Kel'Thuzad Build Guide “The darkness guides me.”

Last updated on Sep 23, 2020 at 08:00 by Outofmilk 23 comments
General Information

Welcome to our guide for Kel'Thuzad, 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.


Kel'Thuzad's Overview

Kel'Thuzad is a combo-oriented ranged damage dealer with outstanding area of effect crowd control and burst damage potential. Relying on skillshot Abilities to grow through Master of the Cold Dark Icon Master of the Cold Dark makes him weak in the early stages of the game and harder than most Heroes to play, let alone master.


Kel'Thuzad's Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
X Weaknesses
  • -Very vulnerable to mobile Heroes
  • -Difficult to play due to all Basic Abilities being skillshots
  • -Limited defensive Talent options and general mobility
  • -Weak in the early game

Kel'Thuzad's Talent Build Cheatsheet

Standard Build

Level 1 Barbed Chains Icon Blighted Frost Icon ?
Level 4 Phylactery of Kel'Thuzad Icon Armor of the Archlich Icon ?
Level 7 Chilling Touch Icon
Level 10 Shadow Fissure Icon
Level 13 Chains of Ice Icon Chain-Link Icon ?
Level 16 Power of Icecrown Icon Hungering Cold Icon ?
Level 20 The Damned Return Icon Might of the Scourge Icon ? Shifting Malice Icon ?

Kel'Thuzad's Standard Build focuses on helping you out in hitting your skillshots and dealing massive amounts of burst damage. The key to playing Kel'Thuzad well is managing to time your combo. With Chilling Touch Icon Chilling Touch, this becomes a lot easier due to the area of effect Slow component of it. Once Kel'Thuzad hits Level 10, he gets his hardest hitting Ability and the key component to his combo burst. Landing a Chains of Kel'Thuzad Icon Chains of Kel'Thuzad into Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova into an instant Shadow Fissure Icon Shadow Fissure can potentially one-shot any squishy enemy Hero, and later on Power of Icecrown Icon Power of Icecrown on top of the Spell Power bonus from Kel'Thuzad's Trait can help securing kills on enemy Tanks as well. Should you choose to get The Damned Return Icon The Damned Return at Level 20, Kel'Thuzad is able to dish out a lot of siege damage.


Kel'Thuzad's Synergies and Counters

V Kel'Thuzad synergizes with

Since Kel'Thuzad depends highly on skillshots to deal damage, he naturally works well with any Hero that can provide reliable crowd control against a kill target for him to follow up. His frailty also makes him dependent on other Heroes to peel for him; Tanks tend to fulfill these two needs, though other Hero types can too.

X Kel'Thuzad is countered by

Since Kel'Thuzad relies chiefly on skillshots to deal damage, he does particularly poorly against Heroes that have ways of quickly dodging his Abilities. Furthermore, his frailty and lack of self-peel makes him vulnerable to high-damage, nimble Heroes that can quickly reach him.


Kel'Thuzad's Maps

Kel'Thuzad's stronger maps
Battlefield of Eternity Braxis Holdout Towers of Doom
Kel'Thuzad's average maps
Blackheart's Bay Cursed Hollow Dragon Shire Garden of Terror Hanamura Temple Infernal Shrines Sky Temple Tomb of the Spider Queen Volskaya Foundry
Kel'Thuzad's weaker maps
Alterac Pass Warhead Junction

Maps that promote early skirmishes are optimal for the purpose of quickly completing Master of the Cold Dark Icon Master of the Cold Dark.


Kel'Thuzad's Tips and Tricks


Kel'Thuzad's Role in the Current Meta

Kel'Thuzad has a niche role as a counterpick to immobile team compositions. Due to his stacking nature, he also does well on Maps that feature constant brawls, notably 2-lane Maps such as Braxis Holdout and Battlefield of Eternity. Under such circumstances, Kel'Thuzad players are expected to exploit his powerful mid-game to snowball the game with excellent burst damage.

His particular vulnerability to highly mobile Heroes makes drafting a Tank with reliable peel essential to ensure Kel'Thuzad's survival. The crowd control provided by most popular Tanks also doubles up as an offensive tool to ease hitting with Kel'Thuzad's powerful yet avoidable Abilities.



  • 23 Sep. 2020 (talents page): Updated talents and build.
  • 23 Sep. 2020 (this page): Updated talents and build.
  • 08 Sep. 2020 (talents page): Talent builds and recommendations reviewed and updated. Again.
  • 07 Sep. 2020 (abilities page): Section updated with additional information.
  • 30 Aug. 2020 (this page): Role in Current Meta section updated.
  • 19 Jul. 2020 (talents page): Talent builds and recommendations reviewed and updated.
  • 05 Apr. 2020 (talents page): Description updated for Chain-Link.
  • 15 Dec. 2019 (this page): Added a note about current Anomaly.
  • 27 Sep. 2019 (abilities page): Section updated following the nerf to Shadow Fissure.
  • 03 Sep. 2019 (talents page): Talent descriptions and recommendations updated to reflect latest Talent rework.
  • 03 Sep. 2019 (abilities page): Guide reviewed and updated.
  • 03 Sep. 2019 (this page): Guide reviewed and updated.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Talent descriptions and recommendations updated to reflect latest balance patch.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (abilities page): Ability descriptions updated to reflect latest balance patch.
  • 05 Sep. 2017 (this page): Guide published.
Show more
Show less