Y3S2.2 Midseason changes

Here's a quick write-up on my thoughts on the upcoming operator changes in the mid-season patch.

  • Finka
    • Reducing the ability duration is fine, as it does mean timing is more important without increasing frequency of use.
    • Not really the right operator to give frag grenades to. Let's look at the other operators who have frag grenades:
      • Buck, Sledge - Soft breachers who can entry frag.
      • IQ - Support Entry fragger who can use frags to help clear detected gadgets.
    • Doesn't make sense design wise to give Finka grenades just to make it a more played operator.
    • Reduced gas damage modifier is good as that made Finka basically a non-starter in any high level match where Smoke is played.
    • ADS boost reduction is good as this was way too powerful when combined with other effects, especially with shields, SMGs and 3 speed attackers.
    • Unfortunately they didn't make or acknowledge the #1 change requested change by PL players, remove the recoil modifier! SMGs get quite a boost in Ranked with this.
      • I would like to see that buff removed as well as the Echo counter. Finka's abilities make the most sense for site pushes, so having all 3 site denial operators be able to counter Finka (Smoke, Echo, Lesion) is a bit overkill and you can't know if someone is boosted to potentially waste a Yokai blast on.
  • IQ
    • Replacing Frags with a Claymore will very likely reduce IQ's pick rate in PL a fair amount. Attack operators with frags like Buck and Sledge make for a good second or support entry combination with gun based entry fraggers like Ash and Twitch, helping them to clear out roamers or gadgets. Finka will not be a good candidate for either of these roles, making the swap pretty odd. IQ had the benefit of being able to identify gadget positions to grenade them out, but will now have to rely on pings and comms to ask other operators to do so. Overall this might not be a hugely negative change, but it is a bit baffling of a justification compared to when they took away Thermite's (which is where IQ got them).
    • For anyone that doubts this will cause a huge decrease in pick rate, I'd point you to Capitao's pick rate plummeting when his frags were removed.
    • I find it strange they focused on IQ as a counter pick to Valkyrie and Echo without acknowledging Pulse, Vigil, Mute and Bandit which IQ has demonstrated a significant counter to in PL.
    • Reducing electronics detection range is probably a reasonable change, but how much that effects usage will be pretty map dependent as the detector is most often used when outside buildings so the range at which gadgets will be from outside is pretty variable.
  • Blackbeard
    • It seems odd that they would state they don't want to "make him stronger" and then buff the damage output of the MK17. While the SR-25 has become the standard choice for PL players, the MK17 was already strong as is, and the nerf to the SR-25 damage alone would have been fine. The bigger issue with the MK17 is the recoil, not the damage.
    • Reducing shield HP is a good change, but only dropping it 10 HP without addressing the real problem of the temporary invincibility shield breaking animation is just kicking the can down the road at this point.
    • Moving faster while Rifle shield is attached is a good comfort change and a nice offset to the Shield HP reduction. It's definitely not comfortable to have to switch to the Deagle so frequently.
  • Glaz
    • Unfortunately the decision to keep the fire rate buff while just reducing damage is not going to have the effect of making him more situational as it doesn't really address the actual problems with Glaz, seeing through smoke, highlights and high fire rate. Expect him to continue being banned just as heavily in PL.
  • Twitch
    • It's possible that the damage reduction to the Famas will have a positive effect in Ranked, but is not likely to do the same for PL. High fire rate weapons with predictable recoil are extremely powerful in PL as they increase the chances for head shots which are unrelated to bullet damage. Modifications to recoil or fire rate would have made more sense.
  • Jackal
    • Increasing the safety of scanning footprints will likely improve Jackal for maps where he is able to get scans from outside or in safer spots and itself is a positive change.
    • Unfortunately they aren't really addressing other issues related to his ability so I don't expect this to effect PL level play.
  • Frost
    • It's good that they acknowledge that further work needs to be done, but buffing an already good SMG isn't going to really make any significant difference. If they wanted to increase usage they need to increase the effectiveness/stealth of traps or give Frost an extra trap.
  • Dokkaebi
    • While the change is phrased in such a way that it makes it sound like they are nerfing Dokkaebi's gadget choices, they are unfortunately just increasing the desire to use Dokkaebi as more of an entry fragging role. The SMG12 is already fairly effective, combined with the ability to hunt roamers with phone calls and now stun them, you are getting a very powerful combo with other entry or support entry roles. Expect to see Dokkaebi's ban rate increase over the PL season for teams that want to run Lion.
  • Barb wire
    • The previous nerf to barb wire was a bit heavy and has had a positive effect of increasing the pick rate of other gadgets. It has however made barb wire itself so weak as to be somewhat useless outside of a few spots, leading to even Smoke running impact nades sometimes. Increasing the slowing effect (which is the purpose of the gadget) back up a bit while keeping the ease of clearing it is probably the right call. Hard to say how much of an effect 5% will have however.

Other discussion points

  • Alibi
    • I think it's fairly obvious why Alibi is strong in Ranked play but not PL. Look at Cav. Surprises me that it's hard for them to understand the difference in mentality and play style in Ranked vs PL in regards to operators that can throw off or surprise opponents.
  • Maestro
    • I think looking at the times Maestro isn't banned in PL its pretty clear to see that his gun is currently overpowered. His hip fire and recoil need some changes along with removing the extremely unnecessary acog on an LMG. It doesn't make sense that you'd put an LMG on an acog, give it near perfect hip fire, and then decide it also needs 80 bullets!

Overall there are some positive changes in the patch, but I'm skeptical of many of these having a positive effect on PL as they don't seem to directly address any of the significant issues.