Oxygen

Stukov Patch Meta Tier List (July 2017)

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We present our eighth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Stukov patch of July 2017.

Our eighth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the month of July 2017 is here!

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

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 are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.

 

Prime Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Anub'arak  Genji Uther -
  Malthael    


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
Arthas Falstad Auriel Nazeebo-
Dehaka Gul'dan Malfurion Sylvanas
Diablo Greymane+ Rehgar  
D.Va Li-Ming Stukov (new!)   
Johanna- Thrall Tassadar+  
Stitches+ Valla    
Sonya Zeratul    
Varian (Tank)      
Zarya      

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 Brightwing Abathur
Chen Chromie Kharazim Azmodan
E.T.C. Jaina Li Li Gazlowe
Leoric Kael'thas Lt. Morales Zagara
Muradin Kerrigan Lúcio Probius
Rexxar Lunara Tyrande Xul+
Tyrael Ragnaros    
  Samuro    
  The Butcher    
  Valeera    
  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 Cassia - Medivh
  Cho'gall   Murky
  Illidan   Sgt. Hammer
  Nova    
  Raynor    
  Tracer    
  Tychus    

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

I'd like to preface this month's assessment with a small apology; an editing mistake on my part caused last month's assessment to be lost, bar the part on Malthael. Speak of the devil, recent nerfs targeting Reaper's MarkReaper's Mark and Tormented SoulsTormented Souls appear to have reduced the Angel of Death's win rates quite significantly (some 3.6% less, down to a fair 53.7% as we speak), though were not enough to impact his popularity as first-pick/ban material. Whether the playerbase is simply too slow at adjusting or if he remains too powerful has yet to be determined, but I still judge him strong enough to keep his place as a prime tier hero. This is particularly true during map rotations including Dragon Shire and Gardens of Terror, thanks to his %-based damage shredding map objective-based vehicles.

A similar comment could be made about our 3 other prime tier contenders, Anub'arak, Genji, and Uther. Although Blizzard has been uniquely smart about the way they have been handling balancing changes, which is to say, conservative, there may now be an argument for seeking to buff potential counters as opposed to going too far. But I digress; CocoonCocoon remains amazingly useful, as do Guardian of Ancient KingsGuardian of Ancient Kings and Swift StrikeSwift Strike, the main points of balance contention.

Despite unimpressive release win rates, Stukov has found his niche right into our current double healer meta, and as an Auriel/Medic replacement on Braxis Holdout. He does deal more damage than most pure support heroes as well, which further cements this niche. Since he is rather high skill-capped (probably the most difficult support to play properly), I expect his performance to improve over time, especially if some of our HGC friends can teach players how to draft him. If he ends up not being popular, it'll be due to his lack of utility; though Lurking ArmLurking Arm is interesting, it just isn't Malfurion's Entangling RootsEntangling Roots or Uther's Hammer of JusticeHammer of Justice. His lack of a Cleanse alternative may also be an issue, though this is, and will be, a recurring for all supports to ever come to the nexus. In the end, he's probably one of the most balanced release to date, has enough depth for to not be offensively boring to play (sorry, Morales...), and that's great. His existence also makes it harder for players to lock their opponents out of high tier healers, solving partly one of my own long-term gripes.

Stitches is the surprise of the month with massively increasing popularity, thanks to the appropriately named and emerging SlamSlam build. This build involves nothing less than being creative and picking every single Slam-related talent to allow Stitches to deal assassin-like area of effect damage with little effort from the player's part. Add this to the utility of HookHook, to Stitches' general toughness, and to flexible heroic ability choices, and you have a recipe for up and coming prime tier material.

The common denominator between currently popular tanks is the ability to either output significant area of effect damage, or provide targeted or otherwise very reliable crowd control. Muradin does neither of these things, and while he was king of metagames where assassins were more popular, this is not what we're dealing with currently. You could say his popularity is dwarfed by niche tanks who tend to synergize better together or with currently popular healers.

The Probius hype has finally died down, potentially due to players understanding how to better counter our probe (kill the pylons!), and potentially due to him not fitting the current double healer/double tank meta.

