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Gul'dan Talents

Last updated on Aug 24, 2016 at 15:38 by Micekrispies 4 comments

Table of Contents

Gul'dan Image

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for playing Gul'dan in a competitive environment in Heroes of the Storm. For each talent, we explain what they do and why they should or should not be taken.

The other pages of our Gul'dan guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About the Author

Micekrispies is a Grand Master Hero League player who has a passion for the MOBA scene and its community. Having over 6 years of experience in the upper divisions of League of Legends, Micekrispies saw Heroes of the Storm as an exciting new endeavor. His priority is to share his knowledge of the MOBA genre with any and all who desire to learn more. Feel free to drop off a comment in the comments section or check out him out on Twitch where he will gladly answer any of your questions.

1. Talent Build

Level Choices
1 Pursuit of Flame Glyph of Drain Life Echoed Corruption Chaotic Energy ?
4 Health Funnel Improved Life Tap Consume Soul ?
7 Bound by Shadow ? Devour the Frail Curse of Exhaustion Hunger for Power
10 Horrify Rain of Destruction
13 Fel Armor ? Harvest Life Dark Bargain Healthstone
16 Rampant Hellfire Ruinous Affliction ? Darkness Within
20 Haunt Deep Impact Demonic Circle ?

2. Common Talent Paths

Hunger for Darkness Build: High damage with great burst potential

Echoed Affliction Build: Long ranged sustained damage poke

3. Level 1 Talents

Pursuit of Flame Glyph of Drain Life Echoed Corruption Chaotic Energy ?

3.1. Descriptions

Pursuit of Flame Icon Pursuit of Flame increases the radius of Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame by 10% once Fel Flame has struck an enemy Hero 40 times.

Glyph of Drain Life Icon Glyph of Drain Life increases the cast range of Drain Life Icon Drain Life by 25%.

Echoed Corruption Icon Echoed Corruption is a quest that requires Corruption Icon Corruption to strike an enemy Hero 35 times. Once the quest is completed, Corruption will strike 3 additional times in the opposite direction after the third initial strike.

Chaotic Energy Icon Chaotic Energy is another quest that causes gathering a Regen Globe to refund 40 Mana after casting an ability with a Mana cost. Upon gathering 20 Regen Globes, Gul'dan's Basic Ability Mana Costs are permanently reduced by 20 Mana.

3.2. Recommended

Echoed Corruption Icon Echoed Corruption is a great talent that provides Gul'dan with even more damage on top of his already loaded kit. The quest portion of the talent is relatively easy to complete, as each strike of Corruption Icon Corruption that connects with an enemy Hero will count towards the objective. A single, well placed cast of Corruption should regularly gather multiple strikes that count towards the quest goal. Once the quest is completed, Corruption has the potential to do an even greater amount of burst and DoT (damage-over-time) damage to a decent sized area. This talent is incredibly strong on maps with many narrow choke-points such as Towers of Doom and Tomb of the Spider Queen. These constricted passage ways will help funnel enemies into Corruption's path. It is important to note that Echoed Corruption is mandatory when using the “Hunger for Darkness” build, as much of the following talents will be chosen to most effectively maximize Corruption's power.

3.3. Situational

Chaotic Energy Icon Chaotic Energy is a viable alternative to Echoed Corruption Icon Echoed Corruption for players who are willing to sacrifice damage output to alleviate some of the stress in managing Gul'dan's Health and Mana. Because of the unique relationship between both resources, being able to save additional Mana with Chaotic Energy is twice as beneficial for Gul'dan. Having all Mana costs lowered gives Gul'dan more freedom to cast abilities in quick succession without have to draw upon Life Tap Icon Life Tap as often. This keeps Gul'dan healthier overall, helping to prevent him from having to Life Tap himself into dangerously low Health in order to keep up his damage. The amount of Regen Globes required for Chaotic Energy is also much lower than similar quests such as Regeneration Master Icon Regeneration Master, so Gul'dan will benefit from the Mana cost reduction to his abilities relatively early on in the match.

3.4. Not Recommended

Pursuit of Flame Icon Pursuit of Flame at first seems like a desirable pick. Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame is Gul'dan's main source of consistent damage, so in theory having a larger area-of-effect could be quite beneficial. Unfortunately the 10% increase in radius feels incredibly underwhelming in game, and rarely makes a meaningful impactful in teamfights or skirmishes. Additionally, the increase in radius is not even available until the quest is completed.

