In-depth Alarak guide for highlords by Existor

In-depth Alarak guide for highlords

By: Existor
Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017
20 Votes
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Alarak

Build: Lightning Charger [damage]

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Level 20

Alarak

Build: Lightning Charger [defence]

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Level 20

Alarak

Build: Telekinetic Striker [AOE focus]

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Level 20

Alarak

Build: Telekinetic Striker [silence focus]

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Level 20

Alarak

Build: Battlefield manipulator [utility]

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Alarak

Build: Unpredictable psychokinesis [riskier]

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Level 20

Alarak

Build: Unpredictable psychokinesis [safer]

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Level 20

Alarak

Build: Lightcord AOE build

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Alarak

Build: Backline catcher and disengager

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Guide updates


  • 20.09.2016 - guide was created.

  • 25.09.2016 - some builds were modified, more information on them in guide with Sadism bars.

  • 27.09.2016 - additional editing in guide and some builds were revamped, such as two Utility builds merged into one called "Battlefield Manipulator".

  • 01.10.2016 - modified "Anti-mobile" build into two "Unpredictable psychokinesis" builds with different focus on riskier or safer playstyle.

  • 03.10.2016 - updated information in Interrupts section.

  • 07.10.2016 - added more tips on ultimates selection.

  • 08.10.2016 - new section with some information regarding level 13 talent decision between Psychokinesis and Pure Malice. Divided builds section into chapters, so you can back to Top before and after every build..

  • 10.10.2016 - new build added "Backline catcher" which is a hybrid of utility build with some damage improving talents that compensate reduced Sadism.

  • 23.10.2016 - you wanted exact numbers, math and comparison images of some of Alarak talents? Here it is! TheRealsveN from reddit did a huge post about Alarak talents, number difference, damage output and many other details with comparison pictures and detailed information on them. Preview of that post was added right above "Benefits and downsides" section.

  • 07.02.2017 - added link to great Cover's advanced in-depth guide on Alarak. You really should read it just because it explains some interesting moments on Alarak as well as some common mistakes on him which many new Alarak-players are doing.

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Hey all, Tal'Darim fanatics, highlords and ascedants! Like previous Dehaka guide, this one will be focused around the same principles:

  • There is no ideal and universal build for Alarak. But there is some good and bad talent synergy.

  • Even builds listed here are not the builds which you should follow as "go-to builds". For example you may find that sometimes level 13-16 can be vastly different from what is written here)

  • Each build focuses on different playstyle. I do not guarantee that any of these builds can be effective, sure some builds may be less effective, less "meta" or be completely useless. I just want to write about all possible playstyles as Alarak. It is up to you regarding on how to build Alarak.

  • Same build can work perfectly in one game and can fail completely in next game. It is okay, you are free to experiment with different talent builds (likely in Quick Match or Unranked Draft). This guide contains my exploration on experimenting with different Alarak builds.

Alarak is melee assasin with mostly ability power oriented damage, he still can deal good damage with basic attacks, but his strengh is focused around proper usage of his abilities. He is one of those heroes that can be built depending on enemy and your team, meaning that there is no only one go-to build. All talents are viable in some way, depending on how you and your team utilizes it.


Do not mindlessly follow these builds. Try to experiment, mix different talent at different tiers (levels), always try to understand WHY you are picking certain talents, will it give you benefits or it will be just a waste.


Here is good but slightly outdated quote from this article about Alarak:

Quoted:
Alarak is all about the big moments. He lives and dies for those opportunities to jump in and blow all his cooldowns to delete someone instantly. When he dives, he dives hard. The rest of the time, however, he’s mostly just controlling the flow of fights and poking until he has the chance to dive in and finish someone off. In a lot of ways, Alarak is similar to Greymane in concept. Blizzard went through a lot of iterations with Alarak, but the overall product came out pretty nicely.

The unique ability that defines Alarak is Telekinesis, a vector targeting (click + drag) ability that pushes enemies, as well as himself, around. What makes this ability so powerful is its versatility. For instance, it can pull people out of position for a big stun train combo or drag someone out of range of their healer. It also excels as a disengagement tool to push chasing opponents away or boost Alarak out of harm’s way. It can even be used as an interrupt for channeled spells. Talents like Applied Force and Quick Mind allow Alarak to control the flow of battle even more smoothly—but at the cost of some of his damage.

Telekinesis isn’t Alarak’s only utility, though. Discord Strike also brings a brutal AoE silence on top of a hell of a lot of damage. Discord Strike isn’t always easy to hit because of the short delay, but the effects can be devastating when it does, especially in clumped up teamfights.

The final piece of Alarak’s base kit is Lightning Surge, a fairly straightforward point-and-click ability used mostly for sustain. There are some cute tricks that you can do by lining up shots to hit multiple Heroes (especially if you take Thunderstruck), but most of the time, it’s just a good old-fashioned poke ability.

Blizzard took a fascinating approach to Alarak’s Heroics. Instead of choosing one at 10 and then upgrading it, you can just pick up your second Heroic at 20. Right now, Alarak’s level 10 choice is a no-brainer: Deadly Charge. It offers a long-distance engage, guaranteed damage, and even an escape when used properly. Counter-Strike can be picked up at 20 in rare circumstances where Alarak needs to survive a huge burst of damage, but it is simply subpar to Deadly Charge in its current iteration.

Due to his trait, Sadism, he can dish out some serious hurt to anyone that’s unfortunate enough to get close to him, but the drawback is that his PvE is substantially weaker than other melee Assassins. For this reason, he’s not very useful for capturing merc camps, sieging, or clearing waves.


