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Mal’Ganis now available on the Heroes of the Storm PTR

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Mal’Ganis is the second Dreadlord to find their way into the Nexus. The first, of course, being Jaina.

But conspiracy theories aside, the prime antagonist of Warcraft 3 and downfall of Arthas has joined the fray. Mal’Ganis in Heroes of the Storm is looking mighty intimidating.

Filling the Warrior role, Mal’Ganis is shaping up to be a solo lane bruiser. What that means for those of you less familiar with Heroes of the Storm is that he can sit in a lane by himself and just dish out and take damage.

He comes equipped with lots of self-healing and escape abilities. These allow him to be an ever-present thorn in the enemy’s side. As for late game, you’ll find Mal’Ganis wherever the fighting is thickest. Equipped with decent armour and high health this guy has sustain for days, but he’s not a main tank.

Mal’Ganis Heroes of the Storm

The Dreadlord has great defences but he lacks the control and utility of other tanks. Diablo’s charges and stuns come to mind as a benchmark of what a good tank needs and sadly, Mal’Ganis is relegated to backup tank.

He’s similar to Yrel or Artanis; strong enough to survive solo but not strong enough to peel enemy assassins off his squishy team mates while taking sustained damage.

So, where does Mal’Ganis fit best?

As mentioned, stick him by himself in a lane early on against whatever is your team’s least favourable matchup. Let him soak XP, harass the enemy heroes and give your team more favourable matchups in their lanes.

The alternative is the enemy team keeps changing position to find those favourable match ups which causes them to lose XP and fall behind. As well as his solo lane soak potential, Mal’Ganis’ combination of damage, soak and crowd control keeps your team contesting map objectives longer.

By utilising his sleep and self-healing abilities to ask the enemy team some tough questions they may not have the answers to early on. Mal’Ganis works best when teaming up with a strong frontline tank like Diablo, Muradin or Stitches who can keep attention off him.

Doing so and using his self-sustain keeps him full allowing the support to have an easier time. Everything about Mal’Ganis playstyle is about making your team’s life easier, catching fleeing enemies or controlling them as your team falls back.

But enough rambling about his style or how Jaina is ‘totes’ a Dreadlord. Even though she is. Let’s have a look at the abilities Mal’Ganis brings with him into the Nexus.

Abilities

  • Trait – Vampiric Touch
    • Mal’Ganis heals for 45% of damage dealt to enemy Heroes and 15% of damage dealt to non-heroes.
  • Fel Claws (Q)
    • Violently slash in the chosen direction, dealing 72 damage to enemies. Reactivate to slash up to 2 more times. The third slash stuns enemies for .075 seconds.
    • Cost: 50
    • Cooldown: 8 seconds
    • Allows Mal’Ganis to engage, escape or run down enemy heroes. Very easy to execute, but easy to mess up if your E is on cooldown and you need to get back out of a fight. A lot of Mal’Ganis’ talents can enhance Fel Claws, including the hilarious Blind as a Bat at level 16. Blinding Mal’Ganis but removing the cooldown and mana cost for Fel Claws.
  • Necrotic Embrace (W)
    • Desecrate the air, dealing 110 damage to nearby enemies and gaining 25 Armor for 3 seconds.
    • Cost: 30
    • Cooldown:8 seconds
    • A good old button masher AoE, no targeting just press W to deal damage and gain Armour as well as get health back from Vampiric Touch. Necrotic Embrace further solidifies Mal’Ganis’ role as a bruiser, stay stuck in and keep smashing that W button like it’s a high punch on your first game of Street Fighter. There’s strong potential for a W build to really ramp up the Armour gain and damage of Necrotic Embrace.
  • Night Rush (E)
    • After 0.75 seconds, gain 50% movement speed for 2 seconds. While active, Mal’Ganis can move through enemy Heroes and put them to sleep for 2.5 seconds.
    • Cost: 70
    • Cooldown: 16 seconds
    • It’s a rare and special treat to get a control ability like this on such a ‘tanky’ hero. Allowing Mal’Ganis to dive past the frontline and beat up the squishy supports or perfectly position to set up his other abilities. The sleep is a great disengage or setup mechanic for big team-fights, just don’t expect your team mates to understand and repeatedly break the sleep. There are some interesting talents to buff your Night Rush at higher levels, such as Deep Sleep at level 13 that increase his movement speed and the sleep duration.

Heroic Abilities

  • Carrion Swarm (R1)
    • After 1 second, disperse into an invulnerable swarm of bats for 3 seconds, dealing 132 damage per second to enemies. Vampiric Touch heals for 100% of Carrion Swarms damage to heroes.
    • Cost: 70
    • Cooldown: 80 seconds
    • A big AoE ability for a Hero who wants to get deep on the enemy team, which heals for all the damage it does to enemy heroes and makes him immune. That sounds pretty freaking amazing and will be the default pick against a standard enemy line-up. The level 20 talent Seeker Swarm turns Carrion Swarm into a damage and utility ability by adding a 2.5 second sleep to all enemies hit it expires.
  • Dark Conversion (R2)
    • Channel on an enemy hero for 0.75 seconds, then swap health percentages with the target over 3 seconds.
    • Cost: 70
    • Cooldown:80 seconds
    • I love a good old HP swap ability in any game and Dark Conversion looks to break apart ‘tanky’ heroes, as well as the supports. This heroic ability won’t always be the game winning swap you want it to be, but it’s enough to shake the confidence of heroes like Cho’Gall or Alexstraza, who rely upon a massive health pool or quickly filling up their allies depleted health. And just in case you’re tempted by Dark Conversion, the level 20 talent Wrath of Nathreza allows you raise a middle finger to the enemy team as all enemy heroes near the target suffer 75% of the transferred health as damage. That gives Dark Conversion the possibility of being the highest damage ability in the game. 

So what does Mal’Ganis mean for Heroes of the Storm?

Mal’Ganis’ damage is big, not huge, his self-healing is pretty strong but an Ana biotic grenade neutralises it all. As with all new heroes, you’ll see him in every game, in the hands of good and not so good players.

I believe that Mal’Ganis offers an alternative to heroes like Yrel or Artanis and even Azmodan as a solo-laner. He shines in a team-fight but blindly charging into the enemy as if you were a Diablo or Muradin will see him quickly burnt down.

I’m of the opinion that Mal’Ganis is a ‘more of the same’ kind of hero entering the current meta in Heroes of the Storm. A welcome addition with lots of great new abilities but he won’t redefine the current trend in playstyle both professionally and in quick match.

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