Counters, bans, pick modes, roles, team comps, and how they're collectively causing a problem... This is going to be a long discussion

Oh boy.

First I’ll say you should get comfortable, adjust your glasses, find a nice tilt for your monitor, and get ready to scale a wall.

Mobas are great, and this is a moba. It’s on the lighter side of mobas, something like Heroes of the storm… and though I dislike that game, I told my friends that it existed as a stepping stone twords better “Casual” mobas, and I honestly believe this is the next step to greatness. With mobas comes a whooooole lot of stuff though, not just inherent to the genre, but to the concepts within it as a competitive medium. When you make a game and it gets a competitive scene, you now have to work twice as hard dealing with small things that would otherwise not be an issue to the general crowd. And now we come to a point where a hard scrutinizing look should be taken at this game, or at least a facet of it.

Character selection.

All games that have different characters generally have an intended job they are better at compared to another character. Some games focus this harder and shove characters solidly into a role. A medic is a support, your job is to heal stuff and make them not die. As a scout your job is to quickly secure the objective and flank the enemy. As a spy you take out dug in points and you -counter- engineers. But when we go into mobas, sometimes those roles are just suggested.

Dota was a game about accidental design, people made stuff and it sort of fell together in a genius way, until it became a competitive titan. It got that way by taking the accidental genius and refining it over many many years. It’s why a lot of newer mobas simply can’t compete with older ones like dota and league. Roles in dota, at least, aren’t defined by the game, but they’re defined by the meta.

Roles in battleborn are different still… With most stuff not being required for a team.

I’m going to preface this by saying it is My opinion.

Every team seems to need only a handful of things. Someone who can clear waves, someone who focuses on grabbing shards and building buildings (Which doesn’t even have to be one person, but with building cost reduction items it makes sense to have one person do it), a couple sources of slow/stun/knockup, and (though I don’t agree with this) a sniper because they can take out buildings with no risk to them.

You don’t need a tank, you don’t need a healer, you don’t need someone who can burst, you don’t need someone who can provide a solid stream of DPS, you don’t need a ranged, you don’t need a melee… You just need those things that benefit directly to the objective, and benefit your team’s ability to secure a kill.

With roles so loose, you can practically pick any character and help your team just as much as any other character, and that’s fine… But counters exist. Even though killing the enemy team doesn’t directly influence your progress twords your objective (I know kills in meltdown gives points, work with me.), it does help you in a roundabout way by “Clearing the way”, as it were, to your goal. And counters can make fighting the enemy team easier.

Some of the most obvious counters are kelvin’s chomp doing a percent of their max health, meaning he can do more damage efficiently to tanks than other characters. Galilea having a wound effect on some of her skills, allowing her to prevent a miko, ambra, or kleese from healing the target, as well as preventing effects like lifesteal and the supply station. Benedict spends most of his time either in the air, or on positions on the map most characters can’t get to, making it so under most circumstances melee characters cannot even touch him. With the game feeling so free to pick whoever you want and it still work…why do counters exist to punish people for picking who they like, why are the counters so broad countering a handful of characters each when we already have a small roster, and why can’t we even see the enemy team so we can intentionally pick counters?

There’s no simple solution to this, it seems. If we add an alternating pick mode, it doesn’t change the fact that counters are sweeping, locking out multiple characters from being a really good choice, unless you counter the character who counters another character…setting up this rediculous chain of counters and encouraging one person to only go after this one other person on the team who they counter, and avoiding the character who counters them…it gets absurd.

And since there are no real roles, picking a broad counter has no downside. I’m not forcing my team into a box by picking gally, they don’t have to pick to work around it. They can pick anything they want, it doesn’t really matter. And I’d like to reitterate that I like that people can pick what they want and it still works, it just contributes to this big mess of not knowing where to go with all this.

Should counters be focused or removed? It would require extensive reworks of some of the characters to make that a reality, give more melee characters a way to ground benedict, or make him not fly as high. Remove kelvin’s percentage damage on chomp.

Should we have a pick mode (Either alternating, open, or ban) that lets us see the opponent’s picks? It would mean counters would have to be changed, making them more specific. It would mean roles would have to be focused in, making people pick a team with a tank, a support, an assassin, etc. So you can force picks and reduce the counter chain effect.

