New Hero, Changed Meta
As with any newcomer, Kharazim has kicked up dust in the meta as he looks for a place to settle. He’s an extremely mobile hero that excels in situations where he’s able to get in basic attacks. His kit plays differently than most other supports’ – with his short-ranged heals and attack-based trait, he must throw himself into the heat of the fray to be most effective. Unfortunately, this means that someone is being left out of his heals, making Kharazim a bit of a quandary when it comes to organized compositions.
An Uncertain Support
Kharazim brings some incredible abilities to the table. His capacity to maneuver within a lane or a teamfight makes him difficult to pick off, and his early game resilience allows him to get off a lot of healing with Transcendence. His ability to sustain nearby teammates with his basic attacks makes him the support of choice for capturing mercenaries. Because of this, he makes a strong addition to teams looking to build lane pressure to take early objectives.
Once level 10 hits, Kharazim’s teamfighting capabilities go through the roof. Divine Palm is one of the strongest abilities in the game right now, and can completely change the outcome of a teamfight. Teams are going to need to be very careful about how they execute their fights post-level-10 against The Monk, because blowing too many Heroic abilities on a hero only to have them bounce back is a surefire way to throw a fight.
That said, Kharazim faces some unique challenges as a Support hero. His trait rewards aggression, which can easily backfire if his team is on the back foot. With Transcendence, Kharazim can put out surprising sustain in an area around him as long as he is attacking. At times such as retreats, however, Kharazim falls flat, relying on his decidedly subpar Breath of Healing to keep his entire team alive.
Unfortunately, Kharazim lacks the peel necessary to be a strong counter-pick to gank-style lineups. With no stuns or slows to speak of, Kharazim only has his heals and damage to deter enemies from pursuing his teammates. This hero seems to have partially filled the role of old Brightwing, in that he is a mobile Support who can blink to allies (albeit at a short range) and disperse a consistent area heal. The correlation is not 100%, though, especially since Kharazim lacks much of the utility proffered by pre-nerf Brightwing.
Falling into Place
These strikes against The Monk do not make him a weak hero – just a unique one, and one who needs time to find a home. Given his kit, Kharazim looks like he will fit well in ‘dive’ compositions that look to go into deep territory to eliminate enemies. By picking up Quicksilver at level 13, Kharazim can bolster his team’s speed for such operations. With the likes of Illidan, Leoric, Valla, and perhaps Abathur, Kharazim’s apparent weaknesses can be turned into strongsuits. Classic monk.
Additionally, Kharazim looks like he may find a home in the double-specialist meta that appears to be burgeoning in the North American Scene and beyond. With two aggressive pushers and a Kharazim in lane, the enemy team-will be hard pressed to keep their structures intact. Such a setup creates a lane with constant momentum, complimenting Kharazim’s aggressive playstyle.
Another place he may find a home is in double-support setups, where he can become a damage/sustain hybrid while leaving the brunt of the support to another healer. This would be in defiance to the meta’s trend towards single-support compositions, but may become a mainstay in the coming weeks. With a well chosen tank, assassin, and specialist, double-support setups may soon be putting out frustrating levels of sustain.
Kharazim definitely has the potential to throw a wrench in the meta. He has a lot of useful abilities, is very mobile, and can fully support his teammates given the right circumstances. It is not yet apparent whether or not The Monk will be a highly contested pickup, but the new meta is sure to unravel in the coming weeks. While Kharazim is still in his grace period in NA, he has been seen in the OGN competitive scene already, allowing us some insight.
Below is a competitive match between Korean teams MVP Black and Team Snake where Kharazim is picked up. While his final place is as of yet unclear, games like these will seal his spot in the ensuing metagame.