Heroes of the Storm's Yrel is the least impactful hero in some time, but I have a soft spot for Draenei


Not quite a bruiser or a tank

Although I’m a horde member at heart (my first World of Warcraft character was an Orc Warlock during the beta, and my first 1.0 and subsequent main until Burning Crusade was an Orc Shaman), I gravitated toward the Alliance at the behest of a friend and a server-first raid guild.

It was too good of an offer to pass up, and thus, myDraenei Shadow Priest was born. Although my spirit stayed with the horde I really grew attached to my littleDraenei guy, and frequently visitedthe Exodar, the race’s capital city, just for fun.

For the past two years I’ve wantedDraenei representation in Heroes of the Storm, and now we have it with Yrel.

I had to give that bit of background so you can understand where I’m coming from. Yrel was a pleasant surprise as a big WoWplayer, but for many others her reveal fell flat. I totally get that, and although she does have her own (modestly priced, in shards) announcer voice accompanying her launch, her Harley Quinn inspired alternate costume is just as underwhelming as the idea of introducing another Paladin into the mix.

In my games with her, she also failed to make a major impact in higher level play. There are simply more mobile characters available that can do more damage and have more utility, and it’s safe to call her undertuned for the time being, even with some slight buffs when she hit the live version of the game yesterday.

The thing is, she’s really fun to play in quickmatch due to her ability to catch out of position players. She can 1v1 almost anyone in the game if they’ve been tapped by someone else, and has great chase potential thanks to her E (Avenging Wrath), which lets Yrel leap and slow an enemy upon impact. Her first heroic (ultimate), Ardent Defender, which makes her basically invincible for three seconds and heals 50% of the damage received during that period has amazing playmaking potential (blocking Pyroblasts or turning the tables instantly on an asassin is satisfying). These are the sort of things higher level players don’t let you exploit so much.

Because of that, Yrel is in a weird spot. She doesn’t do as much damage as many other tanks, and several of her abilities only benefit her unless you talent into a more utility build — at which point you’ve sacrificed damage and tankiness. Oddly enough her Sacred Ground heroic, which sanctifies the ground and grants 40 armor, only applies to her. The same goes for her base healing ability (Q). Add in that her charge mechanic, while very unique, slows her down while charging (this probably can be removed altogether and she’d still be balanced), and you have a recipe for more counters from more mobile heroes.

Again, I’m into Yrel and plan on working her into my normal rotation. It’s just that she needs a bit more love than the average hero due to the complications regarding her role (what does Blizzard really want her to excel at — a healer, bruiser, or tank) and her charging shtick.