This is designed as a minor talent rework. Kel’Thuzad’s talent diversity has been pretty dominated by one build for a long time, with a lot of talents just being a little too unimpactful to compete. I was inspired to do this last year when the developers were messing with his less used talents. They brought him a bit closer to having a very balanced tree, but some talents could use more work. This isn’t intended to be a buff, but just slight redesigns to bad talents to improve their design. Some may be too strong or too weak since I can’t really test the numbers (although the hero probably will be hurt by the upcoming anomaly, so some small buffs may be okay). A lot of the changes are designed to make Q build feel like more of a threatening poke build, giving him something else besides being just a one trick combo pony.
- The Plaguelands
- Blighted Frost
- Barbed Chains
These talents are all pretty viable. Plaguelands will become stronger from some later talent changes.
- Strip Shields
- New Functionality- After not taking damage for 4 seconds, Kel’Thuzad gains a shield equal to 15% of his maximum health over 8 seconds. Hitting an enemy hero with chains of Kel’Thuzad instantly refreshes half of this shield. Additionally, Chains of Kel'Thuzad deals up to 270 bonus damage to Heroes' Shields.
- Strip Shields is meant to be a talent that is good against shield users. However, even against a full team of heroes with shields, this talent is hard to justify taking. The survivability benefits of this talent are just so bad compared to the other choices that it makes KT just too squishy. It also is the only talent that provides no PvE bonus at all. I’ve nerfed the total shield amount, but now Kel’Thuzad at least can begin a fight with extra health. I did not want to buff its efficacy against shields because otherwise it would feel very oppressive in niche situations. Now its application is a little more broad, as it will be useful on maps where globes are few and helpful for surviving burst damage.
- Phylactery of Kel’Thuzad
- Armor of the Archlich
- Accelerated Decay- moved to level 16
- New Talent- Frozen Wastes
- Each time a hero is hit by Death and Decay’s pool, they are slowed by 6%, up to a maximum of 24%.
- This talent does not provide a direct damage increase. However, it will make it more difficult for heroes to walk out of Death and Decay, causing them to take more damage. The goal is to give the Q build something more than just raw damage over time.
- Chilling Touch
- Ice Cold
- New Functionality- Glacial Spike now stores two charges.
- The old Ice Cold provided additional damage that was very hard to get value out of, and an 8 second CD reduction on spike which encouraged just spamming chain on spike degenerate gameplay. This new version would give Kel’Thuzad some more utility, allowing him to more flexibly use spike as terrain even when there is no hero to pull to it. If the talent is too strong, it may also need to increase spike’s CD by 10 seconds.
- Frost Blast
- Additional Functionality- can now be cast on Kel’Thuzad, rooting enemies around him after 1 second.
- I have seen this suggested a few times and I think it would be really cool and would give Frost Blast a stronger defensive niche, increasing its popularity. You have the option to burn your heroic ability to scare divers away.
- Shadow Fissure
- Chains of Ice
- Icy Grasp
This talent tier is pretty well balanced. I thought about moving Icy Grasp to 16 so that you could take it with chain-link, but I think that would be annoying to play against.
- Arcane Echoes- removed
- Accelerated Decay
- New Functionality- Each time enemies are damaged by Death and Decay’s pool, they take an additional 2% of their maximum health as damage.
- The old > was always an awkward and misleading talent, as due to KT’s base spell power, the damage was less impactful than you would think. Death and Decay build also really lacked a strong capstone option at 16. This talent, combined with the slow from Frozen Wastes, should make Death and Decay build a good option against teams with heavy front lines. It is also a nice callback to the WCIII style ability. Standing in the pool for the full 2 seconds will chave off 8% of a target’s health, or 12% if you stood in it for the additional second of Plaguelands. In exchange, he obviously can't get any CDR for his Q now.
- Hungering Cold
- Power of Icecrown
- Might of the Scourge
- Additional Functionality- Passive: Hitting an enemy hero with the primary Shadow Fissure now resets its cooldown as opposed to setting it to 1.5 seconds.
- This talent has been pretty awful since the reset on Shadow Fissure was removed from the base ability. In order to get good value out of the recasts you need a target to be held in place for a ridiculous amount of time (1.5 second cast + 1 second delay between casts + 1.5 second cast = 4 seconds. You would need someone to be held in place for 4 seconds AND be alive in order to get value here. That is the length of a FULL duration Mosh Pit). This brings its power level back to what it was before the level 10 nerf and would at least help it compete with Damned Return in some scenarios.
- The Damned Return
- Shifting Malice
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