Jaina. New look. New style. New hero? Complete guide after last hero rework. (Patch - Maiev release.) by Santy

Jaina. New look. New style. New hero? Complete guide after last hero rework. (Patch - Maiev release.)

By: Santy
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
2 Votes
Rating Pending
Build 1 of 4


Build: Maximum Burst

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


Build: Maximum Burst with Ring

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


Build: Long Range

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


Build: Long Range with Ring

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


This guide contains 2 builds.

The first is standard Jaina burst build focused on maximum damage.

The second is a long range mage build against teams with strong engage and lockdown.

Both builds work with both heroics!!!

In both builds, the key talents, that affect gameplay are at level 1, 7 and 13. The rest are my personal preference and can be swapped, while maintaining the playstyle. Find what works best for you and use it.

Keep in mind that the builds are best case scenario talent choices. In certain situations you should opt for safety talents like Frost Armor, Ice Barrier or Numbing Blast, according to the enemy composition and behavior.


Play style.
When to pick in Ranked play?
Ability usage.
Ability Combinations.
The example builds.
Talents in depth.
How to play the maps.

Changelog. Top

05.03.2018 - Minor changes and spellcheck.

Guide Created 29.08.2017.

Changes to Jaina in the last patch:

Blizzard CD Reduced from 15 to 14.
Improved Ice Block became Baseline: Upon dealing 15.000 critical damage (from her trait - Frostbite), gain Improved Ice Block - 40s CD.
Level 1: Deep Chill moved to 20. New Globe Quest replacing Conjurer's Pursuit: Fingers of Frost (+.1 mana regen per globe, up to 20 stacks, at 20, increase damage bonus from Frostbite by 10%).
Level 7 talents: Frostbitten Removed. Added Icefury Wand (AA's deal 75% Bonus Damage to Chilled Targets and reduce Blizzard CD by 1 second per AA). Ice Floes CD Reduction changed from 1 per target hit up to 5s, to 2.5 per chilled hero hit up to 5s.
Level 10 talents: Water Elemental Mana reduced from 75 to 60, and CD from 80s to 60s.
Level 20 Talents: Deep Chill moved from level 1. New functionality - slow from Frostbite stacks 2 times for a total of 50%. Added Ice Blink - very low range blink ability with AOE Chill application. Cold Snap now also reduces CD by 10s per hero hit by the center explosion. (Currently bugged - CD is decreased by all targets hit, from both outer and inner circle).

Intro. Top

Jaina is an iconic Blizzard character. I loved her all the way back in Warcraft 3, and I am glad Blizzard decided to give her a nice refresh. I have planned to make a Jaina guide for a long time, and I feel this is the best moment for it.

Please Vote and comment after reading it. If you like it feel free to check my other guides. :)

Play style. Top

Positioning, positioning and then some more positioning.

Jaina is what many consider the embodiment of a generic mage. Low health hero with high ability burst damage on a moderate to long cooldowns, who needs constant protection from her team. However there is one aspect of Jaina that makes her quite different - Frostbite. Thanks to her trait Jaina can position a bit more aggressive, to deal damage. The slow her abilities apply gives her the option to retreat, as long as the enemy hero(s) don't have strong gap-closer and hard CC. The downside of this, is that many players overestimate the security of the slow and position too aggressively, essentially getting out of position. This leads to an engage from the enemy tank, lockdown and death. For Jaina positioning is everything! Stay behind your tank at all times, and in range of your support. Ideally you should be just at the range of Frostbolt from the closest enemy, so you can fire the ability on CD. When you have a good opportunity to dump damage on the enemy do it. Walk forward hit your Frostbolt, Blizzard, Cone of Cold, or a combination of them, that is appropriate, and immediately retreat to safety. This will give teh enemy the smallest possible window to counter engage on you. Advance very aggressively only if your tank is doing the same, and never get ahead of him.

Burst vs Sustain and why you need both. Also auto attacks!

Jaina is a burst AOE mage. But nothing is absolute. Your primary goal is to do as much damge as you can to as many enemy heroes as you can.

However the end result you are looking for is kills. Jaina's abilities don't have very big area of effect, but are powerful. Don't be afraid to use your Blizzard and Cone of Cold to burst a single target.

