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I See Dead People

by - 5 years ago

Sometimes, when I play Heroes of the Storm I feel like the Haley Joel Osment character from Sixth Sense. Sadly, my teammates are playing the Bruce Willis role.

Spoiler alert! They were dead the whole time, ¬†they just didn’t know it.The cause of death for all these unsuspecting Bruce Willis players? Poor positioning and a lack of map awareness.

The cause of death for these unsuspecting Bruce Willis players? Poor positioning and a lack of map awareness. Just like the movie, there are plenty of clues that indicate that these players are dead, but they still never see it coming.


Much of what we are going to talk about today boils down to simple map awareness. No matter how often you feel like you are checking the mini map, you are probably still not checking it enough. Pings are also very important, especially if you are playing solo queue. Use them and pay attention when other players use them. Especially danger and retreat pings.


Our first Bruce Willis impersonator is a Tychus who is gleefully killing Minions in the bottom lane. There are two Siege Giants in front of him, and a quick peek at the mini map shows that the enemy has just captured the Siege Giants directly above him as well. Not only is poor map awareness about to result in a dead Tychus, but it is also the reason that he is in this position in the first place.

A few second before, Tychus was at the Core when two of his teammates pinged to indicate that they wanted to capture the Siege Giant camp on their side of the map. Instead of going to help, he rode to where you see him in the first image and started attacking Minions. He didn’t seem to notice when three enemies arrived, killed his two teammates, and stole the merc camp just above him. In addition to being completely unaware of the danger he is in, Tychus isn’t even attacking the right target. Pretend for a moment that Tychus isn’t surrounded by enemies and that clearing the lane actually makes sense. He be attacking the Siege Giants first since their ranged attacks are decimating his minions.


Unfortunately, Tychus is surrounded and he just got the memo. After being insta-killed by three enemies Heroes, four Siege Giants, and a Minion wave, he typed what became the featured image for this article, “awwww where did they all come from lol”.

In case you think only bad players make mistakes like this, the player in this example is rated Platinum on HOTSLogs, so even good players can be oblivious to what is going on around them.

Look at my numbers bro!

One of the more common I see dead people examples is when a player solo pushes too far down a lane and then gets easily taken out by enemies who rotate in behind him. You often see this with Specialists, who are so focused on pushing that they completely ignore everything else. Unfortunately, players who make this mistake seem to repeat it throughout the game, regardless of how many times they are killed.


In this example, Bruce Willis is an Asmodan player who is completely tunnel visioned on pushing the top lane. He has been operating this way throughout the game, and since he is such an obvious target the enemy has killed him seven times (which is all of their takedowns). If you look at the mini map you will see that there is a 1v1 fight right above him that he is ignoring, and his team is losing a 2v3 team fight in mid. The enemy Leoric is about to capture bottom Shrine uncontested, so there is a real chance that the enemy will soon control both Shrines and the Middle Lane.


Asmo has made good progress on his push, and while the enemy Leoric did take the bottom Shrine, the Blue Team was able to hold the top Shrine. Now if you look at the mini map you notice that there is not a single enemy Hero visible. This should be a huge red flag to the Asmodan player since his position is clearly visible to the enemy team and has already been killed numerous time. It is time to fall back and be satisfied with taking down a Gate, both Towers, and the Well.


Of course, Asmodan doesn’t see the warning signs and three enemy Heroes converge on him. Despite being up two Levels and a Talent tier, he is easily killed yet again. While his Siege Damage looks great at the end of the game, it doesn’t justify double-digit deaths.

The Throw Pit

One of the easiest ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is with a poorly timed Boss attempt. There are no hard and fast rules for when the time is right to capture a Boss. It all comes down to understanding the current state of the game and having basic map awareness. It also doesn’t hurt if a few enemy Heroes are dead.


Lt. Morales wants to capture the Boss and pings the map to let her team know. Personally, I think this is too risky but you can make a case for it since the enemy team is down a Hero and the entire Blue team is near the Boss and at full health. It is worth noting that there are two enemy Heroes in the bottom lane clearing the Siege Giants that the Blue Team captured just before they rode to the middle to kill an overextended Gazlowe. Two other enemy Heroes are unaccounted for.


If you look at the mini-map, you will see that most of Blue Team has engaged the Boss, but Tychus has elected not to follow. This is an all too common mistake from players who think they know better than their teammates. No matter how bad you think your team’s plan may be, if they are committed to it then you have to support them. Doing otherwise just makes a bad situation worse.

You can tell that the Blue Team understands that this is a dangerous play because they have wisely positioned themselves to the right of the Boss. They have also burned several Heroics in order to try and take the Boss down as quickly as possible. As you can see from the image above, there are now three enemy Heroes riding towards the Boss, so the Blue Team is right to be worried.


This is the moment of truth time. The enemy Zagara has emerged from the fog of war to join her teammates, and a 4v4 fight is about to ensue. The Red Team has a clear advantage here since they are at full health and have all of their Ultimates available. To make matter worse, the Blue Team’s Morales has placed herself in a horrible position by moving towards the known danger, rather than away from it. If the Boss was at lower health it would make sense to move forward to try and fight on the capture point. With the boss still at almost 75% health the correct play in this situation is to fall back and let the enemy team try to team fight while dealing with Boss aggro.


Morales has just reached the line in the script where she finds out that she was dead all along. It is time for the Blue Team to cut their losses and relinquish the Boss. They should fall back, harass the Red Team while they try to capture the Boss, and possibly re-engage when the boss is close to being defeated if there is an opportunity to steal. The Blue Team still has an experience advantage and they are up a Fort. Even if the Red Team does capture the Boss, the Blue Team will still have four Heroes alive to defend. They will likely lose a Fort and their XP lead, but they should be able to easily emerge from this with an even game.


But wait! Tychus has finally decided to help, and he has done so in the worst way possible. Rather than coming in from the right to joining his team, he has chosen to come in from the left and face four enemy Heroes alone. Not only does this result in his death, but it also causes the rest of his team to foolishly rush back in as well. The end result is four dead Heroes for the Blue Team, while the Red Team captures the Boss and marches it all the way to the Core since only Jaina and Murky are alive to defend.


The average Heroes player dies because of mistakes they make, not because their opponents outplay them. Anytime you die, take a second to consider how it happened and what you might have been able to do to prevent it.

If you are dying outside of team fights there is a good chance that you need to improve your map awareness. You should continually check the location of enemy Heroes, and if you notice an enemy missing you should give serious consideration to the fact that they may be coming from you. As important as it is to track the enemy location, it is equally important to disguise your location. The enemy is checking their mini map too. Disguise your movements whenever possible by avoiding Minion waves, enemy Fortifications, and vision points. Players often get sloppy in this regard and telegraph their plan to the enemy. Map awareness isn’t all about the enemy. You should also be paying attention to what your team is doing so that you can assist them as needed.

If you are often one of the first players to die in a team fight there is probably something wrong with your positioning. Be sure to let your tank engage first. If you are the tank, make sure that you aren’t extending farther than your healer and DPS can support. Chasing is also a leading cause of unnecessary deaths. Don’t get so caught up trying to chase down low health enemies that you end up getting yourself killed as well. Also, don’t use the fact that your Hero is squishy to justify your deaths. You’re not dead because your Hero has a low health pool or lack of mobility. You’re dead because you put yourself in a position where the weaknesses of your Hero could be exploited. Understand your Hero and play accordingly.

Stay aware and stay alive. GLHF.

Lee Vaughn

Lee has been playing Blizzard games since the 90's and Heroes of the Storm since the Tech Alpha. If he isn't playing a Blizzard game he is probably tweeting about one.

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