guides,

  • En Taro Tassadar: Executing With the Executor

     

    Introduction

         During this weekend's Spring Global Championships in Seoul, Korea, Tassadar is undoubtedly the one hero that stood out among the rest. Having the highest win rate at 74.07% (winning 20 out of 27 games) and also being highly prioritized in drafts, Tassadar proved to be the Swiss army knife of Heroes of the Storm.

    Tassadar has both the tools for an aggressive team to initiate a team fight, as well as the ability to disengage when the team needs to reset and regroup. Let's take a close look at Tassadar's kit and discuss the type of play style required in order to maximize your aggressive and defensive options. We'll be using the following standard Tassadar talent build throughout our discussion:

    Talent Build

     

    Oracle


         Tassadar's Oracle trait is the ability in his kit that requires the most team work in order to get full value. When using your Oracle as Tassadar you need to think about what your teammates are looking at. Do you have a Stitches on your team? Try to time your Oracle at the right moment so he can land a good hook. Put yourself in the Stitches' shoes and anticipate where he is looking at to land a hook. Do you have a Jaina on your team positioned defensively because she is afraid of a flanking Greymane? Be patient with your Oracle and anticipate the enemy flank so that your squishy assassins can position more aggressively. The perfect flank from that Greymane is nothing but poor poor positioning from his part if you can spot it at the perfect timing. Overall, your mindset when playing Tassadar is to use Oracle to enhance the play making abilities of your teammates.

     

    Plasma Shield


         Like using Oracle, Plasma Shield requires you to think like your teammates during team fights. Unlike all the other support heroes, applying the heal (in this case a shield) should not be done once your teammate has already taken damage. Simply put, you need the Plasma Shield to absorb the damage in order to protect your team's health pool. When you are playing support as Tassadar instead of looking out for teammates low in health, you should be looking for teammates who are positioned aggressively. The Plasma Shield you give them can be their "GO" signal during team fights.

    You can even guide your teammates with a simple message in team chat like "If you have a shield, go ham, if you don't have one then kite back for 5 seconds". The 5 second rule is the reason why Tassadar's Plasma Shield is difficult to deal with. When your enemies see a target with a shield they will have to decide whether or not they want to burst through the shields or switch to a different target. As we all know focusing targets in Hero League and Quick Match can be all over the place just because of the lack of communication at times. During the time of hesitation from the enemy team, the rest of your team can kite back and wait for another 5 seconds.

    As for the competitive scene, we saw during the Spring Global Championships that focusing down targets can be very orchestrated. That is why Tassadar's success rate was better when he was drafted alongside another support hero. Finally, if Plasma Shield isn't already annoying enough to deal with, you can take Khala's Embrace at level 7 and ensure that your team enters each fight with a mini version of Storm Shield. Making use of Khala's Embrace requires good mana management, but that's a level 7 talent that provides almost the same utility as a level 20 talent for your team.

     

    Dimensional Shift


         Dimensional Shift, along with the talents you can take for it at level 13 and 16, is what allows for Tassadar's playmaking. Do you need to get in a dangerous position to get Oracle vision? No worries, Dimensional Shift! Do you want to lock someone down with Force Wall but need to close the gap? Chase, chase, chase with Dimensional Warp (level 16 talent)!

    What really makes Dimensional Shift and its talents powerful is the fact that it makes it nearly impossible to kill Tassadar. Not only is it a huge deal to have an invincible hero on your team, but it is amplified even more by the fact that Tassadar "the unkillable" is a support hero.

    As long as the support hero for your team is alive your team has an infinite health pool (or at least until your support runs out of mana). You can trade off your assassins and tank one for one, but trading off your support is never a fair trade since the moment the support dies all damage taken is permanent and there is no longer any room for error from your team. Moreover, because Tassadar is difficult to takedown, it also makes him the perfect hero to bait out spells and harass enemy backlines. If the enemy team is playing aggressive and your team is unable to keep up despite your constant shielding, all you have to do is flank the enemy backline and attract attention to yourself. Put a target on your back and force the enemy front line to turn their attention to you. This should open up the fight in order for your team to take the initiative and be aggressive themselves.

