Falstad, Warcraft's Mini-Thor [Chromie patch] by LonerVamp

Falstad, Warcraft's Mini-Thor [Chromie patch]

By: LonerVamp
Last Updated: May 17, 2016
59 Votes
Build 1 of 3

Falstad

Build: Competitive (pending)

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

Falstad

Build: Hammer Mage (Burst)

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

Falstad

Build: Auto Attack Assault (Sustain)

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

Top

RECENT CHANGES (BY PATCH)

05/17/16 (Chromie patch) - slight rework being reviewed
04/07/16 (Dehaka patch) - reviewed; updated competitive build and notes
01/13/16 (Greymane patch) - reviewed; no significant changes
8/19/15 (Kharazim patch) - reviewed; minor changes, see notes below
6/2/15 (Johanna patch and game launch) - reviewed guide.
5/27/15 (Kael'thas patch) - started this guide.
Build Disclaimer: Don't let me tell you how to play this Hero. Play him how you play him best! There are many Heroes and many builds that can be viable in the right hands. This is just one guide amongst many and is my take on this Hero. Have fun, and enjoy!

If you want to talk shop, I can often be found playing with friend and steamer Kennigma on twitch.tv/kennigma.
NAME Falstad Wildhammer
CLASS Assassin
SUB-CLASS Ranged Burst or Sustain, depending on talents
MY DIFFICULTY RATING Easy to pew-pew-pew, hard to play well
ATTACK DISTANCE Ranged
ACTUAL FIGHT DISTANCE Mid-range, to land lightning strikes
MOBILITY Slow mount, but excellent escapes and map mobility
COMPETITIVE? Very, with a good Mighty Gust; sometimes, if you're not good with it

Falstad is an excellent mobile ranged assassin who can be burst heavy with a Hammer/Mage build, or be a sustain damage beast with Auto Attack talents. Either way, he is extremely mobile, fast, and pew-pews damage constantly.

Is Falstad competitive?
Sort of yes and no. Let's back up first of all and say that any Hero can be competitive; it's really how you play them and how well you do. Second, builds can become a factor as well. I would say that most Lightning Rod talents are less competitive, mainly due to the harm that Falstad puts himself into to land Lightning Rod hits using Charged Up and Thunderstrikes. With a Basic Attack build, Falstad can include a few more survivability talents like Static Shield amongst his picks, which makes him slightly harder to kill, and keep a safer distance. Typically in competitive builds you'll see Gathering Power + BOOMerang + Hammer Time for maximum effect.

Currently (1/2016 to current), Falstad has seen a resurgence. In late 2015 tournaments, Mighty Gust started finally finding use as a set-up Heroic for isolating targets, forcing over-extension, and executing disengages. In fact, as of the 2016 Spring Championships, Falstad is even getting regularly banned out of games as teams decide it's better to not face his Mighty Gust which can be used defensively to deny a desired team fight. Some teams, when they decide they want a team fight, want to make sure the team fight happens.

In competitive play, he's used for map mobility (for better soak, global presence, and surprise ganks), Mighty Gust heroic, consistent damage output, and survivability. Without Mighty Gust being used skillfully, he still competes as a ranged damage dealer, and can often be swapped out for Raynor (more reliable), Zagara (vision and Maw), Sylvanas (pushing), Valla (easier damage), or Kael'thas/Jaina (more reliable burst).

Falstad can be excellent in solo or small group queues. His damage output and mobility make him a constant asset on the damage leader boards.


(Q) Hammerang
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Falstad's longest-range (with a talent) non-heroic attack, you'll use this quite a bit to lead into your damage burst or just to be annoying to enemy Heroes. This is a straight line skill shot. Get used to the speed of the travel so you can lead and hit ranged targets accurately. Will slow targets it hits.
(W) Lightning Rod
Cooldown: 15 seconds
This should be activated on a target, and it will hit that target with lightning bolt damage for its duraction as long as he stays in range of you. If the target moves out of range, when the next bolt attempts to strike, the ability just ends. You don't get a chance to re-start or continue the damage. In addition, the target of the ability can see the range line on the ground so they know where to get away to to break the spell.

