My ideas to fix Deathslinger: Buffs and nerfs to make him more well-rounded and feel better to play.
Deathslinger is a tough cookie. Like most of the threads I've visited involving him, I'm going to compare him to old Legion: Not just because he's a 110 Killer who inflicts Deep Wound, but because in his current state, he has two massive, glaring issues.
-The first is that, contrary to what most people think, his chase potential is actually extremely strong. A lot of people are under the impression that his power is "cancelled" by pallets, but they couldn't be further from the truth. On long loops or loops with even a moderate amount of LoS around the whole thing, shooting the Survivor before they can get to the pallet is, frankly, a total cinch, and then very rarely will you have enough high walls or LoS breakers to keep the chain from holding while you either reel the Survivor in or hold them there while you approach—on the shorter loops, this can also be accomplished just as easily even after the pallet has been dropped. Even on terrible spots like the Autohaven truck loops or Coldwind's entire existence (except for the cow tree but that place shouldn't exist anyway), Deathslingers with an eye for shot openings and good aim can and will spear you and reel you in well before the chain breaks. This seems all well and good until you get to thinking: With the obvious exception of loops that are just downright unfair, such as god pallets and the like, good Deathslingers can make his chase power TOO strong. Like, WAY too strong. When you really figure him out, the stuff you can do with him is, quite honestly, pretty insane. At most loops, he quickly becomes a Huntress who doesn't need to rev.
-The second issue is that, of course, despite this insane chase potential, a gun with a max range of 18 meters doesn't save him from that one weakness everyone loves to talk about: Having 110% base speed and NO bonus mobility or map pressure to compensate. Out of every 110 Killer, he is the first to have literally nothing to boost his pressure. Hag can teleport, Spirit can phase, Huntress can cross-map—even old Legion was actually capable of using his Frenzy for map traversal back then, especially if you knew the timings for lunge spam to maximize distance. Deathslinger has, well, and truly, nothing. Unless you're a no-blink Nurse or a Myers going against a 4-man Spine Chill, there is no other Killer in this game with less map pressure than Deathslinger.
When you consider these two issues, it becomes clear that Deathslinger is a lot like old Legion in more than just the sense of being a 110 Deep Wounder: He also suffers from the curse of having absolutely insane chase potential, to the point where he can actually prevent you from utilizing basic chase mechanics, but despite that, his nonexistent pressure makes him C or D tier against good Survivors. You can always try to mitigate this with Perks, namely Corrupt Intervention and Pop. But CI only lasts for two minutes, leaving you with three Perks as a 110 immobile Killer for the rest of the match, and with that low of map traversal, good luck getting to a gen in time to Pop it before the M1 gods smite thee with their wrath. And then you're across the map when the unhook happens and have no chance to go after the rescuer, so it's a lose-lose there.
Outside of these two huge problems, there are a few smaller things that can annoy people regarding this Killer, but most of those are number values: The range of the gun, how easily the chain breaks in certain spots, extended recovery and reload when missing, et cetera. But without a doubt, the imbalance between his chase and his pressure are his most prevalent problems, and they need to be addressed, sooner rather than later.
Well, we can always just point out the problems, but formulating a solution will always be a more productive affair. So I'm going to do that. In this thread, I propose a slew of buff-nerfs to better smoothen out Deathslinger's proficiency in the two big spheres of Killer performance: Chase, and pressure.
So, let's get the ugly part out of the way first: The nerfs. I know a lot of people are going to come at me for this because they don't realize how strong his chase is, but trust me: His chase is strong. It's really, really strong.
—Increase ADS time from 1/8 (0.125) seconds to 1/4 (0.25) seconds.
This nerf is what I feel to be the most impactful, and will balance out his more overtuned aspects the most. In a chase, his one key aspect over Huntress is the much shorter rev. However, as it stands right now, it's taken to quite a significant degree that I think needs to be toned down. If we were to double his ADS time, it would not only give Survivors a better visual cue, but it would make it take longer for the ADS to finish zooming in and affix onto its proper point, pulling back that "quickscope" aspect of him that I think is so powerful. It also mildly reduces the effectiveness of the fake-fire mindgame, i.e. pretending to ADS so that you can fire but then unscoping when the Survivor attempts to dodge.
Now here's the interesting part: This wouldn't actually affect how long it takes for him to fire a shot. See, it takes an eighth of a second to ADS, but according to the DBD wiki, it takes a full half second before you can actually fire your shot. That's three-eights of a second between finishing ADS and actually shooting. So increasing ADS time wouldn't directly nerf his quickscoping aspect, but it would give a stronger visual cue while also reducing the time the Deathslinger has between finishing ADS and firing that quickscope shot, with the added bonus of making the fake-fire mindgame a little harder to pull off.
—Reduce the charges required to break the chain from 100 to 80.
Now, before you grab your pitchforks, hear me out. I don't just think the chain should be made easier to break without any other changes. This is the one nerf in a series of nerfs and buffs to the chain breakage that will make him more consistent both at loops and at range.
—Deep Wound is only applied to a speared Survivor when the chain is broken. Injuring a speared Survivor with a basic attack does not apply Deep Wound.
I'm not proposing this nerf because I think Deep Wound is too strong. I'm proposing it because... well, if I'm being honest, it just doesn't work with Deathslinger. A status effect that only works well when stacked onto multiple Survivors does not go good with a 110, 1v1, immobile Killer who has to reload after every shot. This nerf is only here because Deep Wound just feels so utterly unnecessary and unhelpful on him, and I feel the buffs I'm about to propose will be a fitting replacement for this godawful stall tool. However, if you REALLY want to, the option is still there—you just have to eat a chain-break.
