The Butcher Breakdown w/ numbers by sect

The Butcher Breakdown w/ numbers

By: sect
Last Updated: Aug 8, 2016
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The Butcher

Build: Auto Attack Build (full damage &...

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The Butcher

Build: High Burst (Marauder style full burst)

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The Butcher

Build: High Burst (Marauder safe variant)

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The Butcher

Build: Aggressive Burst Ganker

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The Butcher

Build: High Burst/High Snare

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The Butcher

Build: Mage Bomber

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The Butcher

Build: Back Line Bomber

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About this guide Top

Primarily, The Butcher serves his team as a high burst and/or sustainable damage dealer. His basic attack damage is one of the highest amongst other assassins, meaning careful positioning must be maintained throughout a team fight. The Butcher is a soft target himself and will go down quickly if focused.

His abilities and talents enable him to stun, slow, poke, reveal stealthed enemies, and above all, quickly dispatch targets.

While The Butcher has excellent self healing and damage output, he excels with the support of others coupled with mindful positioning and player control.

In this guide I will outline how I play The Butcher, why I choose specific talents, & basic playstyle concepts will be discussed on a per ability basis.

A high percentage of the Butchers talents are almost always useful and a good players selection of these will be based upon on a number of dynamic factors. I aim to outline the two game play styles I go with and I will reference to these as the marauder burst style, and the auto attack style. Core concepts will be highlighted and talent selections/alternative options will be looked at.

When to pick The Butcher Top

It is in my opinion that The Butcher can be picked at any time against any composition.

The deciding factors are what support you're going to have and your team mates being on-board with focusing their support efforts around you.

Similar to Illidan, The Butcher works best when left to do his thing in relative peace. Unlike Illidan however The Butcher has no means of breaking CC or disengaging. Once you commit, you're in there till you can make you way out dead or alive.

Abathur, Tassadar, Uther and Tyrande are who I consider to be the stronger supports for The Butcher due to shielding, burst heals and complementative stun support. Healers who have Storm Shield are also great.

Also important is a solid front line, e.g. a two tank set up. Johanna and Tyrael offer great front line disruption allowing you to maneuver in and out of the fight.

By no means is The Butcher only viable with the above in your party, but they help mitigate your weaknesses - low hps and no means of breaking CC.

Heroes who can Blind, such as Li Li and Johanna can be problematic for The Butcher as they negate your potent Auto-Attack damage. When blinded you will have to move back and re-engage when safe.

Positioning Top

When you first started playing the Butcher, you quickly realised how frail he is. Though he looks like a big intimidating character capable of taking a few hits, this isn't really the case.

As a soft target high damage dealer you will be a focus for the enemy team, and as you'll need to be right next to your own target in order to do damage, you must always monitor your hp pool.

Therefore positioning and timing are two key concepts to master, and depending on the build you take you will need to be mindful of a few things.
    In the burst builds your aim is to dive a target, do damage, and reposition safely before the next dive.

    In the Auto-Attack builds you will spend most of your time positioned on the front line, ideally slightly behind the tank or such that you can move to keep the tank between you and your enemy team.
Something important to remember: you don't always have to chase. Doing enough damage to displace the other team can be considered a successful engagement. It's seldom worth the risk of dying. When you go in to attack, getting a hero down to half health (a relatively effortless trait of The Butcher) means you're getting them out of the fight for a period of time, meaning you can start to work on someone else constantly spreading damage across their whole team.

Always be moving making it hard for them to land CC. During a fight make sure to right click move and A+left click your target in between. Use your abilities to manipulate the fights tempo in your favor. Generally they will run away defensively allowing your team to create a momentum push.

During the early laning phase of the game be sure to position yourself behind your minions, using them as the front line as you kill enemy minions and build up your stacks.

Engagements Top

Early game the aim is to build stacks and test the enemy team with your Hamstring
Stay behind enemy minions to prevent any unnecessary damage and well taps. On small maps you should totally float between your lane and another to maximise Fresh Meat. If an enemy hero is too far forward ping that you'd like to charge him with Ruthless Onslaught and coordinate the kill with your team.
Don't die. Extra care is required early game as you have no escapes and the penalty for doing so is high.

