Method’s Adrian “adrd” Wojcik is known within the professional scene as someone who relies on unconventional strategies to catch his opponents off-guard. At the Heroes Global Championship Western Clash event last weekend, his idea of sneakiness came in the form of the imposing Russian bruiser, Zarya. A seldom scene hero at the competitive level, Zarya’s ability to provide poke damage from afar, high sustain damage up close and powerful shields to herself and allies spoke to adrd as he played her twice on the grand stage.
After his matches for the day concluded, adrd spoke with me about her talents, why he decided to unleash her at this event and what role you should be selecting her to fill.
The “Mad Scientist’s” Experiment
In-game, adrd, sometimes referred to as a “mad scientist,” will use any hero who he feels can give his team an edge against the opposition, meta-viable or not. Against Team Dignitas on Infernal Shrines, the eventual event champion, adrd felt he could get value from an aggressive front-line composition while utilizing Zarya’s shields to provide sustain in fights that might not last very long otherwise. He ended up breaking her back out against HeroesHearth Esports later in the event on the same map, the preferred one for her in his eyes.
“I think it's one of the maps where you can force a five-on-five fight and she’s also pretty good for zoning people so you can win the shrine fights easily.”
The caveat? He hadn’t played her in almost two years but against the top-dog in the West, sometimes you have to risk it for the biscuit.
“We thought that it might be good verses [Sgt.] Hammer but we didn't really practice it before as we didn't play it in scrims. We played it a long time ago and it worked very well before and it worked very well here too.”
Adrd’s favored talent build for Zarya is below, in additional to some insight into why each talent is preferred in each tier.
Demolitions Expert (Q)-- Quest: For every 5 enemy Heroes hit by Particle Grenade, its recharge rate lowers by 0.4375 seconds, up to 3.5 seconds. Reward: Once Particle Grenade has hit 40 enemies, its radius is increased by 15%
“It's needed for the playstyle I do with Zarya because I use her to do a lot of damage, like sustain and poking and so on. It's easy to hit that on Hammer, for example, and zone her out. In that game [against HeroesHearth] we played verses Uther so it's kind of the same thing. When he doesn't have enough sustain, I poke, and then they go out because they can't heal.”
Speed Barrier (E)-- Shield Ally increases the allied Hero’s Movement Speed by 50% for the duration.
“The shield is to save people when they get caught or to engage sometimes.”
“I think it's important to position in a way that you get value from your shields so you can get energy from your self-shields but you can never be too much in front so they can just focus and kill you as she dies very easily.”
Pinpoint Accuracy (Q)-- Particle Grenade deals 30 more damage to enemies hit by the center of the blast.
“The seven is just there as it synergizes with the level 1 talent, it's as simple as that.”
“I view her as a hero that can poke so I just was playing safe. Sometimes I would go in a little bit when I’m sure that everyone would die and I would get more energy but overall I would stay back and shield and poke with my Q.”
Expulsion Zone (R2) (Cooldown: 45 seconds) -- Launch a gravity bomb that deals 124 damage and creates an expulsion zone for 3.5 seconds. Enemies who enter the affected area are knocked back and have their Movement Speed reduced by 50% for 1 second.
“I didn't play Zarya in two years and I wasn't very comfortable wanting to try [Graviton Surge]. I also think I'm way better at using Expulsion over Graviton."
Pain is Temporary (Cooldown: 60 seconds)-- Activate to consume all Energy and gain a Shield that absorbs 0.5% of Zarya’s maximum Health per Energy consumed and lasts for 3 seconds. Zarya may only have one personal Shield active on herself at a time.
“I just really like the second shield. So, unless they can chain-CC me or one-shot me, I should almost always survive with this talent.”
Cleansing Shield (E)-- Causes Shield Ally to remove all disabling effects and reduces its cooldown by 3 seconds.
“In the second game they had a lot of CC so I could save someone eventually but it doesn't give Unstoppable. I also took Zarya almost because they could one-shot our Alexstraza which doesn't have any saving tools so the Cleanse was better.”
Unyielding Defender (Cooldown: 60 seconds)-- Activate to reset the cooldown of Personal Barrier and Shield Ally.
“The rewind is the same thing, in that, if we just save someone from getting one-shotted, with Alexstraza, we out-sustain them so I just needed to make sure no one dies.”
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.