In Zarya's patch Alarak got buffed, his Counter-Strike got unstoppable during protection and got higher damage. Also various talents and abilities were buffed as well, such as Wide Lightning becoming baseline and improved utility talents at level 7 and level 13.




Comprehensive Alarak Theorycrafting:

math inside, comparison pictures and more

(by TheRealsveN)


Quoted:
The motivation for this research was that I enjoy playing Alarak and I wanted to make a better-informed decision about the talents I take. You can also make a case for Alarak being a particular interesting subject for theorycrafting since you can compare many of his talents pretty well from a mathematical standpoint. I had Alarak’s shop page open in the background so he was constantly complaining.


“What are you doing? If you must learn, do it on the battlefield.”

Level 1


  • Without Effort: Reduces Telekinesis Mana cost by 30 (Removes the cost)

  • Applied Force: Reduce Sadism by 10% to increase Telekinesis push distance by 20%

  • Power Conduit: Reduce Lightning Surge Mana cost by 10

You can compare the Telekinesis push distance with and without the talent here.

Which of the Mana cost reduction talents is better depends on the other talents you take. Without looking at other talents and assuming you spam all your abilities as soon as they are available you will save 2.5 Mana per second with Without Effort and 1,67 Mana per second with Power Conduit. With a completed Endless Energy talent in conjunction with Power Conduit, you will save 2.5 Mana per second as well. Finally, with Without Effort and Quick Mind you will save 5 Mana per second.

As a result, if you pick Quick Mind you should consider picking Without Effort. If you complete Endless Energy and you will not pick Quick Mind both talents are equal and the choice depends on the frequency that you use the corresponding ability with (if you stop spamming them on cooldown at least). If you pick neither Quick Mind nor Endless Energy, Power Conduit breaks even when using Telekinesis every 18 seconds. Less frequent use of Telekinesis sees Power Conduit becoming more efficient.


Level 4


  • Double Cross: Increase Discord Strike range and area by 25%.

  • Reckless Strike: Reduces Discord Strike delay but makes Alarak Vulnerable.

  • Cycle of Discord: Reduces Discord Strike cooldown by two seconds. Reduces the cooldown by an additional three seconds and refunds the Mana cost if you miss.

  • Extended Lightning: Increases Lightning Surge Range by 20%.

You can compare the Lightning Surge and Discord Strike ranges with and without the talent on images below.



Alarak Q Range Comparison - with Double Cross and without




Alarak E Range Comparison - with Extended Lightning and without


It is difficult to compare the other three talents objectively. In a sense, they all make hitting your Discord Strike easier. If you can hit every Discord Strike then Cycle of Discord is a good pick because the cooldown reduction will increase your Discord Strike DPS by 33%. You could make an argument for the range and area increase of Double Cross making it easier to hit multiple enemies but if you take a look at the size comparison I feel like that is unlikely. Finally, Reckless Strike reduces the delay at the cost of making yourself vulnerable. I have not tried this in a real game yet. However, I could imagine that it might at least be handy if you want to combo heroes that can potentially dodge it with a mobility spell. The question is if this is worth being vulnerable.

< . . . >



Cover did a great advanced guide on Alarak with some interesting GIFs, advice and tips.

Quoted:
Yo, this is Cover, I play Heroes of the Storm regularly in the NA region and am currently top 100 Grandmaster rank. Alarak is my favorite hero, I have him at level 20 and over 300+ games with him. Before he came out he was my #1 hero I wanted added into the game (now add Fenix already blizzard) and I’m very happy with his high skillcap playstyle. here’s my in-depth guide on Alarak


With the way knockbacks function in Heroes of the Storm, if a target is being pushed fast enough, they will go through body collision. This can make hitting your combo tough as the opponent will pass through your body.


An easy way that I use a lot is to simply pull them to the side of you instead of directly into you.


Finally, you can actually use this combo to your advantage!


Read full in-depth Alarak guide from Cover






Benefits and Downsides of Alarak


Pros:

+ Awesome voice-over (voiced by John de Lancie)
+ Huge burst of damage from successfully landed combos
+ Good laning sustain and poke with strong laning presence
+ May improve already good utility for the cost of some damage
+ Thanks to short cast-time of his abilities, can be very unpredictable
+ Good against ability reliant heroes (Kerrigan, Greymane) and mages
+ Have two interrupts (silence, battlefield manipulation with Telekinesis)

Cons:

- Terrible PvE
- Very vulnerable to CC
- Have no talents that empower AA
- Struggles a lot from missing skillshots
- Weak against mobile and ranged auto-attack based heroes
- If not talented into Lightning build, self-sustain becomes mana-heavy and weak mid and late game.

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Well, there is not much to say in terms of general tips, but same as every melee assasin that have good damage output when using abilities at right time and in right order, there is only one general tip regarding overall usage of all abilities.

What differs good Alarak from beginner one is that good one never uses his abilities just because they are off cooldowns. As Alarak you should never cast abilities if you won't benefit from it much (or try to minimize such casts), always try to maximize effect of each ability you have.

For example if you are facing Valla and Kael'thas, silencing Kael'Thas would mean he can't quickly answer to you with his combos, while silencing Valla will give you nothing: she can dodge your Discord Strike, and silencing won't prevent her from auto-attacking.

Another similar case is enemy tank and mage staying close. If you silence enemy tank, there will be almost zero effect from it. Tanks always have some self-defence mechanics allowing them to mitigate most damage from burst of damage or from crowd control abilities (stuns, roots, silence, etc).


