Free Week Nemeses: Weekly MVPs

1/26 – 2/2/2016

Another week, another free rotation in Heroes of the Storm. While Quick Match compositions aren’t composed solely of free week heroes, you’re bound to see them more frequently than usual. With this in mind, there are a few heroes that we would like to highlight as being effective against the majority of this week’s pool.

No hero can counter all of them, of course, and you’re going to come across plenty of extra-rotation heroes. But if you’re playing QM this week and don’t know who to pick, here are some good places to start.

Here are the free heroes this week:

  1.  Raynor
  2.  Muradin
  3.  Uther
  4.  Leoric
  5.  Gazlowe
  6.  Kerrigan
  7.  Sonya
  8.  Sylvanas
  9.  Lt. Morales
  10.  Illidan

This week’s rotation has a strong frontline, powerful heals, and several heroes who love to dive into the fray. Since the majority of the heroes are melee, this week’s nemeses are well-equipped to handle an up-close onslaught.

Weekly Free Rotation Nemeses

1. Johanna

Given the amount of crowd-control and Basic Attack damage coming at us in this week’s Free Rotation, Johanna will prove to be a worthy pick. Against the relentless onslaught of damage from the likes of Raynor, Sonya and Illidan. Shield Glare will be an MVP, as much of these heroes’s damage comes from Basic Attacks. It can even prevent Kerrigan from gaining shields on attack and deny Leoric lifegain from Spectral Leech after 20. If Illidan or Sonya end up diving on your backline, simply blind them and slow their pursuit with Punish.

Johanna also boasts the ability to negate a lot of the engagement potential from the free-week Heroes. Being able to use Stone Skin to become Unstoppable and negate Muradin’s Storm Bolt, Uther’s Judgement, and Kerrigan’s Impaling Blades, will allow her to escape sticky situations that other Warriors may not have the resilience to withstand. Additionally, Blessed Shield is a fairly low-cooldown Heroic Ability that allows Johanna a stun of her own. This will allow you to effectively peel for your backline and make aggressive plays. March forward, Crusader!

2. Thrall

If you’re looking for a Melee Assassin to bring to the Nexus this week, look no further than the Warrior of Durotar: Thrall. His incredible sustain throughout the game, in addition to his excellent dueling potential, makes him a valuable pick against Heroes like Sonya and Leoric. He will be able to 1-on-1 any Hero in the free rotation, and his kit is extremely useful against Lt. Morales. You’ll need to play safely during the laning phase against teams with Kerrigan and Uther, but once level 10 hits and teamfights start rolling out, you’ll be a self-sustaining force to be reckoned with.

Against Heroes such as Lt. Morales or Sylvanas, try hard engaging with Sundering, and running up to your targets and rooting them with Feral Spirit. Sylvanas can’t use Haunting Wave to escape from your root, so if you time it properly you’ll be able to demolish her in seconds. Thrall is also an excellent pick against Illidan. When playing against The Betrayer, wait for him to dive onto the back of your team and stick on top of him with your wolves. The amount of damage you can put out onto Illidan when his Evasion is on cooldown is absurd, so always be on the lookout for such opportunities.


3. Zagara

Against lane bullies like Gazlowe, Leoric and Sonya, it’s always nice to have someone that can safely sit in lane and deal with the pressure. Zagara fulfills that goal admirably – in fact, she’s probably one of the strongest laners in the game. In addition to her laning power, Zagara’s Creep will prove to be invaluable against Heroes like Kerrigan that prey on vision advantages to get kills during the laning phase. If you use your creep effectively, then those gank-based Heroes won’t stand a chance against you.

Zagara is also excellent at separating teams during teamfights – something that dive based compositions fear more than anything else. If Illidan or Sonya are diving onto your backline, simply Maw their backline (or Support Hero) and start dealing with the divers. They’re most likely going to be diving onto you, so make sure you have a path of Creep leading backwards to give you that extra escape potential.

4. Murky

On the specialist front, Murky looks poised to do work this week. His lane pressure will prove invaluable against teams with gankers like Kerrigan, and once 10 rolls around he’ll be able to punish divers and supports alike. Murky is especially punishing against Illidan, Kerrigan, and Sonya. As soon as they jump your squishies, which they’re bound to do, drop a Pufferfish and Octograb them. After your team disposes of them, you’ll have a nice numbers advantage.

Even more to Murky’s advantage, there aren’t many heroes in this rotation who can burst him down in seconds. Sonya and maybe Raynor will be able to fend Murky off when alone, but everyone else is susceptible to being harassed endlessly. Heroes like Leoric and Uther can do little to deter an overaggressive Murky, making the little green gremlin an especially obnoxious pick this week.


5. Jaina

While Jaina has some trouble with Illidan and Kerrigan, her zoning, slows, and high burst damage are invaluable against this week’s frontline-heavy lineup. With Leoric and Sonya making their inexorable way through teamfights, a well-placed Blizzard can slow their advance or split the enemy team, dealing massive damage all the while. Water Elemental is a great way  to put pressure on Lt. Morales or Raynor without exposing yourself to too much danger, giving Jaina’s team some breathing room to deal with the frontline.

Dealing with Illidan is admittedly a pain. That said, Jaina has some defensive talents (Frost Armor at 7 and Ice Barrier at 16) that are great at nullifying Illidan’s effectiveness. Weathered Jaina players can actually stand toe-to-toe with the demonic night elf by accounting for his Dive. If he attacks you, cast a Blizzard on top of yourself and wait for him to Dive over you before trying to land a skillshot. The fight will be close, but actually landing all of Jaina’s abilities will put out too much damage for the fragile Illidan. With a team that is conscientious about peeling for her, Jaina can decimate the competition this week.