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Math of the Storm: Patch 28.5

Hey guys, ChaosOS again. Because Blizzcon is this week all of my editors are AWOL, so I've decided to just publish this to Heroeshearth. I did get around to finishing the Muradin and Zuljin analysis which can be found here

Spreadsheet can be found here

Patch notes for this patch can be found here

Junkrat

TL;DR HP buff good, damage with Taste for Explosions is nerfed
If you’re curious about Junkrat as a whole, check out my previous article introducing him

Change 1 

Stats

Base Maximum Health increased from 1273 to 1350

Health Regeneration increased from 2.7 to 2.8

Analysis 

This 6% buff to Junkrat’s HP moves him from being equal to Valla to equal to Nova, moving him above Chromie and Raynor. As usual, the HP regen buff is simply to maintain that a hero regenerates 100% of their max HP every 480 seconds (8 minutes).

Change 2

Abilities

Frag Launcher (Q)

Damage increased from 117 to 128

Analysis 

A much needed buff to Junkrat’s damage, this increases his primary damage output by 9.4%. This increases the damage for a full clip from 468 to 512.

Change 3 

Talents

Level 4

Taste for Explosions (Q)

Damage decreased from .75 to .5 per hit, maximum damage decreased from 150 to 100

Bonzer Hits (W)

Bonus damage increased from 30 to 40%

Gotta Trap 'Em All (E)

Heroes hit requirement reduced from 8 to 7

 

Level 7

Sticky Wicket (E)

Slow duration increased from 3 to 3.5 seconds

Analysis 

Taste for Explosions sees a net nerf, even accounting for the base Q damage buff. Even with only 100 stacks by level 20, the base damage buff is only 24.1 while Taste for Explosions sees a 25 damage nerf.

Bonzer Hits now adds 72 damage to Concussion Mine, up from 54. Given the difficulty of stacking this quest relative to Taste for Explosions, this is still much less added damage, but the damage does help keep it competitive when combined with the increase in push distance. 

Gotta Trap ‘Em All is a powerful talent with a powerful reward, but features an extraordinarily difficult quest. Making it easier to complete should help the viability, as the quest reward is sufficiently powerful to not need buffs. 

Sticky Wicket at level 7 is buffed from 270% net movement reduction, to 315% net movement reduction, a 16% buff. Compared to the 2s base root, this is a significant improvement on the regular movement disabling capabilities, but lacks when it comes to disabling mobility skills (Such as Genji’s Swift Strike or Valla’s vault). Sticky wicket is most compelling against heroes like Uther who have talents that specifically and harshly punish roots but lack such countermeasures against heavy slows.

 

Raynor

 TL;DR I guess they're buffs? Not exactly "RAYNOR META" level though.

Change 1 

Abilities

Adrenaline Rush (E)

Cooldown reduced from 40 to 30 seconds

Talents

Level 4

Relentless Leader (Passive)

Cooldown reduction of Adrenaline Rush decreased from 15 to 10 seconds 

Analysis 

Adrenaline sees a 25% cooldown reduction. If used as a sustain tool, this buffs Adrenaline Rush from 11 HPS to 14.67 HPS.

The Relentless Leader change, in conjunction with the Adrenaline Rush change, now has a cooldown of 20 seconds, down from 25. The talent now provides a 33% cooldown reduction, down from 37.5%. In effect the talent is less effective relative to its competitors, but Raynors who continue to pick the talent are still stronger than before.

Tychus

 TL;DR Noticeable 7% damage buff

Change 1 

Stats

Basic Attack Damage increased from 44 to 48

Abilities

Overkill (Q)

Primary Damage increased from 43 to 46

Secondary damage increased from 21 to 23 

Analysis 

Tychus’ basic attacks see a strong 9% buff, while his Q sees a strong 7% buff against the primary target and a 9.5% buff against the secondary targets. In summary, Tychus will do significantly more damage with these changes

 

Valla

 TL;DR Overall nerf that most heavily impacts Q build

Change 1 

Abilities

Hungering Arrow (Q)

Primary damage reduced from 151 to 140

Secondary (bounce) damage reduced from 86 to 80 

Analysis

Q build valla sees a serious nerf this patch. These changes represent a 7% reduction in the total damage from Hungering Arrow, both in the primary target damage and in the ‘bounce’ damage. Accounting for a complete Q quest at level 4, this is between a 5 and 6% damage reduction from Q, based on Valla’s level. This reduces the total damage from a level 10 Q(e)Q combo with quest complete from 1560.4 to 1475, a 5.5% reduction and loss of 85.4 damage. By comparison, a W or AA build valla only goes from 478 damage per Q to 444 damage, a loss of  34 damage. For clarity, by level 10 hero HP is ~50% greater than the base values. 

