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BlizzCon hands-on first impressions: Lunara

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Lunara is one of the upcoming assassin-class Heroes for Heroes of the Storm. Check out her abilities, talents, and our first impressions from the BlizzCon build.

 

We have already briefly gone over the major reveals from Day One of BlizzCon. In this article, we will take a deeper look at one of the new heroes, Lunara, the First Daughter of Cenarius, including our impressions after some hands-on time with the hero.

 

Abilities and Talents

 

Before we go over our impressions of the hero, we are listing its talents and abilities. They are hidden so that they do not clutter the article, but feel free to expand them if you want to check everything out so as to have a better understanding of the discussion.

 

 

  • Nature’s Toxin (Trait) - Your Basic Attacks and damaging Abilities poison their target, dealing X damage a second for 3 seconds. Every additional application increases the duration by 3 seconds, up to a maximum of 9 seconds.

 

  • Noxious Blossom (Q) - After 0.5 seconds, cause an area to explode with pollen dealing X damage. 60 mana, 8s cooldown.

 

  • Crippling Spores (W) - Enemies currently afflicted by Nature’s Toxin have its duration increased by 3 seconds and are slowed by 40% decaying over 3 seconds. 40 mana, 12s cooldown.

 

  • Wisp (E) - Spawn a Wisp to scout an area. Can be redirected once active. Lasts 45 seconds. 50 mana, 45s cooldown.

 

  • Dryad’s Swiftness (Z) - You move 20% faster by leaping short distances.

 

 

Talents - personal favourite picks are underlined

 

Level 1

  • Blossom Swell – Increases Noxious Blossom’s radius by 20%.
  • Photosynthesis – Crippling Spores returns 5 Mana per enemy hit, up to 30 Mana.
  • Natural Perspective – Nature’s Toxin reveals enemies for its duration.
  • Cruel Spores – Crippling Spores’ cooldown is reduced by 80% and 20 mana is refunded when only Minions or Mercenaries are affected by it.

Level 4

  • Nimble Wisp – Increases Wisp Movement Speed by 100% and vision radius by 50%.
  • Timelost Wisp – Wisp costs no Mana and its cooldown recharges 100% faster while no wisp is active.
  • Skybound Wisp – Wisp can see over obstacles and reveals the area for 4 seconds after dying.
  • Dividing Wisp – The first time you relocate a Wisp it leaves a copy of itself in the previous location. Only one Dividing Wisp can be active at a time.

Level 7

  • Siphoning Toxin – Nature’s Toxin heals you by X per second as long as at least 1 enemy is affected.
  • Wild Vigor – Using Crippling Spores increases the damage of your next 4 Basic Attacks by 40%
  • Splintered Spear – Noxious Blossom causes your next Basic Attack to hit 3 targets.
  • Nature’s Culling – Increases Nature’s Toxin non-Heroic damage by 200%.

Level 10

  • Thornwood Vine – Hurl a spear that deals X damage to all enemies in a line. Can hold 3 charges. 35 mana, 15s cooldown.
  • Leaping Strike – Leap over an enemy, slowing them by 80% for 0.35 seconds and attacking for X damage. Has 2 charges. 50 mana, 30s cooldown.

Level 13

  • Pestering Blossom – Increases Noxious Blossom’s range by 50%
  • Rampant Growth – Increases Nature’s Toxin damage to slowed Heroes by 50%.
  • Giant Killer – Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal bonus damage equal to 1.5% of the Hero’s maximum Health.
  • Greater Spell Shield – Upon taking Ability Damage, reduce that damage and further Ability Damage by 75% for 3 seconds. Can only trigger once every 30 seconds.​

Level 16

  • Choking Pollen – Increases Noxious Blossom damage by 50% against enemies afflicted with Nature’s Toxin.
  • Star Wood Spear – Using Crippling Spores increases your Basic Attacks range by 50% for 6 seconds.
  • Invigorating Spores – Using Crippling Spores increases your Attack Speed by 50% for 6 seconds.
  • Let Them Wither – Increases Crippling Spores slow to 60%.

