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[1.8+] Balrog is Misfit


Seriphos

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Before we jump on to the vital points of our discussion about why Balrog is currently a square peg in a round hole, I think we should consider having the balance debates use a version indicator in the name or put the version number as a tag, adding more as the topic progresses. Also, maybe a tag of Underpowered / Overpowered / Change would do the trick.

 

Here's a list of some vital reasons why Balrog seems underpowered, thus needing a change:

  • He is very reliant on physical damage, but as the game progresses today, there are numerous items and heroes with a strong set of armor. An example is superheated mantle, which is a great farming tool, that gives both health and armor benefits. An idea of how I would recommend complying with this is to increase his damage overall, or make a change that would complement on armor reduction, i.e. making his Vampiric Aura passively cut armor on each attack.
  • He is too much of a close-combatant with some problems. As I see of it today, Lunge's cast range is too low. I can barely harass with this in the laning phase, along with my lane partner. If the range was increased by just a bit, it wouldn't be as hard to get more lane control. Another problem is that Sonic Screech and Lunge both scale so steeply and have high energy cost, thus requiring a major babysitter.
  • His ultimate scales too roughly. Yes, too roughly, not steeply. The problem is that his ultimate scales with 200% of his intelligence, which is severely unneeded, which would complement better if it scaled with 200% weapon damage. It would also be nice if it procs his heroic passive (I am unsure if it does now) and if it had a little shorter cast time, since the cast time is basically ridiculous.
  • His potency is inconsistent. He isn't so good at the laning phase, as I mentioned earlier, because he needs babysitting for energy and safe farming. It is pretty challenging to whip up some real good farm early on, especially with ranged opponents. Then he suddenly springs up at middle game, but with not really as much potency as other mid-game heroes (System, Vagabond, Ironhide just to name a few). And since armor stacks so violently at the end-game, he isn't as useful anymore at late game.
  • It is too easy to counter him. Just bunch up some semi-build armor items, health, and electric mantle if need be (use it right on lunge and screech won't make it in time, if he screeches first then you have to wait for 2 seconds or so), then support casters won't have much of a problem.
  • His dual nature confuses the general populace. I am also confused, even if he is meant to single out enemy supports and burst casters, he still isn't that much of a health-type tank, even if his abilities suggest so. I know, the tankiness is to counter the spell damage of the support casters, but carries will get you with the low mobility and sustainability. One way to fix this is to make him leech 50% of the bonus damage he deals with his heroic passive, or changing some parts of his abilities.

To sum up the problems:

  1. His physical damage nature is too easily countered.
     
  2. His mobility isn't as good, his Lunge range is too low.
     
  3. He is in desperate need of a babysitter if he wishes to make a good farm early on.
     
  4. His ultimate (Bloodbath) scales with 200% INT, leaving it weaker later on, and casts a bit too long.
     
  5. He is only decent at mid-game, leaving him quite weak in the late game.
     
  6. His hybrid nature is a bit confusing. His not too well sustainability makes him difficult to single out casters.

To sum up some solutions:

  1. Let his physical damage scaling grow more, to be less easily countered.
     
  2. Increase the range of Lunge and decrease the energy cost of Sonic Screech partially.
     
  3. Change the ultimate scaling from 200% INT to 200% Weapon Damage and partially decrease the cast time.
     
  4. Make him leech more from his heroic passive (if it does leech now I barely feel it).

 

MISFIT: Agree: Seriphos, Banzaiguy [like], Spooky, Torcas, Jaysi, |OvO|

MISFIT: Disagree:

UP: Agree: Seriphos, Spooky, Mastercodes, Jaysi

UP: Disagree: Torcas, |OvO|

 

That is all, and I hope for a healthy discussion.

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Mostly I can agree with your statements. The main problem with Balrog he has to build as tank, otherwise he is going to be slaughtered late game before even he would be able to cast his ulti. He has no build in resistance and additional life only helps against casters. As STR hero he also has low armor. Each hero with Pyre can take him down really fast. He can't rely on his physical leech because his is melee hero with low attack speed and moreover has difficulties with sticking to opponent. So his aura only helps his allies, not him.