Should we have bans? It would let people remove certain counters from their match, putting more depth into the pick screen… however bans generally mean that the game is poorly balanced or set up in the first place, requiring player intervention to set things right.

Right now though, as it stands, there seems to be actually ideal team compositions because of how broad the counters are, and how loose picking can be. From my point of view (and please PLEASE correct me if you think I’m wrong), I think this team is the ultimate, and showcases some problems.

Marquis: A strong character all around, easily takes out enemy buildings without putting himself in harms way, and generally stands at points on the map where he can easily retreat to utter and complete safety. Does well against all characters, but specifically counters benedict, as his vertical superiority means nothing to marquis. Countered by melees for the most part.

Kelvin: One of the highest health tanks in the game, can get solid regen through his helix allowing him to sustain himself. Has the best stun in the game, his stun makes him invulnerable and move faster for the duration giving him the perfect escape, and has a second stun which also manifests a wall. Counters every other tank and is essentially only countered by himself.

Galilea: Has a tool for nearly every job. Is the only melee who can reliably kill a benedict due to her fast moving long ranged stun. Has low damage normally, but can get high damage at level 3 while at full health. Can increase the damage all enemies are taking, bring mild health regen to the team, can lane clear effectively with spin on melee combo, silence all enemies in an area, and has an excellent escape on an ult. Counters healers and characters who rely on lifesteal for survivability (Rath). Countered by nothing.

Benedict: Though countered by snipers, melees have no chance against him. Cannot be touched by a fifth or more of the roster. Brings high damage with low effort. Can lane clear effectively.

Ambra/Miko: Miko brings the highest heal per second in the game especially when focused for it, and can start doing it at level 1. Can hold heal beam and focus entirely on dodging, while bringing yet another stun to the team, and between his heal beam and ult can refill his team’s health after a fight with minimal time or effort spent. Ambra can also heal her team very effectively when focused for it, with an easier time escaping than miko. She also has some of the strongest lane clear in the game, and with the team set up here can reliably have ults land due to the amount of stuns going on. Both of these characters when focused on combat healing are countered by disruptions, like knockbacks and pulls, or stuns.

From everything I can tell, the only thing to adequately deal with this team is by also picking this team. It has so many stuns, it counters almost half of the roster, and if properly coordinated gives such a large inherent advantage that losing with it should be more than difficult. Is it unbeatable? Probably not. But it highlights the issues with counters in the game as they stand. It may even highlight some issues with characters, I don’t know. But what I do know is it seems like the game will stagnate around these characters.

Again, if you think I’m wrong, PLEASE argue against me, I want to be wrong. I don’t want to see the game become this before it’s even released. I don’t even want to entertain the idea that there might be something so fundamentally wrong with so much here that the game’s release gets pushed back even further. But…right now, this is the conclusion I’ve come to.

With how roles are set up, counters don’t feel like they have a place. With picks how they’re set up, counters can’t be picked meaningfully. With counters being as broad as they are, they don’t have to be picked meaningfully! It encourages dumb team compositions that heavily discourage picking half of the roster, removing part of what makes this game so much fun: The ability to pick any character and always contribute to your team, regardless of what they picked.

If the game needs to be shifted into roles and counters, I’ll still love it, I love dota, so there’s no reason for me to dislike this game… But it brings something else to the table though, something that other mobas don’t, and I’d like to see that preserved. Overall though, I just want to see this game do well, and keep being fun.

Sorry about putting the great wall of china to shame, I just had a lot to say is all.

Please, give me your opinions on the ideas on any of this stuff. I’d love to hear it.


Sweet baby Jesus, when you said wall-o-text you meant it. This will take me some time to read it and respond. (After sleep and classes tomorrow that is) I look foward to this conversation.


The game is more about the players than the characters. Not saying building a proper team set up is pointless, for example if you do not have a support you don’t have a good chance so you need a miko or ambra but past that its more about the players.

ISIC and Miko for example can be very hard to stop if set up right with others making sure you can’t stun ISIC easy. You don’t really need the sniper, I’ve seen Montana also really do well on pushes. Rath can be a great assassin with silence, thorn can do as much as Maruis but in a different way.

