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Heroes of the Storm - Last CBT patch!

Author: Dmytro Voloshyn

Category: Patch

Overview of the Last CBT patch. Take a closer look at important hero changes!

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While recently introduced member of Azerothian Super Villain crew is on his way to conquering the world matchmaking, dozens of Heroes of the Storm players on the verge of finding the new main menu Easter egg and community sites exploding with Burning Crusade era "Merely a setback" jokes no one seems to notice how this patch is a stepping stone to a much larger plan... as well as the last Closed Beta patch with Open Beta hitting servers on 20th of May. Let's see what this patch brougth apart from Invoker Kael'thas hype. 

First things first - Sun King himself. It's hard to tell his place in the meta right now since everyone is figuring him out. While in-depth overview will require another article i'll try to tell general story in few lines. Kael'thas is ranged assassin. Gameplay wise he feels like Jaina - when you position yourself properly you are able to dish out tons of damage, but you are very squishy and easy to kill. Unlike Jaina, Kael doesn't have any escape abilities on level 13. His defensive abilities come at level 16 - Arcane Barier(ability like Stoneskin, but provides shield based on mana amount) and at level level 20 - Bolt of the Storm. Both ultimates have low cooldowns so i feel he is best to be played on a small maps.

      Global talent changes

      Clairvoyance  (Kael'thas,Murky,Nazeebo,Uther,Rehgar)

Now breaks units within its radius out of Stealth, rather than revealing them

Doesnt seem to be a big difference at first look, but what this change actually does is it allows you to immediatly cancel buff that invisible hero had due to being invisible(like movement speed buff provided by "Advanced Cloaking" on Nova or "Assassin's Blade" on Zeratul).

      Focused Attack  (Kerrigan,Raynor,Rehgar,Sgt.Hammer,Sonya,Tychus,Tyrande,Zeratul)

Bonus to Basic Attack damage increased from 50% to 75%

Blizzard is doing good work of revamping underused talents, but this one just feels like cookie cuter. Problem is you have much better talents on the same tier and its just not enough to buff the actual didgits(unless you make them imbalanced).

      Follow Through  (E.T.C.,Sonya,Illidan,Thrall,Zeratul)

Bonus to Basic Attack damage increased from 25% to 40%

This talent seems to be a stepping stone to much larger plan new Sonya build after her changes(see Sonya specific talent changes below).

      Healing Ward  (Azmodan,Li Li,Malfurion,Tassadar,Tyrande)

Can now be struck by Area of Effect Abilities. Healing Wards now have 50 (+15 per level) Health

Developers continue to evaluate this talent is a such way that it wont be imbalanced/not used at all as it happened before. Overall this change is a nerf to a Healing Ward.

      Ice Block  (Brightwing,Malfurion,Nazeebo,Jaina)

Ice Block can now be reactivated to cancel its effects early

Remember dodging those sun strikes Precision Strikes with Ice Block ? Well now you can do it more efficiently. Expected "quality of life" change and ability to mind game your opponent a bit.

      Promote   (Brightwing,Gazlowe,Nazeebo,Tassadar,Azmodan,Zagara)

Buff duration increased from 15 to 30 seconds

I don't know what to say. Promote style of play was nerfed hard so you rarely see people using it. However, I've seen some Tempo Storm epic comeback with it on Haunted Mines from a Zagara player.

      Hero specific talent changes :



      One in the Chamber(Talent)

Bonus to Basic Attack damage increased from 50% to 80%

Usually your "to go" talent on this tier is Anti-Armor Shells. As Nova you want to dish out as much damage as you can, as fast as you can. With such change this talent can becomes a valid alternative on maps and in hero compositions that favor prolonged fights.



      Penetrating Round(Q)

Knockback distance increased by about 23%

      Inspire (W) 

Attack Speed bonus increased from 25% to 30% 

Allied Attack Speed bonus increased from 12.5% to 15%

Mana cost reduced from 50 to 40

Cooldown decreased from 15 to 10 seconds

Duration decreased from 8 to 6 seconds

      Raynor’s Raiders (R) 

New indicator art has been added that will highlight the Banshees’ current target

Slight buff to survivability as well as damage output, but it doesn't feel enough for Jimmy. He needs more love from the developers. Right now his damage output is huge in late game. Problem is before late game or at least level 13\16(depending on build) his damage output, presence and pressure are almost non-existing.




