Oxygen

BlizzCon 2017 - Hanzo Hands-on Impression

16 posts in this topic

BdYiEQm.jpg

Oxygen had the chance to play Hanzo at BlizzCon 2017 and has listed his thoughts on the gameplay, design and viability of the hero. Hanzo is slated to be released December 4.

Abilities and Talents

Before going over our impressions of the hero, it's worth including a list of their abilities and talents. You can find all the information required in the spoiler tag below.

Spoiler

Abilities

  • [D] (Trait) Natural Agility (30-second cooldown): Target unpathable terrain or a Structure to jump to the other side of it.
  • [Q] Storm Bow (4-second cooldown): Activate to charge an arrow that deals 270 damage to the first enemy hit. Storm Bow's range increases the longer it is Channeled. Reactivate to fire.
  • [W] Scatter Arrow (8-second cooldown): Fire an arrow that deals 85 to the first enemy Hero hit. Scatter Arrow can collide with terrain and Structures, splitting into 5 arrows that travel extra distance, ricochet up to 4 additional times, and deal 85 damage each to the first enemy hit.
  • [E] Sonic Arrow (20-second cooldown): Fire an arrow that grants vision in a large area for 8 seconds. Enemies inside are revealed for 1 second. If Sonic Arrow lands directly on an enemy, it deals 150 damage to them and follows them as they move.
  • [R1] Dragonstrike (100-second cooldown): After 1.5 seconds, summon a pair of Spirit Dragons which travel forward, dealing 52 damage every 0.25 seconds to enemy Heroes in its area. Enemies in the center take 150 damage.
  • [R2] Dragon's Arrow (100-second cooldown): Fire a missile that travels across the battleground. Explodes upon hitting an enemy Hero, dealing 100 damage to all nearby enemies and Stunning them for 0.5 seconds. After traveling a medium distance, the damage is increased to 200 and the Stun duration to 1.25 seconds. After traveling a long distance, the damage is increased to 350 and the Stun duration to 2 seconds.

Talents

Level 1

  • Target Practice (Quest): Hit every enemy hero with Hero with Storm Bow. Reward: After hitting every enemy hero once with Storm Bow, its range is increased by 30%. Reward: After hitting every enemy hero 3 times with Storm Bow, its damage is increased by 100.
  • Simple Geometry: Hit a hero with multiple arrows from the same Scatter Arrow cast 20 times. Each arrow hit after the second grants additional progress. Reward: Upon hitting terrain for the first time, Scatter Arrow creates 2 additional arrows.
  • Redemption: Every 2 basic attack within 10 seconds grants 1 Redemption, stacking up to 15. Dying decreases Redemption by 3, and Redemption can be lost even at maximum stacks. At 15 Redemption, gain 50% increased attack speed.

Level 4

  • Explosive Arrow: Upon hitting a Minion or Monster, Storm Bow deals 100% of its damage to enemies around its target.
  • Serrated Arrows: Scatter Arrow deals 250% damage to Minions, Monsters, and Mercenaries.
  • Ignore All Distractions: Basic attacks instantly kills Minions and increase Hanzo's basic attack range by 2 for 3 seconds.

Level 7

  • Shieldbreaker Arrows: Basic attacks and Storm Bow deals 300% bonus damage to shields on heroic targets.
  • Never Outmatched: Reduce Scatter Arrow's mana cost by 40, down to 20. Basic Attacks lower the cooldown of Scatter Arrows by 4.
  • The Dragon Hungers: Hitting heroes with Storm Bow increases spell power by 5% for 10 seconds, stacking up to 20%.

Level 10

  • [R1] Dragonstrike (100-second cooldown): After 1.5 seconds, summon a pair of Spirit Dragons which travel forward, dealing 52 damage every 0.25 seconds to enemy Heroes in its area. Enemies in the center take 150 damage.

  • [R2] Dragon's Arrow (100-second cooldown): Fire a missile that travels across the battleground. Explodes upon hitting an enemy Hero, dealing 100 damage to all nearby enemies and Stunning them for 0.5 seconds. After traveling a medium distance, the damage is increased to 200 and the Stun duration to 1.25 seconds. After traveling a long distance, the damage is increased to 350 and the Stun duration to 2 seconds.

Level 13

  • Fleet of Foot: Hitting heroes with Storm Bow grants 10% movement speed for 6 seconds up to 30%.
  • Ninja Assassin: Hitting heroes with Storm Bow reduces Natural Agility's cooldown by 10 seconds. Additionally, hero takedowns reduce Natural Agility's cooldown.
  • Mounted Archery: Upon mounting, gain 30% additional movement speed for 5 seconds. Using Natural Agility instantly mounts.