     

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    Never try to dive a seemingly out of position Tassadar

     

    Force Wall vs Archon


         Although Archon has seen some competitive play recently (most from Darvish on Team Hero) in terms of play making potential, Force Wall is the clear winner. Force wall can be used to secure kills, to deny kills, setup heroic ability combos and even allow your entire team to disengage when needed. What makes Force Wall even more of a threat is it's huge range increase at level 20. Tassadar is the nightmare of any enemy melee assassin since at level 20 it is easy for him to force enemy melee heroes looking to do damage to be on the wrong side of the wall.


    Tassadar Hero Synergies


         During the Spring Global Championships Tassadar was utilized with melee DPS heroes that have the following: a gap closer, high auto attack damage and the ability to disengage to wait for a new set of shields. The gap closer is necessary in order for your teammate to dive in and make quick use of the shield while the high auto attack damage is needed to get value from the healing provided by Leeching Plasma at level 4. Thrall, Greymane, The Butcher and Zeratul all fit the these requirements with the exception of The Butcher not having the best ability to disengage once he is in the middle of the team (at least not until he obtains Bolt of the Storm at level 20). Which is probably the main reason why he did not see any play in the Championships. How about the rest of the heroes? This is where Tassadar's Force Wall shines and makes him the ultimate teammate enhancer. Whether it's guiding your Jaina where to place her Blizzard by creating artificial choke points with Force Wall or helping out an E.T.C. land the perfect moshpit, Tassadar can help with all of it. You may even hear of mythological Tassadar players who place Force Walls in front of their teammates to prevent them from fighting when they are at a talent disadvantage.

     

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    MVP Black utilizes Tassadar as the ultimate bait. Click here to watch how the rest of the fight unfolds.

     


    Final Thoughts


         Playing as Tassadar requires an unselfish mindset. All your abilities should be directed towards helping your teammates play better. Between the option of shielding yourself to save having to use Dimensional Shift or shielding a teammate aggressively and burning Dimensional shift, the latter option will always be the right decision. Always value what your teammates can do if you trust them to do work while they are shielded. You'll probably notice that we skipped over talking about Tassadar's Psionic Storm ability and really there's not much to say about it. However, it is in line with the rest of his kit in that it makes up for what his team needs. Not only is it a good wave clear in terms of damage, but also in terms of mana cost. Tassadar is a good answer for lane bullies like Zagara especially if you take Psi-Infusion at level 1. There are other options of course like Thrall, but Tassadar has the added ability of being able to clear several creep tumors while laning.

    All in all, by the definition of the word "support", Tassadar is in a class of his own. Playing as Tassadar can make your individual teammates play better as a team. If you haven't tried one of HotS' oldest and most reliable supports, hopefully this guide encourages you to start shielding your allies and becoming not only the Savior of the Protoss, but of the Nexus as well!

    As always, follow us on Twitter @StormLegacyTeam to receive updates and news from us daily!

  • Forgot About Grey: Understanding the Lord of the Worgen

       

          It's a fitting theme that Greymane is a man-wolf who prefers to lurk in the shadows. His announcement at BlizzCon, while welcomed happily, was overshadowed by the groundbreaking new playstyle of Cho'Gall. Despite this, many people left the convention with Greymane as their favorite hero of the 3 announced. Later, after Greymane's release, there was little in the way of flashy announcements or waves of huge popularity for our shaggy friend. On top of that, Li-Ming and Xul were announced almost immediately after, and the excitement (and soon after, derision, in the case of Li-Ming) over these new Heroes again removed Greymane from the spotlight. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. Most of the community thought they had Greymane "solved", and placed him in the role of a gimmicky Hero who had a melee transformation mostly useful for cleaning up low health heroes at the end of a fight, and many gave him the dreaded "win more" title. He received a decent buff a few patches back, and settled in comfortably as a semi-popular Hero League pick, seen occasionally in tournaments, and generally well liked, but not loved. His nearly ideal win rate of 50.1% on HotsLogs reflects his settlement at a decent "upper middle class" status. But there's more to this noble lycanthrope than meets the eye. 

    What's his strength?

    Genn is as frustrated with the way you play him as you are with your teammates.      

     

    When evaluating whether or not you should consistently play a hero, an important question to ask yourself is "What does he provide for us better than my other choices?" For most people, the answer for Greymane is "nothing". He has decent dive, of course, but the general consensus is that he's not as good of a melee assassin as Thrall or Zeratul, and he's not as good of a ranged assassin as Raynor or the mages. It's easy to think that Greymane's hybrid nature makes him a "master of none" type hero. But Greymane's  greatest strength isn't his ability to kill, kill, kill, as it appears it should be, but rather a very unique power: the ability to lend a huge spike of momentum to a teamfight at a whim. When used skillfully and with knowledge, his Darkflight engage can single-handedly save a teamfight that's being lost, completely crush a teamfight that otherwise would end up in a wash, or make an even trade from a fight that would have initially been a disaster. Most heroes hold their contributions on their sleeves, but Greymane keeps his big moves back, and only truly unleashes them at the most critical moments. 