      Locust Strain (Trait) 

      Bombard Locusts (Talent) 

Bombard Strain Locust attack range reduced by 30%

      Symbiote (Q) 

      Stab (Q) 

Damage increased from 44 (+9 per level) to 46 (+9.5 per level)

Finally! Long awaited nerf to the backdoor abathur. So much hated and yet so effective build that has even made an appearance in some competitive matches is no more. Expected outcome change to the hero. Oh and there is invisible buff to damage of your "q"(in case you didn't notice).



      Rock-it! Turret (Q) 

Mana cost decreased from 70 to 60

      Rock-It! Turret XL (Talent) 

Now acquires targets in a cone rather than a circle

This change was made to prevent cases where bonus shots could fire farther than the turret's indicated range.

      Turret Storage (Talent) 

Moved from Level 16 to Level 13 

Maximum Turret charges reduced from 4 to 3

      Long-Ranged Turrets (Talent) 

Turret attack range bonus increased from 25% to 40%

      Deth Lazor (W) 

Damage gained per level reduced from 14 to 12

Mana cost decreased from 75 to 60

Cooldown decreased from 15 to 12 seconds, and now begins once Deth Lazor is fired

Damage now increases at 1.5 second, rather than 2 second, intervals while channeling, and reaches maximum damage at 3 seconds.

Maximum channel time decreased from 8 to 6 seconds

      Goblin Fusion (Talent) 

Moved from Level 16 to Level 4 

Damage bonus reduced from 50% to 25%

      EZ-PZ Dimensional Ripper (Talent)

Slow amount increased from 35% to 40%

      Xplodium Charge (E) 

Mana cost increased from 60 to 70

      Kwik Release Charge (Talent) 

Moved from Level 13 to Level 16

      Grav-O-Bomb 3,000 (R)

Triggers 0.1875 seconds sooner in order to better align with the Ability’s visual effects

While all this changes, apart from the "quality of life" ones, seems to be a nerf he actually does more in team fights. His damage output, presence and pressure are higher due to DeathBall Deth Lazor charging much faster now. Cant say for sure if he become viable for the majority of the player base or competitive play, but you'll see more of him in games.



      Spawn Egg (Trait) 

Murky now spawns into the game with an Egg automatically placed in the Hall of Storms.
If both Murky and his Egg are killed, a new Egg will be automatically placed in the Hall of Storms once he respawns.
Spawn Egg will not be placed on cooldown in either of the above scenarios.

Some "quality of life" changes for the murloc players. This kind of stuff is always apriciated.



      New Talent (Level 7): Remorseless

After using an Ability, the next Basic Attack within 3 seconds deals 25% additional damage

This is a Sylvanas-specific replacement for the Follow Through Talent

Fifteen percent buff on this talent would be huge damage increase for the Banshee Queen. No wonder Blizzard is giving her “reduced” version of this common talent. Right now she feels in balanced spot. My only concern is her second ultimate. But it was already stated that it is marked for a rework in the near future.


      The Lost Vikings

      Jump! (Talent)

Cooldown increased from 20 to 30 seconds

      Longboat Raid! (R)

The Lost Vikings will now become stunned for 1.5 seconds if the Longboat is destroyed before its duration ends

      Play Again! (R) 

All of the Lost Vikings are now restored to full Health upon casting Play Again!

So much hate towards jumping Vikings! However if we take more serious approach we can see that they were very hard to gank on bigger maps. And to stay in a “reasonably balanced” spot they need to have some weaknesses. Personally , I think that they are still imbalanced in a hands of a pro player. Regarding other changes – boat nerf seems a reasonable one. And a good opportunity to finally kill those pesky Vikings. Buff on the second ultimate is nice but I don’t think we’ll see ultimate other then boat for a long time. 




      Scarab Host (Trait) 

Beetle A.I. has received several improvements. 

   If Anub’arak is attacking an enemy when a Beetle is spawned, the Beetle will also attempt to attack that target.

