Murky, Baby Murloc, is the third Warcraft franchise hero in a row we’ve seen introduced into Heroes of the Storm, though this time around we have a new specialist in our midst, who really takes on the old term of siege hero. While not much is known about Murky himself, other than being the first baby murloc players could own if they went to BlizzCon ’05, murlocs as a race have been part of the Warcraft franchise since Warcraft III days and have been a fan favourite ever since.
The origins and history of the murloc race are shrouded in mystery. A large part of this is because their lore is passed down via their own oral tradition, which is almost incomprehensible to most other sentient races, but also because murlocs generally have very little tolerance for other races. Murlocs often congregate in heavily populated coastal settlements, and are more than willing to assist each other when threatened. While many have debated on their intelligence, there is reason to believe that their use of weaponry and uncanny fighting abilities may actually imply that they possess a rather sinister racial intellect.
Please note that at the time of writing this article, Heroes of the Storm is in technical alpha, and I’m not in the alpha to be able to check live updates, so chances are that some of the numbers may have been tweaked and are yet to be updated on online sources. Although I’d like to do the mini YouTube clips for the animations of the abilities, Blizzard have yet to update their hero page to include these.
This is an interesting mechanic that Blizzard has brought in for Murky. The idea behind him is that he’s nowhere near as heroic as the Heroes that we play ingame, and Blizz wanted to include a murloc into the game as they’re so iconic – so he has abysmal health and health gain per level, as well as equally bad health regen. To combat this, what Murky’s trait does is, on a 45sec cooldown untalented, you can place an egg on the floor and you’ll respawn there after 5 seconds if you die. You give very little exp to the enemy team if you die while your egg is alive (just a little more than creeps, I believe, but if your egg is down and you die, you suffer the same penalties as everyone else.
However, if someone finds the egg and kills it, there’s 30 seconds where Murky can’t replace his egg, and he can be killed for exp and long respawn. Do note that Murky’s egg can be placed in areas such as the invulnerable area where heroes spawn to avoid that… He just has a long walk after death.
[Q] Slime: Releases slimy fish oil on nearby enemies, doing 90 (14 + 4 per level) damage and applying Slime. Slime does 65 (8 + 3 per level) damage every second and slows enemies by 20% for 8 seconds. New applications of Slime will refresh the duration and stack the damage.
It’s pretty low damage, but it can help support your team in teamfights by slowing down enemies for 8 seconds, and stacking up the Slime on a single target could start stacking up some pretty good damage, but it’s mainly just used for kiting enemies around while they try to gank your squishy butt. Don’t forget that everyone has the same base movement speed in Heroes unlike other MOBAs, so unless they have gap closers this is a great ability to kite anyone or helping your team chase someone down.
[W] Pufferfish: Launches a pufferfish at the target point. After 5 seconds, the fish will blow up for 347 (100 + 13 per level) damage (1388 (400 + 52 per level) damage to Structures). Enemies can attack the fish to destroy it and prevent it from exploding.
Murky’s main ability, in my opinion, is in the power of Pufferfish. While it’s not a great amount of damage to enemies, it enabled Murky to make use of great back door tactics in just pushing lanes and taking down towns and towers when his opponents are not paying attention. The pufferfish can also help clear waves of creeps as well, but with quadruple damage against buildings you’re best off running past the waves to just throw the bomb… Assuming no enemy heroes are there to take it or you out.
A few seconds of invulnerability is great on any hero, but notably on a hero like Murky who’s health is so pitiful, that being able to take just a few seconds of free movement to juke in or out of bad spots is an excellent addition to his toolkit. Two seconds may not seem like a massive amount of time, but when combined with his talents and especially Pufferfish can lead to some great positioning.
[R1] March of the Murlocs: Murky commands a legion of murlocs to charge in a target direction, each one leaping onto the first enemy hero or structure they find. Each murloc deals 252 (81 + 9 per level) damage and slow its target by 15% for 5 seconds.
The first of Murky’s heroics, March of the Murlocs, is a very powerful wide-line AoE that is great for pushes and in the event you find yourself in a team fight. From what I’ve seen of Murky gameplay, this is pretty much the go-to choice for level 10. Again, the damage isn’t great per murloc but the fact that the area you cast March in, the enemy’s completely slowed by 15% – I don’t know if the slow stacks with Slime, or if Slime overwrites it, so that would be an interesting mechanic to see for a specific kill target. Also, don’t forget that multiple murlocs can hit targets so that small damage will stack up very high as more and more murlocs stack onto the same target – especially buildings.
