Azmodan - Pure split pusher by Lonecat

Azmodan - Pure split pusher

By: Lonecat
Last Updated: Feb 15, 2016
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Build 1 of 1


Build: Pure Split Pusher build

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

Threats to Azmodan with this build

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Threat Hero Notes
  No Threat
  No Threat
Nova Nova's attacks, for Azmodan, are like mosquito bites. You can usually ignore Nova in the early game when you are in the middle of destroying towers with E. She can be more threatening if built for extra slows to give her team mates enough time to get to you but beyond this, if alone, she shouldn't have enough time to kill you before you get back to safety if you didn't overextend and she has virtually no ability to clear your pushes.
  No Threat
Li-Ming Li Ming is decent against Azmodan (due to her damage) but Azmodan is not a priority target for her since he will barely ever die from her skills and thus almost never cause a reset of her abilities. You can counter her efficiently by using your "Demon Warriors" W all the time (which will absorb her combo) or even, if desperate, by using your "Demonic Invasion" R. She can wave clear to an extent.
Falstad Not very good at clearing, but he can catch you very fast (Z) when you are trying to drop a combo on a fort/keep. So watch out for the bird man.
Tychus Tychus is pretty good at clearing your pushes and because you are a low mobility hero and he loves to wreck huge HP pool, he will be an annoying match up.
Zagara Mildly threatening at the beginning of the game, as she will prevent you from pushing as far/fast as you would want to. From level 10 onwards, depending on her heroic skill, she will be a pain in the backside against your pushes (Nydus network) or not (Maw).
Brightwing Brightwin has global range, so can be annoying. Generally, she isn't much of a threat but can slow you down/annoy you, plus she gets the "Polymorph" which can cancel your laser. You probably won't be a priority target, but she is annoying to solo against.
Kael'thas Kael'Thas can be annoying because he can clear your heroic ability grunts fairly quickly with his W. So your pushes will be stopped faster in their tracks, not fast enough (if you are smart) however that it will save their forts/keeps.
E.T.C. ETC threat level depends purely on the heroic ability he selected. "Stage Dive" is a death sentence whenever you try to split push so watch out for this. However ETC isn't very efficient to clear your pushes.
Illidan Illidan can be a real problem if he took "The hunt" heroic ability. He will be able to get to you instantly if he spots you near a fort/keep, stun you and then will body block you if you try to escape. This will seriously hinder your ability to split push and it's better to stay with the team then, for the most part, unless you are pretty sure the Hunt is on CD and you are in a safe spot. "Metamorphosis" isn't as threatening to your pushes, but watch out for Illidan nonetheless as Azmodan gets eaten alive by a decent Illidan.
Abathur Can negate your general of hell (D) pushes with his global presence and locusts. This will make it harder to have an easy access to a fort/keep. Abathur can permanently push back a lane you are trying to push so you will have to outsmart him.
Azmodan Azmodan is annoying because he can do the same thing as you do, namely: pressure lanes. However most Azmodan live in sin and go for the team fight/globe build (which means they will have a slight advantage in the early game but you will teach them who is the real Azmodan in the late game). Azmodan mirror match is still annoying, because the enemy "General of Hell" will usually counter your own, meaning the lanes will be stale...

Information Top

  • Build valid for Li Ming patch.

Introduction Top

This build is for solo play in a non competitive environment. It is particularly well suited for QM where building your hero in order to optimize your own success is often the key.

Most builds for Azmodan assume you will be able to build a godly amount of stacks for your Q, which you won't outside of being part of an organised team of 5, dedicated to work with you on building those stacks.

Rather than hoping to get stacks somehow, this build instead takes advantage of the strongest point of Azmodan, the only truly unique thing he brings to the table: split pushing.

The pure split pusher build is the most self-reliant. By going pure split pusher, other team members will have less impact on the successful execution of your strategy and thus on your own victory ultimately.
For comparison, a good "team fighter Azmo" would not be self reliant enough, you need other people to build stacks with you, be available for you - and there is a good chance your team mates won't have time to babysit you if you are not queuing with them as a team.

Remember: the goal is to destroy the enemy's core. Azmodan knows this too well and he will allow you sometimes to save even games where your team is getting crushed at objectives and team fights by carving for himself (and his team) a path to the enemy core very efficiently.