Glyph of Drain Life Icon Glyph of Drain Life is similar to Pursuit of Flame Icon Pursuit of Flame in that it does not feel that impactful to Gul'dan when compared to Echoed Corruption Icon Echoed Corruption or Chaotic Energy Icon Chaotic Energy. Although a 25% increase in the cast range of Drain Life Icon Drain Life is noticeable, it most often will only prevent two or three ticks of Drain Life from being negated before the enemy Hero walks out of its reach. Glyph of Drain Life also does little to increase the damage output or self-sustain of Gul'dan, aside from allowing Drain Life to maintain its cast if the target happens to be Within the extended zone.

4. Level 4 Talents

Health Funnel Improved Life Tap Consume Soul ?

4.1. Descriptions

Health Funnel Icon Health Funnel reduces the cooldown of Drain Life Icon Drain Life by 7 seconds if a target dies under its effect.

Improved Life Tap Icon Improved Life Tap causes Life Tap Icon Life Tap to restore 35% Mana, up from 25% Mana.

Consume Soul Icon Consume Soul can be activated to instantly kill an enemy minion and restore Health to Gul'dan. Consume Soul is on a 30-second cooldown and can hold 2 charges.

4.2. Recommended

Improved Life Tap Icon Improved Life Tap significantly improves Gul'dan's core mechanic Life Tap Icon Life Tap. A 10% increase in the Mana provided by a single Tap is huge, and should keep Gul'dan well supplied without having to over-tap to stay relevant in teamfights. The more Health Gul'dan can save when using Life Tap not only keeps him safer during the match, but also translates to more potential Mana in the long run. More Mana allows Gul'dan to keep his damage output up, especially in longer trades when poking enemy Heroes over map objectives or sieging. This talent alone will end up saving Gul'dan thousands of Health points over the course of a match that would otherwise be lost to constantly casting Life Tap.

4.3. Situational

Consume Soul Icon Consume Soul is a great talent option for matches when Gul'dan will find himself in lane for longer durations or constantly nearby enemy minions. The amount of Health replenished by Consume Soul is significant, and the fact it can store two charges means Gul'dan can restore a massive amount of Health almost instantly. The 30-second cooldown of Consume Soul is also quite generous. Consume Soul combined with Drain Life Icon Drain Life provides Gul'dan with nearly unparalleled self-sustain when laning. The better Gul'dan can manage his Health, the more Health he will be able to sacrifice for Mana using Life Tap Icon Life Tap. Consume Soul is best on maps where Gul'dan will have regular access to enemy Minions such as Tomb of the Spider Queen, Dragon Shire, and Towers of Doom. Consume Soul should never be selected in place of Improved Life Tap Icon Improved Life Tap on maps where most of the action takes place further away from lanes such as Blackheart's Bay, Cursed Hallow, and Battlefield of Eternity.

4.4. Not Recommended

Health Funnel Icon Health Funnel is a talent with very low versatility. It is only beneficial to Gul'dan when he is going to have the time to spend a few moments in lane, which is rarely the case. Most often Gul'dan should be pushing lanes quickly with Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame, as that is one of his strongest attributes. When in lane however, this talent is actually quite useful since it allows Gul'dan to endlessly leech Health from enemy minions. The problem is that both Improved Life Tap Icon Improved Life Tap and Consume Soul Icon Consume Soul will already provide adequate self-sustain not only in lane, but around most other locations on the map. Also, Gul'dan should never expect to utilize Health Funnel in teamfights, as being able to predict the death of an enemy Hero is quite tricky. Even if Health Funnel is procced in a teamfight, Gul'dan should be prioritizing casts of Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame and Corruption Icon Corruption, which will negate the benefit of having Drain Life Icon Drain Life on a shortened cooldown.

5. Level 7 Talents

Bound by Shadow ? Devour the Frail Curse of Exhaustion Hunger for Power

5.1. Descriptions

Bound by Shadow Icon Bound by Shadow causes the cooldown of Corruption Icon Corruption to be reduced by 1 second every time an enemy Hero is struck by Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame.

Devour the Frail Icon Devour the Frail causes Drain Life Icon Drain Life to deal 50% additional damage to enemies below 50% Health.

Curse of Exhaustion Icon Curse of Exhaustion causes enemy Movement to be slowed by 50% for 2.5 seconds upon Corruption Icon Corruption's expiration.

