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Imperius Meta Tier List (January 2019)

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Our twenty-fourth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the month of January is here!

Welcome to Icy Veins's most belated Meta Tier List for the January 8 patch. 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).

Using the list

Spoiler

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.

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. The (ban) comment is a ban recommendation; Meta heroes should be picked and banned first, though heroes from other groups should be considered as well depending on how team compositions are shaping up.

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

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

 

Meta picks

Tank Bruiser Fighter Stalker Marksman Mage Support Healer
Anub'arak↑↑
Diablo (ban)              
Garrosh (ban)              

 

High-tier generalists

Tank Bruiser Fighter Stalker Marksman Mage Support Healer
E.T.C. (ban) Artanis VarianTwin Blades of Fury(ban) Genji (ban) Raynor (ban) Jaina Ana
Mal'Ganis (ban)     Zeratul   Kael'thas   Malfurion
              Tyrande

 

Mid-tier generalists

Tank Bruiser Fighter Stalker Marksman Mage Support Healer
Arthas Dehaka (ban) Alarak Tracer (ban) Cassia  Azmodan Abathur Alexstrasza
Blaze Imperius (new) Kerrigan   Falstad Gul'dan Zarya Auriel
Johanna Sonya Maiev   Fenix Junkrat   Brightwing
Muradin Yrel Malthael   Greymane Kel'Thuzad    Kharazim
Stitches (ban)   Ragnaros   Hanzo (ban) Li-Ming-   Li Li
VarianTaunt   Thrall   Lunara Mephisto   Lt. Morales
    VarianColossus Smash   Sgt.Hammer (ban) Nazeebo   Lúcio
        Tychus Orphea (ban)   Rehgar
        Zul'jin Sylvanas   Stukov
          Zagara   Whitemane

 

Low-tier generalists

Tank Bruiser Fighter Stalker Marksman Mage Support Healer
Chen Gazlowe Valeera Valla Chromie Medivh (ban) Deckard 
  D.Va Murky     Probius    
    The Butcher          

 

Situational picks (map, team composition, or counterpick)

Tank Bruiser Fighter Stalker Marksman Mage Support Healer
Cho'gall (ban) Leoric Illidan Nova Cho'gall (ban) Tassadar Uther (ban)
Tyrael Rexxar Xul Samuro     The Lost Vikings (ban)  

 

Meta heroes define the metagame. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most drafts and matches.

Generalists form the core of your team and are generally picked after Meta picks have been distributed. They tend to work on most maps, and as part of and against most team compositions. Since this group includes most heroes, I elected to split it into three tiers. High-tier rankings are a result of performance (i.e. win rates) and popularity (i.e. pick and ban rates). This means that heroes with high win rates can be set in low tier; the opposite may also be true.

Situational picks shine on specific maps or as part of specific team compositions.

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First post here 😛 I created an account to know more about this top tier Anub Arak.
I don't really master him, maybe i should level him up. Why is he so strong now?
Thanks!

Edited by topjben

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Anub'arak is definitely meta. He feels incredibly powerful against a lot of picks and his ability to dive past Structures without taking damage from Towers or Forts (thanks Beetles!) enables rewarding plays. 

 

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32 minutes ago, topjben said:

First post here 😛 I created an account to know more about this top tier Anub Arak.
I don't really master him, maybe i should level him up. Why is he so strong now?
Thanks!

I had a lot of games with Anub'arak in my team recently, and his performance was unbelievably good. He has a lot of CC, some initiation, escape and counter-initiation. Also his beetles can soak tower shots and sometimes they block enemy abilities like Muradin's hammer or Stitches hook.

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1 hour ago, topjben said:

First post here 😛 I created an account to know more about this top tier Anub Arak.
I don't really master him, maybe i should level him up. Why is he so strong now?
Thanks!

The meta is currently being dominated by high-burst mages (Orphea, Jaina, Kael'thas, Azmodan), and Anub really shines against them. Plus, he has a large arsenal of crowd-control abilities (ImpaleImpaleBurrow ChargeBurrow ChargeCocoonCocoon) that can lockdown key-targets easily. When paired with another Tank or a Bruiser, Anub can really have a high impact on games. He is not so good as a solo Warrior, though.

