2.8's size changes made Cruisers feel slower, but it also made them weaker because as they were clumping less, taking longer for an army of cruisers to get in position and start firing at the enemy. Increasing the speed makes cruisers and army formations more responsive.
Pure reaper spam became a very overpowered strategy. For comparison, mass Archers overkill and don't scale as effectively.
The Avenger is Substrate's primary anti-frigate cruiser, and will be tougher to compensate.
The recent Hades rework left it very weak.