Hi I’m Glaurung; I have been in the Heroes of the Storm alpha for a while now and I leveled to 40 playing Stitches almost exclusively. Lately I have had some free time so I’ve decided to make a guide. After accruing close to 500 games on Stitches I would love to share with you guys my thought process on builds, talents, strategic maneuvers on maps, and how to play Stitches my way. All feedback is highly appreciated, anything you guys disagree with let me know because my objective in the end is to be the best I can be.
Who Is Stitches? – Stitches is the TERROR OF DARKSHIRE from the World of Warcraft franchise. He is generally classified as a tank, but I consider him to be an extremely high utility support/tank hybrid. Stitches is a hero that relies heavily on his team to capitalize on his plays. Stitches is also a hero who scales incredibly well into the lategame.
Trait: Vile Gas – When struck, Emit a cloud that damages enemies. (Personally I think Vile gas is a good passive that is potent in an extremely subtle manner; Vile gas can be used to assist you in pushing out a wave, Vile gas can give you that bit of damage needed to finish off an opponent, and Vile gas can in certain situations can be used zone enemies from an area.)
Q: Hook – Pull the first target hit towards you. (This ability is by far my favorite ability in the entire game; the fact alone that this ability changes the playstyle of all 5 opponents makes it unique in the sense that your enemies have to be more intelligent with their movements. This ability takes a lot of practice to use effectively because not only do you have to hit the proper targets with your hook, you have to hook them at the correct times. I know from personal experience that it’s not hitting hooks that make Stitches amazing It’s hitting the right ones. I have killed myself or single-handedly lost teamfights because I hooked an Uther, Etc, or Malfurion with silence. Being able to use this ability effectively can make Stitches one of the strongest heroes in the game.)
W: Slam – Damage enemies in an area. (This ability is highly underrated as it can be used to provide vision for potential hooks, deal that extra bit of damage, and simply intimidate the enemy with it’s amazing animation! Slam is also quite good in early game skirmishes.)
E: Devour – Damage an enemy and restore health. (This ability is amazing in the sense that it improves your survivability in general, but it can also be used tactically as a bait to get enemies to overcommit into your allies to secure kills. The increased damage to minions allows you to do some cute things as well. For example, if Nazeebo cast’s zombie wall and hits you, you can devour a zombie to get out of the wall sooner. Another thing you can do is if Tychus casts his ultimate ability Drakken Laser Drill you can simply use devour on it to take out close to 60% it’s hp. This ability in general is amazing and fits the lore behind Stitches perfectly.)
R1: Bile – Emit bile that slows and damages enemies in your path. (Bile is a great ability if you’re looking to zone enemies from your backline, disengage from an unwanted fight, or to simply deal that extra bit of AOE damage. Personally though, Bile does not mesh well with my playstyle at all and I would not recommend using it if you prefer the high risk high reward style of play Stitches has. By no means am I saying this ability is terrible and that no one should use it, but from my personal experience I highly prefer Gorge. Another con in my opinion is if the enemy team all focuses you it’s hard to effectively spread the bile properly without suicideing into the enemy.)
R2: Gorge – (Gorge is easily one of my favorite abilities in the game, and I think if Gorge is used properly it is one of the most amazing heroic abilities in the game. There are many ways to use Gorge and using it properly is difficult at times and takes experience to learn when you should use it. In general though it’s uses are to secure picks after you hit a hook allowing either you to reposition or your team to reposition to secure the kill. In an actual teamfight though it can have another purpose, taking a high priority target completely out of the fight even for just a few seconds can provide enough of an advantage to win the fight. Using Gorge to interrupt certain heroes abilities makes this an amazing ultimate, for example if Nazeebo casts Ravenous Spirit you can just walk up to him and eat him mitigating the damage from Ravenous Spirit. Gorge synergizes extremely well with Sprint and Bolt of the Storm also.)
Talent Overview: *Bolded talents are are part of my general build.
Level One –
Path of the Warrior – Your Hero gains 35 maximum Health every level. (A great secondary talent quite good for a roaming playstyle also increases the healing done by devour.)
Regeneration Master – Every 3 Regeneration Globes Gathered grants an extra +4 health per second, permanently. (My go to level one talent, this talent adds a lot of versatility to many builds and in general I feel in extended teamfights this talent is very valuable.)
