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Arachnophilia

Arachnophilia

Tomb_of_the_Spider_Queen2

Last week we talked a little about the star of the latest Heroes of the Storm patch, Sylvanas.  This week we’re going to be looking at the new battleground, Tomb of the Spider Queen.  There are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when delving deep beneath Sky Temple and engaging in what Blizzard loves to call “a knife fight in a closet.”

This isn’t Blackheart’s Mine or Haunted Bay

Yes, the mechanics do involve fighting non-Heroes for tokens which you’ll then turn in to trigger the objective, but instead of the coins being granted by inanimate chests, paper-thin pirates or miserly mercs, in Tomb the crystals drop from the constantly spawning minions that occupy all three lanes.  This encourages teams to stay in-lane rather than roam the map in deathballs as they do in Blackheart’s Bay, rather turning the concept of that map on its head and allowing two turn-in spots, keeping a lot of the action in the lanes rather than one spot on the map.  The fact that the crystals can’t be picked up by the other team but will despawn after a few seconds also allows for some hard decision-making by the surviving member of a team that just lost one of their members.

And the webweavers are far more interesting than the lumbering Grave Golem in Haunted Mines. Spawning in each lane, these eight-legged pushing machines actually encourage split pushing, adding a layer of complexity to what essentially became two boss fights on opposite sides of the map in its inferior battleground predecessor.

Vision is Key 

Because of the location of the turn-in points and the map position of the boss, vision is more important in this map than in any other in the game.  Knowing when your opponent is attempting to turn in or, better yet, being able to trap them in the boss’s enclosure is what will win matches for you.  Due to this, consider drafting Heroes that will give your team a leg up in surveying the map such as Zagara, Tassadar or Tyrande.  If you can’t play one of these Heroes, give some thought to using a talent on Scouting Drone, which has recently been buffed for more survivability in the last patch.

TOTSQ

Mercenaries Ain’t No Thing

Perhaps more than any other battleground, the mercenary camps in Tomb are not a key part of the winning equation.  There is only one Siege Giant camp at the bottom, and a pair of Bruiser Camps inconveniently placed back near your inner forts.  The fact that you may be leaving crystals uncollected always makes you feel guilty for peeling off to take a single camp, considering the strength and therefore priority of the webweavers.  More than anything, though, the Boss at the top of the map has decided to spend his days cramped up in a vestibule hidden behind the fog of battle.  He’s still got a great amount of push power, particularly if your webweavers have spawned, but make sure that a good chunk of the other team is dead or else you are setting your group up for a potentially disastrous teamfight.  There is simply no easy escape from the boss’s ‘office’.

This Map Rocks

I personally think that this map provides the most fun of any that Blizzard has introduced since the original four.  I love the laning phase of the game and it is something that I’ve felt certain maps neglect (ahem – Garden of Terror) or outright deter (the aforementioned Blackheart’s Bay).  The objectives flow into the natural gameplay of a MOBA rather than feeling completely alien to the genre, and the reward for those objectives are an advantage but not an overwhelming one.  Instead of a base race involving 2 lumbering golems, you have the back and forth of competing arachnid armies, giving the map the feel of a traditional sport like baseball or football where possession switches back and forth and you have to be able to play both offence and defense.  In my mind, this is why battlegrounds like Tomb of the Spider Queen give me such hope that Heroes of the Storm will grow as an e-sport and – maybe – attract spectators beyond the traditional fans of the MOBAs that have come before it.

 You can follow David on Twitter @DavidJasonToy.

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