IMO Sylvanas is the best designed hero of HotS yet. Regardless of her power level (numbers can always be tweaked) I feel Blizzard’s dev team has learned a lot about talent trees. Sylvanas has so many builds available to her and each have their own niche, and are fun to play!
I’m not a Sylvanas expert but I’ve enjoyed playing the following builds:
PvP Sylvanas (Pros – High Burst/Mobility)
- Talents – With the Wind, Envenom, (Follow Through/Shade Form), Wailing Arrow, Evasive Fire, Blood for Blood, (Deafening Blast/Fury/Bolt).
- Description – Probably the #1 build right now. This has the most PvP burst along with a good amount of mobility. Follow Through combined with rhythmic use of Q allows all of her AA’s to be at 125% damage – but at higher tiers of play and vs. well coordinated enemies, the stealth granted from Shade Form is invaluable. Combining that with Envenom/Blood for Blood Sylvanas can burst a lot of heroes down easily.
The Dagger Build (Pros – High CC/Teamfight Potential)
- Talents – Lost Soul, Paralysis, Life Drain, Wailing Arrow, Overwhelming Affliction, Cold Embrace, Deafening Blast.
- Description – This is a CC-heavy build that focuses on using Sylvanas’ W. W has a great range that can be chained further from minions/structures to heroes. Early on this build is the only one with sustain but it’s the late game that makes Dagger Build Sylvanas a team fighting terror. Her daggers will add Slow and Vulnerability on the entire enemy team. Combine it with her Silence and your foes will be in a heap of trouble.
Split-Pushing Sylvanas (Pros – Base, what base?)
- Talents – Barbed Shot, Paralysis, (Unstable Poison/Mercenary Lord), (Black Arrow/Possession), Splinter Shot, Will of the Forsaken, Fury of the Storm.
- Description – This build is great for the larger/merc populated maps where you can get a good push going (the choices in this build depend on what map you’re on). You can tear through minions and jungle fast, and can push ridiculously hard if left unchecked (esp. with Mercenary Lord). Will of the Forsaken’s is necessary as you’ll be a lot closer to the front line than other Sylvanas builds.
Queen of Arrows (Pros – Highest DPS)
- Talents – (With the Wind/Barbed Shot), Ranger’s Ambush, (Unstable Poison/Follow Through), Wailing Arrow, Splinter Shot, Windrunner, (Deafening/Fury/Bolt).
- Description – This build focuses on Sylvanas’ Q. I used to think this was just a silly build but as others pointed out it has the highest DPS potential. Late game you can spam Q, fully recharge it with your E, spam Q, recast E, Spam Q, etc…Talent choices depend on whether you’re focusing on jungling/pvp. The main problem is it requires perfect positioning to maximize damage and not get killed, making it unforgiving of mistakes. Give it ashot!
General Sylvanas Tips
- Q Management – You can hold down Q to burst fire with Sylvanas, but it’s not really recommended unless you’re going all in. Generally you want to manage your Q stacks – always keep one fired off (so it refills on CD) and one more any time a nearby minion will die. Remember you get 3 stacks when a hero dies so late game if the enemy team is low (and preferably Silenced!) you can E in and start chain killing heroes (the Dagger build is great for this, as you can apply Vulnerability/Slow to everyone before silencing them).
- Taking Merc Camps/Towers – Paralysis makes taking mercs and towers easy, but you can take Giants/Towers without it if you place yourself close to one and keep Q’ing every second (W’ing when you run out of stacks) while AA’ing the one furthest away. When taking Knights, it’s best to AA the caster while dancing around the Knights Q’ing them.
- Save Your Mobility – Sylvanas is one of the squishiest heroes, along with Valla and Jaina. Make sure you keep your E up at all times and don’t use it to push unless all other enemies are elsewhere. A good strategy is to E one way (preferably over a wall) and run the other, forcing enemies to split up if they want to chase you. Also, if you take Evasive Fire, make sure to keep 3 Q stacks up at all times.
- Maps – Sylvanas loves Blackheart’s Bay. It’s a large map with a lot of mercenaries and all but the boss are affected by your arrows. You can fire a single Q and AA the chest until the first coin is about to drop, then spam your Q’s to take it down quickly (as chests don’t have hp but go down in # of hits like totems). A lot of other map NPC’s are immune to her Black Arrows (like the big statues in Sky Temple) so be careful if you’re low on hp. On maps like those, Barbed Shot can be really valuable if you don’t mind losing the safe harass of With the Wind.