We present our twenty-first Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the month of July 2018.
Welcome to Icy Veins’s Meta Tier List for the July 7 patch. This list also takes into account the July 25 balance 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). 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.
Using the list
Current ranked mode map rotation
Situational picks (map, team composition, or counterpick)
The Lost Vikings (ban)
Meta heroes define the 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.
The July 25 balance patch brought with it a number of interesting fine-tuning changes. Although many of these changes are unlikely to affect their respective heroes, I’d still like to highlight some of them.
Azmodan: The buffs I predicted – and my excuse for not maintaining the guide up to date – finally came online. Although they are small numbers changes for the most part, the centerpiece of Azmodan’s newfound power lies in in a simple ~15% increase to Globe of Annihilation’s base damage, at the cost of 1% scaling. Although this might sound like a tradeoff more than a buff, keep in mind that Azmodan’s weakest point was his early game, and that this damage increase makes it much easier to kill minions for annihilation stacks. In case you’re wondering, the new scaling makes Globe of Annihilation weaker than it was past level 17, though the additional stacks one can acquire generally makes up for it. All Shall Burn also got to benefit from some nice buffs, notably a 2-second cooldown reduction (8 to 6) making all of its talents that much more appealing, and allowing Azmodan to actually be a solo lane threat. Lastly, I suspect Hell Rift to be pretty good following the Summon Demon Warrior changes (along with Army of Hell or Hellforged Armor and Brutish Vanguard for good measure), though it’ll continue to be matchup-dependent.
Malfurion: Losing Ice Block is soul-crushing. Besides being a great defensive talent, Ice Block was notably strong for Malfurion, allowing him to use Twilight Dream aggressively or to benefit from a few Tranquility ticks while invulnerable. Nature’s Swiftness moving in its place makes Malfurion much weaker in the early game. The new Rejuvenation talent (can’t link that one yet) seems really bad on paper, and that’s because it is; at level 1 and assuming a typical 3-rolling-Regrowth setup, it gives Malfurion a “whooping” 9 health per second. The patch notes were wrong, by the way; ingame, the talent gives Malfurion 100% more base regeneration per Regrowth, not 5 flat health per second. Anyway, it’s bad in both cases, on top of being pretty boring. But personal commentary aside, I think the removal of Ice Block might even kill Malfurion’s competitive viability. Yikes.
Artanis: When I first read these changes, my reaction was more or less something like “okay?” After playing him however, I can’t say I really feel any differently about him as a hero design-wise, but I do think he’s a little bit stronger. I’m inclined to consider he might be high-tier material, but I want more data.
Cho: Cho’gall was notoriously overpowered in team league environments, where players are generally organized enough to build a team composition around a given hero, but not good enough to understand how to counter that. This makes sense, as this knowledge is locked behind, well, actually playing against these team compositions, which is obviously more rare than being able to build it yourself. Cho’gall has been the longstanding champion of team league for this reason, with Surging Dash being one of the most busted talents in the game. In essence, it gave Cho access to Unstoppable for up to 6 seconds on a 12-second cooldown. I’d generally use this as an occasion to be snarky, but I think the numbers speak for themselves. Besides, it did end up changing, and it only took 16 months! Really can’t complain here.