Yo, this is Cover, I play Heroes of the Storm regularly in the NA region and am currently top 100 Grandmaster rank. Alarak is my favorite hero, I have him at level 20 and over 300+ games with him. Before he came out he was my #1 hero I wanted added into the game (now add Fenix already blizzard) and I’m very happy with his high skillcap playstyle. here’s my in-depth guide on Alarak
Alarak can best be described as a Burst-Damage Melee-Mage
Pros & Cons
– Good damage, easy to get top damage at the end of the game.
– Telekinesis is one of the strongest skills in the game.
– Has good poke/sustain with his E, great for interrupting channels.
– Good solo lane.
– Offers a silence in his base kit.
– Not a very durable frontliner, hardly even one. He can get small sustain with his E but he’s not sturdy like other melee heroes like Thrall or Ragnaros.
– No %HP damage, making him less effective vs tanky teams.
– Weak wave clear.
– Cooldown based, not unlike a mage, you’ll find yourself doing nothing waiting for your skills to come back up.
Being one of the most difficult heroes in the game, Alarak takes a good while to get used to. Currently he is not a meta hero for a few reason, but still has some strong things about him.
Q : Discord Strike : After a 0.5 second delay, you strike forward in a triangle area, damaging and silencing all enemies hit for 1.5 seconds.
This is Alaraks most damaging basic ability, you won’t hit it on it’s own very much except against other melee heroes, so thats where your W comes in. 8 seconds cooldown at base but you won’t be using it on cooldown.
W : Telekinesis : Pull enemies or yourself from one location in a direction, dealing a small amount of damage.
This skill is insane, and is what makes Alarak as good as he is. The ability to not only manipulate enemy positioning but the fact this skill also acts as mobility, Telekinesis is easily one of the best skills in the game. Also meant to be combo’d with your Q, by putting the enemy next to you so your Q will not miss. Keep in mind the long 12 second cooldown however.
E : Lightning Surge : Deal a small amount of damage to the target and all enemies between you and the target, you heal for a small % of the damage done to heroes.
This gives Alarak poke + sustain, the heal isn’t very large unless you hit multiple people, but it’s up every 6 seconds at base, so it helps sustain you in fights. It does do a bit of damage, so if you can use it on the enemy ranged heroes.
R2 : Counter Strike : Become unstoppable and invulnerable for 1 second, if an enemy hero tries to damage you during this one second, you send a shockwave forward dealing heavy damage.
This ult is very strong, and very important to have as Alarak. Alarak is a melee hero, but he’s not very sturdy compared to the melee heroes your going to be fighting as him, this ult is crucial to helping you survive in fights. Working as not only a great offensive tool, but a great defensive one as well. The invulnerability will save you a lot, think of it like a 1 second Divine Shield you get every 30 seconds. It’s also the single most damaging thing in Alaraks kit.
R1 : Deadly Charge : Channel for up to 1.6 seconds, increasing the range during the channel, afterward charge forward dealing moderate damage to all enemies hit. Taking damage will cancel the channel.
I’m talking about this ult second, because it’s the worse of the two ults, and generally has issues. The need to channel uninterrupted to get the range hurts the skill a lot, making it hard to use in teamfights. It’s great for ganks since you can charge through terrain, and also diving backline, but diving into the enemy team will get you killed a lot. Again it’s great for ganks, but you will have trouble finding use of it in team fights. Can also be used as a pseudo-escape if you can channel long enough.
Passive : Sadism : You deal 100% extra ability damage to enemy heroes, specific Talents will lower the bonus damage in exchange for other benefits.
Not much to say about his passive, you deal extra damage to heroes, so your damage to non heroics will be pretty low. You’ll lose some of your damage by taking certain talents. Obviously it does not apply to Alaraks Basic Attacks.
To play Alarak, you must learn how to use his skills and combo. It can take some games to get used to it, the thing most people associate with the hero is his
Telekinesis -> Discord Strike combo.
It takes time to get used to, but once you can get it consistently it’s very powerful. You can pull enemies into your team and get them silenced for 1.5 seconds, also dealing a large burst as well.