Your cooldowns are not very short, which means Jaina has high damage in a small interval of time, then her damage drops a lot, until she is relevant again as her CDs refresh. This is where one of her weaknesses is. She can mostly be ignored when not casting abilities. Here is where sustain damage comes in. Jaina needs to do sustain damage to stay relevant in the middle of 5v5 battles, or it is basically 4v5 at this point. The one thing she can do about that is Frostbolt. And this is why the Q build is so popular btw. No matter what build you are using you must learn to land your Frostbolt skillshots. All heroes have AA damage for the purpose of sustain, and every bit counts, but Jaina's auto attack damage is so low most of the time it is not worth the risk of using them. Thankfully this was addressed in the last patch with Icefury Wand. Now going for the Q build is not necesarry to have good sustain. Icefury Wand gives you the extra punch between cooldowns, and it lowers the cooldown of your Blizzard, making you auto attacks matter a lot. Also this gives Jaina a damage that can be relevant against heroes with ability armor, like Anub'arack.

When to pick in Ranked play? Top

This one is easy. Pick Jaina when your team needs ability damage hero, and the enemy lacks very hard engage like Zeratul or The Butcher. Jaina can fit almost all compositions, as long as your team have a tank, support and a second frontline hero (a second tank or bruiser) you will be fine playing her. Every team needs to have both sustain and burst damage. Jaina gives you plenty of burst. The sustain damage dealer can be someone like Valla, but more often than not is will be the bruiser, a second support or just a combination of all your teammates. Also in her current condition Jaina is very safe hero, as long as you position carefully. Her variant of Ice Block can protect her from heavy burst and negate abilities like The Hunt or Pyroblast, while her slows allow her to have superior mobility over heroes lacking hard engage.

Ability usage. Top

A quick word about abilities.

Frostbite - Not much to say about Jaina's trait. Chill people and hit them with burst for more damage. Simple.

Frostbolt - This skillshot provides a big amount of the sustain damage Jaina has. make sure not to miss it. Landing Frostbolt on an already chilled target is easier and this ability is excellent for chasing and finishing off enemies. That is why the Q build is popular, but even on its own this ability is very useful due to its short cooldown.

Blizzard - This is the most impactfull ability Jaina has. It essentially locks down an area for a good amount of time, and slows and damages everyone in it. It also provides great wave clear when needed and gives nice objective control. However Blizzard is high mana cost ability on a long cooldown, and landing the second and third wave on heroes is hard. This is why it is best kept as follow up to friendly stun or root. If however you build into this (as this guide does), you can make great use of AOE damage all game long.

Cone of Cold - This is the most dangerous ability Jaina has. Both for her and the enemy. It has short range so getting in position to use it can be dangerous, but also it is the highest damage ability she has, making it very strong against diver heroes charging Jaina. Use at any opportunity you get, unless you are keeping it as defensive tool against dive or stealth heroes. The range makes it so that, the long cooldown is not an issue, as you generally are too far to use it on CD anyway, unless someone is too stupid to get near you, when it is up.

Ring of Frost - This is high impact damage ability. The root and raw damage it provides is superb at destroying whole enemy teams. However the delay between the cast and activation gives plenty of time to avoid it, especially if the enemies just stand in the center of the ring. This makes it high risk - high reward heroic, and it is best used as follow up to a friendly CC like Mosh Pit, Void Prison, Malfurion's Entangling Roots and so on. Or against running away enemy teams, as it can be easily placed so they are forced to ether get hit by it, or turn around from their disengage, letting your team catch up and finish them.

Summon Water Elemental - This heroic is superior to the Ring of Frost, if you lack any wombo combo potential and you can keep the elemental alive long enough. It is easier to use, and gets certain value, letting you use it both offensively and defensively, even to siege and chase enemy heroes. The downside is that the elemental can be killed, and it lacks the AOE team killing power of Ring of Frost. On the other hand the level 20 upgrade Wintermute is the best talent in the tier, giving the Elemental huge power.

Icy Veins - More or less this is instant CD refresh, with the push of a button. Do with the extra blow up potential what you will. Best used to destroy enemy teams that have clumped together, with 2 ability rotations and your heroic.

