Heroes of the Storm: Objective and Camp Control in Infernal Shrines, Volskaya Foundry, Alterac Pass, and Towers of Doom

 Guide for Infernal Shrines, Volskaya Foundry, Alterac Pass, and Towers of Doom!

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In Heroes of The Storm, the goal is to destroy the opposing team's Core in any way you can. In the previous guides of this series we learned about Cursed Hollow, Dragon Shire and Braxis Holdout as well as Sky Temple, Tomb of the Spider Queen, and Battlefield of Eternity. The four remaining maps in the ranked rotation will be our focus in today’s article: Infernal Shrines, Volskaya Foundry, Alterac Pass, and my personal favourite, Towers of Doom!

Infernal Shrines

Early-game (From level 1 to 10):

Each team’s Siege Camp goes to the middle lane; while bringing a bit of lane control, they are simply taken for the experience they give. The neutral camp in the bottom lane is often source of conflicts. If you have the chance to take it by all means do so. It is effective experience and lane pressure in the bottom of the map. However, do not risk everything for a camp either. Bruiser Camps, also known as Shaman Camps, will push the top lane really hard if they are not dealt with. Kill the shaman first or it will respawn the dogs and keep pushing.

The first Shrine will spawn randomly in one of three designated areas determined 30s into the game, and getting control over it to obtain the Punisher’s power is an enormous advantage. However, the first Punisher is rather weak and you can leave it to your opponents if your team is also weak in early game fights. Trade by getting more experience, camps, and pressure on the map. There are three types of Punisher. Arcane is clearly the strongest, it summons beams which rotate and deal massive damage. The Frozen Punisher can root heroes in large areas after a short delay. The weakest one is the Mortar Punisher, which deals a bit of extra damage in smaller areas. Hover the cursor over a Shrine indicator on the Minimap to display whether it will be a Mortar, Frost, or Arcane Shrine. You can also tell which Punisher will spawn by the color of the shrine when it is active (credit to: Gamepedia). Purple is Arcane, orange is Mortar, and blue is Frozen.

On the Shrine itself, you have to kill 40 little defenders in the area. In the same way they would clear minion waves, waveclear heroes are really good at dealing with this objective. The last-hit rule applies on those neutral monsters, which means you can wait until the enemy gets a bunch of defenders low on health so you can steal them with one spell. On the other hand, line skillshots are pretty weak on this objective because they will get intercepted by one or two defenders very easily - basically, this is not a good map for Li-Ming.

Mid-Game (From level 10 to 16):

Siege Camps hold the same role. With the map being more opened up and your team being stronger at clearing camps, you will get more opportunities to steal the enemy’s camp. If you do so, the goats will attack whatever is in their vision. Cast a spell to provide vision on your foes’ fountain so they can bring it down safely over the wall! Because they’re in side lanes, the neutral Siege Camp and the Bruiser Camps are perfect to distract the enemy when the objective is up, and they will get structure damage in if they are ignored long enough.

Subsequent Shrines will spawn in a different location and be of a different type from the previous one (though, Gamepedia states that there's a 0.015% chance that this might not be the case, so keep an eye out for that possibility). Punishers will go after enemy heroes first and they are a big asset to the team who gets them. However, this mechanic is also exploitable. Attack the punisher from behind your gate to goad it to jump over, stunning all heroes in the area for 1 second. More specifically, the punisher will jump on the nearest enemy hero that it gets vision of, with an initial cooldown of 5 seconds on his jump, and 15 seconds for subsequent ones. You need reveal yourself from the fog of war in order to trigger the jump, which is easy to do by attacking it.

If the enemy is willing to give you the objective and they want to trade somewhere else, don’t take it too quickly. Keep it at 39/40 guardians killed so you can get it whenever you want. You can now soak, clear the enemies’ camps, and even get your own camps! This 39/40 trick is valid throughout the whole game, as long as the enemy team is far behind in the race (under 25/40 is safe). There are a lot of reasons why you would want to use the 39/40 trick. Maybe you want to wait for a teammate to respawn, for your healer to get a bit of mana… But if you don’t have a specific idea of what you would do while waiting, just take the 40th right away. While a Punisher is active, it’s common to have your offlaner double soak for your team so you don’t miss out on experience. You can still consider pushing as five if your lanes are already pushed, if you can secure a keep or even go Core.

Late-game (From level 16 to the end):

All camps are a great asset to either empower your push with the objective, apply pressure somewhere else on the map, or defend against other camps and catapults. If you have a Keep down, the enemy can just try to deny the objective and stall until the catapult pressure eventually forces you to go away, unless you cap a camp to compensate in that lane right before the objective starts! If you do get the objective and can get a camp as well, it is usually better to split your map pressure by taking a camp which will go in another lane from the Punisher. The enemy already has so much to deal with, they can’t split without losing the trade. Nevertheless, it’s more common to just take the Punisher right away, especially if you just got two or three kills.