Tyrande's rework was initially overhyped only for players to find out that she provided less healing than before. The recent buffs to her attack speed have put Darnassian ArcheryDarnassian Archery back into player's sights, and after playing quite a bit of her myself, I can safely say that she is going to be a rising star in the next few months. The real sleeper talent is Harsh MoonlightHarsh Moonlight however, which currently sits at some 6% win rate above its counterparts, and I can certainly see why; debuffing two or more players with a good hit is absolutely devastating. But hey, you didn't hear that from me...

While we're on the subject of reworks, Xul also had his own very deserved one. In essence, he was buffed across the board, both for team fighting purposes and doing his own double lane clearing things. With Blackheart's Bay back into the rotation, expect to see him as a core tier hero before soon. Just make sure you pick Echoes of DeathEchoes of Death; that talent alone more than doubles his short term damage output, on top of being excellent for waveclearing and sieging and everything in between. Comboes well with Bone PrisonBone Prison.

Last but not least, on the topic of Tassadar: he seems to always oscillate between being too weak or too strong. I suppose it would make sense for him to thrive in a meta that promotes heavy supporting. Between his waveclear and very respectable damage, I'm starting to hit him with more and more bans nowadays. And so should you, probably; he enables a lot of heroes you don't want to see enabled, and most particularly Illidan, who's seeing a small surge of popularity. Stay tuned...

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Sounds good ^^ Can you say something about Stukov and how he fits into Core? Could you also put the "new" thing beside him as well  because it took me forever to find him xP

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1 hour ago, Oxygen said:

Muradin... You could say his popularity is dwarfed...

I see what you did there haha ^ ^ 

Pretty well done. The one thing I'd ('dare') beg to differ is having Nova that 'high'. I believe Raynor can be useful more often than her for his team- reliable attack range + formidable aa damage, has q for disengage, both his Heroics can be useful (pushing/zoning or killing/removing enemy heroes from a skirmish/fight), he counters Tracer well (who seems to be semi-(?) popular at least in HGC etc. Even Tychus who seems to have fallen out of favor- is safer tank buster than Malthael imho (since they nerfed Tormented Souls I expect him to see a decline) and he has more tools at his disposal than just the trait, both of his Heroics can be useful as well (tho Odin seems to be dominating currently). Nova is currently a S for 'shiet' tier imho (which saddens me greatly because she's one of my faves all the way back from Wings of Liberty) and should be along with TLV (or even lower). Her 'rework' left her in the same or even worse state and picking her is pretty much a gambit right now (if not for QM).

I know, it's not much of a big deal since all are very low and in the same row, I just believe she's better at being REALLY bad...:/

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26 minutes ago, SteveFrost said:

The one thing I'd ('dare') beg to differ is having Nova that 'high'.

As long as Hanamura exists, Nova bribe will always keep her out of bottom tier. She can also HEAVILY punish squishy heroes if she stacks her snipe. She's not good, and there are numerous heroes I would take before her, but she has her tiny niche.

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1 hour ago, MurkyFelix said:

Sounds good ^^ Can you say something about Stukov and how he fits into Core? Could you also put the "new" thing beside him as well  because it took me forever to find him xP

Yeah, I'll develop on him tonight. Stay tuned!

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1 hour ago, SteveFrost said:

Nova snip

Interesting, as I think she's underrated myself. The main issue is how ridiculously high her skill and decision making caps are. My personal experience is that I have changed games by threading the needle and landing Snipes on targets that wouldn't have been remotely threatened by anything else. In the end, however, bad Novas are something you should fear on your team... and good ones, on the opposing team. She's that bittersweet hero that attract the very type of players she shouldn't; people treat her as an assassin when she's more like a mage. Her role is to make things afraid of stepping forward; that doesn't happen if you can't miracle Snipe. But she has potential, and when I do run her on good maps and against the proper heroes, matches are very one-sided. Did I mention you need to land Snipes with something like 95% accuracy? Do it!

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As expected from @Oxygen, a very comprehensive Tier List, although I'd rank Tracer in the Viable Tier. In the Double Support meta, she can be a real pain the ass, sticking on frail supports with low mobility like glue. Her mobility is unmatched.

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46 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

As expected from @Oxygen, a very comprehensive Tier List, although I'd rank Tracer in the Viable Tier. In the Double Support meta, she can be a real pain the ass, sticking on frail supports with low mobility like glue. Her mobility is unmatched.

