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March 16th Balance Update Preview

by - 2 years ago

Remember a few months ago when people were complaining that Blizzard wasn’t making balance updates regularly enough? Well, that certainly isn’t a problem anymore!

Spyrian took to the forums today with the news that there will be a Balance Update this Wednesday, March 16th, and he also gave us a preview of what we can expect.

Nova, a fixture of these balance updates since her nerf a few months back, is receiving another round of buffs. This time around they are increasing her overall health and health regeneration, as well as lowering the cooldown and mana cost of Snipe (Q). They are also increasing the cooldown reduction that her Perfect Shot talent provides. This level 16 talent currently lags far behind Lethal Decoy and Crippling Shot in popularity and win rate. Lastly, the slow amount her Pinning Shot (W) is being increased from 30% to 40% and the slow amount from her Covert Ops talent is being increased from 50% to 60%.

Xul is next on the list and he is receiving some fairly substantial nerfs. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, since his current win rate is off the charts and is actually still climbing according to Blizzard. According to the unofficial numbers at HOTSLogs, his win rate is almost 10% higher than the Hero with the second highest win rate, Rehgar. For starters, he is having his starting basic attack damage reduced by about 10%. The benefits of Raise Skeleton and Corpse Explosion talents are also being lowered. Spectral Scythe (Q) is having its initial damage lowered by 20% with it’s mana cost being increased from 45 to 60. Lastly, the slow on his Cursed Strike (W) is being reduced from 50% to 40%. While these are significant changes, I Xul will still see plenty of play.

Rehgar has also been a frequent topic of these balance updates since his rework earlier this year. In what is clearly the biggest change of this update, he will no longer be able to cast Ancestral Healing (R) on himself. This change has me stumped a bit, as I actually felt like Rehgar was in a reasonable place after the recent changes he has undergone. Every other support can cast their Heroic on themselves so it seems odd to target just Rehgar with a change like this. Is this a sign of what we can expect for other Supports or a unique change for Rehgar alone?

It is also important to note that Spyrian mentions in this post that this is the patch that teams will be competing on at the upcoming Spring Global Championships. This means no more balance updates or patches until after that event concludes on April 3rd.

As always, simply scroll down if you would like to read the official post in it’s entirety.

Originally Posted by Spyrian (Official Post)
We’re planning to release a new Balance Update on Wednesday, March 16in order to make adjustments to number of heroes, abilities, and talents. This week’s update will be released in the Americas login region first, and will roll out to all other regions around the world throughout the rest of the day.

Here is a look at the complete set of balance changes we’ll be making with Wednesday’s update, which is the patch that players will use to compete during the Spring Global Championship in April.


  • Health increased from 1,273 (+4% per level) to 1,350 (+4% per level)
  • Health Regeneration increased from 2.65 per second (+4% per level) to 2.81 per second (+4% per level)
  • Snipe (Q)
    • Cooldown decreased from 8 to 6 seconds
    • Mana cost decreased from 60 to 50
    • Perfect Shot (Talent)
      • Cooldown reduction decreased from 4 to 3 seconds
  • Pinning Shot (W)
    • Slow amount increased from 30% to 40%
    • Covert Ops (Talent)
        Maximum slow amount increased from 50% to 60%

Developer Comments: We have been giving Nova slow and steady buffs in order to increase her viability without pushing her burst damage to uncomfortable levels. Each round of changes has shown us positive results—albeit not large ones. A lower cooldown on Snipe and a stronger slow on Pinning Shot should help Nova players secure kills more frequently while also helping her to contribute more during engagements and skirmishes.



    • Basic Attack damage reduced from 115 (+4% per level) to 104 (+4% per level)
    • Raise Skeleton (Trait)
      • Skeleton Mastery (Talent)
        • Damage bonus reduced from 100% to 50%


    • Corpse Explosion (Talent)
      • Damage reduced from 65 (+4% per level) to 55 (+4% per level)
  • Spectral Scythe (Q)
    • Damage reduced from 300 (+4% per level) to 240 (+4% per level).
    • Mana cost increased from 45 to 60
  • Cursed Strikes (W)
    • Attack Speed slow amount reduced from 50% to 40%

Developer Comments: Xul deals too much damage for the amount of utility he has in his kit, and his pushing Talents are vastly outperforming their competitors. He also has the highest win-rate currently and it’s still climbing, so we needed to be pretty heavy-handed with these nerfs.



  • Ancestral Healing (R)
    • Can no longer be self-cast

Developer Comments: Rehgar is too hard to kill for how much value he brings to the table. Adding more counterplay options for Ancestral Healing should help to trim down the frustrating moments when you can’t seem to catch the Shaman. We also wanted to do this without nerfing Rehgar’s Ghost Wolf form, which could cause his playstyle to feel less active.


We’ll let you know as soon as the new Balance Update is released on Wednesday. Until then, we’ll see you in the Nexus!


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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.