Known for his signature Stitches play, Dignitas JayPL has this to say about Stitches in the current meta:
"People think he is not viable and kinda cheesy. But overall, trust me, he is good in every situation.”
Taken from his recently posted Stitches guide, JayPL is correct in his assessment. In a meta where Malthael, Genji, Anub’arak, and Uther dominate the HL pick order, Stitches offers a unique edge over these popular team compositions. His current effectiveness all boils down to his solo playmaking and team fight initiation abilities.
The top-tier heroes mentioned above are nearly impossible to defeat when they get their preferred engagement. In addition to either banning or picking these heroes for yourself, adding Stitches into the mix offers a powerful option that, as JayPL declared, is effective in every situation.
The elements in Stitches' favor
Stitches is currently a versatile pick for the following reasons:
- His Fleabag talent gets huge value against the multiple stun options the top-tier heroes come equipped with. Anub'arak, Uther, and to some extent Arthas and Dehaka perform so well because of the threat of chain CC's followed up by burst damage. Stitches can additionally negate this with his high HP.
- Stitches fares particularly well alongside and against double support compositions. Traditional engagements struggle against the overwhelming sustain two support heroes provide, but a successful Stitches hook disrupts this and allows for easier focus fire. When allied with two support heroes, access to Amplified healing at level 4 can make the terror of Darkshire seem unkillable.
- Lastly, Stitches is particularly adept at disrupting hyper-carry compositions that look to win the game off the back of Valla, Illidan, or Genji. Stitches coupled with a flanking warrior (like Arthas or Leoric) forces these type of compositions to defend from multiple angles and denies them the straightforward initiation they rely on. Valla and Auriel are severely threatened by a Stitches hook, as the strategy relies on big team fights and can't operate with a man down. An intelligent use of Gorge also negates the momentum these hyper-carry teams can build up during a team fight.
The Hero League talent build.
Taken from the previously mentioned guide by JayPL, the following talents are recommended for the most impactful Stitches experience. These talents focus on dealing damage with Stitches and don't double down on many defensive talents. The goal, instead, is to take advantage of the disruption Stitches brings with hooks while maximizing his effectiveness when the hook misses or no targets are available.
Defensive talents and Fishing Hook are difficult to get value from, as they rely on the enemy team dealing damage to Stitches (which they can avoid) or the Stitches player landing difficult max-range hooks. Instead, amplifying the impossible-to-miss Slam and Vile Gas ensures a more impactful and consistently threatening Stitches.
Level 1- Heavy Slam. For more wave clear and team fight damage.
Level 4 - Putrid Ground. For more wave clear and team fight damage.
Level 7 - Toxic Gas. Once more, more damage and team fight damage.
Level 10 - Putrid Bile OR Gorge. Putrid Bile is the most consistent Heroic that helps Stitches body block enemies, deals tons of team fight damage, and provides a disengage / engage option for his team.
Gorge is the situational pick that is reliant on the enemies composition. When against an "all-in" hyper carry like Illidan or Genji, Gorge can put a stop to their snowball style momentum and help your team take the fight on favorable terms.
Level 13 - Mega Smash OR Fleabag. Mega Smash allows you to siege towers without getting hit and makes for very easy objective interrupts. It also is the ideal damage talent and makes it very difficult to for the enemy to avoid Stitches damage.
Fleabag, however, will get tons of value against multiple heroes with stun option and should be chosen if there are 2 or more stuns on the enemy team. It helps Stitches land more hooks and allows for liberal Slam usage as well.
Level 16 - Pulverize. This talent is the big power spike for a Slam style Stitches. JayPL mentions how effective it is to Slam a target first and then easily land a hook thanks to the slow Pulverize provides.
Level 20 - Hardened Shield. Not much to say about Hardened Shield. With the removal of Bolt of the Storm on Stitches, this is the ideal talent. Even when choosing Gorge, Hardened Shield provides more flexibility and value.
The Stitches learning curve.
If you are new to Stitches, landing game-winning hooks like JayPL isn't going be easy. One of the most common mistakes that Stitches players do is throwing obvious hooks at obvious targets who are already preparing to dodge them. Make this the first thing you learn not to do. Practice predicting your opponents movements based on your game sense and map awareness and, if possible, always try to throw your Hook when out of sight. This greatly reduces the chance of your opponents dodging on reaction and creates the "psychological pressure" JayPL mentions in his guide.
Another thing to avoid is solo hooks that don't threaten a kill. Stitches is at his most powerful when surrounded by one or more friendly heroes that can react swiftly to a successful Hook. In a solo queue environment, learn the habit of telegraphing your Hooks by either alt-clicking the ability (to announce it's cooldown) or pinging the area you suspect a hook target might be.
Now is the best time to get experience with Stitches. His unique kit and initiation ability gives Stitches a unique place in the Heroes of the Storm roster and for every meta where he is ineffective, there is bound to be one where he shines. The current meta is the latter, so practice while you can!
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