Level 16

  • Flawless Technique: Hitting heroes with Storm Bow increases the damage of Hanzo's next basic attack within 5 seconds by 25%. Basic Attacks against heroes increase Storm Bow's damage within 5 seconds by 25%.
  • Piercing Arrows: Storm Bow and Scatter Arrow pierce, hitting an additional enemy. Additionally, Scatter Arrow can pierce through one additional enemy each time it ricochets.
  • Giantslayer: Enemy heroes hit by Scatter Arrow and basic attacks take 1.25% of their maximum health as damage.

Level 20

  • The Dragon Awakens: Hitting a hero with Storm Bow, Scatter Arrow or basic attack reduces the cooldown of Dragonstrike by 5 seconds.
  • Play of the Game: While in flight of up to 2 seconds after impacting a target, Dragon Arrow can be reactivated to teleport to its location and jump backwards. If used after impact, Hanzo shoots an arrow that deals X damage to each target.
  • Sharpened Arrowheads: Scatter Arrow limits the amount of armor heroes hit to 0 for 5 seconds.
  • Bullseye: Increase Sonic Arrow's speed and center radius by 100%. Additionally, heroes hit by Sonic Arrow's center are stunned for 1 second.

 

Hero Design

Hanzo is one of the two Heroes announced at BlizzCon 2017. He is an ability-focused, long-ranged Assassin that relies on pinpoint accuracy and environmental awareness to deal damage. His kit is an instantly recognizable and rather direct MOBA translation of his Overwatch skillset, as is the case for most Overwatch Heroes. It is worth noting that he cannot, however, deliver basic attacks while moving, something we have come to accept from Overwatch characters. His basic attacks are pretty strong but unusually slow for a ranged hero, starting at 0.67 speed, like Stukov. His sustained damage output is overall average. His health pool is also appropriately very limited.

Storm Bow (Q) is a two-part ability that first causes Hanzo to channel, causing him to be unable to attack but still able to move, and to ''aim'' towards your cursor's position. While in this state, which can be maintained indefinitely, the apparent range of the ability increases over the next 2 seconds to nearly double. Clicking or hitting the ability's hotkey once again releases a relatively fast projectile in the cursor's direction, dealing damage to the first target hit. If you've played Varus from League of Legends, you know exactly what to expect from this ability, except that the range isn't nearly as long as you'd hope it to be. The ability's damage is also (unintuitively, perhaps) completely independent from the channeling time, and the fact that it doesn't pierce by default (a level 16 talent allows it to do so) means that melee heroes end up being your main target for this one.

Scatter Shot (W) launches a tiny, long-ranged projectile that deals a trivial amount of damage to the first target hit. If this projectile hits unpathable terrain or a structure, it instead explodes to project fan of 5 new projectiles at an angle which damage the first unit they hit and will keep on bouncing off terrain and structures up to a maximum of 4 times. This ability would be quite unique if Junkrat's grenades didn't already use terrain to do something similar. The fact that Scatter Shot's doesn't pierce makes it difficult to use; you may find the right angle on a target that would be hit by multiple projectiles, but having something in the way can ruin an otherwise great shot.

Sonic Arrow (E) lobs an extremely slow arcing projectile which reveals a large area for 8 seconds upon landing. This effect also reveals stealthed heroes. If the projectile hits a unit, they take a bit of damage and the reveal circle instead "follows" that target for the duration. Reliably hitting an intended target was highly impractical, however, due to the projectile's really slow speed.

Dragonstrike (R1) causes Hanzo to channel towards the targeted area for 1.5 seconds. This area is not directly in front of him, but instead at a bit of an offset, meaning you could never hit heroes in melee range with this if you were to try (but probably shouldn't anyway). After 1.5 seconds, the iconic spirit dragons spawn and slowly creep forward to deal damage at a fast interval to anything near them, and about three times as much damage to enemies near the center of the area. This area is relatively thin, making this effect rather easy to sidestep even in smaller spaces. The expected Ryuugawa... ga teki... whatever-whatever Hanzo scream also warns you of the spirit dragon's impending apparition as a convenient reminder to all that they should probably move, not unlike Ragnaros' Lava Wave.