It is a channeled spell however, so Murky can’t use anything else or move while using March – it leads to some pretty underhand backdoor tactics where you can fire-and-forget to completely decimate a town, with its only counter being to kill Murky.
Octo-Grab I haven’t really seen much of, but as you can see it’s a single-target stun that deals a low amount of damage (that can be talents to do more damage). If Murky’s in team fights and you need to lock down a specific target, this is going to be the talent to take. Generally speaking however, in team fights March is still going to be superior, along with being far superior for Murky’s backdoor tactics. I’d like to either see March nerfed or Octo-Grab buffed, but so far I haven’t really seen much effective use for his second heroic over the first, unless I’m missing the point somewhere.
Murky’s build can only really go one major route, though the journey in this route may deviate depending on who you go up against. Although it’s the least fun way of winning the game, the most effective Murky builds at the moment lie in backdoor tactics and wearing down lanes while the rest of your team 4v5’s. The main issue with Murky at the moment is that his tactics don’t lie with the actual completion of battleground objectives (though he is a great Dragon Knight so the rest of the team can use their abilities, then at the end he will just ulti and drop Pufferfish to secure the push) and instead just goes for the overall objective of just pushing lanes and destroying the core. He can specialise into what Browder was initially introducing Murky as, as a hero that can keep on coming back to be a thorn in someone’s side and wearing them down further and further, so I’ll also touch on that side of Murky in the talent analysis.
In this section I’ll go through each tier and explain how the choices can be used depending on what lineup you have, what lineup the enemies have, and generally how he looks to be on paper. I’m not in the alpha at the moment, so I might have gotten the wrong end of the stick on some of these choices without being able to test them out myself, and of course with it being alpha some of these talents may change over time.
The first tier of talents has one main choice in my opinion in Demolitionist, especially if you have a creep wave tanking the towers and forts for you to get rid of some extra ammo. He has very low right click damage in any case, so the extra 10% damage helps slightly in his role of just rolling down lanes and taking out towns. I feel that Bribe isn’t too good on Murky, even if you’re the only Bribe-wielder in the group, as it’s only the Siege Giants that you’d be able to use it on unless backed up for the Knight camps.
Buffing Slime is another option to go for, with Toxic Ooze extending the slow duration to kite easier as well as providing just those couple of extra damage points to help wear away enemies further – it also allows you to kite two people effectively to give you that extra time between cooldowns and duration to give you a bit of extra breathing space. Increasing Slime’s area of effect in Bigger Slime is likely the weakest in the tier, but might be useful in team fights to slow/dot up more enemies.
At level 4, we have our first upgrade to Pufferfish to give Murky better pushing potential. Out With A Bang is a definite strong candidate here especially if the other team isn’t aware they can kill your pufferfish – from this stage on Murky will be wanting to be next to buildings, and making use of his E to get into position. Minion Killer can help with pushing waves, but your role is to destroy buildings, not creeps.
Envenom is a useful ganking ability, especially combined with Slime, that can really help Murky be a thorn in someone’s side and can help in that secondary role I was talking about in the intro to the talents. Promote can help with lane push as well, and definitely helps Murky lay down more Fish before needing to back off, though Out With A Bang is certainly going to be the better option between the two for now.
I don’t know the actual health of the egg, but making it last 200% longer is certainly a good option to take, as well as being able to replace the egg every 25secs instead of every 45 aids in keeping Murky sneaky. Against roaming heroes Assault Egg is definitely a good pickup to take so that you can keep on replacing it down to avoid the egg getting scouted out. Block helps Murky be a little more tanky, but even with Block it’s just a violent sneeze that will take him down, instead of just a standard sneeze.
Slimy End allows you to slow everyone around you when you die, though Wrath of Cod is certainly a much more interesting option to take, especially if you upgraded Pufferfish in the previous tier. Dealing full damage to heroes as well as buildings, especially when you die is pretty awesome – at level 7 it’s at 762 damage, which certainly is a little more damage than a death-slime will push out (assuming the bomb goes off). Unveiling invisible enemies with Clairvoyance is pretty strong, but chances are if a Zeratul or Nova are nearby, you’re going to be fish fingers pretty soon whether you see them or not.
Already having talked about both abilities earlier, at level 10 we get our choice between the two heroics. March seems very overpowered at this stage and likely will be nerfed a bit, and Octo-Grab seems like a fairly useful stun to lock someone out or to secure a kill, but in both the team fight and backdoor scenarios that you’d build Murky in, March of the Murlocs just seems to be the stronger option.