(E) Barrel Roll
Cooldown: 14 seconds
Short dash in a straight line, used either to get close to a target for a damage burst, or more usually to escape aggression. Can be used to cross walls/terrain and easily dodge enemy skill shots when necessary. Most of the time, this should be saved off cooldown so it can save you.
(Trait) Tailwind
Basically a movement speed increase after not taking damage. Allows you to get around somewhat quickly and helps make Falstad hard to chase or also a great chaser when healthy. Works in combat, as long as you've not taken damage.



LET'S TALK ABOUT BUILDS
Let's get one thing out of the way first: Falstad can be built in many, many different ways with many different hybridized looks between the basic ability and basic attack boosting talents. Falstad's talents really cover three different areas: Survivability/Escape, boosting Auto Attack damage, or boosting Ability damage. You can even mix and match talents as you wish, but it's usually best to stick with boosting damage in one of the areas. Either way, you'll be using both basic attacks and abilities a great deal to land lots of damage; it's really all about finding what works for you on this particular Hero.

BUILD: COMPETITIVE
Picks

Gathering Storm

Flow Rider

BOOMerang

Mighty Gust

Static Shield

Hammer Time

Epic Mount
Alts

Power Throw

Giant Killer

This is a typical competitive build for Falstad. There's really nothing fancy to it. Static Shield helps Falstad stay alive as a dead bird won't be dealing any additional damage in a fight. Hammer Time provides decent stun utility, either randomly as you're doing damage, or specifically saved for a Mosh Pit stun or something.


BUILD: HAMMER MAGE
Picks

Gathering Storm

Static Shield

BOOMerang

Mighty Gust

Flow Rider

Crippling Hammer

Epic Mount
Alts

Aerie Gusts

This is my typical Falstad Hammer Mage build. I find this a bit more bursty than a basic attack build, but it is very mana limiting. Thankfully, Falstad can hearthstone back to base for a refill and immediately fly back into the fight faster than anyone not named Brightwing. With this build you're trying to land the hammer on enemies and burst down a target with Lightning Rod and Auto Attack hits before they can get away or kill you. As long as you don't get stunned, this build can burst out insane amounts of damage, but then can still sustain it with Auto Attack while waiting for cooldowns and use Hinterland Blast to clean up fleeing Heroes. Flow Rider at level 4 means you want to stay out of combat as much as possible and expect to be out of mana after every fight. Battle Momentum is always an option to get abilities off cooldown faster. And I do like Hammer Time as an option as well, as sometimes you really just want the stun and don't want to think about managing Overdrive.


BUILD: AUTO ATTACK ASSAULT (SUSTAIN)
Picks

Seasoned Marksman

Vigorous Assault

Secret Weapon

Mighty Gust

Giant Killer

Crippling Hammer

Nexus Frenzy
Alts

Afterburner

Epic Mount

Change almost every talent over to something that benefits your Auto Attack and you'll get this build. The focus is on constantly using your range to pew-pew Auto Attack shots on your enemies, and augmenting this with ability use on cooldown. Battle Momentum will ensure your abilities recharge faster, but if you don't have a healer, feel free to take a hard look at First Aid at that tier. Giant Killer is usually good, but if the enemy team has no tanks, Static Shield can still give you some additional survivability. Lastly, go crazy with Nexus Frenzy once you hit 20. As an alternative, swap in Power Throw and Secret Weapon for some more AA damage in bursts.

Gathering Storm [ good ] - A good talent for an ability you want to land all the time anyway. Makes a nice companion to Mage Builds like Seasoned Marksman for Auto Attack builds.

Seasoned Marksman [ situational ] - An ok talent to pick for anyone that focuses on basic attacks, which Falstad does. His attack speed is pretty high and he's always pinging shots off in between ability cooldowns. This talent is usually a pick with a basic attack build.

Bribe [ not recommended ] - I don't typically pass up other talents in this tier to pick up Bribe, but I fully understand some people make good use of this talent, by using Falstad's map mobility to swoop into a distant merc camp and score it quick. This can actually be really good if you regularly steal the enemy camps, but I just usually do not take it and prefer instead to focus on my damage output.

