Atlas has always been in an odd spot due to his role and his mech class. Being a grappler mech, he has the some of the highest potential for enemy disruption in the game, only mirrored by Siren. This also makes him a difficult mech to play, as taking advantage of positioning is always going to be more difficult than dealing damage.
Atlas’ previous passive, Showmanship, attempted to give him a duality of purpose; you could either move things around, or bop them into one another for some damage, wrestler-style. But repeated playtests showed that players heavily leaned towards simply moving targets into other targets for damage, leaving the board pretty undisturbed. In addition, this caused Atlas to have a 1:1 card-to-damage output that was usually reserved for Marauders, in addition to him having his extended health pool.
The new Atlas looks to emphasize target movement more than damage, while still allowing him to deal some damage. This required a complete overhaul of his core mechanics, first by changing the old passive Showmanship to Magnetic Battler:
Whenever your card effect would cause a target to move into another target, you may first shift the blocking target 1 space out of the way to allow movement to happen. You may then spend 1 MP to deal 1 damage to one of the two targets.
To compensate for this, Atlas' MP has been bumped up to the normal 3, and several cards can help him generate more MP, giving him a "burst mobility" option similar to Scavenger, something that he can trade off for damage instead. These changes look to improve upon Atlas’ key traits:
By now, Volcano is now one of the older mechs in the game, and his kit shows it. His average output has both been consistently easy and high, with him being the only mech that can possibly deal 4 damage consistently from Turn 1. This was supposedly counterbalanced by his poor mobility, inability to hit targets up close, and his need to finangle with his Blast Chart to reach optimal damage conditions.
As a wise man once said, “the best form of crowd control is death”. And with a mech that pumps at at least 4 damage per turn, that was especially true. A lot of Volcano’s inherent weaknesses and his slow ramp-up time was offset by his ability to outpace Invader Reinforcements. His Blast Chart mechanic was both simultaneously difficult to understand, but easy to optimize, allowing him to keep his damage high.
The new Volcano looks to preserve his role of a long-range siege mech that focuses on splash damage, recalculated for how the game now escalates due to the Arkite System. The Blast Chart and its wording also received changes to better emphasize his role. The Spotter system was also removed for simplicity, and now simply references other Player mechs on the board as “spotters”.
At the start of the game, add Blast tokens #1 and #2 to their spaces on the Blast Chart. The Initial Zone is the point of reference for the Blast Chart when Shelling. Each Blast token deals 1 damage to its respective space during Shelling. Blast tokens may stack. At the start of each Player Phase, all Blast tokens jump back to their own corresponding spaces.
Accompanying the changes to his Passive, his Blast Chart has now been changed as well. Previously, markers on his chart would persist between phases. Now, markers are individually identified, and jump back to their respective spots. This means that players need to actively shift around tokens to optimize their damage per turn, while minimizing friendly fire. This also means that buying new tokens is less straightforward; with each token having their own unique position and cost, players will need to consider the opportunity cost of moving those tokens into useful position. These changes look to improve upon Volcano’s key traits:
Centurion - Centurion Resolve
Effect changed to:
"Until the start of the next Player Phase, reduce damage taken from all attacks by 4."
This allows the card to be a stronger version of Anticipate, while playing off of his damage-reduction theme and bonuses. This also prevents weirdness from multi-hitting attacks, HP-decrease effects, and other strange interactions that might stem from the "inability to lose HP", rather than reducing damage taken.