Heroes of the Storm

POILK: “It depends on how good his early game is because he has some very good talents later on that can be obnoxious to play against.”



▲ Blizzard feels it’s time to bring Raynor into 2018 with a new kit.

See the new talents and abilities for your self

Interview with Lead Balance Designer on Azmodan and Raynor Reworks

One of the most iconic characters in the history of Blizzard Entertainment, Jim Raynor, found his way into the nexus as one of the original heroes in Heroes of the Storm. From his days in early Alpha to now, not much has changed regarding his talent kit and abilities. Yes, there have been tweaks over time to keep him up-to-date but time has not been kind to poor Jimmy as he has now become a meme within the game.

To put it kindly, he’s essentially unplayable at the competitive level and even the more casual players have found him to be a bit blander than newer heroes being introduced.

That is hopefully about to change as Raynor was reworked to bring his Alpha-appropriate kit into 2018 while finding his own niche among the other deadly assassins within the game.

Team Dignitas’ main assassin player, Vilhelm “POILK” Flennmark has teamed up with InvenGlobal to discuss the changes and see if there is a chance we may see the beloved StarCraft hero on the big stage soon.

Early Game, Early Gains

In his current state, Raynor didn’t do anything well enough to see play in the competitive scene, as you need to stand out or risk being left out.

“He just doesn’t have enough damage for his lack of waveclear and mobility,” said POILK. “He doesn’t really do much before level 16 as he gets really strong late with Executioner and Giant Killer.”

Nearly all of his talents and abilities have been given facelifts, starting with his Trait which, prior, was a basic attack range increase and now provides a damage boost and damage in an area every fourth basic attack.

“I think his new trait is very interesting,” said POILK. “I do believe it will help him with waveclear and his new Level 1 talent (Exterminator (Passive): Increase your Basic Attack damage against Minions, Mercenaries and Monsters by 50%.) combined with his trait can make him very good.”

Additionally, his Penetrating Round (Q talent) now has a Slow associated with it and a knockback based off how close the opponents are to Raynor. Previously, players had to go out of their way to select a talent to add utility to his Penetrating Round so having that as a baseline certainly doesn’t hurt.

▲ Team Dignitas’ Vilhelm “POILK” Flennmark. 


The Competition


Even if Raynor is better than his past self, that doesn’t necessarily mean he is good enough to see play, especially at the competitive level in Hero League or the Heroes Global Championship (HGC).

Assassins are asked to do so much in today’s top-tier meta in order to receive play. Clear waves effectively, avoid enemy crowd-control, dish out heavy doses of damage and move about the map effectively are a few. Another role is to be enough of a threat early in the game to soak experience and push lanes. For Raynor to succeed, the latter is still in question.

“It depends on how good his early game is because he has some really good talents later on that can be very obnoxious to play against,” said POILK. “He’s competing against Fenix, Hanzo and Valla so I’m not sure if he will see play because he still has the lack of mobility.

All three of the heroes mentioned above do have a way of eluding opposing attacks and repositioning while Raynor still only has Inspire to provide him with a short Movement Speed boost, leaving him vulnerable to engagements.

On the contrary, his updated talent tree provides quite a bit of flexibility depending on the composition the enemy has put together. Players can select talents to make his new Trait more impactful, improve his self-heal on his Adrenaline Rush (E) ability or aim for an auto-attack build where the more he attacks, the more useful he is.


Unstoppable Hesitations


While Jimmy’s new look is exciting and has POILK feeling better about his standing in the game than before, there is one added feature that doesn’t sit well with the master Assassin player.

“There’s one thing I don’t like at all and it’s the upgrade to Hyperion at level 20,” said POILK. “I don’t like that Inspire grants two seconds of Unstoppable. I really like that they added the base movement speed to Inspire but if you take this upgrade you are kind of holding it. They have been trying to remove Cleanse from the game and then they’re adding this to heroes on lower cooldowns.”


▲ While Hyperion rains down destruction, Inspire can grant Unstoppable at level 20.


A powerful ability that allows Raynor to slip out of opposing crowd-control, Unstoppable, has been a resurgence in the game as of late to make heroes not as reliant on their Support allies for assistance.

Fortunately, a questionable design decision from POILK’s perspective shouldn’t overshadow the fact that it is a useful tool that somewhat makes up for his lack of mobility. Instead of being fast enough to dodge stuns, you can instantly get out of them once he gets to level 20.
Will the team that picks him live that along to where that talent gets value? Who knows. All we do know is that Blizzard has heard the longtime cries of the community for their beloved Raynor to get some love and he did in a big way.


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