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Heroes of the Storm - Early impressions of Rehgar on the PTR

Author: Dmytro Voloshyn
29-Jan-2016

Category: Preview

Rehgar has been completely reworked in the PTR patch! Many talents were removed, many were changed, and there are new talents that were added. Read the article to know how the hero has changed, and what potential he has in the future Meta-game.

Rehgar Earthfury, the best healbot in the game!image source:
http://mr--jack.deviantart.com/art/Rehgar-Earthfury-Shaman-of-the-Earthen-Ring-469949973


Introduction
Quick overview of changes made to Ability kit and Talent kit
Impression of new and reworked Talents
Predictions for new Talent builds
Conclusions




Introduction

The PTR patch of this month has a lot of surprises. Of course, it features tons of buffs, nerfs, and changes to many heroes. But most importantly, it features few reworks to heroes that you already know. One of them is Rehgar. He has been heavily changed. Many talents were removed, reshuffled, and new talents were added. In this article I want to describe changes that were made to Rehgar and the way they affected his gameplay.


Quick overview of changes made to Ability kit and Talent kit

Ability kit

Rehgar's basic kit has been buffed. Let's start with the Trait. The Feral Lunge talent was removed, and its mechanics is now built in the Trait. Now, every attack in Ghost Wolf has charge effect. Damage buff remains the same: 100% bonus damage. Rehgar's first ability, Chain Heal, now costs less Mana, 65 instead of 70, and heals more hit-points, 372 (+4% per level) instead of 297 hit-points. It is a 25% buff to healing numbers and a slight buff to Mana cost. The second basic ability, Lightning Shield, does 5 more damage per tick, 36 (+4% per level) instead of 31 points of damage. Lastly, Rehgar's Earthbind Totem has also been improved. AoE radius was increased, by approximately 16%, and Mana cost was decreased, to 50 down from 60.

We can clearly see that this patc
h is aimed to buff Rehgar. It does look like developers are trying to bring him back in Meta-game. Every change to his ability kit is a buff. Now, Rehgar is more mobile with lunge that is built-in his Trait, does more healing, and is a bit more disruptive.

Talent kit

Rehgar's talents have received major overhaul. Some talents were removed, some were reshuffled, and some talents were added. I will list them by abilities, so, let's start with changes to Chain Heal talents. Chain Reaction was removed. Spiritwalker's Grace was moved from level 1 to level 4, and Tidal Waves was redesigned and moved from level 16 to level 13. A new talent, Earthliving Enchant was added to level 13.
The Tidal Waves talent now reduces cooldown of Chain Heal by 1 second for each hero healed (instead of by 3 seconds for 3 heroes healed). Earthliving Enchant ads a healing over time effect to the Chain Heal ability: w
hen Chain Heal heals an allied hero that is below 50% health, they are also healed for an additional 200 (+4% per level) health over 5 seconds.

The rework has also touched upon Lightning ShieldThe Empowering Charge and Reactive Spark talents were removed. The Lightning Bond talent was moved to level 1, down from level 16, and no longer grants talented version of Lightning Shield to Rehgar. The Earth Shield talent was moved from level 7 to level 13 and now grants 15% of maximum hit-points as a shield.
Two new talents have been added, Electric Charge and Rising Storm. The Electric Charge talent is a level 1 talent that increases Lightning Shield radius by 33%. The Rising Storm talent is a level 16 talent that makes Lightning Shield's next damage effect to be increased by 20% every time it damages an enemy Hero. Stacks up to 10 times.

Let's see what developers have done with Earthbind Totem. The Level 16 talent, Earthgrasp Totem, was buffed. Now, it increases the initial Slow duration from 1 to 1.5 seconds. There is a new talent for level 7, Totemic Projection. It allows reactivating Earthbind Totem to relocate it. The totem maintains its current health and duration.

Lastly, let's dive in Trait changes. The Feral Lunge, Shadow Wolf, and Healing Surge talents have been removed. These are new talents that have been introduced: Wolf Run, Blood and Thunder, and Hunger of the Wolf.
Wolf Run 
is a level 1 talent that increases Ghost Wolf movement speed bonus from 30% to 40%.
Blood and Thunder 
is a level 7 talent. Now, basic attacks while in the Ghost Wolf form will reduce basic ability cooldowns by 2 seconds.
The new level 16 talent, Hunger of the Wolf, buffs basic attacks; now basic attacks while in the Ghost Wolf form also deal 5% of target's maximum health as damage and heal Rehgar for 5% of his maximum health.

