Jumping on the Undead Bandwagon


#1

Considering the comments on the PTR and the buffs/nerfs and what I’ve seen mentioned on the forums and elsewhere, I thought I’d throw in my two-cents.

Ghouls… General census is that they still suck like they always have. They only provide fringe use in limited scenarios. Amusingly, a ghoul that HAS frenzy researched WILL STILL LOSE to a footman off of blight. This will probably change with the extra 10% attack speed, but the ghouls will be even more irrelevant by the time T3 rolls around.

-Giving ghouls a bit more HP would probably be the easiest buff. Their fragility makes them particularly susceptible to spells, especially when certain heroes hit level 3 and can nuke them even harder.

-Giving them access to Ghoul Frenzy in T2 wouldn’t change things too much. It would let ghouls beat out grunts who don’t have berserker strength in a force of equivalent gold value (That’s 5 ghouls against 3 grunts. The grunts win again if they have their upgrade.) Splitting Ghoul Frenzy into a movement speed boost in T1 and an Attack Speed bonus in Tier 2 would let them retreat when wounded in early skirmishes and let them remain a little more relevant or potentially be an actual threat.

-Now here’s something crazy. What if they gave less XP than they do now? What if they only cost 1 food? What if they were 10 or 15 gold cheaper? Having one or two of those could be rather interesting.

-Even crazier? What if they had an ability that dealt more damage to units suffering from some kind of debuff, like the Lich’s frost or the Cryptlord’s stun? Abomination’s disease cloud? Depending on how this hashes out, Ghoul Frenzy could be a very worthwhile T3 upgrade (Or maybe it would let them leech or restore life through attacking instead? Could be tied to Cannibalize) - This might open UD first hero choice up a little more. Sure, the Death Knight could make them faster, but running the Lich or CL would have a little more synergy early.

Gargoyles suffer from the same fragility as ghouls except they have a slough of other problems. Problems like being a more expensive hippogryph that loses to hippogryphs in exchange for being able to sporadically tickle ground units while also having the build time of a wind rider. Furthermore, they can be trolled by Crypt Fiends.

-Like the ghouls, a buff to HP would probably help them. They could also probably use a reduction in build time.

-Similar to the crazy idea for ghouls? Could be more interesting is having their armor being Fortified instead of Unarmored and stoneform giving them a passive runic-bracers style spell-damage reduction when not in statue form. Or maybe only one of those, since both might be a little excessive unless their stats are changed.

As for the Heroes? The Sacrificial Dagger isn’t going to help cut down their reliance on the DK on it’s own. It’s only going to make the DK that much better. UD will probably need a shop restructuring and likely some small buffs to their other innate heroes to make it an actual choice.

The dead horse people have been beating came back to life and I had to beat it back to death with something a little different - Most people are saying UD lack healing. It’s more accurate to say they lack RECOVERY. The healing salve heals about 9 hp/sec, and the regen scroll 6hp/sec. Yes, cannibalize and burrow are a thing, but they rob your army of it’s mobility while those skills are used. Time is money. Time is XP. The undead also have no way for their heroes to effectively recover mana until they get Statues, so they take even longer to get back into the fight after things go south - I think this is probably the biggest issue.

Currently, the UD NEED the DK because his Aura rectifies many weaknesses. When it comes to ghouls, the movement helps them reach ranged units faster while coil is better at keeping them alive. It gives the army a source of passive recovery when not on blight. (It doesn’t match the recovery WHILE the army is on blight, but it does work in combat so they kind of at least have that).

-All the Lich probably needs to be a potential first pick is for Dark Ritual to cost no Mana. That would allow him to nab 62 mana from a skeleton instead of 37. An Acolyte would net 69 mana. An extra second or two on Frost Nova’s debuff would probably be overkill.

The Dreadlord? Sleep could probably use a little bump. Maybe in the form of some kind of debuff where the unit takes extra damage from the attack that wakes it up (Much less for spells) - or they’re hit with some kind of ‘groggy’ debuff where they have a short 3second slow to their movement and attack speed or are unable to cast spells? He probably wouldn’t need this if Ghouls got some kind of buff.

The Dreadlord? Sleep could probably use a little bump. Maybe in the form of some kind of debuff where the unit takes double damage from the attack that wakes it up (Much less for spells) - or they’re hit with some kind of ‘groggy’ debuff where they have a short 3second slow to their movement and attack speed? He probably wouldn’t need this if Ghouls got some kind of buff.

