Slingin' Sand by Emptora

Slingin' Sand

By: Emptora
Last Updated: Aug 17, 2016
3 Votes
Rating Pending
Build 1 of 2


Build: Primary Build (Complete Assassin)

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

Threats to Chromie with this build

Show all
Threat Hero Notes
Zagara This is a character that can be easy to pick on unless they play really aggressive. Most Zagara's are used to just sitting back and casting. A stationary target is a fun target to pick on.
Sgt. Hammer Another target who likes to just sit back because of their range. You can almost always take them to half life with a single rotation, if they are naive enough not to move, go ahead and finish them off.
  No Threat
  No Threat
Valla A hero that can jump around on you, making it hard to hit her. Also lets her get better position on you. Play a step back to prevent her from getting good range on you. This is especially important early game. But remember, she can talent into a double barrel roll and negate the range you talent into.
Kharazim His DPS ult can catch you somewhere you don't want to be. Figure you lose around 2/3 of your life, and that is before he uses anything else on you.
The Butcher His charge can take you out easily. Use good positioning against this guy and you should be fine.
Greymane A hero who can easily jump you. He threat is related to your map awareness. If you keep a very close eye on him and don't extend too far, you can bump him down a few levels.
Tracer A really jumpy hero. Can pop her blinks to get into great position on you. Then its GG. Most of the time shes on you before you realize that its happening, then its too late. Best of luck with a Temporal Loop or Hourglass. Shes not as bad as the stealthers as long as you keep aware of where she is and where she could be.
Falstad A pretty big pain, can get in behind you and wreck you. Avoid this guy if you can. Stay at max range.
Stitches A hook is usually bad news. If its just him, you can possibly get away. If he hooks you into 3 enemy Heroes, go ahead and grab a quick drink while you wait to go back into the fight.
Lunara If she ults, you can forget trying to hit her. If she gets you pinned up alone, 95% of the time you're dead, unless you get a good Temporal Loop.
Illidan If Illidan takes hunt, he falls in this area. He gets a free "run to you w/ stun" and you aren't getting away unless you catch a lucky Hourglass proc or Temporal Loop.
Zeratul Anytime I see one of these guys in the game, my playstyle changes. They can be anywhere, anytime. If they aren't looking for you from the start, they will once they realize you are turning up the damage. Your play style has to be 3 steps back, and you have to place your Hourglasses wisely to buy yourself escape time.


Build: Map Control Build

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

A Foreword... Top

Considerations for any Chromie build:

How you play your game:

The best thing you can do is develop a sense for what an enemy player / team is going to do. If you find yourself getting really good with Chromie, you will find yourself making alot of defensive play calls for your team. Throwing your damage spells requires you to guess where your enemy is going to be in 2 seconds. After you throw about 3 Sand Blast and a Dragon's Breath at an opposing player, you should have a pretty good idea why you are hitting or missing.
  • Does the player move up when he sees you casting? Does he just keep doing what hes doing and not try to avoid at all?
  • Does the player retreat when he sees you casting Dragon's Breath?
The typical player will do the same thing to avoid it repeatedly. They may also adjust their avoidance maneuvers if they find its causing them to get hit. But many players do not think this far ahead.

You are by no means Chen

Remember you're extremely squishy, if you play too far forward at any point, anybody on the map could kill you within about 3 seconds. Who I am teamed against sets where I position myself.

If I am playing against a Nova or Zeratul I am keeping myself 2 steps back toward my gate early, and not pushing on my own unless I see them out of stealth, across the map.

Playing into the squishy, survival strategy, Time Trap placement is key. Its the first step to graduating from beginner to intermediate Chromie. I will detail where I tend to place my Time Trap and why I do so as I explain the different stages of my match.

Your presence is key

Chromie isn't the most uncommon character to be played, but she isn't the first champion most people are afraid of. A good Chromie will change that. By the end of the game. Most people should be diving into ETC or Sonya and trying to get to you just to have a chance at winning a teamfight. And you, as a good Chromie, should be at max range punishing them, while they are getting slowed and bruised by your team.