There are so many combos of characters but in the end the players will win, not the characters.


Absolutely the players will win over the characters, balance generally doesn’t dictate that a certain character or composition of characters will win simply because they’re better… But that in a situation of equal skill, the person who holds the sharper sword has the advantage by nature.

I do feel like you have a good chance even without a support, and that’s one of the things I like about the game.

Montana can do well in pushes… Marquis stands at the other end of the map and kills your buildings even if no minions are there. I’ve had my thumper down on meltdown as soon as I got to lane when the game started because they had a marquis.

Yes thorn can do as much as marquis, the difference between the characters is marquis I feel is simply stronger at range, and can take those buildings out faster. Thorn adds a lot of lane clear to your team and general AOE prowess. I still feel like marquis is superior in this comp due to simply pointing and clicking, rather than charging an arrow, and lane clear being taken care of for the most part.


TLDR, seems like you took many peoples posts and made a topic to encompass all of them. In theory it sounds great, but with that wall of text you are going to scare most people off. Each topic one by one would be more digestible and less cluttered.

FYI - you sniped a threat that already has decent exposure… @asiahmillertime


The point was that these things are completely and totally connected, and that they cause a mess of issues within this game. I explained their connection and posed some questions with some of my own thoughts as far as how they might need to be approached. I’m sorry you find it too long, and I’m sorry that some people may be intimidated by the post, but there’s no reasonable way to try to break these up and then…tell them to read each of the posts, then come back to a final post showing their connection? I’m not sure how I’d go about that.

I did change the title for some clarification however.

First of all, I have to mention that, while definitely looking forward to playing some PvP in Battleborn, I’m not the typical PvP player. So I can only offer some thoughts from an ‘outside perspective’.

I think the concept of ‘countering’ a character with another might be true on paper, but in reality there are definitely more factors to consider, making this whole way of thinking a potentially disruptive force. If it came down to just setup your team with counters to your enemies, you’re almost back to Rock-Paper-Scissors.
Also, this only covers Character and Gear Choices which are premeditated and therefore should only be given tactical awareness. You should know what each character in a game, on either side, could do.
From there, any threat assessment should be made on-the-fly based on the situation.

The Void’s Edge - or escort missions in general - show that this is true in PvE as well.

An experienced team of friends who know what everyone in their group can do might hold an advantage above a random group of strangers.
But after playing all of Borderlands and 200+ hours of ME3 Multiplayer I come to the conclusion, that most In-Fight decisions are made fast and couldn’t be coordinated verbally anyway. :wink:


Just to clarify: Comparing characters one on one looking for a way to counter them simply through your class will get you nowhere, if the correct fastest solution is superior firepower or numbers - as with Kelvin’s HP and regen.

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Atlas Reactor is an interesting turn based game that has a weird Ban system. If people from both teams pick the same hero, that hero is locked and they pick a new one. Thought that was a neat way to do it.

And i’d put my money on Boldur > Kelvin in that fight :stuck_out_tongue: but maybe im bias

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Counters are in place though, and they are clearly intentional. If you look at galilea’s wound, it was clearly meant to counter characters who can heal. There are certainly more factors to consider, it doesn’t come down to “I have this character, you have that character, I win by default”, but when looking at a situation of equal skill, the person with the advantage will come out on top.

Characters are dynamic and you can surely shift some characters more into something else, partially negating the fact that they may have previously been countered, but the point still stands that melee characters simply cannot touch benedict. The game is not 1v1, you have a team, and ideally someone on your team can hit the benedict, maybe even counter him… But it still gives you an advantage regardless, and advantages are vitally important to note when it comes to competitive games.

It’s also worth noting that my proposed team doesn’t just counter most other possible team compositions, it also is strong in and of itself.

A good team can coordinate decisions as they come up, and generally have pre-concepts similar to an “If-then” arguement in code. If this is happening, then I will do this. That way less has to be communicated. Even just playing with my friends we were able to coordinate in a fight by yelling at eachother.

Interesting system, I’m not suuuuuuure if it would have a place here though? I’d have to mull that one over a bit.

Gearbox like thorough feedback.

No need to apologize.


