I like artillery duels and I think artillery spam is well within the metagame RPS and that it is largely map dependent.
I really like using Lance but their hardcounters and lack of suitable targets makes them mostly absent from 1v1.
I will usually not spend 1000 metal on a mobile artillery piece where there seldom are many suitable targets when it is easily overrun by raiders, bombers or gunships in coordinated strikes in 1v1.
That changes in large random team games when coordination diminishes, usability of raiders decrease as every commander can basically be considered a riot and the commanders themselves present a good target environment for Lances.
However Lance did have a pretty huge shadow buff:
Lance leading was fixed. It used to aim its' beam so that the target would be hit during the middle of the beam duration. Now Lance aims directly at the target which means it is even able to hit and usually kill Swifts if the Lance can just get the Swift in its' crosshair.
An annoying bug before the leading fix was that, if both the Lance and the target was moving in the same sideways velocity, the Lance would lead the target and the beam would miss completely as the beam would be in front of the target.
A Lance is very good at suppressing certain mid value targets and commanders.
This can really be felt on Comet Catcher Redux as a single early Lance threatens all front line commanders which makes it far too risky to use their riot and defense push capabilities.
However, even if games are dominated by artillery I find them fun.
There is lots of counterplay and lots of diversity in artillery duels.
Spotting is especially important for Lance as it will otherwise very likely miss its' target while you also need to preserve the shots for valuable targets and not just cheap spam.
Spotting can be done by Fleas, Owls, Scythes, Halberds, Spies/Widow and Gremlins, all with different quirks and counterplay.
Fleas are arguably the best spotters and counter-spotters and are especially good if the enemy are trying to use the relatively low range Sharpshooters as a counter to the Lances.
However, Scythes can still present a big threat to Lances even if there are moderate defenses around them and Scythes are much better against other units aswell.
Halberds on Hold Fire can be used and reused even against a Flea screen and moderate defenses behind. They are bad at shooting against moving targets though and enemy Emissaries and Lances have little trouble escaping their shots.
Owls are arguably the best option if the enemy have mobile cloakers protecting their own artillery units but the margins between being killed by AA or fighters are usually pretty small.
I still think that the counterplay between the different artillery pieces is interesting.
Snipers, is a counter typically in low density situations but gets countered the most by Flea screens and raider sweeps because they are slower and have less range than the other major artillery pieces.
Emissaries are the most ubiquitous artillery as they work just fine shooting at radar dots and then pulling them back when there are threats of breakthroughs. Emissaries, with their longer range, still pose a big threat to Lances as the Lances actually need LoS to the hit the Emissaries reliably and if the Emissaries sit way behind their Flea screen and AA range, it can be pretty hard to gain LoS to the Emissaries.
Tremors have even more range and make using spotters harder as they barrage the enemy front line and kills or decloaks spotters. Lances can still rush through the barrage fire of a Tremor and destroy it if they have reliable LoS on the Tremor but the Tremor can also just hide behind a terraformed wall.
Catapult is the trump all to artillery and once one side have 2-3 catapults, you can consider other types of artillery pretty much obsolete. However, the first Catapult to hit the field usually doesn't have large impact and other artillery can typically hide in cloak fields or under shields to stay safe.
The Catapult also needs to hit large densities of units to be effective and those are usually well behind Flea screens and other front line units. This gives cloaked Lances room to maneuver into range of the catapult and kill it if it is too exposed. The catapult in turn also risks being exposed to bombers, Scythes, Spies/Venoms and Skuttles as it goes for the money shot.
Big Bertha is too inaccurate at long ranges to really be a big threat to shielded or cloaked artillery. However, at medium range it is fairly accurate and a player that tracks the movements of the enemy shield balls and area cloaker fields can still provide very effective counter artillery by firing at opportune moments when the shields are drained or the artillery exposes themselves.
Edit:Impaler as counter artillery mostly forces the enemy artillery to move and waste their time. Also feels pretty luck based as the enemy might just move their units before getting hit or they might not.
Artillery duels are fun. Don't nerf Lance.