This article outlines the Hero Line-ups and Perks for speedrunning, as of Version 15.0 (April 2022)
This is a very brief outline of speedrunning, and given that Doomsday now has Electrostatic Fallout and Surgical Strike as given Talents, only Dune and Anvil benefit from it in speedruns as they are the only heroes that should be nuking.
For other heroes, there are still more important perks to pick in speedruns.
The absolute record, across all seasons, for 4-Player Oldschool is 27m30s.
In this run, Fury was picked over Pyro to provide the Battlefield Promotions mastery. This mastery gives a total of 12 talents, divided equally over the heroes in the game, meaning that each hero in a 4 player game obtains +3 talents. This was done to mitigate the poor talent system, which did not provide essential talents for Dune. In short, Battlefield Promotion is a mitigation of poor talent distribution design.
Ideally, Pyro should be used over Fury, and this would allow an even better record.
Oldschool Hero Line-up
- The first hero is Dune. He is an essential hero for an early general trigger and massive AoE damage with his overload and self-nuking all through out the game.
- The second hero is Anvil. He is essential to scan and nuke the Omegalisk and leviathan bases to death.
- The third hero is realistically Fury. He is chosen over Pyro because of his Battlefield Promotion mastery, which aims to reduce the number of remakes to allow Dune to trigger the general early game with required talents. This is to mitigate poor talent distribution design, some of which should have been baseline for all heroes, such as Mud Stompers and Nimble Feet.
- Ideally, Pyro is preferred over Fury for better lag management. Pyro's firestarter and heatwave abilities allow him to melt zerglings, broodlings, primal mutalisks, and other small units that cause the most lag. Less lag allows Dune to move out and perform his functions in a speedrun game.
- For the fourth and final hero, we exclude Nova, Aquila, Predator which are terrible heroes for speedrunning Oldschool due to their very low overall damage relative to other heroes.
- For the fourth and final hero, Tychus, Messiah and Atlas are decent damage dealers, but outshined by Swann, Tassadar and Fury.
As of April 2022, the absolute 4-player Hellwalker record across all seasons is 45m27s. The previous record of 48m57s was impressive. However, this new record is an incredible feat that would not have been possible without world-class players and proper planning.
However, this new record is even more compelling for the following reasons:
- It is a clear 3min30s faster, which, in speedrun times, is a light-year.
- Nightmares are much more dangerous to Dune and Predator compared to the older version of the game. While Dune is only significantly delayed by them, they are usually deadly to Predator, especially without Tenacity.
- The previous version of Mercenary was more powerful in delivering more nuke damage, more vision range and an adequate amount of minerals. The new Mercenary no longer boosts nuke damage by +250 and no longer provides +3 vision range, meaning that not only is the early General trigger harder, but Dune cannot nuke deep into certain areas he previously could with increased vision range. For example Leviathan and Brain Bug Bases are just 2 examples. This means increased delays.
- The fact that Mercenary now provides 10,000 minerals instead of 5000 minerals does not offset the disadvantages above, since the game was completed with much more minerals than needed. There are only specific targets that must be nuked in a speedrun. Therefore, the previous version of Mercenary was more powerful in delivering more nuke damage, more vision range and an adequate amount of minerals. The new Mercenary is a nerf for speedrunning.
- Predator's Battlecry has taken a significant nerf in the new version of the game, reducing spell damage resistance. Heroes now take 220% the spell damage they took compared to the previous version of Battlecry. In absolute terms, Heroes take ADDITIONAL +15% spell damage.
- This means Anvil and Nova are much more vulnerable to spells such as ravagers, nukebacks and hybrids. This requires additional planning on their part to survive.
- This also means heroes such as Nova are pigeonholed into taking Armageddon mastery just to survive, despite being fully stacked with Battlecry. This means significant delays (>30s) in completing the Odin Fight by the 22nd minute. This is extremely significant in speedruns.
As such the difference in times between the new and old record, with all things considered equal, should be much greater than 3min30s.
Hellwalker Hero Line-up
The line-up required would be:
- Dune remains essential
- Predator becomes essential because of its ability to reduce spell damage from nukebacks, ravager shots and his necessity to engage the general twice with the mass general nukes.
