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Created October 1, 2019

Professor Pyromania's Pyromancy 101

Welcome to Carry Class: Arsonist Edition! Today's lesson will include: roasting, charring, torching, and  frying, as well as cauterization, incineration, cremation, and OSHA regulations. Let's get started!



You can find a commentated VOD of me playing Main Tank Blaze here! EDIT: Changed video to a better one!



OSHA's mission is to ensure that employees work in a safe and healthful environment by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Employers must comply with all applicable OSHA standards. They must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognised hazards.



Serious recognised hazards include, but are not limited to: zerglings, banelings, broodlings, changelings; overlords and ultralisks, infestors and baneling-nests; corruptors and broodlords, Kerrigans and Raynerds. Remember to use all six of your senses on the jobsite, and you too can be OSHA safe!



With that out of the way, let's actually get started!

Ready to Roast!


Main Tank Blaze is a straightforward tool in the self-respecting Tank Main's arsenal. Your kit is hyper-synergistic, weaving power into playstyle and mechanical play, encouraging a strong understanding of your kit. Your 1.25 second AoE Stun is empowered by your 5 second 50% slow, which leads into your 4 second CD AoE nuke, which leads into your 2.6 channel AoE nuke and lockdown. Your level 1 carry tool, Neural Stimpack, enables you to do this again five seconds later, sans ultimate, leading to some of the most disgusting chain-CC since the Brood War.



Blaze offers incredibly capable wave clear, long-range slows, an incredibly quick AoE stun, a twin-projectile spammable nuke that's upgraded into a nuke, and enough raw HP to narrowly outpace a Cho'Gall. He has enormous sustain, with self-healing rivaling Second Wind's, in addition to being available mid-fight. He possesses an AoE damage aura taped to 40 armour right from the get go, has cooldown reduction and mana restoration every 40 seconds, and has some of the sexiest voice acting in all of HoTS.



Suffice to say, this kit is packed to the rafters and nine-tenths flammable.

Stop, Drop, and Die!


With all that, you're just begging for a downside; Blaze's kit is entirely skillshot based. Every button available to you, sans Bunker and Pyromania (D), requires you to aim and think. Additionally, your mana costs are quite significant; press W-Q every wave, and you're going to be backing for mana constantly. One hallmark of a good Blaze player is using only your Q and AoE auto-attacks (AAs) to clear waves. This relieves an enormous amount of stress of your mana pool, as the burning oil really doesn't contribute much damage, and retains the cooldown for more practical use. That is, peeling and setting up.

You Can't Hold a Candle to Me


Let's take a quick look at the Tank 101 requirements. In order to tank, a hero requires at least three out of five of the following: Scout, Peel, Damage, Sponge, and Lockdown.



Miles "Blaze" Lewis offers strong scouting, through his bush-check, rotation wards, and stable anchoring. He can sit in a bush with relatively little fear if an enemy pushes up, as long as his escape path, and E, remain unobstructed. He can utilise his Oil Spills as wards, to track enemy movements and dismount rotations; he can utilise his Q to check extremely dangerous bushes - the kind that hide an entire enemy team. Overall, his vision control is far above average.



The Firebat has capable peeling, through his fat body blocks (model size of 1.0 where Anub'arak is 1.25), AoE slows, and his stun. At thirteen, he picks up three defense-oriented abilities; a spellpower debuff, an attack-speed debuff, and a potentially enormous slow. This makes Blaze one of the most capable and adaptable Wall tanks, as he can shut down heavy auto-attackers from afar like no other tank sans Jo, and for far, far longer. A 50% attack-speed reduction is back-breaking for any auto-attacker in the game, and is one of the best counters to a Zul'jin or Sgt. Hammer available.



The Arsonist possesses strong burst damage, primarily through his level 7 talent, crossfire, that offers very good burst damage at range on a tank. For those of you who've dreaded your Johanna's or Garrosh's lack of reach, fear no longer! Through the power of rapid temperature increases, you too will have the capability to squash pesky bugs seeking to escape at slivers of health. His trait, too, provides a respectable damage aura, albeit for a short duration; useful for softening up frontline, or nuking particularly large or threatening waves.



The Ranged Tank has excellent damage sponging through his 40 armour trait and sustained self-heals. He can take a pretty severe beating, and simply heal it all back up through a liberal application of cooldown reduction and a sprinkling of gasoline. Enough said.



Finally, our Resident Incinerator offers reasonable (if telegraphed) lockdown through his 1.25 AoE stun and up to 5 second duration 60% slow. While I'd definitely levy criticism at Combustion's channel time, it's nonetheless one of the most capable engage ultimates in the tank lineup, and certainly grants you carry potential (and star power) through good use of flanks and chokes. Landing a fully channeled five-man combustion is almost certainly a fight winner, and those are words that should have most players hot under the collar.



