By Greg Dempsey
July 20, 2018
Everyone knows that Heroes of the Storm is a different type of MOBA. It doesn’t have last-hitting, or gold, or equipment, opting for different forms of progression. It even has plenty of maps with tons of different objectives and playstyles, something games like League of Legends (and especially Dota 2) don’t mess with ever. The real stars of the different MOBA feel, though, are the specialists.
Like other MOBAs, Heroes of the Storm likes to classify its heroes into multiple different categories, with assassin being the typical carry role, warrior being the class that represents bruisers and tanks, and support being, well, support. The fourth class is specialist, which is a catch-all that represents any hero that doesn’t easily fit into these categories. As you can guess, these heroes are usually interesting and a total blast to play because they can lead your team into some off-the-wall situations.
As of now, there are twelve of them, but the Heroes roster is ever-expanding. You can expect more of them because they represent the crazy-fun design exploration of Blizzard.
Here are our five picks for the best and most fun Heroes of the Storm specialist heroes.
If you love the feeling of shooting down towers and sieging buildings like no one’s business, SGT. Hammer is the hero for you.
Her specialist gimmick is that she can root herself down in her tank-turret to gain increased range (and other effects depending on your talent build). She is used for incredible lane pressure and isn’t bad in a team fight either. If left unchecked, she can deal serious damage to anyone she pleases—provided her teammates give her the vision she needs to auto attack.
She also has a unique ultimate, in the form of an orbiting missile. She decides the trajectory in a straight line across the entire map, and it will come back every minute. This is an amazing pressure tool in maps that favor longer games because if she sends it across the lane, it will continually damage every building in that lane. She can siege in places that she isn’t even occupying, which is incredibly valuable in an objective-based game like Heroes.
All of the “summoner” hero archetypes are popular, but for this list, we had to pick the most iconic of the role: Azmodan. His skillset is the unique, as he is incredibly reliant on his summons, and even the builds that talent for his non-summon abilities still relies wholeheartedly on them.
Azmodan loves to summon minions of hell, using generals and lieutenant demons to push alongside natural creep waves. He can make death puddles that buff his allies, and in team fights, he can death-ray carries with a channeled effect.
He’s the summoner that loves to push, manipulating waves in between team fights to create disadvantageous positions for his enemies. Even if they win the fight, their lanes are getting pushed, and they can’t rely on picks because they can’t capitalize against the non-stop pressure. He gets to whittle down opponents with his minions, forcing them to take bad damage trades in “poke” skirmishes. This is something that makes him a little bit different than, say, Xul or Nazeebo, who are more team fight oriented.
He is also famous for an ability that drops a delayed orb of dark energy on his opponents, which led to the creation of the legendary skin “Azmodunk.” It gives him a jersey, a basketball, and some neat little effects on his minions.
Ah, there are summoners, and then there are builders. Probius is the premier “builder” type hero, taking the crown from the turret-builder Gazlowe.
Probius has a few natural combat abilities, like a projectile and some slowing crowd control, but the real “meat” of his kit lies in Photon Cannon and his passive, which spawns Pylons.
Pylons give Probius energy regeneration, encouraging him to create a “field” where he is powerful. He guards them with Photon Cannons, which can only be placed near Pylons. His heroic ability can either power up the Pylons or have a significant area-denial effect in Null Gate; he is one of the best heroes at controlling where a fight takes place because players end up eating so much incremental damage from his abilities.
If you like building, kiting, and being a cute little orb guy, definitely give Probius a shot. He is unique enough that he’s worth a couple of matches, even if you don’t have any experience with other specialist heroes.
Abathur doesn’t get into the action. At all. He hangs back and is never actually present in a team fight. He’s a mastermind hero that makes you feel like you’re playing a strategy game instead of a regular MOBA.
He attaches a symbiote, often affectionately referred to as a “hat,” to allied units, allowing him to spit poison and shield them. He also spawns mines that he can use for area control. In this way, he’s like a support, but he also has pushing ability through his passive, which spawns locust that goes down the lane.
His ultimate can either spawn a mega-creep type unit or clone a hero unit for him to play as. In this way, he can be very complicated, because it requires you to be aware of all the heroes on your team. You don’t want to clone Tracer and then not know how to play her, for example.
Like we said before, Abathur doesn’t jump in the fray. He doesn’t want to “be found” hiding in a bush or behind a couple of towers, because he moves like a slug (literally) and has an incredibly low health pool. If someone catches sight of him, he’s likely toast, and it often becomes a priority to kill him.
He’s worth trying for how unique he is.
Murky is annoying. No two ways about it. He’s annoying to play as, and he’s annoying to play against.
But that’s not a bad thing.
Murky is a hero that’s based around quick respawn timers and being able to control map presence. His life is only “worth” a quarter of normal hero lives—you only get 0.25 of a kill on the scoreboard, and an equivalent amount of experience. Instead, he plants an egg that chooses where he will respawn, and if you want to give him a “normal” death timer, you must kill the egg.
So, he ends up being a nuisance that pushes non-stop and forces you to deal with him. If you don’t, he starts taking a lot of towers and building up great XP advantages for his team…if you do, so what, you got ¼ of a kill, and he comes right back. That’s the beauty of Murky.
His damage is nothing to scoff at, either. He can easily duel unprepared heroes and is a nightmare to lane against if you don’t have the range or sustain to deal with him. In team fights, he can either have a stunlock ult or a “March of the Murlocs,” which is just some big area-of-effect damage.
We have to give a last-minute shout out to TLV, one of the most unique heroes in the game. They are currently the only “retro” Blizzard rep, as they represent their old PC game of the same name.
The Lost Vikings are three separately-controlled characters. One is a “tank,” with regenerating health, one is a “carry,” with high-damage thrown swords, and one is a “scout,” with increased mobility and low damage and health. They all can be controlled independently, RTS style, and can share “common” abilities if talented (like a spin, a jump, or ultimates that group them together).
Here’s why they’re fantastic: each separate Viking can collect XP across multiple lanes if they are separated. In this way, you can allow your team to attempt to 4v5 an objective while you have a Viking in each lane, or occupy a lane while you send two of them to fight mercenary camps…you can do all sorts of fun things with them to generate a lot of positional advantage and keep your team ahead on levels.
Like Murky, each Viking is only worth 0.25 of a kill, so even if your Vikings get wiped or ganked (which happens a lot), it doesn’t cause that much negative consequence. One of their heroic abilities also allows you to respawn them on the fly, which means you can punish them with a surprise push or an unfavorable team fight.
They are challenging to play but very rewarding to play well, especially in PUBs where the enemy does not know how to face them. That’s the common link among all specialist heroes: their unique qualities make them unorthodox and hard to fight by conventional means. Get out there and try these heroes—you won’t regret it!
Tags: Heroes of the Storm