Static Shield [ good ] - A good talent, but it competes with Thunderstrikes for the Hammer Build, and does not affect the damage bottom line. However, this ability is a good choice to augment your survivability in any build if that is something you are struggling with. A dead Falstad is dealing no damage, hence why this talent moves up in priority at higher levels of play.

Updraft [ not recommended ] - A fun talent for big escapes, but honestly a good Falstad will practice proper positioning and know when to retreat, rather than rely on this talent for help.

Hammer Gains [ situational ] - Falstad will be throwing lots of basic attacks out during the course of the game, especially if you're going after an Auto Attack build, making this talent a preference choice.

Secret Weapon [ situational ] - This talent sounds fun, and it can be, but the Hammerang is only out long enough to get in 2 or maybe 4 basic attacks with Power Throw at level 1. It sounds great, but I usually find more usefulness out of Battle Momentum in basic attack builds.

BOOMerang [ good ] - A great talent for damaging enemy Heroes who love to sidestep the slow-moving Hammerang at distance. Activate the ability again to do a small AoE explosion at any time during the Hammerang flight path. Really cool, and has the added bonus of making short work of creep waves in the late game. I usually pick this up as another damage option.

Charged Up [ situational ] - I sometimes pick this ability, but it's not a complete slam dunk. Hitting two more times with Lightning Rod means your target needs to stay within range of the strikes, and often a target will escape before the full duration ticks away, making this talent a waste. Just keep that in mind when you take this talent: you need to make sure your chosen target will stay within your range, even if it means you need to pursue a bit.

Hinterland Blast [ good ] - The go-to heroic pick for Falstad, this can do some significant damage at a ridiculous range, and often will score a kill or two per match on fleeing Heroes who thought they were safe.

Mighty Gust [ situational ] - This talent takes some practice, and enemy displacement does have its place in your kit, but most Falstads really would find more regular benefit out of damage output than in this situational heroic. However, if you value some self-preservation and use this ability defensively (a self peel, basically), you can find use for this in solo queue Hero League matches. This ability moves up into the "good" category if you're rolling Falstad into your coordinated team. You can isolate a dive or other out-of-position Hero for a kill (much like Tassadar's Force Wall Heroic). You can even force an over-extension or steal a boss with proper positioning. When used properly it's a playmaker, but when used any other time, it will lead to an uncomfortable fail-silence.

Thunderstrikes [ not recommended ] - A good pick if you've already also picked up Charged Up as you will now have two reasons to keep a target in range of Lightning Rod strikes. Definitely adds to the bottom line burst damage from Falstad. Unfortunately, enemies will often move out of your range by the time you can land the extra hits, and this talent tends to take third pick behind others at this tier.

Flow Rider [ good ] - Can be really nice. Ideall, Falstad wants to keep his distance and not take damage, and as a mage build, he wants to cast his abilities quicker. This talent helps make all of this happen. The down side may be the redundancy this can have if your positioning is bad. If you take damage regularly in team fights, this ability does nothing for you until you're out of the fight; at which point you care less about your cooldowns.
Giant Killer [ good ] - For basic attack builds, this talent should be near the top of your picks, especially if you have some tanks on the enemy team. For other builds, this is still a good talent to pick, as it will always increase damage done, and it scales into the late game.

Crippling Hammer [ situational ] - This will slow struck enemy Heroes to a crawl, which is good, I guess. Overall, this tier has some pretty weak talents for being level 16, and this is at least somewhat acceptable to use.

Aerie Gusts [ not recommended ] - A speed increase when you're not in combat? No thanks. Do note there is some synergy with Flow Rider to get cooldowns working even faster.

Afterburner [ situational ] - If I have some room at this tier and want to pick up some sort of escape ability, I usually just fill with this talent. If I'm using Barrel Roll, it's almost always going to benefit from the additional post-use speed boost. Still, I don't normally advocate this anyway.

Call of the Wildhammer [ not recommended ] - This is great, and if you're not feeling all that pressured to try hard in your match such that you don't need Epic Mount nor Nexus Frenzy, then by all means try this out. But otherwise, this usually loses out to the other two useful talents.

