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Zeratul Abilities and Strategy

Last updated Today at 15:49 by Oxygen 45 comments

Table of Contents

Zeratul Image

General Information

Below, we give you an overview of the abilities that Zeratul has access to. We also explain how to best your these abilities.

The other pages of our Zeratul 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 Diamond Flex player, he enjoys playing all Heroes and roles.

1. Tips on Ability Usage

  • Cleave Icon Cleave is excellent at clearing large Minion waves.
  • When engaging on an enemy from Cloak, initiate with Singularity Spike Icon Singularity Spike to make it difficult to avoid.
  • Only Blink Icon Blink in if you can secure a kill or there is no risk to your own life.
  • Use Void Prison Icon Void Prison to setup combos with your allies by hitting several enemy Heroes, or to split the enemy team in half.
  • Permanent Cloak Icon Permanent Cloak does not make you invisible; merely translucent. Keen players will see you coming.

2. Cleave

Zeratul Cleave
Cleave (Q) Starcraft Zeratul
  • Mana: 40
  • Cooldown: 6 seconds

Deal 200 (+4% per level) damage to nearby enemies.

Cleave is a very simple ability, but its short Cooldown, area of effect, and relatively high damage make it your main area of effect damage Ability. It is very Mana-efficient, costing a mere 40. To optimize waveclearing, stand within the Minion wave, on top of the Caster Minion, allowing Cleave to hit all targets. You should generally use Cleave on-Cooldown during team fights and against Mercenaries, although weaving in Basic Attacks so as to benefit from Combo Slash Icon Combo Slash is important in maximizing your damage potential. Cleave's range is also barely longer than that of your Basic Attack, making it situationally useful for finishing off enemies that are barely out of your range. Its area of effect can also be used to reveal Cloaked Heroes or Zagara's Creep Tumors.

3. Singularity Spike

Singularity Spike deals a significant amount of single-target damage. It also happens to be your only source of non-Heroic crowd control, with its hefty Movement Speed reduction effect. Although its skillshot nature can make it difficult to land, particular attention should be paid to mastering this Ability; the Movement Speed reduction is crucial to improving your Basic Attack uptime against any kill target by hindering their escape. It also contributes greatly to Zeratul's overall ability to inflict burst damage.

Although Singularity Spike is a ranged Ability, it is generally cast from melee range so as to decrease the chances of missing, and to allow for instantaneous follow up with Basic Attacks and Cleave Icon Cleave. From range, Singularity Spike's usefulness is generally limited to chasing or fleeing. You should avoid using it solely for poking, as Singularity Spike on its own is not very impactful — its Cooldown is relatively long, and your target might simply heal it off.

4. Blink

Blink is an integral part of Zeratul's kit, and using it carelessly will often leave you in a vulnerable position. Never engage a target with Blink when you could simply close the gap by walking up to your target while Mounted and Cloaked, unless Blink can be used to positively secure a kill. If you do use Blink to engage, opposing Heroes you are targeting may use their own gap-closer to escape and leave you with no reliable way to follow up. This makes Cooldown tracking an essential skill to master as a Zeratul player.

Once you get Wormhole Icon Wormhole at Hero Level 7, the way Blink should be used changes completely. This Talent, in our opinion mandatory, essentially allows Blink to become a truly offensive tool against any kill target for a full unavoidable combo consisting Singularity Spike, Cleave, with some Basic Attacks interwoven, before reactivating the Ability and teleporting right back to safety.

5. Shadow Assault

Zeratul Shadow Assault
Shadow Assault (R) Starcraft Zeratul
  • Heroic Ability
  • Mana: 50
  • Cooldown: 45 seconds

Basic Attacks cause Zeratul to charge at enemies and have 20% increased Attack Speed. Lasts for 4 seconds.

Shadow Assault Icon Shadow Assault is a widely used Heroic Ability at lower levels of play. This is because it is easy to use, and it allows one to kill most Heroes in a 1v1 scenario. The problem with Shadow Assault, however, is that it tends to leave you vulnerable if it is to be used to full effect during team fights due to its melee range. This problem is acerbated when the opposing team features much crowd control.

