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Hands-on with Heroes Blackheart’s Revenge brawl

Heroes of the Storm recently introduced weekly brawls to the game. They are custom games with different rules and preset characters for faster gameplay. At BlizzCon 2016 a new brawl map was announced, Blackheart’s Revenge, and I got to spend some quality time with it at the demo stations.

Blackheart’s Revenge is similar in theme to the Blackheart’s Bay map already in the game, but the layout and goals are entirely different. Blackheart is sending his ghost ship into the bay to destroy the core at the end of the dock. You are either assigned to the attacking team to destroy the ghost ship before it gets to the core or the defending to team to stop the other side from sinking the ship. heroes-brawl-blackhearts-revenge-ghost-ship-header

If you are assigned to the attacking side, you start at the character select screen with a choice of three Assassins to play. Your four other teammates also are presented with three Assassin heroes and your team may end up with duplicate heroes on the map! I went in to my second game with two Chromies which allowed us to harass and dominate, for example. If you are assigned the defending side, your team gets two Warriors and three Assassins going in.

Once in the game, there’s no leveling: you immediately pick your heroic ability and get no talents. As the attacking side, our goal was to gather the ghost cannonballs and then run to the cannons and shoot them at the ghost ship coming in to sink it before it sails across the map. This makes for quite a few chokepoints for team fights.

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There are two lanes to the map with multiple sets of cannonballs to collect spread across it. As the attacking team, strategy comes down to whether or not you move as a group to each cannonball pile or split up and hope you can snag cannonballs that are unguarded by the other side. Each player can only carry one load of cannonballs and can only fire one at a time with the cannon. Collecting cannonballs and firing cannons requires channeling similar to picking up the raven tribute in Cursed Hollow or activating the shrines in Towers of Doom so you’ll have to guard your teammates while they do it.

As the defending team, it was all about harassment. We kept poking at the attacking team when they tried to grab cannonballs or fire cannons and caught them out one by one for takedowns. We kept it up until time ran out and the ghost ship made it to the enemy core, blowing it up.

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I found the brawl to be fun with lots of dynamic strategy (starting at the character select screen) and a heavy emphasis on team coordination. If you are on the defender side, pick Warriors with many disruption abilities to stop the channeling the attackers need accomplish their objectives. For Assassin picks, ranged Assassins that drop AOE or long range nukes will be great at interrupting cannonball pick ups and cannon firings. But a sneaky Zeratul can be just as effective as well since a dead enemy can’t help his team at all.

For attacking teams, if you can keep the defenders focused on your main group and send one player off to the other side of the map to pick up cannonballs and fire off cannonballs, you’ll finish up the map quickly. That strategy worked very well in my attack play session. Also, look for synergies when picking characters at the select screen. Picking two Chromies allowed us to keep the enemy far away from us so we could channel the the final cannon shots easily.

Overall, I found the new brawl to be fast and fun. I won on both an attacking and defending team. I’m looking forward to when this one hits the live servers later this year.

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