Why buffs alone won't make Bucket viable in competitive play


#1

I’ve recently joined a competitive team, and I was thinking about one of my favorite supports, Bucket, and why i don’t think he works for Competitive play. In fact, I don’t think he will work out with his current set of abilities, unless they are changed mechanically. Unlike some, I think that a high-damage support is viable, and that damage itself at high enough levels can be a deterrent. But the reason why he won’t be competitive has to do with directly pressuring the monster.

At high levels of play, many monsters will try to waste as much time of the early/post-evolve domes as possible, avoiding damage by kiting the hunters around obstacles, or hiding in corners. The hunters have to exert as much direct damage pressure as possible to press their early advantage.

In most domes, Cabot is able to do this. Cabot can push damage on a running monster on his own, and when the monster is forced out of the corner, he and the assault can get in some amped damage.

Bucket, on the other hand, cannot exert such direct pressure. Bucket is a super defensive support, relying on the premise that the monster will fight rather than run, and that the hunters can decide the terms of the fight. In that sense, Bucket may spend up to 15 seconds, a quarter of the dome, just setting up turrets, when the reality is that the monster will probably only get hit by them for about 3 seconds, taking maybe 2-5 bars of armor damage, tops.

So, Bucket will severely underperform Cabot in damage any time the monster chooses to be evasive in the dome, which is usually when the hunters have the advantage. Bucket is trading away the ability to pressure for the ability to get consistent damage in combat. If the monster plays evasively, that means Bucket is trading the early game for the late game.

Therefore, in order for Bucket to be viable just by buffing his sentries/rockets, he would need to do several domes worth of Cabot damage at Stage 3. I think we can all see how that would be problematic in pub games.

Most monsters will play evasively to counter bucket, because they’re banking on the fact that the sentry damage won’t be enough at stage 3. Once they hit that stage, their damage output makes fights shorter, and Bucket doesn’t help you extend the fight, like Hank does. Therein lies the rub: Bucket is less aggressive than Cabot & less protective than Hank. He cannot exert direct pressure on the monster at early stages, and his late game pressure is not enough to make up for it.

The solution is to give Bucket something so threatening that the monster would be forced to fight in those early domes & take some of that steady sentry damage. I am not sure what this could be, but it needs to be something new that isn’t in the game right now. Perhaps tagging the monster makes him take more damage. Perhaps sentries could point to the monster’s location no matter how far away the monster is. Maybe sentry damage could be amped up the closer the monster is to the sentry. Maybe Bucket upgrades his sentries ammunition as the monster stages up to do more and more damage to armor, or just more damage. But he needs something new that will help him force the fight, something that would synergize well with the turrets. He needs some way to exert direct pressure against an evasive monster.

Other notes:

Its possible that Torvald might help Bucket out a little bit, because Monsters must move constantly to counter his mortars. Torvald also has the markers that multiply damage. But I don’t think that will be enough to make Bucket better than Cabot, since Cabot can double mortar damage, and Bucket sentries should never do as much damage on their own as the mortar cannons.

There may be some relays or maps where Markov Bucket Maggie is actually so annoying that it may be viable, but I’d argue that this isn’t very fun for either side, and can feel a bit dirty. If you don’t get much damage in the early game, but then you just play super evasively at the relay, nobody feels good about that win, especially the monster.

I didn’t mention the UAV here because I think its a good skill, just not in competitive play. If your competitive team is getting juked, then your team is not doing their job, and you need to practice sticking close on the monster after a dome. Its fine for Bucket to have this utility, even if it never gets used in Competitive. But it doesn’t count as adding direct pressure, because most teams don’t struggle with tracking. If they do struggle with tracking, the fact that bucket’s tag takes so much time compared to Cabot’s, it means that you’ll probably be fighting a monster with more armor than you would with Cabot.

TL:DR

Bucket can’t exert direct pressure on the monster in early domes. He trades the early game for the late game, but his damage isn’t enough to compensate for multiple domes worth of Cabot damage. If it was, the turrets would be OP. He needs something that forces the monster to fight in the early game.


#2

Tl;dr? O.o


#3

Added, good idea. I know its long, but I think the devs will read it.


#4

No worries, just want to make sure more people read it. ^.^


#5

Bucket is best for the power relay part of hunt


#6

I personally think his sentries should be able to be placed faster than they are now, in order to set up for fights efficiently. It’s so slow right now, he has terrible early/mid game it seems.


#7

Hmm I gotta agree with that, I have wanted that for quite a while


#8

Bucket’s ability to create area denial and assist in damage by creating a 2nd-assault type of support is enough to keep him up in the competitive scene. If you pair him up with Hyde, Slim, and Abe you create a deadly area for the monster to stick in.

But I can agree with @Shin, his turrets need a shorter placement/arm time.


#9

I don’t play competitive, I don’t have a team.

How does bucket work with other trappers? Is there a trapper that can’t be played but makes up for the early game damage loss?

Say, Abe? does abe need the fall back point of the turrets to ensure that he doesn’t get stomped on in a fight?

I don’t know, I don’t play competitive. I’d like to hear from yall.


#10

So… Good and interesting points… I’m not a pro by any stretch of the imagination, but I play the support role VERY differently.

  1. UAV off the start. So many people are being sneaky these days, and I can usually tag a monster before the tracker can get on it. In some matches, I can UAV tag a Stage1 6 times. This can reduce the chase, AND apply psychological pressure.

  2. Turrets can be used effectively depending on the terrain. Typically, I like setting them up on ridges over canyons, etc. so that I can get some shots in above and below, no matter what. BUT… they can also be used to deny monsters hidey holes in the dome. This is a very under-utilized thing, and it always makes me smile when my team chases a goliath or kraken out of the open and into a presumably safe location… just to get shot a bunch. There’s usually not that many places to hide in a dome… maybe 1 or 2 VERY secure spots. Taking away even one of them is a huge +.