Level 20

  • Forest’s Wrath – Increases Thornwood Vine’s range by 35%, its speed by 20%, and your vision radius by 35%.
  • Boundless Stride – All Leaping Strike charges are returned every 30 seconds. You can also use Leaping Strike on allies.
  • Galloping Gait (Z) – Activate to increase the Movement Speed bonus of Dryad’s Swiftness to 80% for 6 seconds. 30s cooldown.
  • Abolish Magic – Activate to remove all stuns, roots, silences, slows, and damage over time effects from yourself and an ally and reduce the duration of their reapplication by 50% for 2 seconds. 40s cooldown.

 

Hero Design

 

Lunara is one of the 4 upcoming assassins announced at BlizzCon. She specialises in damage-over-time effects and long-range harassment.

 

Her trait, Nature's Toxin, makes all of her damage sources (attacks and abilities alike) apply a potent damage-over-time effect that stacks up to three times in duration. An important point of mention of this aspect is that the stacks do not increase her DPS, but rather, her overall potential damage. This makes focusing on rapidly damaging several targets more beneficial in the very short term than simply attacking the same one over and over for a larger stack. 

 

With little in the way of dealing much burst damage, a best-case scenario is to stack and maintain the toxin effect on as many opponents as possible and to then focus down a key target. Since the majority of her abilities are skillshots (must be aimed or timed manually) that deal damage in an area of effect, positioning is a crucial thing to master with Lunara. Over any extended fight, she can put out a "non-negotiable" amount of pressure on any healer that lacks the means of steadily healing several targets at once. Several of Lunara's talents also focus on either improving the reliability of her damage or outright increase her sustained damage. As a result, she is expected to be an excellent pick for team compositions that want to take slower attrition fights, such as those featuring double healers or a single assassin.

 

Defensively, Lunara relies primarily on vision (notably, through Wisp), the slowing effect provided by Crippling Spores, and her combat mobility. Since she has no obvious escape move beyond her naturally high movement speed and some late-game talents, it could be said that proactivity and map awareness are your best tools for to live.

 

Talent-wise, some elements are worth of mention, notably, the 4th level choices. While certain heroes already feature talent tiers that have two or three choices that focus on improving a single ability (Lt. Morales and Artanis come to mind), we have never seen an entire tier "force" players into improving one single ability. In Lunara's level 4 case, all four choices seek to improve Wisp's usability in one way or another. In fact, this is the only talent tier that allows players to invest into the ability at all! And it makes sense, too: given that Wisp is entirely dedicated to granting vision, on top of having a hefty 45-second cooldown, players would likely never give a second look to the ability's related talents unless they were somehow so grossly overtuned that they became mandatory anyway.

 

Some notable talents include Greater Spell Shield which, as a throwback to the Warcraft III Dryad's magic immunity, is essentially a powered up version of the Spell Shield we know. While on the subject of throwbacks, one of the level 20 choice, Abolish Magic, has some incredible playmaking potential. Just imagine cleansing Kael's Living Bomb right as he is about to trigger Chain Bomb... 

 

 

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League of Legend's Twitch: similar ability design, but a broadly different playstyle.

 

Gamplay and Impressions

 

I must admit that I had a lot of fun playing Lunara. Her seemingly simple ability set has one of the higher skill ceiling seen in any other hero in the way of optimisation and maximising your damage output. The main factor in this assessment is the Crippling Spores ability. Although you could simply use the ability whenever one of your target is infected with Nature's Toxin for a slowing effect and a bit more toxin uptime, you could also hold onto the ability's cooldown until you have damaged several opponents, so as to not only cripple several targets, but also greatly increase your damage output. This fact is further acerbated when we take Lunara's level 16 talents into consideration, two of which provide your basic attacks with some sort of excessively strong bonus (+50% attack speed for 6 seconds with Invigorating Spores, or +50% basic attack range (!) with Star Wood Spear).

 

Lunara's other basic abilities did not have quite as much depth, but they did their job and still had a certain skill cap to them. Noxious Blossom is a delayed area of effect blast with a small radius that is strangely satisfying to hit with, and serves as a long-ranged catalyst for triggering Crippling Spores without endangering yourself. It is particularly useful for waveclearing before Thornwood Vine, one of the heroic abilities (discussed below), becomes available.