Arguably, Azmodan is the best split pusher in the entire game. What he lacks is an escape so you need to make sure you know where the enemy team is before you drop your "100 Hits combo" on forts/keeps so that you have time to run away. Unleashing the full potential of his "armies of hell", Azmodan can take down a fort or keep in around 10s (assuming the towers/walls in front have been taken out and assuming no enemies with AoE are present to defend the fort/keep).

This strategy is obviously less efficient on smaller maps where the enemy can rotate quickly to your position, preventing an escape - but while they will be able to kill you, the fort/keep will generally go down or be left with around 10% HP at most (still, you should avoid dying as much as possible - so work on that map awareness!).

Talent explanation Top

Here is an explanation for the various talents selected.

"Taste for Blood": To convince yourself that stacks is far from the "best build", simply open one of your own replay and look at your number of "Taste for Blood" stacks on your "Globe of Annihilation" (Q) at the end of a game. Most players should realise they won't be able to stack efficiently if they are not helped by their team mates.

To be clear: most players shouldn't get "Taste for blood" because it's too difficult to build a significant number of stacks.

You need to get at least more than half the damage of annihilation globe from stacks, otherwise you're better off taking the other talent ("Sieging Wrath").

"Sieging Wrath": Sieging Wrath is mostly a talent you use to clear minions waves unfortunately, except when you can catch someone running away with a long distance globe of annihilation.
Indeed, you need to be far from team fights to make the most of it (the extra damage being based on distance), but the problem with this is that Azmodan - with his huge HP pool - will want to soak some hits, use "All Shall Burn" (E) or basic attacks during team fights, but will have to go back and forth to optimise the damage from "Sieging wrath". So "Sieging Wrath" isn't such a great talent for team fights and clearing minion waves with it is a bit of a pain since you need to ensure the minion actually die with the globe to get the XP (you are too far to "body soak" when you cast a globe of annihilation at maximum distance).

"Bribe": Bribe is decent but I generally only manage to use it 2-4 times per game which is not very good return on investment. Still, it can be useful on larger maps like Cursed Hollow, where allies won't necessarily be in range to help you - but for Sky Temple, people can generally come and help you - which is faster than getting those stacks.

"Master of Destruction": This is probably the most useful talent on this tier, in the end. It will certainly help you push faster if you are given the chance to use it. Also it kills the enemy core 25% faster, which isn't negligible.

"Army of Hell" is a great talent as it makes the demon warriors cheap and spammable, and they start doing decent damage.
At level 20, a demon warrior ignored by the enemy does about 800+ damage over the course of 10s, this increases to 1000+ damage with this talent (and 1150+ with the "Hellforged Armor" at level 13). This is more damage than the DoT of "Sin's grasp".
Also the demon warriors can cancel channels (just cast it towards the tribute or altar and run back), provides vision, blocks skill shots from Li Ming (cast W when you suspect a combo to cancel her orb and missile combo - just as often as she can do her combo and almost for free thanks to the cost reduction).

The "demon warriors" are like dots that can be killed but on the plus side have some extra utility. I suggest you press W as little as possible before getting the talent "Army of Hell" because they are not cost effective and will deplete your mana too quickly.

"Mercenary Lord" is useless and dangerous for Azmodan, since mercenaries pushing for you are enemy magnets and you have no escape, so you will not want to stay near a group of mercenaries pushing for you (plus because you know the enemy is going to defend that mercenary push on top lane, this is exactly the kind of opportunities you are looking for to get a tower or two on the bottom lane!).

"Gluttony" isn't that great, the heal is low (it won't save you from a burst), and Azmodan has tons of HP anyway... So fountains or "B" is a better option most of the time (especially after a push, the quickest way to safety is often to teleport back to base).

As said above, "Sin's grasp" damage is lower than the "Demon Warriors" (W) and can't be used to assist your pushes much.

"Bound minion" is a great talent that will strongly push a lane on the other side of the map.

"Infernal Globe"'s additional DoT damage is extremely low, the only good addition is the travel speed but because you didn't take "Taste for blood" or "Sieging Wrath", the speed doesn't benefit you much.

