SlobbeR--Double frontline Diablo by Slobber

SlobbeR--Double frontline Diablo

By: Slobber
Last Updated: Nov 26, 2014
18 Votes
Build 1 of 2


Build: Double frontline peeler

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

Threats to Diablo with this build

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Threat Hero Notes
  No Threat
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Muradin Big threat to your backline, manage him. Be wary of him saving Haymaker for you to deny peels and create separation
Stitches 'Pick' comps can really snowball vs Diablo's passive stacks. Be patient, win late game
Tassadar Monitor Archons as they push into your team
Arthas Arthas is the most rounded/powerful hero in the game, always a threat for your team
E.T.C. Mosh Pit-Mosh Pit-Mosh Pit-- keep this running through your brain for interrupts
Illidan Medium threat, most Illidans aren't nearly patient enough... but note if youre playing a Hunt Illidan hes going to join late, warranting an immediate response. And if he's Meta youve got to track his phases as you force him to meta/first aid/(stoneskin)
Kerrigan Big threat to your backline, manage her in the early/mid game
Zeratul Big threat to your backline, manage him, very high kill priority
Malfurion Is he making his way toward your backline? Deny that Twilight Dream, be in his way
Nazeebo Spirit-Spirit-Spirit-- keep this running through your brain for interrupts
Valla Strafe-Strafe-Strafe-Strafe-- keep this running through your brain for interrupts
Sonya Big threat to your backline, manage her (especially in the engagement via Leap>Seismic)
Uther Similar to Malfurion, keep him out of melee from your backline for Dstorms
Tyrael Big threat to your backline, manage him
Chen Big threat to your backline, manage him


Build: Apoc/Firestorm

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

Hero Overview (RP) Top

Al'Diablous, The Lord of Terror, the Great Evil, Transgender Charles Barkley. Diablo has many nicknames. If you are even slightly interested in the lore behind Diablo, I highly recommend checking this out:

Diablo is well represented in Heroes by his kit. Diablo's abilities and talents are not only fun, but they are iconic and they give you the Diablo feel, which is important (ask Illidan players). The skills Diablo has in Heroes are some of the most relevant, fearsome, tricky game mechanics Diablo used against us in the Diablo franchise. I love that blizz decided to make him playable rather than a map boss.

The following build is based on a concept and style of playing Diablo that has quickly emerged since the latest patch. The style of playing Diablo isnt what it has been in the upper tier, competitive, teamplay scene before. I explain the 'bodyguard' style of diablo in the following patch right here on heroesfire.

Abilities (kit) Top

I won't explain how the abilities work, I will only talk about aspects of each ability.

Black Soulstone
This passive will hit the hearts of Cho'Gath players from LoL. The passive becomes great because you take two huge talents to strengthen it. The 'Resurgence'-type reward from your stacks is very helpful as a tank because there are some fights that you will simply be pushed/pulled in too far for the other team, this passive will help with fluke, mistakes like those (which happen to even the best tanks). The soul reward also helps because it allows you to rez near instantly and you can start defending a siege or soaking xp while your team is on timers, basically the resurgence effect dampens how painful it is to die or lose a team fight. This passive is the reason Diablo gets ignored in the late game--stacks become too high the opportunity cost of focusing a Diablo is just silly. Only vs double AA, Bloodlust teams will Giant Killer really become enough of an issue to reduce your tankiness. Your passive makes you the most effective 'soak' tank in the game, the massive hps and regen is huge.

Auto Attack
Dont do it. There is almost no reason to ever AA if you aren't pve'ing camps or objectives. Diablo gains NO benefit, and doesnt have much strength in it... 95% of the time when interacting competitively with other players it is more effective to actively use Diablo's large frame to body block rather than to AA.

Shadow Charge
Charge is sweet. Charge in combo with 'dunk' (Overpower) reminds me of Alistar from LoL. Charge is a great supplement to Dunk for Diablo, being a displacement-based tank. In a desperate pinch you can Shadow Charge into a Overpower to gap close a runner or 'hook' a 5v4 situation... but youll always want to try and prioritize getting your Overpower on an opponent before Shadow Charge them back into your team or into a risky position. Always look for opportunities to charge enemies into walls to gain that extra effect (which happens more often than youd think, playing bodyguard style). Charge is also great for interrupting dangerous, key channeled abilities like Strafe, Ravenous Spirit, Mosh Pit, All Shall Burn, Triple Tap.

