On March 9th, Apex Legends will begin The Chaos Theory event, bringing in Caustic’s Town Takeover, The Ring Fury Escalation Takeover and most excitingly, the launch of Apex Legends on the Nintendo Switch (with crossplay). Skins, a new heirloom, and all else that glitters can be found in the event trailer here and you can view the full patch notes here. For now, let’s look at one of the major balance changes to a wildly loved AND hated character, Caustic.
In an ironic twist, Caustic receives his biggest nerfs yet in an event all about him:
- Nox Gas Grenade cooldown increased from 2.5 minutes to 3.5 minutes.
- Nox Gas damages at a flat rate of 5hp per tick instead of ramping up from 6hp → 12hp.
You would hope that during this event Caustic mains would be the most excited players, but these nerfs are absolutely devastating. Truth be told, Caustic has been very strong in Season 8, but now Caustic mains are up-in-arms over the reduced damage of his Nox Gas, removing much of his threat to enemies.
Caustic is a special character because his playstyle is so different so many of the other characters. It’s a completely viable strategy to transition into making a bunker with his Nox Gas Traps after getting some early loot. Caustic players can easily control an area with his kit, but that gameplay is very unfun to play against for most others. Due to this dichotomy, a large portion of the Apex Legends community is delighted to see Caustic nerfed because he’s annoying to deal with, at the cost of Caustic mains losing much viability from the character they’ve spent so much time playing.
The Caustic nerfs are Respawn’s response to the complaints (seemingly echoed through big content creators) that the character is too strong and unfun to play against, but promise to monitor the character’s performance after these changes. I think it’s reasonable to tone down how strong the gas is without making him unplayable. His damage will be the lowest it ever has been after these nerfs shown in this graph made by u/sizzle_burn on the Apex Legends subreddit.
Briefly touching on the Mastiff nerf, I think it’s fair that the damage is reduced—it will make engagements against a Mastiff feel a lot fairer than getting two-shot. But at high levels of play you see Gibraltar winning big, and I’m skeptical to see that the nerf he received will change his win rate too much. Mastiff was nice against Gibraltar because it reduced the time it took of bobbing and weaving in and out of his shield to down him. Respawn has mentioned they’re looking at other options to adjust Gibraltar’s gun shield if he’s still too strong.
Other characters receive smaller buffs like Wattson’s new shield-regeneration passive, and a change to gold weapons that allows players to swap the optic. These smaller changes may not make a huge impact on competitive play, but are nice additions for casual players to try new characters. See all changes in the upcoming update here.