Zeratul

Dark Prelate

Introduction:

Heroes of the Storm’s own ‘cloak and dagger’ powerhouse, Zeratul makes for a very subversive and threatening assassin. Capable at later levels of blinking into the enemy back line, dealing immense burst damage, and then blinking out, all in the span of 3 seconds, this Dark Templar rewards practice and precise play. With his cloak always chugging outside of combat, he has an easy time sneaking up on weak heroes who are otherwise distracted.

Zeratul brings more than just damage to a game – his Void Prison can singlehandedly win or lose a fight, making it one of the most double-edged abilities in the game. With it, he can set up for wombo combo AoE, split the enemy team, block choke points, and much more – just as long as he doesn’t interrupt his allies’ machinations with it. Zeratul is all about guerilla warfare. Jump in, do damage, jump out, rinse, and repeat – this is the recipe to an unhappy enemy team.

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

Abilities

Permanent Cloak (D)

Gain Stealth when out of combat for 3 seconds. Taking damage, attacking, using Abilities, or channeling reveals you.

Zeratul gains a permanent cloak ability after 3 seconds of being out-of-combat. Your entire playstyle revolves around the fact that you can’t be seen very easily by your opponents. Position in places that give your team vision, but be careful to avoid the enemy team’s area-of-effect abilities. You can help your team get the jump in teamfights by providing vision, and capture vision circles very easily as well.

Cleave (Q)

40 Mana
Cooldown: 6 seconds
Deal 415 (92 + 17 per level) damage to nearby enemies.

Cleave is an exceptional burst ability. It’s best used to exit stealth, and while you’re in close range of your opponent. Remember that the range on this ability is a little bit larger than your auto attack range, so make sure you’re close enough to the enemy to follow up with an auto attack.

Singularity Spike (W)

60 Mana
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Flings a Singularity Spike that sticks to the first enemy hit. Deals 500 (120 + 20 per level) damage after 1 second and slows the enemy by 40% for 3 seconds.

Singularity Spike is the “make or break” ability in Zeratul’s combo. If you don’t land this ability in your Cleave, Auto Attack, Singularity Spike combo, your burst effectiveness is reduced by a significant portion. The greatest part of this ability, is the slow that’s associated with it. Use the slow to get in a few extra auto attacks before disengaging with Blink.

Blink (E)

75 Mana
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Teleport to the target location. Using this Ability does not break cloak.

Blink is the highest skill-cap portion of Zeratul’s kit. If used properly, you can be the sneakiest assassin in the game. If used poorly, you’ll get instantly bursted by the enemy team, with no means of escaping. I ALWAYS save this ability to escape, unless I can get a kill with a Blink + Auto Attack, and can escape for free afterwards. Once you get level 13, and get Wormhole, this ability changes entirely, and can be used as an engage tool.


Shadow Assault (R)

100 Mana
Cooldown: 100 seconds
Slows time in an area to a near standstill, making allies and enemies invulnerable and unable to act for 5 seconds. You are not affected.

Shadow Assault is a great Heroic ability in certain situations. Mainly a Quick Match Heroic, Shadow Assault allows you to 1v1 people extremely easily. If your group seems like they’re wanting to coordinate together even the slightest bit, I would advise against taking this Heroic.

Void Prison (R)

100 Mana
Cooldown: 100 seconds
Slows time in an area to a near standstill, making allies and enemies invulnerable and unable to act for 5 seconds. You are not affected.

Void Prison is Zeratul’s teamfighting bread-and-butter. This Heroic has an incredible amount of versatility: you can Void Prison Heroes, structures, Minions & Mercenary camps, and even Bosses. Position yourself in an area of the teamfight that grants you vision of the entire scenario, then Void Prison people who aren’t committed to the fight. It will allow your team to burst out the members that are engaged, while making the Void Prisoned targets a appetizing dessert!

Talents

Level 1 Talents

Recommended: Regeneration Master

Regeneration Master is the way to go on Zeratul for level 1. You don’t have a lot of assassination potential during the early game, so your first 6-10 minutes should be spent roaming into lanes, grabbing Regen Globes, and using your Cleave + Singularity Spike combo, then Blink away. If you follow this strategy, you’ll be an extremely annoying pest for the enemy team to deal with, because your sustainability is so high. Seasoned Marksman is also a notable second choice for maps like Garden of Terror, where you can quickly collect stacks by killing minions with the seed.

Level 4 Talents

Recommended: Focused Attack

Zeratul’s strategy is all about guerrilla warfare. Focused Attack lends to that strategy by increasing your short term burst damage.  This talent, combined with your level 7 Follow Through, makes your ganks very potent. Again, early on don’t focus on trying to get kills as much as trying to harass your opponents out of lane, while collecting Regen Globes.

Level 7 Talents

Recommended: Follow Through

Follow Through is one of Zeratul’s power spikes. If you can land your full gank combo onto a target, their health pool basically evaporates. To use this talent effectively, make sure you’re auto-attacking in between each ability you use. The gank combo you should be going with is Cleave + Attack + Singularity Spike + Attack. My rule on Zeratul, is to auto-attack as many times as I can before getting into danger, then I Blink away.

Level 10 Heroics

Recommended: Void Prison

Void Prison is Zeratul’s primary team-fighting Heroic ability. I choose this Heroic every single game, because it has such a dynamic range of functionality. You can use this Heroic on Heroes, structures, Minions/Mercenaries, Bosses and even the Nexus itself. In teamfights, try positioning in places that give your team the vision advantage. Void Prison is best used in team-fights to isolate targets that you’re trying to kill. If you can use this ability on 3-4 people, and burst out the other 1-2, it instantly creates a number advantage for your team.

Level 13 Talents

Recommended: Wormhole

Wormhole is Zeratul’s high skill ability. I think that this talent is Zeratul’s largest power-spike in game, because it allows you to get completely out of position – deal a ton of damage – then completely disappear from sight. With Blink being such a low cooldown, you can rinse-and-repeat this combination over and over to destroy your enemies. You can also combo this ability by using Blink to get onto a healer, Void Prison their healer, then teleport back to kill a damage dealer. The combinations with this talent are infinite. Try making cool plays!

Level 16 Talents

Recommended: Double Bombs

I usually grab Double Bombs here, because it increases your burst potential with Follow Through, and basically permanently slows your target for the duration of your gank. If you’re ever trying to escape someone, always use both stacks on the enemy chasing you – often times the slow will be enough to get you back into stealth, and escape safely.

Level 20 Talents

Recommended: Nexus Blades or Rewind

Level 20 isn’t as important for Zeratul as it is for other Heroes. I usually go with Nexus Blades when I’m feeling a bit safer, but Rewind if I think I’ll need the extra escape. I don’t think getting Rewind is a good tool for increasing your gank potential, as you already have the ability to kill any Hero in the game at this point. Nexus Blades makes your short-term burst even stronger, and allows you to stick onto your targets better as well.