Gears Forums

Horde: Character Balancing

Hey, I remember reading somewhere that TC is planning to rebalance the characters in horde but who knows when they’ll get around to it. So in the meantime, I’m curious about what the community thinks is needed to balance each character so that they are viable at higher difficulty levels and are able to play true to their class. And without making them overpowered.

I’ll start with Lahni.

  • Fix Shock Chain. It’s bugged and doesn’t work at all.

  • Brawler maxed out currently gives you 100% increased melee damage. Should be changed to 200%. Brawler card should also give you a melee damage taken reduction like it was in Gears4. Skill progression would be as follows:
    level 1: 20% melee damage increase, 5% melee damage taken decrease
    2: 40%, 10%
    3: 80, 20%
    4: 130, 30%
    5: 200, 50%

  • mid range deflection and short range deflection should be combined into a single card to free up a card slot. Card should max out at 40% deflection instead of 30%.
    Skill progression: 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%

  • Lahni should spawn with a breaker mace instead of a gnasher. Or let her be able to buy a breaker mace from the fab. I’ve found that the breaker mace plus the brawler card works really well but I have to wait until a warden comes around before I can get my hands on a breaker mace.

  • Breaker mace capacity card. Breaker mace doesn’t use bullets but it does “run out” as you use it. So this will help it last longer. Skill progression: 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%. Or, instead of this card, maybe they could modify Lahni’s ammo capacity perk so that it also affects the breaker mace. From my testing, it currently doesn’t do this. Modifying the perk also has the benefit of not needing to use up a card slot.

  • Venom cards should be modified so they work in horde without venom. Although this might make them too OP. But Venom blade would pair really well with Thrill of the hunt and Shock Chain. And the Venom Resistance card would help Lahni survive longer out in the battlefield.

  • Custom Claw card. Provides increased damage and active effects. Skill progression: 5%, 10%, 15%, 25%, 45%. I think all characters should have a custom weapon card that buffs their loadout weapons.

  • Power Boost card. Increases power from nearby kills. Stacks with the passive. It should also increase the radius of effect. All scouts should have this card. This would help reduce the dependence on Jack for power. Skill progression: 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%

  • “On The Flank” only works with ballistic damage. But it should be changed so that it works with melee damage as well.

  • Nimble provides extended slide range but I think it would be more useful if it also provided ballistic deflection while you’re sliding. This would stack with the Deflection card mentioned above. Skill progression (for the ballistic deflection part of this card): 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 30%


I won’t go that in-depth, but here’s a few:


  • Should have the ability to place and upgrade Forge, as well as a price reduction for it with card.
  • Should be able to vacuum up more than one drop at a time for the Forge. Maybe make this a card upgrade.
  • Should have additional buff options on a cooldown, such as stim and shield from campaign.

JD (some combination of the below, not necessarily all of them)

  • Card adding +1 ammo to explosive weapons probably shouldn’t affect Lancer GL. This would nerf the Lancer GL, while simultaneously making other explosive weapons more attractive options. I get the feeling this may have been their intention, as the card doesn’t actually mention the Lancer GL.
  • The GL should take longer to reload it’s secondary fire on lockers, so JD can’t just run a simple rotation and spam the GL all the live long day.
  • Razor Hail percentage should be reduced, but last for more ticks - making it more effective for delaying Regeneration, but far less able to one-shot almost anything…
  • Ultimate damage should be increased, but bleed effect removed.
  • Legendary card should also apply to GL kills.


  • Matriarch shouldn’t be able to change directions while running.
  • Matriarch shouldn’t be able to insta-kill any fortification it so much as brushes up against, though it should do heavy damage. “Redding out” fortifications shouldn’t be a borderline-required tactic against any boss.
  • The “More Lethal” and “More Health” modifiers should be the final two Horde mods, not the second and third ones, along with Regeneration.
  • “More Lethal” probably needs to be nerfed, as the absurd damage enemies put out late in rounds really limit the ways you can play. You shouldn’t be getting two-shot DBNO’d by random Claw fire on the other side of the map on any difficulty. That’s not "difficult’ - it’s lame.
  • Alternatively, you could make “Resilience” a personal upgrade characters can buy, that essentially upgrades their armor alongside damage increases to the enemy. This would allow characters like Kait to play more aggressively (as they should), while characters like Fahz could be more like glass cannons as a round goes on. Right now, everyone becomes too fragile past a certain point.

I think trying to balance a lot of the other characters is going to be kind of fruitless until you get JD, and to a lesser extent Kait, figured out. And nerfing them is probably going to require more comprehensive nerfs to the mode itself, as it is why OP characters like JD are required in the first place at higher difficulties.

