Thursday, September 3, 2015

Heroes of the Storm - A Guide to Maps by CarlTheLlama

Hi there, I’m CarlTheLlama, one of the top support mains who you may have seen on some of the popular streams, in tournaments, etc., captain of Beyond Reason which in its heyday placed 3rd/4th in NA. I made a map by map mini-guide that I used to update as each map came out, but forgot to update for Battlefield, so I haven’t released a new version since Beta. Here’s fixing that :)

These are some guidelines I made for myself while climbing from my starting Elo. Think of them as a tips & tricks type thing, or a general guide for each map. Please note that the best players learn the rules, then learn how to break them; these guidelines can help, but you still need to use your own judgement to know when to choose another option.

Haunted Mines:
  • In general, mercs are weak on this map. They don’t go to the same lane as golems, and they don’t push as fast as your golem will (generally), so they end up largely being a waste of time- especially knights. The best way to use for mercs (generally) is to cap the easy camp as the golem is about to start attacking your base, so that they help DPS it down.
  • One of the best ways to start snowballing on this map is to have level 4 (a talent level) when going into the first mines. The best way to achieve this is to put 4 men in your golem lane, with 1 person in the enemy’s golem lane, and try to push down their wall before the first mines, or group gank the other lane. The 1 person you put to soak in your weak lane should be someone who can soak without much danger, and clear relatively well. Tassadar is best since he can do this and also shield buildings.
  • When Golems spawn, it’s often the case that you can split your team up into 2 groups- 1 per golem. When this is the case, it’s best to leave DPS(s) to work through the enemy golem, with supports and tanks helping your own golem. The number of players at each golem? Roughly 1 person per 20 skulls, although this is going to vary a LOT on comps, who is ahead, and whether or not you got fatties, or whether its good to split up at all.
Garden of Terror:
  • The neutral terrors really don’t do much damage at all, especially with the regen globes they drop counteracting their damage. Under the right circumstances (the other 8 players are out of the picture), you really only need 2 people to work on a terror. Or, if you have a 5v4, 4v3, etc. it’s not that dangerous to work on it, just be mindful of its abilities, and which cooldowns you use on it while dancing with the enemy team.
  • When both teams have terrors, fighting at the border of the enemy’s buildings is advantageous, as opposed to fighting at your own buildings, due to the plant building CC + damage.
  • When deciding whether to place a plant over the wall (to hit both the gate towers and the fort/keep), only do so if the plant will be safe there for 3 seconds. Otherwise place it as far back as you can while still having it hit the wall, so you can protect it for the full duration. If the enemy team is willing to teamfight against your terror, lure them into a choke (such as the gate the plant is working down) where the Q will wreck them.
  • Plants make backdooring really rewarding, and since you can get more exp + catapults from taking a keep, this should be one of the first options you consider with your terror. If they try to base trade with terrors, this is one way to come out ahead (killing a keep rather than a fort). Also, if you’re ahead on base, but behind on experience, doing this can help catch you up in that area before you start losing teamfights.
  • Due to the fact that plants wreck mercs, you should really not do mercs right before the enemy spawns a terror. The best time to do them is right as night is falling so you can get ahead in the seed count, or get free push while going even on seeds.
Dragon Shire:
  • DK is great at pushing waves with flame breath, and the damage he does to buildings makes saving his hp very worthwhile. Clear the wave, and enter with your own wave to tank damage, especially if you’re going directly onto a fort/keep which will slows your autos.
  • For most levels of SoloQ, I think its best to have the tank drive DK if possible. Then your comp and positioning are largely unchanged and you minimize unforced errors. The person you want driving DK the least is your support.
  • Most people mess up on Shire by focusing too much on getting Dragon Knight fast. The reality is, you mostly have to control all areas of the map to get DK. If you’re ahead early, focus on controlling one area at a time, and then gradually branching out. Conversely, if you’re behind and your enemy reaches for too much, focusing on one lane will keep them from getting DK, and likely get you some kills to come back as they spread themselves too thin.
