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HotS – 7 Tips To Become A Master Kael’Thas

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  • 23/10/2015

hots kael'thas guide
Kael’thas is a really popular pick: since his release, he has always been the strongest ranged assassin in Heroes of the Storm, and he can surely be a great resource in many team comps. So our Heroes of the Storm boost team offers you seven tips to master this incredible champion: being a good Kael’thas player is a safe way to boost your Heroes of the Storm win rate. Kael’Thas is still safe in Tier 1 spot in our Heroes of the Storm Tier List.:

CHOOSE THE BEST TARGET FOR YOUR CHAIN BOMB

When we think about Kael’thas, we think about Living Bomb and the lvl13 talent upgrade, “Chain Bomb”. This should always be your main source of damage, so mastering this spell is crucial. With proper position and target selection, you will be able to annihilate any enemy who doesn’t play around its explosion range.
We can’t simply give you a golden rule to master this spell, but nevertheless you should practice it a lot, relying on your instinct, game knowledge and fast-thinking during a team fight, because the main factor here is the position of your enemies. The best targets usually are squishy, back line champions out of position: not only they suffer more damage and are usually the main source of damage for the enemies, but by targeting them you will force a lose-lose situation: when the enemy Jaina has a bomb on, either she will go to the back line in seek of protection, amplifying the damage to the squishies, or she will try to protect her team moving away from the fight, losing dps or staying in a more dangerous spot. Again, be sure to practice this ability as much as possible, because the best way to catch these opportunities is to play as much as you can!

DON’T SPAM VERDANT SPHERES RANDOMLY

Every new Kael’thas player makes the same mistake: as soon as Verdant Spheres is available, they will spam it without waiting for a tactical opportunity, just to “make the most” out of this trait. But you can’t always anticipate when you are going to need an upgraded ability. In general, try to always think about every decision you make.
Pre-casting means that you are more vulnerable if something changes your plan. Let’s make an example: just before a teamfight, you are already using the trait planning to use a Living Bomb, but are catched out of position and need to use your stun. Since Verdant Sphere was pre-casted, it’s an empowered stun, and you won’t have the empowered Living Bomb for the next opportunity. So always remember to wait for the best opportunity, and don’t spam it mindlessly!

YOUR WAVE CLEARING IS AWESOME

Kael’thas has a pretty complete kit, and one of his main strength is wave clear. Our assassin alone can basically hold any lane in the late game while the rest of team is contesting an objective or fighting. This allows to release some pressure and to soak up more experience!
Remember that coordinating with your team is the key to win in HotS, so always use your pings and communicate! This is especially helpful if the rest of your team has bad waveclear, as they have probably other strengths, and Kael’thas has one the best wave clear in the game! Maximize your strong points, minimize your team weaknesses.

USE PHOENIX SMART, YET DON’T WASTE OPPORTUNITIES

Many new players spam Verdant Spheres, but make the opposite mistake with Phoenix: they hold onto it looking for a perfect opportunity that will change the tides of a fight, trying make a great game changing play.
Well. this is really short sighted, because you are missing a crucial information here: Phoenix has an absurdly low cooldown, and you need to abuse it! Sometimes it’s worth to use it just for zoning or securing a camp safely, because it will be available for the next big fight or objective. Saving this spell forever means that you will lose small advantages from it.
The key here is to find a balance between spamming this spell and missing good opportunities, saving this heroic for an heroic play (no pun intended). Don’t waste if before a team fight, but don’t be afraid to make “small plays” with it.

Pre-rework Gif, still represents the power of the Chain Bomb.

DO NOT OVEREXTEND YOUR LANE

Ok, maybe this tip will seem counter intuitive, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward concept. Just like every assassin, or squishy hero in general, Kael’thas is pretty vulnerable to ganks, despite her stun; and the easiest way to die to a gank is to push a lane without vision! Especially in the early mid game, many players try to get an advantage in lane by farming and pushing relentlessly the lane – just make things clear, farming is a very important aspect of the game, but not dying is more important! While dead, you lose resources, and give free time and money to your enemies, so safety is crucial. Don’t overpush a lane if you are not confident and don’t have vision of your enemies; sometimes it’s worth to lose a few minions or some damage to the enemies structure while being safe.
On the other hand, Kael’thas has an incredible wave clear, so pushing is tempting and easy, but don’t fall for that!

POSITIONING,POSITIONING, POSITIONING!

Our Heroes of the Storm boost team always repeat this simple, yet hard to master idea: positioning is crucial for every hero, but for Kael’thas in particular. As every assassin, she relies on her team for peeling and heals, but even the best crowd controls can’t save a squishy ranged hero that walks into melee range of the enemy front line. This example is extreme, but we can apply it to most situations.
Kael’thas is an immobile hero, and very vulnerable to burst damage: your stun alone can’t save you from a bad situation, so always be safe in the back line, close to your tanks or healers, and always keep in mind what dangers can come from the enemy team. Let’s make an example: we all know that the upcoming hero Aranis has a spell that allows him to swap position with an enemy. If Kael’thas is swapped in a bad position, as you can imagine, he will die almost instantly, so as soon as our new addition to the Heroes of the Storm roster, Artanis, is available, try to avoid getting caught by his Phase Dive. Artanis official release date is 27 October, and our team can’t wait to see what kind of Artanis build we will see and how he will perform in general. We already have a basic guide online!

THINK WHERE YOU WILL PLACE YOUR PHOENIX

Last but not least, let’s talk again about Phoenix, specifically about its positioning: to maximize the effect, we want to set it up to hit the best targets!
Phoenix can be used in very creative ways: the simplest usage is for the burst damage, and surely is pretty effective, but there are more tactical uses.
For example, it’s a great zoning tool, and is often useful to secure a merc camp. However many players try to save it as much as they can, missing good opportunities (see tip number 4!) but in the end panic and use their Phoenix in a good moment, but in a bad spot! Despite still getting the job done most of the times, this is surely a suboptimal scenario: we want to place the phoenix in the best position to control its damage. Mastering this champion means that you will be able to set up the perfect Phoenix, attacking exactly who you want.
Phoenix’s behaviour is really standard and easy to predict: she has a fixed radius, and won’t attack anything outside of it. She also focuses the closest target, and we can abuse this system.

The best “nuke Phoenix” placement, for example, is just outside the tank’s range, trapping the enemy back line in the fire. Of course the enemy can counter this tactic with smart positioning and fast reflexes, but most of the time the damage is already done, and this re-positioning stops the enemy from attacking, peeling and doing anything else to avoid the damage. Even a bust ability can be used as an effective zoning tool or “crowd control”, meaning that it will force the enemies to react to it!
The most common way to use the Phoenix, as we said, is for raw damage, usually on as many targets as possible, but a smart Phoenix player will change his priorities if there is a better option. For example, finishing off a single out of position assassin is often more important than doing some AoE damage on tanks or bruiser.

Feel free to check out our other guides, especially the latest Artanis guide, and our HotS Tier List

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