"Gluttonous ward": using fountains and "B" is usually enough, Azmodan has little to no mana issues with the cost reduction at level 1 on "All Shall Burn" (E) and at level 4 on "Demon warriors" (W).

"Infused power" (extra charge level on E) is only good if you plan to take the movement on E at level 13, but even then it takes quite a while to reach that charge level, and structures will die fast enough without this. It's only useful versus heroes IF you do not get interrupted, or if they do not move out of reach, which they will. In other words: a bad talent, mostly.

Go for "Demonic invasion". "Black Pool" is a good talent too, but it eats your mana too fast and really benefits you mostly if you went for globes stacks.
Besides, this is a pusher build and "Demonic Invasion" is THE talent that you need to kill a fort/keep fast. Try to use it whenever it is up, as it is very powerful but has a fairly long cooldown.

"Hellforged armor" is the best talent for pushing, but a serious contender is "March of sin" (movement on E). "March of Sin" allows you to chase and get that tiny extra bit of damage during team fights.
Rest of the talents are quite bad. "Relentless" is just not an interesting talent for you, since you base your survivability during team fights mostly on positioning and your huge HP pool (and it won't save you outside of team fights if people jump you while you are pushing). "Hedomism" mana reduction on Q is useless since you won't have mana issues with this build (it's better for people who play exclusively "Black Pool"/Globes combos).

"Smite" only smites once every 3s or so, and seems only useful to kill enemy mercenaries with your "General of Hell" on a lane you are not physically defending.
"Imposing presence" is not very useful unless you are tanking (which you shouldn't).
"Blood for blood" is decent, but it has been nerfed and won't save you if you are focused.

"Battleborn", although it isn't a great talent, can do two things: prevent channelling tributes and the like for longer (the demon warrior will harass people a bit longer than the globe, and does some good damage so it cannot be ignored by the enemy) and can soak some extra bullets from turrets/kill forts faster (I will explain later how you "combo a fort/keep"). It also helps you clearing a wave from the distance since you can cast a globe and let the demon warrior finish the job.

Depending on success so far, I go for "Forced recruitment" if we are in the lead, and with this talent, the enemy should never come back - too much map pressure, too fast. Or if we are struggling, "Bolt of the storm" is good and can save your lardy bottom during these critical final team fights.

Team fights Top

Azmodan will generally not be a huge threat during team fights - his base abilities aren't very threatening damage wise (and this is true for any build).
However, with his talents and as a specialist, he will be very good at zone control and providing vision.

Regarding team fight capabilities:
  • His "Globe Of Annihilation" (Q) ability is slow and avoidable. It is also telegraphed if Azmodan is close to the team fight (which you should be, to make the best use of that huge HP pool).
  • The "Demon Warrior" (W) ability dies quickly when focused.
  • The "All Shall Burn" (E) ability is telegraphed and channelled. While it does decent damage, it is very easy for the enemy to get out of its range or to cancel it with a stun.

In team fights, with the slit pusher build, your role will mostly consist in dropping some "Demon Warriors" (W), try to hit a few basic attacks and drop a "Globe of annihilation" to do some extra damage (either on enemies who are clumped up or on someone trying to escape with low HP) - all of this while you body block/soak some damage for the allies who aren't lucky to be as big boned as Azmodan.

Something to keep in mind is that you are relatively immobile in team fights: your "Globe of Annihilation" (Q) roots you in place for half a second or so (since you didn't take the "globe of annihilation" speed) and your "All Shall Burn" (E) will root you in place completely (so it's generally good to use it on an Illidan/Greymane or any other melee hero that is approaching your back line to zone them out).
Still, this relative immobility makes it extremely difficult to do anything beyond "Demon Warriors" (W) and basic attacks, so don't overestimate your team fight capabilities as Azmodan and try to play smart and safe during team fights.
You will rely more on other heroes to win the team fight for you, not unlike Sylvanas (although she can still provide a Silence at key moments and vulnerability at level 16, whereas your contribution to team fights will be somewhat limited).

Where Azmodan really shines is to combo forts and keeps. From level 10 onward you can down a fort/keep nearly instantly...

