Winning Heroes of the Storm Brawls
If you’re interested in winning Heroes of the Storm Brawls, you must understand the Brawl Rules, but before we get into that, let’s talk about why you’re here.
Chances are you’re reading this because you pointed to someone’s stats as the weak link in a Heroes of the Storm Brawl or looked at someone’s talent tree and highlighted it as the cause for an ARAM (all random, all mid-lane) failure.
Unfortunately what you really highlighted is your inability to discern team skill, and broadcasted it to the team. Instead you could be winning Heroes of the Storm brawls much more often by focusing on what really matters. What you need to understand is Brawl Rules.
A Complex Game, but a Simple Cause?
You see, there are a large variety of factors in a game like Heroes of the Storm. There are movement issues: speed ups, attack speed changes, slow downs, and stuns. There are team dynamics like grouping too tight, not grouping enough, harassment, tanking, and placement. There are team comp issues, play style, hero familiarity, skills, talents, feeding, avoidance, clutches, and so many other things, but then it all comes down to a couple poorly chosen talents? 🤔
I can understand why, in the heat of the moment, you might want to look for a cause or someone to blame, but that kind of scapegoating doesn’t make anyone better. Knowing the true reasons for a successful match will.
If you want to enjoy Brawls and begin winning Heroes of the Storm Brawls more often, the last thing you need to know is talents. If that shocks you, you will want to read on. If it makes sense to you, a lot of what I’m about to say will probably already resonate with you, but there are probably still some things that will help your game.
In either case, read on to understand the Brawl Rules and maximize your Brawl fun and skill.
A Different Type of Game
The first thing you have to realize about Brawls is that they are different from any other game styles. There are a lot of things all play styles have in common, but the games are just so different.
ARAM Brawls don’t have objectives that generate a great deal of the success of a match. You don’t choose your heroes, but select from 3 random choices. You don’t have anywhere to run or hide. You only have one lane, and it’s all about the fight.
To think that playing Brawl uses identical tactics to Quick Match or League Play is like thinking football and soccer are the same. Skill is the same. Team play is the same. Focusing on goals is the same, but the games are much different.
I play Brawls almost exclusively. I’ve played over a thousand brawls in just the last 12-18 months, easily putting me in an elite group of maybe 5% of all Heroes of the Storm players. Overall I’ve had just under 100k takedowns and played nearly 10,000 games. I can tell you that I’ve seen first hand what leads to success and what leads to failure, and it’s probably not what you think.
In fact if you want to spend your time winning Heroes of the Storm Brawls, it may be time to check out the Brawl Rules and rethink what matters in a successful game.
Play Style Over Talents
The fact is that if you are here, you probably already know play style is way more important than talents. After all, if all it took to win a game is for everyone on the team to choose the right talents, the game would just ask what talents you choose and then tell you the results of who would win. Why would anyone even play?
If you really want to win, talents are the last thing you need to think about. Stats aren’t as important either, but both are helpful, obviously. These things are tools to help you win and see where you are performing, but the real way to win is by adhering to several key rules of play style: Brawl Rules.
The fact is, most Brawls are easy to determine how they are going to turn out. As quickly as the hero selection screen you can start to see where people land on some key rules and, as everyone starts playing, their standing on other rules becomes more evident.
Winning is about having a team who understands the rules and applies them almost without flaw. As Brawls are random, it’s often hit or miss on whether people will adhere to these strategies, but two things are true: those that employ them have a much, much, higher chance of success, and those that don’t can’t make up for it with all the best talent choices in the world.
If you want to stop scapegoating people for “not choosing the right talents” or “not having the right stats”, and instead you want to start Winning Heroes of the Storm Brawls more often, then focus on the Brawl Rules in order.
The rest will take care of itself.
The Rules for Winning Heroes of the Storm Brawls
Here are the Brawl Rules you need to follow in order to win in Heroes’ ARAM Brawls. Like any rules, there may be times that these need to be broken, but the higher up they are, the less you should break them, particularly to adhere to a rule below it. Follow these, and find a team that does the same, and you will have the enemy’s core down in no time.
- Stay Alive. This is the biggest and most important rule. Sadly, the truth is that in almost every match you play you will die. Most of the time you will break this rule at least a few times a game. But here’s the thing: you need to do your best to adhere to this rule because out of all the things you do, this is the most crucial, and it’s not just because you don’t want to feed experience to the other team. Not dying does several things:
- Obviously, it lets you do more damage, stunning, tanking, healing, etc. After all, you can’t fight while you’re dead or traveling back to the fight.
