Dehaka: The Best Gank in Town by KennyL33T

Dehaka: The Best Gank in Town

By: KennyL33T
Last Updated: Apr 8, 2016
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Build 1 of 3


Build: Gank-Stalker

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

Threats to Dehaka with this build

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Threat Hero Notes
Artanis It is laughable as to how Dehaka counters Artanis. If you manage to hit your Drag during his Blade Dash, you can usually set up a kill. His body-block is completely ineffective due to the fact you can walk right through him with dark swarm.
Leoric Hah.
Sonya Surprisingly easy against her. Burrow down and cast your own dark swarm when she uses whirlwind, so she doesn't regenerate, or just wait for her to whirlwind before you use drag.
Jaina Learn to burrow at the appropriate times during big abilities. Otherwise, you can bully her just fine.
Diablo Yes, hard CC can hurt and kill you sometimes, but he won't be able to bodyblock you.
  No Threat
  No Threat
Sylvanas Despite Wailing Arrow completely destroying you, Sylvanas is extremely easy to gank. If you manage to land your isolation or drag when she throws out her banshees, she's dead.
Uther Stuns hurt, and so does cleansing and divine shielding all of your CC off.
Muradin Also quite annoying to play against, learn to burrow before you get hit with storm bolt.
Tyrande You know what hurts as soon as you emerge from your burrow? A lunar flare right in your face. Ouch.
Tychus Pray that he doesn't take his CC reduction talent. Otherwise he will chew right through you, whilst remaining very slippery.
Brightwing Although not entirely a threat on his own. His ability to effective teleport to a friend in need can really screw over your best ganks.
E.T.C. Not fun to play against. A lot of mobility and ability to knock you around. Consider taking numbing eruption at lv. 4 to counter his mosh pit. Otherwise, you'll be dead in the water.


Build: The Undying

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


Build: I Choose You, Lickatung

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

Introduction Top

Hey there guys and gals, my name is KennyL33T! I've been playing since the alpha and have about 1200 games on record or so. I play off and on, and rank usually between 5-10 most days. I decided to write this guide on Dehaka because I've been getting lots of compliments from people in my games, and I felt like there wasn't a lot of material on him out there yet, so I decided to put this together!

That being said, Disclaimer: I understand that I'm not the best player out there, nor do I say that the outlined builds are the go-to builds and you shouldn't defer from them. The main build above is usually what I go for, and am most comfortable with, but outlined below, you'll find several talent tiers are very flexible, so choose what's best for your team and your own play-style.

I hope you enjoy!
1. The Good and the Bad

2. Hero Basics
2.1 Abilities
2.2 Heroic Abilities

3. General Tips

4. Full Talent Build

5. Game Strategy
5.1 Early Game
5.2 Mid Game
5.3 Late Game

6. Final Remarks

7. Update/Change Log

The Good and The Bad Top


*Amazing* Gank Power
Great Self Sustain (if played correctly)
High Overall Damage
Great Combo Ability
Supreme Mobility
Excellent At Capturing Objectives


Not The Best Main Tank
Relatively Low Health Pool (Rank #9)
Low Amount of CC in Kit
Needs CC from Team
Vulnerable to Silence/Hard CC
Hard to Aim Skill Shots

Abilities Top

is melee warrior that excels at ganking and ambushing. He is mountless, but relies on his mount ability Brushstalker to "dig" his way to any brush or steam vent in the map, similar to Abathur's Deep Tunnel. Being able to land is Q ( Drag) to isolate and stun his enemies is what seperates a good Dehaka player, from a great one. His other abilities are used for damage and self-sustain, while his passive allows him to stay alive in the thick of teamfights. He is extremely vulnerable to chain stuns, silence, and other heavy CC which doesn't allow him to pop his defensive cooldowns. However, given this, if left unchecked, Dehaka will be able to completely destroy an enemy backline and disrupt a team.


Essence Collection (D)

Gain 10 Essence from Takedowns and 2 Essence from nearby Minions dying. Activate to consume all Essence and heal yourself for 30.16 (+4% per level) Health over 5 seconds for each Essence stored. Maximum of 50 Essence. Can be cast during Drag and Burrow.

