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Dehaka Build Guide “Collect their Essence!”

Last updated on Dec 15, 2019 at 03:08 by Straften 21 comments
General Information

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's Overview

Dehaka is an aggressive Bruiser with a strong map presence. Powerful self-sustain from Essence Collection Icon Essence Collection makes him very hard to kill. Dark Swarm Icon 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

V Strengths
X Weaknesses

Dehaka's Talent Build Cheatsheet

Level 1 Enhanced Agility Icon
Level 4 Hero Stalker Icon
Level 7 Feeding Frenzy Icon
Level 10 Isolation Icon
Level 13 Ferocious Stalker Icon
Level 16 Paralyzing Enzymes Icon
Level 20 Essence Claws Icon

These Talents focus on maximising Dehaka's ganking potential. Enhanced Agility Icon Enhanced Agility will help you run down your prey. Getting kills and assists will reward you with increased sustain via Hero Stalker Icon Hero Stalker. Feeding Frenzy Icon Feeding Frenzy greatly reduces the cooldown of Drag. It has strong synergy with the bonus movement speed from Enhanced Agility, which enables you to get off an extra Basic Attack or two. Ferocious Stalker Icon Ferocious Stalker greatly increases your waveclear, damage, and crowd-control in team fights. You will be casting Drag quite often with this build; Paralyzing Enzymes Icon Paralyzing Enzymes is a strong choice that makes each cast much more impactful. Once you acquire Essence Claws Icon Essence Claws, most enemy Heroes will no longer be able to escape you if they are caught alone.

This build works best on maps with many bushes or vents, where you can benefit from Enhanced Agility most often. Play near these map features when possible, as they provide you a significant advantage in most matchs. While you are soaking experience and Essence, be on the lookout for opportunities to gank enemies who are positioned aggressively in lanes.

Team Fight Build

Talent calculator »
Level 1 Tissue Regeneration Icon
Level 4 Hero Stalker Icon
Level 7 Symbiosis Icon
Level 10 Adaptation Icon
Level 13 Primal Swarm Icon
Level 16 Tunneling Claws Icon
Level 20 Change Is Survival Icon

This build focuses on team fight damage and sustain over crowd control. When your team is ready to fight, position yourself to apply Dark Swarm Icon 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 Icon Primal Swarm. Tunneling Claws Icon 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. Use Adaptation Icon Adaptation and Essence Collection Icon Essence Collection to keep yourself in the fight until the first takedown, at which point you will recieve additional Essence. If the enemy team consists mostly of Ability damage, Enduring Swarm Icon Enduring Swarm is a great option at Level 1.


Dehaka's Synergies and Counters

V Dehaka synergizes with

Dehaka does well with Heroes who can help him get within range of enemies easily. This can be done by speeding Dehaka up, or by crowd-controlling potential targets. 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. Because Dehaka has a healthy amount of self-sustain, he also has strong synergy with Heroes who can shield him while his healing takes effect.

X Dehaka is countered by

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 sustained damage can push through his healing to force him to play passively.


Dehaka's Maps

Dehaka's stronger maps
Alterac Pass Braxis Holdout Dragon Shire Hanamura Temple Sky Temple Warhead Junction
Dehaka's average maps
Blackheart's Bay Cursed Hollow Infernal Shrines Tomb of the Spider Queen Towers of Doom
Dehaka's weaker maps
Battlefield of Eternity Garden of Terror Haunted Mines Volskaya Foundry

Dehaka is great on maps that require Heroes to stand in an area to capture an objective, because these areas usually have bushes around them. This allows Dehaka to soak lanes away from an objective longer than other tanks, 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 a main objective are less than ideal for him. He also lacks map mobility on maps that do not have bushes or vents that help him get to important areas.


Dehaka's Tips and Tricks

  • 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.

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 Icon Dark Swarm allows for positioning options which cannot be ignored by the enemy team, because Symbiosis Icon Symbiosis deals potentially constant AoE damage to nearby foes. Brushstalker Icon 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 Icon Drag and Isolation Icon Isolation. Reliably landing these abilities on key targets is an important part of using him well.

The current Nexus Anomaly heavily favours Heroes who can safely and efficiently collect the Experience Globes dropped by slain minions. Typically, this will be Heroes with a strong lane presence and good waveclear. Dehaka has an exceptionally good kit for collecting Experience Globes. His great waveclear paired with his resilience and map-wide mobility make him an experience farming machine in this Anomaly.



  • 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 (this page): Guide updated following Dehaka rework in D.Va's release patch.
  • 16 May 2017 (talents page): Talents page updated following Dehaka's 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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