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Alexstrasza Meta Tier List (November 2017)

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Our thirteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the Alexstrasza patch of November is here!

We present our thirteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Alexstrasza patch of November 2017.

Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Alexstrasza 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
  • Braxis Holdout
  • Cursed Hollow
  • Dragon Shire
  • Infernal Shrines
  • Sky Temple
  • Tomb of the Spider Queen
  • Towers of Doom
  • Volskaya Foundry

 

Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines replaced Haunted MInes and Garden of Terror.

 

Prime Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Arthas Genji - -
E.T.C. Greymane    
Garrosh 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
Anub'arak Falstad Brightwing Azmodan
Dehaka Kerrigan Lúcio+ Nazeebo
Diablo Li-Ming Rehgar Sylvanas-
Sonya+ Valla Tassadar-  
Stitches Zeratul    
Varian (Tank) 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
Johanna Chromie Kharazim Probius
Leoric Gul'dan Li Li Zagara
Muradin+ Illidan Lt. Morales Xul-
Zarya Kael'thas Malfurion  
  Kel'Thuzad Stukov  
  Jaina Tyrande  
  Lunara Uther  
  Ragnaros    
  Samuro    
  The Butcher    
  Tracer    

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 Alexstrasza (new)- Gazlowe
Cho'gall Junkrat   Medivh
Rexxar Nova   Sgt. Hammer
Tyrael Raynor    
  Thrall    
  Tychus    
  Valeera    
  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

Alexstrasza. She didn't feel great at all back at BlizzCon, and the following PTR saw no changes to her. I expected poor performance, but nothing quite as low as 41%. Where do I even begin? DragonqueenDragonqueen is obviously powerful, but is gated behind a ridiculously long cooldown. Outside of Dragonqueen, she's just... really weak. I don't quite understand the concept behind Gift of LifeGift of Life, but it screams double healer to me, which is unfortunate for multiple reasons I won't elaborate on. AbundanceAbundance heals for too little for how difficult it is to use, on top of putting a big obvious marks on where to shoot. I'm putting her as Niche(-) for now because I suspect most players don't play her all too well, but she's in dire need of buffs, and that was quite obvious 2 weeks ago.

Anub'arak is losing some of his former popularity, though no nerfs were had for a few months. Although I can't explain exactly why, I suspect that tanks with more raw survivability and a bit more sustained damage potential are currently being prioritized. He's still not bad at all, especially with CocoonCocoon to counter Genji's DragonbladeDragonblade and Malthael's Tormented SoulsTormented Souls. Give Locust SwarmLocust Swarm a try if there are no valuable heroic abilities for you to lock down.

Kerrigan has emerged as this month (and last month's) sleeper for ripping hero league wins away, and I suspect my shedding some light over her success may frustrate those whom have been exploiting her relative unpopularity to . Why is she doing so well, though? AssimilationAssimilation's design makes it particularly difficult for double support teams to take her out. In essence, this trait gains more value the longer Kerrigan survives, which then translates into more damage, which then translates into more survivability... and so on.

Zul'jin's most recent rework was certainly one of the most successful reworks to date. Although he wasn't bad to begin with, most of the changes ended up being buffs, contrary to what some players were claiming. To add to this, the meta is quite favourable to him; stacking up on BerserkerBerserker (and keeping its effect active for the damage bonus) is pretty safe with more than one healer around. His trait also tends to favour longer fights, due to the stacking mechanic, allowing him to snowball. GuillotineGuillotine is even starting to see more play, with Taz'dingo!Taz'dingo! feeling less and less necessary to deal with burst.

Rehgar's changes, which I had mistakenly labeled as nerfs, ended up being positive. Turns out, area of effect healing is trendy. Now, why might Rehgar be doing so well? Simply put, versatility. With healers becoming more and more (over)specialized, this is certainly a respectable thing to have. He brings bits of waveclear, mercenary clearing, dueling, and of course, healing to the table. Lightning BondLightning Bond is great for single-target damage as well, making Rehgar particularly strong on Battlefield of Eternity, and just as a general single-target damage dealer.

Tassadar is also falling off quite dramatically. I think I may have overestimated just how unpopular he was in last month's list, but today's values are quite clear. As with Anub'arak, I'm not quite sure what happened, but most of the common Tassadar tag teams (besides Tracer, but she's a strange case) are below 50% winrate. Since the viability of such edge support heroes depend on the strength of what they support, I suppose we shouldn't be all that surprised for this. Force WallForce Wall could probably surprise quite a few opponents, as it is strangely unpopular nowadays.

Nazeebo's October nerfs have struck home, although the current metagame state isn't helping either; chip damage isn't all that effective when it simply gets healed off. He still remains strong if you plan on taking it to the late game, but is nowhere near to being first-pick worthy.

Samuro has always been in a strange place. Though the upcoming stealth changes are going to be extremely positive for him (BlizzCon spoilers!), I feel like his ability to split push, deal with mercenary camps extremely quickly, and single-out healers (or, anyone isolated, really) make him a sleeper. He's at his worse when Mirror ImageMirror Image get taken out quickly, but none of the top tier contenders are particularly heavy on area of effect damage. His winrate is currently the highest of the entire cast, yet his popularity is in the bottom 20. I suppose he requires quite a bit of decision making skills to make good use of. He's not all that flashy either, which may be contributing to his lack of popularity. Give him a try.

Jaina is doing well, though feels a bit out of meta right now, as with most other casters. I suspect that nerfs to any of the Prime tier heroes will see her surge right back up. Generally seen as a 4th or 5th pick.

Lt. Morales, Malfurion, Stukov, and Uther all feel extremely balanced right now, each hovering between healthy 49 and 50% winrates. They all have their niches (Morales on Braxis, for instance), and are generally picked as second healers when the Core tier contenders have been distributed.

