WALL OF TEXT BE WARNED
Your argument is mostly valid I think but the biggest issue here is Merlin. (The rest of the post isn’t necessarily even aimed at you, @Henline)
Bo Peep does seem more balanced than not, being vulnerable to control and all melee attacks, not to mention Baymax and Barbossa. Bo alone does not create a whole different meta. She just happens to counter ranged attackers and do amazing damage. There is some variety in Challengers on older servers as well, there are Bogos and Mauis and Finnicks, etc…
But overall the picture doesn’t look too good.
My teammate’s Arena team ended up in our Surge yesterday. What was it?
The very meta Baymax-Sparrow-Merlin-Barbossa (Ti)-Merida team.
What happened? So, so many wipes.
Our whaliest players wiped on it.
I, fully aware of the danger, wiped on it several times with my Olaf-Elsa, Anger, Aladdin, Gaston, Darkwing Duck (Nick disk, don’t have Mr yet), Joy or Flynn (hoped their Reality boost would help). Only had somewhat easy times using Timon & Pumbaa, Scar and a mirror Merlin-Barbossa counter. (Some of the very few times anyone in our guild could clear it on the first try.)
He himself wiped on his own team numerous times and trust me, he’s the most game-savvy guy in our guild. He knows why his team works so well.
4-5 squirreled enemies in the first 10-20 seconds is balanced, yeah?
It was only marginally better the previous time it happened, about 3 weeks ago when his Arena team happened to have Aladdin in it instead of Merida.
I am not looking forward to Merlin teams populating Arena leagues on the server (and consequently, Surge and CW) when even more people get the memo.
FACE IT: Merlin’s kit is broken OP and there are not enough counters for the Merlin meta with the way it is. No amount of strategizing can help here.
18 seconds of squirreldom is broken (and no one has 200 tenacity to cut that down to 2 seconds or whatever they say helps).
Being able to loop the skill is broken. He should have ONE squirrel active at a time and that’s it. It’s like letting Hiro run 5 Megabots at once.
It should target enemies with some logic behind it, as well.
His crit feeding skill is broken, since it charges too fast with crit-heavy teams.
Oh, just use the newest support Timon & Pumbaa, you’ll say. (Very helpful in Surge where you can use a hero only once.)
Or pray your Scar doesn’t run out of time while AoE Merida or Sparrow spam rains on his team.
Or simply get the Mickey disk for Goofy (in the infamously and needlessly unbalanced friend campaign with enemy Shank). SO EASY.
I’ll say what’s easy, fix Merlin’s numbers. Something needs to go, either the multiple squirrels, or the energy loop thing, or the 18 sec timer, or the severity of the disable – no need to gut him, his concept is wonderful, and there needs to be a decent counter to Sparrow, Moana, Robin (?), etc. But something must give.