Sylvanas patch has hit the beta on Heroes of the Storm and she’s already down from her initial 15k gold launch cost down to 10k, but as I have yet to buy her and get some decent experience on her, I wanted to talk about the other main addition to the patch: the new battleground Tomb of the Spider Queen! Keep in mind the game is still in beta, so changes to even the battlegrounds may still occur, especially to newer ones such as the Tomb.
It’s honestly so small that I always feel cheated if I get the map when I decide to roll with someone like Falstad or Brightwing, because it feels as though their niche of being able to span large areas quickly is greatly diminished when it doesn’t take much longer for others to join the fight. Anyway, I’ve had a fair few games on it myself as well as watching others play on it, and I wanted to share my thoughts and tips and tricks on how this map plays out.
Firstly, what is this map about? What do we have available to us to help push the lanes and destroy the enemy core?
Located beneath the Sky Temple, the Spider Queen lurks. Down 3 lanes, archer creeps are replaced with ranged mechanical spiders, and killing them will provide 1 gem each. If you manage to kill enemy heroes, they drop 3 of these mystical gems, but also drop their own gems they were holding for their own team to pick up. Unlike Blackheart’s Bay, you can’t pick up the enemy team’s gems, but all gems will only last 8-9 seconds before vanishing. Keeping in the area after you kill your enemies is a bonus for this, as you can deny them getting their gems back!
Handing 50 of them in at the orange markers above – between the top and mid, and the mid and bottom lanes – you get to summon Webweavers to push down each lane. They will arrive several seconds later at the point where your creep wave is pushed out to, so make sure that you perform a heavy push to get the maximum use out of the Webweavers. They have two main abilities other than their strong melee attacks: summoning small minions that will simply boost the numbers in the lane, to get tower and fort/keep aggro from them; and creating a wave of purple mist that heavily damages anything caught within it (likely similar to boss’s stomp abilities, only activated when there’s a group in front of them). Each hand in will increase the total you need to hand in by 5 for the next hand-in.
Being such a small map, there’s also very few mercenary camps: a neutral boss above the top lane with similar mechanics to the Sky Temple boss; aggressive and defensive bruiser camps between the mid and bottom lanes; and a single neutral siege camp below the bottom lane. I will admit, it’s hard to remember the siege camp exists but it does provide a nice chunk of wave push to that long bottom lane.
Laning in this map is very reactionary with how small it is. The gap between the top and mid lanes alongside better vision compared to between mid and bottom means that there is a lot of roaming to be had. One interesting tactic I’ve seen is a 0-4-1 lane setup, starting with a 5man gank around the top turn-in before sending a good solo laner like Sylvanas, Tassadar, Jaina or Valla to bottom lane, with the rest of the team 4man pushing mid and top lanes to the gate before switching back again. This allows for those two lanes to completely zone out any opposition while losing very little exp as you’ll generally wave clear before the other lane has killed any creeps, or more important spiders.
The emphasis on the map is to have vision of or control the turn-in points however, so keeping Zagara tumours or getting Tassadar’s Oracle to save going into a gank on the other side of the smoke – or to set up your own. With the early control, you can get early hand-ins which turn into massive early game pushes for all three lanes that your opponents will have to try and counter.
In terms of mercenaries, from what I’ve seen it’s more important to get that first Webweaver wave as soon as possible, over sending a couple of people to do early mercs – you don’t want to turn the map objectives into a 3v5 at any point as the enemy team will capitalise on it and push your lanes back and make their webweavers more effective, or yours less so. However, this map is unique in that even after you complete a map objective, you still have around 10-15 seconds before merc camps disappear, so you can quickly tag a bruiser or siege camp (boss camp might be a bit too obvious for counter-plays) to aid in the push after the Webweavers are in lane. You also don’t risk your opponents handing in at this stage as the shrines are inactive. Turn in often to make sure that you have control over those central points and it gives you a steady advantage without risking losing 15 or more gems
Until you’re level 10, I’d still suggest a 3-lane push with splitting your team up (going 1-3-1 with bruisers down mid lane, for example) to try to get your heroics before the enemy team. As you should know by now, the first team to hit level 10 will likely find a team fight and win it for map domination because of unlocking those heroics, or go for a safe boss cap as they know they’ll win the teamfight should the enemy team try to counter.
After level 10 the map is small enough to commit to 5man pushes, especially after turn-ins and you largely want to be controlling the map as much as you can. You want to try and contest mercs toward the end of your Webweavers’ lives so that you can continue to pressure lanes while you go back to hand in more gems. Do note that Webweavers health degenerates naturally over time as well, so if uncontested they can last up to ~90secs.