Hi, my name is Khroen and I’ve had a lot recent success playing Zagara on Braxis Holdout in the North American HGC. Note that Zagara works for other large maps – not just Braxis Holdout.
Level 1: Infest/Volatile Acid While Infest doesn’t provide for as strong of an early game as Volatile Acid, it is used to provide heavy split push value past level 10 when you pick up Nydus Network as your ultimate. This talent can also be used aggressively if someone tries to gank you. If you have empowered ranged minions by your side, they will deal immense damage to help you win the trade. Volatile Acid is an option when you are not free to split push as you please versus the enemy team, such as when the enemy has a lot of global pressure to kill you while you are alone in lane.
Level 4: Medusa Blades This talent is used to split push at a faster rate. Other talents at this tier don’t help to accomplish this.
Level 7: Viscous Acid This talent is very effective when it comes to disengaging, as you can walk away and slow the enemy at the same time. It can help secure kills as well. It has much more potential value than either of the other talents at this tier.
Level 10: Nydus Network This ultimate allows you to do the things that make Zagara a relevant hero in this current meta. You should look to spread your creep tumors to both sides of the map and near merc camps around level 8 or 9 to make sure you can split push and rotate at will right when you hit level 10.
Level 13: Spell Shield/Protective Coating This talent tier is situational but it’s pretty simple - if they have a lot of burst damage spells such as a Chromie or Kael’Thas, pick Spell Shield. If they have more sustained damage, pick Protective Coating. Both talents help you survive.
Level 16: Mutalisk This talent is essential and a very large power spike to Zagara’s split pushing power. With this talent, you can easily get 3, 4 or even 5 Mutalisks pushing down a single lane which will demolish an enemy keep in no time. Make sure when you’re auto attacking something, you stand on creep to receive the cool down reduction that Nydus Network provides you to be able to use as many Mutalisks as possible.
Level 20: Endless Creep I enjoy taking Endless Creep because it allows me to be almost anywhere on the map I need to be. If the enemy team kills your Nydus or if you can immediately Nydus to your team to secure kills, this talent will allow you to do so.
Effective Zagara Maps: Braxis Holdout, Cursed Hollow, Warhead Junction, Dragon Shire, Sky Temple
Playstyle: This Zagara build is used to be a strong solo laner and split push. You will win most of your 1v1 lane matchups (assuming you play it well) unless the enemy team ganks your lane.
In lane, you should focus on clearing the lane, getting enemy structure damage, and poking your lane opponent whenever you have the opportunity to deal free damage. Starting around level 8 or 9, you should be trying to clear the lane fast and rotating to the opposite side of the map as well as to mercenary camps to set up creep. This will allow you to be able to rotate across the map as soon as you hit level 10, enabling you to split push as effectively as possible.
Past 10 you should look for openings to push lanes, assuming you know where the enemy team is and they are not in a position to kill you. Beware of enemy teams using global heroes to gank you while you’re pushing. If the enemy only has one global hero and that is the only hero that is threating you, you can look to 1v1 them with the help of your ranged minions.
If it is not safe to push because you do not know where the enemy is, you should instead do mercenary camps which are fairly easy for Zagara to do. Make sure you’re always standing on creep to get the Nydus cooldown reduction!
Note that when fighting, you should always be kiting to get as much distance between you and the enemy as possible. This allows you to have more time, which allows your summons ( W and E abilities) and your minion wave to have more time to damage the enemy. If you have not done so already, level 16 is a great opportunity to build up Mutalisks in a wave to push for a keep.
Occasionally your team might be wanting you to group up to push. Sometimes this will probably be more beneficial than splitting. The more Zagara you play, the better you will be at judging these scenarios. For example, if your team is contesting the enemy boss, you might want to be there as well assuming you have Creep and a Nydus in the area so you can help clean up the fight.
However, a lot of the time it will be more beneficial to allow your team to distract the enemy (and hopefully not die) so you can split push down a lane. Trading keeps is really good for a Zagara team if you’re behind. While your team defends 4v5, you’re allowed to do whatever you want.
Sometimes it’s even possible to push the core by yourself if the enemy isn’t there and you have the help of catapults. These situations are rare but they do happen.
Here are links to a few games with Zagara being played professionally in the recent Phase 1 Part 2 of HGC.
NA Zagara VOD:
EU Zagara VOD:
KR Zagara VOD:
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