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[HOTS] - Zagara, the Brood Mother - an In-depth look

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ZAGARA: THE SUSTAINED CONTROLLER

An extensive guide on how to be effective on the Brood Mother.

 

In Heroes of the Storm, Zagara is a ranged specialist that excels in lane pushing, Merc capping and zone control.

Her strenght is mostly notable in the early game, where she can be overwhelming to deal with, while her scaling into the late game tends to be mediocre.

She provides her team with a unique mechanic: Creep Tumors (more on in later on).

 

Her damage comes mostly from her summons, but she still has a strong auto attack and can even be specialized to be entirely reliant on it.

 

When it comes to builds she has diffent paths to take and choices to make, and we are here to explore the possibilities and find out what works and what doesn't.

 

But first of all, let's take a look at her abilities:

 

TRAIT (D) – Creep Tumor

Mana cost: 20

Charge Cooldown: 15 seconds

Max 3 Charges

“Lay a Creep Tumor that generates creep. You and your summons move 20% faster on creep and regenerate 1.8 ( + 0.3 per level) Health a second. Tumor lasts 240 seconds”.

Fun Fact From level 5 to level 6 the increase is 0.4 instead of 0.3. Not really sure why that is.

Creep is such a unique and important mechanic that I dedicated a chapter to it, more on it later. 

 

Q – Baneling Barrage

Mana cost: 50

Cooldown: 10 seconds

“Lauch 4 banelings that deal (40 + 5 per level) damage each”. 

While spewing out banelings you are forced stationary and are therefore vulnerable. If you can hit them all they deal a good amount of damage, but they move relatively slowly and are somewhat easy to dodge. You can time them after a Devouring Maw to ensure the detonation, or use stuns provided by your teammates to achieve the same effect. 

Worth noting that the banelings consist of solid bodies that can work as meat (acid?) shields; you can use them to block a Nova's Snipe or a Stiches hook, among other things.

 

W – Hunter Killer

Mana cost: 60

Cooldown: 14 seconds

“Summon an Hydralisk to attack a single target, dealing (46 + 6 per level) damage per second. Lasts 8 seconds”.

This is your highest and most reliable source of damage. That hydralisk packs quite a punch, especially early on. Casting it stops you for a second, keep it in mind when kiting. Use it to harrass your opponents with little to no chance for retaliation on yourself. One thing you should be careful of is enemy's AOE. The hydralisk can be killed rather easily as it doesn't have much HP, so try to position it far from yourself to ensure that the enemy will have to choose if to attack you or it, without the chance of cleaving it down. Get confident with the way it behaves and where it spawns when you summon it.

 

E – Infested Drop

Mana cost: 50

Cooldown: 12 seconds

“Bombard target area with a Zerg Drop Pod for (72 + 12 per level) damage. The pod spawns 2 roachlings that deal (15 + 2 per level) damage per second and last 8 seconds.”

The pod itself deals decent area damage on its impact location. Get confident with its timing and you can use it to snipe low health targets with it. Also, this can be used on the move so you should drop them behind yourself while kiting. Roachlings are great to soak structures ammo or to block skillshots, as well as tanking Mercs for you.

 

Heroic Abilities:


Devouring Maw 

Mana cost: 100

Cooldown: 100 seconds

“Summon a Devouring Maw that deals (99 + 24 per level) damage and devours enemies for 4 seconds. Devoured enemies cannot fight and take (40 + 2 per level) damage per second“

 

Nydus Network

Mana cost: 50

Charge cooldown: 60 seconds

Max 2 charges

“Summon a Nydus Worm at target location that you can enter by right-clicking. While inside, you exit by targeting a Nydus Worm with R or right-clicking near the Worm. Maximum 4 Nydus Worms”. 

 

We'll talk about Heroic abilities in a later Chapter, so let's skip more info for now.

 

Creep Tumors: the importance of vision

 

One of Zagara's most important tools is her trait: Creep Tumor.

Laying down a tumor lets creep spread outwards from it, covering a relatively large area, granting Zagara and her summons a bonus in movement speed and health regen, as well as vision. 

Bear in mind that the vision is granted by the tumor itself, not the creep, so place them accordingly.

Creep Tumors act as vision wards in this game, and are so far the only element that behave this way.

Different maps have different needs, but vision is never not welcome. 

Besides the obvious “Creep in the bush”, fundamental to keep sight of your surroundings and to prevent your enemies from LoS (line of sight) jukes, you should always be proactive with your creeping. 

Be mindful of your enemies and consider their position: if it looks safe enough, you should not refrain yourself from entering their jungle and gain vision of chocke points and camps. 

Even tho Creep tumors are stealthed, they can still be destroyed by most kinds of AOE (area of effect) damage; one way to help prevent them from being destroyed accidentally during skirmishes is to place them on the sides of the lane, rather then in the middle (where the skirmish will most likely take place) and place them at the edges of bushes instead of the middle (where your enemies will most likely try to snipe them).