Hunger for Power Icon Hunger for Power increases Gul'dan's Ability Power by 15%, but lowers the healing he receives from allies by 25%.

5.2. Recommended

Hunger for Power Icon Hunger for Power is a game changer for Gul'dan, as a 15% increase in all damage output is not something to take lightly. Since Gul'dan's primary role as an assassin is to deal damage, this talent will prove invaluable. Although it does come at the cost of a 25% reduction in healing received from his allies, this does not affect the many other ways Gul'dan will be going about keeping himself nice and healthy (Drain Life Icon Drain Life, Consume Soul Icon Consume Soul, Healthstone Icon Healthstone, Regen Globes, Healing Fountains). The increase in damage will make each cast of an ability more impactful, meaning that on paper, Gul'dan should have to cast fewer abilities to be equally as effective. Theoretically, this casting of fewer abilities should result in a need for less Mana, which causes the need to be regularly casting Life Tap Icon Life Tap to go down, which ultimately results in Gul'dan no longer requiring constant heals from his allies in the first place. Now, it is important to note that this is all somewhat irrelevant, as Gul'dan should continue to regularly blast off abilities just as often as before having talented into Hunger for Power. Because of this, we as Gul'dan players should rejoice in the fact that a 25% reduction in healing is a small price to pay for such a power spike. The reduction in healing received should not be too much to prevent allies from continuing to support Gul'dan. The increase in damage on Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame will also make waveclearing a breeze, allowing Gul'dan to quickly regroup with his team for important objectives. On a quick side note; the 15% increase in Ability Power only affects the damage aspect of Drain Life Icon Drain Life, and does not increase the amount of healing Gul'dan will receive from the ability.

5.3. Situational

Bound by Shadow Icon Bound by Shadow is the definition of a situational talent, as it will only be beneficial to Gul'dan when utilizing the Echoed Affliction build which centers around the range and AoE damage of Corruption Icon Corruption. The build places heavy emphasis on zoning and poking enemies with Corruption, so being able to reduce its cooldown dramatically by landing casts of Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame can be useful. When playing with a burst composition, Hunger for Power Icon Hunger for Power remains a stronger pick. Bound by Shadow will integrate smoothly into poke compositions built around stalling teamfights in order to zone enemies or siege fortifications.

5.4. Not Recommended

Devour the Frail Icon Devour the Frail is an overall very weak talent. Gul'dan should not have to rely on Drain Life Icon Drain Life to be a primary source of damage, as it is very easy for enemy Heroes to negate the damage by traveling outside of its cast range. Gul'dan will be able to put out much more damage by talenting into Hunger for Power Icon Hunger for Power, which not only boosts the damage of Drain Life, but each of Gul'dan's other abilities as well. Devour the Frail also only affects the damage portion of Drain Life, and will not increase the amount of Health Gul'dan will receive when channeling it.

Curse of Exhaustion Icon Curse of Exhaustion is one of the very few ways Gul'dan can implement crowd-control into his kit. This is unfortunate, because a slow of 20% provided by Curse of Exhaustion often feels very weak. To add to the disappointment, the slow does not even go into effect until 2 seconds after the target is struck with Corruption Icon Corruption. This can make coordinating an abilitychain of additional crown control with Gul'dan's allies frustratingly difficult.

6. Level 10 Talents

Horrify Rain of Destruction

6.1. Descriptions

After a short delay, Horrify Icon Horrify creates a circular area that damages and fears all enemy Heroes caught inside. Heroes that are feared will lose all control and travel in a straight line away from the center of the circle for 2 seconds.

Rain of Destruction Icon Rain of Destruction summons a rain of meteors in a large area for 7 seconds. Each meteor deals damage to all targets within a small area.

6.2. Recommended

Horrify Icon Horrify is a phenomenal ability that furnishes Gul'dan with much needed utility and some bonus burst damage. Horrify has a plethora of applications that range from saving allies to isolating and destroying enemies. Check out the Abilities Section of the guide to get the full low down on what Horrify is capable and some tips on its many applications!

6.3. Not Recommended

Rain of Destruction Icon Rain of Destruction cannot hold a candle to the strength of Horrify Icon Horrify in any regard. I find this a personal bummer, as a monumental apocalypse of an ability seems to fit seamlessly into the playstyle of the Darkness Incarnate himself. Although the size of Rain of Destruction is truly massive, its impact is far from such. Not only does the ability force Gul'dan into 7 seconds of channeling (making himself incredibly vulnerable to enemy focus), its damage is also completely random and cannot be targeted to a specific location.

