The Nexus is a vast land, where players take control of heroes and villains from across many Blizzard universes.

It can be a complicated place to understand, but we want to make it easy to follow along when the final two teams clash for the championship title on May 12 at the Collegiate Esports Championship.

Every Hero in its Place

Heroes of the Storm separates its many characters into six categories. However, since there are only five players on a team, not every role will show up in each game. Instead, players have the flexibility to play to their individual strengths and the demands of the battleground. Their options are as follows:

Tank heroes exist to protect their team and enable other players to do damage. Because tanks are durable, they are effective at creating space and exerting their will on the battlefield. They absorb incoming damage for their teammates, but they also can cut off enemy escape routes to help their team score kills. Heroes like Garrosh, Diablo, Blaze, and Johanna are some of the most popular tanks, so keep an eye out for them on the frontlines.

Bruisers are tough like tanks, but they’re more about dealing damage than protecting. During the early stages of the game, you’ll often see these heroes in the offlane (this is usually the farthest from the action). Once they do join up with the rest of their team, bruisers are best-suited to wading into the thick of things, but they’re more likely to kill an opponent than just get in their way. Heroes like Imperius, Dehaka, Thrall, and Leoric are all common when teams are looking for a powerful bruiser.

Support heroes provide utility to their team. Even though there aren’t many of these heroes, they can have major impacts on the way a game plays out. Medivh and Abathur are probably the most impactful support heroes, with each influencing the game in unique ways.

Healers are like support heroes in that they help their team more than hurt their opponents, but their job is more straightforward. They keep their teammates healthy enough to stave off enemy pushes or to help start one themselves. Ana, Lucio, Tyrande, and Alexstrasza are the healers you’re likely to see most often.

Ranged Assassins are crucial for their ability to rip apart the opposing team. They drop fairly easily, though, and require coordination from their teammates to properly wreak havoc. There are tons of ranged assassins in the game, but some solid options you might see at the CEC include Mephisto, Hanzo, Fenix, and Jaina.

Melee Assassins are a little more durable  than their ranged counterparts, but they have to get up close and personal to vanquish their foes. This can make them harder to protect, but the payoff is worth it. Heroes like Maiev, Alarak, and Zeratul are frequent sights in the Nexus in this role.

Objective Goals

The main objective of Heroes of the Storm is to infiltrate and destroy the enemy base. There’s  more to it than just beating up on the other team and busting up their fort, though: every battleground has its own objective. Winning objectives is the key to victory on most maps, but on some it’s the only way to come out on top.

Some objectives task teams with collecting a particular resource and turning it in for value, while others require a team to control a certain area of the map for a certain amount of time.

A Team that Plays Together, Grows Together

Heroes of the Storm is unique in many ways, including the way in which players gain levels. Instead of everyone accumulating experience independently, players do so as a team. This encourages teams to stick together, since no one benefits from farming on their own. Leveling up allows heroes access to better talents, which are the unique abilities of each character.

It’s also worth noting that every hero comes with the choice between at least two heroic abilities. With some exceptions, these unlock at level 10 and can be the key to winning  team fights when used properly. There are a wide array of talents that are earned by heroes at set intervals. Starting at level 1, every three levels sees a new talent tier unlock. These talents allow players to shape the tool kit of their hero to suit their needs.

While four players mostly stick together around the objective, one teammate is often put into a “off lane,” where their main responsibility is to farm minions and bully their counterpart out of the area. They do tend to join up with the rest of the team later in games, but much of the game is spent alone. This is a big responsibility, and solo-laners are often some of the stronger players on many teams.

To make sure you don’t miss any of the action, tune in to at 12:20 p.m. on May 12.

About the CEC

Tespa and ESPN are excited to team up for the Collegiate Esports Championship! Schools from across the U.S. and Canada will compete live in Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and StarCraft II at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, from May 10–12.

Tickets to the event for Tespa Members can be purchased here.

As our exclusive PC and monitor partner for the year, ROG’s Strix GL12CX  and ROG Strix XG258Q will be powering all of the on-stage action at the event. In addition, teams will have access to more ROG products in the official player practice area.