As we reach the end of Season 2, it's time once again to look at the data to see which leaders performed best this time around. We saw a notable nerf to Baron Rivendare's Chill of the Grave talent, but was that enough to knock the knight off his high horse?
As before, we took the (very) simple metric of averaging the honor of the top 25 players per each leader in order to get a rough gauge of how each one was performing.
Baron still reigns as the top performing leader in season 2, despite the nerfs. Nevertheless, the gap between him and the next top performers has shrunk to be almost nonexistent. In fact, we see a very smooth curve all the way down to General Drakkisath.
The underperformers are the other two Undead leaders and Sneed. Despite the buffs to Thalnos and players having more time to experiment with Sylvanas, their overall performance has been notably low. It was hoped that the removal of Fortifications and switch to Rocket Towers might have been enough to support Sneed, but it seems a case of too little too late for our mechanical mercenary.
- S Tier: None
- A Tier: Baron Rivendare, Jaina , Maiev
- B Tier: Rend, Charlga, Old Murk-eye
- C Tier: Hogger, Tirion, Cairne, General Drakkisath
- D Tier: Grom
- F Tier: Sylvanas, Thalnos, Sneed
In Season 2, we saw the end of Fortification (Towers have double health) and Dragon Towers, transitioning to Clean Fight and Rocket Towers towards the end. The removal of Dragon Towers has helped some of our melee leaders like Cairne, but the loss of Heroes Resolve from last season meant Tirion and Hogger have fallen down a little.
Murk-eye is the biggest loser from the tower shift, dropping from nipping at the heels of S tier to the bottom of B, as the AoE damage from the Rockets forces Murk-eye to have a tank in position.
Arathi Basin has made defensive strategies viable, revolving around Execute for offense and Deep Breath for clearing lanes. Jaina has show to be particularly adept at taking advantage, landing her solidly in A tier. Maiev continues to enjoy the power of unbounds, and with the removal of Fortifications her pressure on the side tower has never been stronger, keeping her comfortably in the same tier.
The biggest surprise (for some) has been the rise of the cantankerous crone, Charlga. As I suggested last time, players experimenting with her have found that locking down towers for 1g is quite good. There's also been experimentation with Gargoyle builds with Charlga, some taking advantage of spirit passage to send a stealthy treat for the opponent's barracks.
Our flagship Season 2 mini, the Chimaera, seems to have had little impact. Although this goes beyond the purview of the available data analysis, I couldn't find much evidence that it got played in PvP this season. The weakness to Safe Pilot for a 5g mini is proving crippling. The same weakness is shared by Thalnos and Sylvanas, keeping them low down in F tier.
Sneed has been sub-par, despite the shift towards weaker towers and siege viability in the form of Gargoyles and Sappers. Expectations were that he would rise under such conditions, but it has yet to materialize. Whether this is because the season started off weak for him and players weren't interested in shifting, or a fundamental lack of strength is something we'll see in Season 3.
Baron continues to be strong, his Skeleton Mages doing work despite the nerf and unfavorable shift towards Rocket Towers. The area control guaranteed by his summons proves to be potent regardless of the situation. Nevertheless, the nerfs have worked to bring him in line as a powerful, rather than extraordinary leader.
The balance has overall improved this season, which is a good sign. The modifiers continue to be impactful and shape meta trends, allowing some leaders and strategies to rise and others fall. As we enter Season 3 with Emperor Thaurissan slated to join the roster, it will be interesting to see how the meta continue to develop.