Oxygen

Kel'Thuzad Meta Tier List (September 2017)

27 posts in this topic

51Zch74.jpg

We present our tenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Kel'Thuzad patch of September 2017.

Our tenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the month of September 2017 is here!

Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Kel'Thuzad 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 low-to-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.

A  next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a  means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign 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.

If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.

 

Prime Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Anub'arak- Genji Uther -
Arthas Greymane Tassadar  
Dehaka Malthael    
Stitches-      
       

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
Diablo Falstad Auriel Nazeebo
E.T.C. Jaina Rehgar Sylvanas
Garrosh Li-Ming Stukov Xul
Leoric- Valla Malfurion  
Sonya Zeratul    
Varian (Tank)-      

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 Cassia Kharazim Azmodan
D.Va Chromie+? Li Li Murky
Johanna Gul'dan Lt. Morales+? Probius
Muradin+ Illidan Lúcio Zagara
Tyrael Kael'thas Tyrande+  
Zarya Lunara    
  Ragnaros    
  The Butcher    
  Tracer    
  Varian (Damage)    
  Zul'jin    
  Kel'Thuzad (new!)    

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 - Gazlowe
Rexxar Kerrigan   Medivh
  Nova   Sgt. Hammer
  Raynor    
  Samuro    
  Valeera    
  Thrall    
  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

Kel'Thuzad is excessively powerful under perfect conditions, but is kept in check by the numerous top tier heroes that are either too mobile to reliably hit with Chains of Kel'ThuzadChains of Kel'Thuzad or too resilient to burst down. In this regard, he fits well within Blizzard's recent obsession with making heroes have their own little niche and whatnot. He's doing really fine, sitting at a very reasonable 48%-something w/l ratio, but try to late- or last-pick him when Genji and Tracer and the likes aren't around to make your existence a living hell. I expect him to become better over time as players themselves become  better at picking him appropriately and when the typical hype finally dies down. And don't end up having to solo lane if you like completing Master of the Cold Dark.

Self-sustain bruiser-like tanks are the hot thing nowadays. With a metagame that either tries to outsustain the other with two supports, or empower Genji-Greymane-Illidan-Malthael-Tracer-Valla-or-so, surviving a lot while outputting a reasonable amount of sustained damage is great. That's Arthas and Dehaka, right now. A bit ago, Anub'arak and Stitches had their turn, but I expect them to go down in popularity.

Both Jaina and Leoric got significant buffs through their reworks. Jaina is just objectively better, with FrostbiteFrostbite providing Ice Block by level 8-12 rather than 20, and Summon Water ElementalSummon Water Elemental getting its cooldown shaved by a massive 20 seconds. Leoric is more of a sidegrade, but he's exceptional at dealing with popular tanks, has neat waveclear, and can mess with combos with Omnious WraithOmnious Wraith. And, of course, March of the Black KingMarch of the Black King was buffed nicely as well to give him some more burst survivability and combo potential.

I'm holding judgement about Chromie, but I expect she might be better than she was, and I already considered her borderline Core tier material. Of course, her new Sand BlastSand Blast design will make it so that better players will do better than before with her, and worse players will do worse, so we're likely to see more fringe cases.

The Butcher got a pretty big nerf. The hype train was short lived, but, in the end, this is probably for the best.

Gul'dan, Samuro, and Thrall are simply falling out of meta; being a caster without baseline crowd control or an immobile melee assassin is pretty hard nowadays. I still think Gul'dan is in a great place on Braxis Holdout, though the resurgence of Jaina and the... uh, more of Chromie might push him off a bit.

I wish I had a bit more to say, but besides the latest reworks, not that much has changed. I will underline, however, that these reworks have been solid. I didn't mention anything about Lt. Morales, but I do think she's better off than before; we'll need a bit more data to assess whether I'll give her a tier.

Thanks for reading!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's an empty slot in the Niche tier specialists.

With the rise of CC heavy tanks like Dehaka and Arthas, I think the heroes capable of Unstoppable should rise higher (for example, Garrosh and support heroes capable of CleanseCleanse.) Also, I wouldn't say Varian will ever not be good, and I think he should stay in the Core tier.

And regarding Chromie and Morales, I think Chromie's high learning curve definitely lands her in the viable tier, where as Morales has become so powerful she should without a doubt be in the core tier, at least.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Morales' rework seems interesting, but I still find her boring to play compared to the other Supports and even more reliant on her team. She wasn't an ideal Support pick before the patch, and I'd recommend against it now unless you were confident in your front line and the team. A lot of her good talents rely too much on picking up Clear! at level 1, and long distance knockback that you can't control if you get hit with mez is a double edged sword, and occasionally has unintended consequences, but without the magic ambulance or a beam anchor, she has no other defensive besides self casting Safeguard, as the stacking shields on E at 4 feels the most superior talent on the tier, lasting indefinitely until the damage is absorbed and working in conjunction with the quest talent and I don't really go for anything else. I used to pick her up once in a blue moon if there was a Support choke and I needed Cleanse, and to me, she was the babysitter of the supports, taking her because otherwise, the kids on the map would be sticking their fingers into plug sockets and facechecking bushes.

