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
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: [126.96.36.199] THE Z U C C - Phys Retal DE Oppressor - (ALMOST) EVERYTHING+
Performance (188.8.131.52): 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: [184.108.40.206] 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 (220.127.116.11): 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 18.104.22.168 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.