With Heroes of the Storm officially available, there are a lot of newcomers entering the Nexus. Over the next few weeks these new players will go through a variety of heroes as they quickly win matches to earn gold and gain valuable experience. Once you have a good understanding of how the game plays, if you decide to take your game to the next level, you should probably look into Hero League.

What is Hero League?

Hero League is essentially ranked matches in Heroes of the Storm. These are more serious matches generally played by people with a higher level of skill compared to the typical skill level of players in quick matches. You start at rank 50 and work your way up, fighting progressively difficult opponents as you climb the ranked ladder.

You still play in a team of five, but it's not exactly the same as it is in quick matches. While quick matches limit your team roster to include only one of each hero (so you can't have a team of five Stitches players), the opposing team is still free to use any heroes your team has selected. For instance, if your team has a player using Valla, the other team can have a Valla player of their own.

In Hero League this changes quite a bit. There can only be one of each hero in a match. That means if your team selects Valla, the opposing team will be unable to use Valla for that match. Heroes are selected using a draft system. A team is randomly chosen to draft first, with the party leader (or random player if you're not in a party) selecting first. After a character selection is made, the first two players on the other team select their characters, then it shifts back to the next two players on the first team and continues until all players select their heroes. You then load into a match like normal.

Hero League Requirements

Due to the draft system and more serious play style of Hero League, there are certain requirements that must be met before you're able to play Hero League matches. First and foremost, you must have a player level 30 or higher. This takes some time and ensures you've played a good number of matches before you take on Hero League.

You also need to own at least 10 heroes. This does not include any heroes currently on free rotation unless you own them. While owning at least 10 heroes means you should have a pretty good understanding of how these heroes play, it also means you've either put in the time to earn a considerable amount of gold, or spent real money to purchase them, showing that you're serious about the game.

It's not just about putting in the time and showing that you're serious. You have to own 10 heroes because of the Hero League limitation of no duplicate heroes in a match. If you're picking last in the draft, nine other players will select heroes before you get a chance to make a selection. While rare, it's entirely possible that if you only own nine heroes, they could all be taken before you make your selection. Having at least 10 heroes available means you'll always have a character to draft.

Team Composition

Different compositions work for different teams, and there are a few compositions that might normally be unorthodox that work well with the right chemistry of players and heroes. That said, there are a few general guidelines you should follow when creating a team in Hero League. If you're new to Hero League, it's important to follow these guidelines and not stray too much until you have a good team you play with often, or understand how to make less traditional team compositions work well together.

Generally speaking, you want to have one Warrior class and one Support class on your team. The three remaining slots should be taken up by two Assassins, with the final slot going to a Specialist, a second Support class or a third Assassin. Running with three Assassins is the most common way to play, but it's not uncommon to see a team with two Support classes or a Specialist class worked in.

It's important to have a team with a Warrior serving as  a tank, as well as enough damage and support to take down the opposing team while keeping your team alive. Some Warrior-class heroes can dish out enough damage to equal an Assassin. In this instance, it would be OK to run with two Warriors, so long as one understands they need to spec for damage. Likewise, you can have two Support classes, but one should probably spec for either damage or crowd control depending on the heroes selected.

Going with a Specialist is not a bad idea, but make sure you have all the necessary roles taken care of. Certain Specialist heroes wouldn't work well if you're running with two Warriors and two Support classes. There are a lot of team compositions that work well, but you really need to know what you're doing to stray from the norm.

Head over to our Heroes of the Storm hub to find beginner tips or learn how to get started in the game if you just entered the Nexus! Learning about the battlegrounds is also very important.