Illidan : Where to start (an in depht beginner's guide) by Rengi

Illidan : Where to start (an in depht beginner's guide)

By: Rengi
Last Updated: Nov 24, 2015
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Build: Illidan

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

Introduction Top

Hello everyone, welcome to this guide.

Before we get started, I want to point out that I am not a pro Illidan player and I'm open to suggestions to improve this guide but as I started playing him I didn't find a quick step by step guide on how to play him properly. Hence this guide.

I have spent the last week and countless games to improve my play with him and I came to realize that most of his power doesn't come from his build but from the way you play. If you don't play him right, you'll die all the time, it's a high risk, high reward hero.

So this is what this guide will be all about! No build, no high level strategy, ... There are already plenty very good guides about that on heroesfire.

So without further delay, let's dive into Illidan's versatility.

Positioning Top

Your position is what makes you strong :
  • Stay on the outskirt of the battle, preferably behind your front line or on the side
  • Stay in a position where you are flanking the enemy team and safe from damage
  • Keep in range to be able to Dive on squishy heroes or chase low health fleeing targets
  • Stay in a position where you can move all the time and dodge enemy abilities as they do harm you a lot
  • Avoid heavy CC heroes because that can easily get you killed (ie. Diablo, E.T.C., Uther, ...)
  • When you engage you will in most case be out of position, so be ready to pull back if you get focused

Chose your battle Top

My main problem with Illidan was that I was diving head first in battle and getting killed, I came to realize that picking your target is one of the most important thing you need to do to be successful.

General rules

  • Attack squishy heroes such as Assassin, Support and some Specialist
  • Attack heroes with the lowest health because you can take them down quickly
  • Avoid damage because you do not have a lot of health
  • Get back to safety before you take too much damage : go in, kill, get out
  • Kill people only if it is worth it, zoning out a Malfurion or Jaina will give the advantage to your team
  • Get out of the fight if you take too much damage and reengage when you have enough health

Target priority

  1. Low health heroes (below 30-50%) are easy kills and you should be able to get back to safety before taking much damage
  2. Heroes that are isolated can be taken down or totally zoned out by Illidan in a very short time
  3. Heroes stunned, rooted, body blocked, especially those caught in a Mosh Pit from E.T.C.
  4. Heroes running of the fight can be taken down or body blocked easily with Dive and Sweeping Strike

Know your strength Top

Growing strength

Illidan grows in strength as the match progresses :
  • Before level 4-7 you are quite weak, engage safely because a lot of heroes can take you down
  • From level 7-10 onward you can kill most heroes in a 1v1 situation
  • You can win 1v2 encounter depending on the situation and the level advantage
  • You should not engage at all in 1v3 situation even if you feel like you can do it

Be usefull

Out of battle, Illidan has a lot of utility :
  • You can clear siege camps from level 4 and bruisers from level 7 so if you have nothing else to do, get the mercenaries, use Evasion and Sweeping Strike as much as possible and it should be very quick
  • Clear mercenary waves coming at your base when you have the time, you are good at it
  • When you are low on health, pull back and attack minions, structures, ... to get back your health, it will be faster than going back to base

Other tips

  • Dive deals less damage than your auto attack so use it only to move around
  • Metamorphosis and The Hunt can be used to engage but very importantly to disengage
  • You can fight under towers if your Evasion is active but beware that you will still get the movement speed debuf from the forts
  • If you have a Support, stay in his range, this will make you nearly unstoppable
  • The Evasion only avoids auto attacks and turret shots not abilities
  • If you are dying too much, get mercenaries that will push your team in the right direction

Know your enemy Top

Before engaging, you should know the hero you are attacking, they fall in different categories :

Auto attack based heroes :

  • They can do very little to counter you while Evasion is active
  • They cannot run away from you because you can stick to them with Sweeping Strike and Dive
  • You can usually kill them or zone them out easily
  • Heroes such as Raynor, Valla, Nova, ... are auto attack based

Ability based heroes

  • Your Evasion is useless against abilities so they can deal a serious amount of damage to Illidan
  • The best way to deal with them is to wait for them to cast their abilities before engaging and catch them when their abilities are on cooldown
  • Heroes such as Jaina, Kael'thas, Zagara, ... are ability based

Heroes with blind abilities

  • Being blind makes you miss all your auto attacks and lose the effect of Betrayer's Thirst
  • You will not deal any damage with your auto attacks
  • You lose your main source of health regeneration
  • You lose the ability to reduce the cooldown of your abilities
  • You basically loose all your damage for the duration of the blind
  • So avoid being blinded at all costs
  • Heroes such as Johanna, Li Li, Artanis have blind abilities

Heroes with stun and roots abilities

For the same reasons as the heroes with blind abilities but mostly :
  • They can isolate you and overpower you
  • You are usually a bit out of position when in battle so you are an easy target
  • When you are not attacking, you are just a sitting duck waiting to be killed
  • Heroes such as Diablo, E.T.C., Uther, ... have stun abilities
  • Heroes such as Malfurion, Arthas, ... have root abilities

Azmodan, the lord of Sin

  • His All Shall Burn is an ability channeled over time and your Evasion is useless against it
  • There is nothing you can do to cancel the channeling besides getting out of range
  • At level 4 he can get Gluttony which allows him to heal from that death beam and that is more than you can handle
  • At level 13 he can get March of Sin which allows him to move while channeling and so pursue you when you try to disengage
  • Engage on him only if the death ray is locked on something else
  • The good news is that you can body block him quite easily when he is on the run, using Dive

Training advice Top

What worked for me might work for you too so here is how I practiced Illidan :
  • Play versus easy IA at first, there is no shame in that, being killed all the time is depressing and seem to piss off people :-P
  • try to take down heroes in 1v1 situation to know what you can and cannot do (ie. Zagara will kill you before level 4)
  • Increase the difficulty of the IA when you feel confident and get in more battles
  • Find a build that fits you, I went for the classical Shadow Shield, Immolation, First Aid, Metamorphosis, Giant Killer/sixt sense, stone skin/ Blood for Blood, nexus blade
  • Move to quick match when you feel confident and fine tune your gameplay

Final words Top

I hope you enjoyed this guide and that it brought some insight to the understanding of how to play Illidan

Let me know in the comments if I'm missing something or if you'd like to add anything to this guide, give me a thumbs up if this guide helped you :-)

I wish you a pleasant day,

History log

2015-11-24 : Initial version

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