There seems to be an emphasis on making the Medivac plays more of a reality with the level 20 tier with two talents for the same ult, but all in all, I think I preferred the old Morales better. Until level 16 at least with the extra range, healing beam cannot always be on someone  during a fight as well as managing your own positioning so you don't suddenly get caught out; it's like they wanted to create some kind of battle medic, but failed to account for her complete lack of mobility and a near total dependence on her team winning the fight quickly before someone decides to harass her and start locking out her healing beam with crowd control. E spam is fun I guess, I can see her being part of a double support comp with that on a map that encourages frequent full team brawls such as BoE where you can get Clear stacked up fairly quickly on the 3 or 4 man rotations and then pocket someone with Stim Drone during the race or the team fight, but again, she seems more like a team pick rather than something you want to approach your solo queues with. 

It also makes no sense for the level 20 upgrade to Stim to remove the self buff effects it used to give to Morales. It's bad enough trying to keep up with the likes of the popular damage dealers and bruisers right now while they're running all over the bloody place like they've ate too many blue Smarties, but hey, if you can keep Q on someone who went Super Saiyan and is moving at warp speed, then power to you o_O 

Regarding the other Supports, I am holding Brightwing and Rehgar in extremely high regard right now. I've always said if you can master playing the fairy, you will be able to play any Support. Currently she's the only Support in the game who can offer a global, a significant reveal and wide vision, hard cc, Ice Block and Storm Shield. While other Supports are more undeniably more powerful within their optimal drafts, Brightwing is far more consistent despite an arguably weak early game, and is capable of not only surviving most dives and the dreaded Kel combos later on, but saving other people from them without necessarily blowing an ult, and completely denying the opportunistic finishes from Genji and Illidan altogether. 

Edited by Plergoth
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Plergoth said:

Morales' rework seems interesting, but I still find her boring to play compared to the other Supports and even more reliant on her team. She wasn't an ideal Support pick before the patch, and I'd recommend against it now unless you were confident in your front line and the team. A lot of her good talents rely too much on picking up Clear! at level 1, and long distance knockback that you can't control if you get hit with mez is a double edged sword, and occasionally has unintended consequences, but without the magic ambulance or a beam anchor, she has no other defensive besides self casting Safeguard, as the stacking shields on E at 4 feels the most superior talent on the tier, lasting indefinitely until the damage is absorbed and working in conjunction with the quest talent and I don't really go for anything else.

(...) it's like they wanted to create some kind of battle medic, but failed to account for her complete lack of mobility and a near total dependence on her team winning the fight quickly before someone decides to harass her and start locking out her healing beam with crowd control. E spam is fun I guess, I can see her being part of a double support comp with that on a map that encourages frequent full team brawls such as BoE where you can get Clear stacked up fairly quickly on the 3 or 4 man rotations and then pocket someone with Stim Drone during the race or the team fight, but again, she seems more like a team pick rather than something you want to approach your solo queues with. 

Regarding the other Supports, I am holding Brightwing and Rehgar in extremely high regard right now. I've always said if you can master playing the fairy, you will be able to play any Support. Currently she's the only Support in the game who can offer a global, a significant reveal and wide vision, hard cc, Ice Block and Storm Shield. While other Supports are more undeniably more powerful within their optimal drafts, Brightwing is far more consistent despite an arguably weak early game, and is capable of not only surviving most dives and the dreaded Kel combos later on, but saving other people from them without necessarily blowing an ult, and completely denying the opportunistic finishes from Genji and Illidan altogether. 

I think Morales is a bit more fun now, as you pointed. Plus not having to Hearth back every 30 seconds for mana is a bless. And having talents that increase her Energy generation makes her more engaging to play. She still is a bland character, but I think that is part of her design and fantasy; a dedicated medic that is commited to the duty of healing and healing.

However, the rework let you play more offensively with the Displacement GrenadeDisplacement Grenade talents, such as debuffing (System ShockSystem Shock) or shield damage (EMP GrenadeEMP Grenade). If anything, I'm pretty sure Blizzard made this rework to add more versatility to her kit; not a true combat medic, but something between (plus if she had more mobility, she would be too strong). The complexity behind the Grenade adds an extra layer of depth to the Hero, I'd say, as you actually have to think before you fire the damn thing, instead of just sitting there with the Healing BeamHealing Beam. So I'd say that Morales is very well balanced now.

Brightwing has always been the most flexible and versatile Support in the game. She can do a bit of everything, but master at none. I really like her in Double Support compositions, as she can heal chip damage while focusing on a more offensive build (plus she can't deal with the current burst-oriented meta). Same for Rehgar, who, in a Double Support composition, can go full damage and still heal a lot.

Edited by Valhalen
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I expected the.. lich with as many nicknames as Apollo Creed in Rocky, to be higher. That thing seems ridiculously OP imho (too much aoe damage and cc baseline, and when quest is done, +75% spell power...free). I agree though, still early. Something tells me he's gonna be spammed in HGC 

As well as Morales. Of the most efficient healings (if not THE most), disengage and of course, the new Medivac + talents can make for some really deep team strategy Core rushes.

Didn't also expect Jaina that high, she's surely much better than before but the meta still reeks of counters for her. Think she'll get lower.

Gul'dansgame sure but... when exactly were Thrall and especially Samuro considered meta? Thrall was/is seldom picked, was pretty good all-around pre and post rework, ok, maybe I can get behind that. But Samuro? I guess it must have been very early during his release (and ceased after the nerfs); otherwise, I must have missed episodes. Still, wouldn't call him meta with the narrow meaning of the term.

