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Illidan Talents

Last updated on Aug 11, 2016 at 21:49 by Oxygen 30 comments

Table of Contents

Illidan Image

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for playing Illidan 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 Illidan guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About the Author

Oxygen is a veteran of the MOBA genre, which he has been playing for nearly 15 years. He has coached some of Heroes of the Storm's most prominent North American players and teams alike, including Team Liquid. As a Rank 1 Flex player, he enjoys playing all Heroes and roles.

1. Talent Build

Level Choices
1 Immolation Battered Assault Unending Hatred ?
4 Rapid Chase Friend or Foe Unbound ?
7 Reflexive Block Thirsting Blade Hunter's Onslaught ?
10 Metamorphosis The Hunt ?
13 Nimble Defender Elusive Strike Sixth Sense ?
16 Marked for Death Fiery Brand ? Blades of Azzinoth
20 Demonic Form Nowhere to Hide Nexus Blades Bolt of the Storm ?

2. Common Talent Paths

Metamorphosis Build: Durable sustained damage dealing

3. Level 1 Talents

Immolation Battered Assault Unending Hatred ?

3.1. Descriptions

Immolation Icon Immolation damages all nearby enemies every second for 4 seconds after using Sweeping Strike Icon Sweeping Strike.

Battered Assault Icon Battered Assault increases the Basic Attack damage bonus granted by Sweeping Strike Icon Sweeping Strike to 125% (up from 35%) if it hits 2 or more Heroes.

Unending Hatred Icon Unending Hatred increases your Basic Attack damage by 0.1 for every Minion that dies near you and by 1 for every Hero Takedown. Once you reach 20 bonus damage, you gain an additional 10 damage. You can still continue to increase your damage past this amount.

3.2. Recommended

Immolation Icon Immolation provides Illidan with a steady source of area of effect damage, something that his kit blatantly lacks. Immolation helps at all stages of the game, be it with waveclearing, claiming Mercenary Camps, or simply dealing more damage whenever Sweeping Strike Icon Sweeping Strike is used — which is always.

3.3. Situational

Unending Hatred Icon Unending Hatred provides the largest, most reliable damage increase at Level 1, albeit much later into the game. With some of the fastest Basic Attack speed in the game, Unending Hatred will increase your Basic Attack damage by 30 or roughly 20 to 30% overall. The downside of Unending Hatred is that it requires time to stack and become impactful. Unending Hatred is recommended on Maps where you will spend most of your time in a Lane, notably, Dragon Shire and Tomb of the Spider Queen.

3.4. Not Recommended

Battered Assault Icon Battered Assault is very unreliable because of its "hit 2 Heroes" requirement. It will only benefit you in large team fights, and even then only sometimes.

4. Level 4 Talents

Rapid Chase Friend or Foe Unbound ?

4.1. Descriptions

Rapid Chase Icon Rapid Chase increases your movement speed by 15% for 2 seconds after using Dive Icon Dive.

Friend or Foe Icon Friend or Foe increases the range of Dive Icon Dive by 25% and allows it to be used on allied Heroes without damaging or flipping over them, as Dive normally would.

Unbound Icon Unbound allows Sweeping Strike Icon Sweeping Strike to pass through Structures and terrain, and reduces its cooldown by to 4 seconds, down from 8, if does not hit an enemy.

4.2. Recommended

Friend or Foe Icon Friend or Foe provides Illidan with more mobility. The range increase is useful for chasing, whereas the option to jump to an ally is invaluable to keep yourself alive or avoid dangerous area of effect Abilities.

4.3. Situational

Unbound Icon Unbound adds a new dimension to the way Illidan can be played by allowing you to quickly move through both terrain and structural walls, making you much more nimble and difficult to catch. Unbound also reduces the cooldown of Sweeping Strike Icon Sweeping Strike from 8 seconds to 3 seconds (if Sweeping Strike hits no enemies), exponentially increasing your mobility. Unbound is an excellent choice on maps with plenty of winding paths and walls, such as Cursed Hollow and Garden of Terror.

4.4. Not Recommended

Although Rapid Chase Icon Rapid Chase provides a desirable and reliable movement speed increase, Friend or Foe Icon Friend or Foe is that much more versatile with its range increase and ability to jump to allied Heroes.

5. Level 7 Talents

Reflexive Block Thirsting Blade Hunter's Onslaught ?

5.1. Descriptions

Reflexive Block Icon Reflexive Block gives you 2 charges of Block (that each reduce the damage of an incoming Basic Attack by 75%) each time that you use Dive Icon Dive. The charges disappear after 3 seconds if they are not consumed.

Thirsting Blade Icon Thirsting Blade increases the healing of Betrayer's Thirst Icon Betrayer's Thirst to 50%, up from 30%.

Hunter's Onslaught Icon Hunter's Onslaught causes your Basic Abilities to heal you for 25% of the damage that they deal. This effect is doubled versus Heroes.

5.2. Recommended

Reflexive Block Icon Reflexive Block is by far the most effective talent at Level 7. With Betrayer's Thirst Icon Betrayer's Thirst, the cooldown on Dive Icon Dive is reduced to about 3 seconds, providing you with 3 charges of Block with each use. This will significantly reduce the damage that you take, especially versus Basic Attack-reliant Assassins.

