published at 20:30 CET, Friday March 17 2017

The Eastern Clash Meta so far (February 27 balance patch editions)

How does it compare to the Western Clash Meta (played on the Lucio release patch)?

Link to February 27 balance patch notes

The Shield Meta is alive and well

Those who have watched the HGC Western Clash and HGC North America and HGC Europe are well versed in the power of Tassadar. Tassadar had seen much less play in HGC Korea though, and with Blizzard changing the functionality of Khaydarin Resonance, it was hoped that Tassadar would be less oppressive in competitive play. If Day 1 of HGC Eastern Clash is any indication, mission not accomplished. Tassadar had a 100% involvement rate with an 85% win rate. 

Zarya was a top pick throughout HGC Korea, so it was no surprise that she was heavily banned. She went 2-1 in the matches she got to participate in and only made it through one draft without being picked or banned.

Did the Tychus and Varian nerfs destroy their competitive viability?

It's only been one day, so there's still time for these heroes to have an impact on the Eastern Clash. However, Varian went from a 60% win rate on a 52% involvement rate in the Western Clash to not picked at all. Effectively, the warrior pool for competitive play has been made smaller, and that's not a good thing. This is not to say that Varian didn't need changes - he did. Making him unpickable in competitive shouldn't have been the consequence.

Tychus did manage to see play exactly once...picked by Resurgence, the Southeast Asian representative. He lost that game. Otherwise, Tychus was a non-factor in drafts. That's despite the fact that 10/24 compositions seen so far in the HGC Eastern Clash consisted of multiple warriors. Let's just say the auto attack range nerf didn't accomplish Blizzard's stated goal of making Tychus weaker against normal compositions while retaining his effectiveness versus multiple warrior compositions. 

Valla Stands Alone Among Ranged Assassins

At the Western Clash, there were six different viable options: Falstad, Li Ming, and Tychus were the top 3, followed by Gul'dan, Jaina and Valla. The plight of Tychus has been discussed above, but it is very interesting that Li Ming has fallen pretty much by the wayside, given how much Eastern teams love fighting and exploiting Li Ming's trait. Falstad is still viable, but he pales in involvement rate to Valla at the Eastern Clash, a stark reversal from being more involved than Valla at the Western Clash. This seems odd given Falstad's obvious utility on certain maps.

A similar argument could be made for Jaina and Gul'dan, who shine on wave clear maps. So why is Valla suddenly the clear optimal Ranged Assassin choice when she didn't receive any changes in the February 27 balance patch?

The answer is astonishingly simple: the Shield Meta. It is even more pronounced at the Eastern Clash than the Western Clash, since Zarya wasn't that highly valued on most maps by Western teams. Valla is by far the biggest beneficiary of such a meta, so when Shields dominate like they are right now, she is the go-to ranged assassin.

The Support Meta is Diverse and Balanced. Hurray!

Let's end with some good news: we finally have a support meta that isn't dominated by one or two choices. Malfurion, Rehgar, Lucio, Auriel, Kharazim and Lt Morales all saw involvement rates between 33 and 66%. Rehgar did have a 100% win rate and Kharazim had a 0% win rate - but the sample size is extremely small. Bottomline, the Malfurion changes Blizzard made were just what the doctor ordered.

Follow us on Twitter @GosuGamersHotS for more Heroes of the Storm news and coverage from around the world.

QUICKPOLL

What's the bigger revelation from the meta at the HGC Eastern Clash?

The Support Meta is Diverse and Balanced
Thank you for voting!
The Shield Meta + Valla is oppressive
Thank you for voting!
Justin “Fenix2424” Lee
I have played Heroes of the Storm for over a year now with over 3000 games played. Although this is the first MOBA that I have played, I have been playing strategy games for years and always loved the thinking/theory side of games as much if not more so than the actual gameplay.