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Gul'dan Talents

Last updated on Nov 22, 2016 at 11:23 by Micekrispies 8 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

2.1. Corruption Build

The Corruption Build is comprised of talents that will maximize Corruption Icon Corruption's overall effectiveness in battle. Completion of Echoed Corruption Icon Echoed Corruption provides Gul'dan with a massive power spike, therefore it is important for Gul'dan to land as many casts of Corruption as possible on enemy Heroes right from the start of a match. Corruption's long range makes it great for defending and sieging fortifications, as well as poking away enemies from capturing battleground specific objectives such as the Altars on Towers of Doom.

2.2. Fel Flame Build

The Fel Flame build is an aggressive build that allows Gul'dan to put out massive amounts of sustained damage to targets within a relatively close proximity. Before team fights, Gul'dan will need to generate stacks of Rampant Hellfire Icon Rampant Hellfire to maximize his damage output. Therefore when possible, he should attempt to land casts of Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame on the enemy frontline in order to be ready when either team fully commits to an initiation. The bonus size of Fel Flame upon completion of Pursuit of Flame Icon Pursuit of Flame will allow Gul'dan to feel somewhat safer as he will need to extend less to harass his opponents.

3. Level 1 Talents

Gul'dan Pursuit of Flame
Pursuit of Flame (Level 1) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Quest: Hit 40 enemy Heroes with Fel Flame.

Reward: Fel Flame's radius is increased by 10%.

Gul'dan Glyph of Drain Life
Glyph of Drain Life (Level 1) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Increases the cast range of Drain Life by 25%.

Gul'dan Echoed Corruption
Echoed Corruption (Level 1) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Quest: Hit 40 enemy Heroes with Corruption.

Reward: After the third strike, Corruption strikes 3 times in the opposite direction.

Gul'dan Chaotic Energy ?
Chaotic Energy (Level 1) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Quest: Gathering a Regen Globe causes your next Basic Ability with a Mana cost to refund 40 Mana

Reward: After Gathering 20 Regen Globes your Basic Ability Mana costs are permanently reduced by 20.

3.1. Discussion

Pursuit of Flame Icon Pursuit of Flame is only a recommended choice when utilizing the Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame Build. Although there is a quest portion to the talent, it does not take too long to complete, as Gul'dan will be able to land many casts of Fel Flame against his lane opponent when trading with them during the early game. The increased size of Fel Flame from Pursuit of Flame will allow Gul'dan to fight from somewhat safer positions, deeper behind his allied frontline. The larger size will also make it much easier for Gul'dan to generate and maintain stacks of both Fel Armor Icon Fel Armor and Rampant Hellfire Icon Rampant Hellfire, as well as trigger the cooldown reduction effect of Bound by Shadow Icon Bound by Shadow.

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.

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.

Glyph of Drain Life Icon Glyph of Drain Life 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

Gul'dan Health Funnel ?
Health Funnel (Level 4) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

If an enemy dies while under the effect of Drain Life, the cooldown is instantly refreshed.

Gul'dan Improved Life Tap
Improved Life Tap (Level 4) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Life Tap now restores 35% Mana

Gul'dan Consume Soul ?
Consume Soul (Level 4) World of Warcraft Gul'dan
  • Cooldown: 30 seconds

Instantly kill an enemy Minion and heal for 800 (380 + 4% per level) Health. Stores 2 charges.

4.1. Discussion

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.

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.

Health Funnel Icon Health Funnel is a talent that is best selected on smaller maps where much of the action takes place close to the lanes, such a Tomb of the Spider Queen, Braxis Holdout, and Dragon Shire. The instant reset of Drain Life Icon Drain Life from Health Funnel implies that when in lane, Gul'dan can endlessly siphon off Health from enemy Minions, making him incredibly difficult to poke out of lane. When in lane, make sure to only cast Drain Life on Minions who will without a doubt die while under the effect of Drain Life as to not put the ability on full cooldown. Also, keep an eye out for enemy crowd-control that can easily disrupt Drain's Life's cast channel such as Kael'thas' Gravity Lapse Icon Gravity Lapse or Kerrigan's Impaling Blades Icon Impaling Blades. It is best to wait to cast Drain Life until enemy abilities like these are known to be on cooldown. On larger Battlegrounds where much of the fighting takes place far from lane, Health Funnel may feel quite underwhelming as it will be unused for large portions of the match. 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's cooldown immediately reset.

5. Level 7 Talents

Gul'dan Bound by Shadow
Bound by Shadow (Level 7) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Each enemy Hero hit with Fel Flame reduces the cooldown of Corruption by 1 second.