- It makes the fight more in your favor. It’s harder to fight 4v5 instead of 5v5.
- It teaches you strong avoidance skills and better gameplay.
- It lets you assist teammates, fight more, stay revved up, and much more.
- Inevitably teams will panic as people die and start trying to take on a full opposing team without regrouping. These 2v5, 3v5, or, God forbid, 1v5 fights will just add to the feeding machine making a comeback even more challenging.
- Keep Your Teammates Alive. One of the quickest ways to watch a match and see who’s going to win is to see how well the team follows rule #2. This may seem counterintuitive as it’s the second rule, but here’s why not following this one actually does more damage: In a team of five people, one person not following rule #1 might be a challenge, but if teammates step up, they can minimize the damage. But if you play with a team who just leaves you stranded while fighting a team that all comes to each other’s aid, that game is over before it started. There is no way to have an “everyone for themselves” team beat a “we’re all in this together team”. It just can’t be done. Of course, you have to be careful not to die yourself while rescuing a team member, but isn’t being a skilled player part of winning, or is it just choosing the best level-13 talent in the game?
- Play as a Team. I’m not going to talk about all aspects of this here because playing as a team is a core to the win, and it’s covered in pretty much every rule. However, there are a couple of things that need to be said. First of all don’t be a hero. You can tell when a team is in trouble when someone is trying to be a hero. I’m guilty of it. I’ve been all hopped up on a turnaround and thought, “I could just throw down a Sundering, a nice Feral Spirt root, some Chain Lightning and… damn. Hooked. And dead.” You think you will do the one thing that will save the day and turn the game around. You won’t. It takes a team. Play as a team and do your heroic moves (and often heroic abilities) as a team. In that same vein: regroup. This is crucial! If you get in a fight and most people are dead, don’t go out and fight 1v5. It’s a losing proposition. Wait for your team and fight together.
- Choose Your Role Well. First of all, no one wants to play a horrible Hero. We all have been presented choices that we just suck at. And often, there will be horrible players who will blame you for playing a hero you suck at when it was the best choice you were offered. It blows. But are you a good player, or just someone who chooses DPS when the team needs a healer? I hate to break it to you, but 19 times out of 20, you playing an assassin you excel at will end up losing the match over choosing a healer you suck at. Play for the team win and not for your individual preference. It’s always easy to see who’s new to Brawl because they choose their favorite pick over the team pick and they never get to play them because everyone is always dead. Play for the team win. And for God’s sake, don’t be AFK when the hero selection screen is up. SMDH. 🤦♂️
- Play Your Role Well. I’m not talking about playing your hero well. That’s a given. If you’re wanting to win, you’d better bring your A game. I’m saying play your role well. Healers should focus on teammates and protecting with heals and CC. Tanks, be out in front, not behind your DPS. If your DPS is always out in front of you, chances are it’s not their fault but yours. As tank, if someone is in trouble, step in for them. Healers, make sure your tanks have enough health to be in front, and DPS, make sure you are not only finding ways to do damage, but doing it in the way that maximizes results, which leads us to rule 6.
- Target Wisely. I’m going to say something very controversial here. Stats don’t mean shit. Sorry. I had to say it. Now I’m not saying that they aren’t valuable, but I had to get your attention to rethink how you look at them. If all you look at is stats to determine who’s doing well, you’re doing it wrong. Why? Because anyone can bump up their hero stats by hammering on the tank who’s buffed and healed and never dies granting you zero experience and a ton of hero damage. So you’ve got 150k of damage and yet the other team is at your core? How did that happen? Too often everyone focuses a ton of damage on tanks when they should be focusing on DPS or healers. Focus on DPS and healers first and foremost and be creative about how you approach them (more on that later). What’s more, make sure your team is all focusing on the same hero. If your tank snags a hero, focus fire. Focus on their tank when there is no one else to hit or when you need them to be less bold and more likely to retreat.
- Target Cunningly. Don’t be predictable. Harass to keep them from being bold and keep them off their game. Hop in from the side and stun from out of nowhere. When Stitches snags Fenix, Kel’Thas can light him up with Living Bomb just before he warps so he shares it with the team. Find ways to use the other team’s abilities against them, and focus on hitting the back line (following, of course, the rules above). Make sure to get the kills, but not at the expense of dying. You can get all the damage in the world and have 3 times anyone else’s hero damage stats, but if your team has no kills and the other team has 30 kills, guess which team is 3-4 levels ahead.
