Abathur is a part of HOTS that makes the game special. Here is a rule and here is a broken rule; it’s what makes the game great. Cho’gal, Deathwing, The Lost Vikings, Rexxer—all break the standard rules of the game, but these heroes can be hard to balance and fit in without being over-powered or heavily lacking.
Additionally, these heroes can also swing the needle between effective play and counter-play heavily and, in my opinion, Abathur does this the most. To me, there’s just no way to counter a good Abathur. You can play as well, sure. You can compete against them, but if you miss the early window to punish them, they cannot be effectively counter-played against.
As a disclaimer, I don’t play Abathur. This rework idea is not to nerf him, or reduce his popularity. In fact, I love the idea of an Abathur-style hero, but I don’t think the current design of the Starcraft slug lends itself well to a fun experience for both sets of players. It’s not fun being on the recieving end of an Abathur+Genji, Tracer, Illidan, Tein-Blade Varian, Sonya, etc.
These cancer-compositions are oppressive and offer little options in dealing with them, from my experience. You have to hope they make a mistake if you do not effectively draft against them.
Abathur has another problem- you just don’t see him. I’d imagine he’s the least killed hero in the game, by a large margin, even at lower levels. Certain quests also have a next-to-zero chance of completion against him and instead, you just have to suffer him, not counter-play him.
This changes at the highest ranks, and high skill should be rewarded, but his current iteration just isn’t rewarding to play against overall.
As a result, this rework is designed to alter his play style and tools to keep his out-there feel and way of affecting the game, but to increase the risk-reward of playing him effectively, and counter-play against him. As always, this proposal would be based on the balancing of his numbers overall.
Z – Burrow – Keep it’s large range, but give it zones. Each zone travelled increases the CD. Burrow far and have a longer CD, but burrow from behind your gate to the bushes in the middle of that lane (to be explained) and only have a 15-second CD. This keeps a maximum range and isn’t a true global.
D – Trait – Ultimate Evolution – Yes, it’s now his trait. He needs it baseline in order to keep the balance in check and keep him being able to participate in team fights. CD of 60 seconds, but now it only lasts 15 seconds and has no attack power, spell power, or movement speed buffs. Abathur stays in place when using, and so can be killed, but it can be cancelled early.
Q – Symbiote – Hats a friendly target, as it does now, changing his basics abilities and locking Abathur into position. CD-10 seconds. Lasts until cancelled. Q – Symbiote – Stab – As is, but a 3-second CD.
W – Toxic Nest – 3 charges, CD-10 per charge. As is, but can now be spotted by stealthed heroes. only give vision once triggered (something that stealth should do for other in-game mechanics. W – Symbiote – Spine Burst – As is, but a 5-second CD.
E – Toxic Carapace – CD-10, Abathur gains a shield that explodes in a slowing toxic after 1.5 seconds, slowing nearby enemies for 20% for 2 seconds. E – Symbiote – Applies Toxic Carpace host to the hatted target which triggers even when hat is removed.
The purpose of this E talent is to cause Abathur to body soak more, but give him survivalists when doing so. Abathur can now burrow mid-lane and scoot back to the safety of his towers with a shield and a way of slowing enemy heroes.
Evolve Monstrosity – Number tweaks and balancing to give Abathur a way of pushing a lane without being there. Cannot be hatted, so pushes automatically, however ‘R’ can be used to burrow and switch lanes, or move to a safer part of the same lane. This is designed to be a tank for whatever is pushing down the lane. CD 60 seconds on death.
Locust Nest – CD 60 seconds, spawn a nest of sieging locust on Abathur’s location, that out-range towers, but do not clear waves fast. This is designed to give Abathur a risk-reward of burrowing near walls or a keep to plant a powerful siege tool.
Largely as is. As I don’t play Abathur it’s hard to say what to change, but he could have new talents to focus on self-soaking and improving his heroics. The main point of this rework idea is change his play style into one where I’ve can be seen more regularly and counter-played.
Abathur should, with these changes, feel like a hero that can countered without just having to be suffered. His numbers, in particular his HP, will need to be tweaked to bring him more line to be able to grab the soak in lane and risking him leaving safety.
His Symbiote would need to be balanced in its abilities to reward effective play as the CD on his Symbiote now gives enemies an advantage if they remove the hat early.
This would be a drastic overhaul to the feel of Abathur, so I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and ideas around this hero and what you would do, if anything, to his play style.
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