Forceful's January PvP Tier List


#1

God Tier:
Ronin, Mauler, Flatline, Mandrake, Nightingale.

Competitive Tier:
Heimlock, Phalanx, Keel, Halo, Dogface, Caine, Butter, Francois, Panzer, Min, Castellan, Bolt, Ifrit, Moss, Razorback, Odachi, Kobold, Hardscope, Vanguard, Artemis.

Viable Tier:
Baron, Cast, Gammond, Clyde, Kunoichi, Kaishi, Operator, Sapphyr, Jarek, Cinder, Hideo, Wesson, Oracle, Sentry, Anvil, Cross, Callidus, Prophet, Hivemind, Ghoul, Brogan, Maven.

Garbage Tier:
Beck, Halloway, Salvatore, Savage, Steele, Surge, Elite Rifleman, Scum, Phoenix, Heckler, Matador, Fischer, Galante, Chesterfield, Ryker, Pris, Fortress, Yanlong, Richter, Oro.

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Long Thoughts about the Metagame:

A lot has changed since my last tier list, but the biggest game-changer has been the shotgun pellet change. The change has accelerated the issue of backline heroes ironically being the hardest to kill and damage calculations for pellets have caused tectonic shifts in the metagame.

After introducing Kobold, HHG also apparently felt the need to play catch-up with other shield heroes and gave huge buffs to Butter and Phalanx. In classic HHG fashion, while treat nerfs with an overabundance of caution (how many months was Panzer pretty much the only DPS that mattered?) they tend to drop buffs haphazardly without even the faintest concern for how those buffs might effectively nerf other heroes into the ground. Butter and Phalanx were already good heroes who were being oppressed into lower tiers by Panzer. They could have used a little love, but HHG strolls in and practically doubles the strength of their shields and that has had major consequences. Flatline had already put most bio DPS on near-extinction status, now with significant buffs to the best energy shielders, you should simply forget that most bio DPS even exist.

We also cannot forget the Ronin buff. While most of it was inconsequential (eviscerate became a joke, bide time basically just became another version of “regain health on kill” that we already have on like 6 other DPS), the buffs to riposte, including the unlisted change of giving it a stagger, were significant. Ronin was already a god-tier hero who was only in “competitive” because, you guessed it, Panzer would simply run over him. Buffing Ronin was like the inverse of the earlier Fortress nerf, taking someone at an extreme of the power spectrum and pushing them in the WRONG direction, and really makes you wonder about the developer’s judgment.

Anyway, these changes have brought a new toxic relationship into focus, Panzer and Flatline. Flatline hasn’t seen major individualized changes since her release last June, but in her launch month she was a big deal. While she wasn’t terribly difficult to deal with due to Dogface being everyone’s default DPS, she still became a staple in teams because when every game boiled down to “stop the enemy Dogface before he mows down your entire team in 10 seconds”, Flatline served as another step in the checklist you had to finish before you could kill the enemy Dogface. However, she was still only around for a month, supports had pretty low HP and few people had her starred up, so it wasn’t a major balance concern.

Then we saw Panzer come out. Panzer immediately pushed Flatline into extinction since one breach & clear at the start of the match would always kill her instantly. The following month saw Flatline get a brief resurgence when she, along with most other heroes, got a major HP boost and Ifrit could endlessly revive her, while that meme was hotfixed, weak players still clung to (and complained about) the Ifrit+Flatline combo for months - but Panzer was still the universal solution and Flatline’s gold, the skill that makes up like 65% of her utility, has never worked after being rez’d by Ifrit since that fix.

Fast forward to now. Panzer is actually capable of more damage than ever due to the shotgun changes, but the huge caveat is that the damage is realistically only available against front and mid heroes on certain maps. Against backline heroes, especially those with small hitboxes like Flatline, Panzer can usually only muster 1 pellet, if any. Throw in the buffs to Phalanx and Ronin, and you can now commonly expect to see Flatline with a buff of 200,000-300,000+ to her total starting “health”. We have also seen other top-tier healers like Nightingale and Keel have their heals take longer to charge, accelerating the shift toward the only AI healer that can reliably protect someone in the first 15 seconds of the game.

