Category Archives: Heroes of the Storm

Hero Overview: Ana

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about Ana, the support sniper from the Overwatch universe.

Role: Ranged Support

Universe: Overwatch


During the Omnic Crisis, Egypt was one of the nations hit the hardest, as it lost nearly its entire military force in skirmishes against the rampaging robots. As a result of these heavy casualties, the nation was forced to rely primarily on a small battalion of elite snipers, a battalion that included a promising young woman named Ana Amari.

Naturally talented at sniping, with next-level decision-making and instincts, Ana quickly distinguished herself over the rest of her compatriots. Noticing her skill, the United Nations quickly recruited her as one of the first members of the newly formed Overwatch. Coordinating with Jack Morrison (the organization’s Strike-Commander) and Gariel Reyes (Overwatch’s overall commander), Ana Amari led many successful operations against the Omnics, and was an instrumental part in their defeat.

With the Omnic Crisis in the past, Overwatch turned its eyes to a wider variety of threats, both human and omnic in nature. In her position as second-in-command of the Overwatch Strike Force, Ana led many successful missions, and became renowned for her skill as a sniper and a leader. It was also during this time that Ana had a daughter, Fareeha (who is more commonly known as Pharah), who she imbued with all of her courage and honor.

For many years, Ana served Overwatch, but then, one fateful day, everything changed. It was a fairly routine mission—Talon had taken several innocent scientists hostage, and Overwatch was called in to rescue them. At first, the mission proceeded according to plan, but then, an unknown Talon sniper showed up and began picking off the Overwatch agents one by one. Taking careful aim, Ana shot the sniper’s mask off—and was shocked to see that the sniper was Amélie Lacroix, the former wife of an Overwatch agent.

Stunned by this revelation, Ana hesitated, and Amélie (or Widowmaker, as she is now known) shot Ana in the eye. After this incident, Ana was assumed dead—however, she actually survived the encounter, albeit with the loss of her eye and, more importantly, her conviction to fight. She was too old for this kind of work, she decided, and instead chose to go into hiding.

This retirement didn’t last long, however, for in the aftermath of Overwatch’s fall, a whole host of new threats came out of the framework and threatened the safety of the world. Realizing that she couldn’t just stand to the side and let this happen, Ana rejoined the fight, under the alias of the bounty hunter ‘Shrike’.

Operating out of an abandoned necropolis in the Egyptian desert, Ana battled the forces of Talon alone until one day, she ran into Jack Morrison (who was now the vigilante Soldier: 76) at a terrorist compound. Remembering how well they used to work together, the two united, and have been working together ever since.

Now, Ana has traveled to the Nexus, where she will protect those who cannot protect themselves and dish out vengeance for those who have fallen.




Ana’s trait is Shrike. Whenever she damages a non-Structure enemy with a basic attack, she deals an additional small amount of damage to that enemy over the next 5 seconds. This damage-over-time effect stacks up to 5 times, and is refreshed every time she attacks that enemy. Most of Ana’s damage comes from Shrike, as her basic abilities and auto-attacks don’t do much damage in and of themselves.

Ana’s first basic ability is Healing Dart. Ana fires a dart out of her rifle that travels in a straight line, healing the first allied Hero hit for a moderate amount of damage. This ability only has a 2 second cooldown, but it is somewhat hard to hit, so the amount of healing Ana will be able to dish out is completely dependent on how good her aim is.

Biotic Grenade, Ana’s second basic ability, throws a grenade at small area. Allies hit by the grenade are healed for a small amount and receive 25% increased healing for 3 seconds, while enemies hit by the grenade take a small amount of damage and cannot be healed for 2 seconds. This ability is great for quickly healing up your team, but it can also be used to deny a low-health enemy hero the healing he needs to survive.

Ana’s final basic ability is Sleep Dart, which fires a projectile that puts the first enemy Hero it hits to sleep for 3 seconds. This is like a stun, but if the sleeping hero takes any damage, they’ll instantly wake up. Unless you have a very coordinated team, Sleep Dart is unlikely to do much in a team-fight, but it’s great for keeping pesky dive heroes like Genji or the Butcher off your back while you’re healing up your friends.

Nano Boost is Ana’s first ultimate, and while it doesn’t work quite the same as it does in Overwatch, it is still pretty close. With Nano Boost, Ana restores a large amount of mana to a targeted friendly Hero, increases their Spell Power by 30% and causes their basic abilities to cool down 150% faster. Nano Boost works best when targeting caster heroes such as Kael’thas or ability-based dive characters like Genji, unlike Lieutenant Morales’ Stim Drone, which is designed around auto-attack heroes.

Ana’s second ultimate is Eye of Horus, which turns the support into a stationary sniper with eight shots that have unlimited range. These specialized shots hit the first Hero or enemy Structure in their path, healing allies for a large amount and damaging enemies for a moderate amount. Damage done is halved against enemy Structures. This ability is great for quickly healing up an ally who’s being ambushed, or for taking down low-health enemies as they attempt to flee.



Ana is a Ranged Support Hero who puts out some of the highest burst healing in the game. At level 1, Healing Dart puts out 250 healing every two seconds, which is much better than similar burst healers such as Uther (who heals for 360 every 12 seconds). When combined with the healing bonus from Biotic Grenade, Ana’s burst healing goes up even more, which allows her to single-handedly heal allies through all but the most dangerous situations.

Despite being able to keep her allies alive with all this burst healing, Ana can only heal herself with the Biotic Grenade (which only restores a small amount of health on its own and has a twelve second cooldown). As a result, playing Ana is all about positioning properly, because if she gets caught out, she can quickly get taken down. Ana has Sleep Dart to defend her in these instances, but it’s a bit unreliable, as it is a very slow skill shot that can be completely nullified if your teammates aren’t paying attention. As a result, Ana’s best chance of survival is using her long range to heal her allies from the cover of nearby buses.

As for her heroic abilities, they are both very useful in specific situations. If Ana has a teammate who can dish out a lot of spell damage (such as Li-Ming or Malthael), Nano Boost is a very powerful ability. On the other hand, if there aren’t any good targets for Nano Boost (or you don’t have the communication to pull the ability off properly), then Eye of Horus is the better choice, as it allows you to heavily impact the game without having to rely on one of your teammates.

As far as talents go, Ana doesn’t have any clear-cut builds, and none of her talents have incredibly strong synergies with each other. That being said, nearly all of her talents are very strong on their own, so it’s really up to each individual player to decide how they want to play.

Ana is at her best when working with a team that can keep her protected in the back-line. As a result, it is often a good idea to run a pair of tanks with her, as they can help keep her safe while she heals them up with Healing Dart and Biotic Grenade. In addition, if she wants to use her Nano Boost ultimate, she’ll want a Hero who puts out a lot of spell damage, such as the characters mentioned above. Finally, if the player using Ana is somewhat inexperienced at the character, having large-bodied teammates (such as Diablo or Cho’gall) can really help to maximize the healing Ana’s putting out.

As far as counters to Ana go, any kind of dive hero (such as Genji or Illidan) works very well against her. There’s always the risk of being put to sleep, but if you can bait out and dodge the skill shot—which generally isn’t too hard—you’re free to dish out as much damage as you want for the 14 seconds until Sleep Dart comes back off cooldown. Similarly, Ana is weak against stealth assassins like Nova, as they can often burst her down before she even knows they’re there.

Despite these potential weaknesses, Ana is still a very strong support, so I strongly suggest picking her up if you’re looking for a new healer to play. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the Nexus.

Gamescom 2017 Highlights

Gamescom, one of the largest European gaming conventions, has been going on for several days at this point, featuring huge announcements from many different gaming companies. On Wednesday, it was Blizzard’s turn, and they did not disappoint. New content was revealed for nearly every one of their major franchises, all of which I’ll cover in the sections below.



Knights of the Frozen Throne was released just a few weeks ago, so no one was really expecting any real announcements—which meant that everyone was surprised when the Hearthstone team debuted a new cinematic entitled “Hearth and Home”.

In this cinematic, a young girl named Ava finds a Hearthstone box on the ground in a frozen forest. Upon touching the box, Ava is teleported to the Hearthstone Inn, where she is met by a large cast of friendly characters, who tell her that ‘Hearthstone is Home’. This cinematic is of a much higher quality than the previous Hearthstone animations, and according to the Hearthstone team, several more videos and comics featuring these characters will be released in the months to come.

Heroes of the Storm

It’d been several weeks since Garrosh was released, which meant that Heroes of the Storm was due for another character. Due to the prominence of Gamescom, everyone was hoping that we’d get a famous character, and we were not disappointed, as the Archlich Kel’thuzad was revealed to be the next hero coming to Heroes of the Storm!

In addition to the arrival of this powerful new hero, Heroes of the Storm will also be getting several new skins (Dreadlord Jaina, Death Knight Sonya and Crypt Queen Zagara) and a new event, the Call of Kel’thuzad. During this event, players will be able to unlock several brand new cosmetic items by securing 30, 60 or 90 takedowns in Heroes of the Storm Matches.

Finally, it was announced that Blizzard will be releasing a 5-part documentary entitled ‘Resurrecting Kel’thuzad’, which will show much of the process involved in bringing this much-loved character to Heroes of the Storm.


Overwatch also got quite a lot of content, including a pair of new animated shorts and a brand new map! The map, Junkertown, is set in Australia, and showcases the home of everyone’s favorite criminal duo, Junkrat and Roadhog. Junkertown is an Escort map that starts in the Australian desert before entering a futuristic domed city full of guns and gold.

To go along with this new map, we got a new animated short entitled “Junkertown: The Plan”. This short is more of a trailer than an actual animated short—as its quality isn’t quite as good as that of the other cinematics—but it’s still a lot of fun to watch.

In addition, we got a second animated short called “Rise and Shine”, which features Mei, the Chinese climatologist. Unlike “Junkertown: The Plan”, “Rise and Shine” is an actual cinematic, and it shows what happened to Mei after she was woken up from her cryosleep.


