Kerrigan

Queen of Blades

Introduction:

A melee assassin with potent damage a nice range of disruptive abilities, Kerrigan makes for a great DPS and team player. Primal Grasp allows her to pull enemies towards them, giving her the powerful ability to pull enemies out of position. Combined with her leap and AoE stun, she proves a versatile threat who can work with her team lineup to land some ludicrous wombo combos.

Seeing as her trait grants her shield based on the damage she does, being a good Kerrigan player requires knowing when to engage and when to flee. Her ability to sustain through combat makes for some tough, split-second decisions – learning the extent of her trading ability is what separates a top tier Kerrigan player from the chaff.

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

Abilities

Assimilation (D)

Gain 10% of damage dealt from Basic Attacks and Abilities as Shields for 6 seconds. Shield amount gained doubled against Heroes.Current maximum: 2200 (300 + 100 per level)

This slots Kerrigan as a bit of a bruiser, as it allows her to sustain with abilities and autoattacks. This means that she wants to be aggressive whenever she’s in a fight, though not at the cost of strategy. Figuring out how far she can stretch these shields will vastly improve any Kerrigan’s play.

Ravage (Q)

75 Mana
Cooldown: 8 seconds
Leap to a target, dealing 450 (70 + 20 per level) damage. If this kills the target, its cooldown is instantly reset.

Kerrigan’s initiator and gap-closer, Ravage allows her to stay on top of her targets with tenacity. The instant cooldown on kills makes timing very important towards the end of fights, when there are several low hp heroes wheeling about. If talented towards, this ability can provide Kerrigan with a much-needed early escape mechanism.

Impaling Blades (W)

60 Mana
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Deals 550 (132 + 22 per level) damage to enemies within the target area, dazing them for 1 second.

Impaling Blades adds a lot to Kerrigan’s utility, especially for an assassin, its only downsides being its delay and low AoE. Amazing Kerrigans will have the timing of this ability down to instinct, allowing them to get maximum value out of its CC. This is a crucial part of Kerrigan’s combo, and landing it will make or break her effectiveness in a game.

Kerrigan’s combo is as follows: Ravage > Impaling Blades> Primal Grasp > Envenom > Blood for Blood, followed by auto attacks until the cooldowns have run their course. Full access to it requires level sixteen, but the potential for the first four steps exists by level four. Landing this combo consistently is what can make Kerrigan a top-tier hero.

Primal Grasp (E)

50 Mana
Cooldown: 8 seconds
Pulls enemies within the target area towards you, dealing 310 (63 + 13 per level) damage.

Any ability that can pull enemies somewhere they’d rather not be is an incredible utility to have, and that Primal Grasp is on a melee assassin like Kerrigan is really amazing. This assists with not only solo ganks, where she can pull an enemy back into her waiting blades, but also in teamfights, where she can drag entire squads into a friendly AoE. This is a very potent ability in combination with Impaling Blades – if both are landed, it can keep an enemy in range of her attacks for quite some time.


Summon Ultralisk (R)

100 Mana
Cooldown: 80 seconds
Summon an Ultralisk that attacks the target to deal 200 (48 + 8 per level) damage. Attacks splash to nearby enemies for 50% damage. Can reactivate the Ability to retarget the Ultralisk. Lasts for 20 seconds.

Though not often picked, Summon Ultralisk gives Kerrigan high potential for harassing the back line, even when she’s letting her cooldowns reset on the sidelines. This is an ideal pick for a Kerrigan who likes to jump in, execute her combo, and then retreat to the shadows until she can do it again.

Maelstrom (R)

100 Mana
Cooldown: 120 seconds
Deals 150 (55 + 5 per level) damage per second to nearby enemies. Lasts for 9 seconds.

This can do some massive AoE damage as long as Kerrigan remains in the midst of a fight, which is not always the most advisable tactic. However, the massive shield it provides if it hits multiple enemies can make up for this exposure. Maelstrom is a strong teamfighting ability that can sustain Kerrigan and damage her foes, but the Queen of Blades must beware the target it paints on her back.