 

Wisp, is mostly interesting for the fact that it is the first time we see an ability that is purely dedicated to granting vision on an assassin. Such abilities (Scouting Drone, Oracle, Clairvoyance, Scouting Owl, Creep Tumors, Flare, etc.) were usually reserved to support heroes with a few exceptions. Proper use of the ability makes Lunara extremely difficult to gank, especially when combined with her permanent movement speed increase. Knowing how to use the Wisp offensively, however, is also very important in order to maximise your basic attack uptime (against opponents that are hiding in bushes) and, of course, avoiding ambushes.

 

Both of Lunara's heroic abilities have charges on a very short cooldown. My guess is that this is done so to keep a fast-paced, "jumpy" hero. And it works! Thornwood Vine is your go-to damage dealing choice. It allows you to fill a much-needed gap in Lunara's skillset, and that is, that of reliable area of effect damage. Not to harp on Noxious Blossom, but Thornwood Vine goes out of control when hitting several targets due to its very reasonable base damage, short cooldown, and ability to trigger Nature's Toxin. This ability alone makes me confidently say that we shall see Lunara players reach Kael-like levels of damage.

 

Leaping Strike is your kiting/pseudo-escape ability. Its double charge system essentially makes clever Lunara players impossible to close up on for most if not all melee heroes, and allows you to reliably avoid skillshots and area of effect abilities alike. Although it deals vastly less damage than Thornwood Vine, it will be an incredible choice against melee-heavy team compositions. One of my best BlizzCon moments was using the ability to completely avoid a Greymane player's heroic ability to then proceed to kite them to death (thanks to Crippling Spores and Dryad's Swiftness) without taking one bit of damage.

 

A Place in the Meta?

 

Lunara suffers from a lack of hard crowd control and burst damage, two valuable elements in today's metagame state. She does, however, make up for these weaknesses by being able to deal a crushing amount of area of effect sustained damage, being rather hard to focus down, and having some very interesting niche talents. I suspect that daring teams may fiddle with team compositions that would be all about stretching fights so as to capitalise on Lunara's unavoidable Heat Death-like damage levels. She, as with most assassins, definitely benefits from teaming up with heroes that offer control. I suspect that she will be an excellent hero to match up with Malfurion.

 

It should be noted that her lack of having a mount (traded off for a permanent 20% movement speed increase) may be somewhat of a turn off for some players, and rightly so. The Towers of Doom map felt small enough that it did not feel like a huge downside, however, I could see it being problematic on the larger maps that require players to rotate often.

 

Conclusion

 

Lunara fills a much-needed niche for ranged assasins; one that is not just about burst and single-target damage. Thematically, "nature" was only really represented by Malfurion, and so there again, she is filling in a rather important gap. All of her abilities have a certain level of depth, so I would probably not recommend the hero for newer players; in fact, I fully expect her win rates to increase over time, as players begin to understand how to play her, and to directly correlate with player ranks.

 

Overall, I have really enjoyed Lunara, from a gameplay, design, and thematic standpoint. After reaching level 10, her gameplay becomes much faster paced and I can say with relative confidence that she will be one of my personal favourites.

 

Lunara is expected to be released on December 8th.

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Oxygen, my friend. That build is very questionable. Have you been listening to Zath again?

Having played her at least two times more than you in the completely competitive BlizzCon environment with hours of ahead preparation to theorycraft everything for the new no-healer-Cho'gall-Greymane meta on a new map, I am 100% qualified to make completely official and serious talent recommendations for Lunara.

