Hanamura is a relatively simple Battleground that, seemingly, is proving difficult for many players to understand and importantly, win on. In this guide I wanted to provide tactics I’ve found successful, while giving advice and tips on how to coordinate with your team to beat your opposition. The most important thing however and to stand any chance of winning, is to understand the mechanics of the Battleground itself.
There are four key components to Hanamura:
- Cores are protected and cannot be physically attacked or harmed by players.
- Payloads will periodically spawn for each team and when escorted to their destination, will damage the enemies Core. Payloads and the Boss are the ONLY means of damaging an enemies Core.
- Towers can be destroyed to Empower a Payload, boosting its Core damage from 1 to 2, with each team having only two Towers to protect.
- Keeps can be destroyed to cause Sappers to spawn with allied Minion waves, which will fire on the Core upon reaching the end of their lanes.
Based on the above, below are the primary things you should be doing to secure a win on Hanamura.
A massive part of Hanamura is drafting for two things: lane push and sustain. You need strong lane push so that you can quickly and easily destroy Towers and Keeps the moment you and your team have the opportunity. Naturally this means securing a strong Specialist. Unfortunately options here are limited, especially when the Battleground is small and you need to quickly bring fortifications down. Azmodan, Nazeebo and Sylvanas are, right now, the only options here that can truly cause problems in Hanamura.
- Azmodan is amazing at simply using his trait in the opposite lane to the enemy (which will then push itself)
- Nazeebo can push towers quickly once he obtains Gargantuan, who can comfortably solo a Tower (his Zombie Wall can also early soak Tower shots).
- Sylvanas can disable fortifications for a super quick push.
If you can secure one of these heroes, you’re already in a good position. In addition to this, it’s imperative you draft heroes with access to high levels of sustain. Typically these are Support heroes with low mana cost/cooldowns and high provisions of continuous healing.
Fighting over a Payload is intense, time consuming and returning back to base when you’ve tapped a Fountain already simply takes too long. Ideal Support heroes to draft here include:
- Malfurion simply because his healing over time combined with his Innervate can keep players alive for long periods.
- Lucio has access to a rapid heal over time, movement speed and shielding (heroic).
- Auriel has no mana requirements and as long as her team are dealing damage, she can constantly keep them up.
Finally and when it comes to damage, you need heroes that can not only hold a strong front line to bully the payload, but to also poke from afar while constantly pressuring the enemy team. Heroes who excel here are:
- Nazeebo is once again an amazing choice because his Corpse Spiders not only sustain him, but constantly pressure - that’s before he even obtains Gargantuan.
- Lunara is fantastic as her mobility and ranged poke with Thornwood Vine can pressure any team.
- Li Ming works very well due to her Arcane Orb pressuring anyone grouped around the Payload. She can also escape fairly easily and generally harass from maximum range.
- Gul’dan is an amazing alternative to Li Ming. His self sustain is unrivalled while his damage consistent and high. Horrify is also brilliant for scattering those hugging a Payload.
- Leoric is fantastic if you pursue his Drain Hope talents. Not only is his sustain amazing, but he can also deal lots of damage and block paths with his Entomb.
- Artanis is also a brilliant Warrior because his shielding, pull and AOE blind can give him lots of sustain when fighting over the Payload.
- Zarya offers amazing team sustain thanks to her shielding. Her area denial from Expulsion Zone is also brilliant for preventing a Payload from arriving at its destination.
- Dehaka is fantastic for split pushing, can comfortably hold the Payload and can heal himself.
- Li Li is an excellent hybrid as her Blinding Wind talents, with her dragon heroic allow her to heal, prevent damage and deal tons of damage.
- Thrall has self healing, an invaluable set of AOE heroics and good ranged poke.
Despite the variables in hero suggestions above (and there’s by no means a guaranteed lineup) I’ve had particularly high success with all of them, in some form or another.
Those listed offer a level of damage, defence, sustain and front-line that opposing teams will inevitably find difficult to deal with. Undoubtedly there are always variables and you should still ensure you counter-pick, but at the very least securing many of the above will give you a good advantage.
As Payloads are the only means of damaging your enemies core (unless you kill the Boss), it’s imperative that you escort them at all times. Ensuring each is delivered to its destination is fundamental to winning. Failure to deliver your Payloads, inevitably, ensures you won’t deal damage to the enemies Core and you will eventually lose. What’s important to note about Payloads is the following:
- They move quicker the more players are near them
- They will stop moving the moment any enemy player gets near them
- They first spawn around 2 minutes 30 seconds
- They’ll spawn periodically after that
- When they haven’t been escorted for around 30 seconds (or thereabouts) they’ll begin to move backwards
- They’ll never despawn and will simply return to their spawn point
Unsurprisingly and based on the fact the enemy Core only has 7 health, you’ve only a handful of options:
- Deliver 7 Payloads
- Deliver 6 Payloads + 1 Boss
- Deliver 3 Empowered Payloads + 1 standard Payload (and/or a 4th Empowered Payload)
- Any other variables based on the above scoring (typically, players tend to get 2 Empowered Payloads and 3 standards over the course of a match).
It’s absolutely imperative that you agree, at the start of a match, the player who will always go for the first Payload. It will allow the rest of your team to contest (see below) while one player escorting is often more than quick enough. Even on a double Payload spawn, you should still aim for only one player to escort a single Payload, before moving to the second.
Ideally, you should allocate the player to Payload escort who is best suited to late arrival in a team fight and who can survive 1 on 1 encounters. Based on the heroes noted above, Dehaka, Leoric, Thrall and Artanis make excellent choices. However, I stress that you should only have them escort if you’ve a double-warrior composition.
