D.Va Guide

I’ve gotten away from ranked ladder lately, playing D.Va and Tracer instead.  Since there’s a holiday in two days I’ll get back to ranked games soon, but until then here’s a D.Va guide.

D.Va is a walking cliché who tops the list of most punchable heroes.  However, there are other ways in which she’s unique, luckily for her.  So onto the talents.

Level 1: Rush-down (6.0%)

Hit the Nitrous (83.4%) is the overwhelming favorite here, but I just don’t understand why.  If you’re rushing to get to a fight, you’ll use boosters.  That means it’ll be nine seconds until you can knock people back to help teammates, or escape from an engagement gone bad, or throw an exploding mech into the mix.  That’s a long time to wait.

On the other hand, rush-down helps you charge self-destruct faster (because you can get to the target sooner), and halving travel time makes hearthing viable.

Just try rush-down.  Since picking it I’ve never gone back.

Level 4: Bring It On (71.8%)

Fusion generator is a distant second.  I’ve tried it, and it’s okay sometimes.  But there are just too many things that can go wrong: you get stunned, the enemy waits for defense matrix to end, and so on.  And what’s the advantage over bring it on?  I could understand if fusion generator wasn’t capped at 15%, but there’s no reason to take it now.

Level 7: Coming Through (41.5%)

Dazer zone is the second most popular talent, but slowing people with defense matrix just isn’t that useful, I think.  If you’re being chased, why not knock everyone back, and then use matrix?  It might not be possible to get everyone in the matrix.  And if you’re hunting them down, coming through enables you to shoot after knocking them back.  Besides, defense matrix talents have all the drawbacks that fusion generator does.

Level 10: Big Shot (68.1%)

Neither of these is that exciting, but I don’t understand bunny hop’s role.  If you’re being chased, knock everyone back and then use defense matrix.  If you’re chasing, try to loop around and get in front of the target.  That might not be possible if they’re going through a choke point, but ‘better when chasing enemies through choke points’ is an extremely niche role.

The only other role I can think of for bunny hop is against heavy dive teams when you don’t have self-destruct ready.  I might try that out.

Level 13: Ablative Armor (44.2%)

This one depends on who you’re playing against, but ablative has the added advantage of protecting against minions.

Level 16: Torpedo Dash (30.8%)

I’ve actually never tried this one–I’ve been taking nanoweave suit–but I will from now on since nanoweave doesn’t really do its job, namely keeping you alive in pilot mode.  If you can’t get away, you’ll die.  You can’t stand in there and fight.

Most people take GG, WP here (56.2%).  I just feel like I never get enough takedowns as D.Va to justify it.  That could be my next experiment though…takedowns refreshing mech cooldown is tempting.

Level 20: MEKAfall (52.0%)

Again, none of these are very exciting.  Pew Pew Pew is the second place talent, but unless you’re firing into a crowd I’m not sure how much benefit it offers.

Other Stuff

The most important thing is D.Va is self-destruct.  But, you have to make sure you can set it to explode where you want, even if that happens to be in the middle of a pack of enemies, without going in yourself.  Luckily, a self-destruct triggered while boosters are active keeps the mech moving.

The way to do that is to get moving in the direction you want, hit boosters, activate self-destruct, and hit e again once the mech reaches its destination.

You should definitely test this in try mode to get a feel for it.  I’ve seen a mech move back and forth along a wall even after I’ve pressed e.  I’ve also seen enemies alter its path after I’ve ejected, but I don’t really know how that works.  Maybe just keep it in mind when launching a mech at enemies that haven’t engaged yet.

I also just read that Falstad can blow a self-destucting mech away with mighty gust, although I’ve never seen that happen.  Even then it might be worth it.  Better he cancel out self-destruct than help his team disengage.

Oh, and if your team is being chased and you want to knock some people back, it’s probably best to wait until you’re close to them to trigger boosters.  That way, you can put some distance between yourself and the pursuing horde; if they catch up with you it’s time for defense matrix.

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2017 Season 2: so you want to get muted too?