Dragon's Arrow (R2) fires a large arrow that moves quickly across the battleground, not unlike Sgt. Hammer's Blunt Force Gun. Upon hitting a hero, it deals a large amount of damage in an area around that hero and stuns all nearby enemies as well. The damage and stun duration scale at a set interval; hitting a hero close by does very little damage and stuns only for 0.5 seconds, whereas hitting a hero over a screen and two screens away respectively increase the damage and stun to more or less quadruple. It's impossible for me to not draw parallels with League of Legends' Ashe's own iconic ultimate ability here.

Natural Agility (Trait - D) causes Hanzo to jump above an unpathable piece of terrain or structure to land directy away from where the ability was cast. This one can't be used on terrain that was much larger than, say, two Diablos in size. I think I might just start using Diablo as a measure of game space from now on.

 

Impressions and Gameplay

If I could describe Hanzo's gameplay in a word, I'd probably have to go with disjointed.

I might just say something very unpopular here, but I've never been a fan of "imported" ability kits; to me, skills that were born in ARPGs and FPSs should probably remain there, unless tweaked beyond recognition to feel like they actually belong in a MOBA. I think something like Valla illustrates exactly what I mean: If I've always disliked Hungering Arrow and Multishot - two abilities initially created to be spammed in an ARPG environment at some outrageous rate against hundreds of monsters - for their gross simplicity, she, at, least, has the very MOBA-friendly Hatred to keep me interested, making her work for me. Hanzo, on the other hand, has no such thing; we are simply treated to a faithful yet dysfunctional port of the character that ends up feeling weird. Do I feel like an actual sniper when Storm Bow's range isn't much longer than that of most other abilities? Does Scatter Shot feel powerful when I can't target the floor to shotgun a nearby target due to the targeting limitations of a top-down game? Does jumping over a small wall every 30 seconds make me feel like an assassin seeking the perfect spot for a quick one-hit kill? No. None of this feels like Hanzo to me, which is really terrifying because Heroes of the Storm, we should never forget, is all about bringing these iconic characters to life in a MOBA. But what we got is Varus-Ashe-Legolas-McGeneric-Archer-Man, not Hanzo. This is a missed opportunity to have gotten way crazier with design.

To add to this, his abilities have no synergy with each other, making them feel thrown together without any real overarching design goal. Again, I want to blame the fact that the kit comes right out of an FPS, where skill synergy isn't nearly as important as in MOBAs to create appealing character gameplay.

Now that I've shared my general impression, I'm going to go over some of the things that stood out gameplay-wise.

Storm Bow was pretty difficult to use well, making hits satifying, but nothing too exhilerating like landing a headshot in Overwatch. I generally felt like Storm Bow dealt way too little damage for how long it had to be channeled, for how easy it was to avoid, and for the fact that it makes you unable to deliver basic attacks. The Flawless Technique level 16 talent (25% Storm Bow damage after using a basic attack) made it more reasonable. But right now, if you imagine a slower, shorter ranged, weaker hitting Chromie Sand Blast, you pretty much get Storm Bow. The short 4 seconds cooldown is worth noting, but the channeling time realistically made it more like a 6 seconds cooldown. I have the feeling that our devs didn't want Hanzo to fall in Chromie territories of arguably problematic design, but Storm Bow's range definitely feels off.

Scatter Shot was both fun and frustrating, if that's a thing. Fun, because I really liked the minigame involved in trying to land perfect 5-hit scatters against heroes. Frustrating, because that pretty much never happened. Let's put it this way: to get a good hit, your target needs to be close to a wall, but not too close nor in front of you, else they'll block the projectile, at the right angle, with nothing else between you and said wall. Much easier said than done. Moving your cursor just one pixel can completely change the angling of the shrapnels because of how "sensitive" the targeting is. But when it does work, it feels amazing... right? The damage is absolutely on the low side of things, making perfect hits cool, but nothing worth raving about. After a couple of games, I more or less ended up giving up on trying to get good hits and I'd just throw the thing in a semi-random fashion whenever I thought it might poke a few things. This is definitely not what I'd call a succesful implementation, which is a shame because the concept has potential.

Sonic Arrow was about as exciting to use as Lunara's Wisp.

Dragonstrike felt rather bland, though it did look amazing. I think the feeling of blandness is related to what I was talking about earlier. In an FPS, this ability makes sense as a novelty item and as a powerful ultimate: it passes through walls, travels through the entire battlefield, can surprise opponents from weird angles, and pretty much instantly kills anything it touches. It feels awesome because, to reiterate, in an FPS, it's not something you see often. In Heroes of the Storm, a MOBA, that's a completely different story; too much of the ability's depth has been lost in translation. It needs something because right now, it's a glorified Hyperion with a cast time that can't kill minions or hit structures. I'll say that it would be excellent for contesting boss captures, but so are most area of effect heroic abilities.

