Saturday, February 28, 2015



Zeratul is the mysterious and aloof Dark Templar from the Starcraft Universe. He plays a pivotal role in the events of the story and is a fearsome combatant, able to one-shot most units from the safety of stealth.

In Heroes of the Storm, Zeratul is a stealthy Assassin, excelling in hit and run tactics and quickly bursting down squishy targets.


1) Meta / Statistics
2) General Strategy
3) Abilities
4) Talents
5) Competitive Build - Singularity Spike
6) Singularity Spike Play Guide

Meta / Statistics

1) Hit Points - Zeratul has lower than average hit points, but he is very difficult to kill due to his cloak and ability to Blink out of danger.
2) Basic Attack - Zeratul has nearly the highest basic attack damage in the game. However, he does not have the damage resilience to go toe to toe with most enemy heroes, so most of his talent builds focus on ability usage rather than basic attacks.
3) Popularity - Zeratul is a popular pick in pub games and competitive games due to his combination of strong ganking ability (Permanent Cloak), burst damage (4x Singularity Spike build) and teamfight control (Void Prison).
4) Win Rate - Despite his popularity he only enjoys a middle of the pack win rate.
Zeratul costs 10,000 gold / $9.99

General Strategy

Being a stealth hero leads Zeratul towards being played in a roaming / ganking role. By being invisible and spending time traveling between lanes and setting up ganks, he indirectly threatens all lanes at once, forcing all enemies to play more conservatively. If you expose yourself by straight up pushing a lane, you're giving up this advantage by revealing yourself, and there are other heroes that are better at pushing and trading. While Zeratul has high damage output and mobility, his resilience to damage is poor, so he avoids man-fighting other heroes, instead relying on hit and run tactics and using his Cloak and Blink to get into position behind enemy lines to burst down a squishy target.


Trait: Permanent Cloak

Enter cloak if you have been out of combat for 3 seconds. Combat in this game is defined as using abilities or taking damage. Blink is the exception to this rule, as it does not break cloak.

When you are cloaked you are mostly invisible to the enemy - they will only see a slight shimmer where you should be, and you will not appear on the mini map at all. You cannot be directly targeted by spells or basic attacks. Experienced players can see the shimmer and attempt to land area of effect spells on you, dealing damage to you and knocking you out of cloak.

The size of the shimmer is larger when you are using a mount - so players prefer to use the smallest mount (Wonder Billy). Also the intensity of the shimmer is higher when you are moving, so if you stand still you are less detectable.

Turrets, Forts and Keeps cannot see you through cloak, which enables you to safely roam into enemy territory in pursuit of injured heroes, or to hunt down an Abathur or Murky's Egg. However, the Core can see through cloak and will reveal and attack you. Some hero abilities can see through cloak as well, like Tassadar's Oracle or specific talents like Clairvoyance.

Q: Cleave

40 mana / 6 seconds cooldown. Deals 415 damage at level 20 to all enemies in a small area around you.

If Rending Cleave talent is taken, it adds an additional damage over time component that brings the total damage to 623 damage.

If Void Slash talent is taken, Cleave does 30% more damage if used from stealth. Void Slash + Rending Cleave yields 809 damage. Void Slash without Rending Cleave will yield 540 damage.

Standard radius shown here.
Improved radius with Greater Cleave talent shown here.

W: Singularity Spike

60 mana / 12 seconds cooldown. Fires a projectile that hits the nearest enemy. After a 1 second delay it does 500 damage at level 20 and slows their movement by 40% for 3 seconds.

If Double Bombs talent is taken, you can fire another one for free within 3 seconds of the first, adding another 500 damage to your burst damage.

Standard range shown here.
Improved range with Shadow Spike talent shown here.

E: Blink

75 mana / 10 seconds cooldown. Teleports your character a short distance. This ability does not break Cloak, so you can use it to blink over walls into the enemy base when searching for Murky's egg or Abathur. Once you have found your target, make sure to wait until your Blink cooldown is reset before making the kill and blinking back out.

Blink range shown here.

R: Void Prison

100 mana / 100 seconds cooldown. Freeze all units and buildings in a small radius for 5 seconds. Objects frozen this way are invulnerable and cannot be interacted with (including capture points). Channeling and buff timers are also paused. This skill can also be ended early by pressing R again. Cast range and radius affected shown here.

Zeratul himself is immune to the effect of Void Prison. This is Zeratul's strongest ability, as it provides tremendous control during a teamfight. There are several key uses.

1) You can instantly lock out several enemy heroes from the fight as you focus down their teammates, turning a 5v5 into a 5v2.

2) Trapping the enemy team while they are bunched up will allow your team the time to set up a big combination strike on them when they get released.

3) It can even be used defensively, to protect an allied hero or structure from damage.

The level 20 upgrade (Protective Prison) makes all your allies immune to the effects of the Void Prison.

R: Shadow Assault

100 mana / 100 seconds cooldown. Your Basic Attacks cause you to charge at enemies and have +20% Attack Speed. Lasts for 6 seconds. The charge range is equal to a regular hero basic attack range (5.5 range units) - this ability doesn't do anything if your target is further away than that.