StarCraft announced a brand new Co-op Commander in the form of Dehaka, the Primal Zerg leader. Like most of the other Zerg commanders, Dehaka appears as a hero on the battlefield, and while he starts out on the weak side, if he can consume enough of his enemy’s essence he will quickly turn into an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction. In addition, Dehaka commands large packs of Primal Zerg, which he can use to destroy his enemies while he builds his own strength.

World of Warcraft

Some people were hoping that the next expansion for World of Warcraft would be announced at Gamescom, but it was not to be, as we instead got a detailed description of Patch 7.3. In this patch—which is entitled “Shadows of Argus”—we are going to travel to the Legion’s homeworld and end their threat once and for all.

At Gamescom, we learned about all the story elements coming in this patch, such as the three new zones on Argus (Krokuun, Mac’Aree and the Antoran Wastes) and the two new factions, the Army of the Light and the Argussian Reach. Both of these factions have a large number of special items you can purchase from them as your reputation goes up, so grinding reputation with them will bea  top priority.

The game will also be getting a new feature called Invasion Points, where players can use large portals to teleport to Legion-controlled worlds and battle the demons there. These worlds include a Blood World, a Fire World, an Ice World and a March World, and if you can defeat all the demons on these planets, you’ll receive powerful items as a reward.

In addition, a new progression system will be coming in 7.3, which will allow you to empower your relics with the aid of a device called the Netherlight Crucible. This means that players will be able to modify their artifact relics, which should help to improve the power-level of previously weak relics.

Finally, World of Warcraft will be getting a new dungeon (Seat of the Triumvirate) and a new raid (Antorus, the Burning Throne), which will be coming out some time after the patch releases on the 29th of August.


Overall, there was a lot of really exciting stuff announced at Gamescom, and I can’t wait to check it all out! What do you all think of these exciting announcements? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Hero Overview: Stukov

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about Stukov, a Melee Support from the StarCraft Universe.

Role: Melee Support

Universe: StarCraft


Alexei Stukov, the infested Admiral that leads the Zerg Spacefleet, is a warrior feared throughout the entire Koprulu Sector. Stukov was not always the monster he is now, however—in fact, he was once a normal human, and was actually born on the human homeworld of Earth.

When he was a young man, Stukov and his friend (a young man named Gerard DuGalle) joined the United Powers League, a powerful totalitarian organization that ruled the Earth with an iron fist. Constantly pushing to get ahead, Stukov quickly rose in the ranks, and before long, he was in charge of a large research facility, where he looked for ways that the UPL could increase the effectiveness of their troops in the field.

During this time, Stukov also led United Powers League troops to several great military victories, and received many medals for his valor in combat. Before long, Alexei Stukov was one of the best-known heroes on the planet, and it looked like he was destined for a high-ranking role in the UPL government—but then, the Zerg and Protoss appeared and began attacking settlements in the Koprulu Sector.

In order to save the human colonies in this dark hour, the UPL reformed into the United Earth Directorate and prepared to send a fleet to the Koprulu Sector. Thanks to his extensive combat experience and research work, Stukov was promoted to Vice-Admiral and made second-in-command of the expedition, which was led by his friend, Admiral DuGalle. Stocking up on supplies and weaponry, the fleet set out for the edge of the galaxy, where the Koprulu Sector lay.

Arriving at their destination after a long trip, Stukov witnessed the Zerg attack a Terran Dominion base from his command ship, the Battle Cruiser Alexander. Stukov wasn’t overly interested in watching the chaos, as he’d seen hundreds of tapes on the creatures, but DuGalle forced the man to watch the battle, as he believed that if Stukov were to watch the chaos that would occur if they failed, the Vice-Admiral’s resolve would harden, and he’d be a much more formidable force against the Zerg. This strategy worked out, and Stukov resolved to dedicate his life to exterminating the Zerg threat.

Sending his fleet to the planet Braxis, Stukov attempted to blockade the Protoss, who raided the planet for unknown reasons. Stukov was not prepared for the power and craft of the ancient alien race, however, and the Protoss raiders managed to penetrate the blockade and escape into space. Angered by this, and determined to discover why the Protoss had attacked the planet in the first place, Stukov sent an assault force down to conquer the capital city of Boralis.

Unfortunately, the UED forces were unable to complete their goal—because of a lack of vespene gas—but they did meet the Confederate Resistance Forces and their leader, a man named Samir Duran. Duran had been part of the old Terran Confederacy, but the rise of the Terran Dominion, Duran had dedicated himself to stopping Arcturus Mengsk’s regime. Seeing the UED as a potential ally in this effort, Duran offered Stukov the services of his troops, who were small in numbers but had insider knowledge of the Koprulu Sector that the UED lacked.

Seeing these men and their knowledge as valuable assets, Stukov agreed to let them join his forces, and together, they rendezvoused with the main UED expedition and attacked the Dylarian Shipyards, the main hub for the Terran Dominion’s fleet. Under Stukov and DuGalle’s expert leadership, the forces of the UED managed to capture all the battle cruisers stored at the Dylarian Shipyard, an act that severly hampered the UED’s human enemies in the Koprulu Sector.

With this taken care of, Stukov proceeded to Tarsonis—the former capital of the Terran Confederacy—and recovered a Psi Disrupter similar to the one Mengsk had used to conquer the planet. Bringing the device back to the laboratories on Braxis, Stukov began studying it and its potential wartime uses against the Zerg.

With the help of the battle cruisers stolen from the Dylarian Shipyard, DuGalle and Stukov continued their assault—but before long, things started to go drastically downhill. Gaining the help of Raynor’s Raiders (a human rebel group), the Protoss and even some of the Zerg, Mengsk started to strike back against the UED forces.

Horrified by these events, Stukov began to doubt the UED’s chances of success—and then, in the midst of this chaos, Stukov discovered that Samir Duran was allied with the Zerg, and was likely among the Terrans that had been infested by the vile aliens. Retreating back to Braxis, Stukov activated the Psi Disrupter in the hopes of revealing the traitor.

This action backfired when Duran told DuGalle that Stukov had given up the fight, which enraged the Admiral. Abandoning the fight against Mengsk for the time being, the UED forces attacked Braxis. Stukov’s personal forces held out for a while, but eventually, they were overrun, and Stukov was killed by Duran.

As it turned out, Stukov’s death was only temporary, for only a short time after the defeat on Braxis, the former Vice-Admiral was resurrected by a Zerg cerebrate named Kaloth. Together, Stukov and Kaloth gained control of a large Zerg swarm and proceeded to recapture much of the planet with the help of some Terran mercenaries.

Despite being newly-resurrected, Stukov retained much of the tactical knowledge from his prior life, and he led the Zerg to many victories. This success ended up backfiring, however, as Artanis—a powerful leader of the Protoss—discovered Stukov’s actions and united with Raynor’s Raiders to assault Braxis.

Defeating Stukov’s young brood, the Protoss injected the infested Terran with a serum that caused the infestation caused by Kaloth to temporarily disappear. In command of his mind and body once again, Stukov escaped the planet with the strike force moments before the entirety of Braxis was burned from orbit by the Protoss Fleet.

Knowing that the antidote was only temporary, and that Stukov could end up losing control of his brain again, the former Vice-Admiral was sent to Skygeirr Station, where he was experimented on by Emil Narud for many years. Eventually, however, the infested Terran managed to contact Sarah Kerrigan, the leader of the Swarm, and told her about the secret lab and its true purpose: creating powerful Protoss/Zerg hybrids capable of wiping out all life in the universe. Recognizing the threat these creatures presented, Kerrigan attacked the research station, freed Stukov and destroyed the hybrids before they could be utilized.

Destroying the research station and slaying Narud, Kerrigan and Stukov united to attack Korhal, the seat of the Terran Dominion’s power. Joining forces with Raynor’s Raiders, the Zerg destroyed the Dominion forces and Kerrigan killed Arcturus Mengsk, the man who had left her behind to die on Tarsonis.

Several years later, Stukov joined Kerrigan, Artanis and Raynor in an assault on the Void, where he ran into Narud, who had been resurrected in the service of the Dark Lord Amon. Defeating Narud’s forces, Stukov personally slew the man who had tormented him for so long, before assisting Kerrigan and the others in defeating Amon once and for all.

With the Koprulu Sector saved, Stukov has now turned his attention to the Nexus, which he intends to infest and conquer in the name of the Swarm.



Stukov is a durable support hero who spreads powerful heals over time through his allies and damaging, slowing damage over time effects between enemies. The healing aspect of this is accomplished with his first ability, Healing Pathogen, which infects an allied hero with a disease that heals them for a small amount over 4.5 seconds. This disease will spread to a nearby allied hero every 0.75 seconds, and can continue to spread until every member of Stukov’s team has been healed. The healing from Healing Pathogen is relatively small, but it’s great for topping off heroes outside of team fights.

Stukov’s second basic ability, Weighted Pustule, is the damage and crowd-control half of his disease kit. With this ability, Stukov hurls a projectile that deals light damage to all heroes in its path and infects them with a disease that slows their movement speed by 5% immediately and ramping up to 50% after three seconds. This ability doesn’t do a lot of damage on its own, but it is great for securing kills or helping allies get out of harm’s way.

Now, while Healing Pathogen and Weighted Pustule are decent abilities in and of themselves, they draw their true power from Stukov’s trait, Bio-Kill Switch. When Stukov activates his trait, it immediately removes his diseases from all afflicted targets and does either a large burst of healing (to heroes affected by Healing Pathogen) or a small amount of damage and applies a 70% slow (to enemies recently hit by the Weighted Pustule). Bio-Kill Switch grants Stukov a surprisingly large amount of burst healing, in addition to some very powerful crowd control.

