Falstad is an assassin with high damage and utility in moving around the map. His kit allows for solid poke, sustained damage in duels, and burst to help turn team fights around.
Great poke in laning phase and fights
His “mount” works well to apply pressure around the map
Has a dash to escape fights or manuever past walls
Consistent damage in teamfights
Good sieging capabilities and poke
Low health pool punishes mistakes
Poor at taking mercenary camps on his own
Relatively slow if mount is on cooldown
Doesn’t take down tanks very well
Falstad doesn’t exactly outclass other assassins in most regards, but is generally an overall solid pick for a damage dealer. His biggest strength comes in being able to fly around the map to help with objectives or apply pressure if the enemy is out of position. He’s a safe assassin because of his Barrel Roll and his ability to poke from range with Hammerang. Lightning Rod also helps give him sustained damage in teamfights and is useful for chasing opponents out of lane.
Falstad works well in the meta right now if you use his kit to the fullest. With Jaina and Illidan being popular right now, his abilities allow him to be successful against both. Hammerang boosted with BOOMerang can chunk Jaina from a distance and Lightning Rod helps with duels against Illidan. Zagara is also strong currently and synergizes well with a Devouring Maw/Hinterland Blast combo.
Hammerang throws an electric hammer that then returns to Falstad dealing damage on both trips and applying a 25% slow.
Hammerang is a long range damage and slow that helps to either shove minion waves or damage squishy heroes on the back line. Because of the applied slow, hitting the second round of the hammer as it returns to him has a higher chance. It’s best used when it hits at the arc of the skillshot so that the double damage is applied immediately. When taking the BOOMerang talent later, Hammerang becomes a large damage burst that can hit multiple targets. It works well in pushing lanes and sieging forts as you can poke from such a far distance and even past gates. The slow also helps for catching opponents running away or adding a bit of crowd control for ganks.
Lightning Rod zaps an enemy and then continually zaps them for lesser damage for 4 seconds.
Lightning Rod is a fairly simple spell that has a lot of uses for different situations. In the early phase, duels can almost always go in your favor due to having this stacking damage that isn’t channeled, allowing you to auto attack. Placing it on an opponent in a duel forces them to either take the large amount of damage or run away, in which you’re getting auto attacks off the entire time. Hammerang comboed with Lightning Rod can help keep enemies in range of the ability to ensure multiple lightning strikes get off. In teamfights, it’s often going to be used on tanks because of the short range and so that you can effectively use it for its full damage. Trying to use it on a hero in the backline can put Falstad in a bad position and not even guarantee that many ticks of damage will land.
Barrel Roll lets Falstad dash across the battlefield and gain a shield for 2 seconds.
It’s a straightforward mobility spell that is key for Falstad. Because Falstad has a low health pool, he is susceptible to crowd control, which means Barrel Roll is critical to staying alive. While the shield is nice, the real reason this spell is great is the mobility it offers. Barrel Roll is best used as a last second escape rather than using for pushing onto enemies. It should only be used offensively when you know you can do so safely and not get caught in a bad position. Barrel Roll also has a great benefit in that it can be used to move through walls. This can help you easily escape ganks or get into an advantageous position for teamfights. One important note about Barrel Roll is that it can be used to dodge point-and-click stuns like Uther, similar to Valla’s Vault.
After a short delay, Hinterland Blast shoots a large lazor dealing huge amounts of damage from long range.
This large damage nuke is incredibly vital to Falstads kit and help provides that extra damage he needs in teamfights to take heroes down. Because of the short delay, it can be easy for enemies to dodge if you use it at an inopportune time. Typically, you want to combo it with an ally’s spell like Zagara’s Devouring Maw or Zeratul’s Void Prison so that the damage is guaranteed. If neither are an option, try to fight in a choke point so that all the enemies can be lined up and make it difficult for them to dodge it. It can also be used well after applying the slow from Hammerang if you manage to chunk an enemy down. The added slow can help give the certainty that Hinterland Blast will connect. While the long range can be useful, more often than not the enemy won’t be hindered and can easily side step it. Try to always find the perfect timing in which multiple heroes line up. Landing a good Hinterland Blast is critical in winning teamfights, and if failed can mean a lost fight.
Gain 20% increased movement speed after not taking damage for 6 seconds. It’s a fairly boring trait and one that doesn’t really offer Falstad’s kit much. Because he doesn’t have a mount, it almost seems necessary for him to have this trait. The only time this will have a signficant effect is when rotating around the map in short spurts for objectives. Otherwise, Falstad’s flying ability is going to be much more impactful for moving around the map. In teamfights, Tailwind will almost never be active due to constant barraging of spells and the fact that it takes 6 seconds to activate.
Level 1 Talent
Power Throw is almost always the best choice for Falstad, as it gives him solid poking potential. The added slow duration also helps give an additional 0.5 seconds of slow that can be handy. Because of the long range on Hammerang, this means that you have to be a bit more precise in how you throw it. If you throw it too close to the target, the return time is longer which can give the enemy more time to dodge. But the benefit of the range is that you can throw Hammerangs at squishy heroes in the backline for solid damage.
Level 4 Talent
Gathering power is really the only pick here. It gives Falstad that extra damage he needs to stay relevant throughout the game. Because Falstad is a relatively safe hero, it’s a lot less likely that he’ll die and lose all the stacks. As Falstad gets to the late game, the Gathering Power stacks along with other talents will allow him to burst targets down. All of Falstads power comes from his abilities, so Gathering Power makes a lot of sense here.
