Content of the article: "Anub’Arak: Time for Beetles!… and for Spell Shield to go?"
TL;DR: Best time to try the full Beetle build! And now that it's popular, good time to analyze how Spell Armor was a misstep. Plus ideas on changing Anub's sustain and a few other things.
It's Beetle Time, Baby!
The build’s popularity got a big boost, at 50%+ on Master SL, from around 20% before. Burning Beetles are a tad OP. Unlike BR variants like Holy Fury, it's super synergistic and at full force in PvE. Though they should be named Fire Beetles), since that's an actual thing…
So, best time to try them! Get big sustained damage and healing before diving. Duel heroes you never could before. Bully foes outta lanes & objectives. Get extra PvE power. If you wanna try Swarm too, do so on maps spent on lanes or with objective pushes for huge minion heals. While Anub is best known for diving and spell armor, Beetles add more than enough bruiser power for a new you.
For the best first impression, avoid on Tomb which is small, roamy and lacks objective fights. Or if either team's super mobile and divey vs a squishy one. The less sustained damage you can receive & deal, the better a dive build would be. Against melees or Arthas, just go full W.
But let’s leave this hot, beautiful mess to chill for a sec, and take a look at this frosty scarab’s history.
They Put a Spell (Armor) on You
A while ago, Anub got passive Spell Armor, later baked in Harden Carapace. His kit makes sense for an anti-mage hero. A dive, piercing line stun, bursty shield, skillshot-blocking summons, and Cocoon.
W armor made its timing crucial, excellent to discourage spam which the trait benefits from. But the anti-mage armor, baseline on in W, pushed him to much in that direction, leading to some issues.
- This big armored bug is rather squishy. Whilst E.T.C. and Garrosh also have bruiser-level health, they have consistent armor and a decent heal to top it off.
- Anub’Arak's sustain side was ignored, even scoffed at**.** Beetles and Swarm relied on OP Burning Beetles to gain traction. Beetles at 20% and Swarm at 10% on Master SL, to 50% and 20%.
- Without talents, aspects of him feel naked. He can get burst down by spells whilst armor is down. As a bruiser who adds Beetles for pressure and pushing, he lacks self-heal and good waveclear. As a sustain tank, he lacks the sustain to soak up damage to peel and deliver his own.
- Physical/Spell specialization got reduced in Heroes like Cassia to make them less niche.
- Spiked Carapace#Spiked_Carapace) was melee-focused in WCIII. Pixie Dust did change to spell armor with feedback.
- Those poor, poor mages both deal less damage to you AND are in danger of being dived.
Not meant to be perfectly balanced. Such changes could also come with a minor/major rework.
- Vitals: Health increased from 2100 to 2300.
- Spiked Carapace: Deal 50 damage to enemies around you. Gain 25 Physical Armor and a 350-point Shield for 4 seconds.
- Scarab Host: Beetles now heal you for 25% of their damage.
These changes achieve the following:
- You're less of a squishy bug.
- Aoe damage adds complexity and decisionmaking, and translates the WCIII version nicely.
- Beetle lifesteal makes you feel more scourge-y, aka ruthless, gross and HANGRY.
- Freedom! Bruisery aspects that fit your summons, less reliance on roaming and ganks.
Other Suggestions, While I'm at It
I've a new rework to share here someway, but I don't want to generalize for now. This discussion is all about Spell Armor, thanks to Burning Beetles making the build popular. That said, some major ideas:
- Buff Locust Swarm Heal, nerf PvE heal, so it isn’t balanced around crazy heals in lanes etc.
- Give Cocoon health, so it isn't balanced around extreme counters like Tracer or Disintegrate.
- Allow Beetles to dig to Anub to be more dynamic, with Burrow Charge or a Trait active.
- Make Anub more Beetle-centric. Go further into the strengths that come naturally from his kit. He may be a tank, but the likes of him, Zag and Azmo bring their own armies with them. In doing so, reduce the synergy talents give, which also prevents him from relying on them too much.
- Replace/remove the Generic Talents. With Burning Rage replaced, three remain. Anub is the last to have Regen Master, which doesn't fit a hero with shield, armor and lifesteal mechanics.
- Sikrax, The Carapace Champion Bounty: Weight Lifters
- Hero Concept: Shapeshifting Druid
- Fixing Mephisto’s level 20 talents
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