I'm inclined to agree in general, however, as long as genji is popular, she really can't thrive. Bonus points for being able to destroy Cocoon really quickly, though. No real sustain is also hard to swallow.

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I've been avoiding an Anub pick while tanking in HL, I'm not overly confident about his tanking capability right now since a lot of players still think you should automatically select Cocoon at 10, but don't draft a secondary Warrior or at least some kind of Bruiser and melee follow up. I prefer Arthas overall, especially on maps such as Garden of Terror where his Frozen Tempest makes him exceptional at limiting the effectiveness of the vehicles, and Johanna is my secondary pick, slowly creeping up my personal win rate on her, but is more complex and somewhat harder to get satisfying results from than either Anub or Arthas, but is definitely one of my go to picks on Tomb of the Spider Queen and other maps where she's both competent at responding to and assisting rotating ganks. 

I don't think any of the Warriors are Prime tier material at the moment, and hoping to see some more tweaks while they let Anub's recent changes have an impact (being able to reliably pre-Cleanse a Cocoon feelsgoodman), but I am extremely wary of Stitches. I don't play him much, but see more and more of him in HL; his Slam and self sustain is pretty damn annoying as the game marches on, especially if you don't particularly have enough AA to shred his high hp, but the sheer AoE pressure he puts out makes meleeing with him a daunting prospect and the reach of Slam can make an opportunistic ranged assassin regret everything about life, but for the love of unicorns, land your hooks, and use Helping Hand! 

On the plus side, any time a fat hero like Stitches starts to climb up, Leoric shows up out of his tomb to remind everyone who the king is. 

What's your impressions on Stukov? I've tried him in HL a couple of times now, and he is nigh unstoppable in a double support comp. Massive Push is a wonderfully out of the box and incredibly effective double edged sword ult too. 

I appreciated the segment on Tyrande; I've managed to draft her a couple of times since her buffs, and the attack speed is VERY noticeable. She's actually not half bad as a solo laner if you burn down the ranged minions quickly and are up against someone who underestimates her potential to duel; her sustain is fairly consistent, becomes insane at 16, and with Darnassian Archery, you will find yourself having to be cautious near a good Tyrande. She also wins against current popular picks such as Malthael, which is a bonus. 

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1 hour ago, Plergoth said:

I've been avoiding an Anub pick while tanking in HL, I'm not overly confident about his tanking capability right now since a lot of players still think you should automatically select Cocoon at 10, but don't draft a secondary Warrior or at least some kind of Bruiser and melee follow up. I prefer Arthas overall, especially on maps such as Garden of Terror where his Frozen Tempest makes him exceptional at limiting the effectiveness of the vehicles, and Johanna is my secondary pick, slowly creeping up my personal win rate on her, but is more complex and somewhat harder to get satisfying results from than either Anub or Arthas, but is definitely one of my go to picks on Tomb of the Spider Queen and other maps where she's both competent at responding to and assisting rotating ganks. 

I don't think any of the Warriors are Prime tier material at the moment, and hoping to see some more tweaks while they let Anub's recent changes have an impact (being able to reliably pre-Cleanse a Cocoon feelsgoodman), but I am extremely wary of Stitches. I don't play him much, but see more and more of him in HL; his Slam and self sustain is pretty damn annoying as the game marches on, especially if you don't particularly have enough AA to shred his high hp, but the sheer AoE pressure he puts out makes meleeing with him a daunting prospect and the reach of Slam can make an opportunistic ranged assassin regret everything about life, but for the love of unicorns, land your hooks, and use Helping Hand! 

On the plus side, any time a fat hero like Stitches starts to climb up, Leoric shows up out of his tomb to remind everyone who the king is. 

What's your impressions on Stukov? I've tried him in HL a couple of times now, and he is nigh unstoppable in a double support comp. Massive Push is a wonderfully out of the box and incredibly effective double edged sword ult too. 

I appreciated the segment on Tyrande; I've managed to draft her a couple of times since her buffs, and the attack speed is VERY noticeable. She's actually not half bad as a solo laner if you burn down the ranged minions quickly and are up against someone who underestimates her potential to duel; her sustain is fairly consistent, becomes insane at 16, and with Darnassian Archery, you will find yourself having to be cautious near a good Tyrande. She also wins against current popular picks such as Malthael, which is a bonus. 