Overall, Blaze does absolutely everything a main tank requires in order to win. If you need a generalist tank that can waveclear with the best of them, lockdown as hard as an ETC, and brawl till the heat death (hah!) of the universe without ever running cold, boy oh boy have you found your match.

My Only Crime is Being Too Hot to Handle


All that being said, I'm certain you're wondering: why don't I see this hero more?



Certainly, if he's as capable as you say - shouldn't everyone be playing this hero?



The answer to your question is this: Blaze has, for a very long time, had an identity crisis. While not unusual for resocialised criminals, it is disconcerting nonetheless. For a solid season, Blaze sat as the King of the HGC Offlane, usurped only barely by Yrel, and even then only conditionally. The Bunker Hero was put there for good reason, too; a hero that can clear waves but carry the weight of a tank is worth it's weight in molten gold, and no other hero could pack so much kit into such a tight space.



But, unfortunate or not, Blaze had to eventually be tuned down; the hero was simultaneously too effective in HGC, but too weak in general ranked play. His Bunker - his incredible playmaker do-all wonder ultimate, was smashed with the nerf bat for three consecutive patches. It went from a 50 second CD with neural CD reduction on top to a 80 second one-and-done. As a result, he fell off quite sharply, as he could no longer perform at the levels professional teams had him placed at.



Additionally, Blaze has a high burden of execution - higher than most tanks in the game. These are things Pros won't think twice about, but most players will, because for them, it takes effort to arrive at that level of coordination. Balancing your mana with you waveclear - your W with your E, even tracking cooldowns to ensure you get an uninterrupted Combustion - these aren't things that are hyper-intuitive.



Simply put: Blaze needs some dedication. And with a hero bouncing from offlane to main tank, a lot of his previous players have dropped him. That means that main tank Blazes are either substitute offlaners or fresh recruits, since the hero lost a lot of his dedicated playerbase to his role reshuffle.



That's not to say Blaze isn't as hyper-capable an offlaner as he always has been; simply, for our purposes, he's a kick-ass main tank and a hell of a hot ride. If you're willing to put in some time, you'll find a macro tank that can clear and kill like no other.



Sound good? Alright, on to playstyles!

Fire Doesn't Tire


From levels one through twenty (yes, you read that right) you're a wave-clearing machine. While your wonderland of inflamed minions will often be disrupted by unruly savages, you will primarily play as a wave-to-wave hero that excels at both rotating to clear and delaying enemy rotations.



Use only your Q and auto-attacks on waves. I cannot stress this enough; your W barely does a tickle of damage to minion waves, and is infinitely better used either to heal yourself, slow and dismount the enemy rotation, or simply to peel for a squishy. Save your W!



Secondly, Neural is a big cooldown. You want it available for fights, because that's where the cooldown reduction will really shine; neural enables you to begin and end a fight with your 1.25 stun.   



At level four, you'll pick up some in-fight CD reduction on your W, along with a touch of mana restoration. Nice to have, and synergistic with our ability rotations, as W charges sit at a 12 second cooldown.



At level seven, we have a dramatic playstyle shift; you're no longer relegated to waves and CC, as you now have some very real kill power. Crossfire gives you a very solid burst of damage; utilise your slows to ensure it hits at range, else use it directly after colliding for the stun. In addition, arrive to waves before they position to clash; hitting Crossfire on a lined up wave dramatically improves your rotation times! You can position perpendicular to the ranged creeps afterwords and pop Q again when you're really in a rush. You've got real kill pressure just by yourself now. Kudos!



At level ten, you're going to enter hunter-killer mentality. Combustion is a 2.6 second channel; you want to get it on as many targets as possible, and you'll generally get 1.25 seconds of that channel for free due to the enemy team being stunned by your E. A solid W->E->Q->1->R->W->E will win you damn near any fight, provided you have a team to follow you and a will to practice your combo. Look for creative flanks onto the enemy backline for those juicy stuns, and always engage mounted up for the move speed. Remember that your E stuns in an incredibly large circle; test it out in try mode!



At level thirteen, adapt your talent to the type of damage you're dealing with. Into even one dedicated auto-attacker (Zul'jin, Hammer, Raynor) I'll usually snap pick Nanomachine Coating, as it's incredibly oppressive for the enemy damage. It also makes them feel awful and slow, which is good psychological pressure. Into multiple mages, or a spell damage offlaner (Sonya, Ragnaros) Suppressive fire will cripple incoming enemy damage. A crossfire proc will indicate you got two stacks, equivalent to 50% spell power reduction. This also reduces the efficacy of enemy healers! If neither of these situations apply, or the enemy team has an issue crossing distances, Fuel Leak is a generally-universal peeling tool that also provides you with a nice bit of healing.



