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Ana Meta Tier List (September 2017)

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We present our eleventh Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Ana patch of September 2017.

Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Ana 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

 

Battlefield of Eternity
Cursed Hollow
Dragon Shire
Haunted Mines
Infernal Shrines
Tomb of the Spider Queen
Towers of Doom
Volskaya Foundry
Warhead Junction

 

Prime Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Anub'arak- Genji Uther- -
Arthas Greymane Tassadar  
Stitches- 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
Dehaka Falstad Brightwing Nazeebo+
Diablo Jaina Stukov Sylvanas
E.T.C.+ Li-Ming Malfurion Xul
Garrosh Valla    
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 Ana (new!) Abathur
Chen Cassia Auriel Azmodan
D.Va Chromie Kharazim Murky
Johanna Gul'dan Li Li Probius
Leoric Illidan Lt. Morales+ Zagara
Muradin Kael'thas Lúcio+  
Tyrael Kerrigan Rehgar-  
Zarya Lunara Tyrande+  
  Ragnaros    
  The Butcher    
  Tracer    
  Zul'jin    
  Kel'Thuzad    

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 Nova   Medivh
  Raynor   Sgt. Hammer
  Samuro    
  Valeera    
  Thrall    
  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

Ana epitomizes the double healer meta we have been sufering playing with for the last few months, as I feel she is not designed to be a solo healer. Being unable to heal oneself is a pretty big downside, Biotic GrenadeBiotic Grenade just really promotes the double healer playstyle, and the ability happens to counter it a bit itself. Nano BoostNano Boost is like a good Stim DroneStim Drone (sorry, Morales) on a shorter cooldown and really shines with some of the top tier picks, particularly Genji, Li-Ming, Malthael, Sonya, and Nazeebo. Unfortunately, it follows the annoying trend of healer heroic abilities being unable to be self cast. Basically, this means Ana is a solid pick with another healer, and with a strong Nano Boost target. Viable.

Dehaka's damage was recently reduced by the exact threshold that would make him unable to waveclear effectively in the early stages of the game, greatly reducing his ability to split push and outpush some of the other popular solo laners. This damage loss also has repercussions in his ability to really punish isolated heroes with BrushstalkerBrushstalker's movement speed bonus. Dehaka's ability set makes him thrive with an experience lead, so the nerfs will certainly be felt on Zerus.

Brightwing received the ''combine two bad talents into one'' treatment for Dream ShotDream Shot, (which still probably won't be picked over the improved Hyper ShiftHyper Shift) on top of some quite powerful buffs to her ever-popular Phase ShiftPhase Shift build. With Dehaka becoming less powerful, having a global hero that can clear creep turmors as a bonus is certainly appealing. She's in fact currently the healer with the highest win rate, though she, as with most other healers, feels quite balanced.

Leoric's changes proved interesting, but ultimately not powerful enough to keep him up to the higher tiers. He still sits at a very balanced exact 50% win rate, and will continue to guard his eternal niche of countering tank-heavy team compositions.

Kerrigan is the surprise of the month for me, despite a recent small damage shift towards her Primal GraspPrimal Grasp Impaling BladesImpaling Blades combo, and away from EviscerateEviscerate. This translated into slightly better mercenary camp control and burst waveclear, and, of course, a lot more damage for players who can reliably land the combo against two or more players. The way Kerrigan's shields works makes small changes snowball rather quickly in terms of her power level.

Auriel's best talent (arguably, anyway), Bursting Light, was outright removed. In essence, the talent removed the cooldown of her heal and gated it only behind as much damage as her Bestow HopeBestow Hope target could inflict, though her general hope generation was improved by about 20% to make up for that. Blizzard justified the change by saying she was too reliant upon hypercarries to reach her true potential (read: was probably too strong). This is a rather strange change considering late design decisions have been aimed at specializing heroes, and particularly, healers. Expectedly, her win rate and popularity have plummeted.