Heavy Slam – (This talent has no applicable use in any way with my style of play. The damage seems quite underwhelming.)
Chew your food – Using Devour also heals you for 10% of your max Health over 3 seconds. (This talent is almost always my third choice; at first glance I personally thought this would be the best talent and that I would always take it but from personal experience the 10% heal seems quite underwhelming and not as valuable as the passive regeneration from regen master.)
Level Four –
Amplified Healing – Increases regeneration effects and all healing recieved by 30% (To me this is the obvious talent choice at this tier because it is simply too good to give up the 30% bonus healing synergizes not only with the supports healing abilities on your team, but it also works extremely well with Devour and Regeneration Master.)
Superiority – Reduce damage taken from non-Heroic enemies by 50% (Superiority does not go well with my style of play, because more often than not I’m close to my back line looking for picks and I wouldn’t be able to benefit as much from the damage mitigation to make taking this talent worth it.)
Vile Cleaver – Basic Attacks create a cloud of Vile Gas on the target. (I do not see a reason to ever get this talent in this tier mostly because the damage you get from it is not worth giving up amplified healing. This talent does not mesh well with my low damage high utility stitches playstyle.)
Putrid Ground – Enemies hit by slam are infected with Vile Gas (With the way I play Stitches I never see a reason to get damage amplifiers and odds are if the enemies are in range of Slam, they will have already been infected with Vile Gas.)
Level Seven –
Block – Periodically reduce the damage received from Hero Basic Attacks by 50%. Stores up to 2 charges. (This talent is extremely underwhelming because currently Heroes have such quick attack speeds and low auto attack damages that the damage mitigation is terrible.)
Tenderizer – Basic Attacks slow enemies’ Movement Speed by 25% for 1.5 seconds. (This talent makes Stitches a lot stickier in the sense that any target you’re consistently attacking can’t run away. This talent favors my playstyle which is very pick oriented.)
Last Bite – If Devour kills an enemy, the cooldown is reduced by 15 seconds. (This talent makes me sad because if you’re saving devour for the last hit you’re not using the ability to it’s full potential. This is not a good talent in my opinion.)
Savor the Flavor – Using Devour on an enemy Hero grants a permanent +2 Health per second. (With the cooldown of Devour being as long as it is, I do not see how this talent can be extremely useful in the long run.)
Toxic Gas – Increases Vile Gas radius by 25% and the duration of the effect by 2 seconds. (With the way I play stitches, building damage on Stitches seems counterproductive when there are talents like Tenderizer on this tier to permanently slow an enemy)
Level 10 Heroic abilities (I stated my feelings about his heroic abilities above.)
Relentless – Reduces the duration of all Crowd control by 50% (Sprint is too useful to give up for reduced Crowd Control on stitches)
Mega Smash – Range and arc of slam are increased by 25% (This talent is absolutely useless unless you are doing a slam oriented build which I highly recommend NOT doing.)
Indigestion – Using Devour also creates a Retchling (This is a fun talent to use, but not very useful in the sense of having much of an impact on the game.)
Helping Hand – Hook can now pull allied Heroes but will not damage them (This talent is extremely fun to use but extremely counterproductive because it makes it that much harder too hook your opponents.)
Sprint – Activate to gain 75% Movement Speed for 3 seconds. (AMAZING IN EVERY WAY!!!!!! But in all seriousness, this talent is too good to pass up. It’s good for securing picks by running back to your allies after you have gorged an enemy, It’s good for chasing/running away, and sprint allows for countless plays by getting behind an enemy to bodyblock; this talent just synergizes with his kit amazingly.)
Imposing Presence – Enemies that attack you have their Attack Speed slowed by 30%. (This talent just doesn’t do enough to make it worth giving up Fishing Hook.)
Fishing Hook – Hook has an additional 50% range. (This talent alone made me fall in love with this game. Fishing Hook opens up so many opportunities to not only show off your skill, but to change games entirely. A max range hook on the proper target allows your team to instantly get ahead and make the game 4v5 until the hero you killed comes back to life. After you hit your pick you can pressure countless objectives or just simply look for a fight because you’re now up a hero. This is the best talent Stitches has in my opinion.)
