Lots of skillshots
Heroes of the Stormis filled to the brim with casters.Kael’thas, following a series of nerfs, has once again risen to prominence due to a recent buff, Nazeebo continues his reign near the top of the winrate charts, and Li-Ming is still very much a viable character.
So when Blizzard announced another ranged assassin in the form of Chromie, I was pretty underwhelmed. But after giving her a shot, I’m convinced.
Blizzard describes her as an “artillery assassin,” and I think that’s apt. Her Q is a straight, delayed skillshot that hits the first enemy hero it touches (it’s not for waveclearing), and her ranged W springs an area-of-effect attack that slams a dragon into the ground in the desired zone (a zone that the enemy can’t see, by the way). These two abilities right here, even unbuffed by talents, help cement her incredibly powerful ganking potential, as she can basically come out of nowhere with her W out of the range of a foe, then slam them with a Q — before they even know what happened, they’re at half health.
Likewise, Chromie is a sitting duck for most assassins who find her roaming unprotected, especially if one of those enemies is Nova or Zeratul. She gets shredded on her own. Unlike Li-Ming or even Kael’thas who have decent escape options, all Chromie can do is slowly set up her E, which turns into a stasis trap after a few seconds. It’s… cumbersome and easily avoidable, particularly with a Bolt of the Storm or any old dodge ability. On the spot, her E is basically useless, and an optional stasis talent, outside of quick “Ice Block”-esque teamfight use saves, only prolongs the inevitable.
The same goes for her ultimates, which are more tactical in nature — a stark contrast to most of her caster brethren who have damage-centric Heroics. Slowing Sands is an area-of-effect…well…slow, which is great for escaping and objective control, and Temporal Loop can be used to send an enemy hero back to their location three seconds ago. It’s something, but relying on a Heroic for an escape isn’t the best idea, and most characters can easily warp out of the slow area or adjust for three seconds of chase time respectively. Plus, Loop is best used when Chromie is doing the chasing, as it can negate mobile heroes like Tracer or Falstad (for the latter, it’s fun to use it on him right as he’s preparing for flight).
Since she doesn’t have, say, a teleport or bone prison to rely on, she’s one of the most vulnerable mages in the game, and actually earns her title of glass cannon. But given her outright usefulness in just about every situation to reliably deal massive amounts of damage (her low mana costs and passive ability that grants her talents one level before everyone else are also great), I think she’ll become a staple in not only casual, but hardcore level play.
She might not have blowout winrate numbers like Tracer out of the gate, but she’ll sneak up on the playerbase for sure once people learn how to play her with restraint.