Putting it in Black and White: A Guide to Chen by BoomTheBear

Putting it in Black and White: A Guide to Chen

By: BoomTheBear
Last Updated: Jun 12, 2015
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Build: Bruiser Tank

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Threats to Chen with this build

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Threat Hero Notes
Malfurion Furion is probably the least mobile of all support heroes with the easiest to dodge CC ability. He is very open to being QWE combo'd by you, but bear in mind his healing is quite robust and will heal him up nicely before your next combo. Keep the pressure up to force him to keep healing (it costs quite a bit of mana). If caught in the roots, start to Chug to absorb any follow up damage. If he is still attacking, Chug until QWE is ready and repeat it on him. Some Furion take R2 which can be annoying and dangerous for Chug, but this is a rare occurrence.
Rehgar Rehgar has no way to stop Chug, but he will keep healing his allies and slowing you down. Thanks to Q, we can leap out of his E totem with no problems. Keep pressuring him with QWE combo. Rehgar has a lot of mana but his need to heal costs him a lot to maintain so force him to do so. He's pretty mobile so catching him can be tricky but keep harassing often and eventually he'll be spooked away. If he stands toe-to-toe with you he'll lose, his damage is not enough to break through Chug.
Illidan Illidan is quite easy for you to deal with, most of your damage is ability based and thus Evasion isn't too helpful for him. When he uses Evasion you can always Chug until it fades, outside of his R2 he can't interrupt Chug anyway. He will heal himself through AAs so you need to keep damage up with continual QWE -> Chug combos, just try to time the Chug for when he uses Evasion. Illidan is frail so keep comboing him and he'll back off eventually or better still, leave himself open to being killed by a chasing Q.
Li Li Li Li is no threat to you. Her damage is poor and she can't stop Chug. She is annoying, but you don't have to worry about mana so keep harassing her with QWE combo. Place Chug based upon who she lanes with (if she is laning alone you should be able to remove her pretty easily and force her mana to dry up quite early). Considering Chugging just before Q, ad many Li Li will hit E after being engaged and this way you'll soak it all and she'll do no damage at all, resulting in a free trade. If paired with a hero like Diablo or Kerrigan she can be really annoying, but focus on her and not them, just play cautiously around said hero and call an ally if you need it.
Nova Nova is frail and lacks escapes, so QWE is effective upon her, and the speed at which you can descend on her is very quick, which she won't like. W and E are also effective tools for decloaking her. She has high burst, so don't be afraid to Chug early to soften the blows. Many Nova take Armour-Piercing Rounds which makes her attacks very powerful but slow, this is actually really good for us because of Swift Reflexes, meaning we dodge pretty much all of her basic attacks. If you take R1, use it to interrupt Triple Tap if she uses it as it can hurt a lot. If she has taken R1 instead consider saving Q to leap out of it as she flees from you. If you play smart Nova should not be an issue.
Sgt. Hammer Sgt.Hammer does have a way of stopping the Chug, with her knockback blast, she'll often use it to knock you back after engaging though, so don't worry too much. Always engage her on foot to bait this ability, and then Q to close the gap and combo her. She will play hit and run with her jets, but your cooldowns aren't so long you can keep the pressure on and eventually bully her out of lane or kill her if she's not careful. You can Chug most of her AA damage just make sure you don't let her stay in siege mode without punishing her.
Sylvanas Sylvanas is frail but excellent at pushing minions. She can't stop Chug outside of blowing her R1, so take advantage of this. Keep QWE comboing her followed by Chug. She will not be able to stay in lane with you. Do not be afraid of her damage, it can be high but only over time, and Chug can take most of what she has to offer. Her escape is limited to one ability, and if you see the banshees, start running towards them immediately, even after engaging Q will likely be ready quickly enough for you to jump on her again. Do not let her poke you or get free hits on your buildings.
Tassadar Tassadar cannot stop Chug, he lacks mobility outside of a long cooldown E escape and his damage is quite Chuggable (outside of Archon, do not stand there and tank Archon unless you have an ally beating on him). Keep pressure with QWE, and destroy any healing wards he drops. In team fights focus him early to make him burn his E, so if he returns to the fight he is easily taken out.
