My friend Merciles Hunter and I, Dark Fluoresce2, will go ahead and put in our ideas. We've been playing since launch, and Season 4 we were ranked at least Champion 60 in 2v2s with Arbiter and Jerome as our main picks. Most of what we say will be focused on 2v2 gameplay, and we hope some of it can be taken in to consideration for other playlists as well.
We'll break it up in game stages of early, mid, to late game, then end with a leader tier list with final comments.
We noticed in the highest tier level play, it relies a lot on controlling mini bases and scout unit map control. Without anti-vehicle forces in tier one, scout units dominate the midfield and force the player to buy frag grenades to have a chance at keeping map control, which still isn't enough in many cases. A chopper force mixed with a force of snipers is nearly unstoppable, and will almost always succeed when having taken mini base control. This mini base effect is worst experienced on Badlands and Highway. We believe scout units should be used as their name implies, to SCOUT, not to dominate infantry units. The best way to fix this, while still keeping scout units very useful and eliminating the efficiency of mini base control over your opponent, is to increase the energy cost of scout units significantly, we recommend 40 energy as a starting number to test.
Early game heroes are a problem with only a small number of leader picks. I obviously won't get in to Serina and Forge, but Atriox's Chosen is even better than Forge when it comes to DPS overtime. Sure he's a glass cannon, and he does not have a Y ability, but he's extremely powerful and can wipe squads of core infantry in two shots. Normally this isn't a bid deal for a hero, but his splash can make it a problem. A good fix would be to switch his first two upgrades. Make his damage over time the first upgrade, and his AoE effect the second.
As for Honor Guard, right now hes laughable. Instead of making his Y ability only cloak himself, maybe make his Y ability act like a shroud, and cloak units around him. With testing, maybe try it like a miniature mass cloaking, and add speed boost and siphon to units affected by Honor Guard's cloaking field.
Overall, the mid-game is very solid. We don't really have any complaints about mid-game and mid-tier units.
If the game goes late enough to get everyone in tech 3 and have many units upgraded, the game many times dissolves in to an anti-war. By that, we mean armies of mass units that are anti-units. Snipers, Cyclops, Elite Rangers, Hunters, Wolverines, and Reavers. As a personal request, we would like to see it somehow built around the use of core units, with a small number of anti-units thrown in to counter your current force's biggest problems. Our most ideal way to fix this is to increase the population cost of anti units. Another possible choice is to increase the energy cost of anti-units, but we believe that is less ideal. Either way, it will make core units more appealing. With the recent patch to make the rock-paper-scissors aspect of Halo Wars2 more prominent, such as the reduction of air unit damage versus infantry, this is a great start to making this idea of eliminating mass armies of anti-units come true.
Losing units in the late game is not as painful as it is in other stages of the game because of Logistics. I like Logistics, but in the late game, you can lose your entire force attacking the enemy base, and have nearly a whole new force back up by the time they are on your doorstep to counterattack. Instead of reduction in build time by 15/30/45%, I think it would be more impacting when you lose your whole force if Logistics was a reduction of 10/20/30%. This would also entice players to be more strategic and careful when commanding their forces late game.
Now for our thoughts on the leader tier list and our ending comments.
S Tier: Forge (currently unpatched), Atriox
A Tier: Serina, Cutter, Shipmaster, Arbiter, Jerome, Decimus
B Tier: Colony, Kinsano
C Tier: Anders, Johnson, Isabel
(After Forgehog is patched, he will be dropped back to B or C tier. Recent Forgehog improvement helped his early game which was his only struggle, so I hope he isn't nerfed too hard to where he is nigh not viable once again)
A tough recommendation would be to replace leader powers that are rarely purchased for low-tier leaders with abilities that are much more desired. Personally we would like to see the return of disruption bomb. If every C tier leader got the Halo Wars1 disruption bomb, they would already be that much more viable to play.
Atriox has been S tier since day one, and his abilities are not only efficient on their own, but they compliment other leaders exceptionally well. Serina cryo bomb matched with Eradication, or Shipmaster displace matched with Atriox's cheap shield generators make attacking bases and actually dealing damage almost impossible. Three invincibility-like powers are also extremely frustrating. It slaps good tactics in the face over and over again. Also, when contemplating leader powers in team games, compare them to leader powers of high tier leaders, especially Atriox. Be leery of leader power combos that are overpowered or too easy to use.
A personal request that we would love to see, is no duplicate leaders in ranked playlists. An exaggerated example is double Forge currently, or a double Shipmaster to displace twice in a row perhaps. Two Atriox's eradications, or two Kinsano infernos can almost guarantee a force wipe, followed by swift victory. There is a lot of cheese that comes with duplicate leader picks.
Something worth intense testing is removing the ability for shield generators on banished bases to protect the units inside. This would fix several things that are frustrating to fight when going up against forces inside shield generators. An example is the above combo of Shipmaster and Atriox. The shield stays up with units inside dealing damage to an attacking force, and when the shield goes down, bulwarks and displaces can reduce damage done to the combo even more, leaving nothing but serious damage dealt to the attackers. Shield generators did not protect units in Halo Wars1, and we would like to see at least a trial run of shield generators only protecting bases in Halo Wars2 as well.
Something that also needs to be looked at closely are abilities that stun units. Decimus' hero Y ability, spartan slams, Decimus vortex lightning, Jerome's mantis drop, jet pack brutes y ability, these things are abilities that are wildly effective in many situations in all stages of the game that can sometimes be too effective, or too easy to use. Stun time on some stun abilities should be lower maybe a whole second or two, or focus more on abilities only 'slowing' units down, and having very few abilities actually 'stun'. It made us so happy when we saw stancheon sniper system no longer stun, and instead only slow infantry units because the stun was ridiculous. Stun is merely something worth looking in to, as it can be too effective sometimes.
To close, we are still very happy with the game, and the balancing and patches that have come out so far. This was a lot to read, but if we can only choose two to three adjustments, we prefer the early game scout unit adjustments, late game anti force adjustments, and shield generators no longer protecting units inside. Thank you for reading our long post, and we can't wait to see what comes next! Thank you!