Retaliation builds feedback

TL;DR - Retal damage is overnerfed. Survivability is still fine in crucible and probably fine in SR/celestials if you build defensively

For the past few days I’ve been contemplating whether I should just let retal rot for the entirety of next patch or to write a feedback and hope I get noticed and some of the nerfs get rolled back. Then I see @grey-maybe laughing from a distance cause retal is already nerfed and pets are also being nerfed that it got me to write this thread so that laughter is tempered for just a bit :scorv::scorv:

Jokes aside I find retal damage has issues right now. Most of this feedback will be about physical which had a lot of changes for the test patch, notably the armor thing. Few updates later non retal phys builds are mostly doing fine, however retal still has shit damage in my testing. Mind you this isn’t 5 min or 5:30 cruci tier of shit.

Note: Unless stated otherwise, all these tests were done in the latest test patch, the one which lowered all enemy armor by up to 10% for the most menacing of foes

BUILD 1 - ZUCC Retal DE Oppressor (by me)
Thread: [] THE Z U C C - Phys Retal DE Oppressor - (ALMOST) EVERYTHING+

Performance ( 4:50ish to 5:40 on bad mutators. Very consistent on crucible and on SR 90

Performance (test patch): 6:09 fastest, 07:12 slowest across a ton of runs (around 15) in 150-170 which makes me a masochist since I’ve never ran a build this slow and stuck to it for 15 runs ever since the cruci aggro fix. Survivability is still fine if you know what you’re doing but if you fuck up you can die at 169/170. I tried a couple of runs on SR 90 one patch after the initial test patch and I couldn’t even get through most mob rooms since I get overwhelmed once I run out of defensive procs and I don’t do enough damage to clear anything before that point. I gave up on SR after that and never went there again.

BUILD 2 - Stoneguard Warlord AKA retal posterboy (by @AlkamosHater)

Thread: [] Physical Retaliation Warlord (3 builds, EoR included) -> Crucible 4:30-4:55/ SR 105-110/ Ravager 0:48-1:12 + Callagadra 0:54-1:33 + Crate boss facetank/ 75-76 farmer / Bonus SR 135 video with tank setup

Performance ( Idk what Alkamos had during that patch, cause a lot changed from 9.0 to 9.1 in terms of retal but personally I did 5:00 to 5:30ish during that patch just before I went to beta.

Performance (test patch): 6:14 fastest, 6:40 slowest in cruci 150-170 across 5 runs. It’s still a really solid tank in cruci and is even more consistent than zucc. I haven’t tried SR with this build but I imagine SR 90 is still very doable, just slow.

What I think about retal in the test patch

It should’ve been obvious I don’t like them but the issue is only really on the damage side, especially against those select number of enemies that your normal retal doesn’t work on like Alex or Valdaran. For comparison, out of the non retal phys builds I’ve played on the test patch (for reference I did Avenger Warder, Cadence DK, phys RE Oppressor, Bloodbriar Blitz, Markovian Blitz) and both retals were worse than ALL of them. I get that retal isn’t supposed to be an archetype that does a ton of damage, but I think the damage side is overnerfed. Personally I think cruci timers for these retals should be in the 5:20-5:40 range (my timers, we all have different timers but I doubt better pilots will reach 5:20 with current retals). This will make them be in the same damage tier as the worse non retal phys builds like phys markovian and phys RE. Remember both of these retals were built very offensively. If these two builds I tested don’t have damage how much less would the defensive setups have?


From what I noticed the main damage struggle is really on people like Alex, Valdaran or the three idiots on 163 where your normal retal doesn’t work and you to rely on RtA. I think RtA values across the board should be buffed to deal with this problem while keeping your normal retal damage intact.

Or we can take the more radical way which is to rollback all the phys retal nerfs since and adjust retal from there since there’s already the armor thing at play. This is a test patch after all, why not test things more thoroughly? It’s unlikely though given Z’s approach but I’d love to see it happen.

How about other retal damage types?

I’ve never personally tried any but acid has been nerfed a lot too due to Sentinel set nerfs. I recall mad_lee saying his sentinel is even more dead than the ones I showed above or something so acid isn’t doing too well either. As for lightning it was untouched for the most part so it might just be the best retal build currently since it was 5 mins on 1.8 but Alkamos hasn’t gotten around to testing it in the current test patch.

Fire is still in the dumpster as always.

Thanks for reading my rant. Non retal phys kept getting adjusted after the initial changes due to feedback. Hope retal gets some love too.


Whenever people talk about retal build’s damage being bad, I often feel like people don’t think about how tanky the retal builds are at the same time. Builds this tanky should never have the same damage as a “glass cannon” and retal builds having the damage of “glass cannon” builds was completely ridiculous.

I think focusing more on buffing the bad retal damage types like fire and buffing specific builds rather than buffing retal across the board again (and potentially making phys retal builds broken af again) is what I would rather like to see.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand where your point is coming from and I’d like to see especially non physical retal builds getting buffed a bit, but I’m not sure if we need to go back to the same broken state of (physical) retal builds again.


