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PvP Troop Usage Graphs

Hey Everyone,

Some folks were asking about usage graphs for troops in PvP, so I thought we’d share one of the latest ones.
This takes me a while to prepare at the moment, so it’s not something we’re planning on creating every week… but we haven’t had one for a while, so I thought it was time.

A few notes… we’ve split each bar into 2 parts:

  • The blue part at the bottom is OVERALL usage in ALL level ranges, and is how we’re sorting the graph.
  • The smaller color bands above that are individual level ranges

This was the status yesterday (Aug 3rd), and we’re fairly happy with how it’s spreading at the moment. There is still plenty of Maw around, but for the first time in months we’ve seen his bands in L200+ defense coming down to a reasonable level. Valkyrie is high, but mainly because she has so much utility.


Thanks Sirrian! :slight_smile:

I think we have a “more troops need to give souls” problem. :stuck_out_tongue:

That or:

  • Commons = 1 soul
  • Rare = 2 souls
  • Ultra Rare = 3 souls
  • Epic = 4 souls
  • Legend = 5 souls
  • Mythic = 6 souls

So Maw usage is actually fairly middle of the pack, except levels 200+. hmm. I have to say this rings true for me. I actually don’t see that many maw teams right now.

Maw is probably lower than you’d expect because he doesn’t work well with valk and people need to farm so many souls that they’re fine with a slightly weaker offense team if it means capped souls every game.

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That and higher end players have all the Mab and Maw complaints, and we are on the lower end of the spectrum in all regards.

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@Sirrian. Is there any way we could get multiple versions of this graph with each graph ordering it based on each level category?

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When they invent cloning technology, and we have 3 of me :smiling_imp:

Actually, I rely on our awesome stats guy, John, for stuff like this. He works across a number of games at 505, so his time is fairly valuable. But occasionally when we get interesting stuff, I’ll happily share it.


We have cloned a sheep, lets clone you already.

Does this count ALL platforms, or just PC/Mobile?

Dark Master continues to surprise. Everything else, not so much. It’s nice to be able to compare offense and defense usage, even though there’s very little difference in the lists. Alchemist, Shadow Dragon, and Tyri are only on the offense list, while Famine, Rock Worm, and Templar are only on the defense list. The other 27 are present on both lists.


Thanks @Sirrian!

I must say, I feel pretty vindicated, and I think everyone owes me $100. Valkyrie, Goblins, Maw/Mercy, Mab, Coronet… I was pretty much spot on. I did miss Bat/Marilith teams and the Dryad/Chimera/Dark Master blip from 51-100. The only one that isn’t clear is Rock Worms, but it looks like they’re disproportionately represented at lower levels, as I suggested. I agree with @Tacet that it would be very useful to see it broken down by level to get a clearer read on the 2-3 teams that are disproportionately run at each stage of the game.

I think it pretty clearly says that there are 6-7 teams that basically everyone uses for the entire life of the game, and only 2-3 dominate at each stage: Goblins, Rock Worms, and Valk/Coronet at early game; Goblins, Valk/Coronet, and Valk/Bat/Marilith mid-game; Goblins, Valk/Bat, Mab, and Mercy/Maw at late-game. These are also all clustered together, so basically everything above the Dryad/Druid line (around 20 troops) constitute these few teams. Seems a shame to me that only 10% of troops are used with any regularity, and only 5% at any stage of play.

I’d love to know a little more about why you’re happy with this. From a player perspective, hundreds of games every week where it’s always 1 of 3 teams is really disheartening. And from a dev perspective, I’d assume you’d want to see more diversity both for the above reason and b/c more variety = more spending to max out a variety of teams. I think it also speaks very strongly to the need to (a) nerf goblins more and (b) rework Souls and/or Valk so folks feel less forced to use her.

This seems pretty good to me honestly. They are all reasonably close!

And again, we shouldn’t be nerfing based on popularity. That is a dumb way to balance. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s overpowered. And those troops that are on the top are hardly considered OP in my opinion.

The numbers are far closer than I had suspected. There are just a few outliers. But again they don’t seem OP and they don’t deserve a nerf just because they are well liked.

We also have to keep in mind that those are troops that the AI doesn’t have as many issues with (aside from Valk). That is why they are used. Because people want something the AI has a chance at winning with. Goblins have always been a steady choice. Not the best not the worst. same goes for rock team.

So really the only issue I have is Valkyrie. She shouldn’t be giving us souls. It should be taken from troops and given to us base. Have the enemies drop more souls.

Or I guess you could still have it in troops like Valkryie but keep the same cap and just make sure that with Valkyrie you get like 10-20 more souls than you would base. Don’t make our soul progression slower or faster than it is now with a Valkyrie. Souls should not be at the mercy of Valkryie and we shouldn’t be forced into using blue troops.

