Oct 08, 2018 Robb Round Table

Welcome to Round Table, there series where we get a group of Heroes Lounge players, and discuss various topics in Heroes of the Storm. We are joined today by a variety of Tank players from different divisions in Heroes Lounge.

Deathknight: Memer, Garrosh one-trick, always winning division 1 and then clowning in playoffs, grandmaster player, famous streamer, Robb's favourite player in Lounge and captain of MMM - twitch

Denker: Tank and Captain for Griefers on Safari, explorer of Africa and active lounge memer

bdemirel: aka bdmeril, bdemeril, bdgknrbdj, bd, or in-game ButterDuck for Robb to be able to spell when he's casting, first of his name, King of laziness in web devs, Lurker of Discord channels, regular Robb-pinger of Petman FanFic, Lord Captain of old FAT#11 and Elite A.I, and Protector of scrap

Carvisjocker: Lounge mod, lazy master player and 'widely considered the best D.va  in Heroes Lounge'. Also teamless at the moment by the way, help please!

Ranja: I'm a tank for staff team THG, explorer of african jungles, feeder supreme and occasional caster - twitch

Petman (AKA Cosmic):  

Thank you all for joining. I wanted to start off by just getting clear what it is that you feel is needed in a main tank? In addition to this, are there any situations you would draft heroes that don't have those required qualities?

Deathknight: A main tank needs more hp than the usual hots hero or a defensive mechanism that makes up for the missing hp (like Garrosh armor, Anub shield/spellarmor, Tyrael shields), some sort of cc or peeling spells and somewhat reliable engage. The main tanks that lack the last 2 parts usually have a game changing ability like hook or sanctification that makes them possible as a main tank.

There are some heroes that work in specific comps as a main tank like Blaze, Yrel, Xul, Dva, Chen or Uther. They normally aren't a good fit for the main tank role as they lack one of the required things for a main tank.

Carvisjocker: A main tank needs the tools to create possibilities for your team while at the same time deny it for your opponents and make it out alive in the process. As Deathknight mentioned some drafts open up for certain unconventional tanks. This is also true depending on the map and opponents draft can create space for main tank Arthas for example.  But this is niche of course.

Ranja: I think one of the best ways to think about this is to look at Blaze and Yrel. Both of these warriors are explicitly named as tanks in their spotlight video but ended up in the offlane instead. Like Deathknight mentioned they lack one of the requirements for a true main tank (engage, disengage, peel) and that made them better bruisers than tanks. A tank needs be able to threaten an area and protect their team.

Outside of the 9 or so warriors I consider tanks I would only choose arthas as a main tank against heavy melee comps as he is one of the warriors that switches from bruiser to main tank depending on meta and overall viability. I have sometimes seen blaze as a main tank in double warrior comps but I never felt he couldn't have been replaced with another, better tank.

bdemirel: I more or less agree with Deathknight but I also think what's needed of a tank is very much dependent on the composition and meta. We've slowly started to see a change on that, a lot of different heroes played as main tank now. Some of the other heroes can now take away at least a few responsibilities from the main tank, like with Medivh or double support you don't need as much survivability from the main tank, or with mobile/tanky backliners you don't need as much peel capabilities. With new heroes and reworks bringing such utility in other roles, it seems the definition of main tank, and as a result, the tank meta might be changing.

Denker: A hero usually needs to fulfill four requirements to be considered a good main tank in coordinated play:

  • High hp pool (or other tools like shields) to soak damage for the team
  • Reliable engage, preferably with hard CC
  • Peeling tools to enable the backline to deal damage
  • Warding tools to control vision and anchor for your team

Currently the heroes which fit this definition are ETC, Diablo, Muradin, Garrosh, Johanna and Anub with ETC and Anub residing one tier below the other ones.

Then there are some heroes that miss some of those requirements but can still be run as main tank in specific situations. Those are Arthas (bad warding, and engage), Stitches (bad warding, bad engage), Tyrael (very team comp dependent engage and peeling toos) , Yrel (bad engage) and Blaze (bad engage). If those heroes are run as main tank, there is usually another hero drafted that can make up for the lack of mentioned tools. Realistically only Arthas, Stitches and Tyrael have been seriously run as main tank. Heroes like Medivh or Abathur for example can make up for some of those weaknesses. The other options are usually only chosen in very cheesy drafts.

Regarding running other heroes than those as main tank: I think besides Xul or D.VA memes there is not really a situation where I would consider other heroes to fill in as a "main tank". The current Tier S tanks just offer so much CC, survivability and vision control that it is almost never worth to neglect them. Tanks like Muradin or Diablo have so much damage potential that passing up a frontliner to deal with this threat basically concedes any teamfight potential of your draft. This can be fine with cheese comps that have other win conditions than winning team fights but in the end it is rarely worth it.

Cosmic: Of course I agree with all of the above, and would refer to them for the expert knowledge and experience they have. This being said, however, I would like to provide a little insight into the difference I feel effective main tanks play at lower levels.

Generally speaking, any tank must of course have a health pool high enough in order to continually contribute to the team, while also being able to create space, and opportunities for your more vulnerable heroes to gain value. It is the latter of these traits which I believe is is partly the reason why such heroes as Garrosh, or Stitches can be seen a big play makers. Not only can they be effective tanks by themselves, but in the less coordinated games at these levels they possess tools that can not only save allies in poor positions, but also pull an enemy out of position. Tanks that are able to identify an enemy and allow your team to easily focus a single target are particularly effective as a result.

