Heroes of the Storm: Assassin heroes guide
If you’re wondering which hero you should play in Heroes of the Storm, this is the guide for you. Heroes come in four basic types: Warriors, Assassins, Support, and Specialists. In this post, we’ll break down the Assassin heroes. Even if Assassin heroes generally don’t appeal to you, you’re going to want to pick one or two to try out. Every day you’re given a new daily quest to complete for gold, and several which require you to play games as a specific role. We explained what you can do with all that gold in this post about microtransactions.
Assassins are damage dealers which tend to be high on DPS but low on longevity. Assassin heroes could be either ranged or melee, so you can pick a favored play style. Some can deal lots of burst and some can hang in there with good sustainability depending on talent choices, but you need to be ready to back out of a fight if you get in over your head because they tend to be pretty fragile overall.
Play for Diablo’s Butcher can revolve heavily around his trait, Fresh Meat, which increases The Butcher’s damage as he kills minions and opposing heroes. He loses all his stacks when he dies so he requires a bit of ramp-up time in lane before you jump back into a PVP engagement. The Butcher has a good amount of healing but not many escapes, so choose your battles. If you’re up against a Butcher, use your escapes to get away when he uses Butcher’s Brand, which looks like a big X over your hero and heals a great deal on each auto attack. If you stand toe to toe with The Butcher with that ability up, you’re probably not going to fare well. The Lamb To The Slaughter heroic ability is all about crowd control while Furnace Blast deals a good amount of AOE damage. Furnace Blast tends to be easier to use and deals a lot of damage, but Lamb can serve as both an offensive move and an escape.
Falstad can dish out a lot of DPS, but his real boon is that he has unparalleled mobility. He doesn’t have a mount, and instead moves at mount speed after not being hit for 6 seconds. His now-free mount key allows him to teleport across the map, making him ideal for capturing objectives like watchtowers. His Heroic ability Mighty Gust is currently a favorite for trolling, because when paired with that teleport, he can capture mercenaries from under the nose of the entire opposing team after they’ve helpfully defeated said mercenaries. Hinterland Blast tends to be preferred in most situations, though.
One-half of the two-headed Ogre Cho’Gall, Gall is a ranged fighter who casts spells while Cho controls the duo’s movement. You may think this would be frustrating for Gall, but it can be liberating. Not having to worry about movement allowed me to focus on killing, disrupting and generally being a terror. Gall’s Q is a skill shot called Shadowflame that hit everything in its path. With no mana pool and a quick cool down, Q is very spammable which is good as Gall has no autoattack. His W is a bomb called Dread Orb that bounces three times. It’s slow with big pauses between that give your opponents time to get out of its path, but it’s useful as a zoning tool to make opponents scatter. Gall’s E is tied to Cho’s E. Cho uses his E to throw out a rolling bomb which only Gall can detonate. This is one thing that requires the most coordination between the two players, but if you’re not on voice with your Cho player, you can at least rely on an in-game sound that tells you he threw out the bomb.
The mighty King of Gilneas has joined the Nexus in the form of an Assassin hero — but with a twist! Genn Greymane utilizes his trademark Curse of the Worgen to shift between Human and Worgen forms, resulting in an Assassin that’s both ranged and melee. While players can opt to focus on one form over the other, mastery of Greymane comes in making the most of both forms. Whittling enemies down from afar before picking the right time to strike as a Worgen will result in the most effective use of his two forms and keep the enemy team forever on the run. This hero guide will help break down Greymane’s skillset and talent options for players looking to try their hands at the unique and incredibly fun hero.
The Betrayer is a melee damage dealer, so he has a larger array of self-healing talents than many other Assassins. In addition to inherent self-healing, auto attacking decreases the time between his cooldowns. That’s before you figure in several additional talents with synergy from killing or attacking things, so players who choose Illidan will want to be in the thick of things whenever possible. Be careful when using Illidan’s Dive that you don’t jump past a gate — you likely aren’t going to make it back before the towers kill you. Metamorphosis is a far better choice than his other heroic ability. Illidan is a favorite choice in the current meta.
Even for an Assassin Jaina is quite fragile, but what she lacks in longevity she makes up for in raw damage. Because her Frostbite trait increases damage dealt with abilities against a chilled target, you need to stack your abilities wisely in order to burst down your opponents swiftly. Most of her better talents also increase the efficacy or duration of her trait. She has a lot of AOE in her burst kit so she can be absolutely deadly in a team fight, just as long as she doesn’t try to poke her nose into the front row. Her Ring of Frost is massive and roots the opposite team if they don’t run out of it, making it an incredible equalizer for large team fights. The Water Elemental makes for a decent tank on certain maps, so it’s not to be counted out for random play.
