Dehaka Build Guide “Collect their Essence!”
Welcome to our guide for Dehaka, a Bruiser in Heroes of the Storm. Within these pages, you will find everything required to understand how best to play this hero, in both different map styles and team compositions.
Dehaka is an aggressive Bruiser with a strong map presence. Powerful self-sustain from Essence Collection makes him very hard to kill. Dark Swarm enables him to break apart enemy formations during fights, while his brutal single target crowd control can incapacitate key targets.
Dehaka's Strengths and Weaknesses
- Powerful on demand self healing
- Can Drag enemies out of position
- Cannot be body-blocked while using Dark Swarm
- Can avoid incoming Abilities with Burrow
- High map mobility via Brushstalker
- Lacks a reliable gap-closer
- Susceptible to kiting
- Drag and Isolation are difficult skillshots
- Limited mobility when Brushstalker is on cooldown
Dehaka's Talent Build Cheatsheet
Enhanced Agility BuildRecommended
Enhanced Agility build is excellent if your enemies can easily run away from the usual Dehaka build. The extra Movement Speed from Enhanced Agility will allow you to reach them. This build has more mobility in exchange for less self-sustain, and should only be picked in maps with many vents or bushes, since it is very dependent on those.
Dehaka's Standard Build will be a good option in every game. It gives him good survivability through Level 1 and 4 Talents, and good teamfighting power with his Level 7, 13, and 16 Talents.
Lurker Strain is a good standard choice at Level 4, as it is a very versatile Talent that can be used in many ways, like to escape ganks, to secure drags, or to disrupt enemies in teamfights. However, the other 2 Talents are good in their specific niches; While Hero Stalker is exceptional against melee Heroes, One-Who-Collects is excellent to improve your macro overall.
At Level 13 Primal Rage is excellent with Tissue Regeneration, while Primal Swarm can be an option if you are being focused and forced to use your essences early, increasing the damage dealt by your team. The standard Talent for Level 16 is Tunneling Claws, but if you did not pick Lurker Strain at Level 4, Elongated Tongue will be great choice instead.
Dark Swarm BuildBeginner
Dark Swarm build excels against heroes reliant on Spell Damage and melees. This build will be more impactful against less experienced players, since those will mostly group up in order to kill Dehaka, but will end up just giving him lots of essence stacks. When your team is ready to fight, position yourself to apply Dark Swarm to multiple enemy Heroes. Use Dark Swarm constantly to deal damage. This will increase all damage affected enemies take, once you have Primal Swarm. Tunneling Claws allows you to continue applying Dark Swarm if you become rooted or slowed, and will also allow you to escape when needed. This is important, because it makes it much safer to position aggressively to get the most out of Dark Swarm.
Dehaka's Synergies and Counters
Dehaka does well with Heroes who can help him get within range of enemies easily. This can be done by crowd-controlling or Displacing potential targets towards Dehaka. When Heroes can accomplish this, they can also follow-up when Drag lands on an enemy Hero. Frontline Heroes with strong crowd-control work well to supplement the threat Dehaka brings into team fights.
One of Dehaka's drawbacks is his lack of a gap-closer, which makes him susceptible to kiting from highly mobile ranged damage dealers. Heroes with very high sustain damage can push through his healing to force him to play passively. Heroes with interrupts will be able to stop Drag and Isolation before they go off. Heroes with knockback effects will reduce his capacity to reach the enemy backline.
Dehaka is great on large Maps where his global presence can be abused to its maximum. This allows Dehaka to soak lanes away from an Objective longer than other Offlaners, and still show up on time to help his team secure kills. Dehaka struggles with fast Boss clears or Immortal races; so, Maps that feature these as an Objective are less than ideal for him. He also struggles to move across the battlefield on Maps that do not have bushes that help him get to important areas.
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 important targets that are very dependent on their Abilities to survive.
Dehaka's Role in the Current Meta
Dehaka is a strong pick as a waveclear Bruiser. Although he has high health and amazing regenerative potential, the absence of gap-closers makes him less than ideal as a primary tank. Dehaka's kit makes him highly disruptive in team fights. His ability to walk through enemies with Dark Swarm allows for positioning options which cannot be ignored by the enemy team. Brushstalker gives him unique opportunities to gank. It also allows him to soak experience longer than other Bruisers or Tanks, and still arrive to team fights and objectives on time. Dehaka is strong on teams that have existing crowd-control Abilities that can setup Drag and Isolation. Reliably landing these abilities on key targets is an important part of using him well.
Despite all his good points, we do not recommend getting Dehaka against many ranged Heroes or knockbacks. E.T.C., Raynor, or Sgt. Hammer can easily push you away when you are trying to engage, dealing much damage in the process. Dehaka is very dependent on his global pressure, he will lose most of his effectiveness if he is not able to abuse it. Therefore, it is better to not pick him him in maps like Hanamura Temple or Battlefield of Eternity.
- 11 Dec. 2022 (talents page): Updated Apex Predator's relevance.
- 09 Dec. 2021 (this page): Builds updated after recent balance patch and meta development.
- 09 Dec. 2021 (talents page): Talents and Builds updated after recent balance patch and meta development.
- 28 Sep. 2021 (this page): Enhanced Agility build updated.
- 28 Sep. 2021 (talents page): Pack Leader description updated.
- 24 Jul. 2021 (this page): Guide updated after recent Balance Patch.
- 24 Jul. 2021 (talents page): Talents and Builds Updated after recent balance patch.
- 05 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Talents updated after recent balance patch.
- 31 Jul. 2020 (talents page): Builds and Talents updated to reflect current meta.
- 31 Jul. 2020 (this page): Builds updated.
- 25 May 2020 (this page): Updated Enhanced Agility Build.
- 07 May 2020 (talents page): Builds and Talents updated for May 6th balance patch.
- 27 Apr. 2020 (abilities page): Updated Ability descriptions and tips.
- 27 Apr. 2020 (this page): Updated Introduction page to fit with recent Builds and Talents Changes.
- 12 Apr. 2020 (talents page): Builds and Talents updated to reflect current meta.
- 15 Dec. 2019 (this page): Updated Role in the Current Meta to include information on current Nexus Anomaly.
- 18 Apr. 2019 (talents page): Talent discussion updated to account for balance patch.
- 18 Apr. 2019 (this page): Guide updated to account for balance patch. Removed references to "Warrior" class.
- 18 Apr. 2019 (abilities page): Updated to account for balance patch. Removed references to "Warrior" class.
- 29 Jun. 2017 (talents page): Talents page updated following June 28th balance patch.
- 16 May 2017 (talents page): Talents page updated following Dehaka's rework in D.va's release patch.
- 16 May 2017 (this page): Guide updated following Dehaka rework in D.Va's release patch.
- 14 Dec. 2016 (this page): Moved Dehaka to the new format, following its rework in Ragnaros patch.
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