Blackheart’s Bay
  • Concentrating coins on 1-2 people is best, so that you can turn in easily, control your risks better in teamfights, and when need be sacrifice one life to save another with coins, and keep 6 instead of losing 3. You’ll want these coins to be on people that are easy to keep alive: Rehgar, Tass, etc.
  • If you clear a wave and have even just a few seconds, getting coin camps is very rewarding, especially if you can get the coins on the people who already have them. Choosing this over getting a little damage on their towers or some harass for lane will mean winning more often.
  • As the game wears on a bit, and your damage values go up, it can be rewarding to push a little bit more, and lower the number of shots a structure needs to take to die. For example, getting an ability or two off on a tower can save you a cannon ball, which is worth about 1.25 coins. If you spread your damage right, you can easily get 2.5 coins worth of efficiency instead of 2 coins which you may or may not be able cash in.
Cursed Hollow
  • Soak and Poke is the name of the game (early on). Tributes, at least in their current form, are the weakest objective by far, and it’s more worthwhile to soak experience from all lanes, and poke the enemy off the tribute a little bit, wasting as much of their time as possible. Basically, you need to get 3 tributes before you get anything from that investment at all, and once you do, curse is pretty weak. If the enemy team curses you, and you have a higher level from soaking experience, they aren’t going to win a teamfight, and therefore can’t push on you as 5. If they don’t push as 5, you can match their numbers across lanes, and they will lose experience from your minions dying instantly.
  • Play the chokes! When fighting over tributes, sit in open areas, and attack your enemies as they come through narrow ones. Either you or someone else on your team will have abilities that benefit from this, and it allows you to face your enemies one at a time instead of all at once.
  • When you do get curses, you might want to push a little bit, but you should definitely plan things so that you can take a boss before it ends, and if you still have hp/mana bars, go get the second boss as well- your enemies will have to either let you get both, or let the first one tear up their base unopposed.
Sky Temple
  • Temples do a LOT of damage. Usually there’s a little bit of tradeoff between soaking experience and going for objectives, but temples just do too much to sacrifice any of their damage for soak. The exception to this rule would be if there is only 1 temple, and all 5 of the enemy team is at it, in which case soaking all 3 lanes and pushing one hard yourself works just fine, but that’s pretty unreliable
  • Take note of when the last shots are fired from the last temple in the set. 2 minutes after that point is when the next set of temples will spawn.Try to take mercs shortly before the next temple spawns on the opposite side of the map from that temple. For example, usually you should cap your knights at about 4:20 (no joke), so that they push top while you go bot for the temple.
  • It’s best to have a 3 man lane (and 2 1-man lanes) that you rotate with the temples: first top, then bot, then mid, changing after each temple is used up. To clear a temple you need to have one more person at it then the enemy team does (so if they have 0, you only need 1). Less and you won’t be able to control it, more and you’ll be wasting resources and likely getting out-soaked, out-pushed, or out-merced.
  • If a temple is being contested, let you enemies have the initial shots from it, while they tank the damage from the guardians, and split their damage between you and the guardians. If you're harassing them during this time it should eventually be easy to wipe them and take more than 50% of the temple's damage.
Tomb of the Spider Queen:
  • Much like Blackhearts, hoarding gems can lead to more efficiency with them late game, with some key differences. (1) Webweavers divide their push across all lanes, which can get you all of the enemy team’s wells on (potentially) a single turn in, and that’s a big deal for giving you mid and late game power. (2) Gems are far more loseable than coins. If you die with them more than half the time you don’t get any back, since kills don’t return gems like they do coins. (3) There are two turn in points, making it generally easier to turn in so that you don’t have to lose gems. (4) Unlike cannonballs, webweavers scale with game time, so while saving gems for a late game turn in does technically give you more efficiency, percentage wise it’s not as rewarding as hoarding on Blackhearts (assuming you push down forts yourself so that cannons push the keeps).