Xul, whom I may have overhyped recently, lost Blackheart's Bay and Garden of Terror, some of his favourite maps. To add to this, the tanks who tend to punish him the most are right at the top of the food chain. This is on top of August's pretty heavy-handed nerfs. Just to add insult to injury, he's just not all that great against double support either. Xul is now part of the bottom 10 and will probably stay there for a while.

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She's not weak at all!!! It's just about people who don't know they should use her with high health heroes like chogall or Diablo and people or habe 2sup team... well I and my friends have uch fun with alex+chogall combo .. just people should understand to use her on ranked or teams or draft ! 

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2 minutes ago, MZLICH said:

She's not weak at all!!! It's just about people who don't know they should use her with high health heroes like chogall or Diablo and people or habe 2sup team... well I and my friends have uch fun with alex+chogall combo .. just people should understand to use her on ranked or teams or draft ! 

Alex is in 'Niche' tier. I think that's just because of her specialised way of healing. It doesn't fit into the regular Meta. Especially with Cho sitting in niche with her. Though she is rather strong currently with most beefy front liners so it will be interesting to see where she lands in the Hazno patch after people become accustomed to her play style.

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Lucio is your candidate to the Prime Tier, I'd like to see a couple of lines about him in your Metagame Assessment section, if it doesn't bother you too much.

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46 minutes ago, Oxygen said:

I don't quite understand the concept behind Gift of LifeGift of Life, but it screams double healer to me, which is unfortunate for multiple reasons I won't elaborate on.

I'd say that she indeed is suited for Double Support compositions, more specifically the likes of Brightwing or Lúcio, that can keep Alexstrasza above 75% health most of the time. I've been playing with her non-stop ever since her release, and I can say that the Gift of Life Build is arguably the best (I like using this one). LifeblossomLifeblossom is a fantastic talent, although it requires proper positioning so you can always pick the blossom, but if you do, keeping everyone topped is easy. That's why she requires a solid frontline to be truly effective; and given how her heals work, Double Support + Double Warrior is the way to go.

Quote

Alex is in 'Niche' tier. I think that's just because of her specialised way of healing. It doesn't fit into the regular Meta. Especially with Cho sitting in niche with her.

Funny you say that. She actually works fantastically well with Cho'gall. I've been playing some games as Alex with Double Healer + Cho'gall + Split pusher and it's a wild ride. Really fun.

Overall, I wouldn't say that Alexstrasza is weak, but she definitely has one of hardest learning curves and skill ceilings of all Supports in the game. You need to time well your cooldowns and be very, VERY, VERY careful with positioning so you don't take chip damage.

But I do agree that she needs some buffs, although I'm unsure if Blizzard will really buff her. They really dislike having over the top Supports. But Dog Bless if they do it.

Edited by Valhalen
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I can see why Alex would be "weak", but I'd never imagine she would be put that far bottom. In most cases, I would say she is viable, but second pick in almost every comp.

I'm really surprised that E.T.C. is a prime hero. Honestly, Garrosh is the only obvious Prime hero, and I can see Arthas doing sick plays with his pressure and survivability, but E.T.C. doesn't have a lot to shine with. He's a one trick pony that's dangerous for the first few seconds, then falls off quickly in long dragged out fights. Perhaps I'm just underestimating him, but I would definitely rank Muradin at least equal to E.T.C.

Also, I wonder how is Probius competing in the Viable tier? His kit just screams set up time and lag time. Furthermore, he has one of the lowest popularity rates - in the range of Tychus and Chen - but having none of the niches they've staked. The only positive I see for Probius is his super zoning at level 20 with Null Gate and Gather Minerals Cannon, which can dictate the pace of all key fights.

Otherwise, I agree with everything else.

Edited by Trensicourt

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56 minutes ago, Trensicourt said:

I'm really surprised that E.T.C. is a prime hero. Honestly, Garrosh is the only obvious Prime hero, and I can see Arthas doing sick plays with his pressure and survivability, but E.T.C. doesn't have a lot to shine with. He's a one trick pony that's dangerous for the first few seconds, then falls off quickly in long dragged out fights. Perhaps I'm just underestimating him, but I would definitely rank Muradin at least equal to E.T.C.

Actually Garrosh has this same issue. If he misses his bread and butter combo, he is pretty much a sitting duck. 

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55 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

Actually Garrosh has this same issue. If he misses his bread and butter combo, he is pretty much a sitting duck. 

On the other hand, he has the ability to stay in a fight. His armor makes it harder to kill him, but he still takes the same healing, so basically with a good healer Garrosh has extreme potential. Also Warlord's is a game changing heroic with good coordination. Unless there is a Malthael on the enemy team, I assume he's very powerful.

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I've been seeing phenomenal success with Alexstrasza, currently holding a 60% winrate with 15 games. She's what's pulling me out of Gold 4, so I was seriously worried that she would get nerfed. Then I saw her in Niche tier with a 41% winrate, and my jaw hit the floor. I find it contemptuously easy to outperform double healer comps as a solo Alex (two games in a row, my solo healing as Alex was more then double two enemy healers combined). On the bright side, this means she can only get BUFFED from here. Platinum, here I come. I find it quite easy to meet the 75% HP clause for her Q talents, and can just sit at the back cranking out heals.

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34 minutes ago, PixieKnight said:

I've been seeing phenomenal success with Alexstrasza, currently holding a 60% winrate with 15 games. She's what's pulling me out of Gold 4, so I was seriously worried that she would get nerfed. Then I saw her in Niche tier with a 41% winrate, and my jaw hit the floor. I find it contemptuously easy to outperform double healer comps as a solo Alex (two games in a row, my solo healing as Alex was more then double two enemy healers combined). On the bright side, this means she can only get BUFFED from here. Platinum, here I come. I find it quite easy to meet the 75% HP clause for her Q talents, and can just sit at the back cranking out heals.

