Gratz on The Butcher! What did you think?
Back in 1996, I was a wee girl of only 9, far too young (according to mom) to play such violent games as Diablo. Luckily, I wasn’t too young to watch my dad play, and so I sat next to him, gleefully delighting in the monsters and gore and story as he headed deeper down under cathedral.
The level he was on was just like the previous levels and didn’t really exude too much foreshadowing. Then, it happened. Dad opened an unassuming door and “fresh meat” came blowing out of the speakers as we were treated to a scene of gore unlike anything we’d experienced in the game. Immediately, dad took to hitting and then running as this beast of a creature called The Butcher mercilessly chased him.
More than anything, he’s a big nostalgia character for me. And while Leoric has me excited, The Butcher has my heart. Literally. How I’m still alive is a scientific anomaly.
With that said, the new Hero is a very nice hats off to what was once a pixelated master of horror. Because he would pursue you forever in his first appearance, Ruthless Onslaught is a great homage ability. Fresh Meat was also a must include as fans would have surely rioted without some reference. Even so, why the fresh meat looks and sounds like blood doesn’t even make sense. Beyond this, he’s got a typical assassin lineup with a self-heal through Butcher’s Brand and a slow with Hamstring.
Building the Butcher
Working on an ultimate build for him has been challenging and, I dare say, is still a work in progress. For the moment, though, I have one that I’m definitely favoring during my QM practice.
In this, he becomes reliant on his ability to land the Hamstring. Unlike other skill shots Heroes have, this is a fat one so the room for error is comfortable. Bigger also means more enemies can fall victim to its power.
So why not Ruthless Onslaught?
Ruthless Onslaught cannot be cancelled. If the enemy you’re chasing runs away (and they will be running away), you’ll find yourself behind enemy lines, quickly surrounded and subsequently destroyed. The enemy team will not leave you alive. While this doesn’t mean you can’t build to buff Onslaught, it does mean you need to make damn sure your team knows how to follow up with your stun. If they can’t, then it’s a wasted ability unless you only use it as a finisher on Heroes with low health.
Dance Dance Butcher-lution
More than any Hero, The Butcher relies on timing and this means a lot of practice. You need to get a feel for how long the Onslaught will take to connect. You’ll need to get a feel for where you’ll be when it does. Furnace Blast has a 3 second delay. Do you cast it then run in with Onslaught? How long can you wait before casting Onslaught to make sure you catch at least one Hero in your Blast?
He’s a Japanese dancing game in disguise. You need to know the steps, you need to know the delays and you sure has heck need to master those combos. Without any escape save from casting Onslaught on an enemy minion to retreat, your dance of death needs to be perfect to be effective.
Surviving the Start
As I learn how to better play Butcher, this build will no doubt change. However, as it stands, learning how to live with this gentle giant is really the only way to truly experience extended gameplay. Basically, if you can die less than the enemy team’s Butcher, whether you do more damage or not, you stand a better chance of winning. However, once I’ve had my fun with Hamstring, I’m definitely setting my sights on a beastly Onslaught build.
Just don’t expect any gameplay videos with notes quite yet.
How can you practice in QM when you don’t even get balanced teams?
I like to think of QM as a great reminder of the basics for that very reason. With no guarantee you’ll have a solid team comp, positioning and solid play is even more important. In honesty, if you can become an awesome QM player, you’ll have no trouble transitioning that Hero to League.
The Level Grind
Personally, I don’t consider a Hero ready for League until they are level 9. Period. This is because each Hero, however simple they seem, comes with intricacies that affect their builds and playstyle. These need to be memorized so much so that you can pull them out at the drop of a hat. By 9, you pretty much know all there is to know, and now, it’s a matter of moving on to League to practice with highly skilled players (well… for the most part…). By 9 in QM, you’ve been faced with almost every possible situation more than once. You’ve learned who you’re great against. You’ve pinpointed who you need to watch out for. You even have at least two builds that bring you glory.
What I like most about returning to QM is that it forces me to relearn the basics that I’ve neglected in Hero League. When surrounded by players that are as good as or better than you, you can start to get sloppy, trusting they’ll cover your butt. While this leads to some awesome plays, it inevitably results in stupid mistakes. In short, QM teaches you how to survive on your own again. It teaches you that while relying on your team is wonderful, it’s far better for the dynamic to be able to hold your own. That means returning to heavy minimap awareness, positioning and otherwise staying on top of where you need to be to make the greatest impact.
The Quick Thinking
In QM, you only have the few precious seconds before the gates open to mentally prep for who you’re against, who you’re teamed with and what map you’re on. This quick thinking really puts your mind to the test as you determine what talent will give you the highest percentage to win with. It’s a fast paced environment with, often time, quirky fights that have to be dealt with. While HL teaches you how to ruin the meta, QM teaches you how to fend off everything.
It truly is a trial by fire.
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