Kerrigan, Queen of the Combo [Chromie patch] by LonerVamp

Kerrigan, Queen of the Combo [Chromie patch]

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

Kerrigan

Build: Queen (Main) Build

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

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RECENT CHANGES (BY PATCH)

10/07/15 (Lt. Morales patch) - reviewed; no significant changes
05/17/16 (Chromie patch) - reviewed; no significant changes
04/07/16 (Dehaka patch) - reviewed; removed all but main build
8/19/15 (Kharazim patch) - several changes, reviewed and updated
7/21/15 (Leoric patch) - reviewed; added notes about Envenom and Blood For Blood (see first section)
6/30/15 (Butcher patch) - reviewed; Daze introduced (see update in the first section)
5/26/15 (Kael'thas patch) - started this guide.
Build Disclaimer: Don't let me tell you how to play this Hero. Play her how you play her 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 (Sarah) Kerrigan
CLASS Assassin
SUB-CLASS Burst assassin, dives for burst combo
MY DIFFICULTY RATING Medium, depends entirely on a single combo
ATTACK DISTANCE Melee
ACTUAL FIGHT DISTANCE Melee
MOBILITY Can be ok with talents, no escapes without
COMPETITIVE? Yes! Combos well with other stuns and/or protection for her dives.

Kerrigan is a melee assassin. She is a burst damage queen, and in between bursts can bruise in the middle with auto attacks and her Assimilation trait, but typically she prefers to surgically strike on a target, unload her "Kerrigan combo" on the target, follow up with a few extra hits, and then back out until her cooldowns are reset in order to repeat the process. If you can land her combo and land her subsequent burst damage, she's actually a top tier Hero; but if you flub the combo repeatedly, she becomes a very bad Hero.

Overall, Kerrigan's stats usually aren't going to look gaudy. She'll have ok siege damage for an assassin, and she'll have ok hero damage for an assassin. Kerrigan excels at diving in, bursting some damage down, and then jumping to and finishing off hurt Heroes. Sustain types of assassins will usually out-damage her in the long run. The true measure of Kerrigan's power, however, is just being able to regularly land her combo and burst people out of a fight.

With certain talents, Kerrigan can take merc camps and push just fine, but she lacks escapes to get away from ambushes until late in the game. If caught alone, she can be a terror to anyone not named Illidan 1v1, but only if she lands her combo properly. This is necessary, since she really can't escape anyone until Bolt of the Storm at level 20. In fact, most builds pick that talent to maximize her getaway and make sure she stays alive to make a difference in team fights.

For an assassin, Kerrigan isn't the squishiest, but she's not quite as hardy as "bruiser" warrior types. She does share a similar playstyle to Tyrael, who loves to initiate fights and bang around inside, except she doesn't get the warrior survivability talents like Hardened Shield and Spell Shield to stay alive very long. Still, she kinda slots into the array of classes right between assassin and bruiser warriors, much like Thrall or The Butcher.

Kerrigan does see game time in competitive levels of play, mainly due to her on-demand stun which can combo up with other stuns from a Muradin, Tyrande, or E.T.C. She also thrives best with at least some protection options when she dives into team fights, like an Uther Divine Shield, Tassadar shields, or Abathur Symbiote. She slots similarly to a Butcher for the dive burst, or Tyrande if you don't need her heals or Hunter's Mark for the stun. Pairs up very well with Tyrande+E.T.C. groups since they all can sustain each other to a degree, chain their stuns for 3-ish seconds on a target, and do good damage quickly. Quite possibly one of the best roaming gank trios, and when pulled off properly, has little counter when an enemy Hero is caught in the open.

Butcher patch updates:

Kharazim patch updates:


(Q) Ravage
Cooldown: 8 seconds
Ravage allows Kerrigan to leap onto a target for damage, either to close in on someone as an initiator ability, or even to get elsewhere like over terrain to a merc camp. This is a great initiator ability, and even better as a closer, since the cooldown will reset with a kill. If you don't mind wasting mana, chain this against a bunch of creep minions for some fun.
(W) Impaling Blades
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Part 1 of the two-part combo that Kerrigan lives and dies by. Impaling Blades provides a delayed [strike]stun[/strike] that comes up out of the ground and affects anyone that is above the blades or gets drug over the blades as they spike up. Good as a standalone stun if you can land it, brilliant as part of the "Kerrigan" combo.

(E) Primal Grasp
Cooldown: 8 seconds
Part 2 of the "Kerrigan Combo," this provides some damage and also pulls enemies towards Kerrigan, usually within melee range for further beating. The Butcher patch nerfed this from an interrupt ability to a daze, meaning it will not interrupt in-motion channeled abilities like Valla's Strafe or Li Li's Jug of 1,000 Cups.
(Trait) Assimilation
Do damage, get shields. Pretty simple. Unfortunately, these shields are only ok, and they're not going to be strong enough to keep Kerrigan up very long in the middle of a fight. After her burst combo, her damage drops off and as such the shields get broken quickly by incoming damage.


COMBO ALERT!
Stun/Burst Combo
Ravage
>
Impaling Blades
>
Primal Grasp
>
Auto Attack

Kerrigan's usefulness on the battlefields of the Nexus begins and ends with landing this combination of abilities. When done properly, one or more enemy Heroes will be pulled in towards you and immediately stunned for 1 second, at which time you and your team can punish them with damage or even further stuns. If you can't land this combo at least +75% of the time (outside factors notwithstanding), you're not going to enjoy Kerrigan.

Landing this combo absolutely takes practice, for three reasons. First, Impaling Blades has a small delay before they extend out of the ground. You need to master this timing internally. Second, for new Kerrigan players, it isn't intuitive that you drop the Impaling Blades first, and then Primal Grasp second to pull enemies into it. And third, you need to drop the Impaling Blades at different spots depending on where the enemy is when you Primal Grasp them.

To set this up on an enemy who is relatively close to you, drop your Impaling Blades at the very front of your character model. Immediately cast Primal Grasp in the direction of your enemy. They should get pulled right to your character model and just as they arrive, they should get impaled onto the spikes as they appear. This will leave them damaged and stunned and desperate to get away (unless they're Illidan). For an enemy who is at near max range of your abilities, drop Impaling Blades halfway between you and your enemy, and immediately follow up with Primal Grasp in their direction. This should pull the enemy through the blades just as they trigger, and then slightly closer to you, again doing damage and stunning them. They should also still be within a step of further melee attacks.

You can precede this combo with Ravage to pounce onto your target. Or you can save Ravage and use it after the damage is done and the stun wears off, to further stick to and punish fleeing opponents. You can use this with other talents as well, like Bolt of the Storm to teleport in or out before or after the combo. If you've picked up Envenom and/or Essence for Essence you can weave those in after you've landed your Auto Attack after the stun. Everything you do should revolve around this combo.

Once you master this combo, you can start integrating it into your team comp. For instance, wait until Diablo does his displacement moves, or after Tyrande has already stunned an opponent. Chain stuns together and keep high priority targets locked down with Uther and/or Muradin stuns. And learn when you should peel assassins off your back line rather than jump into their own backline.



LET'S TALK ABOUT BUILDS
Kerrigan has lots of talents that augment her damage and abilities, but honestly, she does not have very much flexibility in her build if you want to "do her correctly." When Kerrigan was last reworked, she had some promising talent choices to pick from, but play-testing and tournaments have revealed that really, she has just one general build so far, based around Ravage in the first couple tiers. Everything else is pretty much underperforming.


BUILD: QUEEN (MAIN) BUILD
Picks

Siphoning Impact

Clean Kill

Battle Momentum

Maelstrom

Lingering Essence

Aggressive Defense

Omegastorm
Alts

Assimilation Mastery

Eviscerate

Essence for Essence

Bolt of the Storm

This is the typical Kerrigan build, focusing on her Ravage ability and basic attacks. This is actually a really strong build where the abilities do synergize greatly with each other. Maelstrom and Aggressive Defense work together, and Battle Momentum helps get your abilities and heroic back as quickly as possible. Clean Kill is excellent as late game wave clear and a great way to recover health with little expense to your mana. One thing I like is Clean Kill can really be used any time throughout the game, from early gank support, to early lane control, late game easy wave clear, and chain-jumping low enemies in late team fights. Pop Maelstrom, get everyone weak, then Ravage on a low enemy for healing, no mana cost, and takedowns when it counts. Eviscerate and Essence for Essence make for excellent alternative talents for organized teams.