This essentially allows him to quickly regenerate 80%-85% of his health whenever activated at full stacks. Using this in combination with Burrow allows him to bait out enemies who think they can kill him, or simply allow him to have a "second life" during teamfights.

Drag (Q) Mana:75 Cooldown: 15 Seconds

Lash out with your tongue, dealing 166.40 (+4% per level) damage to the first enemy hit and dragging them with you for 1.75 seconds.

The signature Dehaka ability. Unfortunately, this ability feels sluggish to activate, giving it a good half-second before his tongue shoots out, and given the fact that the skill-shot moves slowly, it's a very difficult ability to use. However, when used effectively, it can catch out a weak opponent, and allows you to drag them towards your team, or when used with Dark Swarm, you can walk through them and set up a body-block. Do take note that this ability will effect minions and mercs too, so it's difficult to use in lane.

Dark Swarm (W) Mana:50 Cooldown: 9 Seconds

Deal 62.40 (+4% per level) damage a second to nearby enemies for 3 seconds, and become able to move through units. Deals double damage to Heroes. Can be cast during Drag and Burrow.

A medium sized aoe around you that deals continuous damage to enemies. Use this as your waveclear/bully ability in lane, and use it as your main source of damage versus heroes. Using this allows you to walk through heroes (think Sonya's Whirlwind.) Use this to get out of the way of friendly heroes you might be blocking, or phase through enemies to get in a better position.
The wording on this is slightly off, because it deals that damage over two ticks, per second. So, at level one, it will deal 62.40 damage per half-second to heroes, or 32.20 damage per half-second to minions and mercs. This is important when considering Symbiosis as a talent.

Burrow (E) Mana:65 Cooldown: 20 Seconds

Burrow into the ground, entering Stasis and becoming Invulnerable for 2 seconds.

Just as it says, go into "Stasis" for two seconds, you can cast your W ( Dark Swarm) as well as your trait, Essence Collection while underground for massive healing. You won't take damage from enemy abilities like Chain Bomb or Pyroblast, but any timed heals like Ancestral Healing will still continue to cast and heal you.
The main strategy is basically run in, attack their back line, get focused down, Burrow, then pop your 50 stacks of Essence Collection, then re-emerge and continue to apply pressure. The main problem, is that this ability is susceptible to silence or chain stun, which will leave you dying with 50 stacks of healing, unable to burrow. So, being able to burrow before a Wailing Arrow is very important.

Heroic Abilities

Isolation (R) Mana:100 Cooldown: 60 Seconds

Launch biomass that hits the first enemy Hero dealing 208.00 (+4% per level) damage, silencing and slowing them 30.00% for 3 seconds. Only allows them to see a very short distance for 6 seconds.

Adaptaion (R) Mana:85 Cooldown: 90 Seconds

After 5 seconds, heal for 60% of the damage you took over this period.

General Tips Top

The Perfect Counter-Ganker

I believe Dehaka performs best when using him to counter-gank the opposing team. When you see a gank coming, or you have a team-mate in trouble, activate your Brushstalker in a forward position, disrupting their gank or picking up a kill along the way. You must have constant map awareness.

Use Brushstalker to It's Fullest

This ability makes Dehaka a super mobile hero like Falstad or Brightwing. Many times, you don't have to use the healing fountain in lane, you simply can back, and Brushstalker back into late. Besides using it for ganking/counter-ganking, you can also afford to spend more time in lane before heading to an objective. The tribute all the way across the map in Cursed Hollow? Don't worry, clear your lane, maybe take a tower, then teleport towards the objective. This becomes especially useful if you decide to take Apex Predator at lv.20, which allows you to jump around the map at free will, basically. Also use this to get ahead of heroes you're trying to chase down, or jump into a bush where an injured hero might be hearthing, allowing you to pick up a free kill.


