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Brand of Solarion is really, really, REALLY bad, made even worse by a (possible) bug

Heroes /r/heroesofthestorm /u/Pscythic 35 comments

So if you don't know, [[Brand of Solarion]] is a level 20 talent for Imperius that reduces his trait duration from 10 seconds to 3, but allows each mark to be triggered an infinite number of times during those 3 seconds. That sounds decent in theory, but in practice there are several problems, including a possible bug that guarantees the talent will be completely useless. Obviously the talent is not a strict upgrade. It's a trade-off. You lose the ability to mark someone with an ability and trigger the mark at a much later time, which is a scenario that comes up very often with Imperius. So how much benefit do you gain from being able to trigger your marks perpetually over 3 seconds? Well, there are 2 massive flaws with Brand of Solarion (beyond the obvious costs you incur) that make it grant you drastically less value than you might think.

The first massive flaw is that this upgrade is completely redundant with Imperius' E, Molten Armor. Molten Armor basically has this upgrade baseline because it reapplies its own mark almost instantly while active. At level 1, you can already proc 4 E marks off of a single cast and still also spread a couple other marks on other targets that can be triggered later. Even with extra attack speed (like from Celestial Swiftness), you can still proc your E's mark as many times as you want during the 4 seconds that it's active. Thus, Molten Armor (and its related talent Melting Touch) barely benefit from Brand of Solarion at all. So if we're going to get our money's worth (talent's worth?) our Q and W better get upgraded a lot from this talent (spoiler, they don't).

The second massive flaw is that the ideal setup with Brand of Solarion doesn't work at all. The dream setup is to take [[Flash of Anger]] and [[Celestial Swiftness]] and just go absolutely ham on 1 target (maybe 2). If you could get 4 or even 5 procs of Flash of Anger off of a single Q cast, that would actually be amazing. But it turns out you can't do that because the second part of Celestial Charge's damage doesn't actually apply Valorous Brand. I suspect this is a bug, but even if it isn't, it really should be addressed. Remember that you are forced to channel your Q stun for 1 second (unless interrupted), so this means your Q mark basically lasts for 1 second less than the rest. Normally this only reduces the duration from 10 seconds to 9 which is barely noticeable. But when the duration is suddenly reduced from 3 seconds to 2, that is absolutely crippling. In most cases, it is not practical to expect to get more than 2 procs of your Q mark, and it is almost completely impossible to get more than 3. And that's assuming nothing gets in the way of you jabbing your opponents repeatedly. If you experience even the slightest interruption, including casting your own W, you'll be lucky to even get 2 Q procs, and you can completely forget about 3 or more. Since you can already proc your marks once without Brand of Solarion, all this talent is giving you in 90% of cases is 1 additional proc of your Q. That's such a minor upgrade for such a heavy price.

I suppose your W still benefits well from Brand of Solarion, but it also pays the heaviest price. Your W is the only ability that can poke people and pre-emptively mark them before you dive in with your Q, and it's very good at spreading marks to a clump of enemies. Both of these very useful features are pretty much removed when you pick Brand of Solarion. If you poke with your W, the mark will probably be gone by the time you decide to jump on the target, or you'll only trigger it once anyway. And if you spread your mark around multiple targets, you don't have enough time to trigger each one. Of course, this is all part of the contract of picking Brand of Solarion, but as you saw from the previous 2 paragraphs, that contract is really not in your favor. The only option we have left to get big value out of this talent is to pick Holy Fervor at 7, yolo into a clump of 3 or 4 heroes, quickly spread marks with W and E, and hope that they stay in your range long enough to get 3 or 4 cleave attacks off before the 3 seconds are up. That plan is questionable at best, suicidal at worst. This talent is just unbelievably awful. Even in ARAM where the Flash of Anger dream is very realistic, you still can't reliably get more than 2 procs of your Q mark, and you lose so much utility in exchange.

 

TLDR: If you take Brand of Solarion, your E barely gets upgraded because you can trigger it's mark multiple times even without the talent, your Q barely gets upgraded because in practice the Q mark only lasts for 2 seconds instead of 3 (which I suspect is a bug), and your W is the ability that pays the heaviest price from the talent anyway, as pre-emptively marking enemies at range is very useful. The dream setup with the level 7 and 16 Q talents is impossible, and yolo-ing in with Holy Fervor and trying to cleave multiple marks multiple times is an extremely unreliable game plan. This talent is really, really, really bad.

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