I’m not saying Blaze is the best main tank in the game, but I am saying he is the best main tank for Solo Que, HL or TL. Yes, he can still be played in the offlane role as well, but his sustain has been nerfed so much, I think he is better in the 4 man.
Main issues in Hero League, and How Blaze handles them better than other tanks.
-Team won’t Soak: Blaze has the best wave clear of all tanks (maybe Johanna too) so you can solo lane or double soak when needed
-Your assassins suck: Blaze has a 50% slow, with 2 charges, this will help your mages land their skill shots. And Blazes slow is a ranged ability, meaning when your Twin Blades Varian dives in at the start of every fight, you can throw a slow on his target, and still have all your other abilities to peel for your backline, as well as still be safe yourself.
-Blaze can hard counter some of the meta tanks that wreck hero league, Garrosh, and Mal’Ganis (see below)
-Also can hard counters many melee assassins and bruisers with lvl 4 talent. Kerrigan, Varian, Sonya, Illidan.
-Impactful offensive and defensive heroics for whatever strategy your team chooses.
-Blaze can be follow up on a dive comp, or peel in multiple locations for a poke comp.
- Wave Clear
- AOE Hard CC
- Ranged soft CC
- Offensive and Defensive Ultimates
- Diverse Debuff Talent tree
- High Damage for warrior
- All abilities skill shots
- Telegraphed initiation
- No Escape (can be blocked easily).
- Very high skill ceiling since everything is skill shots.
-Blaze is good against low mobility Warriors like Garrosh, Arthas, Artanis, Varian, or Sonya. He can slow them by 50-60% making it hard for them to engage or disengage. (I believe Blaze is a hard counter for Garrosh, he is able to dismount Garrosh as he tries to step up on your allies. Even if Garrosh lands a Q, the slow is 40%, and Blaze’s oil is a 50% slow baseline, then 60% at level 4), and he has a ranged ability to check bushes on a 4 second cooldown.
-Blaze can also counter Heroes that require Damage for survivability (w/ lvl 4 talent): Mal’Ganis, Kerrigan, Illidan, Xul.
-The range on Oil Spill is actually very long. With this he is able to be very good against ranged assassins with low mobility. Ex Raynor, Zuljin, or any mages. With 2 charges of a range cc ability, he can drop it on them making it hard for them to follow up their tanks, as well as escape if your team dives them.
-Since he has 2 charges of oil spill, Blaze can be good against heroes with one charge of their mobility ability, Ex. Valla, Tychus, Li Ming. Casting Oil Spill on them can force them to use their escape, and you will still have a second charge of it, and its only a 12 second cooldown.
-Blaze will have a hard time with heroes with multiple mobility abilities that allow them to get out of his oil easily. EX. Lucio, Tracer, Genji, or Orphea.
-You also need to be careful against heroes that benefit from ticks of low damage, Li Li, Zarya, as they can stand in your ignited oil and actually become stronger, but if you are disciplined against these heroes and not ignite your oil, Blaze can really lock them both down with his slows.
Good to ally with
-Heroes that deal bonus damage to slowed targets, either an executioner-like talent or even Purification salvo from Fenix.
-Heroes that have skill shots, (all mages). It’s easier to hit a target moving at 50% speed.
-Heroes that can initiate for blaze to follow up, Maiev, Chromie (time loop), Kerrigan, Butcher, Varian(taunt), Hanzo (ult), Xul, Uther, Malf, Brightwing, Deckard, or Ana.
How to use Abilities
Q: used for damage, lighting oil (wave clear), reducing trait cooldown, but also dismounting opponents and checking bushes.
W: used for zone control, wave clear (ignited), soft CC for peel or chase.
-This ability is Blaze’s bread and butter, positioning these is what make blaze into one of the best zoning tanks in the game. Igniting these also gives you your self sustain and most your early game wave clear, but in team fights you usually don’t want to light them as the slow will be more beneficial.
E: stun, engage or follow up.
-Blaze’s hard CC ability. About 2 months ago this ability had a 12 second CD, now it’s 9 seconds. This is the ability that allows him to be a main tank. It’s a bit telegraphed as there is a short Cast time/Animation before he charges in so it can be dodged. But when using your oil before this it make landing this very easy, it is also very good as a follow up to cc from your allies.
D: armor, bonus damage.
-another ability that has been getting stealth buffs for the last few patches. First off, the armor bonus was increased from 25 to 35. But the patch before that, “New Habits” at lvl one also was buffed, and regeneration globes now reduce the cooldown of Pyromania by 8 seconds, when it use to be 5. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you are double soaking and getting between 2-4 globes every wave, it adds up pretty quickly. And all this is on top of the other CDR of hitting heroes with your Flame Stream.
New Habits is the go to talent on this tier, The unstoppable is a very good addition to the recently buffed 35 armor provided with pyromania, and the unstoppable is very important if you plan on going combustion or against strong CC. The other thing people seem to miss about this talent is the 8 second CDR when grabbing a globe, this can add up on maps where you will be rotation between 2 lanes. One other thing to consider, is if you will be taking either of the trait talents at 4 or 16. On maps with a lot of globes, the added CDR from this talents will help.
Neural Stimpackis a niche pick. Should be taken when the enemy doesn’t have a lot of major CC, you won’t be spending a lot of time in lane with globes, or when you know you will be in long sustained team fights, with blaze being very mana hungry, the extra 30 mana every 40 seconds can add up, as well as the increase CDR on basic abilities for increase zone control or self sustain when you need it.
Endurance Stimpack is a VERY niche pick, as in I have never needed to take it. But if the enemy team has minimal cc, and strong % based burst damage (i.e. Malthael, or Tychus), it may be better to have a shield than the armor from Pyromania. Otherwise you will negate more damage with new habits armor and self-cleanse.