 

 

POSSIBLE BUILDS

Fighting Vs. Split Pushing

 

Zagara is not the most versatile hero in the game, but that does not mean she doesn't have her fair share of interesting choises to make. In my experience, there are two main builds for her: one focused on splitpushing, the other one focused on damage dealing for teamfights/duels.

Based on this, here is an analysis of her talent choices color coded by effectiveness.

 

Green = Very good

Orange = Situational

Red = Bad

 

Level 1

 

Centrifugal Hooks – Double the distance traveled by your banelings just doesn't cut it; the range is already more then enough, and since they are quite easy to dodge the extra distance won't make much, if any, difference. 

Corpse Feeders – Reduces the damage your roachlings take from minions, mercenaries and structures by 33%; while this might drain one extra shot from towers and forts, Demolitionist is just superior.

Reconstitution (Fighting) – You should have creep all over the map, and should always fight on top of it. This talent triples your health regen on top of creep, which lets you recover from trades much more effectively, especially in the early game.

Demolitionist (Split pushing) – Factoring in Zagara's good attack speed, 10% more damage and ammo drain on structures makes it for a solid pushing choice.

 

Level 4

 

Envenomed Spines (Fighting) – More range and damage on your auto attacks equals safer positioning in teamfights and easier harrassment. Solid choice.

Medusa Blades (Split Pushing) – Situational at best. On paper this sounds really good: all your basic attacks cleave. Good for pushing lanes, even tho it is not really needed; Zagara pushes like a goddess even without it.

Tumor Clutch – Mana is not really a problem for you, and the cooldown is more then enough to ensure you the vision and the regen you need.

Envenom (Fighting) – Envenom is a really good talent, don't get me wrong. It just doesn't fit Zagara's playstyle very well. You are not a burst assassin, and even if you are amazing at single target damage, this talent doesn't seem mandatory. I recommend Envenomed Spines over this.

Infest (Split Pushing) – This talent makes your lane minions powerhouses for a short while. As I stated above, Zagara already has great pushing capabilities, making this talent sort of redundant. If you end up picking this up, cast it on Archer minions: being the last ones to be focused by towers and forts, they will make the most use of it.

 

Level 7

 

Battle Momentum – Zagara does rely on her abilities for everything, and this lets you use them more often. Solid talent, but there are simply stronger choices in this tier.

Volatile Acid (split pushing) – Makes your banelings deal a lot of additional damage to minions and structures. Worth noting that the bonus damage also applies to hero summons, like other Zagara's roaches and hydralisks, Nazeebo's Gargantuan, Raynor's Banshees and so on. Not that useful, plus rapid incubation is in this tier.

Ventral Sacs (split pushing) – One extra roachling. Just not good enough.

Endless Creep – Even with this talent, most AOE will be able to destroy your tumors, and distance of spreading is not a concern. Skip.

Rapid Incubation – Mandatory for every Zagara build, in my experience. Use it to recover after a trade, use it to restore mana if you run low on it, use it to tank the last bit of DoTs ticking on you.

Worth mentioning that it has a lower cooldown then an Healing Fountain, so prioritize Incubation over the Fountain to achieve maximum sustain. Too good to pass up.

 

Level 10

 

Devouring Maw – The utility of this Heroic outclasses the other choice. It is what makes you such a good controller in teamfights; it is what lets you escape safely when split pushing. 

Use it on a clump of enemies to help your team easily set up wombo comboes, most notably with E.T.C.'s Mosh Pit, Nova's Orbital Strike, Uther's Divine Storm and the such. 

You can use it to take some annoying characters temporarily out of the picture in teamfights: suck in a healer to cut the sustain of the enemy team, suck in a crowd controller to cut their disruption.

It is worth noting that the maw itself creates unpassable terrain: you can use this to your advantage to block off choke points and isolate enemy heroes.

 

Nydus Network – I'm not that big a fan of Nydus. It lets you have some semblance of global presence, which can be useful when split pushing, and that's about it. 

The nydus itself generates creep from its location: while this lets you benefit from the movement speed and health regen, it gives out its location to your enemies. I very rarely, if ever, recommend picking this up.

 

Level 13

 

Mutalisk – I'm not fond of Mutalisk. The only thing this talent does is give you extra chasing capabilities, which is not something you should look for anyway. The mutalisk bounce attack won't be that noticeable in teamfights, and is not useful for split pushing either: your aoe is good enough as is for minion waves.

Grooved Spines (Fighting) – Hunter Killer is your main source of damage. 35% more range means the Hydralisk can reach its target easier and stay out of potential aoe, and 20% more damage is just realy good. Best choice in this tier.

Bile Drop (Split Pushing) – Only doubles the damage of the impact of your Infested Drop, not your roachlings. Mediocre at best.

Giant Killer – Only applies to your autos. While you should always auto your enemies, your basic attack is not your main source of damage. Skip.

