Heroes of the Storm's Cassia is a Diablo 2 Javazon with lightning for days

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As part of the (massive) Heroes 2.0 changes that introduce loot boxes, Blizzard are also releasing multiple new characters, the first of which is Cassia. She's based on the Diablo 2 Amazon, using a Javelin-based build that focuses on lightning strikes, blinds and weird pulls.

Read all there is to know about Heroes 2.0's progression updates in our round-up.

Matt Cooper, lead live designer on the game and general balance mogul, says that her inclusion came down to finding a hole where a Diablo character fit in time for the anniversary:

"So we wanted to do a Diablo character to celebrate Diablo's 20th anniversary, which is coming up very soon. We were looking at different characters from the game, whether it's bosses from Diablo 2 or Diablo 3 or different player classes - we thought the Amazon was unique. More specifically we have a Bowazon-like with Valla, but we didn't have the Javazon spec which is the shield and javalin wielding character that focuses on lightning... and stabbing you."

Here's her vital stats:

Cassia abilities and talents

  • Avoidance (Trait):
    • When moving unmounted, Cassia gains 65 Physical Armor against Heroic Basic Attacks, reducing the damage taken by 65%.
    • Talents:
      • Level 1: Charged Strikes Active. Activate to cause your basic attacks to bounce to a nearby enemy for 8 seconds and increase their damage by 40%. 20 second CD.
      • Level 4: One of...
        • Ring of the Leech: Cassia heals for 35% of the damage dealt to enemies affected by Blind.
        • Plate of the Whales: Gain 5 HPS while Avoid is active. Quest: Every 5 Attacks reduced by Avoid grants 1 additional HPS. After 15 bonus HPS, cap it and gain 10% max Health.
      • Level 7: One of...
        • War Traveler: Gain 3% movement speed every 0.5 second Avoid is active. Stacks up to 5 times. The bonus is reset when Cassia stops moving.
        • Lightning Surge: Cassia stores blocked damage and upon reaching a threshold her trait can be activated to deal damage in an area around you.
      • Level 16: Martial Law. Basic attacks against Stunned, Rooted, and Slowed enemy heroes deal bonus damage equal to 3% of their maximum health.
      • Level 20: Titan's Revenge. Increases Basic Attack range by 2 and your Basic Attacks now ignore armor.

  • Lightning Fury (Q):
    • Hurl a javelin that damages the first enemy hit, and splits perpendicularly into two lightning bolts that deal damage to enemies in their paths.
    • Talents:
      • Level 1: Thunderstroke. Quest: Hit Heroes with Q. Rewards: 20 Heroes hit = 60 damage. 40 Heroes hit = Two charges on Q. Counts both initial javalin and lightning.
      • Level 13: One of...
        • Grounding Bolt: Lightning Fury slows enemy Heroes by 20% for 1.5 seconds.
        • Thundergod's Vigor: Hitting an enemy hero with the initial Lightning Fury missile reduces the cooldown by 1s.
      • Level 16: Pierce. Lightning Fury's primary missile now pierces. Perpendicular bolts are now only spawned from Heroes.

  • Blinding Light (W):
    • After 0.5 seconds, Blind enemies in the target area for 2 seconds.
    • Passively gives Cassia 15% increased damage against Blinded targets (including blinds applied by other heroes)
    • Talents:
      • Level 1: True Sight. Increases the damage dealt to Blinded enemy heroes by 10%. Quest: Deal Basic Attack damage to Blinded enemy heroes. Reward: 80 Heroes hit = Blind duration +1 second.
      • Level 4: Inner Light. Increases Blinding Light radius by 25%. Upon being Rooted or Stunned, Blinding Light pulses around Cassia. This can only occur every 6s.
      • Level 13: Seraph's Hymn. Reduce Blinding Light's Mana cost from 70 to 40. Basic Attacks against Blinded enemies reduce the cooldown of Blinding Light by 3 seconds.

  • Fend (E):
    • Charge at an enemy, and upon arriving channel for 1.5 seconds, damaging enemies in front of Cassia every 0.25 seconds.
    • Deals 50% reduced damage to non-Heroes, but will still wipe a wave rather quickly.
    • Talents:
      • Level 7: Impale. Increases damage by 50% to enemies below 40% health.
      • Level 13: Lunging Strike. Increases Fend's duration by .5 seconds and the area of effect by 20%.

  • Ball Lighting (R1):
    • Throw a ball of lightning at an enemy Hero that bounces up to 6 times between nearby enemy Heroes and Cassia, damaging enemies hit.
    • Talents:
      • Level 20: Infinite Lightning. Ball Lightning can now bounce infinitely. 

  • Valkyrie (R2):
    • Summon a Valkyrie that rushes to Cassia after 0.75 seconds, pulling and damaging the first enemy Hero hit, and stunning them for 0.5 seconds at the end of her path. 
    • The Valkyrie knocks back all other enemy Heroes in her way.
    • Talents:
      • Level 20: Upon initial impact, Valkyrie deals additional damage to nearby Heroes and roots them for 4 seconds.

As for how she plays, Cassia certainly has the damage to stand toe-to-toe with any ranged assassin, but her abilities feel less impactful. Foolish enemies my wander into a 1v1 against Ball Lightning, or stand still long enough for Fend to have an effect, but she'll need a team around her to pull off her maximum damage.

The stutter-step playstyle rewarded by her passive is unique within Heroes, and nicely easy to do in the engine. Taking the talents that buff that and her auto-attacks seems an easy path to solo-queue dominance, and it felt good to do while playing.

Cooper says she's a good fit just about anywhere:

"She will slot into more teams [than you might expect]. At a core level she's a ranged, basic attack character, so you can think of her fitting a role like Raynor, Valla or Zul'jin," he explains. "She does a good amount of ranged damage, her abilities are awesome of course, but even if you just stay in your backline and poke with your basic attacks, you're going to get a lot of value out of that."

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She was particularly strong for me when paired with an allied Johanna, the CCing tank providing everything I needed to pump out the DPS. Cooper also points out that she's particularly effective against other right-click focused heroes, with her Trait armour and blinds.

What she does lack is significant self-healing, or a big burst of damage all at once. Hence with a decent team around her who can set enemies up for Fend and keep her alive through focused stuns and spells, she'll be dominant.

Cassia is live in the beta which should be due sometime today - let us know how you get on with her.

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