The title was something I said to Chen in my last game (yes, someone picked Chen).  Fortunately we won, so I didn’t have to go any further than that.

Anyway, after placements, which were absolutely horrible (I think maybe 4-6), I got placed in gold 4.  Whatever.  Maybe my biggest complaint about ladder in Blizzard games is that placements are absolutely meaningless.  Several times in StarCraft 2, I won 4/5 or 5/5 placement games and got demoted anyway.

But despite being slow out of the gate, I think my record in solo ladder is 8-6 now and I’m well into gold 3.  Hopefully by next post I’ll be into plat.

Team league has also been going really well and I’m now gold 2.  We did lose a couple of games to the same group who played Diablo/Varian/Alarak/Malfurion/a fifth I can’t remember, but other than that I think I’m 12-7.

Anyway, onto the strats for this season.

Hanamura: Most people don’t know how to play this map, which has meant that I dominate on it.  The right way is to get siege/sustain.  Usually I go right for Azmodan as soon as I can get him, and failing that, Sylvanas or Nazeebo (who’s been downgraded due to the difficulty of completing his quest on big maps).

That’s what the situation was in my aforementioned dispute with Chen.  On Hanamura, Azmodan was banned but I took Sylvanas and the other team had no specialists at all.  Eventually we wiped them and took down the bottom fort; a 5-2 lead ended as a 3-0 win.  I did double the siege damage of anyone and also led in hero damage.

Other than that, Anub’arak, Falstad, Gul’dan, Valla (probably in that order) will probably be my top guys this season.  I still like Greymane but if he’s against a composition on a map where he’s likely to get zoned out that’s a real danger.

Malthael’s going alright but I’m not level 5 with him yet.

Arthas might also make an appearance.

If I’m forced to play support, it’s going to be Auriel, Malfurion (I have to learn when to take Twilight Dream), Uther, and then possibly Rehgar.  But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Anyway, time for the next game.

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Long-Awaited Return

Can’t remember the last time I updated this blog, since there’s really no chance until next season of reaching diamond.

It seems like no matter what I do, I always get placed in gold, which now that I think of it reminds me a lot of StarCraft 2.  When I finally did get diamond, it was totally unexpected.

Anyway, next season I’m going to do placements immediately and just try to brute force my way into diamond.

Quick match has been going great lately, I think I played five games today, all wins, and the first four got me MVP.  Although that one game where I was MVP as Kael’thas and didn’t even finish Convection.  It was on Battlefield of Eternity, and my second death (first one was in the first minute) was right next to my own tower, thanks to Genji.  I’m shaking my metaphorical fist at him, mentally.

But the most fun I had was as Zul’jin.  Game one was on Spider Queen against Varian, Malfurion, Nazeebo, Genji, and Ragnaros.  That’s a really annoying team to play against.  Malf will root you, Genji/Varian will block your damage, a clever Nazeebo can easily catch you in some zombies, and Ragnaros might come out ahead mano-a-mano thanks to his healing.

The only thing I could do there was hit whoever was closest to me, obviously preferring Malfurion/Nazeebo, and not chasing.  I think I eventually finished with 9/2, killing a few guys after their whole team was on the run, a few more during Taz’dingo, and sniped Malfurion when was on the other side of a wall, and he probably didn’t realize what was happening. 🙂

I also played an MVP Zul’jin on Hanamura.  What I remember most is that they had Tracer, and Zul’jin dominates her like no other 😉

The part I didn’t like is that my team gave up after a wipe that allowed the enemy to get the boss, but that merely tied it 1-1.  We then came back to win anyway as I was there with two recently respawned guys at the final payload.  Tracer can’t stop Zul’jin from advancing the payload.  No mon.

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The Result: Gold 2 :(

If you’ve read this blog (OK, you haven’t, but bear with me), then you know I always delay placement games until well into the season.  Even if you can win 60% of your games, each rank means you have to play eight or nine more games to get to the promised land.  Now that I’m gold 2, if I want to get diamond, it’ll take me roughly 60 games at a 60% win rate to get there.  I’m not sure I’ve left myself enough time to get there, but what the hell.

