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heroes Patch Notes: Nov 15

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Blizzard just released a new patch with Varian, a new brawl, balance updates and various improvements.

Varian is now live, but that's not the only addition, the Nexus Challenge is also here! Full patch notes can be read below.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment

GENERAL

The Nexus Challenge has Begun!

  • Take on the Nexus Challenge by partying up with a friend to play Heroes of the Storm from November 15 until January 4, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded!
  • Games must be completed in Ranked, Unranked Draft, Quick Match, or Co-op vs. A.I. modes in order to count toward Nexus Challenge progress.
  • Play 15 games while partied with a friend to earn the following in-game Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm rewards:
    • Overwatch Rewards
      • Oni Genji Skin
      • Oni Genji Spray
      • Oni Genji Player Icon
    • Heroes of the Storm Rewards
      • Zarya
      • Oni Genji Portrait
  • Play 30 games while partied with a friend to receive the following additional in-game Heroes of the Storm rewards:
    • Heroes of the Storm Rewards
      • Auriel
      • Greymane
      • Kerrigan
      • Li-Ming
      • Orochi Hovercycle Mount
      • 30 Day Stimpack
  • Learn more by reading our Nexus Challenge blog post.

New Brawl: Blackheart’s Revenge

Captain Blackheart has shoved off in his ghost ship, Blackheart’s Revenge, to blow the docks to smithereens! Attack Blackheart’s ship to stop his assault and send him to a watery grave, or clear the path of enemies to defend him as he carries out his mission.

  • Blackheart’s Revenge is a new Arena Battleground that introduces attack/defend-style mechanics and asymmetric gameplay to Heroes of the Storm. Only the attacking team has a Core, and they must stop Blackheart before sails across the battleground to destroy it.
    • Shuffle Pick: Pick one of three randomly selected Heroes, and then duke it out against the enemy team to attack or defend Blackheart. 
    • Attack: The attacking team must gather cannonballs, load them into cannons that line the docks, and fire on Blackheart’s Revenge to sink the ship before it reaches their Core.
    • Defend: Kill attacking Heroes to prevent them from firing the cannons and see to it that Blackheart’s ship reaches the Core in-tact.
  • Click the Brawl Info button in the lower-left corner of the screen to learn detailed information about the currently active Brawl.

Revamped Tutorial

  • The Heroes of the Storm Tutorial has been reworked and split into two categories: Tutorial and Battleground Training.
    • The Tutorial covers the basics of how to play Heroes of the Storm, including combat, team leveling, Talents, and Mercenary Camps.
    • Battleground Training acquaints players with the importance of Battleground Objectives.
  • Players can now play through the Tutorial and Battleground Training using three different Heroes: Jaina, Muradin, and Tyrande.
    • New players will be able add one of these 3 Heroes to their Hero Collections for free!
  • Revisit the Tutorials or Challenges at any time by opening the Main Menu (ESC) and clicking the Tutorials or Challenges buttons.

NEW HERO: VARIAN

Few would have expected that the gladiator known only as Lo’Gosh was in truth the missing ruler of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn. Now the High King of the Alliance, his every action shapes the destiny of Azeroth itself.

Trait 

  • Heroic Strike
    • Every 18 seconds, Varian’s next Basic Attack deals bonus damage. Each Basic Attack reduces this cooldown by 2 seconds.

Basic Abilities

  • Lion’s Fang (Q)
    • Launch a shockwave that travels in a straight line, dealing damage and slowing enemies by 30% for 1.5 seconds.
  • Parry (W)
    • Parry all incoming Basic Attacks for 1.25 seconds, reducing their damage by 100%.
  • Charge (E)
    • Charge to the target enemy, dealing light damage and slowing them by 75% for 1 second.

