Hello and welcome to my second guide on Heroes of the Storm Alpha, my name is Lordunderpants and today I will be covering Zeratul the Dark Prelate.
Permanent Cloak: Become invisible while not attacking or taking damage.
Cleave (Q): Damage nearby enemies.
Cleave is your primary damage ability. It hits all enemies in an arc in front of you.
Singularity Spike (W): Slow and damage first enemy hit.
This ability is a skill shot that tags a target, after a few seconds it explodes doing a little bit of damage. The main point to this ability is to slow the enemy so you can keep attacking them, but don’t be afraid to use it to poke the enemy team.
Blink (E): Teleport to location. Ability does not break cloak.
Your first and last line in staying alive, the difference between living and dying is making sure to save this ability for when you’re in over your head. It’s something you have to judge if blinking into the fight to get a little bit of damage out weighs the fact you wouldn’t have it to escape if the battle turns sour.
Shadow Assault (R): Basic Attacks charge enemies, have Life Steal, and attack faster.
This is your damage ultimate ability that can easily turn the tide in any battle. Not only can the enemy now not run away, as you would teleport next to them, but you attack faster and with life steal. Add in all your other attacks and you become a force to be feared on the battlefield.
Void Prison (R): Trap ALL targets, making them become invulnerable.
This is your displacement ultimate that can help even the fighting field and give you an unfair advantage. You summon a giant prism that freezes anybody who walks into it, allies included, they take no damage and can do no abilities. Using this ultimate correctly can cut off enemy reinforcements as you focus on those who are left. You can also use this ability to help buy some time for you and your allies as you wait for reinforcements yourself or to try and bait out your enemies into using some of there abilities first.
There are no wrong talents to choose, there are some talents that seem more appealing than others and help fill in your exact style of game play. In this section I will go over what I generally go for and why.
Level 1 Talents:
Regeneration Master: Every 3 Regeneration Globes gathered grants an extra +4 Health per second, permanently.
Block: Periodically reduces the damage received from Hero Basic Attacks by 50%. Stores up to 2 charges.
Seasoned Marksman: Gain 1 Basic Attack damage for ever 5 enemies killed with Basic Attacks.
Greater Cleave (Q): Increases the radius of Cleave by 33%
Rapid Displacement (E): Reduces the cooldown of Blink by 1.5 seconds.
The first set of talents offer a couple different aspects on how you’re planning on playing. If you plan on laning more often Regeneration Master and Seasoned Marksman are great for building up either your survivability or damage ratios. If you plan on being more mobile and ganking Block and Greater Cleave do the same, while Rapid Displacement is more situation and can help you get in and out of fights more often. Before choosing your first talent I highly recommend figuring out the role you plan on doing the most with your team and planning accordingly.
Level 4 Talents:
Focused Attack: Every 10 seconds, your next Basic Attack deals 50% additional damage. Basic Attacks reduce this cooldown by 1 second.
Vampiric Assault: Basic Attacks heal for 15% of the damage dealt.
Gathering Power: Passively grants 8% Ability Power. Each Hero takedown grants a bonus 2% Ability Power, up to 12% This bonus ability Power is lost upon death.
Sustained Anomaly (W): Spike now explodes for area damage and slows, regardless if it hits target or not.
Vorpal Blade: Activate to teleport to the last target you attacked within 3 seconds. 15 second cooldown.
Quite a few tasty looking choices here with lots of options on beefing yourself up or adding cool effects to your abilities. If you find yourself auto attacking a lot and getting away with it Focused Attack will help bring a lot of the damage you’re looking for, for more sustain Vampiric Assault will help you live, and Gathering Power will help beef up your abilities. If you find yourself missing your Singularity Spike often, Sustained Anomaly is a great solution so you can make sure you get the slow down on the enemy, otherwise Vorpal Blade will help you hunt down those hard to catch targets.
Level 7 Talents:
Follow Through: After using an ability, your next Basic Attack deals 25% additional damage.
Rending Cleave (Q): Cleave deals an additional 50% damage over 5 seconds.
Shadow Spike (W): No longer de-cloak when using Singularity Spike. Range increased by 20%.
First Aid: Activate to heal 35% of your max Health over 6 seconds.
Searing Attacks: Activate to increase Basic Attack damage by 50% for 5 seconds. Each attack costs Mana.
This tier has so much potential for either your damage or being annoying. If you’re able to chain your order as ability, attack, ability, attack, you can maximize the efficiency and gain a power boost from Follow Through but fights become so hectic it can be a challenge. Shadow Spike can be super annoying for the enemy team but you mostly use it for its slow, not its damage or poke so it doesn’t really live up to being too useful. First Aid can give you a huge boost in sustain if you’re having problems living. Rending Cleave is amazing since you’ll already be spamming your Cleave in fights and it adds a bleed effect which can help secure kills and add in extra AOE damage. To me Searing Attacks would be awesome in an optimal situation but it doesn’t happen too often. A lot of the time you’ll be chasing your enemies and in the span of the 5 seconds that it lasts you could potentially get off 1-2 attacks on a running target (100% more damage or 1 more attack equivalent) to maybe 3 on a stationary target (150% more damage or 1.5 more attacks).
Level 10 Talents:
This is where you choose your Heroic Ability, Shadow Assault or Void Prision.
