Draft Roles, Section 2

Hello everyone, I hope your Hero League climbing has been going well. I’m steadily making my way towards Diamond and always learning new things. Today I would like to talk about the Support role and the Specialist role. Each of these roles has a variety of heroes and play styles to choose from and even though they fall under the same category each hero brings something different to the table. If you primarily play the Support role or the Specialist role, you have to pay close attention to what type of draft your team is trying to create, but also what you can do to counter the enemy team. Although this concept is always true regardless of which role you play, I would argue it’s especially important in the case of the Support and the Specialist because Li Li will not be as effective against a strong ability power team, and Auriel thrives in a counter dive scenario (Aegis, Detainment Strike) or if someone on your team is capable of delivering a burst of heavy damage.

Let’s dig a little bit deeper into what this means for you if you want to be more effective in playing either the Support or Specialist role.

Support: One of the most common ways of determining how effective you are as a Support is recognizing how much of your resources you’re forced to use on yourself. If you’re constantly having to put your heal on cooldown to heal yourself, it’s likely you’re overextending. Overextension is one of the most common mistakes I see from Supports at my level of play. Maybe you’re trying to get a clutch Polymorph off with Brightwing, or you want to open a fight with a Water Dragon as Li Li, but ultimately that can cost you your life. It can force you to heal yourself when someone else also desperately needs a heal. It might mean you have to back during an objective. All of these situations can cost you the objective. It’s extremely important you’re conscious of your positioning as a Support. You can lose almost any member of your 5 man team and still win a fight, but if the healer dies and the enemy team still has their Support, they will probably outlast you.

It’s also important if you want to draft the role in HL that you have a variety of Supports you’re able to play for what the situation needs. For instance, Lt. Morales would be a strong addition to a team that benefits from a global transport (Medivac) or some extra punch to an existing carry (Stim Drone) but she’s weak to a team with strong engage, chase, and dive. As a result you should avoid drafting her early in the draft. But take Malfurion, as another example: He’s a strong early draft pick. A good dive hero doesn’t make him nervous because he could self cast root, or cast Twilight Dream as the enemy closes in on him. He’s a good enabler if you have a mana starved “carry” but he’s not necessarily going to be as effective healing a team with an auto attack emphasis or if the enemy team is capable of large bursts of damage at once. For that you might want Rehgar who’s capable of using Ancestral Healing or Tassadar who can soak a lot of damage and can cast preemptive shields. Regardless of who you choose, make sure it’s what your team needs.

Play Support if:
• You have good positioning
• You are good at prioritizing
• You manage your mana properly
• You have a variety of Supports you’ve mastered

Specialist: Easily the most misunderstood role in the game. The Specialist symbol actually used to be a tower because theoretically they excelled at split pushing and destroying structures. That’s no longer the case. The Specialist is a collection of “rule breakers and masters of unconventional warfare”. Medivh was originally going to be classified as a Support, yet he doesn’t heal. As a result, he’s considered a Specialist. Although he doesn’t heal, if your team already has a Support like Brightwing who excels at outlasting the enemy team with a small passive heal but doesn’t necessarily provide burst healing throughout the fight, Medivh might actually be a useful addition. Sylvanas is going to be effective on any map where she can push with the objective (Tomb of the Spider Queen, Dragon Shire, Infernal Shrines, Battlefield of Eternity, Haunted Mines). Xul is the king of split soaking and gaining an experience advantage. He can also bring a lot of useful CC to a fight through a point and click root and his Skeletal Mages heroic. Nazeebo, in many ways, could be considered an Assassin, and will fit into a lot of different team comps, and is especially effective against an enemy team with a lot of ability power. All of these things and more are important considerations should you choose to draft a Specialist. Make sure you’re asking yourself, regardless of who you draft, “What am I bringing to our comp?”

Play Specialist if:
• You have a strong understanding of the hero and their strengths and weaknesses
• You are confident the enemy team won’t draft around you
• You are confident your team understands your strengths and weaknesses and will play to them

As always, thank you for reading. I hope this information has been helpful to you. If there’s one thing I would like you to takeaway from this guide it’s think about your hero and what they bring to your composition. This will give you a big advantage over the player on the enemy team who spams Illidan. Make sure you practice a variety of Supports and if you want to draft a Specialist you usually can’t go wrong with Sylvanas, Ragnaros or Nazeebo.

Good luck and keep climbing!

Josh Bothwell

I am a Heroes of the Storm article writer at Blizzplanet.com

I was the guy who asked about Zul’jin during the BlizzCon 2016 Heroes of the Storm Deep Dive panel Q&A.

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