Spell Shield – Personally I would only take this if the enemy team has a Nova, and even then you can get stoneskin next tier. If you find yourself being focused a lot by their casters pick it up, if not Grooved Spines is just superior.

 

Level 16

This tier has a lot of good choices, all of which depend on the enemy team composition.

 

Baneling Massacre (Split Pushing) – Double the banelings double the damage, but we are not going for a baneling build. While spewing out banelings you are stationary, therefore vulnerable; this talent increases that “window of immobility”. I don't recommend it.

Brood Expansion (Fighting) – Hunter Killer is your main source of damage, and having 2 charges means your damage will skyrocket. You can pick two different targets, or you can focus down a single one much more quickly. Solid choice.

Metabolic Boost – Solid choice if you need to kite around dangerous targets, especially those without gap closers (ex. Thrall). Bear in mind that to gain the benefit of this talent you must be on creep, so don't slack on those tumors. 

Stoneskin – Solid choice if you find yourself focused by enemies with burst potential or sticking power (ex. Zeratul, Nova, Illidan). Their ability to stick on you means you can't kite them, and the shield can save your life from being 100%-0% from their combo.

 

Level 20

 

Tyrant Maw – A single good Maw is all you need, and you don't need it for the damage it does. Skip.

Broodling Nest (Split Pushing) – Broodlings add some damage and can push lanes effectively, but Nydus is already a mediocre Heroic, and this is a sub-par upgrade.

Fury of the storm – It helps your autos, which are not your main tool of damage. It lets you surprise your opponent with some burst they do not expect and helps you take camps faster, both of which are not things you really need. Plus Bolt is in this tier.

Bolt of the storm – No matter what build you go for, Zagara's main weakness is her low mobility. Bolt fixes that. Such high utility cannot be passed up. Mandatory.

 

 

 

The Early Game LVL 1-10

 

The early game is where your damage outclasses most other heroes. At level one, there's barely anyone that can win a 1v1 duel against you if you play your cards right. 

 

Given such a strong early game, you should be taking charge of a solo lane, which differs from map to map. 

Your priority heading into lane should be planting tumors in bushes to spot the enemy, as well as onto any path an enemy ganker might take to come to you. Don't be afraid to dip into the enemy jungle to lay down some tumors: unless you are playing against a premade enemy team, you will hardly face someone that's grouped up to check for you.

 

In lane, you have one keyword: Harrass. One of your strenght is that 2 of your 3 spells work on their own, and you can cast them on the move. 

You can zone your opponent pretty hard thanks to Hunter Killer, and you can start draining tower ammo with Infested Drop. 

If you picked up Reconstitution, your early sustain will be more then enough to keep your health high.

One little trick I use, to gain as much as an xp lead as possible, is not to push the lane brainlessly.

Harrass the enemy to the point where he will be afraid of getting close to minions, and position yourself aggressively (you have creep to spot for incoming ganks, so you should be completely safe doing so); keep the enemy hero far from the wave and let minions kill each other as much as possible. Each friendly minion that dies far from your opponent is a little bit of experience they are missing: in the long run this really adds up.

 

If you can force your opponent out of lane, push hard. Let your minions hit the enemy towers and then look to secure a Merc camp (if the map allows it). Thanks to your summons, you should have no problem soloing Siege Camps. Bruisers can screw you up pretty badly early on, so don't try them unless you have some help: best case scenario you will use most of your mana and most of  your health, and might lose the advantage you had in lane.

If camps are not available for whatever reason, take part in some aggressive creeping or focus down the towers. Any advantage you can get is invaluable in the early stages.

 

 

The Mid Game LVL 11-16

 

This is the part of the game where both roaming and teamfighting become much more important.

Ideally you never stopped creeping up the map, giving your team vision and yourself movement speed to zoom between lanes and objectives.

If you went for a split pushing build you should always look for undefended lanes and push them in, taking Merc camps along the way. Your priority is to drain structures of their ammo and to deal as much damage on them as possible. Note that you WILL be on the enemy team's sights while doing this, since you are on your own and all alone. Creep on every possible ganking route they might take and be ready to escape. Always have a fall back plan. All the experience lead you might've granted your team by split pushing would be nullified if the enemies manage to kill you. 

 

If you went for the damage build, this is the time of the game where you want to teamfight. 

Placement of your Devouring Maw can make or break a fight, so you should be extra careful with that. If your team comp benefits from Wombo Comboes, try to suck in as many enemies as possible to align AOE for your team. If this is not the case, try to aim for important targets and lock them out temporarily: a sieged up Sgt. Hammer, a Lili or a Malfurion during their healing heroics, a spinning Valla, etc.

 

If no fights are in sight, focus your attention on Merc camps and pushing: Zagara is a goddess in both aspects.

 

The Late Game LVL 17+

 

Zagara's damage doesn't scale as well as other heroes (especially assassins), so this is the part of the game where you are most fragile. Hopefully, your early game strenght led you to have an advantage in experience or objectives by this point. 

