I just discovered the Chromie rework on the PTR, and I must admit I was kind of tired of having my favourite hero (Level 120+, yay) reworked AGAIN, though this one seems quite fun to play, I’m really eager to try it out in real games, i.e. not with this broken AI
After quite a long time experimenting in Try Mode, I stumbled upon a talent build that will likely be the one I’ll end up playing in most of my games. But before, I’d like to discuss the various changes in her abilities.
Sand Blast (Q)
- Now hits all enemy types, though stops travel after one hit
- Deals 50% damage to Structures
- Baseline quest has been removed
- Casting a Sand Blast now spawns an Echo that replicates Chromie’s Sand Blasts and Basic Attacks, dealing 50% damage; Maximum of one Echo active at a time
- Damage reduced from 315 to 280
- Cooldown increased from 2.5 to 3 seconds
- Cast time reduced from .8125 to .5 seconds
- Initial missile speed has been reduced, but acceleration has been added
- The time the missile takes to travel its full distance has been increased from .4375 to .625 seconds
The fact that Sand Blast now hits all types of enemies is a huge change in playstyle, both for the best (no more tears when picking Chromie in Quick Match and ending up on that Immortal map) and for the worst (goodbye, poke through gates and minion waves).
The thing I’ll miss a lot is poking through minions. It really helped with stacking her quest in laning phases and “lane-heavy” maps like Spider Tomb (spoilers, my go-to Level 1 talent is the Sand Blast quest), and made her quite the threat in lanes when she could rotate and get a juicy Sand Blast just before the rest of the team engages. The counterpart of this is that she’s much more efficient in killing minions, clearing mercenaries, and wearing down structures. It kind of removes her gimmick of being a huge threat to heroes while doing pretty much nothing to everything else, and turns her into a more “basic” mage, but in the end it doesn’t appear as a bad direction to me, even though I had the option to pick Li-Ming or Kael’Thas if I wanted to spread my damage on every type of unit.
The Echo being baseline, and helping to stack the quest will sure be super, super useful. Even if it is now weaker than its previous versions, having it at the very beginning of the game makes Chromie much more fun to play, as we don’t have to stack a quest to get to have a taste of our hero’s identity anymore. It will also allow better Chromies to make a difference, using this tool to its full potential from the beginning of the game, compensating the overall damage nerf.
The third aspect I’d like to discuss is the change in how the projectile moves. The cast time being shorter is a nice thing to get as we’ll not suffer from the self-root as much as before, but the new movement pattern of the blast feels awkward. It’ll take some time to get used to the “start slow then accelerate” thing, especially when aiming for a max range shot. I don’t get why they’d change the projectile’s constant speed, as it was something that worked really well. That may make the spell feel clunky for newer Chromie players and make them stray away from the hero for having difficulties with grasping how her main ability works, I think.
Dragon’s Breath (W)
- Ground warning is no longer visible to enemy heroes
- Damage reduced from 390 to 195
- Now fires a succession of 3 blasts with a 0.75 second delay towards a vector targeted direction
- Cooldown increased from 8 to 15 seconds
- Mana cost increased from 50 to 75
This change feels awkward to me. I get more waveclear and overall more damage if everything connects, but it goes against the whole burst damage philosophy that came with Chromie’s playstyle. It will be overall easier to do some damage with this ability but harder to do max damage. I think that’s what the developers thought with the whole “less all-or-nothing” thing. The vector targeting and the fact that it’s not a single, big burst of damage anymore bugs me a lot, not to mention it only becomes harder to make optimal use of it when paired with Time Traps / Temporal Loop. The revert to the ability not being able to be seen before it hits is quite nice though, as it not only makes it hard to predict where the ability will land, but also in which direction the second blast will fall. The third hit will likely be counting on pure luck / lack of enemy awareness to land though. Overall I feel like it will be easier to deal bits of damage with this ability on its own, but harder to make full use of its potential when paired with hard crowd control as it spreads its damage on a wider area and time frame.
