Sylvanas is arguably one of, if not the best Specialist in Heroes of the Storm. Her lane clearing is strong and her Heroic ability can turn the tide of any team fight. She has good mobility, can select Talents to make her potent against enemy Heroes and most of all, she's a lot of fun. Unlike Murky or Gazlowe, she's undeniably valuable in a team fight and her Wailing Arrow can easily turn any encounter in your teams' favor. Despite her strengths, players have grown wise to Sylvanas' "outs" when using Haunting Wave, so she has - over time - gotten more difficult to play well. In the right hands however, and if your team are already winning, she's incredibly strong thanks to her push potential. 

Guide Updated: 14 April 2018



Ridiculously powerful at clearing a lane

Requires a lot of practice to play well

Her Heroic , Wailing Arrow, is incredible in team fights

Her escape ability has a slight delay, so needs to be timed well

Unlike other specialists, she has reasonable mobility

When she has used her Heroic, she is very poor in team fights

Can comfortably fight most other Heroes with the right build 

Struggles to fight against some other Specialists (Zagara)


Black Arrows (Trait) – This can be an incredibly powerful Trait when used properly. It enables your team to dive when they might otherwise be unable to, or grab more than you thought possible after a winning team fight. Any time you have a numbers advantage, you can quickly and easily push a lane and threaten structures, enabling your team to take a significant experience lead. The fact it allows your basic attacks to disables all minions, structures and mercaneries for 1 second as long as you maintain an attack against them makes Sylvanas one of, if not the strongest Specialist in the game. This trait alone single-handedly allows her to be a nightmare on Battlegrounds with "push" objectives, despite her Trait no longer working with abilities against strucutres.

Withering Fire (Q) – This is Sylvanas’ main ability, and it’s an excellent one. Your lane pushing power thanks to Withering Fire is insane, but don’t underestimate the damage you can deal to Heroes with this ability, either. Working on a charge system, you have the ability to quickly burst someone down if they come too close. Just be sure to save your charges when entering a team fight so you can quickly unload them. It's also worth positioning yourself when taking camps so your basic attack is hitting one enemy and your Withering Fire another (it always aims for the closest enemy). 

Shadow Dagger (W) – Your incredible wave clear becomes even better with Shadow Dagger. You can use this ability during laning phase to spread throughout a minion wave, ideally hitting an enemy Hero or structure in the process. This can also do work in a team fight when multiple foes are grouped up, enabling you to hit them all with a single cast. Any minions affected by the AOE of Shadow Dagger are disabled with your trait, while dealing damage over time. 

Haunting Wave (E) – As an ability with some range, Haunting Wave can be used to finish off a fleeing opponent or halt a minion wave. The damage isn’t very high, and it should rarely be used for that purpose. This ability is invaluable however as an escape tool and should usually be saved to get out alive. Just be aware that any crowd control or silence can prevent you from re-activating to gain the teleport. When talented Haunting Wave can be cast twice and refresh your Withering Fire arrows. 

Mind Control (R) – Allowing Sylvanas to control any player she wishes, from a generous range, Mind Control allows Sylvanas to possess an enemy and move them at her will. It's great for picking out a squishy target and moving them towards your enemy team. Not only can it be used offensively in this way, but it can also be used to prevent players escaping. Just be aware that while using Mind Control, you'll be vulnerable to attack and cannot move yourself. 

Wailing Arrow (R) – The damage of Wailing Arrow is actually rather good, and can be a good burst of up-front damage in a team fight, especially considering it doesn’t have collision. With that said, the silencing aspect of this ability is where it truly shines. It can interrupt important channels, prevent big Heroics from being used at the optimal time, or even set up your teammates to more easily hit their own abilities.


Level 1: Dreadful Wake

Dreadful Wake allows the effect of Haunting Wave to be extended up to 7 seconds. It's fairly significant and allows you to incapacitate minions, mercenaries and structures for a lengthy period of time. It's often enough to clear a wave much easier and ensures that your Black Arrows can recharge while the effect lasts. Best of all, it also restores 5 mana per enemy hit - providing some much needed sustain in lane. 

Level 4: Lost Soul

Lost Soul is a fantastic talent and one I'm using more and more. It reduces the cooldown of Shadow Dagger by 1.25 seconds for every Hero effected by it, allowing you to use it much more frequently. Although it doesn't provide Sylvanas with burst, it does provide significantly more damage across an entire team allowing you to pressure them as a whole. 

Variable: Poke is often key in Heroes of the Storm, so extending the range of Withering Fire by 25% thanks to With the Wind is fairly significant. You can attack easier in team fights, poke towers and structures from relative safety and still clear a lane even when bullied against the likes of Zagara. 

