Oxygen

Ragnaros Patch Meta Tier List (December 2016)

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Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Ragnaros 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 Viable 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.

Prime Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Diablo Ragnaros Malfurion -
Zarya Thrall    

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.

Viable Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Chen Alarak Brightwing Nazeebo
Dehaka Falstad Rehgar Sylvanas
E.T.C. Gul'dan    
Johanna Jaina    
Muradin Kael'thas    
Varian (Tank) Kerrigan    
  Li-Ming    
  Raynor    
  Samuro    
  Tychus    
  Valla    
  Zeratul    

Viable 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.

Niche Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Anub'arak Cho'gall Auriel Abathur
Artanis Chromie Kharazim Azmodan
Arthas Greymane Li Li Gazlowe
Cho'gall Illidan Lt. Morales Medivh
Leoric Lunara Tassadar Sgt. Hammer
Rexxar Nova Tyrande The Lost Vikings
Sonya The Butcher Uther Xul
Stitches Tracer   Zagara
Tyrael 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

Murky

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.

 

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If I was the one who was writing the Primer Tier I would put. This is based on my daily overview of matches.

Warriors:                                                                                        Assasin:

Muradin- ETC - Diablo                                                                  Samuro- Ragnaros

Support:                                                                                          Specialist:

Malfurion- Brightwing                                                                  Sylvanas.

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44 minutes ago, Raz415 said:

Valla should really be in Prime tier.

Why ? There is at least 10 assassins to consider before even thinking about Valla in the Meta, not trying to be rude just trying to see your point.

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Really like this. Nice to see Varian split based on tank and damage too. I do think in the future there needs to be a tier between viable and niche. There are some that are "mostly" viable. the niche just starts to become too large. You can always split hairs though... over all it's a very well rounded list!

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42 minutes ago, Laragon said:

Really like this. Nice to see Varian split based on tank and damage too. I do think in the future there needs to be a tier between viable and niche. There are some that are "mostly" viable. the niche just starts to become too large. You can always split hairs though... over all it's a very well rounded list!

Niche basically includes heroes that work on a few specific maps, as counterpicks, or with a specific partner. I don't want too many tiers for now because it becomes very hard to define.

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12 hours ago, Klovzz said:

Why ? There is at least 10 assassins to consider before even thinking about Valla in the Meta, not trying to be rude just trying to see your point.

It's because she's not weak in general, she has great damage and mobility, can bring 2 stuns or more sustained damage, and her performance can be increased by huge amounts when paired with for example ETC or Auriel, aa. She is also flexible in her build. What's not to love?

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I feel that Auriel should be at least one Tier higher. With Reservoir of Hope she can potentially heal the highest numbers in the game. Not to mention she is the only Hero that can revive others.

I really like this Tier List, though. Good job , guys!

Edited by Valhalen

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40 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

I feel that Auriel should be at least one Tier higher. With Reservoir of Hope she can potentially heal the highest numbers in the game. Not to mention she is the only Hero that can revive others.

I really like this Tier List, though. Good job , guys!

I agree that Auriel has some incredible potential - her main issue, however, is that she's characterized by steep feast-or-famine. If your teammates aren't on point with dealing reliable damage, or if your draft is built around burst, Auriel simply won't be effective - hence her niche position. In a more sustained-control type of meta, or with a proper team composition, she certainly goes up a tier.

Here's an example of a casual game from yesterday - you'll note that my team composition featured many more reliable sustained damage options, which lead to my healing being significantly higher and a pretty one-sided victory. Prime and Viable tier heroes wouldn't swing so widely based solely on team compositions.

7b4e382544d60d0c97d133e65af8a41b.png

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5 hours ago, Oxygen said:

I agree that Auriel has some incredible potential - her main issue, however, is that she's characterized by steep feast-or-famine. If your teammates aren't on point with dealing reliable damage, or if your draft is built around burst, Auriel simply won't be effective - hence her niche position. In a more sustained-control type of meta, or with a proper team composition, she certainly goes up a tier.

Here's an example of a casual game from yesterday - you'll note that my team composition featured many more reliable sustained damage options, which lead to my healing being significantly higher and a pretty one-sided victory. Prime and Viable tier heroes wouldn't swing so widely based solely on team compositions.

7b4e382544d60d0c97d133e65af8a41b.png

It is weird because spike damage tends to generate energy faster than sustained damage. They had Nova and Ragnaros, two characters that are great with Bestow Hope (the later being even more so since Bestow Hope works while in Molten Core). But I guess it is really relative like you said.

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7 minutes ago, Zehkari said:

Nice one Oxygen.

Even more utilities to use from the website.

Why did you put Zarya in the top tier?

 

Appreciate the work,

Zeh.

Thanks for the kind words.

