Pro AND Con: Forces players to use troops they would otherwise never use, with only a very small window (choice of 3) to avoid specific troops.
Pro: Allows troops to fight against each other in a balanced manner from the perspective of their base stats, irrespective of stats from kingdoms, guilds, renown.
Con: Weekly troop bonuses of 10% for specific kingdom and troop typess still applies in Arena.
Pro AND Con: Player’s troop and weapon collection is irrelevant.
Pro AND Con: Troop’s level, rarity, and traits (none) are fixed.
Con: Troop order only matters for the purpose of life/armor (how many skull hits they can take), attack (how fast they can kill enemies with their own skull damage), and colors (there are no 3-color troops, but there are plenty of 2 color troops and it’s still very possible to color block). However, because all troop levels and rarities are fixed, it’s most often the case that life/armor/attack are strictly in order from highest rarity to lowest rarity, and without traits, there is no reason why one troop would be better than another in front except for its base stats AND its abilities (armor/life generation, barriers, etc.)
Pro: Abilities with fixed values, or abilities with boosts, are actually relevant in Arena, because their values aren’t devalued with diminishing returns as magic increases normally outside of Arena. For instance, Ser Cygnea gains Magic+5 Life and Barrier, then deals 8 damage. The 8 damage does not scale with her Magic. But in Arena, 8 damage is actually a lot. Ranger deals Magic+4 damage to an enemy, then 8 more plus 4 for every enemy alive. In Arena, against 4 targest, that’s a boost of 24 additional scatter damage. Outside of Arena, 24 scatter damage that only decreases as enemies die is very weak for an end-game player.
Con: Some abilities with fixed values are incredibly overpowered in Arena. Marilith’s 6 true damage to all enemies is minuscule outside of Arena, but it’s half of almost every enemy’s life in Arena. Elwyn’s boost of 7 damage per yellow gem destroyed in a row and column becomes less and less damage as a percentage of a target’s health outside of Arena, but in Arena, it means that he kills any target he hits with as little as 2 yellow gems destroyed (which isn’t hard when he destroys both a row and column).
Con: Traits that otherwise make a troop worthwhile aren’t used. For instance, Leshy is a Common troop that entangles all allies and enemies and destroys all green gems. In Arena, he entangles himself. Outside of Arena, he has the Nimble talent which makes him immune to Entangle.
Pro AND Con: Some traits would be disastrously overpowered in Arena – any Empowered troop, or troops with 50% Skull damage reduction. However, there are already enough troops with seemingly overpowered abilities that having traits to counter those abilities doesn’t seem that bad.
Con: Traits that give bonuses to troop types would be pleasantly fun in Arena. Outside of Arena, I absolutely don’t care that a troop gives other troops 2 extra life. It means nothing to me when my troops have 100 life already. In Arena, however, 2 extra might mean 20% more life, not 2% more.
Con: Some newer troops and Delve troops are products of “power creep.” They are vastly better than other similar troops of the same rarity and function. For instance, Dimetraxia and Lucifria are both Epic troops. Dimetraxia deals scatter damage with a 75% chance to burn all enemies for 13 mana. Lucifria deals single target damage with a 100% chance to burn all enemies for 12 mana. In Arena, Lucifria is the better troop, because it will always kill an enemy that has 13 or less Armor+Life. Dimetraxia will only slowly chip away at enemies because, although against a single target scatter damage is often better than single target damage, against multiple enemies it’s far worse.
Pro AND Con: Status effects mean much more in Arena, but sometimes they can mean too much. Poison is an incredibly powerful effect in Arena because there are almost no cleanses (the only way to remove poison, since there are no traits to make targets immune). Because of the low health, poison is almost certainly a killer, albeit slowly. Every other effect has a chance to fall off, but Poison never does. This makes it extremely powerful especially against troops that gain extraordinary amounts of Armor (Royal Engineer, for instance). Barrier is as well an incredibly powerful effect. Troops that can repeatedly gain Barrier while simultaneously dealing damage or increasing their own stats (Ser Cygnea, Summer Knight, Wild Knight, Xiong Mao, etc.) are very hard to kill, because they require two sources of damage – one to break the barrier, and another to chip away at the health/armor they are gaining.
Con: Skull cascades can feel extremely frustrating to play against, because of how potent skull damage is in Arena (no traits to reduce damage, troops have fixed rarities but they’re the same level, so lower rarity troops don’t gain bonus stats from ascension like they normally would). This makes things like Doomskulls incredibly frustrating, because they take out such a huge chunk of health.
Alright… did I miss anything?
Edit: Summons are also completely bugged in Arena. For your enemy, the summons will always be level 15. For YOU, your summons will be a level equal to the summoner’s Magic.