I love the ideas listed here, but I must disagree with a few things;
The timer shouldn't be 3 minutes, I like the 20 second timer as it is, it keeps the battle fast-paced and keeps opponents on their toes.
Also, alliances I think are a bad idea, especially at this stage in the game where there are barely enough people to fill up a scoreboard, let alone alliances. Plus, alliances would just cause monopolies as everyone would flock to the biggest ones and stay there and clog them up. And, there wouldn't really be reason to have alliances anyway.
Just some thoughts