Arthas is in a niche place at the moment and seen in few games overall. His kit and design feel dated and, despite being a raid boss in WOW, he feel lacklustre and flat in HOTS. I enjoy playing him, but I’d love to see him reworked and brought into the meta more.
Arthas is key in changing up the tank meta as he’s one of the only walk-in tanks in the game. Alongside Johanna, who is picked far more frequently, and Mal Ganis, again, picked more, Arthas is part of a small group of tanks that don’t dive in, like Anub Arak or Diablo, or that don’t bring a target to them, the hook/flip tanks, like Stiches and Garrosh.
In contrast, Johanna has a great and well-balanced kit. She is effective, consistent, not the most spectacular, but crucially, as all heroes should be, strong when playing on her terms. Arthas is not even close to her, barring the most niche of drafts, such as verses melee-heavy compositions.
Walk-in tanks generally struggle to get a strong foothold in the meta. Arthas’ current issues focus around his generally poor engage and how vulnerable he is when flipped or hooked into the enemy team. When a tank is coming towards you, it should be scary, but for Arthas, the enemy tank is often more of a threat to Arthas, than Arthas is to the enemy team. Flipping a Johanna or Mal Ganis into your team is generally a no-no, but Arthas is easy prey. Anub diving with Cacoon, Johanna waking in with Condemn/Blessed Shield, Diablo Shadow Charge, and Garrosh riding towards you, are all much scarier than Arthas walking towards you.
This idea is designed to rework his kit to bring him into more drafts and increase his pick rates. It aims to increase the fear of him coming towards you and give him some epic, raid-boss style potential, but without setting him so far apart from most other heroes, like DW is. These suggestions are based around balancing his overall numbers, such as his damage from his abilities.
Arthas is coming for you. You can only delay the inevitable.
Trait – Master of the Frozen Wastes – 60 second CD
Arthas’ Trait is now where most the magic happens and his problems are mostly solved. Frozen Tempest is now baked-in to his trait, and it’s damage moved into more noticeable areas. Frostmourne Hungers moves over to his E. Tempest deals no damage and just provides a slow effect. Passively, When Arthas hits an enemy hero with a basic ability, he pulses Tempest around himself for 1.5 seconds. Tempest pulses every 0.5 seconds, slows by 10% for each stack, and the slow lingers for 0.5 seconds. Tempest stacks up to 3 times for a total of 1.5 seconds of lingering slow, maxed at a 30% slow. Extra ‘earned’ Tempest time is added onto the total time and does not overlap.
Arthas gains ‘Intractable’ whenever Tempest is active. It reduces the effect and duration of slows, stuns and roots by 50%, or whatever would be the right balance. Now, Arthas can walk towards you and carry a threat, but he can still be punished for a poor engage. Some CC can be efficiently ‘consumed’ by Arthas, but he needs to hit with his own abilities to do so. He will be less punished by slows, roots and stuns, but more punished by displacements, sleeps and silences.
Arthas can activate his trait for 2.5 seconds of Tempest and gain 25 armour for 2.5 seconds. Additionally, hitting a hero with a basic ability gives Arthas CDR on his trait of 5 seconds.
Q – Death Coil – As is, but always hits an enemy and then returns health, healing for 150% of the damage caused, or gives bonus healing when self-targeted. W – Howling Blast – As is, but with slightly extra range. Impact is now like a small Frost Nova from KTZ, and does extra damage and roots enemy heroes in the centre, slowing by 20% for 2 seconds for the outer section. Slows heroes in its path, like Orphea’s E. E – Frostmourne Hungers – Moved from D, functions similarly, but now has an increased CD at 20 seconds, but deals more damage overall. Befitting it’s name, normal AAs reduce his E by 1 second, or 2 seconds when hitting a hero.
Army of the Dead – CD 90 seconds – After 1 second, summons an army of 8 ghouls at a target location in a small range. Ghouls slow enemies for 2s on spawn and heal Arthas for 5% of max HP when they die. Can be retargeted using R for an attack move, which helps Arthas keep them in the way of skill shots. Last up to 12 seconds. This design gives enemies a choice to either nuke Arthas and deal with the Ghouls, or nuke the Ghouls, but deal with Arthas who has gained the healing effect of their deaths.
