Legendary Brewmaster (Gul'dan Patch) by BrewmasterRysu

Legendary Brewmaster (Gul'dan Patch)

By: BrewmasterRysu
Last Updated: Jul 29, 2016
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Build 1 of 1


Build: Chen's Burden (Tank)

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

Threats to Chen with this build

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Threat Hero Notes
Gazlowe Specialists like Gazlowe are no threat to Chen. Even at early levels, the turrets can't keep up with your shields unless you make some big mistakes.
  No Threat
  No Threat
Kharazim Kharazim is minimal threat throughout the game. He'll standoff with you and you won't be able to kill him unless he tries to stick to you. Your shields will counter his attacks and you can get him to back off of you with a good Keg/BOF combo. Watch his chasing Q and chug when he E's you.
Murky Murky has power late game that can stun you (his Ult), but it's on a long cooldown and if you can bait it out, he'll die to your team mates before he does any real damage.
Kael'thas Mind KT's area control and KT won't do much. His Pyroblast will deal massive damage to you, but it's charge up gives you time to mitigate some with your shields, especially late game. Use your shields and kick to dodge him and he'll pose no threat.
Jaina Like KT, Jaina's AOE and slows will be a problem if you charge in. Her Water Elemental is trash against Chen. Be smart with Chen and don't charge in without clear opportunity, and Jaina is not a threat.
  No Threat
  No Threat
  No Threat
Brightwing Like Tyrande, Brightwing's CC's can be enough to make you change specialization strategies. Watch for the CC cooldowns and expect them to be saved for you unless you have something to bait them out on your team.
E.T.C. ETC's Mosh Pit basically ruins your shield push ability. He can Peel you slightly better than you can peel him until you get Wandering Keg. His powerslide can escape it, so bait that out before R'ing and he's done. His heal won't save him from flaming beer.
Tyrande Tyrande's stun and Hunter's Mark will make short work of your shields if she has a damager. Her Heal makes her difficult to contend with. A good Tyrande Player will bait you into bad situations. Don't 1v1 her unless you are at a clear advantage.

Introduction Top


My name is Brewmaster Rysu and I've been playing Heroes since the day it came out in Alpha and have played Chen almost continuously. Even as Chen was looked down on in competitive play, I continued to play with him and often received positive accolades from my team, surprised at his effectiveness. I feel that I have a strong synergy with the character and that he, in turn, has a strong team-oriented synergy with many characters, classic and new alike.

I decided to build this guide because, as I was going through many of the guides here, I felt that, while many of them are great and do a wonderful job at outlining Chen, I think they discredit the essence of his play style and his potential.

The design of this build, specifically, is to maximize defense against the enemy team, enable Chen to effectively and safely perform warrior tasks, and to protect his team through the duration of the match.

In this guide we'll talk about Chen's tank build, which I have titled Chen's Burden, because this build asks a lot of Chen to be maximized, but has great pay offs. We'll also cover:
    Chen and the Warrior Playstyle
    The Brewmaster Philosophy
    Ways to Improve with Chen
    Talent Descriptions and Alternatives

Tanking Abilities
Damage Abilities
Utility Abilities
Misc. Abilities

Chen and the Warrior Playstyle Top

All warriors are different, and they all have pros and cons, but most of those pros and cons are within the realm I call the Warrior playstyle. Warriors are diverse heroes that are designed to be harder to kill and provide some lead-in to combat. While our Chen build is focused on 'tanking', let's be clear that not all Warriors are tanks, insofar that tanking implies damage absorbing. Warriors and Tanks differ in that their talents and abilities are designed to enable a particular warrior to perform some unique role-specific jobs that other roles cannot. Some warriors are better at crowd control, while others are great at just absorbing damage, while others still are great at splitting up enemy teams and enabling the team to damage them.

In this guide, we're talking about Chen, and so we'll be talking about three key Warrior traits: Shields, Peeling, and Body Blocking. Let's go over these.

Shields - These are self explanatory. Every warrior has some kind of recovery/mitigation ability and Chen's is [Fortifying Brew] (D). This ability has him channel chugging beer, stacking shields over the duration. The amount of shields you can gain has a cap, but this scales admirably as the game progresses. Our build here will augment Chen's shields to make them amazing.