Heroic Abilities

  • Taunt (R)
    • Force the target enemy Hero to attack Varian for 1.25 seconds.
    • Passive: Maximum Health increased by 50%.
    • Passive: Attack speed reduced by 25%.
  • Colossus Smash (R)
    • Smash the target enemy, dealing damage and making them Vulnerable for 3 seconds.
    • Passive: Base Attack Damage increased by 75%.
    • Passive: Maximum Health reduced by 10%.
  • Twin Blades of Fury (Passive)
    • Basic Attacks reduce Heroic Strike’s cooldown by 9 seconds, and increase Varian’s movement speed by 30% for 2 seconds.
    • Passive: Attack speed increased by 100%.
    • Passive: Base Attack Damage decreased by 25%.

ART

General

  • Alarak: The red and green icons for Alarak’s Sustaining Power and Negatively Charged Talents have been swapped.
  • Minions: Catapults have received updated minimap icons in order to better distinguish them from normal Minions.
  • Rexxar: Misha now has her own minimap icon.

Battlegrounds

  • Dragon Shire: Dragon Shire has received additional optimization improvements.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Kharazim: Kharazim has received updated visual effects to coincide with re-worked Abilities and Talents.
  • The following Heroes, Abilities, and Talents have received updated visual effects:
    • Mercenary Lord and Promote Talents
    • Blood Elf Tyrande: Sentinel
    • Johanna: Falling Sword
    • Nova: Triple Tap will now appear team-colored.
    • Raynor: Adrenaline Rush will now better visually indicate when its Healing effects are available.
  • The following Hero Abilities have received optimization improvements:
    • Artanis: Purifier Beam
    • Kerrigan: Maelstrom
    • Malfurion: Tranquility
    • Tracer: Basic Attack

SHOP

Bundles

  • New Bundles
    • Lo’Gosh Varian Bundle – Available until November 29, 2016
  • Removed Bundles
    • Masters of Magic Bundle
    • Ultimate Masters of Magic Bundle

New Hero 

  • Varian has been added to the in-game Shop.

Mounts

  • New Mounts
    • Orochi Hovercycle – Available exclusively by completing 30 games with a friend during the Nexus Challenge, which starts the week of November 15 and lasts until January 4.
  • Returning Mounts
    • Magic Carpet
  • Removed Mounts
    • Butcher’s Beast

Skins

  • Lo’Gosh Varian
  • Master Varian

Price Reductions

  • Leoric’s prices reduced to $8.49 USD and 7,000 Gold.

SOUND

General

  • New sound effects have been added to coincide with the re-worked Tutorial experience.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Kharazim has received updated sound effects to coincide with his re-worked Abilities and Talents. 

USER INTERFACE

General

  • AFK Detection Added to Heroes Brawl
    • AFK detection has been added to Heroes Brawl. Players who become inactive during a Brawl will be disconnected from the match.
  • New Player Daily Quests
    • Prior to reaching account level 10, players will now receive a “Play 3 vs. A.I. Games” Daily Quest instead of the “Play 3 Games” quest.

Auto Select

  • Players can now select their preferred roles when queuing as Auto-Select in Quick Match and Versus A.I. games.
  • Pick the Auto Select Hero, and then use the new row of Role buttons added to the Hero Select screen to choose one or more preferred Hero Roles.
    • Instead of choosing by role, players may also queue for Auto Select as the Heroes they’ve selected as favorites.
    • In order to queue as Auto Select in a preferred role or with favorites, the selection must total at least 5 Heroes.

MVP and Commendations

  • A number of additional Commendations have been added in order to help recognize a wider variety of in-game achievements. 