Change 2 

Talents

Level 1

Caltrops (E)

Time required at 10 stacks of Hatred to unlock reward reduced from 180 to 160 seconds

Analysis 

This reduction should help Caltrops viability minorly with the 11% quest requirement reduction.

Zul’jin

 TL;DR Small nerf to spell build, decent buffs to AA builds

Change 1 

Abilities

Guillotine (R)

Cooldown increased from 30 to 40 seconds

Analysis 

Guillotine sees a 33% increase to the cooldown. This mostly just discourages the behaviour of some Zul’jins to use Guillotine for wave clear, as the 30 second cooldown aligned perfectly with the 30 second spawn time of minion waves.

Change 2 

Talents

Level 1

Boneslicer (Q)

Mana refund increased from 10 to 15

Level 4

Voodoo Shuffle (Active)

Cooldown and Mana cost reduction increased from 33 to 40%

Level 13

Eye of Zul’jin (Passive)

Movement speed per stack increased from 3 to 6%

Cap remains at 30%

Analysis 

These changes are simply to help manage talent pick and win rates. Boneslicer already provides a significant amount of damage, but slightly buffing the mana refund makes it minorly more likeable. 

Voodoo Shuffle now reduces the cooldown of Regeneration to 9 seconds instead of 10 seconds (base cooldown is 15s), and reduces the mana cost to 45 instead of 50 (base mana cost is 75).

Eye of Zul’jin sees a serious buff, now ramping up the granted movespeed twice as fast. The gap between 5 AAs necessary to hit 30% movespeed and 10 AAs is staggering. Base zuljin takes 7.2 seconds to make 10 autos, while only taking 3.2 seconds to throw 5 autos. 

Change 3 

Level 7

Ferocity (Passive)

Attack speed bonus increased from 35 to 40%

Vicious Assault (Q)

Damage bonus “ from 30 to 35% 

Analysis

If Zul’jin took Boneslicer, Vicious Assault remains the superior option for DPS, regardless of how low on health he can expect to be. However, without Boneslicer, the added damage from Vicious Assault doesn’t even begin to compare to the added attack speed from Ferocity. Regardless, these buffs constitute a strengthening of AA zul’jin relative to the “mage” bulid that has seen play in the HGC finals 

Azmodan 

TL;DR Much weaker pushing power, Sieging Wrath also noticeably nerfed
Change 1 

Abilities

General of Hell (D)

No longer grants additional Minion & Mercenary Health

Minion & Mercenary damage increased from 15 to 25%

Analysis 

The removal of the 15% health buff constitutes a major nerf to Azmodan’s splitpush. Doing a simplistic analysis of “Minion Power” as Health x DPS, this reduces minion power from ~132% to 125% with the buff. Furthermore, the health buff made clearing buffed waves significantly harder, frequently pushing minions above certain health breakpoints. This change does make the General a bit more intuitive insofar as the mechanics of losing max HP (Current HP % stays the same) can confuse players. Primarily this nerf seems to be targeted at HL, where Azmodan currently boasts an upper range winrate.

Change 2 

Talents

Level 1

Sieging Wrath (Q)

Damage per player hit reduced from 4 to 3

Damage needed to unlock quest reduced from 100 to 90

Analysis 

Sieging Wrath is now significantly nerfed. It takes 30 hits, up from 25 to complete, and Azmodan is overall much worse along the way with less bonus damage. This makes Taste for Blood noticeably more competitive with Sieging Wrath for damage, although Sieging Wrath does have the unique benefit of increasing Azomodan’s Q range from 35m to 46.55m.

Zagara

TL;DR Split push nerf

Change 1 

Abilities

Nydus Network (R)

Charge cooldown increased from 60 to 100 seconds

Analysis 

Nydus Network sees a major cooldown increase. Zagara has an attack speed of 1.25, so accounting for the 0.75s CDR per AA this increases the cooldown from ~31s to ~52, with continuous basic attacks. The real CD increase will of course fall somewhere in between the listed

Kharazim

TL;DR Finally gave MS buff to all specs

Change 

Talents

Level 1

Iron Fists (Trait)

Movement Speed bonus reduced from 30 to 25%

Transcendence (Trait)

Added Functionality:

Now also grants Kharazim 25% Movement Speed on the third punch

Insight (Trait)

Added Functionality:

Now also grants Kharazim 25% Movement Speed on the third punch 

Analysis

Kharazim got the long awaited change so his “real” passive is: Every third hit grants 25% MS for 2 seconds. If Kharazim just moves during this buff time, it’s worth 2.2m of added movement. Because Kharazim has a very high attack speed, he can easily maintain this buff at 100% uptime. The minor nerf to Iron Fists represents a 4% net nerf to Kharazim’s speed while buffed. 