Siphoning Impact [ good ] - With the Kharazim patch, Kerrigan is clearly meant to be using her Ravage ability more than we have in the past. So it helps that you can heal yourself when yo land this. If you score a kill with Ravage, it will reset and you can heal even more. And if you have the mana, later in the game you can chain Ravage against a whole creep wave!

Sharpened Blades [ situational ] - Adding 20% more damage to part of your combo is kinda nice, and the point of being an Assassin is to drop down damage. Still, other talents are good at this tier. If you plan to regularly land your combo, this can be a good talent to take. If you have trouble landing your spikes, you might want to skip this until you get that timing down.

Energizing Grasp [ not recommended ] - This ability can help Kerrigan do some good lane clears throughout the game, with the mana refund. Honestly, though, Clean Kill does the job just fine.

Block [ not recommended ] - Block can be very useful, but Kerrigan has other talents at this tier that help her overall impact on a fight, and her shields already should help soften some early auto attack hits. If you find that you have no front line tank or other melee assassins, you might want to take this talent for some team fight survival.

Fury of the Swarm [ not recommended ] - This is actually a good talent on the Garden Terror and Haunted Mines maps to kill seed/skull packs. Also, if you do end up staying in the middle of fights to deal basic attack damage and there are multiple enemy Heroes in melee range of you, this can augment your sustain damage a little bit. Typically, this is not usually choice at this tier, but still viable. The only problem with this talent is the presence of Psionic Pulse here as well, and initial reaction is favorable towards Psionic Pulse. The community and myself included have cooled off on this talent quite a lot.

Clean Kill [ good ] - This can be a very fun talent now. You can chain- Ravage a creep wave later in the game for no mana cost, no CD, and with Siphoning Impact 10% heals! Really cool, and if you find yourself really leaning on Ravage to finish kills, this can really help. In fact, this is such a versatile talent you can make use of at any time, that it's becoming my go-to pick here with Siphoning Impact at level 1.

Psionic Pulse [ not recommended ] - AoE talent to help with creep clearing later in the game. If your team needs more lane clear presence, this talent is ok to pick up. This talent doesn't do much for team fights. If you want more team fight assistance, look at other talents at this tier.

Envenom [ situational ] - Even after being nerfed to a 10-second damage-over-time hit, this is a good talent at this tiew, largely because it adds to Kerrigan's team fight damage by dropping a poison DoT on her victim as they try to run away. Kerrigan's burst damage is really targeted to one victim, and this directly increases that bottomline. Even more, other talents at this tier have gotten more lucrative, making this a hard pick and really dependent on how you play Kerrigan.

Battle Momentum [ good ] - Kerrigan lives by the combo. She can only do the combo when her abilities are off cooldown. In between combos, she should try to be useful by inflicting some basic attacks. In other words, this talent directly impacts her ability to keep doing burst damage combos, and is a great pick at this tier.

Impaling Swarm [ not recommended ] - Releasing two zerglings sounds cool, especially if you've played with Anub'arak beetles, but these zerglings are not very dangerous and are really only useful as fodder for taking merc camps or bosses. Still, lots of people do take this talent, and is a staple in many builds at this tier, which is crazy, because I'm of the opinion that every other talent at this tier is excellent and far above this one.

Adaptation [ situational ] - I really love this talent as it allows me to spend a Ravage to get to my backline quicker, and at level 7, this appears a full 6 levels before I can pick up any other escape. This ability saves lives, and any time I pass it up, there is always a moment or two in that game where I wish I had it. Still, it competes with Battle Momentum and Assimilation Mastery, which are great, but I would suggest any Kerrigan Heroes gives this talent a good trial to see if it fits for you.

Assimilation Mastery [ good ] - Kerrigan has always been limited by her mana, especially during protracted fights and time away from base in the late game. With the Kharazim patch, her combo abilities increased in mana cost, too! Thankfully, this talent comes in at the same time to fix her mana problems, and holy hell is it cool. This is the new must-pick talent unless you have a big compelling reason for something else at this tier. That big compelling reason is actually Battle Momentum, and if you're a solid Kerrigan player, you may be able to manage your mana well enough to not need this talent. At higher levels of play, this talent becomes less interesting.

