UPDATED | Regarding the PTR Cyclone as a Core Unit

UPDATE: The Cyclone in my mod has been updated with the following changes after feedback from here and elsewhere:

  • Lock-On now requires an upgrade at the Factory Tech Lab
  • The Cyclone now remains stationary while locked on
  • Lock-On range reduced from 14 → 13
  • Auto-cast for Lock-On is defaulted to ‘off’
  • Auto-cast for Lock-On is no longer limited to a single target

Please see the video here for explanations for the changes, and/or read below: https://youtu.be/DPgnATHjUjQ

Explanations for the changes:

  • Lock-On now requires an upgrade at the Factory Tech Lab

This change is to prevent potential early-game abuse. The ability as I envision it is for utility in mid- to late-game armies as a light zoning tool to encourage enemy unit repositioning (whether retreating or attacking forward), not for cheese nor early game defense. The Cyclone’s normal weapon and mechanics are sufficient for the early game, and Tanks can still be made early for zoning if desired.

  • The Cyclone now remains stationary while locked on

This change, like the previous one, is to support the actual use of the ability as a light zoning tool. Beyond potentially broken interactions, the capacity to kite with the ability diluted the use of it to force enemy unit repositioning, as it dissuaded the opponent from approaching due to the likelihood that they will simply be kited, and in certain cases it also made retreating useless. The point of the ability is to encourage approaching or retreating, not to negate it, so this enforces a proper trade-off for using Lock-On to serve that purpose.

Note that with this change Lock-On must be manually canceled if the user wants to move the Locked-On Cyclone before the ability duration runs out or the target moves out of range.

  • Lock-On range reduced from 14 → 13

The ability for a single Cyclone to nudge a Siege Tank away, even over a lot of time, was a bit too ridiculous. This allows a Siege Tank to retaliate against a single Cyclone (the Tank wins this of course), while still allowing Cyclones enough range so a few of them together can encourage the opposing Terran to reposition a Tank.

Additionally, combined with the retained low damage output of Lock-On and Cyclones being stationary when locked on, this makes Tanks decisively better zoning units for the cost and supply. For example, in TvT Tanks have an easier time moving forward and sieging into Cyclone Lock-On zones compared to moving forward and sieging into enemy Tanks, so there is now more of a trade-off between having some Cyclones or having additional Tanks.

  • Auto-cast for Lock-On is defaulted to ‘off’
  • Auto-cast for Lock-On is no longer limited to a single target

With Cyclones no longer being able to kite with Lock-On, auto-cast is fairly useless for it (and can actually be a bit of a nuisance for the user) as in direct combat it’s just about always better to just use the normal weapon, and when using Lock-On it’s often more useful to manually focus multiple Cyclones onto a single target. Auto-cast still has a situational role for light zoning in a pinch so it’s still possible to enable it if desired, but Siege Tanks are still much better for “set-it-and-forget-it” zoning against ground, and Thors are generally better zoners against air for the supply and cost.

Hey, guys, been a while!

A long time ago I put a lot of work into a mod that includes changes to the Cyclone to help it be a less “finicky” core Factory unit.

Now we have the PTR Cyclone changes, which in some ways are also along the lines of the Cyclone in my mod, with some notable differences. I’d like to present the version of the Cyclone that was in my mod for your consideration, as I believe it addresses some of the problems that seem to be cropping up with the current PTR version while retaining some of the benefits.

If you want, you may simply watch the video about it here (my recommendation): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19FLuFBELqc

(Note that my most up-to-date mod version is on the NA server only)

For more details in-writing, read on:

When thinking about changing the Cyclone, what can we look at in terms of what it can provide for Terran in its new form? These are the primary benefits that come to my mind:

  • Flexibility in positioning for Mech through increased mobility, for a fair investment (more Cyclones = less Tanks).

  • The ability for Mech to take straight-up fights in the early and mid-game without relying entirely on entrenched positions.

  • An easily-producible, short-mid range, consistent and generalized damage-dealing unit from the Factory as an alternative to Bio, without relying on high burst damage or AoE.