A late-game Punisher is devastating! An Arcane Punisher is just insane: the damage it can dish out on heroes is tremendous. Try to follow the Punisher’s engage on enemy heroes if you have the opportunity! It will do so much by itself, you just have to finish people off and lock them down for the Punisher to do its job! I’m not gonna lie, defending against a late-game Punisher is not easy. If you are defending against one, try to bait it away from your structures and foes; well timed cleanses, self-cleanses, and mobility skills can help bait the Punisher safely. If you have the opportunity to take a camp in the same lane, it can help you defend and delay a little.

Quick Recap:

On this big map, Camps will get a lot of value if they are ignored. Time them right when they are far from the objective to force a rotation or have them push hard. The Punisher is a great asset which will attack heroes directly, but remember the 39/40 trick if you need to clear waves, camps, or get your own camps. Splitting pressure on the map will effectively make it impossible for the enemy team to deal with everything. Ask yourself if the enemy is gonna have a hard time defending the Punisher before you take it, such as if they have members down for instance.

Volskaya Foundry

Early-game (From level 1 to 10):

This map introduces a new type of camp: Fortification Camps! They work like other mercenaries and give you a massive chunk of experience when you take them, but give you an item instead of pushing a lane like usual camps. Take them as frequently as you can to get more experience and more turrets - I can’t highlight enough how much experience they give! Siege Camps are the only classic camps on this map. They will apply pressure in the top lane and push if left alone. The Support Camp works like the Fortification Camps but is considered Elite class, like Bosses on other maps. If you take it you can get a Healing Pulse, which will help a lot when fighting on an objective by restoring 40% of your team’s health and mana in a large area over 10 seconds; however in the early game you won’t have many opportunities.

The first Control Point to activate will be the middle one, then top, then bottom. This cycle repeats until the game ends. Considering the first objective, taking Siege Camps right before will create a distraction or get some value. It is important to note that only one person needs to be on the point to keep it under control, leaving the opportunity for the rest of the team to clear waves or take a second turret. Similarly, only one person needs to be on the point to contest, but progress is not stopped when contesting - you usually contest to prevent the point from being controlled in the first place which denies the progression percentage the enemy could get, or you also contest to go in Overtime (at 99%) to prevent the enemy from getting the Protector itself. It takes a whole minute to completely channel the objective (6s to get control, 54 seconds to get the percentage). We also need to talk about a unique mechanic of Volskaya: Conveyor Belts. They give better movement in one way, and hinder it in the other; for the middle point, the main conveyor belt helps a fast rotation from the bottom lane (which is the solo lane), and the side belts will help move out of the fight.

If you get the Protector, use it to get experience and structure damage. The consistent play is to inflict structure damage in the middle lane, take the towers, open the gate, and switch to the top lane! If you are completely sure that you can get the middle fort do it, otherwise you want to take out the healing fountain of the enemy team in the top lane, because the next objective will be there; this is the priority, then you can get the towers if you have enough resources, but do not overextend. To use the Protector properly, the Pilot will move it, use W on towers and forts to disable them, Q to charge and deal consistent AOE damage, and E to gain armor and shield nearby allies. The Gunner will focus structures with W, let it recharge while using Q and E to deal long range AOE damage against both structures and heroes. Considering the protector’s abilities, the main tank and the healer can usually get in without losing too much value, but if your damage dealers are too vulnerable it’s better to get them in and leave the healer outside. If the enemy tries to engage hard into your Protector, get the tank out, as he brings enough displacement and control to scare the enemy’s engage.

Mid-Game (From level 10 to 16):

Take your Fortification Camp whenever it is up and you don’t have anything major to do, this will really maximize the experience you can get. Same with your Siege Camp, the control point will be in the top lane anyway, so it will be a decent distraction. It is still nice to have it during the objective as it gives lane control. The Support Camp is now an option. If you have a lead, either getting a kill or your Heroic Abilities before the enemy team, capitalize on this advantage and take the Healing Pulse!

On the second Control Point, the conveyor belts are more spread throughout the objective, helping escape when used correctly, but also making routes for engage predictable. With the Protector, push the top lane if you can. However, preparing for the next objective is always the consistent and safe play. Rotate to the bottom lane to take the healing fountain and inflict some structure damage. If you take the whole gate and the fountain, you can rotate back to the middle lane to finish the job.

But while the Protector is doing all this, you don’t want to miss out on experience! You will usually have your offlaner double soak to avoid that. As an aside, if you have a Nazeebo on your team, he should double soak to get his stacks easily.

