There's been a lot of discussion about the recently announced change to make Healers once again trigger air traps. There are concerns especially regarding how it might affect the "Queen walk" or "Super Queen" strategy, where an attack begins with a high level Archer Queen flanked by at least four Healers.
We understand that players are very passionate about this strategy, and with good reason, as it is currently one of the most effective in the game! Here is some more insight into the development team's rationale behind the change.
Healers have long been a difficult unit to balance in terms of risk versus reward.
In the past, ground armies reliant on Healer support were far too risky. Healers were prone to getting fixated on isolated troops, or wandering needlessly across the enemy Village and getting shot down. To top it off, wandering Healers triggered air traps, which could spell instant doom. They were far too risky, and thus their usage was extremely low!
Since that time, we've made several changes to try to make Healer usage less risky and more rewarding. We made Healers not trigger traps, and later did several improvements to Healer AI to make her less prone to wandering and better at sticking to the troops that need her.
Now, we find ourselves with the opposite problem. In the hands of a skilled attacker, it is not uncommon for a group of Healers to survive the entire battle, hidden behind the Archer Queen and groups of Bowlers. Healers have become far too safe!
A well executed Queen walk is incredibly powerful, though it is still a strategy of skill that we have no intention of removing from the game. We find that the extra risk of air traps provides a measured balance to the powerful rewards of this strategy.
A typical Queen walk generally exposes Healers to a very small area of the Village. Even if a defender places all 5 Seeking Air Mines around the outside of their Village, our playtesting has shown that it is very uncommon for more than one Healer to be shot down during a well executed Queen walk. It might be a good idea for attackers that rely on a solid Queen walk to deploy an extra Healer "just in case," but we find the strategy still highly effective.
The increase in the Eagle Artillery activation limit further supports this strategy for TH11 Queen walkers, and we will do further balancing if we find that this strategy has become unduly punished.
Our playtesting has shown that bigger changes will be seen later in the battle, such as during the heart of a mass-Bowler attack. These are attacks that can leave 100+ housing space worth of troops (including all of the Healers) still intact even after fully demolishing a maxed out TH11 Village. The main reason for this unusual effectiveness has to do with risk versus reward. There is a lack of ample threats posed to back-line Healers propping up such long-range armies.
With air traps in play, however, the more effective the attack, the more air traps Healers will encounter, thus providing a natural defensive "push back." Again, it's all about balancing risk and reward, and we've seen that well executed Bowler attacks can still perform quite well even after these Healer changes.
Thank you for all of your feedback and concern about the upcoming balancing changes. We look forward to getting the balancing patch live and seeing how players adapt their armies and defensive layouts. As always, we'll be continuing to monitor the game and making adjustments to keep Clash varied and balanced in the future.
The Clash of Clans Team