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Opening Moves: How to Know If You'll Win the Level 1 Fight

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The second installment of the Opening Moves series is here and Gale Force Esport's Michael Udall tells us how to determine, if you're team is going to emerge victorious from a fight at level 1.

Opening Moves is aimed to educate the player base on the variety of different ways to start a competitive match. If you've missed the first installment about the 4-1 split, you can find it here.

  • At level 1, Heroes with displacement (Alarak, Stitches, Garrosh) are dangerous, if they have a follow-up.
  • If you're loading into the game, it's good to inspect compositions of both teams and count the amount of stuns and roots on both sides. If the enemy team has 2 or more stuns, it's not the best idea to fight in the early game.
  • Without CleanseCleanse, it's complicated to survive a team with crowd control and burst.
  • CleanseCleanse is unlocked at level 7 and double Support compositions are considered weak in the early game.
  • Displacement, crowd control and burst are three determining factors when it comes to contesting the vision on Sky Temple, fighting in the mid lane on Dragon Shire or Tomb of the Spider Queen.
  • Pro teams go 5v5 early on Dragon & Tomb is because it gives them wave clear advantage.
  • The standard in Hero League to run it down mid.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

It’s #OpeningMoves week! Every day this week we’ll be detailing the early game of Heroes of the Storm. Yesterday we published a guide to the 4-1 split, and today Michael Udall is going to let you know whether or not you will win the fight at level 1.

Ever taken a look at your team’s composition before the gates have gone down and decided right then and there that you what you’re working with is too fragile for an early brawl? Save for having a few key Heroes on your side, Gale Force Esport's Michael Udall would likely agree with you.

“You're looking for Heroes with displacement like AlarakStitches, or Garrosh,” Udall said. “At level 1 people don’t have tools to save themselves. If someone gets hooked or someone gets Garrosh-tossed or someone gets pulled by Alarak, they are pretty much dead, assuming they have the follow-up. I mean, even Junkrat can displace enemy Heroes. If you're looking to win the level 1 fight, those are the type of Heroes you should be looking for.”

When you’re loading into the game and you can see the full compositions of both teams, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to count the number of stuns and roots on both sides of the aisle. If the enemy team has at least two more stuns than you do, it’s traditionally not in your best interest to fight at the beginning of the game.

Without CleanseCleanse, which isn’t a part of the conversation until level 7, it is difficult to survive against a team with crowd control and burst. Therefore, the trend of playing double Support is considered weak in the early game.

CleanseCleanse is a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Udall said. “However, if you don’t have CleanseCleanse yet and the enemy team has a composition tailored for securing kills, you will lose the level 1 fight. You're not going to out-sustain a level 1 team fight because the enemy can just disengage. Double Support is pretty fragile in this respect.”

Displacement, Crowd Control, and Burst


These are the three major factors that need to be taken into consideration when you’re looking to contest the vision on Sky Temple or fight in the mid lane on Dragon Shire or Tomb of the Spider Queen—Battlegrounds where brawling early is a relatively meta affair.

“The reason pro teams go five versus five early on Dragon and Tomb is because it gives you wave clear advantage,” Udall said. “You have the rotation advantage to go either top or bottom depending on what you want to do. The enemy must leave one person to catch the wave if you're successful in the initial skirmish.”

What about in Hero League, though? Udall warns that without coordination, fighting early could spell disaster.

“The standard in Hero league is to just run it down mid” Udall said. “I always tell people not to fight because the upside is pretty low. Why give your opponent that opportunity? What if it doesn’t go your way and you start the game down three heroes and two lanes of soak … that is nearly a full level lost.”

Obviously, Udall says, don’t be afraid to lead by example and take matters into your own hands: “If you have good wave clear, you can just go to the offlane and clear the wave yourself. Even if you do lose a hero or two in midlane, if the opponent loses top wave you still come out close to even in experience.”

Mechanics aside, there is a relatively scientific method here to determine the probability of emerging victorious from a level 1 fight. So, the next time you want to run mindlessly to mid, take a moment to consider what you’re up against and what you’re working with—it could easily mean the difference between a comfortable lead or a hard trek back to even footing.

Check back in tomorrow right here at playheroes.com/esports when we dive into the finer details of pushing a tower before the opposing team can respond.

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