In Heroes of the Storm, Kerrigan used to be a feared single target assassin, picking apart enemy teams like they were nothing.
Poor supports would do their best to juke her Primal Grasp and Impaling Blades, eventually succumbing to her aggression and skill. But that was before there was a lot of heroes who could dive in the Nexus.
Unfortunately, this meant that Kerrigan was benched in favour of other assassins who could dash in and out more easily.
The latest round of reworks by Blizzard aims to make her competitive again and I think they are on the right track. There’s still some tuning needed but the Queen of Blades is clawing her way back to the top, leaving a trail of dead squishy heroes in her wake.
Heroes of the Storm Kerrigan Rework
Ravage (Q) has reduced range and damage at half the mana cost and now comes with two charges. This means Kerrigan can leapfrog through the enemy team to get to the squishy backline heroes like the healer.
Ravage also refunds its mana cost when the target of a ravage dies within 1.5 seconds of being ravaged.
Impaling Blades (W) has had a significant damage reduction, falling from 261 damage to 180.
Primal Grasp (E) has had a massive damage reduction from 114 to just 25 but with a bonus 180 AoE damage from Kerrigan 2.5 seconds after using Primal Grasp. So more damage but on a delay, better wave clearance when in a solo lane.
Assimilation (D) has increased the damage shield from attacks and abilities from 10% to 15%.
Maelstrom (R) is unchanged at this time.
Summon Ultralisk (R) has had huge changes in the form of a skill shot. The Ultralisk now charges in a direction cast by Kerrigan. This stuns the unfortunate first hero it hits for 0.5 seconds and deals a burst of 250 damage then the Ultralisk continues to attack. Also increased is the splash radius on the Ultralisk from 1.5 to 2 for more AoE goodness.
What Else is New?
The Queen of Blades has had a significant talent rework. Many of her old talents have been dropped instead of being redesigned as Blizzard tries to fit Kerrigan back into a lot of player’s hero pools. It’s no secret she is a favourite of the StarCraft franchise and these reworks look to help her retake her seat at the top of the melee assassin pile.
The first choice Kerrigan players are faced with is how they are going to sustain her in a fight against an enemy hero. This tier focuses heavily on Assimilation (D) and how players are going to generate or use their shields as well as combining the shield with abilities for maximum effectiveness. Sharpened Blades and Block have been removed completely.
Syphoning Impact is a simple and effective change for Kerrigan’s Ravage (Q). Instead of healing her for 10% of her health when the targeted enemy dies, it now adds 90 to her Assimilation Shield if used on an enemy hero.
Assimilation Mastery was moved down from level 7 to level 1 and the shield increase was removed. When the Assimilation Shield (D) is active Kerrigan receives +100% health and mana regen and regen globes now increase the shield by 40. Are you sensing a theme to these talents yet?
Fury of the Swarm dropped down to level 1 from level 4, Kerrigan now generates 10% more shield from basic attacks. In addition when Kerrigan casts Ravage (Q) her next 2 basic attacks within 3 seconds deal 100% splash damage around the target. Big AoE potential with wave clearance or mopping up foolish enemies in a team fight.
With the removal of the talents, Clean Kill and Envenom comes the introduction of two new talents, Sharpened Blades (reimagined) and Kinetic Fulmination. This is where Kerrigan really hones in on her damage dealing style. You’ll pick a skill and begin towards using that as your focus for tearing up the enemy.
Sharpened Blades, it’s back and in quest form! Every time a hero or minion dies within 1.5 seconds of being damaged by Ravage (Q) you increase the damage of Ravage by .5 or 5 for heroes. Once you reach 50 bonus damage the quest completes and you can a further 50 damage. So Ravage stuff and you’ll get another 100 damage so you can keep using Ravage on stuff. Simple.
Kinetic Fulmination, every time you damage an enemy your next Impaling Blades (W) within 10 seconds gains 15% more damage, this stacks 10 times for a whopping +150% damage. Again great for wave clear or just ruining the day of some poor out of position support who just wanted to grab that regen globe.
Psionic Pulse, double down on your Primal Grasp (E) by exploding a second time 2.5 seconds after your first explosion. A pretty simple change but means that in the chaos of team fights you’ll be popping off like crazy as you pounce around and generally just break anyone who comes near you.
This is where we really start seeing the combo ability potential, Kerrigan was famed for her Q W E combo early on in her Nexus career but now you can really hammer that home. It will take some practice landing everything perfectly, but the payoff is oh so worth it when you do.
