The Complete, Competitive Sylvanas Kit [Including the Math behind the Talents] by Jaeris

The Complete, Competitive Sylvanas Kit [Including the Math behind the Talents]

By: Jaeris
Last Updated: Jul 22, 2015
161 Votes
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Sylvanas

Build: Team Fight Carry

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Threats to Sylvanas with this build

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Threat Hero Notes
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Azmodan You can counter everything Azmodan does. Use teleport to instantly end his laser, use Black Arrows to destroy his minion pushes (focus on the demon generals first), and just avoid his dunks. Easy to out-lane and out-fight any day.
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The Lost Vikings Shadow Dagger seriously hurts the Vikings, and your burst is strong enough to take them out one-by-one. The only thing that you need to worry about is their ultimate.
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Gazlowe Gazlowe's turrets are one of the only things your Black Arrows can't stop, so you will often be surprised at how much damage you take killing him. But he's pretty easy to kill unless you're foolish enough to ignore his stuns.
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Li Li Lili can be annoying because she can cause auto attacks to miss (so consider not taking a build with Follow Through), but even Withering Fire still works. She can run away from you, but that's really about it. Cancel her Jugs with Wailing Arrow.
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Nazeebo None of Nazeebo's abilities should really threaten you, except Gargantuan. Dodge his frogs and spiders, and if the zombie wall gets you, teleport right out. If he takes Ravenous Spirit, counter it with Wailing Arrow (and maybe even its upgrade), but run from Gargantuan.
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Brightwing Not usually a threat, unless he saves polymorph specifically to counter your teleport (remember, you can't use it if you get polymorphed after casting Haunting Wave). Envenom can also hurt a lot.
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Malfurion 1v1, Malfurian should be no problem. In team fights, though, his roots can really hurt you, since they cancel teleports and leave you vulnerable. His sustained heals are also a good counter to your sustained damage, but your Wailing Arrow can instantly end Tranquility.
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Stitches Not much of a threat to Sylvanas, since teleport is really a natural counter to the hook. His gorge move can put you in a bad spot, but you can still often get out because he no longer has any stuns. Just kite him with Withering Arrow and laugh.
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Tyrande Tyrande can do some surprising damage if she's used right. If she catches you in a stun and marks you, she can successfully 1v1 you. If you learn to dodge her stun and owl, though (probably with a movement speed buff), you can easily out-lane her, and your sustained damage is far more than her heals can manage.
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Abathur It's always difficult to rate Abathur, because it's unclear whether you're rating Abathur himself (no real threat to anyone), his influence on other heroes (which depends on the other heroes), or his ultimates. I tend to put him at extremely low, because you can outlane him pretty easily and his ultimates aren't a big threat. However, I want to list him in moderate because an Abathur paired with someone like Nova or Illidan will be a nightmare for you--both in lanes and in team fights. Keep an eye on who is boosted and how, and retreat/kite if necessary until Symbiote is done with.
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Anub'arak Not really a big threat, though his stuns can be a problem for you in team fights if they let the enemy team swarm you.
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Chen Not a huge threat, but his barrel roll can put you in a terrible spot (and can cancel your teleport). Kite him in your lane and let your teammates with stuns/roots destroy him.
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Raynor Meh, not much of a treat. His most powerful move pushes you away from him and won't cancel your teleport. His sustained damage can hurt if you just stand there. Should be able to out-lane and out-damage him, but his Banshees can seriously hurt.
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Rehgar The only hero who's healing can keep up with your sustained damage. Your team should seriously consider targeting him first so that your damage is more effective. Shouldn't be a big threat 1v1, and has no way to cancel your teleport.
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Uther Healing-wise, Uther is no threat. But holy crap, the stuns. If he (and probably a tank like Muradin) jump on you, you're never gonna get away. Kite him carefully, and watch your sustain damage eat him up.
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Johanna On her own, not a big threat. Really does no damage. However, can cc the crap out of you--which means that if she's with her team, she can lock you in place if you get caught. Avoid with care and target someone else.
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Arthas You can easily counter his slows with your teleport and movement talents, but the frost stun can cost you quite a lot. Kite him carefully.
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Murky Can actually be quite a pain. You don't have enough burst to finish him before he uses his bubble, and his octograb can mean instant death in team fights and in late game. Kite him and don't get overconfident.
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Tassadar A fiarly decent counter to Sylvanas, since he can shield structures and toss AoE damage on your while you're auto attacking. He's also so sustainable that you can't really kill him. In the end, you still out push him if you just ignore him and avoid his abilities.
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Falstad Alone, you can really get hurt by Falstad. Your teleport can cancel his lightning strikes, but it's slow enough that he can get in some pretty powerful burst first. His lightning ultimate takes a ton of health even if you're fleeing. In team fights, though, he's not as dangerous to you, since he would have to put himself too out of position to be much of a treat.
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Muradin Irritating freaking dwarf. He doesn't pose much of a threat alone, but his leaps and stuns can really cause problems in a team fight. Don't ever focus him, and dodge his stuns, and you should be fine.
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Sonya You have no way to cancel her Whirlwind except wasting your ultimate, and she can heal herself for all the sustained damage you deal. However, just take a movement buff and dodge her hooks--then, just kite her all day.
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Sylvanas An enemy Sylvanas in Quick Match can be a huge threat. Most of the builds I suggest are better at pushing and team fighting than they are 1v1. If the enemy Sylvanas goes assassin, she can take you 1v1--but then, just let your team handle her and out-damage her in team fights.
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E.T.C. Similar problems to Diablo, but his stuns have less range. Your Wailing Arrow is a great counter to Mosh Pit--unless you get caught by the pit. Be careful 1v1, but you should be okay.
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Kerrigan A good Kerrigan can rip you apart, especially early game. Her stuns happen faster than your teleport and can cancel it, so if she catches you, you're dead. You also can't really do much damage to her. She falls off late game, though, and can barely touch you in team fights.
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Sgt. Hammer She has more range than you do and more burst. Because of that, she can match your push, because you can't kill her. If someone with some cc joins you, though, she's toast.
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Tyrael Tyrael has some serious chase, but can't kill you alone unless you're foolish. Take some extra mobility and dodge his main attacks, and you'll be fine--unless he uses Judgment and his team bursts you down.
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The Butcher A fair threat, but manageable if you're smart. If he charges you, quickly teleport to your towers or team, and watch him blow up. If he catches you out, though, he could lock you in a terrible spot, and his team will slaughter you.
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Diablo The range on his charge is deadly. He can charge you and flip you, and by that time, his team will have bursted you down. And you have no counter, since your teleport will be canceled. Stay far away from him, or kite him 1v1.
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Jaina Jaina is either a huge threat or none at all, depending on how good you are at dodging. If she hits you with any ability, her slows could mean your doom, and her burst potential if she catches you is unparalleled. If you learn to dodge her ability burst, though, she'll be dead before her cooldowns recharge.
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Thrall Thrall has some great chase and burst, and a stun to top it off. If you're careful and good at dodging the stun, he won't instantly kill you, but he is still really tough to deal with. Kite carefully.
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Zagara Never, ever lane against Zagara--especially in early game. Her Hunter Killers do way too much damage, and you can't kill them quickly enough. She has enough mobility with creep (which you can't really kill), and can really out-push you for most of the game. In later team fights, though, she falls off a little bit, so just steer clear of her until then.
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Kael'thas Kael'thas has some serious burst and cc potential and can lane pretty well, so you should be very cautious.
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Nova Nova suddenly became incredibly useful again after Sylvanas's patch. Her burst can seriously hurt, and the only way you have to reveal her cloak is to waste your Haunting Wave. In team fights, wait until she uses up her burst to engage, then end her--she's just as squishy as you are and has less mobility. If she uses Triple Tap on you, quickly teleport, since it will cancel it. If she uses Precision Strike, pray.
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Valla Valla is a fairly big threat, since she can match your mobility--and since her Vault is instanteous, unlike your teleport. If you dodge her Multishot, you can take her 1v1. If not, you can use your teleport to go through structures she can't follow through. Take a lot of patience and care to beat.
10
Illidan He's not usually strong enough to just wipe you early game, but Illidan is really tough to get away from--even with your teleports and silences. Definitely consider the builds with movement buffs so you can up your chances, and hope your team has some stuns and roots to burn him down.
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Tychus Any good Tychus will destroy you throughout the game. His grenade can interrupt your teleport, and he can chase you right through it while using Overdrive. Do not 1v1 against him, and make sure to put teammates between you in fights.
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Zeratul Even worse than Nova--all the same problems, but he has more health and more mobility. Be careful and don't hesitate to run when you see the shimmer. However, if you stay alive, he can't lane against you, and he has trouble killing you if you stay in the right positions in team fights.