Good job on the post as always, thumbs up (tho I noticed some sortage on puns :> ).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dehaka, Arthas and Anub have always been the top tanks. No mention on Uther? he was harshly nerfed, Rehgar should climb up to Prime Tier.

Genji should step down from Prime Tier, I feel like he's not pick or ban material anymore. I'd rather secure a Greymane or Malt who are easier to play and more reliable. He has the 3rd lowest winrate :'(

Edited by Fransoa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, SteveFrost said:

I expected the.. lich with as many nicknames as Apollo Creed in Rocky, to be higher. That thing seems ridiculously OP imho (too much aoe damage and cc baseline, and when quest is done, +75% spell power...free). I agree though, still early. Something tells me he's gonna be spammed in HGC 

Keep in mind that it is so easy to shut down KT if you can avoid the CC. Anything with gap closers or some kind of stun/pull that displaces KT can absolutely destroy him. His HP pool is tiny and he has absolutely nothing defensive bar offense. Greymane, as long as he can avoid the freeze will roll or leap, can destroy KT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Blainie said:

Keep in mind that it is so easy to shut down KT if you can avoid the CC. Anything with gap closers or some kind of stun/pull that displaces KT can absolutely destroy him. His HP pool is tiny and he has absolutely nothing defensive bar offense. Greymane, as long as he can avoid the freeze will roll or leap, can destroy KT.

Not to mention that Stealth Heroes (mostly Valeera and Zeratul) can shit all over Kel'Thuzad. Anub'Arak is also a hard counter to Kel'Thuzad, and his presence in the meta is strong.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

Anub'Arak is also a hard counter to Kel'Thuzad, and his presence in the meta is strong.

Ironic, isn't it?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Blainie said:

Keep in mind that it is so easy to shut down KT if you can avoid the CC. Anything with gap closers or some kind of stun/pull that displaces KT can absolutely destroy him. His HP pool is tiny and he has absolutely nothing defensive bar offense. Greymane, as long as he can avoid the freeze will roll or leap, can destroy KT.

Alone/overextended perhaps. But given some proper peel and protection from his team, he'll be like, Li-Ming 2.0; all the same poke from safe distance with the redonkulous damage plus the added cc, minus the mobility (Li Ming can go Wave of Force ofc but still, nowhere near that thing imho). Just the way I have it in my mind.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Fransoa said:

No mention on Uther? he was harshly nerfed, Rehgar should climb up to Prime Tier.

Uther enables prime damage picks Greymane and Genji with Divine Shield like no other Support can, the armour he gives on top of his usual heals helps the front line IMMENSELY during the course of a game, on top of being a surprisingly resilient support as he has a lot of tanky characteristics (self sustain, stun, killing him doesn't mean you win the fight as his trait sustains the rest of his team for a short while, and so on). He's also easy to play and his quests are relatively quick to complete too. 

Rehgar is an unquestionably strong support, and I personally prefer him over Uther, but not only is his cd 10 seconds longer than Uther's, there is a far greater chance of it failing that holds him down slightly and gives him a skill cap that Divine Shield simply doesn't require ("Dragonblade is ready, give me DS pls" - "Okay."), not to mention that if it fails to land on someone, it goes on a 10 second cooldown even if you didn't get interrupted while casting it. On top of this, Rehgar lacks hard cc, unlike BW or Uther with a silence and stun baseline respectively. After level 16, the totem becomes a powerful snare, but arrives at a late stage of the game. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Fliits said:

Ironic, isn't it?

Couldn't have written it better if they had tried :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SteveFrost said:

Alone/overextended perhaps. But given some proper peel and protection from his team, he'll be like, Li-Ming 2.0; all the same poke from safe distance with the redonkulous damage plus the added cc, minus the mobility (Li Ming can go Wave of Force ofc but still, nowhere near that thing imho). Just the way I have it in my mind.

I think the blink Li is worth more than you think in terms of playing with the team. It sounds silly, but that tiny blink isn't just a range-breaker, but also the ability to move from body blocking. With no mobility ability, he can just be body blocked so easily, especially when you throw in someone like Anub as was suggested above. Illidan also is a huge issue on this. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Blainie said:

I think the blink Li is worth more than you think in terms of playing with the team. It sounds silly, but that tiny blink isn't just a range-breaker, but also the ability to move from body blocking. With no mobility ability, he can just be body blocked so easily, especially when you throw in someone like Anub as was suggested above. Illidan also is a huge issue on this. 

Truth. I feel as though he suffers from a bit of Kerriganitis, being extremely powerful on certain maps that allow him to stack Blight up quickly and create huge problems for his opponents to deal with, then dropping off the scale a little bit on other maps that are more spread out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Plergoth said:

Truth. I feel as though he suffers from a bit of Kerriganitis, being extremely powerful on certain maps that allow him to stack Blight up quickly and create huge problems for his opponents to deal with, then dropping off the scale a little bit on other maps that are more spread out. 

Another problem with both Li-Ming and Kerrigan is that they require very specific team compositions to really shine (Li-Ming not so much). They are more flexible than The Butcher in this regard, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Plergoth said:

Truth. I feel as though he suffers from a bit of Kerriganitis, being extremely powerful on certain maps that allow him to stack Blight up quickly and create huge problems for his opponents to deal with, then dropping off the scale a little bit on other maps that are more spread out. 