  • Don't silence just for silence. Try to use most of it (if Tracer is silenced, she can't blink and recall - attack her!) try to also keep in mind enemy cooldowns (approximately). If you didn't attack enemy Valla for at least 10 seconds, it means she will be able to use Vault to escape your Discord strike even after being pulled by Telekinesis. For example you can bait enemy hero for using his mobility spell (dash, blink, teleport, etc), and then try to execute your Telekinesis and Discord Strike combo.

  • Discord Strike deals good amount of damage, especially if talented with Chaos Reigns. Try to use it on enemy heroes who will struggle most from being silenced and who don't have high health pool (i.e. not tanks). Avoid casting it on enemy tanks except when they are chasing you or your allies (Sonya will struggle most from being silenced).

  • Not that effective against heroes with auto-attacks, but still prevents them from using abilities such as mobility or damage ones. For example if you are chased by Tracer or Illidan, just silence them and do some autos. Still they will be able to auto-attack you, but if you have at least 1-2 allies nearby, they can quickly shut down silenced target or force him/her to retreat.

  • When you silenced enemy hero, try to land some auto-attacks (if he was pulled to you). Always try to land auto-attacks, if enemy is close to you.

  • Use when you know that there will be damage or you are sure that you can get benefits from it. For example, do not cast Telekinesis when your damage abilities are on cooldown. Always try to synergize it with your damage abilities or when you have allies nearby who can throw damage quickly.

  • Telekinesis is basically 0.5 seconds stun, or if say more correctly - displacement ability. It means it won't interrupt channeling abilities if they can be casted while moving. Only static channeling abilities will be interrupted (examples are ETC Mosh Pit, Azmodan's lazer without March of Sin).

  • Telekinesis pull distance is always same, no matter how long you dragging cursor. It is enough to move cursor only a bit to draw the direction of Telekinesis push.

  • There are many ways to use Telekinesis:

    • Pull yourself with ALT-W in the direction you are facing.
    • Pull enemy hero chasing you or your ally.
    • Pull enemy hero after he used mobility spell to dodge your or ally's abilities.
    • Pull enemy hero into AOE-damage/CC from your team.

Telekinesis greatly synergies with:



Telekinesis anti-synergy



With Telekinesis you can troll and I do not recommend doing that. But sometimes you can just rarely fail with properly landing Telekinesis and someway help enemy heroes to escape skillshots and delayed abilities from your team. Be careful when casting Telekinesis and direction of it. If you see Chromie casting Dragon's Breath (and you will see where it will land thanks to blue ring), try to pull enemy hero (that is trying to dodge) right where Dragon's Breath will land. But again, do it accurately, since you can also pull them away from small AOE of Chromie's spells.

In addition to list above (you can either help or ruin hard-to-land skillshots and combos), I'll add some more cases where Telekinesis can make life harder for your allies or completely cancel their combos. Do not do that or it will be negatively considered by your allies and just hurt your team and chances to win overall.

  • Anub'arak casting Impale and Burrow Charge in quick succession. Your Telekinesis may help enemy dodge all CC skillshots from Anub'arak.

  • Arthas Howling Blast - this ability have small delay and is possible to dodge by enemy heroes.

  • Kerrigan Impaling Blades and Primal Grasp combo.

  • Gul'dan Corruption stacks are possible to dodge (or minimize hits).

  • Johanna Condemn - you can just help enemy escape that circle pull.


  • Try to hit with as much enemy heroes as you can. With Extended Lightning it becomes easier and safer to do.

  • The more heroes you hit, the more healing you recieve. Also if you hit 2 or more heroes, it allows to complete Endless Energy quest a lot faster.

  • As I said above, try to maximize potential of every ability you are using. Try to start poke and healing spamming WHEN you are not at 100% health. The idea here is that if you lost some health it means enemy used some abilities, spells, auto-attacks, mana or after all, time to do some damage to you. You will poke enemy hero AND heal from it. Same idea applies to Butcher's Brand - you don't cast it when you are at full health, you cast it when you are sure that marked enemy hero won't run away and when you need healing regen.

  • If you are going to pick Endless Energy, Thunderstruck and/or Negatively Charged, try to aim at towers, gates, lane minions, map minions (Braxis zergs, Tomb spiders, Shrine guardians, backline (for example supports), or anything you have in the radius of your vision and that you can click with E (it is "point and click" ability).



Both heroic ultimates are good in different situations. But I'd like to write some tips on when to pick one of these:

Counter-Strike:
  • Good when enemy team have burst of damage, especially abilities like Pyroblast.

  • Counter-strike is more effective against teams with mostly melee heroes. Deadly Charge won't be that effective in that case except you want to finish fleeing away and escaping targets, or want to initiate fight and dive (your team have a lot of melee as well).

  • Counter-strike is not effective against mostly ranged teams. Usually ranged heroes are mobile and can dodge small triangle area of your Counter-strike. Also ranged heroes can avoid attacking you, especially AA-based heroes, to avoid Counter-strike triggering.

  • In most of builds listed here you may notice that I took Counter-Strike. It is because of some reasons: Deadly Charge have 45 seconds cooldown and deals less damage but bigger area of damage, also repositions you quickly to the place where you want to be. Counter-strike on other side have 30 seconds cooldown, deals more damage and also makes you Protected and Unstoppable.

  • Thanks to shorter cooldown, it is great defensive ultimate that allows you to cast it nut just as finisher and damage, but also to protect you in rare cases when you're focused. Combining this with healing from Lightning Surge and you can survive almost any burst of damage almost every big or small teamfight. You can use it even during laning phase and still will have it prior to next big teamfight around objective.

