After watching the North American Championship tournament I witnessed a large number of people in the chat wondering why teams were picking certain supports. As someone who rolls into each draft with the intention of picking a support I thought I should clear the air and share with everyone my opinions on snagging the best healer (or healers) for your composition.
That in mind, the best way to draft the perfect support for your team in Heroes of the Storm would normally demand hundreds of games worth of trial and error. However, being the altruistic man that I am — I decided to expedite the process for you. If you’re a long-time support player who’s looking to master the drafting portion for your class; if you’re the flex player looking to fill the roll that your teammates don’t like; if you’re just curious what the support player in your draft should pick or if you’re last pick in a solo que and no one is communicating, this simple list should work as your quick-reference survival guide.
First of all, if you’re not sure what to play, Malfurion is the best support hero in a vacuum. He’s got robust heals, excellent crowd control with his roots and good variability in his talent options.
Best paired with: Teams with multiple mana-hungry heroes like Zagara, Kael’thas, Jaina, Kerrigan and Thrall.
He’s also got powerful AOE between his Moonfire and Entangling Roots. This makes him a great support for teams that want to do set-ups and wombo combos. Gazlowe, E.T.C, Jaina, Kael’thas or Valla all pair well with him.
Malfurion also happens to be one of the three supports who has access to MULE for utility. And he’s the only hard-healer who has access to it.
Avoid pairing with: Murky, Illidan, Sonya, Chen, and/or Abathur because they do not have mana. This dampens the power of his trait since he can’t use it on himself.
Malfurion only costs two-thousand gold and is easy to learn. All of these factors make him the best healer to draft.
Uther is easily the strongest healer (a small distinction from being the best). Malfurion has him beat in versatility and Uther is much harder to play overall but Uther’s Divine Shield heroic is, without question, the best support ultimate in the game.
Additionally, Hammer of Justice makes a really strong pair with melee characters.
Best paired with: Illidan, The Butcher, Leoric, Arthas, Sonya and Kerrigan.
Meanwhile, Uther’s Divine Shield allows him to pair well with all of the flimsy Assassins: Jaina, Kael’thas, Zeratul, Nova, Kerrigan, Vala, Sylvannas, Tychus and Falstad. This is the main reason why you’d want to play Uther.
Weaknesses: If you’re not familiar with Uther he’s probably the hardest support to play. He has a large number of activated abilities from his talents — often times you will be looking at six or seven. This is solely what keeps him from being the best support hero to draft; his high difficulty of play may cause more trouble than it’s worth.
She’s the little underdog (or should that be underpanda?) with an undeniably high win-rate. People are often very confused as to her power, and most people will groan when they see you drafting her but I consider Li Li to be the third best healer to pick up in a draft.
Strengths: Incredible sustained-fighting, unparalleled escape potential, and a solid counter pick to melee-heavy teams.
If your opponent’s team has two or more melee heroes, Li Li’s Blinding Wind will be a powerful tool as it mitigates damage done to them. Additionally, several melee characters have imposing early game presences. Li Li’s also a powerful check to early game aggression because of her Cloud Serpent ability and her heal, which is incredibly powerful from the start of the game. Being caught out of position on Li Li is also less of a problem than other healers. Her Fast-Feet trait makes her a hard target to single out and kill.
Similar to Malfurion, Li Li is easy to play and cheap to buy. She’s a good “swing” hero for any player to own.
The monk has a few things working for him. Firstly, if your enemies are running multiple warriors his power goes up significantly. The Seven-Sided Strike heroic ability makes him an actual threat to a warrior because of its percentage based damage. Kharazim is probably the only support that can fight Leoric, Johanna, or Muradin one on one (not that you’d really want to, still).
Other strengths: Kharazim’s ability to heal a full group; he can keep an entire team alive through a push while also contributing damage.
Weaknesses: However, you don’t want to pick Kharazim if the opposing team has multiple instances of large area of effect damage. in short that means: avoid a first-pick Kharazim. Kael’thas in particular is a large headache and counter to Kharazim because of his Living Bomb and Chain Bomb. Additionally, you don’t want to pick Kharazim if your opponent’s team is good at chasing. While Kharazim himself is good at escaping, because of his Dash, it’s very difficult for him to assist allies in getting away.
Best paired with: Characters who are doing the chasing. He excels with Illidan, Thrall, and Vala. Just note that it’s difficult for him to assist in getting kills because of his lack of crowd control.
Rehgar is a character that is not very powerful in an unskilled support player’s hands. His abilities are easy to use and he’s fairly straight-forward as far as mechanical play goes but the quality of his play is directly tied to the player’s decision-making skills.
Rehgar’s heroic, Ancestral Heal, has a staggeringly long cool-down. If you target the wrong player accidentally, if you choose to heal the wrong player because you’re not sure who the best target is or if you don’t cast the heal in time you will end up wasting it.
Strengths: He can run through the jungle and gather camps by himself very effectively. If you have a team composition that includes Johanna, Raynor, the Butcher, Leoric, or Azmodan than Rehgar is valuable because he can roam when they can’t. He can go from lane to lane providing heals, and using his lightning shield to assist in pushing lanes.
Best paired with: Rehgar’s Lightning Shield and Earthbind Totem pairs well with dive characters like Illidan, the Butcher and Kerrigan. In addition, his Wolf Form prevents him from having any natural enemies. Making him a safe pick if you’re unfamiliar with the other melee healers.
In the past Brightwing was the best pick for support and it wasn’t close. However a series of reworks and numbers adjustments have caused her to plummet tiers. I would say that she is the single worst support that you can pick for your team right now while still being a hard-healer.
Strengths: Brightwing does have two strengths. She has a well-defined global presence, and she has the best crowd control in the game. She’s a great support for teams that are going to be spread out or on maps such as Sky Temple or Cursed Hollow that require you to go from one side of a large map to another.
Best paired with: Additionally, if your team is picking heroes such as Falstad and Illidan, who have strong global presence, Brightwing fits in nicely. She can jump to them as soon as they jump to new places on the map. This makes her available in every fight that your team’s assassins are. Brightwing also really like heroes like Zagara, Azmodan, and Sgt. Hammer because they will focus large portions of the early game barreling through a single lane. Brightwing can hop to them from wherever she is on the map and assist in pushing or with fleeing when needed.
Tyrande and Tassadar
While both these supports are good characters, they are not great picks for the support role. They will not be able to sustain a team through a fight. For purposes of draft I would pick Tyrande if you’re looking to secure kills with her stun, and I would pick Tassadar if your team wants vision and lane-pushing. But I wouldn’t pick either unless another player is going to be seated as the dedicated “healer.” Though each have a heal, or heal equivalent, both of them are better considered as assassins.
I hope this improves your know-how a little when it comes to being a support drafter. Knowing which support fits into each team composition will definitely improve the performance of your entire team.
But there’s a key to draft that is more important that team compositions: comfort . Be sure you’re picking a character you are comfortable with as often as possible and always try and communicate with your team. The only way to lose a game at draft is to have members of your team bickering and ready to fight each other before they’re ready to fight the enemy team.