DESIGN & GAMEPLAY

Stealth

  • Abilities that reveal Stealthed/Cloaked Heroes will no longer remove the Stealth/Cloak effect, but will instead temporarily reveal the cloaked Hero.
  • The following talents now function while under the effects of Stealth granted by another player (ex: Tyrande’s Shadowstalk):
    • Nova
      • Tactical Espionage
      • Advanced Cloaking
      • Covert Ops
    • Samuro
      • Way of the Wind
      • Harsh Winds
Developer Comments:  Some revealers, like Oracle from Tassadar and now Scouting Drone, are very binary in their ability to reveal Heroes, by design. But their purpose is to provide scouting and position of the enemy, and not to negate the effects of Talents or Abilities that rely on Stealth to provide their benefit. While examining these conditional Talents, we decided that it would be more interesting to allow synergies between external sources of Stealth these Talents. We like that choices like Tyrande’s Shadowstalk or Medivh’s Invisibility become more interesting if you have allies that gain additional benefits from Stealth on your team. 

BATTLEGROUNDS

Dragon Shire

  • Dragon Knight
    • Rubble Maker (Passive) now also reduces the duration of Blinds by 50%

Garden of Terror

  • Garden Terror
    • Terror of the Garden (Passive) now also reduces the duration of Blinds by 50%

TALENTS

Scouting Drone

  • Now also reveals Stealthed/Cloaked Heroes

Seasoned Marksman

  • Basic Attack damage can now be gained past the previous cap of 40 bonus damage
  • Activated Attack Speed bonus increased from 30 to 40%

HEROES

ASSASSIN

ALARAK

Divider_Hero_Alarak_crop.png

Abilities

  • Lightning Surge (E)
    • Range increased by roughly 10%

ILLIDAN

Divider_Hero_Illidan_Crop.png

Talents

  • Level 1
    • Unending Hatred (Passive)
      • Increased Basic Attack damage bonus upon quest completion from 10 to 20
    • Battered Assault (W)
      • Added functionality:
        • Now also increases the duration of Sweeping Strike from 3 to 5 seconds
      • Increased the bonus damage gained from hitting 2+ Heroes with Sweeping Strike from 125 to 150%
  • Level 4
    • Unbound (W)
      • No longer reduces the cooldown of Sweeping Strike
      • Added Functionality:
        • Quest: After hitting 30 Heroes with Sweeping Strike, gain a second charge of Sweeping Strike
  • Level 7
    • Thirsting Blade (Trait)
      • Increases healing amount of 50 to 60%
  • Level 16
    • Marked for Death (Q)
      • Damage reduced from 225 to 180
Developer Comments:  We’re aiming to make a few of the earlier talent choices for Illidan more competitive options, and open up a greater variety of playstyles for Illidan players. By increasing the bonus of Unending Hatred, we think farming Minion waves and Hunting into fights will be enticing on certain Battlegrounds. By allowing Unbound to grant 2 charges of Sweeping Strike, we think that Talents like Battered Assault and Blades of Azzinoth will showcase an Illidan that can dance across an enemy team and do a lot of damage while doing so.

RAYNOR

Divider_Hero_Raynor_Crop.png

Abilities

  • Adrenaline Rush (E)
    • Now displays a visual effect under Raynor's feet to indicate that Adrenaline Rush is off cooldown

THRALL

Divider_Hero_Thrall_Crop.png

Abilities

  • Earthquake (R)
    • Added functionality:
      • Now deals 50 damage to Heroes with each pulse (will now trigger Frostwolf Resilience)
  • Sundering (R)
    • Stun duration reduced from 1.25 to 1 seconds
Developer Comments:  We have mentioned before that sometimes we will stubbornly hold on making balance changes to some Heroic abilities because we believe they are actually very powerful in their current form, even if they are not currently seeing much play. This has been the case with Earthquake, but Sunder has consistently been the go-to pick since Thrall’s inception. We hope this change will help shake up the pick rates of Thrall’s Heroic abilities.

