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Opening Moves: The 4-1 Split

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The Opening Moves series is aimed to educate players on the variety of different ways to start a competitive match. The first installment is about the 4-1 split and it's explained by ranged flex adrd of Zealots.

4-1 Split

  • Your team sends a solo laner on his own while the rest of the team rotates between two lanes in order to clear waves (mid & bottom or mid & top).

What Makes a Good Four-Man?

  • Adrd explains that in the past, it was about picking Heroes that out-sustained enemies. Nowadays, it's more oriented toward ganks and kill pressure.
  • Muradin is the perfect example of this. If he disappears from the map, your solo laner is in dire risk of dying. At the same time, the four-man needs to be careful so that he does not land a good stun that turns into a kill.

Global Heroes & Specialist

  • Dehaka (BrushstalkerBrushstalker) and Falstad (FlightFlight) are often picked in competitive games, because of their global presence even on two-lane maps. Rotating globals works well in the HGC.
  • On Braxis Holdout, you put Dehaka in top lane and Falstad in bottom lane. Dehaka can gank and after the gank Falstad flies top so your team does not lose any experience.
  • The idea of a proper 4-1 split in Hero League fails due to the lack of coordination.

The Role of an Offlaner

  • Even if the four-man is performing well, your team's advantage noticeable if you're solo laner is struggling.
  • Most of the time, a decent offlaner is decent at holding 2v1.
  • On Braxis Holdout it's extremely advantageous to have a solo laner who can win their lane, because they're able to hold one of the beacons after the structure in lane is gone.
  • Best solo laners according to adrd in the current meta are Sonya, Leoric, Arthas, Greymane, Malthael, and Dehaka. Except Greymane & Malthael, they are all beefy frontline Heroes that excel at bullying opponents in lane and clearing waves quickly.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

It’s 2018! A new year for esports has inspired us here at Blizzard to create content this week that aims to educate our player base on the variety of different ways to start a competitive match, informed by some of the best players in the scene. Check back every day this week for a new addition to the#OpeningMoves mini-series. Today we will focus on what is known as the “4-1 split”.

The 4-1 split is one of the most popular lane designations in competitive Heroes of the Storm. In a nutshell, it simply means that one team dispatches a solo laner on his own while the rest of the team rotates between two lanes in order to clear waves—typically mid and bottom or mid and top. The strategy is seen most often, and yields the most success, on two-lane maps such as Braxis HoldoutBattlefield of EternityHaunted Mines, and Hanamura.

Building A Successful Four-Man

4man.jpg

What makes a good four-man?

“It’s constantly evolving,” said Zealots ranged flex Adrian “adrd” Wojcik. “It used to be that the four-man was only ‘deathballing,’ or picking Heroes that out-sustain enemies and brawling four versus four. Oftentimes, though, you would end up in a situation where your four-man would be weaker than the opposing team’s. So, at this point you must work around that.”

Nowadays a good four-man is more oriented towards ganks and kill pressure. “Heroes like Muradin are a perfect example of this,” adrd explained. “He’s not that great for fighting and trading, but if he disappears from the map your solo laner is in danger of dying, and also the four-man needs to be careful so that he doesn’t flank and get a good stun that turns into a kill.”

Understanding the macro game means understanding the amount of pressure on the map at any given point in time. The most obvious pressure is lane pressure, when a wave is about to crash and must be cleared. The less obvious pressure occurs when an enemy Hero (specifically one that has crowd control or high burst damage) goes missing. When this happens, you must assume them to be anywhere and everywhere while playing reserved. When the four-man goes missing, it’s important to make yourself scarce, as you could be the next victim of a savage gank. Consider yourself warned.

Global Heroes and Specialist

H24_Probius_TG_002.jpg

If losing soak is such a cardinal sin, why not employ the likes of a Hero with global abilities to make up for this? While some of the best offlaners are global Heroes, adrd is hesitant to endorse this strategy.

“We've seen in the HGC some teams playing Dehaka and Falstad even on two-lane maps,” adrd said. “Normally, if you are solo laning with a global hero and you use your global ability to gank other lanes you will lose a lot of experience. So, what people are doing on Braxis Holdout is putting Dehaka in top lane and Falstad in bottom lane. Dehaka can gank, and then after the gank Falstad can fly top so you don't lose any experience. Rotating your globals around this way works really well, in the HGC at least.”

In Hero League though, it’s difficult to expect your teammates to be as coordinated. More often than not, the idea of a proper 4-1 split will fall apart in the draft, as the hero in the solo lane will either spell success or failure for your team.

The Role of an Offlaner

Heroes17_Dehaka_Combat_KL_Take_11.jpg

“You can probably hold one versus two.”

Remember this phrase the next time you step into a lane while outnumbered.

Assume your four-man is going well. They are getting kills and winning their rotation handedly. The advantage this brings doesn’t amount to much if the solo laner is struggling. The “1” in the 4-1 split is the most important part of the equation.

