Damien

Heroes of the Storm Cho

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

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Rollback is clearly superior choice, because the damage difference is at best negligible, but another chance at blowing it up is invaluable and can change the encounter in your favor, especially against players who actively dodge the first roll.

 

Butcher is very weak against Cho'gall due to Cho'gall's ability to get away from melee range fast, use molten block when branded and Gall's Shadow Bolt Volley which will kill butcher even if he's hitting a marked target.

 

Kharazim should be added to counters. SSS.

 

Power surge is very useful against leoric and useful against any team.

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Fuel the Flame needs to be updated, I believe that it now increases the duration of the heal by 75% instead of increasing the amount healed by 50% for consuming Blaze after picking up a regeration globe.  

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Fuel the Flame needs to be updated, I believe that it now increases the duration of the heal by 75% instead of increasing the amount healed by 50% for consuming Blaze after picking up a regeration globe.  

 

Good catch. I still wouldn't recommend the talent.

 

Rollback is clearly superior choice, because the damage difference is at best negligible, but another chance at blowing it up is invaluable and can change the encounter in your favor, especially against players who actively dodge the first roll.

 

Butcher is very weak against Cho'gall due to Cho'gall's ability to get away from melee range fast, use molten block when branded and Gall's Shadow Bolt Volley which will kill butcher even if he's hitting a marked target.

 

Kharazim should be added to counters. SSS.

 

Power surge is very useful against leoric and useful against any team.

 

Regarding Rollback: I think it's one of those "make-up" talents that become worse as the Cho and Gall players become better and more coordinated. I can't remember a time where I thought I could have used Rollback over Runed Gauntlet. I'm always impressed with my main partner's (I tend to play Gall) ability to aim Rune Bomb properly in the first place. The talent would essentially be a waste for us. I know of a lot of people - including "pros" - whom swear by the talent, but I just can't see it.

 

Regarding your Butcher analysis: You're not wrong, but let's not forget that teamwork is an important part of dealing with Cho'gall. Shadowbolt Volley is pretty simple to dodge at close range, and using Molten Block against Brand opens you to be Lambed (and other heroics).

 

Regarding Kharazim: Whereas SSS is very strong versus Cho'gall, Kharazim doesn't do well against him under any other circumstance. The main issue being that he needs to be close to allies and constantly attacking to maximise his healing, something that Cho'gall punishes with glee. Molten Block is also an excellent counter-talent.

 

Regarding Power Surge: I wouldn't pick it over I AM Hurrying!, although you still make a very relevant point. Remember to keep Molten Block for Entomb.

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So a few notes on Cho that I've noticed while playing him recently.

 

1. Most of the listed "counters" are just people capable of 1v1ing Cho'Gall at a high level. You should not be 1v1ing anybody at a high level unless you are certain you can blow them up before they can react, even as Cho'Gall, the risk of getting ganged up on is far too great to engage in any fight that lasts more then a few seconds without the rest of your team backing you up. Specifically, Illidan and Butcher should die well before they can amass the damage to actually kill you and their assassination efforts will almost certainly be focused on easier targets.

 

2. I have no idea why Raynor is listed as a counter. Early game you walk all over him, and by the time he manages to be a threat, you have upheaval, and he has no way to avoid it easily. Even with Adrenaline Rush, Rayner simply cannot survive getting yanked into your team. He does kind of pigeonhole you into picking upheaval, but that's hardly a bad thing, as upheaval is an amazing ultimate.

 

3. Anub'Arak should be listed as a hard counter. Cacoon completely shuts you down for a ridiculous amount of time, it's nigh impossible to avoid, and turns any teamfight into a 3 V 5, which your team will lose hard. I actually consider Anub'Arak as a harder counter then Leoric (at least it takes him several seconds to actually kill me)

 

4. While Blazing Bulwark and Fire Eater are very good talents, Surging Dash and Power Surge do a great deal to increase Cho's mobility. I've found that the best way to avoid dieing as Cho'Gall is not maximizing tankyness/sustain, but simply to avoid putting yourself in a position where the enemy can focus you long enough to bring you down. Surging Dash greatly increases the length of your dash, increasing your threat radius while Power Surge greatly reduces one of his Q's greatest weaknesses, wind up time. The difference between a half a second wind up time and a full second wind up time is huge and can mean the difference between catching someone or letting them get away, or the difference between escaping and getting interrupted. The width isn't that big of a deal, but I will say that the giant aoe slow that you get from combining power surge and crippling blow gives Stun Hammer Cho a very nice initiation tool.

