In this article, we'll take a deep look at the mechanics on Tomb of the Spider Queen and how to use them to your favour.
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9 Feb 19
One of the most notable things that set Heroes of the Storm apart from other MOBAs is its large pool of Battlegrounds. At first, this can be quite overwhelming when coming from other MOBAs. In this article, we'll take a look at how to win on Tomb of the Spider Queen by diving deep into the topics of laning, mercenaries, objectives, and much more.
On Tomb, there's a big difference when rotation Bot-lane from Mid-lane as opposed to rotating to the Top-lane. In fact, this difference is what dictates the whole laning setup on Tomb of the Spider Queen. Due to the proximity of the Top and Mid-lane, rotating with a 4-man between Top-lane and Mid-lane has become standard practice. Not only can you rotate safely on your side of the altar, but this rotation will also allow you to keep an eye on the top altar as it's hidden from both lanes due to bushes. If your composition has a better lane presence, you'll clear lanes faster and as a result, your enemies will be forced to constantly respond to incoming minion waves in a scramble to not lose valuable experience. Wave clear heroes such as Johanna, Jaina, and Gul'dan are thus excellent, but their value on Tomb of the Spider Queen is even greater due to their ability to clear the Webweavers.
However, having wave clear heroes is not the only way to have better lane presence. Aggressive heroes, such as Kerrigan, can offer a unique threat that dissuades your enemies from stepping too far out from their gate. If you should find yourself facing an aggressive 4-man with similar wave clear, the best strategy would be to mirror their movements. When they're clearing Top-lane, you'll be clearing Mid-lane, and when they're Mid-lane, you'll be Top-lane. This way you'll be able to avoid confrontation and still match them in the experience department. If your team has noticeably slower wave-clear, a smart strategy could be to gank the bottom lane in order to gain XP while making your enemy loses XP. Bot-lane can, however, be harder to gank due to the fact that the rotation path funnels both teams towards the middle and will thus require some clever manipulation of FoW. One way of doing this is to feign a Top-lane rotation by having only one member go Top-lane and under cover of FoW, have the rest of the team move to Bot-lane.
One of the best ways to gain an advantage in the often stagnant bottom lane is to capture the Siege camp towards the very bottom of the map. This is usually done by peeling a member off from the 4-man to sneakily capture the camp. If you see that an enemy is missing from their 4-man, then you'll know that they might be capturing the Siege camp. As a reaction, you could try to rotate members down to confront the enemy, or you could try to gain an advantage somewhere else by e.g. destroying a tower at Top.
A Bruiser camp is situated behind each Mid-lane fort which, if timed correctly, can be used to either strengthen your own Webweaver push or weaken your enemy's. Note that someone must have aggroed the camp before the turn in have been completed as they will otherwise despawn for the duration of the objective. These can also be used to pull your enemy's resources towards Mid-lane while your team finds value elsewhere. Invading your enemy's Bruisers is, however, very risky due to the narrow hallway that you'll have to fight in. As Tomb of the Spider Queen is such a small map, split pressure isn't really achievable, at least not in a very threatening way. This is why it's recommended to capture the bruiser camp as a complementary defence or push tool or as a mere distraction. These cannot realistically be used as a powerful macro tool as opposed to many of the larger maps.
The Tomb of the Spider Queen objective is unique as all progress towards claiming the objective can be lost for both teams. This fact can lead to heavy swings of momentum towards either team if a team-wipe happens as one team will be left with no gems. If the enemy's momentum is strong, it may be wise to wait and weather the storm until the time is right. This window of time will usually come after the enemy's second or third claimed objective as they will most likely have run out of gems to continue the pressure. In fact, this window of time is where most comebacks on Tomb happens in the professional scene. If the enemy has exhausted their supply of gems whilst you have not, you'll be able to force many concessions from them. They're now forced to constantly allocate resources to the altars in order to prevent your turn-in attempts. By committing all team members towards the altars, you'll force the enemy to either take a teamfight in an effort to stop you from turning in or they'll have to concede the objective and cut their losses. This is a true “between a rock and a hard place” scenario and it will force your enemies to choose whatever they feel like is the lesser evil.
In order to increase the power for your Webweaver push, a good start is to push out the lanes. This will make your Webweavers spawn closer to the enemy's fortifications and give them more time to do their thing. As previously stated, a correctly timed mercenary camp could also strengthen your push. At the early stages, it's recommended to push using a 3-1-1 setup in order to soak the most XP. This is because the value of XP in the early game is greater than that of structural damage as it will allow you to more easily stay ahead. Being ahead in talents can even force your enemy to waste their gems. This can be done by claiming the boss. In order to prevent a game threatening push with both the boss and Webweavers, the enemy's will be forced to turn in their gems in order to stall for time so that they can kill the boss. While the enemy is busy dealing with your boss, you can simply take care of their Webweavers, thus wasting their gems at the cost of nothing.
If the enemy claims the objective, pushing out the lanes will be a good strategy to weaken the Webweavers before they've reached your fortifications. A smart strategy could be to stagger the lanes so that the Webweavers reach your structures at a different time. This is one of the best ways to abuse the fact that the map's objective is split into three weaker creatures, rather than a singular strong creature. Staggering the lanes will give you some time to clear the first Webweaver before the other ones have reached your structures. Make sure however to immediately check the map to see if all mercenary camps have despawned as it will allow you to spot if one is being claimed by the enemy to strengthen their push. If the enemy claims the boss and the Webweavers, you'll be faced with a powerful and potentially game-ending push.
As the map is so small, you'll find the laning phase to be quite intense with plenty of skirmishes as each team works their way towards the midgame. Heroes with great wave clear give extra value due to the 4-man laning setup as well as their ability to quickly dispose of enemy Webweavers. Mercenary camps should be captured in conjunction with the objective in order to gain the most value. Just having enough gems to turn in can be an advantage in itself as it draws resources from the enemy. The boss can be used to force the enemy to turn in their gems but can also be used in conjunction with the Webweavers to create a powerful push. This is one of the more reliable win conditions outside of a late game team wipe. Lastly, being behind during the early and mid game on Tomb isn't fatal if you make sure to retain your gems and not lose your keeps, your team still have a very realistic chance of winning.