HotS updates in MLG Anaheim Spring Championship

This MLG Anaheim is crazy.

Apart from KeSPA Brood War pro invitational SC2 tournament, there is Heart of the Swarm demo station.

Sadly, only Protoss and Zerg are in the casted preview match.

Protoss

Upon analyzing data from their most recent battles, the protoss have identified a few areas of improvement that would help them maximize effectiveness against their enemies. Based on their findings, the protoss have augmented their arsenal with an extremely long-range attacker, additional psionic units, and a new form of enemy harassment.

Tempest

Description: The tempest is a new capital ship that can fire at both ground and air targets from long range, doing additional damage to massive units. A further range upgrade can be researched to give the Tempest the ability to fire from incredible distances.

  • Note: Starts at range 10, increases to 22 range with upgrade (compared to 13 for siege tanks). Said to have relatively low DPS to balance it out.


Oracle

Description: The Oracle is a psionic warship, built from a Stargate, that uses several unique abilities to raid and harass the enemy. The first is Entomb, which can temporarily block mineral fields from being harvested. Another ability, Preordain, grants detection and vision around a targeted building, allowing the protoss to see which units or technologies are being researched. Rounding out its kit is Cloak Field, which temporarily cloaks everything around the Oracle.

  • Note: The cloaking has a mana cost and is temporary. It isn’t a permanent passive like the mothership. Preordain has a 30 sec duration in this build, but it’s been tweaked a lot.


Mothership Core

Description: The Mothership Core is unique in more ways than one. Only a single one can exist in your army at once and it’s also immobile, attaching itself to a nexus. There are four abilities available from the Mothership Core. Teleport allows you to move the Mothership Core to any of your other nexuses. Energize tops off the energy stores of any target unit or structure. Purify is a defensive ability that temporarily grants the Mothership Core a powerful, long range attack. Finally, Mass Recall allows players to quickly recall units back to the Mothership Core.

Mothership

Description: It’s not really a new unit in Heart of the Swarm, but the Mothership abilities are slightly different from Wings of Liberty. The passive cloaking field is gone, with the cloak now available as an activated ability on the Oracle. The Mothership retains its Recall ability, and the Vortex spell from Wings of Liberty now affects ground units only. A new ability called Stasis is available, which puts the mothership and all air units around it into stasis for about 20 seconds. The Mothership is now created by upgrading the Mothership Core after a Fleet Beacon is constructed.

**In the current multiplayer build of Heart of the Swarm, the Protoss are not able to deploy Carriers. However, we have not yet made a final determination on the Carrier’s status..

Terran

The resourceful terrans have also been improving their technology to better survive their battles in the Koprulu sector.

Widow Mine

Description: The Widow Mine is a new suicide unit built from the Factory that allows the terran player to control areas of the battlefield. The Widow Mine moves into position and sets to stationary mode, which burrows and activates it. When an enemy air or ground unit moves into range, the Widow Mine briefly flashes before moving and attaching itself to that unit. After several seconds, the mine detonates, dealing 200 damage to the unit and a smaller amount of damage to units in the surrounding area.

  • Note: Dustin Browder expects that with practice, pro-level players will almost always be able to remove the mined units away from the rest of their unit cluster.


Warhound

Description: The Warhound is a walking ground mech that is specialized as an anti-mechanical weapon. Smaller and more nimble than a Thor, the Warhound has a standard weapon to hit ground. Its true strength is an additional ability that fires powerful missiles at ground-based mechanical units, making it particularly well suited to taking out enemy siege lines and many protoss ground units.

  • Note: anti-mech missiles auto-launch at mechanical units independent of the warhound’s normal attack.

New Abilities

The Hellion has been upgraded to a transforming unit similar to the Viking. When constructed from the factory, the Hellion spawns in its new battle mode, which gives it additional hit points and a stronger flame attack that covers a short forward-facing arc. This makes the Hellion more effective in late-game fights against large clusters of light units such as Zealots. The player can opt to transform the Hellion into its original, more mobile form as well.

