To play Brightwing effectively, you have to remember that the idea is not to be the best healer on the map, but to be where you are needed whenever you are needed, and use downtimes to farm XP for your team. Unlike supports like LiLi, Uther, or Malfurion; Brightwing works best as a solo laner until action starts happening somewhere on the map, due to his ability to nearly instantly teleport to the action. Don’t be afraid to TP back to base to heal up and then Z back to the action. Its rather annoying for laners to deal with a constantly full HP brightwing. I actually enjoying laning 1v2 as I can usually stay in lane without dying long enough to give my team a significant advantage.
Arcane Flare (Q) This ability is going to be primarily a zone control/laning tool. As your primary source of damage, throw it on squishy ranged assassins in teamfights causing them to either take a significant amount of damage, or to run away from/into your team, effectively sentencing them to death, or at least reducing their damage output. Use this frequently in lanes to clear out enemy mobs and push lanes that are unattended. I usually don’t upgrade this ability since I primarily use it as a scare tactic, rather than actual enemy damage.
Polymorph (W) If you can time this to coincide with big bursts of damage from melee assassins, such as right when zeratul comes out of stealth or right as kerrigan uses her pull, you can negate a truly significant burst of damage or at least delay it long enough to change the enemies perspective from fight to flight. Use this sparingly as it can usually sentence an overzealous tank to death and allow you to safely remove yourself from danger during a gank. Use this on Siege Giants to help the fight go a little better if you want.
Pixie Dust (E) This is where logic and practice comes into play with Brightwing. This ability serves a dual purpose in that it can be used as a melee assassin initiation, or as an escape tool. When solo-laning, save it for an escape tool when you get ganked, but in teamfights, judge how the fight is going and use it offensively on a melee character if the fight is winnable, or defensively on someone fleeing from a probably death. I’ve won games based on a single appropriate use of this ability to save that stitches with 12 coins that almost died from a powerful gank at the captain.
- Level 1 – PotW/Arcane Precision – When you first start playing Brightwing, pick PotW and you’ll never have to worry about mana, as Brightwing is not a mana hog. It’s always a safe choice and can allow you to practice your abilities without worrying about not being able to use them. Once you’ve gotten a hang of his abilities and playstyle, start picking up AP, this allows you to do a ton of damage to towers and Sgt Hammer players, but requires you to think a bit harder about when to use your abilities.
- Level 4 – Shield Ally – Brightwing doesn’t have the strongest heals in the game, but with the addition of Shield Ally, you can do a bit more support in teamfights and help escapes.
- Level 7 – Regenerative Rains/Calldown: MULE – Only pick MULE if you are the only support and there is an enemy Murky that you are worried about. Other than that, RR is an almost required choice. It effectively triples your healing rate if you keep yourself positioned properly.
- Level 10 – Emerald Wind – Just a great ability, useful for 3 things: ending a teamfight you’re not going to win, guaranteeing a kill on an overextended enemy in teamfights, and stealing Knight/Golem camps from enemy teams (Pixie Dust in, wait for kill, Emerald Win, Poly/Sprint out).
- Level 13 – Sprint/Phase Shield – Being able to chase, escape, and maneuver the map better is extremely useful for Brightwing, only pick Phase Shield if your team needs a bit more support and is bad at working together (you should probably be sticking together by 13)
- Level 16 – Critterize/Rewind – Honestly, I think either is viable, just go with what your team needs more. If they need a bit more burst damage pick Critterize, if they need a bit more healing potential pick Rewind. I generally tend to lean towards rewind when I’m playing with random people, and critterize when I’m playing premades. Its basically sentencing an enemy to death if you have even a barely competent team.
- Level 20 – Continuous Winds – Brightwing doesn’t have enough burst damage and already has enough escape to warrant not picking Bolt of the Storm (especially if you picked up Sprint) and I just don’t think Storm Shield is all that great. Continuous Winds is not the greatest level 20 skill in the game, but its worth picking up over the other options.
Brightwing works best on teams with another, more dedicated support (LiLi, Uther, or Malfurion) and a melee assassin to benefit most from the speed burst from Pixie Dust during teamfights. Be careful against Stitches and Kerrigan as you can easily waste an escape spell against them if they pull you back in, rendering you helpless due to your low health and defense. Don’t TP to Siege Giant fights, but you should always TP to Golem and Knight fights if there’s only one or two people fighting them at the time.