Sylvanas Abilities and Strategy
Welcome to our Abilities page for Sylvanas. Here, we give you an overview of every ability in Sylvanas' kit. For each of them, we explain what it does, how to best use it, and how it works in combination with Sylvanas' other abilities. We also give you strategy tips to play Sylvanas efficiently.
1. Sylvanas' Tips and Tricks
- Withering Fire is extremely cheap; use it as often as possible if there are no enemy Heroes around.
- 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 and vehicles.
2. Black Arrows (Trait)
Although we typically list Hero Abilities in order, Sylvanas's Trait is quite unique in that it heavily impacts the way that she is played. As such, we list it first and not last, as we usually do with other Heroes.
- Cooldown: 40 seconds
Activate to cause all Basic Attacks and Abilities to Stun Minions, non-Elite Mercenaries, and Structures for 3 seconds. Lasts for 10 seconds. _
Basic Attacks infect enemies with Banshee's Curse for 3 seconds, stacking up to 3 times. Deal 25% more damage to enemies with 3 stacks.
Black Arrows is split into two parts: an active component, Black Arrows itself, and a passive effect, known as Banshee's Curse, which will be discussed further below.
Black Arrows provides Sylvanas with a unique form of sieging. The ability to disable Structures for up to 13 seconds has several important implications. First and foremost, it makes Sylvanas a threatening pusher who is able to rapidly raze Towers, Forts, and Keeps with little assistance from allies. Stunning Structures increases the survivability of friendly Minions and Mercenaries, which ultimately lets them inflict more damage than they normally would. This forces the opposing team to always have one Hero dedicated to defending against Sylvanas.
While Black Arrows is a powerful split-pushing tool on its own, it becomes even stronger as your pushing power increases. In other words, as additional allied Heroes, Map Objectives, or Mercenaries join you, Black Arrows's power increases proportionally. One often overlooked advantage of disabling Structures is that of allowing for tower diving. You can often surprise and safely kill opponents who expect to be protected by Structures that way.
Black Arrows also allows you and your team to siege and destroy Structures when you would normally be unable to do so, such as when Minions are not available to absorb attacks. This allows you to capitalise on opponents being too out of position to defend in time or simply dead better than any other Hero.
As a trick, Black Arrows can Stun several Structures simultaneously by switching one's Basic Attack target with every shot to spread the Ability's effect without having to use Abilities.
2.1. Banshee's Curse (Trait)
Banshee's Curse is an entirely passive effect that is baked into Black Arrows. In practice, its effect means that you should always try as much as possible to hit your intended with at least three Basic Attacks before using your Abilities. It should be noted that Banshee's Curse does work against Minions, Mercenaries, and Structures even if it does not have a stacking indicator as it does for Heroes.
3. Withering Fire
- Mana: 25
- Cooldown: 8 seconds
Shoot the closest enemy up to 5 times over 1.5 seconds for 39 (+4% per level) damage, prioritizing Heroes. Cooldown is reset on getting a Takedown.
Withering Fire prioritises targets in a unique way. It will first target the closest nearby enemy Hero, and, if none exists, it will target the closest non-Heroic enemy (Minion, Mercenary, or Structure). The Ability's current target is shown by a purple marker. While this "automatic" targeting makes Withering Fire easy to use, the target chosen by the Ability can be poor if you are not positioned properly. Focusing a priority target can be particularly difficult if they are hiding behind another Hero. This also applies to Minions, as you will generally want to be targeting those with the lowest Health because of Unstable Poison.
As with all other Abilities, Withering Fire deals 25% more damage to target affected by three stacks of Banshee's Curse. Conserve its Cooldown until stacks have been generated. Further, remember that Hero takedowns instantly refresh Withering Fire's Cooldown.
4. Shadow Dagger
- Mana: 50
- Cooldown: 11 seconds
Throw a dagger at a target enemy that deals 32 (+4% per level) damage and an additional 160 (+4% per level) damage over 2.5 seconds. Damage dealt by Sylvanas to the initial target spreads Shadow Dagger to all nearby enemies.
Shadow Dagger can simply be thought of as a damage-over-time Ability that "spreads" once from the initial target to nearby enemies when this target is damaged by Sylvanas. As such, you need to make it a priority to hit any target you have hit with Shadow Dagger. This does not have to be done instantly however, as your target may be far from additional target.
Unlike Withering Fire, Shadow Dagger should generally be used whenever it is available if you are able to trigger its spread. Since it deals most of its damage over time, delivering a few quick Basic Attacks can trigger Banshee's Curse in time to increase the Ability's damage for most of its duration.
Shadow Dagger is also a fantastic way of applying Black Arrows to multiple targets, and since the duration of Shadow Dagger is 2.5 seconds, targets affected by Shadow Dagger will have Black Arrow applied to them for a total of 5.5 seconds. This makes Shadow Dagger (in combination with Unstable Poison) one of the best waveclearing Abilities around.
5. 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 exclusively as a gap-closer. This is due to its high Mana cost, long Cooldown, and being Sylvanas' only escape mechanism.
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 its 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 your intended location, whether trying to escape or situationally catch up to a fleeing opponent.
It is worth repeating that you should try and 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 a Hero, its relatively low speed makes it difficult, although not impossible, to catch up to them. Haunting Wave's slow travel speed can sometimes be beneficial, however. 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 decide between chasing you or chase Haunting Wave and where you could possibly teleport to. If they chase you, teleport away; if they chase your Haunting Wave, keep running.
6. 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 for 2.5 seconds. The arrow detonates automatically if it reaches maximum range.
Wailing Arrow is recognised as one of the strongest Heroic Abilities in the game. It deals a large amount of damage instantly in a relatively large area and from a long range, but more importantly, silences all affected targets for a significant duration. This means that you should not be using Wailing Arrow solely for its damage, unless it is to secure one or more kills in a late-game situation. Ideally, it should be used as a follow-up if you are the aggressor to prevent opponents from healing or escaping. In a defensive situation, Wailing Arrow can make it more difficult for opponents to follow up on their own initiation. It also has more niche uses, such as interrupting a number of key channeled Heroic Abilities.
7. Mind Control
- Mana: 75
- Cooldown: 50 seconds
After 0.25 seconds, fire a missile that Mind Controls the first enemy Hero hit. Heroes hit are Silenced, Slowed by 30%, and forced to walk towards Sylvanas for 1.75 seconds.
Mind Control is a very potent crowd control Ability that revolves around picking off an enemy target, most notably squishy ranged Assassins and Supports, and isolating them from the rest of their teammates. Similarly to Wailing Arrow, Mind Control can be used at key moments to prevent escapes or support by targeting a healer. As a skillshot with a relatively slow projectile speed, Mind Control is liable to miss without practice, particularly against nimble targets.
- 19 Dec. 2018: Updated for the latest rework.
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