Heroes of the Storm is a game that is constantly growing. The Blizzard MOBA seems to add a new character at least once a month, and the upcoming two are Lt. Morales (Support) next week and Artanis (Warrior) sometime later this month. We’ll have a complete breakdown of Morales when she becomes available to purchase, so for now, let’s take an early look at Artanis and what he has to offer.
Artanis may remind a lot of players of Diablo, not in the way people seem to prefer the newer Warriors over one of the more classic Warriors, but in the way he can easily chase down opposing players and put them in difficult positions. For example, The Q ability for Artanis is Blade Dash, which allows Artanis to dash forwardand then immediately dash back to his original position. The attack deals damage on the way out and as Artanis returns.
In addition, Phase Prism (E) inflicts damage and swaps your position with enemy heroes. That means if an enemy tries to run from your team, you can use Phase Prism to swap places, essentially placing them right back in the middle of your team (or at least much closer to your team). Depending on the map, this can even setup body-blocking strategies and make it difficult for an opposing hero to run.
This leads right into the Shield Overload (D trait) ability. For most heroes, if you end up in the midst of an enemy fort, either via a Blink teleport or some other ability, you’re basically going to die from turret fire alone. Artanis has the Shield Overload, which gives him a significant shield when his life drops below 50 percent. Couple this with the Phase Prism, and Artanis can swap positions with an enemy running into their fort to keep them in the midst of the battle. Of course this means Artanis will take heavy damage from the turrets in the fort, but with Shield Overload, he should be able to last long enough for the rest of your team to break down the gate so he can leave. It’s going to be situational, but the point is Artanis can survive in situations where other heroes would quickly die.
Most heroes have one Heroic ability that is heavily favored over the other. There are some exceptions, but that’s the general rule of thumb in Heroes of the Storm. The interesting aspectof Artanis’ two Heroic abilities is that both of them can be used from any range. The first Heroic is Purifier Beam, which targets an enemy hero and hits them for 3200 damage over the course of eight seconds (scaling up as your level increases). This is somewhat similar to Pyro Blast in that once Kael’Thas casts this it’s nearly impossible to stop. It tracks the enemy no matter where they go, with little exception. In short, almost any opposing hero you target with this Heroic ability is going to die, and Artanis doesn’t have to be anywhere near them to initiate the attack.
The second Heroic ability is Suppression, which blinds enemies in a wide area for four seconds while also inflicting moderate damage. This Heroic ability isn’t going to kill any opposing heroes unless they’re very close to death, but against a team with several auto-attack Assassin classes, this can be devastating in a team battle. If Valla and Raynor are the main damage dealers on the opposing team, cutting a bulk of their damage for four seconds is significant. The Purifier Beam will almost certainly be the preferred Heroic ability for Artanis, but against certain team compositions, Suppression is extremely useful.
As you can see, Artanis is a decent Warrior class. It has yet to be seen if he will be top tier like Leoric, but with the ability to chase down running enemy heroes and essentially kill a target from anywhere on the map once he reaches level 10, he will work well as an off-tank or if your team lacksdamage output. Dual Support is common these days, and some of the Specialist classes don’t inflict as much damage as the other heroes. These situations favor the use of Artanis so he can make up for some of that lost damage.
For now, you’ll have to be happy with Lt. Morales coming next week. Be sure to check back with Prima Games for a complete breakdown of the Support class. When Artanis releases later this month we’ll also have a complete breakdown of his various talent choices and a better look at how he plays at each level.