November 29th Patch - 7 Days Later

7 Days Later
View the previous post on HeroesHearth 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!
Hero Win Rate Win Rate Change Win Rate Error (95% CI) Popularity Popularity Change
Alexstrasza 48.3% +1.7 p.p. ±1.21% 23.9% -1.1 p.p.
Ana 45.3% -1.7 p.p. ±1.66% 10.0% -0.9 p.p.
Auriel 47.5% +0.3 p.p. ±1.45% 15.7% -0.8 p.p.
Brightwing 49.2% -1.2 p.p. ±1.04% 29.1% -1.9 p.p.
Johanna 49.8% 0.0 p.p. ±1.09% 24.2% -0.6 p.p.
Kharazim 50.0% -0.7 p.p. ±1.27% 15.3% -0.6 p.p.
Li Li 50.0% +4.8 p.p. ±1.12% 21.7% +3.5 p.p.
Lt. Morales 48.7% -2.7 p.p. ±1.46% 19.5% +0.3 p.p.
Lucio 51.9% -1.0 p.p. ±1.01% 30.0% +2.8 p.p.
Malfurion 50.3% -1.3 p.p. ±0.97% 32.3% 0.0 p.p.
Rehgar 50.6% -1.7 p.p. ±1.05% 28.7% -10.2 p.p.
Sgt. Hammer 42.5% -8.6 p.p. ±2.07% 6.6% +2.0 p.p.
Sonya 52.7% -1.5 p.p. ±0.81% 51.2% -0.4 p.p.
Stukov 50.3% -0.1 p.p. ±1.20% 23.0% +1.2 p.p.
Tassadar 44.0% -3.4 p.p. ±1.61% 13.0% -3.2 p.p.
Tychus 48.5% +0.3 p.p. ±1.87% 7.0% +0.6 p.p.
Tyrande 46.7% -1.5 p.p. ±1.58% 9.8% -2.2 p.p.
Uther 51.4% +2.1 p.p. ±1.06% 34.1% +0.4 p.p.
Zul'jin 48.2% -5.5 p.p. ±1.20% 18.1% -8.6 p.p.

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) In a post-Supportcalyse world, most of the game's supports WR adjustments were within the margin of error.  It is safe to say the panic surrounding the universal nerf was substantial, but all outward indications suggest that only a handful of supports are confirmed victims to the "Supportcalypse", and it's pretty much exactly who you think it would be.  Brightwing, Malfurion, and Rehgar all lost out the most on wave clear, which inevitably has weakened their overall standing.  Of these, Tassadar's plunge is the worst in terms of raw win rate (44.0%, -3.4 p.p. from 1 week ago), but Rehgar's popularity also dropped considerably on top of his win rate drop (50.6% WR and 28.7% popularity, -1.7 p.p. and -10.2 p.p. respectively from 1 week ago), so that needs to be taken into account as well, which arguably makes his adjustment far more extreme than Tassadar's.  Morales also ended up somewhat under par, likely due to her general fragility under dive compositions (as mentioned by monkpunch) as her relatively popular "grenade" build was weakened.  However, other supports flourished in this new environment.  Alexstrasza went up despite her nerfs since most of her healing is percentile, leaving her less affected by the nerfs than other heroes.  Li LI went up due to several buffs to her healing meant to compensate for her initial post-rework weakness, though this came at the cost of more damage and base health.  Uther also increased since his armor was untouched, allowing him to remain a powerful damage mitigation tool despite his reduced healing.  All of the other changes are within the margin of error, making it difficult to determine their final standings.  As for whether or not this means the death of double support....we'll have to wait and see.  The Gold Cup World Championship is currently playing on the newest patch, which should give us a brief glimpse at how much the meta has changed, but we likely won't know the full results until HGC play returns in January.

2) Sgt Hammer got, well, hammered.  I mean, she really tanked....alright, I'll stop.  This is no surprise to dedicated Hammer players, of course, but Hammer's drop was incredibly bad.  It's almost a historically low plunge, second only to post-rework Nova from last year.  And while her popularity did spike in the first 24 hours, it dropped off rapidly in the days to come, but the win rate never came back up by any significant margin.  And even just looking at the changes on paper, it's not hard to figure out why.  Besides the obvious confusion of switching her Siege Mode to a new key, there are three key issues with her new kit, in my opinion.  First, she lost 10% of her siege damage while in Siege Mode vs siege targets in exchange for a 20% buff vs heroes....which seems like a great deal, but marginally hampers her old push potential in the early and late stages of a game.  This may seem minor, but it can really add up over time when you're primarily picking Hammer for the pressure she can place on an area while dishing out siege damage.  This is also the primary reason that some people mistakenly commented that they thought Hammer was a lot better now: her anti-hero damage is much better, making her feel stronger in team fights and helping to conceal the fact that her actual pushing power has gone down.  Second, her entire kit (abilities and several key talents) are designed to work only in Siege Mode, or at least work better in that mode.  This is a serious problem when it comes to overall effectiveness, since you won't always be able to safely siege up during a team fight, and this endangers you against dive compositions (which are very much in the meta right now).  Even with her new armor-granting ability, it's often just too dangerous to siege up and hope that your team can peel for you.  Third, her sustain is significantly reduced, which is a lethal blow to an already vulnerable hero.  She could previously select regenerative talents that gave her a lot of sustain ("Regeneration Master", "First Aid", etc), but most of those are now gone, and her one sustain talent is now locked behind Siege Mode.  These factors are a huge part of why Hammer is currently suffering.  She has essentially become more dependent on her Siege Mode, which indirectly makes her more dependent on her team to protect, sustain, and secure her position.

3) Zul'jin's nosedive is probably even worse than it looks.  The adjustments made were intended to weaken his mage build, and they've done that.  His mage build is now roughly par with his other talents.  However, this had the unintended consequence of dropping his strength significantly, probably even out of competitive viability.  His win rate drop is deceptive, however, because he also experienced a significant loss of popularity (18.1%, -8.6 p.p. from 1 week ago), which means the drop is likely worse than the win rate would otherwise indicate.  This should not be meant to discourage people from playing the mage build, of is still performing roughly as well as other build choices.  But it seems that the honeymoon is unfortunately over, and Zul'jin will be dropping back into more of a niche role.  It remains to be seen if the same will be said of competitive play when all is said and done.  I'm personally hoping for an increase in base power to compensate for the general reduction of his mage build's strength, but we'll see what happens.

4) Sonya's nerf was relatively insignificant.  While this is perhaps not a profoundly surprising statement, it's worth mentioning anyways.  She's only registered about a 1.5 p.p. drop in the past week, and "Poisoned Spear" remains the top choice in its tier (53.5% WR and 76.6% popularity, +1.4 p.p. and +64.8 p.p. vs the next closest talent, -1.7 p.p. and -5.2 p.p. respectively from 1 week ago).  Expect to continue seeing it in the weeks to come, barring a second nerf.

As a side note, this is the premiere of my newest spreadsheet for multi-day tracking, as I mentioned in the 48-hour post.  Please feel free to check it out and see what you think, and please let me know if you have any suggestions to improve it further.  It seems that the next patch is likely to roll on December 12th, so my next patch analysis will be sometime around the 14th (if that timeline is correct).  I may have another piece for you before then, however.  Hope you're looking forward to it! :)

As 2017 winds down, don't forget: My large-scale project, "2017 - A Year of HotS in Review" is still ongoing!  Check out the information I've collected so far at the links below!

2017 - A Year of HotS in Review - Full Data Sheet
2017 - A Year of HotS in Review - Hero Data Sheet
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