With the May 17th Patch of Heroes of the Storm, Chromie was introduced into the Nexus. I hope to delve into her abilities and talents today and help you understand our pint-sized summoner a bit better.
Fan Art by Yaornewo
Chromie’s Role in Game
Chromie is a siege mage. She excels at poking the enemy team down with her hard hitting, long range spells. She can do a lot of damage in an instant from what seems like impossible ranges. Her main damage dealing spell cannot hit minions or structures, so her place in the game is very niche. She’s great at defending a push from an enemy team or supporting a push, but she is absolutely horrible at any map objective that requires killing a Boss. Chromie has very similar flaws as Nova. She has to decide when to use her damage dealing spells to clear minions, and even when she tries to do it, she does not do it as well as the other mages in game currently.
Passive: Timewalker – You’ve traveled to the future, and as such, will learn your Talents 1 level earlier than your teammates!
Q: Sand Blast – After 1 second, fire a missile that deals 406 + 4% per level damage to the first enemy Hero hit.
W: Dragon’s Breath – Fire a blast into the air that lands after 1.5 seconds, dealing 458 + 4% per level damage to enemies in an area. Enemies cannot see where the blast will land.
E: Time Trap – Place a Time Trap that arms and Stealths after 2 seconds. The first enemy Hero to touch it will be put into Stasis for 2 seconds. Only 1 trap can exist at once.
R1: Slowing Sands – Place a sand vortex that greatly slows enemies inside it. The longer it is active the more it slows, up to 50% after 5 seconds.
R2: Temporal Loop – Choose an enemy Hero. After 3 seconds, they will teleport back to the location where you cast Temporal Loop on them.
Chromie is a rather simple hero, but has complex timing windows for her abilities. Chromie only has two damaging abilities, Sand Blast and Dragon’s Breath, so there is so much pressure on her being able to hit with these abilities. Unlike Tracer, who is the only other Assassin with two damaging abilities, she cannot rely on auto-attack damage to hit enemies and must position herself and her spells correctly. Both spells have delays to them, so you have to guess the position of your opponent 1.5 seconds after the cast to be able to hit them. Chromie will require a lot of practice to master.
Chromie’s standard combo is to cast Dragon’s Breath in an area and immediately cast Sand Blast in the same location, hitting your opponent with both spells at the same time. The .5 second gap in delay between Dragon’s Breath and Sand Blast will be made up with casting Dragon’s Breath first. Once you hit level 10 and obtain Temporal Loop, cast it on an enemy first, pause for about 1 second and then cast your two damage spells at that location. Temporal Loop guarantees an enemy will be hit by both your damaging spells.
This is my bread and butter talent build for Chromie. I’ll explain my talent choices below and when to pick up other talents in that tier.
Level 1: Compounding Aether – The Level 1 talent choice for Chromie may be the hardest for her. Deep Breathing and Timewalker’s Pursuit are both acceptable answers, both giving her increased damage and a quest. We need to look to the future to see why we pick Compounding Aether. Only 1 level 20 talent directly increases Chromie’s damage and that is Past and Future Me, leading us to pick up all of the Sand Blast talents in the game. Choosing to increase Dragon’s Breath‘s damage may cause Chromie to have issues clearing minion waves, akin to Nova.
Level 4: Piercing Sands – Hitting two enemies with Piercing Sands doubles your damage output. Bronze Talons seems like a good choice, but you’re not playing to the strengths of the character if you are choosing it. If you need to have the ability to do higher siege damage against structures and bosses, our next talent tier will make a bigger difference. Enveloping Sands is not picked up for the reasons explained on Level 1.
Level 7: Dragon’s Eye – This is the talent tier were we cannot modify our Sand Blast and must choose another talent. Dragon’s Eye is a simple 25% damage increase on a spell allowing Chromie to burst down her target faster with her combo. Mobius Loop is a fair talent choice if you team needs wave clear or siege damage. Chromie has similar issues as Nova without this talent pickup. Nova cannot use Snipe to clear minion waves as it’s one of her few damage dealing spells to kill players. Chromie feels the same with Dragon’s Breath. If she uses it to clear a minion wave, she does not a critical spell to damage her enemies. With Mobius Loop, you don’t have to make that decision.
Level 10: Temporal Loop – I’ll be honest, the reason why I pick Temporal Loop over Slowing Sands is because it has a longer cast range. Chromie is meant to be a long range siege mage. Having to lurch forward to cast Slowing Sands can be her death knell. In a meta where Illidan is the most powerful assassin, Chromie cannot be asked to step closer to her enemies to support her team.
Level 13: Reaching Through Time – Both Reaching Through Time and Bye Bye! are viable talent pickups at this this tier. Bye Bye! is a great pickup if there are many melee assassins, like Illidan, on the enemy team to help you get out of sticky situations, reducing your Recall time to .75 seconds. Reaching Through Time allows you to hit what seems like a lane’s distance away, preventing you from getting into that assassin’s range in the first place.
Level 16: Shifting Sands – All three talent pickups on this tier are good. It will take 3 Sandblasts to beat the short term burst from Quantum Overdrive. Quantum Overdrive is an amazing skill allowing you to one-shot most assassins with your combo, but you only have 1 chance to do it due to Dragon Breath‘s cooldown. With Past and Future Me at level 20, you can quickly obtain stacks of Shifting Sands.
Level 20: Past and Future Me – When Chromie hits level 19, she gets a massive damage spike. The second Sandblast from this talent will only do 50% of an un-talented Sandblast, but that’s still a massive increase. In a siege, Chromie can whittle down her enemies very quickly with this talent.
Here’s a sample Chromie game I played on Towers of Doom. You can see the strengths and weaknesses of Chromie and how to use her combo effectively. Beneath is a Tomb of the Spider Queen replay with commentary where you can better see Chromie’s issues with wave clear.
I would highly recommend you try out Chromie if you are fans of Azmodan or Tyrande. She has the power of Azmodan without the need to farm up stacks. Her combo feels as rewarding as a Lunar Flare into an Sentinel from Tyrande. We hope you found this guide helpful and tell us how you feel about the Keeper of Time below.