Level 13 Talents:
Giant Killer: Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal an additional 1.5% of the target’s max Health in damage.
Spell Shield: Periodically reduces the damage received from Hero Abilities by 50%. Stores up to 2 charges.
Burning Rage: Deals 12-70 (10 + 2 per level) per second to nearby enemies.
Wormhole (E): For 3 seconds, you can activate Blink again to return to the point where it was cast from.
Assassins’s Blade: Gain 25% Attack Damage for 5 seconds when breaking cloak. 10% increased Movement Speed while cloaked.
This is a tough tier, so many good options that used to be more spread out before the Rehgar patch. Spell Shield is a huge boost to survive-ability against ability spamming champions. Wormhole can be a great tool to confuse your enemies but in group situations can be tricky to pull off to your advantage. Burning Rage is cool in that it adds a persistent AOE but it can be tricky surviving a long time inside a group. Giant Killer is a huge boost of damage against targets with high health and Assassin’s Blade is perfect for the ganking style with its increased burst damage potential (get in and out play style) and movement speed while cloaked to help you get into position.
Level 16 Talents:
Executioner: Basic Attacks deal 40% more damage against slowed, rooted, or stunned targets.
From the Shadows (Q): Cleave deals 30% increased damage if used while cloaked.
Double Bombs (W): After you cast Singularity Spike, you can cast a second one for free within 3 seconds.
Stoneskin: Activate to gain 30% of your max Health as Shields for 5 seconds.
Berserk: Activate to increase your Attack Speed by 40% and Movement Speed by 10% for 4 seconds.
Right off the bat Stoneskin is your last option for more sustain, if you’re having trouble living to do your burst damage you may want to take this talent just to live more. If you’re finding you just need more damage Berserk can be a nice steroid when diving in on an enemy, Executioner is amazing if you have a team with lots of stuns,roots or snares (don’t forget your Singularity Spike (W) has a slow to it), and From the Shadows can increase your burst potential when you pop out of stealth. Double Bombs is the only one I’m not too sure on, unless you chose some of the other options to boost the effectiveness of Singularity Spikes, casting 2 of them isn’t going to make or break a fight.
Level 20 Talents:
You have the option to power up your Heroic Ability here, I will mostly go over the other 2 options as it really is a personal preference for your Heroic Ability.
Fury of the Storm: Basic Attacks bounce twice to nearby enemies for 50% damage.
Bolt of the Storm: Activate to teleport to a nearby location.
Nerazim Fury (R): Increases the Life Steal of Shadow Assault by 15%, and the duration by 50%.
Protective Prison (R): Allies are no longer affected by Void Prison.
The final tier, putting aside the boosts to your ultimate abilities it leaves you with more AOE damage or an extra blink. Extra AOE damage is always a nice choice, my problem here is with Bolt of the Storm, if you’re still having trouble judging when to use your Blink or still finding it hard to survive there is something wrong going on here. Really in this tier you cant go wrong, but having a second Blink won’t make or break a team fight at this point in the game.
My Preferred Talent List:
1. Block – Okay so your main objective is damage, lots and lots of damage, but Block adds a lot of sustain for popping in and doing some damage and then popping out with Blink while you take little to no damage.
2. Vampiric Assault – This is my crutch for making sure I can survive the early engagements, later on it doesn’t help quite as much, but it does offer some sustainability.
3. Rending Cleave – It’s a move you’re constantly using in battle and when enemies run away they still take damage. Get a whole group of enemies together and you’ll do a ton of damage.
4. Heroic Ability – Main deciding factor is what the enemy is doing. Enemy team more spread out? Shadow Assault time so you can take down your targets 1 on 1. Enemy team grouping? Void Prison helps cut half of them off while your team mops up the rest. Shadow Assault does tend to be my default go to heroic ability however, just because of the utility and extra damage it gives.
5. Giant Killer or Assassin’s Blade – Again a big goal you have as the shadow assassin is to do a ton of damage. Giant Killer is your solution for targets with tons of health while Assassin’s Blade is your solution for everything else. This is the only tier I’m torn on and it’s because you have to look at the enemy team and see if they have enough high health targets to choose Giant Killer or pass onto Assassin’s Blade
6. Executioner – Again it’s all about the damage. Tagging someone with your Singularity Spike or having a team mate with a slow, stun, or root can help you destroy any enemy that gets in your way.
7. Fury of the Storm – I really just enjoy having that extra AOE damage all the time. Bolt of Storm seems unnecessary to me, and while the 2 buffs for the ultimate are really nice, you’re still set back by having the cool downs on the abilities themselves.
Zeratul is a master assassin and can dish out a ton of burst damage, however you need to master your stealth and blink ability to judge a good fight and a good time to run. Your main focus on Zeratul is hunting down the weaker enemy heroes and providing heavy burst damage during team fights. Your main priorities should be objective control and protecting your back line. When playing you should always be gauging fights, figuring out when to engage and when to back away, and to always keep an eye on where you should be next to help your team.
Played correctly Zeratul can be an amazing asset to the team dealing tons of damage and locking down objectives. Being fairly squishy, however means it’s easy to rush in and die. What will make you or break you while playing Zeratul is knowing when to go in, what target to go for, and using your skills effectively to go in and out of combat to make sure you live and your target dies.
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