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What actually needs balancing: 2.5 edition

Disclaimer: I talk a lot in this article. If you just want to see the results, images are near the bottom for a TLDR. However, I still reccomend that you read the article for context.

Hi all! You may remember, a while back I did a statistical analysis of all the dinos in the game, asking which ones were objectively balanced within their tier. You can read the original article here. I had based this article on the previous Gamepress tier list. Well, now we have a new tier list, so that means we can do a new analysis!

For those who haven’t read the original article, or just need a refresher, here is my process. First, I labeled every dino with their rarity (counting hybrids and non-hybrids separately, with one exception) and tier from the 2.5 Gamepress tier list (with Tier 1 corresponding to the “Hatchling” tier and Tier 10 with the “Tyrant” tier). Looking at each rarity separately, I found the average tier for dinos of that rarity, and estimated the variability within that rarity with a standard deviation. Dinos within a generous 1.5x standard deviation above or below the mean were considered to be “balanced”. Dinos one tier above or below the balanced range were labeled as requiring minor nerfs/buffs, respectively, and those two tiers above or below this range were labeled as requiring major nerfs/buffs. This allowed me to visualize the balance curve of the game, and which dinos fell significantly above or below this curve.

Before I start, a few things to get out of the way:

  1. These are NOT my opinions. While I do agree and disagree with some of these results, my own opinions did not influence the results themselves, outside of deciding on 1.5x standard deviations for the “balanced” range. I would be happy to share my own thoughts if you’d like.
  2. As such, these are not suggestions. I used the labels of major/minor buff/nerf because they help understand whether a dino fell above or below the curve, and by how much. But this doesn’t mean that dinos labeled as needing “Major Nerfs” need massive nerfs to their kit, or even any nerfs at all. Likewise, it also doesn’t mean that dinos within the “balanced” range couldn’t benefit from rebalancing themselves (especially at the lower end of each rarity - I may re-do this analysis with a 1x standard deviation as the lower bound of the balanced range to see what I find). This article is only intended to facilitate discussion on what might need rebalancing, nothing more.
  3. No data source is perfect. I did not use objective data (e.g. usage rates) for a few reasons. For one thing, I don’t have access to this data. Additionally, even objective statistics can’t account for everything. For example, usage rates may place Geminititan as low tier because relatively few people run it; but this is because Diplodocus is hard to get, not because Geminititan is bad. Tier lists inherently encorporate some subjectivity, but can account for some of these nuances that purely objective data can’t. I used the Gamepress tier list because it’s made by a relatively large group of very experienced players, and does encorporate simulation data, making it more objective than a purely opinionated tier list.
  4. This analysis, like the tier list itself, mostly represents Arena and tournaments. There are some low-tier dinos here that get stronger (sometimes SIGNIFICANTLY stronger) in raids. Gamepress apparently may be working on a raid tier list, so I’ll be curious to see where these dinos fall on a raid tier list.

With all that out of the way, let’s get started!

First, here’s the new balance curve. Rarity is on the X axis, and Tier is on the Y. Blue dots represent which tiers dinos within a rarity are placed in. The orange line shows the average tier for each rarity, and the black bars show the balanced range (1.5 standard deviations) around each tier.


Not too much has changed since I did this analysis before. There were a few changes though. The epic hybrid balanced range went up, meaning that epic hybrids in tier 4 (Beta) now qualify for “minor buffs”. For Legendaries, the balanced range expanded and moved down slightly, meaning that legendary dinos in tier 5 (Alpha Low) now count as “balanced” (barely), and legendaries in Tier 4 now qualify for “minor” rather than “major” buffs. This means that Epic Hybrids and Legendaries have the same boundaries for the “balanced” range (statistically speaking), though for Legendaries, the high end is much closer to Tier 9 (Elite High) and the low end is much closer to Tier 5 (Alpha Low).

From here on out, I’ll tackle each rarity on its own. I’ll try not to discuss things I brought up last time, and focus on the notable changes. A summary image of my findings will be at the end.

Common
The commons were mostly unchanged, with Tier 5 (Alpha Low) commons still counting as “minor nerfs”. Joining Glyptodon in this tier is Eremotherium. Whether or not you think these two actually need nerfs is up to you. I personally think they’re fine, since they’re almost always fighting better dinos, but maybe they’d need changes if we had “common only” tournaments?

Rare
Not much has changed here. The biggest change is that Tenontosaurus has moved down a tier to “Hatchling” meaning that now both it and Irritator need “Major buffs” (and are actually the only dinos in the game with this label). It is worth noting that these are both raid dinos, so it will be interesting to see how these two do on a raid tier list.

Rare Hybrid
We didn’t get any new rare hybrids, and none changed tiers, so this rarity remains unchanged from before.