Dragon's Arrow also looked awesome and was frankly pretty fun to use. That's probably why every single MOBA out there has its own little version of the ability. The targeting reticle looked great and did a good job showing how the ability works with regards to its "growing" effect.

Natural Agility was probably the weirdest part of the entire kit. Besides the fact that it's a more situational (needs a wall or structure) version of Genji's Cybernetic Agility on twice the cooldown, using the thing just felt unresponsive. I think that part of the problem was that I couldn't easily gauge which environmental walls I was allowed to jump over. You also have to target near Hanzo and not where you're trying to land to actually trigger the jump, which is quite unintuitive. I wish Natural Agility could be used while channeling Storm Bow.

 

Balance and Viability

I'll keep this short: Hanzo brings very little to the table we haven't seen already, is difficult to play, and generally feels undertuned. Although Sonic Arrow is definitely on the strong side of scouting tools, other heroes don't have to give up an entire ability slot for a similar effect unless they're a Dryad that hits hard. I suspect Dragon's Arrow to be the heroic ability of choice because it actually felt rather powerful, and competes with something that wasn't all that good. His waveclear is poor, his siege/pve damage potential are both quite bad for an assassin, and he has no self-sustain (forget solo laning here), meaning he can't round off a team composition like a lot of other assassins can if you need some of the aforementioned niches filled.

 

Conclusion

Hanzo's skillset translates poorly into the MOBA genre. He feels undertuned numbers wise, and the fear of creating another Chromie has greatly limited the range of Storm Bow. His overspecialized kit makes him difficult to fit into a lot of team compositions.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost none of this surprised me after reading the abilities and talents descriptions. Scatter arrow looks ridiculously hard to pull off. I am surprised about storm bow's review though. Well, they have an entire month... we'll see if that means anything.

I also noticed he has no talents for sonic arrow except 20. Probably need to adjust an ability if you can't even add talents for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Warper said:

I also noticed he has no talents for sonic arrow except 20. Probably need to adjust an ability if you can't even add talents for it.

It's the WispWisp effect.

  • Like 3

Share this post


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

Let's put it this way: to get a good hit, your target needs to be close to a wall, but not too close nor in front of you, else they'll block the projectile, at the right angle, with nothing else between you and said wall. Much easier said than done. Moving your cursor just one pixel can completely change the angling of the shrapnels because of how "sensitive" the targeting is. But when it does work, it feels amazing... right?

I guess that is what we could call "Simple Geometry" (funny because he has a talent with this name). Maybe this Scatter Arrow has more value in very enclosed spaces, where you're more likely to hit when the arrow splits? Or maybe as just a waveclear tool because of "Serrated Arrows" at level 4.

But still, Hanzo has some pretty "in paper" broken talents, like "Ignore All Distractions" (insta-kill minions, wat) and "Shieldbreaker Arrows" (Storm Bow and Basic Attacks deal 250% shield damage, double WAT). Sure, he has very slow attack speed, but still. A talent that instantly kills minions on level 4? And one deals 250% shield damage on level 7? DAMN.

Anyway, I can't WAIT for your impressions on Alexstrasza, Mr. Not-Duck-Anymore-But-Now-Ethereal-Man. (Also, please check if she has a /dance command while in her dragon form)

Quote

I think I might just start using Diablo as a measure of game space from now on.

Well, the developers use Uther for scale, so you could do it your way and use Diablo, haha.

Edited by Valhalen

Share this post


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

Maybe this Scatter Arrow has more value in very enclosed spaces

You'd think it would, but the initial projectile has to reach a wall, which can be awkward. Summons are annoying.

Share this post


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

You'd think it would, but the initial projectile has to reach a wall, which can be awkward. Summons are annoying.

The projectile doesn't scatter unless it hits a wall?

Share this post


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

The projectile doesn't scatter unless it hits a wall?

Wall or structure, correct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, if you think Hanzo's purpose is to be useful/enjoyable to play, you are wrong.

He excels at a) being cancer (in whatever sense it is used), and b) make his team butthurt the moment he is picked. 

I see his true purpose translates to hots perfectly.ggwp

Edited by Jonar
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


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

Well, if you think Hanzo's purpose is to be useful/enjoyable to play, you are wrong.