One thing I really like is that Gift of Life can be used on minions and mercenaries. So after getting to level 7, I can spam it on those to further increase the pushing power.

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Cmon guys, don't tell me you don't realize Gift of Life can be used together with Abundance to keep her healed at all times. Just keep her inside the circle before using Gift. She doesn't really need another healer in the team.

And yes Dragonqueen has a long cooldown, yet I think she's far better than the likes of Brightwing or Rehgar.

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Thank you for yet another fun tier list to start discussion about the meta of the game.

I think you're overestimating Alextrasza's weaknesses. Although she's difficult to master and she has some problems with her healing, I still think she is powerful enough to stand her ground. She is still in need of some buffs, mostly to her trait.

Kerrigan was a surprise to me. Haven't seen her that much in HL, but I guess the stats speak for themselves.

Zul'Jin and Samuro really deserve their rise in the tiers, but Jaina? Has she really gone that far? I always thought Jaina and Kael'Thas were on equal footing when it came to damage. I've always preferred KT myself and I kind of understand the change, but still.

All your other tier loverings seem fine, but as you said most of them came a month late. I still think you should update these at least every time a big update is released.

The dev team has really balanced the healer meta game and I think most of them are currently as balanced as can be. Tassadar has really fallen to his previous niche healer place again. We'll see if they decide to buff him again to make him overpowered for a few days. Regarding Rehgar, he didn't ever really fall as down as you predicted.

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I'm very glad that you take my comments at the last tier list into consideration.

But there're still some heroes' assessments that can be discussed.

Sonya is really strong right now. She's probably THE best solo laner thanks to her great sustain and damage, and her team fight presence is really strong. She can apply enormous pressure on the enemy backline with her high single-target damage (poisoned spear btw), which can break the double-support comp very effectively. Not to mention that she's extremely hard to kill at late game (Nerve of Steel and Ignore Pain).

Diablo had kind of fallen out of favour imo. Despite his enormous health pool, he's really fragile against poke damage since he has no sustain at all. So he's quite weak against Double support because 1) Its damage is mostly from a range assassin's poke; 2) The supports can keep their team alive even if Diablo catch someone with his combo. I think he deserves to be in Viable tier.

Muradin defenitely deserves at Core tier right now, with the same reason as Rehgar -  versatility. His rework vastly improves his talent versatility and damage (If you go for damage build. Trust me, it's insane.), and he's never a bad pick when you need a tank.

If I'm not mistaken, Grubby just found out a bug that makes Samuro really clunky to play, and he said he'll never play him until Blizzard fix it. This bug may makes him much less viable.

I haven't play Alexstraza myself, but from my experience of playing with and against her, she seems pretty strong, especially in double support comp. Her damage is surprisingly high, and her burst heal is really strong. Even though her Q requires her to sacrifice part of her health, she has ways to sustain herself through her W or her lv 7 talent. Dragonqueen is very strong during team fight, and her heroic provide many utility to her kit. You just need to remembet that you're playing a support. (Yes, I've seen many players play her like an assassin. Spamming E on enemy team, diving into the enemy team with her heroic and Dragonqueen and try to push the enemy team into her team. They think they're invincible in during Dragonqueen.) 

Edited by ShadowerDerek

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I think bruiser Varian needs a try now. His tank build has been outplaced by Garrosh since months ago but he's still a good assassin with decent sustain with Wall Parry and Second Wind talents. His best asset has to be his Mortal Strike talent which prevents enemy healing.

EDIT: Oh and I also forgot to point out how much I disagree with Kerrigan's rise. She's still limping from her last batch of nerfs some months ago, and the latest patches have done literally nothing for her.

Edited by Leadblast

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Also, isn't Chen and Tyrael at viable tier in the last tier list? Why they don't have a red arrow, and why do they drop to top tier? I think some explainations on the assessment is needed.

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Tyrael has good synergy with some of the heroes I see rising in this tier list. The problem lies in that I don't understand the rise of said heroes in the first place. Kerrigan for instance I don't understand why is she even there - she's still suffering from her latest nerfs, her Ravage build has been literally "ravaged" with the elimination of key talents (no longer being able to Ravage onto allies for escape, for instance). Greymane has literally zero self-sustain, and needs badly a strong sustained heal like Morales to even stay alive. Genji is better, but even he shouldn't be THAT strong (basically no self-sustain, just as Greymane). these two heroes seem really out of place in a meta with double healers, assassins with some form of self-sustain (eg Valla, Zul'jin or Falstad), or warriors that can heal themselves (Sonya, Arthas and ETC).

Edited by Leadblast

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51 minutes ago, Leadblast said:

Kerrigan for instance I don't understand why is she even there - she's still suffering from her latest nerfs, her Ravage build has been literally "ravaged" with the elimination of key talents (no longer being able to Ravage onto allies for escape, for instance).

Most Kerrigan don't use Ravage build anymore. The damage build that aims to maximise her W + E combo's damage is usually what I've seen, but I don't know its strength as I don't play Kerrigan myself.

51 minutes ago, Leadblast said:

Greymane has literally zero self-sustain, and needs badly a strong sustained heal like Morales to even stay alive. Genji is better, but even he shouldn't be THAT strong (basically no self-sustain, just as Greymane). these two heroes seem really out of place in a meta with double healers, assassins with good self-sustain (eg Valla or Falstad), or warriors that can heal themselves (Sonya, Arthas and ETC).

Honestly, if you have 2 supports to keep you healthy, you don't really need self-sustain. All you need is high sustain and burst damage as you're probably the only damage dealer. Greymane does the job very well, on top of being a decent jungler and solo laner, which makes him very versatile and strong.