Also, the recent global change to armor stacking made Blizzard buff all armor-granting abilities across the board, which made Anub more sturdy on his own.

Also also, Anub is the only Warrior in the game other than Muradin that still has access to RewindRewind, which is a massive powerspike.

Edited by Valhalen
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Been lurking for a while, just wanted to make an account to say that I miss the meta analyses. Having a description of the current meta and why the heroes are moving was nice, I don't really have the game sense to figure out a meta state but I find the impact changes have on a meta state interesting. I realize at this point it's been a bit since the last one, but an overview at least wouldn't go amiss in my mind.

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Anub is one of my go to tanks. A lot of people completely underestimate the staying power Locust Swarm provides him with, and his beetle build offers a surprising amount of versatility against several otherwise tricky opponents. One of my favourite examples is Garrosh, who'll more often than not throw one of the beetles instead, and even if he tosses you, you can always E your way out. Everything else is covered above; see Valhalen's post. 

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Ragnaros feels like he should be a little higher. Especially with the extra catas from fort loss, he really does work with his lava wave.

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32 minutes ago, SMOrcMan said:

Ragnaros feels like he should be a little higher. Especially with the extra catas from fort loss, he really does work with his lava wave.

Ragnaros sits on a very tight spot that is very disadvantageous: he is a Bruiser with very low HP and no gap closers. Even though he is classified as a Melee Assassin, he is technically a Bruiser and Solo Laner, but he lacks the mobility and crowd control that other Bruisers (Sonya, Artanis) have.

While I do agree that Lava WaveLava Wave indeed has more value now due the recent addition of catapults spawning earlier, it doesn't justify placing him higher in the Tier List; he still is a very niche Hero that is only picked on very specific maps (namely Tomb of the Spider Queen and Braxis Holdout).

The only thing that is truly remarkable about Ragnaros is Molten CoreMolten Core, which sadly has only one talent that improves it, at level 20 (Heroic DifficultyHeroic Difficulty).

I wish Blizzard would soft-rework Ragnaros to make him more viable; his kit and talents are all very well defined and balanced, but other Heroes can do what he does, but better and safer.

Edited by Valhalen
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9 hours ago, Valhalen said:

The meta is currently being dominated by high-burst mages (Orphea, Jaina, Kael'thas, Azmodan), and Anub really shines against them. Plus, he has a large arsenal of crowd-control abilities (ImpaleImpaleBurrow ChargeBurrow ChargeCocoonCocoon) that can lockdown key-targets easily. When paired with another Tank or a Bruiser, Anub can really have a high impact on games. He is not so good as a solo Warrior, though.

Also, the recent global change to armor stacking made Blizzard buff all armor-granting abilities across the board, which made Anub more sturdy on his own.

Also also, Anub is the only Warrior in the game other than Muradin that still has access to RewindRewind, which is a massive powerspike.

I agree with the fact that mages are dominating the meta right now. Not only is Anub resilient against them, but he has so much CC and great initiation, both of which are among the biggest weaknesses of most mages. He also feels good in general right now, and he seems to fit in most compositions. 

 

39 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

I wish Blizzard would soft-rework Ragnaros to make him more viable; his kit and talents are all very well defined and balanced, but other Heroes can do what he does, but better and safer.

His talents are actually so balanced that he's one of the only heroes in the game that has 3 viable builds. One of the biggest problems with Ragnaros right now, imo, is his lack of mobility, which makes it hard for him to get in melee range without being poked down, and usually when he does manage to get into melee range, his lack of mobility causes him to be an easy target. His base kit is fun, I'll admit, but it just isn't the beast that it used to be. 

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51 minutes ago, Maxkitty said:

His talents are actually so balanced that he's one of the only heroes in the game that has 3 viable builds. One of the biggest problems with Ragnaros right now, imo, is his lack of mobility, which makes it hard for him to get in melee range without being poked down, and usually when he does manage to get into melee range, his lack of mobility causes him to be an easy target. His base kit is fun, I'll admit, but it just isn't the beast that it used to be. 

