Comprehensive Kerrigan Guide by JFKshouldveLOSd

Comprehensive Kerrigan Guide

By: JFKshouldveLOSd
Last Updated: Dec 13, 2014
26 Votes
Build 1 of 1


Build: Standard Build

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

About me Top

I've been playing MOBA style games since WC3 starting with Aeon of Strife, Tides of Blood, and DoTa. I reached Diamond 5 in League of Legends at the end of S3 maining support and jungle.

I am currently sitting in Master League with ~140 games on Kerrigan.

Introduction Top

Kerrigan is a high damage melee assassin with a high skill floor and ceiling. Since the nerfs to the radius of Primal Grasp and Blade Torrent, she has seen a lot less play. However, her damage remains unchanged. You simply need to put in the practice to master the new Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo.

Sarah Louise Kerrigan discovered the strength of her latent psionic gift as a young girl. An innocent flash of childish anger at her parents resulted in massive cerebral hemorrhaging and a horrific death for her mother. Her father would only repeat one thing over and over again in the ensuing years: “I saw her head come apart.” This gruesome event alerted the Terran Confederacy to her powers, and she quickly became the focus of the fledgling ghost program. Because she had reached unheard-of scores on psi-evaluation tests, her abilities elicited a complete readjustment of the scoring system so that she could be properly measured. The remnants of her humanity were stripped from her, and Kerrigan was designated Ghost Number 24601.

Following her emergence from the ghost program, she became an unstoppable assassin for the corrupt Confederate government. It was her assassination of the independent senator Angus Mengsk that brought her to the attention of his ambitious son, Arcturus. At first wishing to extract revenge from Kerrigan for his father’s murder, Arcturus soon realized that she was much more useful as a weapon against the Confederacy. After rescuing her from a clandestine experimental facility, he removed her neural inhibitor and used her restored memories to build righteous anger against the government that had abused her. Kerrigan and Mengsk became allies.

She was running a mission on Antiga Prime when she first came across one-time Confederate marshal Jim Raynor, a new recruit to the Sons of Korhal. He disapproved of her lethal dealings with the Confederacy, but the conflict between the two soon grew into mutual respect, admiration, and even... something more. Kerrigan and Raynor ran several secret missions together before Mengsk’s revolutionary movement brought them to Tarsonis. Even Kerrigan’s jaded sensibilities were shocked when she learned what Arcturus had planned for the Confederate capital world: the placement of psi emitters to lure the zerg to one of the most densely populated planets in the sector. It would result in the death of almost every living thing on Tarsonis. Voicing her opposition, she nonetheless set about loyally fulfilling her mission to protect the hive clusters from a mysterious new alien enemy, the protoss. Mengsk would take advantage of that loyalty, abandoning her to die on Tarsonis when the mission was complete. He couldn’t run the risk of having a powerful weapon like Kerrigan running loose in the shadow of his new government, and he couldn’t resist the chance to claim some vengeance long overdue.

Little did Arcturus Mengsk suspect that he had just succeeded in arming the zerg against him. The zerg Overmind sensed Kerrigan’s formidable psionic powers and desired to adapt this new weapon for the Swarm. Bringing all of the evolutionary strength of its genetic skill to bear upon the one-time ghost, the Overmind transformed Sarah Kerrigan into an unstoppable combination of psychic ability and biological deadliness: the Queen of Blades was born.

Not wanting to hamper Kerrigan’s intellectual and strategic brilliance, the Overmind left her a degree of individual will that differed from its cerebrates. It was this freedom that allowed her ambitions to rise, and before long, the Queen of Blades conquered her cerebrate kin and took charge of the Swarm when the Overmind was slain.

Now Kerrigan moves the zerg toward an unknown future. Ancient prophecies foretold her coming. The sense and meaning behind these prophecies are vague, but make no mistake: countless billions of lives are bound to the destiny of Sarah Kerrigan.

Mastering the Combo (Under Construction) Top

Talents Top

Tier 1
  • Always take: Sweeping Graspis by far the best talent in tier 1. Kerrigan revolves around hitting her Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo; the bonus range enables you to chase or combo ranged heroes more effectively.
  • Never take: Sharpened Bladesdamage is appealing, but the utility from Sweeping Grasp is just too good.
  • Never take: Seasoned Marksmanrequires a fair amount of time to ramp up, and the auto attack damage gained would be insignificant. You won't get in enough auto attacks.
  • Never take: Siphoning Impactdoesn't heal enough for it to be worth it. Resetting ravage in team fights is not reliable, so this talent is only netting 5% max health every 8 seconds.
  • Never take: Blockisn't necessarily a bad talent, but it pales in comparison to Sweeping Grasp.

