Update June 14, 2017: Malthael is now out in Heroes of the Storm, alongside the rest of the June 13 patch. If your region hasn’t got him yet, you can expect him to arrive pretty soon.
Also along for the ride in this patch are complete talent reworks for Thrall and Malfurion, two of the older heroes in the game.
For more like HotS, check out our list of the best MOBAs.
After fading into obscurity over the past few months, Thrall’s being given a new lease of life by changing up his W, Feral Spirit, and making his talents less binary – where he would previously only have one viable competitive build, he’s now got a bunch of options. Lots of quest talents, plus ones that focus on either being a lane bully or someone to make the big plays hopefully mean he should become popular again.
Malfurion, on the other hand, was far too popular – he’s become far too good as a healer in all compositions, and so some talent reworks, plus some nerfs, should put him back in line. For example, he now lacks Cleanse, which is a key talent against stun-heavy teams, making him much worse against certain compositions.
There are also some smaller balance changes to other heroes, plus a lot of new skins. Finally, there’s a new event – play 15 games with a friend in Heroes of the Storm, and you’ll get a free mount plus epic chest in the game, plus a unique reward in Diablo 3 on PC: Ghost Kerrigan Wings.
For more details, check out the full patch notes here.
Update June 6, 2017: Blizzard have released Malthael’s spotlight video, showing off the former Archangel of Wisdom’s moveset, as well as lifting the lid on his lore.
He’s a high-damage assassin that’s adept at taking down tanks, branding enemies with the Reaper’s mark, revealing the target and delivering sustained damage over time. The more health your target has the more damage the mark causes.
Once enemies are marked, you can use Soul Rip to lifesteal. This even works on multiple targets, making Maltheal a great choice for hit and run tactics. Likewise, Wraith Strike can only be used on marked targets, letting you teleport and strike through them – this skill is perfect for use on fleeing enemies damaged by your mark.
Since you’ll need to keep as many enemies marked as possible, Death Shroud offers another way to inflict your mark on enemies, releasing a cloud of energy that can mark multiple targets at once. See his full moveset in the video above.
Here are Malthael’s strengths and weaknesses:
- Punish Melee
- %-based Damage
- Sustained Damage
- Burst damage
- Crowd Control
- Poke damage
Update June 2, 2017:Maltheal’s full talent tree has leaked out – see just how much more ridiculous his heroic abilities can get below.
Looks like Malthael’s talents weren’t quite meant to come out yet, first posted by Destructoid but then hastily edited out. Unfortunately, the internet never forgets and Redditors had already copied them out. You can see them below.
Sadly, it doesn’t look like his level 20 upgrade to the instant-kill ult is as omni-powerful as some had hoped. Still, plenty to devour here:
- Level 1
- [W] Death’s Reach: Increase Wraith Strike’s range by 35%.
- [Z] On a Pale Horse: Gain an additional 20% Movement Speed while mounted.
- [Active] Fear the Reaper: Activate to increase Movement Speed by 25% and pass through other units for 4 seconds.
- Level 4
- [Q] Die Alone: Soul Rip deals 75% more damage if it hits only one Hero.
- [E] Throwing Shade: Quest: Hit 20 Heroes with Death Shroud. Reward: Permanently increase Death Shroud’s range by 33%, and reduce its cooldown by 2 seconds.
- [Trait] Black Harvest: Quest: Apply Reaper’s Mark to Heroes for a total of 150 seconds. Reward: Permanently increase Reaper’s Mark’s duration by 2 seconds.
- Level 7
- [Q] Cold Hand: Soul Rip Slows enemies by 20% for 2.5 seconds.
- [W] Mortality: When damaging a Hero, Wraith Strike deals bonus damage equal to 4% of the Hero’s maximum Health.
- [Active] Touch of Death: Activate to reduce healing received by Heroes afflicted by Reaper’s Mark by 50% for 4 seconds.
- Level 13
- [Q] Soul Siphon: Increase Soul Rip’s bonus healing from Heroes to 4% of the Hero’s maximum Health.
- [Trait] Ethereal Existence: Gain 15 Physical Armor per enemy Hero afflicted by Reaper’s Mark, up to a maximum of 45.
- [Active] Inevitable End: Activate to become Unstoppable for 2 seconds, but remove all active Reaper’s Marks.
- [Active] Shroud of Wisdom: After 2 seconds, gain 50 Spell Armor for 4 seconds.
- Level 16
- [Q] Soul Collector: Reduce Soul Rip’s cooldown by 0.5 seconds and increase its range by 50%.
- [W] Massacre: Wraith Strike now damages and applies Reaper’s Mark to enemies around its target.
- [Trait] Memento Mori: Reaper’s Mark deals 100% increased damage after afflicting an enemy for more than 4 seconds.
- Level 20
- [R1] Reaper of Souls: While Tormented Souls is active, Hero Takedowns extend its duration by 4 seconds.
- [R2] Angel of Death: Last Rites heals for 100% of the damage dealt, and its current and future cooldown reduction bonuses are doubled.
- [E] Final Curtain: Death Shroud leaves a trail in its wake for 4 seconds, applying Reaper’s Mark to enemies in its area.
- [Active] No One Can Stop Death: Activate while dead to immediately respawn at the Altar but increase Malthael’s next respawn time by 25%.
Expect Malthael, along with the usual big balance patch, to hit the PTR at some point in the next few days, possibly today.
Original story June 1, 2017:Blizzard just unveiled a new hero for HotS, a hooded fella with a penchant for soul stealing. Sound like anyone you know?
“Once the Aspect of Wisdom, Malthael abandoned heaven after the Worldstone’s destruction,” says the official blurb. “In secret, he had resolved to end the Eternal Conflict by becoming a Reaper of Souls and eliminating everything affected by demonic corruption, including humanity.”
Sounds like a nice chap, then. Still, you’d want him on your team in a pub brawl, wouldn’t you? So why not have him on your side in a three-lane assault.
Here’s what he can do:
- Soul Rip
- Extract the souls of nearby enemies afflicted by Reaper’s Mark, dealing 100 damage and healing Malthael for 44 per target hit. Heroic targets heal Malthael for an additional 3% of the Hero’s maximum Health.
- Wraith Strike
- Instantly teleport through an enemy afflicted by Reaper’s Mark, dealing 59 damage and refreshing Reaper’s Mark.
- Death Shroud
- After 0.25 seconds, unleash a wave of dark mist that applies Reaper’s Mark to enemies it hits.
Malthael Heroic Abilities
- Tormented Souls
- Gain 20 Armor and unleash a torrent of souls, continually applying Reaper’s Mark to nearby enemies for 4 seconds.
- Last Rites
- Apply a death sentence to an enemy Hero that, after 2 seconds, deals damage equal to 50% of their missing Health. Repeatable Quest: Enemies killed while under the effect of Last Rites permanently reduce its cooldown by 5 seconds, to a minimum of 15 seconds.