I still think that Anub is a top pick, though. His ability to counter Spell Damage is amazing, plus with two stuns (three if you count CocoonCocoon). I wish Blizzard would buff his Scarab build, though, since Locust SwarmLocust Swarm is never picked because Cocoon is vastly superior since it can isolate targets.

I also think that Johanna will see a comeback since the Basic Attack meta is slowly crawling back. With Stukov's dominance with Lurking ArmLurking Arm, Heroes like Illidan will just say "Nay" and dive the shit out of him, which is where anti-melee Heroes like Johanna and Arthas make a comeback. If I recall, Blizzard said they wanted to rework Leoric at some point, and I honestly can't wait to see.

But Stukov... Ah, Stukov. He became one of my mains, so fun to use. But I fear that he nerfs will hit him too hard, which is sad. He truly shines in the Double Support meta, definitely. Put him with any Support and your team never dies. Personally I think he works the best with Uther or Malfurion, from personal experience. Personally, I like to use Massive ShoveMassive Shove just like Auriel's Detainment StrikeDetainment Strike: to push Heroes toward nearby walls so my team can do the nasty follow ups. I find better results than randomly pushing enemy Heroes away (unless I push them towards our forts).

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1 hour ago, Plergoth said:

What's your impressions on Stukov? I've tried him in HL a couple of times now, and he is nigh unstoppable in a double support comp. Massive Push is a wonderfully out of the box and incredibly effective double edged sword ult too. 

I appreciated the segment on Tyrande; I've managed to draft her a couple of times since her buffs, and the attack speed is VERY noticeable. She's actually not half bad as a solo laner if you burn down the ranged minions quickly and are up against someone who underestimates her potential to duel; her sustain is fairly consistent, becomes insane at 16, and with Darnassian Archery, you will find yourself having to be cautious near a good Tyrande. She also wins against current popular picks such as Malthael, which is a bonus. 

My Stukov impressions mirror yours; same with Tyrande. She's great vs Malth.

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10 hours ago, Oxygen said:


While we're on the subject of reworks, Xul also had his own very deserved one. In essence, he was buffed across the board, both for team fighting purposes and doing his own double lane clearing things. With Blackheart's Bay back into the rotation, expect to see him as a core tier hero before soon. Just make sure you pick Echoes of DeathEchoes of Death; that talent alone more than doubles his short term damage output, on top of being excellent for waveclearing and sieging and everything in between. Comboes well with Bone PrisonBone Prison.

It is interesting how the opinion on spectral scythe talents have changed. The guide initially condemned all the talents (except Mortal WoundMortal Wound), but that's been back-pedaled of this apparent support meta we have (I'm kind of casual, so I don't play ranked, thus I don't really know about these things other than from what people say), they've become picks to lower late-game healing. I can see why Echoes of DeathEchoes of Death is spoken of highly, though that extra delay on them hurts if the fight is moving to a different place. I guess it helps that you can manipulate the path of the scythes.

And, about the talk about Tracer above (I'd quote, but I'm scared of losing the progress of my post), I do believe that Tracer should be higher then Niche tier (Nier?). As someone who really likes Tracer in this game, I think that she can give a lot of harass and kill potential to the team. I heard talk in the previous tier lists that mages are more meta then basic attackers right now (which explains why Anub'arak is so high tier right now), and Tracer should be able to ruin their day quite handily, except for maybe a select few. And also supports, as said above, though some have a decent chance to survive or even fight back just a bit against her (Uther or Brightwing?), I imagine.

Edited by TwixTrix
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17 hours ago, TwixTrix said:

It is interesting how the opinion on spectral scythe talents have changed. The guide initially condemned all the talents (except Mortal WoundMortal Wound), but that's been back-pedaled of this apparent support meta we have (I'm kind of casual, so I don't play ranked, thus I don't really know about these things other than from what people say), they've become picks to lower late-game healing. I can see why Echoes of DeathEchoes of Death is spoken of highly, though that extra delay on them hurts if the fight is moving to a different place. I guess it helps that you can manipulate the path of the scythes.

