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Zul'jin Patch Meta Tier List (January 2017)

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Our second Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the month of January 2017 has arrived!

Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Zul'jin 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!

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who offered their support for and commented on our first December edition. In response to the solid feedback received, I deemed appropriate to expand our tier list to include an additional tier (Core Tier) to further define the Niche and Viable tiers. I'm also adding arrows next to the heroes that have moved up or down a number of tiers since the preceding month. Note that heroes that have been added to the new tier will not be attributed arrows unless they're now considered higher or lower priority than last month.

 

Prime Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Diablo Ragnaros Malfurion -
Artanis↑↑ Thrall Rehgar  

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 Alarak Brightwing Nazeebo
E.T.C. Falstad   Sylvanas
Johanna Gul'dan    
Muradin Jaina    
Varian (Tank) Kael'thas    
Zarya Li-Ming    
  Samuro    
  Tychus    
  Valla    
  Zeratul    
  Zul'jin (New)    

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 Chromie Auriel -
Arthas Kerrigan Kharazim  
Chen Lunara Lt. Morales  
Tyrael Raynor    
  Varian (Damage)    

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
Leoric Greymane Tassadar Azmodan
Rexxar Illidan Tyrande Gazlowe
Sonya Nova Uther Medivh
Stitches The Butcher   Sgt. Hammer
  Tracer   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

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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I like this updated Tier. The introduction of the new armor system alongside Zul'jin shook up the metagame a bit.

Will you include notes in future lists for why X hero got higher or lower in the Tier List? Along with what I suggested last time with brief descriptions for why that specific hero is on that specific spot.

Overall, really good job, guys!

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Hello team! Can we expect Zul'jin at upcoming Heroes Global Championship?

It will start on 20th January.

Edited by ethme

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1 hour ago, Valhalen said:

I like this updated Tier. The introduction of the new armor system alongside Zul'jin shook up the metagame a bit.

Will you include notes in future lists for why X hero got higher or lower in the Tier List? Along with what I suggested last time with brief descriptions for why that specific hero is on that specific spot.

Overall, really good job, guys!

I think I may have said I would last month, and I really want to, but truth be told, I'm still trying to come up with a solid format that'll prove to be insightful without overloading the thread with information. I'll try to cook something up.

 

4 minutes ago, ethme said:

Hello team! Can we expect Zul'jin at upcoming Heroes Global Championship?

I initially reviewed Zul'jin as a mid-tier "not outstanding" hero, but playing him a bunch made me change my mind, and I think he's solid right now. As far as I'm concerned, however, I don't think he fits in this current meta of point-click-stun tanks and big facerolly area of effect heroic abilities, even if he's always guaranteed to be able to deal damage for at least 4 seconds per fight. My guess is he'll be experimented with and have a pretty low win rate, if used at all. He would have been really good back in November.

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16 hours ago, Freiitas said:

Poor Murky...

Im really glad that Murky is bottom tier. As far as I'm concerned, More heroes should be bottomtiered, just because there as so few players who excel at them. Usually they just cripple your team. Abathur for instance. It's a nightmare to even have an above average player on Abathur, and still so many people enjoy these weird out-of-the-box heroes. Guess what, it usually doesn't work out. You will trigger everyone and you have another lost battle. Stop with the solo queue murky hype and build a ranked teamplay group. That way you can actually accomplish something with these heroes.

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3 minutes ago, Skyewalker said:

Im really glad that Murky is bottom tier. As far as I'm concerned, More heroes should be bottomtiered, just because there as so few players who excel at them. Usually they just cripple your team. Abathur for instance. It's a nightmare to even have an above average player on Abathur, and still so many people enjoy these weird out-of-the-box heroes. Guess what, it usually doesn't work out. You will trigger everyone and you have another lost battle. Stop with the solo queue murky hype and build a ranked teamplay group. That way you can actually accomplish something with these heroes.

I can parry this and say we'd rather have these Specialist characters being tuned up towards generic solo queue viability level, so the game doesn't have 10 heroes less. That way people who like these heroes could enjoy actually winning with them, and rest of us could have more diverse game experience.