Genji's and Falstad's damage are not good enough to be the only damage dealer. Genji is often paired with Li Ming to form a 'double-reset' comp that devastate the enemy with high burst damage and the snowball potential of their ability resets. But I agree that he's not as strong as before. And Falstad's self-sustain is too low to be relied on. 

 

Edited by ShadowerDerek
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2 hours ago, ShadowerDerek said:

They think they're invincible in during Dragonqueen.

I think this is their minds conditioning the idea that BIG DRAGON = SUPER STRONG. Yes, she does get a bonus health, but people seem to forget that she has a very low base health, and Dragonqueen doesn't give her armor  (which it should).

Also, in some cases, going Dragonqueen at the wrong time places a huge target on her head, making easier for skillshot to hit her due the massive size (i.e. Hook, Sleep Dart, Telekinesis, Chains of Kel'Thuzad).

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54 minutes ago, ShadowerDerek said:

Most Kerrigan don't use Ravage build anymore. The damage build that aims to maximise her W + E combo's damage is usually what I've seen, but I don't know its strength as I don't play Kerrigan myself.

Honestly, if you have 2 supports to keep you healthy, you don't really need self-sustain. All you need is high sustain and burst damage as you're probably the only damage dealer. Greymane does the job very well, on top of being a decent jungler and solo laner, which makes him very versatile and strong.

Genji's and Falstad's damage are not good enough to be the only damage dealer. Genji is often paired with Li Ming to form a 'double-reset' comp that devastate the enemy with high burst damage and the snowball potential of their ability resets. But I agree that he's not as strong as before. And Falstad's self-sustain is too low to be relied on. 

 

Hmm, interesting.

I suppose having burst damage makes more sense than sustained damage in a context where heals are abundant. If that's the case I could see Kerrigan/Genji + Li Ming working.

Falstad's sustain is kinda weak, yes, but it's better than literally nothing, like Greymane. His skill and talent's set is flexible enough, you can build around Hammerang + autoattacks, or around Lightning Rod for stronger single-target damage.

I still prefer a bruiser (Fury) Varian over a Greymane myself. Total lack of self-sustains is terrible in the end imho.

In any case, going back to your original question, Tyrael goes well with heroes that like to dive into an enemy backline and need to do so protected like Genji or Kerrigan. I think he's top pick/ban material for maps like Volskaya which is still in rotation...

Edited by Leadblast

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Holy, you guys jumped on this one fast, discussion wise. That's great. I'll produce a response a bit later today to clarify some points, since mobile isn't ideal for big responses. I should note rather quickly that while I do use hotslogs to look at winrates, which are useful to see trends, it is far from the only point of consideration.

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Why is Junkrat in Niche tier? If there is a place where enemy must gather, his grenades gain a lot of value, especially once you reach level 16. Once you get Endless NadesEndless Nades, it becomes really hard to push on your Keep. His Conc Mine is also versatile, being escape tool or displacement similar to Garrosh's combo, albeit being harder to pull off. Plus, his level 13  talent Ripper AirRipper Air gives him semi-global status, you won't be as fast Dehaka at reaching one place, but you'll be faster at getting back. Can do camps at cost of some of his HP, you just have to alter between Q and AA.
Only thing I see about him that's a bit lackluster is his Heroic abilities, they need setup.
If it was up to me, I would place him in at least Viable.

Edited by SleepySheepy

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22 hours ago, MZLICH said:

She's not weak at all!!! It's just about people who don't know they should use her with high health heroes like chogall or Diablo and people or habe 2sup team... well I and my friends have uch fun with alex+chogall combo .. just people should understand to use her on ranked or teams or draft ! 

The devs I've spoken to at BlizzCon have agreed that she was undertuned. Take what you will from this combined to her low on-release popularity and winrates.

22 hours ago, SirGeorge113 said:

Alex is in 'Niche' tier. I think that's just because of her specialised way of healing. It doesn't fit into the regular Meta. Especially with Cho sitting in niche with her. Though she is rather strong currently with most beefy front liners so it will be interesting to see where she lands in the Hazno patch after people become accustomed to her play style.

Don't forget that tiers are basically meant represent player pick expectations, not *just* strength (though they often correlate). Even specialized heroes can end up powerful if they're overtuned. Malthael is a pretty good example; he's supposed to be a tank shredder, but currently does well against pretty much everything.

22 hours ago, Jonar said:

Lucio is your candidate to the Prime Tier, I'd like to see a couple of lines about him in your Metagame Assessment section, if it doesn't bother you too much.

I'll certainly add a bit about him, but basically: Crossfade - Speed BoostCrossfade - Speed Boost and SoundwaveSoundwave are both really good against the current top tier tanks; they all have something that can be dodged or messed up by the knockback, particularly Garrosh. You try yanking a good Lucio player.

21 hours ago, Trensicourt said:

I can see why Alex would be "weak", but I'd never imagine she would be put that far bottom. In most cases, I would say she is viable, but second pick in almost every comp.

I'm really surprised that E.T.C. is a prime hero. Honestly, Garrosh is the only obvious Prime hero, and I can see Arthas doing sick plays with his pressure and survivability, but E.T.C. doesn't have a lot to shine with. He's a one trick pony that's dangerous for the first few seconds, then falls off quickly in long dragged out fights. Perhaps I'm just underestimating him, but I would definitely rank Muradin at least equal to E.T.C.

Also, I wonder how is Probius competing in the Viable tier? His kit just screams set up time and lag time. Furthermore, he has one of the lowest popularity rates - in the range of Tychus and Chen - but having none of the niches they've staked. The only positive I see for Probius is his super zoning at level 20 with Null Gate and Gather Minerals Cannon, which can dictate the pace of all key fights.

Otherwise, I agree with everything else.

These are all very valid comments. I think E.T.C. is just awfully reliable, and often one of the best Garrosh counterpick, tank-wise. I'm inclined to push Muradin up, but I don't see him *thaaat* often.

