A Comprehensive Guide to Sylvanas [UPDATED] by Squeezebox

A Comprehensive Guide to Sylvanas [UPDATED]

By: Squeezebox
Last Updated: May 22, 2015
7 Votes
Build 1 of 1


Build: Main Build

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

Threats to Sylvanas with this build

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Threat Hero Notes
Murky Murky is puling short atm.
Azmodan You still push harder. Shouldn't be much of a problem.
Gazlowe Sylvanas's wave clear is better. Shouldn't be a problem laning against this Hero.
Abathur Be careful with Abathur when you're facing a duo lane.
Li Li Just annoying. She heals for quite a bit. Your team should burn her down in teamfights. Also; dont try to trade early game with her.
Kerrigan Kite/Haunting Wave when she activates her ult. Relatively easy match up.
Malfurion A stronger healer compared to Lili with some CC. Burn this Hero down during teamfights.
Arthas Don't get hit by his Frost Path or pay the price with 30-50% of your HP. You can't Bashee out while you're rooted.
Chen Tanky Hero. Watch out for ganks with this guy on your lane.
Nazeebo Nazeebo is a problem when you get caught inside the Zombie Wall. Sylvanas has a get out of zombie-jail-for-free card!
Nova Always be on your guard while Nova roams the map. When you're near full HP you can easily 1vs1 with her. An Envenom/Ultimate combo usually does the job. Not that scary.
Raynor He has a better poke/range than you do. Quite the pusher as well.
Tychus Tychus is strong but your wave clear and pushing potential is better. Getting Envenom against him is a good pick.
Anub'arak He is buffed. His teamfighting potential is real strong.
Sgt. Hammer Her range is insane. She can easily poke you (any hero rly) out of lane. Just ask for ganks on her while she's stationed.
Sonya Sonya is a in-your-face beefy warrior. Be sure to dodge the hooks. And Bashee out of her Ultimate.
Tassadar Tassadar is a versatile and good Hero overall. Great push/survival abilities.
Thrall Thrall deals a ton of damage to those getting caught by his root. Be aware! Also, you won't be able to Bashee out while you're rooted to the ground.
Tyrael Getting charged by Tyrael sucks but it's not the end of the world. A fair match up.
Zagara She's a great pusher. So is Sylvanas. Her 1vs1 isn't that great imo. Shouldn't be a problem.
Falstad Falstad burst is higher compared to Sylvanas. Be sure to dodge those hammers/ults!
Brightwing One of the stronger healer in the current META. Mobility = OP.
Muradin Surely a strong teamfigher and tank.
The Lost Vikings The Lost Vikings have a high map presence. Very Viable.
Tyrande She's strong in the current Meta. Be ready to move out alot of skill shots!
Zeratul Being >50% health means going back to base or use a Healing Well. Very scary Assassin with a lot of burst. Getting caught out with near 100% HP you can try to scare him off or burn him down with a Envenom/Ultimate combo.
Diablo Loads of CC, don't get caught or pay the price.
E.T.C. E.T.C. is very strong in the current META. Surely a Hero to watch out for.
Illidan Illidan is strong. He can easily jump in and out of combat lowering your health points. You might want to consider picking sustain on your Shadow Dagger.
Jaina Jaina is currently very strong. Getting slowed/caught out by her could wombo-combo you to zero health points easily.
Rehgar Rehgar is a powerful melee healer. He's very good in longer on going teamfights. Your Wailing Arrow usually counters him hard. His Ultimate won't save anyone when he remains silenced!
Stitches Hooks Hooks.. Stitches remains dominant.
Uther Uther still OP tier healer.
Valla Valla deals a ton of damage. Getting caught out first usually results in ending up dead.


Hi my name is Sander. My internet alias is Squeezebox.

I wanted to share my thoughts on how to play Sylvanas effectively in the current meta. I've been playing the alpha since day one and I've been playing Sylvanas since release. I won over 90% of my matches with Sylvanas and so can you! This guide will make you top the Siege Damage done AND Hero Damage done in most of your matches. This guide is suited for both solo and team play. Everything is written from a perspective that revolves around this particular build.

Everything you read is subject to change because Heroes of the Storm is still in BETA.

- Wrecks buildings
- Amazing wave clear
- Unique way of controlling Structures and Minions
- AoE silence
- An extremly good teamfighter
- Gab closer
- Mage counter

- Squishy
- Low burst (with Envenom on CD)


Welcome to the Ability section of the guide. Here we will discuss all the abilties Sylvanas has in her kit.

(Trait) Black Arrow

Her trait is Black Arrow, which stuns minions, mercenaries and structures for 1 second, whenever Sylvanas hits them with an ability or basic attack.

