TL;DR varian’s level 20 talents may need rebalancing. I play varian because I like heroes with versatile playstyles so it'd be nice to even out the tier a bit to open up more choices.
Level 20 banner talent: Banner now also increases health regeneration and all healing received for nearby allied Heroes by 50%, and the cooldown is reduced by 50%.
Combined with banner of dalaran, varian gets the following:
- 70% increased self-sustained for varian (50% from the level 20 talent, 20% extra self-sustain healing from the increased spellpower)
- 70% increased healing for varian’s entire team (including all self-sustain abilities from tanks and bruisers, all healing abilities from healers, healing fountains, globes etc)(This is absolutely insane on tanks with good self-sustain by the way, like stitches with double gorge at 20, or malganis lifestealing abilities/talents etc)
- 20% increased spell damage for varian (so 20% more heroic strike damage)
- 20% increased spell damage for the whole team (for some perspective, on how broken this is, li-ming's level 20 talent gives an average of 10% spellpower for li-ming only)
The level 20 talent basically allows you to cast banner twice as often, and your banner is twice as strong. It’s sort of like having 4 banners instead of 1 (since you get 2 banners that are twice as strong) in the same timeframe, compared to if you didn’t pick that level 20 talent.
However, while this level 20 talent is strong, I don’t think it’s imbalanced. Storm tier talents are supposed to be strong. Most storm tier talents are gamebreaking.
What needs to change then? I think (but feel free to disagree) it is the abysmal state of varian’s other level 20 talents. I think the colossus smash one is not too bad. But the rest are not comparable.
- Demoralising shout just plain sucks compared to banner upgrade. I’m sure people will disagree, but I don’t like or care about this talent so if people think it’s good I’d be okay with no changes to this talent. I think this talent sucks so much that even if blizz buffed it to 50% damage reduction or whatever, banner would still outclass it too hard, so blizz my as well not even bother.
- Vigilance (taunt upgrade, reduces cd of taunt when hit) is situational but even in those situations where it’d be good, I’d say the banner talent is still better (especially against opponents who are aware of your cooldown reduction and don’t hit you unnecessarily until they actually have a chance to kill you). Taunt upgrade sounds pretty good on paper but in practice I find that good varians tend to hold on to taunt for the best moment to strike rather than spam it, so cooldown reduction sometimes doesn’t do much.
- Frenzy (twinblade upgrade) is just one of those neglected level 20 talents that’s been bad forever. Banner spellpower gives varian more dps than the frenzy upgrade (and banner benefits his entire team and almost doubles varian and his entire team’s self-sustain). Considering frenzy is what people would call a “win-more” talent that you pick when your team is already ahead at level 20, the fact that its winrate falls behind glory to the alliance is pretty telling of how sad this talent is.
- Colossus smash cd reduction is okay. The AOE is not great, it's very small, cooldown reduction doesn't really help to burst a single target, so it's not a great talent but it's not too bad. Banner is still better most of the time but situationally I guess this could work sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying varian's other level 20 talents suck (although Frenzy does really suck). I’m saying they are usually not comparable to the banner upgrade, and not comparable to the strength of typical level 20 storm tier talents on other heroes. I think blizzard doesn’t usually balance level 20 talents unless they are overpowered, because why fix what’s not broken?
However, picking banner every game really does gets boring after awhile, and I hope blizz can give some buffs to rebalance out the talent tier a bit. Or if blizz thinks varian is overperforming (which I would be very very surprised to hear) then a nerf to the banner talent would be fine too (but please at least buff the other talents a bit to compensate).
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