Tier 4
  • Always take: Envenomgives ridiculous kill potential at level 4 and beyond. This will make the difference between an opponent escaping and a kill. It doesn't scale well against tanks later in game, but it remains effective versus squishier targets.
  • Never take: Psionic Pulseis decent for clearing camps/creeps, but Kerrigan is much better at killing heroes.
  • Never take: Clean Killwon't be proc'd enough to matter.
  • Never take: Fury of the Swarmisn't taken for the same reason as Psionic Pulse.
  • Never take: Focused Attackgives a mediocre damage increase. You won't be autoing enough to significantly increase the uptime.

Tier 7
  • Always take: Adaptationopens up a ton of positioning options for Kerrigan where you would otherwise be limited until taking Bolt of the Storm. You can use it to escape, to chase (if your team mate is close to a target), or re-position yourself for a better Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo on multiple targets.
  • Never take: Searing Attackstakes too much mana. Kerrigan is mana hungry to begin with, and Rewind makes it worse. There is no room for this.
  • Never take: Impaling Swarmis horrible. The zerglings have mediocre damage, bad AI, and low uptime.
  • Never take: Battle Momentumis a worse version of Rewind for Kerrigan. You won't be autoing enough for this.

Tier 10
  • Always take: Maelstromdoes a fair amount of damage and really shines when you are hitting 2+ targets. Not only will you be doing more damage, you'll also get more shield from Assimilation.
  • Never take: Summon Ultraliskdoes good damage, but its AI is horrible and it can be kited or killed. Maelstrom is much more reliable.

Tier 13

Tier 16
  • Almost always take: Blade Torrentis great especially for players new to Kerrigan; it is much easier to land the Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo. However, even if you are an expert at landing the Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo, this is still useful for landing your combo on multiple targets in team fights.
  • Sometimes take: Blood for Bloodin combination with Envenom is ridiculous burst. Take this talent if you absolutely must eliminate a target instantly in team fights.
  • Sometimes take: Overdrivein combination with Rewind is absolutely insane, especially if you double Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo multiple targets. The problem is it will require the majority of your mana bar.
  • Never take: Executionerhas high uptime if you consistently land combos, but you won't be auto attacking enough to gain a significant amount of damage.
  • Never take: Aggressive Defensewon't give a noticeable increase in survivability.

Tier 20
  • Almost always take: Bolt of the Stormfills the gap of mobility in Kerrigans kit. Use it to escape, dodge skill shots, or close the distance for a combo.
  • Sometimes take: Omegastormis awesome if you can get Maelstrom off on 2-3+ targets consistently. Take this if you are playing a heavy AoE CC comp.
  • Never take: Fury of the Stormdoesn't provide enough damage in team fights to be worth it.
  • Never take: Torrasqueisn't taken because you should never take Summon Ultralisk.

Early Game Top

Generally speaking, the early game consists of levels 1-10.

As the games starts, head to lane.

Cursed Hollow: Go to either the top or bottom lane. If possible, try to lane with a hero who has good synergy with Kerrigan (see Hero Synergy section below).

Blackheart's Bay: 0/4/1 setup for the first chest spawn at 50 seconds. You can solo bottom for the first chest, but check the other teams composition first and take an educated guess as to who is going to go bottom for them. If you are comfortable with the matchup, you can go bottom. Otherwise, head to mid.

Haunted Mines: 1/4 with 4 in the lane that your golem spawns in. Head to that lane, let someone else solo.

Dragon Shire: Go to either the top or bottom lane. If possible, try to lane with a hero who has good synergy with Kerrigan (see Hero Synergy section below).

Garden of Terror: Go to either the top or bottom lane. If possible, try to lane with a hero who has good synergy with Kerrigan (see Hero Synergy section below).

Your priorities during this period are as follows:
  1. Secure the map objective
  2. Soak experience
  3. Gank = Mercs

There are specific strategies where a team may give up a map objective (I.E. skip one or two tributes in favor of soaking xp), but in general follow the list above.

Soaking xp is extremely important during this time; you want at least one person in each lane. Even if your team is falling behind in objectives, you can stay relatively even by maximizing xp from lane and minimizing deaths.