Sylvanas

Build: Slow All Day

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Sylvanas

Build: Self-Sufficient

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Sylvanas

Build: Unstoppable Team Push

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Sylvanas

Build: Split Push Map Control

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Sylvanas

Build: I'm Confused and Think I'm an Assassin

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Hello, everyone. I'm Jaeris. In game, some of you know me by another screenname, but I actually think that being Rank 1 or Rank 50 has nothing to do with how well you write guides--it just shows how well you play the builds. So I'm not going to regale you with my rank, number of wins with Sylvanas and whatnot. I'm going to give you the best reasons to go with the builds in this guide. Rest assured, though, I've been gaming for a long, long time in casual settings--and I've played Sylvanas quite a lot.

Since Sylvanas has come out, I've seen a lot of builds and a lot of guides for her. The sad fact is that most people don't play her as well as they could, because they don't really know how to optimize her talents--and because her stats can get so high even with the wrong build. To really play her well, you have to know (1) her strengths, (2) her weaknesses, (3) the map, (4) your team, and (5) your opponents' team. Honestly, that's a bland statement that is really true for every hero, but I'm sad to say that people tend to forget it with Sylvanas, partially because she's so fun to play.

So to start with, let's get one thing straight: Sylvanas is not an assassin. She's a unique type of specialist. That means she excels at pushing and sustained damage in team fights, but should not be designed for burst damage. The problem is that she's so overpowered that if she's built for burst, she can 1v1 almost any hero in the game--and so a ton of people like using her as an assassin (see my I'm Confused and Think I'm an Assassin build). That's all well and good, and it's definitely fun in a Quick Match from time to time, but for a competitive build against real opponents who fight as a team, the focus should be on her real strengths and weaknesses. That's the focus of this guide.


Using This Guide



This guide has a lot in it. If you really want to know Sylvanas, I recommend reading everything that doesn't require you to click to expand it--definitely at least the rationales for the talents you should consider. If you're in a hurry and just feel like trusting me, I would read the sections entitled, Introduction and Basics, The Highs and Lows, and The Kit.

If, however, you are really interested in the math behind the talent choices (or just incredibly doubtful of these builds), I have spent quite a long time doing the math behind the talents choices. For each tier, you can click to expand a section devoted to doing the math for the talents on that tier. The math is detailed, so you can always just read the "Summary and Conclusions" sections, and move on from there. Note that this is a work in progress, so I will be posting the math as I finish typing it up,

For a shortcut to any of the sections, you can use the Table of Contents below. Additionally, there are quick links in blue text throughout the guide that allow you to navigate within it. Or you can always hit Top to get back to the Table of Contents.



Update for Kael'thas patch: Sylvanas received almost no changes and will continue to be incredibly overpowered. There were a couple of bug fixes, and her Follow Through talent was replaced with a hero-specific version called Remorseless. Remorseless does exactly what Follow Through did before the patch, so all of my recommendations in this guide stay exactly the same. How easy is that?

Update for Johanna patch: No meaningful changes, except Johanna was added.

Update for Butcher patch: Okay, finally some real changes. Possession was reworked to make it more viable, and Wailing Arrow got a significant damage nerf, so guide now reflects this. Changes to Blood for Blood, Spell Shield, and Unstable Poison are acknowledged in guide, but do not change logics for the builds. Envenom was also nerfed, so level-4 choices may be subject to change, pending playtesting. Strategies for Battlefield Of Eternity are pending playtesting and availability on this site.


Update for Leoric patch: No changes, except Leoric was added.

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Sylvanas Windrunner is a hero from the Warcraft universe. In Heroes of the Storm, she is one of the most overpowered heroes in the game, capable of carrying both siege and hero damage on most teams and against most opponents. Remember, though: she's a high-damage specialist, not a bursty assassin. If you want to maximize her stats and her contribution to your team's win, you need to bear in mind her strengths and weaknesses when choosing your build:

Pros:


- Amazing sustained damage with Shadow Dagger (and more from Withering Fire)
- Excellent control with slow, silence, and Black Arrows
- Only hero that can shut down towers and forts
- Serious push and lane clearing in any build
- Escape artist and gap closer with Haunting Wave
- Seriously scales up throughout the game
- Highly versatile

Cons:


- OMG so squishy
- Low burst damage, even with Envenom
- Cannot control fights alone (needs team cc)
- Haunting Wave can be predictable or countered with stun/root/silence
- Wailing Arrow can be countered with stun or silence
- Only 1 viable long-range snipe (by wasting Wailing Arrow)

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Based on the above characteristics, I end up using multiple builds, depending on the map and the heroes I'm playing with and against. These builds work. I have a 65%-70% win rate with them, and I always do better than a Sylvanas that uses an assassin build. Below are the builds and when to use them. To be a master Sylvanas player, you should really know all of them so that you can be flexible based on your team composition, the enemy team's composition, and the map (see also Map-Specific Strategies). Similarly, know the the ins and outs of each talent choice so that you can improvise if necessary (for instance, I often take Evasive Fire as a substitute choice in the Team Fight Carry build). For more details on the reasoning for each one, read the Abilities and Talent Breakdown sections, too.

Team Fight Carry

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This is your go-to build. I use it in most maps unless I have a good reason not to. With it, you should easily have the most siege damage AND hero damage on your team. You won't be bursty, but your job will be to stay in the back lines and harass the enemy team constantly with Shadow Dagger and Withering Fire, and also Auto Attack whenever it's safe to stand still. Keep Evasive Fire in mind as an alternative choice if you find you need it later in the game.