Also, these talents will now dismount Rehgar when used in Ghost Wolf: Blood for Blood, Cleanse, Healing Totem, and Rewind.

There have been some changes made to Rehgar's generic talents: Forward Momentum and Spell Shield were removed, and Healing Totem was moved from level 1 to level 4; and its cooldown was reduced to 30 seconds, down from 60 seconds.

What do we see here? The story of talent overhaul is similar to abilities overhaul: weak talents have been either removed or reworked while new talents have been introduced. Support talents were diversified, and you can be more useful in many ways. Decreased Mana cost of abilities or additional Mana regeneration will allow more healing. At the same time, you have many utility talents that can help you keeping your teammates alive. In addition to more support oriented talents, there are also more offensive oriented talents. Those create a possibility of some unexpected hero compositions with Rehgar as semi-support hero. 


Impression of new and reworked Talents 

Rehgar Earthfury, Shaman of the Earthen Ring

After the rework, Rehgar has received 10 new talents, plus there are some that have been moved from one level to another and have been changed a bit; so, there is plenty of new stuff to dive in!


Level 1

Electric Charge

I think this a great talent if you are building talents around a dive Assassin, such as Illidan or Butcher. The increased range allows your shield to constantly damage a target that is chased by your ally. Also, a zoning effect created by your totem with the help of Lightning Shield is some effective, as it covers a larger area.

Lightning Bond

The talent grants you insane wave-clear. You just feel like Sylvanas or Kael'thas. You step inside a minion wave, use E+W, and almost any minion wave dies in next few seconds. Other than the wave-clear, you don't get much from the talent. Sure, you do lunge sometimes on enemies, but overall Rehgar's gameplay is about staying away from the enemy focus. So, you don't get much from this talent. However, If I could play very greedy and aggressive in games, I did huge hero damage numbers because of this talent. So, it is a situational talent with the great wave-clear potential.

Wolf Run

This is a "cookie cutter" talent in my opinion. At first, I thought that it would be a viable talent for some kind of DPS Rehgar. I have tried different builds, and every time I used this talent it felt like it is a waste of talent point. If you are going to chase heroes, 30% buff is already enough, plus you have totem for slow and lunge effect in the Ghost Wolf form. The only use I see for this talent is that you can unmount mounted heroes, as you move at the same speed and have the lunge; but I didn't find that effect useful in my experience. Lastly, you have plenty of useful talents on the same tier, so, I don't know any reason to grab this talent. It is a weak talent in my opinion.

Usually on this tier, I ended up picking either Electric Charge or Colossal Totem. Totem upgrade is great when you are playing with a classical Support approach while shield upgrade is great when you have "Illidan like" melee Assassin in your team.  


Level 4

There are no new talents on this tier, however, there are two that were move from level 1: Spiritwalker's Grace and Healing Totem. Basically, this tier is now about the approach you are going to take in boosting you support capabilities. Each talent lets you support your team better, but depending on the circumstances you choose one. Healing Totem is great for stationary (objective) fights, Q and W upgrades let you cast more spells for the same amount of Mana, and they are good when you chose a build based on the corresponding ability. Lastly, Feral Heart is good for prolonged fights and poke wars.

On this tier, I have played with each talent in many situations, described above, and I think this is one the most diversified and balanced Rehgar's levels.


Level 7  

Blood and Thunder 

This is a great talent in general and in diving setups in particular. 2 seconds cooldown reduction to all your abilities is insane! The only problem is that there other important talents situated on the same tier. I found this talent to be extremely effective with a setup based around melee Assassin when you don't need the Cleanse talent. 

Totemic Projection

Combine it with Colossal Totem (a level 1 talent), and you have superb annoying Rehgar that constantly slows enemies and repositions his totem! This is a great talent for a classical Support play, but it is viable when you don't need Cleanse.

