Hurricane Herding for the Uninitiated


If you’re reading this document, you probably already have some idea what Hurricane is, but for completeness I’ll briefly discuss the mechanics before getting to tactics.

Hurricane is a tier 6 power in the Storm Summoning set, available to defenders and controllers in City of Heroes. Mechanically, it is a toggle creating a 25' radius range and to hit debuff with a repel and knockback effect. This is the only range debuff in the game at present, and the to hit debuff is extremely strong; a fully slotted Hurricane can floor enemy to hit values by itself.

The repel and knockback effect can make the power very awkward to use, as the debuffed enemies tend to leave the debuff area; the power can also cause spawn scattering, which in addition to making things difficult for the storm summoner severely irritates teammates. At the same time an experienced hand can use the power to reshape a spawn almost at will, making her teammates even more effective. In an effort to produce more of the latter without the laborious process I went through to learn this skill, I have written this document.

One caution; the graphical effect for the hurricane does not really correspond to the actual boundaries of the power. The storm summoner must develop a sense for where the edge of the effect is. Knocking grey enemies around can be an effective way of developing this sense.


Repel effect on closer and farther groups
[Graphic of repelling close enemies] [Graphic of repelling distant enemies]

The repel effect generated by the power is spherical in nature; due to fundamental geometrical properties, this means that the deeper into the effect a spawn is, the larger the resulting scatter will be.

Accordingly, subtlety is usually the order of the day. The to hit debuff hurricane grants lasts for 10 seconds after the hurricane stops being connected with the enemy in question. This means tapping an enemy with the hurricane, repelling him a short distance, and then backing off and doing the same to some other enemy is effective. Rushing into the middle of a spawn will nearly always cause scatter. Repelling a spawn in stages can turn a large, geographically diffuse spawn into a spawn much more roughly lined up.

Why walls and corners are important
[Graphic showing use of walls] [Graphic showing use of corners]

Walls and corners are a key to making this work. Since the hurricane cannot repel an enemy through a wall, they can be used to gather a spawn into a smaller, tighter area. Corners—and almost any protrusion can serve as a corner, in a pinch—are even better for this.

[Graphic showing putting it together]

The process of turning corner herding a spawn is iterative, usually requiring at least two approaches. The first comes at the corner group obliquely, aiming to turn it from a large group to a group lined up along the wall, and then by coming at the other edge the line can be collapsed into a dense knot ripe for the plucking.

Doing all of this quickly requires a high degree of unsuppressed movement. I gather some have chosen three slotted hover and swift; my personal preference favors combat jumping and hurdle. Regardless, getting from one place to another quickly is important.

All this is described using enemies that stand in one place. This very rarely happens, which means the enemies will try to escape, punch the hurricaner, attack other parts of the team, etc. Sometimes they can fight the repel effect for a while. I go into detail on synergies between powers later, but briefly snow storm helps tremendously with stopping this, and freezing rain more or less stops them moving entirely.


Moving a large group a large distance frequently requires some care. Pushing from only one direction without a wall will almost inevitably cause spreading. Seesawing from one edge of a spawn to the other and back can usually serve to keep it together (and debuffed!).

Related to this is using hurricane on instanced outdoor maps, which are frequently berift of useful walls. This is always annoying, and you may be forced to run in circles around the spawn to keep it gathered. Leaning more on the rest of the set here is fairly typical.

Hurricaning with teammates can sometimes be frustrating, mostly if you team with either a tank or a character with a lot of instanced AoEs. Essentially these are the same process, as most tanks tend not to do a lot of moving. Freezing rain and snow storm can keep things in the appropriate area and using hurricane around the edges can kick things that are trying to escape back into the effect, but trying to debuff everything in the effect when you’re not permitted to choose the area is just difficult.

Hurricaning with two stormers is also awkward. Nominating one as primary and another as the secondary, and sandwiching spawns between the hurricanes can work and work well.


Synergies with the rest of the set

Usually considered a questionable power, gale synergizes well with hurricane herding if used in moderation. A well timed gale can turn a spread out spawn into a lined up spawn instantly, saving a lot of time.
Snow storm
The strong slow effect on snow storm makes it very difficult for enemies to resist the repel effects of hurricane, making it much easier to shove them around.
Freezing rain
Freezing rain more or less stops enemy movement, giving the same effect as snow storm. It can also keep most of a spawn busy for a while, buying you a little time to reshape the spawn to your desires.
Lightning storm
The lightning bolts thrown off by the storm cause a high degree of knockback; this can knock things back toward the hurricane as the stormer sandwiches the spawn between the storm and herself.

Synergies with other sets

Tenebrous tenacles/Crush/Crushing field
These immobilizes are some of the only ones in the game with no -knockback component, meaning that the knockdown from freezing rain is not impeded and yet the enemies cannot escape you and your hurricane.
Nominally highly questionable, this is one of the only instanced AoE knockback powers in the game. This means you can plant it somewhere and kick things toward you and the hurricane. Tornado is also instanced AoE knockback, but it is totally uncontrollable.
Energy torrent/Torrent/Shockwave
Similar in value to gale, but shallower.
Explosive arrow
The directional knockback can be useful for enemy positioning, but its variability makes it less convenient.