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
Ground Attack: 125 +35 vs. Shields (Splash 40)
Air Attack: 125 +35 vs. Shields (Splash 40)
Defense 90 0 (+1)
Cargo Size 2
( i have to add zerglings, banelings, mutalisks and protoss/zerg workers here since ppl on liquipedia missed it)
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.
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.
voidrays - more frequently?
immortals (less frequently)
hydras with range upgrade
landed vikings (less frequently)
marauders (less frequently)
ghosts (less frequently) <-EDIT
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.