  • This ultimate have short cooldown, protection for 1 second from damage and CC, and deals good amount of damage, have smaller AOE and easier to dodge, than Deadly Charge.

  • Nice synergy with Reckless Strike:

    - Counter-Strike protection compensates vulnerable status from Reckless strike

    - faster cast time of Discord Strike means less time for enemy to escape your triangle skillshots

    - faster silence means enemy can't effectively dodge Counter-strike

Deadly Charge:
  • Good for diving backline and heroes, against whom Counter-strike won't be that effective (short cooldown damage or auto-attacks), but do it carefully. If enemy team have good amount of CC and your team is too far, you may end with just dying.

  • As I said, always cast it carefully. Try to think on what will be next step from you and enemy team. Have they used all their important skillshots, CC, ultimates and other spells? Always remember that you won't be able to 100-0 finish any target (except maybe Li'Ming with Glass cannon or one of Lost Vikings), no matter how much Sadism or skill you have. Always engage with Deadly Charge when enemy heroes when they were poked/damaged a bit (at least to 50-70% or less of their health).

  • Less effective against mostly melee/dive-oriented teams. Taking Counter-Strike might be better not just for more damage, but for surviving enemy's team frontline dives (such as Kerrigan diving with Arthas for example).

  • Do not use Deadly Charge when you're are only one diving at the moment, in other word - don't suicide.

  • As it says in description, moving resets cooldown, taking damage will not reset cooldown and interrupt your charge. Try to cast it outside of enemy vision, for example from brush. It have very big distance.

  • Easy to interrupt, so cast it outside of enemy vision. You can move and re-cast it in other place to charge more effectively (i.e. hit more heroes or re-cast it when you will be sure Deadly Charge will give you benefits. Sometimes it may be like enemy hero (that you wanted to dive) just second ago was healed and now it's unlikely you will be able to kill him with Deadly Charge and ability combos).

  • Area of effect is bigger than on Counter-Strike, but it have less damage.

  • Better to use when your team is diving as well, or as finisher for low-health targets.

  • In rare cases can be used as escape or chasing tool. Channeling time is almost same as while Mounting, but it allows you to charge for big distance and also deal moderate amount of damage.

  • I do not recommend combining Pure Malice with Deadly Charge ultimate. Sure it have better AOE and will have 140% damage, but it is a lot riskier. You can try it with all-in build as it significally boosts your all-in combo. Counter-Strike in my opinion is a lot better in this case as it allows you to survive and also deal damage too, but in smaller area than Deadly Charge.

  • Greatly synergies with Counter-Strike taken at level 20. You are charging and appearing right in the enemy team. Casting Counter-strike will not just protect you from incoming focus and burst of damage, but also empower your damage combo.




Master of interrupting silence



Alarak have two abilities that can interrupt channeling abilities and effect-over-time abilities: Discord Strike and Telekinesis. Here is big list of what you can interrupt in Heroes of the Storm:


There may be other cases, but these ones listed above may be most common in your games.




Only these two talents at level 13 do not reduce your Sadism bonus. The other two Dissonance and Hindered Motion will cost you 10% of your Sadism but increase utility - longer silence or slow.

If you want to maximize your damage output without "buying" additional utility (because your team already have enough of it - stuns, slows, silence), try to look at these two talents.

Pure Malice is a bit tricky talent, because taking it you won't instantly increase your damage output but instead will rely on mistakes or just deaths of your teammates. This talent definitely will be good when you have Murky or The Lost Vikings, in other cases pick it carefully. Lets take a look at simple example of semi-one-sided game where your team got 10-15 kills, and enemy team have only 2-3 kills. It means you're leading and your team mates do not die that often. Taking Pure Malice will be just a waste, at least for a very long time in single game. Pure Malice requires from you very smart play, good positioning and good attention at enemy heroes that can flank you, dive and/or burst quickly. Thats why taking Counter-Strike might be better in some cases with Pure Malice. Taking Deadly Charge is very risky with Pure Malice.

Psychokinesis is another talent option at level 13 that increases your overall damage output without touching Sadism. Some of you may say that Telekinesis deals too small amount of damage to be viable damage-dealing ability. At level 0 it does 50 damage to all, 100 damage to heroes and 200 damage with this talent. Amplify it with 4% damage boost per level, and you get not just good utility, but also moderate damage. Doubled damage will allow hurt enemies even more, and sometimes even finish those who are trying to escape. Take Psychokinesis when your team is smart enough, not dying much and you don't need additional utility.




Both talents are good in rare scenarios when you need to escape or prefer executing Q-W-E combo 2nd time in short period of time instead of 2nd ultimate.

Hasty Bargain resets cooldowns of your basic abilities and reduces Sadism bonus against heroes by 4%. I think this ability is some sort of countdown to the end of game. Use it carefully and don't waste when it won't give you at least one kill. Actually in late game when both teams are around 20-23th levels, you won't cast Hasty Bargain more than 4-5 times, so you won't lose much in terms of damage.

Last Laugh can be good when enemy team have high amount of CC and you were focused, this ability can be especially good when using Deadly Charge. Do not use Last Laugh when enemy team have heroes that can snipe you from big distance ( Azmodan with sphere, Tracer with blinks, Anub'arak using burrow charge to chase you, Chen with his Keg ultimate, and other heroes who have tools to counter your Last laugh). Try also to teleport closer to your support which may be somewhere around your backline, but do not teleport in place where enemy will see you, do not also teleport to lane where minions can just "last hit" you.