The Crypt Lord could probably use some extra starting HP and Armor to bring him in line with the Pit Lord who has identical strength, and the death knight who has more armor with less agility. Only other thing I can think of is taking a page from spiked barricades and adding a small amount of flat damage to the % return… Or maybe Carrion Beetles also get Spiked Carapace if he has it?

Shopwise?
Thematically, I love the UD’s themes that involve using corpses and sacrificing units. With that in mind…
-Remove Sacrificial Skull and give the acolytes the ability to kill themselves to blight the ground where they die! Replace that with an item that works like the clarity potion, except you have to sacrifice a unit and the restoration over time is based on their HP at sacrifice. Ideally it shouldn’t be usable on summoned units. Or maybe it requires a corpse instead?

-Sacrificial Dagger is a cool idea, though I think the heal is probably a little on the strong side. If anything, something like that should replace the scroll of healing in the UD shop. I’d expect a weaker early item to either sacrifice a unit to grant units around it a heal over time based on it’s HP similar to a regeneration scroll… Or for it to be a multi-charge item that uses a corpse to give the UD a short-lived regen-scroll effect they can use as they travel from camp to camp. (80hp over 15s?)

-Again with the Acolytes because it amuses me. If you use an acolyte as a sacrifice, they give it a small boost - maybe an extra 10% in healing/mana above the value you’d normally get? Would work for any of these items and for death pact/dark ritual. They’re already flinging themselves into pits to make shades - they could stand to be a little more fanatical in their support of this death-cult.


#2

They already have spell immunity in stone form btw.


#3

Frankly the Death Knight needs a complete rework.
He needs to lose most of his healing capabilities which are then to be shifted into the base UD race (as tier 1 shop item or something similar).

As long as DK has Death Coil and Unholy Aura in its current shape he will be borderline mandatory.

For example the reason why Orcs have such a wide first hero choice is because of Healing Salves, Clarity Potions and the power of Grunts at tier 1.

Undead have garbage tier 1 melee (ghouls need +100 more health) and the UD shop at tier 1 lacks any way to restore Health or Mana for your hero and army.

The new Sacrificial Dagger is okay for healing ghouls (too long cooldown IMO) but it sucks for healing heroes.
Perhaps if Dagger healed Heroes for an additional 100 health over a period of 20 seconds (interruptible by dmg)…

Early game is the most important part of any 1v1 matchup.
And the UD have by far the weakest early game, both because of fragile ghouls and because their heroes can not heal themselves or replenish mana from the shop.
Rod of Necromancy is a linchpin in the UD early game and frankly its an awful design.


#4

Yeah, I know that. I’m saying stoneform might give them a mild runic bracers or Magic Resistance effect when they’re not in stone form. Gargoyles are probably the worst air unit in the game - all they really are is flying bags of XP unless the other person is super incompetent.


#5

Interesting suggestion, but not sure if that would be good. You might as well bump up their stats to 3 food units if you want them surviving spell damage. But then again, that can be said of any 2 food unit that is easily killed by spells.


#6

at the same time, gargoyles are the fastest to reach air unit for harassing in the game, with UD able to ultra-fast-tech to Tier 2 as fast as a ghoul can harvest 60 lumber, and arrive with 2 crypts + graveyard when T2 finishes. Its more common in 4v4 than 1v1 due to the obvious weakness of no early hero

So if blizzard kept buffing gargoyles to make them more relevant, you’d have to grapple with 6 early gargs wrecking someone’s base. And that has a habit of just ruining NE/HU players who didn’t preemptively tower up or UD who were teching with no bigzig of their own


#7

There used to be a special building called “Gargoyle Spire” in alpha of war3 that enabled the production of gargoyles.

Perhaps reintroducing that building in some way or form would be a solution.


#8

If the Death Knight gets a rework, they’ll probably have to overhaul a good chunk of UD units. For re-working the Death Knight, I wonder if making Animate Dead a basic skill where he raises an enemy unit or two per rank for a short period of time - say 20 seconds? The units would no longer be Invulnerable either. Then Unholy Aura can become his ultimate?

Course, the simpler solution would be to just nerf Unholy Aura’s healing - perhaps having it offer none at rank 1, a little at rank 2, before getting back to it’s full strength at rank 3?

While HP would be the simplest fix, I also think that makes them a little less distinct from the others. I’m one of the ones who leans a little farther towards making them more mobile, likely splitting frenzy into two upgrades you can research in T1 and T2. Maybe they could give less XP as well?.. but that might make them a little too strong when used against newbies. Maybe looking at buffing Anti-Magic Shell could be a way to help ghouls out in the midgame when heroes start to throw out really damaging spells?