Agreed, but it is that same balanced state that makes he difficult to rework satisfactorily. If they simply gave him a gap-closer baseline, he would probably be too strong. I think the safer bet would be numbers adjustments (HP, maybe armour somewhere is his tree). They could also give him a custom Bolt of the StormBolt of the Storm and see what happens.

Edited by lChronosl

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45 minutes ago, lChronosl said:

If they simply gave him a gap-closer baseline, he would probably be too strong

How about they gave him a slight change to blastwave . It would decay over duration, starting at 100% bonus, decaying to 0, or whatever is sensible. Decaying slow is quite common, contrary to boost debuffs.

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2 hours ago, lChronosl said:

Agreed, but it is that same balanced state that makes he difficult to rework satisfactorily. If they simply gave him a gap-closer baseline, he would probably be too strong. I think the safer bet would be numbers adjustments (HP, maybe armour somewhere is his tree). They could also give him a custom Bolt of the StormBolt of the Storm and see what happens.

I actually think that Ragnaros could use some balance in terms of stats. Slightly less damage but more health. He is way too squishy to be a bruiser.

1 hour ago, VegaPl said:

How about they gave him a slight change to blastwave . It would decay over duration, starting at 100% bonus, decaying to 0, or whatever is sensible. Decaying slow is quite common, contrary to boost debuffs.

That could work too.

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5 hours ago, VegaPl said:

How about they gave him a slight change to blastwave . It would decay over duration, starting at 100% bonus, decaying to 0, or whatever is sensible. Decaying slow is quite common, contrary to boost debuffs.

I like that idea. It wouldn't severely change his kit but it would make him more mobile and therefore give him a reliable escape and initiation. The 20% movement speed that it currently gives it so low that it's barely noticeable and doesn't really help Rag. 

3 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I actually think that Ragnaros could use some balance in terms of stats. Slightly less damage but more health. He is way too squishy to be a bruiser.

I second this. I don't really think there's a problem with his damage, but his health is way too low for a bruiser with no mobility. Some tuning should help him fit more into the bruiser role.

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I feel that lava wave can be ridiculous at times. I play quick match, goldish level, and the experience values of Ragna in comparison to others is few times larger at times. So I was thinking that lava wave could cut down the HP of minions and mercs by half and perhaps another 25% in damage over time (they are burnt by lava, duh). This would still depush the lane effectively, but still require the team to lane. Not to leave Ragna stripped, the cool down could be a little lower. It's just that at my level of play I don't think I ever saw a situation to have an exp lead over Ragna team.

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50 minutes ago, VegaPl said:

I feel that lava wave can be ridiculous at times. I play quick match, goldish level, and the experience values of Ragna in comparison to others is few times larger at times. So I was thinking that lava wave could cut down the HP of minions and mercs by half and perhaps another 25% in damage over time (they are burnt by lava, duh). This would still depush the lane effectively, but still require the team to lane. Not to leave Ragna stripped, the cool down could be a little lower. It's just that at my level of play I don't think I ever saw a situation to have an exp lead over Ragna team.

That's his thing though, he trades Heroic ability that can help him in fight with global depush. If it required additional presence it would make it obsolete.

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2 hours ago, ArtVandelay said:

Why is Auriel this high?  She is junk without a solid battery.  I also think Orphea is much better than other mages you have on that tier.

Azmodan > Orphea 

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2 hours ago, ArtVandelay said:

Why is Auriel this high?  She is junk without a solid battery.

In Quick Match it may be so, but in In organized teams on Ranked she is absurdly potent. The meta is Mage-oriented, so there are plenty of great batteries for Auriel (Jaina, Kael'thas, Azmodan), and many other Assassins are also very effective for that (Fenix, Lunara, Sgt. Hammer).

Not to mention that Auriel, if played right, is the best Support in the game, due to Reservoir of HopeReservoir of Hope, which allows her to essentially increase her healing output without any caps. With just 5 stacks or so her heals rivals stuff like Ancestral HealingAncestral Healing.

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      We’ve considered some changes, but we’re going to sit on it for awhile longer before deciding on whether or not to pull the trigger on anything. Chen’s rework is still fairly fresh, and we would like to wait for a while to see how the talent’s pick and win rate settle over time as people get used to his new playstyle. Brewmaster's Balance has always been an incredibly strong talent, and even post-rework it’s still sitting as the highest win-rate talent on the tier, despite many initial claims that it’s “dead” now that it’s harder for Chen to be at 50 Brew.
      It also isn’t impossible or even that hard to get to the magical 50 Brew state, it just requires that Chen to also use his Flying Kick instead of only Keg Smash and Breath of Fire, which is what he does in most engages on enemies anyways. While we understand that it’s a change for players and makes it harder to get to exactly 50 Brew (for one he needs a nearby target for Flying Kick to reach the threshold), the talent was never intended to exist in such a way that its expected output was only around Chen being at exactly 50 Brew. If it was, then he would not gain any benefit when above or below that threshold. While some players greatly desire that it be super easy and simple to get both sides of the benefits, it’s not intended for Chen to always be at that threshold, and we think it’s a good thing if it’s a little harder to get there.
      Medivh's Dust of Disappearance was changed in the most recent balance patch to feature an increase duration - from 20 seconds to 40 seconds. This is a nice buff and all, but most other "active" Cloaks all have an additional feature that Medivh's Dust of Disappearance doesn't - for the first half-second or so of the Cloak, they also grant Unrevealable, which makes them actually super impactful during fights - like it's amazing on Brightwing's Invisible Friends, as it means they don't have a shimmer, so it's got incredible teamfight capability, and they also aren't uncloaked if they take damage during this time, making it even stronger.
      Also, Tyrande's Shadowstalk doesn't have this unrevealable either, but I think it'd be way too strong as something you can apply to an entire team with it, but that's not the case for Dust of Disappearance, which can only target one hero at once, and only stores two charges, which is more comparable to Brightwing's Invisible Friends.
      Good point, I'll make a note to investigate Dust of Disappearance and see if we want to make this happen.
      With the assassin Tassadar rework coming, what is happening with his autoattacks?
      Is he still using the stationary beam or are we going back to classic stutter stepping Tassadar? Why or why not?
      The current plan is that Tassadar keeps the channeled beam auto-attack, but it has a host of changes from its live version.
      I've mentioned a few times my desire to better capture the High Templar fantasy with this rework and speed is definitely a big 'texture' hit. High Templar in the Starcraft universe are slow and plodding and I think it's important for that to be reflected in Tass' kit. Giving him a passively reduced move speed would be disastrous, but building appropriate cast times and periods of immobility into the kit (and then riffing off those 'downsides' with talents!) gives him both a solid fantasy hit as well as the opportunity for a more unique play-style.
      It might sound all negative right now, but it will make much more sense in the greater context of his reworked kit. I think right now, his auto-attack talents work as their own cohesive build or as compliments to other builds.
      Smurf accounts continue to hurt the competitiveness and fairness of SL. Is there anything in the works to help curb this ongoing issue? I have mentioned a few possible fixes to consider in the past. Possibly looking at increasing the hero level requirement to play SL or greatly increase the MMR and rank points gained with the win rate is above a set threshold for a given rank (IE 65 or 70% win rate)
      This has always been a concern for us and we are always looking to find ways to make Storm League as competitive and fair as possible. However, we have to be careful because if we get too heavy-handed, it could hurt the experience for legitimate players.
      We have talked about increasing the account level needed in order to play Storm League and may do it with the next Season Roll. As for increasing MMR quicker for higher win-rates, we actually already do this in the form of Streak Bonuses - players just can't see that right now because MMR and Rank Points are not connected. Next season, this will no longer be the case ?
      Is it possible to add Kyle "The Blackthorne" Vlaros to the nexus finally?
      We have previously discussed Blackthorne coming into the Nexus and many on the team want to see him get in the game... Anything is possible in the Nexus?!
      I feel like Valla buffs made her go to the right direction, but imho Caltrops talent still cause incredible mana hunger, any plans on lower Vault cost?
      You make a good point. I made a note to myself to check it out and i'll see what I can do.