   If Anub’arak is not attacking anything when a Beetle is spawned, the Beetle will attempt to find a nearby target to attack.

   Beetles will now attack and pursue a target found this way until that enemy dies, or the Beetles lose track of the target (through teleporting away, for example). Only then will the Beetles return to a lane.

     Impale (Q) 

Casting delay removed

     Burrow Charge (E) 

Casting delay significantly reduced

You rarely see Anub’arak in YOLO solo queue, and from time to time in competitive scene exclusively played by ArthasStroitHram team. Reasons for that are simple - he is difficult to play and was nerfed some time ago. However with these changes he is coming back. Right now he feels much responsive, easier to play and oh my! damage from beetles – don’t even try to 1v1 him unless you know what you’re doing.

After massive talent overhauls like those below its hard to predict what will happen with heroes. Right now what I can tell for sure is developers are trying to break pre-patch 2-3 tanks meta (E.T.C., Diablo, Muradin) by reworking slightly overpowered tanks and shifting their gameplay to more “risk-reward” meta-game than just straight “I do this better then anyone else” meta-game.



Diablo has received significant updates.

Health decreased from 1060 (+260 per level) to 1050 (+250 per level)

      Amplified Healing (Talent) removed

      Relentless (Talent) removed

      Storm Shield (Talent) removed

      New Talent (Level 13): Life Leech 

Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal bonus damage equal to 1% of that Hero’s maximum Health, and heals Diablo for the same amount.

      New Talent (Level 20): Lord of Terror 

Activate to steal 10% of the maximum Health of all nearby enemy Heroes

      Black Soulstone (Trait) 

Maximum Health gain changed from +5 per Soul to +0.15% per Soul

      Endless Death (Talent) removed

      Soul Feast (Talent) 

Health Regeneration bonus increased from 2% to 3% per Soul

      Siphon the Dead (Talent) moved from Level 7 to 13 

Will no longer interrupt movement when activated

No longer consumes Souls upon activation, and Black Soulstone now heals 15% of Diablo’s maximum Health over 3 seconds

      Soul Steal (Talent) 

This Talent has been repurposed and now affects Diablo’s Black Soulstone Trait.

Now increases the maximum Health gained per Soul from 0.15% to 0.25%

      New Talent (Level 4): Soul Catcher 

Passively generates a Soul every 4 seconds

      New Talent (Level 4): Essence of the Slain 

Gain 10 Mana whenever a nearby enemy Minion dies

      Shadow Charge (Q) 

Mana cost increased from 50 to 60

Cooldown increased from 10 to 12 seconds

Diablo is no longer Unstoppable during Shadow Charge.

Stun duration when the target of Shadow Charge is knocked into a wall has been decreased from 1 to 0.75 seconds.

      Crippling Shadows (Talent) removed

      From the Shadows (Talent) has been redesigned 

Moved from Level 13 to Level 7

Now increases Shadow Charge’s stun duration, inflicted when the target is knocked into a wall, by 0.5 seconds

      New Talent (Level 1): Overwhelming Force 

Increases the range and knockback of Shadow Charge by 25%

      New Talent (Level 7): Devastating Charge 

Shadow Charge reduces the duration silences, stuns, slows, roots, and Polymorphs against Diablo by 50% for 3 seconds.

      Fire Stomp (W) 

      Swallowing Flames (Talent) removed

      Molten Impact (Talent) removed

      Fire Devil (Talent) moved from level 16 to level 4 

Damage reduced from 12 (+3 per level) to 10 (+2 per level)

      Firestorm (Talent) moved from level 16 to level 13 

Damage bonus decreased from 150% to 125%

      New Talent (Level 16): Rampage 

Fire Stomp increases Diablo’s Movement Speed by 20% and Basic Attack damage by 50% for 2 seconds.

      Overpower (E) 

Mana cost increased from 50 to 60

      Demonic Strength (Talent) has been redesigned 

Now slows the target by 25% for 2 seconds once Overpower’s stun expires

      New Talent (Level 16): Domination 

Overpower reduces Shadow Charge’s cooldown by 8 seconds.

