Take Your Pick: Buds and KilluZiion on Ana
Since entering the Nexus, Ana Amari has been a popular addition to the array of Support characters, with her high skill-based healing output and complementary utility. But will she be as desirable in professional play? I spoke with Chandler ‘Buds’ Gavran of Roll20 Esports and Jerome ‘KilluZiion’ Tanguay of Team Freedom to get their opinions on how Ana will play out in the Heroes Global Championship (HGC).
Will She See Play?
“I think Ana is going to jump straight into competitive play and will provide even more double Support compositions,” KilluZiion says. Her healing throughput is strong, but it takes a high degree of skill to hit her Healing Dart. But at the professional level of play, where mechanical skills are finely honed, players are able to get max value from Ana’s healing potential. Buds agrees: “She shines in double Support, and that’s how she will see most of her play in competitive.”
Ana excels in double-Support compositions because, with the extra healing granted by her Biotic Grenade, any additional healer on the team gets a large boost in their effectiveness during team fights. When she’s by herself, she’s heavily reliant on positioning and mechanical skill to make sure she can keep teammates healthy—a job other Support Heroes can perform without such a restriction.
Having a second Support doesn’t just help overall team healing. “For double Support, Lucio pairs well with her because of his speed boost,” Buds says. “His utility with her low mobility would be handy.” Buds is alluding to Ana’s greatest weakness, which is her lack of mobility. If she’s caught out of position, there’s little she can do to get away alive. KilluZiion says, “Anything that can dive and crowd control her will destroy her. Against an E.T.C. or a double Genji with an Abathur clone, she won’t last long.” Having a Lucio to give Ana movement speed (or a Medivh to give her Force of Will and a Portal to escape) will be a huge help to counteract this weakness.
Next, Buds and KilluZiion offer their takes on which talent they would pick at every level, and why.
“This will be the go-to every game most likely. This talent synergizes with other healing spells a lot. Piercing Dart could be pretty good, but it would take years to finish the quest.”—Buds
“The reward from the [Grenade Calibration] quest looks incredibly strong.”—KilluZiion
“Air Strike is pretty good because of the four-second cooldown reductions on your Biotic Grenade. It means more healing in general, and the extra range could be decent.”—Buds
“Overdose looks to be the best talent here. Air Strike may have some potential on maps like Braxis where you can use the extra range to heal your teammate holding top lane.”—KilluZiion
"Mind-Numbing Agent could be good, decreasing Spell Power by 15% per dose. It’s kind of hard to get in range for the auto-attack, but if you go Overdose at level 4, you can just throw a grenade at that Hero and reduce Spell Power by 30% instantly." —Buds
“A damage-reducing dart on a decent 45-second cooldown that’s pretty easy to land on any melee Hero? This talent is really good.”—KilluZiion
“Healing someone from across the map is kind of insane—or healing someone split from you in a skirmish. Just being able to heal or damage anyone from anywhere is pretty good.”—Buds
“I thought Nano Boost would be the go-to pick, but Eye of Horus is straight up better. The fact that you can be behind your wall healing your teammates from a mile away is super good.”—KilluZiion
“If the enemy team doesn’t have much crowd control, just go Speed Serum and give your team 25% move speed after you heal them.”—Buds
“The go-to talent is Speed Serum. But if you’re playing against Heroes with Roots like Arthas and Malfurion, go Purifying Darts. If you’re playing against heavy crowd control Heroes like E.T.C. and Tyrande, go Smelling Salts.”— KilluZiion
“It’s a hard decision between Contact Healing and Sharpshooter, but I agree that Contact Healing is the most reliable here.”—Buds
“[Contact Healing] provides a lot of healing and is super reliable, which is not the case for Sharpshooter.”—KilluZiion
“I think Ballistic Advantage is cool. The explosion upon impact is neat so if you are healing someone in a fight, you can still be dishing out a decent amount of damage at the same time.”—Buds
“Somnolent Doses gives another way for Ana to protect herself and her team. I think it’s a great way to make sure you’re still auto-attacking during fights and being more impactful.”—KilluZiion
Overall, Buds and KilluZiion mostly agree on the Ana build we’ll see in the HGC. Keep an eye out for the Overdose/Mind-Numbing Agent combo (-30% spell power from any Biotic Grenade hit), which may be a serious counter to mage-reliant team compositions. And at Level 20, look for Somnolent Doses to be taken for more defensive, cautious play, while Ballistic Advantage will pop up in more aggressive compositions.
Ana is already playable in Heroes of the Storm, and she’ll soon make her way into the HGC. Stay tuned to upcoming league games to see what impact she brings to the top tier of play.