     

    Greymane's  greatest strength isn't his ability to kill, kill, kill, as it appears it should be, but rather a very unique power: the ability to lend a huge spike of momentum to a teamfight at a whim.

         The most popular builds you'll see both on Battle.Net and in pro matches focus almost entirely on Gilnean Cocktail. A fantastic poking ability, the focus on this spell relegates Greymane to a secondary role: poke and cleanup. While this can be effective, builds like these are ignoring an entire half  of Greymane's kit and potential, because of his lack of sustain and immediate escape. The fear is that if he uses his Darkflight for anything other than cleanup, he will immediately be eviscerated (And hey, sometimes that's true!) But with proper support from healers and tanks, and most importantly with intelligent and patient use of his melee form, Greymane can poke, engage, fight, and stay safe multiple times throughout a fight. The aim of this article is to show how we've had some success with this aggressive playstyle, and encourage you to try it for yourself. NOTE: The author does not make the supposition that this is the absolute best build for the Hero or that other builds and styles are inferior, only that he has had success with this playstyle and build in Hero League since Greymane's latest buff. 

    The Build

    http://www.heroesfire.com/hots/talent-calculator/greymane#gpbW

    Level 1: Vicousness

    There's some debate about whether to take this talent or Wolfheart at level 1. Both are great skills, but Viciousness is recommended here because the extra second of duration allows you to keep your combo going between creep waves without using mana.

    Level 4: Eyes in the Dark

    A lot of people think that this talent isn't useful because it usually doesn't secure an escape that you didn't already have, and that the stealth gets popped very easily even before it goes off. These are both true, but this talent is not only a great juking tool, but it does something that isn't written in it's tooltip, because it isn't a direct game mechanic. When Greymane rolls away and goes into stealth, it gives opponents extra justification for giving up on the chase, and forgetting about him. In the heat of a team fight, this allows Greymane to disengage while enemies refocus on more immediate dangers, and lets him re-initiate his ranged attacks from an ideal angle.

     

    Level 7: Incendiary Elixir

     

    This may be the one universally agreed upon Greymane talent. The ability to wave clear at a safer range, the ease it gives poke, and the doubled damage make this too big of a threat to not choose. 

     

    Level 10: Go For the Throat

     We take that thing about Incendiary Elixir being the only universally agreed upon choice back. This ult is Greymane's main and only source of burst damage, and can be used as an escape (killing one low health hero deep in, then using the free leap to go back to a low threat tank closer to your team,) to boot. Marked for the Kill, Greymane's other ult, is a very difficult spell to hit while offering arguably lower rewards than this spell.

    Level 13: On the Prowl

     

    The Speed Boost on this talent is incredible. Greymane is a great hero to counter powerhouse mages like Li-Ming, but with her short escape, it becomes much more difficult to put her down without this talent. The movement speed is not available until Inner Beast has been active for 3 seconds, so make sure you use it after engaging in close quarters for a time, then chasing down stragglers. Don't chase too far, though!

    Level 16: Alpha Killer

    Level 16 is where Greymane can take any talent and have it be a solid choice, depending on your enemies, and your own team composition. Raynor takes Giant Killer most of the time even when he's not fighting a ton of tanks, because a damage boost on attack across the board is always going to be solid no matter who you're shooting. The same logic applies to Greymane. Relentless Predator isn't a bad choice if you're getting stunned out and focused on a lot in your game, and Concentrated Blast is terrific if you're wanting to play a more ranged game (though this particular guide tries not to.)

     

    Level 20: Tooth and Claw

     Adding splash to Greymane's already meaty melee attacks lets you output insane amounts of damage against heroes, creep waves, and mercs at a scary rate. Unleashed probably will very rarely allow you to use it's third jump, although when you do it feels good, and this talent is an exclamation point on any solid Greymane session.

     

    This build allows us to play most effectively in the style we will be describing in the next section, one of maximizing the damage of both forms of Greymane in teamfights by using them both multiple times. So, how should one be playing to achieve our goal?

