We are joined today by a variety of Heroes Lounge players to discuss the High Inquisitor of the Scarlet Crusade, Sally Whitemane.
Whitemane follows the successful release of Deckard and late last year Alexstrasza, all of which have shown to be good supports in the current meta. How do you feel about the current pool of supports, and where do you think Whitemane ranks in the current meta?
Cascon: Supports are kind of in a weird place right now, a lot more of them are viable whereas in the past it was just 2 or 3 really strong supports. every support has a specific niche that they're good at, and every support has weaknesses, the supports that are good change with each rank you're at and whether you're talking about hero league or a coordinated setting like lounge.
Whitemane i feel is not that great in hero league as she has no macro whatsoever and relies on her tank having good positioning to be able to heal allies, But in a coordinated setting where you can rely on your team to do these things she really thrives and i'd say she's the 2nd best support there after Deckard. maybe 3rd if you're on shrines as Alexstrasza becomes a much bigger priority.
Fictional: Having previously been a support main, having a choice between a total of 2 picks at any given time was soul crushing after a few games, and was one of the driving factors in swapping roles to tanks. While this will almost always be the case at the top level, it's rather refreshing to be able to have a wider pool of choice to fit into your team/counter enemy choices rather than being stuck in the Treehouse. Again.
Whitemane I'm not sure where she is going to settle but it's certainly going to be top 5. Personally, while I agree with Cascon that she will have more value in Coordinated play, I don't think she is that bad in hero league due her ability to spread heal in the unfocused environment.
ahmed_101: I agree with Cascon on supports being in a weird place, I’d prefer to call awkward rather than weird. It feels like there are supports that feel like a strong pick and then there some that you ask yourself “why would/did I pick them?”.
As for Whitemane, I feel she’s good at all levels of play and game type. I think that she can handle her role well with less skilled teammates, but she truly shines with a coordinated team that take advantage of her team fight altering ults. My priority with her is on maps that focus on skirmishing or fighting over the objective rather than controlling a zone for an extended period of time.
Eef: I mean, I do agree with Cascon, but at the same time not fully. Before the changes it was basically Malf or Deckard, on specific maps and occasions you find another support. Now with Malf falling off its basically Deckard at the top alone. Malf, Rehgar, Kharazim, Alex all about equal with their own stronger and weaker points. Whitemane is coming in, maybe slightly above some of the earlier mentioned heroes but still well below Deckard in my opinion. I do enjoy that there's a bit more choice between supports, and Deckard is not so oppressive he warrants bans before the draft. I do personally miss 'old' Stukov.
"Counters? Don't make me laugh!"
Are there any obvious counters to Whitemane at the moment? What situations are you looking to draft her in?
ahmed_101: I feel countering her depends on play style. Try to have extended poke before the fight that is focused on multiple targets rather one without giving her targets to easily damage unless she overextends. That's why I think Chromie and Junkrat can be soft counters to her. If possible, bait out her ultimate or save some impactful abilities to use after her ult.
I'd like to draft her when it's possible, she's great in most situations. I'd put her on high priority for most maps except for infernal shrines and Volskaya, where I prefer other supports over her.
Cascon: Whitemane has multiple counters, some less obvious than others. Ana is a really good counter as you just grenade the kill target and if all 5 members of your team focus's that 1 target, then they will die. Deckard also can do this with emerald. Malfurion can not as strangling vines is that much worse than emerald xD , don't take the trap talent.
When drafting Whitemane i agree that it's partially map dependent, but that's not the end of it. She's bad into dive and a strong spike for her is level 16. So on maps where you can consistently hit that 16 spike is where she'll thrive. For those that don't know her 16 spike is using 3 q's for a proc of Radiance, then using your level 4 talent high inquisitor to remove the desperation, then getting 3 stacks of desperation again to proc another massive aoe heal to your team.
ahmed_101: I'm surprised that you'd consider her bad against dive, I've felt that she thrives on being able to counter these types of engagements.
Eef: She can deal with dive, but then she is out of mana and cooldowns completely. She can survive the initial engage but after that she struggles. I think she suffers from the same issue that Auriel has, she needs to be teamfighting in order to do some healing. Obviously she has her Q so she is not completely hopeless (pun intended) but if she can't get in position to land her E's and W's her output isn't great.
Fictional: I don't think she has any glaring weaknesses, but I personally feel that she falls into the same camp as Uther. Great when the enemy team wants to come to you, but starts to fall if they want to stay at range.
Being required to step up to what is really quite a small range on W does make you look like a tasty snack for a hungry Garrosh. So personally I would apply the same plans as dealing with Uther (outside of obvious cc trains), wear her team down with constant dots and artillery.