Rehgar was just slammed with one of the strangest and least expected changes I have ever seen. In essence, Chain HealChain Heal now heals its main target for approximately 25% less, but provides about 25% more healing to its second and third target. While this can technically provide more overall healing, we can't forget the role of healers in, well, saving individual targets from death. This also makes spot healing less effective in general. The ability's range was also reduced by 20% (about 12% for bounces) for good measure as well. It is also worth noting that Ghost WolfGhost Wolf is also bugged right now and no longer pounces to its target. Either way, I feel like the Chain Heal changes are a nerf, not a sidegrade.

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I've seen Kael'thas rising in popularity recently (HGC). And yeah, poor Rehgar; Stukov just has a much better version of Chain Heal. Only for Ancestral he may get picked (or some crazy Archon Bloodlust strats teehee).

Do you guys think that with all of them Overwatch Heroes coming, the game's in danger of becoming trapped in an "OW meta"? The mobility that characterises them (fire on the move etc), only exception being Zarya(?), seems much frustrating to play against and giving an unfair advantage (stronger than Lunara's) And Genji probably didn't convince anyone as a strong assassin at first, but with the right enabling, we all saw the horrors.

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How is Tyrael viable? He's only use is in a dive composition and even then only as a second tank. I'd say he's niche tier, at least for the time being.

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4 hours ago, Fliits said:

How is Tyrael viable? He's only use is in a dive composition and even then only as a second tank. I'd say he's niche tier, at least for the time being.

I'm inclined to agree, even if I think he's good. He's hard to use for sure, esp. in uncoordinated play.

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Ana is indeed in the right spot. While she can be used as a solo healer in the likes of QM with the Biotic Grenade build (which is arguably her best build), she just performs much better with another healer; Stukov/Auriel/Lucio are particularly very good with her.

And oh boy, Malthael is a beast with her. Tormented Souls + Nano Infusion + Biotic Grenade is godlike.

I  have a question, though. Does Tassadar's basic attacks become spell damage while in Archon? I've ran a match with a Tassadar yesterday and accidentally Nano Boosted him, and for my surprise he appeared to be dealing way more damage.

Edited by Valhalen

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5 hours ago, SteveFrost said:

in danger of becoming trapped in an "OW meta"? The mobility that characterises them (fire on the move etc), only exception being Zarya(?), seems much frustrating to play against and giving an unfair advantage (stronger than Lunara's) And Genji probably didn't convince anyone as a strong assassin at first, but with the right enabling, we all saw the horrors.

Yeah, this is a legit fear. Mobility is ALWAYS king in a MOBA. Ana seems to have locked the double support meta to stay, and junk rat splash/wave clear possibility is terrifying. Obviously they won't be completely overwatch heroes, but they carry a lot of weight in the early pick/ban phase.

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22 minutes ago, Laragon said:

Yeah, this is a legit fear. Mobility is ALWAYS king in a MOBA. Ana seems to have locked the double support meta to stay, and junk rat splash/wave clear possibility is terrifying. Obviously they won't be completely overwatch heroes, but they carry a lot of weight in the early pick/ban phase.

Mobility creep also makes older  designs obsolete as a lame side effect. Yes, it's fun to jump around, but when everyone does, positioning and flanking lose so much value. "I isolated genji/tracer" = a thing you'll never hear.

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4 hours ago, Laragon said:

Yeah, this is a legit fear. Mobility is ALWAYS king in a MOBA. Ana seems to have locked the double support meta to stay, and junk rat splash/wave clear possibility is terrifying. Obviously they won't be completely overwatch heroes, but they carry a lot of weight in the early pick/ban phase.

 

4 hours ago, Oxygen said:

Mobility creep also makes older  designs obsolete as a lame side effect. Yes, it's fun to jump around, but when everyone does, positioning and flanking lose so much value. "I isolated genji/tracer" = a thing you'll never hear.

