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Kendric got a chance to play the Archlich of Naxxramas at Gamescom 2017 and shared his thoughts and impressions in our latest review.
Role & Playstyle
Kel’thuzad has been a fan favorite for a long time now and Blizzard has finally answered the call of thousands of Heroes of the Storm community members by introducing him at Gamescom 2017. The Archlich of Naxxramas is a ranged Assassin who is capable of dishing out a respectable amount of burst damage from long distance range. He also excels at dealing large amounts of AoE damage to clear Minion Waves very efficiently.
Trait, Abilities & Talents
First and foremost it is worth mentioning that Kel’thuzad feels like a very skill-based Hero who relies greatly on the player’s skill to time, predict, and aim his abilities carefully in order to be rewarded.
That reflects itself especially well in Kel’thuzad’s Trait called Master of the Cold Dark, which requires the player to land crowd control effects - provided by Frost Nova and Chains of Kel’thuzad - on enemy Heroes in order to gain so-called Blight stacks. After acquiring 15 Blight, all the cooldowns of Kel’thuzad’s Basic Abilities are lowered by 2 seconds, after reaching 30 Blight, his Spell Power is increased by 75% which causes all of his abilities, Heroic Abilities included, to deal significantly more damage.
Kel’thuzad’s bread and butter damage ability is Death and Decay, which is a relatively easy to land projectile, that expands into a circular damage zone upon impact on the first enemy hit. The impact itself deals a considerable amount of damage, while it also leaves behind a void zone that deals damage over time to enemy Heroes staying inside.
Frost Nova, on the other hand, is a little bit trickier to get value from. Similar to Chromie’s Sand Blast or Dragon's Breath, Frost Nova comes with a 1-second delay, which makes predicting your target’s movement path very important. After the delay, Kel’thuzad unleashes a large circle of Frost, which deals heavy damage and slows all enemies inside. Enemies in the center of the ability also find themselves rooted for 1 second, which makes this ability extremely powerful if aimed properly.
Last but not least, Chains of Kel’thuzad introduces a new mechanic to Heroes of the Storm, which allows the Lich to chain two enemy Heroes together, pulling them both closer to each other and stunning them for 0.5 seconds. What’s particularly interesting about this ability is the fact that it can also be landed on Structures, which makes it quite sneaky for enemy Heroes who think themselves safe behind a Wall or a Keep for instance. Both Frost Nova’s root effect and Chains of Kel’thuzad’s stun effects count towards his Trait Master of the Cold Dark, which makes them very important for his overall combat performance.
Both of Kel’thuzad’s Heroic Abilities looked quite powerful without feeling broken or overpowered. While Frost Blast is targeted at one enemy Hero, it unleashes a huge amount of AoE damage and crowd control around the target upon impact making it a deadly ability for team fighting. However, it felt like dodging Frost Blast was fairly simple to do and as such, the true strength of this Heroic Ability remains yet to be seen after his release.
Shadow Fissure, on the other hand, can be described as a very safe Heroic Ability, as there are hardly any drawbacks when picking it. After a short delay, Kel’thuzad summons a large fissure on the targeted location from anywhere on the map (making it a global Heroic Ability similar to Nova’s Precision Strike), which deals a respectable amount of damage to any enemy Hero standing inside. Keep in mind, however, that it does not deal any damage to non-Heroic sources, which means it can neither be used to clear Minion Waves (and soak experience), nor to siege enemy Structures from afar. A bonus especially for newer Kel’thuzad players is its 15-second cooldown, which makes missing the ability quite forgiving.
Kel'thuzad is hitting PTR next week and Chromie, Jaina, Leoric & Morales are receiving reworks. Find out more about all Hero changes spotted by the community so far.
An in-development video will be published Wednesday (August 23).
Redditor ToastieNL compiled a list of all changes over at /r/heroesofthestorm. You can check the full article here. We'll be focusing on Hero changes in this article and report on new skins/sprays/announcers after the in-development video is live tomorrow.
