An opinion poll - is handicap in matchmaking too strong?
To be clear, while I do enjoy playing handicapped games in either direction, I generally feel super dead vs lower ELO players (especially when they get >15% handicap bonus), while being able to reliably defeat players I have no business fighting against (unless they do some sort of super silly cheese like mace rush where eco does not matter). Neither of these cases are entirely enjoyable.
I feel that the better player when facing someone with 20-25% metal bonus has nearly very little chance of actually winning a straight up game. Due to exponential nature of ZK economy, the 20% early game bonus translates into a massive advantage very quickly, and gives the newbie opponent way too much opportunity to just solve any tactical problem with more units. Even holding >70% of the map does not help the higher ELO player, since overdrive combines with metal boost, which results in absolutely broken mid/late game dynamics, where if the handicapped player can get OD going it is essentially a win button. Naturally, cheese and well-timed fac switches can still work, but that only works up to a certain rank.
I would suggest that the better way to handle handicap would be as a fixed income of 5-15 m/s (depending on skill gap), that just magically gets deposited to the player's account. This way there is a boost for the lower skilled player to survive the early game, but this boost does not translate into being able to just throw units at the problems on the map in the midgame.
Another option may be to just tone down the handicap curve, though I am not sure that would ever address the fundamental problem. Possibly, not applying handicap boost to overdrive might do the trick as well.