Level 7 Talent
BOOMerang is the preferred talent here, although it’s not the easiest choice. BOOMerang gives a much needed boost in power for Falstad, specifically in his ability to poke heroes down. Hitting a Hammerang twice on a target, along with the BOOMerang, can cause a squishy enemy to lose 30-40% of their health. In teamfights around choke points it can also prove to be useful due to the area-of-effect damage it brings, chunking multiple targets.
Level 10 Talent
Recommended: Hinterland Blast as explained above. Big big damage.
Level 13 Talent
Crippling Hammer is what I choose most of the time on Falstad here. A 50% slow can be incredible when catching or chasing opponents thanks to the increased range from Power Throw. It also synergizes with the increased slow duration from Power Throw to help land Hinterland Blasts. Overall it’s a solid talent that adds a ton of utility in teamfights.
Static Shield is a solid situational talent for when you need that extra survivability. Specifically against an Illidan or Kerrigan who likes to dive into the back line, the extra 20% shield can mean the difference between life and death. Against other compositions, it’s not as consistently good because you can’t guarantee all the strikes will get off, in which the shield will be minimal.
Level 16 Talent
Overdrive is easily the best talent here in this selection. Adding on 25% additional damage on all of Falstad’s abilities is just too good to not take. What really pushes it over the edge is the fact that it applies to Hinterland Blast. This means when Overdrive is activated, Hinterland Blast will have an additional 150-200 damage added to it from level 16 and on. Add in Hammerang with the BOOMerang active, and this is where Falstad starts to put out huge potential for bursting opponents down. The added mana costs can make it so Falstad runs out of mana very quickly in long fights, so it’s important to remember to be as full on mana as you can before a fight breaks out.
Level 20 Talent
Call of the Wildhammer is typically the best talent in this tier. The added range is a bit meaningless as you’ll almost never be utilizing it, but it’s the damage that we care about here. The additional 25% means even more burst on targets lined up in Hinterland Blast. With Gathering Power and Overdrive, this means Hinterland Blast can deal upwards of 1500+ damage in the late game. My only problem with taking this talent is that so much of your success is hinged on landing a great Hinterland Blast.
Epic Mount is a very underrated talent and one that I feel can be very impactful. This talent essentially gives Falstad an extra mobility spell and one that has incredible range. Now instead of the mount being very one dimensional in use, Epic Mount gives Falstad a lot of versitility. It can be used as an additional escape as well as helpful in chasing opponents down. It also makes it far easier to move around the map to get objectives and apply/respond to pressure without being vulnerable. In compositions with 3 damage dealers, I like to take Epic Mount over Call of the Wildhammer as the additional damage won’t be necessary.
Falstad is a strong and safe damage dealer in the early parts of the game. Generally you want to be using your Hammerang to damage and shove waves as quickly as possible. Once BOOMerang is taken at level 7, Falstad’s damage potential improves significantly. Lightning Rod also has solid damage in the early game and can be used to great effect in 1v1 duels. It’s okay to take a losing duel as you can easily hearth back to base and fly back into lane to avoid using a well.
When objectives start to pop up, Falstad’s ability to fly around the map proves very useful. Because Falstad can rotate around the map quicker than others, this means you can often stay for an extra wave of experience before heading off for an objective. It also proves useful for ganks when enemies overextend into a fight and a proper timed fly in can turn the fight around to your advantage. If a teammate dies in a solo lane, try to fly to that lane to soak experience until they come back.
When Not Team Fighting
Soaking experience and clearing minion waves is what Falstad does best. Because he isn’t the best at taking mercenary camps, it’s important to assert dominance over a lane. You’ll rarely be getting solo kills on someone, but the constant barrage of Hammerang and Lightning Rod can apply enough pressure on a lane that the enemy will have to respond. Keep auto attacking when using Lightning Rod to maximize damage output. Always save your Barrel Roll for when you absolutely need to use it to get away from potential death. Using it unnecessarily immediately puts Falstad at risk from a gank, and should only be used when you know where the enemy team is at.
With the help of Falstad’s flying ability, you’ll want to be using it as much as possible to apply pressure to various parts of the map. Whether it be ganking another lane or helping with a mercenary camp, flying gives Falstad a ton of map presence. Remember to always be soaking experience and pushing minion waves as much as possible. Shoving a lane enough can cause turrets to have no ammo and open up an attack on the gate and turrets.
When Team Fighting
Like other ranged assassins, team fighting is fairly straightforward. You’ll want to stand behind your tanks and fire off Hammerangs towards the squishy enemies. If possible, fight in chokepoints so that the Hammerang can hit multiple enemies. If the enemy team composition has heroes that can dive onto you, save your lightning rod for those particular heroes to help take them down. Otherwises, Lightning Rod will typically get most value on tanks as they are the easiest targets to consistently hit.
What you constantly have to be looking for is an opening to use Hinterland Blast. As previously mentioned, having allies to combo this spell with are extremely helpful. Using Hinterland Blast after a Devouring Maw or Void Prison can instantly turn a fight in your favor. If you don’t have these conveniences, again try to funnel the enemy in a choke point to maximize the potential damage. Be careful that you don’t use Hinterland Blast too close to a hero with crowd control such as Diablo as it can interrupt it and put it on a 10 second cooldown.
I hope this guide can help you become the biggest baddest bird rider out there!