Generally speaking, from ten right though to the end of the game, you're playing for that juicy Neural/Combustion combo; while you can take skirmishes between these cooldowns, you're doing so at disadvantage, so get a kill quick or duck out. Play at range, play calm, and conserve resources for that big combustion play. You want to utilise downtime to merc, clear waves, and posture for objectives. Don't shy away from retreat pinging your team, or simply typing out "waiting for ult". Communication is a big factor in improving your win rate!



Level sixteen will net you additional CD reduction on your E through Thermal Protection, as well as a nifty bit of armour. The other two defensives are equal considerations, but lack the carry power of having your E up more often.



If there's a fight imminent at level 19, try to delay for your twenty; flash fire makes you the best engage-tank in the game, period. A 60% slow for 2.6 seconds followed by 5.0 seconds of continued slow is absolutely devestating for any composition lacking a Mighty Gust or Portal. Be aware of your enemies disengage tools, and take advantage of their absence to cremate your opponents!

All Outta Fuel


Blaze loves to play with follow-up burst damage. Jaina, Kael'Thas, or even a simple Hanzo can all achieve excellent damage throughputs off the back of your setups. In addition, he offers potent scaling, so heroes that are good at carrying the early game (Ragnaros, Rehgar) help buoy you to your 7/20 spikes. For the most part though, due to your over-abundant wave-clear, you cover weaknesses on the draft screen that your Alarak and Ana introduce. Wave clear is the universal game winner, because EXP ends games more than any other statistic. Learn to love waves, or get off this hero.



Blaze takes advantage of aggressive rotators, such as Maiev, Genji, or the freshly-reworked Junkrat. Getting ahead in the rotation gives you time to setup and execute; just make sure your CC goes first, so that the follow-up can hit easily!

Tips and Tricks; Real Combat Training


Your E has an enormous area of effect on the stun, and "chains" to nearby heroes. You can stun a backliner by hitting a closeby frontliner quite easily, and vice versa.



Your Crossfire will hit big targets more often than small ones; if you're not killing things with it in fights, soften up the enemy frontline while getting CD reduction on your trait.



Your trait will naturally come back up with 10 Q hits; it gets a lot more value into melee comps, since it's up so often.



You can throw your W and 'chase' it with a Q, to very briefly slow a fleeing target and tag it with a crossfire.



Always, always, always lead your stuns with a W slow. Missing your stun is equivalent to dying.



In the mid to late game, use Combustion on ganks. Your 80 second cooldown is absolutely worth a solo deletion before an objective, or just to deny the enemy team experience across the map!



Blaze is excellent at buoying a heavy team through the early game. Wave clear is the universal defensive tool of the weak, and helps prevent pushes, invasions, and ganks. Clear waves to win!



Again, Q waves before they arrive to clash and you'll crossfire the entire wave. The auto attack the backline and walk away; if you're in a rush, you can position perpendicular to a ranged minion and Q again.



Your E can be used defensively to escape, but only if there isn't a hero blocking your way. Keep in mind versus repositional heroes such as Alarak or Garrosh. Or both. Shudder.



Your ideal combo, especially post 16, is W-E-Q-1-W-R-Q-E. If you can execute all of that, without getting your channel interrupted, you win the teamfight. Barring exceptionally poor fiesta from your team.



On that note, communicate with your team. Ping your kill target five (5!) times, and make sure your team knows exactly what's up when you walk forwards.


If you enjoy my content, or would like to enquire about coaching (first session free!) you can find me on Twitch, Twitter, and Discord!

















 
1
Neural Stimpack
Activate to gain 30 Mana and cause Basic Ability cooldowns to recharge 100% faster for 5 seconds.
Neural offers carry potential through mass ability spam. Three crossfires at level 10 can be delivered in 4 seconds for 1400 damage. That's not even counting your trait, E, or ult. You can virtually 100-0 most squishies in the game hitting all your skillshots. That's nutty! The mana sustain also helps you back less often, as you naturally self heal off your W in a wave.

