Damien

Heroes of the Storm Sgt. Hammer

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This thread is for comments about our Sgt. Hammer build guide for Heroes of the Storm.

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This needs to be updated, in the recent patch cooldonw for sgt hammer was reduced to two seconds.

(sorry if double post) 

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i think the cloak talent at level 1 is better than the +10% damage to distant enemies because the cloak talent gives u a double damage auto instantly whereas u have to attack 10 times with the +10% to equal in damage.

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i think the cloak talent at level 1 is better than the +10% damage to distant enemies because the cloak talent gives u a double damage auto instantly whereas u have to attack 10 times with the +10% to equal in damage.

 

Hi,

 

personally, I almost never use siege mode, and when I do, it is because I know I can stay in it for a while. Before level 16 (Hoversiege), Ambush is pretty difficult to pull off safely as well, whereas after 16, you may want to remain in siege mode for extended periods. The talent isn't bad at all, but I find it clunky in general. I still like to surprise my lane opponents with it and Focused Attack.

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I have noticed no comments about Towers of Doom at all, which I have found to be a map designed for Hammer.  Running a split offence of Hammer in one lane using Vampiric Embrace and Graduated in one lane while the whole team counters in the other 2 lanes, we can keep them effectively unbalanced while Hammer is soloing towers.

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the worse map is defo Cursed Hallow, it is not listed. I play hammer all the time and this is my worse map. its too large for Hammer limited mobility. I take the stealth to start with then thrusters lower cooldown to improve mobility and make more escapes. Vampiric assault helps me stay in the game longer. i barely need to hearth. low in health just get in a lane and hit something. this also improves the time hammer can stay in a team fight. if not focused this greatly add to effectiveness. i would usually be the last to disengage since i would have almost full life. i siege all the time to take benefit of stealth attack bonus and the cool down is now only 2sec. the napalm not only helps with clearing lanes but great in team fights. not only are you doing splash damage in siege but also AOE damage with napalm, great way to force ennemis to scram or scatter. best map is certainly no dragon shire, so many other players can zone her out. best map is eternal shrine, splash damage does not apply anymore for the objactive but napalm helps a lot. my advice on this map arrive always late to the party, the other players wont expect you and you can inflict a great deal of damage. Spider web is not bad as well depending on which enemy is in the lane. Hover siege is useless, better take graduating range. Ennemy players will constantly have to watch your reach, if they forget you punish hard. Great for pushing a last fort or the core, you can siege way behind and wait for the core to become in your range or siege near the core and trap the other players in their spawn point. Hover siege kinds of cancels my stealth, but also, the other players move way faster than hammer does in hover mode so they will always escape, no point. also in enternal shrine and battlefield of eternity hammer can solo camp once level 10 and napalm. other maps hammer can solo the 2 giants but not the 4 mercenaries. 

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I have noticed no comments about Towers of Doom at all, which I have found to be a map designed for Hammer.  Running a split offence of Hammer in one lane using Vampiric Embrace and Graduated in one lane while the whole team counters in the other 2 lanes, we can keep them effectively unbalanced while Hammer is soloing towers.

 

didnot get the map often but indeed great for hammer, the towers are so squishy and once you destroy the main tower everything else is destroyed. Hammer can just camp near the captured tower. Unless 2 or 3 full life ennemies come at you at once you can defend easy. with backup nothing will move you. 

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I feel like there's a potential build in there meant to beef up single shots, giving Hammer a very annoying, bursty poke.  Ambush, Focused Attack, First Aid, Napalm, First Strike, Executioner (if your team can lay on slows, either Graduating Range or Hover if not), and Nexus Frenzy, all to lead to one massive basic attack from cloak, then either repositioning, chasing, or escaping, as the situation merits.

+100% Ambush
+75% Focused Attack
+25% First Strike
+40% Executioner (if slowed)
+20% Nexus Frenzy

That's +220% on one shot if the target does not proc Executioner, %260 if it does.

