Heroes of the Storm

Extreme hard counters shouldn’t be in HOTS

HeroesoftheStorm 10 - Extreme hard counters shouldn't be in HOTS

TL;DR countering another hero is fine if the countered hero has counterplay options. If there are no counterplay options and the counter is extremely strong, that's not good game design

A hero countering another hero is fine and normal. Most counters can be played around. But extreme hard counters that cannot be played around shouldn't exist in HOTS.

So I'll clarify what I mean by normal counters. Some examples are: deathwing is bad against tychus/leoric, murky struggles against butcher, li-ming struggles against anub'arak, butcher is bad against CC, tracer is bad against taunt varian or valeera, valeera is bad against aba (mines decloak her), dual healer bad against ana anti-heal, sgt hammer struggles against most mages etc.

These are normal counters and part and parcel of the game and they're fine. But extreme hard counters are not fine because although drafting is an important part of the game, having a hard counter that is too extreme makes drafting have a disproportionately high impact on the outcome of the match compared to actual gameplay (good drafting should give you an advantage, not an auto-win).

There are 2 specific examples of extreme hard counters I can think of where the countered hero can never do anything meaningful the whole game even if he plays much better, because there is simply no counterplay available:

  1. Greymane cursed bullet against deathwing
  2. Varian shattering throw (shield breaker talent) against Fenix

So deathwing against Leoric or Tychus, if deathwing plays well, it can still be a playable game for the deathwing player. But against greymane, there is no counterplay. The bullet is undodgeable for a deathwing (greymane can even leap into melee range with E to cast his bullet if he's worried about missing that gigantic hitbox). Trying to dodge bullet is simply not an option for deathwing. With how deathwing's armour mechanic works, greymane basically instantly deletes 60% of the EHP of a hero that cannot be healed by the healer, on a 30-second cooldown.

Taunt and colossus smash varian both delete Fenix instantly. I've watched Fan playing taunt varian 1-shot a Fenix from full hp without the help of his teammates (equal levels, he didn't do anything fancy, basically pressed his buttons and Fenix disappeared). Twinblades takes about 1-2 seconds to delete fenix, so not instant, but close enough. The projectile of shattering throw is too fast for Fenix to dodge with blink. There is simply no counter, you just get half your hp deleted every fight (and Fenix with no shields dies to random AOE damage).

In these cases, there is simply no counterplay available. The only counterplay is, you have last pick deathwing or fenix or make sure varian and greymane are banned (they're never banned), and the existence of that ONE hero alone significantly warps deathwing and fenix's viability in draft games

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