The point of this guide is to analyze every single talent in Zeratul tree and explain why 90% of the people play zeratul wrong.
TL:DR Version – http://www.heroesfire.com/hots/talent-calculator?hero=17#oZDJ
this is the build you should be using if you want to use zeratul to his full potential
So lets start with Tier 1:
- Regeneration Master
Gather 3 Regeneration Globes to permanently grant you +3 health per second. Stacks.
Your hp pool is low, you are not a tank, you have cloak. You dont really need additional regen, besides you have lifesteal as a talent and your ultimate.
- Path of the Assassin
Your Hero gains an extra 2 attack damage for every level gained.
at level 25 Zeratul deals ~400 damage. With this talent, damage will increase to 450 (2×25), giving you a 12.5% boost in damage. When you factor in additional multipliers (such as Searing attacks and Executioner) damage buff becomes more noticable. Its a good talent overall and it seems pretty obvious that you should pick it. But its not really all that simple.
- Greater Cleave (Q)
Increases the radius of Cleave by 1.
This would be my talent of choice. This skill has a slight activation delay, so when chasing somebody you cant really use your cleave, because it will miss. With this talent however, increased range will always guarantee you a hit on enemy hero, giving you additional damage in chasing scenario. Increased range also helps in laning phase, and arguably gives you more damage potential in teamfights than Path of the Assassin.
- Rapid Displacement (E)
Reduces the cooldown on Blink by 1.5 seconds.
1.5 seconds dont matter in this game. At all. Even if you die with 1 second cd on blink left, the penalty is so low that its just doesnt matter. And such situations will happen once, maybe twice in entire game making this talent pretty worthless.
Conclusion of Tier 1:
Its either Path of the Assassin or Greater Cleave. Depends on your personal playstyle, but i prefer greater cleave because it has more impact early-mid game.
- Focused Attack
Every 5 seconds, your next Basic Attack deals 50% additional damage.
Basicly its a passive searing attack. Scales good into lategame. Take this talent if you want to go full offensive. But if you want a bit more surivability, there is another good talent in this tier.
- Vampiric Assault
Basic Attacks heal you for 15% of the damage done.
Best talent in this tier. As a melee hero, you’ll take quite a lot of damage early-mid game, and you need to regen that health and save time you’d spend going to base every minute. Besides, according to developers, all abilities stack with each other, so under your ultimate you’ll have 30/45% lifesteal, which is a lot. Its really no brainer, best talent in this tier.
- Shadow Spike (W)
Zeratul no longer decloaks when using Singularity Spike. Range increased by 20%.
You dont need range, and decloacking doesnt matter for Zeratul because of blink. Nice but useless talent.
- Sustained Anomaly (W)
Bomb now explodes for area damage and slows, regardless if it hits a target or not.
AOE slow is good on paper, but explosion radius is pretty low, and lifesteal is just plain better.
Conclusion of Tier 2:
Vampiric assault if you want additional survivability, focused attack for all-in damage.
Periodically reduces the damage received from Hero Basic Attacks by 50%. Stores up to 2 charges.
Bad. You dont really care about incoming damage, your job is to kill stuff.
- Rending Cleave (Q)
Deals an additional 50% damage over 5 seconds.
Damage on cleave is low so in reality 50% damage buff does not do much at all. Single autoattack will do more damage than this talent.
- Assassin’s Blade (Trait)
Gain 25% Attack Damage for 5 seconds when breaking cloak. 10% increased movement speed while cloaked.
Now this is the most controversial one. You should NOT pick this talent. Passive increase sounds nice on paper, but how many times will you attack out of stealth in a teamfight? One. One time when you initiate. After that you’ll spend entire fight in your ultimate or just autoattacking people to death. So its 1 time 25% increase in damage for 5 seconds. Searing attacks give you 50% damage for exact same 5 seconds. Yes Searing Attacks cost mana but you dont really care because your abilities barely cost anything. And cooldown on Searing attacks is only 25 seconds, so you’ll be able to use it every fight. This passive trait is good only on paper.
- Searing Attacks
Activate to increase Basic Attack damage by 50% for 5 seconds. Attacks cost 20 Mana per hit.
