How to Fix Cleaning Up Your Mess

A short opinion piece on an improvement to this top-tier pitching skill. Posted: Dec 01 '21

Cleaning Up Your Mess has long been considered one of the top-tier Gold pitcher skills. Many have considered it essential to survive in high-Gold Ranked play and above. But I think its effect should be nerfed just a little bit to add more variety to the game.

Why is Mess so good?

Mess has two effects:

  1. If a runner on base is caused by a self-inflicted mistake, all stats excluding stamina are increased.
  2. Decreased stats are restored.
The first effect is great: give up a hit or a walk and your stats jump up. Awesome. But the second effect is what makes Mess truly incredible. All stats that have been decreased by an offensive skill like Charisma or Master Base Thief are restored.

What's crazy about this is that Mess completely counters the decrease at every level. 100% of the stat decrease is countered, whether you have Lvl 1 Mess or Lvl 8 Mess. Because of the prevalence of Charisma on upper-rank batters, this is significant. It means nerfing Mess with Mentor Lvl 19 does relatively little (the stat boost from the first effect is reduced but that's not a huge deal). It also means getting Mess in a set where you can only max two skills is fine; just max the other two since Mess will still be largely effective at Lvl 1.

How can we change this?

The change I'm proposing is simple: instead of completely countering stat-decreasers at Lvl 1, Mess's decrease should scale relative to how much Charisma decreases stats.

At Lvl 1, Charisma decreases pitcher stats by 2, so at Lvl 1 Mess should only counter up to 2 points of decrease. At Lvl 6, Charisma drops stats by 8 so Lvl 6 Mess should counter 8.

This means that if your pitcher with Lvl 6 Mess faces a batter with Lvl 6 Charisma, nothing changes. But, if your pitcher only has Lvl 3 Mess, the batter's Charisma would still decrease your stats by 4 (the amount Lvl 3 Charisma provides).

How does this affect gameplay?

So obviously, Mess would become less useful. We'd be incentivized to roll sets with low-level Mess, because it would barely make a dent against high-level Charisma sets. But we'd also be incentived to Skill Train Mess higher to have more of an effect on Charisma.

This change would also affect how we might use other batter skills.

Master Base Thief

Master Base Thief would become much more valuable. Right now, it's mostly useless against Mess. MBT buffs your batter's stats but won't drop a Mess pitcher's stats. Since Mess is common among upper-rank teams almost nobody rocks MBT skill sets.

With this change, even lower-level MBT could be effective, since it could still be potent against low-level Mess, and it would double up with any Charisma batters you have.

For instance, let's say a pitcher with Lvl 6 Mess is facing a batter with Lvl 6 Charisma. Mess cancels out Charisma entirely, and also buffs the pitcher with +12 to all stats. But then let's say we put a runner on first with Lvl 6 MBT (which decreases pitcher stats by 7). Now that pitcher's buff is only +5, basically just a condition drink's worth of stats.

Is that still good for the pitcher? Yes, that's still an advantage. But it also gives us another strategic avenue for countering skills with our batters.

The return of OBP

This change would also improve the performance of skills like Batting Machine, Prediction, and Barrel It Up, which raise OBP. Currently, those skills can be a disadvantage for your team, because they activate Mess and wreck your Charisma hitters.

With my change to Mess, this would still be the case to a degree. We'd still want solo homers as much as possible. But players getting on base wouldn't be such a liability to the offense (which is unrealistic) and would make power hitters more dangerous.

Final thoughts

I don't think this change would be earth-shattering. Some folks may have to shift their rotations, we might see more MBT/Pred/BM sets, maybe nerfing Mess in Mentor would become interesting. Mostly, I like this change because it feels reasonable and adds more strategy to the game. What do you think?