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Xul, the Necromancer – Quick Guide (Build, Counters & More)

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  • 07/03/2016

xul guide cover

Hi lads! Today our HotS boost team is here to talk about Xul, Priest of Rathman. Our latest addition to HotS’ heroes roster is a character from the Diablo II universe. He is a melee specialist with low mobility and an unique play style: his trait allows him to raise a skeleton every time a minion dies around him, making him great at pushing lanes. We still don’t know how he will perform on our HotS tier list, but probably he will be a viable choice to counter particular comps thanks to his ability to slow the auto attack speed of the enemies and the Health Percentage attack.
To understand who is your Necromancer, and what does he do, let’s take a look at his abilities.

Xul’s Abilities

Q: Spectral Scythe, 8 seconds cooldown. This ability has a pretty interesting and innovative mechanic, since it works as an “inverse skillshot”. Xul summons his Scythe in a certain spot, and after a small delay his weapons comes back to him, dealing damage to every unit hit. Keep in mind that the Scythe will follow Xul’s movements, so there are a lot of opportunities for cool plays.

W: Cursed Strikes, 15 seconds cooldown. For the next four seconds, Xul’s autos will deal AoE damage in an arc in front of Xul and provide an attack speed slow of 50% for two seconds – this slow is pretty useful, and according to our Heroes of the Storm boost team will make Xul a powerful pick.. The range is about twice the normal range, and this ability can be enhanced by various talents.

E: Bone Prison, 12 seconds cooldown. This a point and click root, lasting for two seconds and casted with a two seconds delay. It has close range but is very reliable, as it will catch the enemy even if he moves. Also keep in mind that a rooted enemy can still use spells and autos, but can’t move unless cleansed.

1: Bone Armor, 30 seconds cooldowns. Standard shield, lasting three seconds, and it is equal to 25% of Xul’s maximum health. This shield can be modified by the tier 1 talents.

Trait: Raise Skeleton, 10 seconds cooldown. Whenever a minion dies close to Xul, it comes back to life as a Skeleton Warrior until killed or for fifteen seconds, attacking enemies and minions. Note that there is a limit of only four skeletons at the same time, and if another is summoned the oldest will die (again).

Xul Build

xul build

How To Play Xul

Now that you know about Xul’s abilities, it’s time to analyze his play style during the various stages of the game.

Early Game: Push, push, push.
During the early game, Xul works best as a solo laner, and he will probably be at the top of our Heroes of the Storm tier list as far as we consider only the early game, since he is expected to be an incredibly annoying lane bully.. even worse than Zagara or Thrall.
His power comes from his great pushing potential, since he doesn’t even need to use mana to push the lane thanks to his trait, and this means that he put a lot of pressure on his opponent. During the early game, just spam Cursed Strikes to push the lane and get more skeletons or to siege down the enemy buildings. You can even use the cleave to hit enemies hiding behind a wall! Spectral Scythe is a great poking ability, but you shouldn’t use it since it’s quite mana expensive. Shade is also a decent protection against turret shots.
On the other hand, pushing so hard means that he is pretty vulnerable to ganks, and because of his low mobility he has basically a giant target on his head. Be prepared, and remember that you can use Bone Prison to scare off potential dives.
It’s too early to talk about lane counters, but he is expected to perform poorly against ranged bullies like Zagara or Raynor.

Mid Game: Pushing or Split pushing?
As soon as you get your heroic, you should ask yourself if it’s better to keep split pushing or it’s more convenient to group with your allies and team fight, and pick your talents accordingly. Xul has a lot of versatility when it comes to talents choice, since he can be built both as a split pusher and as a team fighter, and this versatility will be surely important to rank him on our HotS tier list.
Anyway, if you decide to split push, always keep an eye on the map. Quickly clear a wave with your W, and let the skeletons fight, push or siege for you while you go in a safer spot. If you think that your team has the edge in team fights, go for it. Try to get in the best position to hit as many important targets as possible with your empowered autos to deal damage and slow their attack speed.
Xul shouldn’t be a great jungler, since his clear times aren’t exceptional. He is as good as the average hero.

Late game: How to team fight
During late game team fights, keep in mind that you aren’t a tank, so you shouldn’t be the first to engage. Try to flank or to follow your tanks, and deal as much damage and debuffs as possible while avoiding damage. If needed, use your root to protect yourself, and hide in your back line.
If you decide to choose Bone Spear at level twenty, your damage output will be significantly increased… as long as you use it! I can already imagine players forgetting to use it during our duo queue boosting sessions while I yell at them. Jokes aside, you are getting a key ability in the late game, and I know, it’s pretty unusual, so keep in mind that you need to use it often as it has a low cooldown while dealing decent damage.

Xul’s Counters

Jaina – Xul is generally countered by mages but Jaina is one of the top counters, she doesn’t care about Xul’s attack speed slow and she abuses Xul’s lack of mobility by kiting him and finishing him off.
Chen – This big boy is another counter, no need to explain this one much.
Kael’Thas – Same situation like Jaina, just a little less kiting.
Johanna – Johanna can peel Xul off your carries, blind him to prevent him from auto attacking.
Lunara – Lunara can easily kite Xul and poke him to death, just don’t get caught.

Xul Is Strong Against

Illidan – Xul is strongest in melee range and vs heroes who auto attack, sounds like Illidan.
The Butcher – Same like Illidan.
Thrall – Another melee on the list that loses to Xul.
Zeratul – Xul’s root can be deadly for this mobile assasin.
Kharazim – Kharazim is all about auto attacking, and Xul is all about slowing it.
Greymane – Greymane just can’t handle it.
Lt. Morales – The root, catch her in the root and it’s game over.

Xul Goes Well With

Jaina – Root into double Blizzard? Yes please.
Li Ming – Again, root and Ming blasts you with her full combo.
Kerrigan – You won’t be moving if Kerrigan Xul combo is on you.
Tyrande – You make her land her stuns so easy, chain root > stun.

We tried to shortly cover the general play style of Xul, but of course only time and Hero League will tell us how he really performs and will he remain Tier 1 on our Heroes of the Storm tier list. If you appreciate our content, check our site in the next days for more guides and articles.

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