Peeling - Not every warrior can do this and the ones that can all differ among themselves, in terms of how and when they're able to. E.T.C. is a great example of a peeling warrior. He accomplishes this by positioning himself between a front line character, such as a particularly damaging DPS, another Warrior, or a Support if he can, and separates/isolates them from their team. Chen can perform this task as well, although he does it through his Wandering Keg ability (more on that later).

Body Blocking - Chen's a big fat Panda, so he body blocks great. Chen also lands behind his target when he uses Flying Kick. Placing him in a particular area blocks exists and escape routes of over-extended enemies. From a warrior's perspective, Body Blocking is also a defensive ability and one that ALL WARRIORS should do. It's done by placing one's self in the direct line-of-sight of a fleeing, typically low-health ally, essentially offering to absorb any last-ditch damage attacks that would otherwise finish off their team mate.

The Brewmaster Philosophy Top

I mention this elsewhere in the guide, but there is a very unique set of ideals that are important to keep in mind when playing Chen that will maximize not only his potential but also benefit your team. Chief among these is balance.

Balance as a Brewmaster like Chen is essential. He regularly attacks and defends in equal parts. He has no escapes and so he relies on making sound judgements and the help of his allies. Chen thrives in environments that enable your team mates to exploit opportunities he has created, and who are protected by Chen as they exploit them.

As a Chen player, you'll find the most success in administering this balance. Early games will consist of poking with your Keg and BOF, consistently keeping your shields up (this is a common mistake). Remember you can preface your charges with your shields, so the more shields you have at any given moment, the better equipped you are to charge in with FK and dish out the frothy damage.

Chen's attacks are balanced by his defense in that he is great at standing with his allies. Later stages of this build shield nearby allies and enable them to perform admirably in his stead. If you play Chen like you must constantly attack, you will be unbalanced and likely die a lot. If you play Chen too defensively, your team will Advance without you and you will not be able to protect them.

Suppose you have a Morales and a Thrall with you, while your other team mates are in other lanes or performing other tasks and a sizable enemy force arrives, say three equal players with Mercenaries. You'll likely immediately see them as they emerge from their side of the gate, where towers give them the advantage. A novice player may charge in with Chen, hoping to absorb the damage of the mercs and towers to deal damage to the enemy team. This is a mistake, not only because it is over extending, but because it tells the team that they do not need to leave the safety of their advantage in order to attack. This is them baiting you.

However, if Thrall flanks the three players, separating them with his Sundering, Chen can dive to an isolated enemy, use his Wandering Keg to distance the enemy towards their advantage (towers, other team mates) and away from their assistance. Thrall's Windfury brings him in contact with the enemy, Morales' heals mitigate the damage you might have taken, and you're now 3v1. The victory is assured, and you've turned the tide.

Chen's playstyle is about biding your time patiently, offering your team mates exploitable options, supporting them as they take advantage of them, and enabling their retreat when necessary. Prioritize your team, damage mitigation, and on the warrior tasks -- and on the balance of the character -- and you will know victory.

Ways to Improve with Chen Top

Chen is a difficult character to play to those who have never tried him. While many characters in heroes support attacking and defending where accurate, Chen's battle rhythm is a bit different. Here are some ways you can optimize your Chen game and be the best Brewmaster you can be.

1. Keep your Shields Up. Chen's shields don't last long at first. Even after taking talents that extend their duration, they aren't designed to stay. Understanding when to shield is critical and, to start off, you ought to always shield before an impending dive. If you see a FK in your future, shield up because you never know what's on the other side of that baddie.

2. Don't Spam Flying Kick. Flying Kick is awesome, no doubt. But don't be tempted to use it too often. Flying kick is best utilized as a strategic movement tool. Consider that it is virtually instant, that it lands you on the other side of the enemy, that it can be used on structures, including WALLS, and minions, and that it is literally your only hope of escape. Your poke-and-prod abilities are Keg Smash and Breath of Fire; utilize these as to probe enemies to come to you. Box them in with your Flying Kick and shield to render them useless.

3. Don't do it all. The time will come when you play Chen that you'll want to attack everything you see. Remember that as a tank build, dealing damage is #4 on your list of things to do. Trust that your team mates will deal the damage that's needed, augment and support them as you can, and give them moments of opportunity with your Flying Kick, or your Keg Smash's slow.