 

Oh yeah, general guide to escaping from danger as Cho'Gall

 

Step 1: Have Gall shove you away from the teamfight, this will get you out of range of most CCs.

Step 2: Have Gall press Z and run until the duration is over

Step 3: If still being chased, press Q and get out.

 

This will get you across all but the largest of maps without having to pick up your horse(best mount ever).

 

This is how I escape danger about 90% of the time, the nice thing about it is that since Q is the last step, it'll probably be up even if you initiated with it. Not having to save Q for escape opens up a lot of possibilities for Cho'Gall to make proactive plays without fear of not having an out.

Edited by WebBowser

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While all of your points are excellent, I typically write guides in a more conservative/focused manner, and then try to "fan out" as I figure out niche and general uses for talents. Over time, my guides tend to take a lot of non-recommend talents to the "situational" category. For instance, after 75-or-so Cho'gall games, I finally figured out a niche use for Eye of Kilrogg, and we've started making use of Fuel the Flame when there are no strong basic attackers facing us. At some point however, we somewhat have to do a cutoff and say "okay, this is an acceptable talent, but we feel that talent Y may just be more useful more often" because, in the end, it is a guide and not a commentary on talent design nor a study on the lining-up of ultraspecific game variables.

 

Thanks for the good comments & contributions, by the way!

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@Oxygen Yeah, the main point of my last post was to comment on different Cho'Gall counters, but I also like talking about talents because talents are fun. You're quite welcome on the comments by the way. Cho'Gall is easily my favorite hero in the game in terms of design, there is literally nothing else in the entire genre quite like it, so It's nice to be able to discuss his ins and outs with an experienced player.

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Regarding Rollback: I think it's one of those "make-up" talents that become worse as the Cho and Gall players become better and more coordinated.

I am now a level 11 Cho player, playing with the same gall player everytime, whos damage is exceptional, tbh. We always go with rune bomb range and Rollback. I am impressed by my gall's ability to determine whether or not to detonate the bomb on the first targets it passes, or to wait for me to place differently for the rollback. i Would argue that the reason my galls damage is higher than the other cho'galls i experience in games, is that our bombs hit around 90-95 % of the time, this comes down to good throws, and surprising rollbacks if they dodge it, which alot of people do, no Cho can hit everytime, but he can move, and people forget the death from  behind surprisingly quickly. We always go for a bowler build and have a quite impressive winrate, i do respect alot of the choices here, but disagree with the level 4 talent alot. I recommend new players to experiment alot with Cho'Gall, since it comes down to the two players synergies. Me and my friend likes to go Boomerang-Bowling

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I find Tychus is an incredibly effective counter to a Cho'Gall. If he picks up your Anti-Tank Build (Focusing on melting tanks with MinigunMinigun) he can kill a Cho'Gall in a team fight in about 5 seconds (or at least in less coordinated play), especially if the enemy Cho is very aggressive in using Hammer of TwilightHammer of Twilight or Surging FistSurging Fist. Picking up Press the AdvantagePress the Advantage will help you finish him if he runs, Drakken Laser DrillDrakken Laser Drill will punish him for overextending, and a well stacked In the RhythmIn the Rhythm combined with That's the Stuff!That's the Stuff! gives him enough sustain that MinigunMinigun's duration basically renders you unkillable if he sneaks up on you in a 1v1 (or 1v2 in this case), meaning you can retreat as needed with a peeling Frag GrenadeFrag Grenade and Run and GunRun and Gun, force them to back off, or get assistance from nearby allies.

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2 hours ago, Blainie said:

Going to tag @Straften, since he is the writer for the Tychus guide. He'll have more insight on this than me, for sure!

Alright, thanks! Just as a side note to my earlier post, I meant you can kill a Cho'Gall in a team fight with help. If you try to fight him with no support (and let's just put the outrageous number of a 15 second MinigunMinigun stacked from In the RhythmIn the Rhythm) it would still take you a good amount of time before you can burn through his entire health pool, and before level 13, you will always die unless an ally is nearby to help you take him down or you make the wise decision of peeling away and kiting him.

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3 hours ago, Niteshadow said:

Alright, thanks! 

No worries! Thanks for adding the clarification, hopefully it will help him better understand where you're coming from.

