I am very happy to be joined once again by a group of Heroes Lounge players, this time to discuss the current state of Brightwing!
Sardonic: Support main, hater of malf, div 4 player playing in div 1 for Fedoras, mostly watch my team die miles away from me
Firstly, thank you all for joining. To start this off, I want to ask you about what you think Brightwings current place is in the meta? What sorts of situations (if any) is she viable?
Cephiro: Brightwing overall isn't that strong compared to a good amount of supports, so she mostly exists in the meta as a niche pick. She becomes a lot more tempting to pick in situations where you need cleanse and some more used supports such as Rehgar are already banned. I personally play her a fair amount against Kel'Thuzad/Chromie, as she has a baseline spellshield on her E (Pixie Dust, 25% for 3 seconds) and offers cleanse on level 7, which naturally works well vs KTZ pull combos & looping Chromie. Her polymorph is also a great asset, both offensively and defensively. Combined with other heroes on your team, the extra "silence" can make the difference of targeted enemy not getting away due to not being able to escape.
Alternatively, it's a nice tool to have versus heroes like Zeratul/Valeera/Tracer that attempt to snipe your backline while having great mobility for disengaging. (Also peekaboo for breaking stealth!). With how squishy the heroes mentioned before are, all it requires is some focus from the team to follow up on the polymorph for an easy kill. It's also great against frontline brawlers who need to keep using skills/attacking to sustain themselves, such as Sonya (Interrupt whirlwind), or Artanis (prevent AA to disable him from gaining shields). She gains a lot of value as the player using her becomes more skilled and is able to both react fast, as well as understand the main threat to prioritize. She is tough to play in situations where you are limited on time to make something happen, due to her lack of burst heal & even the sustained healing being fairly slow.
Sardonic: My view on brightwing is why would you ever pick her? Her healing is poor and has become even worse with the removal of armour on tanks, her split push is mediocre at best and relies on your team not engaging/getting engaged upon while you're trying to clear waves, she cant save people once damage has been done outside of EW to disengage. As Cephiro says she does counter certain heroes and abilities but I would much rather have a better healing support that can do more than the evil little dragon.
Sardonic: Which pains me to say as she's really fun to play. She's still my third most played hero.
Lovare: I probably have almost have 2k games played with BW and can say in the right hands shes totally viable if the party knows how to play with a bw healer. Long game is your friend as well as trying to keep the enemy team from doing damage.
Mango: Brightwing is the first hero I ever played in the game and I've always thought she is one of the most fun heroes to play. From my point of view, in most levels of play she works perfectly fine but is a bit harder to get value out of compared to other supports due to her focusing more on damage mitigation and having the access to a global. I also feel like she requires some extra accommodation from your teammates compared to many other supports, which is why people who don't know how to play with her very well often feel like she isn't doing anything, is in the wrong place or teamfight incorrectly without considering brightwings strengths and limitations. Although I may pick her more often than not, to me a comfortable comp for playing brightwing in is one I can safely split from every now and then and in which many of my teammates have some self-sustain of their own so I can focus more on shielding the 'main damage dealer' (maiev, genji etc..). Like Cephiro mentioned, I also feel great playing her against heroes like tracer and genji (poly+EW combo), ETC (who can never mosh pit) and alexstrasza (because you can negate her dragon with a well-timed polymorph or emerald wind).
Froge: BW's saving tool is fairly unreliable and her sustain is similarly low. It's really just a bad numbers issue. She actually doesn't make for an awful split which mitigates a lot of the traditional weaknesses of double support, but then you have to consider that she doesn't quite fulfill the responsibilities of either the save mechanic or the sustain support in most comps. Most of the times we've seen her drafted lately, it's been double support.
A lot of you have either said Brightwing is outright bad or at best very niche. What changes do you think Brightwing needs to get her back to being a top tier support?