     

    Poke, Kill, Poke, Kill 

    Playing Greymane is a unique kind of thrill because he requires a strong inherent sense of how an engagement is going before he commits. Most people know how to clear creep waves and chase, but it seems that the point that separates a bad doggie from a good one is tactics during teamfights. Luckily teamfights are the most important part of the game, so we will be focusing on them for this section. 

    Using Greymane during a teamfight can feel like a train that's run off the rails, barreling around, howling, wreaking uncontrolled havoc and then finally dying in a fiery heap. We recommend using the spacebar to keep track of yourself during chaotic moments, and practicing keeping your cool during teamfights. Wildly flailing at your keyboard is the worst thing you can do!

    Using Greymane during a teamfight can feel like a train that's run off the rails, barreling around, howling, wreaking uncontrolled havoc and then finally dying in a fiery heap.

    Knowing how and when to engage with him is his key to victory. As you engage, he explodes with a ton of furious damage, and becomes immediately a high threat target for enemies to take down. After casting Darkflight there is a sense of rising tension as Greymane's damage rises, until he finally hits his tipping point and you get blown up. When that happens, it means you didn't have the appropriate sense for when to disengage. Sometimes it happens early, sometimes it never happens. 

    A good practice exercise as you try him out in the future is to roll away using disengage after you go into melee form as soon as the cooldown expires and you're able to roll, no matter what. You'll be surprised at how much you're able to get done and how frustrating you can be to your opponents by doing this, as you continually go back into ranged form and begin your damage process all over again. As you get more practice, you can hold off on rolling away until a more appropriate time, allowing you to chase down more kills while (hopefully) not costing you your own life. But how do you know WHEN to engage?

     

    Here we've made a graph illustrating Greymane's versatility and control in a teamfight situation. It can be boiled down to one idea: you want to engage in melee form as close to the middle of this graph as you can, between the red and green, when the outcome of the fight is most in question. It can be terrifying, and you might misjudge it and be subject to the revulsion of your teammates at first, but when you get it down, you become the almighty furry savior of everyone's MMR.

    The blue line represents a teamfight where you're firmly in control the whole time, crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women. There's no need to pounce or use your ult until the dregs of the enemy team attempt escaping. This is how most people view Greymane, as a semi-ranged cleanup crew. 

    The yellow line represents a team fight that's going poorly. This is the time when Greymane's best friend, the Warrior (that's right, not the healer!) is essential to turning things around. As things go down, if it looks like you're losing in damage but you still have a shot at winning, it's essential for the tank to accompany you back into the fray and spike your momentum back towards the winning side. Then as you disengage, you can get back to safety, continue poking away, and then Darkflight again for another spike, essentially forcing things back into your favor. 

    If you don't utilize your whole kit as much as you feasibly can, your "cleanup" role will never come up.

    The pink line shows the most common kind of fight, an even one. This is your sweet spot. As your instinct grows keener for when a fight is at the breaking point of victory or defeat, you'll get better and better at swinging fights towards the green. As you continue this, enemies will become more and more aware of your ability to control the fight, and will try to shut you down, allowing your teammates to pick up the slack as you play more carefully. If you're dictating the enemies behavior, you're doing a good job. Just try not to let their change-ups work. 

    The orange line is for a disasterous engagement. It shows what happens during a fight like the one represented by the pink line, but without Greymane attempting to wrest control back, instead saving his melee form for "cleanup". If you don't utilize your whole kit as much as you feasibly can, your "cleanup" role will never come up.

    Your priority targets are assassins and generally squishy heroes. Greymane is an assassin of assassins, and heroes like Li-Ming, Zagara, Kael'Thas, and Valla are easy prey. Yes, all those OP mages and killers that fill you with dread on the loading screen? Get skilled at this playstyle, and you'll be happy to see them. 