But HotS isn't a MOBA, it is a Hero Brawler :^)

And that's just the tip of the iceberg imho. While the OW roster may currently lack a reliable, decent solo tank (Zarya/D.Va can't fill that role imho- or maybe they can, but still, can't tank a whole lot), imagine when Reinhardt/Winston/Roadhog(ewwwww) join. I'm willing to bet they'll all be S tier tanks from the get go (if they stay true to their OW design and thusfar, everyone has). Or stuff like Reaper's ult (for which he can use his blink and wraith walk abilities to position perfectly) and so many more. Holy Mother of God...

10 hours ago, Fliits said:

How is Tyrael viable? He's only use is in a dive composition and even then only as a second tank. I'd say he's niche tier, at least for the time being.

I'm positive he gets picked only for his Heroics, both of which are very good and can make the difference (and Holy Ground, but mostly for the Heroics). The rest... just meh.

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31 minutes ago, SteveFrost said:

And that's just the tip of the iceberg imho. While the OW roster may currently lack a reliable, decent solo tank (Zarya/D.Va can't fill that role imho- or maybe they can, but still, can't tank a whole lot), imagine when Reinhardt/Winston/Roadhog(ewwwww) join. I'm willing to bet they'll all be S tier tanks from the get go (if they stay true to their OW design and thusfar, everyone has). Or stuff like Reaper's ult (for which he can use his blink and wraith walk abilities to position perfectly) and so many more. Holy Mother of God...

I highly doubt Roadhog will ever be added to HotS, since he is pretty much Stitches. I can see him as a skin for Stitches, just like the Widowmaker Nova skin.

Winston or Reinhardt, on the other hand, would be very welcome additions to the roster.

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24 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

I highly doubt Roadhog will ever be added to HotS, since he is pretty much Stitches. I can see him as a skin for Stitches, just like the Widowmaker Nova skin.

Winston or Reinhardt, on the other hand, would be very welcome additions to the roster.

I feared that as well, but I delved too deep on the matter and saw a multitude of comments in various places. The "other side of the story" is that skins like that don't necessarily rule out the coming of other Heroes. For example, we got Azgul'dan and Gul'dan. And Widowmaker Nova is stated as "Nova cosplaying as Widowmaker", so that presumably leaves a window- and I believe it does. They're both female (hawt) snipers, ok. But the similarities end there. Nova doesn't have poison mines and grappling hooks. Widow doesn't go invis or make clones of herself and so on. Like you got Jimmy and Tychus (I love how they use the first name for one and last name for the other lul), both in a Marine suit but they play entirely differently. I don't think anyone befalls the "Muradin-Magni" category.

Same with Roadhog. Personally, I'd be glad if he didn't make it (cause my guts hate him), just mentioned him as an example of powerful ('meta') front-line.

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43 minutes ago, SteveFrost said:

I feared that as well, but I delved too deep on the matter and saw a multitude of comments in various places. The "other side of the story" is that skins like that don't necessarily rule out the coming of other Heroes. For example, we got Azgul'dan and Gul'dan. And Widowmaker Nova is stated as "Nova cosplaying as Widowmaker", so that presumably leaves a window- and I believe it does. They're both female (hawt) snipers, ok. But the similarities end there. Nova doesn't have poison mines and grappling hooks. Widow doesn't go invis or make clones of herself and so on. Like you got Jimmy and Tychus (I love how they use the first name for one and last name for the other lul), both in a Marine suit but they play entirely differently. I don't think anyone befalls the "Muradin-Magni" category.

Same with Roadhog. Personally, I'd be glad if he didn't make it (cause my guts hate him), just mentioned him as an example of powerful ('meta') front-line.

I completely agree with you. I keep saying that all the time, specially since I really wanna see Broll Bearmantle added into HotS but people keep saying it will never happen because Malfurion already has the Stormmantle skin, which is based on Broll.

My point is: I think we won't see Roadhog playable because his moveset wouldn't be very different from Stitches (Hook, self heal, etc).