  • Achieving all of this while still having a high skill ceiling for both sides of engagements (kiting with Cyclones and counter-micro are still encouraged).

  • Less volatility in engagements compared to the existing Cyclone (instant lock-on no longer kills opposing units super fast, and losing a Cyclone is no longer as devastating).

  • Due to less volatility, a lower skill floor for both using and fighting against Cyclones, while maintaining a high skill ceiling.

These are all fantastic things that allow for some diversity in Terran playstyles to freshen up the game! But what are some cons we’re seeing with how it is currently?

  • Seems mostly viable when massed. Outside of perhaps defending some small runbys or as part of an early all-in, it seems there isn’t much room for just using a handful of Cyclones and therefore there isn’t a lot of room for diversity in composition until the lategame when using the PTR Cyclone. As a generalist combat unit, this makes sense, but how could it be changed to fill a similar role while synergizing more with a diversity of Mech units whether it’s in smaller or larger numbers?

  • Difficulty in balancing. Because of the nature of Terran production combined with these Cyclones mostly being good when massed, if they are countered too hard then the Terran can simply crumble and have a lot of difficulty recovering. However, if there are not good counters then the Terran can too easily destroy the opponent. This has caused several changes to the damage values in an attempt to balance it, but I believe damage number changes alone do not provide the best fix here, as the constant moving-while-firing mechanic adds some depth of difficulty in balancing the numbers.

With these points in mind, there are the goals I’ve set out to achieve with the Cyclone in my mod:

  • Maintain all of the positive points outlined above.

  • Allow the Cyclone to provide utility in low numbers while still maintaining viability in high numbers (without making them overpowered).

  • In relation to the previous point, provide it a unique role within in a Mech army that synergizes better with other Mech units.

  • Allow it to have recognizable counters that encourage a diversity in compositions on both sides in at least the mid-game onwards.

How does the Cyclone in my mod do this in comparison to the PTR version?

  • It has different counters and counterplays that are in-turn able to be fought by other Factory units.

  • It encourages the opponent to engage the Mech army or leave the position without relying on a huge amount of burst damage.

What are the changes compared to the PTR version that have these effects?

  • Cyclone typing is changed from Armored → Light. This encourages anti-Light units to be used to combat it, such as Adepts, Colossus, and Hellions - different units than would normally be used to counter Tanks and Thors.

  • No speed upgrade. This means fast units can catch up to them, encouraging other units being in the mix to cover the Cyclone’s weaknesses.

  • The normal and lock-on attacks are again separated into two different attacks:

  • The normal attack has a longer cooldown, higher burst damage, and low damage point to help with kiting, stutter-step, and focus-fire bursts in short range, while making it slightly less efficient against cheap units with low max HP due to overkill. This attack retains a significant bonus vs Armored. Mag-Field increases the range of the normal weapon against air to help it contend better with lategame air units if supply is committed to Cyclones, however other units (Thors or Vikings, etc) are still needed to deal with dedicated air armies.

  • The Lock-On attack is drastically different than any other iterations so far. It is changed to have a very low DPS with more beam-style damage (very rapid attacks with the old rapid-fire missile animation - as a side note, it looks very cool), a very high max range, and a minimum range. This version is locked behind an upgrade to avoid early game Lock-On shenanigans being too strong. Mag-Field slightly increases the damage of Lock-On against air, again to help contend with lategame air units if there is supply committed to Cyclones, but again other units (Thors or Vikings, etc) are still needed to deal with dedicated air armies.

The Lock-On change does a few things.

First, it allows Cyclones to attack units from afar if they have vision, but without dealing a ton of damage at once (unless a high number of Cyclones are manually focus-firing a single unit). Because it deals as little damage as it does, it gives opponents a good amount of time to react, either moving away from the Terran army or committing to an engagement before too much damage is done. This additionally means that in many cases it’s more effective to cancel autocast of Lock-On in favor of the rewarding micro investment of focus-firing opposing units with Lock-On.

