Welcome to the Nexus, Kael’thas Sunstrider. Though you maybe unlucky in love, unfortunate in war and, to be honest, generally a bit of a jerk, all of these are merely a setback. Given an opportunity to make an impression on a whole new audience, the Sun King has not disappointed. These are my early impressions of you, my Prince. Selama ashal’anore
He’s Our First Raid Boss in the Game
Well, actually, he’s not. We’ve had Arthas, the infamous Lich King, in the game since Day One. But Kael’thas is the first Hero who actually makes you feel like you’re facing a Raid Boss. Got hit by his Living Bomb ability? Better run out of the group or else you’ll blow them up… except when he hits ‘Phase 3’ and you blow them up and drop the damage over time ability on your allies as well. Keep an eye on the ground below you, if you get caught in Flamestrike you’ve only got yourself to blame for standing in the fire. Kael’thas has an advantage over his old frosty foe in that he’s been a boss in so many raids and dungeons, he’s got it down pat by now.
He’s Da Bomb
No, seriously, you better watch out when you get hit with ‘W’ ability. And even if you don’t, the fact that he can enhance it to be cast twice in quick succession gives him the ability to quickly wipe out minion groupings, giving him great synergy with lane pushers such as Azmodan or Sylvanas. On top of it’s innate strength, Kael’thas has so many talents that increase it’s effectiveness that this one ability can really make a team pay if they’re grouped up closely together. I play a Fire Mage in World of Warcraft and spreading ticking time bombs on my enemies has always been a sadistic joy of mine. The fact that I can now do this to actual living, breathing players only increases this gleeful pleasure. Some men just want to watch the world burn, I suppose.
His Trait is Fantastic
Kael’thas can use his active ‘D’ command to enhance his next ability cast. It increases the damage and radius of his Flamestrike, his Gravity Lapse can hit the first three enemies it hits instead of one, and also gives you the option to cast a second Living Bomb immediately after the first hits, at no cost. The flexibility of this particular trait not only fits the idea of a Blood Elf as a master of the magical arts, but provides a complexity of choices to keep you thinking constantly about how you want to approach the next time his trait, Verdant Spheres, is off cooldown.
Fiery Phoenix or Giant Ball of Death?
Unlike the last Hero introduced, Sylvanas, Mr. Sunstrider provides players with two interesting and viable choices as his Heroic Abilities. Phoenix is an effective AOE attack, launching a flaming raptor at an area, which will then attack a player that wanders into its range. Great on maps that involve area control such as Dragon Shire, Cursed Hollow or Sky Temple, at Level 20 you can even direct your avian ally to chase after a specific enemy. Still, my favorite has to be Pyroblast. Yes, it requires a huge 2 second windup, and has got to be the slowest moving object in the game, but if you combine this with an AOE stun or slow such as ETC’s Mosh Pit, Thrall’s Earthquake, or Jaina’s Ring of Frost, you can ensure that all of your foes are served well-done.
He’s a Great Counter to Some of the Top Heroes
A number of people have asked why there weren’t more nerfs for the Lost Vikings. I haven’t played against them yet as Kael’thas but I can imagine he’s a big reason why. If you play them separately it doesn’t take much for him to quickly drop a couple of Living Bombs on them and wipe them in a fiery flash. If you group them up together, his AOE abilities make short work of them, particularly a Verdant Spheres-Living Bomb-Living Bomb-Flamestrike combo.
There’s been nothing sweeter so far than to play Kael’thas against a Brightwing. She may be the top Support Hero for win percentage at hotslogs.com at the moment, but I could almost see the confusion on the player’s face as I pumped her full of Living Bombs throughout the match. What is everyone’s favorite Faerie Dragon to do? She has to stay close to her team for them to receive her heals, but stay far enough away that her soothing mist isn’t accompanied by a very vicious burning sensation that can, later on in the game, spread to the rest of the enemy team. And unfortunately for Brightwing, there isn’t a cream for that.
You can follow David on Twitter @DavidJasonToy.