Wind Tunnel [ not recommended ] - A fun talent to augment Mighty Gust a little bit, but neither that heroic nor this talent are useful beyond special situations.

Nexus Frenzy [ situational ] - A great talent for anyone that relies on basic attacks regularly like Falstad does. In a basic attack build, you should probably pick this up at this level. Any other time, Epic Mount is just so good, that unless you absolutely see that you need the extra damage output, you should probably opt for Epic Mount instead.

Epic Mount [ good ] - Epic Mount!! There is no better escape ability in the game, which also then adds to something Falstad is already great at: map mobility. It's very hard to understand the usefulness of this talent until you've picked it up for a few games, but after that, it'll take some hard decisions to ever pick against it again.

GENERAL PLAYSTYLE
The weakness in each build type for Falstad is really the same: With burst, Falstad probably needs to sneak closer to the action and risk being killed quickly. With sustain, he risks simply being a priority target of the enemy and killed quickly. Either way, a dead Falstad deals no damage, so stay alive.

A GOOD FALSTAD...
...does damage at range while staying safe; maximize damage and minimize deaths. Master of positioning and the dance of moving in for damage and out to avoid taking it.
...makes effective use of Mighty Gust to win team fights or disengage properly; up to singling out priority targets who are out of position.
...will know when he can win a fight and chase properly: killer instinct.
...will utilize mobility to maximize soak while getting to objectives right when he's needed.
...will utilize mobility to earn early game ganks on other lanes with surprise fly-ins.

EARLY GAME
You lane very well with Hammerang that can hit most of a wave, and Barrel Roll to escape any aggressive enemies. You can also roam and gank if you have another initiator who is game for it, like Zeratul or Kerrigan. As a roaming Falstad, you should keep a close eye on 1v1 lanes that you're not currently at. If you're showing in bottom lane, for instance, and you see a 1v1 up in the top lane and the enemy is getting a bit forward, you can hide in the Fog of War quick and fly up to top to team up for a kill. You should always be looking to do this on the weak lanes. Falstad can do merc camps ok due to his damage output, but be prepared to hearthstone back to refill your health if you do. Otherwise, try to poke and prod at the enemy team and see how they react; punish anyone too bold, and keep yourself from getting ganked in response.

MID GAME
Falstad really does play the same throughout the whole game: watch your positioning, and throw down your damage when you get a chance to do so. Pursue when you can, but not so far that you overextend and the enemy team rebounds in your face. Basically, the same tactics that work for any Hero.

LATE GAME/TEAM FIGHTS
Be aggressive, but watch your positioning. Burst down priority targets and the Barrel Roll to the backlines to continue your filler Auto Attack barrage and wait for cooldowns to reset. Drop a Hinterland Blast when you see an opportunity either to secure a kill that will otherwise escape, or damage a majority of the enemy team in one shot. Abuse your Epic Mount any chance you can get to move around the map, cut off enemies, scout, or refill your health and mana. Always be on the lookout for a split pusher giving you an opportunity to come up behind for a gank. Even better if you team up with someone who can come in from the front.

PLAYING AGAINST
Watch to see what build the Falstad is going for. A Hammer Mage burst build will be dangerous in bursts, while a basic attack sustain Falstad will be slower in his damage application. Always watch for activations of Barrel Roll. If Falstad uses it to foolishly dive into a fight, punish him since he just blew his only escape. If you're the target of a Lightning Rod, try to get out of range immediately. If you see Lightning Rod on a teammate, and you're someone like Raynor then you should Penetrating Round push Falstad away. Beyond that, you need to weather the storm, avoid 1v1 fights with Burst Falstad, and otherwise take the assassin out of fights early. He's very squishy once you apply some damage to him, so finish him off before he can escape! Be on the lookout for a surprise Falstad fly-in if you're showing on the minimap alone and away from the safety of your team and forts.
ABOUT ME
I'm an aggressively casual player looking to climb the ranks and enjoy my free time in Heroes of the Storm. If you want to talk shop, I can often be found playing with friend and steamer Kennigma on twitch.tv/kennigma.

Please comment and let me know what works and what doesn't!

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