Secondly, it highly changes the dynamics of how to fight Cyclones, and makes general engagements with Mech more dynamic. With the minimum range of Lock-On, approaching the Cyclone causes it to break the Lock-On, causing it to use its stronger normal attack automatically, while stopping it from using Lock-On to endlessly kite melee units, making melee units (such as Zealots and Zerglings) a more effective counter.

A more ambitious (but certainly unnecessary part of this if it proves too disruptive) is that the Lock-On has 1 more range than a Siege Tank – adding another chess piece in TvT where Cyclones can be used to slowly chip away at entrenched positions, while opposing Cyclones can be used to shoo away the attacking Cyclones. Air units are still relevant for vision. In my testing, this seems to make for very interesting battles that can encourage more army movement, but again I understand that this is fairly ambitious.

That’s the summary of the Cyclone change in my mod. I think the design is worth consideration without the other changes in my mod, but I would like to note a couple other changes alongside it that compliment it:

My mod has changes to the Hellbat and Hellion to make for more interesting mobile Mech fights (particularly Hellion/Hellbat/Cyclone fights are quite interesting in TvT).

First, the typing of Hellbats is changed from Light to Armored - with a mix of Light Cyclones and Hellions with Hellbats, this allows Hellbats to buffer anti-Light damage to encourage a mix of anti-Light and anti-Armored units from the opponent if they’re facing Hellion/Hellbat/Cyclone-based compositions.

Secondly, an upgrade increases the max HP of Hellions and adds +1 armor to Hellbats, to make them hardier in combat. To balance this, the mineral cost of Hellions/Hellbats is slightly increased. Because of the mineral cost increase and the bulk increase being locked behind an upgrade, this does not improve the strength of them too early in the game while allowing them to be a bit better in direct combat.

With these changes combined, Hellion/Hellbat/Cyclone makes for an interesting option as a mid-game army, more interesting than simply mass Cyclone. Again, however, I don’t believe these are necessary to try just the Cyclone changes.

To test the mod, search ‘Project Justice’ in the Arcade and in custom game mods on the NA server. I will say because it’s an old mod and has quite a few other changes, it will be far from a perfect representation of those changes alone in the current game, however it does allow for playing with the mechanics of it to get a feel for how it plays.

That’s all for now. Have a good day!


Hey! Good to see you online again! Have you posted this to the reddit forums? I personally think that your idea would get a little more attention there as it appears that the balance council tends to check re-edit more than the Bnet forums.

In saying that, I like the concept of the cyclone alterations. However, I do have a concern - how does the new cyclone fair against early Bc rushes in TvT, since BCs - particularly with the research requirement of Interference Matrix being thrown into the balance proposal currently - Cyclones currently are a critical way of dealing with early void rushes and early BCs in particular, so how does this change tend to stack up against those particular concerns?

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That is a terrible idea. Siege Tanks are explicitly balanced for long range and high burst. They sacrifice all of their other stats for it. Cyclones really don’t.

I’m also not a fan of allowing Cylones to kite ground units in a rework. If Cyclones have the ability to kite, then Blink Stalkers MUST counter them, as every other Protoss ground unit can simply be kited. In order for mobile mech to be viable in TvP, Cyclones would have to at least trade well against Stalkers, thus they would have to be countered by other units that they wouldn’t be able to kite.

Changing Cyclones to light (as you suggested) does help with this though, because it makes some other units like Hellions, Adepts, Colossus, and Banelings into potential counters.

That in particular is a very bad change. Hellbats are often needed as buffers for Tanks and Thors. They cannot fill that function in TvP with an armored tag, nor can they fill it in Hellion mode (the need to balance Hellion harassment, i.e. speed and mobility, prevents them from being balanced with good enough stats). You even said yourself that the Factory has too many armored units. Changing Hellbats to be an armored unit (and thus share the same counters as Siege Tanks and Thors) only makes things worse.

Basically, some of your ideas are good, others either shouldn’t take place, or need tweaks.

