Difference Between Tank and Bruiser

Generally I don’t worry a whole lot about the difference between tanks and bruisers since there is a lot of overlap among those categories. Not like the huge difference between a tank and an assassin or the huge difference between a bruiser and a healer.

My question is the game lists Dehaka as a bruiser and it has Blaze as a tank. Now both of those characters are in my top 10 as far as games played and xp. If it was up to me I would flip those categories. I consider Dehaka more of a tank and I think Blaze is more of a bruiser. Dehaka uses essence to heal which gives him sustain. Blaze had his bunker ult nerfed into the ground which forces you to pick his damage dealing ult which is more in line with a bruiser.

What do you guys think? Should those two be swapped. Change 1 but not the other? Let me know.

Really confusing post, because 99% of people would rather main tank with a Blaze than a Dehaka. Their ability to main tank is not similar.

I would feel uncomfortable with someone picking Dehaka as our only tank in draft, just as solo tank Zarya or solo Leoric.

Blaze has also great peels for his team who get dived or attacked (aoe stun, slow, Bunker), Dehaka only has drag and a very high risk isolate ult (which might miss and do nothing).


To me a tank is not only the ability to peel. It is also about being able to sustain in a fight which Dehaka has a lot of. A lot of assassins have some form of cc and thus the ability to peel is not limited to tanks.

Blaze does more damage and that is more in line with a bruiser than a tank.

A dev briefly discussed why Dehaka isn’t a tank a while back


Thank you for that info Xoxin. I agree that many tanks / bruisers are hybrids and can do both. I consider both Blaze and Dehaka to be among my best characters and feel i can make them work as either one.

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The difference is whether or not they perform a “selfish” or “support” (ally-oriented) function.

The reason why Dehaka has trouble fitting into the “tank” category, is because he doesn’t do a good job of assisting (supporting) his teammates. However, he is very good at split-pushing and ganking (both are selfish aspects.)

Essentially all hero roles can be split into two groups: Ally-oriented (support) and self-centered (selfish).

Selfish roles:
Melee Assassin
Ranged Assassin

Ally-oriented roles:


Or to put it another way there are 1. damage dealers and 2. those that heal or counter/block damage.

Lol love your definition its going to really bug assassin mains. But according to your definition dehaka would definitely fall in the support category because if he’s not using his trait to soak damage there are better bruisers to engage on backline.

As for op, you hit the nail on the head kind of. Some bruisers can act as tanks and some tanks are better bruisers. Blaze is a harder hero to play. In qm/lower ranks dehaka is a better maintank than him. As you get into gold+ suddenly people are getting better at staying on the move and dehaka’s stun becomes very rare to land. Also blaze players get better. Then the roles reverse and dehaka cannot maintank effectively while blaze can.

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Does Dehaka soak damage for his sake? Or his ally’s?

The concept is easy to grasp with a simple explanation: is healing innately support-oriented? No.
If you can only heal yourself, that is selfish healing. If you can heal yourself and others, that’s selfish and ally-oriented. If you can only heal others, that’s strictly ally-oriented.

Dehaka can only heal himself, and as such his soak is much more about his survival than his ally’s. (One could argue his large size makes him more capable of blocking skillshots for teammates.) So what aspect makes him similar to a tank?

The stun. Disables (as they are designed in this game) are both selfish and support functioning. To be a Tank in HotS means to have reliable disables that are useful to your allies. In Dehaka’s case, his disables are not particularly reliable, thus making him difficult to fill in the “Tank” role.

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I think far too many people get hung up on labels. To me, tanking is what you do, not necessarily what hero you are on. I can and have tanked on many heroes that weren’t labeled as such, including an Unranked Draft match last week where I was main tanking for the first laning phase on Artanis. I have main tanked on Xul, Qhira, Uther, and even Murky. And yes, I have tanked on Dehaka enough times to be glad it doesn’t happen that often.

With that said, the labels do have their place in QM/brawl, due to role matching for tanks. I focus more on how they match up to each other than individual elements such as sustain (although Blaze’s is very good if he knows how to use his W and Q correctly), CC, damage mitigation, and the like. Generally you want a tank who has these tools, but who can also go toe-to-toe with the other tanks on the roster.

If the enemy team has an ETC, who would you rather have in the front line, Dehaka or Blaze? Leoric or Mei? Artanis or Mal’ganis?

I know Blizzard has discussed an upcoming pass through the tanks with some significant changes, so we will see what tanking means in the future.


The label means nothing when even range assassins can have peels

To answer title, Tanks generally have better survivability, larger amounts of CC (and easier to land CCs for that matter), but generally suffer with low damage and inability to waveclear efficiently and/or capture mercs quickly.

Bruisers are tanky melee assassins who have a bit more durability and CC than the average melee assassin, though that CC is often hard to land (think Imperius’ Charge.). They also generally are much better at laning/mercing than Tanks OR melee assasins.

Of course, that’s a rule of thumb. Gaz is a Melee Assassin that acts at times like a Bruiser, Blaze is a solo-laner, etc.


Like Hoku said, pretty sure labels are just gross generalization. Some assassins can have CC and peels just like how some Healers can output decent damage.

Peeling and other hard CC of bruisers tend to be one-tricks, and they often lack a reliable escapes and/or not as durable as a main tank.