Vlad

Heroes of the Storm Blaze

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This thread is for comments about our Blaze build guide for Heroes of the Storm.

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31 minutes ago, xeonio said:

 

homonymous? Did you mean harmonious?

No!

Homonymous
adjective
1. of the nature of homonyms; having the same name.

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Can you explain to me why Fortified Bunker is a terrible talent? You mentioned that Bunker Drop is great for keeping squishy targets safe, e.g. Blaze goes out and damages enemies while squishies hide from the burst portion of the fights. If Blaze still finds his backline annihilated, then won't it be wise to acquire this talent rather than Burn Notice? It's easy to imagine the protection 50 armor for 3 seconds brings to the backline.

 

Let's say the opposing enemy has a dive comp, e.g. Greymane, Genji, whatever. You as Blaze can't stop the gap closer; all you can do is drop a bunker while you dive and harass their backline. Kael'thas, Malfurion, whatever hides in the bunker after nearing low health. Assume that Greymane and Genji both dives in this scenario and tries to break the bunker (relatively low health). These are precious seconds where Kael'thas and Malfurion are safe where they can retaliate with moderate damage and slow enemies by setting oil spills, allowing a swift retreat if needed. Bam! The bunker explodes but Kael'thas and Malfurion have amazingly high armor for 3 seconds and can escape through the oil spills they left behind. Heck, both Malfurion and Kael'thas can trade during that instance - Malf Twilights and Roots and Kael'thas combos or Pyroblasts, due to the huge armor bonus they receive. My only concern for this talent, which is also a boon, is the "ult me" scenario where the Bunker is seen as a place to be ulted. When you get Fortified Bunker, that ult could become useless since not only would the recipients receive minimal damage but the oil spills created by Fortified Bunker would make follow ups harder.

I have not played Blaze, but I'm sure there are scenarios where this is situationally useful.

Edited by Trensicourt

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2 hours ago, Trensicourt said:

Can you explain to me why Fortified Bunker is a terrible talent? You mentioned that Bunker Drop is great for keeping squishy targets safe, e.g. Blaze goes out and damages enemies while squishies hide from the burst portion of the fights. If Blaze still finds his backline annihilated, then won't it be wise to acquire this talent rather than Burn Notice? It's easy to imagine the protection 50 armor for 3 seconds brings to the backline.

If anything, I feel like its main protection aspect lies in deterring heroes from continuing their attacks (besides dispelling stuff); however, if for some reason, they are in fact able to burn the Bunker down quickly, they're probably positioned to take out whatever's inside, regardless of the armor it provides. The more I play, and the more I realize how "meh-gimmicky" Bunker actually is as a heroic ability. I'll stand by my initial assessment about Fortified, but I won't hide the fact that we'll need more experience and data to make the right call. Fortunately, tournaments are coming shortly!

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48 minutes ago, Oxygen said:

If anything, I feel like its main protection aspect lies in deterring heroes from continuing their attacks (besides dispelling stuff); however, if for some reason, they are in fact able to burn the Bunker down quickly, they're probably positioned to take out whatever's inside, regardless of the armor it provides. The more I play, and the more I realize how "meh-gimmicky" Bunker actually is as a heroic ability. I'll stand by my initial assessment about Fortified, but I won't hide the fact that we'll need more experience and data to make the right call. Fortunately, tournaments are coming shortly!

Bunker is mainly used for:

1) Avoiding delayed damage (like Pulse Bomb, Pyroblast)

2) Dodging targeted abilities (like Judgement, The Hunt, etc)

3) Giving 25 armor (or 50) when your teammates need it

4) Cleansing CC and DoT damage

You shouldn't hide in the Bunker like forever. Instead, enter it for the aformentioned purposes, and get out from a safe direction immediately. Don't expect much from a 40s cd heroic.

