Illidan

The Betrayer

Introduction:

The zippiest assassin in the land, Illidan will spend much of any given game flipping through the air and being generally acrobatic. Illidan is unbound by any system of resources, meaning he can spam his abilities whenever they’re off cooldown. With a trait that restores health and reduces cooldowns with each hit of his blades, it’s no wonder that Illidan is one of the more difficult heroes to play pristinely.

While he doesn’t have a large health pool, Illidan’s lifesteal and maneuverability make him a difficult target to lock down. Because of this, he makes for a potent frontline assassin, pairing particularly well with heroes who can control crowds or create chaos in teamfights. The best Illidan players make full use of his acrobatics, leaping around and making it difficult for enemies to keep on target, dealing substantial sustained damage while keeping himself alive.

  • Damage
  • Tankiness
  • Healing
  • Self-sustain
  • Utility
  • Mobility

Abilities

Betrayer’s Thirst

Basic Attacks heal for 20% of damage dealt and reduce your Ability cooldowns by 1 second.

Betrayer’s Thirst is the focal point of Illidan’s kit. It reinforces the idea that you should be in extended fights with Illidan, because of how many times your cooldowns get refreshed, and the amount of healing you get back from your Basic Attacks.

Dive (Q)

Cooldown: 6 seconds
Charge to target unit, dealing 550 (170 + 20 per level) damage on impact and stunning for 1 second.

Illidan is all about the Dive. This places you behind your target, stunning them for a very short period of time (just long enough to get a Basic Attack in). This ability can be used on any target as a means of engaging or escaping a fight. Illidan is all about his mobility, so use your Dive to engage fights — just remember to always be using your Basic Attacks to refresh your cooldowns even faster. Dive can also be used to dodge enemy attacks — keep this in mind, and watch your opponent for opportunities to outplay them.

Sweeping Strike (W)

Cooldown: 8 seconds
Dash towards target point, dealing 260 (70 + 10 per level) damage to enemies along the way. If you hit an enemy, Basic Attacks do 35% more damage for 4 seconds.

Sweeping Strike is fantastic damage boon for Illidan. You can travel through targets with this ability, and it increases your Basic Attack damage against them for 4 seconds. If you play Illidan correctly, you can Dive onto your target, use Evasion, Sweeping Strike them during your trade, and Dive away with the enemy Minion wave. This is part of the ebb and flow of Illidan’s playstyle; he’s all about managing cooldowns. Similar to DiveSweeping Strike can also be used to dodge enemy attacks.

Evasion (E)

Cooldown: 15 seconds
Evade enemy Basic Attacks for 2 seconds.

Evasion is Illidan’s most important, and longest cooldown Basic Ability. You always want this ability ready when you’re going to Dive onto an enemy, because the dodge is what makes you so difficult to deal with. Don’t use this ability the moment you Dive in, instead, try to anticipate when your target is going to react and deal damage to you, then use Evasion. Continue your assault of Basic Attacks, and use Evasion again the moment it’s off cooldown. Always choose Shadow Shield as a level 1 talent, so remember the shield you receive by using Evasion — it’s incredibly important against Ability Heroes.


The Hunt (R)

Cooldown: 60 seconds
Charge to target unit, dealing 550 (170 + 20 per level) damage on impact and stunning for 1 second.

The Hunt is a great Heroic ability on large maps, where you’re playing more of a 1v1 threat as opposed to a teamfighting Hero. I don’t usually choose The Hunt, because Illidan’s competitive playstyle is very heavily influenced by his teamfighting capabilities. Choose The Hunt to deal with that annoying Falstad split-push, or if you’re wanting to have fun in Quick Match.

Metamorphosis (R)

Cooldown: 120 seconds
Transform into Demon Form at the target location, dealing 100 (24 + 4 per level) damage in the area. Gain 400 (115 + 15 per level) temporary max Health for each Hero hit and 20% increased Attack Speed. Lasts for 18 seconds.

Metamorphosis is my favorite Heroic ability in the game. It renders you untargetable, and increases your Health and Attack Speed for each enemy Hero hit by the circumference of the ability. Landing Metamorphosis on multiple targets increases it’s effectiveness dramatically. Keep playing Illidan like you would before level 10, and save Metamorphosis for when you start taking damage. The Health increase is another reset tool that you have in your arsenal, and can be used to massively outplay your opponents in teamfights. Metamorphosis can also be used to dodge major enemy abilities, or to escape over walls in very dire situations.

Talents

Level 1 Talents

Recommended: Shadow Shield

It doesn’t matter what situation you’re in: choose Shadow Shield. The amount of damage you can negate by having your Evasion available often because of Betrayer’s Thirst is insane. Shadow Shield is your best way to negate ability damage throughout the early game, and makes you extremely difficult to deal with.

Level 4 Talents

Recommended: Immolation

To further increase your damage and teamfighting potential, choose Immolation as your level 4 talent. The extra burn is actually quite significant, and because you’re using Sweeping Strike so much, it makes Immolation the strongest talent for level 4. Thirsting Blade is also decent, but it doesn’t compare with Immolation in overall effectiveness.

Level 7 Talents

Recommended: First Aid or Thrill of Battle

Level 7 is a very difficult decision. I used to choose First Aid, because of the amount of Health pool resets you have available to you after level 10. However, more recently I think it may be the strongest decision to choose Thrill of Battle. By using Thrill of Battle, you’re able to get off your Evasion and Shadow Shield twice as many times during a teamfight, making the damage negation even stronger than the heal you receive from First Aid.

If you can trust your playstyle and your Support, I would choose Thrill of Battle over First Aid.

Level 10 Heroics

Recommended: Metamorphosis

Because of Illidan’s emphasis on teamfights, choosing Metamorphosis is your best option for level 10. If you’re playing Illidan properly, you can be extremely difficult to kill — Metamorphosis further increases that difficulty by giving you a larger Health pool, and putting lowering your cooldowns by increasing your Attack Speed (Thank you Betrayer’s Thirst). This is a very versatile Heroic ability, because you can use it to engage a fight, disengage from a fight, or as a Health reset in the middle of a fight.

 

Level 13 Talents

Recommended: Sixth Sense

The most difficult part about Illidan is getting smashed by Ability damage. If you get hit by a Kael’thas Flamestrike, you’re in a lot of trouble. Sixth Sense is your tool for dealing with this. It allows you to negate 50% of the damage you would have regularly received from Ability damage, which makes you very difficult to kill during a teamfight. With Thrill of Battle, and Shadow ShieldSixth Sense turns you into an absolute nightmare for Ability Heroes.

Level 16 Talents

Recommended: Blood for Blood

Level 16 has two options; one much stronger than the other. If you’re ahead in game, or even with the enemy team — choose Blood for Blood. Even if you’re behind a couple levels, I would choose Blood for Blood just because it’s such a devastating talent for Illidan. If your team has no Warrior, and you’re getting absolutely demolished in fights, choose Stoneskin. Chances are though, if you have to choose Stoneskin, it’s going to be difficult to win the game.

Level 20 Talents

Recommended: Demonic Form

Demonic Form is the strongest talent for Illidan at level 20. On most Assassins, I choose Bolt of the Storm because survivability is such a huge factor for them, however; a lot of your prior talents have emphasis on survivability, so choosing Bolt of the Storm is both redundant and counter-intuitive to Illidan’s kit. Demonic Form increases your Metamorphosis Attack-Speed buff to 30%, and grants you a 50% crowd-control reduction on top of that.

At this point, you’re a flying Demon, and anyone you dive onto will be terrified into submission. “You Are Not Prepared!”