I've always had a soft spot for Stitches, but not enough to be blinded by his woeful inadequacies as a main tank. This rework, though, has created an opportunity to make him decent at a number of things. He is still niche for a main-tank pick, but as a second tank, solo-laner and bruiser, he's now in a strong spot.
I've been using the build above ever since they introduced the current iteration of his level-13 slam talent, but Wednesday's patch actually made him worth picking (as opposed to me just liking him). I say this as a former master/grandmaster player, though I now mostly play unranked and QM.
The build I linked offers your team five things: (1) jack up your HP so that you can be a meat shield for your team; (2) cause a ton of disruption and facilitate your teams aoe abilities with regular aoe slows; (3) isolate with perpetual body blocking, persistent slows and hooks on would-be retreats; (4) sustain your HP and thereby become a source of sustain damage on your isolated enemy; and (5) wave clear. This patch is what enabled the fifth item, albeit at a cost to the first.
There are five conditions that really make this build shine, and the more of them you meet, the more of a powerhouse you'll be. In no particular order, they are: (1) you have a map that keeps you in lane a lot; (2) you are not facing blind; (3) you are facing a comp with slows, but not to much stun or sleep; (4) you are facing 2-3 mages in the backline and 1-2 sustain melee in the front; (5) you have other forms of hard CC on the team, either in a tank or follow up. You don't need to meet all of these conditions, but the more you do, the better.
LVL 1 HUNGRY FOR MORE. By lvl 13, this should give you at least 10% movement speed and 900 additional health. Coupled with the following talent choices, this means you will almost always be able to absorb pot shots for your team as well as persistently body block and impede front-line rotations.
LVL 4 CHOP CHOP & LVL 7 CANNIBALIZE. Slam grants attack speed, and both slam and basic attacks give 2% HP. Since your health pool and movement speed are both increasing from the level-one talent, the basic attacks will both heal more and be easier to make contact with. Baseline you have over 5000 HP at level 13, which means you are getting 100 HP per basic attack. Add in your level 1 talent, and you are now getting 120 HP per basic attack. And this continues to improve disproportionately. It's not uncommon for me to have 8000+ HP by level 20, for a total of 160 per hit.
LVL 10 PUTRID BILE. I'm not a fan of Gorge. Putrid Bile lets me isolate someone just as well as Gorge by body blocking and zoning out the enemy team. On top of that, I now have an escape button and sustain damage. Gorge, on the other hand, requires the team participate in a follow up or me to have towers and a gate nearby.
LVL 13 PULVERIZE. This is where the build comes online. 80% slow for .75 seconds over the full area of slam is insane, particularly now that slam's area is huge. Couple that with your increased movement speed and hook and no one is getting away. Yes, you give up hook talents, but hook just had it's range increased 10% and it is so much easier to hit massively slowed enemies anyway, especially as I use it more for preventing retreat than fishing.
LVL 16 DIGESTIVE JUICES. This just helps against dives. If someone goes on your back line, you slam-slow them and drop their damage.
Lvl 20 SHAMBLING HORROR. This is great against a slow-heavy comp. You can't be slowed below 100%, which makes Blaze, Mei, Jaina and several others relatively useless against you. That's usually my go-to since I'm picking him against slow comps. The extra devour is great against dive comps. And Potent Bile is good against sustain comps where you need prolonged zoning.
LVL 1 PATCHWORK CREATION. Only pick this if you can count on a healer to mitigate damage for you and not need to mitigate it for your team so much. You are giving up your movement speed increase, which means you likely need to pick up slow at 7. This also means you lose 900-ish health. I only pick this if I need to main-tank and I don't have much follow up CC.
LVL 4 PLAYTIME! If your fights are long and not bursty, such that you don't need more healing off your autoattacks, or if you don't go Cannibilize at 7, this can get you one more devour in a fight.
LVL 7 TENDERIZER. If you find you don't need the additional healing, then this is actually a better talent. It is just I usually do want the healing so my healer can offer more help to my team, and slow-slam, movement-speed enabling body blocks, and hooks for retreats make this somewhat overkill. BLIGHT is only worth it if I am facing a Malfurion.
LVL 16 LACERATE. If the enemy comp is primarily sustain front-line damage (as opposed to burst), then 50% damage reduction isn't that valuable. Reducing armor by 10 over the area of slam, though, can be useful for amplifying your team's AoE, especially if the enemies clump and you slow them.
LVL 20 SECOND HELPING or POTENT BILE. Potent Bile works wonders against sustain damage, Second Helping is great for handling dives if you took Digestive Juices at 16, but if you yourself are the target of the dive, you're better off to have 50 armor.
Generally speaking, unless otherwise noted above, devour and hook talents are avoided.
Fishing Hook is great when it works, but hook got its base range buffed and Fishing Hook got reduced correspondingly. Baseline hook is pretty good now. With this build, I used slow-slam to initiate against a frontline and mostly use my hook for stopping retreats or in-fight rotations. By that time, I've got another slow-slam up and it is easy to land hooks on slowed retreaters. As for the % damage on hook with CDR, you're already pulling them into your team; you ought to be able to finish them off. And the CDR is better with the Playtime.
Regarding a devour build, the present build achieves a slightly higher level of functional sustainability, and you are actually useful to your team because you have an AoE slow, improved peeling and easier body blocking. I will say, if you went strictly by math, devour has more sustainability. And to break the math down for you, say you went Savor the Flavor at 1 and you hit heroes with devour 26 times by 13 (hard to do). You are going to have 39 additional regen. The modified devour will also give you around 100 HP per second for 4 seconds in this hypothesis, so you will have 139 per second total for four seconds from this talent then drop down to 30. Compare that to my build that will get 900 more health at level 13, which equates to 180 more HP off a baseline devour and 18 more HP per basic attack and slam (assuming both builds have Cannibalize).
So the math leans towards devour, but this build gives you 900 more health to start with, lets you reposition much easier to discriminate on which abilities you get hit with, and allows you to connect your basic attacks and slams a lot more frequently due to the movement speed and slow. You become all around more useful and more sustaining.
Finally, BLIGHT at 7 is usually trash in my opinion. 20% reduced healing just isn't that great, and you don't get much healing from it. A larger single-target reduction in healing would be great, but 20% doesn't do much to any single hero. Unless I am facing Malf, no just don't put out sufficiently decent multi-hero heals anyway to make 20% reduction meaningful.
CLOSING: HOW TO USE THIS BUILD
Until level 13, all you can really do is peel and soak. In fights, you are playing safe and running some interference. If you see a Ming orb headed to your back line, stand in its path. After level 13, your interference can become more offensive and you are also setting up and isolating. You see 3 heroes clumped, slow them all and let your mages AoE them. You are also isolating kills. You see a front-liner whose path you can cut off, slow him, walk behind him, and body block him. If he manages to get around you, hook him back. Finally, protect the back line from dives. Someone dives in, hook your team mate or slow the diver or hook the diver or devour the diver to drop their damage. This isn't a fancy build. You are just the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man getting in the way and gooing up the ground.
Source: Original link
© Post "Solo-Lane/Bruiser Stitches" for game Heroes of the Storm.
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