Horde right now is actually more “fun” at the lower end of the difficulty spectrum, because it allows a wider range of behaviour while still succeeding, beyond GL spam and almost everyone else bunkering down with Tri-Shots.


Only balance needed…get rid of the hero nonsense🙄

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Personally I think a few Ults are useless and should be changed to something more in line with the character, the most obvious example being Del.

Seriously why on Earth would an engineer Ult be a useless rolling ball sack that doesn’t even take out 5% of a scion’s health in master when it could be something like instant % ammo reload of nearby sentries or something similar to COG Gear’s Team Repair card.

Same goes for Baird (leaving aside the fact that no one uses the DR1 currently because of the bleeding barrier “glitch”) : his Ult should be a Hammer of Dawn blast on marked targets.

Jack should be able to drop shock traps on the ground as in the campaign, that would be way more effective than the zapper on higher difficulties. Would be cool if he could pick up at least 2 weapons for smelting to reduce all the back and forth on the map.

COG Gear should have a card that boosts Tri-Shot/Salvo damage because he will sit in the base using these weapons most of the time anyway.

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That’s not really a balance update - it’s leaning into the current lack of balance more.

Characters should all have a viable meta that doesn’t require sitting in the base with a Tri-Shot or Salvo past a certain point.

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Threads like these will be the death of horde and escape.

I sincerely hope the developers ignore everything said here.


Yeah I hope they fine tune all that stuff, they need to adopt a similar perspective to that of an action RPG. A game like Diablo3, the skills went through lots of changes over time and it impacts builds, etc. There’s a lot they can do to fine tune the cards and perhaps even add new ones as some characters have way more than others.

I’m wondering if synergies could be a thing, like Diablo 2. For instance having a card equipped with another gives you a bonus on one of them, that kind of thing. Also please do something about excess duplicates soon, have lots and they are useless right now.

I think that’s the one department Kat has an edge over those 2. If I could mix my own class id take her decoy and give it to Baird.

You gotta read between the lines. They said Fahz was getting a “rework”. Rework usually implies completely changing a character. Instead they just tweaked the numbers on 1 perk and some argue it made him worse. What we consider a tweak TC considered a rework -.-

They need to make melee oriented chars beefy. They need to be able to survive getting shot from multiple claws in order to get within melee range. Then somehow manage to get back. At least with Grace she gets stim for meleeing…I think. She’s the one char in horde I don’t have and have no desire to get. Lahni needs bleed on melee without the need of venom, much like Emile. All escape classes could use tweaks to their venom perks for horde.

I dont feel they need more lethal. They hit pretty damn hard past wave 40 without it.

You leave JD alone, dont you dare nerf him, he’s the only dude that can get the job done on master for f’s sake.

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Nerfs to JD would need to be accompanied by meaningful changes to the mode’s modifiers, specifically for this reason. But it’s not a reason not to touch JD at all.

Agree about jack…having to ferry weapons n smelting…and being a mobile medic…is as boring as anything I’ve ever had to play as…to be honest this game is already being forgotten about…I’d be surprised if a gears 6 even got off the ground🙄

Your post is a prime argument why JD needs a nerf , being the only viable character on highest difficulty. Someone may make the counter-argument that masters would then be impossible or too hard without having the over-powered character remaining untouched, but so what? It’s the highest difficulty, it’s supposed to be hard.


Nerfing JD is NOT the solution, it’s buffing the other characters to be on the same level as JD and Kait so everyone’s is viable and good.


To be honest I hope TC just leave things as they are . Nerf this, buff that, will only open up more problems in horde.
As it is everybody playing knows where they stand with the characters , good or bad.
I don’t have a lot of faith in TC to make the changes that many are calling for,
Their method of fixing is " cut off the head to cure the headache.


I agree. A couple of simple solutions include:

  1. Marcus - enable a randomised headpop-headshot ability which bypasses execution rules. Perhaps a card which starts at 20% and increases up to 50%?

  2. Fahz - enable the Explosive Headshot card effect to work during normal play; but double it during X-Ray mode. This will enable some degree of crowd-control for Fahz but also enables the effects during X-Ray to be worthwhile.

  3. Del - improve his Ultimate ability. Perhaps a combined frag explosion AND shock chain effect rolled into one?

  4. Keegan - allow his Ultimate to replenish explosive weapons without venom effect.

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Replace his Custom Lancer card effects to be Custom Assault Rifles. Seeing COG Gear have a Common version of Custom Lancer skill which makes it easier to upgrade while Marcus has a Rare version is BS

That actually sounds pretty nice on a claw.

Ask not what thou can do to improve the highly difficult horde mode.

Ask what the highly difficult horde mode can do to improve thou.