Mewn made the same comparison on stream yesterday. There's definitely some truth to it, but I don't think it's as obvious - CC is always useful, no matter how you cut it. KT definitely isn't as bad from behind.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 14/9/2017 at 4:42 PM, Blainie said:

I think the blink Li is worth more than you think in terms of playing with the team. It sounds silly, but that tiny blink isn't just a range-breaker, but also the ability to move from body blocking. With no mobility ability, he can just be body blocked so easily, especially when you throw in someone like Anub as was suggested above. Illidan also is a huge issue on this. 

Yeah, mobility is often overlooked in favor of other things; that's why I mentioned it above. If the team is built around KT, the opposing team will need to run a really hard engage comp; and they may not allow them that via the draft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Kel'Thuzad is excessively powerful under perfect conditions, but is kept in check by the numerous top tier heroes that are either too mobile to reliably hit with Chains of Kel'ThuzadChains of Kel'Thuzad or too resilient to burst down.

Agree with this 100%. Got him today, promptly went 0-15 in QM with him.  He's got a nice kit, but doesn't have the necessary burst to do anything alone in space.  Outside of a two-Warrior comp to set a frontline, and at least one hero with a more reliable stun to set up KTs combo, I can't see him doing much.

 

Keep in mind I have like a 25% win percent with non-Melee assassins, but my going with KT was significantly bad.  Never had better then a 1-3 KDR, and was often behind even Warriors in Hero damage.  As he is currently constructed, I'll never play him or consider playing him again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Plergoth said:

Did he actually use the word Kerriganitis though? I'm calling first dibs on it. 

It's all yours.

 

4 hours ago, gamerk2 said:

Agree with this 100%. Got him today, promptly went 0-15 in QM with him.  He's got a nice kit, but doesn't have the necessary burst to do anything alone in space.  Outside of a two-Warrior comp to set a frontline, and at least one hero with a more reliable stun to set up KTs combo, I can't see him doing much.

 

Keep in mind I have like a 25% win percent with non-Melee assassins, but my going with KT was significantly bad.  Never had better then a 1-3 KDR, and was often behind even Warriors in Hero damage.  As he is currently constructed, I'll never play him or consider playing him again.

His win/loss rates are already showing a large variation between both ends of the skill spectrum. I can't tell if it's drafting-related or if he's just really hard to play. I suppose a double skillshot into... er, more skillshots, might be difficult to perform under pressure.

I'd say don't give up on him. Playing a hard hero sets you up for playing easier heroes thereafter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do note that a proper Kel'Thuzad would always remain with the team and postition well. I'm not saying that prevents genji and tracer and anub and the likes from screwing him up however.

In response to all the comments about heroes being able to escape frost nova after being pulled, I found out that if you can predict the area that your two heroes that you want to chain will meet after being pulled, with extremely skilled timing and in quick succession, you can place your frost nova in that area and then pull the enemies together. By the time they are pulled, they'll be frozen in place. It takes extremely good timing but if you get it right, it can make it almost impossible for enemies to escape after getting pulled, and ultimately makes them very unfortunate victims of Kel'Thuzad's extremely devastating combo. Practice that, and you shall be ever closer to mastering the lich lord of Naxxramas.

Edited by Maxkitty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Oxygen said:

It's all yours.

We can share! :) 

Wonder how long it'll be before Leoric receives some changes, he seems to be completely dominating the HGC series this weekend, provided someone can actually play him. March of the Black King is very good at the moment but still has a large margin for error, as witnessed when all of Team Liquid sidestepped him when he used it late. 

Burning Despair seems to be the most contentious talent at the late game. After doubts about it after seeing the PTR notes, I tried it in game a few times and it's how he is winning fights for his team. Drain Hope - an uninterruptible channel - on anybody, keep them within range, and you just start facemelting. It's insane on top of everything else he can do right now. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KT belongs in niche from what I've seen so far, at least in low level play. The CC he provides can be nice, but it's not overly reliable thanks to the delay on pretty much all of his abilities. I find that people either constantly miss the combo or just get jumped up by whoever he didn't hit immediately after. In a good team he could take out two key players and turn an entire fight, but I'd rather have pure damage from other assassins or more meat to go with the CC from a warrior.

Also, a bit of a side-note but I find him super eye-catching, I find myself focusing him just because he looks more THERE than other heroes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/16/2017 at 9:03 AM, gamerk2 said:

Agree with this 100%. Got him today, promptly went 0-15 in QM with him.  He's got a nice kit, but doesn't have the necessary burst to do anything alone in space.  Outside of a two-Warrior comp to set a frontline, and at least one hero with a more reliable stun to set up KTs combo, I can't see him doing much.

I'd say it's exactly the same as playing Chromie - you'll never get it right on the first match and, given how badly you might do, people will just give up and think he's a weak hero. I absolutely sucked in my first games. At level 21 with him now and things have changed drastically. I'm more familiar with where I need to place it catch a Valla using Vault, Genji using Dash etc. 

Free kills on Abathur is always nice too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Oxygen
      Oxygen discusses Heroes of the Storm's newly announced performance-based matchmaking system and why it may prove to be problematic.

