Specialists in Heroes of the Storm

Specialists on the Rise: Balance Patch 19.0

Jul 20, 2016

The latest balance patch in Heroes of the Storm brought the much-anticipated Gul’Dan into the game as well as quite a few major changes. Many Heroes received significant updates (mostly buffs), but by far the biggest changes related to minions and how they interact with structures.

Put simply, minions now wreck forts if left unattended. Their damage to structures was increased to 100% of their base attack and catapult minions received significant improvements. Catapults no longer get distracted by minion waves but instead fixate on structures until killed, making them actual ruthless machines of war now.

Wave Clear is Super Important

Wave clear is always one of those things that everyone knows is important but ignores. Not anymore. You’ll quickly notice your team fall behind in experience if you don’t have great wave clear on your team. Towers will quickly crumble under pressure from minions, and your opponent will slowly suffocate you with better rotations.

Minions on Cursed Hollow
Via Heroes Nexus.

The importance of wave clear has given rise to a new era of Hero picks with a heavy emphasis on Specialists. This is great news for the game now that Specialists have the designated role of wave clear. On the other hand, it also means that a Specialist is pretty much required for every composition, thereby restricting compositions and reducing diversity.

Some Heroes Got A Huge Power Boost

The real winners have been Sylvanas, Xul, and Zagara in particular. Sylvanas and Xul have arguably the best wave clear in the entire game, so they excel in early game rotations and clearing out massive waves of minions in the late game. Zagara got a different kind of boost.

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Zagara has always been known as a lane bully, but she just got a lot stronger. Blizzard did a major rework of her talents and abilities, making her more of an auto-attack Hero with strong map presence. Nydus Worm, the underdog Heroic, got buffed considerably too. Now she can be all over the map pushing constantly in every lane, and she still dominates lane just as hard in the early game. Here is basically everything you need to know about the new Zagara:

All in all, we’re seeing a rise of the Specialists in the metagame. Teams may eventually find better solutions to wave clear like double mage or tanky front lines. But for the time being, the Specialists rule supreme.

Dignitas with trophyThe audience at DreamHack Summer
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Christopher Meek
Chris is an esports aficionado who has followed and written about several different games, including StarCraft II, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm. He has served notable time at Team Liquid, among others, in the pursuit of becoming a freelance writer and editor. He’s sometimes been known in the MOBA community as “that feeder” but continues to improve and remains optimistic for the future.
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