Mid game some defensive options open up, but your best asset is still intimidation. Poke with Flail Axe often to keep your enemies slightly CCd to possibly create space for a gank in coordination with your team mates. Pairing with someone who can stun if you're still laning can be what you need for an easy kill.

Stay at the edge of the front line and only dive in on either low health targets, or soft assassins that you can get to half health with your Cheap Shot and/or Brutal Strike.

Late game you will be working with your team to secure kills. Hang around the edge of the fray and dive targets as needed. Never get ahead of the tank unless the numbers are in your favor, but be prepared to move back instantly. Don't die.

Generally in either build, you will open with (if taken, Furnace Blast>) Ruthless Onslaught > Hamstring > Auto Attack
Keep in mind that the auto attack time is reset on impact from Ruthless Onslaught.

Ruthless Onslaught > Hamstring > Butcher's Brand > Auto Attack will keep the damage tempo up, but means your heal could be wasted.

A final note; set expectations on your engagements. Don't expect to kill a tank, but instead be happy with getting them down to 4/5 of their maximum health. Dive in, get a few hits off and back off if you need to to survive. Low cool downs are a feature of The Butcher so you can always set back up in a low amount of time.

On soft targets aim for 1/5 of their hp pool. Your burst is likely to be higher than theirs. Force them to use defensive talents and abilities and force their cool downs. Chances are you can beat them in a 1v1 but unless you're confident they will recieve no aid, you're best to back out having done your damage and gear up for the next round.

Lastly, save your Butcher's Brand for when you're about half health. This goes for Merc Camps and enemy hero engagements.

Level 1 Talents Top

Our first talents that lay a versatile foundation. Picking talents based around what your team is lacking in is a good initial approach. Any weaknesses you feel may arise in your build can be rounded out with later talent choices and your own considerable ability tool kit.

If Hamstring hits a Hero, half of the Mana cost is refunded and the cooldown is reduced by 1 second.
Invigoration is an excellent talent that will always be of use and can feature in any viable Butcher build.
As Hamstring as an ability is on a low base cool down with relatively low mana requirements, Invigoration serves as more of a marginal boost to dps - but don't underestimate the fact that that 1second cool down could contribute to securing a fleeing kill.

Invigoration synergises most effectively with all the Hamstring talents in the Marauder high burst play style.
If you are grouped with a healer Invigoration is an excellent pick in the Auto-Attack build, but you must have the confidence that passing on Victuals and its generous healing will be a safe bet.

Invigoration requires you to always be mindful of where you are positioned in a team fight, and to be thinking a few moves ahead - where will your heals be coming from, can I secure a reasonable amount of damage without taking any myself, etc.

Periodically reduces the damage received from Hero Basic Attacks by 50% . Stores up to 2 charges.
In the support role, Block will prevent critical damage in an important window of time allowing you to charge in for a tactical stun and Lamb to the Slaughter. Block protects you at key moments against Auto Attack heroes.

Chop Meat
Increases the damage of Hamstring by 50% to non-Heroic targets, and Minions killed by Hamstring drop 3 stacks of meat.
Chop Meat will help you edge ahead in the very early game with minion clearing and getting a full stack for your trait. As a talent it's use will fall behind others in this tier very quickly as you level up. Burning Rage will be a more diverse choice later on if you're looking to fill a split-push roll in your team comp.

There can be a case made for Chop Meat by using it as your safety net talent allowing you to quickly get stacks back up late game (assuming Abattoir is not taken). I personally would rather learn to avoid dying by practicing mindful positioning and engagements, proper ability use in 1v1s, and make use of Victuals or Invigoration better.

Heal for 3% of your Maximum Health when you collect Fresh Meat. Meat continues to drop at maximum stacks.
Several cases can be made for why Victuals is the best choice in this tier; it provides the highest damage output (by keeping you in the action and able to contribute damage), has excellent and easily accessed sustainability, you can poke and harass early game in lanes, and means you're one less person a healer needs to be overly concerned about.

Victuals, combined with the Butcher's Brand ability is your key to staying alive. You have self healing during and after an engagement, meaning you spend less time Hearthing back for a top up and instead spend more time on the battlefield harassing, in team fights, or gaining exp for your team in lane.

While in a perfect world a player with impeccable control could avoid 80% of incoming damage - this just isn't the case. The Butchers greatest contribution to his team is his threat of high damage, so always being at the ready to engage is your biggest asset.

