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Five Thoughts on Sylvanas

Five Thoughts on Sylvanas

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She may be as cold as ice, but she is the hottest new Hero of the Storm.  I’ve avoided some of the more common observations which have been made elsewhere (yeah, take Wailing Arrow, not Possession, it’s a no-brainer) but nevertheless here are some musings on the Banshee Queen herself, Sylvanas Windrunner:

1. Withering Fire is a mini-Strafe

As someone who loves to play Valla, I have to admit that Sylvanas seemed a little… off at first.  Whether it’s the fact that she’s a gifted archer, or one of the deadliest hooded ladies in the Nexus, I couldn’t shake the Uncanny Valley feeling for the first few matches after purchasing her.  She felt almost like Valla, but not quite.  It wasn’t until I realized that her Withering Fire ability is something you should always use on the move, that I embraced her fully.  When I play the Diablo Demon Hunter, I tend to err on the side of Strafe as my Heroic Ability, mainly because it’s so darn fun.  And Sylvanas’ Q ability makes me feel like Strafe is always a few seconds away, with a bit better control.  Just make sure that you don’t get in too deep against the other team because…

2. Haunting Wave is a terrible escape (with one awesome exception)

Don’t get me wrong, with the amount of damage and utility that Sylvanas puts out, any type of escape is welcome.  And my favorite feelings in the game is nonchalantly launching my banshees, nodding at that wave of enemies and disappearing behind the other side of the hedge.  My issue is that the whole process feels so much slower than other Heroes’ escapes.  It’s still a very useful option in Sylvanas’ bag of tricks, but make sure to use it proactively, not reactively.  It’s one shining attribute, whether intended or not, is that you can use it to negate Nova’s Triple Tap completely.  Don’t worry, though, Sylvanas trumps a lot of assassins, because of her Withering Fire and also due to the fact that…

3. Shadow Dagger is incredibly versatile

In almost every Sylvanas build, this ability which drops a damage over time effect on a target and then spreads to nearby targets, can play a big role in your march to victory.  Need to finish off that fleeing Hero who is down to their last few points of Health?  Fling a knife at ’em, Vernita Green-style, and walk away in the opposite direction.  Want to turn their whole team into glass cannons?  Talent into Cold Embrace, and spread 25% Vulnerability through their whole team.  And for pushing, you can launch one into a mob of minions or the middle wall and watch it spread through the minion wave or into the nearby turrets.  Not only is it causing damage to them but it’s also shutting them down for a period of time since…

4. Her trait, Black Arrows, is completely OP

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Her basic attacks AND abilities stun minions, mercenaries and towers for 1 second.  Think about that for a second.  Any non-Hero on the battleground is getting stunned for every auto-attack, mini-Strafe, Dagger DOT or wave of banshees that is thrown out there.  If you were a Siege Giant, wouldn’t you be screaming at Blizzard that is completely unfair?  We whine about Stitches stun on Slam, these guys are spending as much of the game incapacitated as a WoW PVPer.  Auto attacking a faraway turret and hitting Q intermittently will essentially shut down their lane defenses before they even use a shot of ammo.  Not to mention the fact that this trait combined with the others ensures that…

5.  Sylvanas is an amazing lane bully

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This Dark Lady can AOE silence a whole team, but my favorite thing about her is how she can dominate a lane early game.  If the other player is hiding in his group of minions, drop a Shadow Dagger on them and watch them spread it to the entire minion wave.  If they’re low in health, let loose your Withering Fire and watch it target a Valla, Tychus or Gazlowe first, bypassing the minions and dropping their health in joyful bursts.  Even if you find yourself in trouble you can let loose the damage and appear on the other side of your wall, teleporting to your Haunting Wave.  And once you’ve cleared your lane, you can keep your minions alive by shutting down the tower defenses.  Even if the other team has to dedicate two Heroes to your lane, you’ve already won by opening up the rest of the map to your team.  And what can they do to you?  You’re dead already.

 You can follow David on Twitter @DavidJasonToy.

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