Slow All Day

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One of Sylvanas's under-appreciated strengths is her ability to slow an entire team with Overwhelming Affliction. It's not actually an "overwhelming" slow, being between 5% and 25%, and it won't make your own damage/experience points look good, so people tend not to take it. Remember, though: the only stat that really matters is the win rate, and this is the kind of build that wins games because it helps your whole team control the fight. There are two situations where you might take this build instead of your go-to build: (1) your team needs to land a lot of skill shots, so even a 5-25% slow makes a huge difference, or (2) you're working with Jaina, Arthas, or other team members with their own slows. Together, characters like that can effectively root entire teams for entire fights. Think a minor Earthquake all the time.

Self-Sufficient

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You can also spec Sylvanas with a bit of self-healing through Life Drain and extra mobility through Evasive Fire and Bolt of the Storm. I use this in two situations: (1) you're playing against a good team that focuses you first, or (2) you're ending up in a lot of small 1v1s and 2v2s--like on Dragon Shire. Basically, consider this build any time where you need a little bit of extra healing and extra mobility to get out of tough situations. (Also, please note that if you started going for some other build and find you're getting focused, it's always reasonable to consider doing a hybrid build with Evasive Fire and/or Bolt of the Storm. Don't be so committed to a build that you end up dying for it. Dead heroes do no damage!)

Unstoppable Team Push

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Sylvanas has innate pushing ability in any build, but there are some maps just begging for a snowball-level push: Haunted Mines and Tomb of the Spider Queen. On these two maps, because you will spend so much time fighting with or against the golems and spider waves that have enemy heroes standing in the middle of them, your Shadow Dagger/ Black Arrows easily becomes the best ability combo in the game if built up properly. Exploding minions and continuous slows while dodging the golem's and spider's abilities are game-changers.

Split Push Map Control

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This build maximizes your solo-push potential and also your escape abilities. Use this build only with a coordinated (read: not reckless) team that has a specific, agreed-upon strategy of split pushing. Please don't ever take this build and strategy without discussing it with your teammates. You will be constantly alone and pushing while your team engages, and then rotating lanes or fleeing as soon as the enemy heroes come to get you. You should be able to clear waves and kill towers and forts all on your own, but it will only work if you are great at positioning and (most importantly) predicting enemy team movements. High risk, high reward because engagements will always be 4v5 for your team or 1v5 for you.

I'm Confused and Think I'm an Assassin

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Use this in exactly two situations: (1) you're screwing around in Quick Match or a Custom Game, or (2) you're in Hero League and your teammates have their heads so far up their own butts that none of them took an assassin. To be honest, I rarely even take this build in the latter situation. You can play assassin as Sylvanas. It's just not her true strong suit.

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Withering Fire (Q)

Auto-aimed, single target damage

Charges: 5
Cooldown: 2 seconds
Mana cost: 0


This ability shoots an arrow at the closest enemy target, including minions, mercenaries, and structures. If an enemy hero is in range, it instead shoots the closest hero. You can carry 5 charges, and they can be unleashed in rapid succession for a little bit of burst damage (just hold down Q). One charge refills for a minion kill and three for a hero kill.

There are a couple of things to remember with this ability: (1) it's actual damage output is low, with every hit even lower than an Auto Attack hit and at a slower rate; (2) it can be fired while on the move, so it is arguably the best kiting ability in the game, especially with some talent upgrades; (3) it applies your Black Arrows, so you can use it in tandem with your Auto Attack to lock down two or more minions/mercenaries/structures; (4) it costs no mana; and (5) it is not an effective burst in team fights, because it hits the closest target--which will always be a tank in a good team. On the other hand, it is an amazing way of dealing sustained damage to the tank while your other abilities (and teammates' abilities) target other enemy heroes. Use it liberally (I often just hold Q in team fights where I can't safely try to burst down assassins and healers). This is one of the reasons Sylvanus is a great source of sustained damage, but not burst damage.


Shadow Dagger (W)

Targeted damage over time that spreads to nearby enemies

Charges: 1
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Mana cost: 75


This ability is why you play Sylvanas. It is hands down your best ability. It throws a dagger that does damage over 2 seconds. Think of it as Envenom lite. Then, like a disease, it spreads to every nearby enemy--minions, mercs, structures, heroes, everything. Think of it as Envenom lite cast on an entire team. Along with its upgrades--especially Cold Embrace--it can seriously harm enemy heroes while also clearing waves. And like all of your attacks and abilities, of course, it applies Black Arrows to everything it touches. Even a Sylvanas with basic gamer skills should be able to kite around the edge of a team fight, spamming Shadow Dagger, and causing a ton of damage.


Haunting Wave (E)

Directed AoE cone of damage that allows a teleport

Charges: 1
Cooldown: 11 seconds
Mana cost: 75


This ability is the source of Sylvanas's immense mobility. It sends out a wave of banshees that grows and does damage to all targets in its path--but more importantly, it allows you to press E again to cast Haunting Teleport, teleporting to the current position of the banshees until the ability expires. It's a slow teleport that happens to deal damage (and apply Black Arrows to anything in its path).

Here's the thing: its costs just as much mana as Shadow Dagger, has a longer cooldown, and deals a lot less damage. That means it's good for two things: mobility, and applying Black Arrows or a little extra damage when you're absolutely sure you won't need your mobility.

In some ways, it is one of the best escape and chase abilities in the game, besides Blink and El'druin's Might, because you can use it to teleport through walls/barriers and over chasms/rivers. It also cuts off abilities like Triple Tap and Judgment if you teleport at the right moment. In other ways, though, it is one of the worst: it's slow and it's easy to counter. First, it is predictable, since the enemy heroes can watch where you cast the wave and follow it (and some heroes like Tychus will have no problem keeping up with the wave). Second, it can be countered with a stun, silence, or root; if you cast Haunting Wave and then get cc'ed, you might be unable to teleport throughout the entire wave and then completely waste your escape.

For these reasons, it takes a lot of good positioning and practice to be good with Sylvanas. Always keep your escape routes in mind--and always make them through walls or barriers that enemies can't follow through. Most importantly, always save it for times where you know you won't be stunned, silenced, or rooted. If there's no escape through walls and barriers, or you don't have time to use Haunting Teleport without being cc'ed, you're out of position. If you've needlessly used your Haunting Wave on minions and then get attacked while it's on cooldown, you're in even more trouble.


Black Arrows (D)

Sustained stun against non-heroes/non-bosses

Duration: 1 second per attack/ability
Cooldown: None (Passive)
Mana cost: None (Passive)


Sylvanas's trait is the reason she is a ranged specialist rather than a ranged assassin. Any attack or ability that she uses stuns all minions, mercenaries, and structures--the only ability in the game that does so. This is the reason that Sylvanas exists in the game. With proper positioning, she can use Withering Fire and Auto Attack together to completely stun siege giant pairs, two towers, or a tower and a fort. Splinter Shot can add a third target, and Shadow Dagger can stun entire waves of minions as it spreads. Learn to position yourself properly, and there is no character in the game--including golems--that can more efficiently clear waves and level structures.


Wailing Arrow (R)

Skillshot AoE damage that also silences for 2.5 seconds

Charges: 1
Cooldown: 90 seconds
Mana cost: 100


This is your only viable ultimate. It casts a single arrow with a medium-sized radius quickly in one direction, and explodes when it reaches its destination. After it detonates, it damages and silence everything in the radius. It can also be detonated manually by pressing R a second time. If you time it well, you can silence most or all of the enemy team for 2.5 seconds--ages in a team fight--or you can use it to completely cancel channeled abilities like Ravenous Spirit or Strafe. It can also be a last-ditch effort to kill a fleeing hero, since it is far faster than even mounted heroes--but don't waste it on chasing unless the team fight is definitely over, or you'll have some regrets when it's on cooldown.

