Overview

Leoric is a painfully slow but powerful Hero who's capable of pushing lanes, slowing large groups of enemies and generally being a nuisance. His innate ability allows him to return back to the battlefield quickly and his Entomb elite offers an incredible method of spiking opponents. Despite this, he's also hard to play well and his lack of attack speed requires that the individual playing him knows exactly when to land their hits.

Unlike other Warrior Heroes, Leoric has little crowd control outside of his single slow meaning that his value as a warrior is based on his self sustain, ability to body block and slow large groups of opponents. He's capable of dealing high damage to enemy Heroes and based on the current Meta, is a really strong counter to most other warriors. Alongside his lack of crowd control, Leoric has a very slow attack speed (the slowest in the game) so his prescence is only felt through Drain Hope and Skeletal Swing. Having said that, if you land both of those attacks successfully, you're going to cause the opposition some serious problems to the point where they'll have to scatter or retreat.

What also separates Leoric from other warriors is the fact that his Undying innate ability allows him to return to the battle much faster after he's died. In a lengthy team fight, this can prove invaluable. As far as his elite skills are concerned, both are good with one (Entomb) offering a formidable wall that your team can use to comfortably spike the opposing team or March of the Black King for further self sustain and high damage. 

Guide Updated: 15 August 2016

Pros

Cons

Lots of self sustain thanks to his healing 

 Very little crowd control besides his slow  

A valuable innate that allows him a reduced death timer 

 His attack speed is incredibly slow, which some might find annoying 

High lane pressure due to the above

 He relies heavily on Wraith Walk for most encounters

His Entomb elite is amazing for team spikes

Difficult to play well 

He has a good engage and escape in Wraith Walk

Not as strong as Johanna or Muradin

Abilities

Leoric has access to two additional abilities when he's dead, alongside the standard 4 and innate that all Heroes get. His abilities tend to have lengthy cooldowns but are potent in what they do, whether it's raw damage or some utility. The most important thing to remember with Leoric is to ensure that you land your abilities as a miss can see your damage and group value plummet. 


Undying (Q) -  is your innate ability that allows you to turn into a Wraith when you die. As a Wraith, you can use two skills (Ghastly Swing and Drain Essence) and can freely move around the Battlefield. Using Drain Essence allows you to revive quicker and Ghastly Swing when used will slow opponents. The primary purpose of Undying and its true value is your ability to reposition on death, slow the opposition and when your death timer is up and you become a physical form to fight again. What I must stress with Undying is the fact that you aren't Murky 2.0. You should see Undying as a benefit to dying over other Heroes, not something to aim for. You might be stronger than other Heroes when dead, but don't make dying your aim. Oh and before I forget, be sure to try to save Ossein Renewal for Undying as it'll shorten your death timer even further. 

Ghastly Swing (Q) - can only be used when Undying and allows you to slow enemy Heroes by 40%. It has a lengthy cooldown and it's primary purpose is to be a nuisance while Undying but to also allow you to land Drain Essence easier. Try to use Ghastly Swing on squishy targets or on the enemy team when they're trying to escape. Ghastly Swing is also good for popping Zeratul or Nova out of stealth due to its large arc. 

Drain Essence (E) - acts similarly to Drain Hope and allows you to gain health whilst Undying. It's imperative that you land this skill every time so that your death timer is significantly reduced. Be sure to slow enemies first, be as near to them as possible, and use Drain Essence. Similarly to Drain Hope, you have to stay in range of whomever you have chained to maximise its use. As a final tip, Drain Essence during lower levels can quickly bring you back from the dead so be sure to 

Skeletal Swing (Q) - is your primary attack and slows opponents by 40% when they're caught in its semi-circle arc. Its range is quite far and its damage fairly high against enemy Heroes. Against structures and enemy creeps however, it deals double damage. The significance of this is that you can clear lanes quickly and as a result, pressure your lane opponent very easily. In team fights you should always aim to land Skeletal Swing against as many Heroes as possible and if possible, always on the squishiest target. 

Drain Hope (W) - is one of my favorite skills in Heroes of the Storm because it's both aggresive and defensive simultaneously. Drain Hope requires that you remain chained to an opponent in order to drain health from them, whilst dealing damage. The radius on the chain is large so if someone does want to break it, they have to run quite some way away.  The health return is significant and besides a few Heroes (notably Ilidan or Butcher), Drain Hope allows you enough self sustain to stay in lane for long periods. It allows you to easily counter a solo-laner to the point where you can comfortably push them back before attacking towers. The one downside to Drain Hope is that it can only be used on enemy Heroes. 