Always try to back/gank/merc after pushing your wave into the enemy tower. This will set up the wave such that you will catch as much experience as possible after returning. This is not as important if your lane mate remains after you leave.

You get a huge power spike at level 4 with Envenom. Abuse it. Go for a kill in lane or try to roam and gank.

Keep track of the enemy heroes in your lane! Call MIAs! If your lane is missing but another lane has not been ganked, they are most likely doing mercs. If you know that there are no more than 2 people doing mercs (you can see or have seen the other 3 on the mini-map recently) contest the mercs (with your lane buddy if possible)! Chances are the enemy will be at a lower % health and won't be expecting an invade.

Mid Game Top

Generally speaking, the mid game consists of levels 10-20.

By this time, everyone has their ultimate. Soaking xp becomes less important than securing mercs (especially the golem if you're playing a map with one) and pushing down forts.

Your priorities during this period are as follows:
  1. Secure the map objective
  2. Secure mercs and push forts or defend forts
  3. Clear large waves

At this point in the game, you want to grouped as 5 with your team the majority of the time. Keep constant vigilance on the mini-map. Everyone is missing and no objectives are up except their knights? That's probably where they are.

Try to set up pushes with mercs as opposed to letting them push alone. Clearing a camp and letting it push before a map objective spawns is a great plan, since one enemy will have to defend or the mercs will push hard. However, when there aren't other objectives up, push with your mercs. It is extremely hard to push lanes with normal minions unless they you have a numbers or level advantage.

At level 13, you get another big power spike with Rewind. Abuse this similarly to Envenom.

Late Game Top

Generally speaking, the late game consists of levels 20+

At this point in the game, death timers are very long (barring Resurgence of the Storm). Be extremely careful not to be caught out.

Your priorities are the same as the mid-game, with the exception that Keeps are probably exposed at this point. Losing a keep is a big deal; that lane will continue to push for the rest of the game. If one of your keeps is exposed, pay careful attention to mercs and the minion wave in that lane (especially if they have Azmodan or Abathur). You do not want to lose a keep for free.

A lot of people make the mistake of trying to end too early and they wipe at the core. Especially with the recent core changes, it takes a while to bring down the core from 100%. If you want to be safe, whittle your opponents down one keep at a time. It will put you more and more ahead and more catapults will be in the enemy base. Catapults do a lot of damage to the core. Taking a few seconds to clear that wave that just spawned will bring down the core much faster in the long run.

Team Comps and Hero Synergy Top

Heroes Kerrigan works well with:

Rehgar brings a nice mix of CC ( Earthbind Totem) and healing ( Chain Heal, Ancestral Healing). The healing (especially Ancestral Healing) greatly extends the amount of time that you can be in the middle of the fight. You can play much less cautiously knowing that if you are focused in team fights, Rehgar will hopefully take care of you. In addition, between Earthbind Totem and using Adaptation to catch up to your very quick friend in Ghost Wolf, its very difficult for enemy heroes to escape you.

Uther has comparable healing, more CC, and less damage than Rehgar. Be warned: Uther does have good burst healing with Holy Light, but it is not Ancestral Healing; you can't play as haphazardly as you do with Rehgar. However, Uther is much stronger offensively in tandem with Kerrigan than Rehgar is. Between Hammer of Justice and Divine Storm, Uther has an insane amount of CC. Pro tip: instead of the using the Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo after Uther uses Hammer of Justice or Divine Storm, you can simply Impaling Blades under the enemy hero shortly after the first stun hits for a guaranteed follow up hit.

Symbiote on Kerrigan is insane. The damage from Stab + Spike Burst in tandem with your Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp + Envenom combo gives you kill potential on any hero, excluding tanks in the late game. In addition, Carapace gives you much needed survivability. 2v1'ing with Symbiote is not at all out of the question in lane once you get Envenom (especially if you land your Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo on both of them). Bonus points if the Abathur can play a competent Kerrigan and he clones you.

The main synergy here is Zombie Wall. If you cast Impaling Blades in the center of Zombie Wall after heroes are trapped, it is a guaranteed hit. In addition, you use Ravage to get inside of Zombie Wall to get off additional auto-attacks. Both Kerrigan and Nazeebo favor heavy CC comps.

Tyrael has very high damage and provides CC for you. In the early game, a Envenom + Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo in addition to Tyrael damage will kill just about anyone from 100% health. The two make a great gank squad due to their mobility and damage. Once team fights start, Judgment provides guaranteed CC for you to follow up on. You have to be extremely cautious not to waste your Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo if Tyrael has Cast Aside. Try your best to alternate CC abilities with Tyrael to avoid this.

