The Sun King
This pyromancer isn’t playing around – full of fire and ire, Kael’thas combusts enemies from the back line, leaving a procession of charred husks in his wake. His combination of range and damage makes him a potent addition to many lineups. However, Kael’thas’s playstyle isn’t for everyone – most comfortable in the periphery of a fight, this blood elf will fold under even marginal pressure. Playing him well requires incredibly defensive positioning and sensitivity to over-extension, as he has no escape until level 20.
Kael’thas, in his current state, spikes in power at level 16 because of his grouped talents focusing around his Living Bomb ability. Being able to tag one target with Living Bomb, and have the explosion apply Living Bomb to other enemies can result in catastrophic damage during teamfighting encounter. If that isn’t enough damage, he also comes with a stun and two destructive heroic abilities, giving him massive finishing power for when the poking turns into fighting.
Verdant Spheres (D, Active)
Your next Basic Ability is more powerful
Verdant Spheres is extremely low cooldown. Using Verdant Spheres in combination with Flamestrike, or Living Bomb are the only two options you should use. Having a free mana-cost Living Bomb is a great laning tool, and the extra damage on your Flamestrike will decimate your opponents.
Cooldown: 7 seconds
After a short delay, deal 474 (94 + 20 per level) damage in an area.
Verdant Spheres increases the radius by 50% and deals 711 (141 + 30 per level) damage.
Flamestrike is Kael’thas’ best tool for chunking out his opponents health bar. If you ever catch someone with your Gravity Lapse, always follow it up with an empowered Flamestrike. If you need to clear minion waves quickly, this ability also does the trick.
Living Bomb (W)
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Deal 420 (78 + 18 per level) damage over 3 seconds to an enemy, then they explode dealing 210 (39 + 9 per level) damage to all nearby enemies. Casting a second Living Bomb on an enemy causes the previous Living Bomb to explode immediately.
Verdant Spheres makes this Ability cost no Mana and have no cooldown.
Living Bomb is a very high damage, point-and-click ability. Using Verdant Spheres in combination with Living Bomb allows you to quickly clear minion waves for absolutely no mana cost. It’s a great way to stack up your Mana Addict talent in the early game, and keeps your mana pool full for when you want to deal damage to the enemy team.
Gravity Lapse (E)
Cooldown: 13 seconds
Stuns the first enemy hit for 1.5 seconds.
Verdant Spheres causes Gravity Lapse to stun the first 3 enemies hit.
Gravity Lapse is a double-edged sword. Using it to catch out enemy Heroes to use your skill combo on is a great way to deal damage, but at the same time it’s your only form of escape. If you catch someone in Gravity Lapse, use Verdant Spheres + Flamestrike on top of them, then follow it up with a Living Bomb. Be very careful using Gravity Lapse freely when you’re surrounded by enemy Heroes. In the late game, it’s a lot smarter to stay back, and poke with Flamestrike, while saving your Gravity Lapse to get Heroes off of you.
Cooldown: 40 seconds
Launch a Phoenix to an area, dealing 170 (18 + 8 per level) damage to enemies along the way. The Phoenix persists for 7 seconds, attacking enemies for 170 (18 + 8 per level) damage and splashing for 50%.
Phoenix is Kael’thas’ most useful Heroic ability, because it provides consistent damage, zoning potential and has a very low cooldown. Using Phoenix to cover up contested ground can cause the enemy team to retreat, giving your team a positional advantage. This Heroic is also great for placing on structures during a siege opportunity.
Cooldown: 50 seconds
After 2 seconds, cast a slow-moving fireball that deals 1600 (365 + 65 per level) damage to an enemy Hero and 800 (182.5 + 32.5 per level) damage to enemies nearby.
Pyroblast is a very high-damage nuke ability. I haven’t found a lot of use for Pyroblast, asides from playing Quick-Match games. If you combine this ability with Gathering Power, you can make some pretty fun 1-shot plays – but asides from that, it has very little use. I don’t recommend taking this Heroic.
Level 1 Talents
Recommended: Mana Addict
Mana Addict is the way to go at level 1. By collecting Regen Globes in the early game, you’re able to spend a lot more mana during the middle/late phases of the game – increasing your damage by a substantial amount. This talent is also a great incentive to roam into other lanes to try and set up kills for your team.
Level 4 Talents
Recommended: Nether Wind
Nether Wind allows you to land your Gravity Lapse a lot more often. Without this talent, Gravity Lapse is very easy to dodge, and feels super clunky. Even though the other talents this level increase your damage output directly, Nether Wind indirectly boosts your damage by enabling you to land your full damage combo more consistently.
Level 7 Talents
Recommended: Fission Bomb
Fission Bomb is the foundation for Kael’thas’ power. The explosion damage helps out your pushing power, and your damage in team-fights. There are really no other talents this level that are even remotely close to Fission Bomb in terms of damage output and teamfighting presense.
Level 10 Heroics
Definitely the stronger team-based Heroic, Phoenix allows you to zone your opponents, while dealing significant damage. It’s also very effective in sieging situations, because the enemy team can’t attack your Phoenix. Because of the low cooldown, don’t be afraid to use this ability on minion waves that you need to clear out quickly, or Mercenary / Siege camps that you’re trying to capture. As with every AoE ability, try placing your Phoenix in locations that hit multiple enemy heroes to maximize it’s damage output. So far, there hasn’t been a single game where I’ve felt that Pyroblast would be a better tool in my kit than Phoenix.
Level 13 Talents
Recommended: Chain Bomb
With the increase in Living Bomb‘s explosion radius and damage from Fission Bomb, Chain Bomb becomes the strongest choice for level 13. Using Verdant Spheres, and 2 Living Bombs into a teamfight can absolutely decimate your opponents. You’ll notice around this level that your damage starts to go way up because of all the support talents for your damage abilities – needless to say, throw out as many Living Bombs as you can.
Level 16 Talents
Having a 50% slow on your Living Bomb is very useful, as the amount of times this abilities procs in a teamfight is absurd. This talent will allow your team to disengage from fights, continue pressuring fights, and even score kills that you wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.
If you’re caught out by yourself, try to use Gravity Lapse on your opponent, and tag them with Living Bomb. The slow from the explosion will be more than enough to get you safely away from danger.
Level 20 Talents
Because Kael’thas doesn’t really have a means to escape sticky situations, I always pick up Bolt of the Storm. Positioning is such a key factor to playing Kael’thas successfully, because of his lack of mobility. At least with this talent, if you do get caught out, you probably won’t die. All that matters at this point in the game is that you stay alive, so Bolt of the Storm is the talent that allows you to do just that.