ZERATUL

Divider_Hero_Zeratul_Crop.png

Stats

  • Base Maximum Health increased from 1545 to 1622
  • Base Health Regen increased from 3.22 to 3.38

Abilities

  • Singularity Spike (W)
    • Mana cost increased from 60 to 80
  • Blink (E)
    • Mana cost reduced from 75 to 50

Talents

  • Level 1
    • Vorpal Blade (Active)
      • Moved from level 4
    • New Talent: Shadow Hunter (Passive)
      • Gather Regeneration Globes to lower the Mana cost of Blink by 2.  After gathering 20 Regeneration Globes, your Basic Attacks reduce the cooldown of Blink by .75 seconds.
    • Block (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Regeneration Master (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Rapid Displacement (E)
      • Removed
    • Seasoned Marksman (Passive)
      • Removed
  • Level 4
    • New Talent: Combo Slash (Passive)
      • After using an ability, your next auto-attack within 6 seconds deals 40% more damage.
    • New Talent: Grim Task (Passive)
      • Hero Takedowns increase Ability Power by 4%, up to a total of 40%.  This bonus Ability Power is lost on death.
    • Rending Cleave (Q)
      • Moved from level 16
      • Damage is now dealt over 3 seconds from 5
      • Damage reduced from 50 to 40%
  • Level 7
    • New Talent: Slip into Shadow (E)
      • Your Blink has 2 charges and its cooldown is increased by 8 seconds.
    • New Talent: Seeker in the Dark (W)
      • Your Singularity Spike takes 50% longer to explode, and can be reactivated while it is attached to an enemy to teleport to them.  After reactivation, your Movement Speed is increased by 30% for 3 seconds.
    • Wormhole (E)
      • Moved from level 13
    • First Aid (Active)
      • Removed
    • Follow Through (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Shadow Spike (W)
      • Removed
    • Searing Attacks (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 13
    • New Talent: Shroud of Adun (Passive)
      • You gain a shield equal to 15% of your Maximum Health over 5 seconds while under Permanent Cloak.
    • Vigorous Strike (Passive)
      • Renamed to Mending Strikes
      • Moved from level 4
      • Healing amount increased from 25 to 40%
    • Giantkiller (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Burning Rage (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Assassin’s Blade (Trait)
      • Removed
  • Level 16
    • New Talent: Sentenced to Death (W)
      • You deal 50% increased damage to enemies while they have a Singularity Spike attached to them.
    • Master Warp Blade (Trait)
      • Moved from level 4
      • Damage increased from 100 to 125%
    • Void Slash (Q)
      • New Functionality:
        • Cleave deals 40% more damage and its cooldown is reduced by 3 seconds when it hits more than 1 enemy Hero.
      • Moved from level 7
    • Double Bombs (W)
      • Removed
    • Stoneskin (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 20
    • Protective Prison (R)
      • New functionality:
        • Enemies are slowed by 50% for 3 seconds once Void Prison Ends.
Developer Comments:  There were two main goals behind this rework: Upgrade Zeratul’s talent tree and introduce some interesting new choices, and better sell the fantasy of being a Dark Templar. As always is the goal with our Hero reworks, we didn’t want to change the way he is played, but rather amplify and improve upon it. Overall, he has felt the same to play against in our internal testing, but with a couple new tricks up his sleeve. We hope that our current Zeratul fans will find some new toys to play around with, and that new users will feel more like the mobile shadow-assassin you’d expect from a Dark Templar Hero. 
LEVEL (TIER)   ZERATUL TALENTS    
1 (1) Greater Cleave (Q) Vorpal Blade (Active) (!) Shadow Hunter (E)
4 (2) (!) Grim Task (Passive) Rending Cleave (Q) Combo Slash (Passive)
7 (3) Wormhole (E) Slip Into Shadow (E) Seeker in the Dark (W)
10 (4) Shadow Assault (R) Void Prison (R)
13 (5) Shroud of Adun (Passive) Spell Shield (Active) Mending Strikes (Passive)
16 (6) Master Warp-Blade (Passive) Void Slash (Q) Sentenced to Death (W)
20 (7) Nerazim Fury (R) Protective Prison (R) Nexus Blades (Passive) Rewind (Active)
  • (!) indicates a Questing Talent.
  • Italic text indicates a NEW Talent.
  • Bold text indicates a MOVED Talent.