Unlike Healing Pathogen and Weighted Pustule, Stukov’s third and final basic ability, Lurking Arm, is unconnected to his trait. Plunging his army through the ground, Stukov creates a large pool of creep that deals a moderate amount of damage per second and silences all enemies in the area. This ability is very good for zoning enemies out of important areas, as it can last indefinitely. Unfortunately, Stukov cannot move while channeling it, so correct positioning is everything.

Both of Stukov’s heroic abilities are centered around creating separation, but in very different ways. For his first heroic, Massive Shove, Stukov shoves his infested arm out in a targeted direction. If this shove makes contact with an enemy hero, Stukov stuns the target and pushes them until they hit an unpathable object such as a wall or fort, at which point they take a heavy amount of damage. While Stukov is shoving the enemy hero, he gains 50 Armor (reducing all damage taken by 50%), but he isn’t Unstoppable, so a simple stun can end the push. Massive Shove has a relatively short cooldown (only 20 seconds) so it’s great for getting rid of pesky dive heroes.

Stukov’s second heroic ability, Flailing Swipe, serves a similar purpose as Massive Shove. With this ability, Stukov swings his arm outwards three times, with each swing going farther than the ones before. Enemies hit by this ultimate take a small amount of damage and are knocked away, so Flailing Swipe is great for pushing back entire teams that attempt to dive onto Stukov during a fight.



Stukov is a hard-hitting Melee Support who uses diseases to heal and damage his enemies and his infested arm for crowd control and disengaging. With Healing Pathogen, Stukov can easily keep his team healthy—as long as they stay together—and if anyone gets too low, he can pop Bio-Kill Switch to put out a burst of healing.

On the damage/crowd control side, Stukov has Weighted Pustule for slows, Lurking Arm for silences and wave clear, and his ultimates (Massive Shove and Flailing Swipe) for protecting himself and teammates from dive heroes such as Illidan or the Butcher.

As befitting a support of his complexity, Stukov has a pretty complex talent tree, with two unique builds: a build that deals damage and slows with Weighted Pustule and Bio-Kill Switch and a build that uses the power of the Lurking Arm to control the battlefield and execute vulnerable heroes.

For the Weighted Pustule build, Stukov takes either Fetid Touch (a quest that decreases the cooldown of Weighted Pustule after hitting enough heroes) or Poppin’ Pustules (a quest which causes Weighted Pustule to do area damage upon detonation, as long as Stukov can detonate 10 of them without dying) at level one. Fetid Touch is the safer option, but if he’s not being targeted by enemy dive heroes—and if his team isn’t having trouble in the healing department—Poppin’ Pustules has a higher payoff.

At level 4, Stukov can take any talent, and at level 7, Stukov takes either The Long Pitch (which doubles the range of Weighted Pustule) or Targeted Excision (which reduces the cooldown of Bio-Kill Switch to 5 seconds if Stukov detonates exactly one Weighted Pustule). While Targeted Excision has the bigger payoff, it can be very difficult to get usage out of, so The Long Pitch is generally better.

At level 10, both heroic abilities are usable, and at level 13, Stukov has Virulent Reaction, which roots enemy heroes if Bio-Kill Switch detonates a Weighted Pustule on them while they’re standing inside Lurking Arm. Now, this may sound really complicated to pull off, but it actually isn’t too bad, and can lead to some quick takedowns against dive-oriented heroes.

At level 16, this build can take Eye Infection (which increases the damage of Weighted Pustule and causes it to blind the target when detonated) but in many cases, Stukov will just take one of the other three talents, which greatly increase his healing capabilities.

Finally, at level 20, Stukov can either take one of the heroic ability upgrades, or he can take Bio-Explosion Switch, which causes Bio-Kill Switch to also detonate Lurking Arm, which applies a Weighted Pustule to all enemy heroes inside and silencing them for 2 seconds. This is a very powerful talent, and will be the go-to talent for this build in nearly every case.

The Weighted Pustule build is great on maps with large, open spaces (such as Battlefield of Eternity or Blackheart’s Bay) as it allows Stukov to poke at enemies from long range. It’s also good at dealing with dive compositions, as Stukov can slow enemy dive heroes down long enough for them to be destroyed by his teammates. On the other hand, however, if Stukov is fighting on a smaller, tight map with lots of corridors (like Cursed Hollow or Haunted Mines), the Lurking Arm build is often a bit better.

At level 1, the Lurking Arm build takes Growing Infestation, which increases the size of Lurking Arm by 50% over 2.5 seconds. This allows Stukov to control a much larger area with this ability, and is essential to the success of the build.

At level 4, Stukov can take whatever he wants, but at level 7, he has two distinct choices: Within My Reach (which increases the range of Lurking Arm by 50%) and It Hungers (which restores mana and decreases Lurking Arm’s cooldown ever time it hits an enemy hero). Generally speaking, Within My Reach is the best talent to take at this level, but if Stukov is using Lurking Arm a lot—as in, every couple seconds—then It Hungers can work out.

Like with the Weighted Pustule build, Stukov can take whatever he wants at level 10, but at level 13, he gets another choice between Low Blow (which massively increases the damage of Lurking Arm against low-health heroes) and Lingering Spines (which causes Lurking Arm to persist for a couple seconds after Stukov stops channeling). Low Blow can allow Stukov to finish off low-health enemies, but Lingering Spines is good in more situations. As a result, deciding which one to take will be on a game-to-game basis.

At level 16, Stukov takes any of the healing talents (depending on the situation he’s been facing), and at level 20, he either takes one of the heroic ability modifiers or Bio-Explosion Switch. All of these are equally good for the build, so deciding which to take is purely a matter of personal preference.

Stukov is a great healer for slow, methodical teams that stick together at all times after level 10, as his Healing Pathogen allows him to keep his teammates topped up as long as they stay relatively close together. On the other hand, Stukov is a very poor healer for dive-oriented teams, as he has trouble keeping up with their natural tendency to spread out.

In combat, Stukov is strong against most enemy dive heroes, as he can slow them down with Weighted Pustule before finishing them off with his auto-attacks—which do the most damage of any hero in the entire game. In addition, Stukov can use Massive Shove to throw characters such as Illidan or Malthael back into Stukov’s forts, where they are quickly melted by Stukov’s defensive structures.

On the other hand, Stukov is weak against ranged dps such as Jaina or Li-Ming, as they can outrange most of his abilities (unless he took The Long Pitch at level 7). He is also pretty weak against stun-oriented compositions, as the only way to escape a coordinated team effort to bring him down is with Flailing Swipe, which can only be used once every 80 seconds.


As long as Stukov stays out of trouble, however, he can output some of the highest healing amounts in the game, which means that he’s a great healer to take in most situations, and I highly recommend him.

Hope you enjoyed the article, and I’ll see you in the Nexus!

Hero Overview: Diablo — Part 2

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about Diablo, a Melee Warrior from the Diablo Universe.

(This post is a continuation from last week’s article, which can be found here:




Diablo is a durable Melee Tank who uses his massive hitbox and numerous crowd-control tools to dive the enemy team and mess up their positioning. With Shadow Charge, he can get into the team fight quick before using Overpower to pull a vulnerable enemy hero out of position. In addition, at 100 souls Diablo has the most health of any hero in the entire game (including Cho’Gall), so he can last a surprising amount of time in the middle of a battle.

Diablo has a very diverse talent tree, as for three of the first four talent tiers (levels 1, 7 and then heroic abilities at 10) all of the talents can fit into any playstyle. At levels 4, 13 and 16, however, the talents promote two very different builds: the Shadow Charge/Overpower build and the Fire Stomp build. Both of these builds play out very differently, and are good or bad in different situations.

For the Shadow Charge/Overpower build, Diablo takes the From the Shadows talent at level 4 (which massively increases the range of Shadow Charge) and the Devastating Charge talent at level 13, which causes Shadow Charge to do up to 15% percent of the target’s health in damage if Diablo can knock them into a wall. This can amount to an insane amount of damage, especially when combined with the level 16 talent, Domination, which resets the cooldown of Shadow Charge every time you use Overpower.

For the Fire Stomp build, Diablo can take anything at level four, before selecting the Fire Devil (which increases Diablo’s auto-attack damage and gives him a damage aura every time he uses Fire Stomp) or Hellfire (which causes Fire Stomp to deal extra damage for every hero it hits) talents at level 13. Fire Devil is generally the better choice, as it provides Diablo with more consistent damage, but Hellfire can work if the other team is clumping up enough. Then, at level 16, this build takes Debilitating Flames, which slows enemies hit by Fire Stomp for 15-30% (depending on how many times they get hit) for 2 seconds.

The Shadow Charge/Overpower build is very strong on maps with tight lanes and jungle, such as Tomb of the Spider Queen and Cursed Hollow. On large, open maps such as Battlefield of Eternity, however, the Fire Stomp build will often pay off more. In addition to these two builds, Diablo can also take utility talents at any level (except for 13) to improve his survivability when playing with and against certain team compositions.

At level one, he has Devil’s Due (which massively increases the effects of healing globes and healing fountains) and Life Leech (which causes his auto-attacks to deal an additional 1% of the target hero’s health and heal Diablo for 1% of his health). Devil’s Due is usually the better talent, as having every health globe heal you for 50% of your maximum health is very good in nearly every circumstance. Against a team with multiple high-health tanks (such as Stitches, Cho’Gall or another Diablo), however, Life Leech can give the Lord of Terror just enough sustained healing to stay alive.

At level seven, Diablo has Soul Shield (which grants the Lord of Terror a massive amount of Spell Armor depending on how many souls he’s collected) and Diabolical Momentum (which decreases the cooldown of Shadow Charge and Overpower every time he auto-attacks). Diabolical Momentum is generally the better choice, as it massively increases the hero’s disruption ability, but against teams with one or two mage-type heroes (such as Kael’thas, Jaina, Li-Ming or Chromie) Soul Shield can be amazingly strong, as at 100 souls, it basically nullifies nearly all of their damage.