He excels at a) being cancer (in whatever sense it is used), and b) make his team butthurt the moment he is picked. 

I see his true purpose translates to hots perfectly.ggwp

Damn, that's meta. Well done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your review mirrors a lot of what I had already been afraid of when reading his introduction/watching his spotlight... another lack luster champion it seems. Sad!

Edited by nie7e

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/17/2017 at 3:17 PM, nie7e said:

Your review mirrors a lot of what I had already been afraid of when reading his introduction/watching his spotlight... another lack luster champion it seems. Sad!

Aye. They simply buffed his numbers a bit; no changes. I expect sub-40% win rates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/5/2017 at 4:44 PM, Oxygen said:

Aye. They simply buffed his numbers a bit; no changes. I expect sub-40% win rates.

pF060AA.png

thinking-face_1f914.png

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan

      Voice chat is finally available in Heroes of the Storm and this post by Blizzard will guide you through the basics of the system.
      All players must opt-in to join the team voice channel at the start of a game or upon entering a draft lobby. If you don't have a microphone, you will still be able to hear your team. The voice chat tab in the options menu can be used to adjust all settings to your liking. Use the Test button to hear how you'll sound in-game and don't forget to set up your Push-to-Talk Key.
      Blizzard (Source)
      We’re excited to announce that voice communication is now available in Heroes of the Storm! Whether you find yourself in a draft lobby, partied with a friend or two, or with your whole squad in Team League, voice communication will free your hands from the shackles of typing and make it easier than ever to coordinate with your teammates. Before you head in-game to try it out, take a moment to learn how voice channels work in Heroes and get to know the various settings you can adjust to make voice communication your own.
      Team and Party Voice
      We’ve added voice channels to Heroes of the Storm to accommodate both party voice and team voice. If you’re in a party, you’ll automatically be added to your party’s voice channel, and only party members will hear what you have to say. The opposite is also true: if you’re in a partial party and using the party voice channel, you’ll be unable to speak to or hear allies outside your party unless you switch to the team voice channel.
      By default, all players must opt-in to join the team voice channel at the start of a game or upon entering a draft lobby. A notification will appear in chat to remind you that team voice is available, and you can click it to easily join the channel. Keep in mind that voice channels—even party voice—are completely optional. You can use the new voice chat tab in the options menu to adjust auto-join settings and notification sounds to your heart’s content.
      Voice Settings
      Digging a bit further into voice settings, you can click the dropdown menus at the top to pick which device you’ll use to hear your allies’ voices, and set up the microphone you’d like to use for your own. You can click the Test button to hear how you’ll sound to your teammates in-game. However, even if you don’t have a microphone, you can still join party and team voice channels to listen-in as your allies make plans and shotcall.
      As mentioned previously, the checkboxes under Auto-Join Voice and Notification Sounds on the left side of the voice chat options menu can be used to select which voice channels you’d like to join automatically during each game, as well as to enable or disable any voice notification sounds.
      Click the Transmission Mode dropdown to decide whether you’d like to set your microphone to Push-to-Talk or Open Mic. When using push-to-talk, your allies will only hear you while you’re holding down your push-to-talk hotkey (the ` key by default). With open mic, they’ll hear everything you have to say. If you do opt for an open mic, you can adjust the sensitivity slider to stop your microphone from transmitting sound under a certain volume. Finally, run a quick test to make sure your mic is sounding good and your sensitivity is set correctly—broadcasting noise is a surefire way to get muted by your teammates!
      In addition to push-to-talk, you can set up hotkeys to quickly switch between party and team voice channels, or to turn your microphone on and off. 
      In-Game Voice
      Outside of the voice chat options menu, you’ll see a voice widget appear in the top-left corner of most game menus. Clicking this widget will allow you to quickly join, switch, or leave a voice channel. Once you enter a game, you’ll find this widget on the tab screen.
      You’ll also find microphone and speaker icons across from player names on the tab screen, which you can click to mute or unmute allies individually.
      We’ve also added a new reporting option called Abusive Voice that you can use to report players specifically for misbehavior over voice. Additionally, we’ve implemented a voice silence penalty that’s separate from chat silence penalties. This means that players who are frequently reported for Abusive Voice can receive a voice silence, which will prevent them from speaking in team voice for the duration of that penalty. They can, however, still join the team voice channel to listen to allied comms, and can still join and use the party voice channel normally.
      We hope the addition of voice in Heroes of the Storm will help you and your allies communicate more effectively on the road to your next string of victories, and perhaps make a new friend or two along the way.
      Until next time, we’ll see you in the Nexus!
    • By Stan