Tyrande Tyrande is lacking in escape tools, her damage is pretty low too. You must not let her stun you if you can help it. She will likely focus it on you if you Chug, so bait it with Chug and then Q onto her to avoid it. You don't need huge stacks of shields to deal with her DPS, as it is really poor. keep pressuring her like this and she'll have to leave the lane. Watch out for Starfall, the damage will add up and it will make catching her trickier, just remember Q is your friend. Pressure hard and run her OOM.
Azmodan Azmodan has no hard CC and relies mostly on CDs to deal damage. This is good news for us as chug is well suited to absorbing volleys of abilities. Az will benefit if you let him stay back, so use your mobility to keep harassing him. Don't worry too much about demons, they will be weakened by your aoe as you attack Az. Rather focus on Az directly as you don't want him to keep nuking your towers. As with Arthas you can biat his mana out by chugging when he casts All Shall Burn, just be mindful when it reaches maximum damage it will outdps your shields in all likelihood so don't get too overconfident. This matchup is skewed in your favour though.
Brightwing Brightwing is not a massive threat in herself, but she deserves some caution as she can interrupt chug with Polymorph, which means she can help her allies to break you down. Be mindful of when to chug if she hasn't cast Polymorph yet. Outside of this she is more annoying than anything else, but again the fact she has mana and you don't is in your favour. She lacks escapes outside of heroics and her Z so keep pressuring her. Even if she does Polymorph you, her damage is pretty poor all things considered and trades will generally go in your favour. If Polymorphed she'll probably follow up with her Q, so immediately Chug once it is over to build shields and then initiate with Q.
Gazlowe Gazlowe is pretty immobile, and easily pounced upon. Watch out for his E stun though, it comes with plenty of warning however so you shouldn't be falling for it. Keep pressuring him with swift engages and QWE combo to try and push him back. Don't Chug after combo until he has thrown down E (common response to being attack) and Chug when in safe spot. Turret damage can be scary if he stacks them up so try and wear them down with QWE if Gazlowe has the lane too stacked up. Clever Gazlowe will not run away, but kite you around turrets which is potentially an issue (but not bursty enough to kill you unless you aren't paying attention) but many will run away ultimately making turrets a non issue. R2 will interrupt Chug and has a big range, generally he'll use it in teamfights quite early so be aware of this. You can always save Q for when it's cast to leap out of the way.
Murky No hard CC outside of R1. Murky is annoying but pretty harmless. His damage is quite easy to avoid or Chug, in the case of Slime. You need to be aggressive because if you let him Slime you repeatedly it will hurt. His health is pants, so keep the QWE pressure on. He will try to bubble away but keep following him, your mobility is very good and you can keep on top of him and finish him off no problems.
Raynor Raynor is more AA dependent that many assassins, his only damage outside of his AA is Q. Q is worth noting as it will stop Chug, so don't Chug if he hasn't used it. Approach on foot, wait for Q and then leap on him to QWE combo. You can comfortably Chug most of his AA damage off so so long as you don't let his Q stop it, he shouldn't be hard to deal with.
Tyrael Tyrael relies on being close for good periods to deal any damage. He's also kind of tough through his W. You should save Chug for when he casts W, to wait it out and avoid damaging him during W in case he takes Angelic Absorption (otherwise he'll heal, bad news). If you play this way you should beat him, his damage is pretty decent but his mana costs are quite high, he won't be able to sustain his damage forever, especially if he keeps using W. Save Q for when he tries to use Q to retreat, but don't worry too much about extended chase, Tyrael has very good mobility and it's enough to remove him from lane and bully him, denying him regeneration orbs and such. R1 can interrupt Chug, generally though he'll be using this to initiate so it's not a massive worry.
The Lost Vikings Two of your abilities are aoe, and you also have great mobility, so your ability to catch and kill these dudes is very good. Chug is great for tanking their auto attacks, and they can't interrupt it either. Play aggressively and force them out of lane. Beware the R1 ship, it hurts, you can't tank it with Chug especially with mortar. Focus on escaping if possible or killing it. Outside of the R1 these guys are pretty harmless for the most part so long as you don't let them poke you.
