Balance Update: Heroes of the Storm PTR 23.2.50424

A new PTR patch has been deployed in this balance update, nerfing several heroes: Tychus, Murky, Varian, Rexxar, Tassadar, Malfurion, and Lucio. By nerfs I mean, well, there is a lot of Reduced and Decreased keywords across the board.

Check out the patch notes below to find out how your favorite heroes were affected with this wave of nerfs. Ahem… balance updates.

Some more unconventional Hero League tips

• Do not waste Regeneration Globes!: This is a big one. I often see Globes wasted as a result of a player losing focus in a fight and allowing the Globe to expire. A Regeneration Globe helps your sustain through health and mana. If you’re able to bully your lane opponent you can prevent them from safely getting a Globe, or you get some free hits on them when they attempt to grab it. Additionally, many quests rely on Globes in order to be completed. This leads me to my second point:
• If someone on your team is rotating lanes for Globes, try your best to wait until they reach your lane to get the Globe. If they complete their quest sooner, this will help you as well as they will become stronger. If at all possible, prevent the enemy team from completing a rotation for Globes.
• Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to talent selection. Take Gul’dan for instance: Many players rely on Corruption when playing Gul’dan, but if the enemy team ends up drafting Jaina and Nazeebo, you will actually benefit more from the Spell Armor gained from a Fel Flame build. Small tweaks in playstyle can make all the difference.
• Rotating is easily one of the most misunderstood aspects of this game: Because of the fluidity of laning in Heroes, you’ll often see a hero, or a group of heroes rotating in lanes. This can be extremely dangerous for a lone hero. If this ally is on your team, attempt to warn them with a danger ping. If you’re rotating as part of a group try to single out an enemy who has overextended in lane. Preferably you should be unpredictable in your rotation pattern. If you go from top to mid, and then from mid to bot, chances are each lane will retreat. However, if you can predict the movements of the enemy team you can catch them unaware and get an easy kill. When at all possible, follow safe paths, on your side of the map if you’re alone. If the enemy team is also grouped, try to keep an eye on where they are and where they’re headed. It might save your life.

As always, thanks for reading. Until next time, the Nexus calls.

Lúcio coming at you! Lúcio enters the Nexus

“Let’s drop the beat!”

Who is Lúcio: As a young man, Lúcio grew up in poverty in an area of Brazil hit particularly hard by the Omnic Crisis. In order to lift the spirits of the people of Rio de Janeiro, Lúcio began performing music on street corners and block parties. His life changed, however, when the Vishkar Corporation attempted to take control of his city, exploiting the populace and imposing curfews. Lúcio chose to fight back, stealing the Vishkar Corporation’s technology, and utilizing it to start an uprising that would drive the Vishkar out. As a result, Lúcio became a hero; a symbol for the oppressed and a force for good through his music.

Why should I care: Since Lúcio was announced he has often been compared to Brightwing because the source of his healing is an AoE which doesn’t require mana, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The most interesting aspect of Lúcio’s kit actually comes from his Speed Boost. The reason being Lúcio is passively able to provide a 15% movement speed buff to allies within range, and can boost the bonus to 45% through Amp It Up. This actually enables a fair number of heroes who previously suffered because they lacked mobility. Butcher doesn’t necessarily have to charge in to close the gap. Arthas doesn’t have to slowly walk towards enemies, and Kerrigan can save her leap for a more opportune moment. This is a huge aspect of his kit that differentiates him from other supports because it’s a persistent effect. Lúcio is actually able to solo heal pretty adequately but also benefits from an additional support who’s able to provide targeted heals. This allows him to either focus on speed boosting or he could choose to chase with a melee assassin friend and catch that pesky ranged assassin who’s going to escape. You thought Illidan was bad before? Try escaping a speed boosted one.

