Chromie: time detective, bronze dragon, gnome, and now a playable hero in Heroes of the Storm. Hailing from the Warcraft universe, Chromie is responsible for keeping timelines in check, and that means she’s got some slick abilities in Heroes of the Storm based on time manipulation. A spellcasting ranged assassin that focuses on skillshots, Chromie’s also about sturdy as the chipped gnomes you’ll find at car boot sales.
On top of having low health, Chromie has no abilities that can help her dash away from an ambush and her two damaging abilities both have reasonably long cast times. If she’s stuck on her own, she’s a sitting duck, really. Getting used to standing well away from fights is the first thing to learn, and something that can only come with practice. Is there an Illidan, a Kerrigan, a Tracer, or other similar hero on the enemy team? Just back away. Only once you’ve got “back away” burned into your memory can you master her abilities.
Chromie gets her talents 1 level early: at level 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 19. It’s a slight early advantage that you can press, especially at level 9 when you’re the only one with an ultimate ability.
Q: Sand Blast
Chromie’s bread and butter ability Sand Blast is, typically, her main source of damage. After a 1 second cast time, Chromie will fire a ball of sand in a target direction, hitting the first enemy heroic unit struck. This also counts Misha, the Dragon Knight, and so on.
Get to know the range of this ability and the cast time—hitting enemies with it at the maximum range should become somewhat easy. While Chromie is casting this ability, she’s locked in place for a second: yet another reason why you just need to be as far away as possible. Is an enemy getting ready to pounce on you? Don’t cast it. It’s not worth dying for.
W: Dragon’s Breath
The second damaging ability in Chromie’s arsenal, Dragon’s Breath, has a similar range to Sand Blast. After firing up into the air, a dragon will come down and land on a target location 1.5 seconds later. This ability is unique in that there’s no indication of where it will land for the enemy: they have to avoid where they think it will land. Play mind games and try to get a feel for how your enemy reacts to the cast animation. This is also Chromie’s only ability that can be used to clear minions. It’s on a high cooldown so, where possible, try not to be the one relied upon to clear a wave.
E: Time Trap
One of a couple defense mechanisms Chromie has available, Time Trap allows her to set up an invisible trap for enemies that, when stepped on, puts them in stasis for 2 seconds. This can be used as a defense—placing one underneath yourself so that an enemy who jumps on you is locked in time for 2 seconds—or as map control—placing one in a key location in the fog of war reveals an enemy that walks over it.
If an enemy hero is regularly diving onto you, keep a Time Trap ready before any fight to lure them over it and escape. You can also use the 2 second delay to set up a combo. Dragon’s Breath after 0.5 seconds, Sand Blast after just under 1 second on them to deal a chunk of damage. This is Chromie’s basic combo, learn how to use it and how it works with both Time Trap and Temporal Loop.
R: Slowing Sands or Temporal Loop
Slowing Sands is Chromie’s more straightforward ultimate ability, creating a slowing field that increases its slow up to 50%. Useful for escaping from enemies while more easily landing your abilities. Just remember that you should be deactivating this ability to place it again somewhere else. Chokepoints can become kill zones if the entire enemy team is forced to drag their feet through the slow.
Temporal Loop, on the other hand, is Chromie’s playmaker. At first glance, it looks like a way to prevent an enemy from escaping or stopping someone from chasing you: after three seconds the targeted enemy hero will teleport back to the position they were in when it was cast. It’s so much more, though. Because you know exactly the position the enemy will be in in 3 seconds, lining up her basic combo is easy, and some heroes can be instantly killed if caught by Chromie like this. Add in another hero like Muradin or Tyrande who can also stun them as they’re brought back, and you’ve got yourself a dead hero. Anyone who is Unstoppable won’t be teleported back, though—Cleanse, Dwarf Toss, and more can counter this ability.
Chromie’s talents, and her choice of ultimate, will typically be dictated by what she chooses at level 1. The two popular choices are Compounding Aether and Deep Breathing. The former ups the damage on her Q, and lends itself to a Chromie that wants to keep firing off Sand Blasts to whittle down opponents. Deep Breathing, on the other hand, is all about the instakill. It gives Chromie a massive amount of damage if she can land Dragon’s Breath, but it’s harder to complete the quest due to Dragon’s Breath’s long cooldown.
At level 3, those who’ve picked Compounding Aether should pick up Piercing Sands, while those who went for Deep Breathing take Enveloping Assault. Both make completing the level 1 quest chosen easier, and add more opportunities to deal damage. Bronze Talons does huge damage, but you’re putting yourself at huge risk taking it because attacks require you to stand still for a moment at short range.
At level 6, if you’ve picked Compounding Aether, you can choose any of the three talents. Mobius Loop makes Dragon’s Breath useful for waveclearing due to the low cooldown, while Dragon’s Eye will make her W deal a chunk more damage, and Chrono Sickness will make Time Trap combos easier to land. Players with Deep Breathing should take Dragon’s Eye, though: the increased damage is needed for the burst damage.
Level 9’s choice is also dictated by those level 1 talents. Slowing Sands is safer, and lends itself to the constant barrage of damage Compounding Aether results in. To land the combos, though, Temporal Loop is necessity. Otherwise, landing both Sand Blast and Dragon’s Breath—with the centre for increased damage—is difficult.
Level 13 will often have you choosing Time Out—7 seconds of invulnerability is huge, and will get you out of a lot of scrapes. While Bye Bye! gets you far away easily, you’re also unable to contribute to the fight when you’re at the fountain. This is the only tier where defensive talents are available—not taking them is just asking to be killed.
Level 15 is purely personal preference if you’ve taken Compounding Aether, as each talent has pros and cons. If you’re confident at landing maximum range Sand Blasts, and have been doing do all game, Fast Forward is typically your best choice. The players that want to instakill enemies will want Quantum Overdrive: more ability power equals more damage equals more deaths.
Finally, level 19 offers another series of talents for personal preference, this time for both styles of play. Slowing Sands brings enemy teams to what feels like a standstill with Pocket of Time, and maps with chokepoints can take advantage of this. Loophole is typically not a great choice—it’s often too dangerous to activate it on any clump of enemies. Past and Future Me is useful for those who are great at a bit of geometry, and can aim both Chromie and her clone effectively. Remember the clone fires an untalented version of Sand Blast, though: Piercing Sands won’t affect the clone’s Sand Blast. Andorhal Anomaly is a personal favourite: it offers map control, with three Time Traps out at once, as well as more opportunities to combo an enemy.
These two ways to play should be chosen based on both your personal preference and the enemy’s team composition. You’ll have to get closer to an enemy in order to activate Temporal Loop on them, so an enemy composition of heroes like The Butcher, Anub’arak and Thrall who can quickly kill you are best off dealt with through the bombardment of a Compounding Aether-focused choice of talents.
It’s best to think of Chromie as the Sgt. Hammer of spellcasters: she does best as far away as possible, pummeling the enemy from the back. As such she comes with the drawback of being countered pretty often. It’s not about building your own team around Chromie, but picking her against the right enemies. If they will struggle diving you, and the map allows for you to bombard from a distance, Chromie can be a strong pick. She’s a challenging however, and, like heroes such as The Lost Vikings or Abathur, it’s best to play her in ranked after you’re a Chromie master. Once you feel like you can see into the future like the gnome-dragon herself, you’ll be ready.