Table of Contents
- +Abilities and Strategy
- ×Talent Build
On this page, we present the viable talent choices for playing Zagara in a competitive environment in Heroes of the Storm. For each talent, we explain what they do and why they should or should not be taken.
The other pages of our Zagara guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.
About the Author
Micekrispies is a Grand Master Hero League player who has a passion for the MOBA scene and its community. Having over 6 years of experience in the upper divisions of League of Legends, Micekrispies saw Heroes of the Storm as an exciting new endeavor. His priority is to share his knowledge of the MOBA genre with any and all who desire to learn more. Feel free to drop off a comment in the comments section or check out him out on Twitch where he will gladly answer any of your questions.
1. Talent Build
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2. Common Talent Paths
Split Push Build (talent calculator link)
Larger maps with multiple objective locations (Cursed Hollow, Sky Temple, Garden of Terror, Infernal Shrines) tend to favor the Split Push Build where Zagara may take advantage of distracting moments of opportunity for the enemy team. Baneling Barrage should be used for waveclear and to quickly deal massive amounts of damage to enemy structures, while Infested Drop's primary purpose is to soak up ammo from enemy towers and forts. Zagara should constantly rotate around the Battleground via Nydus Network to maximize the amount time she can effectively splitpush. Keep in mind that it will be much more difficult to effectively play the Split Push Build if they enemy team contains a high burst damage assassin Hero such as Zeratul or Nova. Heroes like these will frustratingly spend most of the match hunting down and picking off Zagara when she is overextended.
Team Fight Build (talent calculator link)
The Team Fight Build is designed to give Zagara the most effective blend of damage and utility in matches where crossing paths with enemy Heroes is frequent and unavoidable. Use Infested Drop as often as possible to harass opponents and allow the spawned Roaches to provide vision and block certain enemy skillshots. Hunter Killer is Zagara's primary source of damage and (when possible) should be saved for the team's target of focusfire. Be patient when looking to cast Devouring Maw. Most often, Zagara should engage the enemy team with her other abilities and Basic Attacks, and use Devouring Maw when the opportunity arises. Try to consume multiple enemy Heroes by keeping note of their positioning and striking when they are grouped too closely together.
3. Level 1 Talents
Banelings can travel 50% further before exploding and their damage to non-Heroes is increased by 50%.
Reduces the cooldown of Infested Drop by 3 seconds and Roachlings take 40% less damage from non-Heroic sources.
- Cooldown: 0 seconds
Nearby Ranged Minions deal an additional 100% damage, plus an additional 1% per 1000 Siege damage Zagara has dealt. Can be toggled on or off.
Baneling Barrage is arguably Zagara's strongest pushing ability, dealing very large amounts of AoE damage to all enemies struck. Volatile Acid providing a 50% increase in range to an already incredibly long ranged Basic Ability further accentuates Zagara's power to safely poke down defenses as well as interrupt targets channeling objectives such as Shrines on Towers or Doom or Curses on Cursed Hollow. The damage increase is invaluable to Zagara players when attempting to siege fortifications while overextended. This allows them to have a much greater destructive impact on enemy structures before having to flee enemies looking for an easy pick.
Corpse Feeders, although not quite as strong in terms of raw immediate damage output as Volatile Acid, is another great option for sieges. Not only will the reduced cooldown increase the overall damage per second output from the Zerg Drop Pod's impact, but it will significantly increase Roachling uptime. In lanes the 40% damage reduction to Roachlings will greatly benefit their ability to survive. These Roachlings also have a multitude of other benefits. They can provide decent damage to Heroes and minions alike, push out lanes, soak structure shots, and block certain Basic Abilities such as Kael'thas's Gravity Lapse or Stitches's Hook. When focus is being placed on team fighting and Hero damage, Corpse Feeders is the go-to selection as it has several PvP benefits compared to that of Volatile Acid which has none.
Although Infest scales to become stronger the longer a match goes on for, it is arguably best for establishing an early game advantage. The massive increase to nearby Ranged Minions damage will not only help pressure a lane, but can also be used to win trades with Zagara's lane opponent, who will many times vastly underestimate the amount of damage they will take from the Minions. Assuming multiple heroes are sent to stop Zagara from pushing in a lane, the rest of her allies will benefit from a numbers advantage around the remainder of the battleground. In the late game during long matches Infest may easily increase the damage output of Ranged Minions by over 250% causing even small waves to do a significant amount of damage to enemy fortifications.
4. Level 4 Talents
- Cooldown: 0 seconds
Activate to have Zagara's next Basic Attack apply 230 (+4% per level) damage over 5 seconds.
Basic Attacks deal 33% damage to three nearby targets.
Quest: Each Basic Attack against a Hero increases Zagara's Attack Damage by 0.3.