Edited by Valhalen

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This time i completely agree to the list, with one exception. 

I don't see Tychus anywhere. The reason I looked for him was that with the recent changes to vehicles now being unstoppable. I feel like he and other % based damage dealers might rise in popularity again, since without the ability to cc the vehicles at all, they have become a lot more scary imo and the best way to counter them is % based damage.

Nazeebo is getting more and more popular and so is his toad-build, wich can deal an incredible damage vs those big hitboxes the and piloted objectives provide. So the + is definitely justified. 

 Tyrael is also where he should be. I can't play him and even if every other tank would be banned I would stil hesitate to take him, but that is just cause I can't play him. Seeing him played by good players in games, streams or videos I can understand how powerful and versatile he is. 

The changes on Rehgar seem to really hit him hard in game. Without the ability to prioritise a target for the heals he is just an aoe healer (apart from his ult of course) but not as good at that as other aoe healers (like Stukov, Brightwing or even Lúcio). Really feel like he should get a rework that makes it possible for him to be the aggressive frontline healer I feel he should/could be. 

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26 minutes ago, ecO1 said:

This time i completely agree to the list, with one exception. 

I don't see Tychus anywhere. The reason I looked for him was that with the recent changes to vehicles now being unstoppable. I feel like he and other % based damage dealers might rise in popularity again, since without the ability to cc the vehicles at all, they have become a lot more scary imo and the best way to counter them is % based damage.

Nazeebo is getting more and more popular and so is his toad-build, wich can deal an incredible damage vs those big hitboxes the and piloted objectives provide. So the + is definitely justified. 

 Tyrael is also where he should be. I can't play him and even if every other tank would be banned I would stil hesitate to take him, but that is just cause I can't play him. Seeing him played by good players in games, streams or videos I can understand how powerful and versatile he is. 

The changes on Rehgar seem to really hit him hard in game. Without the ability to prioritise a target for the heals he is just an aoe healer (apart from his ult of course) but not as good at that as other aoe healers (like Stukov, Brightwing or even Lúcio). Really feel like he should get a rework that makes it possible for him to be the aggressive frontline healer I feel he should/could be. 

I think Tychus hasn't been good since his range nerf. He didn't get anything in return; he's not even great against what he's supposed to counter... due to the low range. How do you attack tanks without getting yanked or stunned? Anyway, yes at the rest. Rehgar is in a really weird spot, and I don't like it.

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12 hours ago, Oxygen said:

I think Tychus hasn't been good since his range nerf. He didn't get anything in return; he's not even great against what he's supposed to counter... due to the low range. How do you attack tanks without getting yanked or stunned? Anyway, yes at the rest. Rehgar is in a really weird spot, and I don't like it.

I completely agree. Tychus is a very niche-nichy spot where there is absolutely no reason to pick him, as Malthael can do everything he can, but way better due the absurdly high self-sustain, plus his insane synergy with Ana's Nano BoostNano Boost.

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It's worth noting that Nanoboost is still awaiting for a fix so that it correctly increases the healing done by the target; would make it a much more impactful tool to give to a tank and, as you say, help cement her place in a double support comp. 

I personally enjoy her more with a double front line, one mobile assassin and a mage or in betweener, but the positional requirements are unforgiving and you must be consistently landing those Q's as much as you can. 

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11 minutes ago, Plergoth said:

I personally enjoy her more with a double front line, one mobile assassin and a mage or in betweener, but the positional requirements are unforgiving and you must be consistently landing those Q's as much as you can. 

A team I have been testing with some friends: Garrosh, Malthael, Kel'Thuzad, Stukov, Ana (I'm usually the Ana, using the Biotic Grenade build).

It is quite effective as Garrosh and Malthael both have high self-sustain, and get higher value from the Biotic Grenade buff. And as I mentioned in the Ana thread, Malthael can melt the entire enemy team with a combination of Nano BoostNano Boost (plus Nano InfusionNano Infusion) and Tormented SoulsTormented Souls. It is amazing.