Falstad Falstad is pretty frail, but with good mobility and range. He can't stop Chug outside of R2, but this means he can't burst you with R1, so it evens out. He'll try and poke from the back, remain mobile and dodge Hammerang. Put pressure on him with Q->W->E combo and Chug immediately to absorb the attacks he throws back. You should be able to handle him pretty easily unless he has backup, whilst killing him might be tricky due to his mobility, bullying him away is easily done. Just be mindful that R2 can ruin your Chug and R1 is very powerful, and Chug will need to be stacked for you to shrug it off effectively.
Jaina Jaina has some nice burst and CC, but thanks to Q we can gapclose quite easily, and all we really want to do is follow up with WE and then Chug, so the snare from her skills isn't too much of an issue until we're trying to finish her. Thankfully the cooldown of Q is nice and low so if we chase, we'll be able to catch her eventually. Watch out for R1, it still interrupt Chug and deal craploads of damage, do not stand in it, use Q to move out. Water Elemental is also a nasty piece of work, you can tank it with Chug, but not both it and Jaina at the same time. It's always worth considering killing it unless Jaina herself is within gib range. Jaina has poor mobility so this amtchup is quite nice for us. It's made loads easier if we take Relentless at 13.
Johanna Joanna has access to 1 ability that can stop Chug outside of her heroic (R2 can too). Her damage is sustained, but not bursty, ideal for Chug tanking. If you can make sure you always Chug outside of her W, this fight is in your favour. She is tough to defeat due to shields and generally high HP, but play patiently and you can beat her down. Stick to the basic combo and don't worry too much about AAing her due to annoying blinds.
Nazeebo Naz has good laning play and plenty of aoe damage. A lot of this we can Chug through however. His mobility is poor, and he's open to be combed by QWE regularly. Pressure him often to stop him healing up through his trait. If he zombie walls you can always Q out of it. The only thing to watch out for is if he takes R1. The stomp stun interrupting your Chug will leave you open to his combo, which can wreck quite quickly.
Stitches Stiches can stop Chug with Hook, but in doing so puts you in melee, which is fine most of the time. He's tough, but his damage is pretty low, so you can Chug through it, you need to save Chug for when Hook is down. He may use R2 to interrupt Chug, but that's fine as there's not much you can do about that. Harass with QWE combo and Chug immediately, be mindful he'll use Consume to top himself up. He'll take a while to bully out of lane but he uses mana, so so long as you force him to use Consume, you'll run him dry. Focus on the lane though, as Stiches is good at pushing the lane, so keep it in balance.
Valla R2 is the reason to fear Valla, it will stop Chug which means you are open to being killed. Her damage is pretty good, she will be able to kill you through Chug if you just stand there. So you need to be aggressive and threaten her low hit points with repeated QWE combos. She has good mobility with E, but the cooldown is larger than your Q so keep up the chase. If you turn around she may well start poking you again which you mustn't let her do. Use R1 to interrupt her Strafe heroic, it will turn you into a panda handbag if you let it. More to the point, it will help the team!
Zagara Lacks active mobility but moves fast on creep. Despite this you can QWE combo her often. Two of your abilities are AOE, which makes killing her Creep Tumours really easy. Chug allows you to tank her blows quite well, obviously avoid Banelings and Drop Pods where possible, but don't run away from Hydralisks all the time, you can tank them pretty well with Chug, and then QWE Zagara if she's still around. She has no way to interrupt Chug save for R1. Keep pressure on her at all times, do not let her get free attacks on your buildings if she's on your lane, otherwise she'll take them out. Lots of pressure to force her mana down.
Abathur Heroes supported by Abathur will have their danger level varied by exactly who he is supporting. In terms of Abathur himself though, he offers low-threat abilities. No access to CC means we can chug through damage when we need to. The shield means battle may be drawn out, but ultimately the fact he can't stop the chug skews fights in your favour. Abathur becomes a real threat if he is supporting an ally with CC (Like Diablo) as he will give them quite a bit of additional damage, so be cautious if he is supporting any of the higher threat level heroes in this guide.