Envenomed Spines is a great choice as it provides Zagara with another relatively high source of on-demand damage. Although a cooldown of 30 seconds keeps the power of Envenomed Spines in check, it should not prevent players from using this ability as often as possible. Versatility is gained by the fact it is considered a Basic Attack modifier, which allows it to be applied not only to Heroes but also minions, Mercenaries, Bosses, and Structures. Keep in mind that a downfall to this feature is Envenomed Spines can be wasted on attacking targets while under the effect of a blind. Be on the lookout for when Zagara may have been struck with Li Li's Blinding Wind and Johanna's Shield Glare. Illidan's Evasion will also negate the effects of Envenomed Spines.
Medusa Blades is a good talent when split-pushing is going to be Zagara's primary concern, as this will greatly increase the speed she can waveclear. Medusa Blades also synergizes well with Infest, as Zagara will be able to raise her Seige Damage values much faster without need to constantly burn Mana on Baneling Barrage to poke Minions or Structures.
Serrated Spines is a talent that scales according to the number of Basic Attacks applied to enemy Heroes by Zagara. This means there are two primary factors affecting how beneficial this talent will be which are the duration of the match, and the time spent of that match directly trading with enemy Heroes. When running a split-push build this talent should be avoided, since there will (hopefully) be little interaction with other Heroes; at least not enough to make the talent more cost effective than Medusa Blades. If the primary focus of the match will be direct interaction with the enemy team (teamfights or trading over objectives), then this talent should scale somewhat nicely. To give an idea of how much damage output will increase based off of this talent, it will require ~120 Basic Attacks against Heroes to achieve the same damage bonus as Seasoned Marksman.
5. Level 7 Talents
Gain 2 additional charges of Banelings.
Banelings slow enemies by 20% for 1.5 seconds.
Quest: Passively increases the damage of Infested Drop by 50%. Each Hero hit by the impact damage of Infested Drop increases this bonus by 5%.
Reward: Upon reaching 150% bonus damage, increase the impact radius of Infested Drop by 20%.
Baneling Massacre is a talent that directly effects Zagara's initial burst, as it allows her to immediately cast two additional charges of Baneling Barrage. The initial burst of two additional Banelings is most effective when used in a split-pushing manner. In order to split push effectively, Heroes need to be able to show up in a lane, do large amounts of PvE damage to minions and structures, and get out quickly before being caught over-extended in enemy territory. Additional burst damage to Zagara's kit allows her to maximize the pressure she can apply to a lane before having to flee approaching enemy Heroes. Baneling Massacre is phenomenal when paired with Volatile Acid. Unfortunately Baneling Massacre is not very useful in skirmishes and teamfights beyond its immediate burst damage. This is because it will take 18 seconds of not using Baneling Barrage after having exhausted all 6 charges to recover the additional charges completely. More often than not this additional burst damage in teamfights will go to waste because supports will attempt to use damage mitigating abilities on Heroes who are being targeted by focus fire.
Viscous Acid is a phenomenal talent for skirmishes and teamfights with many beneficial applications. The 20% slow applied to each Baneling can be used to kite away aggressive enemies, peel for teammates, and catch fleeing Heroes. The 1.5 second duration to the slow for each Baneling means Zagara will be able to apply the slow for a full 6 seconds when the ability is cast accordingly. Viscous Acid is best served in teamfight oriented builds, however it may be chosen by those wanting the safety of an additional escape mechanic when split-pushing while over-extended.
Bile Drop is a great option for players who would rather talent in favor of increased Hero damage over the utility of Viscous Acid. This is especially recommended when the enemy team is composed of Heroes that lack any strong initiation which would require additional peel beyond what Zagara's allies may already provide. The increased damage and damage radius of Bile Drop is also a wise choice for poke compositions that spend much of the match sieging and zoning their opponents. With decent mechanics most players should be able to complete the quest portion of Bile Drop relatively fast, as it only requires striking enemies with Infested Drop 20 times. It is best to try and strike enemies who are, or will very soon be, under the effects of crowd-control, such as Xul's Bone Prison. Doing this should make the quest portion of Bile Drop a breeze and will maximize the effectiveness of the increased damage radius.
6. Level 10 Talents
- Mana: 100
- Cooldown: 80 seconds
Summon a Devouring Maw that devours enemies for 4 seconds. Devoured enemies cannot fight and take 80 (+4% per level) damage per second.
Usable on Unstoppable enemies.
- Mana: 50
- Charges: 2
- Recharge Time: 60 seconds
Summon a Nydus Worm on Creep anywhere that Zagara has vision. Zagara can enter a Nydus Worm and travel to any other Nydus Worm by right-clicking near it. While inside a Nydus Worm, Zagara regenerates 10% Health and Mana per second.