      Any plans for mastery rewards for levels over 100? I'm nearing 200 on Kel'thuzad and am interested to see what you guys are going to add.
      We have been thinking about a few different options around what we can add into the game to allow players to display their mastery of a Hero in a cool way. This is something that is near and dear to our hearts as we have more than a few members on the team that are nearing Hero level ranges of 200-300. That said, we currently are exploring a few avenues of what this might be. Keep an eye out in the future ?!
      There seems to be a myth that performance based matchmaking was a "trainwreck" and "didn't work" so you guys "got rid of it". That myth is being perpetuated in this very thread.
      As someone who was there when it was released, I know for a fact that you guys turned it off because of a separate, unrelated issue with ranked, and stated that you'd bring it back.
      Since then, we've had numerous threads asking when it will come back, and zero word from you.
      Now that ranked queues are long and the community is dwindling, the quality of ranked games has dropped substantially. The matchmaking is so bad that it easily takes twice as many games to reach "the rank you should have been in the first place" (not to mention 5x the time). Now would be the perfect time to reintroduce performance based matchmaking so that players who are still interested in ranked, don't have to worry about the awful quality of current matchmaking every time the queue for a game.
      Do you have any plans to reintroduce it? And if not, why not? I'm tired of being told that "it's impossible to take my personal performance into account in any way, on any metric, even a tiny bit" for my personal rank.
      We are still very much looking to re-explore the performance based matchmaking and would love to be able to reintroduce it. I can't tell you when, as it has to be prioritized by the team first, but I do want to let you know it is up there and we haven't forgotten about it!
      Few months ago, you made the good call with removal the additionnal armor. To help the loss, you buffed the talents / abilities for somes heroes. But now, i think you forgot some talents / abilities.
      Again, it's just few examples like lvl 13 on Zarya with 20% armor. Brightwing with the E. Uther with the 7. Greymane with worgen's form. Valla with the 13. Cho'Gall with Cho's armor. Deckard's armor etc. Non exhaustive list but i think you have the point.
      We did a pass on everything that gives Armor in the game when we modified how Armor stacking worked, and individually made decisions on how to compensate each effect. Simply buffing the Armor values of every individual effect now that they can’t stack to “compensate” them would create a host of other balance issues, as not all Armor values were designed or balanced completely around the idea that they would be stacked in every scenario. For example, increasing Greymane’s Worgen Form Armor would be a significant buff to him in all games, whereas that specific case wasn’t causing the Armor stacking issues that we were trying to solve with our change.
      Going forward, we can and likely will over time buff or even nerf the cases you mentioned or others that we missed as general Hero balance updates.
      The Movement Speed changes will change how a lot of interactions work. Will you change these interactions to be how they were before?
      Firstly, the Movement Speed change was in fact intended to change the game and how many interactions work. This means that yes, many skillshots will be somewhat harder to hit (though you also can move into position quicker to hit them so it’s a little more complicated then that), and yes, some abilities will be relatively easier to dodge. This also means that rotations will be impacted and some maps will play differently. We intended for the Movement Speed changes to, well, change how the game played. If we compensated everything in the game to be how it was before, then it wouldn’t be much of a change. 
      We played with this change for a long time internally and felt like it didn’t have as much of an impact as the initial perception has been from players when we released the change. While we get that the sticker shock of the game moving 10% faster is significant, we believe that the change isn’t going to warp the game in a huge way that we can’t tune around. While we understand that there may be some fallout, we didn’t feel the need to pre-emptively change how 50+ Abilities and interactions work in anticipation of the changes coming, as it’s much riskier to do that than to see how the changes play out and react to the outliers.
      We were aware that there may be fallout with some heroes and abilities, such as Artanis’s Purifier Beam, Kel’Thuzad’s and Li-Ming’s Skillshots, and AoE abilities like Blizzard and Flamestrike, however we want to see if there are significant changes in the performance of these and other interactions before making adjustments. Going forward, we are keeping an eye on the performance of these and other heroes, and speeding up the speed of their abilities will be an arrow in our Balance quiver going forward.