Be careful with this ability, too. It is a skillshot, so you can completely miss. More importantly, though, it has the same flaw as Haunting Wave/ Haunting Teleport: if you are stunned or silenced yourself after you cast it, you can't push R again to detonate it. If this happens, the arrow will fly to the end of the line before it detonates--probably being completely useless. Again, good positioning and timing are key.

Update for Butcher patch: In the new patch, Wailing Arrow was given a damage nerf, so is now truly only a silencing tool with some bonus damage. Recommendations therefore don't change for how to use it, except that it's even less viable as a sniping tool now.


Possession (R)

Targeted charm and attack buff to enemy minions

Charges: 7
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Mana cost: 20


Well, this used to be literally the worst ultimate in the game. Blizzard reworked it so that you can now basically use it to take over an entire wave of 7 minions every 84 seconds. It also instantly gives you the experience for the charmed minions. This would be amazing if you could do it early game, but since you can only do it by definition after level 10, it's very situation-specific. Wailing Arrow is a great initiating or tide-changing tool in a team fight, and even this new version of Possession is totally useless at such moments (even in fights on top of minions, your goal is to blow them up with Unstable Poison, not convert them. That means this ultimate is viable in exactly two situations: (1) you are using the Split Push Map Control build where you aren't planning on ever being in team fights anyway, and (2) you are going to convert waves just before running away to map objectives (e.g., on Sky Temple or Cursed Hollow), so that the wave of now 14 minions can seriously push while the enemy is distracted. The latter situation honestly depends on how much your team needs the 2.5-second silence of Wailing Arrow in team fights - which honestly depends on the enemy team's skill set. Waling Arrow is necessary (1) if your team does not enough cc to control a fight, (2) if they don't have enough counters to enemy ultimates (e.g., Shadow Charge or Polymorph against Mosh Pit and Strafe), or (3) if a properly timed silence can seriously disrupt the enemy's plans (e.g., by preventing Ancestral Healing, Avatar, or Longboat Raid!. If none of those situations are present, Possession is a serious choice.

Update for Butcher patch: Wow. All of a sudden, Possession is a viable choice as of the new patch. Not awesome by any means, but at least viable in the right situation. Totally re-did the above information, and it is now the choice for the Split Push Map Control build.

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This section explains the pros and cons of each talent in Sylvanas's repertoire, and there the logics of the builds in her competitive kit. Each talent is labeled green for a standard competitive build, yellow for the optional builds, orange for situational picks, and red for builds or talents you should rarely if ever use.

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With the Wind - Situational Pick Only

Moderately increases Withering Fire's range

With the Wind is a pretty good idea. Extra range on your main single-target ability. It has good synergy with Splinter Shot or Evasive Fire, too. Unfortunately, (1) Sylvanas's strength is not as an assassin, where this talent would really shine, and (2) With the Wind is overshadowed late game by Lost Soul because your real damage comes from Shadow Dagger, not Withering Fire. Also, after you take Cold Embrace at level 16, you have to get close enough that With the Wind helps very little. It's a close call, though, so it ultimately depends on how much your team capitalizes on the reduced cooldown of Cold Embrace and on whether With the Wind saves your life multiple times per game. With the Wind makes the most sense in solo-queue. If you can get good enough at positioning to not need it, though, Lost Soul is the real gamechanger.


Lost Soul - Any Competitive Build

Lowers the cooldown of Shadow Dagger by one fifth

This talent is often overlooked. In reality, there's almost never a reason not to take it. Shadow Dagger is your main damage-dealing tool, especially with vulnerability from Cold Embrace at level 16. Thus, although Lost Soul may seem lackluster, it eventually makes your entire team's damage output spike exponentially by increasing the overall vulnerability time by 25%. In the meantime, it also lowers the cooldown on your main wave-clearing tool (and your healing tool if you take Life Drain), getting you to level 16 faster.


Barbed Shot - Never pick this

Makes Withering Fire deal 3 times damage to minions and mercenaries

I seriously cannot understand why so many people pick this. Maybe they just gravitate toward the only level-1 talent that "bonus damage" without considering that it's useless bonus damage. Your main lane-clearing tool is Shadow Dagger. At best, Withering Fire only hits one minion or merc at a slower speed and lower damage than Auto Attack does, and it less efficient at laning than Lost Soul is. At worst, there will be an enemy hero nearby (as there usually will be) so that Withering Fire will target them instead--making Barbed Shot completely ineffective. Then, at level 7, the laning power of Unstable Poison makes Barbed Shot entirely obsolete. The only use I can fathom for this talent to slightly increase your slow speed at claiming mercs camps in early game. Given Lost Soul and even With the Wind, not even close to worth it.


Corruption - Never pick this

Auto Attack destroys ammunition from towers and forts

This is a talent like Demolitionist, which is sometimes useful on other specialists. On Sylvanas, it's a complete waste. Her Black Arrows already stuns structures, so you can destroy them long before they run out of ammunition.

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The Math behind Level-1 Choices

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Paralysis - Slow & Push Builds

Doubles Black Arrows duration

In any build where you're going to take Unstable Poison or Overwhelming Affliction, it's worthwhile to consider Paralysis. Both of those talents significantly enhance Black Arrows by either adding a slow or making minions/mercs explode when they die under its effects. As such, so lengthening the duration of those effects works wonders.


Overflowing Quiver - Never pick this

Automatically fires Withering Fire whenever more than 5 charged would be gained

Whenever you would need to use a Withering Fire, you should have already used it, so having Overflowing Quiver shoot off extra charges is pretty useless. If you find that you can't multitask well enough to use Withering Fire, just hold down Q all the time--still better than this talent.


Ranger's Ambush - Never pick this

Refills Withering Fire charges after Haunting Teleport

With this talent, you can fire off 10 Withering Fire shots almost instantly. If you use Windrunner at 16, it could be 15--all while chasing down almost any hero. Two problems, though: (1) this is an assassin-like logic that does not play to Sylvanas's strengths, and (2) even an assassin build has better options, like Envenom.


Envenom (#) - Hero Damage Builds

Deals heavy damage to an enemy hero over 5 seconds

Charges: 1
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Mana cost: 0


I almost don't need to say anything. Envenom exists on multiple heroes, and it's a viable if not go-to talent on every single one. It costs no mana, has a moderate cooldown, and deals some serious damage throughout a game. It's therefore a key part of your Team Fight Carry and Self-Sufficient builds. Stick it on any squishy hero in range (probably one that your team has pinged for a bursty death) and laugh as they run around aimlessly while the poison slowly finishes them off. Toss a Shadow Dagger at them while you're at it for even more damage over time!

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Unstable Poison - Push Builds

Causes minions and mercenaries who die under Black Arrows to explode and deal AoE damage

Level 7 is when your true build decision will take place, since it's where your most situational talents exist. Unstable Poison is basically the best talent in any situation where the enemy heroes are likely to be standing in their minion waves during team fights: the Unstoppable Team Push build. Then, just toss a Shadow Dagger in there, shoot one minion a couple of times, and watch the entire wave explode all over the enemy heroes, dealing some serious damage that they never expect--on top of Shadow Dagger's damage, of course. It's also the fastest way to clear waves, if you're going for the Split Push Map Control build.