Stores up to 2 charges. Maximum of 10 Nydus Worms at a time.
Passive: Creep spreads 15% farther.
Passive: While on Creep, each Basic Attack reduces all of Zagara's cooldowns by .75 seconds.
Devouring Maw is arguably one of the most powerful abilities in all of Heroes of the Storm. A well placed Devouring Maw will not only apply a moderate amount of damage to all enemies trapped within, but will effectively remove them from play for a full 4 second duration. This ability is completely uncounterable, as it is even able to take in Heroes considered to be unstoppable at the time of its use. In my personal experience, countless matches have been won or lost depending on the use of Devouring Maw in a late-game teamfight. A downside to Devouring Maw is its delayed cast time, which may leave newer Zagara players feeling as though the ability is somewhat unresponsive. There is a definitive learning curve to utilizing Devouring Maw effectively. Players need to be able to foreshadow their targets movement to give themselves the greatest opportunity to land a successful Maw. Devouring Maw is also well known for allowing Zagara's allies ample time to follow-up on trapped enemies. Keep in mind that Devouring Maw should be very rarely used as initaition, and should be kept for more opportune times, such as removing a support from the teamfight or peeling away an overly aggressive frontline. The Maw created by Devouring Maw is considered to be impassable terrain, similar to that of a wall or structure, so keep in mind it may potentially block both friend and foe when trying to reach a specific location.
Nydus Network is the cornerstone to Zagara's split-push build. Not only does this talent provide a sizable increase in creep coverage, but the cooldown reduction built in to her Basic Attacks is invaluable when having to constantly spam Basic Abilities to tear down the enemy defenses. The cooldown reduction will not only greatly impact Zagara's sustained damage output through Baneling Barrage, but will also dramatically increases the up time of Roachlings and Hydralisks spawned from Infested Drop and Hunter Killer. The ability Zagara has to immediately travel anywhere on the map that creep has previously been laid is invaluable, and will constantly force enemies to have to leave other important objectives to alleviate the pressure it will create. Always remember to place a worm directly near the allied base to ensure quick return to the field should Zagara be slain at any point. The sustain provided when entering into a Nydus Worm will also prevent Zagara from ever having to pull back her pressure due to a lack of Health or Mana. It is of extreme importance for Zagara players to be always keeping one eye on the Mini-map to note when enemy Heroes are missing from action, as they will be most likely headed in their direction. Being killed when split-pushing, especially in the later stages of the match, can prove detrimental to Zagara's team and can very easily result in a loss. Do not shy away from playing aggressively with Nydus Network but also keep in mind the costs of becoming greedy and overstaying your welcome. With that in mind always try to keep Nydus Worms out of sight, away from regular foot traffic. Placement of Worms should preferably be in nooks of walls or in the outskirts of the map, hidden by bushes or steam vents. This will prevent enemy Heroes from accidentally stumbling upon and immediately destroying them. The short channel to enter a Worm can be interrupted by any direct damage Zagara takes, so when being directly pursued do not always try to escape via a Nydus Worm as a Hero can very easily prevent escape. Worms are also units containing the element of collision, so players may attempt to block off an enemies paths with an impassable Worm as they are attempting to flee or initiate, especially within narrow choke points.
7. Level 13 Talents
Zagara is healed for 75% of the damage dealt by Hunter Killers' Basic Attacks to Heroes.
While on Creep, Zagara gains 20 Armor, taking 20% less damage.
- Cooldown: 0 seconds
Every 30 seconds, gain 50 Spell Armor against the next enemy Ability and subsequent Abilities for 3 seconds, reducing the damage taken by 50%.
Can be toggled to allow or prevent this talent from triggering automatically.
Hydralisk Transfusion is a great choice among the three damage mitigating talents available to Zagara at Level 13. Hydralisk's Basic Attacks do quite a bit of damage and 75% of that damage returned to Zagara as Health is a definitely noticeable amount. Talenting into Mutalisk at Level 16 also can provide Zagara with a massive amount of sustained healing over the course of skirmishes or team fights. It is very important to note that Hyrdalisk Transfusion DOES NOT STACK with the damage amplification of Corrosive Saliva nor the additional attacks or Mutalisk. The healing bonus is only applied to the original basic attacks of these units.
Protective Coating is no doubt a phenomenal talent, as a “permanent” 20% damage reduction to all sources is incredibly strong. What keeps this talent in check is the dependency on creep for it to be active. This stipulation may sometimes render the talent completely useless, especially when Zagara has been unable to lay down a widespread area of creep among the region of an impending skirmish or teamfight. Skilled opponents may even attempt to quickly destroy all creep surrounding an area of contest before a fight is taken on, leaving Zagara with no means of personal damage mitigation unlike Hydralisk Transfusion which is only dependent on the up time of Hydralisks and Spell Shield.