Also, your Ignite build ...... is CLEARLY a bruiser build, because it highly emphasised on dealing AOE damage. If you want to play him as a main tank, you should use Oil Spill for peeling, disruption and zoning instead. Which means, you shouldn't ignite it until it's about to expire, or when you need self heal. The 40% slow is much, MUCH better than the damage when it comes to the aformentioned purposes. That's why a main tank build should be focused on the utility from his abilities. It should be like this (I can't remember the names of the talents though):

Lv 1: The globe talent seems really strong. It provides you a reliable self-cleanse on top of 'reducing' (I don't know if collecting a globe permanently reduce the cooldown or just refund 5s of the cooldown) the cooldown of it. 

Lv 4: The increased area and slow of the oil seems really good for this build. The cooldown reduction of oil when hitting a hero with Q can be good too.

Lv 7: Since you rarely ignite the oil with people inside, the quest talent doesn't really fit here. May be increasing his siege damage can be good. 

Lv 10: Bunker should be the default choice here because it provides more utility to teammates.

Lv 13: The charge talent is really good at spreading oil, unless you need the other talents to counter someone.

Lv 16: The self heal for your D (gachiGasm) can make you really tanky. 

Lv 20: Bunker upgrade is quite good actually. It can spread more oil and give more armor, which is really nice to have. The other talent seems really, REALLY underwhelming.

You really feels like a typical assassin main who want to deal all the damage by yourself, even if you're not playing an assassin.

Edited by ShadowerDerek

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Hey @Oxygen, do you know if MeltdownMeltdown stacks with Suppressive FireSuppressive Fire? I have been testing but I couldn't tell the difference yet. Technically they should, right? Against melee-oriented spell damage-based opponents (Greymane, Alarak, Thrall, Kerrigan, etc.) it should be really powerful.

On a side note, I kinda agree with @ShadowerDerek points on the Igniter build being more of a Bruiser build. Maybe adding another build option that focuses on laying carpets of Oil Spill without igniting them immediately would be nice. For instance, this is the build I tend to use when I'm solo tanking.

I honestly like CombustionCombustion more than Bunker DropBunker Drop since it can be used for peeling due its massive radius, plus the Flash FireFlash Fire upgrade turns Combustion into something similar to Gall's Twisting NetherTwisting Nether.

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35 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

On a side note, I kinda agree with @ShadowerDerek points on the Igniter build being more of a Bruiser build. Maybe adding another build option that focuses on laying carpets of Oil Spill without igniting them immediately would be nice. For instance, this is the build I tend to use when I'm solo tanking.

Oxygen is very NArrow-minded (get it?) when it comes to talent choices. In most of his guide, if he finds a talent 'amazing', he'll just completely ignore any talents in the same tier and marked them as 'not recommended' with the reason being 'it must compete with powerful alternatives' without elaboration.

I sometimes criticise Kendric for recommending too many talents, but Oxygen is like the complete opposite.

40 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

I honestly like CombustionCombustion more than Bunker DropBunker Drop since it can be used for peeling due its massive radius, plus the Flash FireFlash Fire upgrade turns Combustion into something similar to Gall's Twisting NetherTwisting Nether.

I don't know man. Using Combustion for peeling is kinda awkward. The fact that you need to channel it longer to have a longer slow, means that you either have to channel it pre-emptively and risk being interrupted, or the slow would be too short or too late to save your allies. As a main tank, you're gonna get CC'ed a lot. And tying it with your only defensive ability is really awful, especially when you pick the self heal on D at Lv 16.

Bunker is much more immediate, and much more impactful if you use it right. I often view Bunker as an Ice Block for your whole team.

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Lv 7: Since you rarely ignite the oil with people inside, the quest talent doesn't really fit here. May be increasing his siege damage can be good. 

You do realize that talent makes you ignite oil spills with basic attacks, right? Seems counterproductive since you said that the slow is better.

Considering this, your build doesn't seem that different from Oxygen's build, outside of your Heroic preference.

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1 hour ago, ShadowerDerek said:

In most of his guide, if he finds a talent 'amazing', he'll just completely ignore any talents in the same tier and marked them as 'not recommended' with the reason being 'it must compete with powerful alternatives' without elaboration.