Maelstrom [ good ] - This Heroic does some impressive AoE damage when Kerrigan can get up close and personal and stick to her targets. If you pick this Heroic up, make sure you can maximize its effect by staying near the enemy Heroes, and the more the merrier. The damage also adds to your shields, which with shield-buffing level 13 and 16 talents, can make her relatively tanky for a brief moment.

Summon Ultralisk [ situational ] - This talent allows me to still move back out of a fight to safety while I wait for my cooldowns to come back, and gives me a risk-free chance to put some pressure on the back lines by sending the Ultralisk onto a target. In addition, this is just some straight up damage I can add to my burst combo as I jump in. For a while, this was a mandatory pick for most Kerrigan players, but with recent changes to the cooldown behavior, it now just competes with Maelstrom.

Lingering Essence [ good ] - Your Assimilation shield appears when you do damage, which is almost always when you're in melee range. If you're in melee range, you're trading blows, which means your shield won't last all that long anyway. That used to be the end of the discussion on this talent. But now we have Assimilation Mastery and we have a serious reason to make sure our shields last as long as possible, making this talent a good pick.

Eviscerate [ good ] - Some people like this. I personally do not think it adds to my overall impact on fights or damage dealing to pick it, nor is it more useful than other picks here. Still, if you don't need longer shields and you find yourself wishing Ravage had a longer range, then this talent is yours to pick. Can also be useful with Adaptation if you know your back line will be present for escapes.

Double Strike [ not recommended ] - You'll almost always hit an Auto Attack after you do a Ravage or a piece of your combo, so it's usually going to be useful. Now, keep in mind, depending on how you're playing Kerrigan at a particular moment, you might combo Ravage into Impaling Blades into Primal Grasp all without any time to get an Auto Attack in right after any of them. However, also look at is this way: Double Strike is basically Focused Attack only with the requirement that you spend mana and land damage from an ability, and it's at level 13.

Queen's Rush [ not recommended ] - This is a new talent and is going to be an interesting one. If you are nearby when a Takedown occurs, this will silently proc, giving you a brief rush of speed. You can also trigger this manually, to stick to a fleeing enemy and hopefully kill them, which will then trigger this again as you turn to your next target. Some people call this a "win-more" ability, where you need to be making kills and winning in order to properly leverage it. This is partially true, but it can also help secure that first kill by sticking to an enemy or save that first death by giving you a little mini-spring, especially since Kerrigan no longer has access to Sprint. On paper, a neat talent, but testing has yielded lackluster feedback on the usefulness of this talent.

Aggressive Defense [ good ] - Prior to the Kharazim patch, this talent was for a bruiser style of play, but with Kerrigan's minor buffs and quality of life changes, this talent has become a staple choice at this tier, for survivability and also to synergize with Lingering Essence and Assimilation Mastery.

Blade Torrent [ not recommended ] - It sounds good in practice that you can hit more enemies with your stun, or have some latitude to miss. But I find abilities like this to be a crutch that players should not lean on. You should be landing your normal-sized stun on your target just fine, and you really aren't looking to stun multiple people; you really want to stun and burst down your target. Any additional enemies stunned is just bonus if you get lucky. Besides, other options at this tier are far better.

Essence for Essence [ situational ] - Kerrigan's version of Blood for Blood. Still a good talent for Kerrigan, as it adds to her survivability, and more importantly adds some more punch to her damage burst. Works better against higher health Heroes, and a good pick against a tanky enemy team.

Overdrive [ not recommended ] - I do not take Overdrive on Kerrigan, and I have not experimented much with it due to being in a very competitive tier, but this always makes me wonder how good it might be with the combo burst; adding 25% more damage could be really nice for a crazy amount of burst. What really scares me is the mana dump you experience for this; a great all-in, one-time burst, but it's going to leave you gasping for mana to continue long fights.

Omegastorm [ situational ] - If you've picked up the Maelstrom heroic, you'll likely really like this talent, and should consider picking it up. This is still dependent on hitting plenty of targets, so maybe prioritize it higher against a team with lots of melee Heroes or where you're not having much problem sticking to the enemy or surviving when Maelstrom is active.