More words has to be said about his ulti. It is quite unique as does physical damage. It has some pros and cons

 

Cons:

- it can be evaded (almost every one has 9% evasion from talent tree) which make it very unreliable

- it is almost useless against high armor heroes because of high physical resistance

- it can proc Electric Mantle passive

Pros:

- it can proc BHM passive increasing damage much

- it has nice synergy with Darwin's Might active

 

Potentially Balrog can be build as nuker with BHM, Taser and Ihan Crystal (additional 480 dmg to his ulti). This way he can easily one-shot almost any INT hero or take over 60% of AGI one. But it can works only in pubs with poor team organization. During inhouse he just don't get a chance to use his ulti - he is just too easy to kill. If builded as tank then his ulti is very weak.

 

 

To sum up the problems:

  1. His physical damage nature is too easily countered.
     
  2. His mobility isn't as good, his Lunge range is too low.
     
  3. He is in desperate need of a babysitter if he wishes to make a good farm early on.
     
  4. His ultimate (Bloodbath) scales with 200% INT, leaving it weaker later on, and casts a bit too long.
     
  5. He is only decent at mid-game, leaving him quite weak in the late game.
     
  6. His hybrid nature is a bit confusing. His not too well sustainability makes him difficult to single out casters.

Ad.1 - Problem isn't with his physical nature, problem is with armor itself which gives to much physical resistance

Ad.2 - Agree, Lunge has poor range and moreover has too long cooldown. I found Balrog as counter to INT hero. Problem is he can't get to them during teamfight

Ad.3 - He is not very bad with farming. His screetch does quite a lot of damage

Ad.4 - I disagree. 200% INT scaling is huge. Ihan Crystal gives additional 480 dmg. However I do agree with too long casting time.

 

 

To sum up some solutions:

  1. Let his physical damage scaling grow more, to be less easily countered.
     
  2. Increase the range of Lunge and decrease the energy cost of Sonic Screech partially.
     
  3. Change the ultimate scaling from 200% INT to 200% Weapon Damage and partially decrease the cast time.
     
  4. Make him leech more from his heroic passive (if it does leech now I barely feel it).

Ad.1 - This way he will be able to one-shot INT hero very easily without items like BHM, Taser or Ihan Crystal

Ad.2 - Agree

Ad.3 - It wouldn't change to much. He still has to build as tank to sustain during teamfights. Much easier is to get one item like Ihan to increase inteligence than whole set of items to increase weapon damage.

Ad.4 - It may help during laning faze but in teamfight not very much. He still would be have problem with sticking to opponent and AA him.

 

To summarize my post I give my suggestions:

- increase Lunge range little bit - as was suggested in OP

- make his ulti stacks to give him also additional 5% - 7% dmg resistance up to 25% - 35%. It would be so helpful to him. He is actually one of the worst tanks in the game. Additional life only helps against casters. He is very vulnerable to Pyre and late game dying very quickly. This way he would be able to sustain during game and truly tank sth - fulfill his role as tank support or anti-INT.

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i agree he is a misfit of sorts, but he is not under powered. The resist on his ult would be nice but if u harass in lane you will almost always out farm the other team. however he is very dependent on having a sustainer early. With a sustainer and energize he can harass incredibly well keeping chars like shadow, insert int hero here not named erekul, nova, darpa, and rancor out of the lane do to his high burst dmg and health. You do have to build his talents for health regen and templar's resolve but with those talents and a ssustain he can almost ignore the creeps entirely. Items should go sustain -> sandals not boots -> phase cloak-> void boots -> either a carapace or a arcbound ravager -> then the other previous item u didn't pick. This makes u a nightmare to try to kill because with 5 stacks of your ult you have 5k or more hp. The last items should be a barbed plating and what is made with a dominions standard.

