In an interesting and perhaps precedent-setting move, game director Dustin Browder has given everyone a heads up that the latest addition to Heroes of the Storm, won't be making an appearance in tournaments at Blizzcon.
Given that he's leading the Protoss in their final charge against the Xel'Naga in Legacy of the Void, and he'd pretty much taken over from Tassadar since the events of the original Starcraft, people have been waiting a while for Blizzard to add the Protoss commander into their free-to-play MOBA.
Artanis was announced alongside Rexxar earlier this year but in a small surprise, Dustin Browder has tweeted that teams won't be able to select the warrior on the final stages at Blizzcon.
— Dustin Browder (@DustinBrowder) October 14, 2015
It's an interesting decision considering the banning, and subsequent unbanning, around Rexxar from the Heroes America championships. The situation there was a little different though, with players discovering an exploit that would have effectively broken the game, or at the very least resulted in his banning from every single map.
Blizzard did the only thing responsible by banning him, but when the bug was corrected they reversed their earlier decision — despite it being only days before the qualifier was scheduled to begin.
Blizzcon isn't scheduled to begin until November 6. That's 16 days before Artanis becomes available to those who have pre-ordered Legacy of the Void, and 9 days after (thanks Ziyaad) the hero is more broadly available. And if you factor in the way major tournaments are run and organised, that probably leaves only three or four days before teams are flown overseas for the event (as Blizzard flies in players beforehand to allow them to settle, adjust to jet-lag and practice).
It's a nice change from other scenes where developers have been all too happy to push out major patches or updates right on the eve of an event. But it's also an indication of where Artanis fits in the current Heroes meta, which has — particularly in North America — leant heavily towards warrior heroes and heroines.
Browder's basically saying that teams would need time to adjust to Artanis, which makes sense considering his disruptive abilities that include the ability to, Vengeful Spirit-style, swap positions. Having an ultimate with "unlimited range" that does 400 (96 + 16/level) damage per second for 8 seconds sounds pretty bloody OP, too.