Welcome to our Talents page for Illidan. Here, we give you an overview of how strong each of Illidan's talents is. Then, we present several viable builds, before analyzing each talent row separately, so that you can make informed decisions.
Illidan's Talent Build
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Illidan's Talent Build Cheatsheet
The Flexible build revolves around getting specific Talents to compensate Illidan's weaknesses. This build is recommended if the enemy team have different ways to deny your Basic Attacks, so you build around dealing with what they feature.
At level 1 you can choose to have a good presence in early teamfights through Battered Assault, to be better in lane and mercenaries at the early game with Immolation, or to have a great mid game and late game with Unending Hatred.
At Level 16 you have to choose between 3 options to increase your damage.
- Blades of Azzinoth is a great option when paired with Unending Hatred or if the enemy team does not feature blinds.
- Fiery Brand is extremely effective against Healthy or Armored Heroes, like Deathwing, or Cho.
- Marked for Death, being the only talent that boosts Illidan's PvE capabilities while not dependent on delivering many Basic Attacks, is a good option if opposing team has many different counters for Illidan.
Basic Attacks BuildSituational
The Basic Attacks build focuses on improving Illidan's team fighting presence. It is commonly picked as a means of punishing team compositions that lack the tools to hinder Illidan's Basic Attacks. Key Talents include Metamorphosis, the Heroic Ability core to the build, Battered Assault, which significantly improves Illidan's team fighting damage output, and Demonic Form, which further increases Illidan's damage output and makes crowd control ineffective.
Level 1 Talents for Illidan
After using Sweeping Strike, burn nearby enemies for 22 (+4% per level) damage a second for 4 seconds.
Increase Sweeping Strike's Basic Attack damage bonus duration from 3 to 5 seconds. If Sweeping Strike hits 2 Heroes its damage bonus is increased from 35% to 125%.
Quest: Minion kills grant 0.2 Basic Attack Damage. Hero Takedowns grant 1 Basic Attack Damage.
Reward: After gaining 20 increased Basic Attack Damage, receive an additional 20 Basic Attack Damage.
Immolation provides Illidan with a steady source of area of effect damage, something that his base kit sorely lacks. Immolation helps at all stages of the game, be it with waveclearing, claiming Mercenary Camps, or simply dealing more damage whenever Sweeping Strike is used — which is always.
Battered Assault has the potential of greatly increasing Illidan's team fight damage. However, you do need to ensure that Sweeping Strike meets its condition of hitting at least two Heroes whenever it is used. Battered Assault is typically picked on Maps that do not feature many Mercenary Camps, as the value of the Immolation alternative Talent diminishes in this case.
Unending Hatred provides the largest, most reliable damage increase as a first-level Talent, albeit much later into the game. With some of the fastest Basic Attack speed in the game, Unending Hatred will increase your Basic Attack damage by 40 on completion, which translate to 35% extra damage at level 10. The downside of Unending Hatred is that it requires time to stack and become impactful. Unending Hatred is recommended on Maps where you do not need to fight during the early game, such as Sky Temple or Cursed Hollow. It is also excellent in maps where Illidan needs to double soak, like in Towers of Doom or Garden of Terror.
Level 4 Talents for Illidan
Using Dive grants 75 Physical Armor against the next 3 Hero Basic Attacks for 4 seconds, reducing the damage taken by 75%.
Betrayer's Thirst's healing from Basic Attacks is increased from 30% to 50% while Sweeping Strike's damage bonus is active.
Basic Abilities heal for 35% of the damage they deal. This bonus is doubled versus Heroes.
Reflexive Block is a powerful choice against teams that feature at least two Heroes with powerful Basic Attacks, such as Cho'gall, Greymane, Leoric, Ragnaros, Raynor, Sgt. Hammer, Stukov, The Butcher, Thrall, Varian, Zeratul, or Zul'jin. Otherwise, the other 2 options will generate more value in the form of self sustain.