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On 11/21/2016 at 8:27 AM, Niteshadow said:

Alright, thanks! Just as a side note to my earlier post, I meant you can kill a Cho'Gall in a team fight with help. If you try to fight him with no support (and let's just put the outrageous number of a 15 second MinigunMinigun stacked from In the RhythmIn the Rhythm) it would still take you a good amount of time before you can burn through his entire health pool, and before level 13, you will always die unless an ally is nearby to help you take him down or you make the wise decision of peeling away and kiting him.

Tychus can deal an insane amount of damage to them, as long as he is standing still within range of all of Gall's Abilities. Although Tychus is dealing percent Health damage, the flat damage of Gall is so large that Tychus will lose this trade. If anything, it will be the Cho who kites the Tychus away. Gall can outrange him by quite a lot, which forces Tychus to take damage just to get into Basic Attack range. I agree that on paper Tychus seems like a good counter to Cho'gall, I came to the same conclusion at first. In practice though, I find that good Cho'gall players zone me out hard, often forcing me to retreat before I am able to deal meaningful damage to them. 

There are exceptions of course. Sometimes Cho and Gall aren't used to playing with each other, or sometimes they are just not very good. In these cases, Tychus can certainly melt them, and quickly. You also bring up a good point about needing help from your team. I do think Tychus can be part of a solution to Cho'gall, even great ones; however, I do not think he counters them on his own. This is likely why he is not listed as a counter by Oxygen.

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10 hours ago, Straften said:

There are exceptions of course. Sometimes Cho and Gall aren't used to playing with each other, or sometimes they are just not very good. In these cases, Tychus can certainly melt them, and quickly. You also bring up a good point about needing help from your team. I do think Tychus can be part of a solution to Cho'gall, even great ones; however, I do not think he counters them on his own. This is likely why he is not listed as a counter by Oxygen.

I must have been playing against some Cho'gall players who were not too coordinated, as I was able to really get through their health pool once In the RhythmIn the Rhythm really started to buff my MinigunMinigun duration and I could stay alive with That's the Stuff!That's the Stuff!. I remember one part of a game as Tychus very well where I popped MinigunMinigun after level 13 and outsustained both of them at once, forcing a hasty retreat. Just throwing this out there; against better Cho'galls, he could be rather ineffective. Thanks for taking my proposition into consideration though!

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On 11/25/2016 at 5:35 PM, Niteshadow said:

Thanks for taking my proposition into consideration though!

It's what we strive to do! Good analysis and suggestions keep our writers on their toes ;D

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3 hours ago, MarioToast said:

What about Auriel? Her passive benefits from the damage of both Cho and Gall, so she's an excellent support for him.

Funnily enough, she lists Cho/Gall as synergies, but not the other way round. I'm sure we'll see this with the guide format update to Cho/Gall.

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I actually have very little to add, I think this guide is excellent. I find it odd that you note Upheaval's synergy with shadowbolt volley without noting its ludicrous synergy with twisting neather. As long as you coordinate with Gall to start the neather shortly prior to the upheavel, you should be able to hit all of upheavel's victims with neather at a minimum. If you have aoe CC to follow up with (level 20 talent, lead nova, ring of frost, etc), then you and your allies can pull off a full skill rotation, often resulting in an outright victory. Prior to level 20, shadowbolt volley will only hit the guy closest to you, which leaves all your other victims relatively healthy. It's not a bad combo to be sure, but neather just combos so much better.

 

I still maintain that taking neather with hammer will always lead to sadness though...

Edited by WebBowser

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I would like more elaboration as to why Calloused HideCalloused Hide is the only viable level 1 talent. I often get just as much or more mileage out of Consuming FireConsuming Fire due to the fact that we tend to use Ogre Rage a lot more than Ogre Hide in most circumstances (especially since, in QM, ending up with no support at all is not unlikely).

I would call it at least situational. Even if you feel the healing bonus (150% really does not feel insignificant) is weak, it still is flat out better in no-support QMs.   

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Twilight VeilTwilight Veil's comment talks about a "extremely long cooldown", but it's only 30 seconds. Is that really long? I mean, Hardened shield is 4 second duration with 60 second cooldown, so it's technically the same-ish?

 

Molten BlockMolten Block displays a cooldown of 0 seconds, but URF mode hasn't been introduced as a Heroes Brawl yet.

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On ‎19‎.‎7‎.‎2017 at 3:52 PM, TwixTrix said:

Twilight VeilTwilight Veil's comment talks about a "extremely long cooldown", but it's only 30 seconds. Is that really long? I mean, Hardened shield is 4 second duration with 60 second cooldown, so it's technically the same-ish?

