Heroes of the Storm
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Genji and Hanamura coming to Heroes of the Storm

Alongside the release of Heroes 2.0 on April 25, Heroes of the Storm will be releasing a new playable character and a new map: Genji and Hanamura from Overwatch.

Genji

As someone familiar with Overwatch might suspect, Genji is a highly mobile Assassin hero. His kit is largely faithful to his Overwatch abilities, though some aspects of his character (such as his wall climb) have been reinterpreted for Heroes of the Storm gameplay.

Trait

  • Cyber Agility (D)
    • Activate to jump to target area

Basic Abilities

  • Shuriken (Q)
    • Throw 3 Shuriken in a spread pattern dealing each damaging the first enemy it hits.
    • Stores up to 3 charges. Shuriken’s cooldown replenishes all charges at the same time.
  • Deflect (W)
    • Become Protected for 1.25 seconds. Any damage blocked during this period causes Genji to throw a Kunai toward the nearest enemy, prioritizing Heroes and dealing damage.
  • Swift Strike (E)
    • Dash forward, dealing damage to all enemies in a line. Enemy Heroes who die within 2 seconds after being hit by Swift Strike cause the cooldown and Mana cost to be refunded.

Heroic Abilities

  • Dragonblade (R)
    • Unleash the Dragonblade for 8 seconds. While active, Dragonblade can be reactivated to lunge forward and slash in a huge arc. If any enemy Heroes are killed within 2 seconds after being hit by Dragonblade, Swift Strike’s cooldown is reset.
  • X-Strike (R)
    • Perform 2 perpendicular slashes that deal damage and ignite after 1.25 seconds, dealing additional damage to enemies in their area of effect.

In our brief Genji playtest, precision was the name of the game. Genji has the capacity to be a highly mobile character, but the majority of his offensive abilities require extreme accuracy. His Shuriken ability does, indeed, throw exactly three shurikens in a fan pattern — each one considered its own skillshot. While you can use the ability in melee range and effectively shotgun your opponent, using it from range is difficult. Swift Strike acts as a skill shot, using Genji himself as a projectile. Its path is extremely narrow, making it difficult to hit an opponent on the move. However, Swift Strike’s range is enormous, making it easy to launch yourself out of position for no gain.

The combination of Swift Strike and Cyber Agility, however, will give a good Genji the capacity to either engage, disengage, or secure a kill on a moment’s notice. Caught out of position? Swift Strike to put incredible distance between you and your opponent, then use Cyber Agility to leap over a wall, structure, or piece of otherwise impassable terrain.

Genji’s first Heroic Ability, Dragonblade, will be most familiar to Overwatch players. He pulls out his sword and goes to town in melee range, swinging his blade in wide arcs. It’s straightforward and easy to use, but Genji is susceptible to crowd control effects shutting him down. His second Heroic Ability, X-Strike, is safer to use in terms of Genji’s own survivability, but once again includes the element of precision: Genji leaps into the air anime-style, carves an X on the ground, and all players standing on the X take heavy damage. That’s the important detail: If your opponents aren’t standing directly on the X, they’ll take no damage.

Hanamura

Hanamura is not only a new map, but it will be the first Payload map in Heroes of the Storm. For players unfamiliar with the Payload ruleset, the goal is for your party to escort an object (such as a cart) to one end of the map while your opponents are trying to stop you. In Overwatch, the team on offense loses if they run out of time before escorting the payload to the objective.

Become a Watcher

In Heroes of the Storm, it’s a little different. Much like Towers of Doom, players can’t attack their opponent’s core directly. Instead, each core has 7 health. Both teams are escorting payloads throughout the match, their paths crossing one another at specific locations, and successfully escorting a payload deals damage to the enemy core. Payloads move faster depending on how many friendly players are nearby, though its speed reaches its maximum with three players nearby. Theoretically, if all you want to do is keep your payload moving at max speed, that leaves two other players to roam — scouting, skirmishing, or capturing mercenaries.

Hanamura also introduces new types of mercenaries. Whereas mercenaries in other Heroes of the Storm maps are generally used to push a lane and damage your enemies’ structures, mercenaries in Hanamura drop a variety of buffs players can use at-will once gathered. The buffs include an on-demand heal, spirit dragons which reveal your opponents’ location, and a turret you can place wherever you’d like on the map. Yes, you can place the turret on your payload.

The boss in Hanamura will likely be hotly contested: capturing the boss deals damage to your opponent’s core, much like successfully escorting the payload. This boss means business: Not only is his damage pretty threatening, but it’ll occasionally hook a player, pull them inside of its chest cavity, and hold them there for awhile — essentially using Stitches’s Gorge ability.

Overall, Hanamura is a more open map than most other Heroes of the Storm maps. Its entire central area between lanes is ripe for roaming skirmishes. With payloads criss-crossing the no man’s land, good scouting will be essential — meaning capturing mercenaries for those vision buffs could be a pretty big deal, even if they aren’t pushing lanes for you.

Hanamura-themed skins

Alongside Hanamura, a couple of heroes will be receiving some appropriately thematic skins: Auriel and Zarya. Auriel is getting a cherry blossom-themed Omnic skin, while Zarya is copping Genji’s cyber samurai style.

In addition, Genji’s Oni skin, which was unlocked in Overwatch via playing Heroes of the Storm, is now coming to Heroes of the Storm.

Genji and Hanamura will likely hit the PTR (or the Heroes 2.0 beta) in the near future — and to live realms in just a couple short weeks.

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