And, about the talk about Tracer above (I'd quote, but I'm scared of losing the progress of my post), I do believe that Tracer should be higher then Niche tier (Nier?). As someone who really likes Tracer in this game, I think that she can give a lot of harass and kill potential to the team. I heard talk in the previous tier lists that mages are more meta then basic attackers right now (which explains why Anub'arak is so high tier right now), and Tracer should be able to ruin their day quite handily, except for maybe a select few. And also supports, as said above, though some have a decent chance to survive or even fight back just a bit against her (Uther or Brightwing?), I imagine.

I think the guide condemned scythe-based builds because it wasn't all that great before the rework (though, it isn't my guide, so I can't speak with 100% accuracy about that).

As for Tracer, do understand that this list isn't an indicator of power (well, not directly) but rather, of player expectations. Tracer isn't very popular even if she's pretty strong partly due to her counters being so popular at the moment. Double tank/healer also means that team comps will generally lack waveclear and mercing, two things Tracer sucks at. If the meta ever goes back to being assassin-oriented, she might certainly see play again.

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On 17/7/2017 at 4:25 PM, Laragon said:

As long as Hanamura exists, Nova bribe will always keep her out of bottom tier. She can also HEAVILY punish squishy heroes if she stacks her snipe. She's not good, and there are numerous heroes I would take before her, but she has her tiny niche.

If it is just for the Bribe, other heroes have it too and can offer much more to their team (for example, Brightwing, Falstad). Plus, I don't think you can get away without picking Advanced Cloaking level 1 (while the aforementioned don't lose that much). Where Nova is good imho is in large maps like Booty Bay and Warhead Junction where the roam potential is very high and rewarding. Thing is, Zeratul, Valeera, heck even Samuro (ie everyone) are much better stealthy assassins than she even dreams of being.

On 17/7/2017 at 5:17 PM, Oxygen said:

Interesting, as I think she's underrated myself. The main issue is how ridiculously high her skill and decision making caps are. My personal experience is that I have changed games by threading the needle and landing Snipes on targets that wouldn't have been remotely threatened by anything else. In the end, however, bad Novas are something you should fear on your team... and good ones, on the opposing team. She's that bittersweet hero that attract the very type of players she shouldn't; people treat her as an assassin when she's more like a mage. Her role is to make things afraid of stepping forward; that doesn't happen if you can't miracle Snipe. But she has potential, and when I do run her on good maps and against the proper heroes, matches are very one-sided. Did I mention you need to land Snipes with something like 95% accuracy? Do it!

Certainly she isn't for everyone to play (like say Li Li- not that you can't tell good Li Lis from bad ofc) just the reward doesn't seem to be as high as the risk. You basically come out of stealth whenever Snipe is off cooldown, try to hit something, rinse and repeat. You pray that somehow your team will be able to win the teamfight so you'll clean up afterwards. She can definitely work as a surprise last or close to last pick if there are not hard counters for her, but still, picking her is sub-optimal at best most of the time. Before the change to Snipe Master, you were forced to use it ONLY on Heroes, locking you out of everything else (pushing, mercs, objectives etc) which made you pretty much useless unless you had Crippling Shot. It took them a while to figure it out. And even at full stacks, her damage doesn't seem quite the same as pre-rework to me. And truth be told, her burst damage was and still is, the only thing she has going for her.

P.S. Even her 'updated' in-game description says she's a Mage yet she's not included in the Mage Wars pool. Bamboozled by Blizzard

Edited by SteveFrost

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2 minutes ago, SteveFrost said:

If it is just for the Bribe, other heroes have it too and can offer much more to their team (for example, Brightwing, Falstad). Plus, I don't think you can get away without picking Advanced Cloaking level 1 (while the aforementioned don't lose that much). Where Nova is good imho is in large maps like Booty Bay and Warhead Junction where the roam potential is very high and rewarding. Thing is, Zeratul, Valeera, heck even Samuro (ie everyone) are much better stealthy assassins than she even dreams of being.