Epic
The biggest change here is that Woolly Rhino moved up one tier to “Elite Mid” (tier 8), meaning it joins Diplodocus in the “minor nerf” category. According to Gamepress this is due to the meta shifting to a swap meta. I personally agree with this placement, and I wonder how much Rhinos strength as a swap-in played in the creation on this meta in the first place.

Epic Hybrid
We did get a few new Epic Hybrids, like Ankylodicurus, Ovilophosaurus, and Aquilamimus. But not too much changed. Being the only Epic Hybrid in Tier 4 (Beta), Edmontoguanodon qualifies as needing a “Minor buff”. But again, its a raid creature, and anyone who’s ever done an Epic raid can probably speak to how useful it is for these raids.

Legendary
I chose to count Parasaurolophus Lux along with the rest of other legendaries, even though it isn’t a hybrid, simply because I couldn’t get any meaningful data from placing one dino in a tier by itself. That said, I expected Lux to fall at the low end of the rarity, and it certainly did, placing into Tier 4 (Beta) and qualifying for a Minor Buff. With tier 5 now within the balanced range, Darwezopteryx and Dsungaia no longer qualify for minor buffs. Tragodistis, however, was moved down a tier to Beta and still does. Again though, all the Legendary dinos that qualified for buffs (these two plus Bajatodon and Skoolasaurus) are raid dinos, so their strength may change significantly in raids. On the high end of things, Mammotherium got moved up a tier, joining Allosinosaurus, Draceratops, and Monolometerodon as barely qualifying for minor nerfs. I expect this classification for these dinos to be fairly controversial, given the number of topics that have been created about a certain legendary in this tier. Given how close these dinos are to being balanced though, I would expect any potential balance changes to be extremely minor.

Unique
To no one’s surprise, Poukandactylus joins Entelolania in Tier 7 (Elite Low), qualifying for minor buffs. Antarctovenator comes out as balanced in Tier 8.

Apex
We only got one new Apex since before, Gorgotrebax, which got placed into Tier 10 (Tyrant). This makes Mortem Rex the only Apex to not be a Tyrant, but it still isn’t quite below the curve enough to qualify for a buff. So overall, the Apex tier didn’t change, and all were balanced. Part of this is due to the low sample size, since we only have 4 Apexes, and you can’t really get meaningful data from that.

Here’s the summary of my findings:


What do you think of these findings: do you agree or disagree? Are there any dinos that didn’t make the list that you think should have? Should I use a smaller lower boundary for the balanced range so that more dinos quality for buffs? Please let me know!

7 Likes

i disagree on the apexes. the rarity as a whole isn’t balanced. not when the resilients take out the fierce.
Mortem itself being able to cleanse distraction (and other fierce that can do that) breaks its own type class and doesn’t help it against the apex resilient. and the resils do at least 4500 in 2 turns that almost all fierce can’t handle them.

i think apex rarity needs a close look at a thoughtful rebalance.

8 Likes

I personally agree with that. I was kind of surprised that Magnus and Hadros weren’t placed into “High Tyrant” in this tier list. Maybe once we start seeing them more in arena that will change? But yeah, those resilients kill pretty much everything. I personally don’t have a huge problem with Mortem being able to cleanse. Pretty much any dino with a “cleanse all” move breaks it’s class by that definition: fierce that cleanse distraction, resilients that cleanse DOT, cunnings that cleanse decel… But with it’s damage output, it should probably just be a 1x damage level attack, not an impact. Maybe they could make Roar “group cleansing shattering strike” and give it something else besides cleansing impact. Plus then it makes Roar an even better option for raids, and the cleanse helps your entire team. And Roar would finally be different than Group Shattering Strike…

3 Likes

Maybe mortem could have something like all his attacks do a 30% one turn bleed to really make it more of a chomper and it could lose cleansing impact for something else or it could potentially have no escape I don’t think it needs a buff so much as a change from a niche revenge killer with cleanse to stronger pure fierce

Anderscause does´t need a nerf there is nothing wrong with it.

2 Likes

That’s fair. I happen to personally agree with that, for the most part. It is certainly strong, but it’s not broken. Same goes for Marsupial Lion. This is just what the stats tell us.

I think dinos get a lot of points on the tier list if they can “punch above their weight”, i.e. they have strong matchups against dinos of significantly stronger rarities. For Andrewsarchus and Marsupial Lion, they’re very strong against some unique resilients, so they get a lot of points for that. But I don’t personally have a problem with these matchups as long as these dinos can be sufficiently countered by dinos or a similar or even higher availability (meaning that they can be countered from the moment you unlock them). And in the case of Andrewsarchus and Marsupial Lion, they can be countered in this way, so they’re balanced in my opinion.

