I’ll be honest, nothing in the world triggers me harder than when someone says in chat, “Lost in draft…we don’t have enough damage.” Sometimes this is true, but most of the time it’s the interplay of inexperience and lack of communication in Hero League games that’s the source of the issue, not the Heroes (or the draft) themselves.
There are several examples of professional games with double warrior or triple warrior compositions that can delete people from the game. There are plenty of double Support compositions that can also do quite a lot in terms of bursting down enemy Heroes. Before you comment and say, “yeah, but those are pros,” hear me out.
I’m certain that a simple understanding of how to layer crowd control and damage will greatly improve anyone’s game. I’ve seen it in my own experiences and the experiences of others after I explained. This is not a guide for pro play, it’s for the plebs like you and me—the people from Bronze to Diamond who still have lots of learning to do.
Simply put: you have the damage, you just need to practice your coordination!
Using Stuns/Roots with an Ally
Remember when Tyrande/Diablo was so strong at the beginning of 2016? It’s because Diablo’s combo made it very easy to predict where the person would end up, giving Tyrande an easy follow-up with her Lunar Flare (and also because they did ludicrous amounts of damage). The effect was that these two Heroes could single-handedly drop an enemy Hero during a gank in less than a second.
The concept applies toward any two stuns or roots, though. If your team has both a Muradin and an Arthas, you have TONS of lockdown. Figure out which player should take the initiative and just follow up on their CC. If you time it perfectly, you can immobilize someone for a full 2.5 seconds, which is plenty of time to drop damage on them, especially if they’re out of position. Often times the damage from the CC itself is brutal enough to drop someone low; you only really need a little bit of bodyblocking and follow-up to get the most out of your ganks.
You don’t need voice communication to do this. Just watch other players carefully for how and when they use their stun. Hover your mouse cursor constantly on potential targets and prepare to make calculated dives. It’s really that simple.
What If I Don’t Have a Stun?
When you don’t have CC, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to layering. In fact, you should be paying MORE attention to targets that are locked down and using your DPS to eliminate them.
One of the best examples for this is Li-Ming. Her skillshots are very dependent on your opponents taking a predictable path so that you can unload the full combo on them and dish out an ungodly amount of damage. That said, there’s nothing more predictable than a CC combo. Follow around that Muradin on your team and save Arcane Orb for the moment that he lands a good Storm Bolt. More often than not, you’ll reliably delete people and look like a god.
Again, this isn’t hard. Just keep your eyes peeled for the tanks engaging and prepare to use the stuns and roots to your advantage. The same thing can be said for several other bursty Heroes like Kael’thas, Zeratul, or Chromie.
Use the Map Objective!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll somehow get a team that’s so clueless that they never land any good stun or get any good engagement. Luckily, you don’t have to rely completely on allied Heroes all the time. Several map objectives like the Punisher on Infernal Shrines or the Immortal on Battlefield of Eternity provide some sort of a stun or CC effect. Just like a teammate, you can use these stuns as reliable ways lock down enemy Heroes and burst them down.
For instance, you know that the Punisher will jump on top of someone and stun them every few seconds, so prepare to line up a stun of your own if possible. Get a feel for how often the Punisher jumps and anticipate it so that you can get free kills. If you do it correctly, you can sometimes even get a takedown on an enemy BEHIND their wall—it doesn’t get much better than that.
For less reliable, non-targeted stuns like the Immortal’s AoE stun or the Boss camp slams, use them in the opposite fashion. When you expect a stun to come up, go ahead and lock down your opponent early. If you time it right, you’ll often either get a free kill or weaken the enemy team so much that you can take an objective for free.
In the end, it only comes down to you. This is a team game, but vigilance and awareness on an individual level are paramount to your team’s success. Look for opportunities to layer CC, practice your timing, and try to help others learn too!