Hello everyone! I’ve been playing HotS for a few months now and absolutely love it. I picked up Zagara the moment she came out, extremely eager to give her a whirl. I’ve gotten up to level 25 with her almost exclusively, and her hero level after the patch is about to hit 8. While I may not have tons of hours under my belt, I wanted to spend some time and create a powerful guide for players interested in learning Zagara or wanting to pick up some tips.
Who is Zagara?
Zagara is a powerful Zerg Queen/Broodmother from Starcraft 2. In Heroes of the Storm she functions as a sort of summoner, using creatures instead of direct attacks to deal damage and crush defenses. In this sense, she is a master of using creatures to their best effect, and many of her talents enhance how she uses (or even creates) these creatures.
Strengths and Weaknesses
To begin, it should be noted that Zagara is a Specialist. She has a couple of niche roles that she can fill in a party, but they all improve a group’s effectiveness. Having a Zagara on your team is a very powerful option for controlling camps and split pushing.
– Very high sustainability, she can last very long on her own before going to heal or recharge mana.
– She has VERY good camp control if allowed to set up her Nydus Network, but can even be great at solo camping as early as level 5.
– Banelings do an incredible amount of structure damage, making them very good to do harass and push bases with.
– Hunter Killers are very good at dealing single-target damage and focusing healers. One of the upgrades for it even allows you to summon a second one, essentially allowing Hunter Killer to deal 2x damage to a single target.
– All of her minions can help push a lane along with your own team’s minions, soaking fire from cannons and wasting their ammo.
– With proper creep management, she easily has the best map control in the game, able to put tumors anywhere for a very cheap price.
– Zagara is VERY squishy. You’ll always be in the back during a teamfight, and you’ll very often get focused. If you are jungling, you can get seriously screwed over if the enemy team is hunting camps with two heroes at a time, or if you end up being very unlucky and get a group of them going after the camp you are at.
– Banelings are hard to work with. Not only are they a skill shot, but they travel slow and can be very easily avoided if a player sees them coming. (On a side note, they are very fun to use against Hammer).
– Mana regen is an issue. Because Zagara is almost constantly using her abilities it can be a huge chore to manage your mana, and you may often find yourself running to a well to recharge more often than you’d like.
– She has no escapes. Zero. Until level 20, you have to rely on your own guesses and intuition when it comes to fight or flight, and even at level 20 you still have to choose between a teleport or your upgraded ult. Often times, your ult will take priority.
– The only ability of hers that is solid at damage is Hunter Killer (and possibly Infested Drop) since they do a lot of damage very reliably. Otherwise, her roaches and broodlings are pretty dumb and will just go for whatever target they like, and banelings just go in a straight line.
As mentioned already, Zagara is very much at home dealing with lanes and forts or running around the map controlling camps. She can pick one or the other, and can often fill both roles when need be up until level 10. At that point though, Zagara needs to make a decision as to whether or not to focus on teamfights or map control.
Lane Control (a.k.a. Split-Pushing)
Split Pushing is a team tactic that involves distracting the enemy team from a lane long enough for one hero to make a push past a gate or fort. Zagara is nearly unmatched in Split Pushing (except for maybe Gazlowe) since her banelings do tremendous amounts of damage. Since towers, gates, and forts are all stationary targets, you can get the full amount of damage from them. Be aware, however, that overextanding (going too far in a lane so you can get attacked from behind) is a huge issue with this playstyle, again because of how squishy Zagara is. Be mindful when you push a fort and always have tumors and a close eye on your surroundings.
Map Control (a.k.a. Jungling)
Jungling is the idea that a character stays in the jungle (or in this case, forest, marsh, garden, whatever) and kills the monsters there for experience and camp control. Camp control in Heroes of the Storm is so important, it can make or break a game at any time. If your team (or you!) are great at controlling camps, then you’ll have a significant advantage over your enemy, pressing their bases and forcing a hero to come defend. Placing your tumors around the map helps with scouting and provides a great way to see incoming attacks and warn others. Placing tumors at camp spawns is a great way to see when the enemy wants to take a camp. In essense, Map control is extremely important and Zagara can fill this role better than any other champion.
Hero Killer/Faux Assassin
While I personally don’t enjoy this build, Zagara CAN be built to be able to deal a good chunk of damage to her enemies with the right artifacts and talent selections. If you’re building her like this, though, I’d much more recommend that you select a different hero such as Nova or Valla, since these heroes have escapes and ways to function better in a one on one fight than Zagara. I’ve only ever used this build to be an assist assassin, never a primary one. You want to pick the talents that increase her overall damage the most and help people out in teamfights. Talents like Ventral Sacs, Envenomed Spines, Battle Momentum/Rapid Incubation, and Brood Expansion are keys to playing her as a support assassin.