To benefit from Shadow Assault, one must play extremely aggressively during the short while it is active. This can be very risky and admittedly counterintuitive to how Zeratul should be played; that is, as a mobile Assassin. To its credit Shadow Assault will allow you to perfectly assassinate most non-tank opponents that stray away from their team, and its relatively short Cooldown allows it to be used often.

6. Void Prison

Void Prison as easy to use as it is difficult to master. Although it can be utilised in a wide variety of scenarios, there are three major uses that you should be aware of. The first (and primary) way that Void Prison should be used is to temporarily take key enemy Heroes out of a fight. For example, when fighting a team that has Uther and Illidan, you can use Void Prison on the former (possibly hitting other enemy Heroes as well) and then focus all of your damage onto Illidan, killing him before he can benefit from any support.

Void Prison's second major use is to set up combos with your allies by allowing some Abilities to land when they would normally be difficult to hit, as well as giving your allies time to correctly position. For example, hitting four or five enemy Heroes with Void Prison, followed by Diablo's Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse and Nova's Precision Strike Icon Precision Strike will essentially guarantee your team an easy ace. However, the coordination required to pull off perfect combos usually rarely exist in casual games, requiring you to play with a premade party to pull it off correctly. It also requires allied Heroes that have the Abilities necessary to combo off-Cooldown, or at all selected.

Similarily to setting up combos, Void Prison's third major use it to catch fleeing enemies or to prevent them from catching your own allies. In both scenarios, Void Prison gives your allies time to move and better position.

Void Prison also has several niche uses. It can be used to make your Structures immune to damage, possibly saving them from destruction. It can be used to save allies from damage that would otherwise kill them by making them invulnerable. It can even be used to freeze a Mercenary Camp's capture point, giving your team time to contest it. However, these uses (and all of the others that exist) are arguably less impactful than the three major uses previously listed, and Void Prison should generally be limited to those uses due to its very long Cooldown.

7. Permanent Cloak (Trait)

Zeratul Permanent Cloak
Permanent Cloak (D) Starcraft Zeratul
  • Trait

Gain Stealth when out of combat for 3 seconds.

Taking damage, attacking, using Abilities, or channeling ends Permanent Cloak.

Permanent Cloak Icon Permanent Cloak passively causes Zeratul to become Cloaked when out of combat for 3 seconds. The Cloaking effect makes Zeratul untargetable by single-target Abilities and Basic Attacks, prevents Minions, Structures, and Mercenaries from engaging him, adds a large amount of transparency to his model, and prevents opponents from seeing his Minimap portrait.

Cloak is lost when any of the following conditions is met:

  • using a Basic Attack;
  • taking damage;
  • being hit by revealing abilities such as Oracle Icon Oracle, Farsight Icon Farsight, and Clairvoyance Icon Clairvoyance;
  • casting Abilities, with the sole exception of Blink Icon Blink;
  • channeling Map Objectives;
  • Mounting up or using the Hearthstone;
  • being near the opposing team's Core structure.

It should be noted that cloaking does not make Zeratul fully invisible; he instead appears transparent and heavily distorted to enemy players, a visual effect often described as a shimmer. Attentive players can spot this shimmer and thwart your surprise attack attempts.

Permanent Cloak Icon Permanent Cloak may be his greatest strength. Although it does not give you literal invisibility and the shimmer can still allow opponents to spot you, even the most experienced Players will not always be able to keep track of you all of the time. However, this does not mean you should play as if you will never be spotted and you should still play like an Assassin, using bushes and staying just out of the vision of enemy Heroes. This is especially true if the enemy team has abilities that can reveal you, such as Oracle Icon Oracle and Clairvoyance Icon Clairvoyance, since you are very vulerable and easily killed once revealed.

Since it takes 3 seconds to re-enter Permanent Cloak, you will generally want to deal all of your damage at once, in a bursty fashion, rather than over time. This way, you can re-Cloak and wait in safety for your Cooldowns. This in-and-out playstyle promotes mobility, and it is therefore always in your best interest to be Mounted whenever possible. This also gives Permantent Cloak the ability to double as a faux gap-closer, allowing you to ride up to your target, since the Cloaking will keep you hidden.

When stalking your target while Cloaked, it is very important to avoid being in a position where AoE damage, meant for another target, might hit you, unintentionally revealing you.

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