 

Molten BlockMolten Block displays a cooldown of 0 seconds, but URF mode hasn't been introduced as a Heroes Brawl yet.

For Cho'Gall, 30 seconds is a long cooldown. I will however pass it onto Oxy to see if he could make it a bit less overexaggerated. As for the tooltip, thank you! Not sure if I said this already, but Blizzard has been changing their tooltip code for about 2 months, reducing the amount of integers and as a result making the game run slightly better, but because we datamine the tooltips, it's been breaking them, often by making them multiply by 0 (this case) or dividing by zero. So, we are very grateful for all the help with finding faulty tooltips!

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As an avid Cho'gall player myself, I find that I almost never pick Hour of Twilight. Firstly, because games never seem to make it to level 20 while we're Cho'galling. Secondly, because I tend to play on the slightly more defensive side, I don't find myself dying too much.

While it's easy to say "Oh, a good Cho'gall shouldn't die" and act smug about it, I really do feel justified in saying that it often turns out better if I pick the C'Thun's Gift or Favor of the Old Gods. Since, once again, I have the capacity to escape from situations with my Q. The only time I feel like one should pick Hour of Twilight is when they've died a bunch of times. But if you've died a bunch of times as Cho'gall, there's a good chance you're never going to make it to level 20 since you're getting your arse handed to you. Know what I'm saying?

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On 20/11/2017 at 6:10 AM, LobsterEmperor said:

As an avid Cho'gall player myself, I find that I almost never pick Hour of Twilight. Firstly, because games never seem to make it to level 20 while we're Cho'galling. Secondly, because I tend to play on the slightly more defensive side, I don't find myself dying too much.

While it's easy to say "Oh, a good Cho'gall shouldn't die" and act smug about it, I really do feel justified in saying that it often turns out better if I pick the C'Thun's Gift or Favor of the Old Gods. Since, once again, I have the capacity to escape from situations with my Q. The only time I feel like one should pick Hour of Twilight is when they've died a bunch of times. But if you've died a bunch of times as Cho'gall, there's a good chance you're never going to make it to level 20 since you're getting your arse handed to you. Know what I'm saying?

Oh, definitely. I understand that. Dying as Cho'gall is terrible since you'll award the enemy team 2x the XP, and lose a lot of power, which allows the enemy team to push.

However, playing Cho'gall offensively is really really fun, specially if you run on Double Support + Nuker alongside Cho'gall. Me and my Cho partner (I play Gall), love to run with an offensive combination that deals surprisingly high damage.

Here's the Cho build he runs with, and here's the Gall build I use.

We're always moving, scouting and killing minions to gain more stacks of Fuel for the FlameFuel for the Flame, while placing  Eye of KilroggEye of Kilrogg at strategical points. It's really fun.

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On 19 iulie 2017 at 4:52 PM, TwixTrix said:

Twilight VeilTwilight Veil's comment talks about a "extremely long cooldown", but it's only 30 seconds. Is that really long? I mean, Hardened shield is 4 second duration with 60 second cooldown, so it's technically...

 

Unfortunatly, Twilight Veil is only 2 seconds long.

