Zeratul Abilities and Strategy
Welcome to our Abilities page for Zeratul. Here, we give you an overview of every ability in Zeratul's kit. For each of them, we explain what it does, how to best use it, and how it works in combination with Zeratul's other abilities. We also give you strategy tips to play Zeratul efficiently.
Zeratul's Tips and Tricks
- Cleave is excellent at clearing large Minion waves and Mercenary Camps.
- Singularity Spike provides a massive slowing effect; use it to deliver several Basic Attacks against your target.
- Blink is your main survival tool; only initiate combat with it when it is safe to do so.
- Use Void Prison to setup combos with your allies by hitting several enemy Heroes, or to split the enemy team in half.
- Permanent Cloak does not make you Invisible; merely translucent. Keen players will see you coming. To become truly Invisible, stand still for 1.5 seconds.
- Mana: 40
- Cooldown: 6 seconds
Deal 200 (+4% per level) damage to nearby enemies.
Cleave is a very simple Ability, but its short Cooldown, area of effect, and relatively high damage make it your main source of area of effect damage. Its efficient Mana cost of 40 essentially allows it to be used whenever you are in combat. To optimize waveclearing, stand within the Minion wave, on top of the Caster Minion; this allows Cleave to hit all targets. You should generally use Cleave on-Cooldown during team fights and against Mercenaries, although weaving in Basic Attacks so as to benefit from Might Of The Nerazim is important to maximise your damage output. Cleave's range is also barely longer than that of your Basic Attack, making it situationally useful for finishing off enemies that are barely out of your range. Its area of effect can also be used to reveal Stealthed Heroes or Zagara's Creep Tumors.
- Mana: 70
- Cooldown: 12 seconds
Flings a Singularity Spike that sticks to the first enemy hit. Deals 240 (+4% per level) damage after 1 second and Slows the enemy by 40% for 3 seconds.
Singularity Spike has an important role in Zeratul's tool set as it is his only ranged damaging Ability and only form of non-Heroic crowd control. Although its damage is quite significant, the powerful slowing effect it provides allows you to stick to your intended target quite nicely. Its skillshot nature can make it difficult to land, and means that particular attention should be paid to mastering it. Depending on your selected Talents, Singularity Spike can also contribute greatly to Zeratul's overall ability to inflict burst damage.
Although Singularity Spike is a ranged Ability, it is generally cast from melee range so as to decrease the chances of missing, and to allow for instantaneous follow up with Basic Attacks and Cleave. From range, Singularity Spike's usefulness is generally limited to killing runners or slowing your target to help you flee. You should avoid using it solely for poking, as Singularity Spike on its own is not very impactful — its Cooldown is relatively long, and your target might simply heal it off.
If you opt to get the Seeker in the Dark Talent at Hero Level 7, the way Singularity Spike should be used changes completely by allowing the Ability to become a proper gap closer. Under this circumstance, Blink becomes your escape tool, with Singularity Spike serving as your main mean of initiating combat.
- Mana: 50
- Cooldown: 10 seconds
Teleport to the target location.
Using this Ability does not break Stealth.
Blink is an integral part of Zeratul's kit, and using it carelessly will often leave you in a vulnerable position. Never engage a target with Blink when you could simply close the gap by walking up to your target while Mounted and Stealthed, unless Blink can be used to positively secure a kill. If you do use Blink to engage, opposing Heroes you are targeting may use their own gap-closer to escape and leave you with no reliable way to follow up if you fail to trigger Vorpal Blade. This makes Cooldown tracking an essential skill to master as a Zeratul player.
If you opt to get Wormhole at Hero Level 7, the way Blink should be used changes completely by essentially allowing Blink to become a truly offensive tool against any kill target for a full unavoidable combo consisting Singularity Spike, Cleave, with two Basic Attacks interwoven, before reactivating the Ability and teleporting right back to safety. The same can be said about Might Of The Nerazim, which opens up yet another opportunity to Blink, as needed.
Might Of The Nerazim
- Mana: 30
- Cooldown: 20 seconds
Activate to cast an untalented version of Zeratul's most recently used Basic Ability, dealing 50% less damage.
Passive: After using an Ability, Zeratul's next Basic Attack within 6 seconds deals 30% more damage.
Might Of The Nerazim allows Zeratul to deal some of the highest single-target burst damage first by providing 30% more Basic Attack damage whenever you use an Ability, and second by allowing you to recast any Basic Ability on demand. To maximise the potential of Might Of The Nerazim's passive effect, you must see to weave Basic Attacks between each Ability use. A typical burst rotation goes Basic Attack, Singularity Spike, Basic Attack, Cleave, Basic Attack, and Cleave again through Might Of The Nerazim's recast. This can and should be fine-tuned to best respond to whatever it is you are doing; recasting Cleave is a great way of waveclearing or claiming Mercenary Camps, whereas recasting Singularity Spike is best for single-target damage purposes. Blink can also be used twice in quick succession to escape many dangerous situations.
- Mana: 80
- Cooldown: 100 seconds
Slows time in an area to a near standstill, placing allies and enemies in Time Stop for 5 seconds. Zeratul is not affected.