Kael’thas is the fiery counterpoint to Jaina’s frost. Verdant Spheres makes for slightly more fussy gameplay than Jaina’s Frostbite, though in certain scenarios it can lead to ridiculous burst. Later talents that turn the Living Bomb DOT AOE into one that leaps when it explodes in particular can rip through an entire team during a big fight with ease, even aft. Kael’thas can also talent into additional healing, giving him the option to be a bit more sturdy than Jaina, but this cuts down on his glorious burst DPS. Pyroblast can be interrupted by a hero running out of your range or Kael moving so it’s a bit more difficult to use. Phoenix is big and glows with a clearly defined circle on the ground, your opponents are going to try to get out of it. This is called ‘zoning’, and it can keep the opposing team off an objective while your team caps it. Both are good choices, so pick based on your team composition and the map you’re playing.
The Queen of Blades is a melee opponent with some baseline stuns and pulls. Primal Grasp needs some finesse and practice to get used to, but once you do you can use it to do some nasty things to your opponents by getting them into places where they’ll get slaughtered, or out of position when they’re trying to capture an objective. Kerrigan tends to be particularly dominant in the early part of a match. Maelstrom is heavily favored over the Ultralisk because it does more damage, and the Ultralisk can be routed by the opponent fairly easily.
Lunara is a very fun, but slightly different, kind of Assassin. Most Assassins excel at “glass cannon” style mechanics where they can deal large amounts of damage quickly but need to be careful because they have far less health than is safe for over-extending. Lunara, though? She’s the Heroes equivalent of a DOT class in WoW. She’s best when she’s spreading her poison trait across multiple targets and wearing down the enemy team evenly. She’s still very squishy, but she makes up for it with slows and a passive 20% increased movement speed. The trick with her is getting in, DOTing enemies, and getting out. Doing so yields very high damage at the end of a match.
Nova is one of two Heroes who is is usually cloaked, so she excels at precision strikes and ganking. This gives her very good escape capabilities, and gives her the opportunity to choose when she should engage. If you enjoy laning, Nova will not likely be the character for you. The trade-off is that she’s remarkably squishy, so you really need to pick your battles wisely as Nova. Luckily she has long range, so she can stand behind a Warrior in bigger team fights and uncloak to pick off a Support when the time is right. Triple Tap can be body blocked by other players and structures and leaves Nova unable to act while it channels, making it a less desirable choice. Precision Strike is more difficult to land, but it can be cast anywhere on the map.
The very first hero most people are going to play is Jim Raynor during the Tutorial. He’s a relatively easy hero to get the hang of, with only one real active shot ability, a buff ability, and an automatic occasional self-heal. In other words, he tends to be the rare Assassin with a good amount of sustain but not a ton of burst damage or mobility, so he can hang in there on a longer fight, but has trouble securing kills. His level one Seasoned Marksman talent makes him especially deadly in late game, but make sure you’re not sticking in a lane to build stacks to the detriment of your team. Penetrating Round offers good DPS and can be a good finisher, but inexperienced players have to stay calm and make sure they’re not offering their opponent an out with its knockback instead. The Raynor’s Raiders heroic ability helps with his inability to finish a fight, but Hyperion is the favored choice for most situations.
Thrall tends to have excellent survival due to his Frostwolf Resilience trait, but you have to keep an eye on it at all times. It’s represented graphically by Thrall’s portrait, making it kind of a pain to keep track of while you’re in the heat of battle. Also a bit difficult to manage is the Sophie’s Choice presented by his Windfury ability. Windfury lends both his highest natural burst and his sole escape mechanism other than the Sundering heroic ability, so you have to choose wisely. Both Sundering and Earthquake are strong choices, but Earthquake is a bit easier to use.
As far as Assassins go, Tychus falls behind on mobility, literally. Once engaged, Tychus has no real way out other than old fashioned backpedaling. He has some healing talent options to stand toe to toe better than other Assassins, but it still leaves a bit to be desired. His Frag Grenade can do a little bit of crowd control with knockbacks, and Overkill pumps out some good DPS. Commandeer Odin tends to be a slightly more desirable heroic ability than Drakken Laser Drill even after it was nerfed, just because the Laser Drill will be killed quickly if your opponents are half awake.
The Demon Hunter is a strong damage dealer, and can be a versatile pick. You can either choose to build for high burst DPS, or some self healing in an auto attack build, making her a personal favorite for pugging. If the people you’re grouped with don’t know what they’re doing, a build with Vampiric Embrace and Tempered by Discipline will keep Valla healthy in her lanes. If you have good backup, choose Manticore and Giant Killer instead for big DPS in team fights. Both Rain of Vengeance and Strafe are good talents, but Strafe requires good situational awareness and can be interrupted, while Rain of Vengeance lends a stun.
Zeratul is the other hero who stays cloaked when he’s not attacking things. Like Nova, this means Zeratul needs to pick his engagements wisely. His Blink ability is fantastic for making a speedy getaway, as it can be used over terrain obstacles. Because Zeratul will then cloak, he excels at ganking and harassing stragglers. His Void Prison talent can completely change the tide of a battle in your favor and is a really incredible talent when used well, but when used poorly it can completely crash your team’s tempo during a big fight. Shadow Assault is the safer choice but it doesn’t complement the rest of his kit too well.
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