5.3. Situational

Hunter's Onslaught Icon Hunter's Onslaught is the alternative to when there are either not many Basic Attack-reliant Heroes on the opposing team, or in the presence of Tracer or Tychus, both of which quickly chew through and waste Block charges.

5.4. Not Recommended

Thirsting Blade Icon Thirsting Blade fulfils the same purpose as Hunter's Onslaught Icon Hunter's Onslaught, albeit simply less effectively. Testings have shown that Hunter's Onslaught provides more effective healing than Thirsting Blade, and this, much more reliably as it does not require Basic Attacks.

6. Level 10 Talents

Metamorphosis The Hunt ?

6.1. Descriptions

Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis turns you into a demon for 18 seconds. When you use the ability, you are transported to the targeted location, where you re-appear dealing damage to all enemies in the area and gain health for each enemy hero for the duration of the transformation. While you are casting Metamorphosis (during your travel to the target location) you are temporarily untargetable and cannot be damaged or the victim of any effect, be they beneficial or hindering.

6.2. Recommended

As was mentioned on the Abilities page, Metamorphosis is a very powerful ability that is the source of much of your power as Illidan. You can refer to the Abilities page, and later on, to the Strategy page, in order to understand the ideal uses of Metamorphosis.

6.3. Situational

The Hunt Icon The Hunt provides a large amount of map pressure and ganking potential, but falls short when facing multiple enemies grouped together. In these situations, The Hunt becomes a mediocre engagement tool, since using it to enter fights will simply lead to death. It also is a poor choice to take this talent to catch stragglers, as there are no stragglers if the fight is not already won (and for winning fights, Metamorphosis is better).

In contrast, Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis can always be used, regardless of the situation. If you are winning, The Hunt allows you to win harder, but falls short when the enemy team is winning or when games are close. Metamorphosis is always a good choice, while The Hunt is only good situationally. The Hunt can also be used to split push, where you can stay in a lane and then use The Hunt to quickly join your team in a fight.

7. Level 13 Talents

Nimble Defender Elusive Strike Sixth Sense ?

7.1. Descriptions

Nimble Defender Icon Nimble Defender grants you Resistant for 2 seconds if you hit an enemy Hero with Sweeping Strike Icon Sweeping Strike. Resistant reduces all damage that you take by 25%.

Elusive Strike Icon Elusive Strike reduces the cooldown of Evasion Icon Evasion by 3 seconds every time Sweeping Strike Icon Sweeping Strike hits an enemy Hero.

Sixth Sense Icon Sixth Sense reduces ability damage taken by 75% from the next 2 incoming abilities while Evasion Icon Evasion is active.

7.2. Recommended

Nimble Defender Icon Nimble Defender provides satisfactory damage reduction when fighting enemy Heroes, reducing all damage that you take by 25% with an approximate 50% uptime (via the cooldown reduction provided by Betrayer's Thirst Icon Betrayer's Thirst).

7.3. Situational

Sixth Sense Icon Sixth Sense reduces ability damage taken for the next 2 instances of ability damage. This includes any damage, such as ticks of Stitches' Vile Gas Icon Vile Gas and Dehaka's Dark Swarm Icon Dark Swarm. This makes it very difficult to reduce the damage of abilities that are actually key, such as Nova's Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike. For the reason of reliability, Nimble Defender Icon Nimble Defender is the advised talent. Sixth Sense still finds a place against caster-heavy team compositions, such as those that might include Chromie, Jaina, or Kael'thas.

7.4. Not Recommended

Due to the massive cooldown reduction provided by Elusive Strike Icon Elusive Strike, the talent has niche use against team compositions that feature 3 or more Basic Attack-reliant Heroes, such as Raynor, The Butcher, or Valla. Such compositions, however, are extremely rare.

8. Level 16 Talents

Marked for Death Fiery Brand ? Blades of Azzinoth

8.1. Descriptions

Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death causes Dive Icon Dive to deal 250% more damage if it hits the last enemy that was damaged by it within 10 seconds.

Fiery Brand Icon Fiery Brand deals 6% of the enemy Hero's maximum health every 4th consecutive attack against that Hero.

Blades of Azzinoth Icon Blades of Azzinoth is a talent-based Ability that increases your Basic Attack damage by 75% for 8 seconds. It becomes available for use after you hit enemy Heroes 5 time with Sweeping Strike Icon Sweeping Strike.

8.2. Recommended

Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death allows you to deal heavy damage that is especially effective versus lower health backline Heroes, whom can sometimes be difficult to kill because of their ability to kite. The targeted nature of Dive Icon Dive makes it impossible to dodge or avoid, guaranteeing the damage from Marked for Death. It is also excessively good at taking down large Mercenary Camps and Structures.

8.3. Situational

Fiery Brand Icon Fiery Brand is effectively the same as Giant Killer Icon Giant Killer but it requires 4 consecutive Basic Attacks on the same Hero. This can be problematic for Illidan, as you are sometimes required to attack whatever is closest to you to reset the cooldowns on your abilities via Betrayer's Thirst Icon Betrayer's Thirst. Fiery Brand still finds a place against team compositions that feature Healthy Heroes such as Azmodan, Cho'gall, or two or more Warriors.

