Mei has skated her way into the Nexus and joined the cast of Heroes of the Storm. Similarly to her role in Overwatch, she excels at zone control and disrupting the enemy team. After playing around with Mei and trying out different builds, here are my early impressions.
First, let’s go over her kit.
Q: Snow Blind – It’s a ranged blind and slow, what more is there to ask for? Not a lot of damage, but it is on a fairly short cooldown, and with the Fresh Powder talent at level 16 you can get a second charge.
W: Blizzard – Damaging ability that ramps up to a stun after a couple of seconds. At first I was worried that it would be hard to land the stun, but combined with the slow from your Snow Blind and the slow from the ability itself, you can easily trap enemies. This is also a great ability for zoning.
E: Icing – This is Mei’s movement ability. At times it can be hard to pre-cancel, and the knockback on it is not very reliable. It can be likened to ETC’s Powerslide and Face Melt combo, but with less knockback.
D: Cryo-Freeze – The bread and butter of Mei’s kit, Cryo-Freeze allows her to become Unstoppable and heal up to 35% of her maximum health. The one downside is that enemy heroes can out-damage the heal if they focus you. Overall it is a very strong ability.
Heroic Ability: Avalanche – This is my favorite Heroic out of the two. It is very similar to Tassadar’s Black Hole ability, which was added in his recent rework. However, Avalanche has much higher crowd control capabilities and if used correctly can put enemies behind your tower line, making for some cheesy kills. Its ability to pass over terrain should not be overlooked.
Heroic Ability: Ice Wall – For me, this felt like the weaker of the two Heroics. Without the level 20 talent, this ability does not do damage and is equivalent to a time stop. There is also a delay on the cast, so it takes a bit to get used to in order to get the right timing with it.
Mei has a wide variety of talents and they are fairly diverse for a tank in Heroes of the Storm. From this array of talents, three builds seem the most viable at this point.
Snow Blind – This build focuses on buffing Snow Blind. Talents like Heavy Pack increase the slow, while Slushball increases the damage and allows you to disable towers. This was my favorite build to run, and it seemed liked the most reliable when it came to crowd control. It also excels against teams who heavily rely on basic attacks.
Blizzard – Blizzard can be hard to use at times, but taking Ice Storm, Induce Hibernation and Flurry can make things easier. The one thing I dislike about this build is it requires you to stand in your Blizzard, which means at times you can’t cast it at full range.
Self Heal – Out of the three builds, I think this one will be the least viable. It focuses on using Heat Transfer, Crystallize and Backup Battery to boost Mei’s self sustain, which is already fairly high with just her Trait. So to some extent the talents you pick up may be overkill, unless you lack a healer on your team.
Note, that Mei’s builds will likely change as she finds herself a spot in the meta.
Mei is a fun addition to Heroes of the Storm. While she excels at disrupting an enemy team, it comes at the cost of large mana costs for spamming abilities. She pairs well with other Heroes with high crowd control and disabling abilities, but I don’t think she has quite enough in her kit to be a solo tank. Pair her with another tank or bruiser and this can easily be remedied.
Full details on Mei and other changes can be found in the official Heroes of the Storm patch notes.