Oddly enough, Dehaka is a large sized warrior hero that isn't always meant to be body-blocking. Because of Dark Swarm's ability to pass through units, you won't be able to body block if you have it activated. However, there are times in tight spaces, where it's better to use Drag to stun your enemy, with Dark Swarm activated beforehand, allowing you to walk through the enemy to get behind them, so you can body block when the stun is finished. Otherwise, most of the time you want to peeling off melee assassins with your Drag or Isolation, or wreaking havoc on their backline with your damage.

Escape! Dig for Your Life!

Brushstalker can also be used for escape. In cases where your life is in danger, you can attempt to dig your way out of a mess. Do realize that this is countered by silence, polymorph, and stun. However, you can continue to cast Brushstalker once the CC is done. Don't waste time by looking away on the map, just try to get to a bush that's even a slight distance away.

Bring CC With You.

I cannot stress this enough. If your team is Illidan, Li Li, Valla, and Tassadar, don't pick Dehaka. Drag is an amazing ability, but it requires follow up from your team. If there is no CC to follow up on your picks, you will be useless. Any sort of slow, stun, polymorph, whatever, is necessary to accompany Dehaka because his kit lacks CC.

Be Wary of Stun and Silence

It's funny playing against an AI Raynor or Tychus, because they manage to Penetrating Round, or Frag Grenade you as soon as you land your Drag on somebody else. If you are knocked back in any way, you will immediately cancel your Drag. Also, when team-fighting, you rely so much on your ability to Burrow and pop Essence Collection, however, if you are chained stunned or silenced, you're basically dead right there without intervention. For now, people don't understand to save CC for Dehaka, but there have been instances where I've died with 50 stacks of Essence Collection, unable to cast anything.

Know When To Hide and Heal

This is what makes a great Dehaka player shine. Being able to get into enemy team, force them to focus you, allowing you and your team to rack up a large amount of damage against them, only to Burrow away a the last second to consume 50 stacks of Essence Collection, and re-emerge whilst healing at a very fast rate. Not knowing when to Burrow and heal, will only leave you dead with your team angry at you.

Talent Build Top

Enhanced Agility - Collecting 50 Essence permanently increases your Movement Speed by 1.50%, up to 15.00%.

Basically, you need to collect 500 essence to get your full 15% bonus. The main reason why you need this talent, is to offset Dehaka's limited mobility without a proper mount. At full stacks, you're just a little bit shy of half-mount speed, that can be used while in combat as well. This allows you to use your abilities to pressure you enemies, and allows you to land your skillshots easier at close range. Even if you don't consider it very important, having this also allows you to be more mobile and make sure you stick to a 100% up-time in game participation.

Hero Stalker - Increases Essence gained from Takedowns by 150%.

I'm normally torn between this and One-Who-Collects. The reason why I believe Hero Stalker is better, is because it's more useful in team-fight situations. A 150% increase will give you 25 essence every time you participate in a kill. This will fill your Essence Collection to 50% from zero. Basically, if you're about to get a kill and you've taken moderate damage, immediately pop Essence Collection to heal for a large amount, then get an extra 25 essence, enough for a relatively large heal (about 40$ of your health or so.) In maps where you hardly spend anytime in lane (think Infernal Shrines/ Battlefield Of Eternity) this talent is necessary to sustain your own life and build Enhanced Agility along with it. If you can guarantee you can secure a kill, you have the option to play more aggressively knowing you have healing to fall back on.

One-Who-Collects - Increases Essence collected from Minions by 50%.

Basically increasing your essence gained from 2 to 3. Giving you 21 essence per minion wave, versus 14. As stated above, in maps where you might be farming in lane rather than fighting, this may be viable. However, after experiencing the "snowball" effect Hero Stalker has on teamfights, I rarely choose this.

Symbiosis - Every time Dark Swarm damages an enemy Hero, reduce its cooldown by 0.50 seconds.

With a 3 second cast, your cooldown is 6 seconds at base. Even though it says "deal damage per second" there are actually a tick every half second of it's cast, giving you 6 ticks in total. Meaning that if you hit one hero for the entire duration, you will lower your cooldown by 3 seconds down to 3 seconds. If you manage to hit two heroes for the entire cast, you will get a free cast entirely. This allows you to ramp up your damage, and pose a real threat during fights.