Arthas Arthas doesn't have access to any "hard" CC capable of interrupting chug. That said he does fair damage for a warrior and has decent sustain if he takes Rune Tap. The fight between you will take a while to unfold, and you'll need to play smart, but if you do you should have the upper hand as his mana should eventually get lower and lower. If laning against him, keep pressuring him when he goes in to attack to stop him gaining health via Rune Tap. Don't be afraid to chug in his face when Hungering Cold is up, you may still take some damage but it's worth baiting his mana out as he's pretty easy to defeat if he can't cycle his abilities.
Kael'thas Kale is a bit more deadly than other assassins due to his stun. If he stuns you and then combos it will hurt. Fortunately he is then open to attack for a bit until his CDs are back. His mobility is poor and he is frail so you can quite easily make his life a living hell. Unlike Jaina he can't snare you either, so whilst he is better placed to hurt you, he's easier to hurt back. If he is saving E stun for comboing you, consider baiting it by chugging. He will stop Chug but the shields will soak Falmestrike if he follows up immediately (most Kaels will do combo very fast so they can then retreat just as stun ends) you can then try and Q him to combo him back, having taken less damage overall. Play smart and this fight is pretty easy to navigate. Beware: his heroics pack a punch, do not think you can Chug through Phoenix with impunity and Pyroblast is more than capable of breaking through Chug shields and still dealing some respectable damage.
Kerrigan Kerrigan has two abilities which can stop Chug, she also has an annoying trait which is well suited to softening a lot of your non-bursty damage. That said, your Q is your godsend. Kerrigan will often try to WE combo you by pulling you in. As soon as you see the E claws appear, you should leap onto her with Q and combo her. This way you will likely dodge the damage of both abilities if you were at a fair distance. If her W was cast upon her front, you will land in it, so maintain a moderate distance to force her to place W a bit further away. If you can avoid this combo, Kerrigan is easy and the rest of her damage is not enough to break you. If she lands it, she can wreck you quite easily. You can Chug post stun however quite readily as her damage post WE is pretty low, so shield up and combo her back and be more careful next time!
Zeratul Zeratul is all about burst damage, he can be tricky to deal with thanks to his ability to attack from nowhere. Using W and E can help reveal him which makes the first much more favourable. Generally you want to Chug ASAP upon being attacked as most of his damage is upfront, and outside of these cooldowns it isn't too scary. This is hard when he attacks from stealth, but you do have a small period before Singularity Spike detonates to begin Chugging. Be aggressive after the Chug, Zeratul likes to bully opponents who run, so don't be a pushover and keep him on his toes. Always keep an eye out for shimmers and W/E when you see one. Zera often blinks after unloading his burst, save Q to catch him when he does.
Chen Battle of skill and even matchup. Neither of you has access to a way to stop chug outside of R1, so this battle will likely go on for days and days. Play on the cautious side, don't be afraid to Chug as soon as the enemy Chen Qs you, that way you'll soak most of his W and E combo and then you can follow up in the same manner. The key to victory here is making sure you don't just Chug between even trades, Chug mid-fight to soak combo. If you take R1 and he doesn't you have an advantage in being able to stop his shielding, although he will be very hard to kill during R2.
Tychus Beware of Tychus' grenade, it will stop the Chug. His damage potential is pretty crazy so if he can land his full Q on you outside of Chug you will know about it! His mobility is pretty poor, and he's not too tough, so you need to pressure him with lots of combos. Engage on foot to bait W and then Q to engage him. If he Qs you it is not always a good idea to Chug to try and tank it, as he will escape. Consider tanking the Q without Chug, outside of it he cannot damage you shy of AAs, which you can easily Chug. Difference is he must stop to AA you, so leaves himself open to QWE combo when CDs are ready. Play smart and you should win, but don't underestimate his ability to damage you.