This has placed Flatine in this absurd position of being a very OP support, while simultaneously being the only thing protecting us from a meta where the enemy DPS just blows someone away in 5 seconds flat and steamrolls from there. However, it should be said that the “DPS blows someone away in 5 seconds” issue boils down to a few root problems that should themselves be addressed alongside Flatline:

  1. Plat Bars consistently give roughly 2x as much damage as HP. The result is that as we’ve added more and more bars, we’re getting back to the point where DPS, not just Panzer, can easily secure a kill in the first 10 seconds, well before any other healer AI besides Flatline could hope to save them. I’m honestly kind of blown away at the difference between my 90k matches and my 40k ones, my savage might have 850k hp but when the enemy DPS can do that much damage in under 10 seconds, that’s not really reassuring now is it?

  2. We still have broken DPS. Panzer, Ronin, and Mauler+Halo can put out DPS in the opening seconds of the match which exceeds their power level x 3. If this game is ever going to be more than just running people over with overwhelming damage in the first 10 seconds before they can even use skills, all three heroes still need to be addressed. Panzer has been neutered against the backline which has made her unattractive, but just because the cancer is in remission doesn’t we should ignore it - she still makes energy/mech frontline and many midlines simply unplayable without flatline around to bail them out from the opening 100k DPS burst. I don’t think HHG thought carefully about how her plat synergizes with the pellet change.

I’m not opposed to high damage in general, but high DPS using nothing more than your weapon at the start of the game is simply toxic for this game’s meta. It’s kinda nuts that we still only have a couple heroes that can do serious damage with their active skills, because I’d much rather be in a situation where enemy DPS can use skills 20 seconds in to bring some serious burst damage… with the option for other heroes to counter those skills (with cleanses, stuns, silences, staggers, etc.), than continuing this meta of “well the match just started and the enemy DPS, with nothing more than their gun and team passives, will kill someone on your team in about 5 to 10 seconds unless you roll them around like they’re having a seizure, or you lose, so I hope you brought your kneepads…”


#2

Thanks for taking the time to post detailed feedback!


#3

I agree with your assessments. You focused on Flatline and Panzer for the most part though. What boggles my mind is why the devs have a semi-competitive game with PVP ranks and rewards weekly, but then go on to let pure, dumb luck be one of the biggest factors in matches. The Mauler/Halo combo is one of the worst with this.

Basically, if my opponent gets an immediately stun or stun locks me with Halo’s passive going off, I lose. If not, I can roll around, dodge the specials, hopefully kill Flatline, and then I generally end up winning. I don’t understand why they insist on having so many huge, match changing skills be based on luck. Usually it’s based on skill more than anything, and then luck comes in and has a minor affect on matches. Not in hero hunters though.


#4

Great analysis, as usual.

I might remove Mandrake or probably Nightingale out from Tier 1 and replace with Phalanx. Butter is also solidly among the best choices in Tier 2 so I guess I’d move him forward.

For Tier 2, for the heroes that are after Min, honestly I have no idea how to use them other than Ifrit (which isn’t all that great tbh) and I don’t seem to be able to fit any of them into a competitive team without giving the usual meta teams a big advantage. For that reason Min (and onwards) jump into Tier 3, for me at least.

As for Ronin… if I see any more Plat 4 Ronins with random heroes in elemental brawl again, I am gonna vomit, lol.

The thing about Ronin’s design is that he doesn’t actually synergise with anyone in the sense that his skills don’t benefit others and others heroes’ skills don’t benefit him.

Or, perhaps more accurately, his skill set is so selfish that you can only pair him with weaker heroes because the only value he brings to the table is to get 4 (or more) stacks of Honorbound. Playing an Honorbound Ronin renders your higher HP heroes irrelevant.

Hence, it doesn’t really matter who you pair with Ronin as long as they have lower HP. I’ve seen Operator, Fisher, Beck… Ryker, etc,The only “strategy” is to pair a plat Ronin with 4 weaker randoms and play through your roster. I think it’s poor design because it doesn’t matter if your opposing team comes up with a more synergistic team, your Honorbound Ronin throws em in the trash regardless of how well thought out the opposing team is!