First things first, if you aren't respecting the previous rule, that you are squishy, you're going to probably be dying, a lot. And like any other champion, leaving your team 4 v 5 isn't very helpful. Stay alive and be a presence during team fights. Make them choose between dancing around to avoid your skill shots, or standing still and eating them. Best case scenario, they will ignore your team and you'll land a few good shots and start retreating, effectively kiting them while your team does the dirty work.

You aren't just an Assassin

If you finish a game and can't think of 2 or 3 utility plays you made for your team, you may be selling yourself short. Not having a Time Trap up somewhere at any given time is a mistake. Even if it only saves you its a great play to have made. If it saves your healer or your other damage-carry, then good for you. You might've just made the play of the game for your team. The later in the game, the more important this can be. A well placed Time Trap or Temporal Loop can be the difference between a cooldown used and a 63 second resurrection timer for your key player.

Where I am going with this build:

90% of the time when I go Chromie, I do so trying to win both the Siege and Heroes damage battle. Once I hit level 10, I use Temporal Loop to punish a lone player or create a straggler from a team fight. After level 13, you will have improved range from your talent Reaching through Time. By the time end-game comes, I try to be the person to punish grouped players in a team fight.

Talents and why I choose them: Top

Level 1:

Deep Breathing This is debatable but I routinely choose this talent. Not selecting this talent over Compounding Aether is not "wrong".
  • Alot of guides I've thumbed through point out that Deep Breathing gives 150 bonus damage when the quest is complete. The key word in the description is "additional". Ultimately, when the quest is complete, its 200 damage in total (factoring in the +2 for each of the 25 hits along the way). Plus, it increases your sight radius by 100%. Thats huge for some late game sniping.
  • Compounding Aether is nice, but it doesn't help me as much for what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to push waves to the gate and take the gate down simultaneously. I also want to be able to hit 3+ enemies in late game skirmishes. I could still do that with this talent, but I want that extra pepper on my AoE.
  • Chromie doesn't have a mana problem past level 12 or so, and revealing an area for a short time could be useful in very specific circumstances, but most times it would be without reward.

Level 3:

Enveloping Assault really adds to my AoE side. It increases chance to hit and how many things you can hit. I'm all about pushing our minions forward, especially as I run through a lane on my way to another location on the map.
  • I know there will probably be much debate about why I didn't take Piercing Sands. Its a great talent. It actually does count as an AoE in my book because it is hitting 2 targets from time to time. But extending your Dragons Breath radius makes it so you can hit entire minion waves with one spell. Also, it helps you siege forts and keeps better.
  • Bronze Talons goes against how I try to position myself. I feel uncomfortable if I'm within auto attack range of an enemy Hero. I feel uncomfortable if I'm closer than half my Sand Blast range. I just wouldn't get much use out of this I'm afraid. Not enough to give up the talent I'm taking at least.

Level 6:

Mobius Loop is worth it to me for the reduced cooldown. This helps with wave clearing and popping the enemy Heroes more often.
  • The mana it saves me is also huge. The reduced damage is a bummer, but the reduced cooldown is nice for clearing minion packs.
  • Dragon's Eye is interesting, but I don't often take it. I often find myself killing enemy heroes and there being some overkill. Granted, you could kill a few more enemy Heroes here and there with the increased damage from the epicenter, but that is taking for granted you hit with the epicenter more often than not. Another great talent, but I'm more interested in using the spell more often and cheaper, so that I'm not returning to base more (more field presence).
  • I've never taken Chrono Sickness and its not really worth sacrificing either of the above spells for. Sure, you could probably set up a few kills for teammates. But its a shame for what you're losing.

Level 9:

Temporal Loop is the one talent I've variable on. This is an issue of whether you want kill setups or point control.
  • On maps which are more kill-oriented than point-control, I take Temporal Loop. Unless you use it on someone full health, its basically a free kill when its up. Great to catch stragglers leaving a teamfight as well.
  • On maps which require point control, such as Battlefiend of Eternity, Towers of Doom, and Sky Temple, I sometimes lean towards Slowing Sands. It really helps keep enemies on one side or the other (often outside of the point your team is trying to take. If they want to try to walk through it they are already a step behind from the slow.

