What do we know about Hero design and balance philosophy? If it doesn’t work, fix it. The problem with this is you see multiple changes made to certain Heroes that the Development Team either just can’t get right or gets too right and then has to tune them back again. We have seen this with many Heroes in the past, most recently with Murky. His rework was so effective in the lower leagues that he became the new first pick/first ban Hero and an ultimate pain to play against. So what did the development team do? They nerfed him. The opposite can be said for Arthas.
Arthas has, since the game’s launch, been one of those Heroes for whom the Development Team cannot seem to get the right balance. Due to his versatile play style and lock down potential it’s very difficult to keep him in check especially when introducing new concepts such as Armour. It seems with this latest PTR Patch that they have once again targeted Arthas as being that physical damage negating tank.
HEROES OF THE STORM PTR PATCH NOTES – MARCH 6, 2017
Developer Comment: For a long time Arthas has walked the line between being a Bruiser and a tank, though it was always intended that he be more of a tank as opposed to a bruiser. With Armor in the game, we saw the opportunity to really embrace him being that slow approach of Death that he encapsulated so well in Wrath of the Lich King. Arthas’s crowd control capability and survivability have been significantly increased, and now he should really shine as the Warrior to bring if the enemy team has multiple Melee heroes or those who strongly rely on their auto-attacks. In return for his extra control in teamfights, his damage has been reduced. While he will not put out damage as quickly as before, his ability to kill enemies will now rely much more on how long he can keep them in his Frozen Tempest, as once they’re in it will be very difficult for them to escape without using some kind of mobility.
When Arthas first came out during the Heroes Technical Alpha he was a very different Hero than he is today. He used to be one of the tankiest Heroes in the game with abilities such as Rune Tap that gave him a 6% heal every 3 auto attacks plus a higher health pool and Army of the Dead being a viable ultimate choice. Now, however, he has become a very strong choice for auto attack negating Hero countering. Heroes such as Illidan, Greymane, Zul’Jin, and Zeratul have a hard time dealing damage when Arthas is around. The problem is that with the current Meta he is not a viable solo tank. This is mainly due to his lack of mobility and the fact that so many other tanks can do the same job better.
Information courtesy of HOTSLogs
Blizzard noticed this and attempted a rework that saw a lot of great changes to his talent diversity, really focusing on countering melee heavy comps and increasing his lock down potential. We then saw the introduction of Lucio to the Nexus and with his incredible movement speed buff this brought Arthas back to the forefront making him viable against back line heavy comps again. Now with another potentially strong rework, yet again focusing on the physical damage heavy counters, Arthas may just be back to his roots of being a very strong solo tank.
Blizzard has honed in on the AA countering, giving Arthas more Physical Armour, more health, more health regeneration both passively and with health returned from Death Coil, and Army of the Dead has received significant buffs.
HEROES OF THE STORM PTR PATCH NOTES – MARCH 6, 2017
Army of the Dead (R1)
- Cooldown lowered from 100 to 80 seconds
- Mana cost lowered from 100 to 80
- Ghoul attack damage increased from 18 to 20
- Ghoul Health increased from 960 to 1060
Howling Blast has seen an upgrade with the introduction of the Quest Talent at Level 1, Frost Presence, which offers a cooldown reduction while also baking in Trail of Frost if you root 10 Heroes. Frozen Tempest has also seen the introduction of a Quest Talent at level 4. Frozen Wastes offers an additional 1.5 second movement speed and attack speed debuff if you successfully hit enemy heroes with Frozen Tempest 150 times. Other noteworthy changes are a cooldown reduction to Icebound Fortitude, Howling Blast applying armour reduction, and a change to Anti-Magic Shell that now completely negates all spell damage and heals Arthas for 25 percent of the damage dealt at level 20. You will be sacrificing Deaths Advance though so it will be a situational pick for sure.
Arthas has seen his fair share of ups and downs lately, through no fault of the Developers, but he’s one of those Heroes that will either be incredible strong or incredibly weak. This in mind though, with the latest changes and the focus on bringing him back to the status of solo tank, Arthas is going to be one scary opponent to come up against. If drafted correctly and paired with Lucio to give him the much needed speed boost and mobility, this latest round of buffs to lock down and survivability will definitely bring Arthas back into your Hero League games.
PS Blizzard: can you please make Death Coil castable while moving? C’mon we aren’t asking much!