The High Priestess of Elune, Tyrande, is back in the spotlight after an extended absence from the competitive Heroes Global Championship (HGC) scene.
If one can remember far back enough to the last time she saw as much play as she did this past weekend, you’re recalling the days of the famous or infamous, depending on who you ask, double-Support meta. Since that time period, her exposure in high-level play has been extremely scarce. If she did see play, it was as a secondary Support hero if a team composition lacked a bit of damage or needed scouting on a larger map.
Time and time again, the Heroes of the Storm development team tweaked her kit with small patches to adjust her damage and healing numbers but it was never enough. She wasn’t good enough at healing to be reliable and, if a team wanted consistent damage output, there were better options.
But don’t just take my word for it. Kenn “Zaelia” Rasmussen, the Support player for Team Dignitas can sum up her previous-kit well.
“I just don't think she provided the ability to save teammates. So, unless you have the most aggressive team composition in the entire world, that will kill everybody in return, she’s just not going to work. She just doesn't save people. It is too easy to make plays against her because she just does not have enough counterplay.”
When Zaelia refers to the ability to “save” teammates, he is not only referring to burst healing but having a Cleanse available to help a stunned, silenced or slowed ally when they need it most.
As if Blizzard was a fly on Zaelia’s wall, a few weeks ago she saw a full rework and was given a Cleanse in her kit at level 1 called Celestial Attunement, in addition to a myriad of other changes.
“I actually think she is very good right now. You get the Cleanse level 1 now, which is insane, right? If you are up against a Muridan you never have to worry because his stun is so illustrated so you know exactly who is going to get stunned and you could instantly Cleanse that person, same with a Dehaka tongue. The one thing she was lacking in the past was not having the ability to save people and now here we have it, boom, Cleanse at level 1 and it has two charges as well. It is actually insane. The Dehaka can burrow in and Isolate your carry and, boom, Cleanse. Stukov comes in and throws a noodle and you just Cleanse it immediately. I think it might be one of, if not the only reason, she can be really good as a solo Support.”
Note that last sentence from Zaelia: “She can be really good as a solo Support,” a line that hasn’t been said about Tyrande in a very long time, if ever.
This past weekend, the first weekend the updated Tyrande was allowed in HGC, she saw a great deal of play. Per MasterLeague.net, Tyrande was in 39 drafts, being picked 26 times and banned in 13 others between the North American and European regions. When she was let loose on the battlefield, a 50% win-rate followed, respectable among Support heroes.
“They have put an emphasis on her Supporting abilities. Almost every tier you can pick something that can help your teammates. I do not know what they envision for her to be but I feel like she still has an Owl build but it is not the exact same. She has a few styles now. I think they actually nailed it when it comes to making her viable in multiple ways."
That’s music to a developer and Support player’s ears. Blizzard has put a lot of resources into making 2018 the “Year of the Support hero” and turning Tyrande into a solo Support is another step towards making Support-player-mains’ lives a bit brighter.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.