Zeratul Build Guide “I serve the Xel'naga.”
Welcome to our guide for Zeratul, 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.
Zeratul is a mobile melee Assassin. Teleporting in and out of fights, he is able to deal massive amounts of burst damage to high-priority backline Heroes unpunished, or temporarily remove them from the fight or set up large combos with Void Prison. Zeratul is permanently Stealthed, allowing him to stalk his targets whilst unseen.
Zeratul's Strengths and Weaknesses
Zeratul's Talent Build Cheatsheet
Death Sentence BuildRecommended
Each one of the 3 Talents at Level 1 excels at one particular area, and should be chosen according to your playstyle:
- Move Unseen speeds up each roam at the early game. It is great for rotations, looking for kills.
- Shadow Hunter empowers Zeratul's already good late game, by allowing him to blink more often in teamfights.
- Greater Cleave is a balance between both Talents, as it slightly improves Zeratul in all stages of the game.
After level 7, Seeker in the Dark enables a more aggressive playstyle in fights by granting an extra blink to engage. At Level 20, through a second use of all Abilities, Twilight Falls adds enough damage to kill a Healer or Assassin before they can react.
Void Prison BuildSituational
This Build provides superior crowd control at the cost of damage. Since it is focused on Cleave, Zeratul can just dish out his damage and blink out safely. Therefore, Void Prison Build is a good choice against crowd control-heavy compositions.
Void Prison has numerous different applications, but it requires decent micro and good decision-making skills to be used properly. Void Prison enables Zeratul to control everything that happens on the map and in fights. Considering its macro properties, it can be used in 2 main ways:
- As a form to start a good fight, which is one with either Talent advantage or numerical advantage.
- To disengage from a bad fight, so the opposing team does not capitalize with kills.
When it comes to a running fight, Void Prison can also be used effectively in several ways:
- It can be used as soon as possible to setup for a combo, like with Diablo's Apocalypse or Jaina's Ring of Frost. It is important to hit multiple Heroes with it, prioritizing squishy targets.
- If for any reason one enemy is isolated from the rest, Void Prison can be used towards the rest of their team, to assure the isolated target will be killed.
- After Level 16, you can cast it right after hitting 2 targets with Cleave. It will create a good setup for yourself, enabling a second or third cast of that basic Ability.
Those are the main approaches to get value from Void Prison in this build. However, due to how flexible this Heroic Ability is, it can be used in other countless ways. For further information, check the Abilities page.
Basic Attacks BuildSituational
This build provides superior mobility, sustained damage, and self-healing at the cost of being vulnerable to crowd control. As key Talents, Wormhole and Shadow Hunter provide extra mobility through diverse Blink in the fight. It has extraordinary dueling potential. With Master Warp-Blade, you will be able to kill a desired target in seconds, while also healing yourself.
Despite all the bonuses provided by Wormhole, it has one major weakness, that is not being able to blink back for 1.25 seconds. Experienced players will use targeted or AoE Abilities to control you in this window. For this reason, we do not recommend this build against this kind of Abilities, like Warlord's Challenge, Twilight Dream, or Polymorph.
Cleave Build has a great potential to win fights through high AoE damage. Besides that, it also has good single-target damage from Psionic Strength and Might Of The Nerazim. We recommend getting this build if you cannot easily burst a squishy target, and would rather have a better teamfight by dealing more damage through Cleave resets.
Zeratul's Synergies and Counters
Zeratul is at his best when there are plenty of opportunities to roam and gank. Maps that split the attention of the opposing team with multiple Objective spawns or reasons to rotate give him such opportunities. Conversely, Maps with an emphasis on grouping up, laning and waveclearing suit him poorly.
Zeratul is very dependent on his Level 16 Talents, and therefore, does not do well on snowball maps, like Tomb of the Spider Queen or Braxis Holdout.
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.
- Void Prison can be recast to be canceled. Reactivate it when your team's abilities are about to hit a target inside it.