Fire Stomp
For this build and style, the ability kind of sucks. Only in Apoc + Firestorm builds does the ability become worth much. Firestorm isnt a viable option for this build since youre making up for Diablo's notoriously low damage by taking Lightning Breath. On Stitches you rely on the Hook into 5v4 plays, for displacement tanks you want to put your eggs into the displacement basket, you'll be taking Continuous Overpower later. Flame stomp is good for tagging minions while collecting passive soul stacks, youll want to use Fire Stomp on cooldown when in/near lanes just to make sure youre being a soul vacuum.

Dunk is Diablo's best ability. At level 16 youll have a talent that gives you....another charge... of your best ability. Dunk offers a small hard CC stun, but the stun pales in comparison to the positional superiority that the ability gives you (AND YOUR TEAM). As we said earlier, as Diablo you want an obssessive thought train running through your head of how and whenever you can punish poor/careless positioning. If possible it is always better to manage a Overpower before you Shadow Charge an opponent. In my opinion the best part about Overpower is that the ability abuses the large character frame of the Transgender Titan-- once you overpower an enemy you have a positional advantage to body block that character, which almost functions as an additional slow for the hero.

A great concept for a skill--and its wonderful when used with a combo of great team coordination, intuition, and fortunate circumstance. However it doesnt fit the current meta as well as it could. The current meta is filled with ranged AD (ability damage) heroes and attack speed, AA based heroes ( Falstad, Nova, Brightwing, Zagara, Nazeebo, Tassadar, Azmodan, Valla, Tychus, Raynor, etc). If the meta was more dominated by bruisers or melee assassins ( Zeratul, Kerrigan, bulky Illidan, etc), then Apoc would be much more naturally effective. In general, you need to chain Apoc off of 'set up' wombo combo CC's to make it worth taking against competent players. If you insist on going Apocaylpse you need to have 2 heroes on your team that provide Wombo AoE cc set up ( Sonya, Uther, Zagara, etc), Firestorm, and skype/TS coordination to nail combos. If you dont have those pieces, youre only likely to nail 1 person Apoc's consistently. This build and style doesnt take Apocalypse, I dont like how much it requires to be effective in solo queue and even team play, as it requires specific team composition, hero pairings, and fluid teamfight coordination. Even without one of those 3 components, Apoc becomes lackluster. Perhaps this will change if the meta moves away from ranged dominance.

Lightning Breath

Iconic Diablo ability, and fortunately for us--the damage was buffed! As of the most recent patch, the damage from LB is now increased in the initial seconds of the 3.5 second channel. Here is a general breakdown of the damage that Lightning Breath does, for those too lazy to calculate scaling and relative damage to various hero roles:

1st second of channeling = ~25% of a carry's total hps. (Huge damage--fight-altering damage)
2nd second of channeling = ~20% of a carry's total hps (Moderate damage--very worthwhile)
3rd second of channeling = ~15% of a carry's total hps. (low damage--not entirely worth the opp. cost time spent channeling if on less than 2 targets)

*This means if you position yourself appropriately and use fluid intuition to get a good spot for the channel, you can do 50 to 60% of a carry's hps BY YOURSELF, as Diablo. You throw in soft and hard CC from your teammates ( Zagara, Uther, Tyreal, Gazlowe, E.T.C., Arthas, Anub'arak, Malfurion, Rehgar, Sonya) and these numbers become more likely as you play with better players. A good use of LB will hit player(s) for 2 seconds, that is your window for "doing your job" in between dunks and charges. Put simply, if you hit 2s of Lightning Breath on EVEN ONE target (you'll likely hit more), its very noticeable.

Babysit either between your frontline and your backline, or sit in your backline. Create that extra layer and space for your fragile damage dealers. A rare use for LB can also rarely surface by pushing very far forward to the enemy team backline, trapping the enemy team between you channeling [LB] and your team mates on the other side. This is clearly riskier, but Ive seen players nail these in NIGHTMARE teamfights to 5-0 sweep.

Lightning Breath is only (temporarily) stopped by hard CC, this can trick impatient/anxious players into using their prime CC on you rather than more critical teammates of yours. As players push in on your team, you are in the way, blasting them, this causes 3 scenarios usually... Many times this will either (1) wreak HAVOC in damage if players don't react adequately, it may (2) cause them to put all their cards on the table and make a hard commitment to reach your fragiles, or (3) they will scatter, giving up most positional advantage/strength they have for that team fight.

A final major place for Lightning Breath is in sieging lanes, there will be a section at the end of the guide to discuss this.

Talents (build) Top

Level 1:
Devil's Due: Reduction from 100 to 60 is just ok, its never good to prioritize your build on the concept of dying... if youre playing a good game the talent would be wasted. This isnt even a serious debate versus the increased scaling and regen from Feast.