4. Don't Go It Alone. A skilled Chen player can solo lanes no problem. He can easily 1v1 virtually any other hero if you're smart, but as mid-game approaches, you're going to become increasingly less capable solo. Pick someone that compliments you and try to work your balance philosophy in with their playstyle. This will round you out as a player, as well as keep your team mates with an advantage.

5. Don't give up. This might be general advice for playing a hero, but Chen can have something of a learning curve. It's tempting to dismiss him as a bad character, and many do, but this is yet another testament to the philosophy he represents. Patience and Balance, Time and Practice, these are required for you to glow and shine with any character, especially Chen. Don't give up, you will find it.

6. Research. Watching videos and researching characters' strengths and weaknesses is a great way to figure out how a character plays. Not everyone agrees on everything and everyone plays differently. So consider what you read and see as demonstrations of a play style or a choice. But think critically and don't take any one guide (even this one) as the absolute end-all-be-all.

Tier 1: Choose your Path Top

Like many characters in Heroes of the Storm, Chen's first talent often sets the stage for what direction you'll be leaning towards when choosing talents in the future. For this specific build, we'll be focusing on defense against an enemy team, protecting our own team, and performing warrior tasks such as body blocking, peeling, and baiting.

Tier 1 Talents are:
    Regeneration Master
    Keg Toss
    Grounding Brew
    Consuming Flame

Regeneration Master - This is often a go-to for Chen tank builds, and it is a good choice in many situations. If your team has a good lane clearing/pushing specialist, you'll especially benefit from this by pushing lanes with him or her. But if your team (composition or intention) are geared more for team fights, you'll lose recovery in a big way when team fights begin. Only choose this talent if you plan to spend a lot of time in lanes or if you expect your team to gather mercs often (on cooldown) so you can gobble up the extra orbs.

Keg Toss - This is the lead in for a Keg-oriented damage build and doesn't have much place in our tank build. Additionally, this doesn't offer much support for our team, survivability for Chen, or assistance with warrior tasks. The advantage to this ability is the utility of slowing an enemy as they run, or early game by allowing Chen to poke in the early game. Our goal here is to to be patient tanks who strike when it's time to strike.

Grounding Brew - This ability is our other choice for tanking. Unlike our more PVE-focus counterpart, Regeneration Master, Grounding Brew is designed to counter enemy heroes exclusively. This is the build, our theme is to help our allies, absorb damage, and perform warrior tasks. This is the best ability for us to use.

Consuming Flame - This ability is Chen's second damage entrance, focusing on Breath of Fire instead of Keg Smash. While this is the go-to for BoF builds, we will not be choosing this for our build.

The suggested talent here is Grounding Brew.

Tier 2: Adaptation Top

Tier 2 in Chen's talent progression is all about adapting to what your team composition is, how your team is fighting, what they spec'd into, how the game is going, and how you can best provide them the values we are adhering to in this build. There are three possible choices, two that are tanky, one that adds a little bit of damage burst, and one that we won't be using.
Swift Reflexes
Deadly Strike
Amplified Healing
Deep Breath

Swift Reflexes - Swift Reflexes is good when you're solo Q'ing, when you don't have a healer and need a tad more defense, or if none of the other options feel right in your situation. That said, this is probably the least useful of the 3 (we aren't counting Deep Breath here). Dodging basic attacks is great, and even has great synergy if you took Grounding Brew (as you'll mitigate basic and ability damage), but compared to the other choices here, I don't recommend it.

Deadly Strike - Especially if you're Solo Q'ing, you may want to consider this if you don't have a healer. Taking Amplified Healing will be a waste in that case. Swift Reflexes might provide you that dodge of basic attacks every 4 seconds, but with the other choices we make, and the direction we're going, this is minimal to say the least. Deadly Strike gives Chen some decisive and strategic advantages. Chen is capable of (calculatedly) leaping into dangerous situations with Flying Kick. When we peel or body block, we'll be using Flying Kick to place us on the other side of the enemy. Deadly Strike will ensure that we can secure the kill that much quicker. This is a classic case of "The best defense is a good offense" talent. I recommend this ability if you don't have a healer.

Amplified Healing - If you have a healer, this is a no-brainer. The healing that this provides to Chen, especially with healers like [Li Li], [Lt. Morales], and [Brightwing], is almost too good. A good Morales player will channel healing to you while you gather your shield. Leaping into even a group of 2 or 3 can still be a victorious win if you have the right strategy and focus on your role (not on damage). I recommend this ability if you have a healer.