Time Trap (E)
- Once placed, now requires Chromie to re-activate the Trap with (D) to detonate and puts all units in the area in Time Stop
- Now affects allies as well as enemies
- Search area increased from 1.5 to 2 radius
- Mana cost increased from 25 to 30
- Health increased from 300 to 500
Now affects allies as well as enemies, and needs to be detonated. Oh my.
I’m really excited by this as it opens the door to extremely stylish plays and potential saves (see you in another timeline, Pyroblast), and at the same time I’m really worried about accidental fails that could cost a teammate’s life. It is for me the biggest change of this whole rework, especially as a player whose bread and butter was the Time Trap build (if you see this, Narha, i’d like to tell you you’re a huge inspiration to me).
The ability loses overall defensive potential as it will not automatically detonate to warn you of incoming enemies anymore, as you’ll have full control of it. It’ll also be a little bit less effective against dive heroes as if you keep a trap really close to you “in case” and detonate it when you get jumped on, it’ll be very likely that you end up time stopping yourself as well if you’re not careful. I didn’t play a lot of Junkrat but I guess we’ll end up using Time Trap in a more offensive way, akin to how Junk players use their mine (though not in the very same way, of course).
I’m worried about newer Chromie players doing more harm than good with the new version of this ability, and I myself will very probably mess things up as well, occasionally. But there’s so much more to try with how versatile it has become, I’m willing to let go of a bit of safety for more play-making capabilities. I’m eager to experiment with this one.
I’ll not discuss Heroic Abilities as time if fleeting as I write -how ironic- and I’d like to talk about what is really likely to become my go-to build so we can discuss it!
So, here’s the thing:
- Level 1 - Once Again the First Time (Q)
Quest: Hit 40 Heroes With Sand Blast.
Reward: Increase the maximum number of active Echoes to 2.
As an experienced Chromie player, I’m getting used to Sand Blast quests. Even with the awkward change to the projectile’s movement pattern, it shouldn’t be more difficult to finish it early enough, especially considering the Echo can help completing it from the very beginning of the game. Once completed, it makes Chromie increasingly powerful the longer she stays in a limited area, making this talent really powerful on objective-based maps. If you move between each shot, once you shot two Blasts, you’ll send 3 projectiles with your Q, all coming from slightly different directions, making them very hard to avoid. Once a player gets the hang of it, managing three projectiles at once can be a huge tool to dispose of - even allowing to hit enemies in opposite directions in some cases. Of course, I’ll keep using Timewalker Pursuit in case there’s a stealth hero in the enemy team, or when the map / team comp requires additional vision.
- Level 2 – Chronic Conditions (E)
After Time Stop ends, enemies affected by Time Trap are Slowed by 25% for 3 seconds and allies gain 25% Movement Speed for 3 seconds.
A slow after Time Stop is always nice to have, and we could use the speed buff sometimes, in case we mess things up with an ally or actively try to save one with a well placed trap. Andorhal Anomaly has lost a lot of utility with the way both the talent itself, and the ability now work. I’ll probably keep it for when I get more proficient with the new Time Trap. The Armor reduction / buff talent can benefit your mates if they need it, but I’m going for a more selfish build here: Chronic Conditions synergizes very well with an Executioner-like talent later on, not to mention your allies can benefit from a slow just as much as an armor reduction.
- Level 5 – A Proper Greeting
Passive: When Chromie damages a Slowed, Rooted, or Stunned enemy Hero, she deals 25% additional damage for 5 seconds.
The Executioner-like talent I was talking about. The 25% damage buff for 5 seconds is noticeably more impactful than a 20% armor reduction when following a Time Trap detonation, even if it means you have to wait 3 levels for it. You can also proc it from your team’s crowd control, which makes the talent even more versatile.