Improved Ice Block - Stasis to protect yourself. Simple and effective. Use to avoid incoming burst damage and chain CC, or to break abilities like Ruthless Onslaught.

Ability Combinations. Top

Jaina doesn't have a particular combination of abilities. You use them as the situation presents itself. However the goal is to use Frostbite as defective as you can, and burst targets down fast.

So when you want to kill 1 enemy hero, there is a particular combination that produced the best damage overall. If an enemy is lockdown by CC use this ability order. Blizzard- Cone of Cold- Frostbolt. Make sure you canst Cone of Cold just after the first wave of Blizzard hits so you get the bonus from Frostbite. A single wave from Blizzard does the smallest amount of damage, among your abilities. This is why it's best if that first wave is used to proc the first application of chill. This ability order produces the best results even if Northern Exposure is taken. The 25% bonus you get from a singe wave of Blizzard is not nearly as much as the bonus damage Cone of Cold gets from Frostbite.

All of this actually doesn't matter if you use Summon Water Elemental, as the Elemental will apply chill before any of your abilities hit, as you naturally cast Summon Water Elemental first.

If you are using Ring of Frost make sure to apply chill, to the primary target(s) you are trying to kill, as the ring gets huge bonus from Frostbite.

In an actual game however don't try to strictly hold to this ability order. it is good to know it, but in a game more often than not the total amount of damage you deal will depend on how fast the enemy heroes get out of the Blizzard zone. So if you apply chill with Frostbolt for example you might catch the enemy hero is an extra waves of Blizzard, resulting in higher damage. This is particularly true if you have Snowstorm or Deep Chill, so actually taking Snowstorm and landing an extra wave of Blizzard can grant as much damage as Northern Exposure, while making Blizzard more consistent as AOE ability.

The example builds. Top

Maximum Burst

Fingers of Frost- Arcane Intellect- Icefury Wand- Summon Water Elemental- Icy Veins- Snowstorm- Wintermute
Alternative: Fingers of Frost- Arcane Intellect- Icefury Wand- Ring of Frost- Icy Veins- Northern Exposure- Deep Chill

This build is the standard build I recommend. It works with both heroics. The design is for maximum burst damage from medium and low range, as well as high AOE impact. The core talents are Fingers of Frost, Icefury Wand and Icy Veins. The rest are personal preference, I find work best for me. The idea behind this build is to consistently deal damage, while affecting as many enemies as possible, on as low cooldown as possible. Fingers of Frost is picked for the extra 10% damage late game and improved mana control. In combination with Icefury Wand the overall damage you get from the 2 talents is about a fraction more than Frostbitten used to give, but now you get the CD reduction to utilize Blizzard much better and improved mana regeneration. Last gameplay changing talent is Icy Veins. What you basically get with those 3 talents is 2 rotations of your abilities at the start of a fight, big boost to your auto attack damage and therefore your sustained dps, and closing 2 big gaps in your kit - mana control and long cooldowns.

Summon Water Elemental vs Ring of Frost

As Ring of Frost usually needs a good set up to land consistently, the pick of heroic (and build variation) depends on the composition you go with. I have completed the Ring of Frost build with Northern Exposure and Deep Chill. Northern Exposure secures the best burst for Jaina and landing Ring of Frost on a target afected by Northern Exposure deals more than 1000 damage from the ability. Deep Chill makes landing your abilities (including Ring of Frost) easier, and gives you more crowd control, so it is the best talent to take at 20, since Wintermute is not available.

The Summon Water Elemental build has Snowstorm and Wintermute. Wintermute is by far the best level 20 talent, as it makes your elemental much more dangerous, and when used correctly buffs all your damage by extra 20-30%, since it will cast your Cone of Cold and Frostbolt at the target you attack and makes your Blizzard last 2 times as long, since it will cast his Blizzard when yours expire, on the same location. Snowstorm is my pick over Northern Exposure for 3 reasons. First it is finally worth specking into Blizzard thanks to Icefury Wand giving CD reduction, and the radius increase makes Blizzard far more dangerous AOE spell, which granst better zoning utility, and just gives more consistent damage from the ability. Second Wintermute will be even stronger thanks to the longer area of Blizzard, while Northern Exposure will also benefit the elemental, it will usually hit the same enemies you do with it's Cone of Cold. And third Northern Exposure is great for enabling extra damage, however this need good coordination from your team to target the same enemy at the time interval. This rarely happens outside of diamond and above leagues. The time interval is too low to benefit your own damage more than an extra wave of Blizzard would, if you don't have Ring of Frost.