Life Drain - Self-Sufficient Build (Situational Pick)

Shadow Dagger heals a small amount every time it spreads between enemies

If you find yourself in need of additional healing (because you don't have a healer, because you're on Dragon Shire, or because you're being bursted down by the enemy team), then the Self-Sufficient build with Life Drain is your best option. You can also reasonably take this talent as a substitute in any build if you need to. It's more effective in waves, since there are more enemies for Shadow Dagger to spread between, but you could use it to play it safe in maps like Cursed Hollow with isolated team fights if you want to.


Remorseless - Damage & Slow Builds

Adds 25% damage to the first Auto Attack that follows an ability

For most heroes, this kind of talent is a waste. Usually, there aren't enough abilities to keep up with the Auto Attack rate. With Sylvanas, though, you can cast Withering Fire at an extremely high rate, boosting about every other Auto Attack you make by 25% and seriously boosting overall damage for your Team Fight Carry and Slow All Day builds (and the I'm Confused and Think I'm an Assassin build). Just hold Q and right-click whenever it's safe to stand still for a moment.

Update for Kael'thas patch: In the new patch, Follow Through was updated to increase Auto Attack damage to 150% rather than 125%. That would have made this talent even more effective for Sylvanas. Unfortunately, at the same time, they created the new Remorseless talent just for Sylvanas and removed Follow Through. So basically, no advice in this guide changed.


Mercenary Lord - Never pick this

Boosts damage of nearby mercenaries

This kind of talent is bad because it commits you to perpetually staying in lanes near mercenaries--not a good plan in most competitive games. For Sylvanas, even if you do split push, you're much better off taking Unstable Poison, boosting your own laning ability far beyond anything mercs can do.


Shade Form - Never pick this

Haunting Wave grants temporary stealth

In theory, this talent is a great addition to Haunting Teleport. As I said above, Haunting Teleport predictable, allowing enemy heroes to keep running toward your eventually escape. It's a viable strategy to cast Haunting Wave and then run the other way, but this tactic will likely just delay the inevitable. With Shade Form, though, the enemy heroes can't figure out where you're going to go. It also makes Polymorph, Hammer of Justice, and other targeted abilities useless in preventing your escape, so it's definitely a useful ability--especially in early game laning phases. Still, long term, you're probably better off not getting caught out of position and investing in one of the better, game-changing talents in this tier.

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Wailing Arrow (R) - Damage, Slow, Self-Sufficient, & Team Push Builds

Skillshot AoE damage that also silences for 2.5 seconds

Charges: 1
Cooldown: 90 seconds
Mana cost: 100


This is your only viable ultimate. It casts a single arrow with a medium-sized radius quickly in one direction, and explodes when it reaches its destination. After it detonates, it damages and silence everything in the radius. It can also be detonated manually by pressing R a second time (Note that if you hold R down to fire it, it will detonate almost immediately). If you time it well, you can silence most or all of the enemy team for 2.5 seconds--ages in a team fight--or you can use it to completely cancel channeled abilities like Ravenous Spirit or Strafe. It can also be a last-ditch effort to kill a fleeing hero, since it is far faster than even mounted heroes--but don't waste it on chasing unless the team fight is definitely over, or you'll have some regrets when it's on cooldown. The key is planning: are you saving it as a defensive against enemies' sustained ultimates, are you using it as an initiation tool, or are you simply using it on the healer at the best moment when the enemies are grouped up and already hurting? Coordinate this with your team, and Wailing Arrow can be a gamechanger.

Update for Butcher patch: In the new patch, Wailing Arrow was given a damage nerf, so is now truly only a silencing tool with some bonus damage. Recommendations therefore don't change for how to use it, except that it's even less viable as a sniping tool now.


Possession (R) - Split Push Build (Situational Pick)

Charms and applies an attack buff to enemy minions

Charges: 7
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Mana cost: 20


Well, this used to be literally the worst ultimate in the game. Blizzard reworked it so that you can now basically use it to take over an entire wave of 7 minions every 84 seconds. It also instantly gives you the experience for the charmed minions. This would be amazing if you could do it early game, but since you can only do it by definition after level 10, it's very situation-specific. Wailing Arrow is a great initiating or tide-changing tool in a team fight, and even this new version of Possession is totally useless at such moments (even in fights on top of minions, your goal is to blow them up with Unstable Poison, not convert them. That means this ultimate is viable in exactly two situations: (1) you are using the Split Push Map Control build where you aren't planning on ever being in team fights anyway, and (2) you are going to convert waves just before running away to map objectives (e.g., on Sky Temple or Cursed Hollow), so that the wave of now 14 minions can seriously push while the enemy is distracted. The latter situation honestly depends on how much your team needs the 2.5-second silence of Wailing Arrow in team fights - which honestly depends on the enemy team's skill set. Waling Arrow is necessary (1) if your team does not enough cc to control a fight, (2) if they don't have enough counters to enemy ultimates (e.g., Shadow Charge or Polymorph against Mosh Pit and Strafe), or (3) if a properly timed silence can seriously disrupt the enemy's plans (e.g., by preventing Ancestral Healing, Avatar, or Longboat Raid!. If none of those situations are present, Possession is a serious choice.

Update for Butcher patch: Wow. All of a sudden, Possession is a viable choice as of the new patch. Not awesome by any means, but viable in the right situation. Totally re-did the above information, and it is now the choice for the Split Push Map Control build.

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Overwhelming Affliction - Slow & Team Push Builds

Black Arrows now slows enemy heroes a small amount, stacking up to a moderate amount

Your second big choice comes at level 13. If you're in a situation where your best bet for team fights is to add a slow--either because your team has more slows or because even 5-25% slow will be enough for a golem or spider to crush them more easily on Haunted Mines and Tomb of the Spider Queen--go with Overwhelming Affliction. This is the key to the Slow All Day build and works well in the Unstoppable Team Push build. If you took Lost Soul and Paralysis, the slow lasts 2 seconds for every Withering Fire and Auto Attack, and gets a whole team every 8 seconds with Shadow Dagger.


Evasive Fire - Self-Sufficient & Split Push Builds (Situational Pick)

Withering Fire moderately increases movement speed, and stacks for a large increase

Ever seen an enemy Sylvanas running around a team fight faster than anyone else, dodging all kinds of stuns and skillshots, and then kiting chasing heroes like a pro? That's Evasive Fire. In any situation where you're likely to need that kind of mobility (see the Self-Sufficient and Split Push Map Control builds), it's your best bet. You can hold down Q for a continuous 10% boost in speed, or you can save 3 Withering Fire charges for huge 30% bursts. (Note the big difference between choosing Overwhelming Affliction and Evasive Fire: whether you want the opponents to miss their skillshots targeted at you, or whether you want you whole team to get the benefit of landing their skillshots. It all depends on which team has more skillshots they need to land--and who needs to dodge golems and spider queens.)


