Oxygen

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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      Find out more about how the recently-announced 2019 gameplay changes will affect Heroes of the Storm in the long run.
      Just over a year ago, in preparation for BlizzCon 2017, I produced a lengthy article outlining some of Heroes of the Storm's most important issues. Notable among these was that of Quick Match team compositions. To me, Heroes of the Storm had always been clearly designed and balanced with tanks and healers in mind. As such, failing to enforce team compositions that included these classes caused a number of important problems across the game.
      Following disappointing BlizzCon 2017 announcements on the matter (class changes were discussed briefly, but composition changes were not), a reddit post and a blog post published six months later would confirm that changes to Quick match team compositions were indeed in the works, though no ETA was given. BlizzCon 2018 was a pretty safe bet that would turn out to be accurate.
      So, what's the big deal?
      As Heroes of the Storm's introductory - and most popular - game mode, Quick Match must absolutely accomplish two things: Groom its player base for improvement and present Heroes of the Storm in the best light possible.
      Year after year, however, the Quick Match system has continued to fail on both counts completely, discouraging new players and veterans alike with frustrating matches that taught bad habits and ultimately hindered the growth of the player base's skill level. How can players learn to follow up without a tank to initiate? How can they possibly internalize what their reasonable survivability is like against five other assassins? The answer is simple: They can't, because these situations are nonsensical and for the most part subpar in any remotely competent environment. Fortunately, this will soon be a thing of the past.
      Placing players in a tank-healer environment - around which the game was designed - leads me to believe that player base's skill level to improve across all game modes. Drafting skill is likely to improve as well, leading to fewer draft infighting situations. Further, it  will reduce the frustration caused by unreasonable team compositions to ultimately better retain new players, whom will get to experience the game as it was meant to be played as opposed to this rather ridiculous game mode.
      Needless to say, I think this is one of the best BlizzCon announcements to date, though I must still question what took so long. The most educated guess I can produce has to do with fearing longer queue times, but here's to hoping the "Call of the Nexus" incentive will be enough to entice players into checking out classes they haven't tried out just yet. A strong enough incentive could have the positive side effect of allowing players to develop a better global understanding of the game through approaching roles they're less used to.
      Classy new classes
      The new class system builds on the old system simply by further specializing the existing classes and removing specialists. Reworking the class system was necessary to allow team compositions to be reworked themselves.
      Heroes in the old warrior class were divided into the tank and bruiser classes, with tanks now being mandatory for Quick Match team compositions. This makes sense, as many bruisers were typically unable to fulfill the role of true tanks completely, which is to reliably initiate and peel. Allowing the warrior class to continue existing in its current state would have created the kind of lopsided team composition problems we experienced back when Varian was treated as a damage dealer.
      Heroes in the support class were divided into pure healers and support heroes, which is just a way of identifying heroes who do not use healing as their primary means of assisting teammates. Given that healers must now be included in team compositions to the same extent as tanks, this change also makes sense.
      The specialist class was merged with the assassin class because it hadn't made sense in a long time to treat them any differently; most of them were simply fancy damage dealers. The assassin class itself was split up into melee and ranged assassins.
      If you've been keeping up with some of the more recent versions of my tier lists - I don't blame you if you haven't - you'll note that I had already opted to further divide the classes, with a focus on play style rather than role a few months ago. Specifically, melee assassins are divided into fighters and stalkers, and ranged assassins into marksman and casters. My system has the advantage of being a bit more flexible for edge cases such as Genji and Tracer, who play more like melee assassins yet were labeled as ranged by Blizzard. Still, this distinction is of little relevance to most players.
      Conclusion
      Short conclusions mean I am happy with things.
      Oxygen discusses why the announced changes might just be the best thing to happen to HotS.
    • By Stan
      A shroud of uncertainly looms over the future of HGC and Heroes Esports as a whole due to the lack of HGC updates for the upcoming year and many pro players as well as casters are either done with the game or transferring to other games.
      Gillyweed (HGC Caster)
      The well-known female HGC caster is moving to Rocket League in 2019.
      Placeholder for tweet 1070532465503088640 Trikslyr (HGC Caster)
      Tim announced he won't be casting HGC in 2019 and he plans to make streaming his major focus.
      Placeholder for tweet 1071925490473152518 Tetcher (HGC China Caster)
      Chris voiced his uncertainty on Twitter today, following the lack of HGC information.
      Placeholder for tweet 1072029712514510849 We're going to closely monitor any announcements, so keep an eye out on the Heroes news section!
    • By Stan
      Free Hero rotation has been updated for the week of December 11.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: December 11, 2018
      Raynor Muradin Sonya Nazeebo Uther Jaina Zarya Li-Ming Deckard Blaze Yrel (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Junkrat (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Tychus (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Whitemane (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)
    • By Stan
      The first Season of 2019 starts next week with the release of the latest patch. New rewards are up for grabs. Check out the official preview of the Season!
      Blizzard (Source)
      Heroes of the Storm’s fourth 2018 ranked season is ending soon, and we’ve got a host of new rewards that you can earn through ranked gameplay in the coming months. Read on for details!
      Season Roll Dates
      2019 Season 1 will begin as soon as our next patch becomes available for download in each region. Check the start and end dates below to make sure you’re able to dive in as soon as the season begins:
      EVENT DATE 2019 Season 1 Start Week of December 11, 2018* 2019 Season 1 End Week of March 19, 2019* *Exact date may vary slightly by region.
      2019 Season 1 Rewards
      Players who manage to climb the ranks in the upcoming season can claim new portraits, mounts, and gold rewards for their achievements in Hero and Team League. Take a look at everything that’s up for grabs this season!
      This Season's Ranked Portraits are still in progress and will be shown at a later date. Please stay tuned!
      Mount Rewards

      HERO LEAGUE RANK REWARDS Bronze 500 Gold Bronze Hero League Portrait Silver 750 Gold Silver Hero League Portrait Gold 1000 Gold Gold Hero League Portrait Platinum 1250 Gold Season 1 Mount Platinum Hero League Portrait Diamond 1500 Gold Season 1 Mount Diamond Hero League Portrait Master 1750 Gold Season 1 Mount Epic Season 1 Mount Master Hero League Portrait Grand Master 2000 Gold Season 1 Mount Epic Season 1 Mount Grand Master Hero League Portrait TEAM LEAGUE RANK REWARDS Bronze 500 Gold Season 1 Mount Bronze Team League Portrait Silver 750 Gold Season 1 Mount Silver Team League Portrait Gold 1000 Gold Season 1 Mount Gold Team League Portrait Platinum 1250 Gold Season 1 Mount Platinum Team League Portrait Diamond 1500 Gold Season 1 Mount Diamond Team League Portrait Master 1750 Gold Season 1 Mount Epic Season 1 Mount Master Team League Portrait Grand Master 2000 Gold Season 1 Mount Epic Season 1 Mount Grand Master Team League Portrait If you’re ready to begin your Ranked Play journey in Heroes of the Storm but are unsure how, head over to our Ranked Play Guide to get started on the right foot. 
    • By Stan
      This week's brawl is Temple Arena. Harness the power of the Temples to destroy the enemy Core. The first team to win 2 rounds is victorious. 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.