Edit: As for the Gargoyle Spire being re-introduced? What if the Sacrificial Pit was required instead?


#9

Ye if sacrificial pit was reduced in cost and just used as a “extra build timer” until UD can reach gargoyles then that could be a solution.

So Gargs changed to a perhaps 3 pop unit with overall buffs to match - but requires a cheap Sacrificial Pit to be made from Crypt?


#10

Its not a bad idea for sac pit to gate gargs, if gargs were buffed enough to make them worth building in general. Since sac pit already gates frost wyrms, it makes since for it to enable two air units. And it also poses a significant lumber burden that isn’t hard for normal builds to reach, but unachievable for all-in fast tech with 1 ghoul.

But this is all hypothetical talk. We’re discussing how to nerf a build that isn’t broken, yet. Maybe if they buffed gargs into strong territory and people started running around breaking the game with garg rush builds, it would make sense to implement such a nerf. But in the absence of such a change and such a gamebreaking impact, there’s no reason to nerf it.

It would be better to just come up with a buff to gargs that doesn’t break their harass potential in the first place


#11

I will copy what I wrote in the other thread about UD race. Hopefully some of these ideas will be considered worthy:

The main concern in changing UD is UD’s healing problem and dispel at T3. These issues are currently solved with DK, statues and destroyers and there is no even close alternative to that. Therefore, as a starting point, we should look into creating an alternative to UD’s gameplay that doesn’t use slaughterhouse.

A possible alternative to obsidian statue.
Pretty much every statue creates an aura of “Essence of blight” for 10 mana per second. Rarely two statues are used for healing. Firstly we can rework statues’ healing mechanics to make them create a temporary aura using their mana. This way each UD unit will be bound to a healing effect by at most 1 statue (which is a slight nerf).

If undead’s race identity is scarcity of healing in the shop, then I believe it is okay to have two UD’s heroes with heal. One of them is DK. I believe we can make DL to be the second healing hero that has AOE heal (with swarm ability replaced). We should also assure that his new ability would not stack with statues’ healing effect. Otherwise, UD players will keep going statues anyway. That is why, I propose the following:

Replace DL’s swarm with a AOE healing. It could have DL laughing and creating an effect similar to roar. Say it costs X mana and recharges every N seconds and gives

L1: +90 hp to DL and +6 seconds of the Essence of blight aura in the range of 700
L2: +120 hp to DL and +9 seconds of the Essence of blight aura in the range of 700
L3: +150 hp to DL and +12 seconds of the Essence of blight aura in the range of 700

The numbers could be adjusted, but the point should be clear. At the same time we should also nerf DL’s vampiric aura back to 15/30/45.

Besides, creating a hero that can heal, we need:

A possible alternative to destroyer’s dispel.

(1) Make a sacrificial skull more expensive with ability to create blight and at the same time dispel the area. To nerf it, you can make the blight to be temporary. One can also create a new dispel item for UD’s shop, available at T1 or T2, possibly replacing the Healing scroll.

(2) Completely rework destroyers. Move them to the temple of the dead, boneyard at T2, etc.

(3) Add potential dispel ability or magic reduction either to necromancers or banshees. We can rework their abilities and reorder them in a suitable order. For example, anti-magic shell or possession could be reworked/replaced to provide some dispel features.

(4) It is also possible to give shades some dispel ability too.

There are plenty of options here. You can ignore all the above, but something should be tweaked about UD’s access to dispel.

Because, we would like DL synergizes with ghouls well, we should tweak them as well.

A possible change to ghouls.

(1) Make Ghoul Frenzy available at T2. The upgrade would give +30hp, +15% attack speed and +30 ms at a reasonable cost. Again, numbers could be changed.

(2) Increase ghoul’s cost to 125, life to 355 (or even 360) and build time to 19. Ghouls with greater hp pool allow using more micro from players.

A possible change to DK.

Give +5% ms to all units that are on blight. Reduce DK unholy aura movespeed bonus to 8%/16%/24%.

A possible change to Lich.

(1) Reduce Dark Ritual cost to 10 mana, but make it convert 30/60/90 % of HP. This way, low HP units give slightly more mana to Lich.

(2) Reduce Nova’s mana cost and at the same time reduce its damage in order to slightly mitigate UD’s famous hero focus.

A possible change to Crypt Lord.

There should be several options to play with Crypt Lord.
(1) A tank with Impale and Carapace (as it is currently used)
(2) A summoner with Carapace and Beetles
(3) A mix of abilities.