Sentinel of the Three vilescorn acid retal warlord is not particularly “tanky”
i’ve got regular dps builds that are tankier than that, - despite the retal build potentially aiming for defensive stuff like obelisk etc
the tanky difference between stoneguard and a green shield with 30some phys res on phys retal is miles apart, despite acid retal having had its dmg cut in half by 9.1 on top


This is always the same argument thrown against retal whenever the subject comes up. Do you guys actually know what a glass cannon is?

(I’ll be talking cruci exclusively here cause that’s what I’m using to measure damage in my feedback, and since out of the three endgame stuff to do (SR and celestials being the others) cruci is the more glass cannon oriented mode.)

There’s an entire tier list of builds in crucible when it comes to cleartimes (and hence damage):

Sub-4 mins: these here are the REAL GLASS CANNONS. Composed of whatever the most broken builds of the patch are. Sigatrev’s latest pet build. Alkamos’ fire pets. fantasy pierce. Prenerf spite. Prenerf morgoneth. Reaping arc with pierce or aether. RETAL BWC (this is why it was killed in

4:00 - 4:30 - still mostly glass cannons but are composed of highly optimized but not overbuffed skills (well in a non retal sense).

4:30 - 5:00 - in a non retal sense this is more of the site well-rounded well-supported builds especially those with good sets. Consistent builds in this clear range were considered high tier but this is also the place were non supported builds that were built greedily can be found and most of those types aren’t consistent. During most retal builds were also in this range as far as clear speed is concerned. This is why retals in general were nerfed after that patch. Retals had no business clearing this fast while being tough as nails. During, the two builds I put in the OP retained their spots in this clear speed range, which was expected since these two were the strongest retals back in the older patches after bwc that was target killed. These two builds were then later nerfed in

5:00 to 6:00 - builds that have this clear speed were either builds that were built dedicated to SR but have the capability to go faster if built for cruci, or are the sites for gimped builds like pre test patch no conversion phys builds or just tanks in general. This is where the two retals I mentioned reside during, which I think is a rightful place. Not strong in the damage department even when all the damage needed is squeezed out of them.

6:00 upwards - why would a legit player even farm to make a build with this performance? This is where retal is in the current test patch

Hope that gives everyone more insight on what “glass cannons” really are. Retal’s damage in is already far from being glass cannon level. Further nerfs in the test patch alongside the physical change gimped it even more. Nerfs until were justified imo (only on the two builds in the OP. I know turrion and sentinel got hit harder). Any further than that was not.

This is a test patch. If zantai somehow manages to break retal again then adjust and adjust till we get where the builds should be. It was done for non retal physical, why not for retal?


When I said “broken state of physical retal” I meant mostly pre, you are right that there is an unfair discrepancy between retal and nonretal physical right now in when it comes to compensation buffs.

I mean this just depends on HC/SC mode and how much you like dying in games in general and also how hard a build is to pilot without dying. Many people prefer to play 6min builds over a 4 min build if that build is either insanely tanky so you never die (very good for HC obviously) or when they are simply not skilled enough to achieve the same performance with a 4 minute build (or just die with it aswell).
Also there is still other content other than crucible for which these builds are still very much worth playing.

Using cleartimes in the crucible by skilled players as the only metric for build balance is a little ridiculous imo. I know crate use this metric a lot and I know I can’t blame them for doing that since 90% of the feedback they get it from crucible and skilled players.

I think this is where the tanky retal builds also belong, the squishier ones are fine being faster this (many of which are still slower than the tanky ones).

Yep, which is exactly why I think it’s pretty bad to have a phys retal build be tankier ANY deal more dmg than a non phys retal build.

Was retal BWC really a “real glass cannon”? :thinking:

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Yeah that’s due to the feedback nonretal phys has received so I’m hoping to do the same for retal

I failed to mention this in the OP since I am mostly concerned about damage but (surprise) the non phys retal retal phys builds felt just as tanky as the retals especially the shielded ones. On zucc’s case a lot of the defense came from lifesteal on DE and with the damage gutted the defense is also worse, and I mentioned in the OP it can’t tank trash waves in SR 90.

Ideally it is, that’s why I made a case to compare the retal I played to the non phys I played. I compare my own times in one build to my own times in other builds as that’s the most accurate metric possible. However general timings still follow that pattern. Chances are the builds that banana get sub 4 on are going to be one of the fastest builds you can use on your own. And that 6 min timer I get on the retals will be 9 mins on a player that knows nothing about crucible. That doesn’t feel good to play.

I did say that’s why it was killed the following patch. It committed a grave mistake and it died instantly with just one flick of the almighty z finger.


I agree with you, which is why I think crate are maybe a little too generous with the compensation buffs for physical.

I mean I know it’s one of the best ways to compare builds since it has the best consistency out of the endgame modes. Just saying using it as the only metric and on top only using killspeed without considering a build’s tankyness is a little iffy (in general, not trying to point any fingers).