“I think most of the normal 1v1 laners are pretty decent at holding 2v1,” adrd said. “On some maps, it is very important that your solo laner doesn't lose too hard. On Braxis, for example, it's important to have a solo laner who can win their lane because it gives an insane advantage. You can hold one of the beacons for free basically after the structure in lane is gone. On most Battlegrounds, you have to consider how well the offlaner does in team fights as well.”

The best solo laners in the current meta would be SonyaLeoricArthasGreymaneMalthael, and Dehaka. Outside of maybe Greymane and Malthael, these are beefy frontline Heroes that excel at bullying opponents in lane and clearing waves quickly.

“You can run a lot of different setups, and the solo laner you use depends entirely on who they're facing off against usually,” adrd added. “Some Heroes will not be able to hold a lane on their own.”

Depending on the map, you can decide for yourself if it’s more beneficial to take on the role of an offlaner or join in the four-man deathball. If you follow in the footsteps of the Mad Scientist, you’ll likely be winning rotations before you know it. 

Check back with us tomorrow right here at playheroes.com/esports because we’ll be learning how to identify whether or not your team’s composition will emerge victorious from a fight at level 1.   

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8 hours ago, Stan said:

Best solo laners according to adrd in the current meta are Sonya, Leoric, Arthas, Greymane, Malthael, and Dehaka. Except Greymane & Malthael, they are all beefy frontline Heroes that excel at bullying opponents in lane and clearing waves quickly.

I'd add Blaze to the list. He is excellent at solo laning due his outstanding self-sustain.

6 hours ago, Donir said:

It amuse me that they keep talking about Hanamura like if someone miss it.

I actually miss Hanamura a bit. On paper it is a great map. I know the Dev Team is currently reworking it, and I can't wait to see what they got planned.

Edited by Valhalen
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44 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

I'd add Blaze to the list. He is excellent at solo laning due his outstanding self-sustain.

I actually miss Hanamura a bit. On paper it is a great map. I know the Dev Team is currently reworking it, and I can't wait to see what they got planned.

Hanamura had great potential, sloppy execution

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13 minutes ago, SMOrcMan said:

This post is false since everyone knows Rexxar and Misha are best laners

Eh, not really... Rexxar and Misha are pretty slow to clear waves fast compared to the Heroes mentioned. 

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46 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

Eh, not really... Rexxar and Misha are pretty slow to clear waves fast compared to the Heroes mentioned. 

I think this was just a joke lul

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4 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I'd add Blaze to the list. He is excellent at solo laning due his outstanding self-sustain.

He can struggle against the other notable solo laners, and has less wave clear and self healing along pre-7 than Stitches - another example of beefy hero who can sit in a lane undisturbed indefinitely - does for example. I like Blaze a lot, but he thrives playing with the team more than he does as the solo laner in a 4-1. 

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4 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I'd add Blaze to the list. He is excellent at solo laning due his outstanding self-sustain.

As someone else mentioned. Blaze kind of sucks in the solo lane. You match him into the 1v1 against any other true solo lane (especially malthael, sonya, or leoric) and he is going to lose it hard. He will be stuck behind his towers not getting any value, and that's without the 2v1 gank if your 4 man struggles.

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3 hours ago, Valhalen said:

Eh, not really... Rexxar and Misha are pretty slow to clear waves fast compared to the Heroes mentioned. 

Read my username mate :P

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Seen in Hanamura? What a joke! You don't see anything in Hanamura because you don't see it at all! It was actually my favourite map because a lot of people seemed really confused at how to play on it and got free wins most of the games. Really curious at what the rework will look like, if it's at least as decent as the Haunted Mines rework, it should be interesting.

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There is some kind of teaser in the Battle.net client... Some pulsing green crytal like thingy....

image.thumb.png.b8e8c74b84c9cede8a6390cc39c7da32.png

Back to topic though:

I really like such strategy explanations and advice. I am by no means a good player (too old and slow ;-)) but I love the game and like to improve.

Hanamura was not a favourite of mine... But I am hopeful for the rework.

 

Edited by Caeren

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Blaze does just fine. His stun+slow combo is a great way to keep multiple opponents at bay.

But like all characters it depends on their opponent. That comment about stitches doing well falls apart vs malthael. His chain pull is countered by teleport+move speed boost. Doesn't hurt that he can't be body blocked. But, malth has issues vs ranged burst. If they play smart they can evade him to then burst damage time and again. Malth eventually then has to retreat to heal up properly.

Thrall isn't too bad with his chain lightning either.

I do wonder why Murky wasn't mentioned. While he struggles vs certain characters, wave clearing on his own is his purpose in life. The added advantage of solo capping merc camps just adds to that. He can even solo clear two lanes at a time if he needs to.

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26 minutes ago, EDL666 said:

Seen in Hanamura? What a joke! You don't see anything in Hanamura because you don't see it at all! It was actually my favourite map because a lot of people seemed really confused at how to play on it and got free wins most of the games. Really curious at what the rework will look like, if it's at least as decent as the Haunted Mines rework, it should be interesting.

I liked it too, but it was one of those maps that was really, REALLY easy to snowball, more than any other. And the games were fast, which is pretty neat, as opposed to Volskaya Foundry which can take forever (I've been in +45 minutes matches there).

