A Comprehensive Guide to Bruiser Chen by Pika2346

A Comprehensive Guide to Bruiser Chen

By: Pika2346
Last Updated: Mar 9, 2015
8 Votes
Build 1 of 2


Build: Tank Chen

Level 1
Level 4
Level 7
Level 10
Level 13
Level 16
Level 20


Build: Damage Chen

Level 1
Level 4
Level 7
Level 10
Level 13
Level 16
Level 20

RECENT NOTICES (not important to the guide, feel free to skip this) Top

This is a statement from Blizzard when they were talking about hero win/loss rates in Quick Match mode when they were at PAX East:

Our lowest-tier Hero is currently Chen, and going forward we may make some balance changes to bring him more closely in line with the rest of the roster.

It is somewhat agreeable that Chen is a bit lackluster due to his vague role. He has good clear, but he isn't as pushy as a specialist. He has mediocre tankiness, but he isn't as tanky as most warriors. Let's be honest, Pressure Point is the only thing that makes Chen a bother for the enemy team pretty much. These future buffs will be a welcome change and I will update this guide ASAP when the buffs come. Please don't be put off from playing Chen however, as he's still a blast to play.

Prologue (not important to the guide, feel free to skip this) Top

I have over 100 (120/240ish in total at time of writing) Chen games. I'm seen on EU playing orange Master Chen and lately I've been getting praise from my allies for my Chen gameplay (it's not uncommon for me to end up with reasonably high stats on the tab screen all around by the end of the game aside from healing). I'm not saying I'm the best Chen on the planet, but I do have more Chen experience than the average HotS player.

What you're about to read are my thoughts on his kit, and how to get the most out of it. It's long as hell, so please feel free to just copy my talents and learn as you play. However, if you're serious about playing Chen as well as possible, please use this guide to help you become experienced in Chen. When you do become experienced with Chen, you'll probably strongly disagree with some of what I say, and that's great; it means you now have enough confidence to play Chen your own way. Please share these experiences in the comments to give newer Chen players another point of view than just mine.

If you like this guide, please give it a thumbs up! It took ages to create so I would be so happy if it helps you!
Add me! Battle.net Tag: Pika2346#2220

Introduction Top

Heya, this is my Chen guide as I get a lot of questions on my personal Chen playstyle. Basically Chen is an opportunist who will punish anyone who's out of position. He isn't mechanically hard, but a good Chen needs to question his decisions on when and where to use Q and when and where to use Fortifying Brew with keen regards as to what CC abilities the enemy has.

In short, your role is to be annoying to the enemy and keep the attention on you and away from your allies. If you choose the damage build, you preferably have another tank to initiate whilst you kick through to the enemy healer or assassin (focus the damn LiLi if there is one). However, don't get too far away from your team; you need to be able to quickly Q back to a flanking enemy (eg. A wild Zeratul appears next to your Valla) to peel if needs be.

Note: When I say CC (crowd control) I am only referring to hard CC; stuns, suppressions, silences etc. (I don't think displacement interrupts Chen, at least it doesn't stop his Fortifying Brew).

Quick Tips Top

Generic Combo: Q->W->E->aa->aa->Q->W->Drink quickly->E etc.
Waveclear Combo: W->E->aa->aa->aa->Drink->W->E etc. (Keep at 50 or more Brew for Brewmaster's Balance regen)
Q->W->E costs 60 Brew in total
  • When running away, if you take Brewmaster's Balance make sure you are at or under 50 Brew (a quick W E gets you from 100 to 50 Brew, and is worth it if you don't have time to mount).
  • Chen has a very strong lane presence. You can negate pretty much every hero's damage through your shield, so don't be afraid to sit in the face of the enemy laner and rotate your W, E and Fortifying Brew. You'll quickly figure out if this method is working or not as your hp should not be decreasing much.
  • Chen's Storm, Earth, Fire (during cast time) and Fortifying Brew can be cancelled by crowd control. Be aware of your enemies' CC abilities and their cooldowns. At high-level play be extra careful; they'll try to wait for you to drink and then CC you.
  • Sometimes it's better to save your Q to juke, you can even do a quick Fortifying Brew into Q to bait out enemy skillshots.
  • If in doubt as to whether to leave your lane to group or not, just stay in lane. Getting level 10 first is so important.
  • If you're over extended save your Q in case of flanks.
  • Don't be stupid early. Watchtowers aren't worth dying for, and don't Q into turret range. You're not immortal.
  • Storm, Earth, Fire is good for taking down bosses, as you can W out of their ground slam and Q back in after.
  • Your attack range is much longer than how close you get with your Q. When doing a boss, after you Q step back a little then auto attack so you can avoid the next ground slam.
  • When waiting for your cooldowns in a fight, you can sometimes bodyblock your enemies for easy but unconventional crowd control.
  • In teamfights, prioritise peeling; don't split away too far from your team. Don't forget that you are the front line and if you stray too far away from your team don't be surprised if they all die and you end up being outnumbered. *
  • If you look carefully you can see stealthed targets sometimes. W->E them to catch them out and scare them off. They'll feel like their security of stealth is gone and play with more hesitence, especially at lower mmr.