Deep Breath - This ability has no place in our build.

Tier 3: Foritifcation Top

Tier 3 is all about finalizing and cementing your chosen path before we get our ultimate abilities. These abilities begin to help our chosen path take shape and begin to express the way our chosen path will reflect on our playstyle, on our game, and on our team. Often if you're skilled at reading this tier, you can determine if your enemies are building together or if they are not.
Full Keg
Combat Stance
Brewmaster's Balance
Ring of Fire

Full Keg - Full Keg is basically for those who are building towards a Keg damage build. Choosing this now would derail our specialization and offer virtually no advantage for us. We may deal a tad more damage, but nothing else was put into Full Keg, so it's worthless alone. Don't get this.

Combat Stance - Combat Stance increases the amount of time you'll keep your shields, and increases the speed that they stack as you drink. This may seem less appealing by itself, but later on this will be absolutely critical. Definitely get this ability under virtually every situation.

Brewmaster's Balance - This ability has promise; this ability will give you some get away when you're low on brew and give you some health regeneration when you have brew. The idea is that you're stacking shields and bolstering your regeneration while you're in the fight, then you unload your keg/BOF and then have the movement speed to get out. This is a great utility for Chen on the damage side, and might even play off of Regeneration Master from Tier 1 towards your tank build, but the benefit this offers suffers under the added condition of your brew level, limiting your options. This is not the optimal choice in my opinion.

Ring of Fire - Ring of Fire has no place in this build.

Tier 4: Ultimates Top

Chen's two ultimate abilities are perfect for him. No matter which one you take, it can play nicely into virtually any damage or tank build, depending on what you're trying to do. Remember our build's values. We want to help our team, mitigate damage, and perform warrior tasks. Both Ultimates can meet these goals, but in their own way.

Wandering Keg - This ability is perhaps the greatest ability in the entire game at peeling. A well placed Wandering Keg will cripple an enemy team. It's diversity of being able to punish misplacement, push healers or enemy warriors into our towers, or to break up enemy compositions is virtually endless. It's also a great get away for Chen mid game when he finds himself a bit over extended. With the help of our shields and our careful game play style, Wandering Keg is perfect and my recommended choice for teams that work together, and is great against teams who are either too grouped, or too spaced/badly positioned.

Storm, Earth, Fire - SEF is great for many reasons as well. SEF as a defensive ultimate splits Chen into 3 highly mobile monks that deal moderate damage, and do a great job of breaking up teams with high CC. It also gives Chen an extra set of health and get away. I would choose SEF if your team has no real intention of coming together to fight in team fights, or if you need to accelerate hit-and-fade tactics. I recommend SEF if you're solo Q'd with a team that is struggling to come together, or if you're against a team who are great at positioning themselves (making your Wandering Keg less effective).

Tier 5: Your Prime, Revealed Top

Tier 5 is maybe one of the more decisive tiers for our build with Chen. It enables us to begin really enabling our team to take the fight to the enemy either by turning the tide in your favor, or solidifying your victory. Let's take a look at our options.
Brew Strike
A Touch of Honey
Enough to Share

Brew Strike - Brew Strike is mostly damage. Our build won't be using this as it doesn't provide us any real bonuses. We'll lose out big if we take this over one of the other talents.

A Touch of Honey - Like our dismissal of the Keg talents in the past, this isn't a Keg build, and we will suffer for choosing this now.

Enough to Share - This is the one you want. Enough to Share shields everyone around you. Compiling this with our other shielding talents, we'll be shielding our allies quickly, and their shields will last longer. We will literally be defending them while they provide their own roles' assistance. Our patience will pay off with this, placing our team first, the mitigation of damage second, and only leaping when we need to peel or assist our team will assuredly keep a team fight in our favor. This is countered by stuns and CC's though, so be careful of those as it is VERY easy to spot by the opposite team.

Relentless - If you're going against a very snare/stun/CC heavy team or if your team does very little in the way of grouping up and pushing, then choosing this talent as an alternative will at least keep CC's on you down to a minimum. You won't be shielding your team like you might have with Enough to Share, so calculate. If you don't think you'll get much use out of the AOE shield, this might be a better choice.