New Habits is a powerful ability that is, in my opinion, thoroughly outclassed by Neural. I've tried both extensively, and have to say that any situation where I needed New Habits, I should've gone Johanna.
4
Oil Dispersal
Increase Oil Spill's area by 20%. Additional functionality: Each enemy Hero hit with Flame Stream reduces the cooldown of Oil Spill by 1 second and refunds 5 Mana.
Meltdown seems capable, but when you factor in how rarely it's available, how you cannot hold your D for extra value, and how you won't hit ranged heroes with it - it becomes a lot worse. Looks good on paper, but not in game. The exception is all-melee or heavy-melee compositions, as they're easy to tag with damage reduction and offer you easier Qs - which translates to more Ds.

Adhesive Petroleum is a reasonable talent that allows you to continue to slow after the 5 second window on your oil spill elapses; the thing is, if you didn't achieve something in five seconds, press E, press W again, or disengage. This talent isn't going to offer you anything extra in any of those situations, which is why I don't recommend it.

Oil Dispersal makes your W better at everything it does; the wider area helps you hit your slow and maneuver on your heal. The CD reduction is incredibly good over sustained fights because the 12 second CD on your W is very noticeable when you've run out of buttons to press.
7
Crossfire
Hitting an enemy with both streams of Flame Stream deals 139 bonus damage.
Crossfire is the only 7, because it alone gives you burst damage in addition to waveclear. Grill and Kill promises additional self sustain, but you're already so tanky with your enormous HP pool, armour on D, defensive at 16, and your base self-heals. Incinerator Gauntlets is to be paired with Adrenaline Stimpack at 1, which provides waveclear at the cost of your teamfight presence and 1v1 potential. In addition, Crossfire provides better waveclear with smart play. Take Crossfire!

10
Combustion
Channel for up to 2.6 seconds. Upon ending, Slow nearby enemies by 60% and deal 55 damage to them every 0.5 seconds. Combustion's Slow and damage over time duration is extend the longer Blaze Channels, from 1 second up to 5 seconds. Blaze's Movement Speed is reduced by 40% while Channeling.
Bunker's a little bit of a boogeyman in this guide, going virtually unmentioned. It's an excellent ult - that your teammate's won't use. I've had grand master teammates ignore my bunker when I place it a second before the enemy Diablo Apocs; I've given up on convincing teammates to use it, and am instead picking Combustion.

EDIT: I've been using Bunker almost exclusively all day, and I vastly underestimated how incredibly powerful this ultimate is. Even at 80 seconds, it's definitely still a consideration - this ult can CARRY, even with just you using it. Take advantage of your capacity to bait bad engages, taunt the enemy tank, and absorb their CC. Counter-engage, kill, win. It's that easy!

Combustion is the red-haired stepchild of the ultimate options, being incredibly potent but neglected and overlooked. With Bunker nerfed into the ground, it's a much more attractive option, and gives us quite a bit of carry potential through a five-man full channel. It's also incredibly potent at 20, capable of winning games on its own.
13
Nanomachine Coating
Enemies standing in Oil Spills (Ignited or not) have their Attack Speed reduced by 50% for 2.5 seconds.
Tailor this tier to the enemy team - all three are valid! Suppressive into ability and double supports (spell power down reduces healing!) compositions, Nanomachine into Raynor/Zul'jin/Sgt. Hammer/Greymane, and Fuel Leak into slow sustain compositions.
16
Thermal Protection
Each enemy hit by Jet Propulsion grants to 10 Armor for 3 seconds and reduces its cooldown by 1.25 seconds.
Thermal Protection rewards good stuns with even more good stuns and a pop of armour. Pressing D after a 3man makes you virtually unkillable for a short duration. More practically, it'll constantly reduce your E by a few seconds, which is incredibly synergy with Neural.

Heat Treatment will fullbar you off ten targets, equal to a wave and a few heroes or an infernal shrine. It offers enormous healing, but comes at the cost of being available infrequently. Stronger into melee compositions, as you'll be able to hit your Q more often for CD reduction, and be able to heal more off damage.

Juggernaut Plating is your answer to hyper burst compositions that look to nuke you - ETC Jaina, for example. You'll know for sure when you need this!
20
Flash Fire
While Channeling Combustion, Blaze's Movement Speed is no longer reduced, and nearby enemies are Slowed by 60%.
Burn Notice is a bannable offense in any situation where your ultimate is not on CD. It's a talent to be picked if the game is ending and your ult won't be available again.

Flash Fire is possibly one of the strongest twenties in the entire game, period. Inverting the slow from yourself to your opponent allows you to pseudo lockdown an entire team, and setup virtually every damage in the game for huge success. An incredible weapon in your arsenal!
Balance Patch - 08/28/19
Comments
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Great guide but armour doesn't stack anymore. 
"Pressing D after a 3man stun sets you at 70 armour"