Summon Sindragosa – CD 90 second – Now mimics DW’s Cataclysm in cast delay (although it’s not channelled) length and width. Deals moderate damage and roots for 2 seconds on impact, leaves a 20% slow instead of Cataclysm’s periodic damage, but it disables structures. Lasts 8 seconds.
Talents – As current unless changed
Q – Death’s Reach – Increase Death Coil’s range by 30% and deals +15% damage and +30% healing when targeting enemies over 50% of its range. E – Rune of Frostmourne (Quest) – Re-designed to be a longer quest needing 30 stacks for the reward, but infinite damage increase. Reward – the next Frostmourne Hungers used after Arthas’ trait is now empowered to splash, as a small Ragnaros’ Q, for 100% damage and 125% damage to the main target. D – Icebound Fortitude – Arthas’ Trait now lasts 3.5 seconds and provides 35 armour for its duration.
Level 4 – All Frozen Tempest augmentations.
1 – Empowering Winds – Death Coil gains +50% CDR for each enemy hero affected by Frozen Tempest. Additionally, Arthas gains +5% Spell Power for each enemy hero affected by a Frozen Tempest. 2 – Frozen Wastes – Frozen Tempest stacks up to 4 times and lingers for 1 extra second at full stacks. 3 – Icy Talons – As is, but attack speed now lasts for 2 seconds.
Q – Rune of Death Coil (Quest) – Hit enemy heroes with Death Coil. Each hit increases Death Coil’s damage by 1% and healing by 2%, up to a maximum of 20 stacks. Reward – The next Death Coil used after Arthas’ trait is empowered, dealing more damage and healing the lower Arthas’, or the targets, health is, up to a maximum of 75%. D – Biting Winds – Frozen Tempest now deals 1% maximum HP to enemy heroes at three stacks or greater. Arthas heals for 100% of this bonus damage. E – Rune Tap – As is.
Level 10 – As detailed above
W – Rune of Howling Blast (Quest) – Root 10 enemy heroes with Howling Blast. Reward – The next Howling Blast used after Arthas’ trait is empowered, rooting all enemy heroes across its full area, including its path, and not just the centre of the impact. Enemy heroes hit by the centre also have their armour reduced by 20 for 3 seconds. Passive – Reduces the CD of Howling Blast by 1 second for each enemy hero rooted by it. E – Frost Strike – As is. D – Biting Cold – Hitting an enemy hero with an ability causes all enemies affected by Frozen Tempest to take a moderate amount of damage.
Active – Anti-Magic Shell – As is at level 20. 60 second CD. Passive – Death’s Advance – Gain 10% movements speed. This bonus is doubled to 20% for 2 seconds after recovering from a disabling effect. Z – Invincible – Mounting cannot be interrupted. Arthas is Protected whilst mounted. When dismounted, Arthas loses the Protected bonus, but the mounted movement speed decayed over 1.5 seconds instead of instantly.
Legion of Northrend – Whenever a hero dies near Arthas, a Ghoul is summoned from their corpse. Arthas summons a Ghoul every 10 seconds from when Army of the Dead comes off CD and remains ready to cast. These Ghouls do not expire, maximum of 4 permanent Ghouls. All Ghouls have +25% health and damage.
Absolute Zero – Gain +50% to the root time, slow, duration and disabling effects of Summon Sindragosa.
Helm of Domination – Arthas’ trait CDR is increased to 10 seconds and now effects his heroic abilities at 5 seconds of CDR.
D – Chill of Northrend – Frozen Tempest is now permenant and is increased in radius by 25% when it would usually be triggered. Enemy heroes affected by Frozen Tempest for 3 seconds are rooted for 1.5 seconds with a 10 second CD.
This design of Arthas gives him a more consistent engage as well as four different builds: Ranged-poke bruiser, AA sustain bruiser, full CC tank, or a hybrid trait build that sees all three quests taken, with the Helm talent at 20. This hybrid would be strong, but miss out on some key abilities for the above builds. It would get him a strong, late-game mini-raid-boss feel, but is more feast or famine.
Arthas’ damage is re-balanced around the Death Coil, his AA and Frostmourne in E, with his W being fairly weak and the damage removed from his Tempest. This should make him more impactful and hit harder against single targets, but not so harder overall, just rebalanced.
Let me know your thoughts and what you would change if Arthas was given a rework.
Next on the rework block…everyone’s least favourite stealth hero…Nova!
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