Wraith Walk (E) - is primarily a defensive skill as it quickly allows you to exit combat. When you trigger it, you'll instantly turn into a Wraith and spectral walk to whereever you want. When you're a Wraith, your body will remain where you activate the skill and as such, you'll remain vulnerable to damage. Until you pickup the talent that reduces the damage you take, it's best to keep a firm eye on your body as you walk away. I tend to use Wraith Walk at 15% health and if my body gets too low, I'll end the skill early. More often than not, you'll have still gained a considerable distance away from your enemies thanks to the 50% movement speed. If you're high health and your opponent is low but escaping, you can use Wraith Walk very aggressively to hunt them down. Simply use the skill as they begin to flee and you'll quickly catch them up for a Skeletal Swing > Drain Hope spike. 

Entomb (R) - is an amazing Ultimate ability because it provides a barrier that prevents players from escaping. During early levels (especially pre-20) it's formidable because players have few means to escape it. It's best to try to use Entomb on a large group of enemies as it is fairly wide. The one downside to Entomb is the fact it's only wide enough to fit one person in the entrance and if that's you, your melee allies will struggle to hit the trapped targets. With a ranged heavy composition, it's formidable at spiking (especially with Valla, Kael and Jaina). Interestingly you can also use Entomb defensivly as you run away as it'll block a narrow path entirely. It's particularly effective on Cursed Hollow. 

March of the Black King (R) - If you're pursuing a damage orientated build revolving around self sustain, March of the Black King is incredible. Paired with Wraith Walk (you move through enemies, turn around and use March of the Black King) it can be very powerful. At later levels it loses its value as some Heroes can simply teleport out the way. If you can land a Skeletal Swing and follow it up with MotBK, there's every chance you'll not only deal significant damage but provide yourself with a fair amount of health at the same time. 

Talents

Level 1: Block

Despite Leoric's ability to drain life, he's squishy outside of using the skill. Taking Block reduces some early game pressure and minimises the damage you take. It will save your life and combined with Drain Hope means you can take much more damage. 

Variable: If you're looking for pure sustain, take Reanimation. It takes a while to get the maximum stack of Globes, but an extra 30 health per second is fairly good for mitigating incoming attacks. 

Level 4: Hardened Bones

Wraith Walk is your escape skill as much as it is your engage and as such, you need to reduce the damage your body takes while you're in wraith form: Hardened Bones allows you to do this. I've lost count at the amount of times I should have died, only to live thanks to this talent reducing the damage my body takes. 

Level 7: Ossein Renewal

A self heal that you can use alongside Drain Hope, Ossein Renewal heals for 20% of your maximum life over 6 seconds. It's significant and it'll keep you alive. Better still, you can use it when you're dead to reduce your death timer. 

Variable: Ghastly Reach is a good alternative if you've plenty of team healing because your reach with Skeletal Swing is pretty low. Later game, with Renewed Swing, it's particularly handy. 

Level 10: Entomb

Entomb is an amazing ultimate ability that allows your team to comfortably spike one or several Heroes caught in the wall. It's pretty easy to land and unless opponents teleport out of it, they'll take a huge amount of damage. Best of all, its cooldown is pretty low at 50 seconds. 

Variable: March of the Black King is great for self sustain as it heals you as well as dealing damage to opponents. It'll keep you alive and if used when enemies are low health, finish a few off.

Level 13: Spell Shield

Leoric doesn't have much mitigation so Spell Shield is often a must-have talent. It reduces all incoming spell damage by 50% for 3 seconds. Although its cooldown is long (30 seconds) it really can help in a team fight. 

Variable: The fact that Drain Hope slows you down when being channelled, when you're already a slow Hero, means it's hard for you to chase people down to slow them with Skeletal Swing. Removing the self snare thanks to Drain Momentum is important and allows you to pressure opponents much easier. It's a must. 

Level 16: Unyielding Despair

If you're pursuing a self sustaining build, Unyielding Despair actually gives a fairly good return on your health, especially when paired with your swing and Drain Hope.

Variable: Some might argue against this talent but it really makes a difference to your damage potential as well as keeping enemy Heroes snared. You can now use Skeletal Swing twice with Renewed Swing and even though the second swing hits for 50% less damage, it's the snare that's important, especially when considering Leoric's slow attack speed. 

Level 20: Spectral Leach

Your basic attacks will now deal 5% bonus damage based on your enemies maximum health and then convert this to healing. Effectively it's a mini heal over time. Spectral Leach is a subtle but brilliant talent.

Variable: Just because you're already pretty squishy outside of Drain Hope, Hardened Shield makes an enormous difference to your survivability. You can now last a heck of a lot longer.

