Very few characters come into Heroes of the Storm and severely shake up the meta. Sure, you have powerhouses like Li Ming and Tracer that get banned often near their launch, but it’s rare to see a support or otherwise entirely unique role enter the Nexus that we haven’t seen before.
Enter Medivh, one of the most troll-like additions since Heroes launched just over a year ago.
Let’s start with his core gimmick — Raven Form. Rather than mounting up and getting a 40% movement increase, Medivh instead gets 15% with one huge caveat in the form of invincibility. Yep, he can literally fly over terrain unharmed by anything, and as long as you don’t use an ability or cancel it, you’re good.
This is huge primarily because of the vision it provides to your team. Need an MIA checked? Medivh can run right into a gank ambush unscathed. Need an objective checked and potentially harassed (Towers of Doom), he’s your guy. It sounds like such a stupid idea, but it really changes things significantly and opens up more vision options than the stealth characters. Oh, and he can soak while in flight too.
It’s balanced because he’s incredibly weak beyond the utility he brings. While he can provide a clutch shield (that makes a single-target immune) and a useful set of Portals (that shifts anyone who clicks it to the other side), his only offensive skill is “Arcade Rift,” a skillshot which does damage in a line. Medivh’s talents are all pretty black and white (outside of level 20, which has some interesting options), merely buffing the duration of his skills with a massive focus on Portals. Even his ultimate abilities, Poly Bomb (which can chain into polymorph after the duration expires) and Ley Line Seal (another line attack that puts enemies in a stasis) are utility-based.
To break that down, your team still needs a healer of some sort, even an off-healer, and tons of damage to remain viable. It will also take a very skilled Medivh player to wield the Force of Will shield since it’s only up for one and a half seconds. I’ve found that many opponents fold under the constant pressure from teams with traditional Medivh-less compositions, as they simply can’t keep up with a character that can provide similar utility while shelling out more damage.
Getting away from mechanics for a second, can I just say how perfectly he fits into Heroes for a second? I know people say that Warcraft is over-represented, but so many of its characters are so ingrained in Blizzard’s history that it would be insane to not include them. Between his character model, animations, and his jabs at Deckard Cain, he’s equal parts formidable and hilarious.
Medivh isn’t arriving alone either, as the new Unranked Draft (read: a casual mode that simulates a competitive foundation with bans, which Medivh players will basically need to play) and a Ranked Play revamp are coming as well. It’s a brand new era for Heroes of the Storm, and if it can ramp up and fix its eSports presence, and ship the arena mode at some point, it’ll have one heck of a second year.