Not really. If you read his recent reworked guides, you'll see he often put situational talents and explain in what situations they'd be useful. The thing is, he has a point on deeming certain talents as "amazing", which you pointed yourself ("it must compete with powerful alternatives"). There are some talents that simply outclass every single other talent in the respective tier, and picking any other talent would, in most situations, mean give up on a massive powerspike.

A prime example of this is Sonya. Although she has many interesting talents through her entire tree, she simply cannot flee from some key-talents that completely define her late-game (which are Nerves of SteelNerves of Steel and Ignore PainIgnore Pain, pretty much). In very VERY few occasions you can pick something else (like picking Arreat CraterArreat Crater instead of Ignore Pain) but even so if you'll be giving up a powerful advantage.

Another example, which I'd say is even less versatile than Sonya when it comes to talents, is Diablo, with 4 out of 7 talents that simply will weak his game if they're not picked. Devil's DueDevil's DueFrom the ShadowsFrom the ShadowsDiabolical MomentumDiabolical Momentum and DominationDomination are all MUST GET talents that turn Diablo into a one of the best hard-engage Heroes in the game (plus with the changes to health orbs Devil's Due is easily the best self-sustain talent in the entire game).

Edited by Valhalen
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2 hours ago, Valhalen said:

On a side note, I kinda agree with @ShadowerDerek points on the Igniter build being more of a Bruiser build.

As more things come to light, I don't think Blaze is geared to act as a main tank. He can do it better than a few other "bruisers" such as Artanis and Sonya, but he's not quite  like ETC or Muradin here. I suppose that explains why I naturally gravitated towards a bruiser-esque build. I'm certainly keeping a close eye on how Blaze is doing and on how he's being used. His day-1 win rates are surprisingly really low, but it makes sense for players to, perhaps, be confused by his role. Pretty high skill cap, too.

Treat and draft him like Sonya for the time being.

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3 hours ago, Oxygen said:

As more things come to light, I don't think Blaze is geared to act as a main tank. He can do it better than a few other "bruisers" such as Artanis and Sonya, but he's not quite  like ETC or Muradin here. I suppose that explains why I naturally gravitated towards a bruiser-esque build. I'm certainly keeping a close eye on how Blaze is doing and on how he's being used. His day-1 win rates are surprisingly really low, but it makes sense for players to, perhaps, be confused by his role. Pretty high skill cap, too.

Treat and draft him like Sonya for the time being.

Yeah, after playing with him I felt that he was pretty much something between Sonya and Muradin; a semi-bruiser, semi-tank. 

Do you think he'll be subject to any kind of buffs in the near future, based on those low day-1 win rates?

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Oxygen, can you compare to ChaosOS' stance on Blaze's talents? He made a math of the storm on Blaze and one of the key points he mentions is how powerful Fortified Bunker. I would like to see your differing opinions and why.

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12 hours ago, Guest ZeroTheSecond said:

You do realize that talent makes you ignite oil spills with basic attacks, right? Seems counterproductive since you said that the slow is better.

Considering this, your build doesn't seem that different from Oxygen's build, outside of your Heroic preference.

Yes, slow is better, but not when it's expired.

The key element of the build is to control the timing of igniting the oil. Given that each oil spill lasts for 5s without igniting, the 4s cd of your Q is actually quite long to be able to control your ignition. So, having another way to ignite the oil is really nice to have. Just make sure to control your basic attacks.

I agree that the later talents is quite similar to Oxygen's build since they provide utility and survivability.

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11 hours ago, Oxygen said:

As more things come to light, I don't think Blaze is geared to act as a main tank. He can do it better than a few other "bruisers" such as Artanis and Sonya, but he's not quite  like ETC or Muradin here. I suppose that explains why I naturally gravitated towards a bruiser-esque build. I'm certainly keeping a close eye on how Blaze is doing and on how he's being used. His day-1 win rates are surprisingly really low, but it makes sense for players to, perhaps, be confused by his role. Pretty high skill cap, too.

