Nexus Weekly #15: Thrall Aboard Hype Horde

Heroes Robert “hexagrams” Kirkbride

Free hero rotation week of Tuesday, August 11th

 
  • Available at all levels: Raynor, Muradin, Falstad, Sonya, Sylvanas

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WCA 2015: The Meta thus far

While there are still many games left to be played in the WCA 2015 Heroes of the Storm Tournament, a the meta seems to be taking shape.  There seems to be some interesting development centered around our favorite Brood Mother, Zagara.  The Zerg Queen is thus far the most picked hero in the WCA Tournament, compared to all tournaments in which she is the third most first picked.

Granted, this is a relatively small sample size of ten first picks versus 59 first picks, however, the percentage difference is a significant fifteen points.  Zagara has always been a relatively strong hero and a safe pick for the most part.  However, she doesn't seem to frighten people enough to get banned out.  The most banned pick across all tournaments remains Zeratul.

What we notice is that Zagara, while being an incredible popular first pick in the WCS qualifiers, does not strike the fear in the heart of the opponents to warrant a first ban.  So while the sample is small, it appears that in recent tournaments, and in this tournament in particular, Zagara is becoming a more popular pick.  The reason for this may be two fold.

Leoric has the highest winrate in the WCA.  Zagara is a rather good backline hero against Leoric, as her range from Envenomed Spines and her creature poke gives her a sustained damage source against Leoric, enough to back him off, from a safe distance without him being able to get off a life steal.  But more importantly, in our opinion, is that Battlefield of Eternity is now in the map pool.  Zagara is widely considered the best specialist, if not the best outright hero, on Battlefield of Eternity.  Her creep tumor vision is invaluable in the chaos that is the middle portion of the map, and yet again, her sustained poke ability is phenomenal when it comes to dealing with Immortals.  

Zagara's popularity is clearly on the rise in the tournament meta.  Perhaps it is as an adjustment to the popularity of other heroes, and perhaps it is due to the map pool and map selections.  What remains to be seen, however, is if the WCA Qualifiers meta is a sign of things to come or an anomoly.

 

The rise of Thrall

Often the target of criticism and ire, and often the subject of 'which heroes need to be reworked' conversations, Thrall has hammered the doubters by proving his worth, especially on the Battlefield of Eternity.

Thrall has experienced a meteoric rise in the last week, seeing his winrate increase by an astounding 9.1% all the way up to 64.2% which puts him second overall among all heroes (behind only Leoric) in Master League play, according to HotsLogs.com.  However, across all leagues Thrall remains a middling 17th overall with a mediocre 47% winrate.  It appears that Thrall is dominant in the hands of high-level players.  However, Thralls dominance truly shines on one particular map.

On Battlefield of Eternity, Thrall enjoys a a remarkable 74.7% winrate, besting the second highest ranked hero, Jaina, by an astounding 4% points.  However, across all leagues on Battlefield of Eternity, Thrall again finds himself in the middle of the horde, and only wins 47% of the games in which he is chosen.  What makes Battlefield of Eternity such a great map for high level Thrall play?  Our speculation is that his heroic ability can truly shine on Battlefield of Eternity.  In the cramped fighting quarters that comprise the Immortal fights, Thrall's Sundering, if used properly, can segment and destroy an opposing team.  

Thrall doesn't need to be reworked, players need to play him better, and on the right map. 

 

On our mini-map: 2Arc Gaming

2ARC (Rank #27 according to our GosuGamers.Net Global Rankings) Gaming is tearing through the HeroesHype Challenger Series and is currently riding a four game winning streak.  Their most recent victories includes wins over, Pool Plato Some Tangos (Rank #56), Zeveron (Rank #24), compLexity (Rank #14), and Echelon (Rank #87).  

However, 2ARC, like so many teams in the North American Heroes of the Storm scene is still struggling to beat the top contenders.  2ARC has lost to both Cloud9 (rank #5) and TempoStorm (Rank #2) in the Town Hall Heroes Invitational and the Masters Gaming Arena respectively.  For 2ARC to make the next big leap from middling NA team to top dogs, they will need to find a way to knock off the top teams first.

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Robert “hexagrams” Kirkbride
<p>Writer and Gamer living in Chicago, IL. Follow @hexagrams&nbsp;</p>