For this we should change the way Carrion Beetles work.
(1) Allow summoning beetles without the corpse.
(2) A dead beetle should leave a corpse on the field.
(3) Beetle’s armor at start could be 1 and it could increase each time by 1 in line with Carapace upgrades. The greater is Carapace level - the stronger should be the beetle.
(4) Beetles’ burrow ability should be available after researching burrow for crypt fiends.

For example,

L1 beetle: 40 mana and 8 seconds to summon.
L2 beetle: 50 mana and 10 seconds to summon.
L3 beetle: 60 mana and 12 seconds to summon.

We can use level 1 beetles to get a potential supply of corpses on the field of the battle, because they have low hp. This allows option (3) to be considered.

A summoner with Carapace and Beetles could be also a viable option, because five fat beetles at level 3 (with no food required) would give UD advantage in the late game too. Beetles tanking in front of the army and fiends at the back line should be an interesting strategy to implement.

Also, the “air duration” effect from impale should be removed. The graphics of the ability could be reworked too. UD loses a whole second of stun, because of that and can’t attack properly enemies stunned units. That’s why many UD’s prefer DR’s silence over impale.


#12

Perhaps tier 3 ghoul frenzy upgrade should affect gargoyles as well?
That would boost their tier 3 capabilities and usefulness without affecting the tier 2 garg rush.

Overall problem with Undead is that they are pretty much made to be a “campaign” gimmick race.
Everything about them is in the extremes - units are either great or awful, heroes are either great or awful.

The entire UD race is designed around DK as a first hero (like arthas was in the campaign) and the DK was OVERLOADED with healing capabilities and army utility.
So that awful design forces blizz to prevent UD from having healing and mana items from Tier 1 shop.
So that in turn makes DK even more insanely mandatory because no other hero can heal himself or his army, not to mention the move speed.

Blizz adds statues in TFT to help out but all that does is make DK+Lich even more mandatory.
Blizz then tries adding a new healing item at tier 1 (sac dagger) but AGAIN people will just add that item to the DK+Lich combo as extra healing.

As long as DK has such insane healing and aura he will always be the main linchpin of the entire UD race.

  • Completely rework the DK - no more broken aura and crazy healing from coil.
  • Give UD a PROPER tier 1 healing item and perhaps even mana regen item.
  • Buff ghouls health points and perhaps buff gargoyles in some way.
  • Make necromancers actually viable by lowering exp from Necromancer skeletons (not rod of necromancy) and giving them Dispel resistance.
  • Consider giving Statues a dispel on Tier 2 (it can be a weak dispel but at least something)
  • If needed remove or nerf Rod of Necromancy or move it to tier 2 to compensate for UD getting proper tier 1 heal and mana item.

DK needs a major rework and most of the healing and utility he provides needs to be removed and UD rebalanced.


#13

A T3 upgrade that boosts offenses isn’t going to really help gargoyles in most situations. By then heroes are beefy and they’re going to get slaughtered by spells or AoE.

The DK is meant to mirror the Paladin. If the Paladin’s Holy Light was able to damage non-undead he’d be pretty damn amazing. Death Pact is nowhere near as good as Divine Shield, but his Aura is far better. I’d argue that the DK has a worse ultimate.

I don’t see Blizzard removing spells - I only see them making changes to what the heroes already have. Remember that the nerfs to batman and superman opened up a few more options to Orc and NE respectively, while the buffs to the Kotg made him damn beastly.

I think proper buffs to ghouls and gargs would also be a buff to the Dreadlord because of synergy. That said:
-Carrion Swarm could probably use a slight mana cost reduction or damage boost. It’s super expensive compared to similar skills like Breath of Fire and Shockwave.
-Vampiric Aura having half it’s effect on ranged units would probably be a little too broken, but the Dreadlord enjoying a 50% boost on the vampiric effect might hold some value.
-Sleep is nowhere near as good as comparable options. It’s outclassed by Storm Bolt, Entangle, and Hex even if it “scales better on paper”. The unit falling asleep also has an invulnerability duration, which basically just makes Hex a better sleep since you can’t knock a unit out of it with a simple auto.

It’s tough to say what should be changed on the DK. Aura’s got the Movement and Healing angles, while Coil’s damage and healing could also be tinkered with. The DK is also a weak second hero compared to the paladin because he lacks the invulnerability, and statues heal less hp than priests.