     

    This is the heart of why Greymane is such a fun, exciting, and high skill cap hero. He requires not only solid teammates, but your own sense of how a fight is going to be spot-on, all the time. We hope you're excited about playing Greymane, as we always are, and if you liked this piece, give us a follow at @StormLegacyTeam before you head into the Nexus to tear some throats out. :)  

     

  • Playing With Fire: The Power of Kael'Thas



     

    Introduction

     

    Kael'thas: the fire mage notorious for his power spikes. Before the August patch, Kael'thas relied on reaching level 16 for the Ignite talent. Currently, Kael'thas is still considered a late game hero, but his power spike has shifted over to level 13 with his Chain Bomb talent. But what about the early game? What can Kael'thas actually offer to the team until he reaches full power? Do you just hope your team carries you to level 13 and you take the wheel from there? As you get matched with better players, you will notice that the effectiveness of Chain Bomb is mitigated by proper enemy positioning and spacing. What can you do to make sure that reaching level 13 is remains a power spike? This article will provide you with some tips and tricks for making Kael'thas as annoying as possible for your opponents.

     

    Note: This article will use the following standard talent tree build for Kael'thas as a reference point. 

     

     

     

    Tip: Kael'thas' Phoenix can be used to chase down fleeing enemies since it deals damage along it's path to the destination point. 

     

    Early Game: Level 4 Mini Power Spike

     

    The talent that is most commonly taken at level 4 for Kael'thas is Nether Wind. This increases the range and speed of Gravity Lapse by 30%. It doesn't sound like much, but level 4 is definitely a small power spike for Kael'thas. However, Nether Wind is not like Chain Bomb in that taking the talent will not suddenly boost your impact in team fights. Landing a Gravity Lapse on the wrong target or at the wrong moment will not help your team in any way. This section will provides some tips for maximizing what you can do with Gravity Lapse post level 4.

     

     

    1. Combo Potential

     

    The range on Gravity Lapse after you take Nether Wind is VERY long. In fact, in terms of basic abilities, the range is rivaled only by Tyrande's Lunar Flare and Anub'arak's Impale. Due to its long range, landing a Gravity Lapse is more than just a simple stun for your team, it gives your teammates the opportunity to close the distance so that they can follow up with their shorter range spells. For example, you could use your Verdant Spheres (Kael'thas' trait) to land a triple stun in order to set up a juicy combo for Kerrigan to jump on. The animation for Kerrigan's W+E combo is quite long and can sometimes be dodged with proper side stepping. With your stun, however, Kerrigan's combo is impossible to escape. Try to think of Gravity Lapse as a tool to set up kills for your teammates rather than just for yourself. All of this of course heavily depends on your knowledge of other heroes. The better you know your teammates' heroes, the more consistent you will be in setting up combos.

     

     Immediately after a Devouring Maw is the perfect time to triple stun your enemies.

     

    2. Positioning & Targeting

     

    When throwing down a Gravity Lapse it's ideal to be flanking so that the enemy has little to no chance of dodging it. Being stunned when you have no idea where it's coming from can be pretty terrifying, especially for squishy enemy heroes. Also, throwing a Gravity Lapse through terrain and at an angle that is not in the enemy's line of sight gives your team the opportunity to combo unsuspecting heroes. If it's not safe to flank and you have to throw the Gravity Lapse straight onto the enemy's line of sight, try to cast it at maximum range. This will give yourself the space to be able to step behind your front liners if you miss the stun. In the meantime, while waiting for your Gravity Lapse to reset its cooldown, just hide behind allied heroes so you are not vulnerable to getting jumped. A Kael'thas without his Gravity Lapse can get blown up pretty quickly if the enemy team decides to target you.

     

     

     Gravity lapse is also great for catching enemy heroes who think that they are safe behind their gate.

     

    Who do you target with your Gravity Lapse? Do you always just go for the squishy hero in the back? The prime targets for Kael'thas' stun are heroes who have the tendency to overextend in order to do damage (e.g., The Butcher, Illidan, Sonya). Landing a stun right at the moment The Butcher is no longer Unstoppable as his Ruthless Onslaught charging run ends will mitigate any damage he can deal and will even put him at a dangerous position. Be patient with your stun. Someone will overextend, and that someone will get punished with your stun.

     

     

    Soaking Yourself to Late Game:

     

    This next point is short and straightforward, but very important: before turning “Super Saiyan” at level 13 you need to soak enough XP to get there. It is important that you are diligent in soaking XP instead of engaging in random skirmishes. This is especially important for Hero League games where your team will not exactly be completely coordinated. Is your team pointlessly chasing after a Johanna? Are there 4 people doing camps and 2 empty lanes? Then you should make the appropriate rotations and clear as many lanes as possible. Be active on the map and take over soaking for your team. You cannot control what your teammates do, but you can soak yourself to the late game.