At level 10, Diablo has to choose between Apocalypse and Lightning Breath. Both ultimates are strong, but in very different situations. Apocalypse is best used on tight maps with lots of narrow passages (very similar to maps that you’d want to use the Shadow Charge/Overpower build on) while Lightning Breath is more based on the enemy team composition, as it can be used to dissuade dive heroes or get out of imminent stuns.

At level 13, all the talent options are build-based, but at level 16, Diablo has the option to leave the traditional talent build and take Fearful Presence. This talent passively reduces the auto-attack speed of heroes attacking Diablo by 20% and gives Diablo an active ability that reduces the damage of all nearby heroes by 30%. This talent is somewhat situational, but if the other team is running several auto-attack assassins (such as Raynor, the Butcher and Valla), it can be a great choice.

At level 20, Diablo has four very viable talents to choose from: Dying Breath (which reduces Apocalypse’s cooldown by 20 seconds and casts it for free when Diablo dies), Hellstorm (which increases the duration and area of Lightning Breath by 50%), Lord of Terror (an active ability that steals 10% of the maximum health of all nearby enemy heroes and transfers it to Diablo) and Hellgate (which teleports Diablo a short distance and places a demonic rune at the target location, which functions similarly to the runes from Apocalypse).

Dying Breath is a very good talent if Diablo is dying a lot—however, if Diablo is staying alive (or if he took Lightning Breath) then the talent is virtually useless.

Hellstorm increases the power of Lightning Breath, so it’s very good if Diablo is in a situation where he’s getting a lot of usage out of the ultimate. If Diablo is never able to fully cast the ability, however (or if he took Apocalypse), then another talent will probably be better.

Lord of Terror is a very strong talent for team fights, as long as the other team has at least two warriors or high-health heroes. If Diablo’s enemies are only running one or no tanks, however, then Lord of Terror will often struggle to get any value.

Finally, Diablo has Hellgate, which is almost always a good choice, because it gives the hero even more crowd-control tied to a powerful movement ability. When used in combination with Shadow Charge or Overpower, Hellgate can often secure kills that the other team could never have expected. In addition, the talent gives Diablo a great escape ability, which is something he doesn’t normally have.

Diablo is very strong against melee assassins such as Illidan or Greymane, as he can stun them long enough for his team to pick them off. He’s also very good at dealing with mage heroes like Kael’thas, as they don’t have a good way to escape once Diablo pulls them out of position, and he can virtually nullify their damage with Soul Shield. Finally, Diablo is surprisingly good against other tanks, thanks to the percentage-based damage he can get off of Life Leech and Devastating Charge.

On the other hand, Diablo struggles against auto-attack focused heroes such as Raynor and Valla, as he doesn’t have any form of basic-attack mitigation until level 16. In addition, because of how high Diablo’s health pool is, he is very weak against any heroes who deal percentage-based damage, such as Malthael or Leoric. Finally, Diablo is somewhat weak against teams with a lot of stuns and crowd control, as he doesn’t have any real way to deal with these aside from Lightning Breath.

Diablo performs the best with heroes who possess forms of crowd control, such as Tyrande, Arthas or Kael’thas, as they can set up his combos. In addition, powerful burst damage assassins like Chromie or Jaina do very well with Diablo, as they can capitalize on the opportunities he creates. As for healers, he prefers ones that put out large amounts of burst healing (like Auriel) or large heals-over-time (like Malfurion).

Overall, Diablo is a very powerful warrior, and is very good at shutting down all the dive compositions that are so common in the meta right now. He’s also a lot of fun to play, so if you’re looking for a new tank to run, he might be just what you need!

Hope you enjoyed the article, and I’ll see you in the Nexus!

Hero Overview: Diablo — Part 1

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about Diablo, a Melee Warrior from the Diablo Universe.

Role: Melee Warrior

Universe: Diablo


Diablo, the Lord of Terror is the youngest of the three Prime Evils (ancient forces of chaos that seek to conquer the entire universe and subject it to their vile rule). Along with his brothers, Mephisto (the Lord of Hatred) and Baal (the Lord of Destruction), Diablo commanded the demons of the Burning Hells in their war against the High Heavens.

For the most part, the three Prime Evils acted individually, as they didn’t trust each other enough to truly unite. During the Fifth Battle of the Diamond Gates, however, Diablo combined his forces with those of Mephisto and Baal, and the High Heavens nearly fell—but then, in a move that everyone should have seen coming, Diablo turned on the others in the hopes of becoming the sole ruler of both the Heavens and Hells. This bold stratagem backfired, and the demons were driven back in disgrace.

Many years later, Diablo battled the forces of the High Heavens on the world of Pandemonium. During this fight, the Lord of Terror went face to face with Imperious, the Archangel of Valor, in a terrible duel. The two were evenly matched, and their fight could have gone on forever, if it weren’t for the interference of the rest of the Angiris Council (the Archangels who governed the High H

eavens). Together, they imprisoned and slew Diablo—but in his dying moments, the Prime Evil sowed the first seeds of dissent that would eventually tear the Angiris Council apart.

This was not the end for the Lord of Terror, however, for the Prime Evils can never truly die. They can only be temporarily defeated, and so, centuries after the battle on Pandemonium, Diablo returned just in time to witness the birth of Sanctuary. Recognizing the power that would belong to whoever controlled the new world, Diablo allied with his brothers once more in a bid to bend the people of Sanctuary to his will.

Founding the Triune—a seemingly benevolent religious organization—Diablo attempted to bring humanity to his side. At every turn, however, the demon was thwarted by the Cathedral of Light, a competing religion founded by the rogue angel Inarius (who’d used the Worldstone to create Sanctuary). The Triune and Cathedral battled for many years, until eventually, a nephalem named Uldyssian defeated both organizations and secured Sanctuary for the humans.

For centuries, Sanctuary remained safe, untouched by either the angels or demons—but then, Diablo, Mephisto and Baal managed to break through the magical barrier surrounding the world and began to wreak havoc once more. Alarmed by these events, Tyrael, Archangel of Justice

formed the Horadrim (an army of human mages) and pursued the three Prime Evils.

For ten years, the Horadrim chased Diablo and his brothers, but eventually, they managed to catch the powerful demons and imprison them inside the soulstones. Deciding that these relics were too dangerous to keep, the mages hid the soulstones in a cave far beneath the ground and built a small monastery above it.

Two hundred years later, the monastery had been converted into a massive cathedral, and the large town of Tristram had sprung up around the ancient structure. Sensing his chance at freedom, Diablo reached out and began corrupting the people of Tristram. Getting a member of the royal court to shatter his soulstone—and thus free the Lord of Terror’s soul—Diablo proceeded to reach out and destroy the mind of the city’s king, Leoric.

Despite possessing all this power, however, Diablo still needed a host before he could regain his body. As a result, he kidnapped Albrecht—one of Leoric’s sons—and used the young man’s body to regain his physical form. With his power thus secured, the Lord of Terror prepared to launch his assault on the people of Sanctuary; but then, the unexpected happened, as a trio of heroes descended into the catacombs beneath the cathedral and slew Diablo in an epic battle.

This was only a temporary measure, however, because with the shattering of the soulstone, Diablo could no longer be contained. In an attempt to contain this evil, one of the heroes absorbed the Prime Evil’s soul—only to be driven insane by the Lord of Terror’s whispers. Compelled to follow Diablo’s will, the fallen hero set out and freed the Prime Evil Baal from his prison.

Together, the two demons traveled to the location of Mephisto’s soulstone, where they found that the eldest Prime Evil had already succeeded in freeing himself. Reunited, the Prime Evils prepared to conquer Sanctuary once and for all—but then, a group of heroes showed up and slew Diablo once again.

Over the next twenty years, the Lord of Terror slowly enacted a new plan to gain ultimate power. With the help of Adria—a woman he’d met during his wanderings in Sanctuary—Diablo slew the six Evils (powerful demons who embodied different aspects of evil) and absorbed their power, becoming more dangerous than ever before.

His metamorphosis complete, Diablo emerged as the one Prime Evil and assaulted the High Heavens themselves. Defeating Imperius in a quick battle, the powerful demon shattered the gates of Heaven and attacked the Silver City that lay behind.

Diablo was on the verge of triumph—but then, his plans were once again thwarted by a group of human heroes who pursued him into the High Heavens and did battle with the Prime Evil. Diablo fought back with all his newfound might, but even this was not enough, and he was defeated one more and imprisoned in a newly-forged soulstone.

This appeared to be the demon’s end, but then, Malthael, the Archangel of Death interfered. Stealing Diablo’s soulstone, Malthael attempted to destroy all the people of Sanctuary. In the end, however, he was defeated, and in the process, Diablo was freed once more. Now, the Lord of Terror has arrived in the Nexus, which he plans to bend to his terrible will.



Diablo is a front-line tank who combines survivability with high levels of crowd control. He gets this survivability from his trait, Black Soulstone, which means that every time Diablo kills a minion, he gets 1 souls, and every time he kills a hero, he gets 10. Diablo can store up to 100 of these souls in the Black Soulstone, and for every soul he has, he gains 0.4% maximum health. At 100 souls, this adds up to a 40% health increase, which is a pretty huge deal. In addition, if Diablo dies with 100 souls, he will respawn after only five seconds—but he does lose all his souls in the process.

As for the crowd control section of his kit, Diablo has Shadow Charge, his first basic ability. Charging a targeted enemy, Diablo knocks them back a moderate distance, deals a light amount of damage and gains 25 Armor for a couple seconds. In addition, if Diablo manages to knock the targeted enemy into a wall, they get stunned for a second and take a heavy amount of damage in addition to the initial damage. This ability is great at both engaging with the enemy team and for picking off isolated enemies.