However if the level 20 talent on HeroesNexus doesn’t have a tooltip error like I believe it does, then an extra 10000% damage increase on Octo-Grab is pretty much an instant kill button for Murky, and might be the better option especially if they have tanky heroes such as Diablo or ones with quick escapes like Zeratul, Illidan or Nova.
Spell Shield is a build up on the Block from earlier, and even with reducing hero abilities by 50%, with Murky’s pitiful health pool you might just end up getting 4-shot instead of 3-shot. Especially against the other options in the tier, getting a little more tanky doesn’t seem worth it in my opinion in most cases. Tufferfish allows the fish to survive an extra attack, giving it 50% more survivability, and when combined with Pufferfish School later on, means that if Murky dies you can have 3 Puffers up at once, meaning that at least one will go off as you need 9 attacks to take down all the fish.
Bubble Breeze allows you to get into or out of position much easier, though with Murky’s suicidal nature anyway, it’s more likely the former than the latter. With Sliming enemies, you’d be moving about 85% faster than your enemies – certainly beneficial for outrunning them for sure. Bubble Machine however allows Murky to line up his W with his E as they become on the same cooldown with this talent. It would certainly allow for a constant barrage to run in, throw out a fish, then run back out while being immune to all damage.
Hidden Assault is the final option in this tier, and is also a fantastic pickup for Murky. It allows him to be a little more sneaky especially against roaming heroes that are likely searching for your egg. With this talent, you can make non-direct routes to make enemies believe your egg is nowhere near where you just came from, and overall wastes the time of Murky’s enemies, allowing him to continue to barrage the enemy base. Depending on the enemy, you’ll go for Tufferfish, Bubble Machine or Hidden Assault in this tier in my opinion.
At level 16 we see a further increase to Slime’s duration, allowing it to last 11 seconds (or 13 if you picked up the level 1 upgrade) allowing for the ability to kite 3 enemies that are spread (with level 1 upgrade) or just plain increasing the duration of the snare by a significant amount. Blood for Blood is an interesting talent to see on Murky, as it’s usually on Assassin heroes to be able to help not only secure kills, but to also increase their own survivability and to help combat heroes such as Diablo or Stitches that have a lot of health to bite through. Again, I have no idea if the slow with stack with Slime (or March) so it’ll be interesting to see if it does. Either way, it’s a strong snare and very strong damage for a Murky specced to poke away at people.
As already mentioned in the previous talent line, Pufferfish School is a strong talent that allows even a short cooldown ability become even more spammy, and really helps push lanes and buildings down. It’s at level 16 that a backdoor Murky will be able to finish the game, most likely, or will be able to make huge pushes to win lanes in his team’s favour. Beneath Contempt seems a little lackluster in comparison to Pufferfish School, but it certainly allows him to just run straight up to an unguarded lane and push down towers without even needing the creep wave to tank for him, increasing the likelihood that he can just keep on going back in again and again without having to run from the egg each attempt.
In the final tier of talents at level 20, we have two Storm abilities available for Murky, as well as the upgrades for our level 10 heroics. Never-Ending Murlocs is the upgrade to March, and certainly helps in those final pushes when everyone’s at their strongest to slow them down 40% longer. With the increase in range too, it allows Murky to be able to cast it in safer positions and really be able to cover much more of the battlefield.
… And A Shark Too! allows Octo-Grab to deal a huge amount of damage in addition to the stun, though I believe that the tooltips are probably wrong on HeroesNexus, as unless the 1 damage from the base spell is rounded up, Octo-Grab would end up doing 30,000 damage over its stun, which will easily kill any hero in the first second.
Bolt and Swift Storm are extremely overpowered abilities for Murky though, being able to either teleport straight into position to throw out damage, or to Bolt away from bad situations. I forgot that Swift Storm was a thing until I saw it on Murky (I haven’t really been paying much attention to Gazlowe or Nazeebo just yet) and again it’s a really strong Storm ability to have to increase mounted speed as well as not being dismounted on taking damage – it allows him to run in, throw bombs, bubble and run out again easily.
Personally however, Swift Storm is the marginal weakest of the three options in the tier, with Bolt always having such a good use – I know in Dota at least every hero has at one point or another made good use for Blink Dagger, and I can easily see it being situationally useful for Murky. In most cases, upgrading the R will be the strongest option however, just keep an eye on those games where the Storm abilities might be better for you.
Just the two skins for Murky to begin with, his standard one and Grunty for now, though if we’re seeing Grunty as the first unlockable skin, does this mean we’ll be seeing skins such as Deathy, Murkablo or Murkalot? Check out the current Murky skins below!