StarCraft® II

The Widow Mine and its balance. Full analysis!

Posts: 9
I want to make a complete detailed analysis of the widow mine asking the question of is it balances using stats examples and so on.

Here are the stats of the units for future reference. http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Widow_Mine

Type Ground Unit
Built From Factory
Cost 75 25 40 2
Attributes Mechanical,Light
Attack
Ground Attack: 125 +35 vs. Shields (Splash 40)
Air Attack: 125 +35 vs. Shields (Splash 40)
Range: 5
Defense 90 0 (+1)
Hotkey D
Sight 7
Speed 2.8125
Cargo Size 2

Strong Against
Marauder
Roach
Immortal
( i have to add zerglings, banelings, mutalisks and protoss/zerg workers here since ppl on liquipedia missed it)
Weak Against
Detectors

The stats above give some information but it is FAR FAR away from the full description of the unit.

In the following thread I want to talk about stuff like production possibilities, cost effectiveness, comeback potential it gives, harass potential, defensive opportunities, what actually counters the unit, what effort does the unit require from both sides, some comparison to other units of this tier and at the end some real life examples.

I strongly believe one must look into all of the factors above before making a final decision if the unit is balanced or overpowered.

I will start with Production
Widow mines are produced by a factory which costs 150/100 @60sec build time and allows you to produce 1 at a time. With reactor that costs 50/50 @50 Sec build time you can make 2 every 40 seconds (total cost 200/150 @ 60-110sec because you can make the reactor at a barracks too).
Other factors that come into this are that the factory is a MUST have building for terran for upgrades and starport and for both mech play and bio play. This means that you can have widow mines every game it is just a question of whether you have built them and how many which kinda makes scouting and preparing harder because you have to see the actual units having in mind they are invisible when burrowed or often in medivacs and you see them the second they are in your base making preparation for them harder.
In comparison dt-s are invisible but cost a lot more, you can spot them without detection and they have a tech building that the protoss does not always have and if you scout it you can be pretty sure protoss will make some Dark Templar. I know there is a lot more to this but i will hopefully get trough most of it the point i am making here is that you cannot scout mines and they are always available. It is also hard to keep track of their numbers because they are often spread and burrowed.

Cost effectiveness
Units it 1-shots (AOE):
Drone, Zergling, baneling, probe, marine(without combat shield)

Units it 1-shots:
Drone, zergling, baneling, hydralisk, infestor, mutalisk,
SCV, Marine, Marauder, reaper, hellion, ghost,
Probe, Zealot, Stalker, Sentry, phoenix, observer, high templar, dark templar,

How many shots it takes to kill other units
Ultralisk = 4 ... 1 Ultralisks costs 300 200 @55 6supply 4 mines cost 300 100 @80 8 supply (and they do 160 aoe damage) Winner in cost effectiveness Widow Mine

Roach = 2 ... 1 roach is 75 25 2 widow mines are double that and in small numbers roaches are cost effective but in 4-5+ numbers widow mines are still cost efective because of the AOE. Have in mind 2 widow mines kill 2 roaches and stay alive if the roeaches are close to each other that is.

Broodlors outrange it but if given the chance mines with upgrade can run under broodlords or get dropped and still be cost effective

Immortal = 3 ... 1 immortal costs 250 100 @55 4supply 3 widow mines are 225 75 @80 6supply ... Winner in cost effectiveness Widow Mine

Collosus totally outranges it so with detection it is cost effective against widow mines.
With drop though 1 Collosus 300 200 @75 6 vs 1 medivac and 3 mines 325 175 @80 6 supply
I know this is kind of a never seen situation but still the numbers are there.

Archon = 3 shots 3 widow mines are 225 75 @80 6supply
HT + HT = 100 300
HT + DT = 175 275
DT + DT = 250 250
In all cases the widow mine is highly cost effective even if we do not count the AOE.

The issue of the 5 range vs 6 range units discussed in more detail here http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=400506

The problem is that somethimes even with detection present when you sent 6 range units to kill a widow mine it still fires killing or damaging heavily the units.