That team you listed seems really strong at praying on the other side ‘s battleborns indeed, but you yourself mentioned that you needed one pick to clear minions’ waves.
Who’s going to do it here? Benedict? Even though he’s the most fragile Battleborn who is easily countered by ranged (not even counting cases like Ghalt) and may, depending on the other side’s pick, suffer a lot of deaths during the game? Ambra? Before level 5, not so much. Galilea? She can do it, but she’s exposing herself a lot if doing that. A Deande player for example will not let such target pass and will strike at the back of Galilea when she’s clearing minions. So she will need someone else to watch her back for potential assassin characters exploiting the situation. Kelvin? He isn’t especially great at it, although he need to chomp some anyway for his health increase, that’s quite slow to clear a wave of minion. Marquis is single target.

So, not sure that set up can actually work as well as you say.

If the other side has ISIC or Montana for example, they will clear minions wave far better than your side. Which may lead to your team winning on the kill count but losing the match at the end.

But, yes, peoples will come up with super effective combos like that. I’m not sure something can be done about it really.

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I could definitely see a team of marquis or ghalt, galilea, miko, ambra or kleese, and isic. This team would have large defensive capabilities as well as ranged destructive power from isic and marquis.

Have you ever played a Ghalt with slug helix and double barrel? You are doing 500-600 dmg non crits at a range that rivals marquis. It will probably get the nerf gun but for now the team composition I listed I think is far stronger though Ill admit pretty similar to yours. It also depends on the map quite a bit.

I could also see an all ranged team of reyna, whisky foxtrot, kleese, oscar mike, and marquis or ghalt being incredibly strong with the right coordination. All in all I think its very hard to say at the early point in time. On paper is different than in practice and I have seen many combinations of teams do very well. Though I will admit almost all the strongest teams I’ve seen have a Miko.

I’ve spent these two days watching various streams and while in theory what you’re saying is solid, in the end all i can say is , player > character.
Yesterday i was watching a few PvP games with Datto, StealthShampoo, etc and no matter the team rooster, all that mattered where the player skills and decisions.

The problem is that bans, counters and the like are all cool and dandy but while it works with games like LoL who has dozens of heroes to choose, as of now BB only has 25 characters - 30 at most at launch - so all those measures are moot because in the end they will create the same problem you’re trying to eliminate. It only gets worse because some classes right now only have one native choice, like Miko.

As things are now considering our choices in maps, modes and players, i truly believe that the current system - while flawed - is still the best for BB at launch.

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Many melee characters were still able to get me in the air as Benedict (double jump plus E move) it was frustrating flying in the air and dying from rath, el dragon, phoebes and others when i was so high by melees still.

Off topic, but Kelvin is not invulnerable in his stun. Just seems that way since he is fast and stuns anyone in melee range.

But back to the topic at hand. I feels that the counters that exist in the gamr are not for particular characters but for ways off playing them. Gal might shut down Miko as a front line healer, but wouldn’t have as much impact on back line recovery or a more damage focused Miko. Some of this flexibility is locked down once you start making helix choices, but some is just being able to rapidly adapt to each given situation, indtead of repeatedly trying the same failed tactic.

I’m not saying that instituting some kind of pick system wouldnt work or would ruin the game, but I do think we really shouldn’t implement anything before we’ve seen how it works with the current system.

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I never felt the game needed to play the “counter pick”-game, mostly because it doesn’t have as much of an impact as in other games who use counters (Like Dota)
Playing as Benedict i was always worried a team would have Marquis and Thorn, and it did happen. Thing is, i could work around it. Unlike in Dota, where if i’d pick Broodmother and someone counter-picked Earthshaker, well… f*ck.

Even in my worst game were the enemy team had Marquis, Thorn, ISIC and Montana (Leaving only Rath as the guy i didn’t gave a flip about) i still did rather good and put up a fight (Something like 12-4). Even if nearly the entire enemy team were counters.

And in the rare case where you literately can’t fight your counter, the game is still about your team and not you alone (You know “Fight together, or die alone”)
A Phoebe or Rath can’t do anything against Benedict, none. But pretty much any ranged characters can shoo him off in a matter of second.

So even if you end up in a rock, paper, scissors situation, there is 4 others guys playing with you, and 4 other opponents.