I have completed the build with Arcane Intellect. Arcane Intellect is just a talent I love, but you can swap it for something else if you prefer the extra safety of chilling your attackers and penetrating with Frostbolt. I myself just don't find Frost Armor that useful now, since we have Improved Ice Block baseline, and the Frost Shards is nice in a dedicated Q build, but piercing on the base range usually doesn't do that much. I am aware that Arcane Intellect is complete overkill when picked with Fingers of Frost! However Fingers of Frost takes a while to become effective, while Arcane Intellect not only gives much more mana control, but also kicks in and turns Jaina into no-mana hero as early as level 4. So for that early game benefit, letting you stay relevant in even the longest poke battles, as well as waveclear with no restraint, I favor the talent.

Long Range

Winter's Reach- Arcane Intellect- Icefury Wand- Summon Water Elemental- Storm Front- Snowstorm- Deep Chill

This is what one could call the W build. Everything here is made to enable Jaina to fight from as far away as she can. The playstyle here mostly consists of casting Blizzard and Frostbolt as often as you acn and staying in the safety of your backline. This build is for situations, when the enemy has multiple divers, and you need to be as far away from them as you can. Winter's Reach and Storm Front are here to enable you the safest possible attack, while giving you the ability to harass even the enemy's backline with Blizzard, which is made even more potent with Snowstorm. Lastly Deep Chill gives you extra slow, which works very well in the W build and is taken for some extra debilitation against divers. Icefury Wand is for some extra CD reduction if you are in a position to auto attack, and is surprisingly good when you are being dived and need that little extra burst to force a disengage. Besides the other level 7 talents don't offer much for this playstyle as well, since Cone of Cold is mostly defensive ability to damage divers and lover CD is not important, while you also aim most of your Frostbolts from near max range, so penetration is not a factor. Summon Water Elemental is the heroic of choice as it is spamable on the 60 seconds cooldown, and give you a second attack for 20 seconds, when cast near you. Ring of Frost is still viable option if you have the set up for it, as is Wintermute in case you find that the enemy tends to ignore your elemental.

The Q build

There is a popular play stile that exists, which I like to address. This is what people call the Q build. it consists of 3 talents for Frostbolt and revolves around constantly landing your Frostbolt for sustained damage, which is a big gap in Jaina's kit. The talents are Winter's Reach, Frost Shards and Ice Lance. This playstyle was warranted and useful prior to the rework of Jaina. However with the addition of Icefury Wand other pats for sustain damage were made available to Jaina, especially since mana control talents like Fingers of Frost were made viable. Therefore I believe that the Q build is no longer necessary for sustain damage and therefore I have decided to exclude it from this guide, as it doesn't benefit other abilities Jaina has, and boosts just Frostbolt.

Talents in depth. Top

Here is a breakdown of all the talents as well as some notes on them. I have rated them as:
[bad] - No useful benefit and no synergy with other talents.
[average] - Useful only in builds dedicated to 1 function / boosting 1 ability.
[good] - Nice talent with good synergy with other talents. Useful in multiple situations.
[best] - Talents with huge individual benefits. They outclass all other in their tier, and have strong synergy with most of the other talent tiers.

Level 1

[*] Winter's Reach -[average]- This is a good talent both with full Q build and standing on it's own. it is always nice to have extra range on your poke abilities. If you are in a game where you have hard time gathering globes for Fingers of Frost, or you are facing multiple dive heroes and need the extra range, this talent is great option.

[*] Lingering Chill -[average]- Every bit of extra crowd control is welcome, in Heroes of The Storm. The longer duration however is more of an annoyance to your enemy than anything else. Yes it can allow you to land auto attacks for longer and benefit from Icefury Wand, but realistically 4 seconds is longer than you will utilize.

