How do you carry in Heroes of the Storm (HoTS)? Can you carry?
It’s one of the first questions any player asks when they start playing the game and one of those questions that continues to pop up time and time again.
Some think there’s no such thing as carrying in HoTS and that nothing you do individually matters. This is because unlike League of Legends or DoTA, there is no individual gold or individual EXP. All experience gained is contributed by and shared by your teammates.
Others also believe that all heroes have the ability to carry. That it’s not based on how good a hero is but by how good the player is.
Which is correct? The truth lies somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum.
Let’s discuss how you actually carry in Heroes of the Storm.
If you want to jump straight to the best heroes to carry with, click here.
How to Carry in Heroes of the Storm
While it’s true you can’t carry in HoTS to the same degree you can in LoL or DoTA, what you do as an individual certainly has a large impact on the outcome of the game.
Think about it: if you ran face first into the opponent’s towers 10 times in a row at the beginning of the game, of course you would be increasing your team’s likelihood of losing (and your likelihood of getting reported).
And while it’s also true that how good you are with a certain hero determines that hero’s success, some heroes are just better equipped with abilities and talents that let them make a larger impact.
The reason carrying in HoTS is so difficult to see is because it’s not that flashy. Most people have a perception that to carry your team to victory you have to be solo-killing people all game or landing quad kills in team fights.
Carrying in HoTS is way more subtle, such that most new players won’t even recognize it.
You carry by doing the following:
Soaking experience is one of the most important yet underlooked factors in the game. Under ideal circumstances, your team should strive to not miss a single minion of soak. People spend far too much time engaging in pointless fights that lead no where, only to miss several waves of soak they otherwise could’ve gotten. Had they done so, they would’ve substantially increased their level lead.
The reason this happens is because soaking is boring. There’s no last hitting or denying involved. Heck, you don’t even have to hit the minions, you just have to be near them to collect their experience.
It’s also not flashy. You won’t see any popups on the screen or hear a ‘ding,’ nor will your teammates. Sure, it shows up when you press Tab and check the Results, but most people still ignore the importance and hyperfocus on the Damage ticker.
And since experience is shared amongst the team, it’s hard to actually gauge how impactful someone was on this front. In other games, you can tell if someone is a low level that they lost their lane and so people try harder as a result. Not in HoTS.
Experience gives your team a level advantage, which not only increases your characters’ base attributes like how much health, mana, damage, and armor they have, but gets you closer to unlocking new talents at levels 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, and 20.
The strength of having a talent tier advantage over your opponents should not be underestimated. How many times have you been on a team that’s engaged level 9 to 10, when the enemy team has all their ultimates and you have none? Frustrating, right? And usually an un-winnable fight for your side.
It’s actually the same thing when you engage level 6 vs 7, or level 15 vs 16. Any time you fight down a talent tier, your team is at a huge disadvantage – it’s 5 talents the enemy team has that your team doesn’t.
This is why soaking experience is so important. You want to contribute as much EXP to your team as possible so your team is ahead in levels and talent tiers. All it takes is one team fight to start winning and snowballing the lead from there.
Some heroes are naturally better than others at soaking. As you’ll see in the list below, all of the best carry heroes are excellent at holding their own in lane and clearing minions quickly.
A lot of people point to the Damage stat as evidence of whether they played well or not. While it can be a good indicator, it doesn’t paint the whole picture.
What you also want to look for are the number of kills someone secures.
The damage stat can be inflated through a number of ways. Perhaps that person was just harassing someone in lane or was involved in sustained fights midlane that ultimately went no where.
Ultimately what leads to victorious team fights and as a result the game are kills on the enemy heroes. If you can setup kills or finish someone off in a team fight to make it 5v4, you’ve done a large part in carrying your team.
This is why heroes like Garrosh and Maiev are included in the list. They are monsters at displacing the enemy team and helping your team get easy pick offs.
Pushing lanes does a lot in Heroes of the Storm: it gives you map control, it forces your opponents to rotate or miss experience, and contributes to your team’s experience as a result of destroyed buildings.
