Zarya Build Guide “Are you in need of personal training?”
Welcome to our guide for Zarya, a Support 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.
Zarya is a ranged Warrior who combines protective abilities with strong offensive capabilities. Her Basic Attack animation is unique, as it allows her to hit multiple enemy targets at the same time. Unlike other Warriors, Zarya is capable of shielding either herself or nearby allies. Upon taking damage, shielded targets (herself included) increase Zarya's Energy, which can greatly increase her damage potential. Thus, playing Zarya requires the player to carefully analyse the battlefield and shield targets that are likely going to be attacked. Both of her Heroic Abilities can have a tremendous impact on team fights, which makes Zarya a powerful and rewarding Hero to master.
Zarya's Strengths and Weaknesses
- Relatively weak early game
- No crowd control until Level 10
- Extremely dependent on her Energy level
- Very limited mobility
Zarya's Talent Build Cheatsheet
Anti Melee BuildTalent calculator »
The Anti Melee Build is great, as the name suggests, against enemy melee Heroes who usually have to approach Zarya in order to damage her. In those situations, Feel the Heat at Level 1 can become an insanely good talent to heavily damage multiple Heroes at the same time, especially while on high Energy. If you notice that the enemy team has a tendecy of clustering, picking Graviton Surge at Level 10 followed by Gravity Kills at Level 20 can be a very rewarding choice.
Grenadier BuildTalent calculator »
The Grenadier Build relies on strong AoE damage by firing Particle Grenades in quick succession. Demolitions Expert at Level 1 proves to be quite important to achieve that. Pinpoint Accuracy at Level 7 is a nice follow-up talent to complement this Grenade heavy Build. We do not recommend picking up Plasma Shock at Level 16, since the competing talents at this tier usually outperform the relatively weak Movement Speed Slow. At Level 20, Gravity Kills can single-handedly decide team fights if placed well. The applied Silence effect on potentially multiple enemy Heroes renders them completely defenceless while damage rains down on them. It is very important to stress that we do recommend using Quick Cast on Particle Grenade's Hotkey when using this Build. Doing so makes the ability more responsive and causes less delay, which greatly benefits your overall accuracy.
Zarya's Synergies and Counters
Zarya should never be your team's Tank, since she lacks the crowd control abilities, the mobility, and, most importantly, the survivability to fulfill that role efficiently. Consequently, she makes for an ideal supportive secondary Warrior, who can initate team fights with her Heroic abilities and protect priority targets with her Shields. As such, she complements strong Tanks like E.T.C., Muradin, or Johanna very well.
Zarya is countered by Heroes who are able to outmaneuver and silence her like Illidan, Alarak, or Sylvanas. Furthermore, team compositions that feature Zarya oftentimes struggle when it comes to clearing bigger Minion and Mercenary waves, which is another reason why Sylvanas is hard to deal with. It is extremely important to time Personal Barrier and Shield Ally well in order to quickly charge your Energy level when facing those types of Heroes. Besides, try not to wander off too far from the rest of your allies or else you may not be able to escape an enemy gank in time.
Ideally, Zarya should reinforce a 3-player or 4-player lane, since her Shields are incredibly powerful to dominate early team fights. Zarya excels on Battlegrounds that feature multiple choke points like Cursed Hollow, Infernal Shrines, or Towers of Doom. Not only is her Expulsion Zone a formidable tool to break enemy team formations, but her Basic Attacks and Particle Grenade should have an easier time to hit several enemies at the same time.
Zarya's Tips and Tricks
- Use Shield Ally as frequently as possible. Try to anticipate which ally is about to get focused to maximise your Energy gain.
- Personal Barrier can be used to absorb damage from Structures in order to quickly fill your Energy level.
- Expulsion Zone's low cooldown makes it a valuable zoning tool to both engage and disengage from the enemy.
- Unlike other Warriors, Zarya lacks mobility. Thus, keeping a healthy distance to the enemy team is usually recommended.
- Zarya's Basic Attacks hit all enemies in a straight line. Utilize this to your advantage when clearing Minion waves or Mercenary Camps.
- Zarya should never be the only Warrior in your team. If none of your teammates drafted a Warrior, we do not recommend picking Zarya.
Zarya's Role in the Current Meta
Zarya is a particularly great pick on smaller maps that focus on early brawls like Hanamura or Braxis Holdout. Her strong laning presence can give her team an early edge and prevent her enemies from picking up Experience Globes.
There are several things to be considered before picking Zarya. First of all, we do not recommend her as a solo Warrior, which means she should be picked as a supportive Warrior next to a true Tank-like Muradin, E.T.C., or Johanna. Secondly, Zarya offers little waveclear and even less crowd control until Level 10. Thus, she is a rather suboptimal pick on Maps like Tomb of the Spider Queen that require you to rotate a lot.
Thanks to her strong Shielding abilities, Zarya shines against enemy team compositions that focus on burst damage. Thus, she is a great counter to Heroes like Kerrigan or Jaina, who aim to quickly eliminate their targets. Furthermore, Zarya's Graviton Surge enables her team to both initiate team fights and counter enemy aggression.
- 16 Dec. 2019 (this page): Added the current Anomaly (Experience Globes) to the guide.
- 20 Nov. 2019 (talents page): Applied minor changes to Zarya's talents and maps sections to keep it up to date.
- 23 May 2019 (talents page): Updated Zarya's talents and builds in accordance with the latest Balance Update.
- 24 Oct. 2017 (this page): Updated Warhead Junction ranking and removed Energy build.
- 16 Apr. 2017 (talents page): Added a new Anti Melee build, and updated some talent discussions to account for this build.
- 31 Jan. 2017 (talents page): Changed some talent recommendations for Level 4 and 7.
- 24 Nov. 2016 (talents page): Swapped Pain is Temporary and Unstoppable Competitor in talent recommendations.
- 11 Nov. 2016 (this page): Zarya rework with the new guide format.
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