Now onto what went wrong and what went right.

Game 1: Lucio (me), Leoric, Medivh, Muradin, Tracer vs Valla, Anub’arak, Lunara, Rehgar, Diablo (Loss)

Well this was just a disaster.  I picked first, and since it was on Hanamura I broke my personal rule and went with a support.  My stats were almost exactly the same as their Rehgar’s–1-4, same damage to within 1k–but I outhealed him by 27k.  And still someone blamed me afterward.

The reasons are obvious: almost all our other picks are bad.  Medivh in a PUG?  You’re just asking for trouble.  Tracer against double tank, even on Hanamura?  Not so good.  (To be fair I suggested Tracer at first because she’s good against Lunara, but I think they last picked Valla.  No bueno).

What if instead of Leoric, Medivh, and Tracer, we had Artanis, Gul’dan, and Raynor?  It’s not like those guys get banned that much, except maybe Artanis.  Or Zarya, Nazeebo, and Tychus?  Bad picks all around.

Game 2: Anub’arak, Zeratul, Diablo, Malfurion, Kerrigan vs Raynor, Azmodan, Artanis, Uther, Lunara (Loss)

I question the Zeratul and Kerrigan picks.  Apparently, so did Diablo, because aside from the fact that this was on Braxis Holdout, the thing I remember most about it is his constant whining.  At least we could give ourselves a chance and not fight a talent down, get mercs if we can’t fight…you know, the basics.

Game 3: Anub’arak, Thrall, Rehgar, Diablo, Kael’thas vs Sylvanas, Jaina, Auriel, Leoric, Varian (win)

I feel bad for Leoric: as I’ve said before, he should be thriving in a dual-tank environment, but he just doesn’t.  I still can’t figure out why we rekt them here: it was on Infernal Shrines, and Sylvanas/Jaina seem like they would be pretty strong on it.  Maybe Leoric/Varian couldn’t protect them.  But nonetheless, we did.

Game 4: Zarya, Arthas, Gul’dan, Li Li, Zul’jin vs Artanis, Rehgar, Diablo, Nazeebo, Kael’thas (win)

I last picked Zarya instead of Anub’arak here for the shielding and it worked out great.  I don’t remember which ult Artanis picked, but Zul’jin and Gul’dan are prime targets for the orbital beam.

Anyway, their whole team got wiped when they were down a guy and a talent, but went out into the middle of the map on Cursed Hollow anyway, and as a tank I can force a fight, so I did.  Getting 3/4 their surviving heroes in my ult to finish the game was fun too.

Game 5: Zarya, Chromie, Kael’thas, Valla, Li Li vs Chen, Illidan, Artanis, Rehgar, Sylvanas (loss)

This was on sky temple, and we just didn’t have enough of a back line.  Chen kept barreling Li Li back into a crowd of enemy heroes, and nobody has enough shields to save her then.  Why she wasn’t behind me to avoid getting picked off, only she knows.  It’s always bad when they say “I haven’t played so and so in a while,” as Li Li did 😦
Game 6: Dehaka, Gul’dan, Nazeebo, Valla, Ragnaros vs Genji, Probius, Anub’arak, Malfurion, Greymane (loss)

Yeah, you read that right.  No support for our team.  I and whoever picked Ragnaros had the last two picks, but we still needed both a tank and a healer.  I offered to play either one and chose Dehaka.  He let the clock run out and took Ragnaros.  I don’t know why you’d click ready if you can’t even stay for the draft, especially when you aren’t the one banning.

It got worse from there as we had one or two AFKs for the entire game.  Gul’dan said a few minutes into the game: “no supp??”  So I asked him where he’d been.  Anyway, let’s move on.

Game 7: Dehaka, Valla, Sonya, Falstad, Rehgar vs ETC, Malfurion, Li Li, Varian, Gul’dan (win)

I thought double tank was the meta these days, but in this one they told me it was double support.  Not sure if that’s true because we beat these guys so badly that we were wondering whether they were bots or not.  I can’t remember anything else about it except that it was on Shrines.  My guess is that poor Gul’dan probably had just too much to do, and then the salt started flowing.

