Need a light? The Veteran Firebat, Blaze, has burst into the Nexus, and things are about to get toasty. To help get you started with the venerable StarCraft Warrior, we spoke to Gale Force Esports’ Warrior player Fury for his first-impressions guide. 

 “Blaze is one-of-a-kind Hero who is very bulky and can cause a lot of havoc if played properly,” Fury says. “The amount of damage he can sustain, mitigate and deal is scary for a Warrior.” The Firebat excels at marshalling his allies through team fights thanks to the ways he can protect them from damage while also helping to winnow down his opponents.

“The way I would play Blaze for main tanking is: providing yourself with self-sustain while also reducing the damage your opponents will deal to you and your teammates,” Fury says. “With the right Talents, you can sustain a team fight as long as you have abilities ready.”

Capture.JPGBlaze has two main methods for reducing damage and keeping himself alive: his Trait Pyromania, which activates to increase his armor and deal damage to any enemies in his immediate vicinity for four seconds at a time, and Oil Spill, cast using the W key, which heals him for 49 Health every 0.3 seconds when he’s standing in an oil slick that he’s ignited with Flame Stream (his Q ability). Burning up (quite literally) in the middle of a team fight not only bolsters his defenses, it also deals persistent, ambient damage to any enemies foolish enough to stand near him—meaning that if you’re body-blocking for the rest of your team the way a tank player should, you’ll make life very hard for the enemy team.

oil-spill.jpgThe only problem with this, Fury says, is that relying on his abilities for all his sustain power means that he’s essentially at the mercy of his ability’s cooldowns when it comes to team fighting. You’ll have to choose your battles accordingly.

“Blaze is very cooldown-reliant in team fights,” Fury says. “He can sustain a lot of damage with lit up oil spills and his passive [Pyromania] going off, so be sure when initiating a fight that you have at least one of those cool downs ready. Otherwise, high burst damage can completely extinguish Blaze.”

Pyromania Is Your Friend

flame-stream.jpgFury recommends choosing talents that improve Pyromania and Flame Stream to empower his damage-dealing, damage mitigating, and self-healing. He thinks the level 1 talents are “pretty flexible,” but recommends Adrenaline Stimpack because it gives Blaze a welcome speed boost, both to his movement and his basic attacks, which becomes increasingly important as a match goes on.

“Most warriors struggle with mobility, so I think Adrenaline Stimpack will help a lot by granting him movement speed and extra attack speed, which works very well with his Level 20 talent Burn Notice,” Fury says, “This combo grants his auto attacks a slow for each hit, and a stacking debuff that burns enemies over time. If you take both talents, you can chase Heroes down—or allow yourself to kite Heroes if needed since his auto attacks are ranged.”

jet-propulsion.jpgA lot of Blaze’s power as a tank relies on your ability to get right up in his opponents’ faces so he can soak up their attacks and deal ambient damage, and Fury recommends talents that complement this approach. The Level 4 Talent pick, Meltdown, reduces damage dealt by any enemy caught in Pyromania’s blast, and the Level 16 upgrade to his Trait heals him for 75% of damage dealt. “If you can slow people down and stand next to everyone with Pyromania, you will deal a lot of damage while also sustaining a lot of damage.”

Fury’s Level 13 Talent pick depends on what kind of damage he’s facing from the enemy team. Nanomachine Coating is the best bet against auto-attack heavy Heroes such as Illidan, Zul’jin, or Valla, thanks to the way it reduces their combat speed. Suppressive Fire, meanwhile, “is a solid talent overall to reduce the enemy target’s spell power.”

His Heroics Are Highly Situational

bunker-drop.jpgWhen it comes to Blaze’s Heroic Abilities, Fury says that he mostly prefers the raw damage-dealing power that Combustion (R2) offers. But he also admits that calling down a Bunker Drop (R1) can be very handy in the right situation.

“After testing both Heroics, I personally enjoy Combustion over Bunker Drop because it can potentially deal massive damage and turn a fight your way,” Fury says. “When you cast Combustion, the enemy team has to decide to either fight through it or back away before it explodes.”

While Combustion is good for dealing loads of damage, Bunker Drop can help you through drawn-out team fights when your teammates’ health is dropping precariously low.

“I see potential with Bunker Drop giving your backline a safe spot to take cover in and deal some damage while inside. I can see it being picked a lot as a tool for your teammates to jump in to avoid getting targeted or picked off.”

The Bunker’s main weakness, in Fury’s view, is that it can be destroyed very quickly if the enemy team chooses to zero in on it, meaning that it might not be a good choice against high damage dive or single-target Heroes like Illidan, Greymane, or Nova. Even with that weakness in mind, however, Fury thinks that its debuff effect for any Hero who jumps into the Bunker makes it a powerful counter to some normally devastating attacks.

“I imagine a good situation to use Bunker Drop is when you see Malthael use Tormented Souls,” Fury says. “Blaze can quickly drop the Bunker, and everybody can hop in for the duration.”

He’s Very Flexible, So Keep Trying New Things

combustion.jpgThe better Fury got to know Blaze over his week on the PTR, the less convinced he became that there was a single winning build for the character. If anything, Fury thinks that his flexibility might be one of his biggest assets as a Warrior.

“After playing and theorycrafting more and more,” Fury says, “I’m starting to notice that this Hero has one of the most flexible talent choices out of any Hero in the game currently. Before I thought some talents were a must-pick, but after some time I can see different builds working with other talents I didn’t see as much value. There are multiple ways to play Blaze, and different ways to build him, so you just need to try a few and figure out which is more your style.”

What do you think your Blaze style will be? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you in the Nexus!