This CAN be mitigated somewhat with Clemency as High Inquisitor does proc from that, so you can do mana return on your own team, making her sustain infinite on a 11 second cooldown, but in turn makes her more vulnerable to dive as then she is lacking the healing buff and shield from giving up level 1 and 4 Q talents.
"We are unbreakable!"
Let's talk about her Talent diversity a bit. Do you think there are a good amount of choices on her talent tree? Are there any talents that are a must have?
Cascon: From my impressions right now, it seems like you can only swap up the talents on lvl 4,7,10 and 20, maybe 13 but not tried enough with that.
When experimenting with her it felt so good like you could change talents alot based on comps which was nice as it wasn't a cookie cutter build. the main talents i'm talking about are the level 4-10, generally you want high inquisitor for the combo with clemency as it's infinite mana, but against dive sometimes you need the shield from unwavering. At level 7 any of these talents can be taken IMO depending on situation, if you're lower rank than taking zealous might be the best as it's the easiest to use.
As for talents that are needed, i think right now it's clemency on level 1 and radiance on level 16, the power of these talents are just so much higher than the others, they also combo nicely with high inquisitor although you can swap that out for unwavering vs dive.
Fictional: Agree with Cascon, Clemency and Level 16 Aoe heal are pretty much the goto talents. Most other talents you can swap out depending on what you are going up against
The root Aoe at 13 and spell power at 7 are particular favourites for diversity picks.
ahmed_101: I actually disagree and think that the level 1 Q talent makes her incredible at mitigating single target burst which should always make you think thoroughly before picking your level 1. Clemency isn't always the clear pick in my opinion. As for her other level 1 talents, I feel they might have good potential just not in the current meta. I do agree that she has a lot of versatile talent choices in her tree, but I don't think she has a "must have" talent.
Balanced...As all things should be
Lastly, do you think Whitemane needs any changes to be more "balanced" or is she in a good place now?
Fictional: I think she is one of those heroes that is a knife edge to balance if you just tune her numbers. Turn Inquisition numbers down and suddenly it doesn't do enough healing.
Overall she is in a good place, she isn't too overbearing or oppressive, but few weaknesses that talents can't cover. personally I think the level 16 Aoe heal just does too much, but wouldn't be that bad on its own if she couldn't do it endlessly.
Equally the only janky thing in her kit is the fact Inquisition shares a cooldown with Clemency. If you changed Clemency so it has its own cooldown and did not benefit from Inquisition talents that would remove the infinite mana scenario that currently exists, or would at least mean she would have to put herself at risk to do so.
Blizzard have a lot of knobs they can turn, Zeal % and Duration, Desperation stack fall off rate, number of desperation stacks, mana increase from desperation, I'd personally like to blizzard try something a bit more interesting than simply nerfing some numbers in a high pick talent as that is just going to turn her into the Support version of Kael'Thas.
Cascon: I mostly agree with fictional here, she's not really that busted, although in twitch chat you always get "Whitemane btw".
In terms of balancing her mainly radiance needs to be nerfed, she's also very hard to play optimally, and if she isn't played on a high level then she's not an amazing hero imo. compare that to Deckard where even most pro's i consider not playing him consistently optimally, and he's still this oppressive. After Deckard gets nerfed you can start looking how to fix Whitemane more.
Fictional: Would you nerf the healing from Radiance or go another way?
Cascon: I think Radiance definitely needs number tweaks, however i feel like you can also change some other talents/numbers, it just has to be done very carefully for her to still be viable, and i'm not 100% sure as to how i would change these.
ahmed_101: I agree that she's in a good place, but unlike Cascon and fictional I feel that other parts of her kit needs to be looked at before radiance. Mainly scarlet aegis and inquisition. I feel that scarlet aegis has too many things going for it, I think a cooldown increase would be enough for now. Inquisition i feel that it either slows for too much or its leash range is too high, I personally prefer to tune down the slow to 20% or 25%.
Lastly, I think pity the frail needs a buff to compete with her other level 1 talents, it's a potentially good talent but it's a bit under-tuned with clemency and martyrdom.
Fictional: Pity the Frail is an interesting one, but what would you change on it? The % extra healing or the % max hp threshold?
I don't think it's under tuned, but it is niche. I've picked it with a Cho'Gall or multiple high hp frontline, normally with Fanatical Power to really ensure this guy does not die.
ahmed_101: It is niche i agree, but I had the opposite thought to its usage. I was thinking anti-reset/clean-up (think Genji, Li ming, illidan, greymane...) maybe lower the hp threshold and increase the healing? I don't want to put numbers, because i haven't done the math and I don't want my suggestion to be insane.
I was going to say keep it at 25% extra healing but raise the hp threshold to 60%, but then you mentioned the Cho'Gall which made me realise it would be too strong on beefy front liners.
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 and we will look at doing it!