8.4. Not Recommended

Blades of Azzinoth Icon Blades of Azzinoth theoretically deals more damage than Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death, but its limitations generally make Marked for Death more impactful. Not only does Blades of Azzinoth require hitting enemy Heroes 5 times with Sweeping Strike Icon Sweeping Strike prior to using it, but you must also be able to consistantly use Basic Attacks on your targets.

9. Level 20 Talents

Demonic Form Nowhere to Hide Nexus Blades Bolt of the Storm ?

9.1. Descriptions

Demonic Form Icon Demonic Form allows the transformation from Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis to remain permanently. Demonic Form increases Illidan's attack speed from Metamorphosis by 20% and reduces the duration of all crowd control effects by 50%. Demonic Form ends when you die, and Metamorphosis must be used to re-enter Demonic Form. Unlike the other bonuses, the additional health per target from Metamorphosis still only lasts 18 seconds.

Nowhere to Hide Icon Nowhere to Hide gives The Hunt Icon The Hunt an infinite range and passively reveals enemy Heroes if their maximum health is below 25%.

Nexus Blades Icon Nexus Blades increases the damage of your Basic Attacks by 20%, and causes them to reduce the movement speed of your target by 20% for 1 second.

Bolt of the Storm Icon Bolt of the Storm is an activatable talent that instantly teleports you to the targeted location. Bolt of the Storm has a 70-second cooldown.

9.2. Recommended

Demonic Form Icon Demonic Form is better if the enemy team has crowd control, as the 50% reduced duration of crowd control effects is invaluable against such teams. The attack speed synergises with Betrayer's Thirst Icon Betrayer's Thirst (more attacks further reduce cooldowns) more effectively than the attack damage from Nexus Blades Icon Nexus Blades. Demon Form lasting indefinitely is an added bonus, and not the reason to pick this talent. Choose Demonic Form if the enemy team has one or more hard crowd control Heroes (Uther, Brightwing, Muradin, E.T.C.).

9.3. Situational

Bolt of the Storm Icon Bolt of the Storm is an extremely good talent for any Hero. But, since Illidan already has the mobility to stick to enemies, Bolt of the Storm's usefulness is reduced for him. It still finds niche use for The Hunt Icon The Hunt users, as they generally need the added survivability that would otherwise be provided by Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis.

9.4. Not Recommended

Nowhere to Hide Icon Nowhere to Hide does little to truly improve the effectiveness of The Hunt Icon The Hunt. The Ability already has an extremely good range, and the added Revealing effect is less than useful in practice.

Nexus Blades Icon Nexus Blades provides less damage and utility than Demonic Form Icon Demonic Form. Although 20% increased Basic Attack damage and 20% increased attack speed may appear as equivalent at a glance, one must remember that attack speed also provides Illidan with cooldown reduction to all of his Abilities. The slowing effect of Nexus Blades is also less than useful to a Hero with infinite chasing potential.

10. ChangeLog

  • 11 Aug. 2016: Description for several talents checked and changed for errors. Several recommendations changed to account for metagaming changes.
  • 27 Jul. 2016: Description for several talents fixed to account for the July 27 balance update. Several recommendations changed and fixed.
  • 18 Apr. 2016: Description for several talents changed to account for the April 12 balance update.
  • 30 Mar. 2016: Dehaka patch update.
    • Updated talent tree.
    • Immolation changed to Situational (Level 1).
    • Battered Assault changed to Not Recommended (Level 1).
    • Unending Hatred added as Recommended (Level 1).
    • Rapid Chase changed to Recommended (Level 4).
    • Friend or Foe changed to Not Recommended (Level 4).
    • Unbound changed to Situational (Level 4).
    • Reflexive Block changed to Recommended (Level 7).
    • Thirsting Blade changed to Not Recommended (Level 7).
    • Hunter's Onslaught changed to Not Recommended (Level 7).
    • Nimble Defender added as Recommended (Level 13).
    • Elusive Strike added as Situational (Level 13).
    • Sixth Sense changed to Not Recommended (Level 13).
    • Marked for Death changed to Recommended (Level 16).
    • Fiery Brand added as Not Recommended (Level 16).
    • Blades of Azzinoth added as Situational (Level 16).
  • 22 Aug. 2015: Updated descriptions for Seasoned Marksman and Bolt of the Storm. No change in talent recommendations.
  • 02 Jul. 2015: Many updates following The Butcher patch.
    • Seasoned Marksman was changed to Not Recommended from Recommended. The discussion about Level 1 talents was updated to reflect this. The description of Regeneration Master was updated, but this talents remains Not Recommended.
    • Blood for Blood damage decreased from 15% to 10% of the target's maximum health, but the heal amount is increased from 100% to 200% of damage dealt. Additionally, Blood for Blood no longer Slows the target.
    • Stoneskin changed to Situational from Not Recommended and The Level 16 talent discussion was modified to reflect this.
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