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I play a 999 Gazlowe, and here’s how I’d rework the hero (full talent tree and ability adjustments)

Heroes /r/heroesofthestorm /u/jabbrwalk 69 comments

Special thanks to other passionate Gazlowe mains including /u/PhantomV3/u/Canadiancookie, and /u/Overpowerr for brainstorming ideas over the past two years and helping to shape this rework.

 

I’ve played a lot of Gazlowe since 2015, mostly in QMs. Since I exclusively one-trick, I play little ranked to avoid forcing my teammates to draft around me. My bona fides, such as they are, include:

  • Over 10,000 games played on Gazlowe in QM

  • #1 Gazlowe on the QM Leaderboard

  • Season stats: 194 Gazlowe games; winrate 55.2%; MVP 21%; current MMR: 2830

Additionally, I’ve experimented with every talent in his tree and have studied other players’ games to learn how to maximize the return on various build paths. I'd say I'm as aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the hero as anyone.

 

On to the re-work.

 

Gazlowe has been in a decent spot for a long time now. He’s only been tweaked a few times and his winrate has been steady since his last major rework in early 2017. His kit, however, does have a few problems:

  1. His talent tree is too top heavy: he's too weak before level 13, and his power doesn’t really come online until levels 16 and 20.

  2. His level 10 heroic (Grav-o) is too weak and his level 20 heroic upgrades are too strong.

  3. Gazlowe’s various build paths often leave him hamstrung from casting either Xplodium Charge (due to mana limitations) or Deth Lazor (due to cast time limitations).

  4. Could use some form of improved survivability or escape, preferably skill-based, since he’s typically played in the early game as a jungler or off-laner.

 

This rework is intended to:

  1. Maintain the identity of Gazlowe functionally, but accentuate his primary roles: poke/zone build Gazlowe and melee assassin build Gazlowe.

  2. Pull power out of his level 20 heroics and redistribute it more evenly throughout the levels.

  3. Provide talent upgrades for his base kit (turrets, bombs, lasers, autoattacks) better synergy without becoming overpowered.

  4. Clean up and improve under-performing talents.

  5. Increase skill ceiling.

 


 

Changes to base kit:

Q Rock-It! Turret: Base damage decreased from 65 to 60.

E Xplodium Charge (unchanged)

W Deth Lazor: Fully charges in 1.5 seconds (50% reduction). Base damage decreased from 142 to 128 (10% reduction). Full charge diameter decreased by 10%.

D Feisty Scrapper (trait): Activate Feisty Scrapper to dismantle a target Rock-It! Turret and turn it into scrap. Collecting scrap restores 30 mana; causes abilities to recharge three times faster for 3 seconds; increases movement speed by 10% for three seconds; increases armor by 5 for 3 seconds. Additionally, stacked scrap provides 10 bonus armor per scrap for three seconds (maximum 3 stacks).

 

Analysis: a 3 second charge time on Deth Lazor might be reasonable at level 1, but it is too dangerous to continue using this basic ability if a player doesn't select Hyperfocus Coils at level 7, and I don’t think it’s good design to have a hero’s basic ability be unusable in games if untalented. To compensate for the upgrade to his baseline charge time, the baseline damage and diameter of Deth Lazor are reduced by 10%.

Trait: The idea behind the movement speed and armor boosts from collecting scrap is to open up playmaking and escape possibilities for Gazlowe. Scrapping turrets along Gazlowe’s forward path gives him the possibility of escaping ganks or chasing enemies. Quick scrapping a turret nest will give a large, short term armor bonus in tanking situations. Better players will be able to take advantage of this more effectively, but it is a buff regardless. His kit may need to be toned down in other areas. I have attempted to do so.

 

Level 1

Extra TNT (removed)

Scrap-O-Matic Smelter (removed)

(Q) Superior Schematics: Gazlowe's Rock-It! Turrets have 10% increased range while he is within their attack radius. (moved from 16)

(E) BOOM Goes the Dynomite!: Increase Xplodium Charge damage by 10% per target hit, up to 100%. Reduce Xplodium Charge's mana cost by 10 and cast time by 1.

(Passive) Break It Down! Quest: Collecting scrap causes abilities to cooldown four times as fast for 3 seconds. Reward: Collect 35 scrap to gain 3% spell power. Collect 50 scrap to gain 3% movement speed.

Goblin Repairs (unchanged)

 

Analysis: Extra TNT is currently underwhelming compared to other talents at this tier, and Xplodium build for Gazlowe is currently not viable due to mana restrictions on the ability. The replacement talent addresses both.