* Let me explain this. If an enemy Zeratul jumps into your back line and you're not there to burst him down, your squishy allies will take fatal damage, and you'll lose the fight. If you are there however, the Zeratul won't be able to do much damage before he has to retreat and the fight will turn in your favour. Remember, your Q (when you have Pressure Point) is a very valuable skill as it peels very well. Use it wisely in teamfights.

How to play Chen Top

Early game

  1. Make sure all lanes are being covered by at least one ally, screw 5-manning the watchtower. You'll lose xp from not soaking the lane and give the enemy the game before you even really start playing.
  2. Don't facecheck bushes before the minions meet. This is a pointless risk to take.
  3. W->E the waves, collecting globes. Harass using Q->W->E if the enemy is over-extending. They should be forced to hover around their turret range. Assert your lane dominance.
  4. When an objective appears, choose between staying to soak in lane or grouping. Generally if the rest of your team start joining together you should join them. In some maps where you collect currency like Bay, Garden or Mines, you should always go and help and on others like Temple it's more situational.

Mid game

  1. If you can get help with merc camps take them. After you take one or two group up as a 5 to either pick people off, push forts or invade the enemy camps.
  2. If you get level 10 first, group up as a 5 and teamfight if you can for an easy win.
  3. If there are a couple of enemies dead and your team is all alive, go for bigger objectives like a main map objective (eg. Dragon statue) or a boss.
  4. Don't forget to soak lanes when nothing interesting is happening. Even if there is, sometimes the exp from creeps is more valuable than you being with the team.

Late game

  1. Stay as a 5 now and catch out poorly positioned opponents out with your Pressure Point and W.
  2. In teamfights, use Storm, Earth, Fire before you jump in onto their squishy healers/assassins. If your back-line is getting focussed by a melee hero jump on them to help with peeling. After Storm, Earth, Fire runs out keep track of enemy CC cooldowns so you can be as safe as possible when you drink. Q different enemies whenever you can to disorientate your enemies, and W->E whenever you can. Don't go too deep into their formation for too long though.
  3. Destroying enemy inner forts spawn super minions, which act as orc mercs but spawn with your minion waves. Use these as well as mercs and objectives to end the game.
  4. Don't be afraid to go all-out for the enemy base if you have a sufficient number of minions/mercs/allies with you. If you have a Dragon/Terror/Golem with you, you can easily end. Just focus the Nexus and almost ignore the enemy heroes. A quick W->E on enemy minion waves is worth it though.

Build Overviews Top

Chen is a well rounded hero with talents that make him very versatile, from a beastly tank to a medium-range caster (even though I don't cover this one as it's pretty inefficient). At any rate he's great at punishing poor positioning. Here I explain two of my favourite builds from all the talent combinations I've tried.

Tank Chen

My current favourite. Provides incredible sustain, and as Chen hasn't got mana to worry about, he can stay in lane forever if he wants to (I have done this when my team doesn't need me for objectives and we've snowballed every time). Because you focus on collecting globes you indirectly focus on soaking up exp, which is awesome. Late game at 6 stacks (18-20 globes), you'll have 108 hp regen per second, plus your shield.

Damage Chen

Similar to tank Chen, but you'll have less sustain both early (due to lower globe/well heals due to lack of Amplified Healing) and late (due to lack of Regeneration Master). However, you will hurt more and be more of a lane bully. If you're laning a squishy you can easily bully them out of the lane. This is good versus many squishy enemy comps (eg. Zeratul Nova Valla + 2 others) as in these situations it's all about killing the enemy assassins as fast as possible.

Talent Explaination Top

Level 1

  • Bottomless Mug - This does not increase Brew restoration rates, and has no effect on Brewmaster's Balance. Yes, you could be auto attacking instead of drinking at times, but in a teamfight you'd want the sheild anyway to live longer so you give your allies more time to do their thing. I don't like this one.
  • Full Keg - Can be good if you want extra CC, but Pressure Point is usually good enough with A Touch of Honey to keep enemies locked down. You shouldn't really be chasing so much that you need a 3 second slow anyway.
  • Consuming Flame - This increases your total Breath of Fire damage by a third. It's good for added waveclear and to be honest for an aoe skill this kind of increase isn't bad compared to the other level 1 talents.
  • Regeneration Master - Lategame Chen can easily get up to 80-90 health per second with this and Brewmaster's Balance, so it's great for tank Chen. Chen has great natural waveclear anyway, so you can easily farm health globes. You can easily retrieve globes too, just drink up when the mage creep is about to die, then Q them and walk away.

Level 4

  • Swift Reflexes - This talent is great for survivability, even though it may not seem that great. Take this if you're going to be trading a lot in lane against someone like a Zeratul. It may just save your life. Amplified Healing is usually better though.
  • Deadly Strike - A good damage increase, at the sacrifice of survivability or sustain.
  • Amplified Healing - Take this and you'll have insane sustain. (This increases healing from wells, globes and regeneration as well as from allies) No seriously, this synergises with two of your other talents; it's insane.
  • Deep Breath - Makes it easier to hit your combo, but it just feels more impressive than it is. I prefer the other talents.

