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

Last updated on Aug 30, 2018 at 13:35 by Oxygen 22 comments
General Information

Welcome to our guide for Kel'Thuzad, a Ranged Assassin Warrior 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.

1. Kel'Thuzad's Overview

Kel'Thuzad is a combo-oriented ranged damage dealer with outstanding area of effect crowd control and burst damage potential. His reliance on skillshots and relative fragility, however, make him one of the hardest Heroes to play, let alone master.

2. Kel'Thuzad's Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
X Weaknesses
  • -Very fragile, especially to melee Assassins
  • -Difficult to play due to ALL Abilities being skillshots
  • -Limited defensive Talent options and mobility

3. Kel'Thuzad's Talent Build Cheatsheet

Plaguelands Build

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

The Plaguelands Icon The Plaguelands build focuses on improving Kel'Thuzad's utility. It is at its best when your team composition may lack waveclear, sieging, or Mercenary Camp claiming power, and a proper way of reliably initiating combat with opponents. Key Talents include The Plaguelands, which improve Kel'Thuzad's sustained area of effect damage, Hungering Cold Icon Hungering Cold, which greatly increases Kel'Thuzad's damage through Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay, and The Damned Return Icon The Damned Return, which more or less doubles Kel'Thuzad's sustained damage output. As with all builds, Frost Blast Icon Frost Blast can be used if your team composition has plenty of reliable follow up or lacks initiation tools.

Chains Build

Talent calculator »
Level 1 Barbed Chains Icon
Level 4 Strip Shields Icon Phylactery of Kel'Thuzad Icon ? Armor of the Archlich Icon ?
Level 7 Ice Cold Icon Chilling Touch 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 Might of the Scourge Icon Shifting Malice Icon ? The Damned Return 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.

Blighted Frost Build

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

The Blighted Frost Icon Blighted Frost build focuses on improving Kel'Thuzad's burst damage potential. It works particularly well when your team composition features several sources of crowd control to follow up on Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova or to enable you to easily follow up with your own crowd control chain. Key Talents include Blighted Frost, which increases the duration of Frost Nova's Rooting effect, Shadow Fissure Icon Shadow Fissure, which deals a large amount of area of effect damage, and Hungering Cold Icon Hungering Cold, which greatly improves Kel'Thuzad's burst damage through Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay.

4. 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.

5. 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 Haunted Mines 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.

6. Kel'Thuzad's Tips and Tricks

7. Role in the Current Meta

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.

8. Changelog

  • 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.
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