Game 8: Anub’arak, Nazeebo, Zarya, Valla, Auriel vs Falstad, Gul’dan, Kharazim, Varian, Arthas (win)

This game was a point in favor of the idea that the number of meta heroes a team has can predict who’ll win.  We had three to their one and won pretty easily.  They were probably all mad at Kharazim, who only had exactly 7,000 damage, and as a solo healer I’m just not a fan of his.

Game 9: Anub’arak, ETC, Raynor, Greymane, Uther vs Thrall, Sonya, Li Ming, Diablo, Zul’jin (win)

You read that right: no support again, but this time on the other team.  Cosmic justice prevails.  And that on Braxis Holdout of all places, where you’re going to need some sustain.

The new Uther gave us armor vs their physical attackers, and ETC and Raynor probably made beautiful music together.  Take that metaphor in whatever direction you want.  They were usually at the other point (or whatever it’s called), so I don’t really know what went down between them, but hey it got me a win.

Game 10: Anub’arak, Lucio, Sonya, Lunara, Nazeebo vs Jaina, Tyrande, Muradin, Zul’jin, Malfurion

The easy win on this map is another vindication.  We have four from the top tiers, while they first picked Tyrande like idiots.

All in all, another frustrating round of placement games, but I might just have to get to diamond by playing a lot of games and hope things even out in the end.

I can say with 100% honesty that none of the losses were my fault.  If the no-support games are ruled out (1-1), then I don’t know what else I could’ve done.

Lucio first on Hanamura is not a bad pick at all, and while I hadn’t played him in a while, I think I outplayed their Rehgar.  I just don’t know how you could argue it was my fault.  I think it was Leoric and pug Medivh (among other things), as I said, that did us in.

In the next game I had Anub’arak: never a bad pick unless your team already has two tanks.  But with Zeratul and Kerrigan as our assassins, they could just poke us all day long while we could do nothing outside Kerrigan’s combo.  Zeratul couldn’t even open without Raynor’s drone finding him first.

In game five, pick Arthas, Dehaka, or Sonya instead of Chromie and we win.  Is anyone afraid of Chen or a blinded (again, LOL) Illidan these days?

From now on I’m doing nothing but ranked drafts.  There are always going to be cancerous players and leavers, so you might as well just get the losses out of the way and hope for the best.  Hopefully this time next week I’ll be back in platinum.

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Placements

I’m four games into placements so I should have them done for a post this week…and it’s definitely been feast or famine.

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Chromie Guide

There are a lot of things going on for me right now but I haven’t forgotten about this blog.  But, ever since Heroes 2.0 came out (which basically means cosmetic changes), I’ve been playing some heroes relatively new to me and Chromie is one of them.  I think I can now count on one hand the number of Heroes I don’t own…and poor Stitches is one of them.  His being made great again is about as likely as another Vikings free week.

Anyway, Chromie: it can be pretty hard to hit people, but I’ll give you some tips.  And there are some heroes, like Genji, that she’ll find it impossible to deal with.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a good game.  Anyway, on to the talents first.

Level 1: Compounding Aether (38.2%)

There’s no consensus at this tier but I think compounding aether is usually the best.  Both it and deep breathing require you to hit 25 heroes, but sand blast’s cooldown is 9.5 seconds less.  The only time I would take deep breathing is when there are a lot of stuns/roots on my team.  Otherwise you’ve got a tough road ahead.

Take timewalker’s pursuit whenever you’re facing someone invisible, and don’t forget to gather orbs for the mana regen.

Level 2: Piercing Sands (36.1%)

Most people take bronze talons here but I can’t imagine why.  If you’re up against someone that you can’t hit with sand blast or dragon’s breath, are they going to be scared by Chromie’s basic attacks?  And to fully use that talent you need to be constantly sand blasting anyway.