You'll note that Zarya's win rate goes up some 10% in higher leagues, where she acts as a support and a damage dealer that brings decent waveclear, self-cleanse, and allied cleanse. She also needs to be played around (i.e. don't hit shields) or she completely destroys you, adding an extra layer of counter to people who blindly try and attack everything - and some kind of counter to AoE damage. Kinda awesome all around.

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Fully agree with Thrall being Prime. Never really played him before the last season much, and he's been my go to pick while people are still banning Varian where ever possible, and my win rate on him is sitting solidly way above my other assassins, and hell, even my supports and warriors - my preferred and most played roles! He's such an incredibly tanky assassin, great mobility on demand and has some great poke. 

As for Auriel, always be aware of your team composition (and the enemy team's of course). Learn what heroes (Lunara and Guldan are a couple of my favourites) make her energy bar fill out fastest, but be aware that she has a fairly unflexible way of building if you are going to solo support; Resurrect is a bad ult, is a win more ability to boot, and is super easy to counter - trade in a team that worked out superior for you than Auriel's? Just wait for her to try and channel the res and get a free double kill, or just force her away that it becomes pointless to even try and use the ult. She's in the correct tier; she has a similar problem that Lili shares, sometimes unreliable healing, where a simple stun can gimp Lili's ult and therfore cripple her healing output. Neither Rehgar or Brightwing have those issues to contend with, and they provide the same, if not better, utility on top of that.

edit: Thanks for the effort put into compiling the list. 

Edited by Plergoth
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17 hours ago, Valhalen said:

It is weird because spike damage tends to generate energy faster than sustained damage. They had Nova and Ragnaros, two characters that are great with Bestow Hope (the later being even more so since Bestow Hope works while in Molten Core). But I guess it is really relative like you said.

Ragnaros would be a decent Bestow Hope anchor, Nova less so. While on paper her spike damage might give you big chunks of energy nice and quickly, in reality she makes one of the poorest options to Bestow Hope, since she has a predictable and slow playstyle, her cooldowns are pretty long and also rely on skill shots; if she is missing even just 25% of her abilities or not dealing follow up damage, then she is crippling your potential healing output by at least that much; probably more because you have her anchored instead of someone with far more reliable and sustained damage.

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9 hours ago, Constantine said:

I'm surprised Samuro wasn't Prime tier, based on experience alone I thought he would be top tier!

Being in the Viable list means he is still really rather good in the right circumstances, but, like the list describes, there are counter picks and drawbacks. Top tier heroes, by definition, have no or very little weaknesses to speak of at all, or their strengths are such that they make a great addition to any team. 

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Tier list is always dependable on the league you play in. 

To be honest, Top Tier list ok, but Samuro is NOT picked in higher MMR games and you will always see an Auriel before a BW. Rehgar/Malfurion are usually the healers picked, one being always banned. Auriel needs to be paired with a good sustained DPS like Gul'dan or Valla/Raynor. 

I currently am in the top GM Players and most games at high level have comparable comps, usually one being " meta " and the other one being a "counter-meta" comp in order to try and diminish the effects of powerful combos like Bloodlust and Earthquake. 

Anyhow, that would be my comment on this... it needs to be split up a bit in between leagues and such, as lower MMR could get the best comp and still lose with it as they usually do not understand WHY diablo is currently the #1 tank in the game (being a huge ass body blocker for example) and how come he is top DPS in higher mmr games, meanwhile lower mmr games you will see players shadow charging people out of position, not using his huge body to block and such. 

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4 hours ago, Biostrife said:

To be honest, Top Tier list ok, but Samuro is NOT picked in higher MMR games and you will always see an Auriel before a BW. Rehgar/Malfurion are usually the healers picked, one being always banned. Auriel needs to be paired with a good sustained DPS like Gul'dan or Valla/Raynor. 

Right, which is why Auriel is Niche; BW works well in almost all circumstances, whereas Auriel very much depends on having a solid teammate on a high sustained damage dealer. The tier doesn't mean she's bad, or worse than other healers; it just means lower priority due to her dependency.

Samuro is not that popular right now, but he's still a very solid pick that works well most of the time, particularly since he does work  versus those squishy backline DPS we're seeing a big surge of right now (Gul'dan, Raynor, and so on). He's the 8th most popular pick right now, with a second-place win rate - nothing to scoff at.

Remember that meta tier lists are a snapshot of the metagame - defined by popularity x power. For instance, Ragnaros is excessively popular and extremely powerful, giving him an easy top spot. Sgt. Hammer is very powerful, but very unpopular - hence the niche spot. Auriel is in the same spot - very powerful, but unpopular due to requiring a specific comp to function.