Affected units:
stalkers
voidrays - more frequently?
immortals (less frequently)
hydras with range upgrade
landed vikings (less frequently)
marauders (less frequently)
stimmed marauders
ghosts (less frequently) <-EDIT
banshees

AOE Cost efectiveness:
A widow mine can kill up to 35 Zerglings with 1 shot = 875 minerals
A widow mine can kill up to 16 banelings with 1 shot = 800 minerals 400 gas
The number of stacked mutalisks 3 widow mines can kill is INFINITY. Basically 3 widow mines kill a flock of mutas. 3 widow mines are 225 75 @80 6supply 5 mutas are 500 500 @33 10supply. For less than the gas of 1 muta you can kill 5 :)

Comparison to turrets cannons and spores ... they are better as drop defence cost less and combined with turrets are almost impossible to penetrate.

Now lets look at comeback potential:

You crush the terran army as Zerg and then attack with fast units (ling bane muta) and run into 3-4 widow mines which kill your army. This feels like you have won the game but then lost to 3 units which cost less than 10% of the army value they killed. If you do not counter attack or do it slowly which you must terran has a chance to remake his army and defend. I actually asked zergs actively if they had this happen to them most said yes!
So here the proper tactic is to stop, send some units ahead as bait and still the mutas may not pass trough the same route(and die) but u can control them and then attack.

This same scenario is also possible as terran if you try doom drop or stim attack without scan. Just making 1 more reason for players to always fear widow mines.

Widow mines also give a tremendous turtle advantages both as anti air and anti ground.

These defensive capabilities of the mine or even lackthereof(meaning even if Terran does not have mines) make other opponents move out slower and always send overseer or bait which essentially slows them down considerably.

What are the actual counters of the unit.
For protoss it is not so much of a big deal after the early game since stalkers and collosi deal with mines easily as well as void rays tempest and so on so mines not so good vs protoss.

Vs Terran it is a mirror so equal opportunities. (although not having mines may affect the game)

Vs Zerg the only counter of the unit is running(sacrificing) zerglings to trigger mines and possibly force some friendly fire after that running in with large ammounts of banelings with 1/1 upgrades doing a timing to cripple the numbers of the terran army and possibly economy.
This style of play was showcased at MLG Finals by StarTale Life who is also considered the best player in the world.
You can see the strategy in action here http://tv.majorleaguegaming.com/events/23-2013-winter-championship#2424/2432/1

The fact that Life did win the tournament showing extraordinary play does not mean that widow mines are not overpowered or stronger than they should be. I remind you that all other Zerg players lost to Terrans mostly due to widow mines if you look close enough. Yes faster drops had a finger in that too but they are ok having in mind the faster mutas.

Please consider that the strategy StartaleLife uses is VERY VERY hard to pull off even for pro players. He is also called the king of lings for his extraordinary control of Zerglings.

This brings me to my next point making mines is easy, you always have them at your disposal, they are cheap and most importantly easy to use you just burrow them in strategic places and consider them fortified. While on the other hand countering widow mines requires a lot more actions, a lot more preparation, and some higher tear units in the later stages of the game.

The positional advantages mines give to terran players should also not be underestimated. Engagements with Zerg are always kind of like the zerg running into the Terran and widow mines killing a lot of lings and banes and possibly mutas extremely cost effectively leaving the terran army in a position to advance and do devastating damage. And even if Zerg crushes the terran army with good bait and great baneling hits then Zerg has to advance slowly while being dropped ...

Please Dear Mr. David Kim take into account that the performance of the best player in the world does not prove that widow mines are not overpowered. It simply proves that he was a lot better than the others. Do not wait for for the next expansion to realize the mines need some adjustments just like infestors did.

As a passionate fan of StarCraft I watch absolutely every possible match online and my intentions are only oriented towards the balance of the game so that we may see a lot more awesome content from the greatest progamers.

Of course I do not want to only point out problems and say blizzard you suck go and fix it. No no no I LOVE Blizzard and I would do my best to help e-sports flourish. So here are some of the solutions that might work out.

Before everything I believe that smaller changes would be best not dramatic ones. An example I would give about dramatic change is the nerf to the infestor. What you did with the fungal is AWESOME, what you did with the reduction of the egg life is good but i really think infested terrans should benefit from upgrades ( have in mind they spawn a lot harder now under fire and with a lot less health giving them less time to shoot.)