Late-game (From level 16 to the end):

Fortification Camps… Yes, you already know you need to take them. For the Siege Camps, now is the time where the objective will be the farthest away from the lane they push, and they finally bring enough damage to actually push decently, so look to take them with the perfect timing! The objective is also pretty far from the Support Camp, meaning it’s not too risky to take it if the enemy is already on the Control Point - it’s also a good strategy to get it if you lose an early fight on the point and you are waiting for some teammates to respawn.

The third Control Point will spawn in the bottom of the map. You will maybe get a fourth in the middle if the game drags out, but that’s about it. The bottom Control Point is more dynamic: the conveyor belts cycle inside and next to the point, making it a unique fighting arena! It is almost always better to go in the same direction as the conveyor belt, since moving against it will make you an easy target for destruction. With the respawn timers being longer in the late-game, winning a fight will let you push while a single person stays on the point: prepare the lane as best as you can to end the game. The bare minimum is to take the keep with the Protector. If you cannot end, prepare the next objective and apply pressure in the middle lane.

Quick Recap:

With the unique item mechanic on this map, the focus on the objective is emphasized. Take turrets whenever they are up for both the experience and the damage they give to you. Take the healing pulse when you have the opportunity or a clear advantage. Siege Camps will push and serve as a distraction. Control Points cycle in mid-top-bot order: prepare the next objective unless you can get a structure safely or end the game with the Protector. When fighting over the objective, don’t be afraid to give capture percentage, tap at your fountain, then re-engage. This is what you are denying to your opponents by taking their wells. In general, there’s no need to rush, you can lose an early fight, then regroup and recontest.

Alterac Pass

Early-game (From level 1 to 10):

Take your Siege Camp as soon as it spawns for lane control and extra experience. It will respawn when the objective starts, letting you take it once more while the rest of the team delays. If your team cannot delay, however, it is better to wait and take it right before the objective. Bosses are not an option this early in the game.

The objective is pretty straightforward. You kill those tanky minions to channel, get control over the prison, and prevent the enemy from re-capturing it. However, if you win a teamfight and can keep the objective under your control easily for some time, it is not necessary for the whole team to stay. Note that you need at least one person to keep the objective from getting interrupted in case you fall back for experience or camps; however, the guards will not instantly interrupt the progression of the objective like heroes do if they channel it. You do not need to get the whole objective in one go! Put pressure somewhere else on the map, get some experience, and come back when you’re ready to fight again.

Pushing with this objective is insane! It has a lot of health, gives your team 30% movement speed, 10% damage and spell power buffs, and goes on all lanes. In the early-game, focus on getting experience on all lanes; you can usually get a good amount of structure damage as well, but don’t overextend to get a fort if it’s unsafe. If your camp is up and you have time, take it while you are capturing the objective: the armor reduction the camp provides will empower the push even further and may lead your team to getting a first fort!

Mid-Game (From level 10 to 16):

Siege Camps only take 1:30 to respawn, take them when you don’t have anything major to do and, again, right before/during the objective. It’s also a good way to lessen or negate the enemy’s push in the middle lane if they got the objective - engage the camp before the objective ends though, or it will disappear from the map. Bosses are now an option, but they are pretty weak. If you have the opportunity to take one right before the objective, it will get some value and give you a big window to get the majority of the objective. Otherwise, you can push with it so it doesn’t go to waste.

To defend against the objective, you will need waveclear for the minion waves or they will inflict a lot of damage to your structures. If you mostly have single target damage, focus the cavalry before clearing the rest. In case you are pushing with it, get in the zone for the extra damage and attack heroes first: you have more damage than them, you will force them to go away, and then you can push!

Late-game (From level 16 to the end):

Siege Camps are scary with the armor reduction. You can push with them if you have an advantage. Bosses are good distractions, but actually don't push as hard as the camps, though the Boss is still harder to clear. If you have a Boss going to the enemy’s core, it will not always end the game, even if you are there. The unique armor mechanic makes it so you need have at least two keeps down to take the core down as easily as on other maps, and you need to be sure that you will kill the core or it will regenerate to full health!

This is why if you get the objective, getting keeps first is almost always the best play, and in the late-game it’s usually what happens. Of course, if the whole enemy team is dead, going for the core is an option, but the armor is a mechanic that needs to be taken into account.

In case you are the team on defense, protecting a keep is usually more important than protecting the core if you still have 2 keeps. Send only one person to defend the core, clearing the catapult-equivalent minions and the cavalry. Clearing lanes before defending gives you control over the objective. If a lane is pushed towards you, the cavalry will arrive there. If you cleared the lane, the cavalry will take time before getting to your structures.