Thirsting Blade fulfils the same purpose as Hunter's Onslaught. Its effectiveness depends just on how much you are able to freely deliver Basic Attacks. If the opposing team features several sources of Blind or crowd control, Hunter's Onslaught may end up being more reliable.
Hunter's Onslaught will be decent in every scenario, because it greatly enhances your sustain in lane, and its value cannot be reduced by blinds or fast Basic Attackers. It is the alternative to when there are either not many Basic Attack-reliant Heroes on the opposing team, or in the presence of Tracer or Tychus, both of which quickly chew through and waste Block charges.
Level 7 Talents for Illidan
Dive grants 20% Movement Speed for 3 seconds. If the target is an enemy Hero, reduce its cooldown by 1 second.
Increases the range of Dive by 20% and allows it to be used to dive to allied Heroes.
Sweeping Strike can go over walls and terrain.
Reward: After hitting 15 Heroes with Sweeping Strike, gain a second charge.
Although Rapid Chase provides reliable movement speed increase and Cooldown Reduction on Dive, the Friend or Foe alternative is much more versatile with its range increase and ability to jump to allied Heroes.
Friend or Foe provides Illidan with more mobility. The range increase is useful for chasing, whereas the option to jump to an ally is invaluable to keep yourself alive or avoid dangerous area of effect Abilities. With this Talent, Illidan becomes a much safer hero, because you can easily use Dive from a large distance, Sweeping Strike towards your desired target, and Dive again towards an ally to disengage as soon as enemies starts to focus you.
Unbound adds a new dimension to the way Illidan can be played by allowing you to quickly move through both terrain and structural walls, making you much more nimble and difficult to catch. Its additional charge will be incredibly strong against teams based on Basic Attacks, because Illidan will be able to constantly reset Evasion through Elusive Strike. The only issue with this Talent, however, is how Illidan needs to risk himself to complete the Quest. In the end, the range provided Friend or Foe generally ends up being more useful.
Level 10 Talents for Illidan
- 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.
- Cooldown: 100 seconds
Charge to target unit, dealing 251 (+4% per level) damage on impact and stunning for 1 second.
At this Level, Heroic Abilities become available. Both Heroic Abilities have already been described in the abilities section.
Metamorphosis is the source of much of Illidan's team fighting power, and is generally picked as a means of crushing team compositions that are ill-equipped to counter Illidan. In the presence of one or more of Illidan's "enablers" as allied Heroes, and in the absence of Illidan's counters, Metamorphosis opens up the possibility for team fighting-centric strategies that simply focus on fighting as often as Metamorphosis is available. Refer to this guide's intro section for more information about Illidan's counters.
The Hunt allows you to create Map pressure through split pushing and ganking. It may also be used as a key Ability in burst compositions, although using it as a means of initiating is ill-advised. The Hunt is typically used on larger Maps such as Garden of Terror and Warhead Junction or as a counter to other Heroes with global movement Abilities such as Brightwing, Dehaka, or Falstad.
Level 13 Talents for Illidan
If Sweeping Strike hits an enemy Hero, gain 25 Armor for 2 seconds, reducing damage taken by 25%.
Sweeping Strike reduces the cooldown of Evasion by 3 seconds every time it damages an enemy Hero.
While active, Evasion grants Illidan 75 Spell Armor against the next 2 sources of Spell Damage, reducing their damage by 75%.
Nimble Defender provides a dependable damage reduction when fighting enemy Heroes, reducing all damage that taken by 25% with an approximate 50% uptime (via the Cooldown reduction provided by Betrayer's Thirst). It is, however, less specialized than its counterparts, and should only be picked if no value is to be gained from them.
Elusive Strike has niche use against team compositions that feature three or more Heroes with potent Basic Attacks, including, but not limited to, Cho'gall, Greymane, Leoric, Ragnaros, Raynor, Sgt. Hammer, Stukov, The Butcher, Thrall, Tracer, Tychus, Varian, Zeratul, and Zul'jin. The Cooldown reduction provided by this Talent, compounded with that provided by Betrayer's Thirst, will cause Evasion to be available much more often than it normally would.
