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Medivh & Sonya Rework Meta Tier List (March 2018)

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Our seventeenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the Medivh & Sonya rework patch of March is here!

We present our seventeenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Medivh & Sonya rework patch of March 2018.

Note: This list also takes the March 9 hotfix patch into account, though not the surprise March 21 balance patch, as this was produced a day prior. This patch which will instead be covered in April 3's list, along with the introduction of Fenix and potential future balance changes. It is worth mentioning that none of the most recent balance changes have had a significant impact on hero tiering.

Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Sonya & Medivh rework. The goal of this list is to try and detail game's current metagame state. The prime goal of such lists is to inform players regarding popular and trending team composition drafting strategies (i.e. the drafting metagame). Although tier listings are generally the product of balance, many factors come into play when discussing the relative perceived strengths of heroes, including player regions, maps, play style, skill level, and, of course, personal perception. As such, any tier list—including this very one—should never be interpreted as gospel, but rather, as a guide to better grasp what to expect with regards to typical drafting experiences. One useful application of such lists is to allow you know which heroes to look out for in terms of practice and counterplay, ultimately improving your knowledge of the game.

Using the list

As stated above, tier lists are easy to mistake for gospel. As new strategies are discovered and experimented with, so changes the perception of the relative strengths of each hero. Tier lists still prove to be useful as a snapshot of player expectations in terms of drafting. Although it is generally considered preferable to focus on high tier heroes (Prime and Core tiers), it is important to note that Heroes of the Storm's wild character and map designs make it so that any given hero's tier position is prone to fluctuate depending on the situation at hand.

One classic example of such is that of Kerrigan on the Infernal Shrines map. Although we currently judge her to be a mid-tier hero, her drafting priority shoots up to first-pick or first-ban material on this specific map due to the nature of its objective. Certain heroes also synergise so well with each other that the sole fact of having the opportunity of drafting them together is generally enough to increase their potential. Tassadar and Tracer, for instance, are generally nightmarish to deal with for many. There are too many examples of these interactions to reasonably produce here, but we invite you to consult our guides to know exactly where and when each hero shines. The guides have been linked in the lists below for your convenience - just click any of the hero names to access them.

A  next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a  means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.

If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.

Current ranked mode map rotation

 
  • Battlefield of Eternity
  • Braxis Holdout
  • Cursed Hollow
  • Dragon Shire
  • Infernal Shrines
  • Sky Temple
  • Tomb of the Spider Queen
  • Towers of Doom
  • Volskaya Foundry

 

Prime Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Diablo Genji Malfurion -
E.T.C. Greymane    
Sonya (reworked) Hanzo    
  Maiev    
  Thrall↑↑    

Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.

 

Core Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza Abathur
Arthas   Jaina Lt. Morales Azmodan
Blaze+ Junkrat Lúcio Nazeebo
Dehaka Li-Ming Stukov Sylvanas
Muradin Malthael Uther  Zagara
Stitches Tracer    
Varian (TauntTaunt) Valla    

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 Brightwing Murky
D.Va Cassia Kharazim Xul
Garrosh Chromie Li Li  
Johanna Gul'dan Rehgar  
Leoric Illidan Tyrande  
Tyrael  Kael'thas    
Zarya Kel'Thuzad    
  Kerrigan    
  Lunara    
  Nova    
  Ragnaros    
  Samuro    
  The Butcher    
  Tychus+    
  Varian (Colossus SmashColossus Smash)    
  Zeratul    
  Zul'jin    

Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.

 

Niche Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Chen Cho'gall Ana Gazlowe
Cho'gall Raynor Auriel Medivh+ (reworked)
Rexxar Valeera Tassadar Probius
  Varian (Twin Blades of FuryTwin Blades of Fury)   Sgt. Hammer

Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They may also picked to "round out" your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a "jungler" (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.

 

Lost Vikings Tier

The Lost Vikings

The Lost Viking 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, this notoriously poorly designed trio is generally avoided by most players.

