Overview

Dehaka is a mobile, flexible warrior that brings not only utility but versatility to any team composition. Capable of tunneling underground instead of using a mount, he can move quickly to anywhere that has a bush or a vent. This makes him particularly strong at bullying in lane and supporting his team mates. His ability to pull enemies with Drag, combined with an invulnerability (Burrow) makes him a nuisance. Finally, his trait - Essence Collection - provides him with a high amount of sustain as it heals him for a large quantity of health once you've collected enough Essence. The one downside to Dehaka is the fact you need to farm Essence if you're to be effective and if your Brushstalker (mount replacement) is off cooldown, you can be very vulnerable if you dive too deep and need to escape. 

Updated: 15 December 2016

Pros

Cons

A strong kit capable of damage, utility and survivability

Doesn't have a large healthpool

His Drag ability can cause any team huge problems

His damage isn't amazing compared to other Warriors 

Incredible map presence due to his ability to burrow to a location  

Almost entirely reliant on effective Drag play  

Both of his Heroic abilities are strong

Relies heavily on Essence to be viable

Works well as a solo tank or paired with another

Often works better as an off-tank rather than solo warrior

Abilities


Essence Collection (Trait) - Providing Dehaka with some much needed survivability, Essence Collection offers an exceptional heal over time. With a maximum of 50 Essence to collect and with Hero takedowns providing 10 and minions 2, it's fairly easy and quick to maximize it. On consumption you gain health over 5 seconds for each Essence stored. It's a huge amount of healing and makes life much easier for your healer. The fact you can also using it during Drag and Burrow (Burrow especially) makes it particularly useful as you can regain health while immune to damage. 

Drag (Q) - Functioning similarly to Stitches' Hook, Drag works in a similar way. It has a much shorter range, but allows you to tether yourself to an enemy. Once you've struck them, you can pull them towards you for almost 2 seconds. It's amazing for bringing enemy players out of position and allowing you to quickly kill them. It's also important to note that you can use your basic attacks and Dark Swarm against any enemy caught by your Drag. 

Burrow (W) - Burrow functions similarly to Iceblock, with the difference that it sends you underground. The invulnerability lasts for 2 seconds and once it ends, you'll poke back up where you dived down. Considering Essence Collection can be used during this time (alongside Dark Swarm), its invaluable mitigation. Burrow is invaluable at avoiding a burst from heroes such as Kael'thas or for buying time for your team to come to your rescue, or to wait out a cooldown. Burrow can be cancelled early by pressing E again when underground.  

Dark Swarm (E) - Dark Swarm is unique in that it allows Dehaka to move through enemy Heroes, rather than being body blocked by them. It also causes AOE damage to all enemies near him for 3 seconds, dealing double damage to Heroes. Interestingly the skill can also be cast while you're underground with Burrow, meaning anyone surrounding you will take damage. Try to always use Dark Swarm when you've used Drag against a Hero so that they take maximum damage from it. 

Isolation (R) - Isolation slows and silences the first enemy it hits as well as significantly reducing vision radius. In a team fight it's especially powerful due to how often players group up, you're more than capable of hitting at least one target. It's a very offensive, high pressure Heroic that should be aimed at a healer (preferrably) or a high value squishy target. Just be aware there's a minor delay on its cast and the range is short - don't waste it!  

Adaptation (R) - Providing a Heroic similar to Kharazim's Divine Palm (sort of) Adaptation heals you for 100% of all damage received after 4 seconds. Great before you enter a fight, you just need to time its use to ensure you not only survive for 4 seconds but can then dive back in once it triggers. Try to arm Adaptation slightly early and when you expect incoming damage - otherwise you'll die and it won't trigger. 

Talents

Level 1: Enhanced Agility 

Dehaka relies solely on movement to not only engage, but also get around the battleground. With no mount and if his Brushstalker is on cooldown, you'll find movement incredibly slow. Gaining a permanent 1.5% movement speed increase every 50 essence thanks to Enhanced Agility is very easy to do, especially considering it only takes 25 minions to accomplish. Over the course of a match and with 10 Essence gained from killing a Hero, you'll quickly hit the level cap. 

Variable: If you're against an ability heavy team such as Jaina and Li Ming, Enduring Swarm is a good form of mitigation as it reduces the damage from two incoming abilities by 25%. 

Level 4: One-Who-Collects

Key to playing Dehaka is to utilise his Trait. Not only does it give you constant sustain but allows you to pressure in a team fight for much, much longer. One-Who-Collects increases your Essence collected from Minions by 50%, granting you 3 stacks per minion killed. A single wave is enough for almost 25 stacks.

Variable: Numbing Eruption is a good alternative. Considering most players will gather around you when you Burrow into the ground, causing a knockback and slow when you emerge is much more useful than the stealth offered by Lurker Strain (which is totally predictable). At the very least if enemies know you have this upgrade, they'll spend less time near you when you're underground which can buy you time to escape. Alternatively you can use it offensively and Burrow down before popping back up to disrupt the enemy team (the 30% slow is awesome.).