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Hey, Miro! Yes, I’ve posted it on Reddit too, and TL.

This Cyclone design has pretty decent straight-up anti-air capabilities, especially against armored. Certainly would need tested, as all things. I’ve never liked that BCs can just jump across the whole map. With Cyclones not needing a tech lab, I don’t think it would be an issue though.

Void Rays are another thing that would need to be watched out for, agreed on that. Battery rushes should not be as strong as they are, IMO. But the lock-on range can help with continuing the pressure on the Voids/Batteries from a safe distance if the Terran can manage maintaining vision.

Hey, Terranic, well-stated points as usual.

Regarding kiting vs Protoss, I think it’s reasonable for Adepts, Colossi, and Disruptors to be good counters to them, and Chargelots do better when it’s normal kiting and not moving-while-shooting (the lock-on damage and reasonably moderate speed makes it impractical to kite lots of fast melee units using Lock-On). For it to work, Adepts may need some kind of buff or rework though.

There is a reason why I called the range value ambitious, but Tanks also have a huge amount of burst-splash damage in combination with huge range, while what this version of the Cyclone has is pitiful damage on the lock-on to balance that, and it does still require vision to utilize it, just like Tanks do. The lock-on is pretty much useless against bio in direct combat, unlike Tanks, though it’s somewhat helpful for shooing drops away. Opposing Terrans can use their own Cyclones to shoo away attacking Cyclones, but if it’s shown that they have to have Cyclones and there is no other good counter option to them in TvT, it could be problematic.

On the other hand, Cyclone/Bio vs Mech or Cyclone/Hellbat/Hellion could be an interesting matchup - it basically means in exchange for some mechanical skill, Tanks are not an absolutely required unit in standard TvT games. But, again, maybe it doesn’t work and we will just need to live with the Tank meta forever.

So it’s definitely possible the range would need to be reduced, but the damage might need to increase in that case for it to be an effective tool.

The Hellbat to Armored change definitely causes them to die faster to the units that counter Armored of course, but this is in turn lets them tank damage from anti-Light units better, and so they synergize better with Cyclones (making Hellbat/Cyclone a more viable playstyle for the midgame). Cyclones (to an extent, they’re still not the cheapest unit) and Hellions would be more proper buffers for Tanks. Remember this is in combination with an upgrade that slightly increases the HP of Hellions, which would absolutely make Hellions too strong in the early game, but I’ve attempted to balance that by slightly increasing the mineral cost of Hellions as well as locking the buff behind an upgrade. Later in the game, the hope is counter measures would be in place against harassment with early game harassment not being quite as good. The goal is to reduce reliance on harassment in the early game in favor of the ability to contest in direct combat.

All of this is theoretical, of course, it’d need more testing than just my own Unit Tester scenarios.

The problem is that with lock-on, none of those options “can” be an effective counter to Cyclones. In order to deal with kiting units, you need to either outrange or out maneuver them. A Cyclone that can start its lock-on at long range can easily harass all of the units you mentioned, and other units like Tanks, Lurkers, Brood Lords, Tempests, and Carriers without taking any damage. It doesn’t matter if the lock-on attack is weak, the fundamental problem is that it simply cannot be retaliated against. That’s why the current Cyclone’s lock-on range is 7, despite being given a maximum range of 15.

If you want to make battle-mech a better option against Protoss (at least in terms of Cyclones being able to beat blink Stalkers, so that beating Hellion/Cyclone eventually requires a mix of units), you have to remove the lock-on mechanic against ground entirely. Otherwise, blink Stalkers have to remain a counter to the Cyclones, because they are the only early Protoss unit with the range and maneuverability to counter the kiting. The Cyclone would have to be short ranged and slow enough that Chargelots (or Adepts) can catch them, and short ranged enough that units like Colossus, Disruptors, Tanks, Lurkers, Brood Lords etc can fight them. It is only when those conditions are met, that Cyclones can be balanced to beat Stalkers.

