My last post on this was five months ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthestorm/comments/h7dcy9/more_subtle_advanced_gameplay_tipsstrategies. Since then, I think I've gotten better and picked up a few things. Most notably, started playing ranked a lot more and climbed this season from Silver to Plat. Not solo queue though; I introduced by brother to the game. He used to play LoL, so he already has some familiarity; he just had to learn HotS, and he had an amazing teacher (me, hehehe), so he's pretty good now. We queued together and ranked up, and found some other friends to play with along the way. Since his account was newer, he actually got to Diamond.
Anyway, it seemed like people appreciated the last post, so I figured I'd share some of the things I've picked up the past few months that might help some people, and also link back to my previous post so people can bookmark these if they want. So here it goes:
– Regarding objective vehicles, like the Dragon Shire dragon and Volskaya mech, look to maximize your resources. Your vehicle has not only damage, but also health and time. I noticed from watching some pro games that on DShire, sometimes they just hang outside tower range and spam the Q fire breath on buildings and minions. Then when your minions and/or allied heroes arrive, or when your time is running out, then you go in and hit structures while tanking tower shots. It's your vehicle, so maximize the time you have for it. For example, what's better: just running in and doing damage and dying in 20 seconds to tower shots and enemy heroes OR using your abilities from afar 4-5 times while taking minimal damage, and then go in and tank shots and do damage for 20 seconds? Also, if you can get some hero kills with your vehicle, do it. It'll help you keep pushing.
– The importance of auto-attacks… I've learned to be much more intentional about who I right-click/a-click. Don't just attack-move randomly, unless the situation is fitting for it (e.g. you're Greymane and you want to keep your W up, so just a-click the ground so you hit anything in range). Be intentional about who you're targeting. If you are laning against someone, get in an auto on the other laner whenever you can, especially when they're not going to get one on you. One free auto attack is a winning trade. Over time that adds up. Think about how to maximize your autos. They really count!
– Always identify your biggest threats and play around them. If you're Li-Ming or Hanzo or Ana, watch their enemy Genji or Chen. You can't always avoid their dive, so you need allies to peel. But you can still position yourself in such a way that you maximize your distance from them while still being able to do damage to their team. Or you stay near heroes that can peel for you. If you're near your allies and I'm Zeratul or Valeera, I'll be a lot more cautious before diving you. Alternatively, if you're the diver, then you have to identify which heroes can cc you and lock you down when you dive. If you're Tracer and you want to jump on their Ana, watch the Taunt Varian carefully. Either wait for him to use it or wait for him to be distracted with something else or wait for him to move too far from Ana to peel for her in time.
– Go for something big when enemies are dead. This is something I picked up from a NotParadox video. He said in pro play, even when one enemy hero is dead, pros will try to "go for something big," like a fort or keep. Push in a lane and do some structure damage. You can take a camp afterward while the enemy team is clearing their lanes. If two enemies are dead, why take a camp when you can deal structure damage yourself, which camps are supposed to help you do anyway? Not only that, but you might even get some more kills if the enemy doesn't defend properly. Doing a camp won't give you that kill potential.
– Know how to trade. One aspect of this is dealing "free damage" when you can, that is, when you can do damage to the enemy without taking damage in return. Zeratul is really good with this…he can jump in, do lots of damage, and blink out really quickly. Then he can just wait for his cooldowns and go in again, while the enemy hero just has to wait. Same with what I talked about above with the auto attacks. This also applies when enemies are retreating. That's free damage! If they are running away, they aren't doing damage, so you can chase and keep damaging them. That's why in fights if you can force them to reposition, then you have a window of opportunity to do damage while they have to move around, during which they aren't doing damage.
– Rotational advantage…if you clear the wave faster than your opponent, that frees you to do something else before they do, like help allies with a camp or get to an objective faster. One time on Cursed Hollow, we got a kill so I thought we’d win tribute. Enemy Leoric left to soak mid and top, so I, as Sonya, followed him since I didn't want us to be behind on soak. Except he had a head start, so he cleared the waves faster. He went mid, top, then back mid. I followed him. Turned out that my team didn’t manage to get the tribute, so the person we killed had revived and Leoric went back to help with it, and I ended up being late!