Sixth Sense reduces Ability damage taken for the next 2 instances of Ability damage taken. This unfortunately includes any damage dealt by Abilities, as minute as it may be, such as ticks from Stitches' Vile Cleaver or Dehaka's Dark Swarm. This makes it very difficult to reduce the damage of Abilities that are actually dangerous, such as Nova's Precision Strike. Sixth Sense still has a place place against caster-heavy team compositions, such as those that might feature Chromie, Jaina, Kael'thas, Kel'thuzad or Nova.
Level 16 Talents for Illidan
Dive deals an extra 180 (+4% per level) damage if used consecutively on a target within 10 seconds.
Every 3rd attack against the same Hero deals an additional 7% of their maximum Health as damage.
- Cooldown: 8 seconds
Hitting 5 Heroes with Sweeping Strike allows Blades of Azzinoth to be activated, increasing Basic Attack damage by 75% for 8 seconds.
Marked for Death provides Illidan with an alternative way of dealing damage that is no longer tied to his Basic Attacks. This is particularly useful against Heroes that are able kite to reduce your uptime, or otherwise have access to Blind or other forms of crowd control. Marked for Death also turns Dive into a sustained damage increase against Structures and Mercenary Camps. It should be noted that this Talent also makes Illidan particularly strong at destroying Cores. Its important to note that the extra damage added to Dive is counted for Hunter's Onslaught.
Fiery Brand is Illidan's specific version of Giant Killer. Although it requires 3 consecutive Basic Attacks to trigger, Illidan's very fast attack speed, and the fact that Fiery Brand deals a hefty 7% of the target's Health as pure damage makes the Talent a reasonable choice against team compositions that feature Healthy or Armored Heroes such as Deathwing, Cho or two or more Tanks or Bruisers. A downside in Fiery Brand is that it, differently from the other 2 options, does not increase your self-sustain at all.
Due to how Damage calculations are made, Blades of Azzinoth benefits much more from Unending Hatred than from Battered Assault and is an excellent pick if you got the former. However, if the opposing team does not feature many blinds, this Talent can be good with Battered Assault as well.
Level 20 Talents for Illidan
Permanently remain in Demonic Form. Metamorphosis also increases Attack Speed by 20% and reduces the duration of Stuns, Roots, and Slows by 50%. Illidan can now mount in Demonic Form.
The Hunt gains unlimited range. Illidan passively reveals enemy Heroes below 25% Health anywhere on the Battleground.
Basic Attacks deal 20% more damage and Slow enemy Movement Speed by 20% for 1 second.
- Cooldown: 70 seconds
Activate to teleport to a nearby location.
Demonic Form provides Illidan with everything he needs. The attack speed increase synergises nicely with Betrayer's Thirst, as more Basic Attacks provide more Cooldown reduction, which translates into more survivability. The crowd control reduction also indirectly improves his survivability and general uptime.
Nowhere to Hide is a good option to get on extremely large maps, like Alterac Pass or Warhead Junction. It allows you to constantly threaten Core, while also being able to take part in the teamfight, which is extremely useful in the lategame.
Nexus Blades provides less damage and utility than Demonic Form. Although 20% increased Basic Attack damage and 20% increased attack speed may appear as equivalent at a glance, one must remember that attack speed also provides Illidan with Cooldown reduction through Betrayer's Thirst. The slowing effect of Nexus Blades is also less than useful to a Hero with infinite chasing potential.
Bolt of the Storm is a powerful Talent for any Hero. Illidan's mobility, however, is high enough to justify picking another Talent. Bolt of the Storm still finds niche use for The Hunt users, as they generally need the added survivability that would otherwise be provided by Metamorphosis.
- 26 Mar. 2021: Updated Talent recommendations.
- 04 Mar. 2021: Builds and Talents updated after recent balance patch.
- 22 Sep. 2020: Builds and Talents updated to reflect current meta.
- 14 Jan. 2018: Updated Metamorphosis and Standard Split builds.
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