We present our eighth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Stukov patch of July 2017.
Our eighth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the month of July 2017 is here!
Welcome to Icy Veins’s Meta Tier List for the Stukov patch. The goal if of this list is to try and detail game’s current metagame state. The prime goal of such lists is to inform players regarding popular and trending team composition drafting strategies (i.e. the drafting metagame). Although tier listings are generally the product of balance, many factors come into play when discussing the relative perceived strengths of heroes, including player regions, maps, play style, skill level, and, of course, personal perception. As such, any tier list—including this very one—should never be interpreted as gospel, but rather, as a guide to better grasp what to expect with regards to typical drafting experiences. One useful application of such lists is to allow you know which heroes to look out for in terms of practice and counterplay, ultimately improving your knowledge of the game.
Using the list
As stated above, tier lists are easy to mistake for gospel. As new strategies are discovered and experimented with, so changes the perception of the relative strengths of each hero. Tier lists still prove to be useful as a snapshot of player expectations in terms of drafting. Although it is generally considered preferable to focus on high tier heroes (Prime and Core tiers), it is important to note that Heroes of the Storm’s wild character and map designs make it so that any given hero’s tier position is prone to fluctuate depending on the situation at hand.
One classic example of such is that of Kerrigan on the Infernal Shrines map. Although we currently judge her to be a mid-tier hero, her drafting priority shoots up to first-pick or first-ban material on this specific map due to the nature of its objective. Certain heroes also synergise so well with each other that the sole fact of having the opportunity of drafting them together is generally enough to increase their potential. Tassadar and Tracer, for instance, are generally nightmarish to deal with for many. There are too many examples of these interactions to reasonably produce here, but we invite you to consult our guides to know exactly where and when each hero shines. The guides have been linked in the lists below for your convenience – just click any of the hero names to access them.
If you’re newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
Additionally, a + or – sign (or several of them) indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.
Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.
Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They are generally picked to “round out” your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a “jungler” (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.
The Lost Vikings
Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
I’d like to preface this month’s assessment with a small apology; an editing mistake on my part caused last month’s assessment to be lost, bar the part on Malthael. Speak of the devil, recent nerfs targeting Reaper’s Mark and Tormented Souls appear to have reduced the Angel of Death’s win rates quite significantly (some 3.6% less, down to a fair 53.7% as we speak), though were not enough to impact his popularity as first-pick/ban material. Whether the playerbase is simply too slow at adjusting or if he remains too powerful has yet to be determined, but I still judge him strong enough to keep his place as a prime tier hero. This is particularly true during map rotations including Dragon Shire and Gardens of Terror, thanks to his %-based damage shredding map objective-based vehicles.
A similar comment could be made about our 3 other prime tier contenders, Anub’arak, Genji, and Uther. Although Blizzard has been uniquely smart about the way they have been handling balancing changes, which is to say, conservative, there may now be an argument for seeking to buff potential counters as opposed to going too far. But I digress; Cocoon remains amazingly useful, as do Guardian of Ancient Kings and Swift Strike, the main points of balance contention.
Stitches is the surprise of the month with massively increasing popularity, thanks to the appropriately named and emerging Slam build. This build involves nothing less than being creative and picking every single Slam-related talent to allow Stitches to deal assassin-like area of effect damage with little effort from the player’s part. Add this to the utility of Hook, to Stitches’ general toughness, and to flexible heroic ability choices, and you have a recipe for up and coming prime tier material.
The common denominator between currently popular tanks is the ability to either output significant area of effect damage, or provide targeted or otherwise very reliable crowd control. Muradin does neither of these things, and while he was king of metagames where assassins were more popular, this is not what we’re dealing with currently. You could say his popularity is dwarfed by niche tanks who tend to synergize better together or with currently popular healers.
The Probius hype has finally died down, potentially due to players understanding how to better counter our probe (kill the pylons!), and potentially due to him not fitting the current double healer/double tank meta.
Tyrande’s rework was initially overhyped only for players to find out that she provided less healing than before. The recent buffs to her attack speed have put Darnassian Archery back into player’s sights, and after playing quite a bit of her myself, I can safely say that she is going to be a rising star in the next few months. The real sleeper talent is Harsh Moonlight however, which currently sits at some 6% win rate above its counterparts, and I can certainly see why; debuffing two or more players with a good hit is absolutely devastating. But hey, you didn’t hear that from me…
While we’re on the subject of reworks, Xul also had his own very deserved one. In essence, he was buffed across the board, both for team fighting purposes and doing his own double lane clearing things. With Blackheart’s Bay back into the rotation, expect to see him as a core tier hero before soon. Just make sure you pick Echoes of Death; that talent alone more than doubles his short term damage output, on top of being excellent for waveclearing and sieging and everything in between. Comboes well with Bone Prison.
Last but not least, on the topic of Tassadar: he seems to always oscillate between being too weak or too strong. I suppose it would make sense for him to thrive in a meta that promotes heavy supporting. Between his waveclear and very respectable damage, I’m starting to hit him with more and more bans nowadays. And so should you, probably; he enables a lot of heroes you don’t want to see enabled, and most particularly Illidan, who’s seeing a small surge of popularity. Stay tuned…