Kel’Thuzad is playable on the Heroes of the Storm PTR until September 4

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Update August 28, 2017: Blizzard have made Kel’Thuzad, the Obey the Call event, and its accompanying balance changes available on the Heroes of the Storm PTR.

For those wanting to test out the frosty lich before he is available to everyone, Kel’Thuzad is available on the PTR until September 4th. You can also test out the balance changes for Chromie, Jaina, Lt. Morales, and Leoric, as well as the Obey the Call event.

If you're just getting started in Heroes of the Storm, we've got a beginner's guide to help out.

All of the new changes and additions are outlined on Blizzard’s official patch notes post for Heroes of the Storm, so give them a good look before jumping into the PTR.

Update August 23, 2017: Kel'Thuzad now has his own Hero Spotlight, showing off all of his abilities in Heroes of the Storm. Check that out above.

Below, we have all of the details on his talents, plus some numbers for each of those abilities. Early game, he'll be utility focused, until he can successfully complete the quest in his Hero Trait, at which point Kel'Thuzad will start tearing enemies apart with his abilities.

We can probably also expect an in-development video, including skins (such as Dreadlord Jaina and Crypt Queen Zagara) and other cosmetics, very soon. For more of the announcements from Blizzard's public Gamescom show, here's everything announced.

They're also starting a documentary called Resurrecting Kel'Thuzad, which is going to tell the story of what it took to put Kel'Thuzad into Heroes of the Storm. There's a trailer up now, and the first part will be up next week. 

Finally, Kel'Thuzad is important enough that a full event will be happening with his release. During the Call of Kel'Thuzad event, the following quests will be available:

  • Quest: Play a game with Kel'Thuzad present on either team
    • Reward: Ghoul Portrait
  • Quest: Get 30 takedowns in winning games
    • Reward: Acolyte Portrait
  • Quest: Get 60 takedowns in winning games
    • Reward: Necromancer portrait and blight spray
  • Quest: Get 90 takedowns in winning games
    • Reward: Call of Kel'Thuzad portrait and Naxxramas Warcraft banner

These will be available September 5 to 25, so, hopefully, that means Kel'Thuzad is coming out on September 5, in just a couple of weeks.

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Update August 22, 2017: Things move fast at Gamescom - we've now got details on the various Heroes of the Storm reworks that will be happening, as well as the full talent list for Kel'Thuzad.

Thanks to a few dedicated streamers at the event, we've got a lot more information to share about Kel'Thuzad, Leoric, Lt. Morales, Jaina and Chromie. It's organised below.

Let's start with Kel'Thuzad. It was confirmed on Reddit that his cooldowns are as follows:

  • Death & Decay (Q)
    • 6 second cooldown, 20 mana cost,
  • Frost Nova (W)
    • 10 second cooldown, 45 mana cost
  • Chains of Kel'Thuzad (E)
    • 12 second cooldown, 45 mana cost

This should give some context to the full talent list:

