Sylvanas Abilities and Strategy
Table of Contents
- ×Abilities and Strategy
- +Talent Build
Below, we give you an overview of the abilities that Sylvanas has access to. We also explain how to best your these abilities.
The other pages of our Sylvanas guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.
About the Author
Oxygen is a veteran of the MOBA genre, which he has been playing for nearly 15 years. He has coached some of Heroes of the Storm's most prominent North American players and teams alike, including Team Liquid. As a Master player, he enjoys playing all Heroes and roles.
1. Tips on Ability Usage
- Use all of your Withering Fire stacks freely; they cost no Mana and refresh quickly.
- Use Shadow Dagger whenever it is available, but see to have it affect as many enemies as possible.
- Haunting Wave should almost exclusively be used only for its mobility, as it deals minimal damage.
- Hold on to Wailing Arrow until you can hit many opponents or for when you need to prevent a Hero from saving another.
- Use Mind Control to move a key target away from their team, and into yours.
- Black Arrows allows you to push down Structures without minions; exploit this especially with allies.
2. Withering Fire
- Charges: 5
- Recharge Time: 2 seconds
Shoot the closest enemy for 48 (+4% per level) damage, preferring Heroes.
Gain 1 charge on nearby enemy Minion or Mercenary deaths, and 3 charges on nearby enemy Hero deaths.
Stores up to 5 charges.
Withering Fire is a powerful Ability that is easy to use but difficult to master. This is because of the way Withering Fire prioritises targets. It will first target the closest nearby enemy Hero, and if none exists, it will then target the closest enemy (Minion, Mercenary, or Structure). While the automatic targeting makes it easy to use the Ability — just hold "Q" to use it — the automatic target is generally not the optimal target. This can make it difficult to focus a priority target if they are hiding behind another Hero. This also applies to Minions, as you will generally want to be targeting the minions with the lowest Health because of Unstable Poison, and it is unlikely that that Minion will be the closest target.
Withering Fire works on a charge system and has no Mana cost. Therefore, you should be using the Ability constantly, or at the very least, not be conserving 5 charges (the maximum) whenever are available targets. However, this does not mean that you should use all of the charges as soon as you can; If you are in lane, and an enemy Hero is nearby, you should see to hold on to about 4 charges. When the enemy Hero is within range, use Basic Attacks and all of your Withering Fire stacks for some easy damage. Once you have Barbed Shot or Unstable Poison at Level 7, you will generally want to clear the Minion wave immediately instead of trading with your opponent, as this creates more pressure.
There are three main scenarios where you will want to pace your use of Withering Fire charges. The first is when you are capturing the Siege Giant Mercenary Camp. In this situation, you will want to stand adjacent to one Giant and then use Basic Attacks on the other while using Withering Fire at a rate of about 1 every 1.5 seconds. This will allow you to permanently stun both Giants until you kill them. The reason you want to use Withering Fire every 1.5 seconds instead of every 1 second (the duration of Black Arrows is only 1 second) is because it takes the Siege Giants a half second to wind-up their attack, and delaying your use of Withering Fire takes advantage of this.
The second scenario is similar. You can stun both outer Towers simultaneously (if there are no minions or Heroes nearby) by standing closer to one Tower and then using Basic Attacks on the other. The third scenario is simply when you want to save Withering Fire charges to burst down an enemy Hero or to benefit from Evasive Fire.
Aside from the scenarios listed above, you will want to be using Withering Fire charges as soon as they become available. Always be aware that Minions, Mercenary, and Hero kills will grant you additional charges of Withering Fire. You can take advantage of this by using all of your charges against an enemy Hero just before you clear a Minion wave, which will refill all of your charges.
3. Shadow Dagger
- Mana: 75
- Cooldown: 10 seconds
Deals 37 (+4% per level) damage and an additional 148 (+4% per level) damage over 2 seconds to target unit. The effect spreads to nearby targets.
Shadow Dagger can simply be thought of as a targeted AoE Ability, as it essentially functions the same way. However, the way the Ability "jumps" from target to target makes it better than most other area of effect Abilities, since it is able to hit oddly positioned targets that conventional area of effect Abilities would be unable to damage. Shadow Dagger is also a fantastic way of applying Black Arrows to multiple targets, and since the duration of Shadow Dagger is 2 seconds, targets affected by Shadow Dagger will have Black Arrow applied to them for 3 seconds. This makes Shadow Dagger (in combination with Unstable Poison) one of the best waveclearing Abilities around.