Lastly… what do you think about matchmaking? Balancing PVP heroes is an important factor but wierd matchmaking can often undo alot of decent balance adjustments too.

From what I see… matchmaking has taken several steps back and if I recall correctly the November version of the matchmaking algorithm seemed to be the best balanced.


#5

Ronin gives weaker heroes bonus health as a result of the atk boost he gains from them. He’s a team player.


#6

I mostly agree with your list. There are some heroes I would put up or down a tire, but in fits my opinion in general.

We have more viable team options now, what is a good thing. I have three teams which do good in PvP. But in the other hand we have a dominance of the Mauler, Halo, Flatline team and Flatline in general, since she gives every team a push. Best thing about Flat is that her most valuable skill is passive, so that you can just hide and roll with her and still get all the benefits.

Biggest problem is that we lack competitive support heroes. You can make Odachi, Bolt or Hardscope viable with a good support team. But most supports are already used with better options.
We only have three good stand alone healer with Gale, Flatline and, to some point Keel. All others do good as a second heal. Moss for example is a great healer, but in the current Dps situation to slow to counter the early damage output.

It works well for me, as long as my skills are maxed out. Not maxing out your skills gets punished hard and makes up for a 10k power gap with ease.

Team player and synergy are two different things. Flatline is a great team player too, but has no synergy. They make all other heroes better
Halo, Mauler and Irfit have a synergy since they make each other better and not just have a great support skill.


#7

Really great analysis here, and I agree with almost everything. A bit harsh on savage in my opinion given his synergy with the current Halo meta. Mostly though, I don’t think Gale belongs in God Tier at all. She’s a relic of the previous meta at the moment, not nearly as useful as she used to be. The only times I really see her in PvP lately are people whose loadouts scream “I’m clinging to the old meta and can’t adapt”.

Couldn’t agree more and this is a fantastic comparison.

Beautifully put. Flatline represents the “Anti-Fun” aspect of PvP. Her gold is a stupid get-out-of-jail-free card and her resurrect is an uninspired manifestation of either laziness or a lack of original ideas.


#8

Is Ronin actually that OP? Perhaps I should work on him some more. I rarely ever see him in PvP and when I do I almost always win. I’ve always thought he was some garbage.


#9

Out of curiosity, what power level do you play PvP at? If you aren’t at plat level, then Ronin is just as useless as you’re describing.


#10

Well, my heroes are rather unbalanced in stars, and my Ronin is gold 6 star.


#11

His plat skill is what makes him good. You can utilize it to the max if you pair him with 4 weaker heroes. Add the 1.2x damage boost and the extra shielding (for his silver) of this event and he melts through every opponent in seconds.


#12

Alright, looks like I’ve got another hero to upgrade


#13

Nightingale was definitely an iffy call for me. That last heal delay hurt more than I thought but her plat is still quite potent and her mark remains a death sentence for many teams. With shielders being a lot more prominent now, people are realizing that Butter shield + Nightingale plat is a really potent combo (damaging a full shield doesn’t count as damaging the hero so her plat gets to work full time).

Mandrake remains quite potent though. I noticed a while ago that someone at HHG went to the effort of making his AI adjust targets for his plat, so in a game where you have heroes trying to nuke each others flatline in the opening seconds, getting staggered by the enemy Mandrake 2 seconds in can be a big deal. More importantly though, the change to pellets makes his silver skill (relocation) one of the most potent nukes in the game (if he doesn’t waste his next shot). His gold remains one of the best as well, when I ran Mauler it got especially frustrating since I couldn’t use my skills on anyone at low HP.

Regarding Competitive Tier after Min: Castellan is the best frontline DPS in my opinion. His turret will simply do more damage than almost any healer of equal power can keep up with - while simultaneously healing/shielding enemy damage at a rate that far exceeds what any AI DPS of equal power can put out. He’s a great backup plan if your piloted DPS doesn’t get a clean start since he will generally help your team keep momentum once his rockets start firing and shield wall goes up. There’s a pure support team out there that he also does quite well with.