Edit: with the soul change listed above I believe that a lot of the blue teams would decrease in popularity and increase diversity. It would be better for the health of the game to do something like that. We should never be forced into using a troop and specific color in order to get souls to progress. That issue needs to be addressed and fixed if there’s even a chance for more diversity.

And from there AI needs to have a solution. People do not want to lose their defenses so they are going to use the teams that have a chance at consistently winning. So we can either just nerf all the troops that are not OP just so we can have our pick from easy teams to beat OR we can come up with w solution to make the AI behave better with a variety of team comps.

That is the bigger picture. Nerfing the few troops because they are used more won’t fix the actual problem.

I’m not sure you can infer actual troop combinations from a graph of their individual usage.

For example, I’ve used Mercy on hundreds of battles between 200 and 400 level and not one of them included IK, Maw. In fact the troops I generally use with Mercy aren’t on the graphs at all but those hundreds of times I used her sure are.

Yeah these troops are most popular because they just work with most teams. I wouldn’t say they are OP as of now or anything. Nerfs wouldn’t be the way to go here, just buffs imo. Bring other troops in line with these. The idea is we should have so many good troops that it’s hard to pick just a few.

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Hey, @Esoxnepa and I bet on you before this was posted, so you’ll have to split your winnings with us.

However, the individual troops all seem pretty close, except for the top 3-4, and this is only the top 30. If most of the other troops are relatively close to each other, then that’s pretty even usage across the game as a whole. Usage in certain level bands probably has a lot to do with how likely players in that band are to have particular troops, and the resources to level and trait them. So from this perspective, it looks pretty good. Broken down by level range, maybe not.

Some troops are simply going to be easier to build a team around, even if they’re not inherently more powerful than other troops, whether it’s because the potential synergies are more obvious, or because there are other good troops to synergize with! I think there are quite a few troops that have potential, and are just waiting for a good partner.

But overpowered troops are likely to be popular. Popularity alone isn’t incriminating, but it’s worth investigating. Yes, balancing based on popularity, rather than logic and fact, is annoying, and creates an unnecessarily fluid meta in which nothing you learn about the game is reliable from one patch to the next. And the more frequently things change, the more likely those changes will upset the existing balance, creating new problems.

In that light, it’s interesting that the offense and defense graphs are so similar. I’d have expected them to be different, with players using the more complex and powerful troops on offense, while leaving the simpler, more random troops on defense.


People min/max. They do that in most any game, and especially in F2P games. Sure, there are exceptions, but min-maxing is the rule. There’s undeniably an incredibly strong correlation between popularity and power.

We also all know where these troops are most commonly used. We use the teams ourselves, and we fight them all the time. It should be clear that there are 6 collections of teams throughout the Top 20. And that’s super important b/c it means there’s a big drop off from these 6 teams to all the others.

I’d love to see a graph of the team usage, and by level. There should be absolutely no doubt that Goblin teams are used at astronomically high rates based on the fact that they are 5 of the top 8 troops used. Similarly, it should be very clear that end-gamers are using Valk/Mab and Maw/Mercy at incredibly high rates. (We all know Sooth/Gorg goes with Mab; IK/BD/Sheggra goes with Maw/Mercy.)

Most people are going to go with what they’ve been told is the best, even if there are other options that are comparable. You can’t get any higher than 100% win rate, so there’s a lot of pressure on speed and thought required.

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Yes overpowered troops are likely to be more popular, but the goblin team usage has been very consistent even through multiple patches and nerfs and different metas, from my knowledge. They are just one of those solid teams that people like. They are not OP. I have rarely heard anyone complain about them. And yet people still like them, for whatever reason. Personally I don’t like them. But I will admit that they have great synergy and the play style of getting extra turns is fun. Perhaps we should be taking a note from those teams and incorporating more of their style.

I don’t know how anyone can wager that these troops at the top are OP. THey seem well balanced to me. Nothing out of the ordinary that jumps out at screams OP.

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I agree with everything you said, but everyone agrees there are things these cards have that make them useful. So if they say add those things to more cards, more color combinations, then I bet you see a change. If you could just take that number from 6-7 to let’s say double that. In card games they absolutely can’t baseline everything, that’s boring. I think what they are missing here is sacrifice for using the bigger troops. There should be a trade-off imo. It should never be as easy to fill the bigger troops as it is the smaller troops, imo. Just shootin’ the crap here, lol.

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It’s not too bad though… these graphs have very long tails, particularly in the sub-200 range… you can see the top 30-ish troops here, but they do extend out quite a long way after the final entry here in a fairly flat fashion.