Let me make this perfectly clear. The main reason to use Hellbats is to buffer for Tanks and Thors in standing fights. Tanks and Thors are both armored units, and changing Hellbats to armored, by itself, makes them so much more vulnerable to friendly-fire from Tanks and damage from Immortals and Stalkers that they simply cannot function in their intended role. You would be better off leaving Hellbats alone, or if you had to buff them for some reason, focusing on the health or additional armor.

There is no benefit to switching Hellbats to armored, but there are numerous detriments to making that change.

Hellions cannot be properly balanced with enough health and enough damage to serve as a proper buffer for Tanks. Period, you cannot buff them enough for that role! That is why the Hellbat morph was introduced in the first place!

Hellbats work as a Tank/Thor buffer because they have very high health, take minimal friendly-fire damage, and have a powerful burst+splash attack that punishes the opponent for just trying to get past them. Those traits can only be balanced because of the Hellbat’s slow speed and short range. They sacrifice the Hellion’s mobility and range in exchange for stronger combat stats.

Hellions are 88% faster with moderate range. They are best used as harassment units, so they always have to be balanced for that harassment first! That does not leave space to buff the Hellion’s damage or health enough to work as a buffer for Siege Tanks and Thors. If Hellions were strong enough to effectively do that, they would cause numerous other problems.

As for battle-mech, you do not need different armor types between Cyclones, Hellions, and Hellbats to justify that mix. If Cyclones are specialized for anti-armor (and to otherwise be better against non-light targets), that is enough to justify building a mix of Hellions and Cyclones on the Terran side to deal with different types of enemies. Battle-mech can also be supplemented by Widow Mines, or air units such as Vikings, Banshees, or Liberators to deal with threats such as Colossus, Banelings, etc; and it always has the option of transforming Hellbats as a screen while Cyclones (and maybe some of the Hellions) try to escape a bad fight.

Theoretically you’re right, practically speaking in the testing I’ve done, it just isn’t true, especially when needing vision. A single Shield Battery can out-heal several Cyclones on a single unit, and the time it takes to kill, for example, a single Adept is not worth the mechanical effort.

I could be wrong, I admit my testing is somewhat in a vacuum. But so far the effort to kill cheap units is largely a waste of APM, and pulling back individual larger units as needed is an effective countermeasure. It’s solely meant to encourage repositioning.

Because, as you bring out, they’re very good at harassment. They would need to be less powerful harassment units, at least in the early game. I don’t think the options for that have been properly explored, though. Maybe my changes don’t do the job, but that isn’t all that can be tried. For example, damage adjustments that include increasing the weapon cooldown in exchange for higher damage (maybe not vs light) can make units better in combat but less efficient vs workers.

Ultimately my philosophy is reduce effectiveness of harassment in favor of strength in combat.

If that cannot be done practically, and if you’re right in that it’s ok for them all to share the same armor typing and still be viable, then ok, we have to work with that. But I don’t think all of the options have been thought through for reducing harassment in favor of combat regarding the Hellion. Again, if my changes don’t work for that, fine, but are there other options? I don’t know, but I do believe more exploration and testing can be done in that regard.

Even if you delay some of the Hellion’s strength by upgrades, there is still a cap that it must follow based on its ability to roast workers; and considering the design of the Hellion itself (fast, anti-light unit with splash), that cap will always be far below the balance point needed for standing combat.

It doesn’t make any sense to try to balance the Hellion mode (you know, the fast transformation that can move very quickly) as a standing buffer for slow units like Siege Tanks and Thors. Hellbats already do that job well, and they currently have far more health and damage output than the Hellion morph could ever have.

What Hellbats don’t do is keep up with mobile Bio units or Cyclones, and unless you are planning to nerf the Cyclone’s speed so much that Hellbats can keep up (in which case there is no point in using Cyclones over Thors and Tanks), you are better off keeping Hellions and Cyclones together, and only using the Hellbat transformation in specific cases (emergency retreats, or cases where the opponent cannot escape the Hellbats).