I think the designers were intending some kind of synergy here.  Is it viable?  I know raw DPS takes a hit, but maybe against a very mobile team that denies uptime, it could be useful?

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I feel like there's a potential build in there meant to beef up single shots, giving Hammer a very annoying, bursty poke.  Ambush, Focused Attack, First Aid, Napalm, First Strike, Executioner (if your team can lay on slows, either Graduating Range or Hover if not), and Nexus Frenzy, all to lead to one massive basic attack from cloak, then either repositioning, chasing, or escaping, as the situation merits.

+100% Ambush

+75% Focused Attack

+25% First Strike

+40% Executioner (if slowed)

+20% Nexus Frenzy

That's +220% on one shot if the target does not proc Executioner, %260 if it does.

I think the designers were intending some kind of synergy here.  Is it viable?  I know raw DPS takes a hit, but maybe against a very mobile team that denies uptime, it could be useful?

 

Hi,

 

The only time I'd run such a build is when your opponents would have absolutely no way of diving/engaging/pressuring you, which, in this current meta, is essentially never seen. The current top tier hero picks are very good against Sgt. Hammer.

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I'd like to bring up the tier 1 talent "Resistant". You write it off as useless since "you're not supposed to be caught with CC while in siege mode", but I have found that it's often very useful to have for the extended uptime you get in the late game (16+), rather than to escape stuff during early- and midgame. There's generally a whole lot of CC happening in end-game team fights, and Hammer's output is so high I often get targeted by it. Additionally, I'm usually in siege mode thanks to being able to move and to use the extra range/splash damage. Having 75% reduction on all CC is a godsend in those situations, letting me continue pushing out kills through the many ultimates and ranged stuns you will otherwise get severely hindered by. It's also nice against stunlocks, as you can get a Z escape in after the first stun before the rest hit (e.g. Diablo). 

 

Finally, as a bonus it's nice to have in Eternal Battlefield since you can dps the Immortal from a very safe distance in siege mode and just shrug off the targeted stuns. 

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The BFG shouldn't be written off so easily. At level 20 it becomes a guaranteed permanent split push. On some maps, it is a must have.

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On 7/19/2016 at 6:20 AM, Guest Delryn said:

The BFG shouldn't be written off so easily. At level 20 it becomes a guaranteed permanent split push. On some maps, it is a must have.

Hammer's unpopularity makes it pretty difficult to fairly judge, though I very well may go through the guide again. But, as I see it, Napalm Strike offers a better early to mid-game. The majority of games end before level 20, and as such, I must prefer to focus on securing a solid lead than to build on an admittedly good but not always doable late-game strategy.

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I just want to say that the Chromie Counter is not mentioned when Cromie can burst down 2k damage on hammer with a 2 hit kill. Just sayig you should add her as a counter. Hammer takes a second to go to tank from siege mode and thats enough time for chromie to dragon and sand blast you.

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On 11/12/2016 at 5:46 PM, Guest LEEROY JANKINS said:

I just want to say that the Chromie Counter is not mentioned when Cromie can burst down 2k damage on hammer with a 2 hit kill. Just sayig you should add her as a counter. Hammer takes a second to go to tank from siege mode and thats enough time for chromie to dragon and sand blast you.

There's a set of updates due to release to a number of guides of HoTS. This will likely be included in her synergies/counters update, but thanks for letting us know anyway!

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Just a little niche talent thing but I thought I'd throw it out there - Graduating RangeGraduating Range can be huge on Battlefield of Eternity. You can siege up right in the middle, have your team block you off, and use Napalm StrikeNapalm Strike to gain vision and attack enemy heroes. If no one is contesting, or if your team has zoned them out (by giving you vision) you can quite literally control the whole battlefield, and with First AidFirst Aid and a good team protecting you from ganks, you can wear down the enemy immortal and zone enemies from your immortal without ever moving. If you want to try this, I would recommend making sure that you have some decent crowd control to really punish enemies trying to get to you or trying to contest your immortal. Anyone with reveals also really benefits you, as you need to see someone to AA them. Just throwing this out there; I tried it once and it worked beautifully. I'm sure there are some great ways to counter this as well (stealth, any blinds whatsoever, etc.), but it's just is a fun little thing to do!