Bolt/Artemis/Hardscope These three basically boil down to headshots, the first two can easily headshot due to their slow rate of fire and their high damage ensures that a 2-4 headshots is all they need. Bolt/Artemis also have solid skills from Bronze to Gold that compliments their roles fairly well. Hardscope relies on being significantly stronger than the rest of the team and using her passives to just do disgusting damage. All 3 are squishy and have to rely on Flatline or appropriate support.

Odachi can also put heroes in the ground extremely early once his plat is triggered but he has suffered due to Phalanx/Butter/Flatline all seeing expanded roles. The newish healblock on his Bronze can help him ignore Flatline to an extent but Plat Flatline can often just rez not long after Odachi secures a kill with assassinate.

Moss is valuable for his plat, with Mauler losing 3% crit from his skin - he is all the more dependent on Moss and Caine for triggering his passives. Most teams seem to just run Caine, but I’ve found stacking them to be extremely potent and it shifts the Mauler stunlock from needing “good luck” to get a double crit at 7%, to needing “bad luck” to not get a double crit at 12%. He’s a little slower to come online with his heals and seems weirdly averse to using his skills, but he’s still a great support.

Razorback has a great bronze/silver. Bronze effectively acts like a heal, while a piloted DPS will still focus on their desired target, Taunt will basically divert hundreds of thousands of damage that may have been enough to help that DPS finish one of your dudes off… then it pops and puts stress on the enemy healers.

Kobold has been overshadowed by Butter but with Phalanx getting so much love, I still think that combo works quite well, providing a good deal of early healing. She is rather inconsistent with her active skills, to the point I considered moving her down more, but I still have games with her where she’s MVP.

Vanguard has been perpetually underrated. He has to be Platinum, but he’s one of the only healers I would ever pilot, especially at game start. His Achilles’ heel is that the shield only goes on whoever has the lowest remaining HP, so sometimes your shield will sometimes not go where you actually need it (i.e. Nightingale marks your flatline who is at 200k life, but your Heimlock is at 190k life, you toss the shield and it goes to Heimlock… RIP). However, in the current meta where Flatline is typically getting blasted ASAP, piloting Manguard and dropping a 500k shield on Flatline in less than 10 seconds into the match can be HUGE. With Plat Nightingale it gets even better since it will not only provide lots of “free” healing for the shielded target, but that healing will ensure that Manguard doesn’t keep dropping the shield on the same target, often wasting a shield when the enemy DPS just switches targets when they see protect go up. Finnicky shield targeting aside, he is theoretically the strongest single target healer by a wide, wide margin when piloted.


#14

I love Vanguard! Good ol Vanny serves me well for not only PvP but also gauntlet. You have to deal 2x as much damage to kill him than a normal hero


#15

Hah, don’t worry, it seems HHG felt the same way as you. He was probably putting out garbage data from Bronze-Gold and even at Plat, people were only getting 1-2x stacks. So HHG saw his sad numbers from 95% of players not (ab)using his plat properly, and decided to give him a buff…

Yikes. I was using him even in November simply because he has the highest sustained DPS in the game and so I could finish 90% of my PVP games in under 30 seconds.


#16

His plat makes his shield charge every clip. It’s insane. I’ve always loved him since day one.


#17

I may should fool around with Vanguard, since I try to get a shielding team working to work around the lack of potent healers.

The good thing about Razorback is that he gets better the stronger the opponents get. The more and the higher leveled of his Bronze shield gets destroyed the better he does. It also can overstrain Flatlines gold, If you get a bit lucky with the hits.
His gold is nice against the Mauler/Halo crit meta, since he deals some damage against Halo. Sure not the best of damage, but 20k every few seconds against a low HP hero as Halo is quite useful.


#18

If only there were more people like you that would do some experimenting to try and create a suitable counter measure for meta teams instead of complaining about it 24/7 it would be nice


#19

It is easier to copy working teams and complain about all other heroes being useless, than to try out some stuff on you own.

@Sogui Did you try out Cinder? Because for me she is the only hero that is really wrong in her tire. She is competitve. Sure the current meta with Energy heroes to be killed takes some utility away from her. But overall she is amazing.


#20

Yah I agree. Personally, I like to play in the lower power tiers cause everyone there sucks butt XD. I’ve had decent success, but sometimes teams of all gold+4s smack around my lower level gold +0 teams