Oxygen

Lucio Patch Meta Tier List (Febuary 2017)

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Our third Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the month of Febuary 2017 has arrived!

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.

Additionally, a + or - sign (or several of them) indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These may be updated after significant balance patches.

 

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.

 

Feb 28 balance patch edit

Murky, Tychus, and Varian (Tank) have all been hit by a recent balance patch are expected to go down a tier; Murky might be hit by two, though we'll wait a bit and see. The results is that Muradin, who was overshadowed by Varian and soft-countered by Tychus (on top of being less-than-stellar against Murky) should go up a tier. I went ahead and introduced the +/- rating suggestion that was made in one of the earlier comments.

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Very solid arguments, as usual. It is really good to see Murky finally getting some love. I'm curious to see which Heroes they will rework next. I know for sure that Uther is on the line for reworks (which he really need).

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2 hours ago, Valhalen said:

Very solid arguments, as usual. It is really good to see Murky finally getting some love. I'm curious to see which Heroes they will rework next. I know for sure that Uther is on the line for reworks (which he really need).

Uther was announced as a rework, yes. I'm not too sure either; they've touched up on the whole roster now.

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I'm glad I'm not the only person who's noted the value of Cleanse has shot through the roof, when it was already an invaluable asset to have, along with a cc-chain fest happening in many games. 

Do you think they'll buff either the cooldown or even self-cast again? I'd be happy with even a minor duration buff. 

On the subject of Lucio, I have to agree with the conservative placement of him; he feels like a win more hero, lacking the raw utility and flexibility of Support gods Malfurion and Rehgar, especially solo. Lucio has potential for sure, and can be fun to play, yet, like Tyrande whom I also love playing, I would avoid picking them in draft unless we were going for a double Support. 

Edited by Plergoth

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I think lucio is actually very solid, but the lack of a cleanse is tough. OTOH, double support meta is looking better and better anyways (especially with aggressive healers like rehgar and tass in the mix) and lucio can be friggin crazy for an even slightly coordinated team; I expect to see him creep up in popularity as people learn how to work with him.

 

Cursed bullet on greymane is nuts; don't sleep on this greymane players, he is hot right now imho. the 20 talent is bananas and can straight up do like 7k+ damage against clumping teams.

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I remember during my LoL days reading patch notes about 2 or 3 years ago, I believe it was about Rengar or some other hard hitting jungle / ganker. Like HotS, they have developers comments to elaborate on changes made. 

This particular one was "Hahahahahahahahaha. Oh dear." 

I feel the exact same about Murky right about now, his late game power is just absolutely nuts, but I'm hoping people remember how to deal with him soon. I got called an idiot earlier in HL by a Valeera for not killing an egg in brush at the bottom point on Sky Temple after I burrowed there on Dehaka and killed him before taking control of the temple and ignored the egg... which Valeera subsequently destroyed and got Slimed by the Egg Hunt, before being chased around at 25% hp by a refreshed Murky and enemy reinforcements. /facepalm

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13 hours ago, Voltorocks said:

Cursed bullet on greymane is nuts; don't sleep on this greymane players, he is hot right now imho. the 20 talent is bananas and can straight up do like 7k+ damage against clumping teams.

Absolutely. I changed the recommendations in the guide in favour of it over GftT.

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8 hours ago, EDGE1 said:

Is Zeratul truly invisible in this list?

You can't see the shimmer? ;)

 

But seriously, I can find him either o.O

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10 hours ago, EDGE1 said:

Is Zeratul truly invisible in this list?

Uhh, I did not delete him by accident when I was working on the formatting. I swear...

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Wanted to play a little before really commenting on Murky, but I feel he moved too far up the list. He definitely finally deserved to abandon his own murky tier, but core feels a bit too far. Nazeebo and Sylvanas are still superior in the meta to him. Especially with the lack of a specialist the tier bellow, I think he fits right in that gap.

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8 hours ago, Laragon said:

Wanted to play a little before really commenting on Murky, but I feel he moved too far up the list. He definitely finally deserved to abandon his own murky tier, but core feels a bit too far. Nazeebo and Sylvanas are still superior in the meta to him. Especially with the lack of a specialist the tier bellow, I think he fits right in that gap.

With a 60% win rate in masters+ leagues, I'm inclined to believe he belongs a tier higher than my conservative placement. He's currently the highest winning hero, and it isn't going down unlike what I had predicted.

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Thank you so much Oxygen for your informative meta tier posts.

The first I read was Zuljin's patch. Before I read it, I thought that Artanis and Malfurion are first ban/pick material. After reading it, I expected Thrall to be demoted but not Diablo or Rehgar.