Obey the Call Event
Kel'thuzad's patch brings new skins, bundles, sprays, announcers and event quests to the Nexus. All data was obtained from community contribution at /r/heroesofthestorm. Some changes may be innacurate and we'll have to wait until next week for full patch notes.
Death Knight Sonya Dreadlord Jaina Crypt Queen Zagara Hero Changes
The following Heroes will receive updates in next week's PTR patch.
Sand Blast damage decreased. It's now a baseline quest. Every successful hit +5 damage permanently and at 80 hits, Past and Future Me activates. Chromie has a hits counter with how many Q's you hit in a row. On two consecutive hits, Q deals double the damage, on 3 the damage is tripled. Talent Changes
Compounding Aether (Level 1 Talent) removed and replaced with a talent that makes Q deal triple bonus damage when you hit an enemy three times in a row. Piercing Sands (Level 4 Talent) removed. New talent: When Time Trap is activated, the cooldowns of Sand Blast and Dragon's Breath is reset. Reaching through Time (Level 13 Talent) removed. There's a new spell allowing you to swap locations with a Sand Clone (Q baseline quest). Apparently, you can use your Hearthstone, teleport back to the base, replenish your Health/Mana & teleport back. Past and Future Me (Level 20 Talent) became a baseline Q quest and got replaced with Piercing Sands. It pierces through all enemies, but there are no quest procs for multiple hits. Loophole (Level 20 Talent) Temporal Loop can be cast immediately one more time after it finishes. Credits go to /u/StephOddish (Source)
Blizzard cooldown reduced to 14 sec. Ice Block is now baseline and you will gain it pon dealing 15,000 Critical Damage (Trait). It's on a 40 second cooldown. Talents
Deep Chill (Level 1 Talent) removed. There's a new quest called Fingers of Frost that increases Mana regeneration per globe, capping at 20, when it increases damage bonus of her trait by 10%. Level 7
Frostbitten (Level 7 Talent) removed. Replaced with Icefury Wand: Auto attacks deal 75% bonus damage to Chilled targets. Every auto attack reduces Blizzard's cooldown by 1 sec. Level 10
Summon Water Elemental (Level 10 Heroic Ability): Cooldown decreased to 60 sec (down from 80 sec), Mana cost decreased from 75 to 60. Level 20
Bolt of the Storm: Ice Blink & AoE Chill application. Deep Chill: Slow stacks. Ring of Frost (upgrade): reduces its cooldown by 10 sec per Hero hit in the center. Leoric
Skeletal Swing (Q) cooldown increased to 14 seconds. has 7 sec. cooldown and 50% Mana refunded when hitting a Hero. Drain Hope (W) baseline healing down to 20% (from 25%). Every 1st / 2nd basic attack cleaves and the 3rd hits for double damage. Talent Changes
Consume Vitality: Drain Hope's cooldown reduced by 2 sec. Heal for 4% maximum Health per enemy hit with Skeletal Swing). Fealty Unto Death: Gain Health / Mana when minions die. Ossein Renewal: Heal 20% maximum Health over 4 sec. Level 4
Ghastly Reach: Increases the range of Skeletal Swing. Paralyzing Rage: Increases the Slow of Skeletal Swing. Kneel, Peasants: Increases the damage of Skeletal Swing by 75% against PvE. Level 7
Willing Vessel: Increases healing of Drain Hope by 5% and an additional 5% when you finish a full cast. Drain Momentum: Gain 30% Movement Speed for 4 seconds upon completion. Hopelessness: Drain Hope's range increased. Level 10
Entomb: Cooldown increased to 70 sec. (down from 50 sec.). March of the Black King: Damage per swing increased to 548 from 400 (at Level 20). Healing increased to 12% of maximum Health (up from 7%). Level 13
