This post will explain the differences in Brawler design and their impact in the viability in the meta.
There is a recurring question in discussions: Is Mortis good or not?
Simply put, Mortis, along with others, isn't designed like Spike or Brock or Pam. He is a specialist.
What is a specialist? Specialists are Brawlers that do one particular thing incredibly well but have major flaws which handicap their accessibility to the average and even above average player. But to a practiced player, a specialist can be incredibly powerful.
Specialists have a very specific niche and are only strong in a couple of game modes and maps. These brawlers are not meant to be consistent, they are meant to be hit or miss by design. They either succeed in absolutely shredding the enemy team or they loose hard.
Specialists also tend to be very matchup dependant, having many more winning matchups than the generalist brawler but also more bad matchups.
In the overall meta, they are below average by design, due to them being good in just a few modes and maps rather than for example Spike who is great in a lot of places and therefore ranks in the top half or even quarter of the meta. Specialists rank on average B or C, but they can even be lower due to the meta simply not favouring them. If they are incredibly high up in the meta, it's due to them being favoured by the meta trends or them being broken mechanically.
Specialists include Mortis, Bea, Piper, Jessie, Tara, Leon, Crow, Frank, El Primo, 8-Bit, Tick, Sprout (to a degree), Rico, Nani, Colt, Gale Poco and others.
Now, you may have seen trends here:
- they are usually in the lower half of the overall meta.
- They have a well defined niche (which may or may not be useful in the current meta).
- They shine in certain scenarios or team comps.
Now onto generalists. They are very well rounded, survive meta dips and trends, they don't counter much but they aren't countered by much either, they are very versatile.
Examples include Spike, Brock, Gene, Pam, Sandy, Carl, Darryl, Max, Mr. P, Bibi, Penny and more.
Essentially, they are pretty strong in a lot of situations but can perform worse than specialists in scenarios where specialists should shine.
You see generalists typically in the top half of tier lists, good regardless of team comps. They are generally easier to use than specialists.
Now, onto balance, specialists cannot and should not be the strongest Brawlers in the game simply because they make the meta incredibly centralised and boring. It is also bad game design too, allowing the minority of Brawl stars players to determine what the meta is. There is a difference between a diverse meta like band-aid Shelly meta and the global release meta and meta which only allows 5-6 brawlers and some anti-meta picks.
A meta where specialists are strong is not necessarily bad, but it is a delicate line between good and terrible.
This is why Mortis or Poco should not be the meta Brawlers, the meta is only fun to the people who play those Brawlers and no one else. They squeeze the number of Brawlers that are good. They can be strong (B or C ideally, S tier becomes problematic).
Hopefully, this explains why some Brawlers should not be meta and why Brawlers like Gene are almost always meta.