Season 1 comes to a close in a couple of days and for those players still trying to climb the ladder or preparing for season 2 the question is often asked, “which hero will carry me to diamond/master/grand master?” While it’s undeniable that some heroes are at a higher tier than others, that figure alone is not the whole of the equation. We each have situations and specialties that we perform better at. For example, when playing melee assassins I have a tendency to overextend. Try as I might I just play ranged better, especially in terms of positioning.
Know yourself. Find your strengths and weaknesses, learn how they fit within the roles, heroes, and the game meta. When you feel the most engaged it’s easy to take a loss without getting salty. With that in mind, it’s important to be willing to have more than one hero type that you are comfortable with. There are plenty of frustrating tales in ranked play about players who are unwilling to play tank or support for a team. Having enough flexibility to work around this is instrumental to climbing the ranks.
My overwhelmingly favorite role is specialist. When the enemy team lacks wave clear I love playing a split pusher that makes them pay for the oversight. Zagara is far and away my top played hero, even though she isn’t top tier right now she has several niches that she fills, especially when the opposition is hard pressed to clear creep tumors. I really find her sapper style gameplay appealing, perhaps due to real-life vocational experience. Additionally, I frequently play pet classes, and Zagara is one of the closest heroes to that description. Grubby shows how you can make the most out of her fortification destruction and global presence.
My second most played hero, Azmodan, is really shining right now due to how well he counters the super mobile Overwatch heroes. This is due to them having less than optimal wave clear and how easy it is to force a retreat or a defensive ability using All Shall Burn. Here is another clear example once again by Grubby.
With the current sustain heavy meta it pays to be ready to play tanks and support as well. As I mentioned previously I don’t do my best in melee, but luckily Zarya allows me to get around this her due to her ranged capabilities while tanking. She almost plays like a support with Shield Ally. While she doesn’t shine as a solo warrior, if she accompanies others on the front line she acts as a force multiplier, increasing the strengths of others. I like going with a grenadier build when possible such as shown by Grubby here. Varian with Shattering Throw is one of the few counters to all this shielding, he also happens to be one of my other favorite warriors along with Anub’arak.
With the recent talent rework Uther is back in a great position, especially against auto attack heavy teams. He has amazing burst healing and very solid crowd control. Poke heavy teams can wear him down over time, but otherwise, he’s my favorite healer. Auriel and Lili get the most play time out of me. Auriel excels with heroes like Gul’dan. Lili’s blinding wind builds offer a potential heroic damage powerhouse in a tiny cute package.
Last but certainly not least I like to give my assassins some love too. Kael’thas and Jaina are not far behind Azmodan in levels, but my love of mages doesn’t end there. I give Gul’dan a lot of play time too. However, when it comes to needing an auto attack damage assassin I switch to Lunara.
Being familiar to the point of comfortability with heroes that cover all roles allows you flexibility in the draft. Of course, if you are playing team league regularly with friends you can further specialize. While playing if you find yourself really loving a lower tier hero, and catching a lot of flack for it over chat, consider what other heroes might be similar. It’s possible to find a pick that doesn’t make your team feel like your draft puts you at a disadvantage. For example, Nova mains might enjoy the playstyle of Valera, or even better, Zeratul. Being in a comfortable position yourself is only one fifth of the issue. Helping to make your teammates feel confident is the other side of it. Heroes of the Storm is designed to allow for major comebacks. A team that sees each other as competent and stay positive will have the advantage over an otherwise equal team with a poor attitude or lack of trust in the capabilities of their teammates.
One last important step for remaining comfortable is to take breaks, especially after a string of losses. Our own physiology can be an ally or an impediment. It’s hard enough fighting 5 others on the opposing team, don’t give them an advantage of working against yourself at the same time.