Diablo’s second basic ability, Fire Stomp, sends out eight waves of flame that deal light damage to everything they hit. Once they reach maximum range, the waves return, dealing moderate damage to everything they pass through. Fire Stomp is great at clearing waves of minions, as it has a relatively short cooldown and it deals a bit of damage, but it’s only okay in team fights, as it’s difficult to consistently land the fire waves on mobile enemy heroes.

Overpower, Diablo’s third and final basic ability, grabs a targeted enemy and smashes them into the ground behind Diablo. They take a light amount of damage, and are stunned for 0.25 seconds. This ability is great for pulling enemy heroes out of position, and because of Diablo’s massive hitbox, he can prevent the targeted hero from escaping his clutches long enough to secure the kill.

Diablo’s first heroic ability is Apocalypse, which creates a large demonic rune under every enemy hero. After 1.75 seconds, the rune explodes, dealing a large amount of damage to any enemies standing on the rune and stunning them for 1.75 seconds. This ability is great for team fights in tight, constricted areas such as the tribute spawns on Cursed Hollow, as the narrow paths make escaping the runes difficult.

Finally, Diablo has his second heroic ability, Lightning Breath, which deals a massive amount of damage over four seconds to all heroes in a large line in front of him that can be directed by moving the mouse cursor. This ability is great at forcing enemies off an objective, and the best part about it is that Diablo is unstoppable during its cast, so it can be used to dodge powerful stuns such as ETC’s Mosh Pit.

Hero Overview: Malthael

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about Malthael, a Melee Assassin from the Diablo Universe.

Role: Melee Assassin

Universe: Diablo


The Archangel of Wisdom and the first leader of the High Heavens, Malthael has battled against the armies of the Burning Hells for as long as anyone can remember. Alongside his brethren—the Archangels Tyrael, Imperius, Auriel and Itherael—Malthael even defeated the mighty Lord of Terror, Diablo on the world of Pandemonium and recovered the Worldstone contained within.

Intrigued by the power present in the Worldstone, Malthael rigorously studied the artifact—right up to the time when it was stolen by a band of thieves led by the angel Inarius and the demon Lilith. Together, these villains used the Worldstone to create the world of Sanctuary, the home of the Nephalem.

Unable to locate the stolen Worldstone (because of the protective barrier that hid Sanctuary and all it contained), Malthael’s mood darkened, and he became even more withdrawn than usual. Eventually, Sanctuary was revealed, and Malthael went to retrieve his prize—but before he could recover the artifact, the Worldstone was destroyed by Tyrael in an attempt to keep its power out of the hands of darkness.

Giving up his position as a leader in the Heavens, the angel traveled throughout the worlds, trying to learn the answers to the mysteries of the cosmos. During his absence, a human hero defeated the Prime Evil, a feat that Malthael had never been able to accomplish during the entire Eternal Conflict. Instead of rejoicing in humanity’s triumph, however, the former Archangel of Wisdom saw their power only as a potential threat to the Heavens. Deciding he only had one option, Malthael became the Angel of Death and began planning to wipe out all of humankind.

Stealing the Black Soulstone (a shard of the Worldstone that contained the Prime Evil Diablo’s soul and power) from where Tyrael had attempted to hide it, Malthael formed an army of angels who shared his beliefs and used them to launch an attack on the city of Westmarch. While the human heroes were preoccupied with defending the city from the Reapers, Malthael began to modify the Black Soulstone into a superweapon, which he planned to use to wipe out humanity.

Unfortunately for the new Angel of Death, the Nephalem defeated the Reapers much more quickly than expected, and began to march on Malthael’s fortress. Needing more time to complete his plan, the former Archangel sent his remaining forces to destroy the Pandemonium Gate in the High Heavens in an attempt to stop the heroes from reaching his domain. This plan utterly backfired, however, for not only were his forces stopped, but this act of aggression against the High Heavens caused the angels to declare open war against Malthael.

With the aid of the remaining Archangels, the Nephalem breached the gates of Malthael’s fortress and attacked the Angel of Death. In a last-ditch attempt, Malthael absorbed the power of the Black Soulstone, granting the former Archangel immense strength. Even with this newfound power, however, Malthael was still unable to defeat the Nephalem, and he was ultimately slain.

Now, the Angel of Death has reformed in the Nexus, and he will not rest until all the denizens of the realms contained within are slain and their souls are his!



Malthael’s entire playstyle centers around his trait, Reaper’s Mark. A debuff applied by the hero’s basic attacks on non-structure targets, Reaper’s Mark deals 2.5% of the target’s health every second for four seconds and reveals the target for that time. Much of Malthael’s kit revolves around applying Reaper’s Mark to enemies, so keeping the trait active for as much time as possible is incredibly important.

Malthael’s first basic ability is Soul Rip. This ability deals light damage to all nearby targets who are affected by Reaper’s Mark, and heals Malthael a little bit for every enemy damaged. If Soul Rip hits any enemy heroes, Malthael will also be healed for 3% of the damaged hero’s maximum health.

Wraith Strike, Malthael’s second basic ability, teleports the hero through an enemy affected by Reaper’s Mark, dealing light damage and resetting the remaining time on the trait. Wraith Strike is very good for chasing down low-health enemy heroes, or for escaping a team fight by teleporting to a minion.

Malthael’s final basic ability is Death Shroud, which launches a wave of dark mist in a long line. This ability deals no damage, but it applies Reaper’s Mark to every target hit, which makes it incredibly useful for team fights and clearing minion waves.

Malthael’s first heroic ability is Tormented Souls, which grants the hero 20 Armor (reducing all damage taken by 20%) and constantly applies Reaper’s Mark to nearby enemies for 4 seconds. Like Death Shroud, this is a very good ability for the beginning of team fights, and the added bonus of damage resistance makes it especially powerful.

Finally, Malthael has his second heroic ability, Last Rites, which deals damage to an enemy hero equal to 50% of their missing health. This is an excellent tool for finishing off low-health heroes—and the finishing off part is especially important, because enemies killed while under the effect of Last Rites will permanently reduce the abilities cooldown by 5 seconds, to a minimum of 15 seconds.



Malthael is a powerful Melee Assassin who uses the damage-over-time effects of Reaper’s Mark to chip away at his enemies, before diving in and dealing massive area-of-effect damage with a flurry of abilities. Because Soul Rip and Wraith Strike can only be used against targets affected by Reaper’s Mark, landing successful Death Shrouds and auto-attacks is essential for the hero to perform well.

Malthael isn’t overly good at dueling other assassins because his damage is based on percentage-based damage-over-time effects, rather than heavy sustain or burst. He’s very strong against tanks, however, as his Reaper’s Mark will quickly burn through their health pools.

The Angel of Death is also very effective at clearing minion waves, as Death Shroud will quickly apply Reaper’s Mark to all the minions in a group, at which point they can be quickly eliminated with a pair of Soul Rips and one or two auto-attacks. In this vein, Malthael is also very good at taking mercenary camps, as he can out-heal most of the damage they do. Finally, Malthael is very good at killing bosses and boss-type objectives, as he will often be given a lot of time to burn through their massive health pools with his Reaper’s Mark.

Malthael’s choice between Tormented Souls and Last Rites for his heroic ability will largely depend on the map and enemy team composition. If he’s facing a lot of heroes with little-to-no self-healing or shielding, Last Rites is amazing for finishing these targets off. On the other hand, if the other team has a lot of survivability tools, or the map is one that forces very tight team fights, then Tormented Souls can be useful for the sustained damage and survivability it provide.

As far as talents go, Malthael actually has a surprising number of good choices. At levels one and thirteen, all of his talents (Death’s Reach, On a Pale Horse and Fear the Reaper at level one and Soul Siphon, Ethereal Existence, Inevitable End and Shroud of Wisdom) have their own distinct uses, and will be better or worse in different situations.

In addition, there are several talents at different levels that synergize very well with each other. For example, the level four talent Black Harvest (a quest which increases the duration of Reaper’s Mark) synergizes very well with the level sixteen talent Memento Mori (which doubles the damage of Reaper’s Mark the longer it lasts) to burn down tanks, and the level four, seven, thirteen and sixteen talents (Die Alone, Cold Hand, Soul Siphon and Soul Collector, respectively) all work together to increase the power of Soul Rip and allow Malthael to deal a decent amount of single-target damage to assassins.

At level twenty, Malthael’s talent choices will largely depend on the map and team composition he’s facing. Against a team with very weak heroes such as the Lost Vikings or Murky, Reaper of Souls (which resets the duration of Tormented Souls every time it gets a kill) is a powerful talent choice.

Angel of Death (which causes Last Rites to heal Malthael for an amount equal to the damage it deals and halves the amount of kills he needs for the quest) is also a very good talent, as it provides Malthael with a large self-heal at the moments he needs it the most. If the other team is running a composition with lots of burst-healing and shields, however, Malthael may struggle to get his ultimate off, which makes it somewhat unreliable.

Final Curtain (which causes Death Shroud to leave a trail of mist along its line of fire, applying Reaper’s Mark to anyone who enters the area) is possibly the most powerful talent at level twenty, as it allows Malthael to control the battlefield by forcing enemy teams to back up or risk taking a lot of damage.

Finally, Malthael has No One Can Stop Death, which grants the hero an ability that lets him immediately respawn while dead, at the cost of causing his next respawn to take 25% longer. This talent is best used when your team is falling behind, and they need you to get back immediately. Because of the massive respawn increase on your next death, however, the talent is a bit dangerous, and should only be taken in the direst of circumstances.

Overall, Malthael is a very strong hero—however, he does have a few weaknesses. The first is his difficulty in initiating fights. Because he can only use Wraith Strike to teleport to enemies afflicted with Reaper’s Mark, he first has to land a Death Shroud, which can be a bit difficult to do. Then, once he goes in, he has no real form of escape (unless he takes Fear the Reaper at level one, and even then, he’s very susceptible to crowd control). To top all of this off, Malthael is relatively squishy, and can be burned down very quickly by his enemies.