SOUL FEAST: Increased health and regen per stack. This boosts Diablo's passive to give you even better health and now regen, this is huge for Diablo's early and mid game sustain. This talent essentially makes Black Soulstone a 3 part passive: Hp scale, hp regen, and Resurgence of the Storm effect.

Block: If you invest in Diablo's passive you really dont need to be tankier. Obviously this is only worthwhile against AA heroes. Its only so helpful because you generally dont push waaaaay into the enemy team now as Diablo, unlike other tanks like Arthas, E.T.C., Tyrael, Chen, etc.

Soul Steal: Boosted passive is empirically better. Stacking souls isnt difficult, unnecessary.

Level 4:
AMPLIFIED HEALING: Clearly you get increased healing from heal supports ( Uther, Malfurion, Brightwing, Rehgar, etc)... which is nice really only for late game long-duration teamfights. The selling point of this talent is that it increases the health regen you just got from Soul Feast. A no-brainer choice. Edit: The value from this talent is also increased if youre playing a double frontliner teamcomp-- means Diablo will have considerable regen, but diablo will require less active healing from your healer, allowing them to concentrate heals more on the tank that dives the backline, or your carries.

Swallowing Flames: Really not helpful for the build. MAYBE worth something in Apoc/Firestorm builds... but even then i'd still choose the healing bonus from Amp Healing. Doesnt help you much for tagging minions as well, you really dont need help there.

Molten Impact: Just no, Diablo isnt a splitter or a lane pusher.

Demonic Strength: Arguments can be made for this in combination with the level 16 double dunk talent. The damage base and scaling for Overpower is too low for me to take this seriously in comparison with a more rounded, balanced talent like Amplified Healing that synergizes with your role, team, and talents. You can't ask for much more.

Level 7:
Battle Momentum: This talent works on a tank like Tyrael, because Tyrael takes other talents which increase his AA attacks between his abiilities. Tyreal is also a tank-engage-burst hero, that fits his role. Diablo isnt even close to Tyrael. Skip, fatguy bodyblock instead--abuse the large toon frame.

ENDLESS DEATH: More souls = more hp scaling. More souls = more regen scaling. More souls = more opportunities to quick rez. Amazing talent that ties together the tanky 1-7 talents for Diablo, this is all the tankiness youll need for the rest of the build/game.

Siphon the Dead: (UPDATED) Some people make a case for Siphon because it essentially allows you to never ever bpill to fountain to heal up. Even taking this argument seriously, I am not sold on this because going back to the fountain is really only a waste of time if youre playing a hero that can otherwise churn out a merc camp to heal up... Diablo is not at all this type of hero. Siphon is removed by damage/combat so its really only good and worthwhile if youre playing a pick-poke-sustain-disengage comp (think Stitches-Zeratul-Tyrande-BW, etc.). I dont think Diablo is optimal in those set ups, Siphon is a classic case of alpha players trying to do fancy things just for the sake of variability, instead of being intentional and goal-oriented.

Level 10:
LIGHTNING BREATH: LB makes up for 'low diablo damage', and level 16 boosts your cc/displace/utility, creates the wonderful balance that top tier tanks need ( Tyrael, Arthas, etc)

Level 13:
From the Shadows: Increased range, not worth a whole lot. You never really feel good about yourself if you use Shadow Charge as a gap closer/chase tool anyway, so that doesnt help much (in fact it separates your 'hook' even further from your teammates to get a pick off kill). Situationally only pseudo helpful after Dunks, but if you dunk into a charge into your team its likely to be a kill/successful gank anyway. Doesnt change much.

Crippling Shadows: My #2 choice if the enemy comp doesnt warrant Relentlesss. If theres no/little CC (like AA/ Bloodlust teams), then sometimes the slow after charge can net you kills on your roaming ganks in the early and mid game. The one thing thats worse than being charged and stunned into a wall is to then have to deal with a slight snare after you recover.

Spell Shield: The high hp pool focus from Diablo makes this talent less effective. Like Block, this would be very helpful if you played a style of Diablo where you push irationally far in, like Arthas pursuits. Your hp pool is enough if AD heroes weirdly try to focus their burst kit on you (the tank).

Relentless: Worth taking against Wombo combo, cc heavy teams. I also enjoy this in combination with Lightning Breath because LB often freaks out opponents into brashly using their CC on you to reduce/briefly cancel the effect. This cc would otherwise be used on your carries or support, and with Relentless, the effectiveness of even that use is now reduced. Check mate.

Level 16:
Fire Devil: Immolation aura, not even close in damage comparison to Firestorm so whats the point?

