Content of the article: "Kael’Thas: I’m not the first, but this is the rework I would like to see."
Overall notes: Kael’thas is a contentious character. He is picked often at lower ranks, and often feels like a feast or famine character. For some characters he can feel unstoppable (pyroblast can one-shot them with no way to escape, for example), and aside from Kel’Thuzad he is the only mage with baseline hard CC. Even without spreading, his living bomb is a point-and-click damage spell that cannot miss, and for that it does too much damage. After spreading it’s a nightmare, and he can enhance it to have no cooldown and cost no mana.
So I went ahead and took out Gravity Lapse and Living bomb. He is a fire mage, and those, traditionally, have been risky characters. Lots of damage, but low survivability. Gravity Lapse as a stun isn’t even thematically appropriate, as it doesn’t stun you in the game… I gave him the mage Fireball from Warcraft 2 instead, and the Combustion + Fireblast spreading combo from the Wrath of the Lich King Expansion (my favorite time ever playing a fire mage in WoW). It has the same effect of spreading fire damage that living bomb has, with the exception that instead of relying on the enemy team to spread the bomb, Kael’Thas himself chooses when the fire spreads. And, all of his damage over time effects are skillshots.
For survivability and escapes, I gave him a shield option at level 1, and two CC options at level 4, a stun and a slow. Both require setups and skill to land properly, making him more difficult to play, and punishing his bad positioning more. This is in contrast to mana addict and gravity lapse, where you could just hit 1 and press e and gain a 1000 point shield and stun whatever target you wanted.
Overall this is a big rework, about as big as the Tassadar rework was. It entirely changes his abilities, but I think it preserves a lot of the flavor, and makes him more active. The playstyle is kind of the same, actually: watch your positioning while you throw out your damage, it’s just more involved as you have to be the one to find the opportunity to spread the damage, instead of just chucking it out there and hoping the enemies do.
D Verdant Spheres Cooldown: 6 seconds
Activate to make your next Basic Ability more powerful.
Q Fireball 40 Mana Cooldown: 4 seconds.
Deal 200 damage to the first target you hit, and an additional 100 damage over 6 seconds.
Verdant Spheres Fireball continues to damage targets behind (like it does in Warcraft 2)
W Fireblast 50 Mana Cooldown: 12 seconds
Deal 150 damage to an enemy and spread your damage over time effects on the target to nearby non-structure enemies..
Verdant Spheres your damage over time effects are refreshed to full duration before spreading.
E Flamestrike 70 Mana Cooldown: 7 seconds
After 1 second, deal 345 damage in an area.
Verdant Spheres increases the radius by 50%.
❢ Quest: Damaging an enemy Hero with Flamestrike increases its damage by 5, up to 200. This bonus is lost on death.
❢ Reward: After hitting 20 enemy Heroes, no longer loses any bonuses on death. Additionally, Flamestrike chars the ground for 5 seconds, dealing 15 damage to enemies in the area every 0.5 seconds and causing them to take an additional 20 damage over 6 seconds, stacking up to five times.
Burst of Flame
Kael’thas gains 15% spell power, but his maximum mana is reduced by 30%.
Kael'thas heals for 5% of his maximum Health when activating Verdant Spheres, and gains a shield for an additional 8% of his maximum health.
❢ Quest: Gathering a Regeneration Globe increases Kael'thas's maximum Mana by 15, and his mana regen by 0.1 mana / second.
Notes: This tier is about his sustain. You can choose healing and shields, better mana, or you can sacrifice your sustain for burst damage. I separated the shield and mana gain from mana addict, as I find the combination is just too powerful.
Your Fireball and Fireblast stun for 0.5 seconds, increased to 1.5 seconds if they are already affected by your damage over time. This effect has a ten second cooldown. Can be toggled on/off.
Fuel For the Flames
Your damage over time effects deal 100% extra damage to minions, mercenaries, and monsters. Killing a minion with an ability causes it to burst into flames, dealing 50 damage to nearby enemies. This damage cannot trigger Fuel for the Flames.
If you or an allied hero is in the area of your flamestrike, trigger an additional wave of fire that deals 70 damage and slows enemies by 35% for 2 seconds, stacking up to 2 times.
