Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Underpowered Heroes: 2/15 - Sand Wraith: A Useless Mirage
In Heroes of Newerth, Sand Wraith used to be a god. In a game dominated for a while by hard meele carries - Chronos, Magebane, Dark Lady, etc. - Sand Wraith was the hardest of the hard (que the jokes). His dissipate was even more ridiculous pre-nerf; instead of 4/8/12/16 it was 5/10/15/20. That just made Sand Wraith even more tanky. Core on Sand Wraith was a quick helm of the black legion that made him nearly impossible to kill early game, boots (red or steam depending) and then a mock of brilliance as quick as possible. The mock had two amazing benefits. First, it increased Sand Wraith's farming ability, allowing him to get items to make him even more tanky, such as a Frostwolf Skull. Second, because Sand Wraith illusions received the mock aura, his ultimate became massively useful in team fights.
In fact, Sand Wraith with a mock was such a game changer, competitive teams built their entire strategies around him. Draw out the game and support Sand Wraith became synonymous with a victory. On the pub scene, my co-blogger Schlesinator and myself often played together with me on Sand Wraith and him on Wretched Hag. He was (and still is) quite the Hag player and was able to dominate the mid game enough for me to get my mock and ensure a victory. I can recall countless games where we would be on the verge of defeat when I would obtain my mock. The next team fight would immediately reverse our fortunes - even if we had lost a set of barracks - and from there we would go on to dominate. Boldly, I would put our win percentage at at least 80% with the Hag-Sand Wraith combo.
However, that was then and this is now. There are several reasons why Sand Wraith is virtually useless now. First, as I pointed out earlier, Sand Wraith has been nerfed a bit, most notably his dissipate. However, more importantly is just how useless he is early and mid game. He requires crazy amounts of babysit, which is a problem, especially in today's Heroes of Newerth game environment. That leads to my third point. Gone are the day's of meele carries. Magebane is making a bit of a comeback and Drunken Master is really good, but mid-game or push teams or a late-game ranged carry are stronger picks right now. Valkyrie, Aluna, and Silhouette can all fill that roll and each of them are viable early and mid game heroes. They are able to participate in ganks and team fights and are much better natural farms than Sand Wraith. In addition, heroes like Karken, Cthulhuphant, and Keeper of the Forest can be useful for pushing and dominating the early and mid game through their tanky presence which also allows them to be viable late game. That leaves no room for Sand Wraith and that's why today, he is one of the most underpowered heroes in Heroes of Newerth.