I consider this pretty much a mandatory pick in QM where you have no heals. Also of note, by not picking Invigoration you're not going to gain as much from the rest of the Hamstring enhancements. If it looks like you'll be going with the auto attack build, Victuals can be a very smart pick regardless of having a healer or not.

Level 4 Talents Top

Level 4 talents offer utility with an emphasis on additional damage into either build.

Flail Axe
Increases the length of Hamstring by 40%.
Flail Axe serves as both an excellent utility and damage boost talent. It allows you to poke at enemies early game, reveal stealthed characters, check bushes safely, secure kills, clear waves quicker, and provides a bump in damage by spreading its hit across more heroes. It has nice synchronicity with Invigoration by better ensuring you get use of this level one talent due to it's increased range and higher chance of hitting a hero.

Your Hamstrings will hit deeper into the enemy team, spreading its damage and slow meaning you will be safer. You can also use hamstring defensively with more success when you're trying to escape by turning around to quickly slow them. This talent serves all talent specs and playstyles.

Unrelenting Pursuit
Reduces the cooldown of Ruthless Onslaught by 40% upon impact.
One of The Butchers greatest abilities is Ruthless Onslaught. The ability to dive into battle on specific targets distinguishes The Butcher apart from other heroes, and the added 1s stun can turn a 1v1.

With this talent you can play a more dive based game, which excels in the larger maps with big distances to close. The option to open with Ruthless Onslaught and have another one available in 12 seconds opens up more diversity and cc in many situations. Saving your Ruthless Onslaught for a timely stun can keep you alive and therefore able to contribute more damage over the course of an engagement. There is also the option to use Ruthless Onslaught as a means to charge out of battle should there be a viable target (i.e. minion positioned behind you).

This is always a viable talent but it doesn't edge ahead of Flail Axe in damage or defensiveness. This talent is picked in the auto-attack build on maps where you can ambush from hidden areas.

Cheap Shot
Hamstring does 100% more damage to targets affected by a slow, root, or stun.
Cheap Shot has great synergy with all of The Butchers movement impairing abilites, these include the 1s stun from Ruthless Onslaught, the chain from Lamb to the Slaughter, and the 1s slow from Nexus Blades. Cheap Shot shines when you have a lot of CC in your group.

The downside of picking this talent can be that you're simply not getting the most from the talent tier where your Hamstrings aren't landing on CC'd targets. The default reach of Hamstring isn't bad by any means, but the increase from offers poke utility and better chase, not to mention damage across multiple targets. Player control will largely decide Cheap Shots viability, and additional talent choices combined with available CC from team mates are what makes this selection stand out.

Activate to poison an enemy Hero, dealing 366.08 (+4% per level) damage over 10 seconds.
Envenom has a chance for securing a kill against a fleeing soft target in rare circumstances (say, end of a lengthy team fight where low mana and health is a factor). In comps where you're lacking hard CC Envenom can be the obvious choice and it's particularly effective against other highly mobile assassins. This talent is more of a personal playstyle pick.

Level 7 Talents Top

At level 7 The Butcher will pick the talents that define his build direction.

Brutal Strike
After using Hamstring, your next Basic Attack deals an additional 50% damage.
Brutal Strike serves a defining role in the Marauder Butcher burst play style. After using Hamstring your next basic attack strikes instantly so you can squeeze this initial Hamstring in straight after your auto-attack.

Delivering this sizeable chunk of damage almost instantly is synonymous with how the Butcher works, and Brutal Strike is a talent that defines two of the possible paths for The Butcher. You can either deliver more initial damage upfront to delete a soft target or finish a low health one, or pick the Auto-Attack talents and have a more sustained damage curve across multiple targets.

Insatiable Blade
Increases Butcher's Brand's healing from 75% to 100% of your Basic Attack damage.
Having the increased upfront heal on Butcher's Brand will help your survivability at key intense moments where you're generally the first target.

Not a bad talent, but there are better options at this tier.

Increases the maximum number of Fresh Meat to 35, and you only lose half upon death.
Abattoir is at the heart of The Butchers Auto-Attack build. It adds a further 10% basic attack damage on top of The Butchers Fresh Meat sizetrait. If you do die, only losing half of your stacks means you can rejoin the battle with relative confidence and have less of a need to run straight to a lane in order to begin maximizing your damage by acquiring fresh meat.

