I meant to do some Heroes of the Storm guides when the game officially launched, but with all the chaos of apartment-hunting and moving, I didn’t get a chance.
But now that life is more settled, and I’d like to start sharing some of what I’ve learned in my year plus of playing. I’m going to share my standard builds for my most played characters in each of the four roles. I’ll also be sharing links to their talent calculators on Heroes Nexus in case you need more info on the heroes and their abilities.
Today, I’ll be talking about my favourite support and assassin, Tassadar and Jaina. These are my two most played characters, with over 150 games played and master skins unlocked on each at the time of this writing.
UPDATE: The Jaina build has been updated to reflect the changes in the Dehaka patch on March 29, 2016.
Tassadar: Executor of All Trades
General thoughts: The great thing about Tassadar is his versatility. He doesn’t necessarily excel in any particular area, but he brings a little bit of everything to the table, and he has few, if any, major weaknesses or obvious counters.
He’s also an excellent counter to stealth heroes, especially Nova. Between his trait and psionic storm, he’s fantastic at knocking enemies out of stealth, his shields help counter their burst, and dimensional shift completely negates Nova’s triple-tap while still triggering its full cooldown.
This build is meant to build on his versatility. It will allow you to put out very high healing numbers (rivaling a Malfurion or Kharazim) while also being supremely hard to kill and doing some some fairly respectable damage.
1: Conjurer’s pursuit: Collecting healing globes permanently increases your mana regeneration.
This build focuses on making very heavy use of plasma shield and psionic storm, and you will need all the mana you can get. If you’re diligent about grabbing healing globes in the early game, this talent should be enough to sustain you.
4: Leeching plasma: Basic attacks by shielded targets heal them.
This tier offers Tassadar’s only means of actually healing damage, and leeching plasma is more reliable than healing ward. Prioritize shielding squishy heroes with high auto-attack damage, like Valla and Illidan.
7: Khala’s embrace: A portion of plasma shield will remain indefinitely after its duration runs out.
This is a crucial part of the build. Once you have this talent, you should pretty much be using plasma shield on cooldown, even if — especially if — there’s no fighting going on. By blanketing shields across your entire team, you can greatly increase their survivability. Prioritize low health heroes. Shield yourself only if you’re near death or everyone else is already shielded. Staying at range and making judicious use of dimensional shift should be enough to keep you alive under most circumstances.
10: Archon: Gain a shield and greatly increased auto-attack damage for short period.
This is by far the easier to use ultimate, and therefore my pick. It’s been nerfed a few times, but the damage can still make a difference if the enemy team is backed into a corner or otherwise unable to escape. In a pinch, its shield can also save you from certain death.
13: Prescience: Dimensional shift activates automatically at low health.
Tassadar is pretty hard to kill to begin with, but with prescience, you’re nearly immortal. It will activate when you’re stunned, and it doesn’t trigger and isn’t effected by dimensional shift’s main cooldown.
16: Second strike: You can cast a second, free psionic storm after the first one.
With the survivability of you and your team covered, it’s time to boost your damage. A second psionic storm allows you to deal more AoE damage to the enemy team, recover from a misclick, control the battlefield, or clear large minion waves easily.
Important note: Multiple psionic storms do not stack. Placing two storms directly on top of each other will not double your damage.
20: Twilight archon: Increases the damage bonus and shield of archon and increases your auto-attack range while active.
Although the damage of twilight archon is devastating, its real value is in the increased range. Enemies will find it much harder to escape your wrath.
Storm shield is also a decent choice, but twilight archon is just too much fun. People underestimate you. And then they die.
Jaina: Blizzard Entertainment
General thoughts: Jaina is a very strong assassin, but in some ways a peculiar one. She’s not a duelist or a ganker. She’s not the best in small engagements. Team fights, though? She reigns supreme. Her AoE damage and crowd control will ruin the enemy team.
Keep in mind that Jaina has very low health and no escape tools. Always stay at range, and don’t take chances. A cautious Jaina is a successful Jaina. Blizzard is your main source of damage, and frost bolt can be used to poke, wear down, or finish off a wounded target. Cone of cold is mainly used to discourage enemies who get too close. You can use it offensively, but it’s very risky, so I don’t recommend it for beginners.
This build focuses on blizzard, capitalizing on Jaina’s existing strengths.
1: Lingering chill: Chill effects last longer.
Mostly this just makes your play more forgiving by making combos easier to execute. It allows you to easily keep a target permanently chilled by spamming frost bolt.
4: Snowstorm: Increases blizzard radius.
The default radius for blizzard is pretty small. This makes it easier to clear minion waves or hit multiple enemy heroes.
7: Frostbitten: Increases damage bonus against chilled targets.
10: Summon water elemental: Fairly self-explanatory.
I actually think ring of frost is a better ultimate if you can land it, but it’s extremely hard to use effectively. Water elemental is much safer choice.
Two things to keep in mind about water elemental: It’s very good at chasing down wounded enemies without risking yourself, and it attacks fast enough to keep a Nova from re-entering stealth. This is a great way to force her to disengage.
13: Storm front: Increases cast range of blizzard.
This is, in my view, Jaina’s most mandatory talent. The default range for blizzard puts you entirely too close to the front lines. You need the extra range.
17: Snow crash: Adds an additional hit to blizzard.
Realistically, you’re not going to hit many heroes with all three blizzard waves, but this talent is a great asset for capturing mercenary camps and keeping enemies zoned out, and the other talents in this row don’t really fit this build.
20: Wintermute: Increases the cast range of summon water elemental, and causes your elemental to mirror your ability casts for half damage.
I can’t say I’m happy about the removal of bolt of the storm from Jaina. That leaves wintermute or arcane power as your only choices. They both increase burst damage, which isn’t something Jaina needs help with by level 20.
Neither option is good, but wintermute is slightly less weak. It’s basically free damage, and the extra cast range on water elemental has its uses.
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Any questions? Ask me in the comments.