Heroes of the Storm: Raynor guide

For better or worse, every player in Heroes of the Storm is acquainted with the Son of Korhal, Jim Raynor. Teaming up with an old man in medieval garb wielding a large hammer, Raynor (and the player) quickly become accustomed to the Nexus and its motley collection of heroes and villains from strange new worlds and old familiar ones.

Raynor is a ranged Assassin, chipping away at his enemies from relative safety and utilizing Terran technology to keep himself alive when things get tough. As one of the first, “vanilla” heroes added to the game, Raynor has had the unfortunate reputation of being overly simplistic with a low skill cap and poor synergy with many team compositions. In recent days, however, Raynor has seen play in the tournament scene and has proven himself to be one of the highest auto-attack damage Assassins in the game.

This space marine has seen fairly little build diversity, mainly focusing on boosting his auto-attack damage:

Raynor Auto-Attack Build

Despite this, there are some decent alternative talent choices for those Jimmies who emerge from quick match feeling especially rustled.

Whether you’re new to the game and the tutorial has you jonesing for Jimmy, or you’re a veteran and looking to expand your stable of heroes, suit up and let’s roll!

Abilities

Penetrating Round (Q): Raynor’s only other damaging ability than his auto-attack (not counting heroics, of course) is Penetrating Round, a straight-line skillshot that pushes back everything in its path. Penetrating Round is great for laning and peeling for an ally but can disrupt combos and stun chains in team fights — use with caution!

Inspire (W): An AOE buff to nearby minions, heroes, and Jimmy himself, Inspire grants bonus attack speed for six seconds on a ten second cooldown. Inspire can be used to great effect to burst an enemy hero down, push a minion wave in taking down a fort before it can reload, or save your butt when you foolishly try to solo a merc camp in the early game.

Adrenaline Rush (E): A heal that automatically activates when his health dips below 30%. Keeping an eye on the cooldown of this ability will help you decide when you should attempt to push, trade, or retreat.

Hyperion (R): His first heroic is Hyperion, a large AOE that slowly moves forward in a direction of your choosing. Much like Tyrande’s Starfall, the true power of Hyperion comes from its ability to either guarantee damage or zone out enemy heroes.

Raynor’s Raiders (R): Your other option at level 10 is Raynor’s Raiders, summoning a pair of Banshees to harass your target. It’s very important to note that the Banshees can be retargeted, and proper micromanagement will allow you to get the most out of them during their 22 second duration.

Advanced Optics (trait): Raynor has one of the most plain traits in the game, increasing his sight radius by 10% and his attack range by 20% when compared to other ranged heroes. Despite its simplicity, Advanced Optics is great for a hero so focused on auto-attacking from the backline or behind a wall.

Raynor_AdrenalineRush_DD_100415

Playing Raynor

In order to play Jimmy to his maximum effectiveness, a very important lesson to learn is when you can stand your ground and trade with a hero and when you have to flee. Adrenaline Rush management is key, yes, but positioning and effective use of Penetrating Round are also very crucial. Peeling for your retreating team, pushing enemies into a team fight they’re not keen on joining, and even baiting an opposing hero into a gank when Adrenaline Rush is off cooldown are all advanced tactics that can separate the commanders from the cadets.

Strengths

  • Great steady damage output
  • Lanes well
  • Very accessible for new players
Weaknesses

  • Limited escapes
  • Rigid talent build

Raynor is rated “easy” by Blizzard, a rating that, while accurate, has stigmatized Raynor as a hero for “noobs.” From my experiences there’s some truth to this stereotype, but hopefully by the end of this guide you’ll be out there in the depths of quick match changing some minds!

Talent breakdown

Level 1 Typically the default grab here is Seasoned Marksman, a great talent that reinforces the importance of laning in the early game. While the additional damage may not seem like much, it will certainly add up as Raynor pumps bullets into enemies from the backline. An honorable mention goes to Give Me More! when either faced with a very bursty enemy team or on a map with more emphasis placed on objectives than laning.

Scouting Drone could be nice for maps like Tomb of the Spider Queen where vision of an objective could lead to an advantageous gank or preventing a turn-in, but the units are fragile and easy to deal with. And Raiders’ “Recruitment” is a slightly better Bribe, a talent which is strong in the early game but quite weak later on.

