Respawn are buffing Caustic in a bid to make the Toxic Trapper “terrifying” again — the trick though, the Apex Legends devs say, will be to avoid pumping his damage numbers so he doesn’t simply “take over” the Season 9 meta.
The iconic Apex Legends toxin master has had a very bumpy ride in the last few months. First, he was whacked with a “devastating” bundle of gas nerfs that stripped away his close-range power, and tanked his play rate.
Even worse, he then copped the brunt of secret smoke changes shipped in March’s Chaos Theory update. Caustic has certainly been through the Apex Legends ringer in the last few seasons.
Unfortunately, the repetitive nerfs and changes have all but removed him from the battle royale’s Season 9 meta. While his 5.1% win rate was barely affected — a “small positive, Respawn says — his pick rate is now teetering ever closer to 2.6%. It’s a huge dip from his lofty 6.6% presence in early Season 8.
Luckily, Respawn has the Toxic Trapper in their sights; they’re already “thinking about what to do with him,” and have some early buffs in the chamber.
According to lead designer Daniel Z. Klein, who spoke at length about the Apex Legends metagame in a Reddit thread on May 18, Caustic is certainly on the buff list heading into the next Season 9 update, in a bid to save the trapper.
Warning bells started ringing for Respawn soon after the defender’s “devastating” v0.8.1 changes; loud enough that something “really had to be done.”
“Caustic’s win/loss ratio barely changed… it went from 5.1% to 5.0%,” the Apex Legends designer explained. “His pick rate, however, dropped a lot. The common explanation is that only Caustic mains stuck around after the nerf. That kind of self-selection undid a lot of the impact of the nerf after that update.”
There’s two options now, in Respawn’s eyes. First is simply to boost the Toxic Trapper’s damage again, and let him go wild. This is the “lesser” pick, however.
Instead, they’d rather have a toy around with Caustic’s “non-damage outputs,” especially when it comes to how they can tweak his gas gameplay. Klein added: “I want us to spend more time thinking of these possibilities first.”
“The goal,” he continued, “is to make players terrified of your gas again, and try to leave as soon as possible. That’s currently not the case, and we will fix that.”
These planned changes mean Caustic joins a host of other Legends in Respawn’s sights for buffs and nerfs in the next few Apex Legends patches.
The biggest news is Lifeline will cop more nerfs soon; the healer has been judged “a little too strong” despite losing her shield in Legacy. Rampart is getting a “spicy” boost, while Revenant may well “climb to the top” of the battle royale’s meta with the changes being tested behind the scenes at the moment.
Respawn did, however, knock back calls Wattson for to be buffed. The Apex Legends devs claimed she’s “very powerful,” and likely won’t be touched.