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On "Assassins of the Storm"

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Samuro, Varian, Ragnaros, Zul'jin and now Valeera. That's five assassins from the Warcraft universe that were added to the game one after another. The community wasn't very pleased with how the Warcraft heroes have been preferred lately and Game Designer Centaurik wrote a long post explaining their hero choices, admitting that they overdid it with assassins, promising more Hero diversity in 2017.

TL;DR

  • Expect more hero diversity introduced in 2017. There will definitely be more support heroes.
  • The team has a fixed hero release schedule that allows to bring in a new hero every three or four weeks, but at the same time there's little room for reshuffling, as the hero development process starts 9 to 12 months before release.
  • Samuro was considered one of the first heroes to be added to the game and after two years he got released.
  • Varian was considered to be a Gladiator archetype, which was then renamed to Multi-Class.
  • Ragnaros was a Specialist (Core-Replacement hero) first, designed to influence the battlefield from afar, but was redesigned to what we see today.
  • Zul'jin was added, because a Sustained Range Attacker was not added to the game for quite some time.
  • Even though the latest hero releases are all assassins, they offer a very different experience, e.g. Valeera is very different from existing assassins and you'll need to figure out how to effectively use her combo mechanics and strike foes from the shadows.

Blizzard LogoCentaurik

We’ve seen a lot of discussions about our recent hero releases in the community lately, and we agree that we definitely overdid it a little bit with the Warcraft assassins over the past few months. I wanted to step into this thread to say thank you for sharing your feedback on this with us, and to hopefully give you a little more context into how we wound up with what’s happened.

Something that’s important to consider is that our development process for each hero starts nine months to a full year ahead of their planned release dates. After a certain point in the pipeline it becomes very difficult to shuffle heroes around without slipping on our goal of putting a new hero into your hands every three to four weeks. By the time we took a step back and said “You know, we sure have released a lot of assassins lately…” we were well past the point where we could change things up. :-(

First up was Samuro, whom this team has been wanting to do for over 2 years, and we were finally in a place we could ship him. Awesome! Next up we had Varian. He was what we had labeled a “Gladiator” archetype, which would later be renamed to Multi-Class (as we felt it was more true to what it meant).

Next up was Ragnaros. Originally, we had pitched him as a Core-Replacement Hero, who would influence the battlefield from afar. Something we had penciled in as a Specialist. About 2 months into development, however, we moved away from that design to the Ragnaros you know today. We considered leaving him a Specialist, but thought his role as a Bruiser would be more accurately reflected as Assassin, a la Thrall.

A while after we were into Rag and Varian design, we realized that Zul’jin would make an excellent addition, as we hadn’t added a Sustained Ranged Attacker to the game in quite some time. However, we realized we now had 4 Warcraft Heroes in a row. We decided to stick with it, due to what kind of flexibility we had (or really, didn’t have) in maneuvering the schedule. 

About 3 months after we had started work on the next set of Heroes to follow Zul’jin, we had to shuffle up Valeera to follow Zul’jin first, due the needs of the team as a whole. At the time, we didn’t pause to consider the ramifications of what it would mean as a player experience, in terms of getting a diverse roster of Heroes in regards to our Archetype definitions and our Universes. 

At the time, we were looking at the Heroes, and from a very Game Designer view, we saw this:
  • Stealthed 3-Card-Monté assassin
  • Multi-Class Hero: Warrior, Bruiser, Dive Assassin
  • Bruiser with Heavy Map Implications
  • Sustained Ranged Attacker
  • Enemy Carry Disabler


Now, while to us that’s 5 very different experiences (and in fact a new role in the form of a Hero that focuses on Disabling a team’s primary damage), in the current Heroes Archetype listing, that’s 5 Heroes that can be called “Assassin”. 

We realize that unleashing so many Warcraft assassins back to back wasn’t the best decision in terms of hero diversity, and isn’t quite as exciting for those of you who don’t necessarily enjoy assassins as much as the other roles. 

However, once you’ve had the chance to try out Valeera, we’re confident you’ll find her playstyle is pretty different from our other assassins. Internally, we’ve had a blast striking from the shadows and figuring out all of the various ways to use her combo mechanics effectively, and we hope that you’ll find her just as fun to play as we do. 

