Master Medivh in Heroes of the Storm

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The Guardian of Tirisfal has left Azeroth and joined the Nexus as Heroes of the Storm’s newest playable hero. After a rocky start, Medivh has received a few buffs and has now found his feet in the Nexus. Classified as a Specialist, Medivh is designed to be the primary source of a team’s utility, supplementing others rather than carrying games himself. When you pick this hero, it’s because you trust your teammates.

That’s why Medivh is going to be a far stronger hero in Team League rather than Hero League. Knowing when to pick Medivh is the first thing that you’ll have to learn: do the other heroes chosen need someone to support them to bring out their full potential? Think of Medivh like a somewhat overqualified nanny: will the other people in your team benefit greatly from your guiding touch? If so, that’s when Medivh is a good choice.

If not, and if the team needs waveclear, healing, a frontline of tanks, or something else like that, it’s time to forget picking Medivh. He’s very much a niche pick, and without the right set of allies, he falls flat. To fully understand the circumstances where he’s useful, it’s good to know exactly how his abilities and talents work. 

 Mount: Raven Form 

Medivh has a unique mount. He can transform into a raven and fly over terrain at a speed slightly slower than the typical mount with reduced vision. However, he’s also invulnerable when in raven form. This means he can fly over a structure without worrying about being attacked and scout the fog of war safely. If you’re able to rely on your teammates to clear waves, stay in raven form as much as possible, and act like a living Scouting Drone. 

 Q: Arcane Rift

This is Medivh’s only damaging ability: a slow-moving projectile on a long cooldown with rather low damage. The twist, however, is that its mana cost is refunded and cooldown decreased by 5 seconds if it hits an enemy hero.

If you’re missing heroes, it’s lackluster and disappointing, barely able to dent a minion wave. If it’s being targeted to hit heroes with every cast, Medivh becomes a reliable source of damage. All of this damage potential is lost if you miss, however, so try to learn the rhythm of using Arcane Rift effectively. 

 W: Force of Will

Some players think Medivh should be classed as a support, and this is the reason why: he can shield himself or an allied hero from all damage for 2 seconds. It doesn’t prevent status effects like stuns or roots but it can be a way to prevent a whole lot of damage. Learning to anticipate damage is how to use Force of Will effectively: some abilities have clear tells, like Kael’thas’ Pyroblast, and can be negated easily, but some aren’t so obvious. Being able to read your opponent helps a great deal: game knowledge is a big factor here. 

 E: Portal

Medivh’s ability to aid allies is defined by Portal. He creates two portals that last for 6 seconds, which allies can jump through in both directions. Project all five members of the team deep into enemy territory, give an ally an escape route, and become a slippery opponent by jumping back and forth.

It’s also how he can easily land Arcane Rift safely: create a portal, jump through, throw out a Arcane Rift, and jump back. Wait for the very short cooldown to expire, and repeat. Coupled with a good Force of Will, it’s also a great way to secure a kill on an enemy trying to Hearthstone back to base under the ‘safety’ of a fort. 

 R: Poly Bomb

Polymorph an enemy, preventing them from attacking or using abilities. When the polymorph expires, they will polymorph all of their allies who are nearby. When that polymorph expires, they’ll do the same thing. It can keep exploding indefinitely, constantly polymorphing enemies as a chain reaction. It’s best used in small areas, although has a somewhat low cooldown, so don’t be too stingy with it. 

 R: Ley Line Seal

A less popular ultimate, but with incredible game-changing potential, Ley Line Seal fires a slow projectile over a massive range that locks enemy heroes in stasis for a whopping three seconds. This prevents them from moving, attacking, using abilities, or taking damage. It completely takes them out of the fight. That’s three seconds for cooldowns to refresh, for allies to move into a better position, and for your teammates to focus fire on the few enemy heroes still able to move. In a chaotic teamfight, three seconds can make all of the difference.