- Be Patiently Aggressive. The two things I’ve seen that can lead to problems are a team that fights at different levels of aggression (a mix of aggressive and non-aggressive) or a team that’s not aggressive enough. A mixed team will always lose to a cohesive team regardless if that cohesive team is aggressive or not. However, in 19 of 20 games a cohesively aggressive team will beat a cohesively non-aggressive team. As teams gain levels, the risk averse team will simply be unable to hold off the team who takes calculated risks. Take good risks when you see them. Be aggressive as a team, but also look for openings; don’t just be the Butcher who always rushes into a 5-man group expecting to take on every last one.
- Don’t Give Up. If you’re the person who says “gg” at your first downed fort, you might just be the person who’s making you lose. (If you’re right now saying “but my stats”, see rule 6.) A Brawl is a 5-person team. A pre-mature gg is said by someone playing as an individual, not a team. It should be evident by now the underlying theme of most of the Brawl Rules: a winning team is a group who plays as a team, and your team needs you to stay focused on winning. I’ve been on teams that turned games around with only 1% left on our core. I’ve turned around more games than I can count. More accurately, I’ve been on random teams that have turned them around. Never give up, and for God’s sakes, never throw a pre-mature “gg” pity party, which brings me to my next point.
- Be Positive. If there’s one thing I see that’s sure to throw a game it’s someone being negative. I know it’s frustrating when you’re losing, and I know it’s frustrating when someone is playing terribly, but being mean doesn’t make anyone play any better. Do you want to win or do you want to throw the game out of pettiness? Remember, this is random. The person might not know how to play that hero that well. They might have lag. They might even be a 13-year old with a disability. I mean that seriously and with respect. Have you ever thought that the person you might be yelling at might be another human being with feelings that may simply be doing their best? First of all a game isn’t worth you dumping all over someone. If it is, stop playing random; you get what you play for. Secondly, no matter how bad they play, you yelling at them can only make it worse. You are contributing to your loss. Instead of telling them where they are failing, tell them how to succeed. “Your extra damage would be more useful in our team fights over merc camps right now”. “If you throw the Blizzard behind them, it will block their exit and damage them as they retreat”. Negativity will only make any situation worse. It has no value except to the other team. Be positive or be silent.
Focus on the Fundamentals
There are a ton of other things that could be said including on talents, but to be honest, talents aren’t really that crucial. Think about it: you have 5 people vs 5 people each with 7 talents or 70 talents for a full game. Do you really think that between all the stuns, slows, harassment, team play, focus fire, etc. that 2 talents out of 70 throws the game?
Winning is in play style. It’s more important to work with talents that you know and excel at and then focus on good team play than it is to choose a specific set of talents. Are they important? Absolutely, but if you’re losing, dollars to donuts talents aren’t the reason. After all, if talents were the only reason for a win, how much fun would the game be anyway?
Follow the Brawl Rules and focus on good team play. If you are playing as an individual with 4 other individuals vs. 5 people who play as a team, there aren’t enough perfect talent trees in the world to save you. At the same time if you are playing as a team, choosing well, sticking together, focusing well, protecting each other, and fighting as a team, all the talents in the world are just gravy.
If you focus on talents and stats, you’re missing the boat. The person with the low stats may have low stats for other reasons. Perhaps the tank isn’t tanking so they can’t safely deliver damage. Perhaps the healer isn’t healing so they don’t have the health to tank the front line. Perhaps they are targeted because of their initial high damage and their team just lets them die.
One time I played Gul’dan where the tank stayed in the back line, and I had atrocious stats. The very next game I was Gul’dan again and had the best stats on a team with double Mephistos. Although they are helpful, in a team-based game stats are simply not a foolproof measure of success by any stretch. There are too many variables.
Focus on Winning
Instead, focus on strong team play. Obey the Brawl Rules and find yourself winning Heroes of the Storm Brawls much more often.
Stay alive. Keep your team alive. Play as a team. Choose your role for the sake of the team and play it well. Target wisely with proper focus, cunning, and skill while focusing on kills. Be aggressive, but wait for windows. Don’t give up, and be positive.
Follow these rules and watch your win rate increase. Share them, and as you pair with more and more people who follow them, watch your win rate sky rocket.
You can focus solely on talents and stats without really excelling at strong team gameplay, or you can win. Which do you want to do?