Thrall Thrall hits hard, but lacks interrupts outside of R1. He attacks slowly but with big hits, Swift Reflexes is good against this kind of damage. Thrall can heal himself through his trait, so it's important to try and dodge Feral Spirit as often he'll be using a talent that makes landing this grant him 3 charges of Frostwolf Resilience. Don't be afraid to go toe-to-toe with him occasionally. You can't do much to avoid Chain Lightning but you can try and avoid Feral Spirit and Windfury by using Q and W to avoid/slow. These are his biggest Frostwolf Resilience generators. If Thrall isn't allowed to heal he's not nearly as scary. Encourage him to burn mana with QWE combo pressure. Early game Thrall is much weaker. Late game you should avoid attacking him alone though.
Muradin Muradin has a solid stun and is capable of talenting for further stuns which makes him a pain in the ass with regards to Chugging. He also has good health and a nice trait for healing between exchanges. You need to keep the pressure up on him to stop him coming at you again and again. Many Muradin begin with Storm Bolt to gapclose, which is fine, cause it means we can Chug afterwards. If they save Storm Bolt for after they engage, just be mindful. Beware of Avatar, the stun on hit portion will render you unable to Chug at all, so if Avatar is active do not Chug when Muradin is focused on you. Leap to a squishier target if possible and wait it out. Early game you want to bait his mana out by Chugging frequently to bait out his abilities.
Sonya Sonya has a limitless resource just like you. She can also self-heal and can deal a lot of damage. She's a tricky foe, you need to play smart and occasionally kite her. Do not let her heal on you with Whirlwind if you can help it, W her and move away, or use R1 to interrupt. If you can stop her Whirlwind or avoid it, you will be at the advantage. Otherwise this fight may draw out over quite a long time. Any pressure you apply must be followed up fairly quickly as she will heal herself back up, particularly if you let her Whirlwind a minion group. She lacks good escapes, so aggression can be the best weapon against her, just be careful, don't be afraid to call for help.
Anub'arak Anub has access to 2 forms of stun (Impale, Burrow) and a third if he picks Web Blast. This means the clever Anub player will be able to stop chug which isn't good news for us. Anub is also good at sustaining himself and does quite a bit of damage for a warrior. His early game is weaker than yours however due to his sustain taking time to grow over the game, so your best shot is to bully him repeatedly in lane and try to bait his Impale/Burrow so an ally can help you finish him off when he can't escape.
Uther Uther has a good stun, which is quite readily available (especially through talents) and he can keep himself and allies healed pretty well. He is a pain to lane against due to his good sustain and ability to stop Chug so you can trade off you favourably. Although his damage is pretty awful outside of talents, it's enough that he can try and bully you away if you can't Chug properly. If he's allied with a partner he can be very dangerous due to his ability to set them up to kill you and keep them alive. He's also very tough which means he's not going to fall to a few QWE combos either. Play cautiously against him.
Diablo Diablo is a pain in our panda ass. His damage is pretty pants outside of R2, but he has 2 readily usable CCs (and the E can have 2 charges if talented). He has access to decent healing through talents, and has truckloads of health. A clever diablo can make sure you never Chug, which spells problems as although your dps is better than his, his superior and health and access to direct talented healing means he has the advantage. These problems are amplified if he is laning with a teammate, as he will shut down Chug, making you open to attack. You should call for assist when trying to take him down always. Watch his behaviour and hope he is the kind of diablo who uses his Q and E recklessly so you can Chug after his Q E combo to soak the following AA damage. Watch out for R1 as well for the stun, and R2 will melt you if Chug isn't ready (I wouldn't try and Chug it either if you can help it, it hurts a lot).
E.T.C. Like Diablo, ETC has access to two forms of hard CC which will stop Chug. Worse still, his self-healing is more reliable than Diablo, so the fight is stacked against you. His damage output isn't great, but if you can't Chug mid fight you're going to have problems, big time. His E will keep him pretty healthy and seeing as you lack high burst damage this fight will keep going for a while, and ultimately rests on who messes up first. As with Diablo, ETC himself is not the massive threat, rather he makes it hard for you to tank properly and is hard for you to bully out of lane.