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On 11/14/2016 at 7:30 AM, Blainie said:

There's a set of updates due to release to a number of guides of HoTS. This will likely be included in her synergies/counters update, but thanks for letting us know anyway!

Still waiting on this update.  Not only should Chromie be added but, in my opinion, Li-Ming is another obvious counter that can easily burn down any sieging Hammer in a matter of seconds.  Tracer also offers an incredible amount of frustrating pressure for Hammer but isn't listed as a counter, either.  Those three should probably replace Tyrael (who requires a lot of team coordination to successfully counter Hammer), Nova (who is only a real threat if the player uses Anti-Armor shells and almost nobody does) and Illidan (who can be a pain but can be dealt with unless the player chooses his The Hunt ult...also there is no mention of using Thrusters and Concussive Blast as methods of keeping him at bay).  And no mention of either Morales or Malfurion (Entangling Roots + Napalm, anyone?) as synergies?  Both of them are far, far better support options for Hammer than Uther. 

Also, I think it should be mentioned that Ambush is a much better option for Hammer against heroes and during team fights - Advanced Artillery is really only relevant against minions/mercs/buildings and only while Hammer is properly set up in siege mode.  Heroes have absolutely no problem getting close enough to Hammer for the talent's bonus to be negated.  And while I'd say Hammer should almost always build for damage as opposed to self-sustain, Regeneration Master's 500 bonus health reward can be the difference between life and death when the other team has poke/burst damage from heroes like Chromie, Li-Ming, or even Nova.  Not that such a talent should be in the recommended options, I just think saying burst damage is what is most dangerous to Hammer (which is true) and then saying that talent does nothing to help against that (which is obviously false) deserves to be corrected and replaced with a better explanation.

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On December 2, 2016 at 1:28 AM, Guest Phaexos said:

Not only should Chromie be added but, in my opinion, Li-Ming is another obvious counter that can easily burn down any sieging Hammer in a matter of seconds. Tracer also offers an incredible amount of frustrating pressure for Hammer but isn't listed as a counter, either.

The thing about Li-Ming is that she has massively damaging single target skillshots (you can argue Arcane OrbArcane Orb does AoE damage, but only on impact), so killing Sgt. Hammer requires her to overextend or take time away from melting other targets to find a safe "Sniping" area to burst her down from in a teamfight situation. As for Tracer, and this is from experience as the Tracer player, if she can auto attack you, you don't have a very good chance, especially in team fights. If you dive in, deal some damage, and recall, she'll be at 66% health and you'll be at around 35%, forcing you to either hearth back or make your healer focus on you and not a teammate who's being focus fired. Even a well executed combo is dangerous; her Spider MinesSpider MinesConcussive BlastConcussive Blast, and huge auto attack range will keep you from being in MeleeMelee range and also cause your Pulse BombPulse Bomb to miss if timed incorrectly. Not only that, but the extra time spent trying to get to her will keep you from recalling out of her auto attack range, making you take even more sustained damage. Add this on to any enemy crowd control, and it's very hard to dive her, get the kill, and escape yourself. I do agree, these heroes trade very efficiently with Hammer, but in teamfights start to lose their value against her very quickly.

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On 12/2/2016 at 7:28 AM, Guest Phaexos said:

Still waiting on this update.  

Just wanted to say that the updates are coming, they are just taking time for some heroes since they are being completely rewritten to fit the "new" guide format. It's a more simple, to the point way of discussing the possibilities for different heroes, basically.

I can only apologise and say that our team is working hard to get it done! Sorry! 