  3. Being a bucket means you’re typically not with the team… It’s kinda sad. It means you miss out on half a dome if you’re unlucky. That being said: You can use your turrets to monitor/secure choke points or even cut off the monster by leading it if your party is “going round”. I spend most of my time this way (and I think most trappers should too) because I can then take control over the battlefield, and hopefully press the monster back to the team. Or at least buy time for a dome.

There’s lots of good ways to use him. But you are right: His dome support is not as good as other supports right now.

On the topic of improvements: I always thought the turrets were somewhat confused/confusing. EVERY gun in the game that shoots bullets has an unlimited range… Except these turrets. I think it would be interesting/useful if the guns had infinite range, but low target aquisition. This can be used with his UAV tag however, and if there’s LOS… it will shoot at the monster when tagged.


#11

But if the monster plays evasively in early domes, Cabot will get like 5 bars of health damage, where Bucket will get next to none. Then, at the stage 3 fight, Bucket would need to make up for that. He simply can’t.

Essentially, in early domes, Area Denial is useless, and at the Relay its not strong enough.


#12

If anyone needs extra help getting to a safe place from the Monster, its Griffin or Hank. Still, if the monster chooses not to engage, these characters don’t help Bucket do that much more damage, not compared to Cabot.


#13

there is one thing that is holding bucket back. stage 1 flame breathe and the like can instantly melt buckets turrets.

you stated the time it takes to set up his turrets. its not a good trade off when they melt instantly.

look at sunnys dam shield. it takes 8 melees from goliath to destroy that stupid thing. even if it was 3 hits for buckets turrets the damage would be tradable.

bucket is the best stage 3 defender tho. he has the most potential to carry his team and win with damage. no shields so medic needs to be on point or die for a good amount of damage.


#14

Cabot isn’t very good against evasive Monsters either, since the Assaults he relies on struggle in them more than Supports do and his weapon alone isn’t really a standout.

It is very difficult to get in large chunks of damage on an evasive Monster as Assault unless the Monster tries to fight or just seriously messes up.

The Damage Amp is generally vastly overrated: in this case because you ignore the general ineptitude of Assaults at any skill level against decent Monsters that are evading.


Honestly I’ve found the Sentry Guns far more helpful than a Damage Amp would be in them - you spread them around to loosely cover portions of the dome and go to simply shoot the Monster with the GML.

I think it is mostly a psychological effect, but Monsters tend to really try to move out of a single Sentry Gun’s fire when they hear it and it can mess with their dodging.

If Bucket really wasn’t up to par in early Dome pressure, buffing his GML somewhat would be an extremely simple solution.

As the damage focuses Supports I feel that Bucket and Cabot could afford to have the strongest weapons among them.


In defensive fights Bucket really shines - I think its easy to underestimate and not recognize the constant damage his Sentries output and how he puts a timer on aggression.


If the Monster is any good, the Hunters won’t always be right behind them - it is extremely helpful to be able to almost constantly highlight the Monster’s location.

This is particularly useful against Sneak Starts when the team isn’t running Maggie, as he can give the other Trappers the first clue they so desperately need.

Honestly, the scenario you present would just indicate a bad Monster.


I am of the opinion that Bucket is underpowered, but not systematically broken.

I’d advocate another 40%-90% Sentry Gun range to make them more consistent area denial tools and on average do more damage in fights, with the compensatory nerf of making them extremely fragile.

A GML damage buff could also be in order to help him stand out in his damage specialist support focus.


TL:DR

Bucket is underpowered, but his kit isn’t inherently flawed. Cabot is gutter trash, and Bucket beats him against evasive Monsters.


#15

I would have made a lot of these points a week ago… the UAV is really nice in pubs, and many monsters in pubs use a lot of sneaking. Even with the group of friends I played with consistently, I felt Bucket was fine, and that the UAV was helpful.

If the Monster is any good, the Hunters won’t always be right behind them

This does not ring true for competitive play… even the best monsters will almost always get domed after their stage 2 evolution, and stopping to UAV would severely slow down the chase.

The Damage Amp is generally vastly overrated: in this case because you ignore the general ineptitude of Assaults at any skill level against decent Monsters that are evading.

But again, on a coordinated team this dynamic changes. Think about the situation where the monster is jumping from one corner of the dome to the other. Cabot gets a lot of quick, bursty damage in there. Bucket does not. Thus, Bucket’s lack of ability to apply direct pressure hurts him because the monster will have so much health at stage 3 it won’t be a good fight.


#16

Never had a problem with the slowness personally


#17

In all fairness, the turrets aren’t meant to be placed in clusters


#18

People want him to be stronger, and it takes awhile to set up 5 turrets.

Speed is wanted, no?


#19

If a Monster isn’t using a Sneak Start against not Maggie, they are giving up some of their head start.

The advantage won’t last all the way to Stage 2 - birds happen - but it will give you a bit more time alone to feed, and a better chance of a safer evolve.


It really doesn’t: it’s about the Assault’s limitations, not teamwork.

Unless the Monster runs into a minefield for some reason most of Cabot’s damage against evasive Monsters is likely to come from the Railgun.


#20

They make up for that lack of a head start by proper pathing, quick feeding, and using the map to clear distance for a quick, 90-seconds-or-less Stage 1. You have to go quickly in competitive play, and sneak is just too slow and too risky even against Abe. Birds will negate it’s worth and you can’t control when birds spawn on many maps.

Trust me, most monsters will play fast and loose at stage one, making the tracking easy & the UAV useless.