Unyielding Despair: Reduces the cooldown of Drain Hope. Hardened Bones: Gain Armor during and 3 sec. after Drain Hope. Ominous Wrath: Increases the duration of Wraith Walk by 100%. Wraith Walk through enemies to reduce their damage by 50% for 4 sec. Level 16
Royal Focus: Your next Skeletal Swing deals 50% increaed. damage. Hitting Heroes reduces cooldown of Wraith Walk by 7 sec. Crushing Hope: Deal damage equal to 15% of an enemy's maximum Health when Drain Hope is cast for its full duration. Does not heal. Mithril Mace: Increases Attack Speed by 20% + 3% per 10 minion kills or 1 Hero kill, capping at 50% total. Level 20
Burning Despair: Deals 175% damage of Burning Rage. AoE and damage is doubled when Drain Hope is active. Spectral Leech: Deals damage equal to 2.5 % of Leoric's maximum Health and heals Leoric for double. Heroes caught in Entomb are now silenced. Hardened Shield removed, replaced with Shroud of the Dead King: Activate to gain Protected for 3 sec. (75 sec. cooldown). Credits go to /u/Spazzo965 (Source), /u/Homicidal_HotS, /u/Ignisami & /u/m05513
Mana removed, replaced with Energy. 3 seconds after not using Healing Beam, Morales will regenerate 6 Energy every 1 sec. Using Healing Beam depletes 6 Energy every 1 sec. Trait updated: Caduceus Reactor now restores 2% maximum health every 1 sec. when channeling Healing Beam. Safeguard & Displacement Grenade are now CD-based. Talent Changes
Life Support: Gain 2 Energy (20 cap) each time Safeguard reduces damage. Caduceus Feedback: Auto attacks generate 1 Energy (4 Energy against Heroes). Level 7
Cleanse removed. Replaced with Vanadium Plating: Gain +25 Armor on Caduceus Reactor and the duration of Caduceus Reactor is extended when Stunned. Physical Therapy: Safeguard removes all Slow effects from the target. If Safeguard removes a Slow from the target, the cooldown of Safeguard is decreased by 4 sec. Level 13
Second Opinion: Cooldown of Displacement Grenade is reduced to 1 sec if it hits at least 2 Heroes. EMP Grenade: Deals damage to Shields and additional damage over 2 seconds. Level 16
Extended Care: Healing Beam range increased by 40%. First Responder: Healing Beam healing is increased by 25% if Morales is above 70 Energy. Shield Sequencer: Safeguard gains an additional charge. Level 20
Caduceus Reactor (Trait upgrade): Healing increased from 2% to 6% of maximum Health. Medivac Dropship (upgrades): Become Protected 2 seconds after exiting Medivac. Create a check-in point at the spawn (B) area for teammates that aren't near you when using Medivac. Credits go to /u/Ultrajante (Source) and /u/amitlevi45
Redditor Homicidal_HotS spotted differences between the live version of Blizzard's website and the current patch and he shared his findings.
Bursting Light (Level 7 Talent removed). Detainment Strike damage was reduced when it does not stun an enemy and increased when it does. Hope regeneration from hero damage was increased to 50% damage dealt (up from 40%). Butcher
Meat gained from Hero kills was reduced to 20 (down from 25). Meat lost upon death was increased to 15 (up from 10). Garrosh
Warlord's Challenge (Heroic ability) taunt increased to 2 sec. (up from 1.5 sec.). Lucio
Passive Crossfade healing increased from 16 to 25 Health per sec. Uther
Armor gained from Devotion (Trait) reduced to 15 (down from 25). Healing of Holy Light (Q) was slightly increased. Damage & healing of Holy Radiance was slightly increased. Don't forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Kel'thuzad, Archlich of Naxxramas was revealed as the next Hero to enter the Nexus.
Check out the latest Gamescom 2017 Hero reveal in our Kel'thuzad preview.