Level 12:

Reaching through Time builds my range up. Nothing funnier than killing an enemy who can't even see you.
  • This increases my range. I don't feel truly comfortable until I pick this up. It really opens the door for sniping an enemy Hero or dps'ing from safety.
  • The other spells are potential lifesavers, but I don't find myself hearthing that much. I also find if I'm dying so much that I wish I had either of these spells, my team is wishing the game was over rather than wondering why I didn't take these.

Level 15:

Quantum Overdrive gives burst without having just been in an engagement. This is great for surprise attacks on enemy Heroes.
  • Shifting Sands *can* ultimately give more power. That is if you hit someone 5 times in succession before the buff wears off. I have found myself doing this. But, if you are slinging 1,200 Sand Blast's and 1,400 Dragon's Breath's, you may find yourself not needing that much more damage when you get to 5 stacks. Unless they have a pretty killer healer or you're doing a 4 v 1 from inside your keep. Not a bad talent, its just that Quantum Overdrive creates more burst when you're fresh to combat.
  • Exciting to pick Fast Forward but I only do it when I'm wanting to sit back and fool around with it. Its fun to get chains of back to back to back Sand Blast's going, but I'd say only about 25% of my casts are from outside 75% range. I don't play competitively with this talent but I may try it sometime.

Level 19:

Past and Future Me is just killer. This adds a bunch of kill potential to you. It allows you to use your Temporal Loop sooner on an enemy if you get skilled at lining up the 2nd shot.
  • Pocket of Time is ok. The additional slow is helpful. The mana cost removal not so much. You don't really have mana problems at this stage of the game unless you didn't take Mobius Loop.
  • Andorhal Anomaly would potentially add some kill potential to your team, if you layered them for teamfights. I don't think its anywhere close to being viable for you to pick this over Past and Future Me.
  • Loophole has a few ways of backfiring. If you use this at the wrong time, you're potentially putting the whole team back where you don't want them. If you use it and bring the whole time, huddled up, at 15% life, you can probably get lucky with a Dragon's Breath and get a funny Triple or Quad or Mega kill. But, if they are that low, I'm assuming your team is there. If they are there, they are probably chasing them. Go for the consistent damage boost here with Past and Future Me.

Using your spells Top

I could go on for days about this. Besides the concern of mana problems, don't be afraid to try something as long as you are in a safe position. Sand Blast has a short cooldown and low mana cost. Place a stray Time Time and see what happens.

Sand Blast is a great poke. Nobody needs that explained. Just sit back and throw it. Find a rhythm and learn what your opponent does to avoid it, and lead your shots into him. But only doing that is selling yourself short. You gain a narrow line of vision for the path of the Sand Blast. If our team is capturing an objective and there is nobody in our vision, I'll throw a Sand Blast to see if they are a few steps out, just to gain a heads up. You may hit them.

A special note on Past and Future Me: I find a lot of strategic use in this talent. First in how you place your mirror. Sometimes I place myself apart from it initially, that way if you are sniping long distance, it may not be clear to the opponent where you are standing. If you are behind the keep wall and your image is in the bushes next to the keep, it can cause somebody to chase something that isn't there. This could buy time or split a group up for an easier kill for your team.

Dragon's Breath is great for clearing waves. Early game, you can position it so you hit 2/3 of the wave if they are stationary. After picking up Enveloping Assault you can crack all of them at once.

Another great thing to do is if you are pushed up to a gate, you can slam the center fort and the fountain by placing the Dragon's Breath's ring on them. Time it just right and you will pick up half if not most of the minion wave.

Don't get too caught up in doing this though. I've suffered many times from trying to be a siege machine. If your team needs you: GO HELP THEM. If they are in another lane punishing the enemy teams, by all means clear the lane and soak.

Time Trap is a great utility spell for your team. Use it to give yourself some escape time by placing it at the foot of the lane entrances. This can allow you a few more steps away from your keep. It can also provide some insurance from ambushes from quick, jumpy heroes like Tracer, Greymane, and Kerrigan.

