Exclusive first look at the Nomad, Heroes of Newerth's latest traveler

Lucas Sullivan at

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Riot Games brought back the Blind Monk on Friday, and this week, S2 Games is doing some hero-reviving of their own. The Nomad, a Legion hero from early builds of the game (who was even playable via console commands), is back with a vengeance. But the Nomad's been doing some training in the arid wastes and has a whole new bag of tricks. We got the exclusive look at the new and improved version of this wasteland wanderer. Read up on his brand new set of abilities, lest the Nomad outsmart you with his desert sands when he's released this Friday.

S2 Games breaks down the Nomad:

Role: The Nomad is an elusive melee semi-carry that puts an emphasis on the player’s decision-making and reflexes over raw, head-on damage output. His skills are designed to reward and complement players who prefer to outplay their opponents by way of deception and guile.

  • Sandstorm: When Sandstorm is activated, the Nomad conjures a whirling cyclone of dust around him that envelops himself and nearby allies in a shroud of invisibility. In addition, they receive a significant movement speed bonus, while enemies within the sandstorm lose movement speed. This duality allows for Sandstorm to be a very useful tool for both chasing and escaping. An ally in need can be hidden from opponents and escorted to safety, or the skill may be used to initiate upon the opposing team. Because the enemy cannot see under the Sandstorm, they never know how many of you are approaching.
  • Mirage Strike: Leveling up Mirage Strike grants two sub-abilities: True Strike and Mirage Strike. True Strike will cause the Nomad to charge recklessly at an opponent, dealing high physical damage and increasing his attack speed. Mirage Strike will cause the Nomad to become invisible and send an illusion to perform the charge in his stead. Proper use and a mixture of True Strike and Mirage Strike is what will keep your opponents on their toes. By never allowing them the luxury of knowing whether you’re really charging at them, you can take the opportunity to deal extra damage.
  • Wanderer: The Nomad’s passive ability charges his sword with the sand around him as he moves. With each 100 distance traveled, his next attack gains a significant boost to attack damage. This ability allows him to deal very high damage when coupled with Mirage and True Strike. It also means that when he chases an opponent, he is constantly charging up Wanderer for his next attack.
  • Edge Counter (Ultimate): Edge Counter is the Nomad’s greatest asset in a large-scale battle, as it can often be the difference between winning or losing an encounter. When activated, Edge Counter puts the Nomad in a one-second state of stasis. If he is attacked, damaged, or spell casted upon by an enemy hero during this state, the Nomad shrugs the attack off and counters his assailant with a massive wave of sand, dealing high magic damage and stunning anyone in its wake. His stunned opponents then become vulnerable to a volley of attacks from True Strike.

 

The Nomad's sand extinguishes killstreaks instead of fires.

PC Gamer's take

The Nomad seems like the perfect fit for players that enjoy engaging in morale-crushing mind-games with their opponents. Mirage Strike alone can plant the seed of fear into the opponent, who'll constantly feel harassed even when you're merely sending illusions their way. The invisibility granted by Sandstorm only compounds the paranoia in the enemies' minds; any sign of your desert winds will send them packing, fearful of just how many heroes could be poised to strike inside of them. This should also function as an amazing decoy ability; you can act as if you're about to launch a gank on one side of the map, while your team takes out an undefended tower on the opposite side.

Edge Counter is the icing on the mind-game cake. This ability really resonates with me as a fighting game fan: it seems like the MOBA equivalent of Street Fighter III's counterhits or parries. Split-second timing will be greatly rewarded, while popping it at the wrong moment will strip you of the ace up your sleeve. Just having it available and not on cooldown will make your enemies hesitant to attack you, lest they unleash your devastating AoE stun. That leaves you free to slash through the opposing heroes and protect your allies with Sandstorm as necessary.

The Nomad seems like the ultimate "Gotcha!" hero, enabling masterful players to run circles around those who aren't prepared for his trickery. The Nomad is slated for release this Friday; let us know what you think of HoN's long-lost 77th hero!

That sword isn't just for show.