Learn how to strategically use Chen's Wandering Keg in multiple ways, either defensively or offensively.
Wandering Keg is a powerful Heroic Ability which is hard to use but has a relatively low cooldown. These characteristics combined together mean that you should not be scared to mess up when trying to make plays with it. Instead, you should look for opportunities to get value from it as often as possible. Just make sure you have a way to get out from danger in case your plans fail.
When using it, Chen transforms into a barrel and gains various effects.
- Unstoppable, making Chen immune to crowd control effects.
- 70% Movement Speed, temporarily reduced by up to 70% when hitting enemies.
- 25 Armor, reducing both Physical Damage and Spell Damage taken.
- Knockback enemies for 7.36 range, unless they hit impassable terrain first.
- Unable to use Basic Attacks and/or Abilities.
- Move by following your mouse cursor, without the need to click.
Rather than responding to Move commands, during Wandering Keg, Chen will simply follow your mouse cursor. The only exception is if you keep your cursor in the exact same place, in which case Chen will keep going in the previous direction. This is why, when you want to "stand still" during Wandering Keg, you have to constantly move your mouse a little bit.
In order to have more control on where enemy Heroes will end up going because of the Knockback effect, you should hit them with the front of the rolling barrel (not its sides). This is way easier to do when they are almost or completely standing still because of crowd control effects or because they are casting stationary channeled Abilities.
Be careful when using Wandering Keg near Minions, Mercenaries, and Monsters because they contribute to reducing your Movement Speed in the same way as when hitting Heroes. Unstoppable enemies (including Structures and Bosses) do not interact with this effect.
This is the easiest and most reliable way to use Wandering Keg. Start by casting Flying Kick on the enemy Hero you want to punish, use Wandering Keg to Knockback them once (only once) out of position, and then use the remaining duration to Knockback all other enemy Heroes away.
When using this strategy, your team will easily be able to take down your first target and the enemy team will not be able to help them as usual, unless they have access to mobility tools to play around Wandering Keg, high-range Abilities to save the isolated Hero, or Unstoppable effects to prevent the isolation from happening in the first place.
As you may know already, Wandering Keg is great when it comes to securing or stealing Mercenary Camps. You can simply cast Wandering Keg and move in circles on the Capture Point until you get it. An uncontested Mercenary Camp requires only 1.5 seconds to be secured. Your mission is to Knockback all enemy Heroes away and repeat until they are all out at the same time.
When enemy Heroes hit by Knockback effects have impassable terrain behind them, they move for less distance than they would do otherwise. In this case it means they will need less time to get back on the Capture Point. To avoid so, try to hit them while moving in parallel with impassable terrain and avoid hitting them while moving perpendicularly to it.
This trick is particularly valuable for Boss Camps, however, it can also be used for other Mercenary Camps, with the help of your team. Do not worry about its cooldown because, as already said, it's relatively short. Just make sure that you will not die for a Mercenary Camp that can be easily defended.
When fighting enemy Heroes near impassable terrain, you can use Wandering Keg to constantly Knockback them against the same wall, effectively locking them down for multiple seconds. If the target enemy Hero is not close enough to impassable terrain, you can use the first part of Wandering Keg to bring them there and the rest for keeping them locked.
When using this trick, you will tend to slide sideways together with the targeted enemy Hero. As a result, this trick is way easier to execute against flat impassable terrain, which can be found at the side of most Battlegrounds, but not only. To keep the effect going, be ready to change direction if needed.
The fact you become Unstoppable and gain 70% Movement Speed is great for running away from danger. You shouldn't worry about wasting a 50-second cooldown to survive, especially in the late game since Death Timers increase as the game goes. In combination with Flying Kick baseline and Elusive Brawler at Level 7, Wandering Keg makes Chen extremely hard to gank. Considering that Movement Speed effects do not stack, in order to get the highest amount of value from them, avoid overlapping Elusive Brawler (lasting 2 seconds) and Wandering Keg (lasting 5 seconds).
Although rarely worth being used this way, Wandering Keg is quite good for peeling. If you cast it and stay right on top of an allied Hero as they move around, you will basically deny all enemy melee Heroes to get close enough to hit them with Basic Attacks and with short-range Abilities. You can also use it to Knockback ranged Heroes away.
When your team is in trouble and you think that a disaster is going to happen, you can cast Wandering Keg defensively. Generally speaking, you should use the first 3 seconds to Knockback dangerous enemy Heroes away and the last 2 seconds to escape. Do not underestimate the value you can get by denying the enemy team an opportunity to chase your team while you are being outnumbered or do not want to fight for whatever reason, especially if they have already used an Heroic Ability with a long cooldown (for example Nano Boost by Ana).
Although it will rarely be the correct play, it is good to mention that Wandering Keg can also be used to chase enemy Heroes. Just avoid hitting them before Wandering Keg is over, otherwise the Knockback effect will save them from danger. At that point you will be in range to use Flying Kick on them.
This is a particularly aggressive and thus extremely dangerous strategy that can be used to Knockback an enemy Hero outside of their Gate and block their attempts to get back inside. The best moment for using this strategy is when pushing with a Boss because their powerful Stun can create additional space for you and your teammates.
In order to not die while going for this kind of play, you must count on all your defensive Abilities and Talents to reduce damage taken while enemy Structures shoot at you: Elusive Brawler at Level 7 before using Wandering Keg, Stagger after using your Heroic Ability, and then Fortifying Brew to mitigate some delayed damage from Stagger once you are out.
When playing on big Maps where the Objective phase is relatively long (for example Sky Temple or Alterac Pass), Wandering Keg allows you to safely pressure enemy side lanes with way lower risk of dying to enemy Heroes. Chen does not have high waveclear but can deal a fair amount of damage to enemy Structures.
Talents that are useful while split-pushing are Ring of Fire at Level 13 and Combo Strikes at Level 16. They both increase your own damage against Structures. The former also increases your waveclear, which helps allied Minions to reach enemy Structures sooner and with more Health.
This strategy is not going to work against competent opponents because they will either execute more sophisticated ganks to punish you (forcing you to waste Wandering Keg) or, alternatively, they will try to get as much value as possible somewhere else (exploiting the fact you are leaving your teammates at a numerical disadvantage).
- 04 Nov. 2022: Guide created.
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