[*] Fingers of Frost -[good]- Fingers of Frost is in a way a combination of the old Conjurer's Persuit and Frostbitten. You take this talent for the 10% damage increase, while the mana regen bonus is a nice addition. However keep in mind that you will need to gather 20 globes at some point, so you might need to prioritize this early game. It should not be a problem in most cases, as Jaina is supposed to be part of the 4 man rotation anyway. Keep in mind that this is a late game talent, so you will need to wait a little to see it pay off, but that is the reason it is stronger than the other level 1 talents.

Level 4

[*] Frost Shards -[bad]- This talent is useful for hitting enemies standing behind an obstacle like minions, a wall etc. However just like Piercing Bolt on Muradin, you will not get much from this talent, as Frostbolt is a skillshot, and aiming and hitting 2 heroes is very hard, especially if you don;t have the extra range of Winter's Reach. The only time Frost Shards is a good pick is in a dedicated Q build, which I myself have always found lacking, and with the changes Jaina got you can now get the same level of sustain damage (which is about the only benefit of a dedicated Q build), from pairing Fingers of Frost with Icefury Wand as you get more damage from your auto attacks, higher damage bonus from Frostbite and lower cooldown on Blizzard.

[*] Arcane Intellect -[good]- I already addressed Arcane Intellect in the builds section. But here is the short of it. Arcane Intellect basically makes Jaina a hero, who has no mana costs. After level 4 you can cast your abilities as much as you like and will never have mana problems. This leads to awesome sustainability in long fights, that otherwise you don't have, and saves you the need to back often. In most games if you play well and don't get out of position, you might not need to back more than 3-4 times, which is very useful especially on big maps. I simply can't praise this ability enough, even though I used to look down on it, before I took it for the first time.

[*] Frost Armor -[average]- This talent is very usefull when you are being focused by the enemy team. The Block effect is unconsequential, but the chill effect is very good when you need to retreat after lost teamfight or to get away from heroes that dive you, but lack the gap closer to overcome the slow from Frostbite. The issue with this is that in a retreat your positioning should be good enough to never rely on Frost Armor for retreat, and most divers, have the gap closer to overcome the slow effect. Frost Armor was and still is a good talent, but since Improved Ice Block is now baked in Frostbite as part of Jaina's base kit, you don't really need Frost Armor. And most of the time you need to rely on Frost Armor, because Improved Ice Block is not enough, are times when Frost Armor won't make a difference.

Level 7

[*] Ice Floes -[average]- I actually used to like this talent before the changes. However you will rarely hit 2 heroes with your Cone of Cold, unless you are going deep very aggressively, in which case Icefury Wand is just better as it gives you extra burst damage. In most cases you will ether hit 1 hero with Cone of Cold or use it to wave clear or kill objective monsters. For non heroic use this talent is mostly irrelevant anyway. If the range of Cone of Cold could be increased this talent would be good pick in some cases, however currently you expose yourself to too much danger for too little benefit for this talent.

[*] Ice Lance -[bad]- Another talent that is only good if you go with full Q build. For that reason I rank it as bad, since talent for talent it is outmatched by the others in the tier, and only measures if you combine it whit a full build.

[*] Icefury Wand -[good]- - This is the second talent that replaces an old one - Frostbitten. Icefury Wand will offer less damage overall, and add the difficulty of having to land auto attacks, as well as stutter step with Jaina. However the people who can do that extra effort will be rewarded with very nice boost to the cooldown reduction for Blizzard.

Fingers of Frost+ Icefury Wand will actually offer greater damage output than the old Frostbitten did, while fixing 2 gaps in Jaina's kit - mana control, due to high mana costs and big cooldowns, making her much better dps hero.

Level 10

I already addresed those 2 earlier, so in short:

[*] Ring of Frost -[good]- AOE Root with huge damage. Take if you have the set up to land it and profit from team wipes.

[*] Summon Water Elemental -[good]- Extra body on the field that damages, chills and slow in an area, with low cooldown. Take if you don't have Ring of Frost setup and benefit in long battles. Also the level 20 upgrade is the best talent in the tier.

