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Apparently, .25 shorter stun duration and 50 more damage was enough to change the meta.

Heroes Gosu “GosuGamers” Gamers


It's no secret that Thrall players everywhere (from Quickmatch to professional tournaments) are picking Earthquake over Sundering since the last patch. What other under-utilized heroics are just a slight buff away from dominating the meta?

The death of Sundering

Take a look at this moment from a past HGC EU qualifier

The Thrall player takes on a 2v1 and somehow makes it out on top. There was a heal from Malfurion at the very end, but upon close inspection, it seems that the Frostwolf Resilience triggers gave Thrall the healing he needed to survive against Sylvanas, Falstad, and a crowd of minions.

Would this same outcome have been possible with Sundering? Likely, no. This is just one example of countless times that Earthquake has been impactful in competitive heroes since its buff. Anyone who has played Heroes lately likely has personal experience with Earthquake dominating a team fight.

This leaves us with the unbelievable reality in which Sundering, the go-to Thrall heroic for a little over a year, is now a niche choice that your average Hero League player will flame you for choosing. 

One of the best Heroics in the game become the 2nd choice all because of this little patch note:

Abilities

  • Earthquake (R)
    • Added functionality:
      • Now deals 50 damage to Heroes with each pulse (will now trigger Frostwolf Resilience)
  • Sundering (R)
    • Stun duration reduced from 1.25 to 1 seconds
       

Is the sustain that Earthquake offers suddenly more powerful than an unavoidable AoE stun ability that deals loads of damage? Sundering's stun was only nerfed by .25 seconds. Is that really such a big deal? With the aid of hindsight, we can safely say it is. Earthquake triggering Frostwolf Resilience is massive, and it ensures that Thrall can stay in melee range safely, healing off the repeated Earthquake ticks.

A slippery slope

The current strength of Earthquake now makes it easy to forget how bad the heroic was just a couple patches ago. What other sleeper heroics are just waiting to drastically change the meta game the moment they are slightly buffed?

Here are some contenders that, if changed, might have Earthquake levels of potential.
 

  • Artanis - Suppression Pulse

    The massive AoE, utility, damage, and global range that Suppression Pulse offers is inherently powerful and we already know from common knowledge that Heroics that help a team engage or disengage from a team fight are a big deal. Suppression Pulse is already a decently picked Heroic, but if it gets buffed any further, (and these Artanis changes are as powerful as people suspect) I suspect it will become standard.
     
  • Leoric - March of the Black King

    Entomb is so versatile that it is almost always the preferred choice in a competitive match. Because of this, Blizzard might be tempted to really ramp up the numbers on March of the Black King in order to see it win games more often. If we have learned anything from Earthquake, it's that abilities that grant a hero loads of sustainability in the middle of a team fight are inherently good.

    Imagine if each swing of March of the Black King slowed heroes by 60%. I think that would be enough to bring Leoric to a new level.
     
  • Anub'arak, Cocoon

    I have always viewed Cocoon as having Mighty Gust levels of usefulness, but it has always been missing something. Its utility is so unusual that it just seems like a matter of time before it plays a big part in the competitive meta. Maybe it will take Anub'arak getting buffed in other ways, or perhaps something really extreme like giving Cocoon two charges or a status debuff after the target is freed from the web.

    Whatever happens, Cocoon is a Heroic that has incredible potential. Perhaps, just like Earthquake, it is just a small buff away from becoming standard meta. 
  • Uther - Divine Storm

    Once upon a time, Uther was a top tier support and it was largely due to Divine Storm. No one picked Divine Shield, as the instant-cast AoE Stun was too powerful to ignore. Once Uther hit level 20, the upgrade to Divine Storm was nearly always picked, increasing it's already huge AoE and damage.

    Then, a patch happened and the numbers changed. Divine Shield got a lower cooldown, Divine Storm's radius and damage were nerfed, and Uther eventually became picked purely for Divine Shield. We have already seen a meta where Divine Storm ruled with an iron first and, like the Earthquake of the present, I think it needs only a slight buff for it to see a resurgence.
     
  • Gazlowe - Grav-O-Bomb 3000

    This one is a bit of a stretch because Gazlowe is well... awful. However, his Grav-O-Bomb 3000 Heroic is assuredly the best part of his kit. The design of this ability is inherently powerful and all it takes is a few numbers changes to see it, once again, become the terror of YouTube highlight reels and funny 5v1 GIFS.

    More damage, faster activation, and a longer stun. With the poor state Gazlowe is in, Blizzard might cave in and do it.

 

Until then, this is Thrall's world and we are all just living in it. Thrall is in a very strong place thanks to the influx of Battlegrounds that require a strong solo-laner and, of course, the newfound power of Earthquake. If you are stressed about your season 3 placement matches, don't be. Just take a deep breath, pick Thrall, and let the Earthquakes carry you to victory.

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QuickPoll

Does Blizzard need to be more careful when adjusting the numbers on Heroics?

Yes, Sunder and Earthquake just swapped positions.
Thank you for voting!
No, I like the variety. More huge buffs!
Thank you for voting!

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