      First and most importantly, Any plans to please add Kyle Vlaros the Blackthorne this year to mark this 25th Anniversary game release? (or any year soon really) You've teased him since 2013 and while the younger players could care less about him, us older players would really love to see more than just TLV from the old days.
      The second would be, with the new speed increase, is it possible to redo some of Valeera's kit or improve her stealth to a place closer to where it used to be pre stealth nerf? If you play against AI, they act like they can't see her in stealth, but since the stealth nerf she is so obviously there now to real players, that the point of her stealth becomes pointless. Perhaps an improved stealth ability to make her a little more transparent?
      Third, Would you Consider moving Kharazim's [[Echo of Heaven]] ability from 16 to say 13? I am noticing when Kharazim goes with [[insight]] at 1 he can only really become a late game healer after 16 giving other healers a big advantage over their output performance. Typically he is only played in certain niches.
      Is there any chance of adding more than just the 3 loadout customizations? I'd be happy with 4 or 5 total.
      Finally, Can we get any new skins or color variants for Ragnaros?
      We have talked a lot about potentially bringing Kyle to the Nexus and a lot of the team is excited about the opportunity to get more classic style Heroes into the game.
      It is completely possible for us to redo some of Valeera's kit. I think we have a lot of room to improve her (and all of our Stealth Assassins) but I don't think we need to blow up her current design to do so.
      We currently like where Kharazim is sitting, especially for being a bit of a hybrid style Hero. I will bring it up with Adam, but normally when we shift talents like you suggest, it opens up a bit of a rabbit's hole that we end up going down.
      We have discussed adding more load-out slots but it is not a high priority right now.
      I know that Art has been looking into a new skin for Ragnaros, but there are some challenges when it comes to performance. They would know a lot more and this is a great question to bring up in the next Art AMA!
      You have been and still are removing or editing neutral talents like Cleanse, MULE, bolt etc. Can you further explain your problems with these talents? And also why for instance, you edit bolt for each character and have it stay in the game that way but sprint is no longer in the game and MULE is only on Abathur? Thanks in advance, it is very much appreciated that you take feedback like this.
      Our philosophy is that if we should try to incorporate generic talents to fit a hero's kit and fantasy so that those talents feel more unique and exciting. I think Diablo's Hellgate is a perfect example.
      Sprint no longer exists because it was OP on the heroes who had them, like Jaina and Kerrigan. We now provide movement speed via other talents, where appropriate.
      I recently played a lot of ARAM with friends and I have some suggestions about it :
      - It would be really nice and more fair if the core in ARAM had a shield like in classic games. Backdoor is very frustrating and unteresting for both team I think.
      - Healers are very important I think to have interesting ARAM matches. What do you think about a minimum of healers proposed in the 15 heroes selection ? (2 or 3 for instance). I had some ARAMs where no player is proposed a healer, and it was boring I feel when this happens.
      - It would be good to remove Vikings to this game mode, because they are not equipped for this.
      I will say that we're currently exploring some minor changes to ARAM mode to help soften some of the rougher edges of the format. One problem with ARAM (from a design perspective at least) is that everyone has a different expectation of what ARAM should be. Some people like the sheer chaos of 5 assassin bloodbaths, some prefer the more traditional tank/healer/3 fill teams. Neither of these opinions is 'wrong', they're just different!
      The lack of shields on the core was done intentionally because of the format's reduced hero death timers. With a shield and short timers, it becomes very difficult to end a game unless you're absolutely stomping the opponent. Without it, you can at least make incremental progress. Back-dooring can certainly be obnoxious, but it's usually counter-able with vigilance and strategic game-play.
      It's very likely that we will prevent the Vikings from showing up in this format. Additionally, we'd like to re-introduce some of the characters we've restricted (like Chromie, Azmodan, etc), perhaps with some pick weighting to prevent them from appearing in a majority of games. We're not 100% sure yet but we're working on it!
      The recent balance patch changed 5 talents on Orphea, and 4 of those changes were to replace one number in the talent with a slightly-better number. Why such a simple approach?
      Does it really help a talent to upgrade a very short cooldown to an even shorter cooldown, when the spell is limited by casting animation?
