Many moons ago, back when Heroes of the Storm only had 60 Heroes, I wrote an article entitled “Five Things Every Heroes Player Should Know“. Even though it has been over a year and a half, that article still holds up well. There are tips in there that even veteran players may not be aware of.
In the first article, the focus was mostly on user interface related tips. This time around the tips will center on more gameplay related items. With that in mind, here are five more things that every Heroes of the Storm player should know:
Bait the Punisher
This tip only applies to Infernal Shrines but it is one of the most important things to know about that map.
You have probably noticed that the Punisher will occasionally leap into the air and jump towards the enemy, stunning them. This doesn’t just happen randomly. It is possible to predict who the Punisher will leap towards and you use this to your advantage.
The Punisher prioritizes Heroes and when it jumps it will target the Hero closest to it or whichever Hero is attacking it. Because of this, as soon as the Punisher spawns your team should do two things:
- Have everyone get behind the tank so that the Punisher targets them first.
- Have everyone, including the tank, get behind the closest Wall so that you can bait the Punisher to jump over the Wall, thereby separating it from the enemy team.
There are several benefits to baiting the Punisher over the Wall.
For starters, it makes it’s stun less dangerous as it will be harder for the enemy team to follow up on it if there is a Wall in their way. It also gets more of your Structures involved in the defense. If the Punisher is on the outside of the Wall only the Towers can attack it but if it is inside the Wall then the Fort or Keep will also be in range to fire on it as well. It also spreads out the damage the enemy can do. Instead of both the enemy team and the Punisher wailing on your Wall and Towers, the Punisher will attack the Hero it jumped towards or the Fort/Keep while the enemy Heroes are still attacking the Wall or Towers. Last but not least, splitting the Punisher away from the enemy Heroes also makes defending easier and safer.
If your Wall and Towers have already been destroyed you can apply this same logic to get behind the nearest Fort or Keep and bait the Punisher over that. Just be aware that without the Wall to impede their progress the enemy team will have a much easier time following up on whoever the Punisher attacks so proceed with caution.
Pro tip: You can use a similar strategy to direct the Punisher away from your Core. Say the enemy spawns a Punisher in the mid-lane and all of your Structures in that lane have been destroyed so they have a clear path to the Core. Instead of waiting by the Core to defend, your team can position itself near the Keep in the top or bottom lane and bait the Punisher that way when it approaches. This might end up costing you a Keep but it buys you valuable time to defend and it might just prevent you from losing the game.
Kill the Fallen Shamen First
While we are on the subject of Diablo maps, let’s talk about defending against the Fallen Shamen mercenary camps that are on Infernal Shrines and Battlefield of Eternity.
These are the camps with the little guy with the stick and his two dog-like demon pets.
When you are defending against one of these camps, the Fallen Shaman (the guy with the stick) absolutely, positively must be killed first. This is because he will occasionally summon more demon dog friends. He will never have more than two with him at once but if they are killed, say because you attacked the dogs instead of the shaman, he will summon new ones to replace them (the Shaman used to also resummon the demon dogs when the camp was being captured as well but that mechanic has been removed).
What makes these camps so dangerous is that the Fallen Shaman himself does not get in range of Towers, Forts, or Keeps. If left unchecked, he will sit outside the range of your Structures repeatedly summoning new demon pets until he gets to the Core. He and his doggos can even out push a lane that you have Catapults in.
Pro tip: A good time to capture one of these camps is right before the Objective spawns. This will force the enemy team to choose between defending their Structures against this powerful threat or contesting the Objective. This will often cause the enemy team to split, giving your team an advantage for the Objective and in team fights.
Kill the Wizard First
No, I am not talking about Kael’thas or Chromie, although killing them first isn’t bad advice either. I am talking about the Knight mercenary camps that can be found on Dragon Shire, Garden of Terror, Cursed Hollow, Blackheart’s Bay, Sky Temple, and Tomb of the Spider Queen.
While the look of this camp varies based on the map, it consists of three melee creatures, known as Knights, and one ranged creature, known as a Wizard. The Wizard is usually holding some type of staff. Here is an example of the Knight camp on Cursed Hollow:
When capturing or defending one of these camps you want to be sure to kill the Wizard first because he provides 20 Spell Armor to nearby allies, including Heroes. You can see this effect in action by looking for the lightly glowing purple circle surrounding allies near active Wizards.
Before you scoff and say everyone knows this, I assure you they don’t.
I had Kael’thas on my team recently who was Platinum on HOTSLogs with hundreds of games played and he unsuccessfully tried to capture a Knight camp three times. Each time he had to run away and hearth with a sliver of health left. The reason? Because he wasn’t killing the Wizard first and his damage was being nerfed by the Spell Armor. He did manage to successfully cap the camp on the fourth try but only after I suggested he kill the Wizard first.
The problem with effects like this is that they aren’t intuitive and the game doesn’t do a good job of explaining them. Even if you happen to notice the purple shield around something it isn’t obvious what is causing it, what exactly it does, or how to counter it.
Get Every Hero to Level 5
Okay, we are taking a break from the gameplay tips to focus on something that everyone wants more of: Gold!
Many players don’t realize that you are rewarded with 500 Gold for reaching Level 5 with a Hero. With 80+ Heroes in the game, this adds up to a lot of coin. If you have a Stimpack and/or play with friends you can get to Level 5 in just a handful of games.
Even if you don’t have a large Hero pool, you can take advantage of the weekly Free Rotation to level Heroes to 5 during the weeks they are available to play for free. In addition to a good amount of Gold, leveling each Hero to five will also help give you a basic understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, which will make you a better player.
Not All Experience is Created Equal
When a team falls behind in experience you will often hear someone say, “We need to soak XP!”. While this is reasonable advice in the early and mid-game, if the enemy team is Level 23 and you are Level 20 you are not going to get back into the game by soaking XP.
For starters, the enemy team is soaking XP too so it is hard to make up ground that way. Plus, if your entire team splits up to soak all three lanes someone is going to end up dead. That is almost guaranteed. The enemy team is most likely rolling as a group looking to pick off anyone they can catch out alone so splitting up is the worst thing you could do.
The best way to get back into the game when you are behind late is to get kills on enemy Heroes. This is because of something called the Underdog Bonus.
The Underdog Bonus rewards the team that is behind in levels more experience for a Hero kill than the team that is ahead on experience. This bonus increases the farther behind a team is in experience, up to a four-level difference. According to the Heroes of the Storm Wikia, if a team is one level down they get 110% of the normal experience for a takedown while the team that is ahead by one level would only get 95%. At two levels down, these numbers are 117% to 62%. At three levels, they are 160% to 48% and then finally at four levels down, they become 200% and 5%.
Like most of the other tips we have talked about, the Underdog Bonus isn’t detailed anywhere in the game. Unless you happen to be especially observant and notice that XP is suddenly working differently for some reason, the only way to learn about mechanics like this is to have someone tell you about it. That is what this article is for!
Share this article and relay tips like these to your friends and teammates, in a positive and constructive manner of course. The more people that know things like this the better.
GL and HF!