Exclusive first look at the Emerald Warden, Heroes of Newerth's nature lover [Updated]

The Emerald Warden has got to be one of the most WTF heroes I've ever seen...and I love him for it. This centaur-bodied, ram-headed caster/summoner hybrid is coming to Heroes of Newerth this Friday, but we know you want to get a look at his abilities now. Check out what this mysterious hero has to offer to crafty players, and why your enemies' balls may soon be in grave danger. Yes, we said it: balls.

Now, when you think of a hero described as being a summoner, you might call Tremble to mind. On the contrary: the Emerald Warden summons beasts to aid him, but you can't directly control these animal spirits to do your bidding. The Emerald Warden plays like the perfect agility hero pest, constantly interrupting the opposing team's plans while staying well out of harm's way. With his auto-attack that can hit from beyond 600 range (more than Flint Beastwood's default range), you'll be harassing heroes like no other while you sit back and try to comprehend how the Warden got to looking so awesome. His abilities only compound his pestering potential; let's give them a look, shall we? Here's the description of the Emerald Warden's spell toolkit, straight from S2.

S2 Games breaks down the Emerald Warden

  • Silencing Shot (Q): A straightforward single-target ability that will deal high damage and prevent your target from casting spells for a short duration. Because the Emerald Warden has fairly low health, his ability to shut down enemy spellcasters contributes heavily to his own survival.

  • Hunter's Command (W): The Emerald Warden summons two spirit wolves that seek out and chase enemy heroes before colliding into them. Unlike most other spells, Hunter's Command does not require line of sight, allowing Emerald Warden players to figuratively sniff out hiding opponents or detect incoming players well before they see him.

  • Overgrowth (E): The Emerald Warden creates patches of invisible vines that will activate and immobilize enemy units that come within a certain distance while they are dormant. Though they last quite a long time, they may be destroyed to end their grabbing prematurely.

  • Summon Gawain (R): The Emerald Warden summons Gawain, a spirit hawk that will autonomously patrol the sky around the Emerald Warden. Gawain provides several passive bonuses that require no input from the Emerald Warden player whatsoever; it gives "clear vision" around itself, meaning it can see over trees in a limited radius, preventing anyone from hiding so as long as the Emerald Warden is near. It will cast Diving Strike to deal physical damage to enemy heroes, an ability which grows stronger with levels. Later on, it gains Forest's Touch , an emergency healing spell, and finally Emerald Storm , which will bathe a large area in a snaring thunderstorm.

PC Gamer's impressions

I'll just come right out and say it: the Emerald Warden seems like he'll be the perfect hero for me. It's a combination of his appearance and his abilities: being able to kill someone as a purple-and-green Ram-man is the ultimate in humiliation, and he looks so incredibly goofy standing next to heroes like Balphagore and Soulstealer that I can't help but snicker with delight at his bizarre appearance. His abilities seal the deal: being able to constantly harass and last-hit/deny while keeping myself far from the dangers of battle is perfect for HoN players like me—ones that get a little overeager during teamfights and end up getting themselves killed in a hurry. But nothing, and I mean nothing, can top the directive given to the Emerald Warden's spirit-wolves. When you play as the first hero, in any MOBA ever, that commands his wolf-familiars to attack his target's scrotum, nothing can stop you.

Silencing Shot is the perfect "oh crap" ability, letting you escape any one-on-one gank with relative ease. Gawain is another fantastic asset: being able to let the AI do the attacking for you lets you focus your attention elsewhere, and Gawain's clear vision capability means no more enemies playing ring-around-the-rosie with trees or catching you unawares from the jungle. Top it all off with an Overgrowth near/at/on the river runes, and you'll be a complete and utter pain for your enemies to deal with.

I look forward to giving the Emerald Warden a go this Friday, and you should join me by jumping into our official clan, [PCGC]. It's simple, just follow the instructions here . I'm looking forward to playing with you guys—just remember: I called dibs on the purple centaur hippie.