It started with Hero leaks from reddit, where a user wrote that Kel'thuzad would be coming soon and he was right! Blizzard started releasing various Naxxramas teasers that culminated in the Hero reveal. The animated trailer titled "Obey the Call" mentions "Call of Kel'thuzad". If that's the name of a Warcraft Event, we'll get new skins, bundles - and hopefully - a Warcraft-themed map. Kel'thuzad is a Hero from the Warcraft Universe and in Heroes of the Storm, he will be fulfilling the role of an Assassin.
All shall feel the touch of despair as the darkest secrets of the Nexus are revealed... Drawn to the immeasurable power found within the Nexus, Kel’thuzad, Archlich of Naxxramas, has turned several of the noblest Heroes against their allies, and he will not stop until all become minions of the cold dark! (Source)
According to the german fansite Buffed.de, the developers plan to release Kel'thuzad Spotlight this Wednesday (August 23) at 6:00 p.m. CET. Share your thoughts in the comments and don't forget to check the ongoing discussion on reddit.
Kel'thuzad, Archlich of Naxxramas
Kel'Thuzad has faithfully served the Lich King both in life and after death. Reanimated as the Archlich of the Scourge and given domain of the Dread Necropolis, Naxxramas, Kel’Thuzad remains Arthas’s most trusted advisor and master of the cold dark.
Star Lich Kel'thuzad
What the heroes of this pitiful blue marble fail to understand is the Earth's fate cannot be delayed forever. In the end, the stars will fade and die, and in the cold dark... our empire is eternal.
In this section you will find Kel'thuzad's abilities. A full list of talents will be added once it is available.
Master of the Cold Dark
Quest: Gain 1 Blight every time a Hero is Rooted by Frost Nova or hit by Chains of Kel'thuzad. Reward: After gaining 15 Blight, the cooldown of all Basic Abilities is reduced by 2 seconds. Reward: After gaining 30 Blight, gain 75% Spell Power. Blight: 0/30 Primary Abilities
Death and Decay [Q]
After 0.5 seconds, launch an orb that explodes upon hitting an enemy, dealing 150 damage to enemies in the area. The explosion leaves behind a pool of decay that lasts 2 seconds, dealing 70 damage every 0.5 seconds to enemies.
Frost Nova [W]
Create a nova that explodes after 1 second, dealing 212 damage to enemies inside and Slowing them by 35% for 2.5 seconds. Enemies in the center are Rooted for 1 second.
Chains of Kel'thuzad [E]
Launch a chain, dealing 97 damage to the first enemy Hero or Structure hit. For 4 seconds after hitting an enemy, Chains can be reactivated to launch to an additional enemy, pulling both enemies together and Stunning them for 0.5 seconds.
Frost Blast [R1]
Launch a meteor of ice at an enemy Hero. Upon impact, the meteor deals 100 damage to its target and 275 damage to enemies in the area. All enemies hit by Frozen Tomb are Rooted for 1.5 seconds.
Shadow Fissure [R2]
Create a fissure anywhere on the Battleground that explodes after 1.5 seconds, dealing 440 damage to enemy Heroes in its area.
(Source & thank you to @Laragon for mentioning Kel'thuzad being up on the official website).