Talents

Level 1 Talents

Recommended: Sweeping Grasp

As mentioned earlier, Primal Grasp is an incredible ability, and anything that augments it is equally worthy of praise. While the damage from Sharpened Blades and Seasoned Marksman, the sustain from Siphoning Impact, and the survivability from Block all can prove serviceable, increasing Primal Grasp‘s range is strong in any situation.

Level 4 Talents

Recommended: Envenom

Kerrigan relies on burst damage to demolish her foes with a single combo, and Envenom is exactly what she needs to boost her burst. While supplementing her other abilities or boosting her auto-attacks might seem like strong options, in her current state Kerrigan is highly reliant on her bursty combo to be competitive. That said, Fury of the Swarm can help her farm objectives on Garden of Terror or Haunted Mines.

Level 7 Talents

Recommended: Battle Momentum

Kerrigan is all about her abilities, so anything that reduces their cooldowns on a consistent basis is a welcome addition to her kit. Battle Momentum does just that, allowing her to spam her combo (and even heroics) more frequently as long as she’s scoring some auto-attacks.

Adaptation is perhaps the more pragmatic option, as it allows Kerrigan to use Ravage as an effective escape mechanism. If dying is a concern of hers, she can pick this up long before Sprint makes itself available as a tool for evading death.

Impaling Swarm doesn’t provide an incredible amount of damage, but it can help absorb mercenary attacks and skillshots, as well as providing some additional damage for the combo. If Kerrigan wants to be soloing mercenary camps, this goes a long way towards allowing such plays.

Level 10 Heroics

Recommended: Either

It is uncertain as to which of Kerrigan’s heroic takes the cake for efficacy, leaving the brunt of the decision to the player. Maelstrom is a style of heroic that rewards a Kerrigan who is always in the enemy’s face, throwing out auto-attacks even when her other abilities are on cooldown. However, it can force some tough decisions with positioning, and having Maelstrom active will draw enemy fire.

Summon Ultralisk, on the other hand, is for the more subversive types of Kerrigans, the ones who pounce in, decimate a single target, and then recede to the periphery of the fight until she can combo again. With the Ultralisk, Kerrigan can maintain pressure on squishy heroes even when she is recovering. If given enough time in the back line, the ‘Lisk can soften up several enemies for Kerrigan’s return. However, it proffers mostly single-target damage and can be focused down if used without followup.

Level 13 Talents

Recommended: Sprint or Double Strike

As a new player, it is often hard to reconcile choosng a mobility talent over an opportunity for more damage. As the game wears on, though, survival becomes more and more crucial. With a narrow escape mechanism in RavageSprint is often picked up to help Kerrigan stay one step ahead of death.

If mobility is really something a Kerrigan isn’t worried about, then Double Strike can add a decent chunk to her burst with precise play. Just make sure to try and squeeze an auto-attack in between each part of the combo if you choose this route, otherwise it is heavily outvalued by Sprint.

Level 16 Talents

Recommended: Blood for Blood or Blade Torrent

Blood for Blood is the typical capstone to the Kerrigan combo, even after its nerf. The it adds additional burst and utility to her kit, and helps her scale into the lategame.

That said, Blade Torrent has seen increasing popularity with some of the better Kerrigan players, especially after the Blood for Blood nerf. The radius increase is substantial and allows Kerrigan to catch far more heroes out in teamfights.

Level 20 Talents

Recommended: Bolt of the Storm

To long-time assassin players, this should come as no surprise. Even with Ravage and Sprint, the additional mobility and surprise-factor proffered by Bolt of the Storm is undeniably powerful. While Kerrigan is a melee assassin, she is more ability reliant than most of her ilk, rendering Nexus Blades rather disappointing on her. Buffing either of her heroics is a fine choice, but a good Kerrigan is more defined by skilled use of her basic abilities and positioning than by her long-cooldown heroics.