  • Level 1
    • Q: The Plaguelands - Increase Death and Decay's Duration by 1 second. After gaining 30 Blight, increase the radius of Death and Decay's pool by 30%.
    • W: Blighted Frost - Front Nova deals 50% more damage to enemies in the center. After gaining 30 Blight, increase Frost Nova's Root duration by 0.5 seconds.
    • E: Barbed Chains - Increase Chains of Kel'Thuzad damage by 125%. After gaining 30 Blight, Chains of Kel'Thuzad reduces the armor of pulled Heroes by 15 for 4 seconds
  • Level 4
    • E: Strip Shields - Pulling a Hero with Chains of Kel'Thuzad grants Kel'Thuzad a permanent 246 (at 20) shield, stacking up to 2 times. Additionally, Chains of Kel'Thuzad deals up to 442 (at 20) bonus damage to Shields.
    • Passive/Quest: Phylactery of Kel'Thuzad
      • Quest: Collect 10 Regeneration Globes to charge Kel'Thuzad's Phylactery. Reward: Kel'Thuzad's Phylactery can be activated while dead to immediately respawn at the Hall of Storms, but must be charged again.
      • Passive: Kel'Thuzad heals for 10% of all Spell Damage dealt while the Phylactery is charged
    • Active: Armor of the Archlich - Activate to gain 50 Physical Armor for 4 seconds, upon activation, nearby enemies take 99 (at 20) damage and are slowed 35% for 4 seconds, 25 second cooldown
  • Level 7
    • Q: Accelerated Decay - Each time a hero is hit by Death and Decay's pool, they take 20% more periodic damage from Death and Decay for the next 4 seconds, stacking up to 6 times.
    • Active: Glacial Spike - Activate to create a spike that detonates after 4 seconds, dealing 360 (at 20) damage to nearby enemies. The spike can be affected by Chains of Kel'Thuzad. 30 second cooldown.
    • Passive: Chilling Touch - Every 8 seconds, Kel'Thuzad's basic attacks hit nearby enemies, deals Spell damage instead of Physical, and slow by 30% for 2 seconds.
  • Level 13
    • W: Icy Grasp - Increase Frost Nova slow duration by 1.5 seconds
    • E: Chains of Ice - After Chains of Kel'Thuzad stun expires, targets are slowed by 70% for 1.25 seconds
    • E: Chain-Link - Pulling two Heroes with Chains of Kel'Thuzad reduces its cooldown by 4 seconds
  • Level 16
    • Q: Arcane Echoes - Hitting Heroes with Death and Decay reduces its cooldown by 1.25 seconds.
    • W: Hungering Cold - Enemies rooted by Frost Nova take an additional 103 (at 20) damage each time they are damaged by Kel'Thuzad during the next 4 seconds.
    • Passive: Power of Icecrown Stunning, Rooting or Slowing a hero grants 6% Spell Power for 10 seconds, stacking up to 5 times.
  • Level 20
    • R1: Deathchill - When Frost Blast's Root expires, enemies are Slowed by 40% for 3 seconds. Heroes killed while under the effects of Frost Blast instantly release another Frost Blast Explosion
    • R2: Might of the Scourge - Hitting an enemy hero with Shadow Fissure resets the cooldown
    • Active: Shifting Malice - Activate to Dash Forward, dealing 251(at 21) damage to enemies in the path.. Takedowns reset the Cooldown of Shifting Malice. 240 second cooldown
    • Active: The Damned Return- Activate to create a Shade of Naxxramas that lasts 15 seconds, which mimics Kel'Thuzad's casts of Death and Decay. 15 second cooldown.

As for the other characters, Reddit has gathered all the information about changed talents and reworks. Each has at least one major rework, moving quests or abilities to baseline, or in Morales' case entirely removed mana. Expect full patch notes next week when the PTR goes live.

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Update August 22, 2017: In an interview at Gamescom, Blizzard told us a little more about what we can expect from the Call of Kel'Thuzad patch, which is due on PTR next week.

Perhaps the biggest news is exactly that - Kel'Thuzad, his related skins, his event and all those reworks will hit PTR next week and go to live the following week, if all goes well. Read on for more.

Most significant of the planned changes are confirmed reworks for Leoric, Lt. Morales, Jaina and Chromie. While Blizzard weren't forthcoming with details of what to expect, doubtless we'll see a little more on stage tomorrow during the "Reveal Ceremony" which will also see a new, full animated short for Overwatch.

More minor updates include a "bunch of new quest improvements" when it comes to recognising who in your game is at their most potent. The two halves of this is that the kill feed will now show quest completions to everyone, and the scoreboard now keeps track of all quests.

"Butcher - normally you don't know how far he is through his quest until he's finished it, at which point his axe starts to glow," explains Kyle Dates, game designer. "Now you can keep track of that in the tab screen." In other words, you'll know ahead of time when he's about to beef up and mess with your day.