  • Hitting the early healing on Unholy Aura is an option.
  • Buffing Coil’s damage while nerfing the healing ratio might be an option - “Deal 125 damage or heal for 125 damage” (scales to 250/375 due to being single target and lacking additional effects. Maybe as much as 150/level)

-Buffing the healing UD receive on Blight is another choice, but that could easily make assaulting their bases far too difficult.

The reliance on the DK is a problem stemming from many sources. While the DK is a crutch for UD, you could argue that another issue that’s not often mentioned is that the other heroes don’t have a strong enough niche to warrant actually taking them first. The DK can tank like the CL (Who could arguably tank better if he got what his stats say he should get), Buff the army like the Dreadlord, and Nuke like the Lich.


#14

There is only 1 UD buff that I care about and want to see. Give Destroyers siege damage.

UD has no good source of siege damage. Meat wagons suck.

Also Destroyers not being able to attack Breakers, Dryads or Faerie Dragons is pretty rough. These are all caster units, and Destroyer is supposed to be the anti-caster. Giving Destroyer siege damage would also give UD a tool to handle HU Siege Engine cheese.

If that’s too strong, balance it out by making Destroyers unable to target buildings, or lower their damage, or whatever needs to be done.


#15

If the deathcoil on your own units would never miss again, I would honestly sht on a better ultimate.


#16

Right now DK can provide:

  • 300 dmg nuke
  • 600 heal burst
  • 30% move aura
  • 1.5 HP/sec hp regen aura
  • intense self healing through Pact even at skill rank 1

Undead race as a whole is crippled because they are assumed to always use DK.
And DK is OVERLOADED with the best abilities you would want in a first hero for undead.

Honestly just give the Dreadlord the Unholy Aura (instead of vampiric) and give DK a different skill (one that is not related to healing or move speed).

If UD is to be properly fixed and reworked the death knight MUST lose either the Coil or the Unholy Aura.
That will make it so that you can give UD a proper tier 1 heal item and that the rest of the race can be rebalanced around a sane design.


#17

Guys always think about balance. Why are you complaining about ghouls being squishy? Are they grunts? Are they mountain giants? No, theyre just a bunch of bones with barely any meat, so they’re supposed to be weak, undead strenght comes mostly from artillery, so now what? You want the strongest artillery combined with a super front line now? You want ghouls to be almost imortal like mountain giants while you destroy everyone and freezes all towers with frost wyrms still having the easiest and numerous spawnables of all races? LEARN YOUR WEAKNESS, YOUR STRENGHT AND HOW TO BUILD YOUR ARMY TO COUNTER THE ENEMIES ARMIES.


#18

The problem with your assertion is that the strengths and weaknesses are known and have plateaued into a static form of strategy.

DK - Orb - Fiends - Statues - Destroyer. These are the strengths. Everything else is a weakness. Undead has only one style of play, with slight variations depending on the race they play against.

The changes in the latest patch aren’t strong enough to challenge the DK’s role as first-pick hero. It’s not enough to change up the meta. That’s why people are talking about changes to other units to make them more valuable and potentially shake up the meta.

I mean, honestly if you aren’t going to talk about balance, then you shouldn’t be talking about Strengths and Weaknesses at all. Everyone knows that the problem with the Undead meta is that their strengths are too strong and their weaknesses are easily exploited, rendering certain strats/unit combos ineffective.


#19

They have no strengths. Ghouls are useless. That’s the issue. I’ve tried to exploit ghouls in all sorts of scenarios. They don’t work. There’s nothing they’re good at. Unlike their starcraft counterparts, ghouls don’t retain the usability of zerglings as fast, low hp, high dps squishy units because WC3 is fundamentally a different game and static defense is strong and bases hard to harass. Limited by surface area, required to commit to melee range to engage and generally dying before they even get an attack off, ghouls do basically nothing. They’re not even optimal for rush strategies, because mass acolytes is ironically better than mass ghouls. All ghouls really do is help someone creep or turn back harassment/siege. Might as well just be on lumber beyond that.

If you’re 20 minutes into a game and you see a HU expo relatively unguarded with just ~3-5 guard towers and a few farms around them and peasants on gold/lumber, you could try to run and entire hotkey of ~12 upgraded ghouls in there while your main army is engaging him at his other base- and still watch him hold the base with towers, repair and his wall-off alone. Even with 1440 gold and 24 food of units, they simply wouldn’t get past even the most basic defense. A DK with fiends would have no trouble just focusing down towers one by one faster than they can be repaired


#20

ghouls are not usable in combat without a 100 health increase.

even with a 100 bonus health they will be like Footmen without defend - and we all know how easy footmen die to KOTG/Blademaster/MKing in early game.