Quick Recap:

Siege Camps are strong and respawn every 90 seconds, so take them when they are up! They can also empower the objective or defend against it if you take them right before the objective ends. Bosses are pretty far out on the map, which makes them a great distraction. Push hard with the damage increase the objective gives you; get experience and structures to empower your lead until you dominate the map and get to the core.

Tower of Doom

Early-game (From level 1 to 10):

Early Sapper Camps will give you experience and lane control. The bottom lane is very important due to the layout of the map and controlling it can lead you to win the game in many cases - we will discuss this in the late-game section. The top camp will help your solo laner in his lane and might force a rotation to get more control on the other side of the map. The Boss is unique and directly attacks the core. However, it is not an option this early in the game due to its central position and your lack of damage.

Altars will spawn and channeling them completely will attack the enemy’s core, inflicting as many damage points as you have structures - core included. No pushing here, and no strategies to push better with the objective itself; you will need to win fights and channel altars. As the channeling time is six seconds, it is a good strategy to poke whoever’s channeling to delay and wait for the opportunity to find the winning engage. For the first objective, three altars will spawn: two towards the top of the map for each team to take, and one either middle or bottom. It is common to simply trade the two top altars and fight for the third in the central part of the map; however, it is still possible to invade the enemy’s altar and be aggressive.

Mid-Game (From level 10 to 16):

Pushing with Sapper Camps will now be more effective and contesting the enemy’s camp is also pretty common since there is not much to do on the map when no objective is present. The Boss is now an option, but it doesn’t bring more control over the map, it’s simply a slight advantage towards the main objective; you should only do it when several enemy heroes are down with enough respawn time for this play to be safe, and it only gives you 4 shots on the enemy’s core - this is similar to taking an Altar if no Bell Tower (structure) has been claimed by a team.

Subsequent Altars will spawn 110 seconds after the last one has been captured. Either one or two Altars will spawn: middle alone, bottom alone, middle and bottom, or top left and right. You will not encounter another triple Altar phase until you reach the fifth time, and then there will be no more. In case of a single altar phase, it’s a straightforward fight to channel it in a similar way to Cursed Hollow’s Tributes. In case of a double altar phase, things are a bit more complicated: do you simply want to trade because you have the advantage, can you get more to get an even bigger advantage, or do you need to come back because you’re already behind in shots?

Late-game (From level 16 to the end):

Sapper Camps, bottom lane… Why is it so important? The answer is you can damage the core with those camps. With two camps being on the bottom lane it gives more opportunity to do so; also with triple altar phases not happening after the fifth one, having the control over both bottom bell towers gives you more control over the objectives (3 of 4 layouts for the objective will happen between the middle and bottom area, and you deny a route for your opponent to get in and out of the fight). The Boss can be a win condition in some cases, but you can also take it to deny it from your opponents if it poses a threat.

The objective is as straightforward as ever, and at least one of the two teams will begin to have too few points to let the altars go. However, map control in the late-game is a tremendous advantage: if you hold all six bell towers, you will damage the enemy’s core periodically. This forces the enemy team to reclaim at least one, and it also weakens any altar they will channel while empowering yours!

Quick Recap:

Towers of Doom is a unique map in which you cannot attack the enemy’s core directly. Map control and bell towers will give you an advantage for the objective. Sapper Camps will help you get control over the map and may damage the core if you lead them to it. The Boss will also damage the core so be aware of this option. You can give up altar shots to secure an experience lead and/or get control over the bottom lane. Shots themselves have no effect on the game until your core falls to 0 health.

About bottom lane control - if the enemy team doesn’t really respond to it, keep playing normally with your solo laner in the top lane and rotations between the middle and the bottom. If they do respond however, your solo laner will need to double soak at your four-man will fight over the bottom lane.

Here's a short anecdote: I was playing Samuro, and the enemy destroyed us on the first objective with Cho'Gall. For the next objective, we had one team member poke and stall the objective a bit while the rest of the team ignored it to push top and bottom lane. We went 20-40 to 20-0 by strategically yielding the early game objectives against the teamfighting composition and playing the macro game.

Conclusion:
We now covered all maps of the ranked rotation, and discovered the unique aspects of items camps and protected cores. This was the final guide of this series, and if you didn’t get the opportunity before, learn right now about Cursed Hollow, Dragon Shire, and Braxis Holdout as well as Sky Temple, Tomb of the Spider Queen, and Battlefield of Eternity. Stay tuned for more Heroes of the Storm content, and until then, step it up in the Nexus!

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Heroes of the Storm: Objective and Camp Control in Infernal Shrines, Volskaya Foundry, Alterac Pass, and Towers of Doom
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