Flashback: How to carry in Heroes of the Storm
Nearly a year ago, Viktor "JamesDickens" Laskov wrote how to carry in Heroes of the Storm. Not surprisingly, the information still holds up well today.
This article was originally published in May of 2015. It has since been updated to reflect the current game and some totally obsolute details invalidated by patch changes have been removed. To see the original posting, follow this link.
There are many people who believe in the myth of being stuck at a low rank, because it is “impossible to carry” and “this game is too team based”. We have all heard the “I am a great player, but my team are ruining it for me”. Well, I won’t argue with your judgment, but I will try pointing you in the right direction of both making your team “carryable” and turning yourself into a potential “carry”.
No matter how team based the game is, you are 5 versus 5 with each of you being a variable. If you want to gain ranks you have to stop being satisfied with being only a bit better than the enemy team. Instead, you should switch your goal to this - become a monster. The enemies should have their palms sweating on their mice as they are afraid that you are out to get them. They should all doubt themselves to the point in which they give up and just play to not get an afk warning.
Now how do you do that? Well, it’s the little things. The little things add up, and when you have all of them on top of one another, you get the difference between winning and losing.
Preparation for the game
That’s right, just jumping into the game won’t do.
- Before the game you should make sure you get a bottle of water in hand’s reach – you aren’t playing basketball, but staying hydrated while playing Heroes of the Storm or any other game for that matter is very important.
- Grab a snack – energy is good.
- Another important thing to do is hand stretches. The internet is full of them, so googling some hand stretches would be great for not only optimal reaction times, but also prevention of the bane of our existence as gamers – carpal tunnel.
- Take a minute to calm down. We all have hectic lives outside of gaming and sadly many of us allow real life issues transcend into their gaming which results in rather fast burn outs and forced mistakes. I personally practice breath meditation – takes only a minute or two and provides sufficient results. Of course you can also destroy a punching bag, whatever floats your boat. The main point is, if you are angry, your ranks will suffer.
- Avoid inexperienced heroes. If you haven't played it at all, Hero League isn't the place to do so.
- Use quick matches to practice. There are too many people being very serious about the quick match queue. Go ham in quick match, you got nothing to lose, push the limits of your hero, do irrational things, explore. It is only after you have bashed your head enough of times that you grow as a player. I probably lost my first 11 games as Nova playing a different terrible build in each of them. But I needed it, I needed to see her limits so I can build on that and as a result now I rarely lose a Nova game despite how much backlash I get in the pick phase.
- Don’t bash on people in the pick phase. The only thing you can do is start on a bad note. If your team wants to go Murky, Abathur, Lost Vikings and Gazlowe in the same game you are either about to witness the greatest cheese known to mankind or lose horribly. Don’t bet against the cheese. Embrace it.
- Get a core hero pool. I can’t stress how important that is. There was this player who I knew that used to have 4 main heroes in a different game. He used to have a 70% win rate in over 100 games on all of them, but was stuck at a low ladder level in competitive play, because he picked a different hero in 97% of the time. After being taunted by his peers of how low he is, he finally started playing the heroes he was best at. The result – 20 wins in a row. It’s that simple.
- Get a diverse core hero pool. Don’t only main Illidan, Jaina, Valla and all the other assassins. There will be times where it is best for the team comp for you to not go an assassin. Illidan is great, but you know what? He is amazing in a two support comp, not an all assassin one. You have to be significantly better mechanically, than the enemy in order to pull that off. You want to make the win as easy as possible, not further complicate it.
- Never use chat when you should be playing. I am not joking, don’t do it. There are maximum 3 instances when you can’t manage without it. Blizzard has provided you with a set of good pings. What do you need chat for? Every millisecond of typing is time lost which you could use to do something gameplay wise. If others use chat ignore it. Most people using chat do it to require a romantic meeting with your mother anyway.
- Always use chat when you are dead. Become a cheerleader; tell your team how amazing they are. Tell them they are super amazing. They might be super terrible, but as long as they don’t know it, you can win the game in HoTS. The moment they realize they are terrible, they will either start wallowing in self-loathing or get super angry and afk. You can also use it to point out things that are obvious to you, but not to them like “the enemy started boss on half hp, go get them boys!”
- Look at the map and learn the timers of every objective on every map. You need every bit of information you can get to get a win. Especially at lower ranks people ignore that, so this is where you can single handedly outplay them. Map awareness is very important. Take a look at this great source for timer information. Sadly it does not contain Tomb of the Spider Queen information, but as you can see the timers are usually around 2 minutes for most objectives.
- In 9 out of 10 cases it is better to follow your team when they are making a terrible decision, just so they don’t get wiped in a 4v5. But there is this 10th time. Looking at the minimap you see an amazing opportunity to do something of great effect. Trust your gut and go do it. You might lose or you might win, but after enough losses or wins your ability to identify this 10th time successfully will gain accuracy and this will bring you a lot of victories.