– When pushing with an objective or boss or or camp or minions, you can aggro forts/keeps a bit to keep them from hitting your other stuff (you aggro them by attacking enemy heroes). This lets your objective or boss or whatever last a little longer while you can disengage and heal up the damage you took from the structure. For example, if you have a boss pushing a fort, why not as Muradin Q someone, aggro the Fort to tank damage, then when you’re low jump out with E and heal up with your trait. Meanwhile the boss finishes the fort and moves on to the keep, and the enemies now have to back to their keep to defend safely. During this time, while the boss is walking from the fort to the keep, you can heal up to full! Heroes can heal…objectives and bosses can’t.
– The danger of doing a boss camp and getting invaded is not just because the team doing the boss is fighting the boss plus the invading team. It’s also because many of their abilities are likely on cooldown. Just another factor to be aware of in boss fights.
– Try not to waste damage, e.g. on Illidan evasion or Yrel’s Ardent Defender or Varian's protected. Change your target to something else in the meantime, or just take the time to reposition. Likewise, be careful of spending damage on something that won’t die and will just get healed up. Lost Vikings are really strong against sustain damage because they have a lot of sustain themselves. They can tank damage and just back off and regen. Don’t waste time if you know you can’t get the kill and make it worth it. (Of course there are caveats, like if they’re the only target available, in which case yeah of course you want to at least do some damage and add pressure. In the end, it’s always a judgment call…which target gives you the best return for your damage?)
– Oftentimes you want to burst the same target your team is targeting. But other times, you can go for another target while your team handles one. E.g. if your team has the jump on the enemy tank and you’re pretty sure they can blow the tank up, as Greymane you can E onto the tank, then Q into the backline and start raining down on them while your team finishes the tank. Or you’re Garrosh and you throw someone to your team. If you’re confident in the situation, leave your team to take care of the guy thrown while you Decimate the rest of the enemy team, preventing them from saving the guy you threw or escaping. Or you’re some kind of dive bruiser like Sonya, and you see your team fighting the enemy front line. You don’t necessarily have to join them, instead you can zone out their backline.
– Know when to stop chasing. Don’t waste your time. Too often I see people chase after some low HP target that they are not going to kill, and run into tower range and tank a few tower shots. Not worth it. Even worse, chasing too far might put you out of position, and then you’re the one who dies. If the enemy is out of range and they’re not slowed and your movement speed is not increased, and you have no gap closer, just leave it.
– An likes open spaces. You have room to target whoever you want and do what you want. Defensive teams like restricted spaces. Easier to disengage, and poke safely. So if you’re on the offense and you’re pushing a lane, you want to make space. Don’t just kill towers and the gate, break down the sidewalls. As a defensive team, play around your fort or keep. This is one reason why bot lane on DShire is so important. Not just because most of the camps push the bot lane, but also because there’s much more space, letting the offensive team push more easily.
– Knowing what other heroes do is so helpful. Not just in 1v1 duels, but other situations like pushing a lane. E.g. you’re Greymane and you have Siege Giants pushing a lane vs a Diablo. You know he has low waveclear, and hopefully his team is busy with other stuff. You have basically free push. You also know Diablo can E you over the gate, so you just have to watch out for that if you go into Worgen form.
– Pay attention to mana. It’s harder to do since the mana bar is harder to see. If an enemy is low on mana, it’s almost as if they are silenced. You have a free engage. Similar to if the enemy’s abilities are on cooldown. You have a window of opportunity to do what you want with less likelihood of being punished. If Imperius misses his Q or Garrosh doesn’t have a throw, you can go in, do what you want, and leave with minimal risk. Or if Uther misses his stun…oh wait, never mind.
– Finally, things to consider in draft… Most important are cc, waveclear and camp clear, and enough damage. Consider type of damage, typically you want both burst and sustain. Likewise type of healing, do you want burst healing like Uther or sustain healing like Ana (some have both, e.g. BW). Does your healing depend on doing damage (Whitemane, Malf, Auriel)? Consider your engage and disengage. Peel. Team fight vs. macro advantage and map pressure. Dive and anti-dive. Who's your frontline, backline, and "sideline" (heroes that can flank enemy team or protect your flank)? Do you have an all-in comp or a more poke comp? Do you want long fights or short fights? And so on… Oh and you can ask the same about the enemy team, of course.
WHEWWW alright, that turned out to be a lot! This game really does have a lot of depth and it's quite fascinating. Hope some people can benefit from this. Also if you would like to play together, feel free to hit me up. I play on NA. Always up for playing with others who also want to play well and improve!
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