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March 21st, 2018 Patch - 7 Days Later
7 Days Later
(banner courtesy of /u/Somber99)

View the previous post on HeroesHearth here.
View all of my previous blog posts here.

Hello again!  After each balance patch, I've taken it upon myself to track how the balance changes have affected the Nexus.  It's become something of a habit for me, and I thought it might be fun to share my data with the community.

In case you've forgotten what changed in the last patch, here's a link.

Disclaimer (please read!):
All data provided in this post was collected from Hotslogs, which is a database of player-submitted games.  Data was collected between 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM EST each day, using the special filter "Last 7 Days (Current Build)" and focusing exclusively on Hero League data (with the exception of heroes like Cho'Gall, whose unique nature requires pulling data from Team League).  As usual, keep in mind that my numbers may differ slightly from Hotslogs's "official" figures as the site regularly updates older information as more games are added. Therefore, our data may not match up perfectly, but it should give a generally accurate view of how the week progressed.

Here is a link to the spreadsheet with the data I've collected.  The spreadsheet contains all of my original data, split into two categories: "Composite" (which represents all data across the entire week) and "Daily" (which represents data from each individual day).  It also contains a number of graphs showing how each hero is performing in both win rate and popularity.  If you'd prefer a summarized report, read on!

Here is a table showing the win rates:

Note that the error column assumes a 95% confidence interval.  To put it simply, a 95% confidence interval is a numerical way to measure whether the win rate has changed in any significant way.  If the change to a win rate exceeds the error, then we can assume that there is approximately a 95% chance that the win rate has changed, and lies somewhere within the range given in the right-most column.

Here is a table showing popularity rates:

In the last column of this table, you can see a small bar chart indicating how much the popularity is estimated to have changed by.  For any row in which the popularity went up, the original popularity is shown in black, and the increase is shown in green.  For any row in which the popularity went down, the current popularity is shown in black, and the decrease is shown in red.  This is to provide a visual representation of how much a hero's popularity has shifted.  Keep in mind that the general trend for popularity is that a hero who declines in popularity will often increase in win rate, and vice versa, though there are always exceptions to this rule.

The seven-day analysis is below.  Please note that while I try to cover all heroes, not all heroes are in need of in-depth analysis of their changes, so some heroes may have short summaries or may even be omitted entirely.  Also, be aware that the contents of this section are primarily my own opinion of the changes, albeit backed with data.  If you disagree, feel free to explain why in the comments below.

1) Artanis has seen a slight bump in win rate as his resource management is now a little easier than before.  The Hierarch received a rather reasonable reduction to his mana costs, losing 5 mana on Twin Blades and 10 on Blade Dash.  Twin Blades now costs about 6.7 seconds worth of mana regen at Lvl 1 instead of its previous 8.3, which means you'll recover the necessary mana for a cast of Twin Blades about 25% faster.  Similarly, Blade Dash's mana cost can now be recovered about 18% faster.  In practical terms, this means less waiting between casts, and less of a need to tap or hearth, which is always good news for a front line bully looking to stay in the action as long as possible.

2) Auriel's general power level has increased, but she plays much the same as she did before.  The intent of her changes was to "increase her self-Hope generation and play-making potential", and that much seems to have been achieved.  She now generates 27 Hope per auto-attack at Lvl 1 (up from 22), but the trade off was a nerf to "Energized Cord" at Lvl 7 which reduces its power against non-Heroic targets.  As a result, it actually generates slightly less Hope against non-Heroic targets than it used to, providing only 60 Hope at Lvl 20 vs her original figure of about 63 Hope.  This means that the talent is only marginally less effective against non-Heroic targets, but stronger against heroes than it used to be thanks to the increase in AA damage.  Essentially, if you intend to keep using "Energized Cord", you will need to be a bit more aggressive in team fights.  From a practical standpoint, however, little has changed about which talents you'd pick, as none of the other changes radically altered her talent selection.

3) Greymane's generalist nature continues to cause him trouble on the balance front. Greymane has enjoyed a strong position in pro play for a long time due to his generalist capabilities.  He can fill both melee and ranged roles.  He has excellent poke and strong dive potential, with a touch of survivability thanks to his armor in Worgen form.  He has respectable wave clear and does a fair job with mercenary camps.  And his heroics provide a choice between an ability that is a powerful initiation tool to burst down a target, and a finishing ability that gives him additional reach to catch a fleeing target.  As assassins go, his kit is by far one of the most versatile, and that has led to him being a staple in professional play.  Recent complaints about the Genji/Hanzo/Greymane-dominated meta led to nerfs trying to push these heroes down from their 90%+ popularity pedestals.  This nerf is a fairly minor one which furthers that goal, trying to reduce him to a hero that doesn't truly dominate in any one area in exchange for being a veritable Swiss Army Knife.  So far, this seems to be working, as Greymane is down to a 45% pick/ban in professional play since the Clash, while still holding a reasonably balanced Hero League pick/ban and win rate.  We will have to see if this trend continues.

4) Maiev has seen a decrease in both win rate and ban rate, but remains one of the most banned heroes in the game.  Her nerfs have significantly cut into her survivability as a whole, with a 4s increase to Vault's cooldown.  Due to its cooldown now being longer than most enemy ability cooldowns, this is forcing players to properly time their Vaults for maximum effect, instead of spamming them for free damage mitigation.  She also saw yet another reduction in her Fan of Knives damage, but as I've pointed out in other posts, this is largely a minor change due to the built-in reset nature of the ability.  There were also tweaks to the cooldown on her heroics to try and rebalance them.  Despite this, Maiev retained a ban rate twice as high as the next closest hero, although it did drop by about 10 p.p. overall from last week.  It is clear that while she's not quite at the same level of frustration as Garrosh or Ragnaros or other such heroes, people are still much too frustrated with her style of play to risk letting her through the draft.  Hopefully future updates will address her resets, which in turn might bring down frustration levels.

5) Sonya and Thrall have both dropped in popularity and win rate, but the flood gates remain open. These two heroes are still fairly strong despite their nerfs.  Thrall's "Crash Lightning" retains its position at the top of the Lvl 1 talent selections, with a 75.5% pick rate and a 54.5% win rate.  Sonya's altered talents didn't change people's minds much, either.  "Furious Blow" (11.9% PR, 49.9% WR) still doesn't stack up to "Tough as Nails" (46.7% PR, 53.1% WR) at Lvl 1, and "Battle Rage" (67.5% PR, 54.5% WR) at Lvl 4 remains the most successful talent.  "Mystical Spear" (68.6% PR, 53.2% WR) at Lvl 13 is still the most popular talent, though not the most successful, so this talent might be okay for the time being.  We may yet see further nerfs to "Rampage" (25.9% PR, 61.3% WR) at Lvl 16, however, as it is still the most successful by far.

6) Zul'jin got a 4.4% increase to his attack damage, which gave him a big bump in win rate.  Also, "Ensnare" (17.8% PR, 52.7% WR) at Lvl 13 got a massive cooldown reduction, which has helped bring it in line with the other talents in its tier.  Consider giving it a try in compositions where you need the extra CC to lock down a target.

Looking for more of my work?  Check out my newest piece about Maiev in the HGC!  That article is located here.

Hope to see you again next time!
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Like the additional charts and format!
Yeah, I'm pretty fond of how they turned out! My constant work at improving my spreadsheet technique is starting to pay off. :)