Superior Schematics: This is a very nice talent that never gets picked at level 16 because it simply cannot compete with having an extra turret or extra bomb. Moving it to level 1 allows it to be picked, but 25% increased range is too strong for a level 1 talent. 10% increased range is sufficient. This will aid Gazlowe particularly in the early laning phase, allowing him to play a bit more aggressively/safely in lane.

Scrap-O-Matic Smelter removal: In my experience, the real utility of Scrap-o-Matic Smelter is in the laning phase against pushes, since turrets that give all mana back are effectively damage shields. Superior Schematics at level 1 should help to compensate for Gazlowe's loss of this free shield utility. The removal of Smelter may exacerbate Gazlowe's mana issues for some players, but the rework I've laid out allows players to alleviate those issues at later tiers.

Even though they have similar winrates, Break It Down! has more versatility than Smelter, and I’m making it a bit more attractive to pick by adding a quest.

 

Level 4

ARK Reactor (removed)

Hired Goons (removed)

(Q) Clockwerk Steam Fists (unchanged)

(Q) Scrappy Turrets: Turrets gain 25 armor while Gazlowe is within their attack range.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (unchanged)

(Passive) Skedaddle!: Increase movement speed bonus from scrap collected to 15% for 3 seconds. Increases scrap duration by 5 seconds. Increases his trait’s stack cap from 3 to 4.

 

Analysis: This tier keeps Gazlowe's best talents while giving him an option to upgrade his trait. The trait upgrade is intentionally on the same tier as RRR and CSF in order to limit its synergy.

Scrappy turrets is a replacement for Hired Goons. 25 armor on turrets will help tank mercenary camps and bosses, just as Hired Goons did, but the talent now has utility outside of jungling. The armor bonus applies to the droppable turret on certain maps.

 

Level 7

(Q) Rock-It! Turret XL (unchanged)

(Q) Engine Gunk (unchanged)

(Q) Welcome to the Jungle: The cast range of Q is increased to 3. Instead of placing active turrets on the ground, inactive turrets are buried upon placement. Activate to bring all turrets online. (Buried turrets do not attack or provide vision. Turrets cannot be targeted unless revealed by the enemy or activated.)

(Passive) Goblin Ingenuity: The mana cost of Deth Lazor is reduced by 20; Xplodium Charge by 15; Rock-It! Turret by 5.

 

Analysis: Since fast-charging of Deth Lazor has been moved to baseline, the mana reduction from Hyperfocus Coils is moved into Goblin Ingenuity. The level 7 tier frees Gazlowe to cast more spells, or he can specialize his turrets.

 

Level 10

Robo-Goblin (unchanged)

Grav-O-Bomb 3000: After a 2 second delay, pull enemies towards the center of an area and deal 251 damage. (increase radius by 5%)

 

Analysis: Grav-O-Bomb is too large at level 20, but too small at level 10. A 5% increase in radius may be enough to improve Grav-O at level 10. At level 20, the radius of Miniature Black Hole will be reduced by 5% from its current size.

 

Level 13

(W) EZ-PZ Dimensional Ripper: Deth Lazor slows enemies by 40% and freezes non-heroes for 3 seconds. (10% overall slow reduction)

(W) Goblin Fusion: Deth Lazor deals 100% increased damage over 2 seconds. (removes additional charge time)

(E) Xtra Large Bombs (unchanged)

 

Analysis: the 50% slow from Dimensional Ripper already makes it the best talent at this tier currently, and paired with baseline cast speed improvement to Deth Lazor, it would become even more powerful. The slow is reduced to 40% for 3 seconds. It disables minions and structures as before.

The damage ceiling of Goblin Fusion is 20% lower due to the 10% nerf to Deth Lazor at baseline, but the double damage will apply immediately rather than having to wait for a fully charged laser in order to see the effect. Overall, this change makes Goblin Fusion a more attractive choice than before because it gives him the option of having a true fast-cast skill shot.

Since W and E upgrades now potentially stack with new turret upgrades at level 1 and 4, this could become an overpowering zone build. However, if Gazlowe upgraded his turrets at all previous tiers, he will be hamstrung by mana to prevent spell spamming and turret cycling.

 

Level 16

(Q) Turret Storage (unchanged)

Superior Schematics (moved to level 1)

(W) Scrap The Shielding: The next Deth Lazor Gazlowe casts deals 50% increased damage. Gazlowe and nearby allies are irradiated for 160 damage. (Activated, 60 second cooldown).