You’ve probably played against annoying Murkys or Gazlowes or Azmodans where they literally just stayed in lane all game to push down your towers. It’s annoying because you’re forced to rotate your players to deal with them. If done correctly, this means you’ll be one step behind leading to slower rotations, missed experience, being late to objectives, etc.
The reason why no Specialists were included in this list of best HoTS carries, though, is because they generally fall short in some other area. Usually that’s teamfighting – either they’re too squishy, immobile, or just don’t contribute enough to make them valuable.
Specialists can be great in the early game, but their power drops off during the mid to late game, especially when the early structure have fallen and it’s too risky to venture deeper into enemy territory.
If you watch some of the highest ranked players on the leaderboard stream, you’ll notice that they’re generally good shotcallers. In HoTS it’s not good enough to just be a skilled individual player if you want to carry your team to victory – you have to be able to lead your team as well.
Sometimes a single call can be the difference between winning and losing a close game. For instance, after you’ve just won a late game team fight, you’ll generally want to look to destroy a keep or go for the enemy core.
At lower ranks, far too often what ends up happening is people just secure camps or dilly dally around not doing anything. They then lose the next team fight and end up losing the game. Had someone made the call to go for core, the result may have been different.
A good shotcaller also recognizes when to engage in team fights and when to back off. Try to communicate these things to your team through lots of pings. Typing works too but don’t start writing essays in game. Just a simple “get 16” in the chat can work wonders to let your team know they’re down a talent and to wait before engaging.
If you know you should be taking a mercenary camp before the objective, go and start it and ask for help. Sometimes it helps to ping someone directly and ask for assistance.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes when you shotcall, it’s a normal part of the learning process. Sometimes you’ll make the right call but it leads to the wrong outcome, so don’t be too results oriented in your thinking.
Your team composition is a huge aspect of whether you win or lose a game in Heroes of the Storm. In coordinated settings, you can essentially carry your team by outbanning and outdrafting your opponent. There’s so much strategy that goes on in a draft that it would warrant its own post.
But most of the time, we can’t influence the outcome of what our teammates pick. So for the purposes of this article, we’ll assume you’re playing individually in Storm League or Quick Match and have no say on the outcome of the draft.
Instead, you’ll want to focus on yourself and doing the best job individually to help lead your team to victory.
- Arthas from World of Warcraft stands about 7 Inch tall
- Nearly 30 points of articulation
10 Best Heroes to Carry With in HoTS
Now that you know how to carry, let’s discuss which heroes are best to do so with.
When assessing heroes to carry with, you want to find ones with the following attributes:
- Good waveclear
- Strong teamfight presence
- Can push structures
- Able to solo camps
- Scales well into the late game
With those qualities in mind, here are the top 10 best carry heroes in Heroes of the Storm as of 2020.
We start our list off with the fearsome Garrosh.
You may think of it as an odd pick, as he has mediocre waveclear, can’t really push structures, and can’t solo camps effectively. So why is he on the list?
The reason is because he makes up for all this with his insane displacement abilities. Throwing an enemy into your teammates with Wrecking Ball then taunting them with Warlord’s Challenge can lead to tremendous gank potential and turn teamfights into your favor instantly.
A good Garrosh player forces the other team to play cautiously, to be wary of bushes, and to always watch their positioning. One step too close to Garrosh can spell death, and in the late game this can mean the game.
As Garrosh is the main tank role, you’ll also be able to pick and choose when you want to engage in fights which is super important for carrying.
Now, you will still need to rely on your teammates somewhat when playing Garrosh. He can’t kill anyone by himself, but even the most uncoordinated of teams will converge on a taunted opponent.
If soak wins games, then Dehaka’s your man – er, zerg.
Thanks to Dark Swarm, Dehaka can clear waves extremely quickly and even allow you to double soak lanes. His large HP pool and self heal from Essence Collection also provide him a lot of lane staying power.
As Dehaka, you can clear an extra wave or two just before objectives spawn because you can always burrow in just as fights are starting so you don’t have to rotate early. Again, this contributes more experience to your team giving you that all important level lead.
His structure damage is nothing to write home about, but his team fight presence is fairly strong. Isolation can help you pick off pesky mobile enemies, and a well placed Drag is an excellent team fight initiator.