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I think Balrog is actually quite strong, but coming up with a build for him that allowed him to easily dispatch both squishy heroes and tanky heroes took a while. Also, you can build him as a pure tank, but he is really not that good at that due to how easily he is kited if if can't finish off a hero after his initial lunge because he has no escape if his allies don't stand ground (which never happens in public games).

 

So the build I use on him now is the best of both worlds, in terms of AA DPS and doing tons of damage with his ultimate.

 

(1) Superheated Mantle - Get this first for farming mostly, however with lunge and simply staying near a fleeing hero you can often score kills with the mantle burn after injuring them first.

 

(2) Star Treks - Speed and mobility are very important for a gank hero.

 

(3) Black Hole Magnum - Kind of a no-brainer with the way his ultimate works. Once you get this item, you simply walk up to an enemy, use your ultimate, THEN IF NECESSARY AND IT IS SAFE you use your lunge and screech and AA attacks to finish them off.

 

(4) Mossberg Taser - Very good with black hole magnum in general because it first amplifies your physical damage which then is applied after physical resist on the target hero to the spell damage they receive from black hole magnum which is then amplified again. Even with the small nerf to mossberg taser's damage, it is still worthwhile to get this item and use it before using your ultimate especially since you need to be in medium range to use your ultimate and you don't want to get silenced/stunned yourself, or in the case of DARPA just have them jump away.

 

(5) Argus Crystal - Increases both the physical damage on your ult and gives a 10% bonus to the spell damage from BHM. Also makes sonic screech a lot better.

 

(6) Pyre - At this point between mossberg, bhm, and pyre you will be at the attack speed cap. You won't be doing a lot of physical damage from your AA attack, but pyre will proc very fast making you very good at 1v1ing tank heroes with your AA attack or finishing off heroes quickly after lunging at them.

 

I used to always get carapace, but you really need to have both a capability to instakill squishies with your ultimate while having a supplemental AA attack that can take out tanky heroes as well. Also, don't bother with Ihan as it is just not worth it. Sure you do more damage with screech and your ultimate, but it is just not worth it most of the time as a taser actually does more and has other more important synergistic benefits.

 

The thing with balrog is you really need to pick your battles wisely and if there are giant teamfights going on try and stay out of them and let your team play defense while you go push a lane and try and divide up their team. If they only send 2 guys to kill you, you can often one shot one hero with your ultimate while using your AA attack to kill the other. In teamfights balrog just gets focus fired, stunned, slowed, and silenced and can't actually make any use of his lifesteal or anything for that matter. Of course, this is the case with any assassin hero, so once you realize it is sometimes more important to "not be a team player" than to be one, you will do a lot better with him and your team will as well.

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I definitely agree. I remember getting owned by him in V4.0 and even a little in V5.0, but V6.0 he is terrible. Like you said, you can;t do anything against Agility heroes because of their high armor late game. I used my ultimate on one once and saw maybe one bar of hp go down... The fact that he is so reliant on physical damage and that agility heroes have so much late game makes him unusable against them. Also like you said, armor can be stacked too easily with health items or agility items. Contamination Shard is a must on him, but even that doesn't solve his problems...

 

(You can put me as agree to both...)

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To supplement this discussion, maybe it is best to look at the situation at both sides.

 

For one side, with you, what will be the best item build? What's the best way to play him? Is his abilities too weak or too strong? Does his abilities complement what he could be doing with items?

 

For the other side, with your enemy, what will be the best things to counter him? How can I exploit his weak points? What in his nature can I avoid and supplement my gameplay?

 

This way, we won't be thinking of just how you can build him to deal a lot of damage; we would be thinking of how enemies could adapt to this damage and still fulfill their role. So for me the discussion is best bifaceted, or having two faces, or two sides. Looking at one side of a tinted window doesn't mean you'd see the same things on the other side. No personal offence or chastice.

