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

Last updated on Jul 19, 2020 at 12:00 by Oxygen 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 Abilities being skillshots
  • -Limited defensive Talent options and mobility
  • -Limited early-game power

Kel'Thuzad's Talent Build Cheatsheet

Chains Build

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

Barbed Chains Icon Barbed Chains build focuses on improving Kel'Thuzad's niches against Armor and Shields, and generally improving the damage potential of your teammates. Key Talents include Barbed Chains, Strip Shields Icon Strip Shields, and Chain-Link Icon Chain-Link. This build works well with reliable follow up, as the value of Armor-reduction and Shields-hate effects increases as more Heroes target the affected targets.


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 Stealthed or otherwise high-damage nimble Heroes that can quickly reach him.


Kel'Thuzad's Maps

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

Maps that promote early skirmishes are generally beneficial for the purpose of quickly completing Master of the Cold Dark Icon Master of the Cold Dark. Furthermore, Maps with channeled Objectives are good for him since the objectives can reliably be interrupted by Shadow Fissure Icon Shadow Fissure. Otherwise, Kel'Thuzad's versatility makes him a fine pick all-around.


Kel'Thuzad's Tips and Tricks


Role in the Current Meta

Note about the current Anomaly: This Anomaly provides Kel'Thuzad with more opportunities to hit opponents who try to collect Experience Globes and thus complete Master of the Cold Dark Icon Master of the Cold Dark faster. His playstyle is otherwise unaffected, and Kel'Thuzad players should stick with their teammates as per usual.

Kel'Thuzad's reliable crowd control and high area of effect burst damage make him a good fit for most team compositions, whether there is lack of means of initiating or plenty of Rooting or Stunning effects for Kel'Thuzad himself to follow up on.

Kel'Thuzad's high threat level and fragility make him a high-priority pick in most drafting situations, and generally match-dictating as a Hero, in the sense that team compositions do well to support him — and counter him, when possible. His particular vulnerability to highly mobile Heroes makes drafting a Tank with reliable peel essential to ensuring the success of Kel'Thuzad-based compositions. His inability to reliably solo lane also makes it important to draft at least one independent Hero for this task.



  • 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 (this page): Guide reviewed and updated.
  • 03 Sep. 2019 (talents page): Talent descriptions and recommendations updated to reflect latest Talent rework.
  • 03 Sep. 2019 (abilities page): Guide reviewed and updated.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (abilities page): Ability descriptions updated to reflect latest balance patch.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Talent descriptions and recommendations updated to reflect latest balance patch.
  • 05 Sep. 2017 (this page): Guide published.
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