Adrenaline Stimpack would be worth taking if Incinerator Gauntlets is ever buffed at 7, until then you will get more value from the other talents.
Oil Dispersal is a major power spike for Blaze. Although a 20% size increase and 10% slow increase seem minimal, in practice they help blaze become one of the best zoning tanks, that can do it from range. This should be the go to in almost every situation.
Meltdown is a very niche choice, but when it is good, it can win you team fights. Take this talent if the enemy team is a full dive comp, with multiple melee, or if they have melee heroes that rely on doing damage to survive. Ex. Mal’Ganis, Sonya, Kerrigan, Illidan, or Twin Blades Varian. This will not only keep their damage down, but will also make them easier to kill for your allies.
Feeding the Flame is an interesting talent, and seems like it would be very good. But the problem become mana, the added CDR on oil would be good in comps or on maps where you won’t be fighting for long periods of time, and paired with neural stimpack you could get quite a bit of oil out at one time.
Adhesive Petroleum adds a little bit of slow when you light your oil, but your team will get more utility from the added area and slow of un-ignited oil than the small bonus damage from igniting the oil.
Crossfire is really the only option on this talent right now. It adds more damage than most people realize, at level 7 hitting both streams with this talent does 401 damage, and while that may not seem like much, that would be 23% of a Valla’s health at level 4. And although it may seem like hitting both flame streams is hard, it’s usually used after an initiation with jet propulsion. But the bonus damage also works on minions, monsters, mercs, and structures, adding a lot of pushing power. And when soaking waves, if you can get a minion wave as the wave arrives, you can actually get a crit proc on every minion, which helps with your mana problems when double soaking, because you will no longer need to cast oil on a wave after getting this talent
Grill and Kill requires you to ignite your oil in team fights, which is something you should not be doing. Your assassins will put out more damage with an enemy being slowed than the added damage of an ignited oil spill.
Incinerator Gauntlets would be an interesting talent if it didn’t cause your basic attacks to ignite your oil. As stated before, as main tank you usually don’t want to ignite your oil. If they ever change this talent, it may have its niche, but until then stay away from this talent.
Level 10 (heroics):
Bunker Drop is an amazing defensive ability, and can be very strong when pair with squishy assassins. But I have found that unless I am on coms, my teammates in HL or TL refuse to get into the bunker, so I have stopped taking this talent in most situations. The only time I will take this is against long, telegraphed abilities. Examples are, Chromie’s Time Loop, KT’s Pyroblast, Xul’s Poison Nova, Nova’s Triple Tap. Don’t get me wrong, this is the better ultimate, but if your allies wont get in, you will get more value from combustion.
Combustion is my go to ability, and pairs really well with the Unstoppable from New Habits at lvl 1. When using combustion, the combo is, oil, jet propulsion, Trait, then Combustion. Not only will the enemy not be able to interrupt your ultimate, many people will panic and waste their interrupts anyway, freeing up your backline to step up. Also note, Combustion adds a slow so it can pair really well with Fenix’s salvo, or any hero that does bonus damage to slowed targets.
Suppressive Fire reduces spell power by up to 40%, on an ability with a 4 second cooldown. Take this talent if there is someone you will benefit from reducing spell power, AND you will be able to reliably hit with your flame stream. Meaning, don’t take this ability if you think you are going to shut down and Orphea with it, her mobility will make it to hard to consistently hit. Also remember, spell power includes all ability damage, and all ability based healing. So heroes like Sonya, Kerrigan, and even Mal’Ganis can have their self healing shut down with this talent.
Nanomachine Coating is also a niche pick. Take this talent if the enemy team has a strong auto attacker that you can consistently keep in your oil. Heroes like Artanis, Varian, even heroes like Valla or Zuljin. For example, when a Zuljin pops Tazdingo, they usually stop stutter stepping, and you can cut the effectiveness of his ultimate in half, with an ability with a 12 second cooldown.
Fuel Leak is the go to if you do not feel confident you will get value from either of the other talents. Just remember that casting Flame Stream after a jet propulsion hit will ignite the oil and all oil touching it, meaning the enemy will no longer be slowed. So when taking this talent it is sometimes better not to cast Flame Stream after a Jet propulsion hit.
Thermal Protection Is the go to here, the added CDR can be pretty insane. 1.5 seconds per hero hit, on an AOE stun with a 9 second cooldown. If you are able to land a 4 man stun (which is possible since the stun size is so large.) you can throw down the oil for the slow, then before they can separate, your stun will be off cooldown. Not to mention the 10 armor per hero hit.
Heat Treatment healing effect is quite strong and rivals the armor granted from thermal protection. The only reason I think thermal protection is stronger is because the CDR it provides on one of your most important abilities. Although if you are facing a team with strong % damage, you may consider taking this talent, since the armor from Thermal Protection won’t help you. Note that you receive healing from all damage, including damage to minions and monsters, so you can get even more value when use near waves or objectives with monsters, such as infernal shrines.
Juggernaut Plating is a very niche talent that is very good against high burst mages. I will usually only take it against heroes like KTZ, Chromie, or Jaina, where they are very easy to telegraph when the damage is coming in. But feel free to take it against any mages, just remember to use it.
Fortified Bunker If you took Bunker Drop at 10, and your allies are using it, then take this talent, the added armor its very strong, and the ability to throw out oil is a nice addition.
Flash Fire is a good pick if you have a hard time keeping people in your combustion zone while it charges. But note that if a hero has an escape ability like Tracer Blink or Muradin Dwarf Toss, they can still escape.
Burn Notice provides decent bonus damage and slow, so take this if you don’t think you will get value from upgrading Combustion.
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