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      Blizzard (Source)
      The team-focused nature of Heroes presents challenges when using this system to determine an individual player’s matchmaking rating, since any single player is only 1 part of the 5-man team that won or lost the match. The system works since, all things being equal, a player will win more games than they lose over the long run if their skill is higher than other players at the same rank.
      I must admit I was not ready to respond to a “we know it works, but we’re changing it anyway” approach. Leaving aside the obvious flaw in basic argumentation theory, I know how frustrating it is to have a strong performance and still lose; I’ve certainly been there before. But, in general, players need to be groomed into being able to look at the larger, statistically-significant picture. If you consistently perform well and are never the cause for losses, you will rise. After all, the opposing team would have 5 chances of “messing up” whereas yours would only have 4. This means that if you can maintain an approximate 55.5% win rate, you know you’re good. (That approximate 55.5% value comes from 100 - 4 / 9 * 100; this calculation essentially compares each team’s chance at a liability if you’re never a negative factor, hence why it only take 9 players into account and giving each player an approximate 11.11…% of the responsibility for losing.). If your win rate is actually higher than that, you may even be good enough to even make up for negative factors on your team. That’s powerful, and certainly doesn’t require any fancy system to work, even in a team environment, unlike what Blizzard seems to be claiming. Even if your impact is small, you still have an impact.
      However, I don’t want people to get me wrong here; in theory, I think that the idea of a performance-based matchmaking system is great, though just not for the purpose of long-term MMR adjustment. If Heroes of the Storm did have a way to accurately identify high- and low-level players, the matchmaking experience would be vastly improved for both groups: high-level players would no longer have to endure low-level players with high MMR uncertainty, whereas low-level players would no longer be thrown into victimizing and soul-crushing matches. Higher match quality promotes player retention; player retention is profitable for everyone.
      Blizzard (Source)
      What differentiates a highly skilled player on a given Hero isn’t always obvious, though.
      In a complex game such as Heroes of the storm, is it ever? The system is claimed to be “dynamic”, which means that, over time, it reevaluates how it defines skilled play for a given hero as it is fed new data. However, in practice, I just don’t think "skill" is something that can be reliably measured by in-game performance data alone. Nor should it be. Let us draw comparisons between Heroes of the Storm and chess, which has used a similar matchmaking system known as ELO for some decades now. In chess, what would you say matters most between the two following statements?
      Claiming multiple pieces without trading your own?
      or…
      Focusing on claiming key pieces during key moments?
      The answer is “it depends”. Although both tactics may lead to victory, the first style is opportunistic whereas the second is analytical. Unfortunately for the second player, their strategy would be much harder for a performance-based system to evaluate; how would it know what defines a key piece, let alone a key moment? The first approach is mathematical; one is better than zero and, generally, “free” trades correlate with winning, which is more or less why they are inexistant at a high level chess unless intentional.
      In chess, you aren’t rewarded for losing less, and the reason for this is that the underlying ELO system is robust and self-correcting; rating resets don’t occur every couple months, let alone twice in a week, and rating gains and losses are small. Of course, the ELO system isn’t beyond reproach, but I think it’s fair to say that players understand that long-term results are what matter, not individual game results. And, it doesn’t run the risk of overvaluing Queen taking Rook because of insufficient or misinterpreted data.

      Queen literally takes Rook during a Tribute fight. Siege damage is important to Zagara, says data.
      As you can tell probably tell by now, I’m very skeptical about how such a system is supposed to evaluate what differentiates a highly skilled player, period, regardless of what hero it is they’re playing. Here’s a concrete example of what I mean by that: Although I don’t consider myself to be a particularly strong mechanical player, I have always managed to maintain a rather high win/loss ratios, for a team game, back in my active days anyway. Why? I’d be lying if I didn’t say that many of these victories weren’t simply due to outdrafting opponents, clear non-confrontational shotcalling, encouraging teammates, defusing infighting, taking every match seriously, knowing when and why to engage, going over mistakes, and generally making powerful macro decisions. On top of being that one weird guy that says “can play anything*, prefer assassin or specialist, let’s try to ban x and pick y.” Doesn’t reading that first thing in any given lobby instill confidence in the rest of your teammates? I bet this translates into wins every once in a while, so why not do it?
      I tend to thrive on waveclear tanks with strong engaging power because they let me decide exactly when a minion wave needs to push or when an enemy hero needs to die despite low mechanical ceilings.

      And now you know how to ban me out.
      *…whereas I couldn’t outplay most of my opponents to save my life. I accept my fate as one of the worst Illidan players in existence, and I’m fine with it.

      I have nothing to add, your honor.
      The great irony here is that none of the aforementioned elements that I feel make me, and probably many other players, reasonably strong are – nor can be – taken into account by any automated system because they’re simply too subjective. Why exactly am I being punished for not mindlessly using my abilities on-cooldown and padding my numbers? We get it; dealing damage is important. But what about useful damage? How can that ever be taken into account by a machine? This might sound like an argument from incredulity but, as I see it, we have plenty of evidence to conclude that the system isn’t quite working as intended.
      Of course, within this system, winning is still what matters most, and by far. Fortunately for me, my skillset does tend to translate into wins. But obfuscating one’s point gains and losses behind questionable variables is going to, at best, confuse players, and at worst, breed harmful behaviour. These two consequences have already been observed.
      TL;DR:
      A solid performance-based matchmaking system can have positive effects on matchmaking by allowing players to find their appropriate MMR faster. However, what defines a good player in a complex, team-oriented game goes well beyond what any data collection system can collect, interpret, and use. In its current state, the performance-based matchmaking system is at best unnecessary and at worst obfuscating, and ultimately risks breeding harmful player behaviour.
      I’ll allow myself to end on a bit of wisdom: If you play to improve, you’ll never lose a game in your life. And the sooner you quit worrying about your rank, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on what really matters.
    • 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.