But is Lúcio for me: I believe Lúcio is a strong addition to the current support meta because he thrives in a sustained combat environment. He even has a powerful anti burst tool through his heroic Sound Barrier, which you’ll recognize if you’ve played Overwatch. I’ve seen many fights turn as a result of a well timed shield, especially once the enemy commits to the fight. Lúcio is able to heal right up there with the best of them, but does require his allies playing to his strengths, to a degree. He doesn’t necessarily have the versatility of Malfurion, but I recommend drafting Lúcio if you have a melee hero who lacks mobility, or supplemental to a healer like Uther who struggles to heal multiple allies when a skirmish drags out. Ultimately, if you’re a support player I believe you’ll enjoy Lúcio a great deal. And yes, despite some small similarities, there’s still room for Brightwing too.

Until next time, the Nexus calls.

NECA Heroes of the Storm Thrall Action Figure

NECA unveiled the next NECA Heroes of the Storm Thrall Action Figure, and it is awesome. The action figure is 7 inches tall scale, deluxe, with 25 points of articulation. Expect it to ship on June 2017.

NECA is proud to present the Thrall action figure from Heroes of the Storm™, the online team brawler filled with favorite characters from Blizzard Entertainment’s vast video game universes!

Created in collaboration with Blizzard, orc leader Thrall (World of Warcraft™) features a game-authentic sculpt with extra-detailed armor and 25+ points of articulation. The Warchief of the Horde is 6.5” tall and appropriately meaty, and comes with a hammer accessory.

Comes in clamshell packaging.

 

 

Heroes of the Storm Patch 23.4 (Feb 17, 2017)

Blizzard Entertainment deployed a small patch to address a couple of bug fixes. One of them affected Lucio, and the other one affected vs AI gameplay.

Bug Fixes

A.I.

  • General: Fixed a rare issue that could cause A.I. players to stop functioning correctly during a Versus A.I. match.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Lucio: Learning Sonic Amplifier will no longer Amp It Up to benefit from Synaesthesia Auditiva.

 

 

Some unconventional Hero League tips

Here is a short list of Hero League tips that might help you get the most out of your climb.
• Before playing Hero League play a warm up QM or UD match, but don’t treat it like a normal match. Instead set a goal for yourself: This game I’m going to try not to die. This game I’m going to practice stutter stepping in every fight. This game I’m going to conserve my mana for the objective. It’s extremely important you practice consciously and not simply go through the motions if you want to improve.
• Speaking of mana, this is easily one of the most wasted resources in the game. A pro player once said, in low rank play the mistake he sees most often is player’s using mana to clear a minion wave. If at all possible, try to save your mana for the objective for two reasons: 1) If you come prepared and the enemy team doesn’t you have an advantage. 2) If you are able to tap your healing fountain and the enemy team isn’t because they used theirs to regain health and mana that’s another advantage in your favor.
• Do not waste a minion wave. That’s part of the reason why wave clear is one of the most important aspects of this game. For one, the minions are going to push your lane. Every tower, wall and keep you give up helps the enemy team in the long run; but if the enemy team clears their wave, gets the XP and you’re waiting at the objective for 30 seconds, you may not realize it but they’re slowly wearing you down. They’re either expanding their XP lead, or closing the gap. Both are dangerous for you.
• Set up is important. If the enemy team reaches the objective with time to spare, and has the opportunity to get in place, and you’re running in late you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. If they have 5 at the objective, don’t come as 4 unless you have a substantial XP lead. If they’re in place that gives them the advantage of vision, positioning, and they can get the drop on you with their heroics before you’re able to react. Throwing out everything you have haphazardly will likely not work out for you unless you’re severely outplaying your opponent.

That’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed this short list, keep an eye out for more in the future. Until next time, the Nexus calls.

Lucio Coming to the Nexus PTR

Blizzard Entertainment dropped a surprise today announcing that the Overwatch hero Lucio is coming to the Heroes of the Storm PTR very soon for testing. At the time of this posting, Lucio hasn’t been deployed to the PTR. He’s possibly coming on Tuesday.

