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Heroes of the Storm’s new character, Ragnaros, is one hot tamale

Heroes of the Storm’s new character, Ragnaros, is one hot tamale

Heroes of the Storm, in their effort to MOBA-fy every existing piece of intellectual property across Blizzard’s many game-worlds, has added a new character to the PTR: the two-time raid boss of Blackrock Mountain and the Firelands, here he is ladies and gentlemen, give a very warm welcome to Ragnaros!

On first glance, Ragnaros appears to be a mage-type assassin, alongside the likes of Gul’dan, Jaina and Kael’thas. Much of his kit is about zone control and area damage: his W, Living Meteor, calls down a very spicy meatball to roll in a direction of your choice, while his E is a delayed burst of damage centered around the ally of your choice. Appearances can be deceiving, though, since neither of these do enough damage to burst down his targets. His main damage source comes from his Q, Empower Sulfuras, which causes his next attack to hit instantly, deal bonus damage in an area around his target, and heal for a percentage of the damage dealt. The cooldown on this ability is already low, at four seconds, and a talent at level seven reduces it even further if he hits multiple targets. With hardly any utility in his kit, Ragnaros depends on being able to land multiple Qs up close to impact a fight, relying on the ability’s built-in sustain to keep him healthy. This puts Ragnaros closer in play-style to Thrall or Sonya, making him a bruiser.


His trait is where the madcap spirit of Heroes of the Storm most shines through. In World of Warcraft, Ragnaros hung out at the Molten Core inside of Blackrock Mountain. His trait, also named Molten Core, lets him relive the glory days of brawling with a whole party of adventurers. Once every 100 seconds, Ragnaros can possess either an allied fort or a destroyed fort from either side. His abilities all get bigger and better in this form, and he gets a huge health pool to boot, though that will steadily drain over time. This trait let’s Ragnaros stop sieges dead in their tracks by posing a serious threat to enemies considering a tower dive. The ability to possess the ruins of enemy forts, on the other hand, makes hard pushes with your team a lot safer; if the enemy fails to engage on you before you take down a structure, punishing you becomes a much riskier endeavor.

If I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, what will make Ragnaros a terror in competitive play is one of his two ultimates, Lava Wave. Lava Wave releases a, uh, wave of lava from your core that travels down the lane of your choice, dealing high damage to anything it rolls over and instantly killing minions. On most maps, this ultimate will let Ragnaros set up powerful split pushes without needing to sacrifice his presence at objectives or in team fights, making structure cleanup effortless for powerful pushers like Azmodan, Abathur and Sylvanas. On Braxis Holdout, though, Lava Wave goes from strong to downright overpowered. For context: the objective at Braxis Holdout are two zerg pens, which slowly fill with the chitinous buggers until they overflow in a massive, fort-engulfing wave of chirping, oozing doom. Unless, of course, you have a tidal wave of molten rock handy, in which case your problems are significantly reduced. Ragnaros’s ultimate would allow his team to almost entirely ignore the objective, and focus their time and resources elsewhere.

Ragnaros releases a Lava Wave, and goes up top for a high five
Ragnaros releases a Lava Wave, and goes up top for a high five

Ragnaros won’t be available outside of the PTR until after the qualifiers for the 2017 season are over, so we won’t know the impact he’ll have on the competitive Heroes of the Storm scene until next year. In the meantime, get those bans ready, because Ragnaros is almost here.

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