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Its a bit annoying when they introduce high mobility heroes with some cc focused characters. Most of mages cant land simple hit. Genji for example can easily counter Kael both ult by simply rushing out of Phoenix and deflecting pyro. Tracer is same situation. Ofc its not only Kael but also KTD, Jaina, Li and rest ofc mages/specialists. Sadly new heroes outmatch most of old ones and some more reworks would be welcome.

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20 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I completely agree with you. I keep saying that all the time, specially since I really wanna see Broll Bearmantle added into HotS but people keep saying it will never happen because Malfurion already has the Stormmantle skin, which is based on Broll.

My point is: I think we won't see Roadhog playable because his moveset wouldn't be very different from Stitches (Hook, self heal, etc).

Imho, Druids can be Multiclass so yeah, wouldn't say he'd just be a Malfurion skin. 

In HoN (Heroes of Newerth), there are at least 3 different Heroes who can hook (last time I checked); Devourer (classic, Pudge port), Gauntlet (hardest to execute, can either pull enemy towards him or himself towards enemy) and Prisoner 945 (can pull multiple people with 1 hook, even a 5-man); as iconic and signature an ability can look, it can certainly fit in more than one unique Heroes. And one thing I like about HotS is that the characters feel really unique gameplay wise (which is something hard to achieve in the genre). Not trying to argue or anything, just sayin' :3

19 hours ago, ecO1 said:

Tychus

I think he's gonna raise too. Apart from the Vehicles thing, the multiple Warrior comps seem as prevalent as ever (I've been seeing double support double warrior single assassin many games) and imho, he feels like a safer Malthael and both his Heroics can be helpful (Odin seems to dominate because it can be strong for teamfights/objective control/sieging or combination of those but Drakken Laser can have its uses too). And Malth has been hit with the nerfhammer quite a bit (he still seems popular though not as much as before)

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On 4.10.2017 at 12:52 AM, Oxygen said:

I think Tychus hasn't been good since his range nerf. He didn't get anything in return; he's not even great against what he's supposed to counter... due to the low range. How do you attack tanks without getting yanked or stunned?

Tychus was my main HL hero pre nerf and I can see that he struggles since the changes. I stil feel like he has got a spot in the game (also in my heart ;) and though atm he might be niche I see some potential for him to rise again. But that will remain to be seen I guess.

On 4.10.2017 at 1:14 PM, Valhalen said:

I completely agree. Tychus is a very niche-nichy spot where there is absolutely no reason to pick him, as Malthael can do everything he can, but way better due the absurdly high self-sustain, plus his insane synergy with Ana's Nano BoostNano Boost.

I feel like Malthael has the same problems as Tychus. Getting cced and burst down wich in the meta current meta can easily happen. If only one of these aspects or even none is given as he, maybe is picked later into a draft, I feel he is extremely hard to deal with and it can feel like he is unkillable. But that is the reason he is prime tier and Tychus, at least imo, could get up to viable.

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9 hours ago, ecO1 said:

Tychus was my main HL hero pre nerf and I can see that he struggles since the changes. I stil feel like he has got a spot in the game (also in my heart ;) and though atm he might be niche I see some potential for him to rise again. But that will remain to be seen I guess.

I feel like Malthael has the same problems as Tychus. Getting cced and burst down wich in the meta current meta can easily happen. If only one of these aspects or even none is given as he, maybe is picked later into a draft, I feel he is extremely hard to deal with and it can feel like he is unkillable. But that is the reason he is prime tier and Tychus, at least imo, could get up to viable.

Both Tychus and Malthael require a solid frontline and crowd control chains to dish out their tank buster damage. Tychus is in a harder spot because he has no self-sustain unless when talented, and he lacks the somewhat high mobility that Malthael has. However, both of Tychus Heroics can win team fights if properly timed/used. He can deal very high damage under the effects of Nano BoostNano Boost during his Commandeer OdinCommandeer Odin.