       
      One of the biggest changes announced at BlizzCon 2017 was the introduction of the performance-based matchmaking system for ranked game modes in Heroes of the Storm.
      In a nutshell, this new system seeks to quickly adjust individual player matchmaking rating (MMR) by using data from past performance, other players, and a number of other unspecified systems. Unfortunately, players quickly found out how flawed the system was upon receiving seemingly unjustified penalties to their MMR despite perceived strong performance, and ultimately figured out how to game the system to maximise their gains by exhibiting counterintuitive in-game behaviour.
      And unfortunately for Blizzard, the release of the system coincided with other “bugs” that affected placements and general matchmaking, which exacerbated the problem. Not one but two placement match history resets have now been performed. Blizzard claimed that the issues were not related to the new performance-based matchmaking system, but the system in question has been disabled for three days at the time of writing. I can’t help but to wonder why the system was disabled if it in fact wasn’t part of the issues, but I’ll offer Blizzard a highly skeptical benefit of the doubt for now. They need all the help they can get.
      However, I’m not here to criticise Blizzard’s course of action, which I believed to be reasonable and timely enough, if not a bit opaque. I’d much rather look into the very existence of the performance-based matchmaking system. I’ll start by going over some of the comments made in the official system announcement linked above.
      Blizzard (Source)
      The team-focused nature of Heroes presents challenges when using this system to determine an individual player’s matchmaking rating, since any single player is only 1 part of the 5-man team that won or lost the match. The system works since, all things being equal, a player will win more games than they lose over the long run if their skill is higher than other players at the same rank.
      I must admit I was not ready to respond to a “we know it works, but we’re changing it anyway” approach. Leaving aside the obvious flaw in basic argumentation theory, I know how frustrating it is to have a strong performance and still lose; I’ve certainly been there before. But, in general, players need to be groomed into being able to look at the larger, statistically-significant picture. If you consistently perform well and are never the cause for losses, you will rise. After all, the opposing team would have 5 chances of “messing up” whereas yours would only have 4. This means that if you can maintain an approximate 55.5% win rate, you know you’re good. (That approximate 55.5% value comes from 100 - 4 / 9 * 100; this calculation essentially compares each team’s chance at a liability if you’re never a negative factor, hence why it only take 9 players into account and giving each player an approximate 11.11…% of the responsibility for losing.). If your win rate is actually higher than that, you may even be good enough to even make up for negative factors on your team. That’s powerful, and certainly doesn’t require any fancy system to work, even in a team environment, unlike what Blizzard seems to be claiming. Even if your impact is small, you still have an impact.
      However, I don’t want people to get me wrong here; in theory, I think that the idea of a performance-based matchmaking system is great, though just not for the purpose of long-term MMR adjustment. If Heroes of the Storm did have a way to accurately identify high- and low-level players, the matchmaking experience would be vastly improved for both groups: high-level players would no longer have to endure low-level players with high MMR uncertainty, whereas low-level players would no longer be thrown into victimizing and soul-crushing matches. Higher match quality promotes player retention; player retention is profitable for everyone.
      Blizzard (Source)
      What differentiates a highly skilled player on a given Hero isn’t always obvious, though.
      In a complex game such as Heroes of the storm, is it ever? The system is claimed to be “dynamic”, which means that, over time, it reevaluates how it defines skilled play for a given hero as it is fed new data. However, in practice, I just don’t think "skill" is something that can be reliably measured by in-game performance data alone. Nor should it be. Let us draw comparisons between Heroes of the Storm and chess, which has used a similar matchmaking system known as ELO for some decades now. In chess, what would you say matters most between the two following statements?
      Claiming multiple pieces without trading your own?
      or…
      Focusing on claiming key pieces during key moments?
      The answer is “it depends”. Although both tactics may lead to victory, the first style is opportunistic whereas the second is analytical. Unfortunately for the second player, their strategy would be much harder for a performance-based system to evaluate; how would it know what defines a key piece, let alone a key moment? The first approach is mathematical; one is better than zero and, generally, “free” trades correlate with winning, which is more or less why they are inexistant at a high level chess unless intentional.
      In chess, you aren’t rewarded for losing less, and the reason for this is that the underlying ELO system is robust and self-correcting; rating resets don’t occur every couple months, let alone twice in a week, and rating gains and losses are small. Of course, the ELO system isn’t beyond reproach, but I think it’s fair to say that players understand that long-term results are what matter, not individual game results. And, it doesn’t run the risk of overvaluing Queen taking Rook because of insufficient or misinterpreted data.

      Queen literally takes Rook during a Tribute fight. Siege damage is important to Zagara, says data.
      As you can tell probably tell by now, I’m very skeptical about how such a system is supposed to evaluate what differentiates a highly skilled player, period, regardless of what hero it is they’re playing. Here’s a concrete example of what I mean by that: Although I don’t consider myself to be a particularly strong mechanical player, I have always managed to maintain a rather high win/loss ratios, for a team game, back in my active days anyway. Why? I’d be lying if I didn’t say that many of these victories weren’t simply due to outdrafting opponents, clear non-confrontational shotcalling, encouraging teammates, defusing infighting, taking every match seriously, knowing when and why to engage, going over mistakes, and generally making powerful macro decisions. On top of being that one weird guy that says “can play anything*, prefer assassin or specialist, let’s try to ban x and pick y.” Doesn’t reading that first thing in any given lobby instill confidence in the rest of your teammates? I bet this translates into wins every once in a while, so why not do it?
      I tend to thrive on waveclear tanks with strong engaging power because they let me decide exactly when a minion wave needs to push or when an enemy hero needs to die despite low mechanical ceilings.