I placed a Time Trap here so that if someone tried to cut us off from behind, I'd at least get a few steps back before I encountered them:

Better yet, when you get comfortable in a lane, use it mid-lane to catch an enemy. Learn the timing of it's stasis and drop a combo with Dragon's Breath and Sand Blast. This is effectively an ultimate the enemy doesn't have any way to prevent.

Temporal Loop is a free kill every minute if you time it correctly. But its uses are much more than this. If you see a teammate being chased and the Temporal Loop will probably save them, use it. Especially the later into the game you get.

Early Game Top

Staying alive here is easy if you do the right things at the right time.

Your first trap

I like to Time Trap the bushes or fog to the inside of the lane I'm pushing. Typically on my side of the map. This way if someone tries to get a jump on me through the fog, I can hit them with a two hit combo in most cases. Stay back during these first couple of levels. If you are part of a 3+ person rush to a lane, play a bit more forward. But the rules still apply.

After someone pops the first Time Trap or 45 seconds, place one depending on what you're up against. If you feel like you are at risk of getting caught from behind via the top/bottom lane entrance, place one at the foot of it as so:

Otherwise, place one mid-lane in hopes of catching an opponent as they leap to attack you (in the case of a Tracer or a Graymane). This is a great way to land a one-two combo of Sand Blast and Dragon's Breath. Whats the difference between a Time Trap and a Temporal Loop? Nothing if you are in range and paying attention. The timing is slightly quicker on a Time Trap, otherwise, not a thing is different.

I use this time to gauge how my enemy reacts to my Sand Blast's. I like to see if they always start to move a certain direction, such as up or down. Some people may not be familiar and don't adjust at all. If you are hitting someone more often than not, try to push them out of lane into a hearthstone. This could be huge as it could add up a soaking advantage for your team. But gauge your mana wisely, don't burn it up trying to do something you ultimately aren't / can't. Don't try to nuke down a tank, especially if they have a Morales in lane with you. But the Morales is always a possibility, as they can't heal themselves early.

One trick here and throughout the game is know the locations of healing fountains behind the gates. If you cause someone to retreat for it, you can snipe them down. Don't dive the tower trying this, its only a worthy shot if you are already up to the gate with minions. Throw a well placed (well guessed) Dragon's Breath and Sand Blast and see what happens. Put the edge of the Dragon's Breath on the fountain so even if you get nothing but air, you still hit the fountain for some damage.

I saw Azmodan retreat here. It was a chance and I took it. It ended up being a free kill and a laughing point in Teamspeak:

Also know that some people will retreat 1 or 2 steps past the gate and then recall. I usually kill at least one person this way every couple of games. Its a free kill. And it really lets people know that you know what the hell is going on when it comes to your Chromie.

And while we are on the topic of early lane sniping, keep in mind if you are playing against an Abathur and his creeps are coming into your lane, odds are hes just behind the gate. Odds are also pretty high hes just sitting there like a bump on a log until he finds out you can reach out and squish him. If there is nothing else to throw your Sand Blast at, why not try a couple?

Mid-Game Top

So at this point, you've picked up the quest for improved damage on your Dragon's Breath. Ultimately, you've been buffing that up this whole time through talents. As you rotate around, you should be pushing lanes up for your team. If you find yourself purely harassing enemy Heroes, that is fine too. But if the situation allows, use your Dragon's Breath for some push on the minion waves.

Keep an eye on your map. Awareness here is key. Know what your enemy is doing. You should have a reasonable idea if they are coming to punish you for what you're doing. Getting caught out happens. If it happens time after time, game after game, you're probably pushing too far up, or not respecting the map enough. Just play a little more conservative as far as positioning.

Sometimes you'll find yourself in a lane while your enemy is entertained by your team. If you are alone, odds are its a 4 v 5 fight for your team. If your team is struggling, don't let this go on for extended periods. If your team is working them over, take advantage and push the hell out of the lane.

Notice that I see my team going 4 v 4 in the bottom, so I can push up and take a piece out of Azmodan:

A key thing to remember here is during the initial team fight stagings. If you see a team fight coming (which you should, because you should be playing this out in your head while you watch the mini-map evolve), drop an Time Trap in your retreat path. If someone tries to flank you, it may catch them. If you have things fall apart and need to run, it'll stop that lead enemy and buy you time. It may save a wipe. Placing it at a side entrance to a lane is acceptable if you are fighting only part of the team. I've had it eat an Illidan The Hunt before.