     

    Late Game: Using Tanks to Spread Your Fire

     

    You've hit level 13, you now have your Chain Bomb talent, but you find yourself at a level disadvantage since your team struggled in the early game. In fact, your enemies are about to hit level 16 and they are knocking outside one of your keeps. It's time to make Chain Bomb do some work! Sometimes if the enemy team clumps up you can throw random Living Bombs at your enemies and just hope that they stay clumped up long enough so that it spreads to every enemy for a magical team wipe. However, this will not always be the case since good players will know that they should start spreading out as soon as Kael'thas hits level 13. Making use of tanks to spread your bombs is one trick to making sure your bombs always spread.

     

     Muradin spreads the gift of fire onto his teammates.

      

    Tanks are usually the ones who get the team fights started which means they have to charge in to engage. At the same time tanks will take take considerable amount of damage during team fights forcing them to retreat for a little while. It is during this small window that a tank is retreating that you should be timing your Living Bombs. Doing this forces the enemy tank to make a tough decision: stay a little longer so that the Living Bomb does not spread or retreat and risk spreading the bomb on the team. This is easier to do on certain retreating tanks than others. Tanks with quick escapes like Muradin's Dwarf Toss or Leoric's Wraith Walk tend to spread fire to their teammates if you can time it just right. For example, when Leoric is below ¾ of maximum health you can stun him with Gravity Lapse, quickly cast one small Flamestrike (save your Verdant Spheres trait for the upcoming Living Bomb) underneath him and one Living Bomb. By the time Leoric is no longer stunned he has to make the decision on whether or not he should Wraith Walk to escape. The escape speed on Leoric's Wraith Walk is faster than him just walking back which makes it harder for the enemy team to disperse. Once he reaches his teammates it is up to you if you want to force the explosion on the bomb by casting a second Living Bomb or just wait for the bomb ticks to finish before exploding. Casting a second Living Bomb to trigger the explosion will mean that you lose damage from the first bomb's ticks, but the spreading effect you get from the bomb is well worth it.

     

    When to Pick Kael'thas: General Principles

     

    We have gone through some tips for maximizing Kael'thas' potential from early game to late game. It is now time to go through general principles for when you should draft Kael'thas. These principles are not set in stone and your judgment based on what your team needs is still very much required when drafting. Rather these general principles are here to guide your thought process when thinking about drafting Kael'thas.

     

    Map Size & Game Length

     

    The smaller the map the easier it is for you to soak multiple lanes if your team is ever leaving lanes empty. This will make is a lot easier for you to reach level 13. When drafting Kael'thas you should also consider the likelihood that the game will get to the late game. If the enemy composition has powerful early game heroes (e.g., Kerrigan, Valla) it will be harder for you to get to the late game. Also consider how long the game will last. Matches on maps like Dragon Shrine and Garden of Terror tend to be longer which works in your favor in terms of getting to the late game.

     

    Team Compositions

     

    Kael'thas can indeed do a lot of work for your team. However, this does not mean that you should just automatically lock in Kael'thas every time you queue up in Hero League. Kael'thas excels when he has a solid front line to hide behind, making double tank compositions very favorable for him. Also, in the late game Kael'thas' damage output is quite large making him stronger against Support heroes without a good burst heal. Even if your Living Bombs do not kill enemy heroes, it will put the enemies at a low enough health such they will no longer be able to continue the fight without access to burst heal. Another strength of Kael'thas is against heroes who have targetable spawns like Anub'arak's beetles or Nazeebo's zombies. These spawns can aid you in spreading your bombs on the enemy team. On the other hand, Kael'thas can be weaker against enemy team compositions that can dive and burst down him down in the early game making it very difficult to reach the late game. Below are a few heroes to keep in mind when drafting Kael'thas.

     

     

     

    Closing Thoughts

     

    As you get better with Kael'thas it will become evident to you that positioning is vital in order to make him effective. For example, you need to be there when the enemy team is passing through a choke point. Capitalizing on opportunities to spread Living Bombs on clumped up enemy heroes can lead to massive team wipes. Aside from making Kael'thas effective, positioning is also key to making sure you stay alive, if not at least making it very difficult for your enemies to take you down. If your spells are on cooldown, there is no need to be on the front line. As Kael'thas, there is no need to get off every single basic attack possible. Just get in a better position and make it hard for your enemies to get to you. Kael'thas is annoying enough as is with his Chain Bomb, there is no need to risk dying by overextending with basic attacks. This is also why Arcane Barrier is often taken in favor of Backdraft at level 16 in the competitive scene. Arcane Barrier is just another tool for Kael'thas to survive. A Kael'thas that is not targeted and allowed to use up all his mana during a team fight will wreck havoc on the enemy team.