Introduction Top

Currently be edited accidental Publish push, whoops!)

Welcome to my guide for Chen. Chen is a fun to play warrior-type hero. He has a unique resource and a fluid feel to his playstyle. His strengths are sustained damage, initiation, single target tanking and being a good lane bully. He is susceptible to being focused and CC is very effective at shutting down his tanking potential.

He is listed as "hard". This is very true. Chen looks simple, but you need to know when you time your Chug very wisely, else you can't tank any better than any other high hit point hero. You need to know when to pressure, and when not to pressure. Chen is fun to learn, but hard to master. You cannot just leap into the enemy team like Muradin and come out alive, you must be cunning! Your tanking alternates between periods of regular damage, and very low damage. You must cycle it appropriately to avoid being CCed whilst Chugging, but when done correctly to can mitigate a lot of damage when Chug is up.

I list the build as a bruiser, as I focus Chen is still being somewhat aggressive (ish) in playstyle, rather than a strict "all in" tank, and forgo some defensive talents in favour of certain aggressive ones. My primary goal is lane bullying so I can get good exp advantage over the opponent and provide early pressure on the lane. Chen is very good early game but less effective when the game begins to revolve around 5 vs 5 fights where it's likely you'll get focused with lots of CC at once.

Pros and Cons Top

- Good initiate tool in Q
- Unique resource is limitless, meaning you can remain in lane for a good while.
- Exceptional duelling if you can avoid Chug interrupts.
- R1 is a good phase or gank tool. It's really effective if just as a 5 vs 5 starts, you initiate it on the opponents from behind to push them into your team.
- His damage is pretty good when sustained.
- High health.
- Decent jungler thanks to fairly good aoe damage and trait.

- More susceptible to CC than other warriors because his tanking method relies on channelling.
- Lacks reliable escapes.
- No in-built healing, instead needing large amounts of regeneration.
- You need to be aggressive to capitalise on your characteristics as you are not as consistently tanky as other warrior heroes, but you weave between periods of aggression and defense, this makes him tricky to learn.

Abilities and Trait Top

Trait: Fortifying Brew

Through this guide, this ability is referred to as Chug, which is less of a mouthful.
The bread and butter of Chen. This is how you regenerate your Brew resource and additionally it allows you to tank quite a bit of damage so long as you maintain the channel. Learning how to use this correctly and when is key to success as Chen.

You'll want to avoid using it if an opponent can threaten you with any hard CC, as then it'll be pointless. It has a low cooldown so you'll be wanting to use it regularly between combos to top up your Brew and shield yourself for the next exchange of damage.

it allows you to stand toe-to-toe with many heroes 1 on 1 and come off far better than they do. It's also why we want to stack as much regeneration as possible, so we have a chance at gaining some health whilst we are drinking.

Q: Flying Kick

A simple ability that is cheap to cast, gives good initiate with some fair damage. This is how you stick to targets and start fights.

You can use it to retreat to an enemy who is far away if you need to back off from a fight, be mindful of eligible targets when engaging in case you need to use it in this way.

W: Keg Smash

A small duration slow with some light damage in a small aoe. This is usually a follow up to a Q initiate in order to prevent the target running, so we can get some more damage on them. It can be useful for revealing enemies who are cloaked as well.

It's not a great method of escaping due to the short duration but it can help once you've taken Brewmaster's Balance as you'll move more quickly at low Brew, which we typically are after the QWE combo.

E: Breath of Fire

Standard aoe cone, weak damage but does bonus damage to targets who are soaked by W. Always follow up W with this in most cases to get some decent damage on them. Allows decent jungling and good minion lane control.

R1: Wandering Keg

Gives you a speed boost and allows you to knock targets around. Pretty good for interrupting channels and forcing opponents into bad positions. Positing it correctly takes some getting used to, otherwise you may push the enemies away from your team.

Use it from behind the enemy to force them back into your team, or try and pin targets against walls so they are effectively stunlocked.

Despite appearances this ability does not grant you protective health in the same fashion as the Viking's Longboat Raid! so if you die during keg, you die properly. Be mindful of this as you can't Chug whilst you are inside the keg.

R2: Storm, Earth, Fire

Quite a unique heroic for a warrior, split into three separate pandas who have 50% of your health. If at least one survives before it ends, you will survive.

The pandas cannot be controlled independently, they move as one. Their collective damage is pretty nice when focusing, but targets usually need to be pinned for Fire and Earth to get any attacks in. You can use two abilities to either split them up and separate (useful when one is being attacked) or to make them all leap towards a location (good for escape or chase).

Basic initiation/harass combo - The QWE combo

--> --> --> --> --> Disengage if in bad position, stay where you are if not -->

Seems quite lengthy, but all of this happens very quickly. You need to be very quick to throw the keg and breath after your first auto attack. You can skip the last auto attack if it's a bit too risky to stay in position or if you need to Chug straight away.

