Arthas, Stitches, and Tyrael stand out among the tanks as the only ones without reliable hard crowd-control or peel (Cho doesn't either, but he's a special case). Sure, Arthas has a root and a slow, Stitches has his hook, and both Tyrael and Stitches can pick heroics with hard CC, but none of them can reliably peel for allies. They feel far more similar to the bruisers than they do the other tanks. All of them have strong self-heal or shield, soft CC and/or mobility, and they can be built to produce enormous amounts of damage.
Even some of the bruisers can more reliably protect their team than these guys. Dehaka, Imperius, Rexxar, Sonya, and Yrel all have a stun as part of their base kit, and some of these stuns are multi-target and/or have additional features like Dheaka's drag or Yrel's knockback. Of all the bruisers, the only ones without "normal" CC in their base kits are Artanis (swaps, can be talented for slow as well), D.Va (knockback), Malthael (who doesn't fit with the bruisers and probably ought to be an assassin), and Ragnaros (stun with <
Given the choice, I would play a solo Artanis, Dehaka, Imperius, Varian or Yrel before solo-tanking with Arthas or Tyrael. Artanis has a very good (damage) tank build, lacking only in crowd control, and the rest have everything you'd expect from a traditional tank albeit in lower quantities (lower health pool, fewer CC skills or longer cooldowns).
On top of all this, most of the other tanks can be built to play as bruisers too, while keeping their kit CC. Quad-stun Diablo (Q -> E -> Q -> R) with 100% faster basic attacks that heal for up to 3% of his maximum health and do 100 (base) bonus spell damage. That's not Diablo's only damage build either. The straight-up Q build can destroy enemies if you can hit terrain. He also has his other heroic for even more damage if the team doesn't need the stuns. Infinitely-scaling Q-build Muradin with slows and stuns out the wazoo, strong self-healing, large mobility, and 2+ charges of a stun and high damage heroic. Unstoppable bonus damage and slow Q Johanna with a low cooldown AoE stun with a crazy pursuit or escape heroic.
Why does it matter? If playing with others who understand how these heroes work, it really doesn't. Knowledgeable players will be well aware that Arthas and Tyrael are niche picks in the first place, and that Stitches should have some supplemental CC. However, there are plenty who don't get this. You end up as the solo front-line Tyrael in a quick match with three ranged assassins who are yelling at you for not doing anything to get the opposing Diablo out of their face (aside from the occasional lucky/well-placed blocking field after level 13). You're playing a Stitches in ARAM, happily gathering globes while the opposing Garrosh is yeeting your team left and right because they think you can somehow protect them from him. You draft Arthas to neutralize the enemy double bruiser, but the other player on your team who was showing a tank switches to assassin because "you've got it," just to flame you later for "not doing your job."
In my opinion, re-categorizing Arthas, Stitches, and Tyrael as bruisers would be a small but meaningful change to how these characters are viewed. I'm curious to see other thoughts about these heroes, and any others the community thinks belong in a different category. Alternatively, what if the heroes were re-skilled instead of re-categorized? Are there any minor, balanced changes that would make these heroes more tank-ish and less bruiser-ish?
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