MULTICLASS

VARIAN

Divider_Heroes_Leoric_Cropped.png

Abilities

  • Taunt (R)
    • Cooldown reduced from 25 to 16 seconds
  • Colossus Smash (R)
    • Damage reduced from 187 to 160

Talents

  • Level 20
    • Vigilance (R)
      • Cooldown reduction decreased from 1 to .75 seconds per Basic Attack

SPECIALIST

ABATHUR

Divider_Hero_Abathur_Crop.png

Abilities

  • Toxic Nest (W)
    • Abathur is now locked out of casting Toxic Nest for .5 seconds after exiting Symbiote

SYLVANAS

Divider_Heroes_Sylvanas_Cropped.png

Talents

  • Level 7
    • Possession (Active)
      • Can now be used on Catapult Minions

XUL

Divider_Hero_Xul_crop.png

Abilities

  • Skeletal Mages (R)
    • Is now cast using vector targeting (Click+Drag) 

SUPPORT

KHARAZIM

Divider_Heroes_Kharazim_Cropped.png

Abilities

  • Breath of Heaven (W)
    • Healing increased from 280 to 290

Talents

  • Level 1
    • Iron Fists (Trait)
      • Added Functionality:
        • Every third Basic Attack now also increases your Movement Speed by 30% for 2 seconds.
  • Level 4
    • New Talent: Spirit Ally (Active)
      • Place a Spirit Ally that heals allies in a large area around it for 2% of their maximum Health every second for 10 seconds.  Has 150 Health.  You can Radiant Dash to Spirit Allies.  45 second cooldown.
    • New Talent: Earth Ally (Active)
      • Place an Earth Ally that reduces Heroic Basic Attack damage nearby allied Heroes receive by 50%. Has 400 Health and lasts 10 seconds.  You can Radiant Dash to Earth Allies.  30 second cooldown.
    • New Talent: Air Ally (Active)
      • Place an Air Ally that grants vision of a large area around it for 40 seconds. Has 70 Health.  You can Radiant Dash to Air Allies.  20 second cooldown.  2 charges.
    • Healing Ward (Active)
      • Removed
    • Foresight (Q)
      • Removed
    • Overtake (E)
      • Removed
    • Protective Shield (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 7
    • New Talent: Heavenly Zeal (W)
      • Increases the Movement Speed bonus of Breath of Heaven on other allies from 10 to 25%
    • Blinding Speed (Q)
      • Moved from level 16
    • Blazing Fists (E)
      • Moved from level 16
      • Cooldown reduction per Basic Attack reduced from 1 to .75 seconds.
    • Clairvoyance (Active)
      • Removed
    • Cleanse (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 13
    • Fists of Fury
      • Deadly Reach duration bonus increased from 50 to 100%
  • Level 16
    • New Talent: Cleansing Touch (Q)
      • Radiant Dashing to an allied Hero grants them Unstoppable for 1 second
    • New Talent: Dash of Light (W)
      • Radiant Dashing to an ally increases the healing they received from Breath of Heaven by 50% for 3 seconds
    • Echo of Heaven (W)
      • Moved from level 7
      • Delay between heals increased from 2 to 3 seconds
      • Second heal amount increased from 35 to 75%
      • Now also reduces the initial heal amount of Breath of Heaven to 75%
    • Way of the Hundred Fists (Q)
      • Moved from level 7
      • Now deals a volley of 6 Basic Attacks that each deal 50% of your Basic Attack damage.
    • Circle of Life (W)
      • Removed
    • Soothing Breeze (W)
      • Removed
Developer Comments:  Kharazim’s Talents have been updated to create more compelling choices at every tier. To do this, we’ve made sure that Iron Fists / Bruiser style Kharazim is viable by increasing its damage uptime, removed a lot of the generic Talents and replaced them with Kharazim specific options like Mystic Allies, and re-arranged a lot of the tree so that you don’t have to sacrifice as much healing to pick mobility, utility or damage. 
LEVEL (TIER)   KHARAZIM TALENTS    
1 (1) Transcendence Iron Fists (!) Insight
4 (2) Spirit Ally (Active) Earth Ally (Active) Air Ally (Active)
7 (3) Blinding Speed (Q) Heavenly Zeal (W) Blazing Fists (E)
10 (4) Divine Palm (R) Seven-Sided Strike (R)
13 (5) Quicksilver (Q) Fists of Fury (E) Spell Shield (Active) Sixth Sense (Passive)
16 (6) Cleansing Touch (Q) Way of the Hundred Fists (Q) Echo of Heaven (W) Dash of Light (W)
20 (7) Peaceful Repose (R) Trasngression (R) Storm Shield (Active) Epiphany (Active)
  • (!) indicates a Questing Talent.
  • Italic text indicates a NEW Talent.
  • Bold text indicates a MOVED Talent.