Certainly she isn't for everyone to play (like say Li Li- not that you can't tell good Li Lis from bad ofc) just the reward doesn't seem to be as high as the risk. You basically come out of stealth whenever Snipe is off cooldown, try to hit something, rinse and repeat. You pray that somehow your team will be able to win the teamfight so you'll clean up afterwards. She can definitely work as a surprise last or close to last pick if there are not hard counters for her, but still, picking her is sub-optimal at best most of the time. Before the change to Snipe Master, you were forced to use it ONLY on Heroes, locking you out of everything else (pushing, mercs, objectives etc) which made you pretty much useless unless you had Crippling Shot. It took them a while to figure it out. And even at full stacks, her damage doesn't seem quite the same as pre-rework to me. And truth be told, her burst damage was and still is, the only thing she has going for her.

P.S. Even her 'updated' in-game description says she's a Mage yet she's not included in the Mage Wars pool. Bamboozled by Blizzard

I see Nova as one of those "punisher" Heroes: she is great at executing low-health opponents that are fleeing, but she is meant to keep a low profile during Team Fights, to look for the right opportunity; that also puts the opposing team at mental stress, because they know she is lurking. Much like said, she has a very high skill ceiling, and you must keep your position and your enemies' at all times. While the other stealth characters can be more active during fights, Nova must be patient, veeeeery patient. That doesn't always pays off, but if you're on a team with very aggressive divers, she is amazing. And annoying. I can't tell how many times I died to Novas killing me right when I was about to heal myself.

The few times I ended up playing as Nova (usually in some Brawls), I liked to pick Covert OpsCovert Ops, even though Advanced CloakingAdvanced Cloaking is pretty much mandatory; that increased slow effect is nasty for chasing if you keep a low profile during an entire team fight and land it at a crucial moment (such as when the opposing team's healer is making a tactical retreat).

If Nova was the get a rework, Blizzard could tamper with Snipe MasterSnipe Master and make it a quest talent, removing the drawback of losing stacks if missing, but at the same decreasing the damage bonus per shot. This would progressively make Nova more dangerous, and more rewarding. Maybe they could merge it with Perfect ShotPerfect Shot as a reward once completed. like "Hit 20 Heroes and increase the damage of SnipeSnipe by X; Hit 40 Heroes and permanently decrease the cooldown of Snipe by 3 secs". Or something.

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I added a bit about Stukov. Tl;dr: low win rates, solid in double healer comps and on braxis, high skill cap, a step in the right direction for support design.

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57 minutes ago, Oxygen said:

I added a bit about Stukov. Tl;dr: low win rates, solid in double healer comps and on braxis, high skill cap, a step in the right direction for support design.

His winrate is low? Wow, I did not know. Do you think he will be buffed, based on that? What are your thoughts regarding his future, Mr. Oxygen?

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2 hours ago, Valhalen said:

His winrate is low? Wow, I did not know. Do you think he will be buffed, based on that? What are your thoughts regarding his future, Mr. Oxygen?

Aren't winrates of new heroes always low at the release and they eventually balance out?

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2 minutes ago, Blainie said:

Aren't winrates of new heroes always low at the release and they eventually balance out?

I'm not sure. Wasn't Zul'jin and Ragnaros nerfed a few days later after they were released because their winrate skyrocketed?

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20 minutes ago, Blainie said:

Aren't winrates of new heroes always low at the release and they eventually balance out?

Nope; Rag and Malthael started out very high, for instance. Someone had produced really good guides for them...

 

To respond to val's comment, I don't think he'll be buffed per say, but rather, his weaker talents will be improved. Which may lead to indirectly buffing him by opening up some strategies. He already performs really well at his best, I'd say.

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On 7/18/2017 at 4:43 PM, Oxygen said:

I think the guide condemned scythe-based builds because it wasn't all that great before the rework (though, it isn't my guide, so I can't speak with 100% accuracy about that).

Ahh, I do apologise for mis-information. I was referring to how after the guide was changed for Xul's rework, the scythe talents were not recommended, but in a matter of days, was updated.

If they nerfed Stukov, it would probably be the numbers. His switch trait heal can do Uther levels of burst healing... on your entire team. And that's not considering talents. They may also increase the cooldown of massive shove? Maybe increase his Lurking Arm cooldown as well?

For buffs, yeah, I agree with Oxygen that some weaker talents will probably be improved. They could also improve flailing swipe to even it out more with massive shove.

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4 hours ago, Oxygen said:

Someone

Who could be so talented as to make such guides?