The big winner of this change is Insight, as Insight was already competitively viable even without the added movespeed, while Transcendence was struggling. The added movespeed certainly helps the already stronger talent over the questionably viable one.

Stukov

TL;DR Reversion of previous base HP nerf 

Change 1 

Stats

Base Maximum Health increased from 1590 to 1682

Health regen increased from 3.31 to 3.5

Analysis 

Stukov sees a reversion of the 10/11 base HP nerf, 3 weeks later. A 6% base HP buff should help Stukov reclaim some of his lost winrate. This change constitutes Blizzard going “Oops” on the unexplained Stukov changes from that patch, although it still would be appreciated if they explained how they came to those nerfs (most of which remain in place) in the first place.

Garrosh

TL;DR Insignificant nerf
Change 1 

Talents

Level 16

Earthshaker (E)

Stun duration decreased from .75 to .6 seconds

Analysis 

This change very minorly impacts Garrosh’s strengths and only constitutes a nod to the complaints about Garrosh’s strength.

Leoric

TL;DR Small buffs, Entomb back to pre-rework CD

Change 1 

Abilities

Entomb (R)

Cooldown reduced from 60 to 50 seconds

Analysis 

Entomb has had a troubled history. Originally at 50 seconds, the cooldown was increased to 75 with the rework. Not long after, Entomb was buffed to 60 seconds. Now, Entomb is back to its original place at 50 seconds.

Change 2 

Talents

Level 4

Kneel Peasants! (Q)

Damage bonus to Minions increased from 75 to 100%

Analysis 

Kneel Peasants! now adds 150 damage to Ghastly Swing, up from 112.5. This does make Kneel Peasants! more relevant for adding wave clear, however the new Leoric continues to have an abundance of clear with his new passive cleave.

Muradin

 TL;DR Losing stun on Heavy Impact knocks him down from S tier to ~B tier

Change 1 

Abilities

Storm Bolt (Q)

Mana cost decreased from 50 to 45 

Analysis

Storm Bolt continues to see mana cost nerfs. Functionally, this makes the old Perfect Storm, which reduced the mana cost from 60 to 45, now baseline.

Change 2 

(Bug Fix)

Muradin: Fixed an issue causing Muradin’s Second Wind Trait and Third Wind Talent to restore less than the intended amount of Health.

Analysis

  
  Pre patch Post Patch % change
Second wind 53 55.3 4.34%
Second wind sub 30% 106 110.6 4.34%
Third wind 80 82.85 3.56%
Third wind sub 40% 159 169.5 6.60%
 

Change 3 

Talents

Level 4

Sledgehammer (Q)

Bonus damage increased from 300% > 350%

Analysis 

This buffs Muradin’s Q damage vs non heroes from 440 damage (every 10 seconds) to 495 damage.

Change 4

Talents

Level 7

Skullcracker (Passive)

Damage bonus increased from 60 to 70%

Heavy Impact (E)

Adjusted functionality:

Now slows enemies by 80% for .75 seconds 

Analysis 

To start, let’s just compare pre-patch Heavy Impact Dwarf Toss to Sonya’s Leap

 
  Dwarf Toss Leap
Radius (meters) 2 3
Range (meters) 8 (11.2 with Dwarf Launch) 10
Speed 30 36
Stun (seconds) 0.5 1.25
Damage 62 135
CD (seconds) 10 (7 with Dwarf Launch) 70



While Leap is clearly the stronger of the two abilities, Leap is an ultimate competing against the very powerful Wrath of the Berserker and Dwarf Toss is a basic ability with Dwarf Toss a level 7 talent. 

Skullcracker now adds 61.6 damage every third auto, up from 52.8. This is an average of 20.5 up from 17.6 damage per AA. This makes skullcracker slightly more competitive, however its primary purpose remains frequent

Heavy Impact is significantly nerfed by this change. While an 80% slow for 0.75s is technically more movement denied, the ability to cast spells and attack is a gigantic difference. More specifically, a stun denies movement abilities like Genji’s Swift Strike and can interrupt long cast time spells like Morales’ Stim Drone. This is most relevant to spells with cast times of 0.5s, as the 0.27s travel time on a max range E, combined with the 0.15s cast time on Storm Bolt plus the time it takes to react to something happening (plus latency) means that it’s unlikely Muradin will get the interrupt off, while Heavy Impact’s stun would have gotten the interrupt off.

Final Thoughts

The timing on this patch was rather unusual. While the Muradin nerf is very impactful, this patch won't be played at Blizzcon and thus the Heavy Impact nerf is only relevant to Hero League. Furthermore, this patch makes Hero League practice for the 40 players still in the tournament just a little bit worse and less relevant. Thus, for most impactful changes, I'd actually select Zagara and Azmodan, as their splitpushing is much more relevant in the Hero League environment and this patch was a significant nerf to those splitpush capabilities
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