If Chromie is blasting a group or denying an objective, piercing sands is extra useful.  Maybe I’ll read some other guides later for the rationale behind bronze talons, but I just believe in maximizing strengths.  Timewalker’s pursuit might seem to be a violation of that rule, but at least it can save you several times a game, easily.  Bronze talons can’t do that.

Level 5: Dragon’s Eye (68.4%)

I guess you would take mobius loop (22.3%) if you took deep breathing, which means your team is loaded with stuns/roots.

Level 8: Slowing Sands (45.8%)

Almost every time I’ve taken temporal loop I’ve regretted it.  We’ve all seen it: you get to close to a Chromie, loop starts up, and you know you’re guaranteed to die.  But that only really happens when they’re running away, or you’re defending a tower and they got too close.  And you’d better be in a safe position when you cast it, because it’s tough to set up the blast/breath combo when you’re under fire.

Slowing sands, depending on the map, can mess up their entire team.  It’s kind of like roots, except that it only ends when you run out of mana: use it at choke points, or to split their team.  If it’s a wide open map, maybe then take temporal loop.

Level 13: Reaching Out Through Time (72.5%)

It’s true that Chromie just can’t get away from some heroes, like Valeera.  But that just means you need to stay near teammates and use your time traps well.  If you hearth out when your team could’ve saved you, for the purposes of that team fight, you’re dead.  Chromie is one of the few heroes that could be useful down 2-4 heroes, but I’d rather deal extra damage than abandon my team.

I’ve actually never tried time out…I should.  Now that I read what it does it’s way better than bye bye! for the above reasons.

Level 14: Shifting Sands (63.2%) 

More burst damage!  I admit I’ve been using fast forward.  I guess that’s what happens when you assume you need to activate something, and with those talents I sometimes wind up forgetting to use them.  I’m going back to sands though.  A possible 40% increase in ability power is just amazing.  It makes me wonder what I could’ve done in games where I outdamaged everyone by 40k.

Level 18: Past and Future Me (65.6%)

I’d only take andorhal anomaly in very rare cases, like if I was facing Butcher.

So, now to the general tips.

Hitting people: It’s easiest to hit people when they’re running away, so if you think they’ll start doing so in the next couple of seconds, you might want to hold off on launching something.

In a laning situation, if they’re dodging they will probably do so to the outside or towards their base, so aim accordingly.

In a team fight, you need to start running if someone’s on you.  But if they’re not, just try to focus down whoever your team is on instead of lobbing sand blasts into the crowd.  It can be tough to maintain concentration when you have to aim sand blasts every 2.5 seconds.

Butcher: if you’re up against the meat man, a time trap will stop his charge, but then he’ll just resume charging once it wears off.  You can’t get away from him, so you need to rely on your team to save you or take time out.

The best thing to do might be to stand slightly in front of your time trap so that charge hits you, and then you can get to the trap before he follows up with lamb or hamstring.  Those are your only chances to escape.

Valeera: You’ll just have to count on your team, spot her with timewalker’s pursuit, or take time out.  Even if your trap takes her out of stealth, she can close with sinister strike.

Genji: I hope your team’s around.

Well that’s it for Chromie.  If you’re in a draft you might want to stick to using her on Towers of Doom or Warhead Junction.  In a week or two I’ll have placement match results.  It’s about time since the season’s half over, haha

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The Guide to Butcher, AKA Meat Man

I should’ve written this last week, but better late than never.

The Meat Man has enjoyed a renaissance in recent months, partially due to his rework, the decline of other assassins, and one of Butcher’s nemeses (Brightwing) finally falling out of favor.  Since the talents are the easy part of the Butcher, I’ll talk about how to play him generally first.

MEAT: MMMM….meat.  The most important thing with the Butcher is to satisfy his meat lust, at which time he will gain a permanent 125 damage.  He will also gain a permanent +5 for every enemy hero killed thereafter, even if he didn’t deliver the killing blow…provided he can collect the meat, that is.

Someone once told me in a game “there’s never any reason to chase.”  And the more I play the more I agree with him.  This is doubly true for the Butcher.  You’re a late game guy and you need meat.  Even if you have full meat, you’re going to find it tough to slip away from any sticky situations, so pick your spots.