In Heart of the Swarm, the Battlecruiser gains a cooldown-based speed-boost ability called Redline Reactor. Finally, the Reaper no longer has a special building attack. Instead, it gains a passive health-regeneration upgrade that allows it to recharge hit points quickly when out of combat.

Zerg

The zerg continue to evolve and adapt to changing environments, particularly the dangers they face on the battlefield. New creatures will help the zerg stage more effective sieges and add unique enemy-manipulating abilities to their arsenal.

Viper

Description: The Viper is a new flying unit with three unique abilities. Blinding Cloud temporarily reduces the attack range of biological ground units inside the cloud to melee range. Abduct allows the Viper to physically pull a unit to the Viper’s location. Finally, the Viper can use Consume, a channeled ability that allows it to gain some energy back at the expense of damage to your own zerg building.

Swarm Host

Description: The Swarm Host is a slow-moving ground unit that has no standard attack. When burrowed, the Swarm Host spawns a continuous stream of slow-moving units called Locusts that can be used to lay siege and pressure entrenched enemy positions.

New Abilities

Ultralisks have a new Burrow Charge skill that lets them dive underground and quickly surface at a target, allowing them to initiate the fight faster on a crowded battlefield. However, its “frenzy” passive from Wings of Liberty has been removed, meaning the Ultralisk can now be snared by abilities like Fungal Growth. The Overseer has been retained from Wings of Liberty, and changelings can now be spawned from siege range. Finally, the Hydralisk has a new upgrade that allows them to move faster while not on creep.

(Source: TeamLiquid)

There is another tread on the details of the new units’ stats.

Overall, the new additions are going to change how the game is being played. The new units open up so many new possibilities. Being a Terran player, I’m not that impressed by the Terran changes.

Let’s start with Reaper. The extra damage towards building is removed, which is minor in a way that it is not significant unless there’re multiple reapers. I’m unsure about the regeneration change. Reaper was too imbalance when WoL was just released (recall: Morrow vs Idra), and it deserved to be nerfed. Reaper was later used as a scout and the main problem with reaper is the opportunity cost. The regeneration upgrade doesn’t seem to change much in that aspect. If a player gets the regen upgrade, then he can’t  get combat shield. It makes sense to invest on more reapers if one gets the regen upgrade. Then, it may shape up to a hellion type of opening whereby the reapers are there for map control. I’m thinking about a reaper fast expand into reaper map control. Then follow up with two bases mass bio timing.

Battle hellions were designed to be the answer for Terran to play against chargelots in a face to face battle. It certainly doesn’t seem to fit well with the current MMM bio mix, because hellion is a factory unit. I’m not sure if a mixture of both is plausible. This is because with MMM, the focus is on the mobility of the units. Terran has to keep moving and attacks potential weak spot. Battle hellion just does not fit in well, unless it changes mode upon engagement which takes 3 seconds. However, it may open up the option of using mech against Protoss.

Warhound is interesting. It has an ability to target mechanical units which is independent to its normal attack. It certainly changes the current TvT metagame whereby tank line is just unbreakable. Widow Mines is another another new factory unit. At the first glance, it looks awesome. It allows area control, prevent harassment when there are multiple bases etc. But it has a counter on the attached unit, which is visible to both players. I expect the pros to react and ‘detach’ those units from the main group of army in order to minimise damage. One interesting point is that, what if I load the units up on a medivac. Do they still blow up?

Tempest’s range is 22, which means it is out of the screen. Although it is an extremely late game unit, it is still insane on paper.

Oracle is very flashy with a range of interesting abilities. It is a stargate unit, which means it opens up more options in that tech path. The current metagame of Protoss is very gateway focus and I doubt it will change.

Mothership core is…… fascinating. The mass recall can be game breaking, so I expect its energy requirement to be revised in the early patches.

Viper can break the death ball of Protoss by abduction as seen in the video. This makes it harder to position against a Zerg.

Swarm Host provides area control and it is the answer to the problem that Zerg does not have a siege unit. Its range seems long and it goes well with range unit. It is just like siege tank and hydralisk can fill the role of marines. The speed upgrade of hydralisk will certainly increase the appearance rate of the unit.

Ultralisk’s new ability is a bad news for Terran. At least burrowed banelings cannot move!

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