 

Metagame assessment

With significant balance changes being so few and far between and hero releases being pushed to a 4-week cycle, I feel like we may actually get to see a stable metagame form for the first time in Heroes's history. I also believe most of this month's changes were expected by many players, thought he list is a bit belated (though that's becoming the norm now, is it not?) To make up for this, I'll be publishing the next tier list in two weeks instead of four to account for the strangely delayed release of Fenix.

Thrall: Whereas Crash LightningCrash Lightning was considered laughing stock not long ago, it now proves to be one of the most oppressive talent in the game, thanks to a recent 20% buff to Chain LightningChain Lightning's bouncing range. Since Chain Lightning requires no brain power besides being able to hover one's cursor over a large target while simultaneously pressing a key, this buff has made Thrall a new favourite among players across all skill levels looking to win games with relative ease.

Malfurion: What's not to love about a healer with a high healing output, ranged crowd control, pseudo-cleanse, a game-winning heroic abilitya game-winning heroic ability, access to Ice BlockIce Block, et cetera? Though his recent rework scared many, I think it was just a matter of time before players got used to him. I also feel like we're in an era where burst damage is a bit less prevalent than it once was, which really allows him to shine. The same can be said about Lt. Morales, Lùcio, and Stukov, though they all lack strong defensive options and crowd control, putting the druid ahead.

Diablo: Overdue to climb. He currently feels unkillable, and sports the kind of skillset that becomes better as players also become better at following up on him, which occurs as his popularity grows. Otherwise, I don't really know what to add; his popularity and win rates are impressive.

Sonya: Blizzard did a good job with her rework in terms of power level if their goal wasn't to nerf her. She feels pretty much the same here, if not a bit better, meaning she gets to keep her spot at the top. Composite SpearComposite Spear is insane.

Medivh: His rework made him more accessible to low- and mid-level players while making him less excessively annoying in the hands of Medivh one tricks. Arcane ExplosionArcane Explosion may be busted, however, and probably single-handedly carries his win rate its currently reasonable level by providing him with huge potential burst damage and helping with waveclearing.

Ana: Better luck next rework. Shortest analysis I'll ever make.

Blaze: Special mention to the hero for completely befuddling me with how powerful Bunker DropBunker Drop ended up being. This thing more or less carries Blaze into highly viable territories.

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Interesting changes, mostly interested into Diablo to see if he would work better than Dehaka for me (although I have high WR with him this season), I love Dehaka on bigger maps, but for 2 lanes it feels kinda waste to have global move, while Diablo has better CC combo. 

Can't wait for next list after PTR hits live, Tracer actually has just slight early power creep with bomb, which is back after 16, and nerf to Q and E just mean she needs little more time to get back at being annoying and Varian rework, well, haven't investigated it fully yet, but it looks positive change to me... 

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Diablo and Thrall don’t surprise me.

Thrall’s win rates are out of the roof right now and his lightning does an absurd amount of damage going into the late game. 

CC and survivalability are certainly in right now, and Diablo has them both at an impressive scale. Not surprised to see him at the top. His popularity and win rates are dominating. 

I agree that Malfurion is great right now, he’s just hard to play as it is and he really sucks against high burst, even if it isn’t as prevalent now. I still think he’s great though, especially with heroes like tracer.

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3 hours ago, Slam said:

is Sonia that good now?! Need to play her again then!

Sonya was always good. Despite her previously really old talent tree, she was always on Top Tier. What makes her more interesting now is that she has build variety instead of the same bread and butter.

Edited by Valhalen

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Glad to see no one is yelling at me just yet. I was pretty worried with this month's list; I haven't had that much time to play or watch high level streams lately. I strongly considered bumping Muradin down, but he feels like he's always a "fine" pick, kinda like the Falstad/Valla of tanks.