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On 7/17/2017 at 4:06 PM, Valhalen said:

I still think that Anub is a top pick, though. His ability to counter Spell Damage is amazing, plus with two stuns (three if you count CocoonCocoon). I wish Blizzard would buff his Scarab build, though, since Locust SwarmLocust Swarm is never picked because Cocoon is vastly superior since it can isolate targets.

When solo tanking, I ALWAYS take Locust Swarm if the enemy has two or more melee hero's.  Anub needs even that tiny healing boost because he can easily get blown up in fights when solo tanking.

That being said, it's worse in every situation compared to Arthas's Army of the Dead, and could use some serious rebalance.

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On 18/7/2017 at 11:02 PM, Valhalen said:

If Nova was the get a rework, Blizzard could tamper with Snipe MasterSnipe Master and make it a quest talent, removing the drawback of losing stacks if missing, but at the same decreasing the damage bonus per shot. This would progressively make Nova more dangerous, and more rewarding. Maybe they could merge it with Perfect ShotPerfect Shot as a reward once completed. like "Hit 20 Heroes and increase the damage of SnipeSnipe by X; Hit 40 Heroes and permanently decrease the cooldown of Snipe by 3 secs". Or something.

Yes please. They already revisited Arthas, Anub and KT who had gotten a 1st rework in the past, why not Nova as well? Seeing as how she is struggling atm, I believe she's one of the 'greatest offenders'.

