial for the game, and these changes accomplish that goal. They would make for a more interesting unit than the lurker, since they are a lot more mobile, while giving zergs different options at ZvT and ZvP. Coupled with the new infestor ability, they could be a powerful tool to break the staleness of the current late game.

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