I have a few questions and suggestions:

1- You didn't explain why Rehgar got demoted, did you ? I still think he is prime tier material (maybe slightly below Malf). He has respectable win rates and is being still chosen a lot in esports. Among main supports, I think Malf followed by Rehgar are still first picks.

2- When you talk about win rates, do you take overall winrates or high-level play winrates?

3- When watching some e-sports matches, I think Medivh and Xul deserve to be at least viable tier. They are viable in high level play unlike others in niche tier.

 

Suggestions:

1- Why don't you put a sign (for example a + or a - ) on heroes expected to be promoted or demoted, respectively ? I think this can enhance our understanding of the meta.

2- I am not sure if this is available or not on this website or other, but I didn't find a topic or a list showing strong heroes for each map. I know in each hero guide there are his strong maps, but this does not help me when - for example - I am drafted to braxis holdout, I want to quickly review "stronger" heroes in this map so I can choose better. I believe such a list can be used in addition to the above list, because some heroes can potentially jump a tier (or maybe two) in certain maps.

3- What do you think of making a short list of "unofficial" classes/roles, and which heroes shine in these roles (eg Bruiser:Sonya, Tank:Johanna/Muradin, Offensive support:Tassadar/Kharazim etc.)

 

 

Thanks a lot !

Edited by supern0va3000

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12 hours ago, supern0va3000 said:

Thank you so much Oxygen for your informative meta tier posts.

The first I read was Zuljin's patch. Before I read it, I thought that Artanis and Malfurion are first ban/pick material. After reading it, I expected Thrall to be demoted but not Diablo or Rehgar.

I have a few questions and suggestions:

1- You didn't explain why Rehgar got demoted, did you ? I still think he is prime tier material (maybe slightly below Malf). He has respectable win rates and is being still chosen a lot in esports. Among main supports, I think Malf followed by Rehgar are still first picks.

2- When you talk about win rates, do you take overall winrates or high-level play winrates?

3- When watching some e-sports matches, I think Medivh and Xul deserve to be at least viable tier. They are viable in high level play unlike others in niche tier.

 

Suggestions:

1- Why don't you put a sign (for example a + or a - ) on heroes expected to be promoted or demoted, respectively ? I think this can enhance our understanding of the meta.

2- I am not sure if this is available or not on this website or other, but I didn't find a topic or a list showing strong heroes for each map. I know in each hero guide there are his strong maps, but this does not help me when - for example - I am drafted to braxis holdout, I want to quickly review "stronger" heroes in this map so I can choose better. I believe such a list can be used in addition to the above list, because some heroes can potentially jump a tier (or maybe two) in certain maps.

3- What do you think of making a short list of "unofficial" classes/roles, and which heroes shine in these roles (eg Bruiser:Sonya, Tank:Johanna/Muradin, Offensive support:Tassadar/Kharazim etc.)

 

 

Thanks a lot !

Hello, and thanks for the comments. Let me try and go over your points.

1 - Rehgar is still good, but the sole reason he was considered top tier - the Bloodlust shenanigans - is no longer as popular or as impactful. The main heroes that benefit from Bloodlust have fallen themselves (Thrall, and to an extent, Zul'jin), while the rest must compete with more "metaesque" heroes. I think Lucio might be better than him, but we'll need a bit of time to see.

2 - I generally look at high level winrates, i.e. master league +. If I don't have enough data, I'll add diamond league. Anything below that is completely chaotic, with games coming down to which team is most coordinated as opposed to which team has the better draft. If only they read Icy-Veins!

3 - Esports games are in a class of their own. Coordination goes a long way with making unusual strategies work, and tier lists don't generally apply there.

 

1.1 - I could. I'll mull this over.

2.1 - I see what you mean. We used to have map guides, but they were pretty complex to maintain up to date. I can't think of a resource that currently does that... hrm. I'll see what we can do.

3.1 - I don't like the role system to begin with. I think the best team compositions are those that work best together, regardless of Blizzard's self-imposed system. Yes, in general, you want a tank and a healer, because the game was designed as such, but I can't really see the point of focusing on roles more than it already is. I feel they tend to hinder player creativity and at worst pigeon hole team compositions.

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On 2/23/2017 at 3:35 PM, Oxygen said:

3.1 - I don't like the role system to begin with. I think the best team compositions are those that work best together, regardless of Blizzard's self-imposed system. Yes, in general, you want a tank and a healer, because the game was designed as such, but I can't really see the point of focusing on roles more than it already is. I feel they tend to hinder player creativity and at worst pigeon hole team compositions.