Level 13

Jaina has very strong late game talent tiers including this one.
[*] Storm Front -[good]- The extra range on Blizzard really makes the ablity much easier to use, and you can place it in better spots. This talent is great if you are facing multiple heroes that can hard engage on you. The only reason I am not recommending it in every game is Icy Veins being on the same tier.

[*] Ice Barrier -[good]- This is a superb talent for keeping Jaina safe. In any game where you feel the pressure of the enemy team on you take it, and you will benefit greatly. I have not included it in my builds only because this is a situational talent, and it has to compete with Icy Veins, however I sued to take it most of the time, when it was not on the same talent tier, but at 16. Keep in mind however that the shield is generated by damage, so hard CC like Silences and stuns are still highly dangerous.

[*] Icy Veins -[good]- In a way this is weaker version of Rewind, however you get it at level 13. Icy Veins allows Jaina to fire 2 sets of her abilities in a timly manner, nullifying the gap of damage her base kit has, due to long cooldowns. Use this after your first rotation of Blizzard and Cone of Cold for maximum impact in longer fights.

Level 16

[*] Snowstorm -[good]- An important thing to note is that increasing the radius of a circle increases the area of the circle much more. So the actual area increase is a bit over 61%. This is a huge increase, especially since Blizzard has 3 waves and therefor does damage over time, so the bigger area makes avoiding second and third waves much harder, and lets you hit more heroes with the first wave. Also a good thing to note is that the cast range of Blizzard marks the center of the circle, so longer radius gives Blizzard just a bit more reach. This talent has great synergy with so many others, and since we finally have a way to cast Blizzard with a reasonable cooldown thanks to Icefury Wand and Icy Veins, I recommend this talent for the pure amount of utility and control it gives.

[*] Northern Exposure -[good]- If you are looking for maximum burst damage this is your talent. It is important to note that using Cone of Cold as first spell is not a good idea, even with Northern Exposure. make sure you chill the target first, as the damage bonus Cone of Cold gets from Frostbite is more than the 25% increase Northern Exposure will give your other abilities.

[*] Numbing Blast -[average]- Just like level 13, we have a safety talent on this tier as well. Numbing Blast is excellent way to stop a diver in his tracks, so if the enemy Illidan or Greymane is giving you trouble all game long, Chill them and root them in place. in all other cases, however stick to the damage increase talents.

Level 20

[*] Ice Blink -[bad]- To anyone that hoped Jaina will get her Bolt of the Storm back - Sorry. She wont. The range of Ice Blink is about as long as the range of Li Ming's Teleport with no range upgrade. This is basically useless for disengagements. In cases where it would get you out, you can get out without it. In cases where your other means of escape would fail, this will fail too. The only use Ice Blink has is to chill targets in an area near Jaina. The benefit of that however useful, is heavily countered by the huge risk, a move like that presents, so ultimately Ice Blink is one of the biggest trap talents in heroes of the Storm.

[*] Cold Snap -[bad]- The whole idea of the way this talent works is flawed. The delay of the original Ring of Frost is already too long to need great set up. For the secondary explosion to hit you need a miracle. This talent is currently bugged on the PTR, so it gives CD reduction on both explosions to all targets, not just heroes, which can result in an instant CD reduction. I expect this will be patched and fixed until the Jaina changes are released on the live servers.

[*] Deep Chill -[average]- The extra crowd control this provides is useful, but ultimately somewhat disappointing for a level 20 talent. However it helps with keeping people inside your Blizzard for repeated hits, and makes your Ring of Frost near impossible to miss. This talent is excellent to use when Ring of Frost is your heroic of choice and when you need to keep your distance in long range builds, since it grants more stable damage from Blizzard and cripples the dive potential of your enemies even more.

[*] Wintermute -[good]- Used correctly Wintermute will boost your basic ability damage with 30% or more. Wintermute makes the Water Elemental cast a second Frostbolt and Cone of Cold as you cast them, and it uses Blizzard on the same location you do, after your Blizzard expires, resulting in a total of 6 waves of Blizzard. Wintermute forces the enemy team to respond to your Elemental, and in combination with Icy Veins gives you one of the strongest AOE bursts in the game.

How to play the maps. Top


This section will be added at some later stage.

Thanks for reading. Please vote and comment.

Good Luck and see you all in the Nexus ;)

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