Treat and draft him like Sonya for the time being.

I don't really think he's geared as a bruiser tbh. He simply lacks the single-target burst damage or strong CC to be as threatening as the likes of Sonya and Dehaka. And his sustain is not as strong as the likes of Malthael and Leoric either.

New heroes' win rates (including recently reworked heroes) will always be low simply because people haven't figure out his best playstyles and builds yet while competing with heroes that are well-analysed. As times goes, their win rates will show their true potentials; so don't judge them based on their day-1 performance. Li Li, Johanna and Alexstraza are the perfect examples.

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While I do agree with most of the talent recommendations, I would say Meltdown deserves perhaps another look.  Probably only when you're also running New Habit (for the cooldown reduction on his trait) but Meltdown very quickly takes the enemy's damage for a nose dive.  It's not as flexible as the oil talents, sure, but the amount of survivability it gives you (and your team for that matter) is pretty strong.  If your team is trying to use Blaze as a main tank (especially against a mostly melee team), perhaps give it a consideration.

Edited by TSRD

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Bunker

Primary use of Bunker is used when Blaze is naturally the focus of aggro from all the slows and flashy fires and area stun charges. Ya lay it out to avoid burst and lockdown while gaining armour to then pop out the other side and run while laying down more oil slows or charging away.

Secondary use is body blocking. You can use it to block someone from following you or from escaping your team. Since you can throw slows ahead of them and then charge, its pretty easy to plant this ahead of them. You can exit the other side faster than they can run around it. You can also use it around core.

Thirdly comes finishing towers without using your oil spills and standing out in the opetn to do it. This lets you avoid the slow and gives you a warning against what might be hidden on the other side of the wall. You can also drop it to escape towers if you end up pulled into them by providing them another target. Also works to buy time on finishing core.

Lastly is the lure. Planting a bunker down simply draws fire ans bodies to it. People want to destroy it and feel the need to attack it or the people inside when they come out. I've planted this many times for the purpose of dying, knowing how many opponents will crowd around it. You can use this with teammates like Stukov, Jaina and Kael to punish them for pulling and killing you by extending the time they spend on doing so.

For fun 1 on 1, jump in and out one side to another while dropping oil. It's loads of fun. You can also jet leak around it before reentering. Good stuff! :)

P.S. Use Pyromania after exiting Bunker to stack armour and become unstoppable to increase your odds of survival further. Or use it offensively to bait for a Pyromania initiated offense. That's 50-75 armour depending on what you grabbed.

Edited by Morcalivan

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Blaze is very odd. He feels like some kind of "AOE bruiser". I figured his initiation combo pretty quickly (Jet + Pyromania on hit, then start spilling Oil and igniting it as expected) and it worked for me.

I have yet to try Combustion but the bunker protects fragile allies decently. It doesn't go very well with spellspammers like Li-Ming tho.

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I've been playing with Blaze non-stop, and he easily became one of my favorite Warriors, or rather, one of my favorite characters. Once you get the hang of the vector targeting of Oil SpillOil Spill, using it becomes second nature; it is an incredible versatile tool, great for checking bushes, and placing it in narrow corridors.

I tried a couple of different builds, but I ended up enjoying the Ignite build @Oxygen posted the most, but I pick New HabitsNew Habits most of the time; the extra CD reduction from health globes plus the unstoppable effect is too good to ignore. Also, on maps that require heavy waveclear (such as Tomb of the Spider Queen and Sky Temple), I find myself picking Incinerator GauntletsIncinerator Gauntlets + Burn NoticeBurn Notice.

CombustionCombustion is definitely the best Heroic, as Bunker DropBunker Drop simply doesn't offer enough aside from dodging some lethal targeted skills. It's kind of a pain in the ass because people rarely enter the Bunker and instead try to outrun PyroblastPyroblast... I really love Flash FireFlash Fire, as I mentioned earlier, as it essentially turns Combustion into Twisting NetherTwisting Nether.

