Holdable Abilities

Last updated on Oct 19, 2021 at 11:00 by Elitesparkle

A guide to learn when it is possible to hold keys for quickly casting Abilities.

1.

Introduction

This guide is about how to maximize execution speed by holding keys when possible. For playing this way, it is extremely important to know which Abilities can benefit from doing so and for which ones is detrimental instead. To help you better understand what kind of value you can get from knowing so, I also mention various tips and tricks related to the topic.

1.1.

Holdable Abilities

Holdable Abilities are the ones which can be cast as soon as possible by holding their key while your Hero cannot cast them yet—due to cooldown, crowd control effects, or lack of required resources. Self Cast can be used to turn many not holdable Abilities into holdable ones.

Warning! In order to be holdable, Abilities that are not classified as Instant Abilities require Quick Cast set to On. This is true because only Instant Abilities ignore Quick Cast settings, and thus work like if you always have Quick Cast set to On for them. To see a list of Instant Abilities, open the Hotkeys menu in-game and select the Quick Cast Setting tab.

1.2.

Loopable Abilities

Loopable Abilities are the ones which can be cast as soon as possible multiple times in a row, without releasing their key between a cast and the other. This functionality is quite useful when you need to spam Abilities with extremely low cooldown. Self Cast cannot be used to turn not loopable Abilities into loopable ones.

1.3.

Ability Targeting

Abilities usually require us to choose a target and sometimes they do not need a target at all.

There are 6 types of Ability targeting:

  1. Direction — You have to target a direction, without taking distance into account (for example Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt by Muradin).
  2. Location — You have to target a location (for example Blizzard Icon Blizzard by Jaina), which is the equivalent of choosing direction and distance (such as Magic Missiles Icon Magic Missiles by Li-Ming).
  3. None — You do not have to target anyone or anything (for example Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust by Rehgar).
  4. Smart — You have to target either a unit or a location (for example Misha, Focus! Icon Misha, Focus! by Rexxar).
  5. Unit — You have to target a unit, currently hovered by your mouse cursor (for example Holy Light Icon Holy Light by Uther).
  6. Vector — You have to target a vector, from the starting location to the ending one (for example Ice Wall Icon Ice Wall by Mei).
2.

Target Direction

In this category we have Abilities which require us to target a direction, without taking distance into account (such as Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt by Muradin).

2.1.

Not Holdable, Not Loopable

Most of the Abilities which require a target direction are not holdable and not loopable. The exceptions are listed below, in the other sub-categories.

2.2.

Holdable with Self Cast, Not Loopable

Some of the Abilities which require a target direction are holdable only with Self Cast, but doing so does not make them loopable. They are:

Keep in mind that using Self Cast while casting Abilities which require a target direction will cause them to fire in their default direction, which is basically the direction your Hero is facing. There is only one exception: Summon Ultralisk Icon Summon Ultralisk by Kerrigan. When used with Self Cast, she will not turn during the animation and the charge will go behind her, so exactly in the opposite direction she is facing. You may find this information useful for when you are trying to run away from enemy Heroes who are chasing you or, more in general, to cast it without moving your mouse cursor when needed.

2.3.

Holdable, Not Loopable

Righteous Hammer Icon Righteous Hammer by Yrel with Divine Purpose Icon Divine Purpose inactive is the only holdable but not loopable Ability among the ones which require a target direction.

2.4.

Holdable, Loopable

Some of the Abilities which require a target direction are holdable and loopable. They are:

Surging Fist Icon Surging Fist is slightly different from the others. To reactivate it without releasing its key, you have to use the Left Mouse Button. You may find this information useful while going for Uppercut Icon Uppercut at Level 4 because it will drastically reduce its cooldown and sometimes even reset it.

3.

Target Location

In this category we have Abilities which require us to target a location (for example Blizzard Icon Blizzard by Jaina), which is the equivalent of choosing direction and distance (such as Magic Missiles Icon Magic Missiles by Li-Ming).

3.1.

Holdable with Self Cast, Not Loopable

Most of the Abilities which require a target location are only holdable when using Self Cast, but are never loopable. Being an Ability with extremely low cooldown, it is worth mentioning that Healing Potion Icon Healing Potion by Deckard belongs to this group, so you cannot hold its key to constantly heal yourself because Self Cast does not help with that. The exceptions are listed below, in the other sub-categories.

Considering how this kind of Abilities work, when playing as Auriel, you can use Self Cast to hold Ray of Heaven Icon Ray of Heaven during Crystal Aegis Icon Crystal Aegis to quickly heal yourself immediately after its Stasis ends. The same trick can be used when you are affected by crowd control effects and want to quickly heal yourself or allied Heroes nearby.

Similarly, when playing as Deckard, you can hold the keys to Self Cast Healing Potion Icon Healing Potion when it is on cooldown to cast it on yourself as soon as possible, but you will have to briefly release the main key if you want to cast it again. The same trick can be used when you are affected by crowd control effects and want to quickly heal yourself.