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      Event
      Nexomania II Event Quests Nexomania II is the summer event for Heroes of the Storm running from the week of June 23 to week of September 7, PDT. One of the most prestigious stops on the Nexomania circuit is the Intermultiversal Nexoweight Championship: No rules, no mercy, just nonstop, bicep-busting carnage. This time, many fans expected Mal’gaucho Mal'Ganis to win it all. The Swingin’ Scourge of Stratholme tore a bloody path through his side of the bracket, burying opponents beneath a deluge of demonic blows. But on the other side of the bracket, a mysterious upstart known only as La Gata de Batalla has proven herself a worthy challenger, defeating foes many times her size en route to the championship match. The arena is packed, with Nexomania legend MC Tombstone roaring away on the mic, and the final battle is about to begin. Whose side are you on? Loot Chests During the Nexomania II event, all Loot Chests you earn through progression, Heroes Brawl, or by spending gold will be Nexomania II Loot Chests. (Except Hero-specific Chests, which will remain unchanged.) Most limited-time items shown above have a chance to drop from Nexomania II Loot Chests only. You can also score Items from previous years’ summer events limited-time loot chests! Note: Loot Chests earned prior to the start of this event will not become Nexomania II Loot Chests. Return to Top
      Collection
      Many seasonal items will be returning to the collection, and will be available for crafting and in Loot Chests for a limited time!
      New Bundles (Limited Time Only!) Pajama Party Mei Heroic Bundle Nexoweight Championship Bundle Mal'gaucho Mal'Ganis Skin Pack El Bandido Imperius Skin Pack Gata de Batalla Li Li Skin Pack Nexomania Best Bros Bundle Nexomania Bitter Rivals Bundle Pumped up Pato Bundle New Skins Renowned Mei Vanguard Mei Pajama Party Mei Panda Pajama Party Mei Gnoll Pajama Party Mei Mal'gaucho Mal'Ganis Nemesis Mal'gaucho Mal'Ganis Underworld Mal'gaucho Mal'Ganis El Bandido Imperius El Fuego Imperius Sinister El Bandido Imperius Vigilante El Bandido Imperius Gata de Batalla Li Li Comeback Gata de Batalla Li Li Underworld Gata de Batalla Li Li Hulking El Chamuco Diablo Pink Singlet El Chamuco Diablo El Festejo Garrosh El Jefe Amarillo Garrosh La Medianoche Lunara La Rosa Lunara La Campeona Sonya Pink Pantera Sonya Championship El Mariachi E.T.C. El Cielo E.T.C. New Mounts Ratón de Batalla Comeback Ratón de Batalla Underworld Ratón de Batalla Pumped Up Pato Pumped Up Swan Underworld Pumped Up Pato Championship Luchihuahua Festive Luchihuahua Wild Pigñata Festive Pigñata Thraller Bill New Announcer Mei Announcer New Content Several new Portraits, Sprays and other items have been added to the Collection! Return to Top
      Storm League
      With the upcoming third Season of 2020, we wanted to make some changes to the reward structure of Storm League.
      Replacing Gold Rewards Starting with Season 3 of 2020, we are removing all Gold rewards from Storm League, End of Season prizes and Seasonal Questlines. This will also affect Season 2 rewards. The new Seasonal Questline reward structure is as follows: a Nexomania II Chest after 5 wins, a Rare Nexomania II Chest after 15 wins, and an Epic Nexomania II Chest after 30 wins. Storm League Reward Mounts Since the inception of Storm League, we have received a lot of feedback about the retirement of Ranked Play reward Mounts. We have heard you and are extremely happy to announce the return of exclusive Storm League Mounts starting next season. The ultimate and final reward of the 2020 Season 3 Questline will be the Regal Tiger Mount, which will be awarded after winning 50 games in Ranked Play. As of Season 3, you won't have to wait for the end of the Season to claim your well-earned Regal Tiger. It will become available as soon as you complete the four-step Storm League Quest Line. The mount only requires you to win 50 games and will be granted to players in all Leagues and Divisions. As usual, we're happy to listen to your feedback. Please share your thoughts with us, so we can continue to adjust and evolve the Storm League rewards further. Return to Top
      Heroes Rework: Mal'Ganis
      Base
      Vitals Health reduced from 2500 to 2450. Health Regeneration reduced from 5.21 to 5.11. Basic Attack Basic Attack damage reduced from 100 to 92. Fel Claws [Q] Damage reduced from 69 to 63. Talents
      Level 1 Vampiric Aura [Trait] Additional functionality: Mal'Ganis heals for 30% of Physical Damage dealt. Time to Feed [Passive] Healing reduced from 52 to 44. Additional functionality: If Mal'Ganis damages a nearby enemy Hero with Fel Claws, double this healing. Level 4 Fueled by Torment [W] Bonus Healing against enemy Heroes increased from 15% to 20%. Might of Sargeras [W] No longer reduces the duration of Necrotic Embrace. Echo of Doom [W] Explosion damage increased from 50 to 54. No longer increases the duration of Necrotic Embrace when its explosion damage hits enemy Heroes. Additional functionality: Gain 5 Mana and reduce the cooldown of Necrotic Embrace by .75 seconds for each enemy Hero hit by its explosion damage. Level 7 Nightmare Fuel [E] Removed. Black Claws [Q] Additional functionality: Basic Attacks after hitting enemy Heroes with Fel Claws also reduces their Armor by 15 for 2 seconds. Will of Tichondrius [Q] New functionality: Each enemy Hero hit by the first 2 slashes of Fel Claws causes the final slash to steal 1% maximum Health, up to 4%. If Mal'Ganis hits at least 4 enemy Heroes with the first 2 slashes of Fel Claws, then the final slash Stuns enemies for an additional .25 seconds. Spreading Plague [E] Adjusted functionality: Spreading Plague’s effect now starts when Mal'Ganis begins using Night Rush instead of when Night Rush expires. Level 13 The Night Beckons [E] Additional functionality: Basic Attacks deal 200% more damage to Sleeping targets. Level 16 Frenzied Assault [Passive] New functionality: Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes with a higher Health percentage heal for an additional 50% of damage dealt. Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes with a lower Health percentage grant 35% Attack Speed for 2 seconds. Blind as a Bat [Active] Additional functionality: Enemy Heroes hit by the final slash of Fel Claws reduces the cooldown of this Ability by 5 seconds. Level 20 Vanquish the Weak [Q] Slow amount increased from 15% to 25%. Alone in the Dark [E] Additional functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Night Rush by 4 seconds. Return to Top
      Heroes
      Murky
      Base
      Spawn Egg [Trait] Health increased from 324 to 420. Health Scaling changed from 30 to 4% per level. Return to Top
      Bug Fixes
      General
      Fixed an issue where Toys 1 Event reward Portraits could not be equipped for those who had earned them in Toys 1 Event in 2018. Heroes
      Anduin Anduin's Light of Stormwind now correctly removes damage over time effects. Murky Murky's Egg Health now properly scales at 4% per level. Stitches Fixed an issue where Slam would go on cooldown when Stitches was interrupted during its initial cast. Tassadar The Ranged Assassin tooltip at the bottom is now properly displaying for Tassadar. Return to Top
      A new Hero, Nexus Anomaly, and Nexomania II await in the Nexus!
    • By Oxygen
      Our thirtieth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for June 2020 is here!
      The latest meta tier list for June 2020 is here!
      Welcome to another Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the June 3 patch. The goal 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).
      A new format, soon™
      First off: sorry for taking so long to update the list. We're in the final stage of a complete (and overdue) redesign of our tier lists. While I can't say for sure when we'll be showcasing it, it'll make both the updating process and your browsing experience that much better. In the meantime, I've restricted the class system to the system used in-game so as to reduce confusion. Stay tuned!
      Current ranked mode map rotation
      Current anomaly
      A Call For Help!. For more information about this Anomaly, simply refer to our Anomaly guide.
       