Below you can watch the video teaser, and 12 gameplay screenshots from Blizzard’s press gallery.

 

 

From the shadows…Enter Valeera!


Who is Valeera: Although she is better known for her role in Hearthstone, Valeera is a major player in World of Warcraft as well. She originally appeared during the expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, and has a strong hatred for Arthas, declaring she will never forgive him for what he did to Quel’Thalas. Valeera identifies as a Blood Elf, however she swears her allegiance to neither the Horde nor the Alliance; despite being a close friend to Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind. She has received formal training as a gladiator under Rehgar Earthfury, was temporarily possessed by a demon, fueling her addiction to fel magic, and a member of the rogue order “the Uncrowned”. Truly a dangerous adversary – as many have discovered – she is someone you would rather have as a friend than foe.


“I’m an excellent rogue. But I can’t perform miracles…not after that nerf at least.”

Why should I care: Valeera is a mix of many things. She could be considered an “anti carry” as she’s capable of shutting down that pesky Chromie, Kael’thas, Zul’jin, Valla and so on through a mix of silences or stuns, delivered from stealth through her unique combo mechanic. If they wish to try to strike back, she’s capable of self cleansing through her heroic Cloak of Shadows, or if she prefers to fight in the midst of it all she can use Smoke Bomb to envelop herself in shadow and confound her enemies. You could easily compare her to other melee assassins like Illidan or Alarak, or say she’s closer to Samuro or Zeratul due to stealth, but nobody brings her unique set of skills to the fight in one kit until now. If you already have a strong form of CC on your team, through Varian, Diablo, or Uther, she’ll feel right at home, capable of stun locking enemies or keeping them silenced.

“I’ll match my wits against your magic any day!”

But is Valeera for me: If you enjoy the “flavor of the week” she’s not quite it. Currently Tassadar has received more attention for his rework. (He’s also going to be a nightmare for you.) Outside of coordinated play, you might “have a bad time” playing Valeera. In my experience, she isn’t quite as self-sufficient as Zeratul or Samuro (the King of the Jungle). She isn’t as capable of a solo laner as Alarak or Thrall. And Illidan is so oppressive for anyone trying to escape him, which could be said for her as well, but she has a tendency to be “all in” in a way that Illidan doesn’t have to be. Currently she has a 41% winrate according to HotsLogs, and I would assume she will receive a buff, unless Blizzard comes to the conclusion that it’s due to her difficulty and learning curve, which is high. She has the second lowest winrate in the game.

If you prefer to faceroll with a hero, Valeera isn’t for you. If instead you prefer a hero that’s going to require a few hundred games (and likely many losses) to discover the optimal talent selection, and you want to figure out the nuances of her kit, Valeera is what you’re looking for. She’s going to require that special touch, much like Chromie for example, to really be a thorn in the enemies side. Just make sure you get a feel for when is the right time to strike from the shadows.

Until next time, the Nexus calls.

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!

Valeera Sanguinar

Valeera Sanguinar is a melee assassin hailing from World of Warcraft. Originally, she was created for the DC Unlimited action figures line up. Shortly after, she was introduced for the first time in the Wildstorm/DC World of Warcraft Comics as an adventure companion of Lo’gosh, later discovered to be an amnesiac King Varian Wrynn. Valeera appeared in the World of Warcraft MMORPG later on during the Siege of Undercity storyline (Wrath of the Lich King expansion). Now Valeera enters the Nexus slaying her opponents with stealthy tactics and brutal Sinister Strikes and Evicerations upon unsuspecting enemies.

Difficulty: Hard

Shadow of the Uncrowned

For a time, the gladiator Valeera Sanguinar served dutifully as one of Varian Wrynn’s personal bodyguards. Now, her shadowy skills find her a natural fit within the secretive rogue order, the Uncrowned, in their fight against the Legion.

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