      And now you know how to ban me out.
      *…whereas I couldn’t outplay most of my opponents to save my life. I accept my fate as one of the worst Illidan players in existence, and I’m fine with it.

      I have nothing to add, your honor.
      The great irony here is that none of the aforementioned elements that I feel make me, and probably many other players, reasonably strong are – nor can be – taken into account by any automated system because they’re simply too subjective. Why exactly am I being punished for not mindlessly using my abilities on-cooldown and padding my numbers? We get it; dealing damage is important. But what about useful damage? How can that ever be taken into account by a machine? This might sound like an argument from incredulity but, as I see it, we have plenty of evidence to conclude that the system isn’t quite working as intended.
      Of course, within this system, winning is still what matters most, and by far. Fortunately for me, my skillset does tend to translate into wins. But obfuscating one’s point gains and losses behind questionable variables is going to, at best, confuse players, and at worst, breed harmful behaviour. These two consequences have already been observed.
      TL;DR:
      A solid performance-based matchmaking system can have positive effects on matchmaking by allowing players to find their appropriate MMR faster. However, what defines a good player in a complex, team-oriented game goes well beyond what any data collection system can collect, interpret, and use. In its current state, the performance-based matchmaking system is at best unnecessary and at worst obfuscating, and ultimately risks breeding harmful player behaviour.
      I’ll allow myself to end on a bit of wisdom: If you play to improve, you’ll never lose a game in your life. And the sooner you quit worrying about your rank, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on what really matters.
    • By Oxygen
         
      Our sixteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the Maiev patch of February is here!
      We present our sixteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Maiev patch of February 2018.
      Note: This list also takes the February 9 balance patch into account.
      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Maiev 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.
      A ↑ next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a ↓ means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign 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.
      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
      Current ranked mode map rotation
       
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Arthas Genji - - E.T.C. Greymane     Sonya Hanzo       Maiev (new)     Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
       
      Core Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza Abathur↑ Dehaka Jaina↑ Brightwing Azmodan Diablo+ Junkrat Lúcio+ Nazeebo Muradin Li-Ming Malfurion↑ Sylvanas Stitches Malthael (reworked)+ Stukov  Zagara Varian (Taunt) Valla Uther   Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
       
      Viable Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Alarak Ana Murky Blaze+ Cassia Auriel   D.Va Chromie Kharazim Xul Garrosh Gul'dan+ Li Li+   Johanna Illidan Lt. Morales   Leoric Kael'thas+ Rehgar   Tyrael  Kel'Thuzad Tyrande    Zarya Kerrigan↓       Lunara       Nova↓       Ragnaros+       Samuro       The Butcher       Thrall       Tracer+       Tychus↑       Varian (Colossus Smash)       Zeratul       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 Chen Cho'gall Tassadar Gazlowe Cho'gall Raynor   Medivh Rexxar Valeera↓   Probius↓   Varian (Twin Blades of Fury)   Sgt. Hammer↓ Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They may also 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.
       
      Lost Vikings 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
      Maiev: Where do I even begin? Despite heavy-handed nerfs delivered less than a week after her release, Maiev continues to dominate popularity (read: is banned about 5 times more than she is played at all levels) and top win rates. The fact that I'm not sure what exactly contributes to her success is probably a good indicator of what actually contributes to her success: everything. High survivability, high mobility, high damage potential through Fan of Knives's ability to reset, the ability to both set up and follow up for and on crowd control through Spirit of Vengeance + Umbral Bind, serviceable waveclear, and Vault of the Wardens on a ridiculously short cooldown for good measure to make her an unviable target for heroic ability chains. Warden's Cage ended up the favoured heroic ability choice for Maiev, and it's rather easy to see why; it just works well with the rest of her kit on top of being quite easy for anyone to use, though Containment Disc is not to be underestimated either. She's at the top of the food chain, so Prime tier it is. Expect further nerfs.
      Jaina: Jaina was last month's surprise for me, which is why I had her marked for promotion. I slightly feared Genji players, but after witnessing some more competent Jaina play (including my own not-so-competent experimentation), it's safe to say that Summon Water Elemental is absolutely key to dealing with him (along pretty much every other assassin in the game). For games with little melee assassin pressure, Ring of Frost remains a powerful win condition. Jaina also sports what is arguably the game's best waveclear potential, and can deal with mercenary camps extremely well with Frost Shards and Ice Lance. 
      Malthael: I can certainly see how Malthael's rework may have seemed rather grim to anyone underestimating the power of cleaving attacks. This change, though accompanied by slight nerfs to his damage and survivability, allowed his already powerful laning  to improve, just as with his ability to deal with mercenary camps. One should never underestimate the power of PvE, particularly in less organised play. Furthermore, his reliance upon Tormented Souls was reduced, allowing for Last Rites to actually get some playtime. I've been impressed with it, and I'm probably going to update his builds to reflect this newfound power.
      Abathur: Abathur is the kind of hero that comes and goes with the metagame state and who generally thrives in assassin-oriented states. As with Genji, I wouldn't be fooled by his limited winrates; he just simply tends to do better at higher level, more organised play, and particularly in longer matches. To avoid on Haunted Mines and Braxis Holdout. Please pick your Ultimate Evolution target responsibly, and go for an assassin, with Maiev, Genji, Hanzo, and Jaina making incredible targets. Incidentally, avoid Evolve Monstrosity; it has been tested and rejected a long time ago.
      Tychus: Not a big leap in tier, but a leap nonetheless. He went from seeing pretty much no play for quite a while to seeing some, including tournament play. As expected, he does well against Blaze and a few other bruisers, on top of being on the more resilient side of ranged assassins. Commandeer Odin is excellent, but the real sleeper here is Neosteel Coating, which can do funny things with Relentless Soldier.
      Probius: Nearly as unpopular as The Lost Vikings. Though I don't think he's bad, I certainly think he does not have a place in the current meta. All of the top picks do extremely well against him, as does diving in general. I really wish I had more insights here, but the very few times I did see him in the last month, it was rather sad to witness. 
      Sgt. Hammer: I initially had her as viable, but upon reading user comments, I had to agree: she does extremely well against team compositions that cannot deal with her, and poorly otherwise. This is basically what the Niche tier should be defined by. We could discuss at length why this design is rather unhealthy for the game, but I think Blizzard has recognized this by not releasing a single specialist in over a year.
    • By Stan

