Heroes Of The Storm – Burning The Nexus

There can be little doubt that Heroes fans have been clamouring for the OG Firebat of Starcraft fame to drop into the Nexus like a flaming wrecking ball for quite some time. And at long last, our dreams came true when Cpl. Blaze Lewis was revealed.

I have had a bit of time to play around with Blaze, a ranged warrior/tank class with a penchant for setting the world on fire over the past week, and so I thought I’d break down the latest Hero and how he fits in the ever-evolving HOTS landscape.

It’s been a fun ride exploring just how he handles in the current meta as well as jumping out of my usual support and specialist class comfort zone. With Blaze currently sitting on a 47.2% overall win rate /28.4% popularity scale according to HOTS Complete, it’s interesting to see how a tank-like Blaze handled on the current rotation of battlegrounds.

To put it into perspective, this is the full kit our favourite Firebat is running:

Basic Abilities

  • Flame Stream (Q)
    • Fire two streams that deal 83 damage to enemies hit. Flame Stream Ignites Oil Spills it comes in contact with.
      • Cost: 25
      • Cooldown: 4
  • Oil Spill (W)
    • Vector targeted ability. Dispense a slick of oil that lasts for 5 seconds and Slows enemies that come in contact with it by 40%. Oil Spills are Ignited for 2.4 seconds when hit by Flame Stream. Ignited Oil Spills no longer Slow enemies, but instead deal 18 damage to them every 0.3 seconds. Additionally, Blaze is healed for 49 Health every 0.3 seconds while standing in Ignited Oil Spills. Stores up to 2 Charges.
      • Cost: 40
      • Charges: 2
      • Cooldown: 12
  • Jet Propulsion (E)
    • After 0.5 seconds, charge forward. Colliding with an enemy Hero deals 53 damage and Stuns them and nearby enemy Heroes for 1.25 seconds.
      • Cost: 50
      • Cooldown: 12

Traits

  • Pyromania (D)
    • Gain 25 Armour and deal 40 damage to nearby enemies every 0.5 seconds for 4 seconds. Each Hero hit by Flame Stream reduces Pyromania’s cooldown by 5 seconds.
      • Hotkey: D
      • Cooldown: 90

Heroic Abilities

  • Bunker Drop (R1)
    • After 0.5 seconds, deploy and enter a Bunker with 1300 Health. Blaze and his allies can enter and exit the Bunker at will. While in the Bunker, occupants gain access to Flamethrower, dealing 179 damage to enemies in a line. Exiting the Bunker grants 25 Armour for 2 seconds. Bunkers last 10 seconds or until destroyed.
      • Cost: 40
      • Cooldown: 40
  • Combustion (R2)
    • Channel for up to 2.6 seconds. Upon ending, Slow nearby enemies by 60% and deal 48 damage to them every 0.5 seconds. Combustion’s Slow and damage over time duration is extended the longer Blaze Channels, from 1 second up to 5 seconds. Blaze’s Movement Speed is reduced by 50% while Channelling.
      • Cost: 70
      • Cooldown: 80

Talents

Hero Level (Tier) Talent Description
1 Adrenaline Stimpack Activate to gain 100% Attack Speed and 25% Movement Speed for 5 seconds.
1 Endurance Stimpack Activate to gain a Shield that absorbs 450 damage over 5 seconds.
1 Neural Stimpack Activate to gain 50 Mana and cause Ability cooldowns to recharge 100% faster for 5 seconds.
1 New Habits Collecting Regeneration Globes reduces the cooldown of Pyromania by 5 seconds.

Quest: Collect 15 Regeneration Globes

 

Reward: Pyromania grants Unstoppable for 2 seconds.

4 [Q] Feeding the Flame Each enemy Hero hit by Flame Stream reduces the cooldown of Oil Spill by 1.5 seconds.
4 Adhesive Petroleum [W] Enemies standing in Oil Spill when it is Ignited are Slowed by 30% for 2.5 seconds.
4 Oil Dispersal [W] Increase Oil Spill’s area by 20% and Slow amount by 10%.
4 Meltdown Hitting an enemy Hero with Pyromania reduces their damage dealt by 5% for 2.5 seconds, up to 30%.
7 Crossfire [Q] Hitting an enemy with both streams of Flame Stream deals 132 bonus damage.
7 Grill and Kill  [W] Quest: Damage enemy Heroes with Ignited Oil Spills 60 times.