Void Prison is as easy to use as it is difficult to master. Although it can be utilised in a wide variety of scenarios, there are three major uses that you should be aware of. The first (and primary) way that Void Prison should be used is to temporarily take key enemy Heroes out of a fight. For example, when fighting a team that has Uther and Illidan, you can use Void Prison on the former (possibly hitting other enemy Heroes as well) and then focus all of your damage onto Illidan, killing him before he can benefit from any support.
Void Prison's second major use is to set up combos with your allies by allowing some Abilities to land when they would normally be difficult to hit, as well as giving your allies time to correctly position. For example, hitting four or five enemy Heroes with Void Prison, followed by Diablo's Apocalypse and Nova's Precision Strike will essentially guarantee your team an easy ace. However, the coordination required to pull off perfect combos usually rarely exist in casual games, requiring you to play with a premade party to pull it off correctly. It also requires allied Heroes that have the Abilities necessary to combo off-Cooldown, or at all selected.
Similarily to setting up combos, Void Prison's third major use it to catch fleeing enemies or to prevent them from catching your own allies. In both scenarios, Void Prison gives your allies time to move and better position. Using Void Prison as such also allows your other Abilities to Cooldown before that of your opponents, as Void Prison prevents their Cooldowns from progressing at all, whereas your own can.
Void Prison also has several niche uses. It can be used to make your Structures immune to damage, possibly saving them from destruction. It can be used to save allies from damage that would otherwise kill them by making them invulnerable. It can even be used to freeze a Mercenary Camp's capture point, giving your team time to contest it. However, these uses (and all of the others that exist) are arguably less impactful than the three major uses previously listed, and Void Prison should generally be limited to those uses due to its very long Cooldown.
Permanent Cloak (Trait)
- Cooldown: 3 seconds
Gain Stealth when out of combat for 3 seconds. Taking damage, attacking, using Abilities, or Channeling ends Stealth. Remaining stationary for at least 1.5 seconds while Stealthed grants Invisible.
Permanent Cloak passively causes Zeratul to become Stealthed when out of combat for 3 seconds. The Stealth effect makes Zeratul untargetable by single-target Abilities and Basic Attacks, prevents Minions, Structures, and Mercenaries from engaging him, adds a large amount of transparency to his model, and prevents opponents from seeing his Minimap portrait. Standing still for 1.5 seconds while Stealthed makes Zeratul completely Invisible until he moves, as opposed to merely transparent.
Stealth is lost when any of the following conditions is met:
- using a Basic Attack;
- taking damage;
- being hit by revealing Abilities;
- casting Abilities, including Talent-based Abilities such as Rewind, with the sole exception of Holo Decoy;
- channeling Map Objectives;
- mounting up or using the Hearthstone;
- being near the opposing team's Fort, Keep, or Core Structures.
It should be noted that Stealth does not make Zeratul fully Invisible; he instead appears transparent and heavily distorted to enemy players, a visual effect often described as a shimmer. Attentive players can spot this shimmer and thwart your surprise attack attempts.
Permanent Cloak may be his greatest strength. Although it does not give you literal Invisibility and the shimmer can still allow opponents to spot you, even the most experienced players will not always be able to keep track of you all of the time. However, this does not mean you should play as if you will never be spotted and you should still play like an Assassin, using Brushes and staying just out of the vision of enemy Heroes. This is especially true if the enemy team has Abilities that can reveal you, such as Eye of Kilrogg, since you are very vulerable and easily killed once revealed.
Since it takes 3 seconds to re-enter Permanent Cloak, you will generally want to deal all of your damage at once, in a bursty fashion, rather than over time. This way, you can re-Stealth and wait in safety for your Cooldowns. This in-and-out playstyle promotes mobility, and it is therefore always in your best interest to be Mounted whenever possible. This also gives Permanent Cloak the ability to double as a faux gap-closer, allowing you to ride up to your target, since the Stealth will keep you hidden.
When stalking your target while Stealthed, it is very important to avoid being in a position where AoE damage, meant for another target, might hit you, unintentionally revealing you.
Activate to teleport to Zeratul's last non-structure Basic Attack target within 3 seconds. The target is revealed during these 3 seconds.
Vorpal Blade is what makes Zeratul so notoriously difficult to escape from. In practice, Vorpal Blade means that you always want to land at least one Basic Attack against your intended kill target, which will allow you to pursue them. Ideally, Vorpal Blade is to be used after enemy gap closers have been used so as to be able to truly punish them. Not unlike Blink, Vorpal Blade can also be used to instantly juke opponents or dodge inbound skillshots. Remember that Minions can also be targeted by Vorpal Blade by attacking then, meaning that they can reliably be used for this purpose. This also means that you should avoid resetting your own Vorpal Blade target by mistakenly attacking an unintended target.
- 11 Oct. 2019: Abilities section reviewed.
- 19 Dec. 2017: Fixed an issue whereby the ability tooltips were missing from the page.
- 16 Dec. 2017: Abilities updated to reflect the Stealth and Zeratul rework patches.
- 28 Jun. 2017: Added some important interactions between Talents and Singularity Spike and Blink.
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