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:
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.
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, 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.
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!
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