Pushing: Azmodan 100 Hits Combo Top

Essentially, when your heroic skill is up ("Demonic Invasion"), you unload all your abilities on the fort and top up with "All Shall Burn" (E) to get some extra damage.

So: start with an "Globe of Annihilation" on the fort (Q) if you have "Battleborn", otherwise use your "Demonic Invasion" (R) on the fort/keep so that the structure takes the impact damage (yes, your heroic ability does impact damage!), then use "D" on the small demons to boost their damage (you need to make sure your trait is up before you attempt to combo a fort), then use W, W (2 or 3 demon warriors will be on the fort now), E for 1-3s until the building reaches about half HP and run the hell out of here!

The fort/keep will go down in the next few seconds or if not will be left with very little HP (try to destroy forts/keeps though, for XP). In optimal scenarios, you can be present less than 5-6s which is an extremely short amount of time.
If you can also bring an allied minion wave with you to the fort (recommended) then normally the fort goes down even faster and with 100% success rate.

Because Azmodan has no escape, it's all about doing that combo at the right moment. Just before tributes/objectives is perfect. Yes, you will be slightly late to the objective.

It's particularly good if you your team understand they can "posture" at the objective rather than commit fully to a team fight 4v5. In other words, your team mates just need to play safe for 10-20s, then you join them at the objective while the enemy team is one fort down AND their lane is still pushed by the demons from the "Demonic Invasion", the "General of Hell" and possibly some minions.

You are then free to fight the objective while the enemy will either have to react to the lane being pushed or lose some more ground. You force a trade basically, and if they send someone to defend (which they probably shouldn't do) you will even get an edge during the team fight.

A huge part of using your combo successfully (read: without dying) is finding the right opportunity at the right time. You have no escape, so be where the enemy isn't and run as far as you can when done!

Some tips:

- Avoid yellow camps on the enemy side like the plague, since the enemy team will likely go there or be there already. If you are pushing a fort/keep near a yellow camp, you are probably dead already. Instead push a fort/keep near a camp the enemy has just taken 10-20 seconds ago. They probably assume this lane is "safe" and will push itself.

- Go for the safe forts/keeps when people are busy at a tribute/objective.

- Have an eye on the death timers, you can solo push a fort or keep easily if several enemies are dead but don't stay too long.

- If your team is near you and on the offensive, use this opportunity to push a fort/keep safely - those inferior creatures who are your allies can protect your life. The enemy will probably not suspect what is about to hit them, so they will stay near their fort to try to defend it, but the fort will go down so fast that it won't protect them from the wrath of your team for very long.

Tips Top

  • You can cast your "Demon warriors" (W) on the other side of walls by putting Azmodan against the wall (and casting W in the direction of the wall). This is particularly useful to interrupt tributes or provide vision from behind a wall.

  • Use "General of Hell" (D) on the side of the map where the enemy isn't. Particularly useful during tributes or during immortals. Every second you can delay/defend is extra XP and pushing power for you (except if facing TLV or Abathur).

  • Try to avoid casting "Demon Warrior" (W) before you get their upgrade at level 4. They really aren't cost effective before then, and it's not worth casting them to soak tower ammo or even to push your lane in the very early game ("General of Hell" (D) should be enough to push your lane).

  • This build can solo bruiser camps very easily from level 16 onward: cast a "Globe of Annihilation" (Q) on the camp (get 1 Demon Warrior) then cast "Demon Warrior" twice and add your E to focus the caster first. It is possible to solo bruiser camps before that level, but it costs you more time, health and mana (so it is better to get someone with you).

  • Avoid using your "Demonic Invasion" (R) on anything but buildings. The impact damage is a significant part of the damage you do to structures and the "Demonic grunts" can be cleared easily by enemies with AoE. Still, if an enemy is standing still and low on HP (Hammer, Li Ming) it can definitely help a bit and is worth it then, plus the little demons create some confusion during team fights and prevent some skill shots to reach you and your allies. But the cooldown is very long, so you will be losing an opportunity to destroy a fort/keep, so only use it as a last resort.