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I think ETC is very deserving of his +. His popularity in all modes and leagues has skyrocketed. His survivability is very impressive, and he can shrug off a lot of poke damage he might receive. In addition, he has great means on locking enemies down and knocking them out of position. Mosh Pit is undeniably one of the strongest heroics in the game, provided the enemy has little means of interrupting it, or if you use it one those enemies that might do so. Especially if your team can follow up, Mosh Pit can easily dominate a team fight and can be the difference between a win and a loss.

On the other hand, I would argue that Garrosh is easily top tier, or at least deserving of a +. He might have no mobility, but his sustain and survivability are very good. He also has a great deal of utility, able to throw an enemy in a dangerous position, often meaning death if your team has any sort of follow-ups. His Groundbreaker and Wrecking Ball combo can be quite unpredictable as well, and can easily and utterly destroy an enemy if it takes them by surprise. He also has an exceptionally high amount of bans in all modes and leagues, as well as a large amount of picks. I personally find him to be meta defining and a match dictating hero. 

Edited by Maxkitty

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On 10/13/2017 at 6:13 PM, Maxkitty said:

I think ETC is very deserving of his +. His popularity in all modes and leagues has skyrocketed. His survivability is very impressive, and he can shrug off a lot of poke damage he might receive. In addition, he has great means on locking enemies down and knocking them out of position. Mosh Pit is undeniably one of the strongest heroics in the game, provided the enemy has little means of interrupting it, or if you use it one those enemies that might do so. Especially if your team can follow up, Mosh Pit can easily dominate a team fight and can be the difference between a win and a loss.

On the other hand, I would argue that Garrosh is easily top tier, or at least deserving of a +. He might have no mobility, but his sustain and survivability are very good. He also has a great deal of utility, able to throw an enemy in a dangerous position, often meaning death if your team has any sort of follow-ups. His Groundbreaker and Wrecking Ball combo can be quite unpredictable as well, and can easily and utterly destroy an enemy if it takes them by surprise. He also has an exceptionally high amount of bans in all modes and leagues, as well as a large amount of picks. I personally find him to be meta defining and a match dictating hero. 

I'm inclined to agree. Tanks have been in a pretty interesting position as of lately.

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22 hours ago, Oxygen said:

I'm inclined to agree. Tanks have been in a pretty interesting position as of lately.

Definitely they are. I think Blizzard reached a very good balance with all the Tanks / Bruisers right now (maybe except for Cho'gall, he still thrives to find his place in the meta). Look at Arthas, who was considered one of the worst in the game, but now is at a Top Tier position. Another Warrior that will always have a huge impact in the metagame is Dehaka; even though he was hit hard with some nerfs, he still has huge damage, utility and survivability to bring to the table.

Also, now that Ana's inclusion means that the Double Support meta is here to stay, tanks with self-sustain can be even harder to take down thanks to Biotic Grenade further improving their healing (Dehaka, Stitches and Garrosh particularly).