(E) Kwik Release Charge (unchanged)

(Passive) Grease Monkey: When Gazlowe is within a turret’s radius, his movement and attack speed are increased by 5% and nearby enemies are slowed by 5%. Stacks up to three times.

Analysis: I wanted to add talents to 16 that would be alternatives to having an extra turret or bomb, which are probably still the best choices in most situations. Scrap The Shielding adds a big punch to the Deth Lazor on a 60 second cooldown. Grease Monkey is meant for games where Gaz is stuck in the scrum with melee enemies and needs to survive long enough for his teammates to stack their damage. Paired with Gazlowe’s re-worked trait and the movement bonus from Robo-Goblin, he will be notably slippery while giving the clamps.

 

Level 20

Mecha-Lord: Activate to gain 40 armor and 30% movement speed for 4 seconds. Passive: Increase basic attack damage versus heroes by 100%. Increase armor by 20. (-5 to passive armor and removal of PvE damage bonus)

Miniature Black Hole: Increase Grav-o-Bomb radius by 15% and damage by 50% (5% overall radius reduction)

Firin’ Mah Lazorz: The cast range of Rock-It! Turret is increased by 3 (stacks with level 7 talent Welcome to the Jungle). Firing Deth Lazor causes all of Gazlowe’s Rock-It! Turrets to fire an untalented Deth Lazor of their own that deals 128 damage.

It's Raining Scrap: Activate to create 5 scrap in front of Gazlowe over 5 seconds.

 

Analysis: Mecha-Lord is one of the highest winrate talents in the game. I'm nerfing it here by reducing the passive armor from 25 to 20 so that Gazlowe goes from mildly immortal to merely super goblin. Note that this rework gives Gazlowe the potential for further armor boosts from active scrap manipulation.

I also removed the PvE bonus damage completely because it isn’t fun to play against an enemy that can simply backdoor your keeps and destroy them before you can respond. I have done this countless times and I’m sure it feels as bad for my opponents as when Azmodan does it to my team with Demonic Invasion. Gaz will still have the firepower to take down a keep or a late-game boss if left unchecked, but at least now opponents have a chance to glance at the mini map and run over there. This removal completes the transition of Gazlowe from his early PVE-oriented design to a multi-purpose assassin.

Firin’ Mah Lazorz: The idea behind Firin’ Mah Lazorz is really. freaking. cool. In the same way that Hanzo’s Scatter Arrow introduces a unique game mechanic into HotS, Firin’ Mah Lazorz operates like nothing else in the game. You aim your hero while simultaneously aiming multiple other weapons from other locations. They will all fire in the direction you release, but they have the potential to hit targets in various locations since they will fire through each other. I think the HotS team could create an entire hero around this mechanic, yet in practice, we rarely see it in-game.

The problem: Although this talent has a solid winrate, it is very niche, and usually serves in a “win more” capacity, because in order to get value from it, Gazlowe is required to have time to set up turrets - a luxury he rarely has when playing from behind.

The primary change made to this talent is to increase the cast range of Rock-It turrets, which enables Gazlowe to set up turrets a little faster, a little more strategically, and make it easier to set up traps against his opponents, particularly when paired with Gazlowe’s level 7 talent, Welcome to the Jungle. Note that the damage output of Firin’ Mah Lazorz is lower due to the baseline damage reduction of Deth Lazor.

It’s Raining Scrap: IRS is a rarely picked talent, in part because the mechanic of scraps dropped randomly around Gazlowe isn't helpful. Dropping the scrap directly in front of Gazlowe means he will be able to use the scrap when he intends to. The synergy of this mechanic with Gazlowe’s reworked trait could make for some fun plays.

 


 

These changes should give players talent build paths which amplify his four core tools, without leaving him hamstrung from using some abilities altogether. He is more powerful in the early game but his level 20 talents are less oppressive. Change to his trait increases his skill ceiling, although some numbers may still have to be tweaked depending on how well players are able to take advantage of his new movement and armor bonuses.

Thanks for reading. Any comments appreciated.

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthestorm/comments/dpobbg/gazlowe_and_the_salvager_curse_balance_rework/

https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthestorm/comments/8uqhta/ideas_for_a_gazlowe_rework/

https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthestorm/comments/c1wx6h/heroes_of_the_storm_ama_june_20_2019/ernizkg/

https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/heroes/t/rework-concept-gazlowe/829

 

EDIT: Thanks to arguments made in the comments, I've made two adjustments to the proposed rework: extended the cast time of Goblin Fusion from 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds, and reduced base turret damage by 5. Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

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