Medivh, for example, is IMO powerful and incredibly well designed hero. His core issue is not exactly that he is bad or people who play him are bad. It's that your typical Hero League crowd has very little awareness about his abilities, especially Portal. If everyone would get used to Medivh, it's not that hard, really - he would become a significant asset to the Nexus.

It reminds me about LOL and Thresh release. He has a similar ability - Lantern that an ally has to click on, and it will teleport him to Thresh. Initially there was a lot of problems because people just weren't aware and conscious about lantern and how it could work or be beneficial. A lot of time has passed since, and because a Thresh was/is just a well rounded Support in his other skills, people have grown to love him and to use the lantern just fine.

Other pushers like Xul, Hammer and Zagara could use some love in just numbers to catch up with Sylvanas and Nazeebo. I think they are cool but criminally underplayed, mostly due to tuning issues. Azmodan got some treatment. Why can't others have some, too?

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16 minutes ago, Skyewalker said:

Im really glad that Murky is bottom tier. As far as I'm concerned, More heroes should be bottomtiered, just because there as so few players who excel at them. Usually they just cripple your team. Abathur for instance. It's a nightmare to even have an above average player on Abathur, and still so many people enjoy these weird out-of-the-box heroes. Guess what, it usually doesn't work out. You will trigger everyone and you have another lost battle. Stop with the solo queue murky hype and build a ranked teamplay group. That way you can actually accomplish something with these heroes.

Eh, on the flipside, people who dedicate themselves to the weirder heroes can catch opponents off-guard, and may become highly specialized. One of my buddies plays Azmodan almost exclusively and has a pretty impressive winrate given how poorly rated the hero generally is.


This is basically why this is a priority list, and not an absolute "this hero is good, this hero is bad" list.

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10 hours ago, Paracel said:

Medivh, for example, is IMO powerful and incredibly well designed hero. His core issue is not exactly that he is bad or people who play him are bad. It's that your typical Hero League crowd has very little awareness about his abilities, especially Portal. If everyone would get used to Medivh, it's not that hard, really - he would become a significant asset to the Nexus.

yeah, he should pretty much have an asterisk by his name in every tier list. he's insanely high skillcap and requires a team who knows what he can do but if mastered there's almost no limit to how much he can benefit his team.

 

Basically, brilliant hero design and a kit that is packed with insane power, but the learning curve must forever keep him stuck at "niche"

 

**EDIT** also pretty surprised to see Artanis so high. Is he really that good? Send a bit like a fotm one-trick pony to me...

Edited by Voltorocks
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7 hours ago, Bjorn said:

I definitely don't' consider Alarak as "core." Kerrigan is way better than him

I believe Alarak is more consistent. As in he doesn't have as much mana issues as Kerrigan, can lane effectively enough and devastate heroes from early game on. Kerrigan is definitely quite good but I don't think she's higher than Viable. Anyway, as said above, the tier list doesn't label one hero "better" than the other except maybe for map objectives (as in niche heroes would be better at one objective than the other)

Edited by MurkyFelix

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I think this is the perfect set of tiers. Only disparaging a couple heroes (right now just Murky) as unplayable unless EXTREMELY skilled. Excited to see how this shifts as they tune balance and the continual power creep due to new mechanics keeps going...

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11 hours ago, Bjorn said:

I definitely don't' consider Alarak as "core." Kerrigan is way better than him

It probably helps to say why you think this. That way Oxy can actually have a discussion with you.

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2 hours ago, Laragon said:

I think this is the perfect set of tiers. Only disparaging a couple heroes (right now just Murky) as unplayable unless EXTREMELY skilled. Excited to see how this shifts as they tune balance and the continual power creep due to new mechanics keeps going...

Having those heroes is pretty important I think. I'm not a huge HoTS player, but I do love Overwatch - when I play in lower ranks with friends, I can't stand seeing Widow picked. 90% of the time it is just a huge fail and leads to a "dead" slot in the team.

Saying that, when I play on my main account, queuing into any good Widow player is a nightmare. Playing any role vs. a Top500 Widow is just painful and that's the way it should be. High risk, high reward.

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On 14.1.2017 at 9:53 PM, Oxygen said:
On 14.1.2017 at 8:25 PM, Valhalen said:

I like this updated Tier. The introduction of the new armor system alongside Zul'jin shook up the metagame a bit.