If the enemy team features way too many "mages", then Juggernaut PlatingJuggernaut Plating + PyromaniaPyromania (with New Habits completed) is the way to go. I lost count of how many times I escaped certain death from nasty Kel'Thuzad combos by using this combination. I even dare to say that Juggernaut Plating is an improved Nerves of SteelNerves of Steel. Depending on the situation I also tend to pick Endurance StimpackEndurance Stimpack and use it in conjunction with Juggernaut Plating and Pyromania if the enemy team doesn't feature many CCs; this makes Blaze ridiculously resilient, specially if you have Supports like Uther and/or Tassadar.

I think his body blocking could be a bit better, since he is not as large as some other Warriors (like Diablo, Stitches and ETC). However, with enough practice plus Fuel LeakFuel Leak, he can do some nasty body block akin to Stitches with Putrid BilePutrid Bile on a much lower cooldown. Pretty insane.

My final verdict is that he works the best on a team with a Bruiser (Sonya or Ragnaros are fantastic) instead of another pure tank and a strong dedicated healer. His team fight presence is very strong if he has proper setups and follow ups (Jaina is absolutely fantastic with him). I have even found myself topping the Hero damage charts in a few matches because of the absurd sustain combined with constant damage he can provide. Really fun to use.

Since Blaze is one of the most balanced characters to come to this game, I don't really think he'll get any nerfs in the upcoming patches; maybe I'd say he'll even get a buff to Bunker Drop and maybe a bit of damage increase. I currently noticed there is a bug with Blaze and Ana, that Nano BoostNano Boost does not haste the cooldown reduction of Oil SpillOil Spill.

My only real complaint (more of a nitpick) is that his recolors are pretty lame and don't even change the patterns in his armor (ike some Tychus skins). His Fel Reaver skin also doesn't look as good as I expected. They should add a white recolor to his base skin so he looks like Baymax from Disney's Big Hero 6, haha.

Edited by Valhalen

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He's an area denial hero, as expected. If you think deeper about it, he's quite the oddball among warriors, just like Tassadar among supports, or Medivh among specs. This will prove a big problem if HotS' dev team seriously thinks about expanding the roles, as he's not much of a conventional tank (his only "hard cc" being the stun on a successful Jet Propulsion hit, I see slows like Oil Spill more as a soft cc) nor a bruiser (even though he deals lots of damage). Nonetheless I hold him in good regard, and I like his style. As one could guess, he's very strong in Volskaya, and a bunch of other maps where the objective is an area that must be held (Braxis, Sky Temple).

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      We present our fifteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Blaze patch of January 2018.
      Note: This list also takes the January 16 balance patch into account.
      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Blaze patch.. The goal if of this list is to try and detail game's current metagame state. The prime goal of such lists is to inform players regarding popular and trending team composition drafting strategies (i.e. the drafting metagame). Although tier listings are generally the product of balance, many factors come into play when discussing the relative perceived strengths of heroes, including player regions, maps, play style, skill level, and, of course, personal perception. As such, any tier list—including this very one—should never be interpreted as gospel, but rather, as a guide to better grasp what to expect with regards to typical drafting experiences. One useful application of such lists is to allow you know which heroes to look out for in terms of practice and counterplay, ultimately improving your knowledge of the game.
      Using the list
      As stated above, tier lists are easy to mistake for gospel. As new strategies are discovered and experimented with, so changes the perception of the relative strengths of each hero. Tier lists still prove to be useful as a snapshot of player expectations in terms of drafting. Although it is generally considered preferable to focus on high tier heroes (Prime and Core tiers), it is important to note that Heroes of the Storm's wild character and map designs make it so that any given hero's tier position is prone to fluctuate depending on the situation at hand.
      One classic example of such is that of Kerrigan on the Infernal Shrines map. Although we currently judge her to be a low-to-mid-tier hero, her drafting priority shoots up to first-pick or first-ban material on this specific map due to the nature of its objective. Certain heroes also synergise so well with each other that the sole fact of having the opportunity of drafting them together is generally enough to increase their potential. Tassadar and Tracer, for instance, are generally nightmarish to deal with for many. There are too many examples of these interactions to reasonably produce here, but we invite you to consult our guides to know exactly where and when each hero shines. The guides have been linked in the lists below for your convenience - just click any of the hero names to access them.
      A ↑ next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a ↓ means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.
      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
      Current map rotation
       