7. Level 13 Talents

Fel Armor ? Harvest Life Dark Bargain Healthstone

7.1. Descriptions

Fel Armor Icon Fel Armor grants Gul'dan a Spell Shield that reduces ability damage taken by 40% for 2.5 seconds every time Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame strikes an enemy Hero.

Harvest Life Icon Harvest Life causes Drain Life Icon Drain Life to restore 50% more Health when cast on enemy Heroes.

Dark Bargain Icon Dark Bargain causes Gul'dan's Health to be permanently increased by 25%. Gul'dan's Death Respawn time is also increased by 15 seconds.

Healthstone Icon Healthstone can be activated to instantly restore 25% of Gul'dan's Health. Healthstone has a 60-second cooldown.

7.2. Recommended

Having reliable access to an immediate 25% Health on a 60-second cooldown makes Healthstone Icon Healthstone a very strong talent option. Especially when combined with Consume Soul Icon Consume Soul, Gul'dan is able to rise up from life-threatening low amounts of health almost instantly. Even when Gul'dan is winning trades and only taking diminutive amounts of damage, Healthstone can be activated immediately after replenishing his Mana with Life Tap Icon Life Tap to stay topped off and ready for imminent skirmishes or teamfights. If timed wisely, Healthstone should be available for every major altercation particularly those surrounding important map objectives. The on-demand nature of Healthstone also allows it to be used to prevent Gul'dan from being immediately blown up if caught out or the target of the enemies focus fire.

7.3. Situational

Fel Armor Icon Fel Armor is a great source of damage mitigation for Gul'dan as long as he will be able to get off a consistent amount of Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame casts. A 40% reduction in damage taken from abilites is outstanding and the 2.5-second duration per Fel Flame strike is very generous. Because Fel Flame has a cooldown of 1.5 seconds, as long as he can connect the ability, Gul'dan should be able to keep up Fel Armor for the entire duration of every brawl. The reduction in damage taken also affords Gul'dan a little more freedom to draw Mana via Life Tap Icon Life Tap without running the risk of ending up with dangerously low Health.

7.4. Not Recommended

Harvest Life Icon Harvest Life is similar to Health Funnel Icon Health Funnel and Devour the Frail Icon Devour the Frail in that it places a lot of weight on Drain Life Icon Drain Life. The unreliability of Drain Life is what causes Harvest Life to be not recommended when compared to Healthstone Icon Healthstone and Fel Armor Icon Fel Armor. If an enemy happens to somehow break free from the Drain Life channel early, Gul'dan will be stuck for 10 seconds without any means of damage mitigation. Also, Harvest Life can be wasted via overhealing if Gul'dan happens to cast Drain Life on a target when he is already near full Health.

The permanent Health increase of Dark Bargain Icon Dark Bargain is extraordinary, however the cost of its strength is too unforgiving to be justified. Being taken out of the match for an additional 15 seconds after death is detrimental to your allies and will often lead to enemies capitalizing on their huge numbers advantage when contesting objectives or sieging fortifications. Although Gul'dan's entire kit is based around his Health management, Dark Bargain is way too risky of a gamble to bet on.

8. Level 16 Talents

Rampant Hellfire Ruinous Affliction ? Darkness Within

8.1. Descriptions

Rampant Hellfire Icon Rampant Hellfire causes Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame to increase the damage of the next cast of Fel Flame by 8% after hitting an enemy Hero. This increase in damage stacks up to 5 times.

Ruinous Affliction Icon Ruinous Affliction causes each strike of Corruption Icon Corruption to deal additional damage. If an enemy is hit by 3 strikes of Corruption, the third strike will deal a significant amount of bonus damage.

Darkness Within Icon Darkness Within causes Life Tap Icon Life Tap to increase the Ability Power of Gul'dan's next ability by 25%.

8.2. Recommended

Darkness Within Icon Darkness Within is essentially an activatable talent that greatly increases the damage output of Gul'dan. Unlike Rampant Hellfire Icon Rampant Hellfire, the damage bonus is instant and not dependent on any predetermined stipulations (such as landing a series of skillshots). Darkness within is the only talent option for Level 16 that allows Gul'dan to effectively choose what ability will have an increase in damage and when. When having talented into Darkness within, try to remember to cast a least one other ability between casts of Life Tap Icon Life Tap in order to maximize its effectiveness. If Life Tap is cast in quick succession, the Ability Power benefit of Darkness Within will go to waste.