      Blizzard implemented voice chat and applied balanced changes and various bug fixes in this week's patch.
      Voice chat is now enabled on live servers and in addition to bug fixes, the following Heroes received balance changes:
      Maiev: The latest changes are aimed at lowering her survivability and burst damage throughput. Malthael: Healing from Soul Ripping Minions decreased, Hero-only healing increased. Mana cost of Soul Rip has been increased to 25. Zeratul: Changes to basic & heroic abilities are meant to redistribute his damage, while giving the Hero a slight buff. Xul: Base stats have been buffed and split-push potential has been toned down. Sonya: Balance changes for Sonya were supposed to go live on January 24, but Blizzard's implemented them just now. The changes include a basic attack damage reduction, Poisoned Spear & Nerves of Steel talent adjustments. Blizzard (Source)
      We’ve just released a patch to the live servers in order to implement Voice Communication, as well as apply some balance updates and bug fixes.
      General
      Voice Communication
      Voice Communication has been added to Heroes of the Storm! Read the Voice Communication blog for more information about how to use it in-game. Heroes
      Assassin
      Maiev

      Stats
      Health reduced from 2236 to 2150 Health Regeneration reduced from 4.66 to 4.48 Abilities
      Vault of the Wardens (Trait) Cooldown increased from 8 to 9 seconds Fan of Knives (Q) Damage reduced from 170 to 162 Talents
      Level 16 Armored Assault (Passive) Damage bonus reduced from 25% to 20% Vengeful Knives (E) Bonus damage per Hero hit increased from 1% to 1.2% Malthael

      Abilities
      Soul Rip (Q) Mana cost increased from 20 to 25 Healing reduced from 36 to 25 per target hit Healing from Heroic targets increased from 3% to 4% of the Hero’s maximum Health Tormented Souls (R) Cooldown reduced from 100 to 80 seconds Talents
      Level 4 Die Alone (Q) Damage bonus reduced from 75% to 50% Level 16 Soul Collector (Q) Bonus range reduced from 50% to 25% Thrall

      Abilities
      Chain Lightning (Q) Bounce range increased by 20% Zeratul

      Abilities
      Cleave (Q) Damage increased from 200 to 212 Singularity Spike (W) Damage increased from 228 to 240 Void Prison (R) Mana cost reduced from 100 to 80 Might Of The Nerazim (R) Basic Attack damage bonus reduced from 40% to 30% Specialist
      Xul

      Stats
      Health increased from 1900 to 2000 Health Regeneration increased 3.957 to 4.168 Basic Attack damage increased from 104 to 110 Abilities
      Raise Skeleton (Trait) Skeletal Warrior Health reduced from 240 to 225 Skeletal Warrior damage reduced from 23 to 21 Bone Prison (E) Cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds Mana cost reduced from 80 to 70 Talents
      Level 7 Trag'Oul's Essence (Trait) Mana restoration per Skeletal Warrior attack reduced from 0.5% to 0.2% of Xul’s maximum Mana Support
      Tyrande

      Abilities
      Light of Elune (Q) Cooldown reduced from 12 to 11 seconds Warrior

      Sonya

      Stats
      Basic Attack damage reduced from 88 to 84 Talents
      Level 7 Poisoned Spear (Q) Damage reduced from 125% to 100% of Ancient Spear’s damage. Level 16 Nerves of Steel (Active) Duration reduced from 5 to 3 seconds Shield amount reduced from 30% to 25% of Maximum Health Cooldown reduced from 70 to 60 seconds Bug Fixes
      Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
      Diablo: Lightning Breath sound effects will no longer stop playing before the Ability is finished channeling. Junkrat: Heroes killed by Concussion Mine will no longer respawn at their death location and then slide across the Battleground. Junkrat: Issuing movement commands during Rocket Ride will no longer cause Junkrat to become separated from his Mount. Junkrat: Movement commands that the player did not issue will no longer appear on the terrain in front of RIP-Tire’s model. Junkrat: Targeting unpathable terrain with Rocket Ride will no longer cause Total Mayhem Grenades to visually persist on the Battleground. Junkrat: Concussion Mine can no longer displace Leoric from Wraith Walk’s starting location if the Mine is detonated in the same moment that Wraith Walk ends. Li Li: After learning the Lighting Serpent Talent, Cloud Serpent attacks that are bouncing to additional targets when the Ability expires will now correctly deal damage. Lt. Morales: The tooltip for the Healing Beam icon next to Lt. Morales’ in-game portrait will now correctly display the Ability’s cooldown duration. Malfurion: An ally who is affected by multiple Regrowths will now be correctly healed by Moonfire and have Stuns, Roots, and Slows removed by Nature's Cure. Movement Abilities: Certain movement-based Abilities, like Greymane’s Darkflight or Chen’s Flying Kick, will no longer fail to move the Hero toward a target currently affected by Varian’s Taunt or Garrosh’s Warlord's Challenge. Sgt. Hammer: Can now correctly deploy Biotic Emitters on Volskaya Foundry while in Siege Mode. The Butcher: Fixed an issue that prevented The Butcher from collecting Meat while piloting the Triglav Protector, Dragon Knight, or Garden Terror.
    • By Stan