I think Probius is a bit sleeper right now, but that's my editorial-please-take-with-a-grain-of-salt.

19 hours ago, Maxkitty said:

On the other hand, he has the ability to stay in a fight. His armor makes it harder to kill him, but he still takes the same healing, so basically with a good healer Garrosh has extreme potential. Also Warlord's is a game changing heroic with good coordination. Unless there is a Malthael on the enemy team, I assume he's very powerful.

Garrosh deals a surprising amount of damage once you learn how to properly weave in basic attacks. The armor just give him a lot of uptime and baits a ridiculous amount of overcommitting.

14 hours ago, Leadblast said:

Cmon guys, don't tell me you don't realize Gift of Life can be used together with Abundance to keep her healed at all times. Just keep her inside the circle before using Gift. She doesn't really need another healer in the team.

And yes Dragonqueen has a long cooldown, yet I think she's far better than the likes of Brightwing or Rehgar.

Sure, but her healing values remain pretty low for how much attention she needs.

9 hours ago, Foudmery said:

Can you guys please stop referring to Hotslogs as a legitimate winrate percentage source, that's just silly.

I take them with a grain of salt and combine them with my personal experience. Winrates aren't the only thing that are taken into account here, but they're a useful tool to see trends, along hero popularity.

8 hours ago, Fliits said:

Thank you for yet another fun tier list to start discussion about the meta of the game.

I think you're overestimating Alextrasza's weaknesses. Although she's difficult to master and she has some problems with her healing, I still think she is powerful enough to stand her ground. She is still in need of some buffs, mostly to her trait.

Kerrigan was a surprise to me. Haven't seen her that much in HL, but I guess the stats speak for themselves.

Zul'Jin and Samuro really deserve their rise in the tiers, but Jaina? Has she really gone that far? I always thought Jaina and Kael'Thas were on equal footing when it came to damage. I've always preferred KT myself and I kind of understand the change, but still.

All your other tier loverings seem fine, but as you said most of them came a month late. I still think you should update these at least every time a big update is released.

The dev team has really balanced the healer meta game and I think most of them are currently as balanced as can be. Tassadar has really fallen to his previous niche healer place again. We'll see if they decide to buff him again to make him overpowered for a few days. Regarding Rehgar, he didn't ever really fall as down as you predicted.

Yeah, I was on the busier side this month. I'm trying to update more often, but the meta is a bit of a cluster(...) right now. I'm looking forward to the other changes which will... well, make everything more confusing. And fun.

Regarding Alex, I'm pretty confident with my call. We'll see if she gets buffs.

7 hours ago, ShadowerDerek said:

I'm very glad that you take my comments at the last tier list into consideration.

But there're still some heroes' assessments that can be discussed.

Sonya is really strong right now. She's probably THE best solo laner thanks to her great sustain and damage, and her team fight presence is really strong. She can apply enormous pressure on the enemy backline with her high single-target damage (poisoned spear btw), which can break the double-support comp very effectively. Not to mention that she's extremely hard to kill at late game (Nerve of Steel and Ignore Pain).

Diablo had kind of fallen out of favour imo. Despite his enormous health pool, he's really fragile against poke damage since he has no sustain at all. So he's quite weak against Double support because 1) Its damage is mostly from a range assassin's poke; 2) The supports can keep their team alive even if Diablo catch someone with his combo. I think he deserves to be in Viable tier.

Muradin defenitely deserves at Core tier right now, with the same reason as Rehgar -  versatility. His rework vastly improves his talent versatility and damage (If you go for damage build. Trust me, it's insane.), and he's never a bad pick when you need a tank.

If I'm not mistaken, Grubby just found out a bug that makes Samuro really clunky to play, and he said he'll never play him until Blizzard fix it. This bug may makes him much less viable.

I haven't play Alexstraza myself, but from my experience of playing with and against her, she seems pretty strong, especially in double support comp. Her damage is surprisingly high, and her burst heal is really strong. Even though her Q requires her to sacrifice part of her health, she has ways to sustain herself through her W or her lv 7 talent. Dragonqueen is very strong during team fight, and her heroic provide many utility to her kit. You just need to remembet that you're playing a support. (Yes, I've seen many players play her like an assassin. Spamming E on enemy team, diving into the enemy team with her heroic and Dragonqueen and try to push the enemy team into her team. They think they're invincible in during Dragonqueen.) 

For Sonya and Muradin, I certainly agree. I haven't experienced the Samuro issues, so I can't discuss those. As for Diablo, I used to undervalue him as well, but a few close players have showed me the light. He has potential at the highest levels of play.

7 hours ago, Leadblast said:

I think bruiser Varian needs a try now. His tank build has been outplaced by Garrosh since months ago but he's still a good assassin with decent sustain with Wall Parry and Second Wind talents. His best asset has to be his Mortal Strike talent which prevents enemy healing.

EDIT: Oh and I also forgot to point out how much I disagree with Kerrigan's rise. She's still limping from her last batch of nerfs some months ago, and the latest patches have done literally nothing for her.

I'll check into getting some bruiser Varian games in.

7 hours ago, ShadowerDerek said:

Also, isn't Chen and Tyrael at viable tier in the last tier list? Why they don't have a red arrow, and why do they drop to top tier? I think some explainations on the assessment is needed.

Maybe, I'll double check. I confuse myself at times.

2 hours ago, SleepySheepy said:

Why is Junkrat in Niche tier? If there is a place where enemy must gather, his grenades gain a lot of value, especially once you reach level 16. Once you get Endless NadesEndless Nades, it becomes really hard to push on your Keep. His Conc Mine is also versatile, being escape tool or displacement similar to Garrosh's combo, albeit being harder to pull off. Plus, his level 13  talent Ripper AirRipper Air gives him semi-global status, you won't be as fast Dehaka at reaching one place, but you'll be faster at getting back. Can do camps at cost of some of his HP, you just have to alter between Q and AA.
Only thing I see about him that's a bit lackluster is his Heroic abilities, they need setup.
If it was up to me, I would place him in at least Viable.

