Mutation #37: Ulnar New Year
- This ranking assumes play is at a GM+ level. As such commanders with a high skill cap (Raynor, Kerrigan, Swann, Alarak) are utilized close to their full potential, and will be rated higher than you might expect.
- The ranking mainly assesses how easily a commander can clear each mutation. Clear consistency is considered first, followed by average speed.
- It assumes minimal help from the co-op partner. However, abilities that greatly assist an ally in a particular mutation are considered as well. This category include Artanis’ Guardian Shell, Swann’s Gas Drones, and Karax’s Repair Beam.
- How easily commanders can clear the bonus in addition to the mutation is considered as well.
- This ranking accounts for all 12 possible enemy compositions as different commanders struggle against different compositions. We consider both average and worst case scenarios.
- Cheeses are generally not considered e.g. Raynor + Artanis on Lock & Load, Vorazun on Void Thrashing.
For the purposes of this mutation, commanders are split into two groups: brute-force clear with basic A-move + micro tactics (Zagara, Stukov, Artanis, Kerrigan, Raynor), and incremental clear that slowly gains ground (Alarak, Karax, Abathur, Nova, Swann).
Fireworks is one of the most difficult mutators in the game released so far. It does huge AoE damage and unlike similar mutators in the past e.g. Self Destruction, Fireworks actually tries to target your units. Many commanders have to use unconventional unit compositions since immobile, low-HP units fare so poorly against it. Units with any combination of high HP, high range, high micro potential, and disposability work well in this mutation.
Lucky Envelopes is an interesting mutator as it only provides economic benefits, although you have to be nimble and use quick thinking to take advantage. Assuming you can reliably find and collect them, let’s take a look at how good commanders would be with an essentially 3-base economy. Some commanders such as Zagara and Alarak benefit greatly, while others such as Abathur could hardly care less.
Out of all 37 mutations that have been released so far, I have never considered ranking Zagara as #1 until now. Traditionally, Zagara is one of the worst commanders for mutations because her suicide units tend to be inferior against the tougher challenges mutations provide. With additional resources, Zagara can overcome the cost-benefit wall and clear the map in record time by running Banelings, Zerglings, and Scourge into everything. By nature her units aren’t particularly weak to Fireworks since they are fragile and get quickly replenished. Reliable macro off of 6+ Hatcheries is all you need.
The main limitation while playing the Ascendant style is minerals, as you rely on them to supply Ascendants with Supplicants. Lucky Envelopes fixes that problem entirely, so you can keep your Ascendants fully topped up. They can easily kill units out of Fireworks range via spamming Psi Orbs, albeit in a slow and steady fashion. As Ascendants grow they gain HP, making them more and more resilient to Fireworks. It takes a while, but they can clear the map with minimal losses.
Although Cannons are demolished by Fireworks, they defend Locks well and are expendable due to the sheer amount of resources you’ll have. Carriers are also great on the mutation due to their high range and HP; Fireworks will often target Interceptors instead of the main unit. Mirages should work as an alternative if you have units to kill buildings.
Fireworks wreck your infested units, but they’re quite expendable anyway. With Envelopes you’ll have enough resources to spam Infested Terrans and your choice of a Mech unit. Diamondbacks are recommended as they help with air and can be microed to avoid Fireworks. He struggles a bit against air waves in general due to Civilians not hitting air.
Your best option here is mass Mutalisks with micro. Open with Mutalisks, but don’t fight with them until you reach 100 Biomass. Split them into two control groups, using a 100 Biomass group to fight and a fresh set picking up Biomass from the stragglers. You’ll need to use moving-shot attack micro with the Mutalisks, attacking once and then immediately dodging the Fireworks that come from the units you kill. This is a tedious process but it gets results consistently. Add Devourers for air waves with Queens at home to heal them up since they don’t have the Mutalisk regen. Use your extra resources for Spines + Spores. This is a very high-skill cap strategy.
Phoenix/Zealot/Immortal is the unit composition of choice. Phoenix can dodge Fireworks, Zealots offer expendable damage, and Immortals help to clear buildings as well as function as a survivable ground unit. Guardian Shell excels at protecting you and your ally from Fireworks in cases when you mismicro. It struggles a bit against Terran/Protoss air waves as they often contain Armored units. Naturally, Phoenixes have a difficult time shooting down.
Nova wants to rely on the highest HP and durable units available: Tanks, Ravens, and Liberators. An endless supply of minerals gives her access to all the mines she could want. However, Tanks should never be used in Tank mode as it makes them sitting ducks. Liberators, on the other hand, handedly outrange Fireworks and are just as sturdy as Tanks. Ravens are your most reliable source of anti-air with Seeker Missiles. Goliaths can be used against Terran/Protoss air but Ghosts, which are usually amazing units, are too fragile against Fireworks. Use Defensive Drones and Air Strikes liberally as well as Airlifts to dodge Fireworks damage. This strategy struggles more against air because Mines don’t hit air.
Kerrigan rocks the early game and then tries to hammer through with Queen/Ultralisk/Hydralisk. Ultralisks with their reincarnation ability shrug off Fireworks. As usual Kerrigan struggles against air waves, especially since Hydralisks are so vulnerable to Fireworks.
Raynor brute-forces this mission with mass Orbitals and an endless supply of Bio/Mine that trades with the enemy. Good mechanics are key here. It’s possible to reach 10 Orbitals and mine the entire map before finishing the mission. Beware of Ling/Baneling/Viper compositions.
You have a bit of flexibility here as two compositions work. There’s the Herc/Tank/Thor/Vessel style that prioritizes range, HP, and the revive ability. Then there’s Cyclone/Hellion/Vessel, which is usually rarer but more viable in this instance. Envelopes gives you the necessary extra resources and the composition is tailormade to dodge Fireworks. Turrets act as a good mineral sink in both strategies to defend positions. I rank Swann lower because he’s slower and less powerful than many of the above options. He struggles against air, but Cyclones are sufficient there.
I’m not sure how any of Vorazun’s units work efficiently here. Vorazun’s three main units, DTs, Corsairs, and Void Rays, certainly aren’t mobile enough to dodge Fireworks. Anti-air is a huge concern here. Corsairs can’t move and shoot at simultaneously and do pitiful damage anyway. DTs have to Blink out after doing damage and only revive once every four minutes now. Although I’ve yet to try Stalkers or Dark Archons, I’m not optimistic about their potential.