Below are Kel'thuzad's talents that were posted on reddit/r/heroesofthestorm (Source - kuddos to redditor Spazzo965)
Level Talent Description Level 1 The Plaguelands Increase Death and Decay's Duration by 1 second. After gaining 30 Blight, increase the radius of Death and Decay's pool by 30%. Level 1 Blighted Frost Front Nova deals 50% more damage to enemies in the center. After gaining 30 Blight, increase Frost Nova's Root duration by 0.5 seconds. Level 1 Barbed Chains Increase Chains of Kel'Thuzad damage by 125%. After gaining 30 Blight, Chains of Kel'Thuzad reduces the armor of pulled Heroes by 15 for 4 seconds Level 4 Strip Shields Pulling a Hero with Chains of Kel'Thuzad grants Kel'Thuzad a permanent 246(at 20) shield, stacking up to 2 times. Additionally, Chains of Kel'Thuzad deals up to 442(at 20) bonus damage to Shields. Level 4 Phylactery of Kel'Thuzad Quest: Collect 10 Regeneration Globes to charge Kel'Thuzad's Phylactery. REWARD: Kel'Thuzad's Phylactery can be activated while dead to immediately respawn at the Hall of Storms, but must be charged again. PASSIVE: Kel'Thuzad heals for 10% of all Spell Damage dealt while the Phylactery is charged Level 4 Armor of the Archlich Activate to gain 50 Physical Armor for 4 seconds, upon activation, nearby enemies take 99(at 20) damage and are slowed 35% for 4 seconds, 25 second cooldown Level 7 Accelerated Decay Each time a hero is hit by Death and Decay's pool, they take 20% more periodic damage from Death and Decay for the next 4 seconds, stacking up to 6 times. Level 7 Glacial Spike Activate to create a spike that detonates after 4 seconds, dealing 360(at 20) damage to nearby enemies. The spike can be affected by Chains of Kel'Thuzad. 30 second cooldown Level 7 Chilling Touch Every 8 seconds, Kel'Thuzad's basic attacks hit nearby enemies. Deals Spell damage instead of Physical, and slows by 30% for 2 seconds. Level 10 Frost Blast Launch a meteor of ice at an enemy Hero. Upon impact, the meteor deals 168(at 21) damage to its target and 461(at 21) damage to enemies in the area. All enemies hit by Frost Blast are Rooted for 1.5 seconds. 100 second cooldown, 70 mana cost, radius can be seen here. Level 10 Shadow Fissure Create a fissure anywhere on the Battleground that explodes after 1.5 seconds, dealing 738(at 21) damage to enemy Heroes in its area. 50 mana cost, 15 second cooldown. Level 13 Icy Grasp Increase Frost Nova slow duration by 1.5 seconds Level 13 Chains of Ice After Chains of Kel'Thuzad stun expires, targets are slowed by 70% for 1.25 seconds Level 13 Chain-Link Pulling two Heroes with Chains of Kel'Thuzad reduces its cooldown by 4 seconds Level 16 Arcane Echoes Hitting Heroes with Death and Decay reduces its cooldown by 1.25 seconds. Level 16 Hungering Cold Enemies rooted by Frost Nova take an additional 103(at 22) damage each time they are damaged by Kel'Thuzad during the next 4 seconds. Level 16 Power of Icecrown Stunning, Rooting or Slowing a hero grants 6% Spell Power for 10 seconds, stacking up to 5 times. Level 20 Deathchill When Frost Blast's Root expires, enemies are Slowed by 40% for 3 seconds. Heroes killed while under the effects of Frost Blast instantly release another Frost Blast Explosion Level 20 Might of the Scourge Hitting an enemy hero with Shadow Fissure resets the cooldown Level 20 Shifting Malice Activate to Dash Forward, dealing 251(at 21) damage to enemies in the path.. Takedowns reset the Cooldown of Shifting Malice. 240 second cooldown Level 20 The Damned Return Activate to create a Shade of Naxxramas that lasts 15 seconds, which mimics Kel'Thuzad's casts of Death and Decay. 15 second cooldown. Gameplay
MFPallytime got a chance to play Kel'thuzad at this year's Gamescom. Check out his impressions and theorycrafting in the video below.
Free Hero rotation for the week of August 22 is here.
Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: August 22, 2017
Clicking a Hero name will take you to their respective guide. The following Heroes are on rotation this week:
Malfurion Valla Gazlowe Johanna Thrall Dehaka Lúcio Gul'dan Cassia Tassadar Chen (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Illidan (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Chromie (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Sgt. Hammer (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)
If you missed the Weekly Collection Update for August 22, you can find it here.