Finally, the Call of Kel'Thuzad event will bring with it a bunch of new sprays and icons, as well as a banner of Naxxramas. You earn them through daily quests, requiring kills by either team in any game with Kel'Thuzad.

See below for the new hero's abilities, as well as confirmation of the three new skins - Dreadlord Jaina, Death Knight Sonya and Crypt Queen Zagara.

Update August 21, 2017: Kel'Thuzad's abilities, description, and more are now live! Here's what he does.

  • Hero Trait: Master of the Cold Dark
    • Quest: Gain 1 Blight every time a Hero is rooted by Frost Nove or Chains of Kel'Thuzad. 
    • Reward: After gaining 15 Blight, the cooldown of all Basic Abilities is reduced by 2 seconds.
    • Reward: After gaining 30 Blight, gain 75% Spell Power.
  • Q: Death and Decay
    • After 0.5 seconds, launch an orb that explodes upon hitting an enemy, dealing 150 damage to enemies in the area. The explosion leaves behind a pool of decay that lasts 2 seconds, dealing 70 damage every 0.5 seconds to enemies.
  • W: Frost Nova
    • Create a nova that explodes after 1 second, dealing 212 damage to enemies inside and Slowing them by 35% for 2.5 seconds. Enemies in the center are Rooted for 1 second.
  • E: Chains of Kel'Thuzad
    • Launch a chain, dealing 97 damage to the first enemy Hero or Structure hit. For 4 seconds after hitting an enemy, Chains can be reactivated to launch to an additional enemy, pulling both enemies together and Stunning them for 0.5 seconds.
  • Heroic Ability 1: Frost Blast
    • Launch a meteor of ice at an enemy Hero. Upon impact, the meteor deals 100 damage to its target and 275 damage to enemies in the area. All enemies hit by Frozen Tomb are Rooted for 1.5 seconds.
  • Heroic Ability 2: Shadow Fissure
    • Create a fissure anywhere on the Battleground that explodes after 1.5 seconds, dealing 440 damage to enemy Heroes in its area.

He's labelled as an Assassin, so expect the Archlich of Naxxramas to be dealing hefty chunks of damage while providing a whole lot of utility in the form of his roots and slows. You can get a look at him in-game on his official page, plus a glimpse at his skin Star Lich Kel'Thuzad.

Update August 21, 2017: The hero that people have been asking for in Heroes of the Storm since, well, it was released, is Kel'Thuzad. Now, he's finally coming to the game, with what looks like an event called Call of Kel'Thuzad.

All that's been shown so far is an animated cinematic, but it does display three new skins that will be coming to the game alongside the new hero: Crypt Queen Zagara, Dreadlord Jaina, and Death Knight Sonya. On Wednesday, a hero spotlight will be coming out to show off Kel'Thuzad in more detail, but until then: your calls have been heard, Kel'Thuzad is finally coming to the Nexus.

Original story August 20, 2017: Last year, the Machines of War event was announced at Gamescom - it heralded new maps, characters, and skins for Heroes of the Storm. It was the first StarCraft-themed event for the game, and it looks like we’re probably getting something similar this year, perhaps themed around the recent Hearthstone expansion Knights of the Frozen Throne.

This is all speculation surrounding a series of tweets coming from the Heroes of the Storm Twitter account, showing off some artwork of what looks to be existing characters with new skins. Here’s what they all look like.

So, that looks like some sort of Nerubian skin for Zagara, a Dread Knight skin for Sonya, and possibly a wonderfully meme-y Dreadlord Jaina skin. Some people have been speculating that it may be related to Kel’thuzad, one of the oft-requested heroes, going off the fact that the order of the Nerubian and the armour-focused reveals for Zagara and Sonya are in the same order as the Naxxramas raid from World of Warcraft, but that may be a stretch. It's definitely something undead.

When will that be announced? Tomorrow! Looks like Blizzard will be showing off a video at 18:00 CEST (17:00 BST, 09:00 PT, 12:00 ET, and 02:00 AEDT) so look out for that around then. 

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