Example of 1v1 fight: Alarak VS The Butcher



Here is a simple example of Alarak vs Butcher laning phase. I want to stress that both of you can win (or at least go to Healing Fountain latest), depending on when and how you utilize your abilities, and what talents you are picking.

Imagine you are laning against Butcher. Both of you are trying to farm (exp soak) and at same time poking eachother with Lightning Surge and Hamstring. At some moment Butcher charges at you, marks with Butcher's Brand, attacks with Hamstring and tries to land some auto-attacks. Use Telekinesis at that moment and pull him away, even if you will be slowed, after Charge stun, you still will be able to cast abilities. You can prevent some auto-attacks from him.

Don't do here your main W-Q combo, since you are just helping Butcher to reach you, mark and do some autos. Instead, use Telekinesis to ruin Butcher's combo by pulling yourself or himself.

Regarding poke and trades. Hamstring deals more damage than Lightning Surge, and it also have lower cooldown (that becomes even more low with Invigoration). Yet it gives no healing to Butcher, it can slow and allow Butcher to land at least one auto-attack on you (Alarak auto-attacks are weaker, but his strength lies in his abilities).

Try to use Discord Strike here as poke tool as well, just for some more damage, since it have small range (especially with Double Cross). Do it when you stay near eachother. But always save Telekinesis to disrupt Butcher's combos after he charges at you.

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Every build listed above resolves around different styles of playing Alarak. You can be poke master that keeps safe distance and using spells just to disengage all-ins and dives, you can dive backline by yourself with powerfull all-in combos, you also can provide good amount of utility such as slows, silence (more often or with longer duration) while trading some damage for it.

As you can see, some builds vary very slightly, but I will try to explain every of these builds and what can be good or bad with them. Same build can work perfectly in one game and can fail completely in next game. It is okay, you are free to experiment with different talent builds (likely in Quick Match or Unranked Draft). This guide contains my exploration on experimenting with different Alarak builds.

There won't be "All-Talents tips" section like in previous my guide about Dehaka, or this guide can become too big. Instead, I'll try to explain certain talent picks in each build.

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Lightning Charger [damage]





Lightning Charger [defence]





Both Lightning builds have different scenarios where they can be very good or be completely useless (i.e. you won't be able to stack Endless Energy quest on some maps such as Braxis Holdout or Dragon Shire same fast as on other maps, or vice-versa, you won't get much benefits from having slow on E.

Lightning Charger [damage] is a standard Alarak build which focuses on Lightning Surge. General strategy with this build is that you are keeping distance from enemy heroes, doing constant poke with E, hitting as much enemy heroes as you can. I'd like to say that this build turns Alarak into some sort of "melee mage" - you are doing constant poke, and finishing enemies with Telekinesis + Discord Strike combo and/or Deadly Charge (take Counter-Strike if you need protection against burst damage).

Lightning Charger [defence] is a variation of standard Lightning build with shifted focus from damage to some slows and more healing, with this more defensive build you will be able to keep distance a little better. Good against heavy melee teams that have very strong backline.

  • Endless Energy (7) - less mana cost on E and less cooldown allows you to spam it more and stay longer without going OOM, basically exhausting enemy mana (to heal themself or ally), health and just forcing them to take fountain first. Try to poke only one specific target, like enemy support to force him waste healing on himself, or enemy assasin that have no self-sustain and forcing support to heal him instead of their frontline.

  • Thunderstruck (7) - good for more effectively keeping distance from enemy heroes heroes with your Lightning Surge, and if you hit more in line, you can slow more targets. The difference from Endless Energy is that instead of less impactful but more cheap and more often Lightning Surges you can use more impactful ones, that can slow. Also taking slow on Lightning surge nicely synergies with AOE in your team, so if you have good AOE damage (i.e. Kael'Thas as 2nd damage dealer for example), keeping enemies slowed means they will be more stacked and kept longer in same place to be hit with AOE spells.


    Good for maps where teamfights can often happen around narrow paths and chokes:

    • Cursed Hollow - near tributes there always narrow paths.

    • Sky Temple - narrow paths to bottom Temple are where enemy team most likely will be grouped, or at temples.

    • Blackheart's Bay - near pirate and boss msot likely and at least 2-3 enemy heroes will be grouped.

    • Battlefield Of Eternity - similar to Cursed Hollow, this map have a lot of chokes in the middle of map.

    • Infernal Shrines - chokes to Shrines are kinda narrow too.

    I listed these maps only because of one reason - on these maps opponent team stays more grouped near objective, than on other maps. It is very random, and many times enemy team may stay spreaded or be grouped even on wide maps.

  • Counter-Strike (10) is another form of self-defence and safe play. If someone willings to engage you (e.g. tired of endless 4s poke), you can quickly soak all the burst damage and do a good disengage. I do not take Deadly Charge because this build is focused on safe play, without doing allins and staying alive as long as possible.

    Take Deadly Charge if you want to finish low-health heroes that were poked enough but not expecting any gap-close surprizing attack from you. As I said above, try to cast Deadly Charge outside of enemy vision so it's harder (or impossible) to predict your incoming attack. Do Deadly Charge ONLY when you are sure you will achieve a kill (from Deadly Charge or incoming combo). Taking this ultimate with Pure Malice is risky and all-in'y, but rewarding. General strategy is quite simple - you (or your allies) are continously doing poke, and when enemy heroes are low health you are doing surprize attack with Deadly Charge to finish them/

    Both ultimates are viable, and take one of them depending on what you need and what your and enemy team have.

