Heroes of the Storm: Valla guide
Valla, a demon hunter sworn to chase the likes of Diablo and Azmodan to the edge of Sanctuary and back, now puts her deadly skills to use in Heroes of the Storm. Some matches she’ll be paired up with her fellow nephalem, while some matches see her teaming up with the very demons she has sworn to destroy. What a crazy transdimensional world the Nexus is.
Valla is a ranged assassin, throwing arrows and random projectiles at enemies from afar and tumbling away at the first sign of danger. If you happened to pre-purchase Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, you’ll notice that you get Valla as a cross-promotional bonus. As luck would have it, this hero is as effective (and fashion-forward) as she is ubiquitous, so if you’re looking to shoot and kill foes from the safety of the back line then read on!
Hungering Arrow – Valla’s Q is a straight skillshot that hits the first target in its path, loops around and hits two additional targets for half damage. Not only can this projectile hit the same target three times, it has a limited ability to chase a fleeing enemy as it swims in the air seeking its next target.
Multishot – Multishot is a cone attack that sprays targets within the specified area with a hail of arrows. This ability provides an easy way to flush a target or two out of stealth, mow down a minion wave, and shower some bunched up enemy heroes during a team fight. Multishot is a very popular candidate to be modified by talents, and is the focus of a very prominent competitive build.
Vault – A quick escape, Vault is a great way for a typically vulnerable ranged assassin to get out of harm’s way. Vault is fairly expensive at 75 mana, so if you’re opting for an ability damage build you might want to make a note of your mana usage and plan accordingly. There’s nothing worse than getting trapped out of position with your escape off cooldown but without the mana to use it!
Strafe – The first of this demon hunter’s heroic abilities, Strafe deals damage to all enemies caught within its radius, an area that can be tricky to get out of since Valla can still move and Vault while Strafe is active. Commonly known as “Spin2Win,” Strafe can deal a lot of damage to many different targets as long as Valla isn’t stunned, interrupted, or otherwise crowd controlled.
Rain of Vengeance – Valla’s second heroic ability is Rain of Vengeance, a skillshot-like stun that comes down in two waves within the targeted area. In contrast to Strafe, Rain of Vengeance can be safely cast without leaving Valla vulnerable to being interrupted or focused down.
Hatred – The demon hunter’s trait is Hatred, increasing the damage of your basic attacks and movement speed with each stack of Hatred you get, making “right click” damage quite significant for Valla. These stacks do fall off if you stop auto-attacking for a few seconds, as well as upon death, so keep this in mind when jumping into a brawl.
Whenever I play Valla I tend to be very aggressive, chasing injured enemies and grabbing camps all by my lonesome. This is not how I would recommend playing her at all, though, as I am typically made to pay for such boldness many times over the course of a match. That said, Valla should be flinging arrows every which way whenever possible to maintain Hatred stacks and apply pressure, so the name of the game with this assassin is tiptoeing the line between careful and careless.
Valla is rated “easy” by Blizzard, which is a pretty accurate representation of her skill ceiling. Her output relies so heavily on auto-attacks that, as long as you’re clicking and in range, you’re going to be contributing at least something to either team engagements or soaking experience. Of course, a good Valla player will use Hungering Arrow and Multishot to dish out on-demand damage, know when to Vault into and out of dangerous situations, and where to place Rain of Vengeance or use Strafe to maximize their effectiveness.
Valla has two main build archetypes right now, a high-sustain right click build and a Multishot-centric burst damage build. The former of these two is not typically used in high level play since, if your team needs a strong laner they’ll simply pick Sylvanas. For the purposes of bot games and Quick Match, however, there’s no harm in trying things out and maybe even having a little fun.
Level 1 The very first talent pick for Valla will dictate what type of build you want to go for with the remainder of your talents. Typically the decision is between Composite Arrows for a Multishot build and Rancor for a right click build, though Siphoning Arrow is not a bad call for some additional healing if you notice your team is lacking in the support category.
Cost-Effective Materials saves on mana, but with so much of Valla’s damage coming from auto-attacks running out of mana is both rare and not a terrible inconvenience. If you’re pushing a lane with your team and you run out of mana bursting some enemy heroes down, all you need to do is hang back, right click, and watch your blue bar steadily go up.
If Valla’s auto-attacks were slower, or if Hatred didn’t cap out at 10, Punishment might be a good pick. As it is, dedicating your first talent to gain Hatred stacks that you will easily max out on after six seconds of right clicking is not a very wise investment.
Level 4 In my eyes there is only one real loser at level 4, and that is Puncturing Arrow. Increasing the bounces and range of Hungering Arrow is crossing a bit too much into the AOE territory already occupied by Multishot. Besides, with as much as Valla’s Q likes to wander, a minion or structure could easily eat the extra bounce.
Arsenal is a natural grab for a Multishot build, increasing the damage per cast of her W by roughly 50%. Be aware that the grenades that add this extra damage are a slower projectile than the arrows, which is bad if the enemy is coming towards you but great if they’re running away.