If not, don't fret: you still have deadly tools at your disposal.

 

Vision should be your priority here, no matter what build you went for. If you can spot an isolated target thanks to your tumors, you might be able to get a pick; with such long death timers, this will most likely mean a 5v4 teamfight for an objective an a subsequent advantage.

Follow the same general rules as the mid game for both styles, but be mindful that by this point the enemy team will most likely be roaming all over prioritizing Merc camps and objectives, so getting out of position to creep up will be extra dangerous.

 

If you are split pushing, be mindful of your team's situation: if they are stuggling and losing teamfights, keeping on splitting might not be a good idea. Push lanes only if you feel safe doing so, and only if you feel like your team can stall the enemy. If your friends get forced into a 4v5 engagement things might go sour really fast.

 

A note on effective Merc capping

 

Zagara is considered one of the best junglers, and for a good reason. She can take Mercenaries camps quickly and with little to no risk, thanks to her summons. 

To best exploit this ability, you should always open on a camp with your Infested Drop, in orded to have your roachlings tank most of the damage. Your Hunter Killer is what will kill the camp fast, and it can also tank a couple shot for you. You should swap aggro between yourself and your Hydralisk so that it doesn't die before its full duration, but will still soak damage in your place. Banelings provide good AOE clearing and creep can give you some of the sustain you need to recover eventual injuries suffered from the camp itself. If need be, don't be afraid of using Rapid Incubation after a camp, to ensure that you go back in lane with a safe amount of health and mana.

 

 

Closing Words

 

Zagara is one of my personal favourite heroes, for the reasons explained in the guide. 

Her ability to push, secure camps and zone control make her a good addition to most team comps.

 

I hope you found this guide useful and now have a better understanding of the Brood Mother!

 

Have fun in the Nexus, and remember: The Swarm endures! (which I keep hearing as “The swarm indoors”, which makes me giggle)

 

 

***************

 

If you enjoyed reading the guide, come check my youtube channel, where I play Heroes of the Storm explaining builds and tactics for different Heroes every day!

Just a warning, my English accent is TERRIBLE, being Italian and all :D

 