Keep in mind that using Self Cast while casting Abilities which require a target location will cause them to use their default location, which is the equivalent of casting them right on top of your Hero. Just so you know, when using Leap Icon Leap by Sonya this way, you will not become Unstoppable while in the air and the travel time will be 0.2 seconds, not less.

3.2.

Holdable, Not Loopable

Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath by Yrel with Divine Purpose Icon Divine Purpose off is the only holdable but not loopable Ability among the ones which require a target location.

3.3.

Not Holdable, Not Loopable

Some of the Abilities which require a target location are not holdable and not loopable because, being impossible to Self Cast them in the first place, you cannot use Self Cast to make them holdable. They are:

4.

No Target

In this category we have Abilities which do not require us to target anyone or anything (such as Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust by Rehgar).

4.1.

Holdable, Loopable

Most of the Abilities which do not require any target are holdable and loopable. The exceptions are listed below, in the other sub-categories.

Due to how this kind of Abilities work, when playing as Maiev, be careful when using Vault of the Wardens Icon Vault of the Wardens after reaching Level 20 because holding its key for more than the effect's duration will cause you to accidentally waste its second charge immediately after.

Similarly, when playing as Arthas, you can release and then start holding the R key right after Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead goes off to quickly sacrifice Ghouls and heal yourself on cooldown. If you start holding R before the icon changes, it does not work. Be aware that Sacrifice does not work when full Health, but you could still end up over-healing yourself, therefore be sure to lack more maximum Health than what you will heal.

Before looking at exceptions, this group also includes:

4.2.

Holdable, Not Loopable

Most of the Abilities which do not need a target and change icon right after being cast—sometimes because they can be canceled (such as Siege Mode Icon Siege Mode by Sgt. Hammer) and sometimes because they give you access to a temporary Ability (for example Hammerang Icon Hammerang by Falstad)—are holdable but not loopable.

Thanks to how this kind of Abilities work, when playing as Abathur, you can hold the R key to cancel Symbiote Icon Symbiote without risking to accidentally cast your Heroic Ability immediately after due to spamming R too much.

In addition to them, in this group we also have:

When the cooldown of Spell Shield Icon Spell Shield ends, it gets enabled immediately. If you want to toggle it off immediately, without the risk of wasting it by accident, just hold its key while the cooldown is almost ready. This is true for any Spell Shield, except for Soul Shield Icon Soul Shield by Diablo which does not have a toggle functionality but goes off immediately when cast.

4.3.

Not Holdable, Not Loopable

Some of the Abilities which do not need a target are not holdable and not loopable, regardless of other characteristics that may have been mentioned above. They are:

5.

Smart Target

In this category we have Abilities which require us to target either a unit or a location (for example Misha, Focus! Icon Misha, Focus! by Rexxar).

5.1.

Not Holdable, Not Loopable

All of the Abilities which use smart targeting are not holdable and not loopable. We use them to control Summons, to tell them to either use their Basic Attacks against a given enemy unit or to move towards a given location.

6.

Target Unit

In this category we have Abilities which require us to target a unit, currently hovered by your mouse cursor (for example Holy Light Icon Holy Light by Uther).

6.1.

Not Holdable, Not Loopable

All but one (mentioned below) of the Abilities which require a target unit but cannot be cast on yourself are not holdable and not loopable. Surprisingly, Cloud Serpent Icon Cloud Serpent by Li Li belongs to this group because Self Cast does not make it holdable.

6.2.

Not Holdable, Loopable

Drain Life Icon Drain Life by Gul'dan is the only not holdable but loopable Ability across all categories. If you do not release its key, the next cast will target the exact same target of the previous one, assuming they are still alive.

6.3.

Holdable with Self Cast, Not Loopable

All but one (mentioned above) of the Abilities which require a target unit and can be used on yourself become holdable with Self Cast, but doing so does not make them loopable.

Considering how those Abilities work, when playing as Anduin, you can hold they keys to Self Cast Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal when its on cooldown to cast it on yourself as soon as possible, but you will have to briefly release the main key if you want to cast it again.

In this group we have the following Abilities:

Just so you know, some of the Abilities belonging in this category cannot be cast if their target is full Health. They are:

7.

Target Vector

In this category we have Abilities which require us to target a vector, from the starting location to the ending one (for example Ice Wall Icon Ice Wall by Mei).

7.1.

Not Holdable, Not Loopable

Most of the Abilities which use Vector Targeting are not holdable and not loopable. The exceptions are listed below, in the other sub-categories.

7.2.

Holdable with Self Cast, Not Loopable

Some of the Abilities which use Vector Targeting can be made holdable by using Self Cast, but they will still be not loopable. They are:

Keep in mind that using Self Cast while casting Abilities which require a target vector will cause them to use their default vector, that starts on top of your Hero and continues in the direction they are facing. You can use this knowledge to quickly escape when playing as Alarak—just be sure that your Hero is facing the correct direction!

8.

Changelog

  • 19 Oct. 2021: Guide created.
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