Spell Shield is a good option for players having a hard time surviving initial burst from teams choosing Zagara as their target of focus fire. It may also come in handy when attempting to split-push against enemy heroes with large amounts of single target burst damage, such as Zeratul or Nova.
8. Level 16 Talents
Reduces the cooldown of Hunter Killer by 6 seconds.
When used against Heroes, Hunter Killers deal additional damage equal to 2% of their maximum Health.
Hunter Killer now spawns a Mutalisk. Mutalisks have a bounce attack and last for 30 seconds.
Brood Expansion is not inherently a bad talent option. It is unfortunately outclassed by both Corrosive Saliva and Mutalisk in what each of those other talents brings to the table. When teamfighting, the damage output of Corrosive Saliva is undeniably stronger than that of Brood Expansion, and the cooldown of Hunter Killer is not an issue when the Mutalisks live for a much longer duration. The amount of utility provided by Brood Expansion just is not enough to justify it as a pick over either other option.
Corrosive Saliva deals damage based off of the maximum Health of a Hero, therefore the higher Health a target has, the more effective the talent will be. This talent is great at tearing down intimidating frontlines, especially since those are the Heroes that will most often be in range of Zagara's abilities assuming she is positioned correctly. If a split-push build is desired, try to avoid this talent; the idea of such a strategy is to avoid as much contact with the enemy Heroes as possible which renders Corrosive Saliva effectively useless.
Mutalisk is the talent of choice when split-pushing is the name of the game. Although the additional bounce attacks are nice, especially when the Mutalisk is attacking an enemy minion wave, the main strength of Mutalisk lies in the spawns greatly increased duration. Long after their initial summoning, Mutalisks will continue down lane dealing multi-target damage to any minions or defenses that happen across its path. These little guys can be spawned and left to do their work as Zagara moves on via Nydus Network to pressure another region of the map. This allows Zagara to maintain a constant pressure of multiple lanes, forcing enemy teams apart as they try to save multiple locations from being slowly chipped away throughout the match.
9. Level 20 Talents
Devouring Maw deals 50% more damage and getting a Takedown reduce its cooldown by 25 seconds.
The cast range for Creep Tumor is increased by 2000%. Creep Tumors now last 600 seconds. While on Creep, Zagara gains an additional 10% Movement Speed.
Every 5 seconds, your next Basic Attack will deal an additional 91 damage to the target, and 228 damage to all nearby Minions, Mercenaries, and Monsters.
Tyrant Maw is a completely underwhelming talent choice overall. The damage component to Devouring Maw is by far the least important aspect to the ability, and increasing its damage feels negligible. The cooldown reduction provided by takedowns is also relatively useless. When planned accordingly, Zagara should never have to fight without her Maw available as its cooldown is only 100 seconds, nothing too extreme. Overall, unless Tyrant Maw were to get some very dramatic changes it will always be outclassed by Fury of the Storm, as waveclear is invaluable to Zagara especially in the late game.
Endless Creep is by far the best talent option for Zagara at Level 20 when she has chosen Nydus Network as it includes a slew of performance upgrades to her kit. The first upgrade that comes with Endless Creep is the MASSIVE increase in Creep Tumor's cast range. Creep Tumor with its upgraded cast range can be used liberally as it will be effectively providing free vision all throughout the entire Battleground. This means that teams containing a Level 20-30 Zagara have no excuse to ever fall victim to a trap when attempting to scout out an uncontested Mercenary camp, Boss, or objective. The increased duration to the lifespan of the creep will also ensure that unless it is being actively hunted, Zagara should have to worry very little about reapplying creep to areas of high contest throughout the map. A 15% additional increase to movement speed combined with the original 15% means that when on creep Zagara will move significantly faster than most other Heoes. Zagara should have no problem kiting and pursuing any enemy Hero as long as there is creep underneath her. Zagara will be able to place a Creep Tumor very far away from her and then immediately travel to that location by placing a Nydus Worm there. This interaction creates a very strong semi-global presence for Zagara, allowing her to travel to any location in a matter of seconds even if creep had not previously been placed there. This is fundamental to Zagara's late-game split-pushing effectiveness. By the time an enemy Hero is able to react to her pressuring of a lane, Zagara should have already joined up with her team at an objective to generate a number advantage, or simple traveled to another lane to further apply map pressure.
Fury of the Storm is clearly intended to be used for late game pushing, which Zagara will always be able to benefit from. When it comes down to a choice between Tyrant Maw and Fury of the Storm, FotS will always come out ahead. This talent just fits seamlessly into what Zagara is all about. Even when she is built to have a strong teamfight presence, the benefits of Fury of the Storm will not go unnoticed.
- +Abilities and Strategy
- ×Talent Build
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