It’s no secret that most of the best creatures in the game right now are at least part, some even pure resilient. There probably are some variations among the lower arenas, but as you climb the resilients get stronger and stronger and Cunnings start underperforming. Some fierce creatures are pretty good at countering them but the best ones are all part Resilient themselves.
Balancing hybrids is almost always going to be more complicated and nuanced but if you’ve played the non-hybrid skill tournaments since 2.0 a similar trend emerges there, so that makes it easier to spot the issues since it’s pretty easy to tell what should be countering what, and therefore what is doing it’s job and what isn’t. I’ll admit I haven’t been playing as much as I used to, but a few general problems stuck out to me, and a lot of other people have brought them up too, so I’d like to compile them.
Firstly, here’s a couple of tier lists of the creatures we’re talking about to jog your memory, courtesy of @Temerity. I think you’ll find most of the placements are uncontroversial.
On to the list:
1] Relative win quality:
The way the class system works is that each class is supposed to beat one while losing to another. Due to just bad design a lot of Resilients beat Fierce creatures and a few Fierce creatures beat Cunnings, but let’s brush them aside for a second and look at the examples where the class system succeeds. You’ll generally find that while the classes beat what they should, Resilients dominate Cunnings sometimes to the point of sweeping them, while a lot of fierce creatures barely survive resilient matchups, and Cunnings do decent but not as well as Resilients do.
This is something we also see a lot of among hybrids.
This means Resilients can beat Cunnings even if they’ve taken damage, and can put up a fight even after coming out of a previous matchup, more so than Cunnings and Fierce creatures can do.
2] Resilients have a monopoly over swap-utility:
This is partly a byproduct of the previous issue, because Resilients can swap in, take a hit and still win while Fierce and Cunning creatures usually get punished hard for attempting such blasphemy. This makes Resilients more reliable as counters to what they’re supposed to counter
But this is also partly a result of some interesting decisions on Ludia’s part. They’ve consciously reduced the number of Cunning and Fierce swap-in abilities since the introduction of swap-in abilities, and now the void is filled almost solely by Resilients (the tier lists reflect this). Swap-in Wound is still a thing, but I’ll get to that later, and Swap-in Stunning Strike, arguably the best swap-in ability in the game, a resilient ability, has no parallel in the other classes.
This means not only do Resilients often dominate 1v1s but they can also come out of nowhere to steal a matchup to protect other creatures, while Cunnings and Fierce creatures generally can’t.
3] Resilient’s have the tools to deal with 2 classes, not 1:
One common pattern in the class system is creatures of a particular class having resistances and abilities to even out matchups against their same-class peers. You’ll see this as Distraction resistance and anti-dodge abilities in Cunnings and with stun, Vulnerability and Deceleration resistance in Resilients. Fierce creatures sometimes have Rend, swap-prevention and DoT resistance, but to a lesser degree.
So the classes appear to be somewhat equally equipped, but there’s more. Resilient creatures have shields and armour, which apart from wrecking Cunnings are actually the best counter in the game to attacks from other Resilient creatures. Fierce creatures don’t really have anything like that, meaning in 1v1s the best resilients in each class are often sometimes better equipped than fierce creatures when it comes to dealing with other Resilients. And since they also resist debuffs like stun, this also makes resilients generally the best at fending off attacks from the only good swappers in the meta—other resilients. Fierce creatures on the other hand usually have to do the little head wobble of shame before they get beaten or badly damaged for the next creature to set up on.
There are some Fierce exceptions of course that thrive in a meta of resilient swappers, like some No Escape users, as well as creatures with other On Escape abilities. Paradoxically the best On Escape abilities are often on Resilients, making them once again the best counter to themselves, generally speaking (see both Boas, which place high in the tier lists).
4] A lot of Fierce creatures are just badly designed:
These are the ones that get destroyed by Resilients, and include the bleeders, which ironically should thrive in a meta of Resilients but they usually just don’t have the resistances, the abilities and the damage output to stand a chance. Some like Spinosaurus make good trappers, but a good part of their strength comes from trapping the opponent while allowing the user to—you guessed it—swap to a resilient swapper because they’re the best at what they do, as opposed to being able to bring down Resilients under their own steam.
I think you’ll find some if not all of these points apply to hybrids too.
So, what do y’all think? Do y’all agree? Is there anything I missed? How do you think these issues should be handled?
Fixing the 1v1s can be done a number of ways, the easiest is probably to make sure fierce creatures always outspeed resilients and are immune to Decel, although that could cause certain issues and I know not everyone likes that idea. Maybe Fierce creatures should be given some new tools to fend off attacks from Resilients. What I know I want to see less of is Ludia slapping random Cleansing moves on Fierce creatures that only help them wreck Cunnings more instead of helping against Resilients, that’s a very obvious trend lately among hybrids and non-hybrids alike.
Bleeders and the counter-attacking pterosaurs and other fierce creatures that underperform need some serious working on.
Cunnings had their HP slashed in 2.0 especially among the non-hybrids, and I think a lot of them need buffs too. We could also do with more Cunnings that aren’t just none-dimensional Pure Cunnings, stuff like Utasino and even some non-hybrids could do with more flavour. Evasion needs some love, generally speaking.
And finally I think we need good Cunning and Fierce swappers and swap-punishers. Swappers should also have good counters that can set up on them before they escape so that every match isn’t just swapping back and forth, so you have to consider if swapping is necessarily the best option, or if it isn’t worth the risk setting up one of your opponent’s creatures.
Anyway I’m curious to hear what everyone thinks.