Most Heroes of the Storm players have favored builds or play-styles, roles they like to fill on a team. They may feel most comfortable or that they have the most success with a particular set of talents, and default to choosing the same set match after match, without taking a careful eye toward the arena as a whole.

The arcane sorceress Li-Ming is a good example of a character with many varied and useful talents, the utility of which are ultimately highly situational.

For most players, Li-Ming is the very definition of a skill-shot character, her orbs and arcane missiles doing heavy damage from afar. There are many talents that increase the range and damage of these abilities, and rightly so—in an open field with room to maneuver she is incredibly powerful and a domineering force in battle. Many, if not most, players choose this kind of range-based build, where their small health pool is less of a disadvantage.

One of Li-Ming’s core weaknesses however is that this popular build handles enemy minion waves, mercenaries, and other NPC combatants incredibly poorly. Her abilities all detonate on the first target struck; an opponent carefully positioned behind an NPC is all but impervious to her ranged attacks.

Other heroes like Azmodan, Zagara, and Xul excel at summoning NPCs to help bolster their own strength, which is a ready and reliable counter to Li-Ming. Even when faced with such opponents however, I rarely see Li-Ming players opt for builds that do not focus on her skill-shot abilities and instead turn her innate teleport into an area-of-effect damaging blast which hits all enemies in range.

While many different traits can be chosen to bolster the teleport damage, if even just the primary one is taken—Calamity at level seven—her entire play style opens up and the presence of NPCs becomes less a barrier to her dealing damage.

Every character has a nearly 2,000 possible trait combinations, and while many synergize more obviously with others, it’s very important to not become laser-focused on a particular build or combination; the arena, very much including the makeup and choices of the opposing team, should help inform your own choices.

Additional examples: Here’s one from a match I was in yesterday. As Kael’thas, don’t take Pyroblast as your Heroic Ability if the enemy healer is Auriel with Crystal Aegis; it simply wont be effective and you will miss out on a lot of damage Phoenix would be better poised to deal instead.

Similarly, though taking traits that limit Physical Damage are rarely taken, when faced with an opposing team which includes auto-attackers like Zul’jin or Raynor they should be given serious consideratio. Don’t dismiss them out of hand just because they don’t normally fit into your conception of “best” traits—every trait has a time and place in the arena.

Header image from Heroes of the Storm, copyright Blizzard Entertainment