He'll shine in a meta that doesn't feature infinite aoe sustain.

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21 hours ago, Oxygen said:

The devs I've spoken to at BlizzCon have agreed that she was undertuned. Take what you will from this combined to her low on-release popularity and winrates.

Do you think she'll get some buffs? The Hanzo PTR patch has nothing for her, though.

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Is this tier list geared towards pro play or HL? 

Regardless, Genji's performance at Blizzcon was definitely underwhelming for a prime tier hero. Arthas and Malthael also had horrendous winrates but I agree in HL they can still be a menace. Genji however has some of the worst winrates in HL as well. I can't rly see an argument for Genji that up high after repeated nerfs.

The Blizzcon meta was dominated by Muradin, Greymane and Rehgar. With the nerf to Heavy Impact, Muradin will probably fall off but imo Rehgar should make it up to Prime.

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      When and how do you plan to fix them?
      Hi camerontenten! Thank you for your questions. You've touched on a few different topics so I'll do my best to try and address each of them. We are currently aware of the challenges that minor regions experience and are investigating ways to create additional incentives for players to participate in these modes that are facing challenges.
      Being able to queue for multiple modes is an interesting idea and compelling. However, there are many challenges that come with that. For example, when a player is eligible for matches in different queues, what happens? Is it a first come first serves? What happens to the other 9 players in a match you choose to not go into? We have a holding mechanic that allows players of higher ratings to place a hold on players they feel they could make a match with in the near future (whoa...psychic). A change like this would have far reaching impacts across numerous game modes and potentially create scenarios where all game modes would have a degraded performance. Don't get me wrong, I love this idea and it has been discussed within the team. However, when we make changes to the matchmaker, we validate our changes across historical data for the the population to understand the impact of the changes. With a change as complex as this we would have to verify that all game modes observed a net positive in terms of quality of games as well as queue times.
      In terms of duo queuing: 
      I agree, the game is very enjoyable with friends and I assure you we are very much invested in trying to improve the experience for our minor region heroes...of the storm:)
      How do you feel about the current state of "solo laners" and how do you feel about the current state of pocket picks like Murky?
      Hey Parrot_on_ROIDS, thanks for the question and love the name ?
      Solo laners create an interesting dynamic that is influenced a lot by the battleground you’re playing on. For the most part, we think this is an interesting role for the team and as these are typically bruiser characters, they fit well into many team compositions providing a second frontline character. In general, we see a decent variety of viable solo laners, but there is a lack of ranged character involvement. This is mostly okay but seeing a wider variety of heroes involved would probably be an improvement and something we can chase on the design and balance side.
      In terms of pocket pick characters, I think these are fine if they’re seen occasionally and in the right situation. We definitely don’t want to see the game become a “Murky meta”, but having the occasional Murky pick is fine. A general rule of thumb here would be that the more a hero forces the other 9 players in a match to drastically change their play, the more cautious we are about that hero being overly common. Murky of the old days typically meant he would split push the entire match, forcing his own team to fight in a lot of 4v5 situations which wasn’t fun for them. On the flip side, the 5-player team also had to babysit against Murky which also wasn’t fun. Assuming Murky is playing a bit more of a ‘standard’ game and participating with his teammates, then I think the situation is more enjoyable for everyone… sorry, bit of a tangent but hopefully still relevant ?
      Can we expect to see dedicated roles in QM soon (tank/healer/dmg per team)
      We are working currently on hardening the rules for roles in Quick Match. We are implementing ways in which we can make sure that people who are picking roles with low demand are more effectively informed that there are roles in demand right now that they could fill.
      Question about matchmaking in master hl. How matchmaking works currently in master? Because i have feelings that before grandmasters are up, it was different. In 2 first weeks of season I was matched with 5-9k players having 3k and then when grandmasters were announced i was started getting 0-1,5k master players having 5k points. And quality of matches were much lower. Does this work on purpose because of lower playerbase in master and harsher requirements for grandmaster players?
      Hi Ynous, thank you for your question. Whenever Master players are considered, the matchmaker will first try to make a game with players from one division, before expanding the search to the adjacent ones. It won’t let Master players be in a game that has more than one division spread (e.g. Diamond 1 and Masters are OK, Diamond 2 and Masters are not OK). This spread will only be allowed if all players to be put into a match have waited in the queue for at least 4 minutes. From matchmaker’s perspective Masters and GMs are considered to be different divisions, so when GMs were formed that player pool became separated from Masters by a wait time barrier in addition to all the other rules. In any case, for both Masters and GMs matchmaker is looking to not only make a fair game but to keep player’s MMRs as close as possible – with allowed MMR spread growing slowly over the first 15 minutes of wait time. Currently, the amount of rank points a player has inside a single division are not taken into account by HL matchmaker, so the games you have described were formed based on the MMR of the players involved. In your case, my guess is you probably were a lower MMR player in the matches before GMs were up, and now you’re probably a higher MMR player in those matches as there are fewer high-MMR players (as in, they are more likely to be in GMs now, which is a separate division).
      Would it be possible to steal the ear-destroying Dota2 ready sound? I get tired of losing 600 points and having to play low-priority. ?
      I’m not sure Valve would be too happy with that, but we are in discussions about a form of ready check. Personally, I would go with Murky’s March of the Murlocs horn or Whitemane’s laugh as a ready sound!
      1. Why is Hero League seeded from Quickmatch, when they are fundamentally different game modes?
      This has led to all kinds of abuse over the years with people purposefully cheesing QM for a higher HL rank, as well as being basically the sole reason for the common complaints of a feeling of inconsistency in the "game knowledge" of teammates at any given rank in HL.