Matchups

Leoric is a bit of a weird one when it comes to matchups because he can comfortably kill most heroes 1 on 1, with the exception of The Butcher and Illidan. Drain Hope gives you so much sustain that you rarely have to worry about surviving, especially when you factor in Block or Hardened Shield later game. That said, you can be burnt down quickly if focused and if you extend too far without Wraith Walk on cooldown, you're pretty much dead.

The main thing you need to be aware of is your distance to safety and to that of your enemy. If you can reach them with a Skeletal Swing followed by Drain Hope, you'll do a significant amount of damage and if Wraith Walk is on cooldown, be able to escape easily. Despite that, the main thing to remember, regardless of who you're facing, is positioning. Skeletal Swing has a lengthy cooldown and because you lack stuns or daze skills, you need to position yourself so that you maximise Skeletal Swing and its snare effect but also body block for your team.

In terms of Heroes that you should watch out for, I mentioned above Illidan and The Butcher as two of the most dangerous. The Butcher's damage is not only enormous, but his self sustain through Butcher's Brand is better than your own. As such, going toe to toe with him will pretty much gaurentee your death. Where Illidan is concerned, his evasion and shielding combined with his mobility make it incredibly difficult to hit him. Your slow attack swing also doesn't help matters. Other Heroes to avoid 1 on 1 include Jaina simply because she can kite you all day long and Raynor because of his knockback and auto heal. Most other Heroes are fair game. 

Finally, Leoric is a brilliant counterpick against Johanna because he can comfortably solo lane her but also because his slow makes her even more immobile. Considering she already lacks a reliable "out" your combination of slows, Drain Hope and Wraith Walk mean she'll almost always have to flee. In a group fight, if she does happen to pull you to her it can often work in your favour. 

Hero

Threat 

Illidan: His mobility and evades make him a challenge for Leoric. His damage and if he uses an elite will also leave you in trouble.

7/10

Kerrigan: Staying out of her range is important because if she catches you with Primal Grasp > Impaling Blades you're going to take a large amount of damage even if you can heal yourself afterwards.

8/10

Johanna: Her shielding combined with her pull, slow and blind make her particularly annoying to fight against and a good counter to Leoric. 

8/10

Nova: Only really a threat due to her range, she can comfortably make you vulnerable and deal huge damage before you even get close. She can't kill you but she can help her team do it. 

7/10

The Butcher: His charge, Lamb to the Slaughter or self heal can rip you up in seconds. Even if you try to escape, he'll have hurt you enough that you can't rejoin the fight any time soon.

8/10

Thrall: If he gets the drop on you with his root, you're going to take huge damage. Fortunately even if you are rooted, you can use Wraith Walk to move away. Just avoid his Windfury. 

6/10

Valla: Her Vault makes her tough to land your Displacement Grenade and her sustain damage can cause real problems, especially with the extended reach of Hunger Arrow. Fortunately she's squishy so if she gets caught in your grenade, she'll take some damage and it'll buy you time to run. 

7/10

Raynor: His range combined with his knockback makes Raynor a very annoying Hero to fight against. Late game his auto attack damage is also incredibly high. 

7/10

 
Tracer: Simply because of her speed, you'll never grab her and you swing to slowly to even try to hit her. 10/10

Tips

This list of tips and tricks are just a handful of things we think will help your Leoric 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. When you're dead and in Wraith form, you can teleport back to base for a safe revive. 

2. Also when dead, you can use Ossein Renewal to revive quicker. 

3. Use Wraith Walk offensively if you know you can survive the push. Wraith Walk > Skeletal Swing > Drain Hope is a great burst combo. 

4. Wraith Walk is also brilliant for setting up a reverse March of the Mad King. Simply Wraith Walk through the enemy, turn around and use the elite. Your enemy won't expect it (often) and you'll deal huge damage on your way back to your party. 

5. Try to time Entomb so that your party are near you and so they can fire over the wall or help you hit them in melee range. You can often snag two or three enemy Heroes with the correct placement. 

6. Entomb can be used defensively to create a barrier between you and the enemy - it's great for cutting off routes the opposition might use to reach you or a buff (notably Cursed Hollow).

7. Always ensure you use Ghastly Swing and Drain Essence when you're dead. It'll help your team and aid you in reviving quicker. 

8. You might attack slowly, but your attacks hit hard. Aim for squishy targets like Kael and Valla to pressure them early. 

9. Although you're somewhat squishy, don't be afraid to push hard. Your Wraith Walk with your 25% damage mitigation is incredible for escaping from fights and if you've reached Hardened Shield, you've very little to worry about if there's a healer with you. 

10. Once you've placed Entomb, ensure that you move into the opening so that trapped Heroes can't escape. Be aware, some will always be able to (Sylvanas and Tyrael are a pain to pin down). 


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Last Updated: Aug 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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