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Arthas Genji - - E.T.C. Greymane     Sonya↑ Hanzo↑↑↑     Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
       
      Core Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza↑ Azmodan Dehaka Junkrat↑↑ Brightwing Nazeebo Diablo Kerrigan Lúcio Zagara Muradin Li-Ming Stukov↑ Sylvanas↑  Stitches Malthael↓ Uther   Varian (Tank) Nova↓-       Valla       Zul'jin     Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
       
      Viable Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Alarak Ana Abathur D.Va Cassia Auriel Murky Garrosh Chromie Kharazim Probius Johanna Gul'dan Li Li+ Sgt. Hammer↑ Leoric Illidan Lt. Morales Xul Zarya Jaina Malfurion (reworked)+   Blaze (new) Kael'thas Rehgar   Tyrael (reworked)↑ Kel'Thuzad Tyrande     Lunara       Ragnaros       Samuro       The Butcher       Thrall↑       Tracer       Valeera↓↓-       Zeratul+     Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.
       
      Niche Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Chen Cho'gall Tassadar Gazlowe Cho'gall Raynor   Medivh Rexxar Tychus       Varian (Damage)     Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They are generally picked to "round out" your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a "jungler" (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.
       
      Bottom Tier
      The Lost Vikings Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
       
      Metagame assessment
      Happy new year to everyone. This list is a tad late, as was the last one, but I was, once again, waiting for one of those odd rework patches that come out a week after featured hero releases and go untested on the PTR for some reason. HGC matches also began just yesterday, meaning that new trends  are likely to emerge shortly; today saw unexpected Cassia, Tychus, and Leoric make an appearance, which was certainly exciting. As per usual, I'll be updating the list as I see fit throughout the next few weeks. The last few lists have generated quite a bit of discussion, which is great to see. Although I cannot reasonably respond to every comment, I do read everything posted. Keep it up!
      Blaze. My initial PTR assessment of the hero, which was quite positive, was followed by a sudden realization: he does a lot of things well, but nothing exceptionally well. Blaze is the quintessential jack of all trades, master of none type hero. Generally, that's not a particularly desirable trait, because heroes are generally picked for their niches to either counter opponents or synergise with allies. For a warrior, he can't really solo tank, meaning he often ends up in that strange spot where you need a pretty well fleshed out team composition to make him work. But when he works, he does work well. He can hold his own in a solo lane, but his waveclear isn't quite good enough to deal with mercenary camps pushing before Grill and Kill, which can be frustrating. Certain heroes, such as Leoric and Malthael, completely shut him down as well. This leads me to believe that he won't see much tournament play if at all, unless teams are messing around. Viable as a late pick when you don't really know what else to pick because your team composition is already fine.
      Sonya. She's currently the most popular pick in the game. You can't go wrong with a bulky solo laner that can duel nearly anyone, output as much damage as an assassin, and clear mercenary camps with ease. Leap lets her setup really well if your team composition lends itself to that. Still, I don't think she deserves bans.
      Hanzo. This important Overwatch figurehead could just not be allowed to remain seen as underpowered for over a month. After unsuccessfully giving him a blanket 10% damage buff across the board following poor PTR feedback, Blizzard adopted the bolder strategy of making his basic attacks deal ability levels of damage thanks to the Sharpened Arrowheads changes. What was initially supposed to be a difficult to master skillshot-based hero now  has access to what is arguably the most powerful basic attack in the game, though the Serrated Arrows + Never Outmatched combo I discussed last patch remains useful for trivializing map objectives on Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines while allowing Hanzo to solo any mercenary camp from level 7 and on. With the help of another hero, bosses also become possible at this level. Losing map control or suffering one or two early deaths against Hanzo is devastating. Explosive Arrows lets him waveclear relatively well too, though particularly with Piercing Arrows for double hits on minions. The Natural Agility range increase made it much more usable, to where Hanzo can now reliably escape most if not all heroes with proper positioning. It is interesting to note that these buffs coincided with Hanzo's first free week.
