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Heroes of the Storm: Anub’arak guide

Some bugs just don’t stay squashed. Anub’arak and his many skin variations have made their way to the Nexus in the form of a Warrior hero who uses some iconic abilities to take down his foes. Between pouring out scarabs, burrowing quickly in and out of combat, and stunning enemies, Anub’arak is the sort of Warrior you won’t want to go one-on-one with in combat. If stuns and bugs are your cup of tea, this guide will help you make the most of this particular hero.

Before jumping into the full guide, a few quick build suggestions are listed below if you want to just dive right into Anub’arak play. A more detailed breakdown of each talent option can be found later in the guide.

Beetle build: Assault Scarab, Legion of Beetles, Leeching Scarabs, Locust SwarmSymbiotic Armor Blood for Blood, Rewind

This build is good if you can maximize scarab spawning but can be difficult to play effectively for a beginner.

Tank build: Regeneration Master, Legion of Beetles, Leeching Scarabs, Locust Swarm, Burning Rage, Blood for Blood, Hardened Shield

This build is great for a full-on tank role and features plenty of tools to keep Anub’arak alive but sacrifices some damage output.

My personal favorite: Regeneration Master, Locust Needles, Urticating Spines, Locust Swarm, Burning Rage, Blood for Blood, Hive Master

This build is a mix of talents that allow for very fast lane and minion clearing while still giving Anub’arak some survivability, but sacrifices some synergy offered by the above builds.

Abilities

Impale (Q) — The first of Anub’arak’s skill shots, Impale is a great way to deal damage and stun a target. Coupled with Burrow, Impale makes Anub’arak both difficult to escape from and difficult to chase. The downside to this ability is that it’s limited to a straight line and the spikes don’t all raise at once. If your opponents see the first set of spikes come up, they will be able to dodge the attack if quick enough.

Harden Carapace (W) — While certain talents can alter Harden Carapace, on its own it’s a straightforward ability that gives Anub’arak a shield to absorb a little incoming damage. If you choose not to alter the ability through talents, the most important aspect to note is that it still activates the Scarab Host trait. If you expect incoming damage or are low on mana, save it. Otherwise, activating the shield for an extra beetle can help put added pressure on a lane.

Burrow Charge (E) — One of Anub’arak’s most fun abilities, Burrow Charge is yet another skill shot but functions differently than Impale. Instead of stunning enemies in a line, Burrow Charge will only stun when Anub’arak surfaces. However, until that time, Anub’arak can’t be attacked which makes this a great escape mechanism if needed. While it may sound obvious to veteran players, it’s worth noting this ability can be cancelled early in order to surface at the right time and attack an unsuspecting enemy.

Locust Swarm (R) — A very strong heroic ability, Locust Swarm is the more offense-based option. Not only does this ability function as an AOE, but the healing component allows Anub’arak to stay in fights long after he would otherwise be dead, or to push a lane and easily take out towers without risking death.

Cocoon (R) — The second of Anub’arak’s two heroic abilities, Cocoon can be an effective way to render an enemy useless in team fights. If unnoticed, this ability can be used to remove a powerful healer, a deadly assassin, or even a durable tank from combat for enough time to take out another enemy. The downside to Cocoon is that it can be attacked and made almost completely pointless if the enemy team notices it and focuses their fire.

Scarab Host (Trait) — Anub’arak’s trait is an integral part of mastering his effectiveness. Given the right build, your scarabs can become a huge component of your damage and survivability. And if you’re not completely comfortable with a full scarab build, they still help to add a passive damage (and distraction) to any lane pushing you might be doing. One very important aspect of this trait is that the beetles spawned act as minions, which means they will be the priority target near towers and they can intercept skill shots from enemy heroes.

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Playing Anub’arak

Anub’arak can be a more challenging hero to master, especially if you opt for a beetle build. Even if you do not take his Scarab Host-based talents, the key to playing Anub’arak effectively is knowing how and when to use his Impale and Burrow Charge abilities. Both are skill shots and need to be aimed properly to account for enemy movement. The ability to stun enemies and utilize Burrow Charge to cut off an enemy with a well-timed body block will make all the difference between killing enemies or letting them escape in fights.

Strengths

  • Adds effective crowd control to team composition.
  • Great lane-pushing abilities for a warrior.
  • Mobility and large size make for some great body blocking.
Weaknesses

  • His two main offensive abilities are both skill shots.
  • Mastering the Scarab Host trait can be difficult.

Level 1

Of all the tanks, Anub’arak starts with the lowest base health. Regeneration Master can be a great pick to help keep you alive and active longer during fights. When I run with this talent, I often find that the only times I ever need to go all the way back to the base are when I completely run out of mana or when I die in a team fight. In small fights or pushing lanes, if you’ve gathered enough health orbs, you’ll be able to maintain pressure.

Assault Scarab is one of the most popular choices, as it is a key component of the scarab build for Anub’arak. Since his scarabs already do a significant portion of his overall damage, a 25% increase can really add up over the course of a match. Of course, if your opponent focuses your scarabs, this talent becomes less effective.

Extended Spikes and Persistent Carapace both have their advantages but neither is all that appealing when compared to the above options. Extended Spikes can be useful if you frequently find yourself catching enemies with Impale but the base range on Impale is enough to catch minions so its buff is situational. Persistent Carapace is similarly situational and can help if you like to engage in team fights, but I still prefer Regeneration Master as my tanking talent.