  • At level 20, alone, with no allied minions near the enemy core, Azmodan can take about 50% of the enemy core (including the shield) by casting his combo and staying to use his E. This means that you can backdoor the enemy core with Azmodan and one or two other heroes. This can be a helpful trick when you are desperate. With a wave of allied minions (and catapult) at the core, Azmodan can nearly solo the core (it will be left with less than 20% HP if not). Watch out for the spawn of the enemy minion waves, as this will interrupt your push seriously (all the enemy minions will turn against your "Demonic Grunt" attacking the core, so it is better to time the push just after the minion wave has popped).

  • Azmodan, if left uncontested, has roughly the pushing and destruction power of 1 objective. That is: Azmodan (with his heroic ability) is as strong as one temple, one immortal, one webweaver (he is in fact stronger than 1 webweaver). Always think in terms of trades with Azmodan pusher, trade structure for structure: if 4 enemies are pushing top to get the fort, then 1 Azmodan can instantly push the bottom lane to get the fort while your team in the meantime can either defend, push somewhere else or do camps/objectives/etc. Azmodan should rarely focus on defending because he can create pushes with so much momentum that his pusher power is truly wasted when defending. Rather he should focus on trading, trading, trading: punish enemies for taking a fort/keep as group by taking one by yourself. Because your team is performing another action (hopefully!) you made a winning trade overall and accomplished more with the same resources.

  • Force trades with Azmodan pushing power - his push power is absolutely insane. Forcing "losing trades" for the enemy is a very powerful strategy, and it can even force a reaction if you are ready to sacrifice yourself (just give it your all, then, with no hope of coming back). If you find yourself losing an objective or even if you have lost an objective (e.g. immortal), you can always and easily counter push with Azmodan, forcing some of the enemies to defend against your armies by sending at least 2 people if they do not want to lose a fort/keep/core - this should remove some pressure from the objective (distracting the enemy team and allowing your team to gain some ground) or from the attack. And if the enemy team decide to stay on the objective or on the offensive, Azmodan can damage the enemy structures just as much as the objective would.

  • Do not hesitate to sacrifice your own structures in order to push deeper. Again, play offensively and trade. With Azmodan, you can destroy structures a lot faster than the enemy ever will. Your goal is to offer your team has a clear access to the core - so try to get at least one clear lane/cleared keep, as this will usually mean a single mistake by the opponent wins you the game. A clear lane/cleared keep will cause two things: catapults will spawn, that you can reinforce with your "General of Hell" which will force the enemy to defend this lane constantly as it will be under heavy pressure (meaning you have number advantage on the map), and if you kill 1 or 2 enemies you can push this lane to the core with your team to win the game instantly (provided your heroic is up).

  • Because Azmodan is the best split pusher in the game, it can be beneficial for your team if you have an easy match up in your lane (rather than Zagara, for example). Even though your team might struggle a bit against Zagara, Azmodan will go farther faster and the overall trade is positive for your team (you will destroy a fort faster than Zagara ever can).

  • Try to predict the enemy team to optimise the use you make of this build. For example, avoid yellow enemy camps (camps that are still available) like the plague since the enemy team will likely go there, go for the safe forts/keeps when people are busy.

Conclusion Top

This build is fun and it works - most of the time. It's a bit of a selfish build, but you should still play with the team - most of the time (that is: post level 10-12). Just look for opportunities to split from the team (be as quick and sneaky as possible) and use your combo on forts/keeps, then go back to your team. If your team understands your strengths (split pushing) then they should provide more opportunities to execute your strategy.

Azmodan alone won't win you a team fight (and this is true regardless of the build you go for) so your team needs to have some good assassin. You, as Azmodan, do your job of killing structures and do it well and you provide that extra damage and HP during team fights. Assassins will benefit from your pushing power as they will get more opportunities to kill people - their job - when walls, towers, forts and keeps - behind which their targets are hiding - go down.

This build requires a bit of practice and very good map awareness, but if you have the ability to predict your enemies' movements then you will definitely give your team an edge.

Good luck, if you keep losing team fights and keep losing momentum this build will make it very hard to come back (probably the same with any Azmodan build anyway, he is not a "play maker" during team fights), so you should make sure you at the very least keep map pressure with D all the time.

Ideally your team should try to clear lanes constantly, since this will help making your generals of hell (D) go farther.

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