We know there are also some of you who have concerns about another stealth hero joining the Nexus so soon after Samuro’s release. Valeera has undergone many rounds of playtesting and iteration, and one of our primary focuses was on not only how much fun it is to play as her, but how it feels to play against her as well. We think we’ve reached a nice middle ground, and we’d love to hear your thoughts after you’ve played a few games with and against the rogue.

Now that Valeera is out in the wild, we think you’re going to be pretty happy with the rest of the heroes we have planned for 2017. The feedback you, the community, has provided us has greatly influenced our planning. You can definitely expect more diversity in terms of both role and universe compared to 2016. I would hope that in January of 2018, we’ll be able to look back and see a much wider offering of Heroes (including, yes, Supports!). 

We can’t wait to show you what we have in store! Thank you so much for continuing to provide feedback! We’ll see you in the Nexus!

(Source)

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I'm really glad they officially addressed this. No way to ease a community than have a proper press release of "woops, and this is why".
Personally, I wasn't too upset because they have been drastically varied assassins. If they had more than 4 categories this might have even been a moot point. I understand why people are upset, but once I just saw the rework of Tassadar and Rexxar (unexpectedly) in this coming patch I felt even better about it. They are HUGE reworks that looks like both might move up in the latest tier rankings. It may make Tassadar back to the true lane soak/off heal/field control he's already played as.

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3 minutes ago, Laragon said:

I'm really glad they officially addressed this. No way to ease a community than have a proper press release of "woops, and this is why".
Personally, I wasn't too upset because they have been drastically varied assassins. If they had more than 4 categories this might have even been a moot point. I understand why people are upset, but once I just saw the rework of Tassadar and Rexxar (unexpectedly) in this coming patch I felt even better about it. They are HUGE reworks that looks like both might move up in the latest tier rankings. It may make Tassadar back to the true lane soak/off heal/field control he's already played as.

I agree. I've got no issues even with 10 Warcraft assassins in a row when they are diverse. Warcraft is their biggest universe, so it's understandable that the game contains the most Heroes from WoW; on the other hand, I think it needs more healers.

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21 minutes ago, Laragon said:

I'm really glad they officially addressed this. No way to ease a community than have a proper press release of "woops, and this is why".
Personally, I wasn't too upset because they have been drastically varied assassins. If they had more than 4 categories this might have even been a moot point. I understand why people are upset, but once I just saw the rework of Tassadar and Rexxar (unexpectedly) in this coming patch I felt even better about it. They are HUGE reworks that looks like both might move up in the latest tier rankings. It may make Tassadar back to the true lane soak/off heal/field control he's already played as.

I love the Tassadar rework, however there is still one little problem that will still plague him forever: he is not Medivh.

Anyway, I can't wait to see more Support/Healers added into the game. We seriously need more.

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20 minutes ago, Stan said:

I agree. I've got no issues even with 10 Warcraft assassins in a row when they are diverse. Warcraft is their biggest universe, so it's understandable that the game contains the most Heroes from WoW; on the other hand, I think it needs more healers.

Tbf, the lack of supports is getting a bit annoying, and more would be appreciated. Not to mention the reworks for some (Tyrande is in a serious need of talent rework or Lili getting some buffs)

But hey, judging by Axolotl, we'll be getting Malthael and Firebat after her so I'm kinda hyped :D

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3 minutes ago, Dejo93 said:

Tbf, the lack of supports is getting a bit annoying, and more would be appreciated. Not to mention the reworks for some (Tyrande is in a serious need of talent rework or Lili getting some buffs)

But hey, judging by Axolotl, we'll be getting Malthael and Firebat after her so I'm kinda hyped :D

Uther needs a MAJOR rework, which Blizz actually stated he will have to fit the fantasy of a tanky support.

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1 minute ago, Valhalen said:

Uther needs a MAJOR rework, which Blizz actually stated he will have to fit the fantasy of a tanky support.

He seriously needs it. The delay he has is really shutting his potential down. As for future supports, I'd like some1 like Lion or Shadow Shaman and even CM from Dota in the future. I know the healing mechanic isn't the same on them all, but some innovation is needed

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12 minutes ago, Dejo93 said:

He seriously needs it. The delay he has is really shutting his potential down. As for future supports, I'd like some1 like Lion or Shadow Shaman and even CM from Dota in the future. I know the healing mechanic isn't the same on them all, but some innovation is needed

If anything we need a true Priest in the form of Velen or Anduin.