PLEASE Find the changes I propose in the next post.
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Posts: 9
These are some of the ideas that you can try in Balancing out the widow mine unit.

Adjustments I would propose for testing:
1. Reducing the AOE range of the widow mine :
This will possibly still keep the widow mine as it is now but it will no longer be able to kill large bunches of units reducing just slightly its cost effectiveness against zerglings/banelings/mutalisks/hydralisks and other small units like zealots sentries workers and so on. This will also reduce its ability to turn games around for its low cost. I believe something along the lines of 1.75 range in diameter would be good.

2. Maybe you should discuss the posibility of hallucinations and changelings being able to trigger the mines. This will lead to some awesome stuff. Take a look at it overseers will be able to trigger mines on purpose without having to loose hit points thus making them counter widow mines better. I strongly believe you should consider talking about this with pro gamers. Or running changelings into armies for the friendly fire. Definitely worth the test!

3. Decreasing health a bit. This will give players the opportunity to snipe them easier making aggressive dropping a bit harder and also running mines in front of the army too. I think they should have exactly 70 life. This will make them 2-shotable by banelings 6shotable by hydras.
Also 4 lings will be able to kill a mine before it burrows if they attack it right away. This will actually reduce the ability of the terran player to burrow mines in front of the eyes of the enemy or in his base so easily. Also making them more vulnerable while unburrowed is a possibility.

4. Making them visible/atackable for a while after they shoot or during shooting. Deffinately has to be tested maybe it will work maybe it will be too much. Should not overdo it. Perhaps 1-3 seconds is enough probably 2 would be best. So that if u have an army in place it can snipe it but if you do not it will still stay there.

5. Reducing the range to 4.5 This will make them a little bit easier to walk by they will no longer accidentally trigger on units with range of 6 and will accidentally trigger on sentries marines, hellions and infested terrans. Have in mind that in a diameter of 9 range some units like reapers speed lings mutalisks and phoenix may pass by without arming the mine. They would arm it only if they stop.

6. Increasing Cost - Maybe you guys are better than me in this but I would go for supply. Changing the supply cost to 3 would increase the mineral cost as well due to depos also at maxed supply terrand would have less mines or less army. That may be too harsh though so probably gas and minerals may be fine too.

Out of all solutions that I proposed I think the first one will bring the best results.
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Posts: 247
widow mine is completely fine. get detection, use hallus, send 1 unit first, send a few lings first... etc..

tbh i dont want to sound like an idiot but there is no reason to change the widow mine. its just a l2p issue.

every protoss or zerg player who cries about the widow mine is either too dumb or simply doesnt want to accept that you have to micro your units now instead of doing the famous wol z/p strategy (30 min afk, eat pizza, a click -> win game)

and just for your info guys, in every korean progamer interview from the last 3 weeks, nobody says widow mine op. every korean progamer, EVERY KOREAN PROGAMER says skytoss is the only issue now.

and thank god, blizzard is listening to them because blizzard doesnt want to do the same mistakes again.

http://www7.pic-upload.de/14.04.13/ft9efylo2ena.jpg
Edited by SeBa on 15/04/2013 11:05 BST
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Posts: 903
If mines get nerf then that logic applies that bane aoe, fungal, storm should get nerf. People want to nerf unit that cannot move while being able attack, having relativly short range and extremly slow attack speed. Let's say WM gets nerfed somehow. Reducing for example aoe damage is not going make people happy. They want so that mine cannot kill any unit they have. Who would make mine just to kill one zergling?

Too hasty nerffing on everything almost destoyed WoL. First weeks players like TLO used BC to attack zerg on those rather silly spawn maps and they were almost ready remove battlecruisers from game.

Spider mines at BW dealt quite strong damage and people didn't complain. It was supposed to being used slaughter careless protoss army.
Edited by Flinz on 15/04/2013 16:38 BST
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MVP - StarCraft II
Posts: 4,458
Spider mines at BW dealt quite strong damage and people didn't complain. It was supposed to being used slaughter careless protoss army.
Well, to be honest, in BW units didn't clump as much as units do in sc2.