      QM is a fundamentally randomized and unpredictable environment. As such, it gives players a warped sense of what balance is, how to form a team comp, and the meta. What makes that a good seed for HL?
      Is it unreasonable to just make Unranked Draft the only seed? UD is fundamentally much closer to HL in terms of the skillset and game knowledge required for success, so it is an infinitely better predictor of how someone will perform in the HL environment.
      2. What is the current form of decay supposed to accomplish?
      For one, it doesn't kick in until you've finished your placements, so people can just wait and do their 10 matches at the end of the season to avoid decay entirely.
      And two, It's not aggressive enough for how short our seasons are. Playing one extra match every 20 days is nothing when the seasons are only a few months long to begin with.
      One of HL's biggest issues over the years has been that the "bare minimum" of matches you can play to keep your rank is just too low, and this doesn't really solve that problem.
      Thank you for your question. Generally when you begin playing HL in a new season, there are 2 cases. In the first scenario, a player has played HL in previous season, in which case we will use your rating from that season. In the second scenario, the player has not played in the last season. Previously when confronted with the second situation, the game would look at other queues to try and use more recent information to estimate the player’s skill. The order in which we would look at the queues is: TL is seeded from HL, HL is seeded from UD, UD is seeded from QM. We changed the algorithm with the last season roll. Going forward, we will only use another queue’s information to seed a player in new season if they have never played enough HL games in any of the previous seasons to place into a definitive rank, and if they did - we will ignore other queues for seeding purposes. In other words, the issue described in the post you have linked should be resolved.
      Do you plan to make the term of MMR & RANK Decay shorter? The decay standard now seems to be a bit long.
      Hello! We are always looking to iterate on changes we make to Rating and Ranked Decay. We are monitoring the impact Ranked Decay is having on Hero League. The decay timers may be adjusted as a result. However, we won't be making any changes to the decay timers in the middle of a season as we want to ensure all players are aware of such changes before they play their placement matches (which is when the decay timers get initialized).
      Are there any plans to add a an AFK check to the start of drafts like many other MOBAs? Losing a game because one player is AFK and gets randomly assigned a hero that’s bad in the map/team comp is incredibly frustrating and honestly it feels like it could be easily avoidable.
      Hello Ankoria! This suggestion is actually something we have been considering for some time now. You can find an answer to a similar question here: 
      Have You guys considered to cover the AMA online in the future? Like Ion & Josh from WoW?
      Hi, ErothTV! We’ve approached answering questions about Heroes development many different ways over the years – from livestream or video Q&A’s with our team leaders, to reddit, forum, and social media posts by individual team members - and we will continue to try different things moving forward. We’re currently focusing our reddit AMAs on this format where we pick a specific area of the game and bring in the developers who work on that area to answer questions directly. I’ve been enjoying the way these have been going and think the individual developers being involved leads to more in-depth discussion, but please let us know if you have feedback on it or ideas on other ways we can continue improving our communication with the Heroes community. Thanks!!
      The biggest problems that occur with matchmaking seem the be around the "failure mode"s, where the matchmaker fails to find an appropriate match in the required time, and makes a wildly inappropriate match right now. Is there work on the way in degrading that more gracefully?
      Previously, the matchmaker search criteria would degrade gracefully to a cutoff point (for the party/player with the longest wait time), and then make the best match it can at that cutoff point. This would result in sometimes you being pulled into these matches being made at another players cutoff point. That is probably what you were experiencing, and we agree that this wasn't the best experience for the player. As a result we have made some improvements to it this season for Hero League. Each player now has their own search criteria. The players search criteria will degrade gracefully and only when players fit each others search criteria will they be placed together into a game—whereas previously it was based purely on the party/player search criteria who had the longest wait time. However, there is still a maximum cutoff of 15 minutes before the matchmaker makes the best possible match it can. This is currently live in Hero League and we are monitoring the experience.
      1. Replay system is so uncomfortable. Advance of replay system will make Ranked players more skillful. I heard in past interviews that the system is being improved, how long has it been?
      2.And the reconnecting system so! The reconnecting time so boring. ? 
      Hi 6igbear, thank you for your question. We think improving actual gameplay experience is higher priority than upgrading replay system. We have talked about these issues before: 
      Since then, we’ve been doing research in how networking model implementation affects player experience. While some of the improvements stemming from this research are still in progress, we have made a few fixes which are already live. Most recently, with the Whitemane patch, we were able to improve efficiency of how the game is sending user input over the network. This resulted in ~2x-3x reduction of bandwidth consumption, improving gameplay experience for players with challenging network conditions as well as speeding up ‘rejoin in progress’ for cases when network was a limiting factor. A nice by-product of that is that replay files are smaller in size as well.
      With voice comms it feels like the main disadvantage of duo queue has been eliminated. Have you considered adding duo queue back to HL?
      This is something we've discussed internally. We think there is value in ensuring players can play with friends and make new ones in Hero League. There are complications, and many differing opinions, but it's something we're considering for next year.
      Why are new heroes allowed in ranked as soon as they come out? When Alterac Pass was introduced it was delayed from rank for a week or two so people could get used to it. Shouldn't heroes be treated the same?
      Allowing new heroes in day of forces people to misuse bans because they might think someone is OP or they are afraid they're UP and a teammate with instalock them. Theres also people who go straight into ranked and mandate they have to play a hero regardless of skill/team comp. Seems like waiting a little bit is a good fix.
      Hi AlexRain1, There’s two main reasons that we allow new heroes into ranked modes immediately.