Notes: This tier was mostly about abilities affecting Gravity Lapse, thus the CC talents. Mana Tap is just redundant with Mana Addict, doing the same thing in a different way, making talent choices less meaningful. I really like the idea of blast wave, especially in big teamfights, where you can hit 3-4 of your own allies at a time, triggering several blastwaves at once.
When Flamestrike damages 2 or more Heroes, they take additional damage equal to 8% of their maximum Health.
Your fireball does an additional 100 damage over 3 seconds.
Activating Verdant Spheres causes Kael'thas's next 3 Basic Attacks to deal an additional 115 Spell Damage over 6 seconds.
Notes: Kael’thas is already bursty enough. He doesn’t need a somewhat janky mechanic to give him extra spellpower. But, more damage over time goes well with his fireblast mechanic.
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Launch a Phoenix to an area, dealing 78 damage to enemies along the way. The Phoenix persists for 7 seconds, attacking enemies for 78 damage and splashing for 39 damage.
Cooldown: 50 seconds
Only castable on a target that has a damage over time from you. Refresh the duration of the damage over time, and add 300 damage over 6 seconds.
Passive: Your damage over time effects deal 50% more damage.
Notes: Pyroblast was an interesting high-risk high-reward ability… but there’s a reason it’s often considered to be a poor choice. If the opponent has an escape (stasis, shield, spell armor, teleport, protected) it does literally nothing, and if they don’t there is nothing they can do to stop it. Not exactly the best interaction. Combustion doesn’t do a whole lot on its own, but if you combine it with an ignited fireball, and then spread it with fireblast, it can do a ton of damage, especially with fireblast refreshing the duration.
Your ability cooldowns refresh 20% faster for each enemy hero affected by your damage over time effects.
The primary target hit by your fireball will trigger a free untalented fireblast after 3 seconds.
Increase fireblast’s explosion radius by 50%.
Notes: This tier was previously dedicated entirely to living bomb. I preserved the effects (minus the slow, which went into Blast Wave earlier) in different ways.
Fury of the Sunwell
Flamestrike will explode a second time 1.5 seconds later. The second explosion does not benefit from Verdant Spheres.
You can now charge up your fireball, standing still while doing so, for up to two seconds, increasing its direct damage by up to 50% and damage over time by up to 100%.
Verdant Spheres gains a second charge.
Notes: For Fury of the Sunwell, if your target is stunned or standing still, double flamestrike is already good enough without having the improved area on both. Pyroblast is just a fun optional talent for fireball; if you have to stand still and charge it up the enemy can move out of range, but if you do land it does tons of damage.
Phoenix may be ordered to move to a different location. When it expires, it leaves behind an egg. If the egg is not destroyed, Phoenix is recast at its current location.
Targets affected by Combustion’s damage over time receive 1% less healing, stacking every 0.5 seconds for as long as they are affected by any of your damage over time effects. Stacks up to 100 times. The initial application of Combustion applies 10 stacks. Spreading damage over time with fireblast also spreads this healing debuff.
Presence Of Mind
Activate to cause your next basic ability to cost no mana, not trigger a cooldown, and be usable even if already on cooldown. 20 second cooldown.
Increases the cast range of Flamestrike and fireball by 40%.
Notes: I once saw someone suggest that Phoenix 20 could be used to bring Kael’thas himself back from the dead (it was just a setback!) and I really like that idea too. This version of presence of mind makes more sense to me. Consuming Flames is fun, but in order to get to 100% healing reduction you need to have your flames on someone for 50 seconds. With flamestrike DoT, auto attack DoT from talents, and fireballs, you can do it… but you’re already doing so much damage in that time. No fight should ever go that far, and if it does they must have ridiculous healing, which is exactly what this talent counters. Really, it’s a healing debuff that gets better the longer a fight goes. Flamethrower affecting fireball, combined with pyroblast, can let you cast some pretty nasty spells over the wall or from bushes for some good damage, and that’s why I removed the flamestrike cooldown reduction component from it.
- The Problem With Kael’thas – A Rework Idea and Thoughts.
- Kael’Thas Rework Concept – The Oldest Hero to Receive Changes!
- I’ve written a Rework for Kael’Thas, trying to fix him at low level.
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