     

    Thank you for reading StormLegacy's hero gameplay guide, we hope this information  helps make you the best fire mage in the Nexus.

     

     

     

     

      

  • This Is Jimmy

     

     

     

     

    Introduction

     

         Commander James Raynor: the first hero that you are introduced to when you enter the Nexus. Thanks to Uther and the in-game tutorials, everyone knows how Raynor works and what he is capable of. However, despite these tutorials, one can argue that Raynor is often not played to his full potential. Raynor as a hero currently has such a lowly reputation to the point that the Heroes of the Storm community have come up with a stereotypical label - Laynors - laning all day, everyday. Even Carbot Animations characterizes Raynor as nothing but a dopey hero. This guide is intended to help you step up your Raynor gameplay as well as eliminate any doubt your teammates may have had about players who pick good ol' Jimmy boy.

    Although Raynor has talent selection diversity (especially at level 10, 13 and 16), we will use the following common Talent Build as a reference point for the rest of this guide:

     

     

     

    Let's get started!

     

    1. Stutter Stepping: Making Use of Advanced Optics

     

    Raynor's trait, Advanced Optics, gives his basic attacks 20% more range than other ranged heroes as well as a 10% vision range boost. So what? Compared to Leoric's Undying trait this seems very underwhelming. You are completely right, it is not a game changing trait unless you do this one thing called stutter stepping. Stutter stepping, also known as kiting, is taking a step in between every attack animation. Stutter stepping, combined with Advanced Optics, ensures that Raynor can constantly deal damage without ever being engaged by the enemy. This is particularly important in the late game once you have enough Seasoned Marksman stacks. Aside from stutter stepping to make sure you are safe and not in melee range, it is also a good habit to stutter step side to side even when no one is chasing you. This just makes it that much harder for the enemy team to land a skillshot on you. Stutter stepping is also a great tool for securing kills. You never want to have an enemy hero get away just because you forgot to take one extra step in between basic attacks. A Jaina that gets away with 1% health is the same thing as a Jaina that never received any damage. If you are just starting out with Raynor, I highly recommend going on Try Mode to get a feel of the pause between attack animations. Try it out with and without Inspire (W) activated. Simply put, stutter stepping is the one mechanic that separates an average Raynor from a below average Raynor.

     

    2. Going from average to phenomenal: Raynor the Bully

     

    Raynor is the one hero who can win a team fight before it even starts. The combination of fast attack speed and long range makes Raynor one of the best lane bullies. Constantly dealing damage to enemy heroes to trade your basic attacks for their health, mana or both can put the entire enemy team in an unfavorable situation. For example, in Cursed Hollow if you can deal enough damage to an enemy hero during the early game laning phase to force them to use their Healing Fountain, then they will not have this resource when a tribute spawns. Better yet, if you can force them to Hearthstone back to base between 2:15 to 2:45 (first tribute spawn timing) then you force the enemy team to fight 4v5 for a period of time.

     

    In the late game, then, how do you use Raynor to turn team fights in your favor? Usually before a team fight breaks out, there is a period when both your teammates and the enemy heroes are doing a “dance and poke” routine where both teams just fight each other for space. This is when Raynor shines in the late game. Raynor will probably not be able to reach the back line of the enemy team with his basic attacks, but he can still shred tanks and other front liners. This damage you deal will probably just get healed up by the enemy Uther, but this means that that healing ability is no longer available for someone else. You have just successfully traded your basic attacks (which cost nothing) for precious mana and cooldowns.

     

     You cannot kill Leoric, but you can make him cry.

     

     

    3. When to pick Raynor: General Principles

     

    We have gone over what Raynor's potential can be with proper hero control, as well as what his roles are throughout the game. It is now time to go through general principles to when you should draft Raynor in Hero League. These principles are not set in stone and your judgment based on what your team needs is still very much required when drafting. Rather these general principles are here to guide your thought process when thinking about drafting Raynor.

