Stukov isn’t on my list of wanted characters, but his outing in Heroes of the Storm is interesting

Spreading your healing virus is addicting

I was pretty heavily into StarCraft in…what…middle school (man), but the universe, not so much — well, at least as much as other Blizzard games.

There’s something about it that didn’t really capture me until the final expansion for Starcraft II, but I still followed along all that time so I wasn’t completely lost when new faces started interacting with old ones. As a result of that cursory interest, when Stukov’s name popped up as a potential character for Heroes of the Storm, I kind of shrugged.

But after actually playing him, I’m a little more stoked.

Although he looks as formidable as a Resident Evil boss, Stukov is actually a support character with a heavy emphasis on healing. His healing pathogen (Q) ability operates like an infection, spreading to allies that are close together, including Stukov himself. This conceit right here, that not only feels different from pretty much anything else in Heroes (outside of say, Kael’thas’ living bomb, which is offensive in nature), also fundamentally dictates how you play Stukov. Every time you pop his Q it makes you want to spread it, especially if you took a quest talent that revolves around it.

You can also detonate it for a burst heal, which factors into his W, a small line skillshot that infects other players, dealing damage and slowing them when you pop it. It’s a sort of dance trying to infect your team and everyone on the other side, and knowing when to detonate his trait is key to dealing and mitigating damage. Having two abilities linked to the same trait is a great idea.

Yet, his E power is my favorite part of his kit, and I think it’ll be tuned a bit in the future. For a nominal initial mana fee he can channel an area-of-effect damage ability at a massive range (more if you upgrade it with talents) that also silences enemies inside. Using it at chokepoints or to delay escapes is insane, and although it theoretically does 50% less damage to non-heroic targets, it’s still amazing for waveclearing. I like taking the additional radius talent and sucking the life out of double minion waves when they stack up. 

His shove heroic (which will probably be the most popular choice) is pretty amazing too. While his other choice is basically just a worse Falstad Gust (that holds Stukov in place for the duration) where he flails his arms three times for a knockback, his shove is an insane power that can turn the tide of a teamfight. In essence he uses a line skillshot to shove an enemy with an unlimited range until they collide with a piece of pathable terrain (like a wall or a building).

When used correctly this thing can secure kills. If anyone is out of position post level 10, just move around them and shove them into your side. It’s something you can counter for sure but incredibly satisfying to pull off, especially in uncoordinated modes like quickmatch. It’s also possible to set up with a teammate if they use a root or stun. But because of said ability to dodge and that it leaves Stukov completely opened (stunned basically) for the duration, it feels balanced. 20 seconds is a crazy low cooldown though.

I’m not super into the idea of Stukov or even his character design, but the more I played him the more I was down to keep queuing as him. I can see myself choosing him as a competitive off-support just because of how much utility he brings to the table. In quickmatch games I was healing for over 100,000 with a half healing build, which is a lot more than expected (though he may be bugged at the moment — this is PTR after all).

Chris Carter
Reviews Director, Co-EIC - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff!