New Raynor gameplay impressions
Overview of the patch changes
"MVP Black" build
Alternative talent choices
New Raynor gameplay impressions
While i was writing post-patch guide about Kerrigan, i thought that i should also write about her lover. So, here it is post-patch article about Raynor.
One of the main things i love about new Raynor, besides the fact that casting “Inspire” no longer messes up with your auto-attack cooldown, is he finally has decent escape ability. Here I’m talking about the level 7 upgrade “Fight or Flight”. Previously, playing as Raynor was very punishable, in terms of making positional mistakes. Once you were focused, there was nothing you could really do. Now, the talent gives the option to manually activate the passive ability and, what is more important, provides 25% damage reduction for 4 seconds, after the activation. This change is what was needed! With this change you have decent save option, which allow you to react on your misplays, or good enemy plays.
For me, it felt really weird that every ranged, and not only ranged, Assassin in game had decent form of save ability, while Raynor had this stubborn self-heal. Usually, you were dead even before it was activated. But that is in the past, so let’s move on and see what other changes devs did to Renegade Commander.
Overview of the patch changes
Compared to changes that happened to other heroes, like Kerrigan or Kael, there are not so much to talk about, this patch. In previous patches Raynor also received some reworks, but the ones he gained these patch became critical point, as they introduced him to playable state.
Basic Attack damage increased from 35 to 40
Mercenary Lord (Talent) removed
Puttin’ on a Clinic (Talent) moved from Level 13 to Level 7
Relentless Leader (Talent) moved from Level 16 to Level 13
A Card to Play (Talent)
Cooldown reduction per Hero killed increased from 10 to 15 seconds
Penetrating Round (Q)
Cluster Round (Talent)
Damage bonus per target hit increased from 10% to 20%, up to a maximum of 100%
Bonus damage removed
Stun duration increased from 1 to 1.5 seconds
No longer places Raynor’s Basic Attack on cooldown
Adrenaline Rush (E)
Cooldown reduced from 45 to 40 seconds
Activated Rush (Talent) removed
Fight or Flight (Talent)
Now also allows manual activation of Adrenaline Rush
No longer removes movement impairing effects, and instead reduces damage taken by 25% for 4 seconds after activating Adrenaline Rush
In general, all the changes can be divided in two parts. First part is about changes to “Adrenaline Rush” and “Inspire” abilities, and second part is about all other changes. Such division comes from the value these changes brought to the hero.
The reworks to level 7 talent of “Adrenaline Rush” changed “AR” status from useless to useful. These 25% of damage reduction, which can be manually activated, is now a valid response to a critical situation. Also, the “Inspire” fix is a great change. For auto-attack based hero, losing few auto-attacks due to weird mechanic was really critical. Most of the times, it could resulted in enemy hero escaping on small amount of HP.
All the other changes are small and nice buffs to Raynor in general. But i want to point out changes to “Bullseye”, as they might not be understandable at first glance. There is “Q” build for Raynor. Basically, this build allows firing 3 “Penetrating Rounds” in just 2-3 seconds of time. Combined with previous version of “Bullseye” talent, this build was able to do imba amount of single-target burst damage and stun. That, of course, was expected to be fixed. Now, instead of imba damage you provide 4.5 sec stun on single-target, combined. I will provide more detailed info on this in “Q build” section of this article, which is down below.
(“Q” or “Penetrating Round” build)
This build revolves around “Q” ability. The ability is a skillshot, and has very small width. So, landing it properly will require some experience and mechanical skill. Having those two is very important, as “Penetrating Round” will be your core ability and huge part of your DPS.
In general, i prefer “Seasoned Marksman” talent. Roughly, it provides 10% right-click damage increase. Sometimes it can be more, or less, depending on how game will go.
“Confident Aim” talent will be your choice for level 4. This talent is one of the core talents to the build. If you hit enemy hero with “Q”, it provides 33% cooldown reduction on the ability. “CA” is very strong talent, but highly depends on your aim and ability to land your skillshots.
Level 7 talent will be upgrade to Raynor’s “E” ability. Probably, this talent is new default talent for this tier. It is very valuable to the overall sustain, and will allow to survive a lot of critical situations. Also, the talent is very strong in dueling.
For Raynor, both Heroics are viable. “Hyperion” is more teamplay and communication oriented. “Banshees” are always good and provide stable DPS. So, if you are playing solo, most of the times, “Raynor’s Raiders” will be better choice. For this build specifically, “Banshees” are better due to the amount DPS they will be able to dish out, as you will be able to provide very long lockdown times and nice displacement of enemy heroes.
“Double-Barreled” will be the talent to choose on 13. It will be your second core talent, and second power spike, after the ultimate. This talent will allow you to do nice burst damage, and at the same time provide decent displacement of enemy hero(es). With this talent you are able to fire 3 “Penetrating Round’s” in 2-3 seconds of time. This happens due to “CA” talent, as each “Q” you fire will reduce the cooldown of next “Q” by 4 seconds. The mechanics of this skill is such, that cooldown on charges is calculated separately. That means that both “Q” will reduce the cooldown of the third “Q”, which you are going to fire afterwards, making 4 seconds. But there is so animation time, plus you can juke a bit. So in the end it will be 2-3 seconds of time required to fire 3 “Penetrating Round’s”.