Edited by Valhalen
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      4-1 Split
      Your team sends a solo laner on his own while the rest of the team rotates between two lanes in order to clear waves (mid & bottom or mid & top). What Makes a Good Four-Man?
      Adrd explains that in the past, it was about picking Heroes that out-sustained enemies. Nowadays, it's more oriented toward ganks and kill pressure. Muradin is the perfect example of this. If he disappears from the map, your solo laner is in dire risk of dying. At the same time, the four-man needs to be careful so that he does not land a good stun that turns into a kill. Global Heroes & Specialist
      Dehaka (Brushstalker) and Falstad (Flight) are often picked in competitive games, because of their global presence even on two-lane maps. Rotating globals works well in the HGC. On Braxis Holdout, you put Dehaka in top lane and Falstad in bottom lane. Dehaka can gank and after the gank Falstad flies top so your team does not lose any experience. The idea of a proper 4-1 split in Hero League fails due to the lack of coordination. The Role of an Offlaner
      Even if the four-man is performing well, your team's advantage noticeable if you're solo laner is struggling. Most of the time, a decent offlaner is decent at holding 2v1. On Braxis Holdout it's extremely advantageous to have a solo laner who can win their lane, because they're able to hold one of the beacons after the structure in lane is gone. Best solo laners according to adrd in the current meta are Sonya, Leoric, Arthas, Greymane, Malthael, and Dehaka. Except Greymane & Malthael, they are all beefy frontline Heroes that excel at bullying opponents in lane and clearing waves quickly. Blizzard (Source)
      It’s 2018! A new year for esports has inspired us here at Blizzard to create content this week that aims to educate our player base on the variety of different ways to start a competitive match, informed by some of the best players in the scene. Check back every day this week for a new addition to the#OpeningMoves mini-series. Today we will focus on what is known as the “4-1 split”.
      The 4-1 split is one of the most popular lane designations in competitive Heroes of the Storm. In a nutshell, it simply means that one team dispatches a solo laner on his own while the rest of the team rotates between two lanes in order to clear waves—typically mid and bottom or mid and top. The strategy is seen most often, and yields the most success, on two-lane maps such as Braxis Holdout, Battlefield of Eternity, Haunted Mines, and Hanamura.
      Building A Successful Four-Man

      What makes a good four-man?
      “It’s constantly evolving,” said Zealots ranged flex Adrian “adrd” Wojcik. “It used to be that the four-man was only ‘deathballing,’ or picking Heroes that out-sustain enemies and brawling four versus four. Oftentimes, though, you would end up in a situation where your four-man would be weaker than the opposing team’s. So, at this point you must work around that.”
      Nowadays a good four-man is more oriented towards ganks and kill pressure. “Heroes like Muradin are a perfect example of this,” adrd explained. “He’s not that great for fighting and trading, but if he disappears from the map your solo laner is in danger of dying, and also the four-man needs to be careful so that he doesn’t flank and get a good stun that turns into a kill.”
      Understanding the macro game means understanding the amount of pressure on the map at any given point in time. The most obvious pressure is lane pressure, when a wave is about to crash and must be cleared. The less obvious pressure occurs when an enemy Hero (specifically one that has crowd control or high burst damage) goes missing. When this happens, you must assume them to be anywhere and everywhere while playing reserved. When the four-man goes missing, it’s important to make yourself scarce, as you could be the next victim of a savage gank. Consider yourself warned.
      Global Heroes and Specialist

      If losing soak is such a cardinal sin, why not employ the likes of a Hero with global abilities to make up for this? While some of the best offlaners are global Heroes, adrd is hesitant to endorse this strategy.
      “We've seen in the HGC some teams playing Dehaka and Falstad even on two-lane maps,” adrd said. “Normally, if you are solo laning with a global hero and you use your global ability to gank other lanes you will lose a lot of experience. So, what people are doing on Braxis Holdout is putting Dehaka in top lane and Falstad in bottom lane. Dehaka can gank, and then after the gank Falstad can fly top so you don't lose any experience. Rotating your globals around this way works really well, in the HGC at least.”
      In Hero League though, it’s difficult to expect your teammates to be as coordinated. More often than not, the idea of a proper 4-1 split will fall apart in the draft, as the hero in the solo lane will either spell success or failure for your team.
      The Role of an Offlaner