Isolation - Launch biomass that hits the first enemy Hero dealing 208.00 (+4% per level) damage, silencing and slowing them 30.00% for 3 seconds. Only allows them to see a very short distance for 6 seconds.

Also subject to a sluggish activation time similar to Drag, Isolation is a slow moving projectile that is difficult to land at long range. The first hero it hits, causing the hero to be slowed, silenced, and only allows them to see the distance of about a large hero in radius around them. This ability is great on supports, casters, and other heroes that you're trying to gank. Because of its low cool-down, it can be used liberally. Since it has a longer range than Drag, you can use this to slow your opponent, allowing you to catch up, Drag and kill them. This has a short range as is, and since it's slow to fire, it's almost completely unreliable at max range. However, in a teamfight, if you manage to combo both Isolation and Drag you'll be able to tie down an enemy for almost eight seconds. Use this on a Rehgar mid-teamfight, or any mange like Li-Ming to tie them down. There have been several instances where this ability caused my target to actually mistakenly wander back towards my team, ending in their death.

Adaptation - After 5 seconds, heal for 60% of the damage you took over this period.

This is your tank heroic. Essentially allows you to regen lost health when you're focused. Most of the time, the enemy won't focus you because you glow bright blue (giving you free reign to go crazy), but I believe you sacrifice a lot of utility without the slow/silence you get with isolaltion. Together with the fact that Essence Collection gives you more than enough self-sustain, this heroic falls short. If you have no reliable healer, or find yourself being focused down a lot, this talent is viable. However, as said before, you get a lot of innate healing with Essence Collection, so this isn't always necessary. However, if you do take this, do not forgo the lv.20 talent Change Is Survival.

Ferocious Stalker - Brushstalker increases your Movement Speed by 60.00% decaying over 3 seconds.

It's usually a toss-up between this and Whirling Dervish. The extra 60% decaying movement speed doesn't stack with Enhanced Agility, however, this talent really helps with your ganks and counter-ganks. Really gives a "oh my god, what the f*ck is that sprinting out of the bush?!" feel to your Brushstalker. Really allows you to position best for your skill-shots. If you find yourself in a lot of kill participation and ganks, this is the right talent for you. However, if you're constantly met by hard CC, consider the other talent in this tier.

Whirling Dervish - Reduces the duration of silences, stuns, slows, and roots against your Hero while Dark Storm is active by 50%.

This is also an extremely great talent. If you find yourself being harassed by Muradin's Storm Bolt, Tyrande's Lunar Flare, or Sylvanas's pesky Wailing Arrow, you might want to consider picking this up. With the lv. 7 talent, Symbiosis, you keep your Dark Swarm running most of the time, making you a very sticky, tenacious tank. Considering hard stun and CC is one of Dehaka's main weak points, this talent gives him tenacity where he needs it the most.

Rapid Regeneration - Burrow heals you for 316.16 (+4% per level) Health over 2 seconds.

This tier is loaded, so all picks are viable depending on the flow of the game/team-comp. Typically I'm usually the only tank, so having this extra bit of regen really does help. Although it's nothing huge like the healing you'll get from your trait, but every bit counts.

Elongated Tongue - Increase Drag range by 20%.

My girlfriend's favorite talent. (Hehehe) This drastically improves the range of your Drag, allowing you to hit it more effectively. Even when they are latched onto it, they are pulled closer to the same range as your normal Drag, which is just at the edge of the radius of your Dark Swarm.

Paralyzing Enzymes - Drag slows enemies by 50.00% for 2 seconds after it ends.

This is pretty signifigant in terms of additional CC. If you're up against heroes with mobility abilities: (Think Valla's Vault, or Falstad's Barrel Roll.) This talent gives you the extra bit of slow to secure the kill, or properly hit them with your Isolation after a successful pull.

Apex Predator - Reduces Brushstalker's cooldown by 30 seconds and the cast time by 0.50 seconds.

This talent is huge. It basically shortens your CD to about 7-8 seconds after you emerge, basically allowing you free reign to be anywhere on the map you want. When combined with Ferocious Stalker, you can liberally use this to scout areas, cut-off enemy escape routes, and capture objectives with ease. It's compelling to use this on Dragon Shire, giving Dehaka the ability to cap both shrines, and secure the dragon knight in less than 30 seconds on his own.