      Maiev goes live tomorrow and we have a guide for the latest Warcraft Assassin to join the roster.
      It's time for Maiev to enter the Nexus! Learn more about the latest Hero in our guide!
      Feel free to leave your thoughts, suggestions or guide feedback here. Maiev should go live on February 6, 2018, and this article will be updated with the official patch notes once they are out.
      Maiev Build Guide Maiev Patch Notes Maiev Talent Calculator Blizzard (Source)
      Maiev Shadowsong stood watch over the imprisoned Betrayer for ten thousand years, and hunted him relentlessly after he was released. Some say she’s determined; others say she’s obsessed. Either way, she will stop at nothing to ensure the security of her world. Get all the necessary information and gameplay tips on our newest Assassin Hero, Maiev, The Warden, in this spotlight video!
    • By Stan

      Heroes of the Storm Highlights are back with another fun episode of WTF Moments! 
      Episode 102 kicks off with an Abathur slap fest, Blaze entering his Bunker to soak Pyroblast and Garrosh throwing D'Va's Self-Destruct into enemies, killing three of them!
      Don't forget to submit your own replays here for a chance to be featured in an upcoming episode and let us know your favorite moments in the comments below!
      Previous Episodes
      WTF Moments Episode 101 WTF Moments Episode 100 WTF Moments Episode 99 & Best of 2017
    • By Oxygen
         
      Our sixteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the Maiev patch of February is here!
      We present our sixteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Maiev patch of February 2018.
      Note: This list also takes the February 9 balance patch into account.
      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Maiev patch. The goal if of this list is to try and detail game's current metagame state. The prime goal of such lists is to inform players regarding popular and trending team composition drafting strategies (i.e. the drafting metagame). Although tier listings are generally the product of balance, many factors come into play when discussing the relative perceived strengths of heroes, including player regions, maps, play style, skill level, and, of course, personal perception. As such, any tier list—including this very one—should never be interpreted as gospel, but rather, as a guide to better grasp what to expect with regards to typical drafting experiences. One useful application of such lists is to allow you know which heroes to look out for in terms of practice and counterplay, ultimately improving your knowledge of the game.
      Using the list
      As stated above, tier lists are easy to mistake for gospel. As new strategies are discovered and experimented with, so changes the perception of the relative strengths of each hero. Tier lists still prove to be useful as a snapshot of player expectations in terms of drafting. Although it is generally considered preferable to focus on high tier heroes (Prime and Core tiers), it is important to note that Heroes of the Storm's wild character and map designs make it so that any given hero's tier position is prone to fluctuate depending on the situation at hand.
      One classic example of such is that of Kerrigan on the Infernal Shrines map. Although we currently judge her to be a mid-tier hero, her drafting priority shoots up to first-pick or first-ban material on this specific map due to the nature of its objective. Certain heroes also synergise so well with each other that the sole fact of having the opportunity of drafting them together is generally enough to increase their potential. Tassadar and Tracer, for instance, are generally nightmarish to deal with for many. There are too many examples of these interactions to reasonably produce here, but we invite you to consult our guides to know exactly where and when each hero shines. The guides have been linked in the lists below for your convenience - just click any of the hero names to access them.
      A ↑ next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a ↓ means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.
      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
      Current ranked mode map rotation
       
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Arthas Genji - - E.T.C. Greymane     Sonya Hanzo       Maiev (new)     Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
       
      Core Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza Abathur↑ Dehaka Jaina↑ Brightwing- Azmodan Diablo+ Junkrat Lúcio+ Nazeebo Muradin Li-Ming Malfurion↑ Sylvanas Stitches Malthael (reworked)+ Stukov  Zagara Varian (Taunt) Valla Uther   Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
       
