Dehaka Abilities and Strategy
Welcome to our Abilities page for Dehaka. Here, we give you an overview of every ability in Dehaka's kit. For each of them, we explain what it does, how to best use it, and how it works in combination with Dehaka's other abilities. We also give you strategy tips to play Dehaka efficiently.
Dehaka's Tips and Tricks
- Use Dark Swarm to walk through enemies or teammates who are in your way; however, be mindful that you cannot body-block enemies while it is active.
- Drag enemies out of position, under your turrets, or into the Abilities of your allies.
- Do not use Drag instantly when enemy gets in range for it, or they will probably dodge. We recommend walking towards the hero while weaving Basic Attacks to only use Drag when you are almost sure you are going to hit.
- Maximize your map presence by evaluating options for Brushstalker before it is off cooldown.
- Try to have Essence Collection full and available for team fights. For healing outside of team fights you can fountain or hearthstone; use Brushstalker to get back into action quickly.
- Use Isolation on key assassins or supports to get the most out of it.
- Mana: 75
- Cooldown: 15 seconds
Dehaka lashes out his tongue, dealing 160 (+4% per level) damage to the first enemy hit, Stunning and dragging them with him for 1.75 seconds.
If Dehaka is Stunned or Silenced while using Drag, the effect ends.
As the Ability's name implies, it may be used to drag an enemy in a desired direction. Pulling enemy Heroes into damage is ideal, either into turret range, or into the range of friendly Heroes. Dehaka can use Basic Attacks, Dark Swarm, and Essence Collection during Drag's channel; however, Heroic Abilities and Burrow will be unavailable during this time.
Dehaka ignores collision with any unit actively stunned by Drag, making it highly versatile. It can be used to reposition behind the the enemy, so you can body block them once Drag's stun wears off. It can even be used for escape, in rare instances where you are being blocked and Dark Swarm is on cooldown.
Although it is ideal to use Drag on Heroes, there are times when you may effectively use it in other ways. If an enemy Siege Giant is damaging a Fort or Keep, you can Drag one of them into the structure's range, to help you clear them faster. Another example are the Immortals on Battlefield of Eternity. While they cannot be stunned, Drag does still damage them, making it an option in close damage races. Of course, Drag can be used to kill an enemy, if they are out of range of your Basic Attacks, and on the verge of death.
- Mana: 50
- Cooldown: 10 seconds
Deal 52 (+4% per level) damage every 0.5 seconds to nearby enemies for 3.5 seconds. While active, you are able to move through units. Can be cast during Drag and Burrow.
Dark Swarm is capable of applying lots of pressure during team fights, as you can position yourself freely and damage multiple enemies simultaneously. When empowered with Symbiosis, Dark Swarm's cooldown can be completely reset in fights, giving you even more freedom of movement and damage.
As with Drag, Dark Swarm can be used to escape a blocked position. Dark Swarm is superior in this function, as it will allow you to pass through all enemies, rather than only one. In addition, Dark Swarm can be used more liberally than Drag, as it has a much lower cooldown and costs less mana.
- Mana: 65
- Cooldown: 20 seconds
Burrow into the ground, entering Stasis and becoming Invulnerable for 2 seconds.
Burrow is a powerful tool when combined with the rest of Dehaka's kit. Essence Collection can be used while Burrowed, allowing the healing over time to take effect before you come out of Stasis. Dark Swarm can also be cast while Burrowed, so that you continue to deal damage while Invulnerable. This mechanic works nicely with Tunneling Claws.
A good way to use Burrow is to bait out powerful Abilities from the enemy team, and then nullify them. Ideally the Ability you choose to delete will be something with a higher cooldown than Burrow. Examples of good Abilities to use Burrow on are Kael'thas' Pyroblast and Nova's Triple Tap; although, avoiding any chain crowd control can also be good, especially if key enemy Abilities are put on cooldown.
Burrow should mostly be canceled earlier, so enemies cannot predict the time you are leaving invulnerability, so they will not be able to time skillshots at you, like a Li-Ming's combo.
- Mana: 70
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
Launch biomass that hits the first enemy Hero dealing 200 (+4% per level) damage, revealing, Silencing, and Slowing them 30% for 3 seconds. Additionally, their vision radius is greatly reduced for 6 seconds.
Isolation adds a second powerful crowd control to Dehaka's kit, which really helps to increase his threat level in team fights. By landing Isolation on one target and Drag on another, you can drastically tilt a fight in your team's favour. The ability to crowd control two enemies out while dealing damage with Dark Swarm, is what makes Dehaka such a disruptive presence for the enemy team. The threat of this close range combo can sometimes zone mutliple enemies away from you, especially when you have team mates with you who can punish controlled targets.
