Overview

As a melee assassin, the Butcher has eye watering damage, powerful life steal and an awesome charge for engaging in fights. In many ways he plays similarly to Thrall and as one of my favourite Heroes in Heroes of the Storm, The Butcher often surpasses his Orc counterpart in certain compositions. With two powerful Heroic abilities and unrivalled self-sustain (Butcher's Brand is amazing) he's incredibly strong.

Like many melee assassins, he does require clever play as diving too deep, too early, will see him die quickly. Despite that, if you can master your positioning and when to dive the enemy - whether the front or back line - he's more than capable of carrying you and your team to the finish line. 

Updated: 1 September 2016

Pros

Cons

Amazing damage early game thanks to his trait.

Fairly easy to kill if focus fired or chain-CC'd

Incredible burst potential with Onslaught > Hamstring > Butchers Brand

Requires good positioning to ensure he doesn't die quickly 

A very powerful Heroic that's brilliant at stunning and separating out enemy team members 

Relies heavily on his Heroic to reliably kill opponents

Excellent at laning due to his healing on Butcher's Brand

Can be punished easily if he uses Onslaught too early

Abilities

Fresh Meat (Trait)– With the large damage boost it provides, you’ll want to get to your max stacks of Fresh Meat as quickly as possible, both at the beginning of the game, and after dying. While Heroes drop the most meat, minions and mercs are the quickest and safest ways of stacking up. A Butcher with a low Fresh Meat count is not nearly as intimidating as one who’s on max stacks. Be sure to always have maximum stacks and if you die, head straight to lane to get back on your feet. With recent changes to Fresh Meat, death isn't anywhere near as punishing (you only lose 10 upon death) but you still need to maintain as many as humanly possible. With the "quest" being to achieve 125, it takes some time but it should be your primary focus. Be sure to regularly rotate lanes to get Fresh Meat from each minion wave.  

Hamstring (Q) – This is your primary ability, as well as your source of waveclear. Due to the relatively low mana cost and very low cooldown, you shouldn’t be afraid to spam Hamstring. It’s worth noting that it does function as a reset on your basic attack, meaning your maximum damage will come by using this ability right after a basic attack. Of course, this can be easier said than done sometimes, so don’t go too far out of your way to attempt this.

Butcher’s Brand (W) – As your only form of sustain/survivability, proper use of Butcher’s Brand is extremely important. You can use it on a minion to heal up in lane, but during team fights, it’s critical to choose your target carefully. Make sure you’re applying the Brand to an enemy Hero that doesn’t have an easy way to escape, or a way to prevent you from getting to them. This will ensure you can stay healthy during the fight and continued attacks against the same target refresh its duration. 

Ruthless Onslaught (E) – This is your engage tool, and it’s quite a powerful one. If you’re using it during a team fight, make sure your allies are going in with you, or else you’ll quickly be focused down. Given that this is a targeted ability, and you’re Unstoppable while charging, there’s very little that can prevent you from reaching your target. Just watch how the game paths you, as it will always choose the shortest distance. If the enemy blinks away, or anything else happens that makes the pathing unfavorable, be ready to press E again to cancel the ability. It's also worth noting that any enemy players you choose to Onslaught to have an indicator above their heads. This usually allows for the enemy team to prepare some counterplay. 

Lamb to the Slaughter (R) – If there is a single priority target on the enemy team that your team absolutely has to get to, Lamb to the Slaughter can be an excellent choice. When attached, the hitching post will completely immobilize your target for 3 seconds (while silencing them!). Not only is the duration enormous, but it pretty much gaurentees that whoever you catch is going to die. Used on a Support Hero, it's almost always a gaurenteed kill. 

Furnace Blast (R)  – If you’re able to land it, the damage of this Heroic is absolutely massive. With that said, the trick is actually hitting multiple targets with it due to the 3 second delay. Being able to use it in conjunction with Ruthless Onslaught can help with that, as can charging up before blinking in with Bolt of the Storm (if you choose to go with that Talent.) If you choose Furnace Blast over Lamb to the Slaughter, try to avoid team fighting when it’s on cooldown, as a lot of your power will be tied to this choice of Heroic abilities. Be sure that you engage an enemy with Onslaught and only near the point of impact - taking account of the 3 second cast time - should you cast Furnace Blast. 

Talents

Level 1: Abbatoir

Abbatoir does two things. The first is to reduce Fresh Meat loss on death from 10 to 5. Not only that but it also allows you to continue to stack meat even after you've completed your quest. It effectively makes your damage limitless if you can continue to farm meat. With practice you should be completing your stacks after five or six minutes, allowing for the rest of the game time to boost your damage even further. 

Variable: Against a basic attack heavy composition, Block is invaluable. Reducing damage from 2 basic attacks by 75%, it will save your life and significantly improve your sustain in any team fight.  

Level 4: Unrelenting Pursuit

The Butcher relies almost entirely on Ruthless Onslaught so having its cooldown reduced by 33% upon impact with a target allows you to use it again after a very short space of time. Unrelenting Pursuit also allows you to switching targets quickly during a team fight due to it reducing the skill cooldown so much. 