And that's it. Those are the three nerfs I want to see applied to Deathslinger. Now onto what you all really want: The buffs.
—Increase the Deathslinger's base movement speed from 4.4 meters/second (110%) to 4.5 meters/second (112.5%).
This is the first buff to increase his map pressure. I didn't want to make him 115 because it would allow for way too strong of a chase kit, even in spite of the nerfs I listed above, so I settled for the median. It allows him just a little bit more mobility and compensates for the small nerfs to his chase potential without overdoing it. But even a 115 Killer with no bonus mobility still has bad pressure, so obviously, he needs something else.
Well, Deathslinger's lore says that he was an engineer, and a very prodigal one at that. He invented a damn speargun, for crying out loud! So it would make sense that he knows his way around machinery. He would know how to operate it, how to fix it... and, of course, how to destroy it.
The Survivors' main objective is to repair machinery. Deathslinger would be the perfect candidate for knowing how to undo that. I propose giving him a secondary ability: Sabotage.
—After putting a speared Survivor into the dying state, Deathslinger unlocks the Sabotage ability for 40 seconds. While this ability is active, press and hold the secondary power button when near a generator to sabotage it. Sabotaging takes five seconds to perform. Sabotaging does NOT count as kicking a generator, and generators that are already regressing CANNOT be sabotaged.
-A sabotaged generator regresses 50% faster than normal (tier II Ruin, for reference).
-When interacting with a sabotaged generator, Survivors must perform a five-second repair action to undo the sabotage and begin repairing again. Interrupting this action will cause the generator to continue regressing at an accelerated rate.
This ability will unlock some bonus stall in Deathslinger's kit, with a few important drawbacks:
-The Deathslinger must earn his ability to use a Sabotage action, and it is only active for a limited time.
-Since sabotaging does not count as kicking a generator, it will not work with kicking Perks such as Pop Goes the Weasel or Overcharge, and it doesn't stack with Perks such as Surge or Ruin—the only one it would work with is Surveillance since, you know, regression is regression. This is done to remain mindful to the devs' mindset of keeping individual stall tools such as Perks individually strong without making them synergize too well via stacking. However, in certain cases, this could also work in your favor: You could sabotage one gen and then use Pop Goes the Weasel on another. It's a give-and-take.
These are the two buffs I want to see to make Deathslinger's pressure more tangible: A little extra mobility, and some basekit stall, but one that comes in a more interactive and interesting package than just a flat penalty to repair speed. Survivors can easily get back on a gen before it is too regressed by sabotaging, or they can ignore it to pressure a different part of the map. Likewise, Deathslinger can focus on a tight area of sabotaged gens to keep the game slowed, or he can fire-and-forget this ability in order to take his attention somewhere else.
There's one more small set of buffs I'd like to go over. Remember when I mentioned wanting to compensate Deathslinger for the proposed nerf of reducing his chain's charges? Well, here they are. That nerf was step one in a series of steps to fix some weirdness with Deathslinger's chain: Sometimes, it can feel too easy to escape from the chain after the Deathsinger landed a long-range shot on you, making even that small max range of 18 meters feel somewhat useless. In addition, as strong as his chase can be, there are still some loops that are hard to land a shot on, and even if you do land a shot, it has too much length or high walls to keep the chain intact before you can get to the Survivor. Here's my proposed set of fixes to that.
—Increase the range of the speargun from 18 meters to 21 meters.
—Make the Snake Oil addon (slightly increases the reeling speed of Survivors) basekit.
—Reduce the damage dealt to the chain when pulling from 15 charges/second to 10 charges/second.
—Reduce the damage dealt to the chain when interrupted by objects from 20 charges/second to 13 charges/second.
When you look at this series of buffs, the times taken to break the chain are significantly altered:
-When tension is applied to the chain via reeling or pulling, the current chain takes 6.67 seconds to break. The new chain would take 8.
-When the chain is colliding with objects, the current chain takes 5 seconds to break. The new chain would take just over 6.
If you were to spear a Survivor from far away and they were to start pulling on it, it would take an extra four-thirds of a second to break. This works wonders for the current range, as Survivors speared from such a distance can often make the chain break just before they're within lunge range, but it wouldn't do much for the extra gun range added on in my buff suggestions. That's where the bonus reeling speed comes in: You can reel the Survivor in faster, pulling them to you before the chain breaks on its own just before you can pull them in, but if they manage to catch themselves on an object and you can't get them unstuck, you'd still have to let them go and they would be given a chance to get away.
Regarding the other stat of the chain breaking when collision is applied, that single extra second should be just enough for a good shot to be rewarded: When I get robbed of my shots by ridiculously long, high walls, I usually find myself almost able to make it, but not quite. This small buff would be enough to land those hits, and if they aren't? Well, I shouldn't have been using my gun there and should have just broken the pallet and shot when the Survivor tries to escape.
There is one final buff to his basekit that I'd like to propose, a simple QoL change that goes along with one of the other changes I suggested and overall makes him feel better to play.
—The Chewing Tobacco and Bayshore's Cigar addons, which reduce the stun time when the chain is broken, are reworked to instead reduce the time taken to sabotage a generator and/or increase sabotage regression speed. In return, the base stun time is reduced to 3 seconds, down from 4.
Considering you already hit your shot, and you'll have to reload afterwards either way, AND you have reduced base movement speed, I think that a 4-second stun is a little harsh. Keep in mind, the only other Killer with a 4-second stun tied to their power is the OTHER Deep Wound Killer, and we all know how fun it is to fatigue every single time you use your power of "M1 slightly harder". This would also go hand-in-hand with my change of only applying Deep Wound on chain breakage, so that if someone wants to eat the stun to apply the status effect, well, they won't have to eat as much of one.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.