- 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.
- Blink, Vorpal Blade, and Seeker in the Dark's blink disjoint all incoming projectiles. This can be used to avoid Basic Attacks or tower shots while diving.
- Wormhole has a 1.25-second time window in which you cannot blink backwards. However, it can be compensated by only leaving stealth to use abilities once this time has passed (helps against targeted crowd controls). Might Of The Nerazim can be used during this period to cast a second Blink, dodging dangerous skillshots.
- With Void Slash at Level 16, Vorpal Blade has the same duration as Cleave's Cooldown. If the marked target gets to low life, you can wait 3 seconds to use Vorpal towards them, finishing it with a second Cleave.
- Without wasting your Blink in a fight, Might Of The Nerazim can be used as a Blink to reposition. Therefore, it is a good practice to use your normal Blink before a fight, so Might Of The Nerazim will be ready to teleport you when it starts. By doing this, it will be easier to embrace a good opportunity without wasting your main escape tool.
- Void Prison can be used over Sanctification, freezing all Heroes inside, denying Tyrael's Heroic Ability.
Role in the Current Meta
Zeratul is a powerful Assassin that has a variety of strategic uses. Void Prison works very well to setup combos with allied Heroes, such as Diablo and Jaina, or to temporarily take key enemy Heroes out of the fight, like Healers and Tanks, allowing your team to target vulnerable Heroes. Permanent Cloak, in combination with Blink, gives Zeratul extremely strong ganking strength, as he is able to roam from lane to lane unseen. Stealth also allows Zeratul to flank enemy Heroes and attack the backline directly, rather than first having to go through the frontline. Conversely, Stealth also adds a level of depth that takes time to master and fully understand.
While Zeratul has decent waveclear and can defend a lane alone, he is more useful when roaming about and looking for potential kills. While Zeratul is a credit to most teams, it is important to also have sustained damage Heroes with plenty of area of effect damage, such as Li-Ming or Jaina, as most of Zeratul's damage comes in the form of burst. Additionally, he is very reliant on his Hero Level 7 Talents to thrive. To compensate for this, it is important to have allies that excel in the earliest stages of the game.
- 05 Oct. 2020 (this page): Guide updated.
- 05 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Talents and Builds updated to better reflect current meta.
- 07 Sep. 2020 (talents page): Talents reviewed and builds updated.
- 30 Aug. 2020 (this page): Role in Current Meta section updated.
- 06 Jun. 2020 (talents page): Talent builds, descriptions and recommendations reviewed and updated following Talent tier 7 rework.
- 05 Apr. 2020 (talents page): Talent builds, descriptions and recommendations reviewed and updated.
- 09 Dec. 2019 (this page): Added a note about current Anomaly.
- 11 Oct. 2019 (talents page): Talent builds and recommendations reviewed and updated.
- 11 Oct. 2019 (abilities page): Abilities section reviewed.
- 11 Oct. 2019 (this page): Guide updated.
- 11 Feb. 2018 (talents page): Talent builds and recommendations updated to better reflect metagame state.
- 19 Dec. 2017 (abilities page): Fixed an issue whereby the ability tooltips were missing from the page.
- 17 Dec. 2017 (talents page): Talents fully updated to account for the Stealth and Zeratul rework patches.
- 17 Dec. 2017 (this page): Guide fully updated to account for the Stealth and Zeratul rework patches.
- 16 Dec. 2017 (abilities page): Abilities updated to reflect the Stealth and Zeratul rework patches.
- 28 Jun. 2017 (abilities page): Added some important interactions between Talents and Singularity Spike and Blink.
- 26 Jun. 2017 (this page): Replaced Worm Hole with Blink when discussion Zeratul being countered by Heroes with targeted crowd control.
- 29 Apr. 2017 (talents page): Rewrote Level 7 and 16 Talent discussions.
- 02 Dec. 2016 (this page): Revamped Zeratul.
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