Firestorm: Huge damage. This is a must-have if you insist on playing apoc with teammates. What the tooltip doesnt tell you is that the flames EACH do x dmg. So when the flames return and re converge on you, each flame deals its own damage. A few waves does decent damage, several waves do heavy damage to those next to you. This is absolutely necessary if you skipped on Lightning Breath earlier, otherwise you will be a bit of a wasted slot in team fights. Diablo offers guaranteed displacement, shakey hard cc via Apoc, and no damage. This gives you the total team damage contribution as well as burst damage for your targets/everyone in melee from you.

Imposing Presence: Obviously only even worth a look vs double AA, Bloodlust teams. Even then, Your pre 10 talents will do just fine at making you tanky, you really want a boost in either DMG ( Firestorm) or utility/cc ( Continuous Overpower).

CONTINUOUS OVERPOWER: So, d*mn good. If you need to go refresh on why Overpower is so good from the abilities section. This gives you ANOTHER charge of it. The time this shines is in team fights obviously. Now you dont have to be as picky and selective about using dunk, you'll have another in your pocket. I really like this because it allows you to have this as your rinse-and-repeat combo in team fights: Burn a charge of Overpower to engage a 5v4 or to peel a diver onto your ranged carry, then light up Lightning Breath, that way as soon as the 3.5 seconds of breath are over, you have another charge of dunk (while the other is recharging its cd), and you have Shadow Charge if you didnt use if before the Lightning Breath

Level 20:
Storm Shield: Underrated. This is situationally worth picking if you find youre sticking to your 'bodyguard' role, AND if the enemy team has 2 or more diver champions (like Tyrael+ Chen set ups), putting pressure on your fragile carries. It can be used to great effect after the divers gap close your carries: Overpower the diver away, Storm Shield your carry and crisp the enemy team with Lightning Breath, this makes the time spent in Lightning Breath feel more effective since your teammates will have a small shield during the channel.

BOLT OF THE STORM: Usually the #1. Flash is usually a great tool for tanks if you've got good awareness, you can save many team fights by flashing projectiles that would otherwise wreck your carries. Flash/bolt can be seriously abused by a displacement tank like Diablo, as well as set you up in prime positioning for monster Lightning Breath. Bolt can be used to flash to the other side and create a 5v4 pick off oppotrtunity for your team. You bolt to the back of a late-suspecting carry, then Shadow Charge them into your team, bodyblock for 1 more second, then Overpower then back to the other side. This is MADDENING for the poor carry:

Dying Breath: Sticking with my strong feeling toward death-based talents/mechanics as described earlier-- I dont like em. I don't plan on dying and against competant-to-good players, they will 10% of the time get hit by an Apocalypse if they dont have cc to lock them down before hand. Good players will just dodge it easily.

Hellstorm: I don't like it. The range increase doesnt help us at all because 75% of the time when a player avoids or gets out of the range of Lightning Breath, they will do so by moving laterally out of the cone, they wont run away from it, length-wise like an idiot. The increased duration is actually bad as well, you dont want any more time channeling [LB] than you have to, the 3.5 seconds is long enough already to not be actively tanking/bodyblocking/dunking/charging, get back into the fight and use/abuse your kit.

Noteworthy Matchups Top

Play to Diablo's strengths. His primary strength is in enemy displacement via Shadow Charge and Overpower. Here are some heroes that you should be mindful of when playing Diablo, the more these matchups scroll in your head passively the more often youll find fluid scenarios to counter/dominate them for your team.

Shadow Charge get that interrupt rolling for key abilities.
Nova-- Triple Tap
Nazeebo-- Ravenous Spirit
E.T.C.-- Mosh Pit
Azmodan-- All Shall Burn
Valla-- Strafe

Overpower dunk to displace and peel the pesky divers that insist on harassing your backliners.
Tyrael-- Judgment & El'druin's Might
Kerrigan-- Ravage & Primal Grasp
Muradin-- Dwarf Toss
Illidan-- Dive & Sweeping Strike & Metamorphosis & The Hunt
Anub'arak-- Burrow Charge
Chen-- Flying Kick & Storm, Earth, Fire
E.T.C.-- Powerslide & Bolt of the Storm
Zeratul-- Blink & Bolt of the Storm
Uther-- Sprint & Divine Storm
Sonya-- Leap

Hero/team composition: Top

Diablo currently fits a hugely popular and dominant team comp style with 'split double frontliner' teams.

This style is simple but insanely effective, you build a team with 2 tanks/warriors/bruisers/frontliners. One of the frontliners is an aggressive diver tank/bruiser-- this hero will push far in to the enemy carries and backliners. Here are examples of these heroes:

Tyrael, Arthas, Anub'arak (Locust Swarm spec), Chen, Muradin (Avatar Bloodlust comp), Sonya etc.