- Anvil is a necessity to scan and trigger bosses without activating their bases. This is especially important for the Leviathan Base. Additionally, Anvil deals tremendous damage to ground targets such as hives and nightmares, as well as being invisible and impervious to the hybrid lifting spells (although he still takes damage from them).
- Nova becomes essential. Her 15% damage increase mark debuff is excellent, on top of allowing Dune to pick Doomsday instead of Air Support. Her armageddon mastery is finally put to good use to eliminate other targets on the map with mass general nukes that occur twice. She will unlock her score by the 18th minute (Level 40), and melt the brain bug by the 21st minute. Although she has cheaper nukes, other Heroes such as Dune and Anvil have more powerful nukes with Doomsday. Minerals are not an issue on HW speedruns, as long as they are directed with precision to well-defined targets.
As such the squad for HW is fixed with 4 heroes. Nova could be replaced with Pyro or Atlas, and the team would still be able to complete <50m00 times easily, but absolute records of around 45 minutes or less necessitate Nova.
Table for Hero Perks for Hellwalker Speedrun Games
Given that Dune, Predator and Anvil remain constant, with Nova being a firm favorite as the 4th hero, we will only consider other heroes that have a chance at accomplishing <50m00 HW speedruns.
We exclude Aquila. Her DPS is the lowest of all heroes.
Tychus, Swann, Fury, Pyro, Messiah and Atlas can be immensely effective in the dynamics of HW multiplayer speedruns, in different and interesting ways.
The table below shows the original perks for non-speedrun multiplayer OS and HW games:
For Hellwalker speedruns, the above table simply needs to be modified:
- Replace all Helldivers with Mercenary. Nukes and Nukebacks provides more than enough DPS during the Odin fight, making Helldivers obsolete at all points of the game.
- For Swann, replace Absorbtion with Mercenary. He will not need Flaming Betties at all during the Odin fight.
- For Nova, replace Weaponsmith with Mercenary. She will reach her 2500 score before the end of the Odin fight. After she reaches her 2500 score, Weaponsmith is irrelevant to sniping damage. Executioner deals the damage cap of snipe on high HP units.
- For Predator, his 4th perk is Mercenary
- For Anvil, Leadership and Air Support are scrapped off and replaced with Doomsday and Mercenary. Again, a meagre +20% damage for Jotunbanes with Leadership perk is rendered obsolete with additional nukebacks and the benefits of Doomsday perk.
- For Fury, both Helldivers and Air Support are scrapped off for Mercenary and Weaponsmith.
- For Pyro, Air Support is replaced with Mercenary.
- For Atlas, Helldivers and Air Support are scrapped off for Mercenary and Compartment.
- For Dune, with Doomsday now including the Electrostatic Fallout talent and Surgical Strike talent, he should pick it as the Hellwalker Perk number 4.
Mercenary over Helldivers for Hellwalker Speedrun
Helldivers upgrade for each major boss kills, which are the Brutalisk, the Omegalisk, the Leviathan, the Brain Bug, and the General. There are hence 5 levels of upgrades. In Speedrun games, we swap Helldivers for Mercenary for 2 major reasons:
- Nukes and nukebacks provide much higher DPS compared to even Maxed Helldivers. Mercenary provides 10,000 minerals for each major boss and hive killed. Mercenary provides the minerals for non-stop nukes, and correspondingly, non-stop nukebacks.
- Once you start to move out, Helldivers unfocused fire, irritating ability to aggro enemies, their frequent deaths, etc are more of a liability than a benefit. Therefore, replacing Helldivers for Mercenary is a logical choice.
Links to the guides
- Introduction to GhostDragon's Guide
- Guide to all Hero Perks for Normal Games (GhostDragon) (OLDSCHOOL and HELLWALKER Version 15.0 (April 2022). Solo runs excluded.)
- Guide to all Hero Mastery Orders (GhostDragon) (OLDSCHOOL and HELLWALKER Version 15.0 (April 2022). Solo runs excluded.)