- Take control. Make calls through pings, two pings to suggest and three to command. Now you might not get a reaction, but you might do. With some luck, if you do well in the game your teammates might start following you so your calls are successful. With that being said, do not make risky calls when you are ahead. The enemy team is the one who has to risk, you just have to keep your tempo and finish the game.
- Be flexible in team fights. Don’t just dive and keep spamming spells until you die or the enemy team is wiped. That can be debated only if you are a tank. Being a tank you often can just sit in the middle of the fight and give them hell.
- It’s always good to go in, do some damage and then step back a bit to get a general picture of the fight and eventual targets. Don’t overlook how beneficial that is.
- Don’t just use Q-W-E-R. You are better than that. Don’t use your mouse to get back at your hero after exploring a part of the map. Press “Space”. Your actions should be as quick and as clean as they can get. Another thing you can do is Shift quieting commands - it is basic and it has its clear benefits. Last and most important - use the “S” button. When pressing “S” your move command is cancelled and your hero stops. This is important for kiting and covering ground in a better way. All of those just save you precious time and put you ahead of the others.
- Take breaks. Regardless if you are on a winning or a losing streak get a break once every 3 to 4 games. You’ve done well, you deserve it. That is a suggestion in the case of a winning streak; in the case of a losing streak you must do it. It’s that or tilt.
A few basic map approaches
Those aren’t a must; they are just some good things to do on different maps.
Soak experience for the first tribute no matter what. Now for the second one you might consider helping your team, especially if they are insisting on starting a 4v5. A good thing to do is to learn how to play heroes like Lost Vikings and Abathur who have good map presence, since the map is the biggest one right now and map presence is just so important.
Two chests with 5 coins each spawn mid and bot at 0:50. Usually all the fuss is about mid, so you should head bot and wait in the fog of war right next to the chest. If you are lucky you will get a low hp enemy trying to take the chest and you can kill him and take the coins. Another strategy is tapping the healing fountain and going in. The fountain overheals you, so you will likely come on top unless you get surprised by an ambush.
You can repeat this at every chest spawn, but in general it is best at the first. All else depends on circumstances.
Garden of terror
Try to establish with your team which side of seeds are you taking. If all 5 of you take one side you are more likely to get all seeds there and you are also very likely to kill some enemies which you outnumber. Having collected 100 seeds, raise your concern with who takes the Terror. If everyone thinks it’s the other guy you might end up losing it due to silliness.
Other than that, never leave the enemy Terror unattended. This thing pushes hard and you can’t just let it do its own thing.
Be flexible, don’t just sit at one place, if you have secured a shrine and you know there are no enemies near to take it back, take a mercenary camp or two. With some highly mobile heroes like Brightwing you can be extremely flexible and help the opposite lane, but that isn’t always the case.
A cheeky thing to do is to take the two Siege camps bottom. After doing so, you should pressure top, since the enemy will have to choose between letting the Stone giants push their Keep or even Nexus from the bottom side or you doing it from the top one.
Playing Sylvanas is always good (check this guide). Regardless if you are playing her or a different hero, just make sure you get to 40 skulls. Once you did that, leave the mines and take the enemy Siege camp. Maybe even push the golem lane, just do useful things that can give you an advantage.
When the golems spawn, take your own Siege camp right as the enemy golem goes through the gate, so your Stone giants can aid you in killing it.
In all fairness I am not the biggest fan of this map. Learning the temple spawn pattern and convincing your team to stop pinging at boss is usually a good call. The boss here is a choke point and you should really take it only in certain situations. In any case always avoid it if the enemy isn’t on a big enough death timers.
It’s beneficial to pick a Specialist hero, Zagara or Sylvanas being the best choices and push bot at first. After the first two temples are down the next one will be the bot one. Pay attention to when the temples got used up so you know when they spawn again (around 2:35 minutes assuming the temple was contested and switched between teams and 2:00 if it wasn’t). Then around 20 seconds before that make sure you got the top Bruiser camp. That camp will push a gate at least, and every building counts here so a gate could be the difference between winning and losing.
Tomb of the Spider Queen
The way of winning is simple and using a cloaked unit is always a good idea. Keep track of enemies with a lot of gems and control their paying by following them and poking them at the pay-point. When your weavers spawn they kill a lot of enemy spiders that drop gems. Always make sure someone is there to collect them, losing gems is silly especially when they are gifted to you in such a way.
If losing hard– bait the fog of war at boss. The enemy will likely try to scout boss and unless they have Tyrande or a different character with a global ability they will have to face check it. This is where you get a mega kill, boss, pay gems and profit.
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