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High Tyrant just isn’t a thing anymore, otherwise they would be there. Same with last time.

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I know, I just wouldn’t have been surprised if they resurrected it for this tier list.

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I do not think they would need changes for a common tournament, like glyptodon is hard-countered by allosaurus and tarbosaurus while sloth is hard-countered by glyptodon and euoplocephalus

Tenontosaurus needs a buff or something because it is just trash.

That certain legendary is fine as is

They really wouldn’t qualify. Take 1.14 mammolania. When that thing was set up, it won every matchup. Then you had the matchup king geminititan, who really only lost to grypo and had a bunch of 50/50s with creatures like moth and alloraptor. Then you had entelomoth, who was another matchup tyrant that also has a busted immunity with the kit it had and on escape heal and the perfect speed tier for Mutual fury to the point where it could sweep entire teams. Hadros can’t really do that as shields and armor hard-wall it as does armor. Same with ceramagnus. When those guys got going, they were almost unstoppable

I agree, they’re fine as they are. Like you said, they can be countered just fine. I think this is another case of “punching above their weight”, if you read one of my previous comments.

Yeah… it may be a raid dino, but it’s not even that great as one. There isn’t really a need for a rare raid dino when stuff like Edmontoguanodon exists.

Lol I’m not gonna open up that discussion again, but I’ll respectfully disagree, to some extent. That whole tier was so close to being in the balanced range though, none of them need a massive change. If anything, I would properly reworks to shift around their strength rather than making them significantly worse statwise.

Allosino is fine. Mammotherium is fine too, maybe if anything changing resilient impact to a move that doesn’t cleanse distraction? For Dracoceratops I would change it’s cleansing attack to a strike, so it can’t do as much damage if you want to swap it out right away, and isn’t quite as strong against distraction. And I won’t even touch my thoughts on Monolometerodon for now :joy:

I’m not gonna disagree with that too much. I haven’t actually used them or fought them enough to know myself, but from what I’ve heard and theory-crafted, they’re pretty strong. The question is whether they’re an entire tier stronger. Magnus might be, with the swap in, then using group acceleration to practically guaranteed that it’ll attack first on the next turn, then precise rampage. It seems unstoppable to be, and definitely counters more fierce dinos than there are fierce dinos that counter it. Compare that to other to something like Erlikospyx. Its undeniably strong, and deserving of the tyrant tier. But unlike Magnus, you dont have to jump through hoops to counter it, pretty much any high tier resilient can take it out. Magnus is certainly more unstoppable than most tyrants it seems, but I’m not sure if that’s enough to push it into High Tyrant.

1 Like

The thing that should have a major nerf is MONOLEMETRODON,THOR

Neither should

I’d argue that Mortem, Entelolania and Poukadactylus all need major buffs.

For Mortem it’d only need a major buff to it’s health so that it’s victory in a 1v1 versus Ceramagnus and Hadros Lux is guaranteed. I’m fine with it keeping Cleansing Impact since that just means Cunning creatures will have to fight smarter against it, but I suppose it’d also be fair to lose it in favor of gaining a move Unique to Mortem only.

Mortem:

mortemrework

Poukadacytlus needs something like this tbh:

Poukandactylus Rework

All Entelolania needs is upgrade Group Decelerating Impact to Group Decelerating Rampage.

I’m a bit surprised they didn’t move Thor up one tier, since it’s definitely better now than it was before, but it definitely doesn’t need a nerf. Mono might need some tweaking, but not a massive nerf.

2 Likes

The “Major” and “Minor” bufff differences say more about how far below the curve they are, and the distinction is pretty subjective anyway. I can definitely see Poukandactylus and Entelolania requiring buffs of some kind though. Mortem should be beating Hadros and Magnus more consistently, but I don’t know if it’s better to buff Mortem or nerf the others to accomplish this (since Mortem isn’t the only dino that should arguably be beating them).

3 Likes

For lux to loose to mortem, it needs to loose its counter and be slower than mortem. (Currently a speed tie)

To keep the counter, mortem needs to still be faster and lux’s damage needs to be reduced 1450 max. That leaves mortem with 100 hp.

2 Likes

Does this mean my little Eddie should get a buff? YES. Is it gonna happen? NO. ):

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Entelolania would need much more. My buff would be a vulnerability counter (No damage but applies vulnerability, and change group decel impact to decel rampage and bellow to DSI

5 Likes

Lol, Edmontoguanodon (I assume that’s your Eddie) is so much of a raid creature, it would take a big kit change to make it more viable in pvp. At least it’s a good raid creature for epic raids, others can’t say as much (like Tenontosaurus).

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The rare hadrosaurs should be built like tenontorex being very offensive with a heal move to be viable

1 Like