WARRIOR

LEORIC

Divider_Heroes_Leoric_Cropped.png

Abilities

  • March of the Black King (R)
    • Will no longer deal damage in a 90 degree arc behind Leoric
Developer Comments:  We realize that we have a lot of Leoric players that are looking for talent changes and calling for buffs (especially to Skeletal Swing). We want you to know that we actively hear you and although this art-driven change came a bit earlier than our other changes, you spooky skeleton players should be able to rejoice in a future patch. 

BUG FIXES

General

  • Corrected a number of typos and tooltip errors across several aspects of the game.
  • Brawl: Slightly reduced the likelihood that players will receive Specialist choices during Shuffle Pick when playing an Arena Brawl.

Art

  • Alarak: The targeting reticle for Lightning Surge will now correctly match the Ability’s casting range after learning Extended Lightning.
  • Valla: Visual effects for the Movement Speed bonus gained via the Hot Pursuit Talent will no longer persist after Hatred stacks expire.

Battlegrounds

  • Blackheart's Bay: Area of effect indicators and Hero rings will now display properly on bridges.
  • Braxis Holdout/Warhead Junction: XP earned by capturing Mercenary Camps will now properly scale throughout the match.
  • Mercenaries: Siege Giants will no longer deal damage if they are killed while in the middle of their attack animations.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Spell Shield: A cooldown timer will now properly appear when Spell Shield’s effects are triggered in the same moment that the Talent was activated.
  • Alarak: Deadly Charge no longer be cancelled and be placed on full cooldown if Alarak’s destination would place him in terrain.
  • Alarak: Fixed an issue that could prevent Counter Strike from dealing damage if Alarak was killed as the Ability’s effects were triggered.
  • Alarak: Unstoppable and Invulnerable effects will no longer prevent Alarak from pushing himself via Telekinesis.
  • Alarak: Changing Heroes of the Storm’s text language settings will no longer prevent Lightning Surge visual effects from displaying.
  • Brightwing: The game camera will no longer become stuck if Stitches uses Gorge on Brightwing while she is casting Phase Shift.
  • Chen: 50% of Shields gained by channeling Fortifying Brew will now properly persist after learning Freshest Ingredients.
  • Chen: The Buff Bar tooltip for the Freshest Ingredients Talent will now display the correct amount of Health Regeneration gained.
  • Chen: Regeneration Globes gathered by Storm, Earth, Fire Spirits now properly contribute to the Freshest Ingredient Talent’s quest progress.
  • Gall: The tooltip for Eye of Kilrogg now properly indicates the maximum number of charges it can store.
  • Illidan: Fixed an issue that could cause odd movement behavior after learning Unbound and then casting Sweeping Strike.
  • Malfurion: The Hardened Focus Talent will no longer reduce Innervate’s cooldown.
  • Malfurion: The casting range for Entangling Roots is now correctly increased by 30% after learning Elune's Grace.
  • Medivh: Fixed an issue which could allow Medivh to path into the terrain after launching a Nuke on Warhead Junction while in Raven form.
  • Nova: After learning Cover Ops, Pinning Shot will now correctly Slow the target’s Movement Speed by 60%.
  • Nova/Zeratul: Danger Pings will no longer remain visible over a Hero who enters Stealth.
  • Samuro: Way of Illusion Talent stacks now properly grant bonus attack damage to Mirror Images.
  • Samuro: Mirror Image Health bars will now reflect the number of Doubloons that Samuro is carrying on Blackheart’s Bay.
  • Tracer: Visual and Sound effects will now properly play upon completing the Untouchable Talent quest.
  • Uther: Uther’s Health bar will no longer disappear if he is revived via the Redemption Talent after being killed by Devouring Maw.
  • Zarya: Fixed an issue that could cause Graviton Surge’s effect to persist indefinitely under certain circumstances.
  • Zarya: The Gain Train Talent can no longer apply a Shield to an ally-controlled Dragon Knight or Garden Terror.