Level 7: Barbed Shot

Barbed Shot is particularly useful during mid to late game when the early laning phase isn't as important. Allowing you to quickly and easily take mercenary camps (thanks to a 200% damage increase on Withering Fire) it's invaluable for split pushing. 

Level 10: Wailing Arrow

Sylvanas' ranged silence (Wailing Arrow) remains invaluable and considering it can be launched from range, allows you to not only silence a specific Hero from afar but also ensures you can grab a group of enemies clumped together. It's damage is also reasonable and great for finishing off low health players.

Level 13: Windrunner

If you're after am aggressive playstyle, take Windrunner. It allows you to use Haunting Wave twice in a row and once you have, recharge all your Withering Fire attacks each time. If you've started with 5 charges of Black Arrow, you effectively get 15 if you use both Haunting Waves. 

Variable: As a gaurenteed means of escape or chasing down an enemy player who is trying to make an escape, Will of the Forsaken gives Sylvanas amazing mobility. It's pretty much a gaurenteed means of evading enemies to ensure your survival. 

Level 16: Cold Embrace

Shaddow Dagger already has a long reach, so being able to cause Vulnerability with it really helps your team spike opponents down. Using Shaddow Dagger followed by Mind Control, to walk a vulnerable enemy player into your team, can gaurentee kills. Cold Embrace is amazing.

Level 20: Deafening Beast

Enemies at the center of your Wailing Arrow now take 50% more damage and are silenced for twice as long (5 seconds in total) making Deafening Beast a terrifyingly good talent at level 20. 

Variable: Against a CC heavy team, take Bolt of the Storm. It'll allow you to escape easily and re-enter combat to continue fighting. 


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 Sylvanas. 



Brightwing: A frustrating matchup simply because Brightwing can block your attacks and Polymorph you, preventing your escape. 


Genji: He can deflect your Withering Arrows and chase you easily, even if you try to escape. 9/10

Jaina: Jaina will always remain a challenge for Sylvanas simply because her burst is so high. If you're caught in her Cone of Cold, you're in trouble. 


Kael'Thas: If he has taken Pyroblast and you're half health, you're in serious trouble. His burst, as predicted, is also incredibly high. If you're caught in Gravity Lapse you're going to take serious damage.  


Nova: A headache to kill because if she hits you with her burst, you're almost dead. If she doesn't, it's easy to keep her out of stealth with Haunting Wave. Despite that, take greater care if she's on the enemy team and save your Haunting Wave to escape early. 


The Butcher: His Onslaught, slow and Lamb to the Slaughter make life very difficult for you. Avoid him at all costs because he'll not only catch you, but punish you once Haunting Wave is on cooldown. 


Thrall: His root, self healing and huge damage from Wind Fury make his as scary as The Butcher. One to avoid.


Valla: Her damage is much higher than yours, if she lands her stun you're dead and if she has Stoneskin you're going to die very quickly. 


Valeera: If you're anything less than half health, she'll kill you instantly before you even have time to use Haunting Wave. 8/10


This list of tips and tricks are just a handful of things we think will help your Sylvanas 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 using Haunting Wave it's a good idea to fire it off, run in a different direction then teleport to the wave. This confuses your enemies, rather than just running forward.

2. Late game and with the above build you can kill a wave of minions in literally seconds. Use this to push lanes and camps constantly. 

3. Remember Shadow Dagger applies a short damage over time effect. You can stack both for high damage. 

4. Wailing Arrow can be triggered to stop and detonate - do this for optimal casting against groups of Heroes.

5. You can use Haunting Wave to pass through scenery to appear on the other side. This is your most reliable means of escape, rather than running in a straight line. 

6. Even though you should concentrate on lanes and minion clear, you need to support your team. Shadow Dagger causing vulnerability will help your team hugely, so will your Withering Fire burst. 

7. Remember you've very squishy - only use Haunting Wave offensively if you know you have support or can guarantee a kill.

8. Shaddow Dagger has a deceptively long range. Use it to poke as much as possible. 

9. Mind Control can be an effective variable but you're vulnerable when using it. That said, it can work against some compositions - especially the likes of Lt. Morales. 

10. Try to encourage your team to help you take structures when you've disabled them. It'll force the enemy team to react. 

11. Don't be afraid to split push as Sylvanas, even if it means your team is 4 versus 5. If the enemy team don't deal with you, they'll quickly lose a fort. 

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Last Updated: Apr 14, 2018

About The Author

Lewis currently splits his time between Heroes of the Storm, Battlerite, and World of Warcraft, having covered MOBAs and MMOs for many years.