What I should stress on Payload pushing is the fact you want to always be ahead of the enemy in terms of spawn timers. The sooner you deliver yours, the sooner your next will spawn and if you’ve stalled long enough (again, see below) this buys you considerable time to focus on contesting while one of your team pushes.
Contest The Enemies Payload
It’s absolutely imperative that you constantly contest the enemy Payload and importantly, the FIRST to spawn. You cannot cover all Payloads (especially if the enemy have two) so try to focus on one with 4 of your team. The idea is that you want to quickly secure your own, delay your opponents and then gain a spawn advantage. This then frees up considerable time to push lanes, contest further and do camps.
What’s challenging to judge when contesting is how long for, and when to eventually stop. The key thing to remember is that if you’ve secured the first Payload and delayed your opponents, all being well you should always have a delivery advantage. My best advice from then on is:
- Don’t die just to contest
- Don’t wipe just to contest
- Don’t stop escorting your own Payload just to contest
- Don’t ignore defending your Towers/Keeps just to contest.
Finally, just remember that it’s near impossible to prevent the enemy from delivering some Payloads. What’s important is to simply deliver yours before your opponent.
Defending and Attacking Fortifications
It’s paramount that you take down enemy fortifications as quickly as possible. The problem is that this is often difficult to manage when A) you’re pushing a Payload and B) when you’re contesting a Payload. To do it effectively (and this is where Nazeebo and Azmodan come in) is to rush them with your team once you secure some kills, or when your team can still contest, but spare the Specialist.
This, similarly to above, is hard to judge. If you’ve wiped the enemy team, absolutely push for a structure. If you’ve killed one or two, still push for a structure. At the very least, you should be using the enemy's death timer to take down their wall and fountain. This, when they’re pushing their own Payload and when you’re contesting, is often enough to stretch your opponents and force them to back to their Core.
Finally and when it comes to fortifications, there’s two rules:
- Do not let the enemy take yours (unless it’s completely unavoidable)
- Do not let them secure a Payload if it’s Empowered and if you only have two health left on your Core.
It might sound obvious, but I’ve lost count at the amount of people I see in Hanamura ignore the enemy pushing a Payload, with 2 health left on their core, only to do a camp or clear a lane. If you’ve recently lost a structure, you need to immediately look at your Core health and determine how many Payload deliveries you can withstand. If necessary, make it obvious to your team how many and what to do next (ideally contest if the next will see you lose).
Only Take Camps When You’ve Time
In all honesty, I wouldn’t go out your way to secure the majority of the camps in Hanamura unless it’s during the downtime between laning and a Payload spawning. Most of their items are pretty poor (with the exception of Support Camp) and while the Turret is annoying and the AOE heal valuable, none of them make or break a team fight. By all means take them when you have time, but never go out your way to secure one. Their value is limited and the time it takes to bring them down, unless you’re a group and can burn them down in seconds. If you are going to go out of your way to grab one, be sure that it's the heal.
When it comes to the boss (Mega Enforcer) it’s often not worth taking . Unless you’ve wiped the enemy team and their respawn timer is 20+ seconds and/or if they’re at the top of the map (and some are dead) attempting to push a Payload, just ignore the boss. Not only can it pull one of your team inside itself (putting you at HUGE disadvantage if the enemy team turn up) but its AOE damage field can see your team take massive damage. It’s simply too risky, for too poorer reward.
Camps in Hanamura include:
- Reward: Dragon Spirits
- Release 3 Dragon Spirits that seek out enemy Heroes, who are then revealed for 5 seconds. Dragon Spirits are destroyed after finding enemy Heroes or after 10 seconds.
- Reward: Turret
- Place a Turret on the ground or on your team’s payload.
- Reward: Healing Pulse
- Restore 35% Health and 23% Mana to you and your allies over 15 seconds.
- Defeat the Mega Enforcer found at the center of Hanamura to fire 1 shot on the opposing Core.
- Ignore The Boss Until Late Game
- ALWAYS push your Payload. There are few, if any, exceptions. Without delivering your Payload's, you cannot win.
- ALWAYS defend your fortifications. If they fall, your enemy will receive an empowered Payload.
- ALWAYS contest the enemy Payload they're attempting to escort, even if it just buys you some time to delay their delivery.
- Only take camps when you've an easy opportunity to. Don't waste time on them if escorting, contesting or defending is a possibility.
- If you're going to take a camp, make sure it's the Support. The healing it offers is pretty bloody good during a team fight.
- Remember that the quickest path to victory is to destroy the enemies fortifications. If you can and during a time when you've killed some of the enemy team, rush a Tower to bring it down.
- Try to secure the first Payload first, so that the enemy team and their future Payloads always spawn after yours.
- On the Hanamura map at the top of this guide, it shows you the routes Payloads take. They always take these routes so be aware of where you need to be, based on the location of its spawning.
- Try to decide with your team, early game, who will regularly push the Payload. Ideally it'll be one of two warriors.
- Stealth heroes do sometimes well on Hanamura simply because they can sit in stealth next to the enemy Payload, contest it, and the enemy team will struggle to find them (at a push, I'd recommend Valeera for it over the others).
- If possible, try to save your Fountains from destruction and before you engage. Payloads pass by fortifications and you'll need the sustain they offer.
- Strictly speaking you can get away with never fighting on Hanamura until a Payload arrives. There's no point fighting if you don't have to.
- Be aware that if you do try to take the boss, he will always pull one player inside himself, leave you to fight without - potentially - your tank or healer. Be careful.
- As a no-brainer, always keep an eye out for whether or not your enemies Payload is empowered. I've lost count at the amount of players who don't contest it when the 2 shots will finish the game.
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