Heroes of the Storm 1

Shade Lord is the lowest pickrate talent in the game. Let’s fix it

HeroesoftheStorm 10 - Shade Lord is the lowest pickrate talent in the game. Let's fix it

Shade Lord is not good. After some digging on HeroesProfile, I believe it has the
?hero=Mephisto&timeframe type=minor&timeframe=,,,,,,,,,2.52.0 - Shade Lord is the lowest pickrate talent in the game. Let's fix it

lowest pickrate in the entire game (mind how you filter). You could argue that therefore this is the talent which is most in need of changes. Either way, I got Unspeakable Horror buffed, now let's try for Shade Lord.

First, an overview of why this talent is so wholly uninspiring. It's not the worst level 20 in the game, there are far weaker ones. But it competes with Mimic, Consumed by Hatred, and now Unspeakable Horror, all extremely scary storm talents. All 3 of these talents grant immediate, raw power. Mimic skyrockets your damage output, Unspeakable Horror tacks on the longest silence in the entire game to an already good CC ultimate, and Consumed by Hatred, while a bit inconsistent, can instantly win the entire game at the push of a button. And then there's Shade Lord, which…does what exactly?

Gaining your other 2 level 7 talents is neat, but you gain no extra damage or CDR from them (unlike, you know, freaking Mimic), just some survivability and mobility. You can chase people down with your lightning nova better and be a bit more aggressive if you didn't already have Ghastly Armor, but that's it. Then there's the Shade-swap active, which…is a really janky and conditional teleport that isn't particularly useful. If the spot you're currently in is dangerous and you want to get away quickly, shading out and then swapping literally puts you back in danger for 2.5 seconds. Shade Lord also doesn't let you travel any farther than you could before. And note that extending the duration of your Shade does not extend the duration of Lightning Nova, which is the biggest reason you use your Shade in the first place. It's not useless, but it's a lot of work for not a lot of benefit, and the alternatives are the exact opposite.

So, here's my proposal for a better version of Shade Lord that I think fixes all these issues and makes the talent dramatically more powerful and appealing:


Shade Lord: Active, 30 seconds; Activate to reset the cooldown of Lightning Nova and Shade of Mephisto. You can re-cast Shade of Mephisto while it is still active. Doing so removes the previous Shade without returning you to it. Passive: Shade of Mephisto benefits from all of Mephisto's level 7 talents.

I hope that description is clear. Firstly, everything that you can do with the current Shade Lord you can still do with this one, including having the utility of all of your level 7s (which is worth keeping because it's neat and this talent needs to be really strong). But now a world of new possibilities are available. You can do double-teleport shenanigans with this version, similar to Might of the Nerazim for Zeratul, which means you can cover vast distances that weren't possible before. You can actually escape with this version by just teleporting forward twice and then snapping to the second location; no longer do you have to swap back into danger to try to get away from danger. You can also do pull some sick Lightning Reaction combos with this: Q, teleport to the side and W, get multiple Lightning Reaction hits, Q again (with the new Q quest), reset, teleport again getting more Lightning Reaction hits, and then still have a Lightning Nova available at the end. And finally, you don't even have to do anything fancy at all to get good value out of this. At minimum, using it to reset E and W in case you whiff or just to do more damage faster is a powerful effect.

I think this version of Shade Lord would be a legitimate pick for Q build, which is now rivalling W build in power. It won't unseat Mimic for W build, but Mimic is dramatically less useful in Q build. Your Lightning Nova doesn't do all that much damage when you don't talent into it, and the main thing I pick Mimic for in Q build is Lightning Reaction shenanigans which this version of Shade Lord would out-do. I would happily pick this talent for Q build Mephisto, which seems like a great spot for it to land in honestly. Trying to make a talent that out-does Mimic directly is never going to work. But this just might, and the talent deserves it!

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