Arthas lacks the mobility of Tyrael, but makes up for it with Howling Blast. Arthas landing Howling Blast in addition to the Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp gives high kill potential.

Anub'arak is a fantastic dive buddy. As mentioned in the Uther section, you can use Impaling Blades after Impale or Burrow Charge for a guaranteed hit. In addition, Maelstrom + Locust Swarm in tandem will melt teams. Try to get in the middle of the fight with Anub'arak to leverage this synergy.

Stitches will (hopefully) bring enemy heroes to you. He is great for setting you up for your Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo. If Stitches takes Gorge, try to time the Gorge such that when the enemy hero is spit out, they land immediately on Impaling Blades.

Team Compositions:
Let's start with a baseline. At the very least, you want either 2 warriors, a warrior and a healer, or 2 healers on your team. Note: Uther is a good front-liner and heals. He can take the place of a warrior slot.

If Kerrigan is the only hero on your team in the front line without heals, you are going to have a bad time. Kerrigan is not particularly tanky, so in order to get off a significant amount of damage you are going to need a buffer (tanks) and/or heals.

Dive Comp
+ + + +

This team comp is extremely good at team fighting. Even if you are behind in levels, if you get the jump on priority targets you win. Commit, and commit hard; this is very much an all-in comp.

Your heavy front line gives you a lot of wiggle room in team fights. After you unleash your rotation, you can move to the edge of the fight until your cooldowns are up while your tanks soak the damage for you.

The "X" can be Abathur, a healer, or a ranged assassin. Beware: if you take Abathur or a healer as your 5th, your team damage will be a bit on the low side. Execution of your "jump" on the enemy team is paramount.

In addition, Sonya and Anub'arak are interchangeable with Arthas and Tyrael. The thing to keep in mind is you want one warrior who can CC with a gap closer ( Tyrael, Anub'arak, Sonya). They will get everything started so Uther can Sprint in for the Divine Storm followed by you. I.E., if you only have Arthas and Uther, you are susceptible to being kited and being stopped by their frontline before you can dive the priority targets.

Balanced Comp
+ + + +

This team comp is not as one-dimensional as the dive comp. You have a nice mix of CC, damage, and healing. In general, fights should be started with Hook followed up by a Gorge + Impaling Blades + Hammer of Justice combo. If you pull this off there is very little the opposing team can do to stop the kill outside of a clutch Ancestral Healing or Divine Shield (implying you will see this).

If you can't start a fight with Hook, you can simply chase people down with Earthbind Totem and Sprint + Hammer of Justice/ Divine Storm or a Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo. You won't be under as much pressure to eliminate the priority targets like the dive comp due to the sustain you have.

Feel free to swap Stitches for Arthas. The "X" should be a ranged assassin.

Matchups (Under Construction) Top

Difficulty Scaling:
  • Severe Disadvantage
  • Slight Disadvantage
  • Even/Skill Matchup
  • Slight Advantage
  • Severe Advantage

Take the advice in the lane and team fights sections below with a grain of salt; it ignores the context of other heroes.

Even/Skill Matchup
This matchup is all about the availability of Vault. If Valla has Vault up and is competent, she's going to dodge your combo and there is nothing you can really do about it. Rewind levels the playing field, but beware that Valla can Vault again if she takes Tumble. If you do land your Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp + Envenom combo and a few auto attacks, you generally shouldn't need Rewind to pick up the kill.
Slight Disadvantage
The dynamic between Kerrigan and Valla in lane is similar to the 1v1 matchup, except you now have to deal with auto attack harass. The good news is, every time Valla autos you, she is vulnerable. If you time your Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo correctly, Valla will be caught out mid auto-attack animation. Your goal is to minimize auto-attack harass while soaking up experience and getting the occasional Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp combo off. Once Valla is 50-75% health, go all-in with Impaling Blades + Primal Grasp + Envenom combo for the kill.
Slight Advantage
The best case scenario here is that Valla is target CC'd by one of your team mates and dies before getting a chance to Vault. If not, the hope is that she will blow Vault to avoid a skill shot from one of your team mates. Try to hold onto Ravage as long as possible until the Vault comes, then follow up for the kill. If Ravage is on cooldown, you can use Rewind + Ravage to close the gap.
Even/Skill Matchup
Even/Skill Matchup
Slight Advantage

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