Varian is one of my favourite heroes and I have some suggestions and analysis of varian's talents going into the late game. Slightly long post, TL;DR below at the bottom.
Firstly, a few observations:
- Varian has always been a hero with a strong mid game powerspike in terms of damage, but his damage falls off quite a bit later on in the game. His mid game power spike comes with the completion of high king's quest, usually at around levels 10-12 (around 8-9 minutes). Unfortunately the damage from high king's quest does not continue scaling once the quest is complete.
- Varian's high king's quest just got quite a big nerf recently, which made his midgame power spike less overpowering, but made his late game damage even worse.
- Given the nerf to varian's midgame, I think it is fair for blizzard to return some power to varian's late game damage.
- Blizzard obviously wants varian players to pick other talent 1 talents besides high king's quest (hence the HKQ nerf, and anyway it's not healthy for a hero to have only 1 pickable talent on a talent tier). If varian does not pick high king's quest, his damage scaling into mid-late game is even worse
- Varian is the only auto attack hero (heavily reliant on auto attacks) with NO autoattack talents except a single talent at level 1 (high king's quest)
- Varian has 3 diverse playstyles, burst damage (colossus smash), sustained damage (twin blades) and pseudo tank (taunt)
Without doing a massive overhaul of varian's talents, I think the best ways to return some relevance to varian's late game damage would be the following:
SUGGESTION FOR TWINBLADES UPGRADE, FRENZY:
The level 20 twinblades upgrade Frenzy, currently gives 15% attack speed and 10% movement speed.
It should not give 15% attack speed. Twinblades varian already has insanely fast attack speed. Moreover, the talent only actually gives varian 7.5% attack speed (tested in try mode) which is absolutely pathetic. Instead, the talent could give varian 20% damage to both his attacks and his heroic strike (which is like part of his auto attacks), just like the standard nexus blades talent. This would be stronger. Also, instead of giving just 10% movement speed, it should also double the duration of the movement speed bonus. With my suggestions, the talent would read:
Twin Blades of Fury increases Varian's Attack Damage and Heroic Strike Damage by 20%, and Basic Attacks increase his Movement Speed by an additional 10% for an additional 2 seconds.
Compare this with the standard Nexus Blades talent found on many heroes:
Basic Attacks deal 20% more damage and slow enemy Movement Speed by 20% for 1 second.
I think my suggestion for varian's twinblades upgrade is pretty balanced and definitely stronger than his current level 20 upgrade. My suggestion is a bit stronger than the standard nexus blades talent but not by much and considering heroes like gazlowe get 100% attack damage and 25 armour passive at level 20 (mecha lord talent) and heroes like illidan get 20% attack speed and 50% reduction to all stuns roots slows silence and yrel gets 2 second unstoppable on a 10-second cooldown, and tyrael gets 50% attack speed, I don't think my suggestion is OP at all.
SUGGESTION FOR COLOSSUS SMASH UPGRADE, MASTER AT ARMS
The colossus smash upgrade currently reduces its cooldown from 20 seconds to 10 seconds, and makes it hit a small AOE.
This talent is very strange. Colossus smash varian is meant to be a burst hero. However, varian's burst from level 4 to level 20 does not increase much at all. It stays at about the same level with slight increases (and if high king's quest is not picked, the scaling in burst is so bad it's laughable). Meanwhile, every other hero in the game from level 4 to level 20 gets iceblocks, spell shields, armour talents (tanks and bruisers), cleanses (supports), life-saving heroics (supports), stronger self-sustain (tanks and bruisers) etc.
In other words, varian's burst potency gradually decreases significantly as the game goes on in terms of one-shot potential. It gets harder and harder to burst heroes down, as more defensive tools open up to these enemy heroes. HOWEVER, at level 20, varian gets compensated by being able to cast his burst more frequently, in a small AOE. In other words, in the late game, varian's burst is half-assed but he gets to cast this half-assed burst more often. This is very strange because:
- It makes colossus smash varian in the late game a very weird kind of sustained damage dealer instead of burst damage. Varian's burst potential is halved from level 4 to level 20 (due to defensive talents of other heroes) but varian gets to cast it twice as often. That seems to be fair and balanced in terms of overall damage output BUT CONCEPTUALLY it is pretty flawed because the whole point of colossus smash was BURST, not sustained damage. Sustained damage is twinblades, not colossus smash. Although ultimately, the damage output remains similar, instead of having a potent burst, late game varian after level 20 has a half-assed burst that he can cast twice as often.
- Varian's colossus smash AOE is also weird. Firstly, the AOE is pretty small so most of the time, it is completely irrelevant. Second of all, the WHOLE POINT of burst is to isolate one hero and then BURST THAT HERO DOWN. Making it AOE might make it have more damage output overall but again, conceptually, it is NOT what a burst hero wants. AOE damage is more fitting for a sustained damage playstyle (and most of that damage is probably meaningless) but when you're playing a spec path (colossus smash) that was meant to isolate and burst a single target down, it is very strange to have it become AOE (and then your team all focuses different targets, which makes the ability even worse than before)
For colossus smash, I would suggest a simple and slight buff at level 20, to return some burst potential to varian. I would suggest refreshing the cooldown of heroic strike when colossus smash is used. The talent would thus read:
Colossus Smash affects all enemies near the target, its cooldown is reduced by 10 seconds and it refreshes the cooldown of Heroic Strike when used.
This is good because there is some risk attached to the higher burst. It only increases varian's burst amount if varian can use his heroic strike first before casting colossus smash for a second heroic strike. If varian cannot do that, then the extra buff of refreshing heroic strike would be wasted. That means that varians who want to take advantage of the heroic strike refresh would have to engage with his E, hit once, then colossus smash. It would be more all-in, so high risk, high reward. If varian doesn't want to take the high risk, varian can simply play as per normal and not make use of the heroic strike refresh.
I think that colossus smash refreshing heroic strike at level 20 would be a slight buff that makes varian feel much better to play overall (when heroic strike on cd, can still use colossus smash since it refreshes) and reward good decision-making while not being that big of a buff overall.
TL;DR Varian has problems scaling his damage into the late game. Buff twinblades at 20 to increase damage instead of attack speed and increase duration of movespeed bonus. Buff colossus smash at 20 to refresh heroic strike.
Varian is one of my favourite heroes and while he is decent late game if he picks banner talents at 16 and 20, it really sucks to play him as a banner bot whose main game impact comes from placing banners at the right time.
Don't get me wrong, varian is perfectly decent with banner talents in the late game. It just really sucks to go from doing damage to becoming a support that places banners for his team (sometimes that can be fun too, but not every single game)
I hope my suggestions can be considered. I've been waiting for many months since April for a compensatory buff to varian's late game and I REALLY WISH it will come in the 16 October 2019 patch. FINGERS CROSSED.
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