Picking your spots: The draft is the most important thing when deciding whether to pick Butcher.  He needs a lot of poke on his team to succeed, and then go in for the kill.

Next, you need to stay away from anyone good against single-target damage, like Zarya, because everyone can see who you’re charging and who you’re branding, and if you switch targets, that’s basically throwing in the towel.

Even if the time is right, and you see a vulnerable target just begging to be turned into meat, you need a window in between enemy counters.  For example: if they have Nazeebo, is zombie wall up?  If it is, you’d better start moving again immediately after charge connects or you’re going to get caught in it.  Or maybe he’ll just put it where he knows you’ll slam on the brakes.

Shutting you down will be a high priority for  their team, and you telegraph all your moves, so here’s a summary of other stuff you have to watch out for.

Auriel: If you get knocked back, it’ll be a while before you get in range again.  Maybe unrelenting pursuit would be best against her.

Brightwing: She’s supposedly the number one counter to Butcher with sheep and possibly emerald wind.  Just keep that in mind before you commit.

Chromie: Are there time traps everywhere?

Kharazim: We all know about cleanse, but his level 16 talent cleansing touch can also get rid of lamb to the slaughter.  And if you charge in alone, there’s a good chance you’ll get hit with seven-sided strike.  Actually, it might be palm that’s used on your lamb victim, and I’m not sure which is worse.

Medivh: Have to keep gates in mind here, as well as the possibility of your lamb target being shielded.

Probius: I know everyone thinks he’s a prime butcher target, but his abilities hurt more than you’d think, and if he isn’t poked down a bit pre-charge he can still get away after lamb.

Tracer: Really annoying.  Your team needs strong auto attack against her, ideally.  Don’t charge her unless you’re sure her escape cooldowns are unavailable.  And definitely don’t use lamb.

Zarya: You charge, she’s going to shield whoever it is.  Easiest thing in the world.  So wait before using it.  It might help you more than her to wait, because she might hold back on both self- and ally-shields waiting for charge.

So there you have it.  Meat is the most important thing, DON’T CHASE, try to get favorable compositions on both your team and the enemy team, and be aware of enemy cooldowns before going in.  A little thinking at the pre-game screen can help you pick your spots, e.g. “shields definitely need to be down, try to bait out a sheep” and so on.

Oh, and Butcher can be really good with mercs, especially late game.

Now on to the talents.

Level 1: Abbatoir (77.0%)

This is mostly because the other talents at this level are so weak.  Pick your spots and you shouldn’t die that much anyway.

Level 4: Flail Axe (23.7%)

Most people (59.5%) choose unrelenting pursuit here.  Maybe I’m biased because the Butcher needs poke on his team, and in quick match you might need to be your own poke in the early game.  For example, if you solo lane against Kerrigan this will allow you to safely poke away out of her dive range.  But if you do take unrelenting pursuit, keep the charges short-range or you’ll end up dead.

Level 7: Insatiable Blade (77.2%)

Once again I think this is mostly due to the weakness of the other talents.

Level 10: Lamb to the Slaughter (80.9%)

You should take this unless you absolutely can’t avoid it, by which I mean the enemy is loaded with cleansers.  But, if you took Butcher, you hopefully did it at the end of the draft when you were sure you had a situation in which he could succeed.

Level 13: Brutal Strike (51.2%)

Savage charge can be good too, especially against a team loaded with tanks, which seems to be most teams these days.  Brutal strike also helps you against non-heroes, which is a really underrated aspect of this talent.  It helps you get immortals, bosses, and camps that you couldn’t otherwise have taken if you were slower.

Level 16: Enraged (75.8%)

Yet again, this is because the other talents just aren’t that good.

Level 20: Slaughterhouse (45.7%)

Nexus blades is a close second, but I’ve rarely tried that one.  You’ll just have to decide whether an area silence or extra damage is more appealing to you.  If you’re against tanks it’s probably the latter.

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