To do the combo, you pull the enemies into you with your Telekinesis and immediately use your Discord Strike on them, the pull from the Telekinesis will circumvent the delay on Discord Strike.
Theres 2 factors to hitting a combo,
1. Knowing how to hit it at every range.
Alarak’s combo must be done differently depending on where you and your opponent are, at far range like the GIF above, you can simply pull them to you, but at closer ranges thing can be tricky.
With the way knockbacks function in Heroes of the Storm, if a target is being pushed fast enough, they will go through body collision. This can make hitting your combo tough as the opponent will pass through your body.
Theres a few ways to avoid this, the easiest is to start the Telekinesis from farther behind the enemy so they aren’t pushed as hard, the problem with this is that your Telekinesis will not hit them immediately, giving them some more time to move/use skills.
If they are close enough you can get the Telekinesis to push yourself and your opponent so your bodies are traveling together and you won’t get them to pass through you.
An easy way that I use a lot is to simply pull them to the side of you instead of directly into you.
Finally, you can actually use this combo to your advantage!
While difficult, pulling the enemy behind you is super strong.
2. Getting into range and knowing how to combo them where they are.
Telekinesis is an instant cast, meaning if you do it right the enemy can’t avoid it. However since you need to hit your combo a different way at different ranges, you can easily miss it. Good opponents will be trying to avoid your combo and moving in a way that you can’t predict where they will be. If you can quickly identify where they are, you can hit the combo.
All this in mind, hitting the combo consistently just takes practice. If you’re having trouble, go into try mode and mess around for a little bit. Alarak is a hard hero to simply jump into if you’re new.
Telekinesis is a very good ability, your ability to position enemies is the best part of the hero. Pushing the enemies not only into your combo, but the abilities your team mates have is also important. Things like Malfurion Roots, Jaina Blizzard, E.T.C Mosh Pit.
Telekinesis also acts as a mobility tool, because you can push yourself! Basically acting as a dash, using the skill as an escape is important. You can self cast the skill to push yourself in the direction your facing. Self casting the ability is the easiest way to use it as a dash, but get used to casting it manually as well, since it takes time for you to change the direction you are facing.
Telekinesis can also be used defensively to push enemies away from your team, keep that in mind. Sometimes doing a combo will actually kill your team mates.
Also, you can use it to push yourself to land your Discord Strike instead of using Telekinesis on them. The body collision interaction works with your body as well, so if you need to push past other people you can use it that way.
Being able to consistently land your Discord Strike is crucial to playing Alarak, and is the first thing you should understand how to do.
Even though you are a melee assassin, and occupy the secondary melee role in a team composition, you are not tanky. Having an average health pool and only a small sustain heal with your E you can’t afford to step up and use your basic attack much in team fights.
That being said, Alarak does have a pretty good base AA damage, doing roughly 177 DPS at level 1. He does not get any talents that upgrade his basic attacks however, so it’s not a very important part of his kit.
In order to sustain better in team fights, try to hit multiple heroes with Lightning Surge to get extra healing, don’t be greedy with it though, as Lightning Surge is a low cooldownanyway.
Once you hit level 10 and have Counter Strike, you’ll be able to play up more because you have the one second invulnerability available to you. It’s a big deal if you can soak enemy skills, even ultimates with Counter Strike. It’d a great defensive tool for when the enemy is engaging on you.
Counter Strike can also be used offensively, as it does a lot of damage.Look out for skills that have a delay you can react to.
People compare Alarak to Kerrigan a lot because they both have a high damage burst combo, but Alarak is a lot safer and less All in than Kerrigan. Alarak usually isn’t a dive hero like she is.
Again, Alarak can be considered a Melee Mage, and you should position like one, using your combo when you find a good time, and poking with your Lightning Surge. A big thing for Alarak is posturing in team fights, using your Threat Range to scare enemies. Good opponents will not go into your combo range often, but you can still threaten its range.
While you have a strong burst combo that leads into a silence, it’s not hard crowd control and it won’t stop enemies from moving and auto attacking. While comboing the backline might seem like the dream, a lot of the time you are better off comboing the frontline/tank. The long silence will payoff better that was as the enemy tank wont be able to use any crowd control or escape while your team hits them.
