Howdy friends, I've decided I should make this post after seeing so many people declare XP heroes like Abathur dead.
>inb4 tip #1: Don't play Abathur
Blizzard released a stealth fix for Abathur's symbiote, in where the XP soak range was increased from 0 to 1.5. This ended up helping quite a bit; it didn't completely fix him, but we're now able to reliably soak an entire wave if no other hero is in that lane.
Okay, on to the tips! There is a lot to get through, but hopefully you stay with me through the whole thing.
- When you enter a game, show your teammates that you aren't like those other QM Abathurs who sit behind walls all day and do nothing helpful for your team. You need to be the most vocal person on the team, even if it's just a friendly hello, maybe a fatty mastery taunt if you have it, and (helpful) pings all day every day. If you are polite to other people, more often than not, they will be polite back. This will help deflate their anger later on when you die to an off-screen heroic, or when you aren't paying attention as much as you should. (This is a legitimate tip, not /s)
- Pray to god and the HotS devs that you aren't paired against a global hero, or an oppressive stealth hero. With the way you'll be soaking now, and with how much more map awareness you'll need, you do not need the extra stress of having to deal with a Dehaka that wants to hunt you down with the fury of a thousand suns.
- Ping your abilities constantly. If your heroic is up, ping it once in a while to show people you understand you have one. If it isn't up, ping the CD to tell them how long until it's safe to fight. If your carapace heal is on CD, and someone is about to die, ping it to show them you're trying but pressing the button harder won't make it come off CD any faster. If you just used your symbiote, it's on CD, and your entire team is in the middle of a fight, ping it once or twice to tell them "I can't help right now, but in a few seconds I'm gonna shit on the entire enemy team for you".
- Abuse the fuck out of the fact that the entire enemy team is fighting at the objective. This is obviously a no-brainer, but I need to mention this because of the nexp tip.
- If you want to play Abathur well, you need to soak aggressively. You are going to be sitting in the middle of the lane, slurping up that good minion XP, while simultaneously supporting your team in the middle of a fight. When the minion lane is pushed further, get out of your symbiote, move up, and hat your team again. No more of that sitting behind walls bullshit; you're here to play Abathur, so you need to play him well.
- You are more than likely going to die every game while still getting used to this new system and play style. Get used to this fact. Express your concerns to your allies. Tell them you're still getting used to this system. In my first three or four games, I had died two or three different times every game. I hadn't realized how much more open you felt and actually were, and I had to adjust. We are Abathur mains. Evolve.
- Your mines are going to be playing a different role from now on: During team fights, you either use them to push lanes out more, or use them as a buffer to warn you when someone is close. While no one is fighting, keep them on CD, annoying the shit out of the enemy team (more of that explained in another tip).
- Kick your map awareness up to 11 for the duration of almost the entire game. When you're on Abathur, you have a unique advantage of not having to pay full attention to your body. When you are body soaking now, you need to be fully aware of where every other enemy is on the map. Count them. When you see 4 mid and 1 top, you should be automatically burrowing to bot. Yes, into the middle of the lane. If you see one from mid start heading down, or you lose track of the one in top lane, leave immediately. When you are sitting mid-lane, you can be targeted off-screen by a heroic, or someone from the other team could just as easily walk behind you in the fog.
- When the enemy team has anyone with a baseline or talented reveal, do not build for mines. Another general tip, not necessarily for the change, but god it needs to be said. I've been in too many games where my mines have done absolutely nothing for the team, and my 3 early game talents have gone almost completely to waste. It will help with clearing and soaking, but you won't be doing much hero damage if the enemy team is at least somewhat competent.
- When you do build for mines, however, your sole purpose in life is now to annoy the fuck out of anyone who thinks it's okay to walk. When you have 5 mines laying pretty in your little slug body, you need to drop those down in the most random spots (within reason) you can acknowledge. Don't stack them together, spam that shit out on the ground where people have to walk to get from one place to another. Spread them out a good 4 or 5 feet, so they have to waste their CDs, or mana, to clear. If you have absolutely no idea what the fuck is going on with your mines, your enemy won't be able to know either.
- Don't take monstrosity. Back to XP change tips. Whether you like to admit it or not, the XP change to how everything soaked has almost completely ruined how Monstrosity works, and how it synergizes with your ability to soak. Instead of wasting your heroic on a bug that won't soak XP unless hatted, something that wastes even more hat CDs on it just to make sure it won't die, and will, more likely than not, die immediately anyways, choose the heroic that lets you hop in to a team fight immediately, or will help save someone from dying by blocking the enemy's hits. (Remember your clone still counts as 1/4th a hero in terms of XP, so try to let it run its time instead of it dying.)
- Coming in from that last tip, try to play and understand every hero, at least once. When you don't take monstrosity, you take a clone of the hero of your choice, and these clones come with everything, including their trait. Knowing how to play a hero sometimes means the difference of letting an enemy escape with 5% health and killing 3 different heroes in the span of 10 seconds. If the hero you cloned has an activatable trait, use it. If you clone Zag, for instance, you have enough time to lay all three charges of your creep down before your clone vanishes, and still participate meaningfully in a team fight.
- You can still build to push, but you will need way more micro management if you do. If you end up building for locusts, or at least the late-pick locust talents, you will only be using your dig aggressively. If you get caught out, slug away as fast as your little slug body will let you. I've escaped Deathwings's slow pathetic metal dragon body more times than I remember at this point. It's hilarious.
- Accept the fact that you are more dependent on your teammates now than you ever have been before. With this update comes a slew of changes to how games play out. One of which is soaking XP in lanes where other heroes are. If your teammates get bullied out of lane every single encounter they get into against the enemy team, you are going to be down in levels. We, as Abathurs, no longer can create a huge level gap advantage like we used to, but we can get close to it. While you soak aggressively (but smartly), you can either soak another lane, if another is empty, or you can help your team fight. You can't do both, but you can swap between the two like mad so it's almost like both are happening.
- You don't want to lose a game, but losing is still helpful. Last, but not least, obviously we all play to win. But when we lose, we give more data to the devs, and we show them that we've lost. If enough people lose, if Abathur's win rate suffers, hopefully, the devs will change or buff something to help. This only helps in the long run. When I lose a game, I think "Good, maybe blizzard will fix this or that". Try to have that thought process when things aren't going well.
Abathur is not by any means dead, and this update did not kill him. It really made things harder, yes, and raised both the skill floor and ceiling, but playing him will improve how you play the game in totality. Having better map awareness, and knowing how your enemy heroes work can only improve your own game play, and can only help when your team is down and suffering. Giving advice, and giving toxic criticisms are two different things, and my goal with this post was to give helpful advice without sounding like a complete asshat. Abathur is not a toxic hero, but people who play him need to learn how to play him well, or he will always have a bad name in the community.
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