Abattoir synchronizes with Blood Frenzy, giving you a 35% bonus to attack damage and attack speed, so these two talents form the back bone of the Auto Attack build.

With Abattoir and Nexus Blades The Butcher can increase his basic attack damage by 55%. If you die with full stacks and come back with 18, you're still coming back into the fray with an increased 38% basic attack.

Final Assault
Increases Ruthless Onslaught's range by 33.3*%, and causes you to lunge at the enemy when close to impact.
The increase in range to Ruthless Onslaught will help you close the distance on an enemy from a significant distance, but quite simply this talent can't compete with any of the others at this tier.

Level 10 Talents Top

Generally speaking, The Butchers two ultimates can actually be interchanged between the Auto Attack and more Marauding burst style of play. Your pick will come down to what you feel comfortable with, your opponents team composition, and what support you have.

Furnace Blast
After a 3 second delay, fire explodes around you dealing 300 (+35 per level) damage to enemies.
Can be cast while using Ruthless Onslaught.

Furnace Blast has the potential to quickly finish a team fight, is a formidable initiator forcing the opponent to either deposition or eat it, and can add excellent burst damage to either play style. It's both a good opener and finisher, so picking your moment is crucial.

Generally you want to start Furnace Blast before charging in with your Ruthless Onslaught, ideally having it explode as you land on your target. Be mindful of the fact that certain abilities can mean you waste the considerable 90s cool down on Furnace Blast, such as Devouring Maw from Zagara.

Lamb to the Slaughter
Throw a hitching post that attaches to the nearest enemy Hero after a 1 second delay. This deals 75 (+15 per level) damage and causes the enemy to be chained to the post for 4 seconds.
First, I'd like to point readers to this guide by BattlePuppy. Here you will find comprehensive numbers on Lamb to the Slaughter picked in various builds.

Lamb to the Slaughter is a very versatile ability. It can ensure a solid 1v1 kill with relative ease if you're out roaming and be extremely useful in a team fight if placed correctly.
It's great for picking off that one hero when his or her team is retreating to safety, or can be placed defensively if you're trying to escape.

The 1s animation that happens when the chained hero trys to escape and is dragged back in is a nice mechanic to be aware of. Use this with Butcher's Brand to safely heal up if you need it.

There are some powerful uses of this ability which require experimentation, for example if you're up against 2 heroes, dive in on one and chain the other, allowing your team to kill the chained victim and then move on to your target. It also syncs with Cheap Shottoo.

Level 13 Talents Top

Level 13 talents will be more of a reactive choice to how the game is going thus far. There are defensive and offensive options available which are applicable to any build.

Burning Rage
A soft yet sustainable damage increase which fits into the Auto-Attack and Marauder builds. Burning Rage fits nicely with Lamb to the Slaughter as you'll be able to get 4s of additional passive damage out with relative ease. When playing against Zagara you will be able to stay on top of killing her Creep Tumor Creep Tumors, and against Nova or Zeratul you'll have a chance of revealing them, though a well timed Hamstring is favourable.

Having decent support from team mates will help you decide on taking this greedy talent, but the extra damage can be worth it.

Savage Charge
Savage Charge gives a lot of burst damage, and is especially useful against double tank compositions. With the burst style of play the added 10% is considered essential as your damage curve will be even higher during the initial engage.

Crave Flesh
Crave Flesh is both an offensive and defensive utility skill. Before getting Nexus Blades at level 20 it'll help you stick to opponents to better ensure the kill which is especially useful in the auto attack build, but it's not necessarily essential. If you're finding yourself being targeted by other auto attack heroes then Crave Flesh is a better defensive tool than Spell Shield plus it has more utility. If Lamb to the Slaughter Lamb to the Slaughter was picked and you're having a game with good character control perhaps consider Burning Rage.

Spell Shield
An essential skill if you're being targeted by mage dps and playing a dive style of engagement with little support from your team. Spell Shield fits nicely into the Marauder burst style by allowing you to charge in, let your combo off and start making your way back behind the tank or to the healer with 2-3 seconds of protection. This talent can be a life saver.

Level 16 Talents Top

At level 16 The Butcher chooses to be either super defensive in a situational context, all round offensive, or offer some CC to the group.