Also look out for channels/abilites you can interrupt with your combo abiltiies, like Valla’s Strafe, E.T.C’s Mosh Pit, Chen’s Storm,Earth,Fire.Getting a silence when a crucial member of the enemy team wants to use an important skill like Tyrael Sanctification or Kharazim Palm can win you the team fight.
Heroes of the Storm has a fun solo lane side cast, a lot of maps require you to draft a hero that can sustain themselves in a solo lane without team mates. Alarak is considered a strong solo laner, but not one of the better ones.
Generally the rule for picking a solo laner is that you wan’t what fits your comp/the map better over winning the solo lane.
Still solo laners counter each other in a rock paper scissors type fashion. For example, Chen will beat Thrall in a solo lane pretty easy, Alarak will however beat Chen easily, on the other hand Thrall can give Alarak a hard time.
You lack wave clear, but you can sustain yourself with your Lightning Surge. If your lane opponent gets close you can use your Q->E combo on them. Be careful not to overextend in lane however, your an easy gank target, your only mobility is your Telekinesis which is a 12 second cooldown. You lack waveclear anyway, so dont push up the lane if you don’t have to.
Build & Talents
This is the standard Alarak build I run most games,
With this build you have 3 of the talents that lower your Sadism, and Hasty Bargain which will permanently lower your sadism by 4% every time you use it. You will do less damage with this build, but your abilities are stronger.
I’ll go over ever talent row here
Applied Force is easy to pick, as it simply upgrades your best skill. You lose some Sadism, but it’s worth it. Applied Force can make landing your combo more difficult, so if you are new you can try one of the mana talents.
Both of the Mana talents will give you a (little) more mana sustain and damage, but it’s not worth over Applied Force in the end.
Double Cross is easy as it makes your Discord Strike bigger and hit to the side, making it so you can hit more with it.
Reckless Strike is pretty good as it makes your Q almost instant, lowering your armor for 2 seconds usually isn’t a huge deal because of the silence, but Double Cross is still better.
Cycle of Discord is just a 2 second cooldown reduction unless you miss, which the other 2 talents help you not do. It does synergize with Quick Mind though.
Extended Lightning gives you a bit more range on Lightning Surge, the range is already huge.
Chaos Reigns will give you 90 damage after you hit 15 heroes, which can actually take a while. The damage does translate to 180 damage against heroes if you have 100% sadism which gives you a lot of burst. Also better wave clear from just the 90 damage.
Still I think Endless Energy is the pick, you will get more damage out by just having the Lightning Surge up more. The quest will change Lightning Surge from a 6 second cooldown to 4 seconds. Which gives you more poke/sustain. Getting center hits isn’t too hard as you can just hit your lane opponent between minions.
To land center hits on your lightning surge, you need to use your telekinesis to adjust enemy positioning if they aren’t in line for you to get center hits.
On specific maps like Battlefield of Eternity or Infernal Shrines you can get center hits easier by using map objectives.
Thunderstruck isn’t worth it compared to the other two, a 70% slow for 2 seconds is really good, but the center hit mechanic makes it inconsistent. Getting center hits on Lightning Surge is a very underwhelming mechanic that only applies to 3 talents, and only Endless Energy is worth it.
Tier 4 (Heroics)
Counter Strike is simply too good compared to Deadly Charge, they both do provide real benefits, but Counter Strike is more consistent and is important for you as a melee assassin.
Alarak isn’t very tanky and can hardly frontline compared to the rest of the melee assassins, Counter Strike will be your only method of tanking as the 30 second cooldown invulnerability will save your life a lot… where as Deadly Charge will actually get you killed if you try to use it a lot.
Still Deadly Charge is really flashy and you can get some really cool plays out of it. On it’s own it’s a good ult, but Counter Strike is just better.
Dissonance upgrades your 1.5 second silence to a 2.25 second silence, which will make it the longest basic ability silence in the game. Silences are good and the loss of 10% Sadism is negligible. Once you have Dissonance you will be more inclined to combo frontline as silencing tanks like Muradin/ETC/Diablo will get a lot more value than before.