Froge: Brightwing's base kit is really powerful but she suffers from having pretty bad numbers. If you wanted to make her more viable, you could start with incremental increases to her trait healing or the armor given by E, or maybe give her some kind of mechanic to manually proc trait for an extra burst of healing. Have to be pretty careful buffing Brightwing though because her base kit is so strong and has sub-par responses to everything even at current tuning. If her numbers become equivalent to other supports that do not have her utility, you will see her in every game.
Cephiro: One of the main issues of Brightwing is that she doesn't have heal-on-demand without Blink Heal, a support not having that in their base kit is pretty tough to work with. Especially because the numbers on her trait are very sad. So I agree that increasing the healing of her trait is a good place to start. There are many other interesting ways, or even combinations of such that could lead into a good result. What if she got x% more healing on trait for every allied hero in range? What if her trait was instead an active, stacking up to 2 charges that you could use at will? Wilder ideas could include things such as landing Arcane Flare on an ally would heal instead. With the mobility heroes have these days it's also challenging to position well as brightwing, especially without Blink Heal. There are also talents that could be adjusted/reworked. What if Mistified reduced the cooldown of the trait by 0.5 seconds when auto attacking an enemy hero?
Mango: Brightwing is quite niche now, but she has so many different tools that I feel like if you buff them she will become too strong. Not having healing when you want to seems to be the biggest issue for me, so perhaps they could let you hold the trait proc or do something similar to make her healing a bit better. Buffing the healing amount in blink heal could help her a bit as well and help with the diversity in her heroic choices. I feel like a lot of her not being a top tier main support lies in the fact that hots has a lot of emphasis on healing and Brightwing instead offers a lot of tools for other kinds of support.
For those of you that are big BW fans, what is it about her that draws you to play the hero, whether she is meta or not?
Lovare: Shes so much fun! Between the awesomes voice lines and her slipperiness for example with blink heal you pretty much always have an escape and with the teleport it's doable to base midway a long battle and come back no problem. Plus i like proving people wrong that bw isn't an awesome healer that can save people.
Cephiro: Ruining enemy plans mid-teamfight by turning a crucial component into a pig instead. And the voice lines. Frieeend?
Froge: Emerald Win is a fun ability.
Mango: Brightwing to me is the most fun support because of the amount of tools she has at her disposal. I CAN heal (albeit not as much as other healers) but I can also use my global, grant vision, shield, give armour and cc. Her play feels very diverse and is more challenging compared to many other supports. I can always find something to improve on and it doesn't get boring because of her versatility. I feel like she also has the potential for playmaking, even though apart from emerald wind it may be a bit hard for people to notice. Of course the voice lines are a bonus.
Sardonic: Give me mini deathwing skin!
Mango: Yes please.
And finally, the most important question when discussing Brightwing. Manic Pixie?
Cephiro: Acceptable pick in certain niche cases as it's literally the only talent on that tier to provide additional healing. Generally as Brightwing you're looking to mitigate damage before it happens, but if you end up in a situation where you have Brightwing vs high amounts of poke/DoT damage, it's a reasonable pick to increase your sustain. (Especially if solo healing)
Mango: Not only is it fun to pick when you go bouncy dust on 16, its also the best way to grief your teammates.
Sardonic: I don't hate manic pixie, it doesn't do much but it's better than nothing and the only option on that tier that gives more healing
Froge: It has fundamentally very bad numbers. The numbers on it are less than a single trait proc on one target in overall healing, on a 10 second cooldown. And it's not even a burst heal because it takes 4 seconds to take effect. So it's a really negligible increase in sustain., while also not really adding to your burst save. If there is ever a place for it, it would have to be with bouncy dust for it to remotely matter as additional sustain.
Sardonic: Would you rather have mistified or manic pixie, Froge?
Froge: Both. If you have to troll, troll properly.
Cephiro: Manic rather than mistified anytime.
Mango: Considering the other options on the talent tiers, definitely manic over mistified.
That is it for this edition of Round Table! Do you have a hero or another subject you'd like us to discuss? Simply drop Robb a message on discord, or hit him up on twitter and we will look at doing it!