Tier 6: Unstoppable. Top

Tier 6 culminates our entire build into a majesty of shielding, tanking, and drinking brew. This tier will enable our team like no other tier before it and give you the ability to make the change in the match that you may need. Let's look at the talents.
Bottomless Mug
Bolder Flavor
Pressure Point
Combination Attack

Bottomless Mug - If you took Relentless in the last tier, this will likely be your choice this tier, competing with Bolder Flavor. When you get interrupted while drinking brew, you'll now be able to resume drinking brew almost instantly with the cooldown reduction of both stuns against you and the brew drinking as well. Think carefully though -- while this combination is good, you may only need ONE of those two talents. You could get this ability AND get Enough to Share from the last talent and still counter a [Tyrande] or [Brightwing] for stuns if your team has your back.

Bolder Flavor - Bolder Flavor is the go to for this build. Chen's Burden is finally realized when he generates more shields that never before, shields his team mates, produces them faster, and they last longer. If your team is together, this ability can literally turn the tide. It can bring your team up from an underdog level, it can protect against a clumped enemy, and it can help push lanes without any fear of the towers (if they're still up). This talent is, however, very susceptible to interrupts, CC's, and stuns. If the enemy team is stun heavy, as great as this talent is, you'll suffer for it. Think carefully before choosing it, but know that your game play style and your team's situation can take advantage of this talent in an amazing way.

Pressure Point - This is a flying kick buff that we won't really be using. This doesn't enable us to achieve our values as the team's warrior and through our commitment to helping our fellows. I don't recommend this talent for this build.

Combination Attack - Another flying kick buff that has great applicability towards other, damaging builds, but not for us.

Tier 7: The Cherry on Top Top

Tier 7 is design in heroes to give talents that make deciding factors for most classes. They empower ults, give characters great and a bit overpowered utility, or in some other way help end the game. By this time you're likely in the game for a while and Blizzard doesn't want games going on forever. For Chen, this is less about empowering Chen, and more about COUNTERING what others will do to empower themselves. Let's take a look.

Untapped Potential
Elemental Conduit
Hardened Shell
Bolt of the Storm

Untapped Potential - Untapped Potential makes peeling an amazing, hilarious, perfect, and absolutely deadly event. If you can keep control of the beer bullet that is Chen's keg, you'll break up the whole team's composition in seconds. That said, don't choose this right off the bat. If the team is doing a great job of staying together, this is a great choice. But if the team is difficult to peel, or your team isn't taking advantage of it, then this is not the talent for you.

Elemental Conduit - If you took SEF, this ability won't help you much towards the values we're pursuing. If you're winning the game and want to deal a little extra damage to top it all off, sure grab this. But I don't recommend it at all.

Hardened Shell - Stacked atop Chen's other shielding capabilities, this ability is fantastic. Consider that you can Flying Kick in with your shields stacked, use this ability while your team gets into place, and absorb a ton of damage while your team cripples your attackers. If this is a possibility, I highly recommend this talent. If your team isn't on board or you are divided, or you're solo Q'ing, this talent can still be of use, but consider Bolt of the Storm as well.

Bolt of the Storm - This is a great get away. Think [Li-Ming]'s teleport. If you're solo Q'd, or you are spending a lot of time needing to hit-and-fade, this is an ability that can assist you in that. Sometimes being down on levels means you need to play smarter, not harder. Dispelling 75% damage on a cooldown might be good for an equal match up, but will do little against a team of 5 who has a level advantage on you. Bolt of the Storm enables you to engage, still shield your enemy, and combat against being peeled or to allow your get away.

Chen's Playstyle Top

Chen is an interesting character that embodies the essence of the Brewmaster Monk and Zhu Quan (Drunken Boxing Kung Fu) very well in his play style. Chen is great at positioning himself in critical places, often quickly, as well as body blocking and absorbing damage.

To play Chen right, I feel you must embody the following values:
    1. Honor your team.
    2. Know your limits.
    3. Don't spam.
    4. Wait for opportunity.

Chen is a melee character through-and-through. Unlike many other warriors that have a kind of mobility that enables their advancement as well as retreat, Chen only goes forward. To augment this, Chen wields several tactical advantages. We'll talk more about his abilities in the next section, but it's important to know exactly what each abilities does, how it can be used, and to what effect.

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