Pure Malice and Psychokinesis are the pure damage talents available on this row. Pure Malice seems like a really good talent, but when you die it’s completely reset, requiring your team mates to die again, which in the late game you really don’t want to happen. If you die late game it’s pretty devastating as you effectively wont have a talent.
If your in need of the extra damage Psychokinesis is the way to go, compared to Pure Malice, Psychokinesis out damages Pure Malice at 1-3 stacks, and Purse Malice wins out at 4-5 stacks, even only slightly at 4. Psychokinesis will also give you slightly better wave clear. You can take Pure Malice if the situation is right for it though.
Hindered Motion is weak, 40% slow for 2 seconds isn’t a lot. Telekinesis does hit in an area so you can slow multiple heroes, and they will be slowed after you combo them, still 40% for 2 seconds isn’t very strong.
Quick Mind is Alarak’s best talent, you should really take it, it lowers the cooldown of your Telekinesis from 12 seconds to 6… which is insane. Being able to use Telekinesis more freely is great, you get to do more combos, push people more, and you gain more mobility from it.
Projected Force is fun, but unnecessary. The range will actually be too far for you to combo into your Discord Strike, so the value you will get out of Projected Force will be pretty low.
Sustained Power gives you a little more healing on your E, which is nice.
Negatively Charged is the last Lightning Surge center hit talent available and it’s also nice (when it’s not bugged). Double damage lightning hurts quite a bit. Still there’s not point when Quick Mind is so good.
Hasty Bargain is very good, allowing you to get insane combos. It’s rewind on a 20 second cooldown, while you lose 4% Sadism Permanently when you use it, being able to one shot people / silence them forever is too good. You can also get a double dash with your W.
(Fun Fact : if you’re at 0% Sadism you can’t use Hasty Bargain… I’ve only ever reached 34% so far!)
Last Laugh is hilarious, it’s a 20 second cooldown Bolt that puts your Health to 1. If you’re about to die and you hit 20, you can snap pick it to avoid the late game death. It’s still useful as an escape, just not offensively.
Taking the other Heroic at level 20 is really fun, and they do synergize with each other in that you can Counter Strike after you’ve charged in. Still Deadly Charge isn’t very strong, especially at level 20.
While I normally go the build at the top, I do change talents accordingly. Sometimes I need to do more damage in my game and I will get a build that does more damage.
Alarak is probably within the top 5 most difficult heroes in Heroes of the Storm, when you start off playing Alarak, you will have rough games and it will be difficult. Alarak isn’t meta right now so he isn’t super strong against the top tier heroes, but he’s still pretty rewarding if you can get good at him
If you’re new to the hero, or trying him out heres a few tips.
– First of all go into try mode to get a feel for how his abilites work.
– Lightning Surge is a low cooldown, be sure to use it often.
– Dont forget to self cast your Telekinesis to use it as a dash.
– If landing the combo is being really tough for you, try out an easier build like this
Applied Force at level 1 will actually make the combo harder to do, so try to get used to the combo with one of the mana talents instead, then switch to it when you’re more comfortable with it.
A few more tips on Alarak
– Get used to moving yourself with Telekinesis manually instead of self casting it, changing the way your hero is facing takes time and you can’t face the way you wan’t with walls/pathing sometimes.
– If landing the combo doesn’t do anything, you don’t need to do it. Comboing a 100 Soulstone Diablo without your teammates will probably do 5% of his max HP, and you will lose mana.
– He’s really good with team mates who have their own CC / Area damageso you can combo with them, heroes like ETC, Muradin, Malfurion
– Remember using your threat range to scare your enemies, before a team fight there can be a lot of posturing.
– Use the map to your advantage! Combo yourself with things such as Immortal Stuns, or Punisher Jumps.
And that’s pretty much all I have for my Alarak guide! I’ve been writing this for a good while, so hopefully this helps some of you learn the hero! I might end up doing more guides like for other heroes ( Maybe my other level 20 hero Diablo )