Happy New Year HoTS players! Blizzard has released a lot of new content for Heroes of the Storm since we said goodbye to 2017. There is a new hero, reworks of existing heroes, and some sweet new skins. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting changes and how they may have impacted the game meta.
New Hero: Blaze
”They do not know who they’re f(scorching sound)ing with.” –Cpl. Miles “Blaze” Lewis
Blaze is a new warrior class in HoTS with great survivability and area of effect damage. He can be highly disruptive in team fights thanks to his multiple crowd control abilities and debuffs. On maps with objectives that you need to control, Blaze is a great choice. He also has some serious waveclear potential which makes him pretty much a solid choice on any map. Most team comps can benefit from including a Blaze in their roster. Just make sure to work with your teammates to setup kills. Blaze’s play style can get a bit predictable so you may need a partner to help close the deal on kills later in the game.
If you have been waiting for a tank that sits somewhere between Sonya and Muradin, Blaze is your hero. Practice your skillshots, get familiar with the charge distance of Jet Propulsion, and work on positioning to keep yourself and the enemy in your burning Oil Spill. There is a great build guide over at Icy Veins and can read the details about Blaze and his abilities in the patch notes from January 9th, 2018.
Here is a quick run down of the key hero changes we saw in the last few HoTS patches:
- Hanzo’s damage output, specifically with Scatter Arrows, has been reduced a bit. He is still a very powerful hero if you have the skills and map awareness to play him.
- Nova got a slight damage reduction.
- Samuro got some more health since his play style is even more aggressive now.
- Valeera’s silence time has been reduced. Thank goodness!
- Zeratul got a huge boost to a few of his talents (Move Unseen, Darkness Descends, Warp Skirmisher).
- Garrosh saw a few buffs to help compensate with a lower win rate due to his previous re-work.
- Malfurion got a major overhaul. Be sure to read the patch notes to understand what has changed. He is much more of an active healer now rather than a back-line healbot. Nice!
- Tyrael also received a rework. If he wasn’t an aggressive tank before (which he was), he definitely is now. More sustain, more damage, and almost omnipresence in team fights. We find him even more fun to play now! Check out the patch notes from January 16th for more info.
HoTS released some new mecha skins in their recent Mechstorm update. We have always loved the mecha skins and are excited to build full mecha team comp now! Our favorite in the new release has to be Abathur’s mecha skins. While we loved the pajamas, it is time to evolve!
Ranked Meta Update
We are still seeing double warrior comps as very popular in ranked play. Double support comps are still out there but are getting eclipsed by the reliability of double warrior teams. Warriors like Arthas, Blaze, Tyrael, and Sonya provide amazing versatility on any map. Pair them up with each other or swap in an E.T.C. or Muradin for an extra beefy front line.
Speaking of supports, ever since the massive rework of the support heroes we are seeing a few common picks in ranked play. Lucio, Rehgar, Stukov, and Alexstrasza are the most popular right now. Lili still shows up from time to time and can be brutal to play against when in the right hands. We are excited to see how Malfurion’s rework impacts his ranked play as well.
Here are our top two picks by role in the current meta. Let us know your thoughts!
The Tip Jar
- If you are a playing a tank, remember to maintain a frontline for your teammates. They need protection so they can deal damage to the enemy. If you see an enemy hero get into your backline, get back there and peel!
- Camps are great. Except when they are easily burned down in a lane. If you spend time away from laning or team fighting to get a camp that gets destroyed by an enemy specialist or a couple of enemy heroes, you didn’t really help out much. Take camps strategically, like right before objectives or when your entire team can burn them down quickly while moving across the map.
- Don’t be tempted by the boss! There are a bazillion videos out there of teams fighting the boss only to lose it to a crafty enemy team. Bosses are certainly powerful, but they aren’t worth a team wipe. Especially late game. Be smart about when you go for the boss. A great time is when the enemy team is down or they are on the other side of the map defending a lane. Also, taking the boss on Cursed Hollow during a curse is almost never a good idea. Your team can sometimes take two or more forts or keeps in the same amount of time it takes to burn down the boss.
HoTS Esports Update
We are in Phase 1 of 2018 right now. From HGC esports news:
HGC leagues in North America, Europe, China, and Korea will again field eight teams a piece. After five weeks of play within the regions, the top four from Europe and North America will collide at the Western Clash which will be returning to the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in Katowice, Poland. Similarly, the first Eastern Clash of the year will return to Blizzard’s EStadium in Taipei, Taiwan and feature the top team from Taiwan, the top three teams from China, and the top four from Korea. Each of the clashes will yield a $100,000 prize pool.
Check out the HGC schedule to find out when your favorite teams are playing!