Channel ----------------------->  www.youtube.com/renoflash

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      Alarak (suggested build) Lightning Surge provides a powerful sustain, which becomes even stronger with the talent Sustaining Power (1) and Lightning Barrage (16), with the latter allowing Alarak to cast two Lightning Surges in succession, thus doubling its effects.  Cassia (suggested build) Ring of the Leech (4) provides passive self-healing to Cassia when dealing damage to any opponents inflicted with Blind. Any talent that increases Cassia's damage in general will increase the healing gained from this talent. Plate of the Whale (4) provides extra passive life regeneration, as well increasing her maximum health once completed. Falstad (suggested build) Has access to the Hammer Gains (4) talent, meaning that any additional talents or buffs that increase his Attack Speed and Basic Attack Damage will increase this talent's performance. Fenix (suggested build) Fenix is an exception to this list, because while he doesn't feature any talents that replenish his life, his passive Shields from Shield Capacitor pretty much adds an extra layer of sustain. To avoid confusion, I will not be listing similar talents for non-Support Heroes that have access to shielding (Johanna, Zarya, etc.) Rapid Recharge (13) and Auxiliary Shields (13) can both be counted as a form of improved sustain, as they aid in replenishing his Shields Unconquered Spirit grants him a massive boost of shields. Gul'dan (suggested build) Has excellent self-sustain with Drain Life, which is part of his core gameplay interacting with his ability to sap his life to restore mana through Life Tap. Has access to talents such as Consume Soul (4) Healthstone (16) which provides extra self-sustain aside from Drain Life. The Drain Life can be picked to increase its performance, but they often have compete with better talents, so I wouldn't recommend them. However they can work really well in a non-Support composition that features a solid frontline. Illidan (suggested physical build; suggested ability build) Betrayer's Thirst provides mindless sustain, as you just have hit stuff to get heals. Has access to talents like Thirsting Blade (7) and Hunter's Onslaught (7) which further improves his self-healing. Talents that increase the damage of Illidan's Ability Damage will increase the healing from Hunter's Onslaught, such as Marked for Death (16) Any talents or buffs that increase his Attack Speed and/or his Basic Attack Damage will improve the performance of Betrayer's Thirst, such as Unending Hatred (1). Kael'thas (suggested build) Fel Infusion (1) heals Kael'thas when activating Verdant Spheres. Not much healing, but hey, it's something! Kel'Thuzad (suggested build) Phylactery of Kel'Thuzad (4) provides passive heal to all his Ability Damage once it's completed. Not much, but it helps. Kerrigan (suggested build) Siphoning Impact (1) rewards precise Ravage kills with heals. Assimilation Mastery (7) provides extra passive health regeneration. Li-Ming (suggested build) Dominance (4) heals Li-Ming whenever a nearby enemy Hero is killed, meaning Li-Ming doesn't have to necessarily land the killing blow to enjoy the self-healing. Lunara (suggested build) Siphoning Toxin (4) provides healing as long the enemy has a stack of Nature's Toxin. Malthael (suggested build) Fantastic self-sustain through Soul Rip as long enemies are affected by Reaper's Mark (which is not hard to do since his Basic Attacks cleave to inflict opponents with this debuff) Soul Collector (13) further improve its healing. Angel of Death (20) provides a powerful healing effect to Last Rites. Ragnaros (suggested build) Empower Sulfuras is a powerful area heal as long you hit as many enemies as possible. This becomes even stronger by taking related talents, such as Sulfuras Hungers (1) and Cauterize Wounds (13). Catching Fire (4) provides extra passive life regeneration. Submerge (20) puts Ragnaros in stasis and heals him. Raynor (suggested build) Adrenaline Rush provides Raynor with a reliable self-sustain, specially since its cooldown is lowered when Raynor hits anything with basic attacks. This effect can be further improved by Give Me More! (16).  Fight or Flight (4) and Fuel The Rush (7) both decrease the cooldown of Adrenaline Rush, therefore allowing Raynor to use it more often. Behemoth Armor increases Raynor's maximum health by a flat amount, and is further increased each time he hits enemies with his trait, Give 'Em Some Pepper, therefore further improving his sustain. Paint Them Red (16) causes Penetrating Round to heal for the same damage dealt when it hits Heroes. Has access to the Sustaining Rounds (4) talent, meaning that any additional talents or buffs that increase his Attack Speed will increase this talent's performance when hitting with his trait, Give 'Em Some Pepper. The Butcher (suggested build) Butcher's Brand provides a fantastic self-sustain, as long you can hit the Basic Attacks, and its healing becomes stronger the more meat he has. In addition, talents that further increase his Basic Attack and Attack Speed, such as Brutal Strike (13), Blood Frenzy (16), Enraged (16) and Nexus Blades (20), will result in a stronger / faster health-per-hit to branded enemies. Victuals (7) provides a passive heal which is great in maps focused on waveclear, such as Tomb of the Spider Queen. It should be noted that it doesn't work with summoned minions or special minions such as the Zerg Wave from Braxis Holdout. Thrall (suggested build) Frostwolf Resilience provides a strong self-sustain as long Thrall hits opponents with abilities. Just don't spam because Thrall is one of those Heroes that goes mana hungry very very fast. Talents that improve his generation of Frostwolf Resilience stacks include Feral Resilience (4), Grace Of Air (13), Tempest Fury (16) and Wind Rush (20). Frostwolf's Grace (13) provides an extra healing cooldown. Rolling Thunder (1) provides additional sustain by allowing Thrall to heal through Basic Attacks after using Chain Lightning. Ancestral Wrath (7) is a bit of a complex talent