Blaze provides similar utility as Dehaka. He can wave clear well and has excellent sustain in the lane.
While he doesn’t have the same mobility as Dehaka, his team fight presence is slightly stronger. Bunker provides the team strong defensive ability and his stun is more reliable than Dehaka’s tongue.
If you miss a Drag or Isolation as Dehaka, you’re largely useless but Blaze can still slow with his oil and his Jet Propulsion has a short 8 second cooldown.
If you’re debating between Blaze or Dehaka to carry with, consider which map you’re playing on. Larger maps with lots of bushes like Cursed Hollow will favor Dehaka more as he can spend more time in lane prior to objectives.
Sonya is another Bruiser that can most certainly hold her own in lane and offers a lot of utility when it comes to siege damage and team fight ability.
Like Thrall, Blaze, and Dehaka, Sonya also has self sustain through her Whirlwind ability. She has an advantage against most matchups in lane. Even against ranged heroes, as long as you can hit your Ancient Spear and follow up with a Seismic Slam + Whirlwind, you’ll bully them out
Her siege damage to structures also can’t be ignored, particularly when she picks up Wrath of the Berserker at level 10 and her damage increases 40%. Left alone, Sonya can make do of towers and forts in no time.
For team fights, Sonya excels when the team has a main tank that can initiate and peel while she wreaks havoc with her slams and whirlwinds. If you can get onto the back line, you can all but put them out of the fight.
Greymane’s carry potential comes from his ability to do everything pretty well. He has good wave clear, can solo mercs, does a lot of damage to structures, and is a strong addition in team fights.
One of Greymane’s biggest benefits is that he can be played as a Ranged Assassin for safety and turn into a Melee Assassin only when appropriate to secure kills.
Go for the Throat is an excellent ability to help you quickly finish off low health Heroes, especially ones with low HP pools who might never see it coming. Poke people with your ranged attacks until they’re about mid-health, then jump at them with Darkflight, Razor Swipe, and instantly GFTT to kill them.
Cursed Bullet is an excellent tool against lineups with high HP pool heroes like Warriors, as long as you accurately hit with it.
One downside to Greymane, though, is that he can be easily countered. Anti-melee heroes like Malthael or Arthas can make his life hell, as he’ll have trouble getting autoattacks off and moving in Worgen form. Other heroes like Brightwing or Varian that can disable or stunlock him also make life difficult.
Next on the list is Nazeebo.
Nazeebo provides a really safe play style while still being able to contribute on all fronts. He can stand far away and throw out spiders and toads to push lanes, dish out tons of sustained damage over time in team fights.
He can also push down structures and and solo camps easily by throwing up his Zombie Wall to take aggro from minions and structures.
Both of his ultimates are viable and very impactful. Go with Ravenous Spirit if you think you can get away with standing idly and have a lot of peel from your frontline. Otherwise Gargantuan is the safer pick.
Nazeebo always scales really hard into the late game, so you don’t mind if the game gets prolonged, which they often do in uncoordinated games.
Jaina is a great addition to any team. She provides solid wave clear, can clear mercs herself, has decent pushing power, and has excellent team fight strength.
Jaina also works great on small maps as part of a rotating gank squad. On Tomb of the Spider Queen or Dragon Shire, she can move back and forth between two lanes to clear minions and look for quick kills.
The effect of this quick waveclear shouldn’t be underestimated, as it forces opponents to play catch up and lets you do things like take merc camps or gank other lanes while they’re still soaking.
A quick Q+W+E combo will either significantly chunk any opponent’s health or lead to a kill.
Both Ring of Frost and Water Elemental are very good ults. Pick RoF if you’re confident in your abilities to snag multiple people in it and your team has good stunlock or follow up combinations. Water Elemental is the more conservative choice but is still solid, especially if you need to slow down a pesky mobile hero like Genji or Tracer on the other team.
Thrall is the next Bruiser to make it on to our list of top carries in Heroes of the Storm – can you see a pattern yet?
Bruisers who can solo a lane are generally strong choices to carry with, as they ensure you have strong waveclear throughout the game and can bully enemies out of the lane early on.
