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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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      Abilities
      Solarion's Fire (W) Mana cost reduced from 60 to 50 Molten Armor (E) Mana cost increased from 50 to 75 Talents
      Level 1 Consuming Flame (W) Adjusted Functionality: No longer has a quest component; Imperius gains bonus damage and slow to Solarion's Fire when picking the talent Bonus damage reduced from 150 to 125 Level 4 Bulwark of Flame (W) Physical Armor amount increased from 70 to 75 Maximum Charges increased from 4 to 6 Unshakable Faith (E) Adjusted Functionality: No longer requires removing a disabling effect in order for Imperius to be healed Healing reduced from 250 to 200 Level 7 Flash of Anger (Q) Damage increased from 180 to 198 Now shows Crit kickers when this damage procs Holy Fervor (Active) Cooldown increased from 18 to 25 seconds Return to Top

      Malthael
      Talents
      Level 10 Tormented Souls (R1) Additional Functionality: When Tormented Souls is cast and when it expires, reset the cooldown of Wraith Strike Return to Top

      Rexxar
      Talents
      We've adjusted Rexxar's talents to be positioned in the same order as other heroes (ex. Q talents on top, then W, then E) Level 1 Easy Prey (Passive) Bonus damage no longer applies to Misha, Charge! Bonus damage to Minions and Mercenaries increased from 150% to 200% Return to Top

      Varian
      Abilities
      Parry (W) Mana cost increased from 20 to 30 Talents
      Level 1 Lion's Maw (Q) Damage bonus per hit increased from 4 to 5 Enemy Heroes hit required for quest completion reduced from 30 to 25 High King's Quest (Passive) Damage bonus upon quest completion reduced from 45 to 30 Return to Top

      Xul
      Abilities
      Cursed Strikes (W) Mana cost reduced from 60 to 50 Talents
      Level 4 Reaper's Toll (Q) Quest requirement reduced from 20 to 16 Additional Functionality: When completed, now also reduces the Mana cost of Spectral Scythe by 20 Return to Top

      Yrel
      Talents
      Level 1 Light of Karabor (Q) Adjusted Functionality: Increase Vindication's radius by 15%. If Vindication hits an enemy Hereo, increase its healing by 40%. If Vindication hits 2 or more enemy Heroes, increase its healing by 80%. Dauntless (Passive) Physical Armor amount increased from 35 to 50 Level 10 Sacred Ground (R2) Armor amount increased from 40 to 50 Return to Top
      Healer

      Ana
      Talents
      Level 4 Biotic Enhancements (W) Cooldown reduction reduced from 4 seconds to 2 seconds Overdose (E) Additional Functionality: While Aim Down Sights is active, Sleep Dart now pierces all enemy Heroes Level 7 Night Terrors Damage increased from 8% to 10% maximum Health Return to Top

      Deckard Cain
      Abilities
      Healing Potion (Q) Healing amount increased from 255 to 270 Horadric Cube (W) Cooldown reduced from 14 seconds to 12 seconds Mana cost reduced from 40 to 35 Talents
      Level 4 Ruby (Active) Lesser Healing Potion amount increased from 220 to 250 Level 7 Cube Mastery (W) Additonal Functionality: Reduce the Mana cost of Scroll of Sealing from 40 to 30 Return to Top

      Lúcio
      Talents
      Level 7 Boombox (Active) Health of the Boombox has been increased from 217 to 350 Level 10 High Five (R2) Mana cost decreased from 50 to 35 Level 16 Up the Frequency (E) Cooldown reduction per Basic Attack reduced from .45 to .4 seconds Level 20 House Party (W) Bonus healing per ally in Crossfade aura reduced from 10% to 8% Return to Top

      Rehgar
      Talents
      Level 16 Rising Storm (W) New Functionality: Casting Lightning Shield on an ally also casts an untalented version on Rehgar. Every time either Lightning Shield damages an enemy Hero, increase the damage of both Lightning Shields. Stacks up to 15 times. Damage reduced from 15% to 10% per stack Return to Top

      Stukov
      Talents
      We've adjusted Stukov's Level 1 talents to be positioned in the same order as other heroes (ex. Q talents on top, then W then E) Level 1 Reactive Ballistospores (W) Moved from Level 13 Cooldown increased from 10 to 15 seconds Level 4 Biotic Armor (Q) Armor bonus when detonating Bio-Kill switch increased from 50 to 75 Level 10 Flailing Swipe (R1) Mana cost reduced from 100 to 80 Level 13 Poppin' Pustules (Trait) Moved from Level 1 Damage bonus increased from 100% to 150% Return to Top

      Uther
      Abilities
      Holy Light (Q) Mana cost reduced from 90 to 80 Return to Top
      Support

      Abathur
      Abilities
      Locust Strain (Trait) Damage increased from 40 to 46 Carapace (E) Shield amount reduced from 157 to 150 Talents
      Level 1 Reinforced Carapace (E) Bonus Shielding reduced from 40% to 30% Survival Instincts (Trait) Bonus Health increased from 60% to 100% Level 4 Prolific Dispersal Additional Functionality: Now also increases the range of Toxic Nest by 30% Level 13 Bombard Strain (Trait) Duration bonus increased from 50% to 75% Level 16 Volatile Mutation (Heroic) Healing increased from 50% to 75% of the damage dealt Melee Assassin