I can certainly agree with this.  It's weird that heroes get defined by the labels put on them.  Tyrande is stuck with the support label, but she provides quite a deal more than healing with her ability to significantly increase damage.  She's almost like a weak ranged assassin with one healing basic ability.  And then there's Nazeebo who is just an assassin with weird abilities, yet he got stuck with the "specialist" label.

I also do enjoy creative comps.  It's nice to see a team try something experimental.  I recently won a game in hero league without a support character-we all took heroes with enough self sustain to survive the laning phase (Kerrigan, Varian, ETC, Gul'dan, and Ragnaros), and we had enough pick potential to quickly turn any fight into a 5v4.

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On 2/27/2017 at 8:42 PM, supern0va3000 said:

Dat massive Varian nerf =(

Yeah, Tank Varian is going to take a hit. Colossus Smash might see some more play now, however. It hits hard.

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      I like Garrosh quite a bit, and I can't help but feel that the combined novelty and high skill cap skew his win rates towards the bottom of the roster. Case in point: his Master level win rates are nearly 12% higher than his Bronze level win rates. This is a case of Medivh all over again; however, whereas both Garrosh and Medivh did start at 30-something-percent win rates, Garrosh has been steadily climbing over the week. Both Diablo and Stitches are currently very popular picks, and Garrosh provides similar utility through his Groundbreaker + Wrecking Ball combo. Talents to watch out for are undoubtedly Warbreaker (reduced cooldown on Groundbreaker, level 1) and Intimidation (40% reduced attack speed on targets hit by Groundbreaker, level 7), which allow Garrosh to neuter basic attack reliant heroes much earlier than other heroes can. Into the Fray (can use Wrecking Ball on allies once every 30 seconds, level 7) is also an interesting one as it gives Garrosh his own version of Cleanse and  the ability to say 'hey, you're mispositioned, stop it', which should come in handy whenever an ally is, well, not standing where they should be. It also breaks Lamb to the Slaughter on top of a few other nasty heroic abilities, which is great.
      Stitches has finally ascended to godhood, and although I was slow to give him a seat in the core tier, repeated high level hero league bans and a high amount of tournament play speak for themselves. As stated last month, the Slam build remains an easy way of topping the damage charts all while being difficult to kill. Gorge has also seen an upsurge in popularity, and particularly on maps where combat tends to happen close by fortifications, such as Dragon Shire, Tomb of the Spider Queen, Towers of Doom, et cetera. Couple this with Falstad's Mighty Gust, and you have a game winning combo that isn't all that difficult to pull off.
      I don't have much to say about Greymane that isn't self-obvious; Cursed Bullet is a great choice in a meta where healthy tanks are popular, though Go for the Throat is also re-emerging for blowup team compositions, thanks to its reliable damage and gap closing feature, on top of its ability to reset.
      To shoehorn last month's tier list again, I made a snarky comment about Tassadar always being either too strong or too weak. Right now, he enables two borderline heroes–Illidan and Tracer–on top of providing flexible heroic ability choices for both more defensive and blowout team compositions. His versatility just makes him never feel like a bad pick, and Oracle keeps the Zeratuls at bay as a bonus.
      E.T.C. is this month's surprise as players sift through forgotten heroes to solo tank, provide potential mapwide mobility through Stage Dive, and just generally provide reliable crowd control. You'll note a sore lack of interruption from a lot of high tier picks as well, making Mosh Pit about as good as it'll get.
      We haven't seen The Butcher be more than a one trick for nearly two years now, but the brute is back in force, thanks for buffs several players have misinterpreted as nerfs. I suspect, however, that some of his newfound success may be due to players having some difficulty adapting to his new gank-heavy playstyle and generally counterpicking him. Shall the Brightwings, Cassias, and Li Lis of the world rise up to the challenge?
      Xul has continued to perform well, and although he is the second least popular core tier hero (right behind Zeratul), he will keep on being effective on Blackheart's Bay, Dragon Shire, Gardens of Terror, Infernal Shrines, and Towers of Doom simply due to the importance of having a strong split pusher on these maps. Just make sure you go for Skeletal Mages, which tend to block a lot of those abilities strong tanks currently rely upon to get picks, on top of being generally disruptive.
    • By Stan

      The free Hero rotation has been updated for the week of August 15.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: August 15, 2017
      The following Heroes are on rotation this week:
      Raynor Muradin Sonya Nazeebo Uther Jaina Xul Tychus Li-Ming Rehgar Tyrande (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Rexxar (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Varian (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Stukov (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)