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14 minutes ago, Oxygen said:

Glad to see no one is yelling at me just yet. I was pretty worried with this month's list; I haven't had that much time to play or watch high level streams lately. I strongly considered bumping Muradin down, but he feels like he's always a "fine" pick, kinda like the Falstad/Valla of tanks.

I'm just surprised that Stukov isn't on Prime Tier. I strongly believe he is one of the best Supports in the game due his high burst healing, obscene AoE Silence, and strong bitchslaps.

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46 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

I'm just surprised that Stukov isn't on Prime Tier. I strongly believe he is one of the best Supports in the game due his high burst healing, obscene AoE Silence, and strong bitchslaps.

I hesitated there for sure. Don't think he's up there with Malf however; his heroic abilities aren't all that great.

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21 minutes ago, Oxygen said:

I hesitated there for sure. Don't think he's up there with Malf however; his heroic abilities aren't all that great.

That's true; his Heroics definitely lack the versatility of Malfurion's. However, Massive ShoveMassive Shove has an absurdly low cooldown, is fantastic for isolating important targets (such as pushing away the tank or healer), and can also be used offensively to push opponents towards your own team or allied structures. There is nothing that brings me more joy than pushing scrubs towards allied towers, specially in maps such as Towers of Doom.

Another thing is that players often underestimate Stukov's basic attacks, only to be slammed in the face for +400 damage out of nowhere. I post this video as often as possible just to exemplify how it works:

 

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Funny how well this patch correlates with this list re: Crash LightningCrash LightningBunker DropBunker Drop, and Ancient SpearAncient Spear nerfs. With these changes, are these still the goto options on their respective heroes?

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53 minutes ago, Mefi said:

Any changes to the list after today's patch? 
Maiev got hit pretty hard imo, thrall is somewhat less opressive too.

I wouldn't say it is "pretty hard". A minor tweak. Shouldn't affect the Tier List. What makes Maiev really dangerous is her ability to displace an entire team with Umbral BindUmbral Bind. Blizzard did the same to Garrosh; nerfs and nerfs until they reworked his GroundbreakerGroundbreaker.

Edited by Valhalen
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1 hour ago, Mefi said:

Any changes to the list after today's patch? 
Maiev got hit pretty hard imo, thrall is somewhat less opressive too.

Thrall probably remains Prime, and Maiev... possibly.

1 hour ago, Peaches9 said:

Funny how well this patch correlates with this list re: Crash LightningCrash LightningBunker DropBunker Drop, and Ancient SpearAncient Spear nerfs. With these changes, are these still the goto options on their respective heroes?

Blizzard calls me every other week for balance input. Unfortunately, they haven't taken my "remove Chromie from the game, please" suggestion into consideration.

I think they're still (the) strong(er) options, just not as oppressive.

1 hour ago, Valhalen said:

I wouldn't say it is "pretty hard". A minor tweak. Shouldn't affect the Tier List. What makes Maiev really dangerous is her ability to displace an entire team with Umbral BindUmbral Bind. Blizzard did the same to Garrosh; nerfs and nerfs until they reworked his GroundbreakerGroundbreaker.

Couldn't have said better myself. Would you like to write next month's list?

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Maiev is still very powerful for her utility. I still think cage is the go to heroic due to it being a team fight winning heroic. Her Knives still hurt, even if they are less effective. Good timing of vault is still effective. I think she’s here to stay. 

It’s just hard to pick between shadow armor and bladed armor now, considering they both give the same amount of armor, with bladed armor being easier to maintain. I wouldn’t be surprised to see bladed armor become the more popular of the two however.

Edited by Maxkitty

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7 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I post this video as often as possible just to exemplify how it works

What is that scene they used for this video from? It looks like it's probably a funny scene in it's original form too. I'd guess it's something British from the look of the police in it.

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8 hours ago, Maxkitty said:

It’s just hard to pick between shadow armor and bladed armor now, considering they both give the same amount of armor, with bladed armor being easier to maintain. I wouldn’t be surprised to see bladed armor become the more popular of the two however.

