We present our ninth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Garrosh patch of August 2017.
Our ninth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the month of August 2017 is here!
Welcome to Icy Veins’s Meta Tier List for the Garrosh patch. The goal if 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
As stated above, tier lists are easy to mistake for gospel. As new strategies are discovered and experimented with, so changes the perception of the relative strengths of each hero. Tier lists still prove to be useful as a snapshot of player expectations in terms of drafting. Although it is generally considered preferable to focus on high tier heroes (Prime and Core tiers), it is important to note that Heroes of the Storm’s wild character and map designs make it so that any given hero’s tier position is prone to fluctuate depending on the situation at hand.
One classic example of such is that of Kerrigan on the Infernal Shrines map. Although we currently judge her to be a mid-tier hero, her drafting priority shoots up to first-pick or first-ban material on this specific map due to the nature of its objective. Certain heroes also synergise so well with each other that the sole fact of having the opportunity of drafting them together is generally enough to increase their potential. Tassadar and Tracer, for instance, are generally nightmarish to deal with for many. There are too many examples of these interactions to reasonably produce here, but we invite you to consult our guides to know exactly where and when each hero shines. The guides have been linked in the lists below for your convenience – just click any of the hero names to access them.
A ↑ next to a hero’s name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a ↓ means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or – sign indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.
If you’re newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.
Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They are generally picked to “round out” your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a “jungler” (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.
The Lost Vikings
Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
Greetings. Regulars may have noticed that the changes featured in this month’s list have been more aggressive than usual. In essence, I feel like a clear metagame is finally begin to emerge after a slew of important changes, making it easier for me to pinpoint notable trends. And so, the result is a volatile tier list that should be extremely stable next month. Shall we begin?
I like Garrosh quite a bit, and I can’t help but feel that the combined novelty and high skill cap skew his win rates towards the bottom of the roster. Case in point: his Master level win rates are nearly 12% higher than his Bronze level win rates. This is a case of Medivh all over again; however, whereas both Garrosh and Medivh did start at 30-something-percent win rates, Garrosh has been steadily climbing over the week. Both Diablo and Stitches are currently very popular picks, and Garrosh provides similar utility through his Groundbreaker + Wrecking Ball combo. Talents to watch out for are undoubtedly Warbreaker (reduced cooldown on Groundbreaker, level 1) and Intimidation (40% reduced attack speed on targets hit by Groundbreaker, level 7), which allow Garrosh to neuter basic attack reliant heroes much earlier than other heroes can. Into the Fray (can use Wrecking Ball on allies once every 30 seconds, level 7) is also an interesting one as it gives Garrosh his own version of Cleanse and the ability to say ‘hey, you’re mispositioned, stop it’, which should come in handy whenever an ally is, well, not standing where they should be. It also breaks Lamb to the Slaughter on top of a few other nasty heroic abilities, which is great.
Stitches has finally ascended to godhood, and although I was slow to give him a seat in the core tier, repeated high level hero league bans and a high amount of tournament play speak for themselves. As stated last month, the Slam build remains an easy way of topping the damage charts all while being difficult to kill. Gorge has also seen an upsurge in popularity, and particularly on maps where combat tends to happen close by fortifications, such as Dragon Shire, Tomb of the Spider Queen, Towers of Doom, et cetera. Couple this with Falstad’s Mighty Gust, and you have a game winning combo that isn’t all that difficult to pull off.
I don’t have much to say about Greymane that isn’t self-obvious; Cursed Bullet is a great choice in a meta where healthy tanks are popular, though Go for the Throat is also re-emerging for blowup team compositions, thanks to its reliable damage and gap closing feature, on top of its ability to reset.
To shoehorn last month’s tier list again, I made a snarky comment about Tassadar always being either too strong or too weak. Right now, he enables two borderline heroes–Illidan and Tracer–on top of providing flexible heroic ability choices for both more defensive and blowout team compositions. His versatility just makes him never feel like a bad pick, and Oracle keeps the Zeratuls at bay as a bonus.
E.T.C. is this month’s surprise as players sift through forgotten heroes to solo tank, provide potential mapwide mobility through Stage Dive, and just generally provide reliable crowd control. You’ll note a sore lack of interruption from a lot of high tier picks as well, making Mosh Pit about as good as it’ll get.
We haven’t seen The Butcher be more than a one trick for nearly two years now, but the brute is back in force, thanks for buffs several players have misinterpreted as nerfs. I suspect, however, that some of his newfound success may be due to players having some difficulty adapting to his new gank-heavy playstyle and generally counterpicking him. Shall the Brightwings, Cassias, and Li Lis of the world rise up to the challenge?
Xul has continued to perform well, and although he is the second least popular core tier hero (right behind Zeratul), he will keep on being effective on Blackheart’s Bay, Dragon Shire, Gardens of Terror, Infernal Shrines, and Towers of Doom simply due to the importance of having a strong split pusher on these maps. Just make sure you go for Skeletal Mages, which tend to block a lot of those abilities strong tanks currently rely upon to get picks, on top of being generally disruptive.