Directly comparing weapons on one character to the weapons on another is taking things out of context and misinterpreting them.
Yet even if we did compare them, Rapier has advantages over S&D, as do other weapons such as M&S, Dual Hammers and A&F, e.g. more reach, stagger strenght, more cleave, faster attacks, easier headshot angles, more damage against certain types of enemies.
E.g. Axe&Falchion can interrupt elite attacks such as SV running attacks, Rapier has better reach, an very safe push light light chain, some of the best hs angles, not just normal bcr (S&D has worse than normal), Rapier has even better than normal bcr, Rapier has a pistol that has unlimited ammo and can be used while blocking.
S&D also has advantages over them, light extra crit on h2, yet also has disadvantages like needing a heavy or a push.
Whereas pushing or heavy attacking before your best heavy attack is an option on other weapons, it is a requirement on S&D.
That not only lowers the uptime on h2 due to its reduced availability, it also means that the damage it deals must be higher to justify this extra requirement.
Push attacking costs stamina on a weapon with worse than average bcr, a heavy one costs extra time - and both deal a lot less damage than a proper single target heavy while not being that great at killing hordes or cleaving targets.
If you can only get 1 attack off due to pressure, S&D is less useful than other weapons that have easy and immediate access to their strong attacks.
The numbers show that S&D, if it did not have extra crit, would deal the same - or in the case of infantry, even less - damage to single targets than comparable weapons.
However, no other weapon has the disadvantage of having to go through extra moves to deal good single target damage.
That extra requirement justifies an increase in the single target focus via extra crit chance.
If a weapon requires combos to be as effective as others, then that’s not exactly a fair trade.
Such a weapon should have a reward for this requirement, and in the case of S&D that reward is extra crit.
All of that only concerns direct comparisons, which are flawed.
The real evaluation should be based on the context.
In this case:
Does S&D on any elf class cause issues? The answer is not really.
Besides, if you nerf S&D, you also nerf the classes that can use it => weapons should not be looked at in isolation or it can cause further balance domino issues.
E.g. if Shade has her CoM adjusted like in the tourney rebalance, a nerf to S&D would possible put her dps even lower.
I’ll just take Shade as an example because Shade is more reliant on crits and the closest thing we have to a melee dps class for Kerillian.
Compare Whc to a Shade - in tourney rebalance, I’d say Shade still deals more damage on average but not that much more.
Whc is a mix of dps and support, Shade a true dps class.
If a support class deals almost the same dps as the true dps class, then that’s an issue.
A nerf to S&D would only exacerbate that.
Imagine if Merc dealt almost the same - or even more! - damage than Gk. Gk would be pointless then.
Or if Merc dealt almost the same or more dps than Slayer if you want to compare 2 different classes of different characters.
If Ws with S&D deals more melee dps than Bh with Rapier, it’s less siginificant due to them not being melee focused classes.
But the melee classes should be balanced according to their role: A dps and the relevant melee weapons ought to be able to deal more dps than a support/dps mix and their respective melee weapons.
Judging the effectiveness of S&D with this in mind, the extra crit is justified.
Not only due to the fact that it needs combos to be but also due the overall power level it allows melee focused classes that use S&D to perform according to their role.
A melee dps like Shade with S&D deals more damage than a support class like Whc with Rapier and that’s balanced.
If a nerf to S&D causes that damage difference to shrink (which a crit chance nerf undoubtedly will), then that’s an issue and unjustified given the strong support kit of sth. like Whc.
They should not be compared on the basis of “does S&D allow Kerillian’s melee classes to deal more damage than Saltz’ melee classes” since that is useless; the different classes have more to them than just melee dps output.
Based on the purposes of the individual classes and their weapons, melee balance is good.