Note: All abilities are judged on a S-D scale. D- is the lowest rank possible, with other +(s) and -(s) indicating if it is along a boundary. In the case of A- and B+, A- is better, with it being a low A tier ability, as opposed to a good B-tier one.
Naturally, these are Butler and SergeantRaven's thoughts.
Brawler’s movement is a solid movement tool with the only disadvantage of predictable movement. The brawler always rolls in their direction of current movement. With a 2 second cooldown, it is a solid, if predictable, way to chase down foes.. foes.
The brawler’s defense tool is tricky to master, but can counter assassins such as Ninja or Hook pretty well. While it does pretty low damage and can sometimes work against you if you aren't careful, the rocks are good at limiting movement and protecting against attacks and third-party attempts
A relatively average range tool with stun makes it easier for the Brawler to chase others down. The low damage would drag it down further, if the stun wasn’t so useful. Pretty solid overall, but not standout.
With huge damage potential and knockback, the Brawler’s melee is one of the best melee attacks in the game. The only reasons it is not higher are that the knockback leads to a forced chase to hit the target again, in addition to the melee attacking only those in front of the Brawler.
With powerful melee attacks and good chase potential, Brawler is only brought down by longer cooldowns and a lack of a powerful ranged attack. The Brawler might be easy to play, but it is hard to win with, due to often being outshined by other ranged attacks and easier kill confirms. Try to chase opponents into corners for easy kills, but don't be afraid to back off against enemies with better movement and ranged abilities.
Ninja can zip around the battlefield incredibly quickly, up to three times in a row, but that’s about it. With relatively slow recharge on dashes, Ninja has to use them effectively to kill opponents, or he himself could be in trouble. In addition, he can only move in the direction he is currently facing. However, this doesn’t hinder the ability too much, as it is still incredibly strong due to how quickly he can assassinate opponents with a dash-in melee to finish them off or how quickly he can dash out of trouble if he needs to.
Deflect is the strongest defense move in the game. The ability to reflect projectiles and damage their users is quite strong alone, however, it also deals damage and knocks back nearby foes. With a pretty quick cooldown as well, there is no reason not to spam this move against every character.
Ninja has likely the most versatile ranged move. He can throw out up to three tornados dealing 10 each, up to 30 damage total. These can be thrown one at a time quite rapidly or charged to throw them at different angles. This sweep can finish off a weak opponent trying to escape, and the point blank shots can help melt an opponent’s health bar in combination with his strong melee attacks. Their range is also quite large at the peak, making this move quite dangerous to opponents, as Ninja can easily kite his opponents.
Dealing 30 damage with a melee move makes it already quite strong, dealing almost a third of an opponent’s health. However, this move is also omnidirectional and has quite a good range for a melee attack, making it even stronger. The longer cooldown than most melee attacks makes it slightly worse, but not enough to make a real difference.
With excellent movement, ranged, melee, and defense skills, Ninja is a great choice for any situation. He can be played as an assassin, a melee threat, or a sniper with minimal learning curve. Overall, Ninja is likely the strongest in the game.
Hook has one of the best move tools in the game, dealing damage and allowing Hook to zip around the map with its low cooldown at any angle he wants. Hook can even attack while moving. However, it struggles in close combat, much like Hook, often resulting in getting Hook beaten to a pulp as it grabs the enemy close to him, preventing an escape. In addition to preventing escape, it can get Hook stuck near corners, bringing this move down from a near S+ ability.
Defense (alone): D
Without his signature combo, hook’s Kick is frankly terrible. Dealing a measly 5 damage and knocking the opponent a little back often results in the opponent closing the short gap and resuming their attack, if you even hit, since the kick only hits those directly in front of him.
Defense (with hook): A-
When used with his ranged tool, the kick becomes much better, adding a stun and more knockback, allowing hook to easily escape. The only problems are that it is hard to land when the opponent is dragged at an angle, in addition to low damage.
