The Butcher Build Guide “Fresh meat!”
Welcome to our guide for The Butcher, a Melee 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.
The Butcher's Overview
The Butcher is a melee Assassin who utilizes his Fresh Meat mechanic to grow drastically in power as a match progresses. The early part of the match should consist of The Butcher trying to complete the quest portion of Fresh Meat as soon as possible. This increase in Attack Damage and Attack Speed provide a huge power spike to The Butcher. His Basic Attacks hit incredibly hard, providing him with very high sustained damage. With the help of Furnace Blast however, he is also able to deal extremely high AoE burst damage. Crowd control and focus fire from the enemy team pose the biggest threats, since both inhibit his ability to heal with Butcher's Brand, his only defensive ability.
The Butcher's Strengths and Weaknesses
- Extremely vulnerable to burst damage and crowd control, including Blinds
- Multiple ways for enemy Heroes to negate both of his Heroic abilities
- If he is unable to use Basic Attacks on on the target marked with Butcher's Brand, he will fall very quickly in team fights
- Losing Fresh Meat on death can make it difficult to recover
- Usually requires a team composition to be built around him
The Butcher's Talent Build Cheatsheet
Ruthless Onslaught BuildRecommended
The Ruthless Onslaught build contains a healthy blend of survivability, utility, and reliable damage output. The cooldown reduction of Ruthless Onslaught greatly increases The Butcher's roaming and ganking potential while Meat Shield and Enraged mitigate much of the damage he will receive upon engaging his enemies. Lamb to the Slaughter allows The Butcher to lock down and shred a single target (usually an isolated assassin or support), while Slaughterhouse at Level 20 provides an incredible source of multi-target crowd-control.
The Hamstring Build focuses on maximizing damage output by means bolstering the effectiveness of Hamstring at the cost of survivability and utility. This build works well against enemy Heroes who are able to more easily kite The Butcher around by means of movement speed buffs or gap-closers. The increased length of Hamstring from Flail Axe and its reduced cooldown from Invigoration will allow The Butcher to more easily land Hamstring and re-apply the slow portion of the ability. Insatiable Blade and Bolt of the Storm can further assist The Butcher in sticking to his desired target, particularly if you got Furnace Blast.
The Butcher's Synergies and Counters
The Butcher performs best with allies who are able to provide him with bonus means of survival after he charges into the enemy team. This is because often times The Butcher will become the primary target of focusfire after engaging with Ruthless Onslaught. Allies with some form of hard crowd-control who can followup on Ruthless Onslaught are also a welcomed addition.
The Butcher's "all-in" play style tends to suffer against Heroes who are able to completely shut down his damage output through mitigation or hard crowd-control. Blinds, Silences, Stuns, and Invulnerability work well to keep The Butcher at bay.
The Butcher's Maps
One of The Butcher's greatest strength lies in his ganking potential as he roams the Battleground, particularly during the early portion of the match. This is why he is most valuable on maps with 3 lanes that require a heavy amount of rotation. This constant rotation will often times result in enemy Heroes being isolated as they try to soak experience or push in lanes. The Butcher and his allies should try to capitalize on this mis-positioning and take down over-extended enemies.
The Butcher's Tips and Tricks
- Butcher's Brand should be used wisely, as it is The Butcher's only source of survivability. Do not use it as a source of damage.
- The Butcher can target enemy minions or mercenaries with Ruthless Onslaught to escape enemy Heroes.
- Ruthless Onslaught should be used primarily as a gap-closer, rather than as damage or crowd control.
- Ruthless Onslaught makes The Butcher Unstoppable while charging. If timed correctly, he can avoid or negate key enemy abilities.
- Accumulate as much Fresh Meat as possible, but not at the expense of missing team fights or Battleground objectives.
- Cast Furnace Blast early so that it explodes just as The Butcher reaches his target, giving the enemy team less time to react.
- Do not use Lamb to the Slaughter on Heroes that have abilities that can easily remove the chain.
- Roam as much as possible early in the match. This will help The Butcher quickly accumulate stacks of Fresh Meat.
The Butcher's Role in the Current Meta
The Butcher can be a strong pick in the current meta, although he usually requires a team to be built around him. This is because he is very susceptible to crowd control effects and burst damage, due to his lack of mobility and defensive abilities. The Butcher will be the enemy team's highest priority the moment he engages and is within range, so attacking the right target at the right time is key. The Butcher excels in pick compositions, where the objective is to immediately kill one enemy Hero when they are out of position. Tyrande pairs excellently with The Butcher, as she can Hunter's Mark a target and then follow up on Ruthless Onslaught with a Lunar Flare that is guaranteed to land. This makes The Butcher's already strong early game ganks even more deadly.
The Butcher falls into the odd category of being a burst damage Hero, even though he has excellent sustained damage. While this is not a problem, it is something that is important to be aware of. The Butcher should be used in gank-heavy teams, rather than ones that focus on longer, more sustained fights, since he is very vulnerable, despite his large health pool. He should also be avoided in games where the enemy team has lots of crowd control, including Heroes with Blinds, like Johanna and Li Li. The Butcher is definitely a viable Hero, but he also should not be picked blindly and regardless of the enemies' team composition.
- 26 Mar. 2021 (talents page): Updated Talent recommendations.
- 12 Apr. 2020 (this page): Builds and Talents updated to better reflect current meta.
- 01 Sep. 2017 (talents page): Level 7 Talent Insatiable Blade (W) has had the bonus healing removed and the increased movement speed increased from 20 to 25%.
- Level 7 Talent Victuals (Passive) has been increased from 4 to 5% per minion death.
- Level 16 Talent Crippling Slam (Q) has had the bonus duration increased from 25 to 30%.
- Level 16 Talent Enraged (Passive) has had the bonus Armor reduced from 25 to 15.
- 01 Sep. 2017 (abilities page): Fresh Meat (Trait) has been updated, Meat from Hero kills reduced from 25 to 20, Meat lost on death increased from 10 to 15.
- 08 Aug. 2017 (talents page): Level 1 Talent Abattoir has been removed. All Talent builds and discussions have been updated accordingly.
- 08 Aug. 2017 (abilities page): Updated Fresh Meat section.
- 08 Aug. 2017 (this page): Level 1 Talent Abattoir has been removed. All Talent builds and discussions have been updated accordingly.
- 22 Mar. 2017 (this page): Guide moved to the new format.
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