as you have to keep track of your Frostwolf Resilience stacks, but provide an instant targeted damage which heals, which is great. Tracer (suggested build) Is That a Health Pack?! (4) increases the healing from Regeneration Globes and Healing Fountains. Has access to the Leeching Rounds (13) talent, meaning that any additional talents or buffs that increase her Attack Speed and Basic Attack Damage will increase this talent's performance. Total Recall (20) essentially heals Tracer as it "undoes" the damage she took when using Recall. This effect can be further improved by Slipstream (20). Tychus (suggested build) Has access to the That's the Stuff! (13) talent, meaning that any additional talents or buffs that increase his Attack Speed will increase this talent's performance, such as In the Rhythm (4). Valla (suggested physical build; suggested ability build) Has access to the Tempered by Discipline (13) talent, meaning that any additional talents or buffs that increase her Attack Speed and Basic Attack Damage will increase this talent's performance. The downside is that she needs to be at maximum stacks of Hatred to gain this effect. Siphoning Arrow (13) provides a life-leech effect to Hungering Arrow. Zeratul (suggested physical build; suggested ability build) Has access to the Mending Strikes (13) talent, meaning that any additional talents or buffs that increase his Attack Speed and Basic Attack Damage will increase this talent's performance. Shadow Mending (20) heals Zeratul when he deals ability damage. Any additional talents or buffs that increase his Ability Damage will improve this talent's performance. Zul'jin (suggested physical build; suggested ability build) Regeneration restore health, but any damage will interrupt it, unless you pick Forest Medicine (20). Troll's Blood (4) further improve its healing. Amani Resilience and Buzzsaw, both level 20 talents, provides healing effects to Taz'dingo! and Guillotine, respectively.  
      WARRIORS
      Anub'arak (suggested build; suggested scarab build) Regeneration Master (1) provides extra passive life regeneration, as well increased health once completed. Decent life-leech with Locust Swarm, with Hive Master (20) providing a passive life-leech effect. Leeching Scarabs (7) provides self-healing as long his Scarabs deal damage. There is an entire build dedicated to that talent, but it's pretty shitty now (used to be very OP before his rework). Arthas (suggested physical build; suggested ability build) Death Coil can be used on Arthas to heal himself. Immortal Coil (7) and Embrace Death further increase its self-healing performance. Army of the Dead provides a reliable self-heal by sacrificing Ghouls, which becomes further stronger with Legion of Northrend (20). Rune Tap provides a passive life-leech, which can become quite strong when combined with Icy Talons (4). Anti-Magic Shell (20) heals Arthas for a small ammount of the damage absorbed. Blaze (suggested build) Oil Spill + Flame Stream provides with one of the strongest self-sustains in the game. Grill and Kill (7) further increase its effects by extending the duration once completed. Heat Treatment (16) is surprisingly strong, specially since it Pyromania provides armor, and the heals are gained when hitting any type of enemy (including minions). Chen (suggested build) Freshest Ingredients (1) provides passive extra life regeneration. Brewmaster's Balance (7) provides passive extra life regeneration as long Chen has 50 Brew or more. Stormstout Secret Recipe provides passive life-leech whenever Chen deals damage with his Basic Abilities. Cho (suggested build; suggested Gall build) Consuming Blaze provides a fantastic self-sustain, with two related talents at level 1 that provide strong effects, being Consuming Fire and Fuel for the Flame. Surging Dash (16) heals Cho'gall as long Surging Fist is being channelled. Dehaka (suggested build) Absurdly strong self-sustain through Essence Collection and Adaptation. Tissue Regeneration (1) provides more essence, which translates in more healing. It also adds passive extra life regeneration. One-Who-Collects (4) and Hero Stalker (4) both provide additional means of getting essence, therefore allowing Dehaka to self-sustain himself faster. Essence Claws (20) provides additional essence as long Dehaka Basic Attacks Heroes. Buffs that increases his Attack Speed further improve his essence gathering. Change Is Survival (20) further boosts the healing from Adaptation. Diablo (suggested physical build; suggested ability build) Diablo by default has a powerful self-sustain as his health progressively increases as he gathers souls for Black Soulstone. After his rework, Diablo has gained a very strong self-sustain, with Fire Stomp now being a skillshot and healing per enemy hit, with more healing when the flames come back at Diablo. Souls to the Flame (4) increases the healing effect, while Hellfire (13) increases spellpower per enemy hit (which translates in more healing). Eternal Flames (7) reset the cooldown of Fire Stomp whenever Diablo stuns a Hero with Shadow Charge (meaning hitting the enemy against a wall) or Overpower. Life Leech (4) provides passive healing as long Diablo Basic Attacks an enemy Hero. This can be further improved through Cruelty (13), which increases his attack speed, translating in more heal-per-hit. Feast on Fear (1) heals Diablo whenever he stuns opponents with Shadow Charge or Overpower. This effect stacks. Domination (16) resets the cooldown of Shadow Charge whenever Diablo uses Overpower, thus triggering Feast on Fear an additional time if Diablo hits the opponent against a wall. Overpowering Nightmare grants 2 additional charges of Overpower, meaning more triggers of Feast on Fear. Devil's Due (1) provides Diablo with one of the strongest self-healings in the game. Since Regeneration Globes become neutral after 3 seconds and can be claimed by either team, this essentially doubles his self-sustain (including mana regeneration). Lord of Terror siphons the life of nearby Heroes, which can heal Diablo for a lot if he is surrounded by enemies. ETC (suggested physical build; suggested ability build) Guitar Solo is a reliable self-sustain ability on low cooldown. Can be further improved by Guitar Hero (1) and Prog Rock (1). Hammer-on (7) has good synergy with Guitar Hero. Garrosh (suggested build) Bloodthirst provides Garrosh with a very strong self-sustain, specially when combined with his natural resilience from Armor Up. In For the Kill (4) provides Garrosh with lots of sustain in the laning phase and while killing minions because of the resets and mana refund. This can be further improved by Bloodcraze (13).  