      After Lunar Rocket Racing, it's time for Lost Cavern! Lay waste to the enemy Core on the single-lane map with no talent or level restriction. Complete three matches to get a Lunar Loot Chest.
      Blizzard (Source)
      This week’s brawl is Lost Cavern! It’s all-out mayhem on our single-lane battleground – Lost Cavern. Queue up, choose your Hero, and try to best to bring down the enemy Core!

      Rules:
      Shuffle pick - Choose from one of three Heroes before entering the battle. Standard play - no talent or level restrictions. The first team to destroy the enemy Core wins! Rewards:
      Complete three matches of Lost Cavern to earn a Loot Chest! Find out more about the Heroes Brawl game mode on our Heroes Brawl site; and as always, you can find more information on this week’s Brawl by clicking the Brawl Info button at the bottom of the play screen when preparing to queue for the Brawl game mode.
    • By Stan

      Blizzard just rolled out a patch with various bug fixes. Check out the full patch notes! 
      Blizzard (Source)
      Bug Fixes
      Heroes, Talents, & Abilities
      Genji: Fixed an issue preventing certain cleave attacks, such as Malthael’s Basic Attacks and Xul’s Cursed Strikes, from removing stacks of Genji’s Dodge. Ice Block: Fixed an issue allowing certain Abilities to be cast during Ice Block, including Jaina’s Ice Blink, Brightwing’s Storm Shield, and Malfurion’s Astral Communion. Jaina: The Wintermute Talent now correctly causes Jaina’s Water Elemental to mimic her Basic Abilities. Lunara: The Galloping Gait Talent no longer permanently grants a permanent Movement Speed bonus. Tyrael: The Stalwart Angel Talent’s tooltip now displays the correct values for its duration and Armor bonus. Maiev: Casting Spirit of Vengeance just as a Core is destroyed will no longer cause the Spirit to cease animating. Maiev: Activating Naisha’s Memento will now correctly display an icon indicating its duration in the buff bar. Nova: Fixed an issue causing Holo Decoys to deal slightly more damage than intended after learning Lethal Decoy. Rehgar: The Rising Storm Talent will no longer increase Lightning Shield’s damage versus non-Heroic enemies.
    • By Oxygen
         
      Our fifteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the Blaze patch of January is here!
      We present our fifteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Blaze patch of January 2018.
      Note: This list also takes the January 16 balance patch into account.
      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Blaze 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 low-to-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.
      A ↑ next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a ↓ means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign 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.
      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
      Current map rotation
       
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Arthas Genji - - E.T.C. Greymane     Sonya↑ Hanzo↑↑↑     Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
       
      Core Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza↑ Azmodan Dehaka Junkrat↑↑ Brightwing Nazeebo Diablo Kerrigan Lúcio Zagara Muradin Li-Ming Stukov↑ Sylvanas↑  Stitches Malthael↓ Uther   Varian (Tank) Nova↓-       Valla       Zul'jin     Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
       
      Viable Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Alarak Ana Abathur D.Va Cassia Auriel Murky Garrosh Chromie Kharazim Probius Johanna Gul'dan Li Li+ Sgt. Hammer↑ Leoric Illidan Lt. Morales Xul Zarya Jaina Malfurion (reworked)+   Blaze (new) Kael'thas Rehgar   Tyrael (reworked)↑ Kel'Thuzad Tyrande     Lunara       Ragnaros       Samuro       The Butcher       Thrall↑       Tracer       Valeera↓↓-       Zeratul+     Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.
       
      Niche Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Chen Cho'gall Tassadar Gazlowe Cho'gall Raynor   Medivh Rexxar Tychus       Varian (Damage)     Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They are generally picked to "round out" your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a "jungler" (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.
       