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28 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

I love the Tassadar rework, however there is still one little problem that will still plague him forever: he is not Medivh.

Anyway, I can't wait to see more Support/Healers added into the game. We seriously need more.

Personally, I HATE playing as Medivh and love playing as Tassadar. But until he can completely nullify most single target ultimates... I get it. I just don't like it.

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5 minutes ago, Laragon said:

Personally, I HATE playing as Medivh and love playing as Tassadar. But until he can completely nullify most single target ultimates... I get it. I just don't like it.

Exactly. I like Tassadar way more. But everything Tassadar can do, Medivh do it better. Shield? Check. Scouting? Check. Crowd Control? Double check.

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2 hours ago, Valhalen said:

Exactly. I like Tassadar way more. But everything Tassadar can do, Medivh do it better. Shield? Check. Scouting? Check. Crowd Control? Double check.

On paper you are right, but we dont see Medivh in competitive play because Tassadar can give you shield for eternity, and Medivh just for 1,5 seconds. I like both, they are full of utility and good design characters, but it´s a shame that Medivh dont have some love because he doesn´t have heal. Just look for Auriel, if she doesn´t have heal in her kit, she probably will be in the same place of Medivh. Also i´m looking for Anduin or Velen too.

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2 hours ago, Valhalen said:

Exactly. I like Tassadar way more. But everything Tassadar can do, Medivh do it better. Shield? Check. Scouting? Check. Crowd Control? Double check.

Wave clear, check. Objective traveling, check. Escape ability, (not as good) check... STOP CRUSHING MY DREAMS.

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7 hours ago, Iginis7 said:

On paper you are right, but we dont see Medivh in competitive play because Tassadar can give you shield for eternity, and Medivh just for 1,5 seconds. I like both, they are full of utility and good design characters, but it´s a shame that Medivh dont have some love because he doesn´t have heal. Just look for Auriel, if she doesn´t have heal in her kit, she probably will be in the same place of Medivh. Also i´m looking for Anduin or Velen too.

The main difference is that Medivh doesn't even Shield, he makes you Invulnerable. And that thing has a pretty low CD. Honestly I think Medivh is one of the best characters in the game due how much he brings to the table. He fits into any composition and can partake into any objective.

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12 hours ago, Stan said:
  • Stealthed 3-Card-Monté assassin
  • Multi-Class Hero: Warrior, Bruiser, Dive Assassin
  • Bruiser with Heavy Map Implications
  • Sustained Ranged Attacker
  • Enemy Carry Disabler

With first 4 points everything is clear. Valeera, Varian, Ragnaros and ZulˇJin. Enemy Carry Disabler?? Support with tons of CC or Heavy DMG reducer??? Something is strange here..

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1 hour ago, Dantalian said:

With first 4 points everything is clear. Valeera, Varian, Ragnaros and ZulˇJin. Enemy Carry Disabler?? Support with tons of CC or Heavy DMG reducer??? Something is strange here..

I believe that may have been Samuro but I could be wrong

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1 hour ago, Dantalian said:

With first 4 points everything is clear. Valeera, Varian, Ragnaros and ZulˇJin. Enemy Carry Disabler?? Support with tons of CC or Heavy DMG reducer??? Something is strange here..

I think that 3-Card-Monte assassin is Samuro because 3-Card-Monte is a card trick where you point a correct card to win. Enemy Carry Disabler is Valeera with her stealth kit. :)

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3 hours ago, Dantalian said:

With first 4 points everything is clear. Valeera, Varian, Ragnaros and ZulˇJin. Enemy Carry Disabler?? Support with tons of CC or Heavy DMG reducer??? Something is strange here..

Ethme is right. Carry disable is Valeera with silence/stun and ability to burst down some heroes like *probably* Li-Ming, Kael, Chromie, Jaina...
Imagine how much of a disable/ganker Zeratul or Nova could be if they could silence or stun you rather than just slow. It's dangerous to be alone as some heroes again. Positioning has to be much more conservative.

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2 hours ago, ethme said:

I think that 3-Card-Monte assassin is Samuro because 3-Card-Monte is a card trick where you point a correct card to win. Enemy Carry Disabler is Valeera with her stealth kit. :)

Thank you for clarifying this for people :D They wrote in chronologic order so it would be weird to put Valeera on top, with some wird name. But apparently valeera will be excelent at killing the backline! I guess they wanted more diversity instead of 'just' a Zeratul. Let's hope it doesn't feel the same.

