Illidan Abilities and Strategy
Welcome to our Abilities page for Illidan. Here, we give you an overview of every ability in Illidan's kit. For each of them, we explain what it does, how to best use it, and how it works in combination with Illidan's other abilities. We also give you strategy tips to play Illidan efficiently.
1. Illidan's Tips and Tricks
- Dive always positions you directly behind your target; use this to body block and avoid area of effect Abilities.
- Sweeping Strike does not require a target, unlike Dive, making it useful as an escape tool.
- Evasion also mitigates the damage from Structures and other non-Heroic entities.
- Metamorphosis's short Immaterial effect can and should optimally be used to quickly dodge Abilities.
- Always use your Basic Attacks, even when out of combat, so as to heal and reduce the Cooldowns of your Abilities with Betrayer's Thirst.
- The Hunt's near-global range opens up opportunities to split push.
Although we typically list Hero Abilities in order, Illidan's Trait is quite unique in that it heavily impacts the way that he is played. As such, it is listed first, unlike in many other guides.
2. Betrayer's Thirst (Trait)
Basic Attacks heal for 30% of damage dealt and reduce Ability cooldowns by 1 second.
Betrayer's Thirst is characterized by two important aspects, each of which are underlined in the Ability's tooltip: self-healing, and Cooldown reduction to all Abilities, including Heroic Abilities, on Basic Attacks.
The self-healing provided by Betrayer's Thirst is notable to the point of making Illidan notoriously strong at claiming Mercenary Camps and more generally as a duelist, particularly against Heroes who deal too little damage to "outdamage" his self-healing. This makes Illidan specifically difficult to deal with for many if not all Support Heroes. Since this healing is based off the amount of damage inflicted by Illidan's Basic Attacks, any effect that affect the amount of damage they deal will proportionally increase or decrease said healing.
The Cooldown reduction provided by Betrayer's Thirst is what truly defines the Trait, however: through continuous attacks, the Cooldown of Illidan's Basic Abilities can be reduced by half or more to give him unparalleled combat mobility. This affects his Heroic Abilities, too, making it imperative to always try and keep on attacking anything, be it stray Minions, Structures, Mercenaries, and, of course, Heroes. Effects that increase Illidan's Basic Attack speed are particularly valuable for this reason, as more attacks yield more Cooldown reduction. Blinding effects prevent Betrayer's Thirst from granting any Cooldown reduction (or healing) at all; be sure to look out for it.
- Cooldown: 6 seconds
Dive at the target, dealing 66 (+4% per level) damage and flipping to the other side of the target.
Dive is the quintessential gap closer, and Illidan's first source of combat mobility. The Ability's relatively long range and short Cooldown help define Illidan as the one Hero it is impossible to escape from for many. An important aspect of Dive to understand is how it will always move Illidan to the far side of his target. This can be used to quickly avoid area of effect Abilities and to reposition yourself in a way that makes it easy to perform body blocking maneuvers, while preventing opponents from being able to body block you. This aspect can also be used to move great distances by targeting Structures due to their large size.
It should be noted that Dive should never be used for the sole purpose of dealing damage prior to acquiring the Marked for Death Talent, although even then, Dive remains primarily a means of relocating or sticking to a target.
4. Sweeping Strike
- Cooldown: 8 seconds
Dash towards target point, dealing 119 (+4% per level) damage to enemies along the way. Hitting an enemy increases Illidan's Basic Attack damage by 35% for 3 seconds.
Sweeping Strike is Illidan's main damage dealing Ability, and second source of combat mobility. Although Sweeping Strike can be used similarly to its Dive counterpart for avoiding Abilities and generally repositioning, it cannot be used to move through Structures and terrain. Additionally, its significant Basic Attack damage increasing effect means that unlike Dive, Sweeping Strike should be nearly always be used whenever it is available. With constant Basic Attacks, the damage bonus provided by Sweeping Strikes can be maintained indefinitely, thanks to the Cooldown reduction provided by Betrayer's Thirst.
- Cooldown: 15 seconds
Evade enemy Basic Attacks for 2.5 seconds.
Evasion is Illidan's main defensive tool. Although simple at a glance, its usage distinguishes mediocre Illidan players from great ones, as it requires both an awareness of one's surroundings (i.e. when to use it) and the knowledge of whose attacks are worth evading (i.e. what to use it against). Ideally, Evasion should be used whenever you are being targeted by Heroes with potent Basic Attacks while you are yourself attacking to try and reduce its Cooldown as much as possible through Betrayer's Thirst. During team fighting situations, Evasion is typically what allows Illidan to aggressively deliver Basic Attacks where other Assassins would simply take too much damage to survive. It should be noted that Evasion can also mitigate damage from Mercenaries and Structures.
- Cooldown: 120 seconds
Transform into Demon Form at the target location, dealing 46 (+4% per level) damage in the area. Temporarily increases maximum Health by 220 (+4% per level) for each Hero hit by the initial impact. Lasts for 18 seconds.
Metamorphosis' power lies in the increase it provides to Illidan's raw survivability. This, in turn, translates into being able to stay in combat longer to deal more damage and further benefit from the healing and Cooldown reduction provided by Betrayer's Thirst. It should be noted that the Ability also has an unmentioned effect that turns Illidan immaterial (i.e. untargetable and invulnerable) for 1 second upon cast, which can and should be used to avoid dangerous area of effect Abilities and otherwise get out of dangerous situations. Although it may be tempting to use Metamorphosis as a means of initiating a fight, it is often better to hold on to using the Ability so as to give you a 'second wind' when out of options, and in particular after using Evasion. Optimally, Metamorphosis should also be used against as many Heroes as possible, as the Health increase it provides scales directly with how many Heroes were damaged by the Ability.
Metamorphosis' long range and area-targeting also allows it to be used to chase down targets that are Stealthed, hidden by Fog of War, behind terrain or Structures, or otherwise untargetable.
7. The Hunt
- Cooldown: 100 seconds
Charge to target unit, dealing 251 (+4% per level) damage on impact and stunning for 1 second.
The Hunt opens up several strategic options. Its near-global range, which is its most notable aspect, allows Illidan to always be only a few seconds away from potential engagements. This lets him effectively gank isolated Heroes with ease, forcing opponents to generally play defensively. More importantly, however, The Hunt allows Illidan to become extremely proficient at split pushing and soaking to generate an Experience lead and threaten Structures, particularly while players are rotation and setting up for impending Map Objectives.
More offensively, The Hunt can be used as a key component of burst compositions; its range and unavoidable Stunning effect are excellent for both initiating and following up on allied crowd control. Just make sure your allies are aware of your intentions, lest you might find yourself fighting alone.
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