Free Week Nemeses: Weekly MVPs

1/19 – 1/26

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 far 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 whom to pick, here are some good places to start.

Here are the free heroes this week:

  1. Li Li
  2. E.T.C.
  3. Jaina
  4. Gazlowe
  5. Artanis
  6. The Butcher
  7. Uther (Level 5)
  8. Thrall (Level 7)
  9. Azmodan (Level 12)
  10. Nova (Level 15)

With ample backline pressure and two priority channels, this week calls for crowd control and self-sustenance. With Azmodan and Gazlowe bulling through lanes and mercenary camps, some reliability in lane is also important.

Weekly Free Rotation Nemeses

1. Anub’arak

Anub’arak is one of the most fragile warriors around, but he’s an overperformer when it comes to crowd control. With Jug of 1,000 Cups and Mosh Pit to interrupt, he’s already got his niche carved out this week. His usefulness doesn’t end there, however. With two base stuns and Cocoon available, he’s also excels at protecting his allies from dives. So when The Butcher or Artanis is pestering the backline, ImpaleBurrow Charge, and body blocking allow Anub’arak to peel better than most.

Anub’arak’s days of being a tough-to-kill bruiser are over, at least for the time being. As such, Cocoon is often chosen over Locust Swarm. It allows for Anub’arak to lock one hero out of the fight for up to 8 seconds, taking them out of commission or forcing their teammates to focus on breaking the Cocoon. This can punish an overzealous Butcher, lock down a pesky Nova, cancel a Mosh Pit, or eliminate Uther’s impactful heals for a period. Try to aim it at an enemy who is already isolated from their allies. The enemy team will have a hard time saving them and the battle will likely continue to move away, effectively removing that enemy from the skirmish.

2. Raynor

This week calls for a ranged assassin who can interrupt channels and survive a gank from Nova/The Butcher. Penetrating Round is perfect for cancelling channels, and it doubles as a great disengage from angry melee assassins. As a Ranged Assassin, Raynor offers a bit more sturdiness while still remaining an excellent damage dealer. With the option of choosing Give Me More as a level one talent, he’s able to take a lot of burst damage and still come out alive (and consequently, get more).

Being able to survive the burst from Melee Assassins and other heavy damage dealers will prove especially useful this week, considering how some of the game’s hardest hitters are a part of the free rotation. Position well, and don’t be afraid to duel your lane opponents while you have Adrenaline Rush available.  If the ability is on cooldown, however, it’s recommended that you try to stay away from fighting entirely. Having the ability available is the difference between surviving and succumbing to a gank.

3. Brightwing

Brightwing’s call to glory this week lies in Polymorph and Phase Shift. Polymorph is perfect for cancelling channeled abilities and neutering diving heroes, while Phase Shift‘s global range allows Brightwing to react to a gank from across the map. Butcher charging your ally? Phase Shift to them, Polymorph the aggressor, Pixie Dust the ally, and viola — gank dismantled. In addition to the global presence, Phase Shift allows Brightwing to shield her allies for a significant amount of health, giving your teammates a bit of extra staying power during fights.

As always, always choose to be the split-soaking Hero on your team. Brightwing’s ability to body soak a lane whilst maintaining the ability to pop into a teamfight at any times can lead your team to a serious experience advantage. Also keep in mind that Arcane Flare‘s damage was recently buffed. Just because Brightwing is a support doesn’t mean she shouldn’t  be dealing damage when she can!


4. Zagara

Zagara fulfills several purposes as a counter to the free rotation. Firstly, she can counter-push against the likes of Gazlowe and Azmodan, who are sure to be razing structures left and right this week. Secondly, Hydralisk is incredibly punishing against aggressive heroes who blunder into your team looking for a kill. Heroes who are susceptible tunnel vision (like Artanis, Thrall, and The Butcher) are prime targets for a defensive Hydralisk, as they’ll take a lot of incremental damage just for being aggressive.

Devouring Maw is your next tool at dismantling the diving damage. If your opponents are diving you and your teammates, a well placed Maw with a subsequent Baneling Barrage can completely obliterate your enemy. Use your Q before the Maw is complete, so that when the victims surface they immediately take damage from multiple Banelings, increasing your burst damage and allowing for some brutal team wipes.

Creep Tumor are excellent for keeping tabs on enemy heroes and preventing ganks from the Thrall/Jaina/Butcher squad. Make sure you always have a path of tumors that lead to a safe location from you. That way, if a gank does happen, you have a path you can run on that will give you that extra movement speed – saving your life from otherwise grim circumstances.

5. Sonya

Self-sustain and high sustained damage are well-positioned this week. Sonya doesn’t live in fear of ganks like some squishy plebeian; she can stand up to this week’s specialists and assassins in-lane and out; and her ability to quickly close on the backline will have the likes of Jaina and Li Li thinking twice about coming forward to cast an ability. On maps like Blackheart’s Bay, it’s also important to have someone that can jungle (generate coins) as well as the likes of Thrall and The Butcher.

It’s definitely recommended to build Sonya as a tank this week. While she’s can be extremely resilient in a lot of cases, the lockdown and damage available to these free Heroes could prove to be quite deadly to the barbarianess. Picking Ferocious Healing at level 7, Nerves of Steel at level 16, and Ignore Pain at level 20 will give her a lot more staying power, from the lane to the late game.