MOBAs can be confusing if you’ve never played one. The typical multiplayer online battle arena is full of characters and abilities and unique jargon and it can take a while to grow accustomed to any of it. Heroes of the Storm is a MOBA for just about anyone, though; if the genre has overwhelmed you in the past, you can pick this game up, play a few matches, and have a good idea of what you’re supposed to do. If you’ve poured thousands (and I do mean thousands) of hours into any of its major competitors, be it Dota 2, League of Legends, Smite or anything else, you can use it as a reprieve from caring about your win-to-loss ratio, matchmaking rank, or skill trees. You can play a round and not worry about having wasted an entire hour playing with people who have not found the right outlet for their anger management issues.
Heroes of the Storm may not have the legacy of Dota 2, the massive staying power and presence of League of Legends, or a roster of characters big enough to compete with either. But what it lacks in scale it makes up for in execution. Heroes of the Storm has kept an immaculate schedule of great updates since its launch back in May of last year, rounding out an already impressive and diverse roster with some interesting new heroes, each coercing players to rethink particular roles and expanding their knowledge of the game. Every hero has their place in the game, but some are better than others. With that in mind, we now rank them all for your reading pleasure.
Suriel Vazquez is a freelance writer who knows he can handle loving two MOBAs at once. He has a lot of love to give. He’s written for Paste, Kill Screen, ZAM, GamesBeat, and many others. You can follow him on Twitter.
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46. Tassadar: I've played a lot more of Tassadar than I remember, and each time I've found his power underwhelming. I don't think his toolkit is ineffective, per se. Rather, I think his purpose is almost entirely utilitarian, and not the least bit flashy. And this sucks, considering Tassadar is one of my favorite StarCraft characters. Here, though, he couldn't have less presence, receding into the background and rarely being the main target to focus. He can make incredible saves by turning allies invisible and can transform into a powerful Archon, but whenever I play him I can't help but imagine what other interesting skills the savior of the Protoss could have instead.
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45. Brightwing: Brightwing gets a bad rap, but I think she earns it. The most notable thing about her, what most players remember her for, is for her Soothing Mist trait, where she heals allies constantly just by standing near them. She does have a varied skillset (she can turn people into random animals and teleport to an ally anywhere on the map to heal them), but she is most effective when she is simply standing around in a fight, avoiding death. She does compliment allies by saying "You sure are good at murder!" in a high-pitched chipmunk voice, though. I do like that.
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44. Tyrael: Tyrael offers a bit of everything for a team, but he doesn't excel in any one area, making him a hard choice to play for fun but an easy one for business. Almost every part of his skillset (sticking around fights after dying, making allies invulnerable and slowing enemies down) makes other heroes do better, but if you want all of them in one place, he's the strange angel man to do it.
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43. Kerrigan: As my favorite StarCraft character, I'm just as disappointed to see Kerrigan as low on this list as you are. I just don't jive with her at all. She can ensure some easy kills by pulling the ground out from underneath her enemies and dragging them toward her, which makes for some fun strategies and cool moments. And she can summon a giant Ultralisk, which is harder to kill and more annoying than it has any right to be. But she tends to be a non-issue in most of the games I've played with and against her, which is completely at odds with her role as the most important character in all of StarCraft.
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42. Thrall: I'm a big fan of Thrall's ability to surprise his enemies. Whenever he casts enough abilities, he gives himself a huge heal, and his Sundering ability can win fights in the way that any ability that modifies positioning can. That said, the rest of his abilities don't do that much for me; they deal damage, and slow some enemies down. One of his abilities summons a giant fire wolf, and that's great. But as a whole, Thrall isn't the most interesting hero to master.
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41. Uther: In any other game, Uther would be one of the hardest heroes to have fun with. He fits the support role perfectly, meaning that in Dota 2 or League of Legends, Uther would be dirt poor and be unable to buy the items he'd like to, and would instead buy items to help the team succeed. Thankfully, he's in Heroes of the Storm instead, where every player only has to worry about using their abilities at the right time and dealing damage to the enemy and their structures. Having to be the heal machine for your team might not be everyone's favorite role, but every MOBA needs a character like him, and Uther does his job well.
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40. Tychus: Walking around and winding up a Gatling gun should be the most fun thing in a silly game like this. But Heroes of the Storm has so many absurd character and ability ideas that a Gatling gun seems like the tamest thing you could wield. But there's more to Tychus than that: he can turn himself into a giant Thor robot, which can level entire teams with a barrage of missiles. You don't get to always walk around as one, though, and when you're not a giant robot, Tychus doesn't have skills that really pop or make him stand out.
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39. Rehgar: Rehgar is like a more fun version of Uther; he may not heal more over the long haul, but he gets to do it when it matters, and he does it in big chunks. This means that he can turn ambushes around in the best way, as a two-on-one skirmish completely changes when you heal an ally back to full health after the enemy as already invested too much into the fight to turn back. And rather than riding a horse or lizard around, Rehgar shapeshifts into a wolf. He may be a support, but he makes a good case for why they don't have to be boring.
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38. Arthas: All of Arthas' abilities look cool. The effects for his Death Coil, Frozen Tempest and Summon Sindragosa abilities all look momentous, and they demand you pay attention. Summoning a giant ice dragon in particular feels like invoking the power of a World of WarCraft cutscene without interrupting the match. Still, the effects are rather boring (mostly slowing enemies as you deal damage to them), and while he's consistent and effective, you never get the satisfaction of saving an ally or instantly killing an enemy—just a slow, whimpering death.
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37. Diablo: Diablo plays a lot like what I imagine Bowser would, should the Super Mario villain ever make it into a MOBA. He slashes, dashes and throws out fire in every direction (you can also breath fire directly if you pick the right Heroic ability). Of course, Diablo is also literally the devil, which means that he summons demonic symbols from the earth and will revive near instantly if he's collected enough souls over the course of the match. He's the kind of bruiser that, while not always the most effective choice, is a lot of fun to play.