Hey lads. Today our HotS boost team will talk about the difference between the picks in Hero League and in the competitive scene – specifically, we will show you why the strongest heroes in the professional scene aren’t necessarily at the top of our HotS tier list.
I’m pretty sure that you have seen many arguments about the team composition in the champion select: probably you raged like the next guy at your teammate for picking Gazlowe and not a good healer. Come on, maybe YOU were the Gazlowe picker! Yes, this happened, multiple times during our duo queue boost sessions. In both cases, we can tell you one single thing for sure: the heroes that you see in every competitive match aren’t always the best choice for the Hero League. Let’s see why.
Picks & Bans
The first reason is pretty simple: in the Hero League there are no bans, while they are crucial in the competitive draft. Blizzard told us that they will add them in the near future, but right now it’s a huge difference. Without a ban phase all the picks are left open, and this means that the stronger heroes according to our HotS tier list are all available, and are often contested between the two teams. On the other hand in competitive OP heroes are banned, or intentionally left open because the enemies can counter them or build a composition to neutralize them – and you can’t expect this in solo queue. The hero pool of pro players are larger for a good reason.
On top of that, remember that many pro players are known for their mechanics on particular heroes, so their team may try to secure the pick for them, while the enemies may decide to “target ban” a specific player. This adds a whole new level of mind games.
Bans are a really huge factor that influences the draft phase, and we can’t say how they will affect the Hero League. However “target bans” will never occur in the amatorial scene, and that’s a big difference as well.
This point is pretty intuitive: many heroes are known for having a high “skill cap”: they excel when played by extremely skilled players but are almost useless when used by beginners. Heroes with lower skill cap can be used pretty effectively by average players, but usually aren’t equally strong to balance their accessibility – for this reason we really value mechanically easy heroes on our Heroes of the Storm tier list.
There is a huge gap between the skill of regular and professional players, and only pros can really use high skill cap heroes at their full potential: that’s why see heroes like Abathur having a low win rate in the Hero League while being common picks in competitive matches.
You can’t expect to have great results with a specific hero just because you saw him hard carrying a competitive match – according to our Heroes of the Storm boost team, you should accept your limits and try to play easier heroes.
Another difference is the fact that you can’t join the Hero League as a five men premade, but you are limited to a single duo queue partner. On the other hand competitive teams play together everyday for many hours, since it’s their job after all.
Pros spend a lot of time discussing the draft phase and their strategies, so they have an actual plan before the game starts. In the hero league, you have a limited amount of time to communicate with three or four total strangers. They probably don’t trust you, and you don’t trust them.
Elaborating on this concept, even in game pro teams have a great coordination as a result of their endless practice: you can see harmonic wombo-combo and perfect positioning. This means that certain heroes that require specific team comp or peeling can be exceptional in the pro scene, but aren’t really valued on our Heroes of the Storm tier list since you are playing with four strangers.
In the Hero League, well, this is just a dream, since you aren’t going to see your teammates again. Try your best to communicate and coordinate with your allies, but don’t expect a professional level of coordination.
This is our last point. During competitive matches, pro players talk to each other all the time with a speaking software, so they can communicate instantly all the necessary informations – cooldowns, rotations, positions and so on. Right now Heroes of the Storm doesn’t have a built-in game voice software, and it probably won’t be added in the near future. There are a lot of pros and cons, and you probably already know that if you have experience with other MOBAs with that feature, so Blizzard is still deciding about the option. This means that in the Hero League it’s possible to communicate only using the chat or pings.
Of course, writing in chat during a teamfight or in a high stress situation is not an option. Pings are easier, but sometimes they get ignored and you can’t communicate everything via pings, so you can’t have the same level of communication and cooperation.
On top of this, remember what we said before: pros play together everyday, and have a lot of practice with each other, so many times they don’t even need to communicate verbally, since they already know what their allies are going to do. You will never be able to achieve this level of cooperation and communication in the Hero League, unless you lane every game with your duo partner, but it’s till two guys out of five. Probably, this is the biggest difference between the Hero League and the professional scene.
In conclusion, Hero League’s meta is really different from the competitive meta for a lot of reasons, and you can’t expect to see the same heroes excelling in different situation. So don’t copy mindlessly what the pros do and pick, but try to elaborate your own strategies and of course follow our advices to climb the ladder.