Torrasque [ not recommended ] - Basically a potential unlimited respawn of your Ultralisk, as long as no one focuses down the egg in between spawns. This can actually be pretty good, and if you like the Ultralisk Heroic and don't find that you need Bolt of the Storm, you can probably have fun with this. If you do grab this, you can even do some split pushing with him!

Nexus Blades [ situational ] - If you're not being focused and have other escapes handy such that you don't need Bolt of the Storm, then this pick is a great option to add some damage and slows to your victim.

Bolt of the Storm [ good ] - Excellent escape ability for Kerrigan as late game assassin power gets very high. If you miss your combo or get stunned or can't get out after landing it, this will keep you safe and ready to keep the pressure on. You can also use this to engage as a replacement to opening with Ravage. For instance, if you took Siphoning Impact at level 1, you likely don't want to open a team fight with Ravage as your dive while still at 100%, as you will get no benefit from the heal and there is little chance to secure a kill that early to reset the ability.

GENERAL PLAYSTYLE
It's the theme for Kerrigan: live and die by the combo. Drop your combo, do some auto attacks, and either kill the enemy 1v1, or retreat out if you're in a team fight. Let your cooldowns recharge, and dive back into the fight. Be aware when you start to get focused, as that is your cue to exit stage rear as quickly as possible, since your Assimilation shields are not going to last very long under any sort of damage assault.

A GOOD KERRIGAN...
...will land her combo regularly for good effect.
...will finish off kills with Ravage (or shortly after using it) for healthy killing blow numbers.
...will enter fights with patience and not die immediately; walking/mounting in and saving Ravage for better effect.

EARLY GAME
Kerrigan can both bully and be bullied in the early game laning phase. Personally, I prefer to either roam and gank, or just quietly soak XP and leave the other enemy in my lane alone. I'd rather not show off that I can land my combo early, but if I have to get aggressive, Kerrigan certainly can do some burst damage to make someone think twice. Except against Illidan. He struggles against many laners 1v1 early, but Kerrigan is not one he should be scared of. Preferably, roam and gank and punish anyone getting too bold with a quick burst of damage, even in solo queues. If you find that you're going to be laning or your team lacks lane clear Heroes, Kerrigan does have good talents to support pushing a lane and foregoing early game roaming.

MID GAME
In the mid game, start pairing up with a friend. Kerrigan can get punished badly if caught out of position by the enemy team. She really depends upon others being around, especially front-liners or Support to heal her, so that she can get off burst damage and claw down some kills. She can merc, but is really slow about it until she can summon an Ultralisk; friends again are preferable to be with. Start prioritizing your burst damage targets, and start practicing dealing them some punishment. Check out level 10 heroic choices on the enemy team, especially since you can be a main interrupter of things like a Li Li heroic or E.T.C. Mosh Pit or drinking Chen. Always be ready to retreat; Kerrigan is not a Hero you want to be learning what "overextending" means. Unless you're diving for a kill or you have no tanks, you should never be ahead of your tanks in fights. You want to pull the action to you and throw down damage.

LATE GAME/TEAM FIGHTS
Usually Kerrigan wants to stay on the fringes of a team fight to start, pick a target, and pounce them with some burst. Then she can trade some blows, but retreat to the sidelines before the enemy team unloads damage on the front lines. She needs to wait for her cooldowns to come back, and then dive in again. As you pick up Sprint at level 13 and Bolt of the Storm at level 20, you can get much bolder with your attacks and pursuit, since you finally get some escape ability. First priority is to stay alive, and second priority is to burst down your combo every time it's ready.

PLAYING AGAINST
Whenever you see Kerrigan start to move directly towards you, start to run perpendicular to her so that you can sidestep her Primal Grasp. Avoid her combo, and you'll largely nullify her impact on fights. If you're a tank, you want to not just soak up that combo instead of your squishies, but you want to also pop your Spell Shield or Hardened Shield abilities once you see the combo start up. For squishies, try out the new and improved Ice Block as a counter. Endure that burst, and she's toast. Burst her down any chance you get, stun her like any other priority hero, and keep her uncomfortably close in team fights after she spends her combo cooldowns. Drop her early in fights, and she'll be very unhappy. If you spot her in the mid game in a bad position with no help, avoid her combo and bully her away.
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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