I regularly get asked how to reach Grandmaster Rank in Heroes of the Storm and while there’s no guaranteed method, it’s all about minimizing the risks you take. Avoiding Heroes that are out of the meta, acknowledging that you can’t control other players and their faults, while making sensible engagements can go a long way. A large part of climbing the Heroes of the Storm ladder is also choosing a set of Heroes that you’re comfortable with and while they might not necessarily be at the cutting edge of win-rates, if played properly they can carry you and your team to victory. Below are a list of five that with practice, can often win matches irrespective of who they’re paired with. Mastering these can - at the very least - get you all the way to Grandmaster.
Updated: 22 November 2016
Malfurion is amazing right now. With most Battlegrounds relying on sustained fights, he absolutely excels. His relatively cheap heals over time, combined with Innervate pretty much ensures your team always have more health and mana than your opponent. Combine this with reasonable Moonfire poke and an AOE root that's near instant, he facilitates kills and offers his team huge survivability. If you throw in his Heoric ability which can cause a large AOE silence, he not only counters dive compositions massively, but just about any Hero which needs to get close to him is going to have a miserable time. If you're seeking to win or at the very least have a significant advantage over the enemy team, take Malfurion.
Before he hits level 10, Varian isn't anything exceptional. However, once he obtains Colossus Smash or Twin Blades of Fury, combined with his level 4 talent, Warbringer, he's like The Butcher on steroids. Able to charge and stun every 6 seconds, for 1 second, he's a menace who's incredibly sticky. Combined with his rapid attacks from Fury, or huge burst from Colossus Smash, he can comfortably solo most Heroes and lock down key targets with ease. When you also add in the sustain he has when pursuing a Fury build (taking Second Wind and Banner of the Ironforge) he can solo any camp and any boss in a matter of seconds. While Varian can be locked down fairly easily, he can also snowball once he gains a level lead. Once he reaches 16, he only gets stronger as he not only reduces healing against a target by 40% (Mortal Strike) but can also destroy shields: Zarya, Tassadar and Artanis don't stand a chance.
Perhaps a controversial entry but Lunara is more than capable of not only dealing enormous damage over time, but her mobility in the right hands allows her to evade most basic abilities and retaliate. Basic attacks are unavoidable but if you position yourself right, you’ll be able to deal out high amounts of damage across an entire team before retreating and repositioning again. I would also strongly suggest that you take Thornwood Vine as the poke and damage is invaluable for triggering your trait. What also makes Lunara particularly strong is her ability to siege Keeps and Objectives should she need to, while her poison will pressure any enemy healer - especially Morales, Brightwing and Malfurion. Just be sure to practice stutter-stepping with Lunara, it can take some getting used to.
The increase to her base range makes Sgt. Hammer are powerful threat and a Hero that no longer needs to constantly fortify. Whether she's setup in Siege Mode or roaming as a tank, she deals huge basic attack damage early game and it only gets higher. If you encourage your team to build their draft around you, in order to protect you, most teams will truly struggle to deal with you. On static maps such as Battlefield of Eternity or Towers of Doom, she's ridiculously effective. Her win rate of 54% places her as the highest achieving Specialist in the game and for good reason - he ranged poke, lane push and sheer damage make her a nightmare to deal with. If she's also being looked after by Auriel or Malfurion, it's incredibly challenging for anyone to uproot her.
He might not be as strong as Kerrigan in the Tier List right now, but Illidan in the hands of a skilled player can carry any team. Playing him effectively usually sees you on a knife-edge. You have to push his play and health to the fringes by constantly harassing the enemy - sometimes over-extending when necessary. However, Illidan is a high risk, high reward Hero. You can tunnel enemy players like no one else and if supported by a healer, there’s few Heroes that you can’t kill quickly. The only advice I can give when it comes to Illidan, is play aggressively but don’t go in first and most importantly, take him to Quick Match. There’s no better place to practice how far you can push him. If you can, try to convince your team to draft around you - you'll reap the rewards.
Disagree with the above five? Let me know in the comments below.
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