Team Freedom’s Nazmas on D.Va’s Flexible Disruption
Any Heroes of the Storm game can be a D.Va game, according to Team Freedom’s Phillipe ‘Nazmas’ Laberge. The numbers agree with him as he has a staggering 88% win rate with the hero so far in Phase 2. While most teams have struggled to find consistent success with D.Va, Team Freedom continually shows how powerful her unique brand of disruption can be in nearly any composition.
“What I like a lot about D.Va is her capacity of adapting to many different situations,” Nazmas told us. “You can peel for your damage dealer, follow up on a big combo, Defense Matrix their biggest damage dealer to save your teammates, or even just create chaos in their line to win time for your team to catch a kill.”
The key to his successful D.Va play fits in line with Team Freedom’s overall style. In a word, control. They control map objectives, team fights, and overall battleground presence to make sure they’re ready to press an advantage as soon as they recognize it. Her Self-Destruct can zone out an entire team from an objective or dissuade them from pressing a siege, and it can also separate the enemy during a team fight. But not every battleground is necessarily a good D.Va map.
“There is never a terrible situation for her, but it’s mostly about if I can get more value from my mech explosion than picking a different hero who may be easier to execute. Her lack of map mobility can cripple you in a macro map, therefore knowing that your team can play the map better or deny this playstyle from the enemy team is important.”
The value he talks about bolsters that idea of control. In every game where D.Va makes an impact, she forces the enemy team to react quickly and reposition poorly, allowing her team to capitalize on the confusion. Doing this well in a late-game team fight can mean immediate victory, which is why caster Wade ‘Dreadnaught’ Penfold often remarks on Team Freedom’s winning plays as the game nears its later stages. Nazmas has some tips for aspiring D.Va players who want to make sure their teams maintain control until the final deciding battle.
“There are three core things you can identify before the game starts that can help you throughout the game:
Who in the enemy team is the biggest threat damage-wise? They should be your main target to Defense Matrix in a teamfight unless you need to save a teammate. In a hyper-carry comp with Valla, Tassadar, and Auriel, dropping your matrix on the Valla denies both Valla’s damage and a lot of hope generation for healing from Auriel.
Who on their team can interrupt your matrix easily? If there are such people, try to wait until they can’t use a crowd control ability on you to start Matrixing their main damage.
Are there any abilities on your team that you can synergize your explosion with?
“These three steps will save you a lot of thinking in team fights. As for the rest, just make good decisions and find the fine line between baiting out a lot of damage or feeding.”
With the ability to adapt and affect so many aspects of the game, it’s no wonder Nazmas is able to make such effective use of D.Va. But how flexible are her talents? We typically see Nazmas go with the same build each game, but he also revealed some of the options to consider when picking talents.
“There are several talents you can change on her. At level 7, I generally go Aggression Matrix for more Matrix, but sometimes against heroes like Medivh having the increased knockback of Coming Through to deny the portal can be really good.
“On 13 I like to swap between Ablative Armor or Emergency Shielding. Many comps don’t have low repetitive damage like Tracer or Tassadar, so you can't get much value from Ablative, therefore the Emergency Shield comes in handy versus burst damage.
“On the 16 tier, I usually go Torpedo Dash to assure value from my Big Shot, but sometimes the enemy team is focusing heavily on killing me in pilot form and Nanoweave Suit becomes really good against heroes like Malfurion that can root both your mech and pilot form with one spell.
“And finally at 20, some comps have a lot of disruption and MEKAfall becomes a must, but if you don’t need it, Pew! Pew! Pew! can recharge your mech cooldown quite quickly.”
Keep an eye on Nazmas and the rest of Team Freedom to see if they can continue their highly successful D.Va strategy as we continue Phase 2 of this year’s HGC. They’ll be up against Roll20 esports this Friday, July 14 at 4:00 p.m. PDT here at playheroes.com/esports.