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The level 1 talent Ambush though can drop dps a little for me it has enabled me to stay alive 5 times more. You can hit the thrusters and run away from attackers and hit siege mode again to be invisible.

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4 hours ago, ranafuineluva said:

The level 1 talent Ambush though can drop dps a little for me it has enabled me to stay alive 5 times more. You can hit the thrusters and run away from attackers and hit siege mode again to be invisible.

AmbushAmbush's effect starts to lose power once you are able to split attention between the game and minimap, and are able to predict opponents' movement, simply because you will know when to run, which means you won't need to use the stealth as often.

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Been playing Hammer since forever now, and most talents here are correct, but there are some very good (and more often than not essential) ones written off.

T.1: Ambush is IMO a really good choice here, it provides important first-hit damage (works as both deterrent and as an engager) and gives you stealth, which is often fun to mess around with and sometimes useful for escaping people, if you are lucky. Even without stealth this would be a good pick.

T.10: Napalm for DMP, blunt for push (must take orbital at T.20). Very situational, but overall napalm is usually the best choice.

T.13: first strike adds on to your ambush's damage increase, making your first shot much more deadly, as well as making base push and defense easier. Giant killer seems pathetically weak for hammer, since you fire too slowly to take advantage of the % damage.

T.16: Graduating range is a good contender to hover, if you know how to use it (also choosing hover without ambush feels rather pointless). Graduating is perfect for long engagements, area denial, capturing and holding objectives, base push and base defense, and standing still in not a problem unless you have thrusters on cooldown. Keep an eye on your location, position carefully and make sure you know what your teams is doing and you will annihilate anything that dare stray within your now obscene range. Hover can be good depending on team composition, but you want range, lots of it, and hover means you have to be closer to the enemy, and would still have to use thrusters to avoid taking damage since you are too slow to avoid anything. Meanwhile a grad. hammer can stay clear of enemy fire safe behind their teammates and avoid most skillshots since the aggressor would need to stray dangerously far into your range. Also, it's hilarious being a grad. hammer when facing a hover hammer, they can't touch you.

T.20 Orbital if you choose blunt at T.10, otherwise go for frenzy, synergies well with graduating range. No opinion on advanced lava strike, never seen a reason to take it instead of a flat out 20% DPM and range-increase.

These are my thoughts, keep in mind they are aimed towards a player teamed up with some party-members and preferably voice-comms with his or her teammates.

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4 hours ago, Guest Kalasnokov said:

T.1: Ambush is IMO a really good choice here, it provides important first-hit damage (works as both deterrent and as an engager) and gives you stealth, which is often fun to mess around with and sometimes useful for escaping people, if you are lucky. Even without stealth this would be a good pick.

Even though it does provide a "shock" bonus for psychological warfare, more experienced players are, from experience, rarely cowed and ranged heroes will often start attacking you right after your attack, and since you are immobile, you will be at a disadvantage. Additionally, you get more damage overall if you go for Advanced Artillery instead.

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On 2017-03-20 at 11:01 PM, positiv2 said:

Even though it does provide a "shock" bonus for psychological warfare, more experienced players are, from experience, rarely cowed and ranged heroes will often start attacking you right after your attack, and since you are immobile, you will be at a disadvantage. Additionally, you get more damage overall if you go for Advanced Artillery instead.

Advanced rely on that you can stay in siegemode for prolonged times, about ten shots at minimum as average shots-per-siege before you reach the same effectiveness as ambush, whilst also having to relying on the idea that the enemy will stay at range from you. If the enemy is keen enough to attack you it's better to get that first double off at the start, instead of hoping that the enemy will allow you to fire your ten or more shots. Ambush also gives an advantage when re-engaging the enemy, pairing it with graduating works almost just as well as with hover, since if you are forced from siegemode you will get ambush active again and can deal out the double all over again. 