Level 7 Once you hit level 7 Valla can get a bit of a power boost depending on what talent you pick up. Whatever setup you’ve got going on, it’s very hard to go wrong with Searing Attacks. Hit this cooldown with a full stack of Hatred and you can make quick work of a squishy or force them back behind their gate. This ability does chew through mana like nobody’s business, though, so make sure you don’t extend too far to get that boosted damage out or, suddenly, you won’t have enough mana to Vault out of there.
The remainder of the talents this tier are still good, but they are unfairly forced to compete with a strong cooldown. Repeating Arrow and Hot Pursuit are both good talents for chasing down kills, whereas Caltrops is a decent addition to your escape arsenal. Personally I don’t care much for Caltrops as they’re fairly easy to avoid, but used in the right situations they can be very effective at disengaging from a gank.
Level 10 Valla’s heroics are both answers to the question, “Do I have a lot of crowd control on my team?”
If your answer is “Yes!” then Strafe is probably a safe bet. An uninterrupted Strafe can be devastating during a team fight, and the ability to Vault out at a moment’s notice is very handy. As stated earlier, however, it is fairly easy to shut down a Valla while she’s spinning and winning; a stun, knockback, or incapacitate like Void Prison or Devouring Maw will all stop the arrows from flying.
If your answer is a deflated “No…” then Rain of Vengeance would be a great pick. This ability can help zone (albeit briefly), initiate a team fight, save your friends from certain death, it can slice, dice, chop, mince — this ability has it all, and it’s all yours for one easy click at level 10!
Level 13 This tier shares the running theme in Valla’s talents of making sure that wedge remains firmly driven between both build archetypes.
For the ever-popular Multishot playstyle, Frost Shot is a clear choice — keeping your targets in range longer on an ability you’re using at every turn is a no-brainer.
Giant Killer, meanwhile, is a safe choice for right click builds, provided you have a strong front line that can allow you to peck away in relative luxury.
Tempered by Discipline is the upgraded version of Searing Attacks I mentioned earlier, and isn’t a bad call if you’re having trouble with your sustain. It does require a full stack of Hatred to start kicking in, putting it into the same team composition category as Giant Killer.
And Spell Shield, yet again, is a specific talent with a specific purpose — shut down incoming bursty ability damage. Spell Shield is a very team-oriented pick for those situations when the heals and shields coming out of your team’s supports just aren’t enough to stop your heroes from popping.
Level 16 Build differences end up making little difference in your talent choices at level 16; though Executioner has some nice synergy with Frost Shot, Valla can’t apply enough slows, stuns, or roots to make this talent self-sufficient. It could be a great talent when paired with a Jaina and Arthas, but on its own it often fails to impress.
The usual default option this tier is Blood for Blood, a strong cooldown that heals you, slows your target, and costs no mana whatsoever. I have seen matches where an entire team will take this talent and coordinate its use on one specific target, usually a clingy melee assassin like Illidan or Zeratul — the speed at which their hapless victim runs out of health to steal is quite the sight to behold.
Tumble is a great tool to increase Valla’s survivability, but I see this talent more as a set of training wheels than a solid pick here. Take it when you’re still learning about positioning and committing to an engagement, but as you internalize these concepts you’ll find that the 75 mana you would have used to Vault a second time could be better used elsewhere.
Stoneskin, in my opinion at least, simply doesn’t provide a sufficiently large boost to survivability to merit taking it over nearly anything else this tier. As an assassin, Valla’s max health is never that high, and 30% of “not a lot” is just “no.”
Level 20 The last selection of talents is a smorgasbord of great treats. Rather than adhering to the dichotomous talent groupings that has so defined Valla’s climb to level 20, only the usual heroic ability restrictions apply.
Vengeance is a very nice talent to stack more damage on an already damage-laden cooldown. As long as your team’s crowd control remains solid and somewhat coordinated, this is a great upgrade to Strafe.
On the other hand, Storm of Vengeance isn’t quite as good when compared to the other talents at this level. Being able to snag even one enemy in both waves of Rain of Vengeance is a rarity — adding two more waves on top of that is a bit overkill. Even so, if you have some significant slows on your team then perhaps this upgrade could suit you.
Nexus Frenzy flows naturally with a right click build, though it certainly can be applied to a Multishot build just as effectively. Pairing this with typical right click talents like Manticore, Vampiric Assault, Giant Killer, and Tempered by Discipline amplifies their effects and transforms Valla into some arrow-spewing demigod.
Bolt of the Storm is always a nice escape option, especially since it costs no mana. Most high level Valla players will pick this up to ensure they don’t get caught and bursted down in the late game when spawn timers are measured on a geological time scale.
Well, that pretty much does it for Valla. As you can see, this ranged assassin can be quite simple to pick up and a very potent source of continuous damage for your team. She is actually one of my most played heroes in the game; I find that I really enjoy her playstyle and her adaptability from laning to brawling to grabbing camps and objectives. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop them in the comment section below!
Written by Dan Desmond. Last updated 6/16/2015.