      Viable Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Alarak Ana Murky Blaze+ Cassia Auriel Xul D.Va Chromie Kharazim   Garrosh Gul'dan+ Li Li+   Johanna Illidan Lt. Morales   Leoric Kael'thas+ Rehgar   Tyrael  Kel'Thuzad Tyrande    Zarya Kerrigan↓       Lunara       Nova↓       Ragnaros+       Samuro       The Butcher       Thrall       Tracer+       Tychus↑       Varian (Colossus Smash)       Zeratul       Zul'jin↓     Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.
       
      Niche Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Chen Cho'gall Tassadar Gazlowe Cho'gall Raynor   Medivh Rexxar Valeera↓   Probius↓   Varian (Twin Blades of Fury)   Sgt. Hammer↓ Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They may also picked to "round out" your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a "jungler" (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.
       
      Lost Vikings Tier
      The Lost Vikings Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
       
      Metagame assessment
      Maiev: Where do I even begin? Despite heavy-handed nerfs delivered less than a week after her release, Maiev continues to dominate popularity (read: is banned about 5 times more than she is played at all levels) and top win rates. The fact that I'm not sure what exactly contributes to her success is probably a good indicator of what actually contributes to her success: everything. High survivability, high mobility, high damage potential through Fan of Knives's ability to reset, the ability to both set up and follow up for and on crowd control through Spirit of Vengeance + Umbral Bind, serviceable waveclear, and Vault of the Wardens on a ridiculously short cooldown for good measure to make her an unviable target for heroic ability chains. Warden's Cage ended up the favoured heroic ability choice for Maiev, and it's rather easy to see why; it just works well with the rest of her kit on top of being quite easy for anyone to use, though Containment Disc is not to be underestimated either. She's at the top of the food chain, so Prime tier it is. Expect further nerfs.
      Jaina: Jaina was last month's surprise for me, which is why I had her marked for promotion. I slightly feared Genji players, but after witnessing some more competent Jaina play (including my own not-so-competent experimentation), it's safe to say that Summon Water Elemental is absolutely key to dealing with him (along pretty much every other assassin in the game). For games with little melee assassin pressure, Ring of Frost remains a powerful win condition. Jaina also sports what is arguably the game's best waveclear potential, and can deal with mercenary camps extremely well with Frost Shards and Ice Lance. 
      Malthael: I can certainly see how Malthael's rework may have seemed rather grim to anyone underestimating the power of cleaving attacks. This change, though accompanied by slight nerfs to his damage and survivability, allowed his already powerful laning  to improve, just as with his ability to deal with mercenary camps. One should never underestimate the power of PvE, particularly in less organised play. Furthermore, his reliance upon Tormented Souls was reduced, allowing for Last Rites to actually get some playtime. I've been impressed with it, and I'm probably going to update his builds to reflect this newfound power.
      Abathur: Abathur is the kind of hero that comes and goes with the metagame state and who generally thrives in assassin-oriented states. As with Genji, I wouldn't be fooled by his limited winrates; he just simply tends to do better at higher level, more organised play, and particularly in longer matches. To avoid on Haunted Mines and Braxis Holdout. Please pick your Ultimate Evolution target responsibly, and go for an assassin, with Maiev, Genji, Hanzo, and Jaina making incredible targets. Incidentally, avoid Evolve Monstrosity; it has been tested and rejected a long time ago.
      Tychus: Not a big leap in tier, but a leap nonetheless. He went from seeing pretty much no play for quite a while to seeing some, including tournament play. As expected, he does well against Blaze and a few other bruisers, on top of being on the more resilient side of ranged assassins. Commandeer Odin is excellent, but the real sleeper here is Neosteel Coating, which can do funny things with Relentless Soldier.
      Probius: Nearly as unpopular as The Lost Vikings. Though I don't think he's bad, I certainly think he does not have a place in the current meta. All of the top picks do extremely well against him, as does diving in general. I really wish I had more insights here, but the very few times I did see him in the last month, it was rather sad to witness. 
      Sgt. Hammer: I initially had her as viable, but upon reading user comments, I had to agree: she does extremely well against team compositions that cannot deal with her, and poorly otherwise. This is basically what the Niche tier should be defined by. We could discuss at length why this design is rather unhealthy for the game, but I think Blizzard has recognized this by not releasing a single specialist in over a year.