Crippling Slam
Crippling Slam can be quite useful if Invigoration was picked early on. The added slow and new mechanic to how it works can help boost the overall damage potential of your group. The constant spamable snare will catch people off gaurd, and as they're generally going to want to run away form you, you'll be able to get 1 to 2 more hits in before reapplying the effect. Combined with Furnace Blast, this underrated talent can offer great team fight utility.

Crippling Slam, Brutal Strike and Furnace Blast make for a really fun playstyle with huge damage output and CC. Adequate support is prerequisite.

Enraged fits into a dive based style in a few situations where the enemy team has a lot of hard CC and you're finding yourself focused often. The 40% attack speed increase is very strong, and the 75% reduction in crowd control can be life saving. The downside is these are only going to pop up when you're below half health and lasts 10seconds, with a cool down of 30seconds. Having a permanent attack speed increase of 25% to 35% with Blood Frenzy is preferable for your overall effectiveness at dealing damage. Picking Crave Flesh and learning to enter and exit the fight at key times will make you a much more valuable assassin.

If you're being focused and need a more defensive edge (such as in the support role) Enraged is a very strong pick.

Blood Frenzy
This talent is at the core of The Butchers ability to dish out highly sustainable damage. With it you can get off one more huge hit should you choose to disengage from an unfavorable fight, or commit and totally wreck anyone too slow to get away from you. You'll notice your healing significantly increase with Butcher's Brand which will change your approach to fights with renewed confidence.

An essential pick that allows you to efficiently skirt on the edges of team fights getting in meaningful hits without the need to dive in so much. With the burst builds you can confidently stick to your targets after the initial dive and burst and get those finishing hits needed on weakened opponents.

Level 20 Talents Top

At level 20 the final talents help round out The Butcher, with many viable options available, both offensive and defensive. By this stage in the game you should have a feel for how the enemy team is prioritizing their kill rotation meaning you can offer a wild card to team fights at this tier.

Fires of Hell
Furnace Blast explodes a second time 3 seconds after the initial explosion.
The second hit from Furnace Blast adds some undeniable damage which has the potential to wipe an enemy team. Experimentation is required and by level 20 you should have an idea about how your team fights are going and whether this talent will tip the odds in your favor. The draw back is the 3second wait for the additional blast to go off, so having supportive CC is pretty key. I find with Leoric and Johanna on my team that this talent is pretty effective. Hanging around in the middle of their composition can be worrisome as you're watching the cast animation go off, but if their not trying to re-position away from you you should be able to stand where you need to and maximize the damage across as many targets as possible.

Consider charging in on one target with the first Furnace Blast activated and after it goes off make your way to the next target. Always try to position yourself to hit more than one hero.

Combined with Crippling Slam, this talent can throw done game changing huge damage.

Lamb to the Slaughter now chains all enemy Heroes in range.
Augmenting Lamb to the Slaughter such that it can now chain all heroes in it's radius can make for some interesting opportunities. Slaughterhouse works very well with Jaina and Kael'thas, and anyone else with respectable AOE damage.

Nexus Blades
Basic attacks deal 20% more damage and slow the target for 1 second.
A somewhat greedy talent, but one that can finalize your role in the Auto-Attack build as the highest damage dealer on your team. The 1s slow forces enemies to use a defensive talent to get away, and if it's on cool down your chances of killing in a quick manner are increased.

Pick this talent only if you have a well rounded team, i.e. at least one tank and one healer. Choosing Nexus Blades can buff the Burst Build by replacing the potential damage of Abattoir that wasn't picked earlier in the game.

Bolt of the Storm
Activate to teleport to a nearby location.
Bolt of the Storm is for the most part a situational choice. In close games it's usually the better choice allowing you escape from being focus fired. It adds a defensive layer unlike any other, but it must be used with the 60s cool down in mind.

~ Top

Thankyou for reading this lengthy guide into The Butcher. He's a fun hero to play that has a good feel.

Any thoughts, suggestions or amendments you think I should make please list them in the comments below.

[Lt. Morales Patch update] -
-Amended existing builds and added two more to reflect change to Savage Charge. Current warrior meta taken into consideration too.
-Talent comments changed to reflect changes to some maps, such as Chop Meat description.

[Li Mind Patch update] -
Tidied up some maths, added new build.
Been having a lot of fun with Crippling Slam and Fires of Hell build.

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