Kael'thas Build Guide “Anar'alah belore!”
Welcome to our guide for Kael'thas, a Ranged Assassin 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.
Kael'thas is a ranged Assassin, with an exceptional overall damage potential. All of his abilities deal AoE damage, severely punishing enemy teams that stand close together. However, Kael'thas is the definition of "glass-cannon"; his low maximum health and total lack of mobility leave him completely exposed to enemy assassins and bruisers.
Kael'thas' Trait mechanic, Verdant Spheres, allows him to improve the effectiveness of one Basic Ability at a time. It is important for players to decide which ability should be empowered and when, as every situation is incredibly different and will need to be approached accordingly. Try to not waste Verdant Spheres on an ability simply because it was available, as Kael'thas may immediately find himself in a dire situation without it.
Kael'thas' Strengths and Weaknesses
- Has extremely low mobility and survivability
- Requires close attention to positioning
- Completely Mana dependant
- Has difficulty self-peeling enemy Heroes; consistantly requires allies' assistance
Kael'thas' Talent Build Cheatsheet
Standard Flamestrike BuildTalent calculator »
The Standard Flamestrike Build focuses on bolstering the damage output and utility of Flamestrike, providing Kael'thas with an even stronger kit and higher teamfight presence. It is important for Kael'thas to try to complete the quest portion of Mana Addict as early as possible, as the reward will grant a massive shield that can be used defensively to help Kael'thas survive teamfights. Every talent synergizes with eachother in this build which is what makes it so great. Empowering Flamestrike with Verdant Spheres is crucial to make it easier to hit enemy heroes, making great use of either Ignite or Fury of the Sunwell.
Situational Living Bombs BuildTalent calculator »
The Living Bombs build is a heavy situational build, and does not see much play. This is due to the nature of the build relying on the enemy team being stacked together, which is not always the case. You should in most cases go for the Flamestrike build. The Living Bomb build may see some viability if the enemy team has 3-4 heroes that are always up in the face of your allies, and even then it is questionable if you want to go this build. That being said though, Kael'thas will need to play cautiously with a strong awareness of his positioning since the cast range of Living Bombs is somewhat limited. Try to cast Living Bombs on targets of high priority (when possible), but do not be afraid to cast in onto the enemy frontline as, many times, they may carry the explosion back into their own team, further spreading the bombs.
Kael'thas' Synergies and Counters
Kael'thas requires allies who are going to be able to provide him good peel and sustain when he is targeted in team fights. A solid frontline with ample crowd-control will help keep enemies at bay, while supports who can provide a source of Health or damage mitigation can keep him from being immediately picked off.
Kael'thas' high AoE and team fight damage cause him to be an incredibly effective pick on smaller maps where fights and skirmishes break out often. His strong waveclear also makes him a valuable pick on maps where quickly killing large amounts of low health targets is vital, such as on Tomb of the Spider Queen, Braxis Holdout, and Infernal Shrines. Kael'thas also favors maps with many narrow pathways and chokepoints. These passages force enemies close to one another and susceptible to Kael'thas' team-wide damage. Try to steer clear of large Battlegrounds with multiple objective locations as this may allow Kael'thas to be isolated and picked off while his team is split-up accross the map.
Kael'thas' Tips and Tricks
- Since Kael'thas lacks any type of mobility, positioning is extremely important. Once an enemy Hero is attacking him, he must rely on his allies to assist him. Protect Kael'thas by being proactive and keeping a distance.
- Verdant Spheres should be used with Flamestrike when Kael'thas needs waveclear.
- Gravity Lapse should only be empowered with Verdant Spheres to catch an enemy Hero hiding behind a minion or to stun multiple enemy Heroes.
- Phoenix can be used to zone enemy Heroes, kill Mercenaries, clear Minion waves, and to siege or defend Forts and Keeps. Its relatively low cooldown encourages Kael'thas to use it liberally.
- Channel Pyroblast behind walls or Kael'thas' frontline. Try to use it proactively and early in fights, rather than saving it to finish enemies off.
- Gravity Lapse is difficult to hit. Take the time needed to land it, as Kael'thas is defenseless if it misses the desired target(s).
Role in the Current Meta
Kael'thas' sheer amount of damage makes him a good choice for most team compositions, although his complete lack of mobility requires his team to have a solid frontline and good peeling. Otherwise, Heroes like Zeratul and Tracer will kill him immediately in every team fight. Kael'thas is exceptionally good at contesting map objectives and fighting in choke points, as all of his abilities deal AoE damage. Additionally, Phoenix can be used either to deal damage or discourage movement past the affected area, effectively zoning entire teams from objectives.
While decent during the early game, Kael'thas only really begins to shine once he is able to utilize his Talent selections to deal significantly more damage. Kael'thas should stay as far back as possible and poke with Living Bomb and Flamestrike. Using Living Bomb in the middle of team fights can absolutely decimate the enemy team. Also remember to keep an eye out for the position of enemy Heroes who will attempt to flank Kael'thas. During the late-game, Kael'thas should rarely (if ever) be left alone. This holds true especially against enemy teams that have a highly mobile assassin who will be able to capitalize on Kael'thas' isolated position.
Kael'thas is in a pretty good spot for the current Anomaly. As his kit is inherently good for clearing waves whilst poking the enemy soakers, Kael'thas is one of the better mage picks during this season.
- 05 Dec. 2019 (this page): Added a note regarding this seasons Anomaly.
- 04 Sep. 2019 (this page): Guide has been reviewed for latest patch and no changes are needed.
- 04 Jun. 2019 (this page): Updated guide.
- 14 May 2018 (this page): Guide updated in accordance with the May 9th Balance Update.
- 24 Mar. 2017 (this page): Moved guide to new format.
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