While it is true that anything above 8 minutes feels horrible to play, many 4 min builds are also straight up dead builds for most players that know nothing about the crucible. I think most new players would choose the 8 min build over a dead build considering how frustrating it is to refarm tokens in the crucible.
In the end what I just want to say is that a squishy 4 min build is not nessessarily better than a tanky 6 min build. I think we both can agree on that tanky 4 min builds shouldn’t exist. Also afaik there are still plenty of 6+ min builds that are squishier than some 4 min builds, which overall need a buff more badly than phys retal builds (especially considering how well they perform outside of crucible).


In the end I’m not only here to argue, I’m actually happy to see you provide feedback! :smiley:

I think they were done right, especially with the incoming buffs on cadence that haven’t been live yet. Differences of opinions and all but if I am to bridge the gap between non retal and retal phys, I’d rather buff retal than nerf nonretal. It’s better for playerbase perception.

Uhh I don’t agree. Looking at all skills that can be “mained” (so nothing like horn of gandarr or pox) all of them except grenado I’ve seen has a sub 5:30 build on their normal damage types. Even DEE which was considered the worst main skill ever for a long time had a good build on 1.9 i think. Forcewave too, banana recently made a good physical forcewave build tho idk if he made it public already, might be on the phys build thread.

Most of the builds that perform badly are either conduit builds or memes. In that regard, I’d be fine if zantai somehow considers zucc as meme despite it being one of the best retal builds and doesn’t touch it. But vanilla retal like sentinel and especially stoneguard should have more consideration on balance than conduit or meme builds.

Also it’s not like zantai can buff/nerf only one build/archetype per changelog.

That is true indeed.

welp, maybe I just play too many “exotic” meme builds :rofl:

I don’t know about, but during the testing of I’ve ran that build through SR with the save file I received, which was built for with naked crucible idea in mind, and can’t really say it was THAT op as people make it sound. Damage was there but survivability was more or less in line with other tough builds.

I actually even got a non-listed video left from that time, hope Zantai doesn’t mind:

I think retal BWC isn’t really a “retal” build in a sense that it’s a slow immortal tank. It is an insane AoE caster with toughness about the same as Ultos Warder or Spellscourge Battlemage, except that it didn’t sustain well therefore you can see me doing circles on a video instead of just facetanking IM like a retal apparently “should”.


pretty hilarious vid :rofl: seems HC viable :stuck_out_tongue:
In the end that’s what happens when turrion blocks a green shield with phys res on its prefix.

Still SR 89 is higher than what many builds can achieve, so its nerf was totally resonable back then.

Some of the RATA to BWC on Turrion that was reduced could also potentially be reverted now as it was largely nerfed due to the performance of pushing converted Physical through it on Commando (originally John_Smith’s build if I recall). With converted Physical adhering to armour, it should be less effective now and mean other damage types that tried to make use of Turrion but were straight up worse than converted Physical like Lightning/Fire/Elemental Retal aren’t penalised for it.

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Alright, sure, we’ll try meeting partway between now and pre-v1.1.9.0 nerfs on some items/skills.

You wish to test? Don’t disappoint me. :wink: :smiley:


I endured testing the current builds. I can handle anything better than that :rofl:

It’s an already nerfed version with most retal BWC nerfs in place, but not the point. What I wanted to say is Retal BWC was an outlier build because of it’s insane AoE damage in crucible, which is a game mode about AoE damage. It’s not a durability that sub 4 min build should have, but it’s not really a durability you can use to justify placing it in the 6 min damage category.

As for the first part - yeah, it was still pretty good back then in my book despite the nerfs, but it really depends on the selection of builds you use as your standard. Thing is, I only ever ran the high SR85+ with good builds. I’m not sure I could had managed to clear SR90 with retal BWC, but a bit later I’ve managed to clear SR90 with a 4:45 Blade Spirit infiltrator, with plenty of deaths, sure, but it didn’t feel like I’m tryharding it. Changes the outlook quite a bit, doesn’t it?

Yea I meant exactly the nerf prior to 1.1.9.


I mean depending on how many times you died, it doesn’t really change the outlook that much tbh :stuck_out_tongue:


I have tried quite few retal builds but my total time played isn’t impressive.

Build two variations of Acid Sentinel, lightning retal and some fire abomination I don’t wanna talk about… And also played Alkamos retal DE in Crucible.

Common problem I found was the lack of tankiness, even if my builds didn’t disregard it. People always assume just because you’re retal, you’re defensive juggernaut but that’s not my experience at all. Sure Stonehuard WL will be pretty strong and sturdy but how and why wouldn’t?

I personally don’t like the idea of super fast retal builds but most of them look anything but fast. And retal have their own personal enemies, which makes it pretty uncomfortable to play, cough trio at 163.


Noticed this with zucc but most of that is due to the fact that its defense is mostly lifesteal. Stoneguard not so much but on other retal builds this might be true.

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Wel, one thing to be reverted (for me, at least) is the retal penalty on Beronath. With converted phys magic removed and also lots of possible items with conversions lost them, I think it’s time to give Bero its former power back.


Tbh, I think retal builds should be lowered their physical def part, its ridiculous with such 5-8k armor and 5-60% physical res. And buff their total dmg ~20%, as the conversion part was cut off.