Ultimately, changing the Hellbat morph in an attempt to fit it with Bio or with Cyclones results in a worse unit, which is why I am so vehemently against it.

How exactly would you make Hellions worse at harassment?

Make them slower? Make their attack weaker? Remove the splash effect?

The only one of those that wouldn’t also make Hellions worse as a buffer unit would be to reduce their speed. Everything else still runs contrary to the point of trying to balance them as a buffer for slow Siege Tanks and Thors.

As mentioned above, the Hellion has a cap to its effectiveness, based primarily on its ability to kill workers. The Hellbat morph takes care of that problem by sacrificing range and speed to put everything into health and burst damage.

There are plenty of ways to make units worse at harassment and better for combat. Let me think out loud here some for the Hellion…

A slight cost increase is one way to make them less strong in the early game (arguably when they are the strongest for harassment), because the Terran has to either build less of them or sacrifice something else in the build, and the first ones have to come out slightly later. Doesn’t affect the lategame production as much when there are a lot of MULEs, but on the other hand opponents have slightly more comfort room in the early game to grow their economy and get defenses in place for later in the game (more static defense and whatnot). As long as they don’t cost gas and the cost increase isn’t just ridiculous, it’s still potentially worth using them as a buffer for units that do cost gas if they are tankier after an upgrade. But if they are still a problem past the early game as harassment with that then this doesn’t work. I think that would take testing to determine, though. I do believe there is a “cap” as you mentioned, but where that cap is I’m not so sure of because it really hasn’t been explored well past a couple of experiments in early SC2, which was a much different game in plenty of regards.

If the attack cooldown was slower but neutral burst damage was increased, that would make the attack stronger in general combat when using focus-fire, but less efficient vs workers past the first attack. This doesn’t really help it to be a buffer, though. It could just have a slower attack cooldown with a slight HP buff/upgrade. This is still iffy, though, because that initial burst can still potentially kill a lot of workers.

Reducing the anti-Light damage while upping the neutral damage reduces its effectiveness in harassment and increases its effectiveness in combat vs non-Light units. I think this one is difficult, though, concerning a “cap”- it needs to not 2-shot workers even with upgrades for this to work, and might need a significant neutral damage buff to be good in general combat, but how significant exactly I’m not sure. With the HP buff/upgrade, maybe a more moderate neutral damage buff would do in the context of a more complex army, but I’m skeptical.

Your implication is right that the splash range can’t be eliminated and it still be an effective unit, but it could potentially be somewhat reduced in exchange for the slight HP buff/upgrade. This reduces the potential of how many workers it can kill in a single volley (unless the workers are all stacked together) while letting it buffer more in combat. Possibly a cleaner change than the slower attack cooldown, and in terms of stat changes might be the better option to open up room for an HP buff/upgrade as opposed to damage numbers.

Those are just a few things off the top of my head, and maybe none of them are good/sensible or maybe some could be. Early game defensive applications are definitely also something to consider that could make any of these changes difficult. But in any case, those aren’t an exhaustive list of possibilities, rather they’re just to show that it’s absolutely possible to make them better in combat and worse (or at least not better) for harassment, at least to a small degree (and really it doesn’t need a large degree shift to be a more interesting unit) - without entirely changing its identity as a unit (still fast, still the same micro techniques, still a mineral dump).

This is understandable, and yes I agree the Hellbat would be more of a niche option on a broad scale if it was Armored rather than Light, though I still think it would find use in battle mech to tank anti-Light damage for Cyclones if Cyclones were Light.

To me, the Hellbat is a very boring unit whereas the Hellion has more potential for interesting micro and use in combat if only it was actually good in combat, so I’m ok with making the Hellbat less good in exchange for that - if that’s even possible to do in a sensible way.

Maybe it’s not an either-or, and if the Hellion could somehow be made better in combat, that doesn’t mean the Hellbat has to be changed. I’m still skeptical that it wouldn’t be too easy to just shut down battle mech with anti-Light units in that case, though. More Cyclones means less Tanks, less Liberators, etc, but since the goal of this is to allow a small or moderate number of Cyclones to still be useful within a more complex mech army, maybe it would be ok.