 

Edit: I thoroughly understand that owl is against him being underpowered, but I question, does his first statement make him agree to Balrog being misfit? (cannot truly accomplish the role of a tank and the way it was hard to make a good build)

 

Also, one point that I don't fully understand with the build is that he still lacks that chasing power, especially now that mobility is an even more important factor of the game. In addition, his ultimate's capability of being evaded is horrible (according to Spooky). I love the healthy discussion and wide plethora of opinions.

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yes his ult can be evaded. all physical damage can be evaded. and so can it crit.

 

his mobility is a big issue as is armor stacking, as you have noted.

 

with an egon he is terrifying in lane, as he does deal a fairly large amount of burst damage early on.

 

get 1 point in q, then max w (q, w, q, w, w, r, w, q, q, q, r...)

 

build void, khala stone/phasecloak/impact/warpshard, archbound, electric mantle, khali blade, [sell khala stone/phasecloak/impact/warpshard] and finish with your choice of 2 of: force of entropy/darwins/pyre/blackhole as needed. (foe if ppl are getting away, darwins if you need more survivability, pyre if you need more damage vs carries/tanks, bhm cause its awesome([y expensive])

 

his w is still bugged - it doesn't work properly for removing debuffs from allies

 

he still freezes at times after q

 

largely i would build him as a tanky support as opposed to the more carry-ish build outlined above (void, khala stone, and then [coat of arms, taser, shrapnel, chilling, dst, super heated mantle, electric mantle] as needed), though if you are laning with an egon (as suggested) you should be able to get farmed/fed pretty fast (in which case, go the above build)

 

he is good at countering any lane revolving around rory (shadow rory, lz rory, etc)

 

hmm what else to say about him... oh. gank.

 

edit:

 

The thing with balrog is you really need to pick your battles wisely and if there are giant teamfights going on try and stay out of them and let your team play defense while you go push a lane and try and divide up their team. If they only send 2 guys to kill you, you can often one shot one hero with your ultimate while using your AA attack to kill the other. In teamfights balrog just gets focus fired, stunned, slowed, and silenced and can't actually make any use of his lifesteal or anything for that matter. Of course, this is the case with any assassin hero, so once you realize it is sometimes more important to "not be a team player" than to be one, you will do a lot better with him and your team will as well.

 

i agree with your items for the most part but dear lord. stay out of teamfights? what retarded mentality is that. you are a meat shield with an amazing aura! why would you ever stay out of team fights! ESPECIALLY if your saying: build taser and argus. that makes no sense. you would lose an [organized] game instantly with that mentality - leaving your team to 4v5 while one of it's tanks goes off to farm.

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his w is still bugged - it doesn't work properly for removing debuffs from allies

 

If I remember correctly this was fixed a while ago.

 

The problem isn't that Balrog is weak, it's just that an INT build is the only way to go with him. He is a super-tanky caster with ridiculous damage output who can often take most of a caster's health instantly (for example, he hard counters cyprus if you get a taser and bhm because you can just lunge, screech, then ult, and he will very likely be dead). He can slowly wear down tanks with his superior spell damage and is a pain to disable or stun because of the spammability of his W.

 

He only really has trouble with AA carries using leech.

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How can his combo defeat cyprus? Q would deal 90?ish, W would deal 240ish and ulti is 300ish. Let's say you have 100 INT, you deal 340 spell damage, 500 phys and about 150 phys (not sure) with Q. INT heroes would have 30% phys resist or more by that time. If you build cyprus correctly balrog is nothing; blink away. And it's so hard to count the agree/disagree now.

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100 INT is nothing. I usually have at least 300 INT in all of my builds.

 

Like I said, INT builds are the only viable ones from my experience. If you only tank then there's nothing really that scary about balrog. But if e.g. cyprus is tased and you jump him, you can get your entire combo off to do at least 1500 damage (540 spell + 1000 physical) and if you have a bhm and it procs on your ult, that's an additional 1500 spell damage. Cyprus wouldn't stand a chance at all if you catch him with a taser.

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