      S-tier Tank Bruiser Ranged Assassin Melee Assassin Healer Support E.T.C.   Cassia       Johanna   Mephisto        

      High-tier Tank Bruiser Ranged Assassin Melee Assassin Healer Support Blaze Sonya Falstad Ragnaros Deckard Abathur Garrosh Xul Fenix Samuro Lùcio   Mal'Ganis Yrel Greymane Thrall Rehgar       Jaina   Stukov       Kael'thas   Whitemane       Raynor           Sylvanas           Tassadar           Tracer        

      Mid-tier Tank Bruiser Ranged Assassin Melee Assassin Healer Support Arthas Artanis Azmodan Alarak Alexstrasza Zarya Anub'arak Chen Chromie Gazlowe Ana   Diablo Deathwing Hanzo Kerrigan Anduin   Muradin Dehaka Kel'Thuzad Maiev Auriel   Varian (Taunt) Leoric Li-Ming Qhira Brightwing     Malthael Lunara Zeratul Lt. Morales     Varian (Blades) Nazeebo   Malfurion     Varian (Smash) Orphea   Tyrande       Sgt. Hammer           Tychus           Valla           Zagara           Zul'jin        

      Low-tier Tank Bruiser Ranged Assassin Melee Assassin Healer Support Cho D.Va Gall The Butcher Kharazim Medivh Stitches Rexxar Genji Valeera   TLV Tyrael   Nova           Probius      
    • By Stan
      With Mei available for testing until Monday, we've updated our Heroes section and added her to the talent calculator.
      Mei is now available in the talent calculator on our site. You can access it by clicking on the image below.

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