     

    Map Size

     

    Raynor excels on maps with a short distance between lanes. This allows you to really take advantage of Seasoned Marksman and get as many stacks as possible. When rotating from lane to lane, it is best to fully clear one lane, then rotate to the next lane to soak the minions without dismounting. Only dismount if you see an opportunity to ambush and secure a takedown, otherwise you are wasting time getting back to your own lane. Every minion counts, and you should rely on your teammates on the adjacent lane to do the wave clearing for you. Maps that have an oval shape (such that the top and bottom minions always come later than the middle set of minions) can also work well for Raynor, just practice the timing of your mount and dismounts so that you are not losing out on XP.

     

    Team Compositions

     

    Just because your team needs an assassin and you are a hot shot with your Raynor does not mean you should automatically draft him. Raynor excels most against double tank enemy compositions. Taking Giant Killer at level 13 and combining it with stutter stepping is one of the ways that Raynor can decide the outcome of a team fight before it even gets started. If the enemy team took Leoric and Muradin, then you can be confident in locking in Raynor. At the same time, Raynor performs better when you have a front liner hero (e.g., Johanna, E.T.C.) or someone who can peel damage from you that you cannot get away from even if you stutter step constantly. You should also keep in mind that Raynor as a hero does not have the best wave clear. He does, however, excel in prolonged team fights in maps such as Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines since he will usually never run out of mana.

                                       

     

                             

     

    Duo Queuing

     

    If you are duo queuing you may want to ask your duo partner to take a hero with a fast wave clear as well as a good ganking potential (e.g., Jaina, Kael'thas). Constantly rotating from lane to lane with your duo partner not only stacks your Seasoned Marksman stacks more efficiently, but it also keeps your enemies on their back foot. On small maps like Dragon Shire, you can force enemy heroes from each lane to Hearthstone back to their base just from abusing the damage you can dish out with your basic attacks when rotating from lane to lane. This can give you just enough time to have a hero advantage on the battlefield to capture the Dragon Knight or secure a takedown.

     

     

    Tip and Tricks for Raynor:

     

    Zagara's Creep & Hyrdralisk

    When you are playing as Raynor you will rarely run out of mana and will usually have tons to spare. You can use this spare mana to shoot Penetrating Rounds (Q) at the center of Zagara's creep to kill the tumors. A lot of heroes can clear the creep, but it should be you that is constantly doing it since you will always have spare mana as Raynor. You'll be doing your teammates a huge favor since they will get to conserve their mana for when a team fight breaks out. Another thing you should look out for is when you are in lane with Zagara and she spawns a Hydralisk to push you away. If you are quick, you can actually shoot a Penetrating Round (Q) at the Hydralisk and hit Zagara as well.

     

    Murky's Pufferfish

    Raynor is one of the heroes who has a fast enough attack speed to destroy Murky's Pufferfish. Getting rid of the pufferfish greatly reduces Murky's ability to push lanes, just watch out for Murky players who try to stand over the pufferfish to try and block you from shooting it

     

    Strategic Activation of Adrenaline Rush (E)

    When playing as Raynor you might find yourself in situations where you have to heal up just before a team fight breaks out and there is no healer or Healing Fountain to be found nearby. In these situations, it is advantageous to let a few minions hit you to just get you below 30% health so that it activates your Adrenaline Rush ability. Yes you will be giving up a few health points to the minons, but you avoid the risk of getting bursted down during a a team fight and not getting value out of your Adrenaline Rush at all. This is a trick you may want to use in the late game when the heal from Adrenaline Rush is quite large, but the burst from the enemy heroes will be much faster than your healing.

     

    Controlling Raynor's Raiders

     

     The range on Raynor's Raiders is the same as Raynor himself without Nexus Frenzy.

     

    Stutter stepping should also be utilized with the Stealth Banshees that spawn from the Raynor's Raiders heroic ability. Far too often the banshees are cast on an enemy hero and they just end up dying within seconds, barely doing any damage. The banshees last 22 seconds and, if controlled properly, have the potential to be more annoying than the Hyperion heroic ability. The range on the banshees is also long enough (almost as much as Raynor himself) to make stutter stepping manageable. It is not necessary to get kills with your banshees, you just want them to be annoying for the enemy team to deal with. The more time the enemy team has to spend dodging your banshees, the more basic attacks you will be able to get off from Raynor himself during a team fight. Treat your banshees like a second hero that you have control over.

     

    Thank you for reading StormLegacy's first hero gameplay guide, we hope this information helps make you one of the hottest smoking guns in the Nexus!

    Coming soon: Kael'thas – Playing with Fire