Level 7: Essence Devourer

Allowing Regeneration Globes to provide Dehaka with 10 Essence, Essence Devourer ensures that a single minion wave can nearly cap his Trait. Whether taking a camp or objective (such as in Battlefield of Eternity) it provides you with constant access to your full heal over time. 

Variable: It doesn't sound much, but Constriction providing a 0.5% second extension to your Drag brings its total up to 2.25 seconds. It's a very lengthy period of time (longer than any stun I think!) so it gives your team tons of time to burn someone down that you've grabbed. 

Level 10: Isolation

Amazing in a team fight and invaluable against mage heavy teams such as Jaina, Kael and Li Ming, having the ability to silence your enemies buys your team so much time to deal damage. The fact Isolation also slows and deals damage is even better.

Level 13: Ferocious Stalker

Providing much needed movement speed after you've used Brushstalker, Ferocious Stalker allows you to quickly attack unsuspecting players or escape easily. It's brilliant for quick engagement. 

Variable: As a warrior and considering you've very few means of mitigating damage outside of your trait, Whirling Dervish reducing crowd control effects by 50% while Dark Storm is active not only keeps you moving, but ensures you can continue to damage or escape. 

Level 16: Rapid Regeneration

A reverse Stoneskin, Rapid Regeneration provides a heal over time when you Burrow. Considering you can also use your trait while Burrowing, it's a HUGE boost to your survivability and can bring you just about to full health during any team fight. Considering when you do appear you'll knock enemies back and slow them, it's amazing sustain for any team fight. 

Level 20: Apex Predator

Key to Dehaka and his playstyle is Brushstalker and allowing you to use it every 10 seconds is absolutely incredible. You can constantly go back to base and back out to the Battlefield in an instant and on maps such as Dragonshire it's positively broken. Apex Predator is a must.

Variable: Further boosting your survivability, Hardened Shield reduces all incoming damage by 75% for 4 seconds. It's incredible for surviving a burst. 

Matchups

These Hero Threat Levels (1 being lowest threat and 10 being highest threat) are to help you determine which enemy Heroes can give you a headache. For the Heroes listed here, take extra care as they're particularly dangerous for Dehaka. 

Hero

Threat 

Lunara: Her mobility, nuisance poison and vision make life pretty miserable for Dehaka. She can outrun you and easily avoid your Drag. 

7/10

Butcher: His Onslaught combined with Butcher's Brand make life difficult for you. Worse, if he has Lamb to the Slaughter the best you can do is dive down and wait to be damaged once you appear. 

7/10

Jaina: Her slows combined with her AOE pressure make life very difficult. You can't push against her and her skills will force you to Burrow. 

8/10

Raynor: Giant Killer combined with a stun and knockback will cause you huge problems. One to avoid or pressure early.

8/10

Sonya: Her damage combined with her healing mean she can bully you very easily and at the very least, force you to retreat.  

8/10

Tracer: You'll rarely land a Drag against her and although her damage isn't amazing, she's an annoying Hero to deal with. 

8/10

Varian: His stun from Charge combined with his health regeneration and/or vulnerability is incredibly annoying. He can stop you dragging opponents all too easily.  7/10

Tips

This list of tips and tricks are just a handful of things we think will help your Dehaka play. We'll continue to add to the list as required and if you have any tips you'd like to share, let us know in the comments below and we'll place them here. 


1. Remember that Dehaka's Trait provides you with a powerful heal over time. You should always ensure you have maximum stacks before engaging in a team fight.

2. Burrow provides complete immunity to damage for 2 seconds. Use this to buy you time to avoid damage or for your team mates to arrive.

3. When using Burrow you can use any other skill except Drag. If enemies are around you, use your Essence to heal up and then Dark Swarm for when you reappear. 

4. Drag doesn't have a huge range so try not to over extend when using it. You'll find yourself out of position and you can be focused quickly. 

5. Despite Burrow being particularly strong (it's effectively an Iceblock at level 1) it can still leave you open to being surrounded and then ganked. 

6. Always try to use Drag on a target that can't escape easily. Li Ming for example can blink away after it ends, so try an alternative hero such as Jaina or Lunara. 

7. Although Dark Swarm is an offensive ability, the fact it allows you to walk through enemy Heroes makes Dehaka the only Hero in the game that can't be body-blocked. Remember this when the enemy team are trying to prevent you escaping. 

8. At level 1 it takes 25 minions to kill before your Essence is full. Staying in lane, or using your Bushstalker to move between lanes to maximize your intake is a must. 

9. Remember that Dehaka has no escape skills and until level 13 is very vulnerable to roots, stuns and hard crowd control. Don't over-extend. 

10. Your lack of mount is a negative and positive. It means you have global map presence (which is amazing) but it also means on large maps it can take you some time to cover them when your Bushstalker is on cooldown. Factor this in when picking Dehaka or when an objective is due. 

11. Remember you can only use Bushstalker on vents and bushes. If you're out of position and there isn't one nearby, you're in trouble. 


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Last Updated: Dec 15, 2016

About The Author

Burnell 1
Lover of all things MOBA, Lewis splits his time between Heroes of the Storm, Paragon and SMITE.

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