But I do agree that nerfing now might be too soon, but if blizz decides too nerf the unit, nerfing the AOE radius would be more then sufficient.

As for you bane,fungal,storm comparison. All these units have a huge negative spot that makes them balanced.

Banes die when used and do less damage.
Fungal is a projectile that can be quite easily dogded, does less damage, costs energy too cast, and infestors can be Feedbacked/EMP'd/Sniped nullifying their damage potential.
Storm costs energy, does 80 damage over time, and templars can be EMP'd/Sniped and are quite slow.

Next too that the only way too kill a widow mine is either killing them with a unit with more then 5 range, or sacrificing a unit, they don't die when triggered, always do full damage, are fast and can't be feedbacked/EMP'd.
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Posts: 252
widow mine is completely fine. get detection, use hallus, send 1 unit first, send a few lings first... etc..

tbh i dont want to sound like an idiot but there is no reason to change the widow mine. its just a l2p issue.

every protoss or zerg player who cries about the widow mine is either too dumb or simply doesnt want to accept that you have to micro your units now instead of doing the famous wol z/p strategy (30 min afk, eat pizza, a click -> win game)


"Dear knife users, guns arent overpowered.
there are various ways a knife user can kill a gun user.

you can be super stealthy, sneak up and stab in the back. or you can run super fast and dodge all the bullets. you can even throw your knife and kill him before he has the chance to kill you.
as you can see, its just a L2P issue.

so please knife users, stop complaining about guns. guns are fine!

signed: a gun user"

what you just said
Edited by Bacon on 15/04/2013 17:57 BST
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Posts: 155
Well I suggested before that they switch the way the widow mine works with the way the seeker missile works, so that widow mine becomes dodgeable whereas the seeker missile not so . its something to consider for sure as I honestly don't see any use for seeker missiles as widow mines are in the game like they are
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Posts: 532
widow mine is completely fine. get detection, use hallus, send 1 unit first, send a few lings first... etc..

tbh i dont want to sound like an idiot but there is no reason to change the widow mine. its just a l2p issue.

every protoss or zerg player who cries about the widow mine is either too dumb or simply doesnt want to accept that you have to micro your units now instead of doing the famous wol z/p strategy (30 min afk, eat pizza, a click -> win game)

and just for your info guys, in every korean progamer interview from the last 3 weeks, nobody says widow mine op. every korean progamer, EVERY KOREAN PROGAMER says skytoss is the only issue now.

and thank god, blizzard is listening to them because blizzard doesnt want to do the same mistakes again.

http://www7.pic-upload.de/14.04.13/ft9efylo2ena.jpg


Blizzard disagrees with you and says that Widow mine is too good currently and looking into how they can nerf it.
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Posts: 247
you have no idea what your talking about @bacon.
but when i was platinum i also didnt know what i was talking about, so its ok.

@marionette, link plz. in the david kim interview dk didnt even really talk about widow mines.

korean progamers say skytoss is op and dont even talk about widow mines.
they dont think widow mine is op.
blizzard listens to korean progamers.
and korean progamers know what they are talking about and have more clue about balance than anyone on this forum.
Edited by SeBa on 15/04/2013 18:46 BST
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MVP - StarCraft II
Posts: 4,458
15/04/2013 18:40Posted by SeBa
@marionette, link plz. in the david kim interview dk didnt even really talk about widow mines.
Here is the link: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=402929

Btw, Blizz doesn't listen too Korean Pro Gamers, they listen too stats. They analyze every High level tournament around the world, and only look at possible buffs/nerfs with a select few pro gamers, as most of them are Biased.
Edited by Timelog on 15/04/2013 19:01 BST
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Posts: 247
but davin kim said he talks to them

edit: are u kidding me? this interview was after hots release.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=a5At94mn3h0
here for you.

even protoss progamer players said skytoss is op and said widow mine is ok.

if u wish i will link every single progamer interview.
Edited by SeBa on 15/04/2013 19:11 BST
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Posts: 140
15/04/2013 10:25Posted by SeBa
widow mine is completely fine. get detection, use hallus, send 1 unit first, send a few lings first... etc..