Level 4 Most of the time you will want to pick up Focused Attack at level 4, increasing Raynor’s effectiveness in team fights and trading with enemy heroes. If you want some training wheels or simply feel like your sustain could use some buffing, Vampiric Assault could be an acceptable alternative. Confident Aim emphasizes frequent use of your Q ability which really should be used sparingly and intelligently, so it gets a pass here.

Level 7 Similar to the previous tier, there is a default option and a secondary, “training wheel” option. Ideally you’d grab Revolution Overdrive, boosting your synergy with your team whether you’re chasing or fleeing. Otherwise if you’re still feeling squishy and want to give yourself some cushion while you learn proper positioning, Fight or Flight would be the talent for you.

Hamstring Shot could have some very niche uses when trying to single out heroes, but more often than not you’ll be using Penetrating Round to push enemies away or get a last bit of burst damage in before your target is safely out of your range. And Raynor’s emphasis on auto-attack damage makes Puttin’ On A Clinic questionable at best.

Level 10 Unfortunately Raynor also has a default heroic choice as well: Hyperion. Not only is Hyperion good for zoning out the enemy team as previously discussed, but it can contribute significant siege damage during a push.

This isn’t to say that Raynor’s Raiders is bad; on the contrary, when used well it can be very disruptive to the enemy team. Using the Raiders to keep a Nova or Zeratul out of stealth or harassing a support and forcing them to use their abilities on themselves are great uses of this ability. Sadly, an aware enemy team can easily dispatch the Banshees long before they can manage to have any significant impact.

Raynor_Inspire_DD_100415

Level 13 At level 13 Raynor has, realistically, two options: Giant Killer and Double-Barreled. The latter provides a healthy amount of flexibility in engagements and a significant boost to burst damage, while the former talent is a reliable increase to your auto-attack output. Personally, Giant Killer is my go-to, and I only consider Double-Barreled if I’m up against a team of squishies.

Steel Resolve and Relentless Leader are more “training wheel” talents, but as you grow more comfortable with Raynor’s playstyle you’ll want to talent elsewhere.

Level 16 I would say that level 16 is the first tier of talents where you have more than two viable and competitive options. Bullseye is a default pick-up here, being the only stun Raynor can pick up. This is especially useful against heroes with channeled heroic abilities like Li Li and Malfurion, where a knockback alone won’t stop their casts.

Berserk is a decent cooldown, like a stronger Inspire. Because of Inspire, though, Berserk is much less popular than Bullseye; Bullseye diversifies Raynor’s kit, Berserk does not.

In a distant third is Executioner, a nice damage boost during those times when it’s needed most. Queueing up with a Jaina, Tyrande, or even Malfurion, grabbing Executioner, and coordinating abilities could enable you to completely delete a character from existence in the span of a couple seconds. That said, if you’re solo-queueing or just not confident in your ability to align your stars just right, this loses a lot of value.

Cluster Round suffers the same problems as Confident Aim and Hamstring Shot, and should more or less be avoided.

Level 20 Upon hitting level 20 you again have only two real options, Nexus Frenzy and Bolt of the Storm. Nexus Frenzy is the obvious choice for increasing your damage output, and it’s the endgame talent I take on Raynor nine times out of ten. If I find myself being a priority target for the enemy team quite often throughout the match (unlikely, but with a Warrior-heavy friendly team comp it’s possible) then I opt for Bolt of the Storm.

It’s unfortunate that Raynor’s baseline heroic abilities, Hyperion and Raynor’s Raiders, aren’t terribly good, making their upgrades at level 20, Scorched Earth and Dusk Wings respectively, not terribly good either. Additionally, A Card to Play shares this heroic dependence and because of it isn’t a worthwhile pick-up either.

And that about does it for old Jimmy. Sure, he’s not the most complex or flexible of heroes, but he definitely earns his keep. A good Raynor is an asset to almost any team, and the lessons you learn while playing him (positioning, laning, trading, peeling, etc.) will come in handy when picking up other heroes.

Written by Dan Desmond. Last updated 10/5/2015.