Johanna (suggested build) Laws of Hope provides an Active Ability that can save Johanna from some nasty situations. Holy Renewal can heal for quite a lot if Johanna manages to hit 3 Heroes or more. Leoric (suggested physical build; suggested ability build) Very strong self-healing through Drain Hope, specially against opponents with low movement options. This healing can be further improved through Willing Vessel (7). March of the Black King heals Leoric per Hero hit. Ossein Renewal (1) provides an Active Ability similarly to Johanna Laws of Hope, but on a higher cooldown (however this can recharge faster by picking Regeneration Globes). Consume Vitality (1) heals Leoric whenever he hits Heroes with Skeletal Swing. Fealty Unto Death (1) passively heals Leoric whenever minions die nearby him (either friendly or enemy). Spectral Leech (20) provides passive healing as long Leoric Basic Attacks an enemy Hero. This can be further improved by Mithril Mace (16), specially once completed. Muradin (suggested build) Very powerful out of combat healing thanks to Second Wind. This can be further improved through Third Wind (1) and Stoneform (16), with the later allowing Muradin to activate his trait to gain healing effects in-battle. Avatar, in a sense, can be considered a healing ability as it increases Muradin maximum health for a limited time. Healing Static (13) provides a healing effect to Thunder Clap as long it hits Heroes. Rexxar (suggested build) Hungry Bear (4) provides life-leech to Misha. Hunter-Gatherer (4) provides extra passive life regeneration to Rexxar. Animal Husbandry (4) essentially allows Rexxar and Misha to reach infinite health points as long Rexxar remains alive. Spirit Bond (20) provides Bestial Wrath with a life-leeching effect where Misha's Basic Attacks heals Rexxar. Sonya (suggested physical build; suggested ability build)  Very strong self-sustain through Whirlwind. This can be further improved by Life Funnel (7) and Wrath of the Berserker (as more damage equals to more healing). Has access to the War Paint (1) talent, meaning that any additional talents or buffs that increase her Attack Speed and Basic Attack Damage will increase this talent's performance. Battle Rage (7) provides an Active Ability that heals Sonya. Stitches (suggested build) Devour is a very powerful self-sustain ability. Can be improved by Chew Your Food (1). Hungry for More increases Stitches' maximum health, therefore increasing the healing from Devour. Amplified Healing (4) increases all healing Stitches recieves, with includes Devour. Savor the Flavor (4) permanently increases Stitches health regeneration when he uses Devour on enemy Heroes. Restorative Fumes (4) causes Vile Gas to heal Stitches. Cannibalize (20) provides passive healing as long Stitches Basic Attacks an enemy Hero. This effect becomes even stronger with Hungry for More, as more health equals to more healing. Tyrael (suggested build) Ardent Restoration (1) provides Tyrael with passive healing as long he deals any form of damage to enemy Heroes. Divine Vigor (4) allows Tyrael's Basic Attacks to heal him after he hits enemies with Smite. It synergises well with Purge Evil (7), Smite the Wicked (16) and Seal of El'Druin (20), as they all improve Tyrael's Basic Attacks, therefore increasing the healing gained. Varian (suggested Protection build; suggested Arms build; suggested Fury build) Lion's Fang naturally heals Varian whenever he hits any opponent (including minions). Can be further improved by Lionheart (7). Second Wind (7) and Victory Rush (7) both provide passive healing as long Varian Basic Attacks anything, with the latter healing for a huge amount, but having a cooldown. Second Wind is improved by High King's Quest (1) and all of Varian's passive effects of his Heroic Abilities. Glory to the Alliance (20) causes banners to increase all healing effects, which includes all the aforementioned talents and abilities above that provide Varian with self-healing. Yrel Vindication deals damage and heals Yrel in return. Light of Karabor (1) increases Vindication radius, as well bonus healing per enemy Hero hit. Ardent Defender heals Yrel for half of the damage absorbed. Word of Glory (20) causes Ardent Defender to heal all nearby allies for the damage Yrel absorbed. Maraad's Insight (1) causes Yrel's next Basic Attack to heal whenever she uses a Basic Ability. Gift of the Naaru (4) causes Divine Purpose to heal an ally nearby Yrel.  
      SPECIALISTS
      Abathur (suggested build) Abathur is an exception to this list as he cannot self heal with his related talents below, since he cannot use Symbiote on himself. Regenerative Microbes (1) causes the Symbiote's Carapace to heal the host. Soma Transference (13) causes the Symbiote's Spike Burst to heal the host when hitting enemy Heroes. Azmodan (suggested build) Cydaea's Kiss (13) causes All Shall Burn to heal if it channels completely. Can be further improved by Sin's Grasp (16), as it increases its range and reduces the cooldown if fully channeled.. Gazlowe (suggested build) Goblin Repairs (1) provides extra passive life regeneration. Medivh (suggested build) Force of Will heals damage absorbed. This can be further improved by Circle of Protection (13) or Reabsorption (13). Raven's Intellect (1) provides extra passive life regeneration. Murky (suggested build) Rejuvenating Bubble (13) heals Murky whenever he uses Safety Bubble. This can be further improved by Big Tuna Kahuna as more health equals to more healing. Fish Tank (13) heals Murky whenever he deals damage with Basic Attacks