Phoenix now has a range upgrade at the Fleet Beacon
In the past, we’ve discussed whether protoss needed a more immediate change to give them additional ways of dealing with mutalisks in PvZ, or whether it was more appropriate to make changes to that matchup in Heart of the Swarm. After investigating, testing, and reviewing both community and pro feedback, we’ve decided to include a change in this patch.
The phoenix will now have 6 attack range after purchasing an upgrade, which should allow them to more easily deal with a large number of mutalisks. In the previous patch, when protoss players attempted to move their armies out across the map, their bases became extremely vulnerable. Existing options to cope with massed mutalisks were costly and not always effective. This range upgrade should help even the odds by giving protoss players the option to reactively build phoenixes in smaller numbers, and with some micro, allow them to more efficiently defend against mutalisk swarms. Upgraded phoenixes should also offer protoss players the potential for better map control in the PvZ match up.
Still, we also wanted to make sure that producing mutalisks in PvZ remains a viable strategy, and believe that it is. While it might not be a good idea to brute force a protoss opponent with a ton of mutalisks, pairing them with units such as infestors and/or corruptors will help counter the advantage the new range upgrade provides.
So... lets break it down.
Protoss can't effectively deal with Mutalisks.
The phoenix get a +2 range buff at the fleet beacon which lets them effectively kill infinity Mutas with minimal investment due to their superior speed, health, and damage output.
Still, they think that Mutas will be viable when there's a unit flying around that is faster, and better than they are.
So... problem #1 is that I highly doubt Mutalisks will remain viable after said upgrade takes hold.
Phoenix already cost-effectively beat the crap out of Mutalisks in the current game. The only problem with them is that Protoss doesn't like massing them. They make for great harass and are hard to kill. The only real counter Zerg has is fungal growth, which typically involves sacrificing an infestor to land it.
Phoenix in their current iteration are fine, if not a bit limited in use. They do however accomplish everything that they were designed to, and when high-level Protoss use them in PvZ, Mutalisks become a non-issue.
Now, after the change, it's going to be the case where any Protoss can make 3 phoenix and an infinite number of mutas become a non issue. To put it in resource terms, Protoss can invest in fleet beacon (300/200) the upgrade, (lets just assume it's 200/200), and 3 phoenix (450/300) for a grand total of 950/700 and 40 mutalisks (4000/4000) will not be able to leave their base without immediately starting to get picked off without any hope of retaliating against these 3 phoenix.
Now, let's talk about their justification for why mutas will still be viable.
"While it might not be a good idea to brute force a protoss opponent with a ton of mutalisks, pairing them with units such as infestors and/or corruptors will help counter the advantage the new range upgrade provides."
Let's apply the same logic to blink stalkers:
"While it might not be a good idea to brute force a zerg opponent with a ton of stalkers, pairing them with units such as sentries and/or colossi will help counter the advantage the new range upgrade provides."
That sounds good and all, but it's not true when you apply the same logic to the stalker. The stalker the core of the entire Protoss army due to its mobility, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness vs pretty much every Zerg unit. But somehow, when Zerg gets a unit that mirrors the effectiveness of the Stalker, we need to provide Protoss with a buff that completely shuts the unit down unless you include other tech to counter balance the wild advantage?
I see the argument coming OMG FUNGAL!, but how often do you see protoss players lose entire stalker armies to pure fungal? fungal is the counter/balance that I have to apply in order to hold stalkers off along with my massive army off Zerglings and Roaches, it is not a 1-stop shop like the phoenix is set to become.
In all, I think this nerf is stupid and horribly thought out. There is nothing wrong with the mutalisks in PvZ, I don't see it destroying the competitive scene, I see noobs on the ladder getting annoyed when they have no idea what to do. Well, Blizzard, the Zerg noobs have no idea how to handle blink stalkers either, I guess we should give roaches a +2 range upgrade as well.