First hit damage-capability is key, having ambush, first strike and empower can give you the edge you need over anyone wanting to out-dpm you or burst you down, not to mention the tactics you can utilize by knowing all your first shots deal tremendous amounts of damage.

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      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza Abathur↑ Dehaka Jaina↑ Brightwing Azmodan Diablo+ Junkrat Lúcio+ Nazeebo Muradin Li-Ming Malfurion↑ Sylvanas Stitches Malthael (reworked)+ Stukov  Zagara Varian (Taunt) Valla Uther   Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
       
      Viable Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Alarak Ana Murky Blaze+ Cassia Auriel   D.Va Chromie Kharazim Xul Garrosh Gul'dan+ Li Li+   Johanna Illidan Lt. Morales   Leoric Kael'thas+ Rehgar   Tyrael  Kel'Thuzad Tyrande    Zarya Kerrigan↓       Lunara       Nova↓       Ragnaros+       Samuro       The Butcher       Thrall       Tracer+       Tychus↑       Varian (Colossus Smash)       Zeratul       Zul'jin↓     Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.
       
      Niche Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Chen Cho'gall Tassadar Gazlowe Cho'gall Raynor   Medivh Rexxar Valeera↓   Probius↓   Varian (Twin Blades of Fury)   Sgt. Hammer↓ Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They may also picked to "round out" your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a "jungler" (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.
       
      Lost Vikings Tier
      The Lost Vikings Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
       
      Metagame assessment
      Maiev: Where do I even begin? Despite heavy-handed nerfs delivered less than a week after her release, Maiev continues to dominate popularity (read: is banned about 5 times more than she is played at all levels) and top win rates. The fact that I'm not sure what exactly contributes to her success is probably a good indicator of what actually contributes to her success: everything. High survivability, high mobility, high damage potential through Fan of Knives's ability to reset, the ability to both set up and follow up for and on crowd control through Spirit of Vengeance + Umbral Bind, serviceable waveclear, and Vault of the Wardens on a ridiculously short cooldown for good measure to make her an unviable target for heroic ability chains. Warden's Cage ended up the favoured heroic ability choice for Maiev, and it's rather easy to see why; it just works well with the rest of her kit on top of being quite easy for anyone to use, though Containment Disc is not to be underestimated either. She's at the top of the food chain, so Prime tier it is. Expect further nerfs.
      Jaina: Jaina was last month's surprise for me, which is why I had her marked for promotion. I slightly feared Genji players, but after witnessing some more competent Jaina play (including my own not-so-competent experimentation), it's safe to say that Summon Water Elemental is absolutely key to dealing with him (along pretty much every other assassin in the game). For games with little melee assassin pressure, Ring of Frost remains a powerful win condition. Jaina also sports what is arguably the game's best waveclear potential, and can deal with mercenary camps extremely well with Frost Shards and Ice Lance. 
      Malthael: I can certainly see how Malthael's rework may have seemed rather grim to anyone underestimating the power of cleaving attacks. This change, though accompanied by slight nerfs to his damage and survivability, allowed his already powerful laning  to improve, just as with his ability to deal with mercenary camps. One should never underestimate the power of PvE, particularly in less organised play. Furthermore, his reliance upon Tormented Souls was reduced, allowing for Last Rites to actually get some playtime. I've been impressed with it, and I'm probably going to update his builds to reflect this newfound power.
      Abathur: Abathur is the kind of hero that comes and goes with the metagame state and who generally thrives in assassin-oriented states. As with Genji, I wouldn't be fooled by his limited winrates; he just simply tends to do better at higher level, more organised play, and particularly in longer matches. To avoid on Haunted Mines and Braxis Holdout. Please pick your Ultimate Evolution target responsibly, and go for an assassin, with Maiev, Genji, Hanzo, and Jaina making incredible targets. Incidentally, avoid Evolve Monstrosity; it has been tested and rejected a long time ago.
      Tychus: Not a big leap in tier, but a leap nonetheless. He went from seeing pretty much no play for quite a while to seeing some, including tournament play. As expected, he does well against Blaze and a few other bruisers, on top of being on the more resilient side of ranged assassins. Commandeer Odin is excellent, but the real sleeper here is Neosteel Coating, which can do funny things with Relentless Soldier.
      Probius: Nearly as unpopular as The Lost Vikings. Though I don't think he's bad, I certainly think he does not have a place in the current meta. All of the top picks do extremely well against him, as does diving in general. I really wish I had more insights here, but the very few times I did see him in the last month, it was rather sad to witness. 
      Sgt. Hammer: I initially had her as viable, but upon reading user comments, I had to agree: she does extremely well against team compositions that cannot deal with her, and poorly otherwise. This is basically what the Niche tier should be defined by. We could discuss at length why this design is rather unhealthy for the game, but I think Blizzard has recognized this by not releasing a single specialist in over a year.
    • By Stan