      Alarak
      Abilities
      Discord Strike (Q) Mana cost increased from 45 to 55 Talents
      Level 1 Ruthless Momentum (W) Adjusted Functionality: Reduce the Mana cost of Telekinesis from 30 to 20. Telekinesis' cooldown recharges 100% faster while above 75% health Telekinesis' button will now glow when this cooldown bonus is active Level 13 Blade of the Highlord (Trait) Maximum Sadism bonus increased from 30% to 40% Return to Top

      Butcher
      Abilities
      Butcher's Brand (W) Mana cost reduced from 65 to 60 Ruthless Onslaught (E) Mana cost reduced from 55 to 50 Return to Top

      Zeratul
      Abilities
      Singularity Spike (W) Mana cost reduced from 80 to 70 Return to Top
      Ranged Assassin

      Azmodan
      Abilities
      Globe of Annihilation (Q) Mana cost increased from 60 to 70 Summon Demon Warrior (W) Mana cost reduced from 30 to 25 All Shall Burn (E) Mana cost reduced from 40 to 30 Talents
      Level 7 Art of Chaos (Q) Mana refund increased from 30 to 40 Return to Top

      Chromie
      Stats
      Basic Attack damage increased from 73 to 82 Abilities
      Sand Blast (Q) Damage increased from 280 to 315 Echo damage reduced from 50% to 40% of Chromie's damage Dragon's Breath (W) Damage increased from 195 to 204 Coolddown reduced from 15 to 14 seconds Mana cost reduced from 75 to 65 Time Trap (E) Mana cost reduced from 30 to 20 Talents
      Level 1 Deep Breathing (W) Damage bonus increased from 2 (up to 50) to 3 (up to 60) Damage bonus at Quest Complete increased from an additional 50 to 60 Timewalker's Pursuit (Active) No longer provides Mana Regeneration at Quest Complete Spell Power bonus increased from 5% to 10% Level 2 Andorhal Anomaly (E) Cooldown reduction increased from 5 to 8 seconds Chronic Conditions (E) Slow increased from 25% to 30% Level 8 Slowing Sands (R1) Mana cost reduced from 4 to 3 per second Level 11 Gnome Speed Ahead! (Q) No longer increases Mana Regeneration Here and There (Active) Range increased from 9 to 11 Range from which you can teleport to an Echo increased from 3 to 4 Cooldown reduced from 30 to 25 Level 14 Shifting Sands (Q) Spell Power bonus per enemy hit reduced from 8% to 5% Spell Power bonus maximum increased from 40% to 50% Duration reduced from 10 to 8 seconds Fast Forward (Q) Cooldown of Sand Blast reduced from .75 to .5 seconds Range required to hit Sand Blast reduced from 70% to 50% Quantum Overdrive (Active) Cooldown increased from 30 to 45 seconds Duration reduced from 10 to 8 seconds Hitting an enemy Hero with Sand Blast reduces Quantum Overdrive's cooldown by 3 seconds Level 18 Unravelling (R1) Spell Armor reduction increased from 2 to 5 per 0.25 seconds (maximum is still -30) Stuck in a Loop (R2) Now also increases recharge rate from 500% to 700% Blessing of the Bronze (Active) Is now an activatable Talent with a 90 second cooldown Now lasts 8 seconds Basic Ability recharge rate increased from 30% to 35% Movement Speed increased from 10% to 20% Return to Top

      Greymane
      Abilities
      Razor Swipe (Q) Mana cost reduced from 30 to 25 Return to Top

      Hanzo
      Abilities
      Storm Bow (Q) Mana cost increased from 15 to 20 Scatter Arrow (W) Mana cost increased from 40 to 50 Return to Top

      Li-Ming
      Abilities
      Aether Walker (E) Adjusted Functionality: Now removes the Mana cost of Teleport Return to Top

      Lunara
      Abilities
      Crippling Spores (W) Mana cost increased from 40 to 50 Return to Top

      Raynor
      Abilities
      Penetrating Round (Q) Mana cost increased from 50 to 65 Inspire (W) Mana cost increased from 40 to 50 Return to Top

      Sgt. Hammer
      Abilities
      Spider Mines (Q) Mana cost increased from 45 to 50 Concussive Blast (W) Mana cost increased from 60 to 80 Neosteel Plating (E) Mana cost increased from 30 to 60 Return to Top

      Sylvanas
      Talents
      Level 4 Possession (Active) Cooldown increased from 8 to 12 seconds Return to Top

      Zul'jin
      Abilities
      Grievous Throw (Q) Mana cost reduced from 50 to 40 Return to Top
      Bug Fixes 
      The AI now has a better understanding of when to attack and when to defend Immortals on Battlefield of Eternity Garrosh is no longer able to throw Hanamura Temple's Payload Chromie can no longer use Here and There to get outside of a Battleground's playable area The Caldeum Complex event now displays the correct time remaining in the Quest Panel Cyberpunk skin tints now properly display with the Spring Event icon in the Collection Viewing replays generated between March 26's and April 17's patches has been disabled to prevent client crashes Hero changes, improved queue times, and Mana tension build the core of the latest Heroes patch.
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