Level 7

  • Keg Toss - No. If you get this you're gonna want Deep Breath and Brew Strike, and there are much better talents than these.
  • Ring of Fire - Good for waveclear, and does decent damage in a teamfight. You're just sacrificing Brewmaster's Balance. Works on Blackheart's Bay chests for quick coin gathering
  • Combat Stance - Useless. Usually during your drink the damage you take cancels out your shield. If you're shielding for so much you're getting a net gain, you won't die anyway (unless you're CC'd, and this talent doesn't change this).
  • Brewmaster's Balance - Such a good talent. Keep Brew at 50 or more when laning for sustain. Keep Brew at 50 or less when running away or chasing to save your life or get that kill. Playing a tank with a gapcloser and 20% increased MS is so much fun. And you thought Muradin was unkillable. Just watch out for Stitches hooks when running away.

Level 10

  • Wandering Keg - The ultimate peeling machine, good against channelled heroics (Naz, Nova etc.) and an ok escape, but apart from that it isn't that good. Bear in mind you're sacrificing Elemental Conduit by taking this.
  • Storm, Earth, Fire - The better heroic. It gives you an extra health bar (or 3) and is good sustained damage. The cast time is an issue, if you get CC'd in the space of about half a second it'll go on a 10 second timer and you'll be in a sticky situation. Use this for escaping or jumping on their squishies (but don't go too far in) or even bodyblocking. By targeting squishies you'll force either the backline to retreat, leaving your team to pick off the front line, or they'll all focus you which gives your allies more time to do their thing. If you die in this form you'll revert back to Chen form with your previous hp, so I'd suggest being at full hp when you use this heroic, or running away whilst in spirit form.

Level 13

  • Brew Strike - Good if you prefer WQE combos to QWE combos I guess. When I've tried it I wasn't overly impressed as it doesn't feel like it has as much of an impact. Imo it's not worth getting.
  • A Touch of Honey - Quite useful, as it guarantees your E hitting in a quick WE combo, and it helps your team catch up for a pick-off. I sometimes get this if our team is good at grouping to pick enemies off.
  • Enough to Share - Sounds good, is actually meh. The radius is quite small, as well as the shield strength. I'd focus more on being annoying to enemies than trying to shield your team.
  • Relentless - When a Diablo or someone stuns you in the middle of their team you don't want to spend time being stunned, you want to Q out ASAP. This will save your life along with Brewmaster's Balance. My go-to 13.

Level 16

Power-spike time!
  • Combination Attack - Great, but Pressure Point allows you to get in extra AAs anyway, so that's better.
  • Chug - This is okay but usually Chen's Brew restore rate isn't a big issue unless you get CC'd while drinking. The other talents are better and usually I like to drink for a long time anyway so I can tank for longer.
  • Pressure Point - One of the best talents. When the enemy team is retreating Q one of them to pick them off, or just Q the enemy assassin. This usually scares the **** out of them and they stop focussing on attacking and start focussing on trying (and failing) to get away.
  • Bolder Flavor - With this you can tank a late-game Valla and then some. Fool the enemies into focussing you in teamfights then start drinking. They do no net damage and before they know it your team would've killed them all. Great for holding objectives such as Shire altars or keeping them from capping mercs. However, only take this if you feel like you really need the extra shield (bear in mind tank Chen easily reaches 100hps+ on top of the shield), as Pressure Point is usually the better pick up, and avoid this if the enemy team is focussing their CC on you.

Level 20

  • Untapped Potential - This is a bit tricky, the barrel gets too hard to control and everything goes everywhere. It's fun, but Bolt of the Storm and Hardened Shield are better in my personal opinion.
  • Elemental Conduit - Another awesome talent which adds so much base damage and goes well with Pressure Point as they won't be able to escape the Storm spirit when you Q. Use the Earth spirit (W) to clear waves and mercs quickly, and use it in teamfights for AoE damage. (The only way to choose your spirit is to lead with the corresponding skill. For this reason the Fire spirit isn't worth summoning as you won't be able to WE combo, unless you time it so that you W just before your current spirit expires.
  • Hardened Shield - If you didn't go tanky and wish to repent for your sins take this. I don't like steroids personally. but this could easily turn the tide of a final teamfight if it absorbs a few enemy cooldowns.
  • Bolt of the Storm - Chen isn't bursty and squishy enough to need this, but please have a go with it to try some original combos. I avoid it personally because unless you're awesome mechanically, Elemental Conduit is better for going aggressive and you shouldn't be getting caught out at this stage anyway.

What next? Top

Roughly learn all of the heroes' basic ability CC cooldowns and whether they can be juked or not! (Yup...) If you successfully read when the enemy is going to try and disrupt you you're going to be able to outplay them, which feels so satisfying (and keeps you from dying). I may add the important ones here when I have time.

Patch Notes Top

Guide initially written at patch Beta(34190) (Feb 18, 2015).
Main patch released Feb 10, 2015)

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