Even Garrosh agrees it's been too long since a true main tank

There hasn't been a true main tank release since Garrosh (August 8, 2017) how do you guys feel about this? Do you think Blizzard fail to realise what a main tank actually needs (hence advertising other heroes as a main tank, such as Blaze)

Ranja: Obviously I would like there to be more main tanks so I do hope that blizzard creates another one. There is some truth in Blizzard having trouble defining what exactly a main tank needs as you can find here and here . One of the main things missing in their definition is the ability to engage which is a bit worrisome. I do understand that it can be difficult to predict the role of a new warrior (bruiser or tank) before playing it enough. So I am curious to see what their next tank release will be and if it actually ends up being a good tank.

Carvisjocker: Blizz sucks at making new main tanks and Garrosh also is a boring turd .

Deathknight: After the release of the best Tank in the history of tanks, blizzard was short on ideas or they just have no idea what they are doing.

Yes it's not a good feeling to not get new toys in what feels like 10 years (just like the queue times in this game), but it's ok since we still have Garrosh. You can also play a lot of non warriors in the main tank position since some heroes are just broken (the support heroes not the ones you play as main tank).

bdemirel: I wouldn't disagree completely with Blizzard not knowing what tanks need, but in some part, I think they've been afraid. In most of the games history, ETC and Muradin have been meta tanks, because of their versatility, and I think they got afraid of giving those tools to all the tanks. They also wanted some variety and so they tried to replace some of the roles and tools of the tank with others (Like not giving a proper engage to Blaze and Yrel, but trying to cover it up with wave clear and protection to teammates). I believe those two heroes has been a lesson for Blizzard and I personally expect another main tank in the near future.

Denker: I don't think Blizzard fails to realise what a hero needs to be a main tank. We know that they don't necessarily think about strict roles when designing a new hero but rather about the specific tools (vision control, engage/disengage, waveclear, ....) that the hero should have. In the case of Blaze and Yrel, they gave them a lot of waveclear, reasonable peeling tools but weak CC for engages. As it turned out, the latter was just too lacking for those heroes to be considered as a viable main tank in professional play so they became top tier offlaners instead. Maybe Blizzard just advertised them as tank because they thought the players would figure our a way to run them in the main tank position. Which is not an unreasonable approach in my opinion, considering main tank Xul appearing out of nowhere for example.

Sure, Blizzard could easily design a main tank hero with a stun, gapcloser and some other defensive tool but experience has shown that heroes that have all of that can be really hard to balance correctly (think about Anub, Muradin, ETC). So I think Blizzard might be a bit hesitant with designing a tank who has all that and experimented with other approaches instead.

However, I also think another true main tank is really needed soon to shake up the somewhat stale Diablo-Muradin-Johanna-Garrosh meta, so I hope Blizzard got something in store for us soon.

Cosmic: From my perspective, I feel as though Blizzard understand completely what a main tank actually needs, but the implications of having too many could have a severe impact on the meta. If we look at the toolkit that the main tanks we described above have, they all have high effective health pools, decent peel, good zoning potential, and self-sustain. This makes them, in general good all-round, which can often fit into most compositions. This is partly what makes some of them so powerful, that you can pick one of these main tanks without restricting the rest of your draft much in many cases. Implementing too many of these heroes has the potential to make the meta more stale.

Muradin drinking away his sorrows after a game of quickmatch

People often underestimate just how much goes into tanking, and what the actual role is supposed to do. If you could impart one piece of advice to improve people's tank play, what would it be?

bdemirel: Patience. There are different levels to this of course, but when I started being more patient was when I started getting better. It's also required for every role, but I feel it's the most relevant for the tank. As you've said, there are quite a lot of aspects to tanking but I think patience is the first step to all of them.

Carvisjocker: Vision is everything. Give your team the vision they need, scout your opponents rotations. Your waveclear is most likely abysmal anyway. So the vision gives your teammates to possibility to do stuff faster and safer.

Deathknight: Don't pick Varian.

Ranja: Don't focus on trying to make plays, rather protect your team and set them up to make the plays.

Cosmic:  Well I'm not sure how much advice I could impart above what's already been given considering my level. What I would say, however, is that even though your healthpool is high, small amounts of unnecessary damage does add up considerably over time. All that incremental damage may force you to tap earlier than you would like, or have to back out of a team fight. It can have serious implications to how the game plays out that maybe isn't so obvious for those starting out in the role.

Denker: Communication. Be vocal about your CDs and your positioning and tell your team what your current plan is. Call if you are focusing on peeling or looking for a pick so they know if they need to hold follow up CDs for example. Basically make sure that the team is on the same page as you.

I don't know what Deathknight is talking about, Varian is awesome!

Final question,  who would your ideal main tank be that Blizzard could add from their properties? 

Cosmic: Deathwing. 

bdemirel: Probably Imperius. In many cinematics we've seen him with a teleport like skill, a stun at its impact would give him engage/peel/vision opportunities. Then he'd just need to be tanky with a way to heal himself or maybe another defensive tool. Of course, depending on the implementation, Blizzard can easily make him a bruiser, especially since he's a bit of a selfish character, but I would be more interested to see him as main tank.

Denker: Reinhard, for some simple reasons: He is German. He is a main tank. He is also an Overwatch hero and we don't have an Overwatch tank yet. Also has the nice side effect to trigger Undead.

Carvisjocker: So we get alot of warriors that work poorly as tanks. So why not another one? Add a Dreadlord as a Mage-tank. Control your opponents with sleep, sustain with lifesteal and disguise yourself as your opponent as we all know that this game is lost by your teammates and not the enemy team.

Deathknight: I don't want a specific Character or Tank, I just want new toys to play around with. There will never be an ideal maintank since the character would just be super op then.

Once again a huge thank you to my guests for joining me for another edition of Round Table. If you want to take part in, or have an idea for an edition of Round Table, please let me know on our discord!


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