      Apocalypse (R) 

      Dying Breath (Talent) 

Now also reduces Apocalypse’s cooldown by 20 seconds, in addition to its other effects

With these changes developers are shifting Diablo from being overtanky and having superb initiation and crowd control to a more single target focus based initiator as well as postponing his full tanky potential to a later stages of the game. Not being unstoppable during "q" seems like a huge nerf but his single target damage output got significantly buffed this patch.



E.T.C. has received significant updates.

      Scouting Drone (Talent) removed

      Superiority (Talent) removed

      Relentless (Talent) removed

      Hardened Shield (Talent) removed

      Follow Through (Talent) added at Level 7

      Spell Shield (Talent) added at Level 13

      Storm Shield (Talent)  added at Level 20

      Echo Pedal (Talent) 

Moved from Level 4 to Level 16

Pulse damage increased from 10 (+3 per level) to 30 (+5 per level)

The first pulse now fires immediately, and fires the follow-up pulse after 2 seconds in order to allow for more cohesion with Face Melt and Powerslide.

      Rockstar (Trait) 

 No longer affects allied Minions or Mercenaries

 Duration increased from 3 to 4 seconds

      Rockin’ Out (Talent) removed

      Uber Rockstar (Talent) renamed to Speed Metal 

Moved from Level 13 to Level 16

Now lasts 2 seconds, separate from Rockstar

      New Talent (Level 4): Hammer On 

Increases Rockstar’s duration by 2 seconds, and reduces the cost of all Abilities by 10 Mana while Rockstar is active

      Powerslide (Q) 

Mana cost increased from 50 to 60

      New Talent (Level 1): Rolling Like a Stone 

Increases Powerslide’s range by 25%

      New Talent (Level 4): Double-Necked Guitar 

Increases Powerslide’s width by 100%, and speed by 30%

      New Talent (Level 13): Show Stopper 

E.T.C. gains Resistant, reducing all damage taken by 25%, for 4 seconds after casting Powerslide.

      Face Melt (W) 

Mana cost increased from 50 to 60

      New Talent (Level 4): Mic Check 

Hitting 3 or more targets with Face Melt reduces its cooldown by 4 seconds

      New Talent (Level 4): Pinball Wizard 

Face Melt deals an additional 50% damage to enemies recently affected by Powerslide.

      New Talent (Level 16): Encore 

Face Melt now leaves behind an Amplifier, which will knock enemies back again after 2 seconds.

      Guitar Solo (E) 

Mana cost decreased from 60 to 40

      Pwn Shop Guitar (Talent) moved from Level 4 to Level 1 

Mana cost reduction decreased from 50% to 40%

      Groupies (Talent) moved from Level 4 to Level 13 

Healing provided to nearby allied Heroes increased from 12 (+3 per level) to 30 (+6 per level) Health per second while active

      Guitar Hero (Talent) has been redesigned 

Now heals for 50% of damage dealt by Basic Attacks while Guitar Solo is active

      New Talent (Level 1): Prog Rock 

Permanently increases Guitar Solo’s healing per second by 2 for each Regeneration Globe picked up

      New Talent (Level 7): Just Keep Rockin’ 

Reduces the duration of all silences, slows, stuns, roots, and polymorphs against E.T.C. by 50% while Guitar Solo is active

      Mosh Pit (R) 

      Death Metal (Talent) has been redesigned 

Upon death, a ghost of E.T.C. will now cast Mosh Pit at his death location

This Talent may now be picked even if Stage Dive has been selected as E.T.C.’s Heroic Ability.

      New Talent (Level 20): Tour Bus 

Allows E.T.C. to cast Powerslide during Mosh Pit, and doing so increases Mosh Pit’s duration by 2 seconds

Additionally, casting Mosh Pit now refreshes Powerslide’s cooldown.

      Stage Dive (R) 

Cooldown decreased from 100 to 75 seconds

      Rock God (Talent) removed

      New Talent (Level 20): Crowd Pleaser 

Increases Stage Dive’s impact radius by 50%, and reduces its cooldown by 15 seconds for each enemy Hero hit

E.T.C.'s initiation potential got buffed. Damage output and disruptiveness shifted to later stages of the game, making him more utility based hero in early game. Oh and the level 20 choices are amazing now! You have plenty of talents to choose from depending on map, hero composition and chosen build. 