Q: Baneling Barrage – Zagara spews forth four Banelings that travel in a straight line as a skill shot. She remains motionless while the Banelings are being emitted. Banelings will violently explode upon contacting the first solid object in their path, dealing AoE damage.
– Centrifugal Hooks will increase the range you can launch Banelings at, making them great for sniping towers.
– Volatile Acid increases baneling damage by 50% against NON-HERO targets, meaning towers, minions, and mercenaries.
– Baneling Massacre allows Zagara to fire 8 banelings instead of 4, but she will still remain in her spot longer as she “channels” the ability.
W: Hunter Killer – Zagara commands a Hunter Killer Hydralisk to attack a selected target. The Hydralisk will follow and pursue its target until it dies, or when the timer for it runs out. They deal a considerable amount of damage, and make excellent harass tools.
– Combined with Envenomed Spikes, you can deal a very scary amount of single-target damage in a very short amount of time.
– The Mutalisk talent turns the normally ground-based Hunter Killer into a flying zerg unit and lasts 50% longer. It can fly over obstacles and will pursue the target as long as possible. Still gains bonuses from creep
– Grooved spines is also a solid option, but consider that it only grants a 20% damage bonus vs Mutalisk which grants a 50% extended duration (essentially 4 more seconds to deal damage, almost 50% increased damage assuming all shots hit).
– Brood Expansion is almost a must-have choice for me every time I play. It gives you a ton of options when it comes to jungling and teamfighting. You can spam them both on an enemy healer to keep the pressure on, or put one on each giant if at a giant camp, or one on the knight caster and another on a big knight. Simply an awesome choice.
E: Infested Drop – After selecting a location, a Zerg drop pod hurtles towards the ground, exploding, dealing damage, and unleashing two Roachlings. Roachlings are ranged attackers that deal a very small amount of damage, but last for a decent amount of time. Their health is fair, and they can take a shot or two from a cannon before expiring.
– Ventral Sacs van be useful if you plan on pushing towers a lot, since one more roach means one more target for a tower to shoot at before it targets something else.
– Corpse Feeders increases the duration of roachlings when they get a kill. It’s not particularly exciting or interesting, but can sometimes help with killing lane minions.
– Bile Drop adds a 100% damage over time effect to the initial hit from Infested Drop, effectively allowing it to deal double damage.
D: Creep Tumor – Zagara moves to the targeted location and drops a Creep Tumor on the ground. After a short time, icky purple creep begins to grow on the ground around the tumor. If Zagara or her Minions are standing on creep,they gain 100% increased Health regeneration and move 20% faster.
– Reconstitution gives you 300% health regen instead of 100%. This can be very useful if you’re dropping tumors everywhere and playing solo a lot.
– Tumor Clutch allows for more charges of Creep Tumor and reduces its mana cost to 10 instead of 40. Useful for gaining more map coverage and letting you zip around faster in more places.
– Endless Creep increases the speed and range of tumor growth. It can increase the vision range that tumors grant and allow you to spot-place tumors if you need one in a jiffy.
-Metabolic Boost increases your movement speed on creep to 30%, but it’s up for competition against Baneling Massacre and Brood Expansion. Depending on your playstyle and team needs, this choice is completely up to you.
Zagara has two ultimate abilities, Devouring Maw and Nydus Network. Each has its own very unique application in a match.
– Devouring Maw is a targeted AoE spell that takes about a second to fire off. It does initial damage, then three huge worms spew up out of the ground, ensnaring and removing any creatures and heroes in the AoE from play for a short time while doing damage over time. It’s extremely useful if you are split farming since you can catch and CC enemies that pop up behind you. Its delay makes it tough to aim though, since you have to sort of predict where your targets will be when it goes off.
– Nydus Network is a very unique ultimate ability that gives Zagara nearly complete control over a map. It holds two charges and, upon using the ability, it allows zagara to place a Nydus Canal at the targeted location. She can place a Nydus VERY far away from her, and doesn’t have to be right next to the spot she chooses. Zagara can right-click on a nydus worm and enter it, allowing her to travel to any other nydus worm on the field. Enemies can see and attack the Nydus, so it’s best to hide it in bushes or out of normal sight.
Tips and Tricks
– Play Zagara like she can die in a single hit. Use cheap tricks, hit and run tactics, and control your space efficiently.
– Watch camp timers and try to be there when they respawn. Creep tumors help with this.
– I cannot stress this enough: CREEP TUMORS. These things are so useful. Not only do they reveal an area around them, the creep they spread increases your movement speed and your health regeneration (as well as for your own summoned minions, too). Placing these is vital to effectively playing Zagara.
That’s about it for now. Let me know if you’ve got any further questions or comments! Thank you for reading!