Level 16 talent tier is where some insane things are begin to happen. Here you pick “Bullseye” talent, and start being a disable machine. Combined with previous talent, you are able to provide 4.5 seconds of stun to enemy hero! Also it will displace him in some direction with each shot. This is very valuable effect if used by the right hands.
As always, “Bolt” will provide both, offensive and defensive options. However, value of this talent is much higher for “Q” build. You will be able to perform some crazy initiations combined with insane burst damage and lockdown time.
Pros and Cons
Diversified damage sources
Usually, big chunk of damage that Raynor deals come from right-clicks. With this build half of your damage, and later in the game bigger part, comes from abilities. This makes you less vulnerable to usual auto-attacking hero counter picks and counter plays.
Insane single-target burst damage and lockdown time
On level 16, with just three “Q” Raynor is able to provide 1200 AOE damage, which is half of HP of Assassin, and 4.5 seconds single-target lockdown time. These are some insane values, and we are not even talking about damage from right-clicks and ultimate!
Great team utility
With those famous “Penetrating Rounds” Raynor is able to provide not only huge burst and lockdown, but also be very useful for his team. You can save your allies by pushing enemy away, or push your foe in some ally ability.
High skill cap
Good aim with your skillshot, as well as experience of playing this build, are two key elements of success. They require some practice and skill, as hitting your enemy with a skillshot, or missing it, will be the difference between winning the fight and losing it.
Until level 20, Raynor doesn’t have any way to reposition himself. So, proper positioning will play huge part in the outcome of the fights. The upgrade for “E” will help to mitigate some damage, but if you are focused by enemy team it won’t be enough to survive.
Alternative talent choices for “Q” build
Here i want to highlight some options for level 7 and 20, as all other talents are “set in stone” for this build.
For level 7, “Hamstring Shot” and “Revolution Overdrive” are viable talents. But you have to be really confident in your positioning, enemy initiation, and allies if you are willing to skip that additional sustain from “E” upgrade. “HS” is good for providing additional disable, and for “Executioner” talent. “RO” is very good at chasing down or repositioning.
Lastly, if you feel that you won’t find much use of “Bolt”, then there are few viable talents. First one is “Nexus Frenzy”. Raynor is right-click damage based character, after all. In this build bigger damage will come from your spells, but “NF” is good choice. “A card to play” is interesting snowbally talent, which sometimes will allow you to have 4 “Banshees” in fight. Upgrade to the ulty is also a fine choice, but personally i prefer “A card to play” instead of ulty upgrade.
“Raynor in the competitive game? What?”
("MVP Black" build)
Basically, this is well rounded build. It offers nice right-click damage, viable for rotations, provides nice disable, very good at capitalizing the objective advantage and pushing with team. Also, let’s not forget nice survivability that new “E” talent brings.
Standard “Seasoned Marksman” talent is the choice for level 1. Provides, approximately, 10% damage increase of right-click DPS. Not much left to say here.
Level 4 talent, “Focused Attack”, is very good for rotations. Also, it is nice auto-attack talent that scales well in the late game.
“Fight or Flight” is, of course, your talent for level 7. This talent feels like new default talent for level 7. No wonder, it boosts your survivability by allowing you to decide when you want to pop up that save ability, and receive 25% damage reduction.
As you can see, “Hyperion” is choice for level 10. It is strong ultimate, but don’t forget that it is more oriented at teamplay and communication. So, if you are playing solo, and see that your teammates are typical solo q players, consider taking “Banshees”. “Hyperion” Heroic is very good at pushing down keeps, fighting for objectives that require standing in some zone, or pushing with objectives.
“Giant Killer” is a choice for level 13. This talent adds DPS to your auto-attacks, but what is more important is it has very high value versus double tank compositions. It allows you to quickly meltdown the HP of enemy front liner.
Level 16 choice will be “Bullseye” talent. This talent is very strong in general, you upgrade your “Q” to have moderate stun time, and also is very valuable for Raynor’s DPS. In this build most of the damage comes from auto-attacks. So, having those additional 1.5 seconds of stun will allow you to land few more right-clicks, which will be the difference between dead and alive target.
Finally, the talent to take at level 20 will be “Nexus Frenzy”. Overall, this build right-click based, so “NF” will boost your a-a potential a lot. Default range of Raynor’s attacks is 6.5, so this upgrade will make it 7.8! And that is a lot, and will allow you to stay out of range of most of enemy spells while landing auto-attacks.
Pros and Cons
Team oriented gameplay
This build just screams that you are useful for team, at anything they need you. With this build Raynor is good at rotations, pushing with team, fighting for objectives, zoning with ultimate, providing huge right-click DPS.
As I’ve mentioned before, having no basic ability that allows repositioning makes positioning one of the critical point you are always looking for.
