Just for giving some context for writing this, this recent Reddit post made me react pretty strongly about some people's sentiments towards the current state of the tank meta and that people want to nerf the top tier tanks: https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthestorm/comments/grnlpz/%E3%81%A4_%E3%81%A4_summon_the_patch_notes_%E3%81%A4_%E3%81%A4/
To anyone who is thinking this, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Let me make things straight; the main tank role is the most stale, boring, and arguably the least popular role in the game right now and it is because of calls for nerf after nerf after nerf to the only decently designed main tanks that we have this super boring meta. While there have been cases where some nerfs were well deserved (looking at you tank buster Diablo), tanking is among the least fun things you can do in this game because of fundamental core design flaws that are not being properly addressed for the low tier tanks.
I am not going to sugarcoat this, as a tank main in Master League I am extremely disappointed with the current state of the tank roster. Not because of certain Heroes like ETC and Johanna being at the top of the food chain with Garrosh being closely behind, but because the other tanks are in a very sorry state right now that prevent them from actually measuring up to the top tiers.
Right now the tank meta is pretty much revolving around picking/banning the top tiers and then hope that you can play a mid to low tier tank in niche situations because the top tiers keep popping up every game. You get bored out of your mind when having to pick ETC, Johanna, and Garrosh for the gazillionth time with the knowledge that picking the lower tiers will severely hurt you if any of these 3 are picked by the oppoent.
Let me ask you this. Why do you think Garrosh is still a good tank despite all the nerfs he has got over the last two years? Indomitable, that's what. Without it Garrosh is a pretty mediocre tank since he can't bait out high impact CC cooldowns or create high risk, high reward plays. Why is Johanna top tier? Same reason, her trait enables her to engage and disengage without putting herself in great danger every time. A tank that can't handle CC with some way to either zone or tank it is always going to be inferior to one that can.
The only outlier among the top tiers is ETC when it comes to built in anti-CC, but the reason he has always been great is because he has by far the best base kit out of all the tanks and the best tank ulti in the game in the form of Mosh Pit (not to mention high self-healing and sustain with his E). Nerfing ETC will not change that he completely stomps low tier tanks because his abilities are so much better unless you nerf his stats down to being completely unusable. That to me is not what I consider fun or healthy for the game if you want people to still pick main tank.
Here are some ideas on how to actually make the tank roster more interesting and diverse without having to nerf the top tiers.
Blaze would actually be a potential top tier if he got New Habits baked into his base trait. Arthas would be likely A+ tier with baseline Icebound Fortitude. You would however need to nerf the CD since it would be OP at 35 seconds. You could still have the same CD at lvl 7 if you want to tech into that. Arthas especially has been notorious for being a bad main tank unless countering very specific niche comps, so making this talent baseline would actually allow him to bait out more CC like the top tiers can.
Also, to all Muradin mains out there, I am so sorry for ever saying that Unstoppable should have been removed from the Hero. While it might have been too powerful back then (the tank meta game was so different back then), in the current state of the game he will always remain mid to low tier by being a last resort tank when every top tier is banned because he can't be as aggressive as the top tiers. The current burst damage and CC in the game can easily burst Muradin down nowadays, which was not the case back then. Giving him back Unstoppable would make Muradin a far more attractive main tank option than he currently is. Being banished to permanent mid to low tier is not fun. Trust me, I know how it feels as a former Anub main. 🙁
You know what would make Varian a good main tank option? Allow him to tech into Unstoppable with his Charge at lvl 10. He already sacrifices a lot of damage mitigation from not upgrading Parry, so giving him Unstoppable on Charge as an upgrade would allow him to save his Taunt for an ETC when he Moshes if Varian plays smart and don't get CCed by the other team. Heck, maybe even give back his micro stun he used to have as a lvl 20 upgrade so he is allowed to interrupt important abilities in the end game outside of Taunt. The big problem with the original stun was that it was available at lvl 4, but as a lvl 20 upgrade for Taunt it would honestly not be particularly broken since nearly all end game talents are broken in some form. It would also make Twinblades and Colossus Smash Varian a lot more impactful in the melee assassin/bruiser role if the ulti upgrades all gave Charge a microstun.
As for Stitches, just buff his baseline hook range a bit while nerfing the lvl 13 talent by the same amount and give him some armour/shield to activate when getting dived on. Stitches is the kind of tank whose weaknesses are reasonable considering how powerful his hook gameplay actually is in a skilled player's hand, but they really overnerfed his baseline hook with his rework and made him rely too much on his lvl 13 hook range talent. In the early game it feels like you are always missing shots because of the range being pretty abysmal, so you can't punish people for outpositioning nearly as hard as you should. Giving him some armour/shield to activate would also allow him to be a bit more reliable in close range team fights or when getting dived on, since that weakness of his is just really, really bad right now.
Tyrael could also be a lot more popular as a tank if he had a less powerful version of lvl 13 Holy Ground baseline. He could create some really good early game plays with it and also counter some of the top tiers with zoning the same way ETC can with his W pushback, which is an area where Tyrael struggles with most. Also, reduce the mana cost of his Smite/E down to 30/35 mana. Tyrael could actually be a potentially decent solo laner if his mana management wasn't complete trash. Buffing his E would actually make him able to fight more solo laners since he would have more damage and sustain to actually trade well with the opponent. If Arthas is allowed to be a pretty decent solo laner, then I really don't see why Tyrael can't. His build diversity is super bad for high level play when he is stuck in only a main tank role which he doesn't really excel at either, so at least give him the option to off-lane once in a while.
Also, please give Anub'arak his old Invulnerable on E back and balance him around that by nerfing his health. He used to be a very interesting high impact tank with high damage and the best CC in the game until the devs normalised every single aspect of his kit to make him a more conventional tank. This also led to him losing so much CC, damage, self-sustain, and combo potential in the late game that he now is mid tier at best. As an Anub'arak main since Alpha, Old Anub was so much better than the current iteration. He was the most fun and interesting tank in the entire game and seeing him in his current state is just depressing.
While we're at it, I would consider baking in Indomitable and Into the Fray into Garrosh's base kit while nerfing the CDs baseline and allow him to tech into the old CDs at lvl 4 and 7. The reason why I think this is needed is to make Garrosh feel like he has some actual talent diversity on these tiers, since he is suffering the exact same problem Kel'thuzad suffered when his Glacial Spike was not a part of the base kit.
Just because a Hero is top tier doesn't change that even Garrosh, ETC, and Johanna could use some spicing up to give them improved tools for some different gameplay.
I hope I have made my points clear and concise. If you have some disagreements or agreements, feel free to share them. I want some healthy discussions on the tank meta and how to improve it, since I think tanking could be so much more fun and rewarding with some extra love thrown to pretty much the entire roster.
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