Mage-nor-idan!...or Maybe Just Greymane - Poking and Diving Safe by dnanoodle

Mage-nor-idan!...or Maybe Just Greymane - Poking and Diving Safe

By: dnanoodle
Last Updated: Jan 13, 2016
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Build 1 of 1


Build: Build #1

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

Introduction Top

I am not a pro-player. I don't even have good MMR. However I play often with others who do and I do right by them (if I didn't I'm sure they'd have some choice words for me). Generally I think critically and like to play games to a high level (was very competitive in the South East US Smash Melee tournament scene during my college years).

Now I am very into HotS and enjoying it a lot. Greymane is one of few characters whose kit really, really meshes with how I like to play. While I have very little experience so far, this build has been good for me and was born out of careful thought. I think it serves are a good starting framework for me to build on. Considering that he is challenging to play well, I wanted to start a guide that will serve to 1) offer commentary to the community and 2) chronicle my experiences as I learn the character to the best of my ability.

Hopefully this guide will serve to assist especially people who die too often on Greymane, or who die too early in fights to be able to have the most impact they can.

This is my first guide by the way, so if anyone can help with advice on the content or on the coding (like linking all the abilities, adding color-coding to the tables and generally improving readability, please do comment so I can pick your brain.

Level 1 Top

Wolfheart: My go-to. I feel like many tier 1 talents look appealing, but Wolfheart dominates for a Greymane that is focused on ranged attacks. You need a 16 hit combo to have 0% downtime on Inner Beast, but in most situations there will be time between engagements (either repositioning before engaging again, or during rotations) where a 6-8 second cooldown is perfectly acceptable. Waiting a full 16 seconds when there are no eligible targets to refresh Inner Beast on is, however, a major detriment to effective DPS in my experience.

Perfect Aim: Situational. I think it could be useful if you are not at all safe at medium range (for example, vs teams with better poke. Hammer, Raynor, KT and Jaina can really hurt and zone you out). The range synergizes well with other Q talents as well.

Scented Tincture: Situational. There are only two characters that make this worth it and even then I think Greymane players can protect themselves plenty with good map awareness, good positioning and unveiling with Q. I think the greatest use of this is keeping Nova from reengaging through stealth during a teamfight, however, but I don't think 10 seconds of relief from her stealth is enough to offset missing out on Wolfheart.

Viciousness: Preference. I feel that this is a short-term benefit to W and Wolfheart is the long-term benefit talent. I don't have much trouble keeping Inner Beast active. I shoot everything around me including walls, Nova clones, Hydralisks, what-have-you, in order to keep it going. What is more troublesome to me is when I'm ready to start a new engagement after rotating and my W is still on cooldown for 6 more seconds, so I can't start to really poke. Or worse, I can't use Concentrated Blast yet.

Level 4 Top

Thick Skin: Preference and situational. I spend very little time in Worgen form. I only use it on safe dives, to secure kills, finish waveclear, merc and go all in on bosses/core/etc. In most situations, I think the enemy team can blow you up quickly even if you block 2 AAs. Or you didn't need the blocks to begin with. Either way I don't personally see the need for this if you are playing smartly in the first place. That said, I do love block on other characters and I may be underestimating its use on Greymane.

Eyes in the Dark: Deceptive and a poor choice. Ranged AAs will still track you and bring you out of stealth if they were fired before you disengaged. AOE will also unveil you. The stealth buff doesn't last long enough to get far so you can hearth, mount, or sneak attack on a flank. Seems cool to improve survivability, but in practice I don't think it works.

Insatiable: Personal favorite. When building for W with Wolfheart I already want to get at least 16 AAs in before Inner Beast drops off. The same incentive now also rewards me with never running out of mana. I find that Greymane often needs to back for health at the least, so I like that this helps me mitigate how many more times I need to back so I can spend as much time contributing as possible.

Draught Overflow: When building for Q you can do excellent damage with Concentrated Blast at 16. Being able to hit more targets and more reliably hit the enemy backline is an obvious boon. I like this talent a lot because I like the Q a lot. However if I have to back a lot because I basically use Q on CD, then I'm not contributing enough. This leads me to take Insatiable instead.

Level 7 Top

One of my favorite tiers. Depending on the build I don't think there is necessarily a bad choice. Still, I will color-code according to my preference for this specific play-style.

Quicksilver Bullets: Preference. I think being too far back can make it hard to capitalize on opportunistic kills. I actually feel that his range is well-balanced at base, allowing him to poke well and dive in just when the opponent realizes they're in danger. QB puts you just a bit too far away in order to immediately finish off an opponent when they turn to run.

Incendiary Elixir: My favorite by a long shot. This adds great new functionality to Q where the other two talents help you do something better that you already do well. The others also come with some innate risk. IE, on the other hand, now lets you poke harder, check bushes with something powerful, and never flub the range on Q (since without it, misses deal no damage to anything).

Wizened Duelist: Preference. The appeal for this talent is so real. Greymane has some truly excellent base AA damage and boosting it would be great, but the risk is there too. Smart Greymane players shouldn't be dying frequently, but it's also true that avoiding all deaths is very challenging without an escape in human form. I prefer to take IE and benefit 100% of the time, but maybe I'll use this talent more often when I am more experienced and comfortable with the character.

Level 10 Top

Go for the Throat: This is my usual pick. It is easy to use, reliable, powerful. The range is great and if you are watching for the symbols over enemy players' heads, it is not hard to see which targets will refund a free use on kill. 2 of these in quick succession can handily sway the outcome of a fight at a pivotal moment.