Setting up combos, dragging in health boxes, and providing a useful finisher, Hook’s ranged is likely the strongest in the game. While not unreasonably good, since Hook still needs to hit it and be in a position to maximize the potential, in addition to dangers to himself at low health when dragging in opponents, it is still quite strong.
Melee (alone): C+
With low range but decent damage, Hook’s melee without his combo is really only to be used as a last resort.
Melee (with hook): S-
Dealing massive damage and decent knockback, Hook’s melee with his combo is quite strong and almost always worth using over his kick combo.
With strong combos and a great ranged attack, he is a great assassin that can win almost any 1v1. Unfortunately, without his signature combos, he struggles up close and in any crowd. In addition, Ninja’s deflect and Surfer’s vortex make his signature abilities near useless.
Despite a long startup animation, the versatility of this move more than makes up for its flaws. It can be used to get away from a fight, start a fight, or used as a finisher. Its fast travel speed also makes it ideal to chase down opponents, in addition to the vortex that traps opponents, leading to easy followup attacks.
The ice shield can do almost everything, blocking projectiles, damaging opponents, and pushing people out of melee range. While the shield is strong, it only covers part of the surfer and the long cooldown makes the move slightly worse overall.
With a ranged attack that can slow down opponents while dealing damage, the surfer can get into melee range where they shine. However, the ranged attack is small and easy to avoid, dealing only moderate damage if hit.
Dealing good damage in addition to a knockback and stun effect, the melee attack from the surfer really shines. Combine that with a vortex limiting escape opportunities from the movement, and this move is a real threat.
The Surfer is incredibly oppressive and difficult to play against, but feels like a mostly fair hero. With a solid melee skill and great chasedown potential, the Surfer can ruin the day of weaker opponents and those who rely on movement to be effective. However, the Surfer struggles against stronger melee opponents and heroes with stun mechanics.
While this move can be tricky, that’s really all it can be. A good player can anticipate escapes and punish the Mage for trying to move. Add an extremely long cooldown, and the Mage won’t be going anywhere fast.
Despite intangibility, the Mage cannot move during this defensive period, leaving herself wide open for a combo upon reentry. It is a good counter to ranged attacks though, bumping this up from being even worse.
A powerful ranged attack with a large area of effect brought down by the ease of avoidance. Any character with a good movement ability should not be caught in this attack for long.
A very unique melee move that freezes the opponent in place is great to combo with the ranged attack, however, it is small and often easy to miss opponents with good movement.
The Mage has a great concept, but small hitboxes and long cooldowns, in addition to a poor defense make the Mage extremely weak when compared to other heroes. If you are looking for a tricky hero with strong ranged skills, play Hook instead.
The Grenadier’s movement is incredibly fast, and is great at either getting into a fight, finishing one, or fleeing one. However, with the long cooldown timer and the long startup, the movement feels very balanced.
Though the duck has a very low cooldown timer, it also lasts for an extremely short duration. Sometimes, it is impossible to hit the button on reaction, except against slower and more visible projectiles like a hook. Additionally, it lacks versatility when compared to other defensive options.
The main draw is the tiny amount of cooldown between shots, and the ricochet effect. The usefulness of the ricochet varies between maps, but the moderate damage output, in addition to the quick reloading makes this a strong ranged option, but not overly oppressive.
This melee option has a lot of versatility with its push effect. Though it has low damage, it can be used for an extra movement boost to help if the normal Movement skill is on cooldown, or it can be used with the Movement to travel at near-impossible angles. Despite this, the amount of damage it deals makes it pale in comparison to other options.
Grenadier is a very movement-centric hero, where positioning makes a lot of the difference. With the health crates, the ricochets on the Ranged skill are a lot more useful, and makes Grenadier much better than before. However, Grenadier suffers from a lack of powerful melee options in addition to a poor defensive option, which is best used at range, further weakening Grenadier in any form of melee combat.