Thinking about it more, I do have a few reservations about this. Specifically, you’d have to consider the interaction with chargelots and kiting in general with charge, and after charge’s expenditure, needs to be taken into account somewhat. They should be able to kite, but chargelots also need to be able to do damage as well.

Adepts are both better and worse - better because they can surround with their shade ability, but worse in practice because cyclones can never really be caught by adepts since they kite and manoeuvre quite well.

Disrupters have similar issues to adepts, except worse because they’re stationary when they fire.

It all comes down to how you handle the speed of the cyclone, and frankly speaking my concern is that there doesn’t seem to be a good point between to fast and to slow. Fast enough to keep up with helions is often to fast for anything other than blink stalkers to deal with (and lings), but slow enough for say adepts or disrupters to reliably hit is to slow to actively kite consistently.

I like the concept, but I would need to see it actually played out a lot more.

To continue Terranic’s point here, I don’t think the helion will ever be capable of fulfilling such a role; it’s simply to antithetical to its nature as a unit, and attempting to force the helion into that role makes for some problematic balance issues in general since trying to make it a unit tanky enough to survive and buffer for a slower backline links tanks and thors, while also trying to keep their nature as a mobile harassment unit either makes the worst of both worlds, or something that is an abomination and far to good - to fast to really catch, and to tanky to kill even if you do catch it.

Hellbats being made armoured units only serves to weaken them as a frontline unit which they generally do fairly well currently. Why not simply remove any armour tags at all so they don’t take bonus from light damage or from armour damage? I can see this presenting its own issues, but it could feasibly be a better buffer. It still cannot work with bio units though, not really.

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I do want to say that in reality, I don’t think there will be a lot of change for the Hellion for it to get to the point I would like it. It is indeed very difficult.

Regarding the Cyclone, I’m beginning to wonder if the Lock-On mechanic as a whole is fundamentally just too difficult to balance and needs changed. What do you guys think of the idea of the Cyclone being stationary while locked on? The lock-on attack would have high range and/or higher DPS than the standard weapon to make it worth using in certain situations, but it would still have a solid normal weapon like in the mod that would be more useful in other situations.

(It seems the move-while-firing is something that makes the mechanic difficult to balance)

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I would agree with that, if the goal is to make Hellion-Cyclone better. On the other hand, trying to make Hellion-Tank or Hellion-Thor a thing is a lost cause. Either setup loses the mobility immediately when the enemy gets close to the Tanks or Thors, and at that point you should definitely turn the Hellions into Hellbats.

That basically is the case. There are ways to balance the mechanic, but they all basically require each faction’s longest ranged units, fastest units, and units with crowd-control to be effective counters; and they require limits that make it difficult for Cyclones to scale into large numbers. You could arguably use the current Cyclone for harassment and early defense, but not as a viable long-term comp against someone who knows what they are doing.

If the goal is to make Battle-mech a viable style, that can presumably take control of multiple expansions and transition to air or standard mech later, then you would have to get rid of the lock-on (or get rid of it against ground and limit its range and power enough against air that it doesn’t cause problems). You are better off trying without a lock-on mechanic.

I like how much thought you put into the Cyclone changes.

Even if I personally think that Battle mech looks too much like bio.

That would depend on how things are balanced, but yeah, there isn’t much point if the end result is just a reskinned Bio.

I think it would be fine for Cyclone-Hellion to be a way to secure expansions and harass before transitioning into a more traditional mech army for the late-game.

I’m honestly surprised we don’t see battle-mech used as a small skirmish force these days while the bulk army is built up behind it. Mech in general isn’t that popular though. Could still be interesting though.

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I occasionally do that against the AI. Cyclones don’t really scale, but that doesn’t matter when you are harassing an expansion, and it is still ok when you are trying to pick off one or two units on the edge of a ball controlled by a dumb AI.

Updated with some changes, see original post for details.