Marked for the Kill: I like this heroic, but a few things lead me to choose GftT. As a slow-moving skill-shot, it isn't uncommon for this one to miss. The vulnerability is also available on other popular characters like Tyrande and Sylvanas, so that may be redundant depending on your comp. And lastly it's not uncommon to hit the wrong enemy on accident, or for a tank to jump in the way. This leads me to want the level 20 upgrade talent and I'd rather not compromise on Hunter's Blunderbuss which I feel is ridiculously strong.

Level 13 Top

Running Wild: Less useful than On the Prowl, in my opinion. This is supposed to make it easier to dive from afar and to disengage easier, but I feel that 30% movement bonus from On the Prowl makes both of those plenty easy if you are in a good position. Sounds neat, but outclassed I think.

Visceral Attacks: This seems really cool for a Worgen-focused build, but that is not what this guide is supposed to be about. This is a guide for playing safe as a human and diving when you can. Still, it does seem cool as Swipe only has a 3s base cooldown and is a good ability to begin with.

On the Prowl: A personal favorite on the toon overall. 3s is a short time to be using Inner Beast before you pick up a 30% movement speed boost. That's only 10% less than mount speed and means you can chase/reposition/disengage insanely well as long as you keep the buff up. This is an excellent talent.

Unfettered Assault: Seems cool, but also unnecessary, especially for this build. My goal with this build is to shoot a lot and throw cocktails. I don't want to go too deep as a Worgen because I find that leads to getting blown up.

Level 16 Top

This tier is just so insanely good. I have marked the one I tend to use with this build as light green, but all of the others are super viable depending on the team comps, I think.

Concentrated Blast: Go-to for the build. This talent enables you to throw out 800+ damage nukes every eight seconds. That may seem good, but not great if considered against KT or Jaina, but those two mages don't have Greymane's AA power or speed. This adds major damage spikes to an already powerful kit and can seriously contribute to fights. (Anecdotal, but the spike damage from this helped me blast through the shields and last 1% of the enemy core to win last night. Game ended with me in a gravity lapse and surrounded, so I definitely would not have been able to kill the core without burst.)

Relentless Predator: Dependent on how much CC the enemy team has and how much you are focusing on Worgen form. In my build I think I will rarely take it because I don't dive when it's not basically a sure thing.

Executioner: Dependent on your own team. Synergizes great with W Valla, TC Muradin, Jaina, mine Abathur, etc. Strong as always.

Alpha Killer: Dependent on how many tanks the enemy has and whether or not you are focusing on Worgen form (since it does not contribute bonus damage to human AAs). Good damage %, but can you stay in combat long enough to get a lot out of it: that is the question, in my opinion.

Level 20 Top

I think all of these seem to be useful picks depending on your build.

Unleashed: I have not tried this myself, but I do use GftT most games and the second cast is very useful. It's not uncommon for it to kill the target too, so I could see chaining more than 2 as quite valuable. For this build though, I prefer something safer and more reliable.

Gilnean Roulette: I like this talent for the piercing. I actually kind of with MftK had this feature base because I think it would make it much more valuable on a 60s cooldown. Still, Vulnerable is not so rare right now that I feel it's worth taking the heroic for it. There's a decent chance you might have either Tyrande or Sylvanas on your team.

Hunter's Blunderbuss: Best for this build's style. I position safely and shoot anyone close enough. This talent gives me great AOE splash damage behind my main target. It's not uncommon to hit 3 or even more members of the enemy team so that I am basically AAing everyone at once. I really cannot stress how powerful that is. Human Greymane is often compared to Raynor, but despite Raynor's strengths that are indeed better than Greymane in a 1:1 trade, he cannot deal ranged AOE DPS like Greymane can at 20, or even 16 if you took Concentrated Blast. Amazing talent.

Tooth and Claw: This talent also looks appealing and may be powerful in a Worgen focused build, but that's not what this guide is about since it isn't the safe, low-risk play-style I am going for. Haven't used it myself, but I'm eager to learn about it as I gain more experience and knowledge.

Tips and Tricks Top

-- It's a plus before 7 (and if you don't take Incendiary Elixir) when enemies retreat behind their wall. Cocktail then explodes on the wall and you can kill them. Be sure to wait for them to "get away".
-- If you take Concentrated Blast at 16 be patient with Q if Inner Beast is coming off cooldown soon. A couple times I threw a Q out and started Inner Beast 3s later. Had to wait 5 more seconds to throw out a strong one.

-- Shoot anything in range to make sure Inner Beast doesn't drop off. A-attacking helps, but doesn't target the side walls at the enemy gates. You have to right-click them afaik. Those walls are great to keep the buff active. Similarly, shoot Nova copies, Zombie Walls, Hydralisks etc. all the time for synergy with Inner Beast, Wolfheart, Insatiable and On the Prowl.

-- A good way to waveclear and have an escape ready is to Q => E => Q and AA the remains. By the time you're done you can almost E away in an emergency. Works great on mercs too.

Conclusion Top

My experience so far is limited, but this guide is meant to help me grow as much as it is meant to offer insight based on what I'm learning as I play what I think will end up being my favorite hero.

So far, I think Greymane is best played mostly in human form, positioning roughly like a Raynor and diving in when it is safe to do so (not just to finish people). I dive to finish waves so I have an escape ready, I dive on mercs and on bosses, cores etc. I only dive teams when people are isolated or when it is going to end the enemy's chances. Otherwise it is just constant stutter-stepping, poke with Q and patience. Building into Q and W allow me to maintain a strong presence in human form, while not building into Worgen form does not, in my opinion, significantly reduce its effectiveness. I feel this build offers a good balance of talents that bring something new to the play-style and talents that bolster what Greymane already does well.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below! I'm as eager to learn from what the community has to say as I am to contribute to the discourse myself.

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