Level 4

Legion of Beetles is usually taken in this tier. A free beetle every 8 seconds not only adds even more damage output, but creates a target for towers or an intercept point for certain heroes’ abilities. While it’s usually safe to keep this on, be aware that it can give away your position if you’re trying to hide from enemies. Be sure to toggle it off if this is the case.

Locust Needles, while not necessarily as popular, is my person choice. It adds a nice amount of damage to Anub’arak’s autoattacks that help to clear minion waves and take out towers faster. Coupled with Regeneration Master and Urticating Spines at level 7, Anub’arak will be able to clear waves and gather health orbs with ease. Not to mention that the added damage is guaranteed when you are fighting other heroes (whereas the beetles can be killed before their automatic despawn).

Mercenary Lord is incredibly situational and should only be used if you plan to focus on mercenary camps (and your team is aware of your intentions). If the other team is able to get mercenaries faster or take out yours quickly, or if you can’t be close to your own mercenaries, this talent is wasted.

Underking, meanwhile, buffs Burrow Charge to make it more effective at what it already does. It’s not a bad choice, but it doesn’t outweigh the top two choices in terms of overall usefulness.

Level 7

Leeching Scarabs is the popular talent for level 7, whether or not you are going for a full beetle build. The added health from the beetles helps to keep Anub’arak alive longer and requires minimal effort to make use of. Like all beetle talents, make sure you are maximizing the frequency of Scarab Host to get the most out of the talent.

Again, not the most popular pick, but I like to take Urticating Spines as a way to add to Anub’arak’s AOE utility. Choosing this gives some extra damage output to an ability that normally lacks it. Position yourself in the middle of minion groups and cast Harden Carapace to quickly clear out an entire wave. And like I said above, this talent coupled with Locust Needles turns Anub’arak into a character with some decent AOE.

Bed of Barbs and Shed Exoskeleton are two movement-altering abilities that function inversely. Bed of Barbs can make Anub’arak almost inescapable, but I don’t tend to take it because it requires a skill shot to land and Impale’s stun already is an effective way to control enemy movement. Shed Exoskeleton, meanwhile, gives you another way to escape or close in on enemies but with Anub’arak’s already powerful movement capabilities isn’t as effective overall.

Level 10

As I mentioned above, Locust Swarm is a great offensive ability that makes Anub’arak all but unstoppable for the duration. Cocoon is the talent of choice for crowd control, though, and if used properly can change the tide of a team fight.

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Level 13

Burning Rage is generally taken for most builds. It’s a talent that adds damage output automatically without depending on the use of any other abilities. For my personal build, this talent only adds to the amount of AOE Anub’arak can do. Symbiotic Armor helps keep your beetles alive longer and can strengthen a beetle build. Having beetles alive longer gives more opportunities for Anub’arak to stay in the fray without worrying about being targeted by towers or skill shots.

Chitinous Plating and Spell Shield both add defense to Anub’arak. Take Chitinous Plating if you want a more on-demand defensive skill that works against minions and heroes alike and take Spell Shield for an automatic way to boost your tanking against other heroes. Both are somewhat situational but if you find yourself dying often, they can give you much-needed survival.

Level 16

Blood for Blood, like Burning Rage, is taken for most builds. The damage is on-demand, the healing gives Anub’arak extra survivability in a pinch, and the overall usefulness outweighs the other talents in this tier.

Imposing Presence is only useful against enemy heroes and does not affect minions. It can be great in team fights as a way to make the other team less effective overall, but I’ve found that 1-on-1, Anub’arak can generally take other heroes without needing to slow their attack speed to survive.

Epicenter gives some leniency with Burrow Charge’s aiming and adds some damage to it, but like all skill shots, requires the ability to land to be effective.

Lastly, Beetle, Juiced might seem like the obvious pick for beetle builds but is incredibly situational and hard to maintain. If your beetles don’t have a target to kill, it is entirely wasted. I experimented with this once and was disappointed to see my beetles rarely killing often enough to maintain the buff from this talent.

Level 20

The level-20 talent tier is one of the more even tiers in terms of options. Hardened Shield is the tanking talent in this tier and can be excellent in team fights or as a survival tool if you find yourself getting low on health very quickly. Knowing when to use this will make the difference between life and death.

Rewind is an excellent choice overall and with a beetle build can allow Anub’arak to have an entire legion of powerful beetles. Even without the beetle build, this talent will let you stun enemies, spawn beetles, and escape as needed far more often.

Hive Master adds extra damage and healing. The benefit of this choice is that the damage is sizable while not requiring any extra clicking to activate. I like this choice for my builds as a way to keep Anub’arak alive as long as possible.

Cryptweave may be the only questionable choice this tier. If you already took Cocoon at level 10, then this allows you to disable enemies longer. The downside is that it requires channeling and doesn’t add nearly as much utility as the other talent options.

And that’s it for Anub’arak! If played well, he can top the charts in games as well as serve as both and effective tank and lane-pusher. If you’re getting used to him, the beetle build might be more complicated. The other build options here allow you to be effective without being completely reliant on his Scarab Host trait. See you in the Nexus!

Written by Michael Mitchell. Last updated 09/29/15