Bladed ArmorBladed Armor. She got her armor and hp reduced so much that noone can call Maiev resilient anymore. She maybe hard to gank because of Vault of the WardensVault of the Wardens and her mobility in general but doesnt mean shes "Durable." 
When you are basic attacking you going all in and thats what you need to do keep your armor up with Shadow ArmorShadow Armor. Thats why i think it is much less reliable then Bladed ArmorBladed Armor which can get you armor both in melee range and while you poking. 


Anas rework (read:nerf) was so disappointing. 
 

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8 hours ago, CyberDVonaven said:

What is that scene they used for this video from? It looks like it's probably a funny scene in it's original form too. I'd guess it's something British from the look of the police in it.

It is from a short clip called "The Slap: Part 2", which itself is a parody of the NBC series "The Slap".

 

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1 hour ago, Oxygen said:

Bladed armor for sure.

I've also found a lot of use from Elune's WrathElune's Wrath even if it is a bit situational. If you can get many resets this talent becomes a powerhouse. Bonds of CorruptionBonds of Corruption imo is starting to lack a bit due to Maiev doing much less physical damage now. Also, Elune's is picked a ton in HGC right now, almost all the time. Maybe we should consider making it situational or recommended? 

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Hmmm, I think I'm going to be the one blaming this tier list now. LUL jk

I'd strongly consider making Blaze and Tracer to Prime Tier, especially Tracer (at least before her nerf). She definitely fits the condition of 'often pick or ban right away as they generally dictate the pace of most matches'. Blaze, he's just so solid and well-rounded, but the recent bunker nerf is quite hard. I can't count how many times I accidentally enter a bunker by just right-clicking near it, and I can't come out for 1s to use an important ability, thus making my team lose a team fight. 

Tyrael definitely should be in Core Tier, though I personally would've place him in Prime Tier. He's just a really good tank to enable all those diving assassins like Genji, Maiev and Tracer. And Leoric should be in Core Tier as well considering how well he can do against Blaze and Diablo.

Garrosh is probably the best tank to counter Maiev. You wanna blink in? Get a throw + stun + taunt and you're dead. You wanna pull me? I'M UNSTOPPABLE!!!

I can't see how Valla is able to stay in Core Tier. She really feels like a worse Hanzo right now.

Why is Auriel secretly bumped into Niche Tier and nothing is mentioned about her? And why is Tyrande still viable? She's literally unpickable in 90% of the games right now. She'll be even more unplayable now that many people finds out Medivh is actually OP after the rework. 

Why is Medivh OP? Much easier to play, less reliant on portal and teammates, excellent burst protection, and Arcane Explosion + Circle of Protection is flat out disgusting, busted, broken, insane...... Seriously, you can get one-shotted for like ~2500 HP in a split second if you're surrounded by 3 protected enemies. How can this get passed the play testing?

Edited by ShadowerDerek

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After playing Blaze some more I can say he might not make it to prime tier after all. He's still one of the more powerful core tier heroes though.

I got to (somehow) get into a match in UD with Maiev and I can confirm that when she is played well she is still a beast and continues to put out impressive damage all while being rather difficult to kill. The only large and very noticeable changes to her were the Vault and Cage CD increases.

Thrall still seems great, it's just hard to complete the quest now. He's still a great pick. 

Sonya remains a great pick even after these nerfs. She's still doing great in terms of popularity and win rates.

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I must say I'm surprised there's five specialists in Core. Nazeebo and Sylvanas I can understand, since they offer solid teamfight damage in addition to their specialist duties, but I can't say the same for Azmo and Zagara (Abathur I won't comment on since I find it hard to measure his impact on a game, and I think it varies wildly based on player skill). What builds or strategies put those two this high? Should they be all-out splitpushing, or balancing this with providing the team with supplementary dps?

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