Hi, I'm Equinox, the tank/melee flex player for Gale Force eSports in Heroes of the Storm and this is my guide to Valeera. As soon as Valeera hit the PTR I really enjoyed her playstyle and kit. Since her release, she's my most played in Hero League. With recent buffs I think she's in a really good spot if the player is good with her. She may not be as good as Zeratul but she still has her place in the meta.
- Point and click CC to start chains, makes getting picks easy early
- Good scaling, especially post 20 your 1-shot potential makes her a real threat
- Very slippery - post 10 with Smoke Bomb which allows her to be very aggressive in initiation team fights
- Weak early game damage
- Vision is a big hindrance to her but you can still play around it
- Very reliant on you playing around her Vanish, which is on an 8 second CD
Level 1: Crippling Poison is my go-to right now. It makes securing kills on her a lot easier and synergizes well with her level 7 and 13 talents. Vigor has its place though. If you're fighting a tankier team, you'd want to go Vigor so you can teamfight longer. Crippling is better at dealing with backliners and getting early game picks so if you aren't going to be getting many picks early, pick Vigor and stack it before level 10 or soon afterwards.
Level 4: Relentless Strikes or Initiative are the two best talents on this tier in the current meta. It's the same concept as your level 1 talent - Relentless versus tankier teams so you can fight longer and Initiative versus squishier teams so you can combo and get out faster. Wound Poison and Hemorrhage are less favored because they don't offer much to her playstyle. I do sometimes take Wound Poison against Auriel and Medic just because they get hurt the most by it.
Level 7: Right now Assassinate is the strongest level 7. It makes picking backliners easy and any sectioned off tank can get blown up really fast. When she's in a meta where shes played more like a sustain teamfighter instead of a bursty assassin then Fatal Finesse will see a lot more play.
Level 10: Smoke Bomb and Cloak of Shadows both have their situations but I think it mostly just comes down to personal preference. I prefer Smoke Bomb to Cloak because it makes teamfighting a lot easier and buys you time to get your stealth back. It’s also a distractions for the enemy team, squishy backliners will be worried about where are you and it gives your team time to collapse. I do like Cloak vs any dot heavy or massive spell damage team, other than that I think a well timed Smoke Bomb gives you more benefit.
Level 13: Death from Above is very strong after it’s recent buffs giving it 7 range up from 5 and has a lot of synergy with Assassinate on 7 so naturally you take them together. Besides getting to backliners you can use it to escape/swap targets making her more versatile in teamfights.
Level 16: Thistle Tea and Seal Fate have been my favorites since her release, with her current build and how you play her I pretty much always take Thistle. You get a lot more dps in smoke bomb and since you’ll usually be by yourself you won’t get much value from seal fate. When the meta changes and you aren’t trying to dive backliners seal fate will become stronger as well as her other teamfight focused talents.
Level 20: Right now you can’t really pass up Cold Blood, it goes too well with her kit right now. If it ever gets nerfed Adrenaline Rush and Nightslayer will see a lot play, especially in a more sustained teamfight meta Adrenaline Rush can devastating if you fight around Smoke Bomb.
Combos (with and without initiative) - these are mostly just to show damage potential and what your beginning sequence of abilities will look like in certain scenarios.
Ambush - W - Q - E
Cheap Shot - Q - W - E - Q - E
Ambush - W - Q - E - Thistle - Qx2 - E
Ambush - W - E with initiative
Ambush - W - E - Q - Thistle - Q x2 - E with initiative
Ambush - W - E - Q - Thistle - Q with initiative
Early, Mid, and Late Game Tactics
Early Game: No matter what comp you're playing, the only goal you should have early game is getting picks on people either in lane or on rotation. If you can’t get a pick, take chunking them as a victory. Chunking people is very underrated as it can lead to loss of an entire wave of experience or them overstaying and dying to a repeat gank. Don't be afraid to chunk people that are rotating between lanes. It wastes wells and can sometimes lead to kills. When you're fighting with your team early game, lead with Cheap Shot so people can follow up. Also try not to go for backliners unless they’re too far up since you aren’t that slippery early on.
Mid Game: From 10-13 you want to play teamfights like you would early game, except now you can go on backliners more freely because of Smoke Bomb. Flank a squishy when either team engages and take one of them out of the fight. From 13-19 you want to look at what your comp does and adjust your playstyle now that you have Death From Above. If you're a more poke centric comp then just hit whoever is on the outside of a teamfight with your fast combos and then get out. Don’t stay in to get extra damage. If you're a dive comp just get on any backliner and train them with Smoke Bomb. Keep in mind your teams positioning while doing this or you might just die stupidly. Don't be afraid to just stun a tank that's out of position and kill him. Taking out the front line makes winning teamfights a lot harder for the enemy team.
Late Game: Now that you have Cold Blood, you mix the priorities of mid and early game (getting picks and teamfighting properly). You can 1v1 pretty much any squishy in the game now and you can also blow up frontliners. Pick your targets carefully and don’t put yourself in a position to die just to try and get a kill unless you know you'll get out. Late game deaths matter a lot especially on Valeera because she's a very momentum-based hero. If you lose your momentum it's harder to get picks. When you're engaging on a backliner, make sure you pop Smoke Bomb as soon as their team turns around on you. It distracts them and stops them from focusing on your team long enough to make the team fight favorable for you.
You’ll get more comfortable knowing what to do on Valeera as you play more games on her and as you increase your game knowledge. If you enjoyed my guide or if there’s anything I can do to improve them please let me know on Twitter (http://twitter.com/equinoxhots). You can also follow me on Twitch at http://twitch.tv/equinoxhots.