You repeat this combo in lane to bully an opponent out of lane or try to kill them. Do not use if your kick would take you over the opponent's fort wall, because then you'll be trapped! Exercise caution about when to engage.

Basic Build Overview Top

The basic build is outlined below, with the common deviations listed. Other deviations are covered in the Talents section.

Level 1] Regeneration Master
Level 4] Amplified Healing but if your team lacks healers take Swift Reflexes instead, unless the opposing team lacks AA reliant heroes, in which cause pick Amplified Healing to boost your regeneration.
Level 7] Brewmaster's Balance
Level 10] Wandering Keg
Level 13] Relentless but you may take A Touch of Honey if the opposing team lacks CC.
Level 16] Pressure Point but you may take Bolder Flavor if your team has no problem pinning.
Level 20] Hardened Shield

By level 4 you should have witnessed enough of the enemy team to know whether Swift Reflexes is appropriate or not. By 13 and 16 you'll have a good idea of how team fights have gone thus far which can inform your choices for these tiers.
Do not lock yourself into one build all the time, be reactive and remember, you're trying to win the game you're currently in, so pick your talents based upon the game at hand, not theoretical "typical games".

Talents Top

In this section talents will be explored in more detail, highlighting which picks are considered most suitable for certain situations, as well as within the scope of a the general "tanky" build we're aiming for.

Level 1

Bottomless Mug: Do Not Pick
It is completely feasible to get the most out of Chen when working with 100 Brew. Ideally you should be Chugging as much as possible anyway to extend your durability, and this talent works best when you Chug less, so it's not an advisable pick.

Full Keg: Variable Pick
This may be picked sometimes, if your team is low on CC but high on healing power. This way you can provide a low cooldown but fairly decent duration slow.

Consuming Flame: Do Not Pick
This talent doesn't increase your damage by too much. Even in an aggressive build it's not the best pick, and you'd be better suited extending your durability or slowing power and increasing your damage through better talents.

Regeneration Master: Pick of Choice
This is the best overall talent. Chen lacks the ability to heal himself so we need all the regeneration we can get. It stacks with Brewmaster's Balance to give us some nice health per second, which comes in handy when we're Chugging.

Level 4

Swift Reflexes: Variable Pick
If your team has no healers the value of this talent increases. Pick it if you have no healers and the enemy has some decent auto attack damage potential. It's very effective against slow attack speeds like most Nova.

Deadly Strike: Do Not Pick
This does not help us tank, could be viable for a damaging build.

Amplified Healing: Pick of Choice
This is a very good pick, especially if you have a healer on your team. It will also boost your regeneration from Regeneration Master and Brewmaster's Balance. If you don't have a healer, this may not be as viable as Swift Reflexes, it depends whether the opposing team has good auto-attack damage or not.

Deep Breath: Do Not Pick
Generally we're breathing fire when in melee, so the range of this ability isn't a big issue. Increasing the radius isn't a bad thing, but it's not worth neglecting the survivability talents on this tier.

Level 7

Keg Toss: Variable Pick
Can see some use if you're feeling like healing and tanking won't be too problematic in a game. It gives the snare some decent range, however it's not really a huge issue as typically W is cast in melee, and Q allows us to gapclose which puts us in range to use it.

Ring of Fire: Do Not Pick
Only viable in a damage build.

Combat Stance: Variable Pick
If you have plenty of healing this could be a good idea as it makes your shields last 4 seconds after drinking. I still see the extra regeneration and movement speed as too hard to give up.

Brewmaster's Balance: Pick of Choice
Gives extra regeneration when at high Brew, and movement speed when our Brew is down. This translates as extra regen before we engage and are laning with auto attacks (good) and makes us quicker to chase and disengage once our QWE combo is executed (good). This means moving into a better position to Chug is easily achieved.

Level 10

Wandering Keg: Pick of Choice
It's the pick of choice because it gives us the ability to interrupt channelled abilities and potentially pin down fleeing enemies. Can be used to engage from the back, which isn't hard to do thanks to Q's wonderful initiation potential. Q a target at the back, fire up this and roll the enemies into your team. Alternatively, push them back if their comp is a chase comp.