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      This is a question for each artist/animator: If you could redo one hero from scratch, who would you choose? Could be one of yours or someone else’s work.
      Kerrigan! One of my favourite characters from lore (and I play her all the dang time). I was lucky enough that I got to animate a skin for her -- had a chance to animate a legendary homescreen and a few custom animations -- but I'd love the chance to do my take on her kit in full!
      How much work goes into making a legendary skin with unique animations and/or sound effects? If you decided today to make a new legendary skin for a hero, when would you guess it would be ready for release?
      Artistically, it's typically the same amount of work for a brand new hero! New model often means new rig, often means new animation set. With all that work and TLC from so many different teams, it could typically take months and months!
      Alright I got several question so lets start with the big one, which I have been curious about for quite a while
      Why was Nova's original taunt animation changed to the current one?
      I believe you changed it after the game went "live", Im just curious as to why because its not like there has been a lot of animation changes, at least not after heroes are open to the public.
      Thank you for doing and for probably being the best art direction in all of Blizzard right now, you guys rock!
      First of all, thank you so much for the kind words!
      Nova's original taunt fluctuated a bit too far out of character for her. So the dev team decided to change it to something that actually fit her personality!
      Taunts are a funny thing to animate because it's hard not to let our own personal attitudes seep into the characters. The way that I would taunt someone is dramatically different than the way Yrel would taunt someone, or Dehaka, or Artanis... In this case, I think Nova's old taunt dipped a little too far into the voice of the dev vs. the voice of the character.
      What was the biggest animation error or glitch that has occurred during the entirety of HoTS? I wanna see how screwed up this can get.
      Hi NumberOneBepsi! I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're after, but when animating Nazeebo's Gargantuan there was a bug in the game during development where a Minion would randomly attach to his hand. It was incredibly funny and the Designer agreed to make it a part of his kit. We created some animations to have him actually pickup the minions and then attack with the minion still in his hand. I think a lot of people don't realize this happens. ?
      I've always been curious as to the process of getting a design from initial concept art to in-game, would you be able to give a general sketch (lul) of the steps leading to your art appearing before us in game?
      I've always been a huge fan of how Blizzard games look and feel and HOTS is no different! You guys are awesome thanks for the passion you put into this game
      It's truly a collaborative effort! Generally it looks like this.
      Design comes up with a 'paper design' -- an idea of what the hero's abilities will look like and we can already start feedback before they begin implementing the hero into the engine.
      In tandem, Concept art starts concepting how we want the hero to look.
      The designer, once approved on paper, starts creating the asset in-game using temporary assets for testing.
      The art team then goes on to create the model, textures, and tech artists make the rig -- and if possible, we support the designer by prototyping assets they may need. (i.e. Chromie's Q was so distinct, we had to do a custom animation with temp geo for the designers to work with) Writing also starts putting together the script and recording VO!
      Once the design is somewhat locked in -- final Animation and FX begin, and then we hand off into our incredible sound, and video teams.
      We consistently meet as a team the whole way through to make sure we're all on board with the direction, and eventually it makes it's way to you!
      If you want a more in-depth view into the process, I'd advise scoping out the 'Ressurrecting Kel'thuzad' video series we created. ?
      Oh, oh hello, When you animate a hero how do you know what movements do? do you sketch them first or have some one to act them for reference?
      hehe, thanks for doing this AMA, Im in my last year of animation school and Blizzard was always a big part of why I decide to study this, I love all the Blizz work but here in Heroes I think is were the artist put more heart in their work.
      It varies animator to animator.
      Depending on the character, sometimes I can just feel it, but I do a lot of sketching, and a lot of video-recording! Sketching, often,for when the action is physically impossible. Video reference, when I'm looking for smaller moments -- how did I shift my weight just then? What is the way I'd look around in this instance. What are some unique ticks I could put into an idle animation? etc.
      You can see me working out Yrel's bubblehearth here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BkEOmH7A7m-/?taken-by=lifeatblizzard
      And Enforcer Johanna's ready up here: https://twitter.com/Latienie/status/968674147889905664
      Most importantly I'd suggest talking to your peers! To this day I have a post-it on my monitor that says 'Feedback Early and Feedback Often'. Game development is collaborative, and learning how to give and receive feedback, and communicate effectively goes a long way!
      What are your preferred art programs (Maya, Cinema4D, Blender, Photoshop, etc.)? Any hidden gem programs you think more people should use?
      With 3D digital content creation programs, once you know one, it isn't too hard to learn another. A lot of the tech artists on our team had to learn one of these programs on the job. Just become familiar with one and you'll be fine! They each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
      Hi Devs! Altough i am aware most won't comment on this since it's the most asked question (i.e "is hero X coming") i must do my part and ask if Mei from Overwatch is in consideration to appear in the game since we already have Jaina that can function as a similar hero? Thanks for the hard-work and we'll see you in the Nexus!
      Nothing is off the table in the Nexus. ?
      Do you prefer capes or wings?
      Wings.
      Is there any chance we can see more concept art or in-progress work on the game? Not like future stuff, but I would love to get some insight into the process of making my favorite skins/characters/maps that are already in the game.
      I think that the @BlizzHeroes twitter account has been posting concept art fairly frequently -- that's a good place to start. Also: we hosted some art drops on Art Station you should check out -- like this one! https://magazine.artstation.com/2017/05/blizzard-entertainment-heroes-storm-art-blast/
      Sometimes various skin tints have many colors, sometimes they have a similar amount of colors as the base tint but are different, and sometimes they have much fewer colors or are all shades of the same color.
      What is the reasoning for this limited pallet with some skins in particular?
      Here is an example of the former (many colors)
      https://heroesofthestorm.gamepedia.com/File:Sonya_Death_Knight_Naxxramas.jpg
      and the latter (very limited color palette)https://heroesofthestorm.gamepedia.com/File:Sonya_Death_Knight_Blighted.jpg
      So color variations are meant to give the players an outlet to see their favorite heroes and skins in new and colorful ways, but occasionally, we have to take gameplay implications into account. Sometimes we have to consider content that's coming in the future -- like all of the marine suit based heroes, including Raynor, Tychus, Lt. Morales, Blaze -- and therefore limit the base version of a hero into a uniquely identifiable palette. Other times we have to take hero silhouettes into account (like Stitches and Butcher) and make sure their palettes don't overlap. In other instances, we have to take into account the FX built for that hero or skin as it affects people on the team beyond those who are modeling them.
      That said, we do appreciate the feedback on any and all color variants and we hope the community continues to let us know what they love and what they feel could use more love ?
    • By Stan
      Blizzard's currently investigating an issue that's causing unintended and unusual team comps in Quick Match.
      Placeholder for tweet 1016800516402106369 This is probably a bug that went live with today's patch in the Americas. Hopefully, the bug will be fixed by the time the patch is live in Europe. Stay tuned for updates!
      Blizzard (Source)
      We are aware of an issue causing unintended and unusual team compositions and are currently investigating. We will post any additional updates in this thread. 

      Thank you for your patience as we figure this out.