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Dehaka Build Guide “Collect their Essence!”

Last updated on Dec 14, 2016 at 22:50 by Straften 12 comments

Table of Contents

Dehaka Image

General Information

Welcome to our Dehaka guide for Heroes of the Storm. Here you will learn everything you need to know in order to play Dehaka in a competitive environment, whether you play on your own or with a team.

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. Quick Reference

Split Soak Build (talent calculator link)

These Talents focus on maximising Dehaka's split soaking potential. The main component of this build is Primal Aggression Icon Primal Aggression, which allows you to clear Minions quickly. Push Minions into towers while enemies rotate to map objectives, which will result in an experience advantage for your team. Make sure to use Brushstalker Icon Brushstalker to get to the objective on time yourself; otherwise, your teammates will often die as a result of being outnumbered. Because you will be clearing Minion waves frequently, Essence Devourer Icon Essence Devourer will work well as a sustain replacement for Hero Stalker Icon Hero Stalker in this build. This frees up your Level 4 Talent for Lurker Strain Icon Lurker Strain, giving you AoE crowd control you would otherwise lack as Dehaka. Talent Substitutes for this build are Hero Stalker at 4 with Symbiosis Icon Symbiosis at 7, which will increase your teamfight damage while reducing the crowd control you are capable of. You may want Isolation Icon Isolation instead of Adaptation if you need additional crowd control, which can be good when you have a second Warrior to help tank.

Team Fight Build (talent calculator link)

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 reduce the Ability Damage you receive, and increase all damage effected enemies take. 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 Primal Swarm Icon Primal Swarm. Hero Stalker Icon Hero Stalker will be your sustain Talent here, because it rewards the build's aggressive style. 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 does more damage with Basic Attacks than Abilities, take Tissue Regeneration Icon Tissue Regeneration as a sustain option at Level 1 instead of Enduring Swarm Icon Enduring Swarm.

See our Talents page for further information Create your own build and share it with friends!

Synergies and Counters

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.

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. In addition to this, Heroes with global soaking potential will also limit Dehaka's impact on the game by matching or exceeding his experience soaked.


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

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 to important areas.

TL;DR Tips

  • 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 one of your allies' Abilities.
  • 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; using 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.
See our Abilities page for further information

2. Introduction

Dehaka is an aggressive Warrior 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.

3. Strengths

4. Weaknesses

5. Role in the Current Meta

Dehaka is a strong pick as an off-tank Warrior. 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, and lets him soak experience longer than other Warriors while still being able to 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.

6. Reading Further

To take things further, we have 2 more pages that you can read:

7. ChangeLog

  • 14 Dec. 2016 (this page): Moved Dehaka to the new format, following its rework in Ragnaros patch.
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