Storm, Earth, Fire: Variable Pick
This is a higher damage option over the Keg. Works better in more offensive Chen builds and perhaps when you have quite a bit of crowd control in your team to pin the opponents. If all your pandas can hit the targets your damage is very good during this heroic. Gives some survivability because of effective 150% health. Heroic choice is more about enemy comp than anything else, as both have their uses. I just prefer being able to interrupt the enemy.

Level 13

Brew Strike: Do Not Pick
More suited to an offensive build.

A Touch of Honey: Variable Pick
If the opposing team doesn't have much CC you can take this, it helps pin enemies down that bit better.

Enough to Share: Variable Pick
If CC isn't an issue and the enemy doesn't have much, you can consider this talent. It allows you to give allies some small shields when you drink, reducing the damage they take. Feel free to take it if they opponents have no CC and you can pin them pretty well.

Relentless: Pick of Choice
reduces crowd control on us. Althoguh hard CC is still going to interrupt Chug, this means snares and other such "softer" CC options don't keep us still for as long. This helps when chasing enemies who can snare you, like Jaina. Also being stunned for less time is always good right?

Level 16

Combination Attack: Do Not Pick
Suitable only for an offensive build.

Chug: Do Not Pick
Speeding up the rate at which we Chug our Brew up is not a major issue. It takes 2 seconds to recover 80 Brew, and the QWE combo costs us 60 Brew. It may make us get 80 Brew that much quicker, but remember, it doesn't increase the shield generation speed, nor make our cooldowns recover quicker. More often than not you are drinking for 2 seconds at least to wait on your cooldowns. Considering this, this talent looks less appealing.

Pressure Point: Pick of Choice
This is great for an offensive build or a defensive one. 90% slow is insane, and on a 5 second cooldown, with decent range, you become the king of pinning enemies for your allies. Very good for singling out soft targets. If catching enemies isn't an issue at all, consider Bolder Flavor instead.

Bolder Flavor: Variable Pick
A good talent if catching the enemy isn't an issue. This makes Chug grant us bigger shields which can stack higher. In certain situations you should take this over Pressure Point anyway if you need that extra damage reduction.

Level 20

Untapped Potential: Variable Pick
So you can tank pretty well, except for those pesky channelled abilities? This talent makes the keg last longer and makes you move crazy quick during it. Easily allows you to round up the enemy team, manoeuvre around them and put them out of position. Worth a look if you need more control in team fights.

Elemental Conduit: Variable Pick
Shines more on an offensive build. If your team lacks clout and you picked SEF at 10, it can be worth a shot. You summon a panda based upon the ability. And only 1 can be up at a time. They do have similar attack power to the pandas from SEF so the extra damage is pretty good. Flying Kick will summon the Storm panda (your best choice for extra dps), Keg Smash will summon Earth panda (best when you want to slow opponent down) and Breath of Fire will summon Fire panda. More often than not you're going to have Storm by your side because of the order of your QWE combo, and that's fine, he is the best one out of them anyway and will always add extra damage.

Hardened Shield: Pick of Choice
Helps our tanking greatly during those massive team fights. If you activate whilst chugging, the enemy can kiss goodbye to dealing any damage to you. The great thing about this is your shields will stack so when hardened shield is over, you'll have a nice big shield to re-enter battle with too. A very cool talent.

Bolt of the Storm: Variable Pick
There's nothing wrong with BoTS, but considered alongside the others and our tanking role, it shines less overall. You may find use for it in certain situations, but it's very rare. The main use is for retreating.

Playstyle Top

At the risk of repeating myself, let's revise one of Chen's absolute essential plays:

Basic initiation/harass combo - The QWE combo

--> --> --> --> --> Disengage if in bad position, stay where you are if not -->

You need to learn to do this quickly, and when it's a good time to do it and when not. This is why Brewmaster's Balance is so good, because it allows you to disengage fairly quickly after the combo. Then Chug and heal up more quickly.

This combo will always remain the same during the game, your heroic ability use should really only come into teamfights, and as such, typically after the combo has been performed.

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