The newest entry to Heroes of the Storm is Fenix, and I already have a love/hate relationship with him. Lorewise, he is one of the most badass Protoss you’ll ever see. Gamewise, he is a pleasure to play with and frustrating to fight against. Like any other new Hero, Fenix is under a lot of debate right now as to whether he’s overpowered or not (he is), and how it can be rectified. For now, let us bypass all of that and talk about my favorite counter to him: Varian Wyrn.
Why is Fenix so annoying? As I mentioned, it’s an ongoing debate but my personal view is that he’s just a bit too good at everything. Though I’ve read a lot on Fenix by now, I still get into a lot of in-game fights where he’ll escape with his Warp right as he’s about to die. If you find this happens to you too the advice I’ve seen online for him is to focus Fenix, CC him, or interrupt his 0.5 second Warp ability. Those are all great pieces of advice but honestly, that could apply to nearly any Hero in the game, right?
So my answer is one of his known counters: Varian Wyrn. Varian was recently re-worked in one of the latest patches for Heroes of the Storm. This has upset some people causing disagreements among players as to whether he’s viable or not and how he should be played. But one thing we seem to all be able to agree on is that Taunt Varian (or tank Varian) is still quite good.
In fact, I’d argue he’s better than before because Varian now specializes as to what role he’s going to conform to at Level 4. Getting Taunt that early in the game is a big deal and can easily be the deciding factor in those silly low-level team fights. But that’s not all, Taunt works exceptionally well against our newest friend Fenix at all levels of play. This is where the counter-play starts to come into effect.
The second tool at Varian’s disposal to counter Fenix is his Level 13 Talent: Shattering Throw.
Whether you use it as an opener on Fenix or enjoy its passive effects of 200% more damage to shields via your Basic Attacks the impacts are obvious. Fenix relies more on his shields than any other Hero in the game. That is why other counters such as Kel’Thuzad and even Morales are seeing play as they both have talents that do absurd damage to shields. No point in letting them steal all the fun from Varian.
Playing Varian has improved my time a lot in Heroes. Knowing that most Quick Matches will have a Fenix makes me delight in knowing I already counter him. Chances are until he’s patched we’ll see him in most games for the foreseeable future. Might as well draft against him.