Flying into the Nexus is Medivh, The Last Guardian of Tirisfal. You may recognize Medivh as one of the characters from the recent Warcraft movie that has hit cinemas. Or you may know him from encountering him within Warcraft games. Either way even if you’re new to meet Medivh, you’ll learn that he played an integral part in the Warcraft lore and is an iconic character.
Medivh comes to us in HotS as a heavily utility focused ranged mage. Low on damage (recently changed by a Hotfix from Blizzard) but high on playmaking abilities is what Medivh brings to teams. His ability to mitigate burst damage with his shield for himself and on allies, plus the crowd-control lockdown and map mobility makes this champion shine at providing support and utility for teammates.
Arcane Rift (Q) fires out a damaging spell, if a hero is hit with the ability it reduces the cooldown and previously half the mana cost of the spell was refunded, now it’s been patched to refund Medivh the full mana cost back. With the changes done to Arcane Rift now it’s a great spell to harass in lane with and also pick up low health target kills with if pursuing in raven form which is what I believe Blizzard originally envisioned.
What makes Medivh’s Force of Will (W) shield ability so unique from regular shielding in HotS is the fact that it blocks all damage taken for the duration of the shield. It works similar to Tyrael’s Sanctification ulti (where after a 0.5 second channel all heroes in the sanctified ground are immune to all forms of incoming damage for 3 seconds). With the popularity of burst assassin’s in HotS in the current meta – Medivh is a welcome solution. A lot of players are just spamming it as it’s on a relatively low cooldown, but a well-timed Force of Will can swing the tide of battle very easily or be used to bail out focused/pursued teammates. An example of this is negating Chromie’s entire Temporal Loop combo by shielding at the exact moment it’s about to land on your rewound teammate instead of casting it as the Temporal Loop rewind begins to tick down and having your teammate die when the shield expires and Chromie’s dunk of sand hits.
Portal (E), Medivh’s other skill that does is exactly as it’s named creates a set of portals that Medivh and teammates can go through unlimited times until the timer expires. Good for chasing, retreating and even for juking enemies or area of effect spells. Portal is also another highly situational spell when if done right, can secure kills or deny them depending on which side you’re playing on.
Medivh’s not out of tricks yet, for his ultimate you can choose from Polybomb or Lay Line Seal. Polybomb will turn the targeted enemy into a silenced flying sheep and any other enemies who come into the radius marked around the polymorphed target will also be afflicted by it. Lay Line Seal sends out a wave of energy that traps heroes touched by it in a stasis for a few seconds allowing for ambushes or getaways to happen.
Let’s talk Medivh’s mount for a moment, Medivh is one of the small growing group of champions who don’t traditionally mount up, instead in his case he changes to his mounted form which is a raven. Medivh’s raven form lets him fly over all terrain unhindered and become invincible and untargetable as long as he remains in this form. Talents taken can empower his raven form to increase mana regen, provide more vision or provide additional movespeed.
Medivh is an interesting champion who seems to be bordering on being overpowered. His kit on paper is incredibly dynamic and utility focused with the opportunity to use his bag of tricks to deny or secure kills for his team. What seems to be letting him down is how team centric he is in order to be effective. Without communication and clear direction Medivh could be trying to make all the plays he wants, but if his team isn’t joining in it’s not really going to be impactful.
What separates the good Medivh’s from the decent Medivh’s (or god forbid the ones stuck in raven form forever circling around in the skies) is mastering the proper timing of abilities and being reactive depending on the situation.
Feedback given to Blizzard showed that it was frustrating to try and play Medivh solo as you’re not truly a support and neither are you truly a specialist champion, you fit somewhere in the middle in an undefined role. Blizzard responded with giving Medivh’s auto attack and Arcane Rift damage boosts to help leave a greater mark on his individual impact on a game.
Some players in ANZ have commented that these changes were unnecessary and people should be realistic with what to expect if they are queuing up solo with Medivh. Others have welcomed the changes and have said that this damage boost is exactly what Medivh needed to help him better fit team compositions in the current meta. Another intriguing opinion floating around is now that Medivh has decent damage numbers he’s now been pushed into the overpowered category as he does everything too well.
From HotsLog Medivh’s current Quick Match win rate is at 34.9% with the recent balance changes Blizzard made (it was previously 29.2% at launch). Hero League has jumped from 25.2% at launch to 33.5% currently. This is the most interesting one however, Team League where we all expect Medivh to succeed has gone from 36.5% to a whopping 55.8%. Just for reference 50% is where ideally Blizzard wants champions win rates to be, 60% could be noted down as overpowered or stronger than intended by design.
The last time we discussed a champion’s low win rate was with Chromie, for those interested she has gone from 31.8% at launch to 45.1% currently. We could say this is a part of the quality of life changes Blizzard gave her with balance fixes but I’d also like to strongly believe it’s also due to people taking the time to master her difficult skill cap.
With Medivh’s dramatic win increase in Team League since launch I’d like to add that just prior to his balance change on the 29th of June, HotsLog reported a 50% win rate for Medivh in team league for the 26th of June. Player mastery of Medivh and teammates learning to cooperate and react to Medivh has seemed to make his win percent go from an abysmal looking 36.5% on launch to a 50% average. Medivh really excels when there is teamwork and communication readily available which is no news to us all as that’s what we expected to happen, the data is just merely backing this up.
I’m sure Blizzard will continue to keep their eye on Medivh as his win rates are improving and we’ll all be waiting for professional teams to add him to their rosters and show everyone that Medivh is far from being a one trick Polybomb pony.