This identifies Sylvanas as a Specialist type of Hero rather than a Ranged Assassin. Her trait is the reason you can solo Mercenary Camps without taking a single hit. Solo structures without the lane being pushed (no minion wave). When micromanaging correctly you can stun multiple Structures/Minions at once. Black Arrow has the potential to slow down Enemy Heroes by 25%, putting effected Enemy Heroes in a Vurnerable state (25% more damage taken) and enemies dying while under the effect of Black Arrow explode for AoE damage. Extremly fun and important Trait!

(Q) Withering Fire

Charge Cooldown: 2 seconds
Mana spend: None!

This ability rapidly shoots arrows at the closest enemy target for light damage, prioritizing enemy Heroes. It stores up to 5 charges and can be used while moving to quickly unleash a barrage of lethal burst damage. Targets killed by Sylvanas will replenish the abilitys charges so Sylvanas can continue to rain death upon her foes.

Withering Fire sounds awesome but the damage is just plain low. Though the raw damage output is low, we can still use this ability to our advantage. Withering Fire applies the Black Arrow effect (Trait). We can use Withering Arrow for chasing and for rendering Structures/Minions useless. Note that Black Arrow does not effect Bosses.

Withering Fire always picks the nearest target to fire at. Prioritizing Enemy Heroes. This is an important fact in order to micromanage correctly. For example you can take down Siege Giants at level 1 without taking a single hit knowing that your Withering Arrow applies the Black Arrow effect and prioritizes the nearest target. You want to position yourself close to one of the Siege Giants (either one of them) and cast Withering Fire while AA'ing (Auto-Attacking) the other. This will keep both Siege Giants stunned.

(W) Shadow Dagger

Charge Cooldown: 10 seconds
Mana spend: 75

This ability initially deals light damage to the target and then sticks around to deals moderate damage over the next few seconds. As it deals damage, the effect spreads to nearby targets, so its especially useful in tightly packed groups where the effect can overtake the entire enemy force.

Shadow Dagger is your bread and butter ability. Shadow Dagger can spread to Minions, Enemy Heroes, Structures, Bosses, everything! Using Shadow Dagger during a teamfight will apply many debuffs to the Enemy Team. A 25% increased damage taken debuff and makes anyone or anything explode for AoE damage when they die. Ontop of your initial damage Shadow Dagger deals in the first place. Amazing ability.

(E) Haunting Wave

Charge Cooldown: 11 seconds
Mana spend: 75

This ability sends forth a wave of banshees who deal moderate damage to all targets. The ability can be reactivated to teleport to the banshees location for added mobility just what a nimble ranger needs for flanking maneuvers, chases, or clutch escapes.

Haunting Wave is your escape and initiate. When you feel confident about a fight you pick you can use this ability to chase down an Enemy Hero. When things get risky you can use it to get out. The distance you can travel is quite far but sometimes risky to take. Since Haunting Wave is a channeling ability you have to wait for the Bashee's to actually travel far enough before teleporting towards them. In certain situations this will take too long and it can get yourself killed waiting for the Bashee's to travel to a safe location. Getting stunned during the Bashee travel will inable you to re-activate the ability. Sometimes it'll be safer to close a small gab instead of a larger one. Be aware!

Haunting Wave deals moderate AoE damage and can also be used to clear out a minion wave in combination with Shadow Dagger.

(R) Wailing Arrow

Charge Cooldown: 90 seconds
Mana spend: 100

This ability shoots a special arrow that explodes for heavy AOE damage and silences enemies for 2.5 seconds. Its a flexible ability that can be used to clear waves, hunt down Heroes, and interrupt their channeled abilities.

Wailing Arrow is without question the better ultimate for Sylvanas at this stage of the BETA. Her ultimate applies a 2.5 seconds silence when shot at an enemy Hero. The duration of the silence can be doubled (5 seconds) at level 20. This ability can hit muiltiple targets in a teamfight. In my experience this ultimate is best used when your team just initiated. At this point of the teamfight your enemies will cluster around the allied melee/beefy Heroes so you can easily silence a large portion of the enemy team. Ofcourse you can use the ultimate 1vs1 when you get caught out.

Note: The silence actually stops channeling ultimates such as Nazeebo's ultimate and Nova's Ultimate etc.

(R) Possession

Charge Cooldown: 4 seconds
Mana spend: 20

This ability forces an enemy Minion or Mercenary to fight for you. Targets gain bonus health and deal more damage while serving the Banshee Queen. The more powerful the target you steal, the longer youll have to wait to use the ability again, so theres strategy in who you recruit.