Well it might be easy for Terran because you can just scan anywhere you want. Other races needs mobile detectors if you didn't remember.
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Posts: 67
Well, don't listen to him, he's a Terran. Have you seen a single terran agreeing that Widow mines are OP? I haven't. Also, Seba, as for listening to korean programers, stop hanging to that argument like it's a life saver. Most(not all, obviously) of the noticeable "korean progamers", as you name it, are probably terran, so obviously they will say that the widow mine is perfectly balanced, because guess what, it's giving them an advantage over zerg & protoss units. As Timelog said, most of these koreans are Biased and shouldn't be taken into consideration as they will say anything to keep their career(yes, career) intact and easier for them.

Consider yourself a professional terran player attending every major tournament, maybe even winning few of them. Would you dig a hole right under yourself?

As for now, there are no complaints about zerg units balance because there are no OP zerg units, so what should they complain about? Nerfed infestors still being too strong? Nope. Protoss has a decent sky army for at least once, and now, that's the only thing terrans can't handle with their ridiculous mines, so it's obvious they will !@#$% about it being too OP.

@Agreed with Destro.
Edited by Swift on 15/04/2013 21:10 BST
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Posts: 2,754
Well it might be easy for Terran because you can just scan anywhere you want. Other races needs mobile detectors if you didn't remember.


Give me a cheap cloaked detector over scans, or the expensive raven any day... Nothing worse than realising you have no energy just as a DT pops into your base :(
Edited by Genesis on 15/04/2013 21:50 BST
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Posts: 541
THIS WHOLE THREAD IS OBSOLETE FOR THE SIMPLE REASON OF THIS:
http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=403878

i dont care how much a unit costs. I dont care how fast its produced. I dont care how it can kill 20 lings in theory. Everything you said basically has no meaning because of above team liquid post. If as a zerg you play correctly or as toss widow mines will be useless.

/thread (man i feel like a real badass now :P)
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Posts: 56
I have few words for you.

Mass mines.

You have seen Dragon do it. You have seen... I dont know Terran's name, do it vs Stephano sucessfuly. Mass mines should not be possible strategy.

As to give my own experience... even though its basicaly invalid, as it was in 2v2, I have seen one guy went mass mines and it was most anoying think to deal with. You have army? Move comand + fast burrow upgrade... and wheres your army now, son?

1 Mine is basicaly worth of roach. It can oneshot stalker. And it does also deal splash damage.

There is obviously something wrong with mine.

Solution: Lower mine supply to 1. Remove splash. Maybe even restore 160 vs all damage instead of 125 +35 vs shield or shorten cooldown to 30 sec. And 90 HP is overkill. Terran already have 367 unit types that can be dropped and cause compareable damage to mineral line. And if he drops mines into my line, he wont be getting more than one worker per shot from me anyways, and I wont even stop mining(trick is to put single worker on top of mine... it should always target it... maybe if you have unit with higher priority in range of mine it won't but you dont want that anyways).
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Posts: 541
there is no reason to nerf widow mine radius...
http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=403878
effective radius is already very small with certain units...
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Posts: 247
if you have problems playing vs mass widow mines then you are doing something wrong, really wrong.
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Posts: 249
I'll say from my experience as a random player, that Widow Mine is slightly too strong. Not much however. I believe the change you suggested about reducing it's range to 4,5 would be a good idea. Simply making them cover a smaller area, and thereby making them slightly easier to deal with should be a enough to make them fairly balanced.
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Posts: 56
We won at the end, but I must say it was thanks to my allys making shi* work with blink stalkers(I have bad mouse so we both agreed to let him handle micro work) while I just DT'ed their expos until they ran dry with resources. But losing to mass mines is not impossible. They have 90 HP, move faster than speedlot not charging and burrow in one sec after upgrade and dont splash on burried mines. So they can just walk into your colossi/non-blink stalkers and kill the crap out of you, as you have no time to run.

Example of what can mines do vs immobile army:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkmSzGiWAaA
Swarmhost just have no chance to run -.- Poor hosts. Not even insane locust DpS can stop 90 HP mine in move. GG
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