As a result of these weaknesses, Malthael requires a very specific team composition in order to work. First, he needs a dive tank like ETC to stun the enemy frontline, which allows Malthael to land an easy Death Shroud. Next, Malthael needs a strong, dive-oriented dps to distract the enemy backline while he goes to work on their tanks and melee dps. Finally, Malthael needs a good burst healer like Auriel or Uther to keep him healed up until he can get his self-healing from Soul Rip going.

In the end, Malthael is a very powerful and fun melee dps, but he requires a specific team composition to survive engagements, and a specific enemy team composition to perform to the fullest extent. As a result, he isn’t something you’ll want to play in Ranked Play unless you build your team specifically around him. In Quick Play, however, he’s a lot of fun, so I’d highly recommend checking him out.

Hero Overview: D.Va

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about D.Va, the mech-piloting warrior from the Overwatch Universe.

Role: Ranged Warrior

Universe: Overwatch


Twenty years ago, the nation of South Korea came under attack from a massive omnic that appeared out of the East China Sea. Its power level was unlike anything ever seen before, and it did a massive amount of damage before it was finally driven back into the water by the Korean military forces.

The Koreans knew that it was only a matter of time until the massive robot returned, so they began work on a mechanized combat drone to battle the monster. A few years later, they completed the first batch of these MEKAs, just in time to defeat the massive omnic when it returned. Once again, however, the monstrous robot was merely weakened—not destroyed—and it managed to escape back to the safety of the sea.

Every few years, the omnic resurfaced, and every few years, the MEKAs drove it back. Delighting in their triumph, the Koreans grew complacent, failing to realize that the massive robot was constantly adapting to their strategies. This miscalculation nearly proved to be disastrous, for one year when the robot emerged, it came with the ability to shut down the MEKAs’ control networks.

Their own robots rendered useless, the Koreans were forced to scramble to find another way to battle the monstrous omnic. Looking through the options, they realized the only way to save the country was to retrofit the MEKAs so they could be manually piloted. Unfortunately, on such short notice, there was no way to train new pilots, so the Korean military turned to the only people who possessed the reflexes and quick thinking required to operate the MEKAs: the country’s professional gamers.

Many of the best gamers in Korea were drafted, including the reigning StarCraft world champion, 19-year-old Hana Song. Taking the name ‘D.Va’ (after her username in the games she played), Hana was among the first MEKA pilots to engage the massive omnic. Fighting the monstrous robot with the same skill and ruthlessness that she unleashed on her competitors in StarCraft tournaments, the young professional gamer managed to drive the omnic back in record time.

Since then, D.Va has participated in several missions, performing with skill and valor in each. She has even begun streaming her combat operations to her millions of adoring fans, and has gained a global following as a result. Now, D.Va has been deployed to the Nexus, where she and her MEKA will defend any who require her aid.



D.Va has two traits, Mech Mode and Pilot Mode. At the beginning of a match, D.Va will be in Mech Mode, which grants her the ability to move while auto-attacking and makes her auto-attacks affect enemies in an area. When she is ‘killed’ in Mech Mode, D.Va leaps from her mech and transitions to Pilot Mode.

In Pilot Mode, D.Va’s auto-attacks do a bit more damage, but they don’t have any other special functions. In addition, D.Va loses the ability to perform most of her basic abilities, and her health pool is drastically reduced. As a result, D.Va becomes incredibly vulnerable while in Pilot Mode.

D.Va’s first basic ability is Boosters. D.Va activates her mech’s rocket boosters, which increases her movement speed by 125% for 2 seconds. Any enemies D.Va runs into while Boosters are active will take a small amount of damage and will be knocked backwards. This means that Boosters can be used as an escape, an initiation tool and a way to eliminate fleeing enemies. Boosters can only be used while you are in Mech Mode, so it is unavailable once your mech is destroyed.

D.Va’s second basic ability is Defense Matrix, which projects a small defensive field in a cone directly in front of the hero’s mech for 3 seconds. Enemy heroes standing in the defensive field deal 75% less damage, which can help to keep your allies safe in the middle of a teamfight. While Defense Matrix is active, D.Va can move, but she can’t turn the direction her mech is facing, and she can’t auto-attack. Finally, similarly to Boosters, Defense Matrix cannot be used while in Pilot Mode.

Like her trait, D.Va’s final basic ability has two parts: Self-Destruct and Call Mech. Self-Destruct—which requires the hero to be in Mech Mode—ejects D.Va from her mech and causes it to explode 4 seconds later. It deals a massive amount of damage in a large area, and is capable of killing most heroes from full health if they are standing too close to the center of the explosion. Unlike most basic abilities, Self-Destruct doesn’t have a cooldown. Instead, it gains charge based on the damage you deal and the damage you take, and it becomes available once you reach full charge.

Call Mech—which can only be used while D.Va is in Pilot Mode—allows D.Va to reenter Mech Mode (regaining the health and abilities that go along with it). By default, it has a 45 second cooldown, which starts upon exiting a destroyed mech. This cooldown is reduced by 0.5 seconds every time you auto-attack, however, so it will rarely be this long. In addition, if you enter Pilot Mode by using Self-Destruct, the cooldown on Call Mech will reset as soon as the mech detonates.

D.Va’s first ultimate, Bunny Hop, causes her mech to bounce up and down while moving for 4 seconds. During this time, D.Va is Unstoppable, and she deals a small amount of area damage and slows nearby enemies by 40% with every jump. Bunny Hop is very effective at preventing enemy retreats, but it can also be used to help D.Va escape from attackers. Unfortunately, D.Va is unable to auto-attack while this ultimate is active (and using any of her basic abilities will instantly cancel her ultimate), so the ability has to be used strategically. Finally, Bunny Hop can only be used while in Mech Mode, which makes remaining in the mech during teamfights a priority.

D.Va’s second ultimate, Big Shot, deals moderate damage to all enemies in a straight line. It only has a four second cooldown, so it can be used repeatedly, and every time it damages a hero it reduces the cooldown of Call Mech by 8 seconds. Unfortunately, Big Shot isn’t an instant cast ability (it takes about a second to fire) so enemies that are paying attention will be able to get out of the way.



D.Va is a Ranged Warrior who specializes at initiating fights and chasing down fleeing enemies. With Boosters, D.Va can dive onto her enemies’ backline heroes (such as healers and mages) to disrupt the enemy team, before activating her Defense Matrix to reduce damage taken as her own team moves in.

Because Self-Destruct takes 4 seconds to detonate, it isn’t overly effective at securing kills. In addition, the explosion does 50% reduced damage to structures, so it’s useless for sieging. On the other hand, if tossed onto an objective or capture point, it can force the enemy team away, giving D.Va’s team free access. In addition, the explosion is great at clearing mercenary waves, so you can effectively use Self-Destruct to save a fort or keep. D.Va can also use her Boosters to launch an exploding mech into the enemy team, in order to give them a little less time to escape the area.

D.Va’s first ultimate, Bunny Hop, is great for securing kills on enemies, so it’s a good choice if she has a lot of slow-but-powerful teammates. In addition, if she takes the level 20 talent (Stop and Pop), Bunny Hop suddenly becomes capable of dealing an immense amount of damage as long as the mech stays still.

On the other hand, Big Shot isn’t nearly as good at securing kills as Bunny Hop is, but it allows D.Va to quickly get her mech back by poking at enemies from a long distance away. As a result, it’s a great pick if her mech keeps dying from focused enemy fire.

D.Va synergizes very well with flankers and stealth heroes, as she can use her Boosters to knock enemies away from the safety of their walls and into the waiting arms of her teammates. She works especially well with Zeratul, as she can combine her Self-Destruct with his Void Prison to pull of some insane combo plays. In addition, D.Va always needs at least one healer on her team, as she has no way to regenerate health other than visiting a healing fountain or hearthing.

D.Va is strong against ranged auto-attack heroes, as she can use her Defense Matrix to shut their damage down. She’s also really good at jumping on enemy healers and forcing them out of the fight.

On the other hand, D.Va is weak against melee heroes, as they can get out of her Defense Matrix and take her out from the side or behind. In Pilot Mode, D.Va is vulnerable to everyone, as her tiny health pool and nonexistent mobility make her an easy target for nearly every hero.

Overall, D.Va is one of the most entertaining tanks to play, and while she is a bit trickier than most, she’s definitely worth taking the time to learn.

Hero Overview: Lúcio

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about Lúcio, the area-of-effect healer from the Overwatch universe.

Role: Ranged Support

Universe: Overwatch


Growing up in a poor neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Lúcio Correia dos Santos has always had a burning desire to help those around him. Taking up music, the young Brazilian began performing wherever there were people whose spirits needed lifting. Though humble in appearance, these impromptu concerts helped the community band together, as the people put their shared love for the music ahead of their quarrels and difficulties.

Over time, Lúcio’s fame grew, and he began performing in larger and larger venues. His music became a staple to all who lived in his community, and slowly, things began to get better. Putting aside their petty squabbles, the people of the neighborhood banded together to work for the betterment of them all. Things were looking up, but then the Vishkar Corporation—a powerful, multinational industrial developer—was contracted by the city to redevelop some of the poorer areas.

At first, this deal didn’t seem so bad, as Vishkar brought a lot of much needed technological advancements to the impoverished boroughs. However, events quickly went south, as Vishkar put the second phase of their plan into action. With the aid of their private army, Vishkar began imposing strict regulations on the civilians: curfews, random arrests, and even forcing many of the poorer citizens into outright slavery!

All these atrocities were done in the name of order, but Lúcio saw the truth. Vishkar was just using the people of Rio de Janeiro for its own profit, and had no intentions of actually bettering the lives of the civilians. Vishkar was putting the city in a stranglehold, and it wouldn’t be long before they destroyed it entirely. Lúcio had no choice but to act.