Shadow Dagger should be used whenever it is available, although not on isolated Heroes unless the damage is enough to secure a kill. Keep in mind that targets must be very close to each other for Shadow Dagger to spread. Using the Ability and not having it spread to nearby targets will usually be quite a significant error, as Shadow Dagger accounts for a large portion of Sylvanas' overall damage output.
4. Haunting Wave
- Mana: 75
- Cooldown: 11 seconds
Send forth a wave of banshees dealing 114 (+4% per level) damage to all targets. Reactivate to teleport to the banshees' location.
Haunting Wave is an extremely important Ability. Although it does damage, it should be used almost solely as a gap-closer. This is because it does very little damage, has a high Mana cost, a long Cooldown, and is Sylvanas' only gap closer. Since Haunting Wave travels at a set speed, it can take some time before it reaches the appropriate destination for you to reactivate Haunting Wave and teleport to their location. Therefore, you will want to use Haunting Wave proactively (because of the delay), so that you have time to reactivate it to teleport to safety.
It is imperative that you only use Haunting Wave as a means of mobility, and only if it is absolutely needed, as you are vulnerable without it. Although Haunting Wave can be used to chase enemies, its relatively slow speed makes it difficult, although not impossible, to catch up to enemies. However, the slow travel speed can also be beneficial. If you are being chased and cannot cast Haunting Wave over a wall, you can cast Haunting Wave in one direction and then run in another direction. This forces your enemy to make a decision: chase you or chase the wave and where you could possibly teleport to. If they chase you, teleport to the wave. If they chase your Haunting Wave, keep running.
5. Wailing Arrow
- Mana: 100
- Cooldown: 90 seconds
Shoot an arrow that can be reactivated to deal 228 (+4% per level) damage and silence enemies in an area making them unable to use Abilities for 2.5 seconds. The arrow detonates automatically if it reaches maximum range.
Wailing Arrow is a strong Heroic Ability with a very long range. It also deals a significant amount of damage in a relatively large area, but, more importantly, it silences all affected targets. This means that you should not be using Wailing Arrow solely for its damage, unless it is to secure one or more kills. Ideally, you will want to use this Ability as follow-up once the targets have low Health, preventing them from healing or escaping, and essentially assuring their demise. It also has more niche uses, such as interrupting Mosh Pit, Jug of 1,000 Cups, Strafe, or other important Heroic Abilities, or preventing Heroes, such as Illidan or Chen, from using key defensive Abilities.
6. Mind Control
- Mana: 75
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
After a 1 second cast, take control of an enemy Hero's movement, Silencing them and prevent them from doing anything else. Channel lasts 2.5 seconds.
Mind Control is a very potent crowd control Ability that revolves around picking off a key enemy target, most notably squishy ranged Assassins and Supports, and isolating them from the rest of their teammates. This can usually be achieves in two different ways: You can either direct the mind-controlled target towards your own allies or Structures to enable them to quickly burst it down, or, if the mind-controlled target is too far away from your own team to focus it, you can simply force it to run away from the enemy team, ideally leaving them without a Support or ranged damage dealer at the beginning of a team fight.
There are several ways to counter Sylvanas while she is channeling Mind Control. If she gets stunned, silenced or knocked away while channeling, the effect of Mind Control will immediately be interrupted, so make sure to position yourself in a way that enemy Warriors, melee Assassins, and other crowd control-heavy Heroes cannot reach you. Most Supports can also use Cleanse on their affected ally in order to break Mind Control's effect, which is another strong reason why Supports should be generally be targeted over other classes.
7. Black Arrows (Trait)
Basic Attacks and Abilities stun Minions, Mercenaries, and Structures for 1 second.
Black Arrows can easily be one of the most impactful Traits in the game. It gives Sylvanas and her team unrivaled pushing power with a variety of uses. It allows Sylvanas to siege Towers, Forts, and Keeps without any assistance by stunning Structures and keeping her friendly Minions and Mercenaries alive. She can stun both outer Towers simultaneously, allowing Minions and Mercenaries to destroy Structures themselves. The enemy team must send at least one Hero to defend against Sylvanas, or lose their buildings.
While Black Arrow is a powerful split-pushing tool, and it becomes even stronger the more pushing power you have. This is because the enemy team will have a very difficult timing killing your team, friendly Minions, or Mercenaries if their Fort or Keep is stunned because of Black Arrow. This is especially true if your team is pushing with a Boss, Webweavers (Tomb of the Spider Queen), or a Dragon Knight (Dragon Shire). This makes Sylvanas an absolute top priority Hero on some Maps.
Black Arrow allows you and your team to siege and destroy Structures when you would normally be unable to. This is extremely powerful, as it allows you and your team to capitalise on the enemy team being out of position or dead, whether or not you have a nearby Minion wave.
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