Splinter Shot - Hero Damage Builds

Withering Fire now hits a second target for less damage

I really debate between Splinter Shot and Evasive Fire in any build. Splinter Shot lets you solo bruiser camps more easily and actually hit something besides the tank with Withering Fire in a team fight. Thus, it boosts your sustained damage and distributes it more harmfully among enemy heroes. The downside is that you sacrifice both Evasive Fire and Overwhelming Affliction, so that if your team's front line doesn't hold, you are seriously vulnerable. Take it only if you're feeling safe enough to use the Team Fight Carry (or I'm Confused and Think I'm an Assassin) build.


Spell Shield - Never pick this

Automatically halves incoming ability damage for 2 seconds every 30 seconds

Spell Shield is a great pick for a tank with lots of health. However, even reducing ability damage by 50% won't help a hero as squishy as Sylvanas if you're caught out of position. If you're feeling nervous, Evasive Fire is much more effective.

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The Math behind Level-13 Choices

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Windrunner - Never pick this

After Haunting Teleport, Haunting Wave can be cast again for free

Not bad. Doubles your escape/chase range and the effectiveness of Ranger's Ambush. Unfortunately, it doesn't help Haunting Teleport's vulnerability to stuns, silences, and roots, and it's completely overshadowed by the other talents in this tier. Evasive Fire should provide enough mobility if you need it.


Cold Embrace - Any Competitive Build

Sahdow Dagger also makes all minions, mercenaries, structures, and heroes vulnerable

Always take this. It adds a serious damage boost to Shadow Dagger itself and to any subsequent damage for 2 seconds. This is the reason for Lost Soul at level 1: to let you cast this gamechanger as often as possible (Ultimately, Lost Soul grants 25% additional vulnerability time--3 more seconds per minute). After you get it, consider saving your Withering Fire charges and getting your team to save their bursts until after you make the entire team vulnerable: wombo combo! Cold Embrace is so good that you should really take it even if you forget that you're not an assassin ( Jaina has a similar talent that only hits in a cone, and most people take it, and Cold Embrace is all but guaranteed to spread to an entire enemy team).


Will of the Forsaken (#) - Never pick this

Temporarily adds 30% movement speed and makes you unstoppable

Charges: 1
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Mana cost: 0


This might be the best escape in the game, next to Bolt of the Storm. Could even cancel Judgment and The Hunt. Realistically, though, Evasive Fire can already provide 30% movement speed, which is faster than any other hero, and you can take Bolt of the Storm soon anyway. The unstoppable trait is therefore just not worth sacrificing Cold Embrace. If it were on another tier, I might rethink it.


Blood for Blood (#) - I'm Confused and Think I'm an Assassin

Steals health from and slows a single target

Charges: 1
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Mana cost: 0


Blood for Blood is a great talent on many assassins, because it works well with Envenom and their other talents to burst down enemy heroes--especially tanks, since Blood for Blood calculates damage and drains health by a percentage of the target's max health. The problem is that you're a specialist without any other good burst abilities. Even for an assassin-like Sylvanus, I would still probably recommend Cold Embrace because it's a more effective immediate burst against non-tanks, and it applies both Overwhelming Affliction (slowing all enemy heroes rather than just one) and Life Drain (taking care of your emergency healing needs). That being said, the recommendations for this tier are designed for a well-coordinated team that fights together against a well-coordinated team that fights together; if the teams are all over the place and there are a ton of 1v1 death matches away from minions, you could take Blood for Blood instead of Cold Embrace.

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Defeaning Blast - Situational Pick Only

Significantly increases damage and silence duration at the center of Wailing Arrow's detonation

Deafening Blast would be immensely effective if it affected Wailing Arrow's entire radius rather than only it's small center. That means that it's incredibly difficult to aim and detonate at the right moment, even if your target is standing still (like Nazeebo using Ravenous Spirit or Tyrael using Sanctification). Because of that, I would only consider it alongside Overwhelming Affliction's slow . Even then, however, I find that Fury of the Storm is more effective. It's a close call, though, so feel free to try it for the Unstoppable Team Push and Slow All Day builds.


Dark Lady's Call - Situational Pick Only

Allows Possession to be used on mercenaries and adds 3 extra charges every 80 seconds

Now that Possession isn't the absolute worst ability ever invented, Dark Lady's Call is now something to consider. If you're playing the Split Push Map Control build, this will let you convert late-game waves (i.e., including catapults or mercenaries) before you run off. On the other hand, Bolt of the Storm will help keep you alive while you're running, so it will be more effective if you are frequently being chased. The extra 3 charges aren't worth dying for.

Update for Butcher patch: This talent was reworked when Possession was, so it is now slightly more viable as well.


Fury of the Storm - Damage, Slow, & Team Push Builds

Every 5 seconds, increases Auto Attack damage and massively damages nearby minions/mercs

For most heroes that have it, I recommend against taking Fury of the Storm. It only increases damage for 1 Auto Attackevery 5 seconds, and minions and mercenaries are usually irrelevant to their team fight strategies. For Sylvanas, however, things are different. If you took Remorseless, that 1 Auto Attack will be boosted by both abilities, making a single right-click deal almost triple damage. Moreover, Fury of the Storm hits all minions and mercenaries near your target for 500 damage, infecting them with Black Arrows and likely killing them. If you took Unstable Poison, they will also explode, dealing even more damage. If you took Sylvanas because you want burst damage, here it is.


Bolt of the Storm (#) - Self-Sufficient & Split Push Builds (Situational Pick)

Instant teleport with long range

Charges: 1
Cooldown: 40 seconds
Mana cost: 0


Multiple times, I've considered writing a general guide entitled, "Why You Should Always Take Bolt for Every, Single Hero Who Has It." It's the best escape in the game, with three exceptions: it has a long cooldown, it only comes at level 20, and almost everyone has it. Still, not everyone takes it, and it's hard to follow where someone bolted to fast enough to catch them--especially if they're smart enough to bolt into a bush or out of sight. If you're building for escapes, this is the talent you really want alongside Evasive Fire and Haunting Teleport. With those three, you don't need anything else.

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This is the map where you should learn Sylvanas's team fight style. There's team fight after team fight around tributes, followed by mercenary farming and pushes where minions and structures are irrelevant (because they're cursed). Your strategy here is to build up your sustain presence in team fights with the Team Fight Carry build. If your team has the right slow talents and wants to cc that way, the Slow All Day build works, and the Self-Sufficient build is great if you are getting bursted down in team fights.

Early game, you will likely want to lane top of bottom. Mid should be held by a pair that is less vulnerable to ganks. If your team does a 2-2-1 or 1-2-2 split, you will likely be solo, but it is a viable strategy to do a 3-1-1 or 1-1-3 split where you go with the 3 and push one lard hard before the first tribute. Since the first tribute comes after a long period, this kind of push often works, but remember that your team's priority should be to soak to level 10 faster than the other team. So your primary goal is to stay in sight on minions, kill them with Shadow Dagger, and keep an eye out for trees to Haunting Teleport through if you need to escape. You have the ability to solo siege giant camps without taking any damage as soon as they come up (target the further one with Auto Attack while letting Withering Fire target the other), but make sure someone covers your lane because you can only kill them very slowly.