- Level 8 (Heroic) - Variable
Even if I’ll probably pick Loop much more often than Sands, especially considering the latter seems to have been nerfed quite a bit. The huge cooldown reduction that comes with Loop after this rework (Now also increases the recharge rate of Chromie’s Basic Abilities by 500% for 3 seconds) allows you to throw your W-Q combo even if W is not yet off cooldown, which is a nice touch. It’s always nice to throw 3 projectiles if you have 2 Echoes around, even if the new timing on Sand Blast and the way the new Dragon’s Breath works makes the combo noticeably harder to pull off. Loop’s range has also been nerfed, making it more risky than ever.
- Level 11 - Variable (though probably not Here and There anymore)
Time Out is reliable enough as a self-Stasis, even if we can now Time Trap ourselves for similar results. This makes the other (and new!) talent worth considering if we’re not in dire need of Stasis:
- Gnome Speed Ahead! (Q)
After casting Sand Blast, Chromie gains 200% increased Health and Mana Regeneration and 20% Movement Speed for 3 seconds.
I’m still experimenting with this one and I’ll still have to see how impactful the increase in Health and Mana regen increases are, but a 20% Move Speed buff everytime you cast (even when missing) Sand Blast allows for much faster repositioning between casts, which is certainly nice to have.
Though I really liked Here and There, the range limit is too much of a burden, killing off many of the options we used to have before and making the talent quite unreliable now.
- Level 14 - No changes - Shifting Sands / Quantum Overdrive for pure burst
- Level 18 - (Very) variable
This is the most versatile talent tier overall to me, and as such the most susceptible to changes through games.
Piercing Sands allows Sand Blast to pierce through Minion waves, Mercs and Structures, allowing for my beloved poke through those, with the added benefit of being able to damage everything my mighty blast pierces through. This talent has been noticeably buffed by the way Sand Blast works now, and will probably be a go-to when nothing else seems to work better.
Stuck in a Loop might see some use, as the huge cooldown reduction carries on as the target is being looped a second time , allowing for a reliable second combo. I might pick it if the enemy team proves to be totally helpless against Loop (i.e. not so frequently), as it now greatly increases its potential.
Last but not least, the new Blessing of the Bronze seems exciting, as it is a passive 10% Move Speed and 30% Basic Ability CD reduction speed boost for everyone in the team for as long as Chromie is living. I still have to see how this talent fares in a realistic setting, but I’d love to experiment with it some time. It’s hard to see its power with only numbers, but I hope it can prove to be really good, because it looks really fun like that.
I’d like to end this topic with a little video (apparently without sound, unfortunately) illustrating how a certain build can allow a 2.5-Loop combo, effectively destroying our poor Try Mode Arthas. Obviously it goes so complex I can hardly see it reliably pulled off in a realistic setting, but I did look for the most complex and the most damaging combo the new Chromie could do, for fun only. For those who wonder, it goes like this:
Temporal Loop - Time Trap - Wait a bit after 8:00 on the clock - W - Q - Quantum Overdrive (immediately after casting Q) - Wait for the second loop (8:00) - W - Q - Detonate Time Trap - Q.
Overall I’m really excited by this rework, even if we lose a lot of Hero damage burst, there is now a lot of room for practicing new things, and what we lose in some parts, we often get it back in others. Chromie seems more skill-demanding than ever, presumably allowing good players to do even more with her, and motivating players like me to become even better at playing her with her new playstyle. It’s really not like the previous rework that was kind of “Here’s Chromie, but worse” and not quite fun to adapt to. I’m really eager to test her in real games, as I already had a lot of fun in Try Mode!
What do you think of her rework and the build I mentioned? I’d love to hear the opinion of fellow Chromie players, as I feel like the rework will bring a wide array of various reactions, given how it changed the hero’s playstyle overall.
I am not a native English speaker, so I apologize if you read this far and found some parts hard to read/understand. Let me know if I can make this topic clearer and if you found some silly mistakes!