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great list, really like that this feature is getting added to Icy Veins' already solid stable of HotS content.

while in general I agree that simpler is better, I think this list lacks a *bit* of granularity; particularly, the "niche" tier covers an extremely broad range of heroes, from "almost always a decent pick" all the way to "very occasionally not murky-level garbage." 

add onto this that the current "murky tier" doesn't really add much right now, I think it'd be safe to add one tier as follows:

Prime tier: fine as is; only heroes that fit the meta very well *and* are possibly overtuned.

Viable tier (now Strong Tier) : Re-name as "Strong Tier." Most of these heroes go beyond viable; they are almost all strong picks, just a few steps behind the prime tier

Niche/Viable Tier: Split off the top half of the niche tier (along with maybe a few stragglers from the old "viable" tier); stronger heroes that require certain teamwork or comps but are otherwise strong; heroes like Lunara, Kharazim, Auriel, and others.

New Niche Tier: the remainder of the old niche tier; heroes that are truly Niche and should only be picked as part of a very specific team strategy or last-picked as a very specific counter. Example imo would include cho'gall, lost vikings, rexxar and others.

Murky Tier: it may be that someday this tier becomes entirely uninhabited; otherwise, it is likely that only one or two heroes will ever fall into this category of simply underpowered and totally non-meta for competetive play.

 

TLDR; I think all your placements are either good or at least very defensible; but a tier is just too wide when it includes both Lunara and Cho'gall...

 

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I think it would be also nice to maybe include a briefly description on why that Hero is on that said list. I think it's important for both new players and veterans. Almost like a Pros/Cons but summarized focusing on the tier list.

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21 hours ago, Voltorocks said:

great list, really like that this feature is getting added to Icy Veins' already solid stable of HotS content.

while in general I agree that simpler is better, I think this list lacks a *bit* of granularity; particularly, the "niche" tier covers an extremely broad range of heroes, from "almost always a decent pick" all the way to "very occasionally not murky-level garbage." 

add onto this that the current "murky tier" doesn't really add much right now, I think it'd be safe to add one tier as follows:

Prime tier: fine as is; only heroes that fit the meta very well *and* are possibly overtuned.

Viable tier (now Strong Tier) : Re-name as "Strong Tier." Most of these heroes go beyond viable; they are almost all strong picks, just a few steps behind the prime tier

Niche/Viable Tier: Split off the top half of the niche tier (along with maybe a few stragglers from the old "viable" tier); stronger heroes that require certain teamwork or comps but are otherwise strong; heroes like Lunara, Kharazim, Auriel, and others.

New Niche Tier: the remainder of the old niche tier; heroes that are truly Niche and should only be picked as part of a very specific team strategy or last-picked as a very specific counter. Example imo would include cho'gall, lost vikings, rexxar and others.

Murky Tier: it may be that someday this tier becomes entirely uninhabited; otherwise, it is likely that only one or two heroes will ever fall into this category of simply underpowered and totally non-meta for competetive play.

 

TLDR; I think all your placements are either good or at least very defensible; but a tier is just too wide when it includes both Lunara and Cho'gall...

 

As a Cho'gall main, I take GREAT OFFENSE!

So, this was my first tier* list, and although I think it is headed in the right direction, I'm inclined to agree with you for this; this kind of feedback (adding one more tier) has come up quite a bit, and I think I might just bend for the next one. The thing that made this a bit more difficult was not having any precedent; I tried turning what often just came off as a "power level list" into more of a "priority" list, as it conveys the idea of flexibility - what Heroes is about! - much more readily than the former type of list.

In short, yes. I'll try and clarify the intro message as well so as to explain that this is a meta priority list over a "tier" list.

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13 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I think it would be also nice to maybe include a briefly description on why that Hero is on that said list. I think it's important for both new players and veterans. Almost like a Pros/Cons but summarized focusing on the tier list.

Next month, I'll be better prepared for this, and will do this. Thanks for the feedback!

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      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. 
    • By Stan

      This week's brawl is the Temple Arena. Harness the power of the temples to destroy the enemy Core. Choose one from three randomly selected Heroes and pick your Heroic ability. No other talents are available. Complete three matches to earn a Loot Chest.
      Blizzard (Source)
      This week’s brawl is the Temple Arena! Harness the power of the Alligator, Cobra, and Jackal Temples to destroy the enemy Core!

      Rules:
      Choose from one of three randomly selected Heroes before entering the Arena. Be quick about it though, you only have 30 seconds to choose! Everyone will begin the round at level 10 and will be asked to choose a Heroic Ability. No other talents will be available. During each round, slay the enemy team’s Heroes and capture the Temple Shrines to take shots at their Core! The Core for each team will have set amounts of health based on the number of active Shrines. Each round can have 1-3 active Shrines. The first team whose Core reaches 0 health will lose the round. Be the first team to win 2 rounds and claim victory! Rewards:
      Complete three matches of the Temple Arena 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.