      “You can probably hold one versus two.”
      Remember this phrase the next time you step into a lane while outnumbered.
      Assume your four-man is going well. They are getting kills and winning their rotation handedly. The advantage this brings doesn’t amount to much if the solo laner is struggling. The “1” in the 4-1 split is the most important part of the equation.
      “I think most of the normal 1v1 laners are pretty decent at holding 2v1,” adrd said. “On some maps, it is very important that your solo laner doesn't lose too hard. On Braxis, for example, it's important to have a solo laner who can win their lane because it gives an insane advantage. You can hold one of the beacons for free basically after the structure in lane is gone. On most Battlegrounds, you have to consider how well the offlaner does in team fights as well.”
      The best solo laners in the current meta would be Sonya, Leoric, Arthas, Greymane, Malthael, and Dehaka. Outside of maybe Greymane and Malthael, these are beefy frontline Heroes that excel at bullying opponents in lane and clearing waves quickly.
      “You can run a lot of different setups, and the solo laner you use depends entirely on who they're facing off against usually,” adrd added. “Some Heroes will not be able to hold a lane on their own.”
      Depending on the map, you can decide for yourself if it’s more beneficial to take on the role of an offlaner or join in the four-man deathball. If you follow in the footsteps of the Mad Scientist, you’ll likely be winning rotations before you know it. 
      Check back with us tomorrow right here at playheroes.com/esports because we’ll be learning how to identify whether or not your team’s composition will emerge victorious from a fight at level 1.   
    • By Stan

      The Heroes of the Storm collegiate tournament, Heroes of the Dorm, is back in 2018! Competitors will play for more than $500,000 in scholarships and prizes as they battle their way through their respective regions. Signups are now open on HeroesoftheDorm.com.
      Announcement Video
      Blizzard (Source)
      Now in its fourth year, Heroes of the Dorm is introducing regional play. More than $500,000 in scholarships and prizes are up for grabs in this premier collegiate esports competition. Regional winners and other top teams on the national leaderboard will be seeded into the 64-team National Championship bracket. The battle for the Heroes of the Dorm National Championship—and for the scholarship money each player receives for the remainder of their college careers—will be fierce. Fans can watch all the action on both www.twitch.tv/blizzheroes and www.mlg.com.
      Each college will field their strongest Heroes team to battle to the top of their regional division for a chance to play in the National Championship tournament. This year, we’re also partnering with Raycom Sports on a weekly broadcast for matches in Heroes of the Dorm’s Atlantic Coast Region for a one-of-a-kind sports network viewing experience.
       “With intense student competition and an epic tournament bracket featuring schools across the United States and Canada, Heroes of the Dorm showcases the kind of excitement that can only come from college esports,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We look forward to cheering on all of the talented players who will be competing in Heroes of the Storm, as well as Hearthstone and StarCraft II, for their share of Tespa’s biggest scholarship prize pool ever.”
      Starting today, eligible college gamers in the United States and Canada can sign up to compete in Heroes of the Dorm at www.heroesofthedorm.com.
      LEARN MORE
      For information about Tespa's other Spring Leagues and $1M scholarship prize pool, head to tespa.org/university/compete.
    • By Stan

      Free Hero rotation has been updated with a new set of Heroes available for gameplay starting January 23.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: January 23, 2018
      Li Li ETC Zagara Butcher Kael'thas Artanis Li-Ming Zarya Brightwing Malthael Sylvanas (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Alexstrasza (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Chen (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Chromie (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)
    • 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. 
    • By Stan

      This week's brawl is the Temple Arena. Harness the power of the temples to destroy the enemy Core. Choose one from three randomly selected Heroes and pick your Heroic ability. No other talents are available. Complete three matches to earn a Loot Chest.
      Blizzard (Source)
      This week’s brawl is the Temple Arena! Harness the power of the Alligator, Cobra, and Jackal Temples to destroy the enemy Core!

      Rules:
      Choose from one of three randomly selected Heroes before entering the Arena. Be quick about it though, you only have 30 seconds to choose! Everyone will begin the round at level 10 and will be asked to choose a Heroic Ability. No other talents will be available. During each round, slay the enemy team’s Heroes and capture the Temple Shrines to take shots at their Core! The Core for each team will have set amounts of health based on the number of active Shrines. Each round can have 1-3 active Shrines. The first team whose Core reaches 0 health will lose the round. Be the first team to win 2 rounds and claim victory! Rewards:
      Complete three matches of the Temple Arena 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.