In team fights for tributes, stay back and deal sustained damage to everyone you can--even the tank if that's all you can reach, since Shadow Dagger will spread from there. Remember that Sylvanas starts off fairly weak and seriously scales up throughout the game, so you're not yet a huge threat; just stay alive and do your part. Be sure to Auto Attack those squishes while your Withering Fire keeps bugging the enemy tank. However, don't stand still too long or you will be a natural target. When you get Remorseless, you are a bigger threat. Remember that your Haunting Teleport can easily reposition you through trees and barriers, so that you can escape, dodge, or engage with ease. However, don't chase too hard. Sylvanas is usually better used to go lane some exp if the team fight is basically over. The team to get to level 10 first often wins. If your team gets 3 tributes, go push right away or take some mercs and push with them (not the boss...it takes too long to get at this stage and wastes the curse); your presence in pushes makes a big difference even with 1-health minions and frozen structures.

When mid game arrives, team fights will be more frequent and ultimates will be in play. Figure out your plan with Wailing Arrow and stick to it. It's still not really worth it to chase enemy heroes because you're priority is to get to Cold Embrace at level 16 (and if you're playing the Slow All Day build, to get to Overwhelming Affliction at level 13). Once you get there, your presence in team fights makes a huge difference. Get there right behind your tank and control those fights. Cold Embrace is even worth it against single targets and bosses. If you and your team win a tribute fight anywhere near a boss, and the enemy heroes won't be respawning soon, take a boss. Bosses win this map. In late game, your strategy shouldn't change too much, except that laning minions is completely irrelevant except to push. Never leave your team unless you've killed a number of enemy heroes so that split push is safe. Most enemy heroes will now have the ability to cc and burst you before you can get out, even if you take every escape you have, so don't get caught without your team.




Haunted Mines is a good map to practice your second style of play and team fighting: fighting as part of a team lane push. Your build here is Unstoppable Team Push--absolutely no excuses for taking another build. Your job from the beginning is to be on the offensive because you are as dangerous if not worse than any golem. In fact, you are so dangerous on this map that your strategy should be different from other specialists.

Usually, in early game, I would say that a team on Haunted Mines should do a 4-1 or 1-4 split: the 4 being in the lane their golem will be pushing, and the team's specialist should go hold the other lane. Sylvanas, however, can seriously consider going with the 4 and pushing the hell out of the towers and gate before the first trip to the mines. Sometimes my team and I even decide to have two specialists on this map so that Zagara or Nazeebo can go hold the non-golem lane while we do some serious siege damage. Haunted Mines is all about a snowball, so the team that gets ahead on pushing usually gets ahead of levels and can't be stopped. (Not always, though, so don't give up! I've seen a number of really awesome comebacks on this map.)

Actually, it's such a snowball map and Sylvanas is so dangerous on it that I would even consider an unorthodox strategy: when the first trip to the mines comes up, Sylvanas can legitimately ignore it and keep pushing. The enemy team will either have to send someone to (poorly) defend against her, or worse, they'll ignore her and go for skulls. Yes, it will be 4v5 in the mines for your team, but you can do so much damage to the enemy team's first fort that it will be worth it almost every time (assuming your team can hold their own and get a few skulls). This strategy only works on the first trip to the mines, because the first golem is half strength. Never, ever, ignore skulls on subsequent trips. But because the first golem is half strength, Sylvanas can be more powerful than a 100-0 golem. One last thing about this strategy: make sure your team knows what you're doing and agrees with it.

Right after the mines, your team should get the bruiser camp and your siege camp. If there's a team fight at the bruisers, be there to help, but otherwise, you can slowly solo the giants. When the golems are up, though, you should always, always be pushing with your golem--unless the enemy team is 5-pushing with theirs. Even if it's 1v5 near their golem, just throw a Shadow Dagger in and run occasionally. Because you'll be taking Unstable Poison and Overwhelming Affliction, a single Shadow Dagger will seriously disrupt the enemy's ability to efficiently kill your golem. You can't do the same sort of catastrophic damage on defense, but if you're whole team is forced to defend against a 5-push, you can still blow up enemy minions in their faces.

After the first mines, during mid game, and during late game (if there even is one on this map), your strategy should basically be the same. Get down to the mines to collect skulls, quickly grab camps, push with your golem, refill mana/health for the next trip to the mines. Your team should be grouped after their first trip to the mines at all times, with the one exception discussed above: if your team's golem is significantly weaker, split up so that 4 defend and you push. If your golem is even close to equal to the other team's, though, team push with all 5. Because Sylvanas can basically protect her golem from taking any siege damage, even a golem with 40 skulls can end the game if nobody's there to defend against it. With this build, your team fight strategy is basically to stay in the background, tossing Shadow Dagger, lighting up the towers and forts with Withering Fire and Auto Attack, and watching your golem smash through everything. The only time you should really engage is to kill a squishy hero that got caught out of position, but remember that since your whole team is fighting in range of structures, you are more effective if you just keep them out of play with Black Arrows so that your team plus your golem can fight safely.




Your overall strategy on this map is very similar to the one you should use on Haunted Mines. Take the Unstoppable Team Push build. Reasonably, you could consider the Self-Sufficient or Split Push Map Control builds, too (especially given how effective the quick movement is on such a small map), but the Unstoppable Team Push build is the most effective long term because you will end up pushing as a team with your spiders, the same way you would with golems on Haunted Mines.

Early game, you should be bottom, probably alone. Push it gently at first. The key to Tomb of the Spider Queen is actually not laning, but staying alive. It's a small map that is ripe for ganks, and despite your Haunting Teleport, you are seriously vulnerable because of your squishiness. So always be positioned where you can teleport to safely very quickly. When the siege giants come up around level 3, get someone from mid to cover your lane while you solo them. In the meantime, just stay alive and cover your teammates turn-ins (and contest your opponents' turn-ins). The big gamechanger on this map is who gets to level 10 first, so your team should never sacrifice lanes for kills (ganks are great here...just be sure to rotate lanes effectively between them).

By mid game, your team ought to start roaming in groups or as one. Defend spider waves together, killing one wave at a time, and push with spider waves as a group. Because you're in 5-man groups pushing or defending a push, your fighting strategy ought to look very similar to what you'd do in Haunted Mines. If you are split pushing instead, you're job would be to push until the other team reacts and then get out before they show up. When you're with groups, same fighting style: throw Shadow Dagger and spam Withering Fire at whoever's closest. Be aware that you'll be a big focus on this map, especially if there's a Nova or Zeratul running around. Late game is basically the same as mid game on this map, since laning is actually still important for gems--but there will be more laning as a group, unlike in early game.




This map is what the Self-Sufficient build is made for (the Split Push Map Control build might seem tempting here, but there are plenty of team fights with or against the dragon knight in which Black Arrows is a gamechanger). You can, of course, use it on other maps, but here--especially early game--you will find yourself in a lane 1v1 or 2v2. Most of the time, a specialist is solo in mid with a 2-1-2. You could do that as Sylvanus, but if you do, another team member should take the dragon. Your Black Arrows compliments the dragon way too much for you to be controlling it (of course, if it's ever a choice between taking the dragon and waiting until nobody can, definitely take it).

In early game here, you're just going to want to carefully soak until the first shrines come up. Kills are not really worth it unless you can kill everyone in a lane and gain that experience advantage. Once you get to Envenom at level 4, you could consider some kills, but really, just hang back and push like the monster Sylvanas is. As long as your team can hang on to one of the two shrines, nothing really matters as long as you survive. You're better late game, so your goal is just to get there. If you keep an eye on your minimap (which you should always do anyway), you should know when you're safe to push towers and gates.