  • Pure Malice (13) - with this build, as I said, you are trying to stay alive and constantly do poke. Some of your allies may die, but you always should keep safe distance. This talent is different version of Living the Dream which gives Murky ability power for just not dying. Same here - if you don't die, but your allies manage to die, you get 140% which empowers your poke, your combos and damage from your ultimate. Especially good when you have The Lost Vikings or Murky in team. Take Psychokinesis when your team don't die much. Also as I said above, Pure Malice isn't that great with Deadly Charge. Take it at your own risk or cast it when you are sure, that with 140$ boosted Deadly Charge you will be able to kill someone.

  • Negatively Charged (16) VS Sustaining Power (16) - both are good depending on situation on the battlefield. Both talents greatly synergy with both talent triples that were listed above (more often VS more impactful with slows). Usually I follow next rules when picking one of these talents:

    • Is map more focused on small skirmishes or teamfights around objective? Small skirmishes and less teamfights - improved healing is better, since improved AOE from Negatively Charged will have zero effect (i.e. no damage boost) when fighting 1v1 or 2v2. In teamfights taking improved AOE damage may be a lot more effective.


    • Do you have strong solo-support ( Auriel, Lt. Morales, etc) or semi-support ( Tyrande, Tassadar, etc) in team?

      • It is pretty clear, that when your team lacks of healing but have other defence tools (shields, barriers, more crowd control instead of healing), or don't have healer at all, taking Sustaining Power is definitely best choice here.
      • Taking Sustaining Power will be a little bit waste when you have strong support. Yes, you can improve your self-healing a little bit, but you will lose some damage, so taking Negatively Charged is the best pick when you have enough protecting tools in team.

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Telekinetic Striker [AOE focus]




Telekinetic Striker [silence focus]





I'll call these two Damage builds "must-have" builds. First of all both builds improving two strong Alarak abilities - Discord Strike and Telekinesis.

Telekinetic Striker [silence focus] is for little bit less damage but shorter cooldowns on Discord strike and longer silence. It means you will pay 10% of your Sadism for slightly better utility, but still will deal good amount of damage.

Telekinetic Striker [AOE focus] is for more damage on both abilities, bigger area of effect on Discord strike and for spamming your W-Q combo non-stop. it won't drain much mana (only for Discord Strike), and you will deal good amount of damage because not much Sadism will be sacrificed while you doing this build.

Of course try to mix talents from both builds, sometimes taking Double Cross and Dissonance may do huge impact in teamfights. Sometimes longer silence won't make much difference (for example you're facing auto-attack heroes), so taking more damage on Telekinesis and preserving 10% of your Sadism bonus will have good effect too.

  • Without Effort VS Power Conduit. Lets write here some stats on Alarak's W and E, and decide which talent of these two is better in terms of preserving mana:

    • Telekinesis - cooldown 12 seconds, costs 30 mana. Becomes 0 mana every 12 seconds.
    • Lightning Surge - cooldown 6 seconds, costs 30 mana. Becomes 20 mana every 4-6 seconds (depending on what you take at level 7).

    If you are going to spam Lightning Surge, of course taking Power Conduit is better idea, especially when combined with 4 seconds cooldown (after completing Endless Energy quest). But what if enemy team got strong healer who can outheal every your poke? Lightning Surge don't have much damage, even less than Butcher's Hamstring.

    In my opinion, taking no mana cost on Telekinesis is always better when your poke from Lightning Surge won't be that impactful. Instead, if you are going to constantly spam your W-Q combo (which will inflict a lot more damage than from poke). Also, reduced mana on Lightning Surge is better when you have shorter cooldowns on it.

    If you are going to spam Telekinesis when it's ready to use, first of all you surely will deal a lot more damage, but it will be more risky to play with better reward than poke-oriented play style. Without Effort also nicely synergies with Quick Mind (16) allowing you to be CC-machine in late game without trading much Sadism for it.

  • Why no Applied Force you may ask? This talent is sure great, and you definitely should take it when there are very mobile heroes ( Illidan or Tracer), who won't be hurt much if pulled for short distance. But in other cases baseline distance of Telekinesis is more than enough to counter dives.

    Take this talent also when there is huge amount of melee heroes in enemy team (like 3 or more), so you can counter their dives slightly more effective.

    Another thing is that Applied Force doesn't synergy well with Double Cross. If you practice enough, you will notice that usually you will need only one of these two talents: bigger pull on Telekinesis or bigger range on Discord Strike.

  • Of course, experiment with these builds. Main thing is that you must understand synergy of your talents and use your abilities accordingly.

    For example take Double Cross, Chaos Reigns and Dissonance. That will have great effect too, basically it will be your mini-ultimate with good amount of damage and silence. Actually, everything is viable depending on what you need.

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Battlefield manipulator





You're trading 40% of your Sadism bonus for additional forms of slows alongside with silence and displacement you already have.

Take Battlefield manipulator build when:
  • you are 3rd assasin in team and your team have at least two good damage dealers
  • your team lacks of CC (slows, silence, stuns, roots, etc)

It is unlikely that you will be top-damage with this build, but they provide additional CC to your team if it lacks of stuns, slows and other tools to catch enemy heroes, escape them or just keep distance. With this build you can land more auto-attacks between casting your abilities.
  • Applied Force (1) - usually enemy backline heroes will keep distance from you, so futher pushing on Telekinesis may help you catching them. Against melee use it as disengage tool to break and interrupt every attempts to charge, dive or blink to chase you or your allies. Also this talent can make your life easier in terms of self-escape.