8.3. Situational

Ruinous Affliction Icon Ruinous Affliction is a core talent in the “Echoed Affliction” build. When well placed, a cast of Corruption Icon Corruption empowered with Ruinous Affliction will do insane amounts of AoE damage to any target caught in its wake. Echoed Corruption Icon Echoed Corruption helps to ease the burden of trying to land 3 strikes of Corruption on a single target, as the additional strikes will count toward the damage bonus of Ruinous Affliction. Bound by Shadow Icon Bound by Shadow also keeps the cooldown time of Corruption realistically low, allowing Gul'dan to systematically poke down enemy Heroes as they attempt to contest objectives.

8.4. Not Recommended

Rampant Hellfire Icon Rampant Hellfire is the only other talent option to consider when not utilizing the “Echoed Affliction” build, as Ruinous Affliction Icon Ruinous Affliction is only viable when chosen in conjunction with several other specific talents. Although the damage increase caps 15% higher than the bonus provided by Darkness Within Icon Darkness Within, the process by which it is attained is too unreliable to be found favorable. The bonus will require Gul'dan to land multiple strikes of Fel Flames (unless the ENTIRE enemy team is hit with one cast), and can be lost if not chained together fast enough. Unlike Darkness Within, Rampant Hellfire's bonus damage will only be applied to Fel Flames which reduces its versatility and the options Gul'dan has when in combat.

9. Level 20 Talents

Haunt Deep Impact Demonic Circle ?

9.1. Descriptions

Haunt Icon Haunt increases the duration of Horrify Icon Horrify by 1 second, and feared enemies become vulnerable taking 25% increased damage.

Deep Impact Icon Deep Impact causes the impacts of Rain of Destruction Icon Rain of Destruction to slow enemies by 90% for 0.5 seconds.

Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle is an activatable talent that summons a Demonic Circle at Gul'dan's current location. Demonic Circle can be reactivated to instantly teleport from anywhere in the Battleground to the Demonic Circle. The teleport feature of Demonic Circle has a cooldown of 60 seconds.

9.2. Recommended

Haunt Icon Haunt adds a huge amount of utility to the already impressive Horrify Icon Horrify. An additional second of duration on a large AoE crowd-control ability is absolutely huge. The additional vulnerability debuff to EVERY hero struck with Horrify is just insane, as Gul'dan and his allies will be able to do immense amounts of teamwide damage to their helpless victims.

9.3. Situational

Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle is a great source of repositioning or escape for Gul'dan players who happen to find themselves being repeatably dove on by more aggressive opponents. Although Horrify Icon Horrify can be used to peel away immediate threats, manipulating the direction of opponents can be quite tricky. Demonic Circle is an overall more reliable source of escape and should be always placed nearby the location of an impending teamfight. Try to position the Circle close to where the backline of Gul'dans team will be in order to receive assistance from allies after having escaped, but make sure it is far enough away to avoid being immediately focused again. Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle is a viable talent option particularly when facing threats such as Illidan, Greymane, or Tyrael.

9.4. Not Recommended

Deep Impact Icon Deep Impact is a talent that ultimately provides too little utility to Rain of Destruction Icon Rain of Destruction to make it a reasonable pick over Horrify Icon Horrify at any point in a match. Rain of Destruction will remain to have its list of set backs, and the slow provided by Deep Impact is just as unpredictable as the damage. Although at a glance the 90% slow effect looks huge, the .5 second duration renders it basically useless.

10. ChangeLog

  • 24 Aug. 2016: Updated page to include changes made during the August 24 balance patch. No significant changes made to overall build.
    • Level 1 Echoed Corruption (E) quest now requires 35 number of hits, up from 30.
    • Level 7 Curse of Exhaustion (E) slow duration increased from 2 seconds to 2.5 seconds.
    • Level 13 Fel Armor now reduces ability damage by 40%, up from 30%.
    • Level 16 Rampant Hellfire (Q) bonus damage increased to 8% per stack (40% max), up from 6% (30% max).
    • Level 16 Darkness Within (Trait) bonus damage increased to 25%, up from 20%.
  • 27 Jul. 2016: Updated page to include full talent descriptions in addition to the slight alterations made to several of Gul'dan's talents during the 27 Jul. 2016 patch.
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