I had games with no 
Cleanse requirement, so, I ended up playing Totemic Projection a lot. People aren't used to the idea that the nasty totem with Lighting Shield, which they have just passed, can reappear before their faces!


Level 13

Earth Shield

Previously, the talent was situated on level 7 and gave a flat amount of hit-points as a shield. Now, it gives 15% of maximum hit-points as a shield for 3 seconds. This is a great talent against burst damage. Also, you can apply the shield each 8 seconds!

Tidal Waves

This is another reworked talent. Now, it gives 1 seconds of cooldown reduction for each hero healed, making it 3 seconds maximum. What can I say; it is a great talent for momentum based fights. You always have a healing when your team needs it.

Earthliving Enchant

Combine this with Feral Heart and your team never dies! This is a great talent for prolonged fights and poke wars. The talent has nice visual effect: it shows a seed above ally hero when he is below 50% of hit-points. Personally, I think that this talent is a bit broken. You just heal all damage done by enemy team with one Q.

The tier is like the level 4 tier. You have plenty of support options and you just chose one that is best for your situation. Initially, I was attracted more by Earth Shield, as it really helps keeping your teammate up for that 1 second before your Ancestral Healing hits; however, Earthliving Enchant is just too good to pass up. Now, Rehgar is a new healbot!

Level 16

Hunger of the Wolf

Do I read this right? The talent does 5% of maximum hit-points as damage! What? Blizzard, are you mad? We have a new class in Heroes: Support Assassin. Jokes aside, just try it! You bite away almost 600 hit-points from enemy Warrior on level 16, and you heal for 5% of Rehgar's maximum health!. I understand that you won't be auto-attacking much and that you have the Ghost Wolf form each 4 seconds, but it is overboard. Now, apart from superb efficient Rehgar, as a Support, you also get Rehgar that is superb efficient not only at supporting, but also at taking enemy Warriors down!

Rising Storm

If you haven't been amused by previous talent, now is the time: Lightning Shield's next damage effect is increased by 20% every time it damages an enemy Hero. Stacks up to 10 times.
Well, I just combined this talent with the level 4 talent, Stormcaller, and had an evil, evil laughter while I was watching Illidan teammate killing enemy team. For a more brutal effect, you also add level 1 talent, Electric Charge, to the mix; and watch how in few seconds your shield starts to dish out some insane, 200%-ish numbers!

The tier is overkill! The talents are a bit overpowered! I also tried playing with Earthgrasp Totem, but it feels like such an under tuned talent compared to previous two! They should have changed its effect to stun instead of slow, to make this tier completely insane! 



Predictions for new Talent builds 

This is, of course, a topic for heated discussions, but after playing with the hero for a while I think I can draft some of talent builds that will be played in the future. Let's start with a classical Support approach. Something like this looks very viable: 

The Chain Heal build

This build offers incredible healing - you can heal half of your team with one Chain Heal, plus you have annoying totem that can be reactivated and used as a zoning tool or a means to save your ally. Depending on the needs, you can replace Q talents with W talents to have a better answer against burst damage:

The Lightning Shield build

There are tons of variations for the build depending on the needs of your team, the map, and so on. For example, against some stun oriented setup the build can be played like this: 

The Cleanse build

I have played few games with Illidan ally and used this build for a devastating effect. Illidan wrecks enemy team with it. You slow his targets targets and he is always shielded, plus shields do insane damage with the level 16 talent:

The Lightning Shield build for melee Assassin

Lastly, there is a Bloodlust ultimate. I've tried different builds and I didn't come up with something that can work in Quick Match or Hero League. So, I guess this Heroic and builds around it is for some specific scenarios. The ones we can sometimes see in competitive tournaments when teams are trying to surprise each other with unexpected strategies.


Conclusions

The changes that have been made to Rehgar in the PTR patch are definitely a huge buff. I think after the changes he will be played a lot in different environment. He has a potential to be a tier 1 Support along with Uther, Kharazim and Medic. He also has tons of fun stuff that can be used in less professional environment.

Overall, I think changes such as these are great and incredible. Definitely, they are needed to make game's live longer and healthier. Rehgar's rework has a potential to not only bring him in Meta-game as a viable and a strong Support, but also bring other heroes with him; melee Assassin mostly!



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