Also, i think most peoples who felt they lost because of counters were actually losing because of two others things:
-One team was just better.
-Their team had a bad composition (Like no Support, ranged or melee characters, etc)


All I wanted was to be able to see what the other team is picking in competitive modes lol. But maybe there is something larger at play here.

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My only issue with this counter mentality stems from galilea’s wound effect which is an effect that needs to be more common across battleborn and not so unique to her. I think there may have been one or two other sources but she is the only battleborn to have an immensely powerful effect that is so easy to access. The rest of your lineup can be similarly filled with little overall difference in capability in my opinion.

TLDR: I don’t think counters are that big of a deal in this game (As they are mostly soft), and ‘best’ team comps will probably be very difficult to define for a long time.
Also, the problem might just be with Benedict…as he is the only character (off the top of my head) who is a pretty hard counter (against most melee) while also being pretty heavily countered. (By Marquis)

I don’t think anyone will deny that there will be weak team-comps and strong team-comps. (For instance saw an incursion match yesterday at PAX where one team took 4 melee characters and a Marquis…and got obliterated)

And at some point there might be a ‘best’ team-comp…but that might be a very long time in coming for a couple of reasons.

1.) The loosely defined roles means there are not a lot of hard counters out there.
For instance you mention Benedict as one of your 5 members on your best team-comp description, but then only have one pure melee character on that team. (Kelvin) If you went against another team which had the same team-comp, but used Montana as their tank(instead of Kelvin)…Benedict all-of-a-sudden isn’t that great a choice for your team…and I’d take a Galilea, Marquis, Ambra/Miko, Montana,Thorn against your Galilea, Marquis, Ambra/Miko, Kelvin, Benedict, simply because I think a Thorns utility is a lot greater than Benedict if you end up going against a team which doesn’t have a lot of melee.

And I am certain that people could spend a few minutes and find team comps which would have a heavy advantage against a Galilea, Marquis, Ambra/Miko, Montana, Thorn comp.

Anyway, the loosely defined roles will make this game a whole lot harder to define a ‘best’ team comp, which I think is a very good thing.

2.) Helix choices and Gear selection.
These selections made in-game as well as the gear brought to the match will have an impact on counters. So if you know that a character you like to play has a harder-counter which you might run into, well, there will be gear you can bring to the match which might reduce your overall effectiveness but be able to reduce being countered…so it will be a decision on where to go with gear load outs. The same can be said for IG helix selections.

3.) Map size, lanes, & TTK.
Due to the relatively large TTK factor, even a really hard counter (such as Benedict vs Phoebe) isn’t that big of a deal, because you might be run off, but you can usually survive if you withdraw quickly enough, and help can get to you quickly. For instance, if you’re playing meltdown and you find yourself (as Phoebe) in a 1v1 on the right side (1st Grinder) against a Benedict, you can have a ranged support get from the left side to the right side in only a couple of seconds, and you can swap positions relatively quickly…and provided that the minions have been cleared from the area, there is the breathing space to make the swap…with-out losing any sort of positioning.

So the map size & TTK really also serve to minimize hard counters simply because help can almost always be available in enough time to survive any sort of encounter.

4.) Modes
I also think that the various modes are going to determine some of the strong team comps and weak team comps.
For instance an Orendi, who is a minion-clearing Goddess, might be a good selection for a strong team comp on Meltdown, but could be a poor choice on Capture.

So even if we do get to the point where there is a ‘best’ team comp…or a couple of ‘best’ team comps…these might shift around based on the mode…which of course would therefore be including more characters into the ‘best’ team slots.


I do understand the concern about there seeming to be some…inconsistency…when it comes to hard counters in the game. It seems as if the team was sometimes thinking about hard counters (especially with a character like Benedict who is a hard counter, and can also be hard countered), but for the most part wanted soft counters as the general norm. Really, other than Benedict I don’t know if there is another character in the game with such a drastic counter/countered.
Perhaps he needs to be looked into a bit more to make him softer for both counters/being countered. The problem is that I have no idea how you would go about doing it with-out completely changing him…and by all accounts he’s a fairly balanced character.


Benedict can get killed in flight and while doing a double jump and the E ability for extra height and gliding.

I got killed many times at max height by rath, el dragon phoebes and other melees