16 minutes ago, Caeren said:

There is some kind of teaser in the Battle.net client... Some pulsing green crytal like thingy....

image.thumb.png.b8e8c74b84c9cede8a6390cc39c7da32.png

"The Dark Lord said you would come! This is where your journey ends... Boy. Trapped and freezing at the roof of the world, with only death to sing the tale of your doom!"

Edited by Valhalen
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9 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

"The Dark Lord said you would come! This is where your journey ends... Boy. Trapped and freezing at the roof of the world, with only death to sing the tale of your doom!"

That is a Mal'Ganis quote... Is this a prediction, a wish or did you actually find it connected to the animation somewhere?

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15 minutes ago, Caeren said:

That is a Mal'Ganis quote... Is this a prediction, a wish or did you actually find it connected to the animation somewhere?

A prediction, based on those leaks that have been 100% accurate. It was leaked that we would get a "Firebat Hero", Mal'ganis and Belial, specifically in that order. Mal'ganis was green in WC3, and this crystal could be a reference.

HOWEVER, this could also be a reference to Maiev; in the Demon Hunter cinematic we see Maiev poking the crystal where the player is encased. She was originally planned for Heroes of the Storm, as there is data of her in the game, and supposed voice interactions with Illidan, Malfurion and Tyrande.

Edited by Valhalen
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5 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

A prediction, based on those leaks that have been 100% accurate. It was leaked that we would get a "Firebat Hero", Mal'ganis and Belial, specifically in that order. Mal'ganis was green in WC3, and this crystal could be a reference.

HOWEVER, this could also be a reference to Maiev; in the Demon Hunter cinematic we see Maiev poking the crystal where the player is encased. She was originally planned for Heroes of the Storm, as there is data of her in the game, and supposed voice interactions with Illidan, Malfurion and Tyrande.

Yeah those leaks really are quite accurate. Hmmm both statements make sense though. No I am more curious than ever :-)

And what about this year's lunar festival skins? There hasn't anything about those been announced yet.

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19 minutes ago, Caeren said:

And what about this year's lunar festival skins? There hasn't anything about those been announced yet.

Wel... Since 2016, "The Lunar Festival" have been following a pattern regarding its contents that matches the animal of the year: in 2016, Year of the Monkey, we got the Monkey King Samuro skin; in 2017, Year of the Rooster, we got the Lunar Rooster and Golden Rooster mounts.

2018 is the Year of the Dog, so people have been speculating we'll get either a Rehgar and/or Greymane skins, which I'd say it is unlikely since they both just got Legendary Skins ("Mecha" and "Dr. Wolf and Stein", respectively), but I could be wrong. Maybe we'll get simple skins for those two such as Halloween Chromie and Winter Veil Kharazim (base skin with some minor modifications)? Or a dog-esque mount (which could happen since they exist in WoW)? Who knows.

Edited by Valhalen

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13 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

Wel... Since 2016, "The Lunar Festival" have been following a pattern regarding its contents that matches the animal of the year: in 2016, Year of the Monkey, we got the Monkey King Samuro skin; in 2017, Year of the Rooster, we got the Lunar Rooster and Golden Rooster mounts.

2018 is the Year of the Dog, so people have been speculating we'll get either a Rehgar and/or Greymane skins, which I'd say it is unlikely since they both just got Legendary Skins ("Mecha" and "Dr. Wolf and Stein", respectively), but I could be wrong. Maybe we'll get simple skins for those two such as Halloween Chromie and Winter Veil Kharazim (base skin with some minor modifications)? Or a dog-esque mount (which could happen since they exist in WoW)? Who knows.

They can basically just add a dog theme to any character and it would be fine. Doesn't originally have to be a dog. Kerrigan would be a good doggo.

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52 minutes ago, Fliits said:

They can basically just add a dog theme to any character and it would be fine. Doesn't originally have to be a dog. Kerrigan would be a good doggo.

Kerrigan's ultralisk turns into a doggo? And goes "woof"? Though a dog hatching from an egg is weird (from the lv 20 talent)

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4 minutes ago, MurkyFelix said:

Kerrigan's ultralisk turns into a doggo? And goes "woof"? Though a dog hatching from an egg is weird (from the lv 20 talent)

That would be weird indeed...

What about Dogara? A many-legged dog monster spawning little pups to send them into doom... Or yet another Chromie skin... Swap the skull mask for a doggy mask... All done :-)

Dogexstraza... Alex turning into a huge pug (as Blizz loves those ugly things) and slobbering some healing over everyone...

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Mal'ganis or Maiev. Leaning towards Maiev atm though, the stealth rework fits the Warden passive from Warcraft 3 very neatly. Last stealth hero we got was quite some ago, correct?

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      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: October 15, 2019
      Player level remains unknown because Blizzard stopped updating the official forum post.
      Ana Artanis Azmodan Brightwing Cho Chromie ETC Gall Kael'thas Li Li Rexxar The Butcher Zagara Zul'jin (Source)
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