How does 4 seconds off the cooldown of Ravage (Q) sound every time the explosion from your Primal Grasp (E) hits a hero sound? Because it sounds good to me. Amongst the constant AoE damage that this combo causes it also means that Kerrigan can dive deeper into the backline and then have charges of Ravage to escape back out if necessary.
Boundless Fury, much like Queen of Blades but with less moving parts and damage. When Kerrigan uses Ravage (Q) on an enemy hero she gains a charge of Ravage. Keep in mind this can only happen once per enemy hero every 10 seconds so don’t get stuck too deep expecting to leapfrog out.
Bladed Momentum, this talent reduces basic ability cooldowns whenever attacking an enemy hero by .6 seconds per attack. It used to work against minions and mercenaries too, but at least now it synergises with Fury of the Swarm from level 1.
Pick your heroic ability, either Maelstrom or Summon Ultralisk. I’d probably take Ultralisk nine times out of ten personally, it’s just too good not to.
This tier makes you decide between survivability and utility talents the same way level 4 made you choose between damage. The best talent at this tier is going to depend on the enemy team as well as your personal playstyle.
Psionic Barrier, gain 15 spell armour that last seconds for each enemy hero you hit with Primal Grasp (E) pull or blast. Great choice for mixing it up with a mage heavy enemy team.
Volatile Power increases Assimilation Shield (D) by a further 15% but halves the duration. Less useful than the other two talents unless you can consistently land big combos of damage or need the shield to survive heavy burst damage until you can Ravage (Q) out.
Chrysalis, Kerrigan’s answer to evading incoming one-shot kill spells like Pyroblast. Activate this to put Kerrigan inside a chrysalis with 550 health for 5 seconds. Whilst inside all damage directed at Kerrigan hits the chrysalis instead while she heals for 5% of her maximum health per second. Super useful for avoiding an enemies knockout punch.
Out with the old and in with the new. Level 16 has been completely redesigned as the old talents Aggressive Defence, Essence for Essence and Overdrive have all been cut. This tier focuses on further landing combos or powering up abilities for maximum damage output.
Mounting Potency, landing a Ravage (Q) on an enemy now increases Kerrigan’s spell power by 5%, stacking up to 40%. This talent looks to reward aggression and applying consistent pressure to the team as she snowballs in power. Great synergy with Boundless Fury.
Painful Spikes, after you hit an enemy with Impaling Blades (W) Kerrigan now deals an addition 75 damage the next 6 times she hits them within 5 seconds. This just screams single target assassin as she aims to burst down the squishy enemy team members before they can react.
Unbridled Energy, whenever Kerrigan damages a hero with a Heroic ability (R) she gains 30% spell power for 4 seconds. Again hammering home the combo of abilities emphasis of Kerrigan. Landing a Maelstrom or unleashing an Ultralisk on someone makes their day even worse as all your abilities gain 30% more damage potential.
Most heroes really shine when they get their level 20 talent, Kerrigan is no exception, however, the choice seems limited. Some of the talents are quite underwhelming which means the choice should be easy. Most of the time your level 20 talent will be dictated by your previous choices however I really only see Torrasque or Assimilation Blades getting much use.
Omegastorm, increase the duration of your Maelstrom by .125 seconds every time it damages an enemy hero, good but not great.
Torrasque remains unchanged and awesome. Force the enemy to deal with a never ending Ultralisk if they don’t kill it then the egg immediately after. Great for just wrecking up the enemy in a hectic team fight, also great if it dies in their backline and they have to flee past it.
Assimilation Blades, this new talent gives Kerrigan +4% basic attack damage for 5 seconds every time she damages an enemy, stacking up to 10 times for +40% basic attack damage. Again they really want Kerrigan players to stick in the fight and keep pushing the enemy team to break away from her as she ramps up in damage the longer they hang around.
Psionic Shift doubles the Assimilation Shield (D) amount versus enemy heroes. Meh. You should have a support helping you if you’re slicing and dicing up the enemy.
I haven’t had much time with Kerrigan, mostly because she seems so popular that my queue takes forever when I select her. This is a good thing in its own way.
People are playing Kerrigan again in place of Genji and Tracer because she fills that aggressive dive spot nicely. I’ve been on the receiving end of more Kerrigan dives than I care to comment on.
However, I will say that when I do manage to escape I limp away broken and letting my team know they need to peel this Kerrigan off me please, I’m a squishy support. She still struggles into a line up with good tanks who can peel her off their supports or a team that has a good amount of control and stun.