and Basic Abilities. Nazeebo (suggested build) Hexed Crawlers (4) causes Corpse Spiders to heal Nazeebo. Blood Ritual (4) heal Nazeebo whenever he gains stacks of Voodoo Ritual. Both talents above scale progressively as Nazeebo gains more stacks of Voodoo Ritual. Sgt. Hammer (suggested build) Has access to the Regenerative Bio-Steel (4) talent, meaning that any additional talents or buffs that increase her Attack Speed and Basic Attack Damage will increase this talent's performance while in Siege Mode. Sylvanas (suggested build) Life Drain (13) causes Shadow Dagger to heal Sylvanas each time it spreads to an enemy. The Lost Vikings (suggested build) Has access to the Pain Don't Hurt (4) talent, meaning that any additional talents or buffs that increase Baleog Attack Speed and Basic Attack Damage will increase this talent's performance. Erik the Swift heals Erik as long he is moving. Play Again! fully heals the Vikings. Xul (suggested physical build; suggested Skeleton build) Harvest Vitality (7) causes Cursed Strikes to heal Xul whener it hits enemy Heroes. This can be further improved through Grim Scythe (4) and Rapid Harvest (13) or Executioner (13). Trag'Oul's Essence (7) causes Skeleton Warriors to heal Xul whenever they deal damage. Andariel's Visage (20) causes Poison Nova to heal Xul for half the damage dealt. Zagara (suggested build) Nydus Network heals Zagara as long she is inside it. Hydralisk Transfusion (13) heals Zagara as long Hunter Killer deals damage to enemy Heroes. This talent does NOT benefit from Corrosive Saliva (16) bonus damage or the bouncing attacks from Mutalisk (16).  
      TOP 10 BEST PUBSTOMPERS WITHOUT SUPPORT AID
      Fenix: as long his Shield doesn't drop completely, he has one of the most powerful lane presences in the game, essentially having two healthbars. And if losing his Shields he can simply retreat and let them replenish again. Just be careful with hard engages, stuns and damage-over-time (as each tick will put Shield Capacitor on cooldown). Malthael: ridiculous sustain that allows him to 1v2 or even 1v3 under the right circumstances. Make sure to hit as many opponents as possible with Basic Attacks to maximize his sustain. Dehaka: incredibly sticky and slippery, with a global presence that allows him to engage and disengage at ease. His trait combined with Adaptation makes him really hard to kill. Blaze: powerful lane presence and one of the best self-sustains in the entire game. Diablo: his recent rework made him absurdly resilient, with a self-sustain that can surpass Blaze's under the right circumstances. Sonya: still one of the strongest solo laners in the game, with reliable self-sustain, great damage overall, and strong engage potential. The Butcher: with a high risk, high reward gameplay style, he can become unkillable, but requires a really strong frontline to keep him well protected, as well at least one backline Hero that can harass enemies at long range. Medivh: a Support labelled as a Specialist. With a very versatile kit, he can provide damage, mobility, vision, crowd-control and most importantly, damage immunity and healing. ANY team without a Support greatly benefits from Medivh. Thrall: very strong on really long matches, as his most powerful quest talents require a lot of farming. At the endgame he deal eye-watering damage while healing for huge chunks of health. Illidan: with his passive healing, he is a no-brainer. He can easily harass the backline and disengage, forcing the enemy team to waste cooldowns and allow the allied team to retaliate.  
      THE TOP 5 BEST SELF-SUSTAIN TEAM COMBINATIONS
      Disclaimer: very team here will feature Medivh. He is essentially a Support classified as a Specialist. Adding him almost feels like cheating. But everyone knows that Medivh Cheats!!!
      Stitches, Sonya, Kel'Thuzad, Kael'thas, Medivh. Garrosh, Stitches, The Butcher, Kel'Thuzad, Medivh. ETC, Blaze, Fenix, Kel'Thuzad, Medivh. Johanna, Cassia, Raynor, Fenix, Medivh. Johanna, Blaze, Sgt. Hammer, Li-Ming, Medivh.
    • By Nireas
      I usually sim my characters to get the best possible results. I enjoy the process quite a lot and since I reached 120, I wanted to find out the best build of the spec. (Note, I didn't want to find out what to play, but rather how my own build fares in comarison.) I rarely mind a 1-2% difference. If it goes above 2%, I really mind a change. What this thread is about is mainly to bring something in the attention of those who help making the class guides, especially the talent choices. To my surprise, I was awed to find out that certain talents outperform previous "Standard" choices in the endgame, probably due to the stat squish.

      The Frost go-to build (top dps) would probably be along the lines of <Icy Talons / Cold Heart - Runic Attenuation - Frozen Pulse - Gathering Storm - Breath of Sindragosa>. What I found out primarily was that after the removal of legendaries, Cold Heart severely underperforms at most given situations resulting in a major dps drop due to the low mastery. Gathering Storm also suffers from the same problem and most of the times, Frostwyrm's Fury is better overall. The biggest surprise of them all, however, was that Inexorable Assault overperforms quite a lot, and is the first reason why I made the topic. I then started simming with the above in mind and I came across a build that some would not consider on par with top dog builds around the meta, which is the use of Horn of Winter which overperforms both its other two options when using the Breath build. Talent Sim can be seen here. Another intresting thing, which I loved, was that the 2nd best build uses Obliteration as a lvl 100 talent and no other build surpassed it (Other than the first one, obviously). So, I encourage frost players out there to give their other, less common talents a try. To the class guide author(s), I believe that the two "underdog" talents will earn their spot in the class guides.

      Thank you for your time reading this.


       
    • By Valhalen
      I recommend everyone checking his channel. He does tons of video guides and analysis.