This week, while at the Heroes of the Storm Media Summit, I had the pleasure of testing out two upcoming characters for Heroes of the Storm and learning about the changes to ranked mode, which we have discussed in our Ranked Changes preview. With the last few hero updates, it seems like Blizzard has been shifting away from general hero archetypes to more specialized roles and the next two releases are no exception.
The next hero introduced to the nexus will be the game’s first gnome and member of the Bronze Dragonflight. Chromie is scheduled to be released on May 17 in North America and slightly later in every other region. Following Chromie will be The Prophet Medivh on June 14.
Chromie – The Artillery Mage
Chromie’s kit and personality in Heroes of the Storm are designed around time manipulation. While she might not always know exactly where she is, Chromie will always be early with her Time Walker passive that grants talents a level early. This is a big deal because the enemy team now has to play carefulyl around her at level 9 and 15 (instead of the usual 10 and 16).
In addition to controlling time, Chromie’s spells are designed to bombard enemies from long range. Her Q ability, Sand Blast, fires a long-range bolt for high damage after a 1-second delay. This ability doesn’t hit minions or creeps and will only damage 1 hero at a time. Her W ability, Dragon’s Breath, fires after 1.5 seconds in a moderate area for heavy damage. Furthermore, the telegraphed area isn’t highlighted for the enemy team.
Both Sand Blast and Dragon’s Breath can do serious damage to the enemy team, but they’re also extremely difficult to land. In a 1v1 situation it’s incredibly difficult to poke down enemies with Chromie and her telegraphs are very obvious. Even though you don’t know exactly where Dragon’s Breath will hit, there’s a high probability of dodging it if you don’t play predictably. However, once team fights begin, Chromie can sit on the backline and unload tons of damage while the enemy team is distracted.
Without a true escape mechanism, Chromie relies on Time Trap to get out of unfavorable situations. After activating, Time Trap will place any enemy hero that walks over it into stasis for 2 seconds. This leaves a perfect situation for Chromie to time her skills and finish off any squishy assassins.
Chromie’s Heroic abilities are both utility skills that let her control the battlefield. Slowing Sands slows enemies by 50% in a large area-of-effect and it can be kept up indefinitely, similar to Anivia from League of Legends without the damage. Her second Heroic, Temporal Loop, teleports enemies back to the cast location after 3 seconds. Slowing Sands will likely be the most popular choice due to its incredible team fight potential, but Temporal Loop will be an excellent counter against certain heroes.
Medivh – The Power Support
There are many faces to Medivh, but Blizzard has decided to focus on his Warcraft 3 version after he returns as a prophet in hopes of atoning for his sins. Although Medivh is technically a “Specialist” hero, he will more likely fill the role of an off-support instead of a siege-damage hero, which we’ve typically seen in this role, and would not serve well as a healer replacement. Even though Medivh is the true Master of Magic, and one of the most powerful mages of Azeroth, he focuses on disabling enemies and manipulating the battlefield rather than wreaking destruction.
Medivh is one of the most interesting characters to be introduced into Heroes of the Storm so far and his unique skill set makes him really enjoyable to play. Vision is invaluable on many maps in Heroes of the Storm, and his trait allows him to transform into an invincible raven that can indefinitely scout the battlefield. While it’s probably not a good idea to permanently stay in raven form, it essentially eliminates any surprises or traps the enemy team could be planning, which means no more face-checking.
In addition to his raven form, Medivh has an incredibly varied kit. His Q ability, Arcane Rift, is a fairly standard line skillshot that has decreased cooldown when hitting enemy Heroes. This is his only true offensive ability, but it can be upgraded enough so that his damage stays relevant. Force of Will, W, is one of the most powerful non-Heroic abilities in the game, as it prevents all damage to an allied hero for 1.5 seconds. Moreover, it’s on an incredibly short cooldown and can be upgraded to heal allies, increase its duration, or have an area effect.
His final basic ability is Portal. This ability allows Medivh to conjure one portal at his feet and the other at a targeted location. These portals can be used from both entrances and multiple times, which makes them great for both engaging and retreating from the enemy. Poly Bomb is his first Heroic ability. It will Polymorph the first enemy hero and then chain to any nearby enemy heroes after 1.5 seconds. This chain effect can happen indefinitely, which makes it incredibly strong against dive compositions. Medivh’s second Heroic, Ley Line Seal, puts enemies in a line into stasis for 3 seconds.
If Medivh’s standard abilities didn’t already have enough utility, his level 20 Heroics offer a few really interesting choices. Glyph of Poly Bomb increases the radius of Poly Bomb and causes it to spread faster while ‘Medivh Cheats!’ allows him to redirect Ley Line Seal once per cast. Arcane Brilliance is an amped up version of Arcane Power; it restores 200 mana and grants 10% ability power to all nearby allied heroes. Finally, ‘Guardian of Tirisfal’ instantly kills all minions and catapults hit by Arcane Rift and ‘Invisibility’ gives stealth to an ally for 20 seconds.
In the linked video, you can see a full demonstration of Medivh’s abilities with a splash of Chromie during the team fights. Each of these characters will definitely bring something unique to Heroes of the Storm and it will be interesting to see if the meta adapts to their introduction. Personally, I think Medivh is simply too powerful to ignore while Chromie will have a difficult time fighting for an assassin role against the other mages currently in the game. Regardless, I’m still very excited to try both once they go live and get a feel for them in the revamped Hero League.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Heroes of the Storm, MOBA, Preview