The ideal targets to use Isolation on are Supports or damage dealers. It will help to land it on any enemy during a team fight; however, you want to maximise your value and remove damage and healing from the enemy team's tool kit. Landing Isolation on a Tank will impair that Hero for a time, but it will not reduce the tank's Health by a significant amount. Fortunately, Dehaka has many tools to slip past the frontline (including Brushstalker which will be outlined below). If you take Contagion at Level 20, try to land Isolation on two or more targets who are clumped together, even if they are Tanks or Bruisers.
- Mana: 70
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
After 4 seconds, heal for 100% of the damage Dehaka took over this period.
Adaptation is a powerful Heroic that makes you extremely hard to kill during team fights. When timed well, this Ability can effectively double your Health pool. Adaptation can give the appearance that you are about to die before it heals you, which can bait out enemies as they try to land a killing blow. However, in most situations your basic Kit will be enough for your survivability, and the extra crowd control provided by Isolation will be a better choice.
The most important weakness of Adaptation is the fact that it does nothing for you during the first four seconds. In this time, you are encouraged to sustain a lot of damage, to ensure that you get good value out of your heroic ability. If you are ignored during the four seconds, it does nothing. If you are killed while it is active, it does nothing, with the added inconvenience of your death. Fortunately, Dehaka has many of tools with which he can postpone death. If you are worried that incoming damage will be fatal, you may activate Burrow to buy the time you need for Adaptation to heal you. Additionally, you may activate Essence Collection to begin healing early, if necessary. Talents such as Tissue Regeneration or Enduring Swarm can greatly increase your survivability to help ensure that you get value out of Adaptation.
Essence Collection (Trait)
- Cooldown: 1 seconds
Heal Dehaka for 29 (+4% per level) Health per stored Essence over 5 seconds. Can be cast during Drag and Burrow.
Passive: Gain 10 Essence from Takedowns and 2 Essence from nearby Minions dying. Maximum of 50 Essence.
Essence Collection can be activated whenever necessary; however, it is advisable to keep a large store of Essence available for team fights. Remember that you can Hearthstone to base to heal when an objective is announced, and get back in time by using Brushstalker. Activating Essence Collection as soon as you have taken (or will immediately take) significant damage in a team fight will let the healing over time begin working right away. Using your full stacks right before an enemy Hero dies allows you to store their Essence; although, this can wasteful if you have no use for the healing yet.
At 50 stacks, Essence Collection will heal you for 60% of your maximum Health over five seconds. Essence Collection is Dehaka's main source of sustain, offering a huge heal over time when at full stacks. While at full stacks, Dehaka can still collect Essence for related Talent quests; although, the stored amount for healing purposes will remain at 50 (or 60 if the Essence Devourer Quest was completed).
- Cooldown: 75 seconds
Activate to burrow to a bush on the Battleground.
Passive: Gain 20% movement speed while in a bush and for 2 seconds after leaving.
Brushstalker is the most defining ability in Dehaka's kit. It sets him apart from the other Bruisers in the game by changing the way he deploys himself to objectives or team fights. Dehaka is able to soak a considerable amount of Experience by staying in lane longer than other Bruisers can. After soaking "too long" from a normal Bruiser perspective, he can arrive to important events on time via Brushstalker. It is also a powerful ganking tool. Enemies are alerted by Brushstalker's ominous noise, but they can still be caught between Dehaka and his allies. The constant threat Brushstalker inflicts on the enemy team can be a benefit in and of itself. If enemies play too carefully for you to gank with Brushstalker, your team can gain more momentum over the map.
It takes Dehaka about two seconds of channeling to dig into the ground, and about two more seconds to emerge at the target location. Once underground, Brushstalker cannot be interrupted. If the target location becomes partially blocked, Dehaka will emerge adjacent to it. If the target location becomes completely blocked, Dehaka will emerge where Brushstalker was cast and it will go on full cooldown. When Brushstalker is activated, a noise will be made which will alert enemies near your destination. If Dehaka is interrupted by crowd control effects while channeling, the digging animation is canceled. It will not be put on cooldown, and can be cast again once the crowd control wears off.
Practice your Map awareness when playing Dehaka. You will get the most value out of Brushstalker when you are keenly aware of happenings around the Map. Do not be afraid to click on the Map and observe events directly with the camera. You can gather details this way that cannot be seen on the Minimap. While this is rather general gameplay advice that can be applied to any Hero, Dehaka is one of few who can quickly travel vast distances. Of the Heroes who do have cross-map mobility, he is the most forgiving to practice this on. He has several tools (other than his high Health) that can help you get used to this technique. If you are attacked by an enemy Hero while your camera is elsewhere, you have Burrow, Essence Collection, and Brushstalker itself to help you survive and relocate to safety. No matter the level of play, the ability to gather information with the camera and the Minimap is one that can always be improved on. Dehaka is one of the best Heroes to use when focusing on improvement of this skill.
- 27 Apr. 2020: Updated Ability descriptions and tips.
- 18 Apr. 2019: Updated to account for balance patch. Removed references to "Warrior" class.
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