Overview

Thrall is a melee assasin that has a large amount of sustain thanks to his inante ability to heal himself when using abilities. When higher level, he's also capable of dealing eye watering damage to single targets. Thrall is difficult to play at times because he can die incredibly easy if focused and as a result, he requires excellent positioning skills. 

Outside of Thrall's sustain thanks to his excellent trait, he has a surprising amount of poke with Chain Lightning. This places him at an advantage over most melee Heroes because he doesn't always have to dive in feet first. Unsurprisingly, this poke also makes him particularly powerful on Battlegrounds that require object interaction (such as Towers of Doom) and ensures he can choose the right moment to attack. 

Guide Updated: 23 January 2017

Pros

Cons

Amazing damage late game

Fairly easy to kill if focus fired 

Great sustain thanks to his Trait and its ability to heal him

Requires good positioning to ensure he doesn't die quickly 

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

Relies heavily on his root to reliably kill opponents

Excellent at laning due to his heal and lightning "poke"

Relies massively on Windfury to escape

Abilities

Frostwolf Resilience (Trait) - Thrall's Trait is the primary reason why he's such an effective melee assassin. At 5 stacks it provides a burst of instant healing. It helps keep you in lane for a long time without needing to back out, gives you extra power in duels, and can make sure you’re able to sustain throughout a team fight. Just remember that it will not save you if you’re focused as you can't always gaurentee when it'll trigger as it relies on stacks being obtained from your abilities. 

Chain Lightning (Q) - doesn’t really help when you’re looking to burst down a target, but it does help quite a bit with laning phase due to it being a source of poke damage and wave clear. If you choose to take the Rolling Thunder talent at level 1, it will also help keep your mana topped up, extending your ability to lane almost indefinitely. On objective based maps that require interaction, Chain Lightning is especially good at disrupting the enemy team. The fact Chain Lighting bounces to two nearby targets - from the point of impact - makes it a valuble tool for disrupting objective interaction or finishing off a low health Hero. 

Feral Spirit (W) - is your only source of crowd control, but it can be incredibly effective. Though it is a skillshot, the wolf will only stop when it hits an enemy Hero, meaning that minions cannot block it. This, plus the movement speed boost from Windfury, can ensure that you’re able to get on top of your target quickly to take them down. Be aware that Feral Spirit triggers your Frostworld Resilience per target hit, so if fired down lane against a minion wave you'll quickly trigger your heal. Try to always root high value targets. 

Windfury (E) - has two components and they’re both valuable. The movement speed boost (30%) can help you catch up to your target, or to reposition if you’re caught out. The increased speed of your basic attacks however is what really allows you to burst down an enemy, which is what you should be looking to do. If you’re able to get to your target without the movement speed boost, basic attack once before activating Windfury, as the ability will reset the cooldown on your basic attack. It's also worth ensuring that you root your foe with Feral Spirit to gaurentee they cannot avoid your Windfury damage. 

Earthquake (R) - is a large AoE slow that can be especially helpful during a team fight, but this Heroic should only really be considered if your team has a lot of damage from other sources, as the damage from Earthquake alone is minimal. Also keep in mind that the slowing pulses do not come extremely quickly, so while the duration of the ability is long, Heroes with mobility skills (such as Li Ming's Teleport) can quickly escape. What I will add is that Earthquake is amazing for triggering your Trait as each pulse of Earthquake causes damage to whomever is in the radius and as a single stack per hit, per Hero, you can gain tons of healing in a very short space of time. Not only that, but if used in amongst the enemy team and if you have good follow-up, they'll struggle to escape and you can often secure easy kills. 

Sundering (R) - offers both damage and crowd control. You can use this ability as part of a combo on a single enemy, or to split off a priority target from the rest of their team to burst them down. You need to be careful with the timing and placement of this Heroic, as you can accidentally save an enemy, or push the wrong one towards your team. That said, it's fairly hard to miss with and the 1 second stun is invaluable for allowing your team to spike down an opponent or to prevent the opposition using a Heoric. 

Talents

Level 1: Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder allows Thrall to use his Chain Lightning from afar, granting greater poke and really allowing him to engage only when the time is right. The fact it also restores mana allows him to gain some sustain. In objective heavy maps, Rolling Thunder is particularly strong because of the opportunity to poke from afar.

Level 4: Ride The Lightning 

Ride The Lightning allows your Chain Lightning to hit more than one target. Whilst the damage drops off (it's halved) it's still a good pick because the poke is particularly strong and it triggers the mana gain from Rolling Thunder. 

Variable: For a damage alternative, take Envenom. It's not as strong as it used to be, but it still provides good burst potential against Heroes such as Lt. Morales.  