      Junkrat. The proverbial death of the double healer meta means it's time for sustained poke to shine. Junkrat's popularity exploded recently as players discovered that a mix of reliable ranged waveclear, playmaking (through Concussion Mine) and potentially fight winning RIP-Tire hits made the hero a force to be reckoned with. Just be sure to pick up Endless Nades; that's your late-game damage.
      Malthael. Hanzo does really well against him, so I'm not surprised by the dip in popularity. Malthael is still very powerful, though unlikely to draw bans before second round, if at all. Always a solid pick against double tank as well as a solo laner.
      Nova. She (along with Valeera) were allowed to remain oppressive for quite a while, benefiting from the turmoil generated by the stealth rework and Blizzard employees taking a couple weeks off for the holidays. Nova is now in a good spot, with clear counters and niches, though I'm still disliking how easy Lethal Decoy makes her to play. I feel like she'll keep a potential caster meta in check for quite some time now that she's back on the radar.
      Alexstrasza. She's doing rather well. Dragonqueen is now being appropriately treated (though not quite respected by opponents) as a heroic ability by players to fight over objectives and while sieging.
      Stukov. His high healing output makes him rather strong in a poke-heavy meta. I think players are going to experiment with the Growing Infestation + Virulent Reaction (+ Bio-Explosion Switch) combo to make Stukov a lot more aggressive than we're used to seeing him be. Flailing Swipe continues to be great as a pseudo-Mighty Gust in terms of disengaging. Stukov is probably one of the best solo "all purpose" hero leaguing healer at the moment.
      Sylvanas. Any change to minion or structure damage end up being indirect buffs or nerfs to Sylvanas. Since structures were recently buffed again and Sylvanas's direct counters were nerfed quite heavily, I think she's back to being relatively high priority. Possession is really strong now, as is Mercenary Queen, though only if there's nothing for Barbed Shot to work on.
      Tyrael. Though he's not notably more powerful than he was before, I think his rework opened up a viable bruiser build for him, increasing his versatility. He's sitting at a healthy 50% win rate at the time of writing. HGC already saw him picked rather often - though, that's pre-Tyrael patch, where he is arguably weaker - , and I'm certainly looking forward to see what kind of builds players are going to gravitate towards. Holy Ground is still great, and comes online 3 levels earlier than it did before.
      Valeera. She suffered the same fate as Nova, though her overly simplistic ability set makes small nerfs very impactful. At the end of the day, she's probably going to require a broad rework, because as of right now, she either bursts her target down and feels "unfair", or doesn't and feel "worthless". Right now, she's erring on the side of the latter.
      Malfurion. Possibly one of the best rework ever done, though his vastly increased skill cap may make him less popular. His sustained healing output is excellent, but his lack of burst management still makes him difficult to play. 
    • By Stan

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

      Rules:
      Choose from one of three randomly selected Heroes before entering the Arena. Be quick about it though, you only have 30 seconds to choose! Everyone will begin the round at level 10 and will be asked to choose a Heroic Ability. No other talents will be available. During each round, slay the enemy team’s Heroes and capture the Temple Shrines to take shots at their Core! The Core for each team will have set amounts of health based on the number of active Shrines. Each round can have 1-3 active Shrines. The first team whose Core reaches 0 health will lose the round. Be the first team to win 2 rounds and claim victory! Rewards:
      Complete three matches of the Temple Arena to earn a Loot Chest! Find out more about the Heroes Brawl game mode on our Heroes Brawl site; and as always, you can find more information on this week’s Brawl by clicking the Brawl Info button at the bottom of the play screen when preparing to queue for the Brawl game mode.