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Playing Around Patches

by - 5 months ago

Heroes of the Storm is an ever evolving game due to the introduction of new Heroes and regular balance updates. While this can sometimes make it hard to keep up with the Meta, it also provides a valuable information that you can use to your advantage. Even if you don’t play draft modes you can still use your knowledge of how the game is evolving to improve your chances for success. In this case, success refers not only to your chances of winning, but also your chances of having an enjoyable experience.

There is an element of randomness to Quick Match which can at times lead to some… interesting… compositions. Taking a few moments to consider recent changes and how they affect which Heroes people choose to play can go a long way to improving your odds of avoiding a less than ideal comp. Most people intuitively understand that Heroes who have recently been released or reworked will be played often during patch week, but they often fail to consider how this should affect which Hero they play. Using the knowledge that people are going to play the new or reworked Heroes can help remove much of the uncertainty that naturally accompanies QM.

I see players all the time who complain about how bad matchmaking is without ever taking into account that their Hero choice was the root of the problem. Valeera week was a perfect example of this. People were queuing up as Nova or Zeratul and then complaining about how many stealthies they ended up with on their team. You know that there will be a Valeera in every game so by playing another stealth Hero you are virtually guaranteeing that you will have at least two stealthies on your team. If you choose to ignore that fact then that is on you, not the matchmaker. The same logic holds true for tanks or healers. Don’t play a Hero that occupies the same role as the latest Hero release unless you are prepared to have at least two, or in some cases three, Heroes that fill that role on your team. Now I am not saying don’t play the Hero you want, it is QM after all and you should be able to play the Heroes you enjoy, I am just saying don’t complain about the team you end up with if the Hero you insist on playing doesn’t mesh well with the other Heroes that are popular at the time.

Considering what Heroes people are likely to play doesn’t just help to avoid bad comps, it also improves your chances of winning by allowing you to pick Heroes that counter those Heroes that you are likely to come up against. Let’s look at some examples from the upcoming Probius patch.

Probius is a high damage Specialist whose damage is almost entirely spell damage. As luck would have it, in this same patch Tyrael is getting Spell Armor added and Anub’arak is getting a rework. This will make Tyrael and Anub’arak great tank choices during the Probius release week. Stitches might also be a good choice since he has Dampen Magic at Level 1. Nazeebo is another Hero who does well against spell damage thanks to Superstition at Level 13. All of these are great thoughts, we can go even deeper.

If we can so easily identify that Spell Armor is good against Probius so will many other people. Combine that with the Tyrael and Anub’arak changes and it is a safe assumption that you will see at least one of them in every game during the Probius release week. What counters Spell Armor? Physical Damage! If everyone is focusing on Spell Armor that will create an opportunity for auto attack Heroes like Zul’jin, Valla, and Raynor.

There are other factors to consider as well such as the Gazlowe rework and the return of the Cho’gall event, but I’m not going to do all the work for you. Figuring out how a patch will affect the game is part of the fun and far be it from me to deny you that joy.

As you can see from these examples, developing a plan for how to adapt to a new patch isn’t that difficult. You don’t have to be a draft expert or know every Hero inside and out; you just need to spend a few minutes thinking about which Heroes people are likely to play and what the strengths and weaknesses of those Heroes are. With that information in mind, you can make better decisions on which Heroes you want to play, which will hopefully lead to more enjoyable games.

Good luck and have fun!


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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.