Sound

  • Voiceover: Fixed an issue that could prevent Heroes’ voiceover lines from playing properly after being clicked on.

User Interface

  • In-Game: The Talents tab on the in-game Score Screen will now properly indicate when Valla’s Puncturing Arrow Talent quest is complete.
  • Quick Cast: Abilities with global range can now be properly cast using the minimap with Quick Cast set to “On Release”.
  • Observer Mode: Beacon progress bars will now update appropriately for Observers on Braxis Holdout.

(Source)

 

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On 16.11.2016 at 0:25 AM, Quiz said:

Hopefully coming to EU tomorrow then

Yeah, it's normally a given that updates releasing on Tuesday for US will hit EU on that same Wednesday.

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      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Lúcio 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 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.
      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
      New this month!
      As per usual, a big 'thank you' to everyone who contributed to last month's list. Starting this month, I'll be giving bits of insight on some of the more notable tier changes.  You may note that this list features not one, but two new heroes! This is a small side effect of waiting around the middle of any given month to update this list. As a reminder, since last month, the number of arrows next to individual hero names represents the number of tiers they have gone up or down from. Refer to the last section for this.
       
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Ragnaros Malfurion - Varian (Tank)↑       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 Dehaka Falstad Brightwing Murky↑↑↑ Diablo↓ Gul'dan Lúcio (New) Nazeebo E.T.C. Jaina Rehgar↓ Sylvanas Johanna Li-Ming     Sonya↑↑ Samuro     Zarya Thrall↓       Tychus       Valla       Zeratul     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 Anub'arak Alarak↓ Auriel - Arthas Chromie Kharazim   Chen Greymane↑ Lt. Morales   Leoric↑ Kael'thas↓ Tassadar↑   Muradin↓ Kerrigan     Rexxar↑ Lunara     Tyrael Raynor       Valeera (New)       Varian (Damage)       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 Cho'gall Cho'gall Li Li Abathur Stitches Illidan Tyrande Azmodan   Nova Uther Gazlowe   The Butcher   Medivh   Tracer   Sgt. Hammer       The Lost Vikings       Xul       Zagara 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
      - 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.
       