Level 7: Follow Through

Follow Through is an excellent source of spike damage as sometimes you'll only ever use Windfury once in a fight anyway (making Wind Shear pointless). Follow Through allows for a nice spike post-skill use, so your overall damage is very high when using Chain Lightning > Feral Spirit > Wind Fury. Just be sure to basic attack after every ability. 

Level 10: Earthquake

During any team fight, Earthquake is amazing for disrupting the enemy team and holding them in place. The fact it triggers your Trait also provides amazing sustain for you if the enemy stays in its radius. The slow is significant and will allow your team to pin down enemies quickly. 

Variable: Against Heroes such as Sgt. Hammer, take Sundering. Not only does it stun enemies but it also deals high damage in the process. The fact it can disrupt healers or prevents players escaping makes it particularly powerful. 

Level 13: Grace of Air

Similarly to Rabid Wolves, Grace of Air allows you to gain 3 stacks of Frostwolf Resilience when using Wind Fury. Your ability to self heal just improved significantly and it provides amazing sustain in a fight. 

Variable: Against warrior heavy teams, take Giant Killer. The 1.5% increase to your basic attacks based on your opponents maximum health soon adds up and pairs with Follow Through for higher damage potential. 

Level 16: Forked Lightning

Allowing you to cast Chain Lightning twice in succession, Forked Lightning provides amazing poke, helps you trigger Follow Through multiple times and generally make a mess of the enemy team before you engage in melee range. 

Variable: Your final strike of Wind Fury, thanks to Tempest Fury, will now hit 3 times for 75% normal damage. It's a huge burst, especially if you root someone with Feral Spirit. 

Level 20: Earthen Shields

Providing a 15% shield to your and your team, based on your maximum health, every pulse, is amazing. During a team fight late game, when also combined with your health gain, makes you and your team incredibly tough to bring down. I love Earthen Shields

Variable: Dealing 20% extra damage and snaring on your basic attacks is significant and thanks to Nexus Blades, you'll pretty much wreck anyone at this point. 

Matchups

Thrall can go toe to toe against most enemy Heroes because of his ability to self heal. Having said that, he's still squishy until he can wrack up Frostwolf Resilience quickly. Below is a list of Heroes you should be hunting and importantly, beating. Abathur is excluded from the list because even an AFK player could kill him. 

Hero

Threat 

Brightwing:  Brightwing is a threat in the sense that her Polymorph combined with Emerald Wind can significantly harm your ability to get to the backline of the enemy team. If you can, wait in the wings until the right moment. 

6/10

The Butcher: Although you can heal, it's not comparable to The Butcher's. His Silence on Hitching Post can also wreck you. 

7/10

Jaina: Her slows make her a formidable opponent. If you can dodge her Frost Bolt and root her, she's in trouble. 

8/10

Raynor: His self heal, similar to your own, is annoying. His knockback even more so. 

6/10

Sonya: A challenging matchup because of her health regeneration. If she has taken a Seismic Slam build, it'll depend entirely on who lands the first attack and if you can trigger your heals quick enough.

8/10

Tychus: His mobility combined with high attack speed make him challenging, especially if he avoids your first root. 

3/10

Valla: Annoying to fight against because of her poke range and slows. Her Vault also ensures she can easily avoid your root. 

8/10

Xul: His root combined with his attack speed reduction makes him a huge headache, even more so if he takes Vulnerability on cast and reduced healing on Scythe. Avoid and poke from afar.

9/10

Tips

This list of tips and tricks are just a handful of things we think will help your Thrall 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. Always try to prime your Frostwolf Resilience before you go into combat so that when you use your skills, you'll time your heal. 

2. Chain Lightning is pretty mana heavy early game. Use it to poke, but not too often. 

3. Windfury is your escape as well as your highest damage skill. Knowing when to use it to run away takes practice (and plenty of deaths). 

4. Always try to focus squishy targets first by using your Feral Spirit to engage. 

5. Don't always feel the need to dive in first at every fight - choose the right moment when the fight is happening and you won't be instantly focused. 

6. If someone is running away from you, try to aim Feral Spirit slightly ahead of them so it guarentees they're rooted. 

7. If you need to run away, you can always use Feral Spirit defensively by turning, firing, hitting Windfury before escaping.

8. Should you take it, always try to use Sundering so that it splits the group, preferrably with squishy targets left on the side where your party is.

9. You can use Feral Spirit through a group of minions to stack your trait instantly. 

10. If you've picked up Earthquake, be sure to use it only when a large team fight is happening. You want as many players as possible to be slowed. 

11. Chain Lightning triggers your Frostwolf Resilience PER bounce. 


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Last Updated: Jan 24, 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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