      1. It’s actually really critical for our team to collect lots of data and make meaningful balance decisions quickly. We believe that our balance patches that come two weeks following a new hero release provides a really good update cadence for the game. For those balance patches, we are able to use about a week of data from live matches to inform our decisions internally, implement and validate our changes, etc. While we absolutely do look at QM and all data available, being able to utilize data from higher level HL matches is much more meaningful. Even the fact that ranked matches require a player to be level 5 on a character first helps to validate this data further, and of course seeing pick and ban rates, is useful data in itself.
      2. The other angle is from a perspective that new and updated content is the lifeblood of this game. From reworks and significant balance changes, to of course new heroes – these are all opportunities to shake up the meta and create new strategies. The game is constantly evolving, and this can help to even resurface older heroes that may now present new synergies or counters.
      For Alterac Pass specifically, we discussed it quite a bit, but felt that having this new battleground enter ranked modes right at the end of the ranked season wasn’t the best experience. We instead wanted to create an interesting moment where the next ladder season would utilize this battleground for its entirety.
      Why Matchmaking changes are taking forever to be done ? We see new events and skins very often, are you investing more resources to make the game "prettier" instead of better ?
      We do have separate, dedicated teams focusing on each area of the game, so releasing a new Hero or a new skin does not take away attention from matchmaking or other feature work. It's critical that we continue making content while also making the game better - these things are equally important to us, and our team structure reflects that. The sensation that we move faster on content is really speaking to a different thing - content changes are more visible and tangible.
      Matchmaking is an area of game development that is incredibly challenging and perpetually evolving, not just for Heroes of the Storm, but for all games. There is no perfect matchmaking; it's always a series of trade-offs where we're striving to get the highest quality matches for the largest percentage of players in the most reasonable timeframes, all while attempting to balance an ever-increasing number of extremely impactful variables.
      Over the past 5 years, we've invested heavily in the ongoing quest to improve the Heroes matchmaking experience across the game and have made great strides along the way with changes that have been behind the scenes as well as public-facing. We've also developed tools that strengthen our ability to predict and understand the far-reaching implications of the changes that we want to make. Through all of this, we've been able to consistently improve the matchmaking experience for the vast majority of Heroes players. And while we've had setbacks, bugs, and fringe cases negatively impact some players as we've evolved the system, we believe matchmaking is one of the cornerstones of our game and will continue to dedicate a significant amount of time and resources to improving it forevermore. Speaking of which - we're always looking to hire talented Server Engineers to join the Heroes team and help support matchmaking as well as other feature development. Please apply!
      Hi, when can we expect some “balance” changes for Tassadar? He has been dangling at the bottom for months, and he is in a really akward and near unplayable spot. In Quickmatch you get matched against Global healing and splitpushing Slugs 99% of the time (why is this seen as a fair match up?). In draft you get reported for even hovering him, or if you are luckily you are not reported.. but solo supporting. I would love to play some Tassadar without trolling my team or getting split push stomped ❤️ Thanks for your time
      Hi IAreNoMonkey,
      Tassadar is someone the balance team has talked about. He could likely use some balance changes to address some of your concerns, but he may also need a larger update to better position him into a definitive role for the team. We do find that his role as an enabler for specific characters is pretty unique and can have a significant impact when paired with someone like Tracer. Whether he stays in this ‘enabler’ role or shifts to a more pure Assassin or Support is still up for debate.
      As far as matching Tassadar in QM games, we do have some changes to QM coming this fall that will help ensure games have a Tank, Healer & Ranged Assassin. This means you may still run into Tassadar vs. Abathur scenarios, but each team should also have a healer to minimize any disadvantage Tassadar may have in this specific matchup.
    • By Stan
      Twitch drops are back! Blizzard's giving away a Rare Loot Chest to all viewers who watch one of the clashes for a total of three or more hours. They're also randomly awarding 500 Common Loot Chests per hour and Heroic Account Unlock codes, which unlock every Hero exluding Whitemane on each broadcast day! Don't forget to link your Battle.net & Twitch accounts!
      Blizzard (Source)
      After your outpouring of enthusiasm during the Mid-Season Brawl for the ability to earn loot in Heroes of the Storm by watching HGC, we're bringing it back for the upcoming Western and Eastern Clashes!
      Guaranteed Drops
      All viewers who watch the Western Clash from Aug. 10 through 12 and/or the Eastern Clash from Aug. 16 through 19 on Twitch for a total of three or more hours will receive one Rare Loot Chest in Heroes of the Storm.
      Random Drops
      While the broadcast is live for both events, we’ll be randomly awarding 500 Common Loot Chests per hour. On top of that, three Heroic Account Unlock codes—which unlock every Hero excluding Whitemane—will be given away on each broadcast day. Tune in for at least one hour of the Western or Eastern Clash competition every day on any of the following channels to be entered to win one of these Heroic Account Unlocks at the end of each day.
      Eligible Channels:
      http://www.twitch.tv/blizzheroes http://www.twitch.tv/blizzheroesfr http://www.twitch.tv/blizzheroesde http://www.twitch.tv/blizzheroesru http://www.twitch.tv/blizzheroeskr Eligible Broadcast Times (PDT):
      Aug. 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Aug. 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Aug. 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. From 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 16 to 3:00 a.m. on Aug. 17 From 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 17 to 3:00 a.m. on Aug. 18 From 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 18 to 4:00 a.m. on Aug. 19 For more details, read the official rules here.
      Link Your Account
      To receive these legendary rewards, you must link your Twitch.tv and Blizzard accounts. Here’s how:
      Log in or create an account on Twitch.tv. Navigate to the Settings menu by clicking your account name in the top-right corner of the home screen. Navigate to the Connections tab of the Settings menu. Find the Battle.net section, then follow the given instructions after selecting a region and clicking Connect. When connecting accounts, be sure that you’re currently logged into the Blizzard account on which you’d like to receive your rewards. Click here to go straight to the Twitch settings page