  • Extended Lightning (4) - extended range on Lightning Surge will allow to poke enemy backline safer and allow to hit more targets with it, since they are always in your range. Take Cycle of Discord when you are going to talent into silence-telekinesis oriented build.

  • Thunderstruck (7) - in this build we have slow on Lightning Surge. It is because we're focusing on slows rather than damage in this build. Also taking Endless Energy at this tier will turn you OOM quickly, except you're using it only in teamfights. Chaos Reigns allows to slightly compensate lack of damage, if you are going for Discord strike talents. But always keep in mind, that if you are going for utility build (Battlefield manipulator) and talenting into Discord strike (i.e. not taking increased range on lightning Surge at 4), taking Chaos Reigns will be better in any case and will be just a nice damage bonus, even when you're taking mostly utility talents.

  • Hindered Motion (13) VS Dissonance (13) - additional slow or longer silence? Both talents increasing your utility for 10% of your Sadism. In my opinion, taking longer silence is better against melees since their mobility relies on abilities, while ranged ones usually have passive speed boosts, so slowing may help you with catching those Falstads, Vallas and others. Always try to do smart decision when picking between these two talents, and be careful on what is better in current game. Longer silence is better vs some ability-reliant heroes such as Greymane or Kerrigan, while additional slow may help to catch enemy heroes.

  • Quick Mind (16) VS Projected Force (16) - similar to level 4, here you can decide on what to pick: more often Telekinesis or higher range of it, so you can easier catch and push enemy heroes that are staying far from you. Quick Mind can allow to disengage and counter dives more often against heavy melee teams.

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Unpredictable psychokinesis [risky]




Unpredictable psychokinesis [safer]





Both builds emphatising Alarak's unpredictable style of play. With this build it is harder to "read" you and harder to predict your next movement. Your W-Q combos are harder to dodge and you are doing surprizing amount of damage with just Telekinesis. In both builds you can see Reckless Strike which is the core of more unpredictable playstyle of Alarak. Psychokinesis also gives more damage at level 13, and sometimes you can cast it just for damage (but of course it is more effective in combination with Discord Strike).

Unpredictable psychokinesis [risky] - it is called "risky" because you're staying closer to enemy to land W-Q combos more often, and Lightning Surge is used less often (usually for outhealing trades or doing poke).

Unpredictable psychokinesis [safer] - you are still taking Reckless Strike, but mainly focusing on constantly poking with Lightning Surge. Instead of free to use Telekinesis and more damage in Discord strike, you're taking more often Lightning Surge. So this build is more focused towards often poke and sometimes landing W-Q combos. Also this build may be less effective against teams with good self-heal and self-sustain, i.e. teams with Lt. Morales or Brightwing for example, because every your poke will be outhealed. Taking improved Telekinesis/Discord Strike talents to get more bursty damage output might be better in such cases.

  • Both builds are focused on spamming your Telekinesis and Discord Strike combo in quick succession. Reckless Strike allows to more guaranteely hit enemy heroes who can dodge your combo after being pulled (i.e. Valla can use Vault right after being displaced by Telekinesis). Basically, this talent allows to counter-counterplay opponents who are aware of your combos and know how to dodge.

  • With Reckless Strike you can counter heroes that are relying on ability combos to successfully deal good amount of damage. For example when Kerrigan jumps on you to land Impaling Blades+ Primal Grasp combo, you can just silence her right when she jumps on you and delay her combo which will give you and your team little more time to react.

    It can be tricky and can hurt you as well, since you will empower enemy combo against you. Reckless Strike can be good also against very mobile heroes who can dodge your Discord Strike, such as Tracer or Illidan, who will jump and blink around you.

  • At level 13 all three talents are good in different situations, depending on what you need.

    • Dissonance and Hindered Motion both are good in different cases. Longer silence can prevent Tracer from blinking away for almost one more second, or prevent Thrall to land some more abilities to get more stacks of Frostwolf Resilience. Additional slow on Telekinesis can be good when your team lacks of CC or when you want to land some more auto-attacks.

      Longer silence allows to prevent enemy hero from dodging and interrupting your combos and auto-attacks (such as Auriel's Detainment Strike to knock you away, or Thrall to land some more abilities to get more stacks of Frostwolf Resilience, while additional slow can be good when your team lacks of CC or when you want to land some more auto-attacks and when those auto-attacks will deal damage (i.e. do not try to land auto-attacks on Illidan or Tracer).

    • Psychokinesis is just more damage. Keep in mind that this is spell damage, and it have range to cast meaning that if you can't land auto-attacks on heroes such as Tracer that smartly keeping some distance from you or they are just evading auto-attacks like Illidan, taking better spell damage can be better in that case.

      Another important thing to note is that Psychokinesis keeps 10% of your Sadism. So in other word, at this talent tier taking 100% more damage on Telekinesis also keeps 10% of additional damage on your other abilities. Basically this talent tier allows you to choose - land more auto-attacks while silencing/slowing, or do more spell damage and keep 90% of Sadism bonus. Since you won't be able to land more than 1-2 auto-attacks on enemy heroes, taking more impactful Psychokinesis can hurt squishy mobile assasins a lot better.

  • Main strategy with Reckless Strike (if you want to use it in most cases and just love this talent), is that you are doing your combo quickly and then fleeing a bit away from fight, till debuff ends (i.e. after successfully doing W-Q-E-AA (or just W-Q-E combo) you are running away for ~2 seconds, then landing your E again for healing and more poke). I'd like to call "kiting as melee". Without this talent landing your combo against mobile heroes will be harder.

