It’s been a very short time since the start of the 1.9 meta, and for some reason, despite nearly no one using it yet, Smilonemys got a harsh nerf.
From 4500 HP -> 3990 HP (-11.3% nerf), and from 1500 damage to 1200 damage (-20% nerf) are massive nerfs. While Smilonemys was probably somewhat overpowered, thanks to how hard Carbon was to find, it’s not possible to exactly tell how overpowered it was in the arena (since very few people have it).
But a cursory comparison to Tryko (another 3-Epic Unique) shows that it wasn’t that overpowered. Although it had much more Armour, you have to account for the fact that Armour is less useful in the upper arenas (where creatures who have Armour Piercing in some variant or another dominate), so, while Smilon probably has more effective health, it probably doesn’t have 40% more effective health (30% armour means non-AP attacks deal 70% damage, x health/0.7 damage = 1.42x effective health, 50% armour means non-AP attacks deal 50% damage, x health/0.5 damage = 2x effective health, 2x/1.42x = 1.4 times more effective health). Thus, the only major stat where it clearly has a major advantage over Tryko is in Speed; while it also has an advantage in effective HP, it’s not as clear how big that advantage is.
(Also, I’m not above pointing out that 127 speed still makes one slower than most of the high-speed Uniques, i.e. Indoraptor, Erlidom, Dilorach, Erlikospyx, Pterovexus, Orion. Also Stigydaryx, but no one currently worries about her lol. Not saying 127 speed is useless, outspeeding Gemini and Utarinex is definitely useful, but in terms of “outspeeding threatening creatures” it’s definitely not as useful as it might seem at first glance)
Smilon also lacks Defense Shattering abilities, and any Instant damage-reducing abilities (a la Instant Distraction, Instant Invincibility). In exchange, it gets Long Defense Strike, which is useful, but in the presence of Tryko, Thor, Dioraja, Magna etc etc is not as useful as it might seem. Precise Pounce is also neat, but can’t bypass shields or remove Evasive, which means it can only hurt Erlidom/Indoraptors for that one turn, and also has to deal with the Shields and Armour of tanks. Deliberate Prowl is…okay but not exactly overpowered (as of now, the 1.9 update, that is); Rampage and Run is something similar.
Thus, pre-nerf Smilon is probably slightly better than Tryko stat-wise, and on par ability wise, or maybe even worse due to the lack of reliable damage output. It probably would’ve been about right had only its health been nerfed.
Which brings me to my final point.
Regarding Smilon’s damage, pre nerf, Smilon was one of a very limited number of upper-arena creatures who could reliably one-shot Dracocera on turn 1 (preventing it from Regenerating and swapping out to come back in again later). Along with creatures who have Pinning Strike, these are the only creatures who can reliably check Dracocera in the current meta, and there’s only 3 of them without Smilon. Given that Dracocera seems pretty overpowered, especially relative to its “fundamentals” (i.e. being a highly accessible Legendary and first-level hybrid rather than a superhybrid), completely removing a formerly-reliable check to Dracocera seems like a bad idea.
Thus, I’m strongly in favour of buffing Smilon’s damage back to its old level of 1500, even if that means losing an extra (small) amount of health (maybe to 3800 health?). Especially since Smilon, pre-nerf, hadn’t even gotten properly integrated into the meta due to the rarity of Carbonemys, so a lot of peoples’ experience with it comes from level 72 of the Campaign, which is not exactly a representative experience (given how it was boosted to tier 8). With that in mind, it’s very hard to definitively say that Smilon was that overwhelmingly overpowered, especially when compared to creatures of similarly rare ingredients (if anything, the Tryko analysis is a tad unfair given that none of Tryko’s ingredients are Park-daytime-only [i.e. Carbo] or Incubator-exclusive [i.e. Pachy])
Should Smilonemys be de-nerfed?
- No, but buff it elsewhere to compensate