We present our third Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Lúcio patch of Febuary 2017.
Our third Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the month of Febuary 2017 has arrived!
Welcome to Icy Veins’s Meta Tier List for the Lúcio 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.
New this month!
As per usual, a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who contributed to last month’s list. Starting this month, I’ll be giving bits of insight on some of the more notable tier changes. You may note that this list features not one, but two new heroes! This is a small side effect of waiting around the middle of any given month to update this list. As a reminder, since last month, the number of arrows next to individual hero names represents the number of tiers they have gone up or down from. Refer to the last section for this.
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.
The Lost Vikings
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.
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.
Monthly metagame assessment
If I could describe the last month and a half’s metagame with one word, it would probably be nothing, because I’m currently being chain-stunned and can’t take any action.
Support heroes without access to Cleanse certainly struggle, which is why I’m skeptical about putting Lúcio, the latest addition to the cast, anywhere above the Core tier, despite solid win rates I expect will soon go down as people figure out how to better deal with him (i.e. stop chasing him). It should be noted that after level 16, his win rates jump up dramatically, thanks to Rejuvenêscia being on the very powerful side of things. If someone else can handle crowd control, I’m inclined to see him as a top tier hero.
The Cleanse point is further exacerbated by Murky’s outrageous newfound dominance, with Octo-Grab being the ultimate (or should I say, Heroic) stun button, earning him a steep 3-tier promotion. Although his recent success may even justify a Prime tier position, I’ll play this one conservatively and allow players to figure out just how to counter the murloc, who hasn’t seen any serious play in nearly two years. Core tier it is, but he’s certainly on the watch list for an impending promotion if things don’t go as planned.
Valeera also possesses her own baked-in powerful stunning effect in the form of Cheap Shot. This is particularly relevant due to the most recent buffs that will certainly cause her to rise in popularity and in effectiveness, in spite of Cheap Shot itself being nerfed by some 0.25 seconds. Although on the lower end of the win rates spectrum, I suspect she falls into the Medivh category of high potential, difficult to master heroes. Some of her counters (Protection Varian, notably) are currently very popular, making it difficult to justify anything above Viable tier.
While we’re on the subject of Protection Varian, it would seem that the buffs to Parry-related talents and the recent shuffling of his utility (on top of the Taunt buffs) have finally caught up to the average player, as thousands have begun to grasp the advanced concept of following up and attacking stationary targets. This goes to show that a dismal early game presence can be made up by a strong, meta-defining heroic ability.
In response to this new Prime tier contender, two of the most popular tanks have begun to slowly disappear, with Diablo and Muradin each taking a tier hit. If Diablo has been the target of some very recent nerfs, on top of players figuring out his one-trick-pony-esque playstyle, Muradin’s skillshot-based stun (in the form of Storm Bolt) can’t seem to find a place in a highly point-click oriented metagame. Both heroes are still strong, but not nearly as contested as they were before.
Alarak and Thrall are two heroes that are also suffering in this meta. Both are without instant gap closers to punish mispositioning or get out of trouble or burst damage to effectively follow up on crowd control. While Thrall remains a strong solo laner, Alarak certainly is the one that suffers most as of lately.
Sonya has recently seen some very nice buff, and, unlike the two former examples, is rather resilient to this crowd control heavy meta. She can even decide to partake to it with Leap, should you feel that the damage and survivability of Wrath of the Berserker are unneeded.
Finally, Greymane, Rexxar, and Tassadar all saw small or big revisions to some of their talents and abilities, and it has done much needed good to their state. Greymane is particularly interesting in his newfound ability to threaten tanks through Cursed Bullet, something that was once reserved to Tychus. If the general public has yet to adopt the wolf, it has slowly started to adopt the bear: Rexxar’s win rates are going through the roof, and he’s seeing more and more play, and particularly on maps that require holding specific objectives. As for Tassadar, his role as a “secondary healer” has been solidified with a much needed damage potential increase, in the form of Archon and consistent slowing effects.