This heroic ability is rarely used because it is outclassed by Void Prison.

The level 20 upgrade (Nerazim Fury) improves this ability, giving you 30% lifesteal while it is active and increases the duration by 50%.


The next section is a complete breakdown of all the talents available to Zeratul, along with their current pick rates in Diamond League (top 10% of the player base). Pick data was obtained from HOTSLOGS. The general trend is to play Zeratul around either Singularity Spike or Cleave, which means the talents related to basic attacks tend to be ignored.

Level 1 Talents

1) Block (29.6% pick rate)
Reduces the damage received from Hero Basic Attacks by 50%. Stores up to 2 charges, gain a charge every 5 seconds.

2) Greater Cleave (48.6% pick rate)
Increases the radius of Cleave by 33%. (visual range increase shown in Ability section)

3) Rapid Displacement (6.9% pick rate)
Reduces the cooldown of Blink by 1.5 seconds, from 10 seconds to 8.5 seconds.

4) Regeneration Master (8.5% pick rate)
Increases Health Regen by 4 per second. Every 3 Regeneration Globes gathered grants an extra +4 Health per second, permanently. At level 20 Zeratul has base 7.05 regen per second - if you have 10 stacks of Regeneration Master (30 globes collected) it will add 44 regen per second to your base regeneration.

5) Seasoned Marksman (6.4% pick rate)
For every 6 enemy Minion or Mercenary kills near your Hero, gain 1 Basic Attack damage. Hero Takedowns count as 2 Minion kills. At level 20 Zeratul has 294 attack damage. If you have 30 stacks of Seasoned Marksman (180 minion kills) you will gain +30 bonus damage, or roughly +10% basic attack damage. The poor scaling of this ability means it is rarely picked.

Level 4 Talents

1) Focused Attack (4.9% pick rate)
Every 10 seconds, your next Basic Attack deals 50% additional damage. Basic Attacks reduce this cooldown by 1 second.

2) Vampiric Assault (2.2% pick rate)
Basic Attacks heal for 15% of the damage dealt.

3) Gathering Power (68.6% pick rate)
Passively grants 5% Ability Power. Each Hero takedown grants one stack of bonus 2% Ability Power, up to a maximum of 5 stacks, for a maximum combined total of 15% Ability Power. Ability Power increases the damage done of all your abilities, but not basic attacks. You lose all stacks of Ability Power upon death.

4) Sustained Anomaly (22.2% pick rate)
The Singularity Spike explodes for area damage and slows, regardless if it hits a target or not. This talent has been gaining popularity since Gathering Power was nerfed from a max of 20% to 15%.

5) Vorpal Blade (2.2% pick rate)
Activate to teleport to the last non-structure target you attacked within 3 seconds. 15 second cooldown.

Level 7 Talents

1) Follow Through (2.0% pick rate)
After using an ability, your next Basic Attack deals 25% additional damage.

2) Void Slash (15.4% pick rate)
Cleave deals 30% increased damage if used while cloaked.

3) Shadow Spike (9.4% pick rate)
No longer decloak when using Singularity Spike. Range increased by 20%. (visual range increase shown in Ability section)

4) First Aid (66.8% pick rate)
Activate to heal 35% of your max Health over 6 seconds. This ability has good synergy with Zeratul's capability of disengaging from the fight and re-entering cloak, giving him time to heal.

5) Searing Attacks (6.4% pick rate)
Activate to increase Basic Attack damage by 50% for 5 seconds. Each attack costs 15 Mana. Cooldown of 25 seconds.

Level 10 Talents

1) Shadow Assault (4.8% pick rate)
Detail provided in Ability section.

2) Void Prison (95.2% pick rate)
Detail provided in Ability section.

Level 13 Talents

1) Giant Killer (1.5% pick rate)
Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal bonus damage equal to 1.5% of the Hero's max Health. At level 20 Zeratul has 294 attack damage. This ability is most effective against high HP heroes like Diablo (6,000hp) in which case it adds 90 attack damage, a roughly 30% boost.

2) Burning Rage (1.0% pick rate)
Deal 50 damage per second to nearby enemies (at level 20). The affected radius of the burn is larger than a regular Cleave, but less than a Greater Cleave.

3) Wormhole (84.9% pick rate)
For 3 seconds, you can activate Blink again to return to the point where it was cast from. This is a critical ability, allowing you to utilize Blink to initiate on the enemy and get back out again, instead of having to hold Blink in reserve as an escape move.

4) Assassin's Blade (11.8% pick rate)
Gain 25% Attack Damage for 5 seconds when breaking cloak. 10% increased Movement Speed while cloaked.

5) Spell Shield (0.7% pick rate)
Upon taking Ability Damage, reduce all Ability Damage taken by 50% for 2 seconds. Can only trigger once every 30 seconds.

Level 16 Talents

1) Rending Cleave (2.1% pick rate)
Cleave deals an additional 50% damage over 5 seconds.