Just take this talent instead. Its one more button but you’ll do 25% more damage. And Zeratul is all about burst damage.
- First Aid
Activate to heal 7.9% of your max Health over 4 seconds.
Heal or 50% more damage? Hard choice isnt it. Bad talent that has no place on Zeratul.
Tier 3 conclusion:
Searing attacks. Its dominant talent in this tier with no competition.
- Shadow Assault
Cooldown: 100 seconds Duration: 6 seconds
Gains +25% Attack Speed, 15% life steal on hit, and Basic Attacks charge enemies.
Your job is to kill stuff, this helps you kill stuff. No brainer really.
- Void Prison
Cooldown: 100 seconds
Traps targets for 5 seconds. Heroes, Minions, and Structures trapped become invulnerable.
If you want to support pick support hero instead.
- Giant Killer
Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal an additional 1.5% of the target’s max Health in damage.
1.5% of 4-5k hp on average is ~60, and thats on level 25. 60 more damage per hit is not that bad, but Vorpal Blade talent is just way better. Remember that your targets wont be stationary, so to utilize extra damage you need to actually get to them first. Your ultimate doesnt last forever and fights happen way more often than once/90seconds. In the end, it doesnt give you as much benefit as it sounds on paper.
- Spell Shield
Periodically reduces the damage received from Hero Abilities by 50%. Stores up to 2 charges.
As i said before, we dont care about incoming damage. Your job is to kill stuff, not survive to tell the tale.
- Burning Rage
Deals 10 damage per second to nearby enemies.
Damage is so low its not worth it.
- Vorpal Blade (Trait)
Activate to teleport to the last target you attacked within 3 seconds. 15 second cooldown.
Free blink to the person you are chasing is just invaluable. Best talent in this tier. Each hit you do is 400+dmg, blinking right to the person gives you 2 autoattacks which equals to 800 damage. In reality this talent gives you way more damage than Giant Killer. Not to mention you dont need to waste your actual blink to chase targets, letting you to use it afterwards to escape safely or start chasing another target. This talent makes escaping from Zeratul just impossible.
For 3 seconds, Zeratul can activate Blink again to return to the point where it was cast from.
Its defensive skill, and Zeratul does not care about defence much.
Tier 5 conclusion:
Vorpal blade. Its just too good. Free blink will give you more kills than any other talent.
Basic Attacks deal 50% more damage against slowed, rooted, or stunned targets.
Best talent in this tier. 50% more damage on heroes you hit with spike? yes please. Add 50% damage buff from searing attacks and you just kill heroes in no time.
- Double Bombs
After you cast Singularity Spike, you can cast a second one for free within 3 seconds.
Second slow is nice but its not match to 50% damage increase.
Activate to gain 30% of your max health in Shields for 5 seconds.
Again, Zeratul is not a tank.
Activate to increase your Attack Speed by 50% and Movement Speed by 10% for 4 seconds.
While it works good with Searing attacks, Executioner works with any kind of CC, not only your own. Executioner is more useful overall because of its utility, almost every hero in this game has some kind of CC so in every teamfight you’ll have a lot of chances to use your 50% damage buff.
Tier 6 conclusion:
Executioner. Its damage buff and utility is just way too good.
- Nerazim Fury
Increases the duration of Shadow Assault by 50%, and the lifesteal by 15%.
Its only 3 seconds (3 attacks basicly) and 15% more lifesteal. I’d say its not really worth it. With all the mobility you have at this point (Vorpal blade and Blink), 3 seconds wont do much for you.
- Fury of the Storm
Basic Attacks bounce twice to nearby enemies for 50% damage.
Zeratul under buffs deals A LOT of damage. And whats better than a lot of damage? Yes, AOE damage. Under searing attacks you’ll do nearly 600 damage per hit, making it 300 damage on 2 additional targets. This is just way too much damage to pass up.
- Bolt of the Storm
Activate to teleport to the target location.
Lots of damage or another blink? Answer is – lots of damage.
- Protective Prison (R)
Allies are no longer affected by Void Prison.
Nobody cares about void prison
Final build– http://www.heroesfire.com/hots/talent-calculator?hero=17#oZDJ
I hope this guide has been helpful for you, leave comments below.