Last month we looked at comfort picks for Heroes of the Storm and this month we’re exploring in detail one of my personal favorites, Zarya. While being technically classified as a Warrior she is more than capable of providing significant damage and shielding her allies. Even from the backlines she can lob Particle Grenades and shields, but she really shines when tanking. Her trait Energy increases her damage output as her shields (both Personal Barrier and Shield Ally) take damage. This means that her damage numbers in a very real sense are also tied to her damage taken and shielding done. It’s even advisable to take some shots from defensive structures so long as your position is secure and you won’t be needing another shield soon. Keep in mind however that Zarya doesn’t work so well as a solo tank. Her lack of basic toolkit crowd control means that she can’t really peel for her allies.
In general, I don’t perform as well with melee assassins and some warriors, but Zarya’s ranged capabilities allow me to play a warrior while not falling into the pitfalls that I have with some melee characters (overextending.) With so many maps requiring channeling to capture an objective, her Particle Grenade makes a great interruption. Additionally, you can spec her for substantial poke damage. Her basic attack functions as a vector of AoE damage so you can burn down multiple opponents at once, especially those melee heavy dive comps. She is one of several heroes that doesn’t depend on mana so as long as your hp is fine you can stay in the fight. Couple this with her shields and you have a hero capable of incredible endurance.
When choosing talents you have an abundance of options depending on the situation you are looking at. Icy Veins and Tempo Storm both have very good guides that I would recommend, although I lean more towards the guide at Tempo Storm. I think they have a greater understanding of talent synergy and the usefulness of niche builds.
It almost sounds as if Zarya is unstoppable, but she does have some weaknesses. Her only ability to peel for her allies is tied to her heroic abilities and one of those heroic abilities is on a very long timer. Additionally even when spec’d as a Grenadier she still needs to get close to do substantial structural damage due to the 50% less damage to structures grenade modifier. Lastly, she doesn’t have much to help her deal with chain cc. Unstoppable Defender at 13 makes her unstoppable for 2 seconds when using Personal Barrier, but many other tanks are better equipped to deal with cc.
What do you think? Have you enjoyed playing Zarya as much as myself? Feel free to add your input or Geeky Talk in the comments below.