Level 7: Insatiable Blade

Insatiable Blade increases Butcher's Brand from 75% healing to 100% of physical damage dealt, it also grants movement speed when facing an enemy affected by the brand. It provides some much needed mobility when hunting players down and a ridiculous amount of sustain. 

Variable: The Butcher is very squishy and once he dives into combat, he's often the first target players will seek to kill. Gaining a Spell Shield that reduces all incoming ability damage by 50% for 2.5 seconds, upon impact of Onslaught, and thanks to Meat Shield, is amazing. It's huge survivability and combined with Block, allows you to withstand lots of damage.

Level 10: Lamb to the Slaughter

Lamb to the Slaughter is an amazing Heroic simply because it locks down a single target for 3 seconds, while silencing them. Not only can The Butcher pretty much gaurentee a kill from it, but if placed well you can take down the enemies Support in an instant. 

Level 13: Brutal Strike

The Butcher is all about basic attacks, so gaining a 15% increase on your next three after using Hamstring is huge. If you're maximum meat stacks and when level 20 (thank you, Nexus Blades!) you deal so much damage. Brutal Strike is amazing.

Variable: Taking Savage Charge is a good alternative as it allows you to make maximum use of Ruthless Onslaught and its reduced cooldown. Dealing damage based on someones maximum health is amazing, even more so when it's 10%. 

Level 16: Enraged

Due to how CC heavy some enemy Heroes are (Uther/Brightwing/Jaina) taking Enraged is an excellent way of further increasing your survivability. Although it only activates at 50% health, it triggers fairly often to the point where you'll have 25% damage mitigation at almost every team fight. The 40% attack speed bonus also makes you absolutely terrifying. 

Level 20: Nexus Blades

Nexus Blades provides s a 20% boost to your damage output and your basic attacks slow targets that you hit. I've been hitting players for over 600 per basic attack thanks to this talent and it's especially eye-watering with Blood Frenzy. 

Variable: It's likely you'll often be focused as The Butcher so Bolt of the Storm is a brilliant variable for escaping when you're under pressure. 

Matchups

The Butcher is amazing at fighting other heroes because his Butcher's Brand provides so much healing against them. You can pretty much go toe to toe with anyone, regardless of their damage output. As usual, the chart below details the Heroes you should be focusing on and beating. 

Hero

Threat 

Brightwing:  Easy to kill as long as you bait him enough so he can't Polymorph you and flee. Sometimes it's unavoidable at which point just use Ruthless Onslaught, Hamstring and your basic attacks. 

6/10

Illidan: I was expecting Illidan to be challenging for The Butcher but he's actually really easy, thanks to Butcher's Brand. Bait him with Onslaught, keep him snared and just smack him in the face. 

6/10

Jaina: Although you can Ruthless Onslaught onto her, she'll quickly slow you and use Blizzard on herself. If she has Ring of Frost, she'll use that too (in an emergency). The best you can do is try to burst her as quickly as possible, with Lamb to the Slaughter if possible. 

7/10

Kael'Thas: Gravity Lapse, eye watering damage and Pyroblast can be a real headache for The Butcher. Fortunately his Gravity Lapse doesn't last long and if you have Butcher's Brand, you can catch up to him. 

7/10

Tychus: His grenade can knock you back, he deals loads of damage from his Trait and his mobility from Overkill can cause you real problems. 

7/10

Tracer: You can't use Ruthless Onslaught against her due to her Blink and Recall while she moves so quickly you'll never - ever - get near her. She's impossible to fight against as Butcher. 

10/10

Varian: His damage, Taunt/Slow and ability to Parry can cause problems for The Butcher. You'll kill him, but he's tough to take down. 7/10

Tips

This list of tips and tricks are just a handful of things we think will help your The Butcher 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. Try to position yourself so that you can use Onslaught to reach a squishy target during a team fight. Be sure that once you reach that target, you've got a clear exit and are in range of your healer.

2. Butcher's Brand provides incredible healing against Heroes. You shouldn't worry about 1 v 1ing anyone. 

3. You have no reliable escape as The Butcher. Key to survival is through talents (see variables) or only using Onslaught when you know a fight will go in your favor. 

4. You can pre-arm Furnace Blast so that it detonates as you charge with Onslaught. Furnace Blast takes 3 seconds to charge, so time your skills so that it explodes when you're in the middle of a pack of enemy heroes. 

5. The Butcher can still do amazing damage even if you choose the variables which provide Blocks. Don't think you can't still melt people. 

6. To get your Fresh Meat stacks quickly, pair with a specialists or Valla to quickly gather what you need before moving onto another lane. 

7. If you have died, your first priority should be maximising your Fresh Meat stacks again. The quickest and easiest method is minion farming.

8. The Butcher is amazing at taking camps, even early game, because of Butcher's Brand. Make use of this potential. 

9. If your Lamb to the Slaughter is available, be sure to dive in on a Support hero or a high value target to lock and burst them down.

10. Drafting The Butcher is a very bad idea vs a stun heavy or mobile team. Try to pick him late in the draft. 


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Last Updated: Mar 06, 2017

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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