Gul'dan Devour the Frail
Devour the Frail (Level 7) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Drain Life deals 50% more damage to enemies below 50% Health.

Gul'dan Curse of Exhaustion
Curse of Exhaustion (Level 7) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Upon expiration, Corruption slows enemy Movement Speed by 50% for 2.5 seconds.

Gul'dan Hunger for Power
Hunger for Power (Level 7) World of Warcraft Gul'dan
  • Cooldown: 0 seconds

Increases Ability Power by 15% but reduces healing received from allies by 25%.

5.1. Discussion

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.

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.

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 does not even go into effect until 2 seconds after the target is struck with Corruption Icon Corruption. This can make coordinating an ability chain of additional crown control with Gul'dan's allies frustratingly difficult.

6. Level 10 Talents

Gul'dan Horrify
Horrify (Level 10) World of Warcraft Gul'dan
  • Cooldown: 80 seconds

After a short delay, deal 263 (125 + 4% per level) damage and fear enemy Heroes in the area for 2 seconds.

Gul'dan Rain of Destruction
Rain of Destruction (Level 10) World of Warcraft Gul'dan
  • Cooldown: 100 seconds

Summon a rain of meteors in an area for 7 seconds. Each meteor deals 362 (172 + 4% per level) damage in a small area.

6.1. Discussion

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!

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

Gul'dan Fel Armor
Fel Armor (Level 13) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Hitting an enemy Hero with Fel Flame grants a Spell Shield, reducing Ability Damage taken by 40% for 2.5 seconds.

Gul'dan Harvest Life
Harvest Life (Level 13) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Drain Life heals for 50% more Health when used on Heroes.

Gul'dan Dark Bargain
Dark Bargain (Level 13) World of Warcraft Gul'dan
  • Cooldown: 0 seconds

Your maximum Health is permanently increased by 25% but your Death Respawn time is increased by 15 seconds.

Gul'dan Healthstone
Healthstone (Level 13) World of Warcraft Gul'dan
  • Cooldown: 60 seconds

Activate to heal for 25% of your maximum Health.

7.1. Discussion

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.

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.

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

Gul'dan Rampant Hellfire
Rampant Hellfire (Level 16) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Fel Flame's damage is increased by 8% for 5 seconds when hitting an enemy Hero. This can stack up to 5 times.

Gul'dan Ruinous Affliction
Ruinous Affliction (Level 16) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Corruption deals an additional 171 (82 + 4% per level) damage on impact. If the enemy is hit by all three strikes, the third strike deals 511 (243 + 4% per level) damage.

Gul'dan Darkness Within ?
Darkness Within (Level 16) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

After using Life Tap, the next Ability you cast has 25% increased Ability Power.

8.1. Discussion

Rampant Hellfire Icon Rampant Hellfire is a great talent that will greatly improve the damage output of Gul'dan and is best selected for when utilizing the Fel Flame Icon Fel Flame Build. The increased size of Fel Flame from completing the Pursuit of Flame Icon Pursuit of Flame quest will make striking targets to generate and maintain stacks of Rampant Hellfire much easier. Keep in mind that Rampant Hellfire will stack up to 5 times, and generates a stack for EVERY enemy Hero struck, theoretically allowing it to be fully stacked with one cast of Fel Flame should it somehow manage to hit the entire enemy team. Although Rampant Hellfire lacks the initial burst effect of Darkness Within Icon Darkness Within, its long term damage will greatly surpass it should Gul'dan be able to maintain his stacks. It should be noted that it is never a good idea to put Gul'dan in a vulnerable position just to stack or maintain stacks or Rampant Hellfire. Although he may get a few quick stacks, there is not much he can do with them if he is immediately targeted and taken down by his opponents.

Ruinous Affliction Icon Ruinous Affliction is a core talent in the Corruption 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.

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.

9. Level 20 Talents

Gul'dan Haunt
Haunt (Level 20) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Increases the duration of Horrify by 1 second and feared enemies become Vulnerable, taking 25% increased damage.

Gul'dan Deep Impact
Deep Impact (Level 20) World of Warcraft Gul'dan

Rain of Destruction slows enemies Movement Speed by 90% for 0.5 seconds.

Gul'dan Demonic Circle ?
Demonic Circle (Level 20) World of Warcraft Gul'dan
  • Cooldown: 1 seconds

Summon a Demonic Circle at your location. Activate to teleport to the Demonic Circle.

9.1. Discussion

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.

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.

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.

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