Johanna's Bizarre Adventure
JoJo has seen pretty steady buffs every patch that's touched her since… well, every single patch since her September 2017 rework. In the past year, this has looked like steady buffs to max HP, Reinforce, Hold Your Ground, Eternal Retaliation, and Zealous Glare. In particular, Hold your Ground has gone from 30% shield buff and 4 seconds CDR to 60% shield buff and 5 seconds CDR, which is insane. Eternal Retaliation, meanwhile, has been given a mana return mechanic (now max 24 mana return on a 50 mana cooldown), higher max CDR (5 –> 6 seconds), and more CDR per enemy hit.
The Hold Your Ground buffs are interesting to me because, aside from having the obvious benefit of having an Unstoppable every 15 seconds, the talent is now a surprisingly strong sustain talent for fights and objectives that last long enough to pop a 15 second cooldown two or three times.
Laws of Hope remains the best option for saving yourself from huge burst damage in short fights; 30% max HP + baseline iron skin (25% of JoJo's max HP) gives you an extra 55% of your health bar. Meanwhile, Hold Your Ground's shield is only equal to 40% of JoJo's max HP. Laws of Hope also has the obvious benefit that it's a heal, rather than a shield that enemies can choose to wait out. However! The longer a fight goes on, before reaching the absurd point where you get out 2 Laws of Hope, the more value you're going to get out of Hold Your Ground's CDR and shield buff.
The new Eternal Retaliation buff gives the talent much more consistent value, especially when only hitting a minion wave (3.5 seconds CDR –> 5.25 seconds). It's also noteworthy that it takes the max CDR from 5 to 6 seconds; in other words, the minimum cooldown goes from 5 to 4 seconds. All in all, you're getting more CDR in the best case scenario as well as on average.
Here's where I'm going with this: Which map has an objective that provides consistent targets for Eternal Retaliation, that also tends to promote fights longer than 15 seconds? As you may have guessed from the post's title, I'm talking about Infernal Shrines. Here is one version of a new build for this map:
- Hold Your Ground –> Eternal Retaliation –> Subdue –> Blessed Shield –> Holy Fury –> Fanaticism –> preference pick at 20
- Honestly, this map is your best bet for Falling Sword into Heaven's Fury 20 if you drafted JoJo with an all-in dive comp. Heaven's Fury resets are a guarantee on top of the objective, and Falling Sword-ing on top of your Punisher stun is aesthetically pleasing, I guess
Every 4 or 5 seconds, you get a Condemn and an opportunity to proc Holy Fury. Holy Fury's buff lasts 5 seconds; in addition to pressuring enemy heroes, it's pretty decent at last hitting shrine minions. Finally, the classic Hold Your Ground –> Fanaticism combo gives you free rein to stick to any target you want to pressure and makes you completely untouchable. You still get to take your subdue at 7 to make sure no one gets away from you, but your level 13 damage potential increases significantly (and is better suited to stealing shrine minions).
There's a reason that most of these Johanna buffs do nothing to help the meta build: the meta talents are really good and are still good on every map. But there's now a chance that a Condemn/Trait build will be exceptionally strong on the one particular map where Eternal Retaliation CDR is consistently huge in teamfights.
I've seen many immediate reactions to the Bronzebeard Rage buff where people claim it will overtake Healing Static and be completely OP. Count me a major skeptic. Healing Static's synergy with Thunder Burn and Avatar is so extremely strong and proven that it's almost impossible to live without these talents in the main tank role. Bronzebeard is now a nice medium ground between Healing Static's survivability and Thunder Strike's chunky single target burst damage: It gives you constant damage and a constant trickle of health, but its healing is especially underwhelming during Avatar.
Until you look at Infernal Shrines, of course. Shrines has long been considered a mediocre Muradin map; have fun landing a Storm Bolt with 10 little skeletons in the way, pal. This recent patch does a lot to shake this up: Sledgehammer 4 and Bronzebeard Rage 13 are suddenly a very compelling duo.
Picture this: Your baseline Q quest stacks twice as fast. If you miss a hero with Q on the objective, you just got a free minion kill. Once you get your Q pierce (twice as fast as normal, certainly by the second objective), your PvP and PvE effectiveness on the Shrine increases dramatically. You're suddenly able to stun heroes through a Shrine minion, you can trade your Q cooldown for 2 free Shrine minions, and you have constant Q CDR because you can always attack Shrine minions. But the real disgusting part is when you hit level 13.
Single target, without the bonus damage, Rage heals for 15 damage per second at level 0. Without Avatar, this is equivalent to 0.5% of Muradin's max hp , or 1/10 of a single-hero healing static. With Avatar, it looks more like 0.4% of Muradin's max hp. Multiply this number by 2 whenever Muradin procs the bonus damage (which is constantly up in teamfights). Then multiply it by the number of Shrine minions + Heroes. Lets say you have the bonus damage you're constantly hitting 4 shrine minions and 2 heroes, for example: .5% * 2 * 6 = 6% max health per second. In 8 seconds, the time it takes for 1 Thunderclap cooldown, this is 48% of Muradin's max HP or 38.4% of Avatar's max HP. This means, to match Healing Static, you would have to get 10 hero hits (or 8 in Avatar) for every cast of Thunder Clap (+ Thunderburn).
You won't be constantly hitting 6 targets with Bronzebeard Rage. You might hit one or two less. You might hit more than 6. Either way, on Infernal Shrines, you will severely outpace Healing Static with proper play and positioning for the heal.
Just like Holy Fury, Bronzebeard Rage's consistent damage (ticking once per second) is nice for stealing low-health shrine minions. Empowered Bronzebeard actually does more damage than hitting a huge multi-Condemn.
Unrelated to the rest of the post: The Sledgehammer buff looks to be fabulous for BoE, where it's already a staple pick. Being able to consistently reach the pierce and Q CDR fairly early in the match means that you can afford to throw more Q's at the Immortal on the first objective. Early pierce makes your life easier stacking the level 1 quest.
Muradin and Johanna might be busted on Infernal Shrines. They might not be! But Shrines seems like a great playground for testing these new changes in ideal circumstances.
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© Post "Some late night theorycrafting about the new patch: The Muradin and Johanna buffs make for extremely compelling talent choices on Infernal Shrines." for game Heroes of the Storm.
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