Contagion - Isolation hits all Heroes near the first target.

Also an excellent talent. If you're in maps where heroes tend to be grouped up in tight spaces, or if you're up against an annoying support who's itching to use Cleanse whenever possible, this talent excels. If you manage to lower the vision and slow/silence two or three members of their team, you can really turn a fight in your favor. A must have when up against several mages or "critical-point" supports like Uther, Rehgar, or khazarim.

Game Strategies Top

Immediately after the gates open, use Brushstalker to enter a bush/vent in an aggressive position. (The opposing side's shrine bush in Dragon Shire, one of the forward middle bushes in Infernal Shrines, you get it.) Try to set up a pick by using Drag to catch a someone face-checking the bush.

Afterwards, if not in your proper lane, head to lane. Bully your lane opponent with Dark Swarm and don't be afraid to take hits and trade health. If they overextend, use Drag to pull them under the range of both your towers to set up a kill. Don't be afraid to go back and use Brushstalker to return to lane, but try to have it off cool-down if an objective pops up. Your opponent will only have one use of the healing shrine, while you can keep yourself with full hp/mana by going back effectively. Try to farm essence as much as possible.

Keep your eyes on the other lanes at all time. Being able to spot a Jaina who is slightly injured and overextended, or responding to a Zeratul gank just in time will allow you to pick up kills while ambushing your enemy from places they don't expect.

When an objective appears, you have many choices. Immediately use Brushstalker to get into a bush near it to get up an ambush? Perhaps stay in lane and push the wave down to the tower first before going. Or wait a little while before choosing the best spot to teleport in and flank the enemy. You're very flexible when you're choosing when to move to an objective. But make sure to inform your team you're ready to use Brushstalker. (Crtl-Left Click on Mount Ability)

Mid game, continue to look for gank opportunities, and places in which your teammates are in danger. During fights, depending on the flow, you have many choices. Try to catch out a squishy hero out of position with Drag, if not, then bully your way into the fight, and try to disrupt their back line. Make sure to burrow in time to pop your Essence Collection, and continue to wreak havoc on the enemy team. If you find one of your carries being targeted by an assassin, don't hesitate to pull back using your extra mobility from Enhanced Agility, and bee-line towards the assassin, locking them down with Drag to secure the kill.

Always look for the proper bush to teleport into. Being able to have the proper angle on your enemies will always give you an upper hand when it comes to fights.

When dueling, don't underestimate the power of Isolation. Six seconds of silence is pretty massive for most heroes. However, if you manage to land it, don't use Drag immediately after. Save the stun until Isolation wears off, or until your enemy might escape from your grasp.

Always, always ask yourself: "Where might the enemy be? How many of them are there? What path are they taking? Can I catch one out?" Being able to be in the "right bush at the wrong time" (for your enemy) will make you a force to be feared.

In the late game, focus on all that was stated above, and use Apex Predator to it's fullest when possible. Always check on merc-camps, objectives, clear waves that your team is far away from, and try to be everywhere you need to be so long as there isn't a fight breaking out. Continuously be on the lookout for squishy backline heroes to catch out and kill. Compared to other tanks, Dehaka deals a surprising amount of damage, allowing you to lock down and bring down squishy assassins with ease.

Always, always communicate with your team. Ping for ganks, ping for assistance, tell them where you're headed, and when you're teleporting in. Coordinate with your team to pick up objectives, or to assist in the defense of certain places. No matter what map, you should be dominating objectives at this point if you keep your lanes pushed up.

Final Remarks Top

Thank you for reading my guide! My apologies if it's a little long. I would love to hear from you and hear about your experiences playing Dehaka. There was a lot of negative feedback in regards to his performance in the PTR and even sometimes I get people asking me "are you sure about Dehaka?" However, given this, I really do think he has what it takes to a be a great tank with lots of good damage output and utility. I wish you best in your games! Good luck out there!

Update/Change Log Top

To Come

May include hero match-ups at a later date.

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