Reward: Increase Oil Spill’s Pyromania duration by 2 seconds, and damage by 25%

7 Incinerator Gauntlets Increase Basic Attack area by 15% and Basic Attack damage to Minions, Mercenaries, and Monsters by 50%. Additionally, Basic Attack splashes Pyromania Oil Spills
10 Bunker Drop [R1] After 0.5 seconds, deploy and enter a Bunker with 1300 Health. Blaze and his allies can enter and exit the Bunker at will. While in the Bunker,occupants gain access to Flamethrower, dealing 179 damage to enemies in a line. Exiting the Bunker grants 25 Armour for 2 seconds. Bunkers last 10 seconds, or until destroyed.
10 Combustion [R2] Channel for up to 2.6 seconds. Upon ending, Slow nearby enemies by 60% and deal 48 damage to them every 0.5 seconds. Combustion’s Slow and damage overtime duration is extended the longer Blaze Channels, from 1 second up to 5 seconds. Blaze’s Movement Speed is reduced by 50% while Channelling.
13 Suppressive Fire [Q] Each stream of Flame Stream reduces the Spell Power of Heroes hit by 15% for 4 seconds, up to 30%
13 Nanomachine Coating [W] Enemies standing in Oil Spills have their Attack Speed reduced by 40% for 2.5 seconds.
13 Fuel Leak [E] Jet Propulsion creates Oil Spills along Blaze’s path. If Jet Propulsion impacts an enemy Hero, an additional Oil Spill is created underneath them
16 Thermal Protection [E] Each enemy hit by Jet Propulsion grants 10 Armour for 3 seconds and reduces its cooldown by 2 seconds.
16 Heat Treatment Heal for 75% of the damage dealt by Pyromania
16 Juggernaut Plating Activate to gain 50 Spell Armour for 3 seconds. Upon expiration, gain a Shield equal to 100% of the Spell Damage reduced by Juggernaut Plating.
20 Fortified Bunker [R1] Occupants can cast Oil Spill from Bunker Drop every 6 seconds. Additionally, Bunker Drop’s Armour bonus upon exiting is increased by 25, and its duration by 1 second.
20 Flash Fire [R2] While Channelling Combustion, Blaze’s Movement Speed is no longer reduced, and nearby enemies are Slowed by 60%.
20 Burn Notice Basic Attacks Slow enemies by 5% and deal an additional 18 damage over 2.5 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.

 

While all hero talent tier options can be situational, my favourite build for Blaze ended up being as follows:

Tier 01. Neural Stimpack – Activate to gain 50 Mana and cause Ability cooldowns to recharge 100% faster for 5 seconds.

Tier 04. Adhesive Petroleum – Enemies standing in Oil Spill when it is Ignited are Slowed by 30% for 2.5 seconds.

Tier 07. Grill and Kill –

Quest: Damage enemy Heroes with Ignited Oil Spills 60 times.

Reward: Increase Oil Spill’s Pyromania duration by 2 seconds, and damage by 25%

Tier 10. Combustion – Channel for up to 2.6 seconds. Upon ending, Slow nearby enemies by 60% and deal 48 damage to them every 0.5 seconds. Combustion’s Slow and damage overtime duration is extended the longer Blaze

Tier 13. Fuel Leak – Jet Propulsion creates Oil Spills along Blaze’s path. If Jet Propulsion impacts an enemy Hero, an additional Oil Spill is created underneath them

Tier 16. Heat Treatment – Heal for 75% of the damage dealt by Pyromania

Tier 20. Flash Fire – While Channelling Combustion, Blaze’s Movement Speed is no longer reduced, and nearby enemies are Slowed by 60%.

Blaze is great at zoning out on maps like Warhead Junction and Dragonshire, and his oil slick and flame stream can provide some pretty great cover for capturing points under fire (pun intended). In the games I rolled in with a few buddies, we were rocking out a Lt. Morales and Tracer combo. With the slowing effect amped up from Tier 04 talent Adhesive Petroleum, we had Tracer coming in for a kill every time on over-eager enemy heroes. Morales is always great at sustaining and once I was at Tier 16, with Heat Treatment I had no trouble at all soaking up multiple damage sources for my team in the late game.

Burn baby burn, BUNKER INFERNO

His quest Grill and Kill which is unlocked at tier 07 did take some time to build on my first few runs with Blaze, but providing my other teammates helped to zone in enemies for me to ignite it became quite a speedy process.

I never saw the need to use his level 10 tier ability Bunker Drop. I still can’t see any reasonable use for it unless maybe to soak up an enemy team’s level 10 tier ability. I did play a game as my usual support role (Alexstrasza) and we had a Blaze on our team as the sole tank class, whenever he would pop Bunker Drop it became more of a nuisance than anything as entering the bunker is so easy to do when you actually want to stay in the fight (especially if you are trying to heal the hell out of everybody).

My initial thoughts on Blaze are that he is a lot of fun to play, but I’m yet to see just how popular he will become with such a specialised kit. With the HGC Open Division coming up at the end of the month I’m very curious to see if the original Firebat will see some play in the forever shifting pro meta.

Get slicked

Although he has been gaming since the Sega Mega Drive launched in 1990, he still sucks at most games. When not being trash he watches French horror films, drinks herbal tea and secretly loves the music of Taylor Swift.