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Dehaka Abilities and Strategy

Last updated on May 16, 2017 at 06:35 by Straften 17 comments

Table of Contents

Dehaka Image

General Information

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

The other pages of our Dehaka guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About the Author

Straften is a Grand Master ranked player in both Hero League and Team League. He has a passion for theorycrafting, and regularly tests new features early on the PTR. He explains his strategy, reasoning, and implementation in these guides.

1. Tips on Ability Usage

  • Use Dark Swarm Icon 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 Icon Drag enemies out of position, under your turrets, or into the Abilities of your allies.
  • Maximize your map presence by evaluating options for Brushstalker Icon Brushstalker before it is off cooldown.
  • Try to have Essence Collection Icon 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 Icon Isolation on key assassins or supports to get the most out of it.
  • Activate Adaptation Icon Adaptation as soon as you are being focused by the enemy team; cast Burrow if you will otherwise die before Adaptation heals.

2. Drag

Dehaka Drag
Drag (Q) Starcraft Dehaka
  • 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 (only on the enemy effected by Drag), Dark Swarm Icon Dark Swarm, and Essence Collection Icon Essence Collection during Drag Icon Drag's channel; however, Heroic Abilities and Burrow Icon Burrow will be unavailable during this time.

Dehaka ignores collision with any unit actively stunned by Drag Icon Drag, making it highly versatile. It can be used to reposition behind the the enemy, so you can body block them once Drag Icon Drag's stun wears off. It can even be used for escape, in rare instances where you are being blocked and Dark Swarm Icon Dark Swarm is on cooldown.

Although it is ideal to use Drag Icon 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 Battlfield of Eternity. While they cannot be stunned, Drag Icon Drag does still damage them, making it an option in close damage races. Feeding Frenzy Icon Feeding Frenzy would increase the effectiveness of using Drag Icon Drag this way; but not enough to merit taking the Talent if something else is better for team fighting in the matchup. Of course, Drag Icon Drag can be used to kill an enemy, if they are out of range of your Basic Attacks, and on the verge of death.

3. Dark Swarm

Dehaka Dark Swarm
Dark Swarm (W) Starcraft Dehaka
  • Mana: 50
  • Cooldown: 10 seconds

Deal 50 (+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 Icon 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 Icon Symbiosis, Dark Swarm Icon Dark Swarm's cooldown can be completely reset in fights, giving you even more freedom of movement and damage.

As with Drag Icon Drag, Dark Swarm Icon Dark Swarm can be used to escape a blocked position. Dark Swarm Icon 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 Icon Dark Swarm can be used more liberally than Drag Icon Drag, as it has a much lower cooldown and costs less mana.

4. Burrow

Dehaka Burrow
Burrow (E) Starcraft Dehaka
  • Mana: 65
  • Cooldown: 0 seconds

Burrow into the ground, entering Stasis and becoming Invulnerable for 2 seconds.

Burrow Icon Burrow is a powerful tool when combined with the rest of Dehaka's kit. Essence Collection Icon Essence Collection can be used while Burrowed, allowing the healing over time to take effect before you come out of Stasis. Dark Swarm Icon Dark Swarm can also be cast while Burrowed, so that you continue to deal damage while Invulnerable. This mechanic works nicely with Tunneling Claws Icon Tunneling Claws.

A good way to use Burrow Icon 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 Icon Burrow. Examples of good Abilities to use Burrow on are Kael'thas' Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast and Nova's Triple Tap Icon Triple Tap; although, avoiding any chain crowd control can also be good, especially if key enemy Abilities are put on cooldown.

5. Isolation

Dehaka Isolation
Isolation (R) Starcraft Dehaka
  • Heroic
  • Mana: 100
  • Cooldown: 60 seconds

Launch biomass that hits the first enemy Hero dealing 200 (+4% per level) damage, Silencing and Slowing them 30% for 3 seconds. Additionally, their vision radius is greatly reduced for 6 seconds.

Isolation Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Warrior 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 Icon Brushstalker which will be outlined below). If you take Contagion Icon Contagion at Level 20, try to land Isolation on two or more targets who are clumped together, even if they are Warriors.

6. Adaptation

Dehaka Adaptation
Adaptation (R) Starcraft Dehaka
  • Heroic
  • Mana: 85
  • Cooldown: 90 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.

The most important weakness of Adaptation Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Tissue Regeneration or Enduring Swarm Icon Enduring Swarm can greatly increase your survivability to help ensure that you get value out of Adaptation.

7. Essence Collection (Trait)

Dehaka Essence Collection
Essence Collection (D) Starcraft Dehaka
  • Cooldown: 1 seconds

Gain 10 Essence from Takedowns and 2 Essence from nearby Minions dying. Activate to consume all Essence and heal Dehaka for 29 (+4% per level) Health over 5 seconds for each Essence stored. Maximum of 50 Essence. Can be cast during Drag and Burrow.

Essence Collection Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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).

8. Brushstalker

Dehaka Brushstalker
Brushstalker (Z) Starcraft Dehaka
  • Cooldown: 60 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 Icon Brushstalker is the most defining ability in Dehaka's kit. It sets him apart from the other Warriors 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 Warriors can. After soaking "too long" from a normal Warrior 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 Icon 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 Icon Burrow, Essence Collection Icon 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.

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