      After Lunar Rocket Racing, it's time for Lost Cavern! Lay waste to the enemy Core on the single-lane map with no talent or level restriction. Complete three matches to get a Lunar Loot Chest.
      Blizzard (Source)
      This week’s brawl is Lost Cavern! It’s all-out mayhem on our single-lane battleground – Lost Cavern. Queue up, choose your Hero, and try to best to bring down the enemy Core!

      Rules:
      Shuffle pick - Choose from one of three Heroes before entering the battle. Standard play - no talent or level restrictions. The first team to destroy the enemy Core wins! Rewards:
      Complete three matches of Lost Cavern to earn a Loot Chest! Find out more about the Heroes Brawl game mode on our Heroes Brawl site; and as always, you can find more information on this week’s Brawl by clicking the Brawl Info button at the bottom of the play screen when preparing to queue for the Brawl game mode.
    • By Stan

      Blizzard just rolled out a patch with various bug fixes. Check out the full patch notes! 
      Blizzard (Source)
      Bug Fixes
      Heroes, Talents, & Abilities
      Genji: Fixed an issue preventing certain cleave attacks, such as Malthael’s Basic Attacks and Xul’s Cursed Strikes, from removing stacks of Genji’s Dodge. Ice Block: Fixed an issue allowing certain Abilities to be cast during Ice Block, including Jaina’s Ice Blink, Brightwing’s Storm Shield, and Malfurion’s Astral Communion. Jaina: The Wintermute Talent now correctly causes Jaina’s Water Elemental to mimic her Basic Abilities. Lunara: The Galloping Gait Talent no longer permanently grants a permanent Movement Speed bonus. Tyrael: The Stalwart Angel Talent’s tooltip now displays the correct values for its duration and Armor bonus. Maiev: Casting Spirit of Vengeance just as a Core is destroyed will no longer cause the Spirit to cease animating. Maiev: Activating Naisha’s Memento will now correctly display an icon indicating its duration in the buff bar. Nova: Fixed an issue causing Holo Decoys to deal slightly more damage than intended after learning Lethal Decoy. Rehgar: The Rising Storm Talent will no longer increase Lightning Shield’s damage versus non-Heroic enemies.
    • By Oxygen
         