A well-timed Feral Spirit + Windfury combo can usually lead to a kill in lane or in teamfights. His self heal provides a lot of sustain as well, so you don’t have to hearthstone back or tap the well frequently. It also allows him to solo merc camps easily throughout the game.
Both of his ultimates are extremely strong. Sundering is great as an interrupt tool, for setting up stun lock combos, and to force enemies into bad positions. Earthquake is best used when the other team has a lot of melee characters and if you expect long, drawn out fights.
Thrall also scales very well into the late game, which is another common theme amongst the top 10 carries.
There’s a reason Maiev was and is consistently first banned or picked in high level competitive games: She’s really, really good.
Maiev offers one of the fastest wave clears in the game with Spirit of Vengeance and Fan of Knives, which allows her and the team to soak and rotate between lanes extremely quickly. In fact, the devs felt compelled to nerf her as of May 22, 2019, such that Spirit of Vengeance’s damage has been reduced from 180 to 150, but Maiev is still a top tier carry.
Maiev’s team fight presence can be one of the strongest in the game. She can initiate fights and get quick pickoffs by throwing out a Spirit of Vengeance and pulling someone back with an Umbral Bind.
A lot of her power stems from her potentially unlimited Fan of Knives resets if you hit 2 or more enemy Heroes. Because of this she really excels on maps where people are clumped up for objectives like Infernal Shrines and Volskaya Foundry.
Both of her ultimates can change the course of a fight. If you can trap two or more heroes in Warden’s Cage, you can consistently get resets on the Fan of Knives and allow your teammates to finish them off. Containment Disc is a mini-Void Prison and takes a hero completely out of the fight for 4 seconds.
Zeratul tops the list as the best hero to carry with in Heroes of the Storm. I may be a bit biased, as he’s my most played hero by far, but that’s largely due to how impactful he is. His playstyle is also insanely fun and lets you do stuff like this.
He has great waveclear throughout the game, one of the strongest ults in the entire game for team fights, is decent at pushing down structures, and can solo easy camps quite easily with Mending Strikes talent at level 13.
As seen in that clip of Rich playing Zeratul, he solo kills the enemy Valla all while dodging a flurry of attacks and single-handedly gives his team an advantage during the objective phase.
When playing as Zeratul, your goal is to play it safe early game and focus on getting to the late game. Waveclear and soak lanes until level 7. That’s when you can pick up the Wormhole talent, which will allow you to jump in and out of teamfights safely as well as harass enemies.
Then at level 16 Zeratul massively spikes in power with Void Slash and again at level 20 with Shadow Mending. At this point, Zeratul can potentially solo groups of enemies, as long as he doesn’t get chain cc’d to death.
Knowing when to use Void Prison is a large part in playing and carrying with Zeratul. You can void prison a group of enemies clumped together for a wombo combo, you can VP one or two enemies to render them useless in a team fight, you can void prison enemies to escape with your life… all of these are possibilities that could massively influence the direction of the game.
Zeratul is difficult to learn and even harder to master. In fact, a bad Zeratul can actually be a hindrance to the team, so don’t expect to be winning games immediately with him. But since Zeratul’s skill ceiling is so high, your carry potential is nearly unlimited.
That rounds out our top 10 best carries in Heroes of the Storm.
You’ll notice there are no supports or healers on this list. That’s because in general, you’ll need to rely on your team too much when playing these roles to hard carry.
Can you make a big impact as a healer or support? Of course. A well-timed Ancestral Heal as Rehgar or Lurking Arm as Stukov can turn the tides of a fight and be massively impactful.
However, in general you’ll still be too reliant on your teammates to make the right decisions to hard carry as a support or healer. No matter how good your positioning may be or how strong your macro game knowledge is, if your hero doesn’t have the right abilities there’s only so much you can do. You simply can’t waveclear to soak or secure mercenary camps by yourself as most supporters/healers.
Essentially what carrying in Heroes of the Storm boils down to is cutting reliance on your team as much as possible. You want to find heroes that can wave clear, secure kills, push towers, scale hard into the late game, and have a strong team fight presence.