      There are a lot of tools that we have to change the balance of a Hero or talent, and two people will rarely agree on what the perfect change is. Each tool has advantages and disadvantages which may not be super apparent to everyone. As a super simple example, one tool we have to fix a talent that’s not being picked is to redesign the talent, however one side-effect is that it usually results in alienating the small percentage of players who really like that talent.
      In Orphea’s case, I wanted to try number tuning some of her talents before doing a bunch of functionality changes. I agree that she has a relatively unique limitation in her casting animations, but even so her cooldowns being reduced still has significant value (as an example think if her Q didn’t have any cooldown reduction at all in any way. The ability would feel much different than it does now).
      If the number tuning doesn’t work, then we can go into more functionality changes.
      I suppose the crux of what I’m getting at is that there is a lot of thought that gets put into these things, but that doesn’t mean that they will always work out. Even so, I would rather try something and it not work out perfectly than be too afraid to make changes or only make the changes that we are 1000% confident in (spoiler alert, that almost never happens). The beauty of working on a Live game like this is that we can always go back and iterate more if things don’t go exactly as we hoped they would.
      Are there any plans to continue balancing Samuro in balance patches?
      Even though last AMA we finally learned (and sadly so) that Samuro is neither getting Illusion Master baseline nor a talent rework in the near future, the hero still has some balance problems that I'm hoping will be addressed within coming balance patches
      I'll take the chance to talk about some different talent issues and how they can be fixed to open up more talent choices and as a result more play styles
      Way of the Wind is an awesome talent, but the issue it has that makes it almost unpickable in current Meta is that without a damage talent at level 1, Samuro deals almost no actual damage, which severely impacts the talents usability while it leaves a bittersweet taste of "I can finally chase this tracer around (kinda) but I don't have enough damage to kill her". The only fix I can think for this is to buff Samuro's baseline damage and adjust the other level 1 talents, this would also be a buff to Crushing Blows, which right now suffers from being out damaged by other level 7 options
      Like I said above, Crushing Blows and also Kawarimi suffer from being mathematically inferior or too clunky to use, respectively, I made a post about them and how to fix here.
      Finally, Samuro's level 20 tier suffers from zero choice, absolutely nothing ever competes with Three Blade Style, and it's not because it's "too good", because it isn't, it's more of an issue that the other choices are pretty bad, like really bad in comparison. heck the only talent in the tier that has the power level of what a level 20 talent should have, is TBS. A buff is needed here, plain and simple.
      Here is some more discussion on possible ways to help balance Samuro more, for any who care to read
      We have some changes to Samuro that we’re testing internally. Without going into too much detail since we’re still iterating, we are currently testing a change where Samuro’s clones have a much shorter duration, but it’s increased whenever he or they attack an enemy Hero. This greatly limits his split-pushing potential, and enables us to give him some cool, new stuff when team fighting.
      We don’t like the popular idea of giving his Clones a leash range or Samuro a teleport range. It results in a lot of user frustration where players can’t do things that they want to do, or Clones don’t behave in the way that the user expects them to (ex. With a teleport range Samuro suddenly can’t teleport to certain clones that are off-screen, which is fatal when he’s in a bind).
      Also, as a no-context teaser to wet your appetite, currently in our playtests Bladestorm’s cooldown is 20 seconds ?
      Voicelines for missing enemies and "attack here" have been gone since at least the Anduin patch. Any plan to bring them back?
      I just had a conversation with someone about this last week. It's something we are looking into.
      What's up with Galls's Mastery Taunt, or lack thereof?
      The design team is definitely aware of it and will have a chat about allowing you to show off your mastery with the brains of the two-headed ogre ?
      Do you prefer changing Dva to make her become a Bruiser and Solo Laner or change her to Support and Flex?
      In the upcoming rework she will still be classified under the 'Bruiser' category, but her talents should allow her to fill a more traditional solo-lane role or a team-support role.
      Personally, I love playing her as a 2nd front-line in a support role. She's got a lot of new tools to shutdown picks or engages, which can really swing the momentum of games. We've had quite a few internal games where D.Va has paired up with squishy melee assassins and functioned as an almost-tank, with very good results.