      Bottom Tier
      The Lost Vikings Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
       
      Metagame assessment
      Happy new year to everyone. This list is a tad late, as was the last one, but I was, once again, waiting for one of those odd rework patches that come out a week after featured hero releases and go untested on the PTR for some reason. HGC matches also began just yesterday, meaning that new trends  are likely to emerge shortly; today saw unexpected Cassia, Tychus, and Leoric make an appearance, which was certainly exciting. As per usual, I'll be updating the list as I see fit throughout the next few weeks. The last few lists have generated quite a bit of discussion, which is great to see. Although I cannot reasonably respond to every comment, I do read everything posted. Keep it up!
      Blaze. My initial PTR assessment of the hero, which was quite positive, was followed by a sudden realization: he does a lot of things well, but nothing exceptionally well. Blaze is the quintessential jack of all trades, master of none type hero. Generally, that's not a particularly desirable trait, because heroes are generally picked for their niches to either counter opponents or synergise with allies. For a warrior, he can't really solo tank, meaning he often ends up in that strange spot where you need a pretty well fleshed out team composition to make him work. But when he works, he does work well. He can hold his own in a solo lane, but his waveclear isn't quite good enough to deal with mercenary camps pushing before Grill and Kill, which can be frustrating. Certain heroes, such as Leoric and Malthael, completely shut him down as well. This leads me to believe that he won't see much tournament play if at all, unless teams are messing around. Viable as a late pick when you don't really know what else to pick because your team composition is already fine.
      Sonya. She's currently the most popular pick in the game. You can't go wrong with a bulky solo laner that can duel nearly anyone, output as much damage as an assassin, and clear mercenary camps with ease. Leap lets her setup really well if your team composition lends itself to that. Still, I don't think she deserves bans.
      Hanzo. This important Overwatch figurehead could just not be allowed to remain seen as underpowered for over a month. After unsuccessfully giving him a blanket 10% damage buff across the board following poor PTR feedback, Blizzard adopted the bolder strategy of making his basic attacks deal ability levels of damage thanks to the Sharpened Arrowheads changes. What was initially supposed to be a difficult to master skillshot-based hero now  has access to what is arguably the most powerful basic attack in the game, though the Serrated Arrows + Never Outmatched combo I discussed last patch remains useful for trivializing map objectives on Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines while allowing Hanzo to solo any mercenary camp from level 7 and on. With the help of another hero, bosses also become possible at this level. Losing map control or suffering one or two early deaths against Hanzo is devastating. Explosive Arrows lets him waveclear relatively well too, though particularly with Piercing Arrows for double hits on minions. The Natural Agility range increase made it much more usable, to where Hanzo can now reliably escape most if not all heroes with proper positioning. It is interesting to note that these buffs coincided with Hanzo's first free week.
      Junkrat. The proverbial death of the double healer meta means it's time for sustained poke to shine. Junkrat's popularity exploded recently as players discovered that a mix of reliable ranged waveclear, playmaking (through Concussion Mine) and potentially fight winning RIP-Tire hits made the hero a force to be reckoned with. Just be sure to pick up Endless Nades; that's your late-game damage.
      Malthael. Hanzo does really well against him, so I'm not surprised by the dip in popularity. Malthael is still very powerful, though unlikely to draw bans before second round, if at all. Always a solid pick against double tank as well as a solo laner.
      Nova. She (along with Valeera) were allowed to remain oppressive for quite a while, benefiting from the turmoil generated by the stealth rework and Blizzard employees taking a couple weeks off for the holidays. Nova is now in a good spot, with clear counters and niches, though I'm still disliking how easy Lethal Decoy makes her to play. I feel like she'll keep a potential caster meta in check for quite some time now that she's back on the radar.
      Alexstrasza. She's doing rather well. Dragonqueen is now being appropriately treated (though not quite respected by opponents) as a heroic ability by players to fight over objectives and while sieging.
      Stukov. His high healing output makes him rather strong in a poke-heavy meta. I think players are going to experiment with the Growing Infestation + Virulent Reaction (+ Bio-Explosion Switch) combo to make Stukov a lot more aggressive than we're used to seeing him be. Flailing Swipe continues to be great as a pseudo-Mighty Gust in terms of disengaging. Stukov is probably one of the best solo "all purpose" hero leaguing healer at the moment.
      Sylvanas. Any change to minion or structure damage end up being indirect buffs or nerfs to Sylvanas. Since structures were recently buffed again and Sylvanas's direct counters were nerfed quite heavily, I think she's back to being relatively high priority. Possession is really strong now, as is Mercenary Queen, though only if there's nothing for Barbed Shot to work on.
      Tyrael. Though he's not notably more powerful than he was before, I think his rework opened up a viable bruiser build for him, increasing his versatility. He's sitting at a healthy 50% win rate at the time of writing. HGC already saw him picked rather often - though, that's pre-Tyrael patch, where he is arguably weaker - , and I'm certainly looking forward to see what kind of builds players are going to gravitate towards. Holy Ground is still great, and comes online 3 levels earlier than it did before.
      Valeera. She suffered the same fate as Nova, though her overly simplistic ability set makes small nerfs very impactful. At the end of the day, she's probably going to require a broad rework, because as of right now, she either bursts her target down and feels "unfair", or doesn't and feel "worthless". Right now, she's erring on the side of the latter.
      Malfurion. Possibly one of the best rework ever done, though his vastly increased skill cap may make him less popular. His sustained healing output is excellent, but his lack of burst management still makes him difficult to play.