CP Vox wouldn’t feel oppressive if DE wasn’t so strong. The correct way to balance the current over powered CP junglers and Vox would be to tone down DE.
The foremost problem with DE is that it stacks with time, like the old BP. However, CP mages won’t be able to effectively use a DE that stacks with constant damage and it would be a very drastic nerf to heroes like Celeste and Petal who are seeing play outside situational counter picking.
I propose a DE rework, not a stat rebalance. Instead of granting a stack per-second, it should grant a stack every 1.5 or 2-seconds, so that kiting or running away is more feasible.
Total number of stacks should be slightly increased, giving higher power spikes to mages who can continue landing skillshots from a long range, but not to an Ozo who spent more than 6s in his 3B+3A combo.
Stacks should start dropping off after 3s instead of 4s so that melee poke heroes can’t abuse the CW+DE combo, but stacks should drop off at the rate of 1.5s/stack to incentivise skillful management through coordination with captains and other CC applying heroes.
Basic attacks that don’t deal crystal damage continued after 6s of dealing any crystal damage shouldn’t count towards “stacking time”.
Eg: -Skaarf lands a Spitfire every 3s and gains stacks every time it lands because DE will retain stacks for 3s.
-Skaarf gets in range for basic attacks and his perk allows him to stack DE further (for a stack every 2s) by dealing crystal damage with basic attacks.
-His perk’s cap of basic attacks is reached but Skaarf continues basic attacking, not dealing any crystal damage.
-In this case, DE stops stacking further as no crystal damage is dealt, but stacks will not drop off at the usual cap of 3s. Instead stacks will be retained for 6s if Skaarf continues basic attacking.
The 4th point will curb the DE abuse by mobile heroes like Skye and Taka, who start stacking their item by basic attacking captains and then dealing massive bursts to the captain’s allied heroes, or the stacking of DE by heroes for whom DE is the sole damage item. In it’s current state it’s an incredible option as a last item for all captains, being very similar to the old BP however the meta seems to not have discovered this yet.
Balancing the 4th point however for off meta heroes like CP Krul or CP SAW will be very cumbersome as their viability lies within the ability to stack items with basic attacks that don’t deal CP. BF will fair well even with this as his basics deal CP.
In the way I suggest, points 1, 2 and 3 will tune down CP Vox considerably as DE stacks will start dropping off before his A comes off cooldown, but generally these 3 points are small tune downs to DE to make it equally appealing as a SG for melee bruisers.
Point 4 is a mere consideration that DE shouldn’t incentivise stacking off captains or occasional basic attacks.