    Also I want to note that with these two "Unpredictable builds" you often will hit enemies without Telekinesis, i.e. you will do powerfull poke with Lightning Surge and use Reckless Strike against those who is trying to dive you.

  • Against mobile heroes who rely on auto-attacks (same Tracer and Illidan) taking Double Cross sometimes might be better, it all depends on how and when you use it. It is more likely that with perpendicular mini Discord Strikes you can hit them as well.

  • Both ultimates are good in this build. Deadly Charge here is for surprizing ganks and as finisher to low/medium health squishy assasins. Counter-Strike also have nice synergy with Reckless Strike:

    - Counter-Strike protection compensates vulnerable status from Reckless strike

    - faster cast time of Discord Strike means less time for enemy to escape your triangle skillshots

    - faster silence means enemy can't effectively dodge Counter-strike

  • At level 16 in safer build taking Sustaining Power allows to compensate your vulnerable status from Reckless Strike with better healing (which is also occurs more often thanks to Endless Energy

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Lightcord AOE build




Backline catcher and disengager





Both builds are for various scenaries. Shortly - Lightcord is for close and medium range combat and is good when you already have good disengage tools and good amount of CC, while "Backline catcher and disengager" is more oriented on providing good amount of damage and more effectively catching heroes that keeping distance from you.



Lightcord AOE build improves your AOE damage, with 100% Sadism. In my opinion, this build will be best against mixed teams that have approximately same amount of melee and ranged heroes, and is especially great on narrow and not so wide maps.

Take this build when enemy team don't have much CC to protect their backline such as mages without escape. This is mostly all-in oriented build, because of that you can see different ultimates at level 10 and 20. As you can see, you always will have 100% Sadism meaning that you're playing pure damage.

At level 20 your combos in summary and approximately will 4000 hero damage, if you land everything and won't die. If enemy team have a lot interrupts for you, try to take Dissonance at level 13, so you buy another second to successfully cast your all-in combo. But it cuts a lot of damage from your burst, because you are not just removing double damage from Telekinesis, but also cutting 10% of your bonus ability power. In other word, it cuts approximately 500 hero damage from your combo (420 damage from Telekinesis + lost 10% bonus of ability power).

  • At level 1 both talents - Without Effort and Power Conduit are good, but in my opinion, you need to do some poke before engaging with your allin combos, so reduced mana on Lightning Surge may be better here. It is up to you, and as I mentioned above, taking no mana cost on Telekinesis sometimes may be better. General strategy is that you're doing constant poke and hitting with Discord Strike anyone that tries to engage, attack ir dive you or your allies.

  • Double Cross (4) and Chaos Reigns (7) are another talent picks that will maximize your damage output while doing all-in combo. Take Endless Energy if you want to poke more often.

  • Psychokinesis is one of two talents at level 13 that increases your damage output. Pure Malice in my opinion is better for poke-oriented ranged builds or when your team have a lot of melees so you are diving all together (you're likely won't be focused first). But if you want to use Pure Malice while focusing on melee play style, keep in mind that it stacks even when you are dead (i.e. ally deaths that occur near your dead body will increase your Sadism as well).

  • Sometimes taking more spell damage on Telekinesis won't be that effective, so if you want more prolonged attacks, taking Hindered Motion may be better in this case. You're trading Sadism for additional slow, but with that slow you can more effectively land some auto-attacks. Thats damage too, less spell damage and more psysical damage. Sometimes it may be better, sometimes not.



Backline catcher and disengager build is a variation of Lightcord AOE build with focus on area of effect damage too, but instead of poke oriented playstyle, this one is more effective against heavy dive melee teams that have strong backline: you can disengage better, and also can catch backline more effectively.

This build is a great example of compensation of reduced Sadism with improved damage on Telekinesis and Discord Strike. Even with 80% of Sadism bonus, you still will be able to deal high amount of damage.
"Backline catcher" build is another hybrid of various builds explained above (utility and aoe builds), and is focused on catching backline heroes that keeping distance far away from you, such as Chromie, Falstad, [[Lunara] and other heroes that not just stay away from you, but they (or their allies) also can CC you to keep themself more safe.

Taking Applied Force and Double Cross might be a waste in some cases, and sometimes it can result with missing Discord Strike on targets that you're just pulled with Telekinesis (i.e. pulled targets appeared behind you). In my opinion, if you're accurate with your W-Q combo, and won't cast Discord Strike instantly after pulling enemies with Telekinesis, it might work.

In this build we're improving Telekinesis with higher pull distance and higher cast range, but compensating reduced Sadism with Psychokinesis that doubles damage of Telekinesis.

Same thing with Discord Strike: taking talents Double Cross and Chaos Reigns allows to deal more damage with bigger area of effect and compensating reduced Sadism with more damage on Discord Strike.

This build is very good against heavy melee teams with strong backline (imagine Thrall and Kael'thas), but if you're facing heavy melee teams (with melee support, melee assasins and/or warriors), taking Counter-Strike surely will be a better choice than Deadly Charge.

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Thanks for reading!



I hope you enjoyed this guide and learned something new about Alarak - awesome highlord of the Tal'darim from Starcraft II, voiced by John de Lancie. Do not mindlessly follow these builds, try to pick what fits your team better, try to accurately pick talents and always experiment with it.
And remember, there are no strong or weak heroes, there are only smart players.

Be smart and have fun!


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