      Does new Dva still have situations where it is simply better to be a pilot than a mech? For example, in the current version if you're trying to stop a boss from getting your keep, the pilot is over twice as good.
      D.Va's pilot mode still generally offers higher single-target DPS than her Mech mode.
      Is there any chance for other heroes to get the ability to repair structures? Can Abathur lose his MULE? Or do you think things are okay as they are?
      We've discussed this internally and we are happy with MULE being only available to Abathur. Like you said, it fits his playstyle and it's a great reason to pick Abathur over another Hero. Historically, MULEs have caused pacing issues because they can stall lanes and inflate game times. That being said, though, anything can happen in the Nexus!
      Which heroes would you give MULE to?
      What are your plans for Tyrande's talent tree? Elune's Chosen is a must pick, Lunar Blaze is a must pick, Celestial Attunement is a must pick.
      Adam had responded to a thread the other day, but he plans on making some changes to help address a lot of your concerns here - Elune's Chosen and Celestial Attunement are specifically on his radar!
      I know there is bad luck protection for getting legendaries in loot boxes, but if I get a duplicate legendary and I choose to reroll it, is my bad luck protection reset or because I rerolled it is still in play? Thanks.
      If you get a Legendary (or any rarity outside of common) and you elect to reroll the loot box, there is no guarantee that you will receive that same level rarity in that new loot box that you rerolled for. So, if you were to get a Legendary in a loot box and choose to reroll the loot box, that next loot box could have all commons in it. Hopefully this answers your question sufficiently ?!
    • By Stan
      This week's brawl is Industrial District, a single-lane Overwatch-themed battleground with standard play and shuffle pick. The main goal is to destroy the enemy Core. Play 3 games to earn a Mecha Chest.
      Blizzard (Source)
      This week’s Heroes Brawl is Industrial District! Slide around and slug it out in the heart of Volskaya in this Overwatch-themed, single-lane Battleground featuring lots of conveyor belts and tons of action.
      Rules:
      Shuffle pick - Choose from one of three Heroes before entering the battle. Standard play - no talent or level restrictions. The first team to destroy the enemy Core wins! Rewards:
      Complete three matches of the Industrial District Brawl 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.
    • By Stan
      The Heroes team is hosting an AMA on tomorrow related to the recent Hero Movement Speed changes that went live in the latest patch and Hero balance.
      Feel free to submit your questions here. The devs will start answering them starting at 10:00 a.m. PDT (7:00 p.m. CEST). We'll be back with a recap shortly after the AMA is over.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Greetings, Heroes!
      We’re going to host a Hero Balance & Hero Movement Speed Change AMA right here on /r/heroesofthestorm on Thursday, July 18, 2019! The Heroes devs will join the thread and answer your questions starting around 10:00 a.m. PDT (7:00 p.m. CEST) until 12:00 p.m. PDT (9:00 p.m. CEST).
      We have the following developers on hand answering questions:
      Alex Neyman (/u/BlizzNeyman) Sergey Morozov (/u/Blizz_SMorozov) Adam Z. Jackson (/u/BlizzAZJackson) Kevin Gu (/u/BlizzKGu) David P Warner (u/Blizz_DWarner) Steven Jaquith (/u/Blizz_Steve) Brett Crawford (/u/Daybringer) Shane Miller (/u/Blizz_Shane) Kyle Dates – (/u/BlizzKyle) When posting multiple AMA questions: Please make an effort to post one question per comment. This will make it easier for others to read through the thread, and will help the devs focus on one question at a time. However, please feel free comment as many times as you'd like in order to get your questions posted.
      You can start posting your questions right now, and we'll see you on Thursday!
    • By Stan
      Heroic Deals for this week include Chromie, Lucio, Stitches, and two Mecha skins.
      Click here to check out this week's Free-to-Play Hero rotation!
      Hero Sales
      Heroes Old Price New Price Chromie 750 Gems 375 Gems Lucio 750 Gems 375 Gems Stitches 625 Gems 312 Gems Skins
      Dark Mecha Rehgar -- 900 Gems // 1,800 Shards Dark Mecha Tyrael -- 1,125 Gems // 2,400 Shards
      Mounts
      Fel Razorgrin and Great Razorgrin mounts can be purchased for 10K Gold. The Seraph Wing Bundle can be purchased for 1,260 Gems.
    • By Stan
      Free Hero rotation has been updated for the week of July 16 and includes Alarak, Zarya, Abathur, and more.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: July 16, 2019
      Malfurion Valla Gazlowe Johanna Thrall Dehaka Greymane Xul Lucio Falstad Alarak (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Zarya (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Tyrande (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Abathur (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)
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