So to put it all together- hoarding on Spider Queen is even weaker than Blackhearts, and it’s only situationally effective there.
  • A good way to boost webweavers is to get close to a turn in (maybe be 5 gems short) then wait until you get a kill to get the last turn in, and then get a merc camp before weavers spawn to overwhelm a lane.
  • The goal with weavers is to grab up as much free xp as possible. For example, getting both towers on a gate gives as much XP as a fort, but is much quicker to do. Depending on how much damage you already have on gates when turn-in happens, you’ll want to spread out into 2 or maybe 3 lanes and get 2-3 walls. The next turn in you want to get 2-3 forts, then the next 2-3 keep walls, etc.
  • Webweavers slowly time out, like a Garden Terror’s W, so if you see one at low health on the opposite side of the map, it’s not worth your time to go finish it off.
Battlefield of Eternity
  • Sustain is a really big deal on this map. Picking characters with it will help you some, but most importantly you need to constantly re-evaluate whether you have enough hp/mana to stick around. This is becauses the immortals and the fights around them take so long that you will run out of mana eventually, and it doesn’t matter how many levels you have on your opponent, if you don’t have mana (or hp) you will be at a disadvantage. To avoid this, look for chances to recall/tap well whenever you get a break from fighting, BEFORE you get low. A good rule of thumb might be “if you get a kill, dump a round of spells on the enemy immortal, and then recall and come back,” depending on how long it takes to get said kill.
  • Because immortals will go to the least pushed lane, early on sending 4-5 people to the opposite lane as your immortal is generally effective, because either you or your immortal will get some uncontested push, and going for guaranteed gains is how you start a snowball, not going for crazy gains right away. As the game goes on, it’s more worthwhile to push with the immortal to focus the push. Along these lines, getting both forward taps is a very big deal on this map because of sustained fights issues.
  • Merc camps being different on this map makes it a little easier to take the hard camp, and makes it more worthwhile once you have it. Conversely, the easy camp is still good but not as strong as on the older maps. On those maps easies are absurdly good, while hard is not very worth it, however that order is upset on Battlefield, and the power is distributed to each camp as it should be (this of course applies to Infernal Shrines as well). Capping mercs when neutral immortals spawn is the best time, once a team secures their immortal and it is charging up is the second best time, and as soon as a camp respawns is the third best time.
  • While in general its more dangerous to fight around an enemy immortal, you can very often sucker people into chokes, particularly with fog, and get the enemy team separated by doing tactical bait-retreats. Since you’re already at their immortal, they’re more likely to let themselves get suckered into this kind of bait with their false sense of security from their immortal.
Infernal Shrines
  • Early game champions with non-ultimate AOE spells rock this map. Early game because punishers are powerful and spawn often, AOE because you can clean up lots of the minions while putting damage on enemy champions at the fights. It’s simple to play around, but has a huge impact, so will likely get changed soon due to the imbalance.
  • Punishers need to be pushed with to optimize them. If you’re with your punisher you get to kill champions he jumps on, or push down base while they’re fighting for their lives. If you try to push elsewhere, he’s not going to do anything.
  • Fighting at shrines you should heavily prioritize fighting champions over clearing minions, since you can’t clear minions quickly enough to “rush” the objective due to the rate new minions spawn. Therefore, putting spells into clearing minions is just going to be a waste of resources which will cause you to lose the fight, and then your opponents just clean up the rest of the objective.
If you know the right thing to do, and everyone else on your team is doing something different, go with them and do their thing. Sometimes you can bring them around, but if it doesn’t come easily it’s not worth forcing. For the most part you should go with the flow, even when you hate it. Having a single bad plan is better than having three good ones.

Thanks for your time, I know you could have been pwning noobs with it instead ;) I don't stream that often, but I like to answer questions on it when I do, and you can find it here. Whenever I stream or make content I post it on my facebook and twitter.


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