15 hours ago, Dejo93 said:

Tbf, the lack of supports is getting a bit annoying, and more would be appreciated. Not to mention the reworks for some (Tyrande is in a serious need of talent rework or Lili getting some buffs)

But hey, judging by Axolotl, we'll be getting Malthael and Firebat after her so I'm kinda hyped :D

Lovely! Axolotl was right all along so I'm putting my money on this forecast. Firebat is a bit disappointing with so many viable choices in the SCII scene. Why bring all these Terran nobody-units out while you can pick some actual characters?

Malthael on the other hand.. NICE. Assassin? Cloaked? Hero kills lower death timer Trait?

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33 minutes ago, Skyewalker said:

Thank you for clarifying this for people :D They wrote in chronologic order so it would be weird to put Valeera on top, with some wird name. But apparently valeera will be excelent at killing the backline! I guess they wanted more diversity instead of 'just' a Zeratul. Let's hope it doesn't feel the same.

Lovely! Axolotl was right all along so I'm putting my money on this forecast. Firebat is a bit disappointing with so many viable choices in the SCII scene. Why bring all these Terran nobody-units out while you can pick some actual characters?

Malthael on the other hand.. NICE. Assassin? Cloaked? Hero kills lower death timer Trait?

Nope Specialist. Member those cancerous adds in the boss fight? Now you can summon them and spread their cancer in the Nexus :D 

 

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Ok, everybody will deslike, but i hope to see Malthael or kel'thuzad as support. It will be cool to see a dark hero support XD

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Nice to see a little reasoning from them. To me personally, I wasn't THAT annoyed, as there will often be more damage dealers on your team than Supports, Warriors and Specialists, so it stands to reason that they will add more Assassins than all of the other roles. One of those heroes, Varian, technically counted as two types, as for the sake of simplicity, Varian is referred to as either a warrior or an assassin depending on his build, rather than a multiclass. 

The bit about Ragnaros also explains a great deal why he has a lot of Specialist elements too. 

However, having a bunch of assassins from the same universe sort of sucked out the excitement and hype for new heroes. I'm not exactly fond of another stealthy assassin so soon after Samuro, especially one that throws stuns and an entire arsenal of jukes in there, and I am also unsure why they feel the need to flesh out the roster of Assassins more when there is such big gaps between leading Support and Warrior meta picks and the less picked options. 

Besides that, it's the 20th Anniversary of Diablo! The HotS in game event was over before the events in other games had even run halfway, and while we had a substantial event last year, a d3 Diablo skin and another hero from the 'verse are highly requested. 

I've read good and bad things about the Tassadar and Rexxar reworks, I'll have to try both of them, but I am already dubious about a 40 regen globe quest for shields to get the maximum value, as well as still not having vector targetting for Force Wall. 

Edited by Plergoth
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Yeah the wow universe has been drawn on a lot, it's tiring, but my main problem is the amount of assassins coming out. Would like to see diversity in roles as well.

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18 hours ago, Valhalen said:

Exactly. I like Tassadar way more. But everything Tassadar can do, Medivh do it better. Shield? Check. Scouting? Check. Crowd Control? Double check.

You have to be joking when you said this. Taz can shield all 5 players for long periods of time. You have the E from Taz that make him pretty much impossible to kill and not only that his AOE dmg is way better than Meditvh, that's without mentioning the rework because I haven't play him yet. Taz is way way WAY better than Meditvh in every single aspect. 

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On 1/18/2017 at 4:16 PM, Klovzz said:

You have to be joking when you said this. Taz can shield all 5 players for long periods of time. You have the E from Taz that make him pretty much impossible to kill and not only that his AOE dmg is way better than Meditvh, that's without mentioning the rework because I haven't play him yet. Taz is way way WAY better than Meditvh in every single aspect. 

Medivh can also make shield (with invulnerability) the entire party as well, every 5 seconds. His Arcane Rift is harder to hit, but it does provide a much larger AoE damage due the reduction in CD if it hits enemy Heroes. Even with the rework, I doubt Tassadar will perform as good. He will, however, provide a huge pool of utility, more than before.

Edited by Valhalen
Godamn this autocorrect

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Axolotl hasn't posted for some time, the guy who wrote about the Malthael kit was an imposter.