Basic Attack damage gained per level increased from 8 to 9

      Follow Through (Talent) removed

      Skullcracker (Talent) moved from Level 4 to Level 7

      New Talent (Level 16): Give ‘em the Axe! 

Basic Attacks deal 75% additional damage against targets that are rooted, stunned, or slowed

This is a Muradin-specific version of the Executioner Talent.

      Thunder Clap (W) 

      Reverberation (Talent) 

Attack speed slow amount increased from 33% to 50%

Attack speed slow duration decreased from 3.5 to 3 seconds

      Thunder Burn (Talent) 

Movement Speed slow duration applied by Thunder Clap’s secondary explosion increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds

      Dwarf Toss (E) 

      Landing Momentum (Talent) 

Movement Speed bonus duration increased from 2 to 4 seconds

      Haymaker (R) 

Cooldown decreased from 50 to 40 seconds

I’m surprised to see that Mountain King got buffed even more this patch! He was already top tank last patch. With changes of this patch he is even more useful against isolated targets, right-click assassins and is definitely your “to go” hero in YOLO solo queue if you are looking to farm some rating or comfortable with playing tanks.



      Follow Through (Talent) added at Level 7

      Fury (Trait) 

      War Paint (Talent) 

Heal amount per Basic Attack increased from 25% to 30% of damage dealt

      Endless Fury (Talent) 

Maximum Fury increased from 150 to 200

      No Escape (Talent) 

Movement Speed bonus increased from 20% to 25%

      Ancient Spear (Q) 

      Boon of the Ancients (Talent) removed

      Composite Spear (Talent) moved from Level 13 to Level 7

      Poisoned Spear (Talent) 

Bonus damage increased from 50% to 75%

      Mystical Spear (Talent) 

Moved from Level 16 to Level 13

Now permanently reduces Ancient Spear’s cooldown by 4 seconds in addition to its other effects

      Seismic Slam (W) 

Damage increased from 90 (+13 per level) to 100 (+16 per level)

      Furious Blow (Talent) moved from Level 4 to Level 16

      Shattered Ground (Talent) moved from Level 7 to Level 4 

Splash damage bonus reduced from 100% to 75% of primary target damage

      Whirlwind (E) 

Fury cost reduced from 50 to 40

Duration reduced from 4 to 3 seconds

Cooldown reduced from 10 to 4 seconds, and now begins once Whirlwind completes

Heal amount reduced from 40% to 25% of damage dealt, this effect is doubled for damage dealt to enemy Heroes

      Enduring Whirlwind (Talent) removed

      Dust Devils (Talent) removed

      Life Funnel (Talent) 

No longer removes movement impairing effects

Bonus to Whirlwind healing reduced from +15% to +10% of damage dealt

      New Talent (Level 4): Hurricane 

Casting Whirlwind removes any active slows and roots affecting Sonya.

      Leap (R) 

Leap has received responsiveness improvements.

      Arreat Crater (Talent) 

Crater duration increased from 4 to 5 seconds

      Wrath of the Berserker (R) 

      Anger Management (Talent) 

No longer reduces Fury needed to prolong Wrath of the Berserker

Now increases all Fury generated while Wrath of the Berserker is active by 50%

Developers been trying to bring Sonya back to a top tier for a long time now. She has been constantly buffed over the last couple of patches and now with such talent overhaul might come back to a top tier list of heroes.

Now that we now that Tempest Keep was merely a setback and are familiar with significant hero changes this patch brought up, lets take a look at game direction from a greater point of view. Developers have been increasing build diversity, reducing the amount of common talents as well as reworking them since January patch. If they continue to do so we might end up not being prepared for Hots launch and will be overrun with tremendous amount of hero compositions and talent choices! To summarize everything up - i am very happy with this particular patch and with the developers direction in general - they are forging a great game and i can't wait to embrace the launch!

Some references :

Azerothian Super Villains -
Main menu Easter egg - (spoiler warning) -
"Merely a setback" meme -
Invoker -
Sun Strike -
Tempo Storm -
Deathball -

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