Will you include notes in future lists for why X hero got higher or lower in the Tier List? Along with what I suggested last time with brief descriptions for why that specific hero is on that specific spot.

Overall, really good job, guys!

I think I may have said I would last month, and I really want to, but truth be told, I'm still trying to come up with a solid format that'll prove to be insightful without overloading the thread with information. I'll try to cook something up.

Maybe you could add a link to the name, so when you click on it, you will get the additional info. Don't really know anything about programming though, just an idea that i saw on other pages so I'm throwing that out here. 

Great work overall. Think most of the heroes are in the right spot. Only two heroes i would disagree are E.T.C. and Dehaka. They should both be prime tier imo.

Dehaka is a really well rounded warrior who can spec into any direction needed. He can be a great solo tank, solo laner, has a global and also adds a lot of utility. 

E.T.C. is the other tank, who has pretty much everything you would want in a tank. Survivabilty, engage/disengage, cc, two awesome ults and with one of them even a global ability if you ever feel the need to pick it and he can even support the team with block/heals. So i think he, as well as Dehaka , is great in everything you would expect so i would see both of them in prime as they both add more than just the average to every team comp in which you would want a warrior.

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3 hours ago, ecO1 said:

Maybe you could add a link to the name, so when you click on it, you will get the additional info. Don't really know anything about programming though, just an idea that i saw on other pages so I'm throwing that out here. 

Great work overall. Think most of the heroes are in the right spot. Only two heroes i would disagree are E.T.C. and Dehaka. They should both be prime tier imo.

Dehaka is a really well rounded warrior who can spec into any direction needed. He can be a great solo tank, solo laner, has a global and also adds a lot of utility. 

E.T.C. is the other tank, who has pretty much everything you would want in a tank. Survivabilty, engage/disengage, cc, two awesome ults and with one of them even a global ability if you ever feel the need to pick it and he can even support the team with block/heals. So i think he, as well as Dehaka , is great in everything you would expect so i would see both of them in prime as they both add more than just the average to every team comp in which you would want a warrior.

Dehaka and ETC certainly are in a good place right now for sure, but I don't feel like they're first pick / first ban material like Artanis and Diablo are, which is more or less what differentiates Prime tier heroes from Core tier. ETC gets countered by both the more popular Artanis and Diablo heroes and is held back by his subpar waveclear, whereas Dehaka suffers from his eternal weakness of being prone to kiting and lacking the hard-engage oomph that most other tanks have. If Artanis and big D get nerfed somehow, they'll be strong contenders for Prime.

22 hours ago, Bjorn said:

I definitely don't' consider Alarak as "core." Kerrigan is way better than him

I just feel that Alarak is more well rounded, although Kerrigan is in a really good spot right now; really hard to deal with when drafted at the right time. They both don't see that much play however, due to the nature of the current point-click-auto-stun meta they don't really fit in (and get countered by-ish), so I'd be more inclined to bump Alarak down than promote Kerrigan right now.

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On 1/15/2017 at 6:04 PM, Voltorocks said:

yeah, he should pretty much have an asterisk by his name in every tier list. he's insanely high skillcap and requires a team who knows what he can do but if mastered there's almost no limit to how much he can benefit his team.

 

Basically, brilliant hero design and a kit that is packed with insane power, but the learning curve must forever keep him stuck at "niche"

 

**EDIT** also pretty surprised to see Artanis so high. Is he really that good? Send a bit like a fotm one-trick pony to me...

Regarding Medivh: That's basically why I have him as Niche; his potential is ridiculously high, but this potential depends entirely on his team. This is why his drafting priority (i.e. versatility) is at a "lower" tier.

Regarding Artanis: He counters the current BL/EQ trend on top of having solid waveclear, mercing, sieging, hard-engaging, and being hard to kill without coordination.

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Thank you for an updated list! 

I'm personally okay with this format for now as a quick go to reference, as there is multiple sources of more detailed info and second opinions out there, and would recommend you wait at least until the HotS team show us what they're working on in regards to updating the 4/5 main Hero roles. 

Source: 
 

 

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How do you guys think Lucio will fit into the metagame a d Tier List? Also, did the Murky rework finally removed him from loneliness of his "Murky Tier"?

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