Team oriented gameplay
This feature appears to be both, the strength and weak point of this build. You have to make sure that you are playing with good teammates. Otherwise, this build won’t be as effective. It’s better to use other, more solo oriented, build, like the right-click build or “Q” build.
Alternative talent choices for “MVP Black” build
As I’ve mentioned before, if you feel that your teammates are not so good at playing as a team, you can go “Raynor’s Raiders” Heroic.It will provide stable DPS increase and nice zoning. Most importantly, you don’t need your team to do much for it to be effective.
If you see that your team is afraid to quickly wipe the tank, or there is need in additional disable, you can pick “Double-Barreled” talent. It will provide additional lockdown and burst damage.
Lastly, if enemy comp is very burst down oriented or very initiation heavy, and you are having troubles staying alive, then picking “Bolt of the Storm” will be valuable option. If you are dead, you don’t provide any DPS, so it is better to stay alive and do less damage then have better DPS potential at the cost of your life.
“This one can make me one of those”
This build brings tons of DPS, however the hero himself is very fragile, so it’s best played with support that is able to provide burst healing and a lot of assistance. Ideally it should be Uther, but if he is not available Rehgar or Kharazim will do.
First two talent tiers are similar to previous build, and have similar purposes.
Level 7 talent will be “Revolution Overdrive”. The main goal of this talent is to increase the effect of “stutter stepping”, apart from providing additional mobility. “SS” is a movement technique that utilizes the mechanic of the auto-attacks. They have a cooldown between each of them, the time when your hero just does nothing while waiting for this cooldown to pass, which is used to move a bit in the direction to the target. The ultimate result of such technique will be few more auto-attacks landed on the target. Movement speed, provided by the talent described above, will increase the effectiveness of “stutter stepping”, as you will be able to go longer distance the more movement speed you have. The more distance you travel, the more auto-attacks you are able to land.
The choice of Heroic ability is situational, but i prefer “Raynor’s Raiders”. They buff single target DPS, and provide nice zoning. “Hyperion” is also nice ulty, it just requires good teamwork to be effective.
Next 3 talent choices will have huge impact on your DPS numbers. I’ll explain the value of “Executioner”, as other two talents were described in the upper part of the article, in different builds. So, “Executioner” is very strong right-click talent, but you need few allies that will provide disables for it to be effective. Also, keep in mind that target that is slowed will give bonus damage to your auto-attacks. For some reason, that is not mentioned in the description, but it what the real situation is.
Pros and Cons
One of the best right-click DPS heroes in the game
The amount of the damage you can unleash with your auto-attacks is insane. The build scales very well into late game, providing even greater DPS numbers there.
Viability for rotations
First two talents are also very good at rotations. With “Seasoned Marksmen” you are rewarded with additional damage for each takedown, while “Focused Attack” is nice burst damage passive.
“Revolution Overdrive” will provide insane mobility with up to 30% movement speed increase. You will be able to dodge enemy skillshots, and change your position very fast, according to how fight will develop. This will also passively affect your rotations and DPS potential.
Glass Cannon gameplay
Despite having such great tool as “RO”, you are still very dependent on position, and will melt down very fast under enemy focus. The damage numbers you provide are insanely good, however they, and absence of any quick reposition ability like “Vault”, are the reasons why enemy will be looking to kill you as their first target.
Alternative talent choices for Auto-Attack build
If you feel that “Giant Killer” won’t find much use, you can try “Steel Resolve”. It will reduce the difference between the uptime and cooldown of “Inspire” to 1 second. Also, keep in mind that “Inspire” buffs the attack speed of “Banshees”, so it’s a hidden buff to your overall DPS.
If you team comp doesn’t offer much disables, picking “Berserk” on level 16 is valid option. Combined with “Inspire” it will allow you to fire twice per second. Also, movement speed buff is good for mobility and “stutter stepping”.
Alternative talent choices, which are viable for every build
At level 1, if you are playing on the map where vision is valued very high, like “Tomb of the Spider Queen” or “Dragon Shrine”, then picking a “Drone” might be viable option. Same goes for Raynor’s version of “Bribe”. But the maps have to be big, and objectives have to be positional dependent. What i mean here is maps like “Cursed Hollow” or “Sky Temple”, where you fight for some time for objectives, and if the fight is prolonged, that “Siege Camp” you bribed will do a lot.
“Vampiric Assault” can be an option for maps that value laning phase very high. If winning a lane will allow you to secure huge lead for your team, then picking “VA” is good choice.
This patch has been a grace to many heroes, and Raynor happened to be one of them. Suddenly he is played by professional teams, and is viable for picking at competitive play. As it turned out, the change to “Inspire” and decent save ability was just what he needed to become viable again.
Personally, I’m very happy with the fact that old heroes are reworked, to be viable again. Such process is very vital for game health. No one really wants to play same hero pool again and again. So, such changes not only refresh the feelings of the game for casual players, but also create new options for professional players. These two things combined keep game alive and progressing.
I’m very satisfied with the overall hero reworks direction. If devs continue to rework old heroes, bring new heroes, and make talent trees more unique and diversified, Hots will become one of the most interesting MOBAs to play. And I’m looking forward to grasping that experience!