2) Double Bombs (94.5% pick rate)
After you cast Singularity Spike, you can cast a second one for free within 3 seconds. In case the pick rate didn't tip you off, this talent is really good - Singularity Spike does 500 damage at level 20, and this talent allows you to fire it again immediately, for 1000 damage total.

3) Stoneskin (0.5% pick rate)
Activate to gain 30% of your Max Health as Shields for 5 seconds. Has a cooldown of 60 seconds.

4) Berserk (2.9% pick rate)
Activate to increase your Attack Speed by 40% and Movement Speed by 10% for 4 seconds. Has a cooldown of 60 seconds.

 Level 20 Talents

1) Nerazim Fury (2.1% pick rate)
Shadow Assault grants 30% health Steal, and the duration is increased by 50%.

2) Protective Prison (1.6% pick rate)
Detail provided in Ability section.

3) Nexus Blades (9.9% pick rate)
Basic attacks deal 20% more damage and slow target by 1 second.

4) Rewind (86.4% pick rate)
Activate to refresh the cooldown of your basic abilities. Given that most players picked Double Bombs to fire Singularity Spike twice for 1,000 damage at level 20, picking Rewind will allow you to reset your basic abilities for another 1,000 damage immediately and a second Blink.

Competitive Build - Singularity Spike

There is only one main build seen in competitive games, which is the Singularity Spike build. When fully talented, this allows you to rapidly fire 4 Singularity Spikes at a target, dealing 2000 damage to them at level 20.



1) Core Talents
This build utilizes Sustained Anomaly (level 4), Double Bombs (level 16) and Rewind (level 20) to unleash 4 Singularity Spikes on the enemy in a short amount of time.

2) Mandatory Picks
First Aid (level 7), Void Prison (level 10) and Wormhole (level 13) are mandatory picks for survivability and team utility.

3) Flex Picks
Level 1 is a flex pick, with a choice between Greater Cleave, Block and Rapid Displacement.

When to pick Greater Cleave - for example, in KotS W#11 Tempo Storm vs Cloud9 Maelstrom Game 1 - Enemy team consisted of Stitches, Brightwing, Valla, Rehgar, Nazeebo. No enemies besides Valla utilize much in the way of basic attacks, so Zeratul could omit Block and take Greater Cleave

When to pick Block - for example, in KotS W#11 Grand Finals - C9 Maelstrom vs Tempo Storm (Bracket Reset) Game 2 - Enemy team consisted of Uther, Illidan, Valla, Sonya, Chen - they have a high reliance on basic attacks. Zeratul needed the Block talent at level 1 for extra survivability, primarily against Illidan.

When to pick Rapid Displacement - for example, in KotS W#9 Finals - Symbiote vs BARREL BOYS Game 1 - Enemy team consisted of Kerrigan, Brightwing, Arthas, Nazeebo, Tyrande - they have plenty of stuns and lockdown, so Zeratul needed the extra cooldown reduction for Blink from Rapid Displacement.

Singularity Spike Play Guide

This build - detailed in the competitive section above - will require you to play with Quick Cast on. It's a checkbox in the Controls section of the Options. The default mode is Quick Cast off, which means that when you want to cast Singularity Spike, you need to press W, then left click to fire it. With Quick Cast on, just hitting W fires the Singularity Spike immediately in the direction of your mouse.

The end game combo involves you using Double Bombs and Rewind to fire 4 Singularity Spikes into an enemy to burst them down - without Quick Cast you need to perform 8 button presses (W + Leftclick X 4) while with Quick Cast enabled the number of button presses is halved - you only need to tap W 4 times.

In the early game, you need to try closing the gap with the enemy while mounted and cloaked. You need to reserve your Blink for escaping, or even just for avoiding return damage. For example, you could get in close and drop your abilities on an enemy then immediately Blink out - you would have done heavy damage to them without them being able to retaliate. Using Blink as your gap closer to chase the enemy for a kill is risky, and should only be done if you are certain they can't retaliate and they have no allies that can punish you for taking this risk.

Later on, you unlock the crucial Wormhole talent which will allow you to initiate safely with Blink and retreat back to your original position.

Zeratul's basic abilities are much stronger at ganking than they are at teamfighting. If the game moves into a 5v5 teamfight phase around objectives, you should avoid approaching the enemy team head on which is where their warriors will be. Instead you should try circle around the edges or back and attack a squishy target.

Zeratul is weakest at straight up sieging the enemy base, as the walls and turrets will prevent you from hitting the enemy team from the back, forcing you to approach them from the front. A team with Zeratul will ideally try to bait the enemy into coming out and overextending, or winning a gank in the open map before pushing in.

In teamfights, you should be focused on landing the best possible Void Prison to split up the enemy team and isolate 1-2 kill targets for your team. For example, an ideal situation is to catch 1-2 enemies out of position, hard engage them with your team and place the Void Prison to prevent the rest of their teammates from coming in to help them, turning the fight from a 5v5 into a 5v2.