HGC Digest Week 3: Blaze and Tyrael are Setting Fire to the Meta
Week 3 has come and gone in the Heroes Global Championship, which means we are over halfway through Phase 1. As teams are fighting for their spots in the Eastern and Western Clashes, we’re seeing a few shake ups in the meta, primarily for Warriors. A closer look at the rise of Blaze and Tyrael can show us their versatility as well as regional differences.
New Warrior: Seeking Numerous Roles
Across the three major regions (HGC Korea, HGC Europe, HGC North America), Blaze was picked 28 times and banned in four other games. To put this in perspective, Blaze was picked only nine times during his debut in Week 2. The Firebat wrapped up this week with a 46% win rate across all regions combined, but found the most success in Europe.
“He’s probably the most flexible tank right now,” Francisco ‘Goku’ Avalos revealed during his post-series interview after Team Twelve defeated Gale Force eSports 3-1 on Saturday. “He can actually play both main tank and off-tank so props to the Blizzard team. He feels pretty good.”
Blaze served both roles throughout the weekend, even appearing three times as a solo Warrior. As a secondary Warrior, Blaze is excelling at wave clear due to the talent Incinerator Gauntlets at Level 7 and can bully a lane with his high health pool and recovery. With Oil Spill providing slows, options for gaining armor, a safety net in Bunker Drop and a stun/disengage tool with Jet Propulsion, Blaze has a lot of utility. He is being paired with just about every other competitive Warrior in the meta, and is typically replacing Leoric, Arthas, and Sonya.
Inevitably, when a new Warrior rises in the meta, another falls. Sonya’s basic attack damage and Poisoned Spear damage were reduced with the January 24 patch, and with those changes her participation has plummeted across all regions. She was picked up in only three games total during Week 3, a drastic drop from 19 games in Week 2. In Korea, Tempest used Sonya in seven of their nine games during Weeks 1 and 2, but only picked her once in their eight Week 3 games.
A Fresh Coat of Paint
Along with Blaze’s rise to prominence, Tyrael saw a significant uptick in participation across the board this week. Week 3 in HGC was the first time Tyrael’s rework was available for pro play, and teams are now highly prioritizing the Archangel of Justice. Tyrael was picked up for 43 games across all three regions this weekend, and was banned 11 more times. In the vast majority of the games he was chosen for, he was picked early on before the second ban phase, and all 11 of his banned games were in the first ban phase.
Overall, Tyrael was given a health boost, mana cost reductions across the board, and strong synergy in talents for when El’Druin’s Might is active. With the rework in place, we are seeing a lot more variance in the talent choices for Tyrael after Justice for All at Level 1.
Korea seems to favor Bound by Law at Level 4, while Europe gravitates towards Stalwart Angel. While Europe mostly picks Reciprocate at Level 7, Korea chooses Swift Retribution. North American players seem to be a blend of these two styles. Additionally, Holy Ground had a massive presence throughout the weekend, but beginning on Saturday the Level 13 talent Law and Order began to be a consistent choice.
Other Notable Highlights from Week 3
- At the end of Week 3, Team Dignitas stands alone as the only team to avoid dropping a map: Tempest lost a map each to Feliz and Ballistix while Ballistix lost three to Tempest.
- In Europe, Method made a solid statement for 3rd place by defeating Team Liquid 3-0 in a short series on Sunday.
- Tracer was extremely popular in HGC Europe this weekend, appearing in 80% of the matches with eight picks and eight bans. Following strong showings from Simon ‘scHwimpi’ Svensson on Method, Tracer completed Week 3 with a 63% win rate in Europe.
- In North America, HeroesHearth Esports proved that they belonged with the pros with a 3-1 upset over Team Twelve.