Three months after Anduin Wrynn joined the fight in Heroes of the Storm, we are seeing the release of the second original character in the game, the melee assassin that goes by Qhira. She has only been in the nexus for a short while, but her mobility is already a clear component of her power.
Qhira’s Trait, Grappling Hook, is the first mobile ability in her toolkit, whereby she fires a Grappling Hook that pulls her to any terrain it contacts. If an enemy Hero is hit, they take damage and Qhira launches toward them, dealing additional damage on impact. It can be used while Revolving Sweep, her other ability, is active.
In Revolving Sweep, Qhira throws and attaches her sword to an enemy hero to induces a brief Stun. Once attached, Qhira rotates around the opponent, dealing damage to all enemies in between her and the target. A player can reactivate to send Qhira barrelling into the attached target, knocking them back, dealing damage, and Stunning them. Together, these abilities have proven to be a bane for grouped up enemies, which we see often in objective-based maps, and single-target opponents who do not themselves have the mobile tools to escape from her relentless pursuit.
Carnage is an ability that deals damage to all enemies along a path, which is ideal for grouped enemies and dealing with a lane. Finally, Blood Rage is a passive ability that causes Qhira’s basic attacks and abilities to make opponents bleed, dealing Damage Over Time up to five stacks. Activating the ability deals additional damage and also heals Qhira per enemy.
Both of her Heroic abilities are offensive in nature. Unrelenting Strikes serves to damage all enemies in an expanding circle, which is great for area denial. Final Strike is better suited to finish off fleeing opponents, hitting all opponents in a path and dealing extra damage to enemies with low health.
In the short time that Qhira has been available in the game, she has had success in the Nexus. At the time of this article, she sits at a 65.4% win rate in unranked draft mode, and 63.3% in Quick Match, with no data available for Team, Hero, or Storm League.
This combination of a stun and a knockback demand that opponents be far more mindful of the neutral space they occupy and redefine where it is safe to wander. At the same time, her Blood Rage ability makes her difficult to deal with when the team is grouped, especially with a competent healer. While some are already crying for nerfs to Qhira, we should note that the same criticisms can be made against any competent Illidan player, and it is only a matter of time for players to learn where to move against her.
Wherever Qhira eventually settles in this meta, it is clear that the decision to create a second original character was a missed opportunity. If Blizzard were interested in sparking interest in their game with this instead of appealing to the player base for the original Blizzard properties, they have failed. Qhira may be a decent melee assassin with an interesting toolkit, but she does nothing to draw players into the game who would much prefer to see the resources added to a fan-favorite character from Overwatch, Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft and even Hearthstone.
One of the games strongest draws to fans is that Blizzard games have access to countless characters that we would love to see. But instead they have created a new character that, as far as we know, will never exist outside of the Nexus. Given that we seem to be receiving a total of three to four heroes per year now, it is frustrating to see that characters from the games that fans love are being left on the sidelines.