Shish Kabob – Hook can pull up to 2 targets. (While this talent may be fun to use there is no scenario where this talent could possibly be better than Fishing Hook.)
Pulverize – Slam damage increased by 50% and stuns targets for 0.5 seconds. (I have participated in countless discussions about how good this talent is and after having experimented with it as much as I have, I personally believe this is the weakest talent at this tier. Most arguments for this talent are for the potential interruptions it brings in fights, but stitches has other more effective ways to interrupt channeled abilities such as a properly aimed hook or gorge that in my opinion make the other talents in this tier heavily outweigh pulverize. The other choices in this tier are simply too good to pass up.)
Rewind – Activate to reduce the cooldown of you Basic abilities by 10 seconds. (This talent just doesn’t synergize well with Stitches kit in my opinion. I see how having 2 hooks within 5 seconds of eachother could be good, but the other talents simply outweigh rewind.)
Level 20 Heroic Abilities
Resurgence of the Storm – Upon dying revive back at your Altar after 5 seconds. (Although this talent in general is extremely strong, I don’t think it synergizes well with Stitches whatsoever.)
Bolt of the Storm – Activate to teleport to a nearby location. (This talent opens up so many possibilities to make plays and completely fits my playstyle. You can hook an enemy from max range, and then Gorge them and blink and sprint into a location where you can bodyblock them to secure the kill 100%. You could also blink onto an enemy, gorge them and use sprint to run back to your team. My personal favorite though is using blink to clear extra distance to hit a hook from an absurd range, although it is quite difficult, when you successfully hit the combo you not only look amazing but you instantly pick off an enemy.)
Regenerative Bile – Bile lasts 2 seconds longer and heals for 50% of the damage dealt. (The healing you recieve from this ult does not outweigh Resurgence or Blink.)
Hungry Hungry Stitches – While active, Gorge can be repeatedly recast until the first target is expelled. (This talent is extremely fun to use, but using it effectively is not only extremely difficult, but it puts you into a very vulnerable position.)
I know all of that information is a lot to take in, so now let’s jump right in to gameplay. In the current state of the game, I prefer to solo lane with stitches until there are major objectives on the map that your team is ready to pressure. Stitches is one of the strongest 1v1 duelists in the early to mid game so you should take advantage of that. Be mindful of where the enemies are early because you don’t want to die to a gank. You have to be mindful of Stitches lack of mobility until you get sprint because he is extremely immobile.
At this point in time your team should be looking to pressure objectives and should be grouped up. Now it is time to show your enemies Stitches is a force to be reckoned with. Hitting the correct picks at this point in the game is detrimental to the outcome of the game. Your team should wait for a good pick, then pressure one of your enemies mercenary camps/forts. Playing both as Stitches or with a Stitches on your team you need to be very reactive and aware of where your enemies are while looking for picks.
Late game is where Stitches shines, death timers are long enough that hitting that one amazing hook could win you the game. It is extremely important to constantly be aware of where your enemies are and plan your hooks intellegently
Which heroes should you hook?
This is probably the most important part of the guide because hooking the wrong targets could be the death of you or your teammates.
Heroes vulnerable to hooks/Heroes you should hook: Falstad, Gazlowe, Li Li, Nazeebo, Nova, Raynor, Sgt. Hammer, Tychus, Tyrael, Tyrande, Valla, Zagara, Zeratul
Heroes that are somewhat okay to hook: Arthas, Brightwing, Illidan, Kerrigan, Muradin, Murky, Sonya, and Tassadar
Heroes you should not hook/Very situational hooks: Diablo, ETC, Malfurion(if he has silence), and Uther
Some Examples of Cool Hooks in .gif form*sorry for poor quality
http://imgur.com/JygSTzD -hooking brightwing into U
http://imgur.com/LHudVRw -bodyblocking raynor
http://imgur.com/gbXtuHR -threading the needle!
http://imgur.com/MrPIJkB -denying zeratul
http://imgur.com/XaMimKd -denying tyrael
http://imgur.com/TvedQP2 -bodyblocking raynor
http://imgur.com/w9bsh3m -hooking falstad
http://imgur.com/tZrj3l9 -max range raynor
I would like to thank all of my friends who I play with on a regular basis for being so awesome and keeping this game exciting!