 Talents

Level 1: How speedy are you at clicking? That’s how you decide your Level 1 talent. While Portal Mastery is great, it takes a precious extra second to cast unless you’re moving your mouse at light speed. Portals will often be placed as a reaction, almost like muscle memory, and that means any increase to how long it takes to cast can result in a missed kill or a death on your team. Because of that, Stable Portal is often your best shot: increased mana regeneration is good, but a Medivh who regularly hits Arcane Rift shouldn’t have many issues with mana. 

Level 4: This is an easy level for picking a talent, as Bird’s Eye View is the most useful by a long shot, bar specific situations. The bonus to vision makes Medivh one of the best heroes in the game for scouting out your opponents, and helping allies anticipate an ambush or set up their own. Mage Armor is useful when the enemy team consists of lots of heroes that will use strong basic attacks and you need the defense against it, but that’s a rare situation.

Level 7: Are you feeling confident with Medivh? Let’s hope so, because one of the best talents at level 7 is aptly named for how it requires a strong player: The Master’s Touch. Unlike some other Quest talents, it will reset upon death unless it is completed. It’s superior to Arcane Charge, but relies upon not dying regularly. This is typically the talent you want to choose, so try to get used to not dying. When practicing, Arcane Charge is a less effective but safer choice, but you’re just not playing Medivh to his full potential.

Level 10: Picking an ultimate should depend on what sort of utility you need, and, in most situations, Poly Bomb is the superior talent. As well as being able to endlessly polymorph the enemy team, it can be considered an instant interrupt. Channeled abilities are cancelled, healers are interrupted, tanks are left unable to do anything. If you’re looking to be able to set up wombo combos, though, or see that the enemy often group as four with one enemy flanking, Ley Line Seal can be a good way to lock the main group in place, take out the flanker, and return for a 5 vs. 4 fight.

Level 13: This is the first of Medivh’s talents that are dependent on situation and personal preference, as they’re all useful. Quickening synergises well with Stable Portal, as you’ll typically be able to have a pair of portals up just about all the time. Astral Projection, on the other hand, is fantastic for jumping the whole team across walls, so maps where labyrinthine walls make navigating the jungle dangerous make Astral Projection a great choice. A personal favourite is Winds of Celerity, though, as it makes Medivh a better scout.

Level 16: The other talent tier that needs to be chosen on a case-by-case basis is at level 16. Reabsorbtion fits just about all situations, and is especially useful against any heroes with burst that you can anticipate using Force of Will against. Circle of Protection is a fantastic tool for a team that dives opponents: as you dive using Portal, your whole team will be stacked together, making you prime targets for the enemies to make you pay, so a group Force of Will can prevent that from being an issue. Enduring Will, finally, is best used against opponents with sustained damage, typically basic attack-focused heroes.

Level 20: Depending on what ultimate ability you took, your choice at level 20 will differ. Firstly, it’s important to consider what your priorities this late in the game are: if your team is on the back foot, watching catapults enter the base, unable to clear them out, Guardian of Tirisfal is unparalleled, as it can clear out entire waves of minions instantly. Otherwise, you’ll typically want to pick one of the two talents that upgrade Medivh’s ultimate abilities: Glyph of Poly Bomb and Medivh Cheats! The former makes for much easier chain polymorphing, and doesn’t change how Poly Bomb should be used, while the latter improves Ley Line Seal greatly.

It can be used to catch the entire enemy team if a moment of calm is needed, or it can be used to dip the ability around one enemy if you want allies to focus a weak opponent. There’s a lot of room to make capital-P Plays when you’ve got Medivh Cheats! 

That’s the end goal when playing as Medivh, your lategame objective. With Arcane Rift cooldown resets and mana refunds, he’s able to pump out a lot of damage in the early and midgame, especially if he gets The Master’s Touch completed quickly. Later on, as both teams reach level 20 and defensive talents are picked by the enemy, his damage falls off, and Medivh relies upon aiding his teammates.

This is where it’s hardest to have a great effect on the game, because it relies on communication that some teams won’t have. If you’re playing Medivh without voice comms, make sure your early game is on point in order to start a lead and get it snowballing. If Medivh’s team is ahead, he does a great job of ensuring it stays that way. Being able to protect that lead as The Last Guardian is the key to mastering him.