This week saw the first HGC play on the Probius patch, which brought forth numerous changes since the Western Clash build. Aside from the new hero Probius, this patch brought forth the at-large Warrior Armor overhaul, which specialized many of the Warriors into anti-Auto-Attack or anti-Magic tanks. For instance, Johanna lost Spell Shield but gained Physical Armor, making her stronger against auto attacks; Tyrael got the opposite, losing Imposing Will but gaining Spell Armor to funnel him into an anti-mage role. Along with these relatively minor changes, Anub’arak received talent changes, and Cho’Gall and Gazlowe had full talent reworks. With all of these changes to consider, it’s a good thing teams have had three weeks to practice and learn on this patch.
Our very own Snowholmes recently answered the following questions about the impact the Probius patch has had on his role, and the team’s experiences with the changes.
Q: What are your thoughts on specialization of tanks in general? (Some have been given direction through Armor, some through their health pool, some through talent addition/removal)
The changes for the tanks were necessary in my opinion because the viable selection, especially for the main tank, was rather small. Now there are more viable options for tank players in terms of solid tanks which can be picked based on the situation.
Q: How much has the specialization impacted drafting in general? Are there some duo Warriors you wouldn’t run now due to overlap? Is tank priority early to limit enemy damage options and secure the tank you want, or late to let them pick their damage and you counter it?
I am not 100% sure how this change will affect the drafts. But at least you don’t have to first-pick one of the best tanks to prevent the enemy team from picking one and banning another one. Now you can pick the tank later and adjust to the enemies draft. I think due this there are much more possible drafts and they also get more interesting.
Q: Was Johanna under developed in terms of her specializations? She was already good against auto attacks with blinds, so was Armor overkill? Removal of Spell Shield makes sense, but she’s still hard to burst down between Iron Skin, Laws of Hope, and Indestructible
Johanna is still a very good tank. She received some armor but lost some HP. So she became more vulnerable to casters. Additionally the HP regeneration was reduced. I think she is balance-wise in a very good spot.
Q: Was Tyrael overspecialized? He was always good at diving backline, but is he now too resistant for mages to deal with? Did the removal of Imposing Will overspecialize him to where he will see less play?
The new Tyrael is now a bit more sustainable against casters. But the 15 spell armor is not as much as you’d maybe anticipate. But the removal of his level 13 talent “Imposing Will” hit him severely. Before this change, this was the must-have talent. Now there is a little more variety on level 13 talents. I like Angelic Absorption the most, I’d say. I think we will still see him in drafts, especially because Sanctification is a very powerful tool which can decide teamfights. I think Blizzard should have an eye on the level 16 talent “holy ground”. There is almost no other choice, which is against their variety of talents philosophy. Statistics on Hotslogs show a 90% pick rate of holy ground in the master-elo.
Q: New Arthas has become a Lower League hard carry, but how is he at the upper level? Is he more valuable as a solo tank or bruiser? Does he require an enabler like Lucio or Tassadar for move speed to be effective?
The new Arthas is super strong in my opinion, as soon as he gets close to you, you cannot get rid of him anymore. The only option to defend yourself seems to be by killing him or out-sustaining his mana. I think we will see Arthas as one of the main tanks in the upcoming HGC’s. Of course that’s if he doesn’t get nerfed before then.
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