      Our fifteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the Blaze patch of January is here!
      We present our fifteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Blaze patch of January 2018.
      Note: This list also takes the January 16 balance patch into account.
      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Blaze patch. The goal if of this list is to try and detail game's current metagame state. The prime goal of such lists is to inform players regarding popular and trending team composition drafting strategies (i.e. the drafting metagame). Although tier listings are generally the product of balance, many factors come into play when discussing the relative perceived strengths of heroes, including player regions, maps, play style, skill level, and, of course, personal perception. As such, any tier list—including this very one—should never be interpreted as gospel, but rather, as a guide to better grasp what to expect with regards to typical drafting experiences. One useful application of such lists is to allow you know which heroes to look out for in terms of practice and counterplay, ultimately improving your knowledge of the game.
      Using the list
      As stated above, tier lists are easy to mistake for gospel. As new strategies are discovered and experimented with, so changes the perception of the relative strengths of each hero. Tier lists still prove to be useful as a snapshot of player expectations in terms of drafting. Although it is generally considered preferable to focus on high tier heroes (Prime and Core tiers), it is important to note that Heroes of the Storm's wild character and map designs make it so that any given hero's tier position is prone to fluctuate depending on the situation at hand.
      One classic example of such is that of Kerrigan on the Infernal Shrines map. Although we currently judge her to be a low-to-mid-tier hero, her drafting priority shoots up to first-pick or first-ban material on this specific map due to the nature of its objective. Certain heroes also synergise so well with each other that the sole fact of having the opportunity of drafting them together is generally enough to increase their potential. Tassadar and Tracer, for instance, are generally nightmarish to deal with for many. There are too many examples of these interactions to reasonably produce here, but we invite you to consult our guides to know exactly where and when each hero shines. The guides have been linked in the lists below for your convenience - just click any of the hero names to access them.
      A ↑ next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a ↓ means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.
      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
      Current map rotation
       
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Arthas Genji - - E.T.C. Greymane     Sonya↑ Hanzo↑↑↑     Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
       
      Core Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza↑ Azmodan Dehaka Junkrat↑↑ Brightwing Nazeebo Diablo Kerrigan Lúcio Zagara Muradin Li-Ming Stukov↑ Sylvanas↑  Stitches Malthael↓ Uther   Varian (Tank) Nova↓-       Valla       Zul'jin     Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
       
      Viable Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Alarak Ana Abathur D.Va Cassia Auriel Murky Garrosh Chromie Kharazim Probius Johanna Gul'dan Li Li+ Sgt. Hammer↑ Leoric Illidan Lt. Morales Xul Zarya Jaina Malfurion (reworked)+   Blaze (new) Kael'thas Rehgar   Tyrael (reworked)↑ Kel'Thuzad Tyrande     Lunara       Ragnaros       Samuro       The Butcher       Thrall↑       Tracer       Valeera↓↓-       Zeratul+     Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.
       
      Niche Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Chen Cho'gall Tassadar Gazlowe Cho'gall Raynor   Medivh Rexxar Tychus       Varian (Damage)     Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They are generally picked to "round out" your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a "jungler" (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.
       
      Bottom Tier
      The Lost Vikings Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
       