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      PCGamesN talked to Kyle Dates and Game Director Alan Dabiri at Gamescom. They talk about Kel'thuzad, the upcoming event and improvements to quest tracking and Hanamura.
      Kel'thuzad
      Archlich of Naxxramas is a ranged Assassin and the first among new Heroes they've added with a baseline trait quest. Once Kel'thuzad unlocks it, he gains a massively spike in burst damage. He starts off as a crowd-control character and ends up as a burst damage Assassin. His ability "Chains of Kel'thuzad" is a double skillshot used to tie Heroes together or chain a Hero to a Structure. Another ability is Frost Nova that roots enemy in its center. You can set up epic combos by chaining Heroes and setting up a Frost Nova to root them. One of his best partners is Arthas. Kel'thuzad is weak to dive Heroes. All of his abilities are delayed, so he doesn't have the ability get Heroes like Illidan or Genji off of him. Arthas on the other hand, has this ability with his slow and Howling Blast or Kel'thuzad can follow up on Arthas's combos. The Call of Kel'thuzad Event
      The patch is coming next week to test realms with a release later during the week of September 5. It brings major reworks for Chromie, Jaina, Leoric & Lt. Morales. We posted about upcoming changes here. It turns out Kel'thuzad has been in the Nexus a long time, bending Heroes to his will. We're getting new skins, mainly Crypt Queen Zagara, Death Knight Sonya and the fan-favorite Dreadlord Jaina. During the event you complete quests, unlock new portraits, sprays and ultimately, you can unlock a special Naxxramas banner. In order to complete quests, you need to have takedowns with Kel'thuzad on your team. Quest Tracking
      Improvements are coming to quest tracking. In the tab screen you will see Hero quests and if a Hero has completed a quest. It makes easier to keep track of questing. Hanamura
      Based on community feedback, Hanamura got disabled recently and the battleground will get the Haunted Mines treatment. It all boils down to analyzing specifics that do not work out for the map and change them. It'll take time to redesign Hanamura and there's no ETA for bringing it back now. There's too much going on during the battleground, payloads, mercenaries giving objects, not allowing players to focus on what was the best thing to do at any given time. Destiny 2
      No plans to introduce Heroes from Destiny 2, they have a lot of heroes and villains from the Blizzard universe and they don't know if it would be appropriate for Heroes.
    • By Stan

      Garrosh's price was reduced to 10,000 Gold / 750 Gems and so were Shard prices of skins introduced in his patch.
      If you waited for the prices to drop, now's a good time to buy Garrosh and various skins introduced in the patch. Don't forget to visit our Garrosh Build Guide to find out more about various ways of building up the former Warchief of the Horde.
      Prices of Legendary skins (Mad Axe Garrosh, Templar Li-Ming, D.Va skin variations etc.) are down to 1,600 Shards per skin (down from 2,400).
      L800 ETC Skins, Anub'alisk and other skins cost 400 Shards. Below is a list of full skins added in Garrosh's patch.
      Garrosh Shattered Hand Garrosh Blackrock Garrosh Glorious Garrosh Deadly Garrosh Mad Axe Garrosh Biohazard Mad Axe Garrosh Frozen Mad Axe Garrosh Mutant Mad Axe Garrosh Horde Axe Garrosh Alarak Amethyst Highlord Alarak  Anub'arak Anub'alisk Kaldir Anub'alisk Omega Anub'alisk Venomous Anub'alisk Enraged Anub'alisk Li-Ming Templar Li-Ming First Ascendant Li-Ming Dark Templar Li-Ming Onyx Templar Li-Ming Void Templar Li-Ming E.T.C. L800 E.T.C. Spectre L800 E.T.C. Jungle L800 E.T.C. Shock L800 E.T.C. Horde L800 E.T.C. Angelic L800 E.T.C. The Butcher Grendel Butcherlisk Valeera Ivory Demon Hunter Valeera Crimson Demon Hunter Valeera Zul'jin Arcane Emberlord Zul'jin  D.Va Devil Dogs Goliath D.Va Spectre Goliath D.Va  Abathur Feral Swarm Abathur  Dehaka Savage Pack Leader Dehaka  Varian Deadly Lo'Gosh Varian  Samuro Warsong Hellblade Samuro  Rehgar Saronite Ironclaw Rehgar  Probius Solarite Probius Prime Sargas Probius Prime 
    • By KendricSwissh

      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.