Your mid and late game strategies should honestly depend on the other team. If they let you stay 2-1-2, you'll win, so don't be the first to group--but if they do group react quickly. Again, all that really matters is not letting the enemy team take the dragon knight, since your push will be stronger than theirs, so just hold at least one shrine.

Your team fight ability will be a little weaker than in other builds, since your focus is staying alive in a 1v1 or 2v2 lane. However, with Evasive Fire, you should be pretty good at darting in to plant an Envenom and Shadow Dagger, and then darting back out--all the while spamming Withering Fire at nearby stuff. When Shadow Dagger is on cooldown, do your best to take structures out of play if you're on offense. If you're on defense, keep spamming Withering Fire and Auto Attack the dragon knight. You're more effective on offense in this map, so kill the dragon knight as soon as possible to end enemy pushes.




Your strategy for Sky Temple should be very similar to the strategy for Cursed Hollow. There are a lot of team fights throughout the game, and they are far removed from laning and mercenaries. The difference is that there are often multiple temples up at once, as opposed to the tributes that pop up one at a time. So the build you use is your call. You could stick to the Team Fight Carry strategy of Cursed Hollow, or you could go with the Self-Sufficient strategy of Dragon Shire since you are so often in groups of 2 or 3. (Similarly, this is a viable map for the risky strategy of the Split Push Map Control build - if you think your 4 teammates can hold temples alone, or at least contest them long enough for split pushing to make enough progress to be worth it.)

In early game, you should be either top or bot before the first temples (which are top and mid). If you have a Falstad or Brightwing, they should probably be bot so they can simply teleport to the temples; otherwise, it should be you. Push carefully and don't overextend in whichever lane you're in. When the first temples come up, your team should really concentrate on taking one, agree on it, and go for it. If neither team contests the temples, it should be safe for you to lane right next to your team for some extra exp and pushing. Otherwise, stay with your team for the team fights. Use your Black Arrows to stun the temple guardians that are attacking your team, and if necessary, use the temple guardians as vehicles to infect enemy heroes with Shadow Dagger. Your goal in team fights is not to kill heroes; it's to zone them out of the temples until the temples expire. In other words, a kill is just a bonus but never worth chasing for.

After the first two temples, start moving bot, where the next one will be. From that point on, be cognizant of where the temples where be next and apply pressure before they arrive. The same sort of strategy applies mid game, except that teams will be more likely to try to take all of the temples instead of just one at a time, so be ready to fight alone, with small groups, or as a 5-man team. Use your healing abilities at nearby lanes or with multiple guardians and enemy heroes to get that extra health. Then, as late game approaches, keep an eye on the boss. More than even other maps, the boss can decide this one, because teams will have to choose between contesting temples or defending against the boss, and either of them can end the game. Don't hesitate to use everything you've got on the boss (specially a single-target Shadow Dagger for Cold Embrace) whether you're trying to take it quickly or defend against it. Although this is a Sylvanas guide rather than a general strategy guide, I do feel compelled to say this: never try to get the boss unless you have a clear advantage, either because they have 2 heroes dead for a long time, or because you have a serious level advantage. Otherwise, your team will get ganked, likely lose between fighting the boss and the enemy team, and then end up losing multiple lives and the boss.





This map involves a lot of killing mercenaries and fighting over turning in coins, so go for the Team Fight Carry and Self-Sufficient builds (or the Slow All Day build if your team composition or the enemies' calls for it). It's still about lanes in early game, since the first team to 10 often wins, but the siege damage that stacks up from turning in coins is really what makes or breaks a team on this map--so in any phase, make sure to help your team if they need help defending against enemy turn-ins. There's one other thing important to this map for you: the bottom lane is really far from the other two. That means you should usually be down there in the beginning, out pushing the enemy team's specialist (though definitely switch out if it's Zagara or Tychus defending against you). Also, a ton of teams like to rush to the watch tower at the beginning to fight--which is almost never worth it. That means you are very likely to find yourself alone in the bottom lane; if so, get your team to hold the enemy as long as possible while you level their gate and towers. If you're not alone down there, though, focus on getting coins and turning them in. You'll be able to solo both the siege giants and the smaller coin camps as soon as they come up, but get someone to cover your lane if you go for the giants, since it will take you a while in the beginning.

By mid game and late game, unless there's a major snowball already happening, both teams will begin to group up to contest turn ins--then splitting to quickly take down the camps on their side of the map. You can sneak the enemy team's siege giants if you are confident you know where the enemy team is and you have an escape route (probably because the first bottom fort is gone). Other than that, be present in team fights for your damage. You are also one of the most survivable heroes on this map, because there are a lot of escape routes for you (send your teleport across the rivers and barrier near turn in--almost nobody can keep up). That means you are a viable hero to grab coins and hold them if your team ends up losing and needs to escape. However, you are also so squishy that you'll almost never be able to dart into the middle of an ongoing team fight to collect coins off a dead hero. Finally, note that the boss is almost as important on this map as it is on Sky Temple, so always be there to get it with your team, and use everything you've got (except your ultimate) to take it quickly.




This is maybe the hardest map to come up with a "best" Sylvanas build because of a few factors: (1) unlike with golems, dragon knights, etc., you don't actually compliment the garden terror so well (because the seeds already stun structures and minions); (2) it's a large map so you can't get between lanes easily; (3) objectives mostly involve killing a boss-like single target (the minions are negligible as far as your build is concerned); and (4) it's hard to predict whether there will be a lot of team fights or a lot of laning. Based on all of this, I tend to go with the main two builds, Team Fight Carry and Self-Sufficient (or the Slow All Day build if your team composition or the enemies' calls for it), and a similar strategy to the Cursed Hollow and Sky Temple maps. Your push will be totally fine without adding to it, so put your talents into team-fighting. Alternatively, this map be the most viable map for the Split Push Map Control build, since both you and the terror can do similar things in different lanes (your team should go 4-1 in that case). It should go without saying that you are still one of the worst characters to take the terror because your sustained damage is too valuable to team fights.

As for early game strategy, you should be either top or bottom. There's really no difference between the two on this map, so you'll want to pick based on your match-ups. Mid lane is too dangerous for you because of ganks, so let the tank handle it. Lane as usual until the first objective pops up, and then get in there and kill the minions as soon as possible. If the two teams split up and each go for a different terror, then you should get back to the nearby lane and soak while your team grabs seeds. If, however, the teams end up fighting over a terror, get in there and help. Try to keep the terror between your team and the enemy's, and let your tank run around grabbing seeds. You're way to squishy to risk getting stunned by the terror when the enemy team is right there.

Your mid and late game strategies really shouldn't be that different than on other large maps, like Cursed Hollow or Sky Temple. As long as you are safe doing so, stay in separate lanes, because Sylvanas is going to be the stronger pusher--but as soon as either team groups up, make sure you do the same. You have some good escapes, but there's usually no getting away from a 1v5. Your team fight strategy at that point really depends on the build you took. If you took the Split Push Map Control build, you really need to end the game as soon as possible, since your team fight presence will be significantly weaker than in the two main team fighting builds.

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