Breaking into a major Vishkar warehouse, Lúcio stole a powerful Sonic Amplifier that the villainous corporation had been using to terrorize the civilians. Modifying the technology to play his own inspiring music, Lúcio rallied the people of Rio de Janeiro, and together, they drove Vishkar out of the city.

Since then, Lúcio has become a world-wide celebrity, with his music skyrocketing in popularity. Now, the young DJ-turned hero has come to the Nexus, where he seeks to bring peace and harmony for all with his healing tunes. 


Lúcio’s trait is Wall Ride. While moving alongside impassable terrain and buildings, the hero will leap up and skate on the walls, granting him 20% increased movement speed and the ability to pass through other units. Wall Ride stacks with other movement speed abilities, so it allows Lúcio to get around the map quickly (which is very important because he doesn’t have a normal mount). In addition, Wall Ride can be used to escape from an ambush, as Lúcio can just Wall Ride through enemies who are attempting to block him in a corner. Finally, Lúcio can auto-attack while moving, so he gets some utility to make up for the lack of a mount.

Lúcio’s first basic ability is Soundwave. Lúcio fires a concentrated blast of sound from his Sonic Amplifier, which deals light damage in a cone and knocks all affected enemies away. This is a great tool for getting separation from pursuing heroes, as you can shove them away long enough for you to escape. In addition, you can also use Soundwave to knock fleeing enemies back into your team to secure the kill.

Lúcio’s second basic ability is Crossfade, which changes the song he’s currently playing between one of two tracks. The first track is Speed Boost, which increases the movement speed of Lúcio and all nearby allied heroes by 15%. Speed Boost stacks with the movement speed granted by Wall Ride, which means that Lúcio can travel at 35% movement speed (5% faster than mounted speed) whenever he’s moving between lanes.

The second track Lúcio can play is Healing Boost, which heals Lúcio and nearby teammates for a small amount every second. The heal isn’t overly large—however, it’s always active and doesn’t cost any mana, so Lúcio can be constantly healing his allies throughout every teamfight.

Lúcio’s final basic ability is Amp It Up, which boosts the power of Lúcio’s music for 3 seconds. If Lúcio is using Speed Boost, he and his allies gain 45% movement speed instead of 15%, and if he’s using Healing Boost, the amount healed per second is massively increased. Both of these effects are very powerful, and can often mean the difference between winning or losing a teamfight.

Sound Barrier is Lúcio’s first ultimate, and it does the exact same thing here as it does in Overwatch. After one second (the time it takes for Lúcio to leap up and come back down), Lúcio and all nearby allies are given a massive shield that decays over 6 seconds. Like in Overwatch, this ability is perfect for blocking bursts of damage from enemies, and can be used to negate even the most powerful Wombo Combo.

Lúcio’s second ultimate is Reverse Amp. Lúcio blasts his music at enemy Heroes, granting them an effect opposite of his current track. If he’s using Healing Boost, they’ll take a small amount of damage every second, and if he’s using Speed Boost, they’ll all be slowed by 45%. In addition, Reverse Amp passively increases the duration of Amp It Up by one second.

Reverse Amp is a powerful tool in teamfights, as you can either use it to do constant damage to the other team or apply a slow that will make it harder for them to maneuver. In addition, the regular version of the current song will be playing for your team during the time Reverse Amp is active, so you don’t have to worry about weakening your own allies. One warning about this ability: Amp It Up does not affect the power of Reverse Amp, so don’t worry about saving it to couple with your ultimate.


Lúcio is a Ranged Support who either heals or boosts the speed of his allies through his Crossfade AOE. Because this AOE is always active, Lúcio can participate offensively in teamfights while still giving support to his allies.

Lúcio isn’t overly effective in the lanes, as his damage is relatively low—however, he is surprisingly good at bullying enemy heroes out of the lane (especially melee heroes without a good form of gap clear). He is also quite good as part of a gank squad, as he can use his speed boost to get behind an enemy before using Soundwave to knock them back into his team’s waiting arms.

Lúcio is a very interesting hero talent-wise, as many of his talents can be mixed and matched to produce a huge number of different builds. There are a few talents, however, that work best when paired with specific talents from other tiers. For example, the level one talent Slip (which massively increases movement speed when Lúcio Wall Rides near an enemy hero) works very well with the level 13 talent Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop (which makes Lúcio immune to Slows and Roots while Wall Ride is active).

Thanks to his constant healing, Lúcio is very strong against teams that rely on sustained damage or dealing damage over time. He’s also very strong against any melee characters without a form of gap closing, as he can shoot while moving. In addition, he can use Soundwave to push away enemies who get too close, and use Speed Boost to get away when his health gets low.

Unfortunately, Lúcio can only heal so much, so aside from Sound Barrier (which can only be used once per fight), he’s very weak against characters with lots of burst such as Kael’thas, Jaina and Li-Ming.

Overall, however, Lúcio is a very versatile character. His ability to boost the movement speed of allies is one of the most powerful abilities in the game, and his healing is nothing to sniff at either. As a result, Lúcio is a great hero, and you should definitely try him out.

Hero Overview: Zul’jin

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about Zul’jin, the Ranged Assassin from the Warcraft Universe.

Role: Ranged Assassin

Universe: Warcraft


For thousands of years, the Amani Trolls have battled against their hated enemies, the High Elves of Quel’Thalas. However, despite their superior size and strength, the Amani have never managed to defeat their hated enemies, as the High Elves’ powerful magic has always been too much for the Trolls to overcome.

Over time, the defeated Amani splintered, fighting against each other instead of against the powerful High Elves. All this changed, however, with the rise of a new leader—the cunning Zul’jin.

Reuniting the Amani tribes, Zul’jin fortified the ancient bastion of Zul’Aman and began striking out against the borders of Quel’Thalas. Zul’jin’s raids were as unexpected as they were terrible, and soon, all the High Elves came to fear the very sound of the vicious Troll’s name.

However, despite all these successes, the Amani forces could never go too deep into the Elven lands, for they were blocked by a magical barrier that encircled nearly all of Quel’Thalas. Zul’jin refused to let this barrier stop him, however, and he began capturing Elvish Rangers in an attempt to learn how to circumvent the shield.

Despite all his efforts, however, Zul’jin never managed to get through the barrier. Everything seemed lost—but then, help arrived in the form of Orgrim Doomhammer and the orcish Horde.

Seeking to sever the connection between the Humans and their Elven allies, the Horde allied with Zul’jin and together, they launched an attack against Quel’Thalas. Getting past the barrier, the Orcs and Trolls smashed through battalion after battalion of Elves.

Zul’jin and his new allies were on the verge of triumph—but then, the armies of Lordaeron arrived. Under the command of Anduin Lothar, the Humans joined the Elves, and together, they drove back the Horde’s offensive. Zul’jin and the Amani regrouped and prepared to strike again, but Orgrim and his Orcs had a different plan. Deserting the Trolls, the rest of the Horde moved south to attack Lordaeron, which had been left unguarded by Lothar’s advance.

Feeling betrayed by the Horde, Zul’jin and the rest of the Trolls attacked the Elves one last time, but without the help of the Orcs, they were easily defeated. Captured by the High Elves, Zul’jin was tortured to the point of death, but shortly before he was to be sent back to Silvermoon for execution, the Amani leader was rescued during a daring raid by his closest friends.

Returning to Zul’Aman, Zul’jin bided his time, waiting for his chance to strike back at his hated enemies. This chance arrived in the wake of the Scourge invasion of Quel’Thalas, as the Elvish defenses had been destroyed in the brutal attack. Mustering up his forces, Zul’jin prepared to destroy the newly-christened ‘Blood Elves’ once and for all.

Shortly before he was about to launch his final assault, however, the leaders of the Horde and Alliance learned of Zul’jin’s presence and sent 25 of their bravest adventurers to battle the Troll. Zul’jin battled the adventurers with all his might, but it was too no avail, and in the end, he fell before their combined strength.

This wasn’t the end for Zul’jin, however, as he has now found his way to the Nexus, where he plans to get his revenge on all who betrayed him.



Zul’jin’s first ability is Grievous Throw. Zul’jin throws an axe forward, dealing light damage to the first two enemies hit and marking them for 8 seconds. Marked enemies take 50% extra damage from Zul’jin’s next 3 auto-attacks against them, which is very powerful, considering Zul’jin’s focus on auto-attacks.

Twin Cleave is Zul’jin’s second basic ability. Zul’jin throws 2 axes in a circle, dealing light damage to all enemies hit and slowing them by 15% per axe they get hit by. This ability is Zul’jin’s main source of poke damage, as well as being the only source of crowd control the hero has (unless he takes a special talent at level 20).

Zul’jin’s third and final basic ability is Regeneration. Zul’jin restores 25% of his maximum health over 4 seconds. This is Zul’jin’s only method of self-sustain (again, unless you take a specific level 20 talent), so it’s important to get it off whenever possible. In addition, Regeneration is canceled whenever Zul’jin moves or takes any damage, so you’ll want to be in a safe place when you use it.

Zul’jin’s first ultimate is Taz’dingo! Zul’jin becomes Unkillable for 4 seconds, which prevents him from being reduced to less than 1 Health. During Taz’dingo, Zul’jin is a death machine—however, he can be crowd-controlled during this ult, so he’ll need to be careful when using it.

Zul’jin’s second ultimate is Guillotine, which hurls a giant axe into the air. The axe lands after a short delay, dealing massive damage to all enemies hit. This damage is massively increased the lower Zul’jin’s health is, making the ability the ultimate Risk-Reward play.

Finally, Zul’jin’s trait is Berserker. Zul’jin’s attack speed is increased by 1% for every 1% of health he’s missing. In addition, Zul’jin’s trait can be activated to increase his attack damage by 25%, at the cost of 2% of his maximum health per attack. As Zul’jin is an auto-attack focused hero, gaining the bonus damage from Berserker is insane—however, if his health drops low enough, he can be quickly picked off by the enemy team.


