Drafting In Hero League ft. JayPL & Wubby
Sat 3rd Feb 2018 - 12:30pm
We have all experienced it. You hear the shimmering sound that indicate that your Hero League queue has popped. The announcer presents you with the battleground you are heading to and you hear the familiar sound that tells you that you will be the one to choose what heroes to ban this game.
Drafting is an essential part of Heroes of the Storm if you want to play on the in-game ladder. Drafting allows to you have the power to stop the opposing team’s strategy and to make sure that your own team’s plan can be executed smoothly.
We often see the professional players on top of the rankings and this is not only due to pure mechanical skills, but also through hours upon hours spent in Hero League games.
To get a better understanding of drafting in Hero League we sat down we the two Team Dignitas players, Jérôme "JayPL" Trinh (renowned main drafter for Team Dignitas for years) and Jonathan "Wubby" Gunnarsson (former Global Champion and current main drafter for Team Dignitas), to discuss how players can improve their games with better drafting.
We already mentioned that drafting is important in Heroes of the Storm, but HOW important is it actually? When we asked this question to JayPL and Wubby. Wubby explained “in Hero League, it’s not as important as in competitive.” He then followed up his statement with, “Yesterday, I was in a game where we had Thrall and no Tank, and the other team had a pretty good composition but we somehow ended up winning anyway.” JayPL agreed, “Drafting is way less important in Hero League than it is in competitive. In Hero League, you can win with even the worst draft.”
Drafting is a curious thing. Some players dread it, while other embrace it and find it interesting and satisfying to have the responsibility. When we asked JayPL and Wubby what they thought was exciting about drafting and being the main drafter for a team the answers were quite a surprise. Wubby expressed his preference for drafting, “For me it’s exciting to know that I can draft anything, and my team will be able to play it.” JayPL had a different view, “I actually don’t like drafting, but we needed a drafter so I took over the role at the time.” Like us, Wubby seemed surprised and said, “this is funny because Jay has been one of the best drafters for a while.” To which JayPL answered, “It’s a lot of work and it worked out, but I did not enjoy it”. So now we see that even on the highest level of play, regardless of prowess within the drafting role, these players also have their doubts about taking on the responsibility of drafting.
So, when you get into a game and it turns out that you will be banning, what are the things to consider? Well Wubby has a clear strategy for the first ban, “Right now, I just ban Genji all the time. He is not a hero that I play, and I often see that my team doesn’t know how to deal with him.” This Genji theme was echoed by JayPL. “I agree. if your first pick doesn’t play Genji, you should ban it. Genji can win a game on his own and it doesn’t really have to be a good Genji player. But if you do have a good Genji player, it’s not even close,” he said.
We proceeded into talking about the second ban phase and was again surprised by the answers. We were expecting strategies on how to choke the opposing team out of Tanks or Supports or breaking other types of hero synergies, but Wubby simply said, “What I do in Hero League is to second ban annoying heroes rather than trying to choke out a role they need.” He then explained, “There will always be a replacement hero in the role you want to choke out, so banning annoying heroes like Abathur or Tracer is usually better.” JayPL agreed, “Just get rid of annoying heroes like Valeera, Zagara, Malthael, Tracer, and Abathur as second ban.”
Now that we have the bans nailed down, let’s continue to the picks. What are the hero picks we should go for if we want to climb that pesky ladder? JayPL chipped in first, “If you want to climb you should pick a strong meta hero but if you want to practice something specific, you just pick that.” Wubby then brought up an alternative strategy, “I think it’s important for you to choose a main role that you want to focus on and pick something strong within that role. I have too many games where people first pick Genji, but they play it really bad.” This seemed to be something JayPL had experienced this as well and he quickly added, “Yes, don’t pick a strong hero if you can’t play it.” Wubby explained, “Stick to your role. Within your role, there will always be strong heroes to pick.”
JayPL and Wubby’s Top 3 First Pick/First Ban Worthy Heroes
Genji is hard to punish and will do whatever he wants. Sooner or later he will find that one kill in lane or in fights that just loses you the game without feeling you could have done anything.
Arthas is one of the best early game heroes and usually auto wins objectives. He gives you a lead in the game and becomes really hard to fight into later on.
Hanzo is strong because of his damage output. He has really long-range poke, good waveclear, armor reduction at Level 7, mobility, vision that forces you play around it, and insane follow-up/engage with his Dragon Arrow Heroic. He is excelling at PvE and PvP and he doesn't have any huge weaknesses except hard dive.