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
Dehaka's Talent Build Cheatsheet
Gank BuildTalent calculator »
These Talents focus on maximising Dehaka's ganking potential. Enhanced Agility will help you run down your prey. Getting kills and assists will reward you with increased sustain via Hero Stalker. 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 greatly increases your waveclear, damage, and crowd-control in team fights. You will be casting Drag quite often with this build; Paralyzing Enzymes is a strong choice that makes each cast much more impactful. Once you acquire 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 BuildTalent calculator »
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 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. Use Adaptation and 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 is a great option at Level 1.
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 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.
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 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.
- 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.
- Activate 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 allows for positioning options which cannot be ignored by the enemy team, because Symbiosis deals potentially constant AoE damage to nearby foes. 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.
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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