Zul’jin is a powerful ranged assassin who is all about Risk vs. Reward. When Berserker is active, his damage and attack speed goes up—but he becomes much easier to kill, do to his rapidly decreasing health pool. As a result, Zul’jin is a very difficult hero to play, but if played correctly, he becomes unstoppable.

Zul’jin’s main focus is on killing enemy heroes and taking care of boss-type objectives, such as the Immortals on Battlefield of Eternity and the Grave Golems in the Haunted Mines. On the other hand, he’s weak against minion-based objectives, as he doesn’t have any good forms of wave clear (outside of Twin Cleave, which is difficult to use).

Zul’jin’s talent tree isn’t as well defined as some heroes—however, there are two builds that stand out. The first is the Grievous Throw build. By taking talents such as Boneslicer (Grievous Throw’s hits all enemies in its path and increases their damage take even further), Vicious Assault (increases the number of times Grievous Throw empowers Zul’jin’s attacks and causes auto-attacks to reduce the ability’s cooldown) and Eye of Zul’jin (successful Grievous Throw increase Zul’jin’s movement speed). All of these talents greatly increase the power of Grievous Throw, while also buffing the hero’s main source of damage: his auto-attacks. As a result, this build is by far the most popular one—however, there is a second build that is quite interesting as well: the Twin Cleave build.

Focusing entirely around the Twin Cleave ability (obviously), this build completely changes the way the hero is played. With talents such as Arcanite Axes (which reduces the ability’s cooldown for every hero hit, as well as increasing your Ability Power by 25% at low health) and Wrong Place Wrong Time (Twin Cleave does extra damage to enemies that get hit by both axes simultaneously), Zul’jin becomes surprisingly effective at dealing damage from long range. Top all this off with Guillotine, and suddenly Zul’jin’s Spell Damage build becomes surprisingly powerful.

Because of his high sustain damage, Zul’jin is very strong against tanks such as ETC and Dehaka, as he can quickly chew through their high health pools. He’s also very strong against Melee Assassins such as Greymane, as once he gets low, he just pops Taz’dingo and they can no longer kill him.

On the other hand, Zul’jin’s main weakness is crowd control. If he gets blinded, he loses all his damage output, and if he’s stunned, rooted or slowed, he dies incredibly easily. As a result, Zul’jin is very weak against characters such as Li Li, Johanna, and Illidan, who can avoid the troll’s attacks through Blinds or Elusiveness.

Overall, however, Zul’jin is a very powerful—if a bit dangerous—character. His damage is higher than nearly any other hero in the game, and his ability to become Unkillable gives him a huge edge in many fights. As a result, I definitely suggest that you learn to play the character so he may carry you to victory on the battlefields of the Nexus.

Hero Overview: Ragnaros

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about Ragnaros, the Raid Boss/melee assassin from the Warcraft Universe.

Role: Melee Assassin

Universe: Warcraft


Millennia ago, in the time before time, the world of Azeroth was ruled by the Elemental Lords. Neptulon ruled the water, Al’Akir presided over the air, and Therazane held dominion over the rocks and stone. The most powerful Elemental Lord of all, however, was Ragnaros the Firelord.

Wielding his massive hammer Sulfuras, Ragnaros put down anyone who dared to rise against him. Eventually, there was no one left to oppose the Firelord’s rule—but then, the Old Gods arrived. Crashing to Azeroth, the vile creatures embedded themselves deep in the planet’s crust in an attempt to corrupt the world for their own dark purposes.

Sensing the Old Gods’ intrusion, the Elemental Lords attempted to destroy the foul beings, but they weren’t strong enough. One by one, the Old Gods defeated the Elemental Lords and forced them into service. As the eldritch beings’ lieutenants, the Elemental Lords marshaled their armies in preparation for the arrival of the Old Gods’ greatest enemies—the Titans.

Ancient cosmic travelers, the Titans hunted the Old Gods and their masters, the Void Lords, throughout the universe, intending to purge the foul creatures from existence. Upon sensing the Old Gods’ presence on Azeroth, the Titans attacked the planet and waged all-out war against the entrenched defenders.

As the leaders of the Old Gods’ forces, Ragnaros and the other Elemental Lords battled against the Titans—however, like before, even their great power was not enough to grant them victory. Binding the Elemental Lords, the Titans banished Ragnaros and his kin to the Elemental Plane, an alternate dimension from which there was no escape.

For millennia, Ragnaros remained trapped in the Firelands (his section of the Elemental Plane)—however, this all changed during the war of the Three Hammers. Seeking an advantage over the other clans, Thaurissan (the leader of the Dark Iron Dwarves) attempted to summon a powerful fire elemental to help him turn the tide of battle. Instead, he summoned Ragnaros.

Bursting into existence in the heart of the Dark Iron’s land, the Firelord conquered the remaining dwarves and forced them to begin summoning his troops back into Azeroth. For hundreds of years, Ragnaros reigned over the Dark Iron Dwarves, but then, thanks to the intervention of 40 adventurers, the Firelord was banished back to the Elemental Plane.

This new exile only lasted a few years, however, and during the events of the Cataclysm, Ragnaros returned to Azeroth once more. Allying with Deathwing, Ragnaros and his forces attacked Mount Hyjal, burning the sacred land of the Night Elves to cinders. Once again, however, a small army of adventurers rallied to battle the Firelord, and together, they drove the Elemental Lord back to the Firelands once more.

Not content with simply forcing the Firelord to retreat, the adventurers pursued Ragnaros into the Firelands, the only place where he could actually die. There, the heroes battled the Firelord once more, and with the aid of Cenarius, Malfurion and Hamuul Runetotem, Ragnaros was defeated for the final time.

Banished forever from Azeroth, the Elemental Lord has now come to the Nexus, intending to conquer these new realms and bend them to his will.



Ragnaros’s first ability is Empower Sulfuras, which causes the hero’s next auto-attack to occur instantly and deal heavy AOE damage. Ragnaros heals for 20% of the damage done from this ability, and healing is doubled against heroes. This ability excels at keeping Ragnaros alive in tough team-fights, and if the right talents are chosen, the damage it deals is astronomical.

Ragnaros’s second basic ability is Living Meteor. Ragnaros calls down a powerful meteor that deals light damage to the first target hit before rolling along the ground for 1.75 seconds, dealing constant damage to all enemies hit. This ability gives Ragnaros some ranged damage, which is very helpful for finishing off low-health enemies.

Ragnaros’s third and final basic ability is Blast Wave. This ability can be cast on either Ragnaros or any ally (including minions and mercenaries), giving the target 25% increased movement speed for 1.5 seconds. At the end of that time, the target will ignite, dealing a moderate amount of damage to all nearby enemies.

Raynor’s first ultimate is Sulfuras Smash. Ragnaros hurls Sulfuras at the target area, and after 0.75 seconds it lands, dealing moderate damage to all enemies in the area. Enemies caught directly in the center take heavy damage instead and are stunned for 0.5 seconds. This ultimate is very useful at slaying retreating foes, and when used properly, the stun can make all the difference between winning and losing a team-fight.

Ragnaros’s second ultimate is Lava Wave, which summons a massive wave of Molten Lava that surges down one lane. This wave of Lava instantly kills all minions it touches and deals massive damage to any heroes who fail to escape, which makes it perfect for defending structures that are under attack.

Finally, Ragnaros’s trait is Molten Core. With this trait, Ragnaros can seize control of a nearby allied or destroyed fort or keep, revealing his true form as an Elemental Lord. Gaining a massive amount of health and a set of brand new abilities, Ragnaros battles all nearby enemies for 18 seconds (or until his health pool is depleted), at which point he returns to his normal form. While Ragnaros is in Molten Core, the fort he has taken control of cannot be damaged, which means that this trait can be used to stall or even halt enemy pushes.


Ragnaros is a powerful Melee Assassin who deals damage through his auto-attacks and spells. Most of Ragnaros’s damage in combat comes from Empower Sulfuras and Living Meteor, but his auto-attacks do a bit of damage as well. Blast Wave is mostly used to pursue fleeing enemies or escape from a dangerous situation, but if talented correctly, it can be very useful in combat as well.

Ragnaros is also very effective in lanes, as Empower Sulfuras, Living Meteor and Blast Wave all do powerful AOE damage. In addition, Lava Wave instantly kills all minions in the lane it goes down, so Ragnaros can easily clear out a dangerous push if he needs to.

When enemies are pushing in on an allied fort, Ragnaros can use Molten Core to buy allies enough time to regroup for the defense. This ability can also be used offensively, however, as Ragnaros can take control of destroyed enemy structures to help his allies during a push.

Depending on which build Ragnaros is going for, he’ll pick a certain selection of talents. For example, if Ragnaros is aiming for an Empower Sulfuras build, he’ll take Sulfuras Hungers, which increases the ability’s damage. On the other hand, if Ragnaros is looking to increase the power of Living Meteor, he’ll take Shifting Meteor, which increases the ability’s duration and allows it to change direction while traveling. Both builds are very strong against certain teams, so the enemy team comp will often determine which build Ragnaros goes.

Thanks to his massive burst damage (from Empower Sulfuras), Ragnaros is very good at dealing with low-health characters such as Raynor and Sylvanas. He’s also quite good against Melee Assassins without massive self-healing—such as Greymane—because his large health pool and sustain will allow him to easily deal with these threats.

Ragnaros’s main weakness is high-mobility Ranged Assassins. Even with Living Meteor, Ragnaros often struggles to deal damage to these targets, and their damage output is enough to push through even his massive health pool.

Overall, however, Ragnaros is a very powerful character. His damage and health give him an edge against most other assassins, and his Molten Core allows him to single-handedly end enemy pushes. Personally, Ragnaros is my favorite character in the entire game right now, so you should definitely check him out. You won’t be disappointed.