      Monthly metagame assessment
      If I could describe the last month and a half's metagame with one word, it would probably be nothing, because I'm currently being chain-stunned and can't take any action.
      Support heroes without access to Cleanse certainly struggle, which is why I'm skeptical about putting Lúcio, the latest addition to the cast, anywhere above the Core tier, despite solid win rates I expect will soon go down as people figure out how to better deal with him (i.e. stop chasing him). It should be noted that after level 16, his win rates jump up dramatically, thanks to Rejuvenêscia being on the very powerful side of things. If someone else can handle crowd control, I'm inclined to see him as a top tier hero.
      The Cleanse point is further exacerbated by Murky's outrageous newfound dominance, with Octo-Grab being the ultimate (or should I say, Heroic) stun button, earning him a steep 3-tier promotion. Although his recent success may even justify a Prime tier position, I'll play this one conservatively and allow players to figure out just how to counter the murloc, who hasn't seen any serious play in nearly two years. Core tier it is, but he's certainly on the watch list for an impending promotion if things don't go as planned.
      Valeera also possesses her own baked-in powerful stunning effect in the form of Cheap Shot. This is particularly relevant due to the most recent buffs that will certainly cause her to rise in popularity and in effectiveness, in spite of Cheap Shot itself being nerfed by some 0.25 seconds. Although on the lower end of the win rates spectrum, I suspect she falls into the Medivh category of high potential, difficult to master heroes. Some of her counters (Protection Varian, notably) are currently very popular, making it difficult to justify anything above Viable tier.
      While we're on the subject of Protection Varian, it would seem that the buffs to Parry-related talents and the recent shuffling of his utility (on top of the Taunt buffs) have finally caught up to the average player, as thousands have begun to grasp the advanced concept of following up and attacking stationary targets. This goes to show that a dismal early game presence can be made up by a strong, meta-defining heroic ability.
      In response to this new Prime tier contender, two of the most popular tanks have begun to slowly disappear, with Diablo and Muradin each taking a tier hit. If Diablo has been the target of some very recent nerfs, on top of players figuring out his one-trick-pony-esque playstyle, Muradin's skillshot-based stun (in the form of Storm Bolt) can't seem to find a place in a highly point-click oriented metagame. Both heroes are still strong, but not nearly as contested as they were before.
      Alarak and Thrall are two heroes that are also suffering in this meta. Both are without instant gap closers to punish mispositioning or get out of trouble or burst damage to effectively follow up on crowd control. While Thrall remains a strong solo laner, Alarak certainly is the one that suffers most as of lately.

      Sonya has recently seen some very nice buff, and, unlike the two former examples, is rather resilient to this crowd control heavy meta. She can even decide to partake to it with Leap, should you feel that the damage and survivability of Wrath of the Berserker are unneeded.
      Finally, Greymane, Rexxar, and Tassadar all saw small or big revisions to some of their talents and abilities, and it has done much needed good to their state. Greymane is particularly interesting in his newfound ability to threaten tanks through Cursed Bullet, something that was once reserved to Tychus.  If the general public has yet to adopt the wolf, it has slowly started to adopt the bear: Rexxar's win rates are going through the roof, and he's seeing more and more play, and particularly on maps that require holding specific objectives. As for Tassadar, his role as a "secondary healer" has been solidified with a much needed damage potential increase, in the form of Archon and consistent slowing effects.
    • By Stan

      Kendric's fourth episode of HGC Highlights was uploaded a few days ago, so if you need to catch up on Week 4 of HGC, don't forget to watch it!
      Kendric will release his fifth episode soon, stay tuned for our spoiler-free recap of Week 5 in the meantime.
      Useful Links
      HGC EU/NA Week 4 Recap HGC Korea Week 2 Recap
    • By Stan

      The Free-to-Play Hero rotation was updated for the week of February 21.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: February 21 - 28, 2017
      The following Heroes are on rotation this week:
      Li Li ETC Nazeebo Gul'dan Tyrael Tassadar Kael'thas (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Illidan (Slot unlocked at Player Level 7) Chen (Slot unlocked at Player Level 12) Chromie (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) (Source)
      Weekly Sales for this week can be found here.
    • By Stan

      Our guide section has been updated with the Lucio Build Guide. Are you ready to drop the bass?
      It offers two ways of building Lucio:
      Reverse Amp Build The emphasis is put on AoE damage and Movement Speed slow. Good if you're playing as a secondary Support. Sound Barrier Build Focuses on Lucio's defensive capabilities. Feedback and comments are always welcome and can be submitted here.