An ultimate that would fit the Banshee Queen perfectly. Sadly enough it's a very weak ultimate at the moment. Hopefully it gets buffed but for now it's not worth it.


Welcome to the talent section of this guide. In the Talent Breakdown we will discuss the talents we pick for the build and why!

Barbed Shot
Withering Fire deals 200% bonus damage to Mercenaries and Minions.

Barbed Shot is a great level 1 talent. The other talents are fairly weak in comparison. We pick Barbed Shot because we wan't to shove up the lane early game. Withering Fire adds charges while clearing out Minion Waves. This talent adds alot of lane pushing potential compared to the other level 1 talents. Barbed Shot helps out triggering 'Unstable Poison' and taking down Mercenary Camps.

Activate to poison an Enemy Hero, dealing 180 (+30 per level) damage over 5 seconds.

At first I played alot with Paralysis because it syncs well with the other talents. But Envenom just seems better. This is why Sylvanas can take out squishy Enemy Heroes with ease. This is why Nova and Zeratul aren't as big of a threat anymore. Most games contain squishy Enemy Heroes. Just don't use Envenom on tanks. Since Envenom requires you to be up close you can use Haunting Wave to get close and secure the kill.

Unstable Poison (Trait)
Minions and Mercenaries that die under the effects of Black Arrows explode, dealing 75 (+9 per level) damage to nearby enemies.

This talent blows up an enire wave of minions with just one Shadow Dagger. Due to this talent you can push insanely fast, solo Mercenary Camps twice as fast, bring down enemy Structures extemely fast and secure objectives alot faster (gathering skulls/gems/coins etc.)

Though this talent is mainly used for clearing out minions, it does some serious damage to Enemy Heroes as well. It takes some practise and skill. Bringing an Enemy Hero into the blast radius of an entire wave getting destroyed by this talent deals some serious damage.

I'm aware that Life Drain is a populair Tier 3 talent. Occasionally I pick this talent when we don't have a healer in our team composition.

Wailing Arrow
Shoot an arrow that explodes for 200(+ 20 per level) damage and silences enemies for 2.5 seconds. Can be reactivated to detonate the arrow early.

Wailing Arrow is without a doubt the best ultimate for Sylvanas. Possession is very weak at this point and needs a rework/buff imo.

The silence makes it impossible for healers to heal. Especially Rehgar who depends on his ultimate to fully heal up an injured ally. Whenever tanks make an initiate you can shut them down with the silence. Wailing Arrow can silence multiple Enemies caught up in the blast radius.

Note: The Wailing Arrow silence will cancel various Ultimates such as; Nazeebu's channceling ultimate, Nova's channeling Ultimate, ETCs Ultimate etc.

Evasive Fire
You can 10% Movement Speed for 2 seconds whenever an enemy is hit with Withering Fire, stacking up to 30%.

Being out of position in MOBAs is a bad thing in general. Being out of position as a squishy character makes it even worse. It's a fantastic talent for so much mobility. It's easy to stack/gather and can be used for escaping because you'll simply out run everyone. Or for chasing.

There are a ton of AoE spells in HotS that you need to get out of or avoid entirely. This helps alot.

Cold Embrace
Shadow Dagger makes enemies Vulnerable, taking 25% more damage, but the range of Shadow Dagger is reduced by 25%.

Bit of a no-brainer really. Enemies take 25% more damage on an ability that spreads like wildfire. Yes please.

Bolt of the Storm
Activate to teleport to a nearby location.

Bolt of the Storm is a solid pick in ranked/competitive play. You can either use it aggressive or for making escapes. Most people will use it for escapes. Sylvanas is a squishy character and she will go down when she gets caught out of position and won't be able to Bashee out because of some kind of lockdown (stun w/e). BotS is a get out of jail for free card in most cases.

Also; you can juke other players in combination with Haunting Wave. Just use BotS the opposite way of where you Bashees would otherwise be taking you.

Teamfights. Top

- Coming Soon -

Early - Mid - End Game Top

- Coming Soon -


- Coming Soon -

Match Ups Top

- Coming Soon -

Conclusion Top

I hope this guide tought you a thing or two about Sylvanas. She is a very versatile and fun hero to play. I will be updating the guide regularly. Don't forget to comment and upvote if you like the guide!

C&C is appreciated and most welcome.

- March 27th: Just posted the guide, will be working on it as most of the sections are still missing.
- April 4th: Updated the guide some more.
- April 6th: Updated the "Ability Section".
- April 7th: Updated the "Threats/Match up section of the guide + visual updates!".
- April 12th: Updated the build to a more viable build in the current META.
- May 13th: Updates the build/guide to the latest patch/meta.

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