      Metagame assessment
      Happy new year to everyone. This list is a tad late, as was the last one, but I was, once again, waiting for one of those odd rework patches that come out a week after featured hero releases and go untested on the PTR for some reason. HGC matches also began just yesterday, meaning that new trends  are likely to emerge shortly; today saw unexpected Cassia, Tychus, and Leoric make an appearance, which was certainly exciting. As per usual, I'll be updating the list as I see fit throughout the next few weeks. The last few lists have generated quite a bit of discussion, which is great to see. Although I cannot reasonably respond to every comment, I do read everything posted. Keep it up!
      Blaze. My initial PTR assessment of the hero, which was quite positive, was followed by a sudden realization: he does a lot of things well, but nothing exceptionally well. Blaze is the quintessential jack of all trades, master of none type hero. Generally, that's not a particularly desirable trait, because heroes are generally picked for their niches to either counter opponents or synergise with allies. For a warrior, he can't really solo tank, meaning he often ends up in that strange spot where you need a pretty well fleshed out team composition to make him work. But when he works, he does work well. He can hold his own in a solo lane, but his waveclear isn't quite good enough to deal with mercenary camps pushing before Grill and Kill, which can be frustrating. Certain heroes, such as Leoric and Malthael, completely shut him down as well. This leads me to believe that he won't see much tournament play if at all, unless teams are messing around. Viable as a late pick when you don't really know what else to pick because your team composition is already fine.
      Sonya. She's currently the most popular pick in the game. You can't go wrong with a bulky solo laner that can duel nearly anyone, output as much damage as an assassin, and clear mercenary camps with ease. Leap lets her setup really well if your team composition lends itself to that. Still, I don't think she deserves bans.
      Hanzo. This important Overwatch figurehead could just not be allowed to remain seen as underpowered for over a month. After unsuccessfully giving him a blanket 10% damage buff across the board following poor PTR feedback, Blizzard adopted the bolder strategy of making his basic attacks deal ability levels of damage thanks to the Sharpened Arrowheads changes. What was initially supposed to be a difficult to master skillshot-based hero now  has access to what is arguably the most powerful basic attack in the game, though the Serrated Arrows + Never Outmatched combo I discussed last patch remains useful for trivializing map objectives on Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines while allowing Hanzo to solo any mercenary camp from level 7 and on. With the help of another hero, bosses also become possible at this level. Losing map control or suffering one or two early deaths against Hanzo is devastating. Explosive Arrows lets him waveclear relatively well too, though particularly with Piercing Arrows for double hits on minions. The Natural Agility range increase made it much more usable, to where Hanzo can now reliably escape most if not all heroes with proper positioning. It is interesting to note that these buffs coincided with Hanzo's first free week.
      Junkrat. The proverbial death of the double healer meta means it's time for sustained poke to shine. Junkrat's popularity exploded recently as players discovered that a mix of reliable ranged waveclear, playmaking (through Concussion Mine) and potentially fight winning RIP-Tire hits made the hero a force to be reckoned with. Just be sure to pick up Endless Nades; that's your late-game damage.
      Malthael. Hanzo does really well against him, so I'm not surprised by the dip in popularity. Malthael is still very powerful, though unlikely to draw bans before second round, if at all. Always a solid pick against double tank as well as a solo laner.
      Nova. She (along with Valeera) were allowed to remain oppressive for quite a while, benefiting from the turmoil generated by the stealth rework and Blizzard employees taking a couple weeks off for the holidays. Nova is now in a good spot, with clear counters and niches, though I'm still disliking how easy Lethal Decoy makes her to play. I feel like she'll keep a potential caster meta in check for quite some time now that she's back on the radar.
      Alexstrasza. She's doing rather well. Dragonqueen is now being appropriately treated (though not quite respected by opponents) as a heroic ability by players to fight over objectives and while sieging.
      Stukov. His high healing output makes him rather strong in a poke-heavy meta. I think players are going to experiment with the Growing Infestation + Virulent Reaction (+ Bio-Explosion Switch) combo to make Stukov a lot more aggressive than we're used to seeing him be. Flailing Swipe continues to be great as a pseudo-Mighty Gust in terms of disengaging. Stukov is probably one of the best solo "all purpose" hero leaguing healer at the moment.
      Sylvanas. Any change to minion or structure damage end up being indirect buffs or nerfs to Sylvanas. Since structures were recently buffed again and Sylvanas's direct counters were nerfed quite heavily, I think she's back to being relatively high priority. Possession is really strong now, as is Mercenary Queen, though only if there's nothing for Barbed Shot to work on.
      Tyrael. Though he's not notably more powerful than he was before, I think his rework opened up a viable bruiser build for him, increasing his versatility. He's sitting at a healthy 50% win rate at the time of writing. HGC already saw him picked rather often - though, that's pre-Tyrael patch, where he is arguably weaker - , and I'm certainly looking forward to see what kind of builds players are going to gravitate towards. Holy Ground is still great, and comes online 3 levels earlier than it did before.
      Valeera. She suffered the same fate as Nova, though her overly simplistic ability set makes small nerfs very impactful. At the end of the day, she's probably going to require a broad rework, because as of right now, she either bursts her target down and feels "unfair", or doesn't and feel "worthless". Right now, she's erring on the side of the latter.
      Malfurion. Possibly one of the best rework ever done, though his vastly increased skill cap may make him less popular. His sustained healing output is excellent, but his lack of burst management still makes him difficult to play.