Heroes of Newerth: My Love for You is Like a Truck
By Mohammad Abubakr, OnRPG Journalist
Welcome to a new series starting at OnRPG which will look over new changes or additions made in Heroes of Newerth‘s biweekly patch. This series will mainly focus on the release of the new heroes but will also cover balance changes and any other big changes. Feel free to leave suggestions in our newly added comment box below!
Heroes of Newerth’s latest patch, version 2.5.9, included many bug fixes and the addition of a new hero; Berzerker. However, before we get into this patch, I would like to go over some of the balance changes in version 2.5.8.
Version 2.5.8 was a very long awaited balance patch which included some much needed changes. The changes that stuck out were a revamped Helm of the Black Legion and Monarch and Gemini nerfs.
Before this patch, picking up an early Helm of the Black Legion would basically make a hero unkillable. This would cause the already farmed hero to snowball even more by allowing easy free farm because they have no fear of death. Instead of nerfing the item to the ground or completely getting rid of it, S2 added a new charge system to the item.
The Helm is now able to hold a maximum of 20 charges which will be used to deflect damage. These charges decrease by a certain amount based on the attacker and automatically replenish over time (once every 400 milliseconds). This may seem like a massive nerf in some peoples’ eyes but I still feel the item is very viable even though it does not make you unkillable.
Jungling heroes should be happy with this change because the chance to deflect damage has been removed with the addition of charges. Also, since the Helm only loses one charge from a creep hit, junglers are easily able to maintain a fully charged helmet with the fast refresh rate on charges.
Berzerker vs. Devourer
Before this patch Gemini was considered to be very overpowered and was basically banned in all competitive matches. The problem with Gemini was that players could simply stack stat items which made Gemini very tanky but still able to deal a lot of damage. Gemini’s ultimate ability allowed her to split into two which meant each wolf also had the insane amount of health and damage. To make it even worse, if one wolf was about to die Gemini would simply morph into one wolf with its HP set to the higher of the two wolves. The cool down of the ultimate ability kept on ticking even if Gemini was already in the ultimate! So Gemini players would simply cast her ultimate again to split once more and repeat the process. Oh and did I mention that players did not need boots because her ultimate would already provide very high move speed?
One of the main problems was that Gemini could basically burst down heroes the instant she hit level six. Now her two wolves do not get full stats until the ultimate is maxed and their move speeds are set to Gemini’s. She also cannot combine the two wolves if either are stunned. While the nerfs may not sound like much, they really helped to balance Gemini while still allowing her to be viable.
I think an alternative to these changes could have been to simply not count down the ultimate while Gemini is still in her dual wolf form. However, these changes did a great job at tweaking Gemini while still allowing her to be viable.
Monarch also received some nerfs to put her on the level of the other support heroes. The problem with Monarch was that she could cast her crowd control spells with little risk of getting caught in the fray. Simple range and move speed nerfs helped to solve this problem.
I really love how S2 does not mess with the numbers too much. They tweak them very little which leads to balanced but still viable heroes.
Now let’s move on to version 2.5.9 in which a new hero, Berzerker, joined Newerth.
Berzerker is a tanky damage dealing hero that rewards players willing to take risks. His first ability, Chain Spike, attaches a chain to his target for up to five seconds while dealing damage and applying a tapering move speed slow. This ability can be activated again to deal additional damage and immobilize the target. If it is not cast again it will automatically activate after five seconds or break at 850 distance.
Stats page on Berzerker
This is a great ability to allow Berzerker to get in range for a kill. It deals good damage which means it can be used to easily kill squishy heroes. This ability can also be used defensively to save yourself or an ally. Apart from his ultimate, this will be the main ability used on enemy heroes.
His second ability, Strength Sap, steals one strength from every nearby enemy hero while healing himself every 0.5 seconds for the duration of the buff. It also deals magic damage to nearby creeps which allows Berzerker to farm easily alongside his quick attack animation for last hits.
This ability should be maxed right after Chain Spike as it provides great survivability. Since Berzerker is a strength type hero, it will also provide additional damage. When I first started playing Berzerker I neglected this ability and maxed it out later on. However, I realized that was a mistake. This ability has lead to many kills and avoided many deaths. Do not underestimate Strength Sap.
His third ability, Mark for Death, makes it very difficult for enemies to get away. Heroes facing towards the marked target gain bonus move and attack speed as well as unit walking. It also grants vision on the target which makes it near impossible for them to juke their pursuer. My favourite part about this ability is that it refreshes cool down on kills or assists which allows you to pick off targets one by one.
Finally, his ultimate, Carnage, provides Berzerker with debuff and stun reduction and bonus physical damage based on 8% of your maximum health. To keep to the theme of the hero, you take 20% bonus damage while under this effect. This ability provides massive amounts of physical damage and should not be underestimated. It can easily burst down heroes very fast in the early game.
As mentioned above, your skills should be leveled in this order: Carnage > Chain Spike > Strength Sap > Mark for Death. Be sure to grab at least one level in Mark for Death early on.
Getting ready to begin laning phase
Now items are where you can get creative. One of HoN’s greatest strengths is the sheer number of viable item builds you can create on each hero.
I start off the game with runes, a buckler and a hatchet and prefer to lane top or middle. These items allow Berzerker to easily gain some gold towards his next core item, Helm of the Black Legion. Since Berzerker is a melee DPS hero, he needs some survivability to allow him to beat on his opponents without getting burst down.
As for boots I love getting Steam Boots. I have seen some players build Ghost Marchers but I do not think this is wise because Mark for Death already provides bonus move speed and unit walking. Steams Boots provide great stats which really make a big difference throughout the game. It also provides great utility such as if you are low on mana simply switch to intelligence boots and cast the spell.
The final core item is Elder Parasite. If used alongside your ultimate ability, Berzerker deals ridiculous amounts of damage. However, you need to be careful as you will be taking a lot of bonus damage.
After these items your remaining build is dependent on the current state of the game. Some of my favourite items on Berzerker include Insanitarius, Beast Heart and Daemonic Breastplate. Always itemize towards more HP to feed into his ultimate’s scaling. This means that Beast Heart is basically built every single game and tanky items are favored over damage items.
In conclusion, Berzerker is a very powerful and fun to play hero. His skills do not offer completely new mechanics but are interesting enough to be considered creative. I would highly recommend checking him out. Let’s hope the next hero is as fun as Berzerker!