The other frontliner is a tank/bruiser that has enough CC to effectively peel for your own backliners. Here are examples of these heroes:

Anub'arak (Web Blast spec), Arthas, E.T.C., Muradin (Haymaker), Sonya, Diablo, etc.

Sometimes this strat is done using one bruiser and Abathur, you send the cloned hero to aggressively dive while your bruiser pulls back and peels.

Diablo is a PERFECT addition to these split double frontliner teams. Set up Diablo as your peel tank as you have another tank/bruiser push in to create space for your teamfight. This allows you to play Diablo as a guard--abusing his displacement and setting him up for GREAT positioning to nail crippling Lightning Breath. Having Diablo play this role essentially forces the other team to choose how hardcore they want to commit and dive your backline.

Phases of game Top

Passive throughout the game: Track your passive soul stacks. Play more aggressively when youre near max stacks, and more safely when you are down on stacks.

Early: Diablo can hold a lane, but he usually shines in the early game when roaming with a dmg-heavy partner. But important reminder about ganking: If you are a cc-heavy hero like Diablo what you need is damage from a partner. Meaning dont do things like roaming with a healer, or another cc based tank. Roam with damage heavy assassins ( Tychus, Kerrigan, Arthas, Falstad, Sonya, Zeratul, Nova, etc.). Inversely if youre running a lane solo as Diablo.. only aggressively work for ganks if your ganker is an assassin, theres nothing worse than being baited into committing to a bad gank if an Uther or Rehgar decides to gank your lane. If being sneaky and stealing a merc camp before attempting a gank, be mindful of how far your flames spread in Fire Stomp, you'll give away your positioning.

Mid game: Youre the frontliner in the major merc camp, jungle skirmishes for map objectives. Use the small space in the mid game team fight environments to land your crucial AoE abilities like Lightning Breath, Apocalypse, and Shadow Charge in tight spaces-- you have a higher chance of nailing game-breaking AoE skills. The tightly-spaced fights of the mid game are actually where Diablo really shines during a game.

Late game: Use the time in between major map objective skirmishes and lane pushing sieges to shove lanes while topping off your Black Soulstone stacks. You are now tanky enough that the other team will try really really hard to ignore you (the correct move in most cases for them). Understand this relationship and abuse it. You are the kid that no one wants to play with at the playground--go make them play with you. Be present, be a pain in the ***. If someone is trying to go somewhere you are in the way. This idea is actually a huge reason Lightning Breath fits well with Diablo. Lightning Breath makes you a higher priority target, it may pull hasty cc that would otherwise be used on your teammates to a greater effect. It also creates such a void zone that players are forced to react to it by moving out of the way--this is the other team playing with you, congrats. Wipe them up and go grab the ogre camp

Sieging Top

Part of Diablo's strength lies in sieging structures during a lane push. At any point if your team is pushing a lane with the aid of mercs or an objective vehicle (plant terror, Dk, or with a Golem)... you should be frontlining as Diablo. As your team pokes away at and chunks a clustered group of structures or base (queue in Tyrande, Azmodan, Falstad, Brightwing, Malfurion, Nova, Nazeebo, Sgt. Hammer, Raynor, Tassadar, Zagara, etc.) you sit in the front and "aggressively defend" the siege. If anyone juicy comes too close to melee of you, dunk and charge them into your team. If anyone tries to flank your team with poor positioning, charge them into a wall and then dunk them into your team. Abuse your high hps and low cooldown ultimate Lightning Breath by using it to siege. Park yourself infront of your ranged pokers and shoost a Lightning Breath right down the lane (hitting as many players/structures as possible) in the last seconds of your siege-- this disourages and punishes the other team from making an active defense, and in the next 60 seconds you can retreat and grab a merc camp or collect skulls in the mines before you torque up for the next team fight with Lightning Breath back up.

*Use good game sense and intuition for nailing good Lightning Breath while sieging. If you know 100% your opponent team wants to engage or is about to engage, set up like an old school Donkey Kong game and make their engage a serious pain for them.

Ex: If the other team is just about to hit a major level (10, 16, 20) just before your team, predict this and set up a Lightning Breath to make them weigh their options.

Ex2: The other team is playing a Bloodlust comp, as soon as you see it go down, get into a good LB position.

Ex3: You are pushing and your Plant Terror/Dragon Knight/Golem is about to fade, you KNOW the enemy team is going to engage on you, be ready to punish them for taking too hasty of an engagement. Remember this is a likely scenario in the early and mid game because you will generally put your team's support in these vehicles, while you (a tank) will take them in the late game.

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