Late Game Top

When you hit Level 15 and get Quantum Overdrive, you should be popping it when you use Temporal Loop to punish an enemy. Also be sure to use it when an engagement starts. Its easy to forget, but if you see something developing, just hit "1" and go to town.

Once you pick up Past and Future Me, always fire an early Sand Blast to get a mirror image set up. Get it a little inside of where you are going to set up and fire away from. Id you are hiding somewhere, fire the "mirror set-up" shot in the opposite direction as not to give up your position! Place your Time Trap somewhere advantageous in case something doesn't go your way, and go to town.

Here I have set-up a mirror image so I can attack the enemy team, even though they haven't tried to defend their immortal yet:

If you see your opponents doing a camp or boss attempt, throw a Sand Blast in. You may very well scare them off; they don't know if its just you or 3 people or 5 people. Throwing a Dragon's Breath is acceptable, but know it will help them kill the camp / boss. An enemy kill here is a little more rare, and if you play unwisely this will just translate to a Chromie kill then a boss capture for the enemy team.

Map-to-Map strategy Top

I could probably name a dozen little things I do specific to each map. I'll detail just a few here. I may add to it over time.

Time Trap Placement: If I am preparing to attack a point that we are on a losing battle for, I drop the Time Trap in our retreat path. That way it doesn't get blown up by the fight, and if we need to retreat, someone gets slowed in the process. If are we established at a point, I may drop it on our retreat path. I more than likely will drop it in some bushes which are on their side of the engagement. It lets us know who and what is coming. It also sets up a nice combo to start out.

A Time Trap was placed here because I wanted an obstacle just in-case our team had to retreat:

Another way I abuse this is to place one on their side of the Dragon Statue if I am going to cap it at mid-lane. This works for the bushes, or the lane itself, such as the path the Hero would take to come from their gate to the Dragon Statue. Its given me enough time to get a cap before. Try it.

On maps that are extremely point-centric, I will sometimes choose Slowing Sands for point control. Place this strategically so they have a hard time getting into the point area to contest it. If they somehow get in, pick it up so the cooldown resets, and place it in your retreat path in case you don't win the fight.

I placed the Slowing Sands here because I knew if they attacked the point, it would be from their side of the map:

Remember how I said I would poke the enemy during camp or boss attempts? Same thing goes for point harassment. Harass the hell out of them. I've bought 20 seconds before and our team has resurrected or arrived and taken it from them. Sure, its not gonna work 5 v 1. But if its 1 v 1? Let them waste time. 2 v 1? Still possible. I've even killed people who are stupid enough to try to stand and cap it, Sand Blast after Sand Blast.

A huge one here is on Shrines, if your team isn't fairing well, throw a Dragon's Breath in the center or where you see a huge group of mobs. Nothing like taking about 8 mobs from an enemy. It could be enough to cap. I have went in with my team, gotten 35, then gotten flushed out or nearly wiped. I've stayed back, let them get comfortable, dropped a few choice Dragon's Breath, and our team got the cap. Huge play, all of a sudden you're MVP.

End Result Top

I constantly try to figure out what I mess up in a game and how to do something better. If you perfect something you're doing well now. It only buys you time to do more in the future games.

I will continue to update this guide with better pictures as they occur in my matches. If I come up with more ideas, I'll be sure to share them as well.

If anyone has any questions, wants coaching, or critique: Please add me on Battle.Net. I also stream occasionally. I believe my information for both are on my profile here. If they cannot be found, feel free to reach out to me and I'll message you back.

Thank you for reading.

Quick Comment (2) View Comments

You need to log in before commenting.

3 Votes
New Guide

Quick Comment (2) View Comments

You need to log in before commenting.

HeroesFire is the place to find the perfect build guide to take your game to the next level. Learn how to play a new hero, or fine tune your favorite HotS hero’s build and strategy.

Copyright © 2019 HeroesFire | All Rights Reserved