Overview

Zeratul is undoubtedly one of the strongest Heroes in Heroes of the Storm. As a Hero capable of cloaking, he's in an incredible position to not only roam a battleground freely, but also pick his target with accuracy and precision. Unsurprisingly, Zeratul is incredibly weak if out of cloak and so it's important to position yourself right for every fight as if you're caught out, there's every chance you'll die.

What also makes Zeratul a formidable Hero is the fact he has one of the best Heroic skills in the game. Void Prison is capable of preventing player action for a period of time, allowing you to freeze out certain Heroes to then spike when they are released from the prison, or to also protect structures or prevent entry to a specific area.

Finally, Zeratul has one of the highest single target bursts in the game next to Nova, so he's a brilliant counter to just about any assassin.  

Guide Updated: 16 November 2016

Pros

Cons

Amazing damage against single targets 

Very squishy when caught out of stealth

His Void Prison is a game changer when used properly 

Experienced players can see the cloak "shimmer" 

Cloak is an invaluable skill for scouting and avoiding being seen  

Weaker against compositions that are particularly tanky 

Good mobility thanks to his Blink 

Requires high amounts of skill to play well

Abilities

Permanent Cloak (Trait) - similarly to Nova's, Permanent Cloak allows Zeratul to remain invisible whilst he is moving. If he does any action, he'll reveal himself. The main thing to be aware of with Permanent Cloak is the fact that your Cloak leaves a "shimmer" that an eagle eyed player can see. I've been told by several friends who run low graphical settings that it's much harder to see this shimmer. Please also be aware that if you're Cloaked and mounted, you're even easier to spot. 

Cleave (Q) - is a low cooldown burst skill that provides a small amount of AOE to those around Zeratul. It hits hard and is good for clearing minions (though you really shouldn't unless you have to) but also for dealing additional damage to enemy Heroes who are grouped up. It's your primary attack skill and you should always open with it. 

Singularity Spike (W) - allows Zeratul to fire a ranged object at an enemy. If it hits them, it deals delayed damage but also slows them by 40% for 3 seconds. It's incredibly good at allowing you to follow up with another burst after your opener and great for preventing players escaping. Just be sure to land it, as it's quite a skill shot.

Blink (E) - is the only means of escape or engagement for Zeratul. It's also fundamental to his survivability and playstyle. With a 10 second cooldown, it's fairly lengthy but it's also - for the most part - a gaurenteed escape. If an attack goes wrong, simply Blink away. Alternatively, Blink towards a target to finish them off if they're escaping. Just be aware that if you don't have Blink ready, it's not worth engaging unless you can gaurentee the kill. Please also note that Blink allows you to pass over scenary. 

Shadow Assault (R) - allows Zeratul to boost his basic attack speed by 20%. It's good for increasing your burst speed but it's inferior to the control and utility offered by Void Prison. Against lone targets, or for a build in Quick Match it's often best. If you get off your opening burst and then begin Shadow Assault, few squishy Heroes can survive it. 

Void Prison (R) - Although recently reduced in potency, Void Prison is still incredibly powerful. Enemies caught in its field will be trapped in stasis, preventing all actions for 5 seconds. It's incredibly for temporarily disabling enemy Heroes and also buying you or your team time to reposition. Its range is very short so there is significant risk to placing it and if placed badly its cooldown is unforgiving. 

Talents

Level 1: Vorpal Blade

Vorpal Blade is an incredibly powerful talent and allows Zeratul to teleport back to a target he last hit, 3 seconds before. If, for example, you were attacking Dehaka and he burrowed away, you can instantly use Vorpal Blade to appear next to him. It prevents any target from ever escaping as long as it's off cooldown (15 seconds). Considering the first thing players will do when you engage is to use their escape skill, it ensures you can stick to them and still keep your Blink ready for retreating. 

Level 4: Combo Slash

After using an ability, Combo Slash increases Zeratul's basic attack damage by 40%. You only have a 6 second window, but it's a huge boost to your output. Whether you're Blinking to an opponent, using Singularity Spike or Cleave - they all trigger the talent. Just be sure to follow the process of Ability > Basic > Ability > Basic to maximize your output. 

Variable: Grim Task actually provides higher damage output than Combo Slash because it directly boosts Hero Power by 4% per takedown up to a maximum of 40%. Unfortunately it's also lost on death. It's a high risk, high reward talent. I prefer Combo Slash because of the play into later talents. 

Level 7: Seeker In The Dark 

Seeker In The Dark elongates the detonation delay of Singularity Spike by 50% but in its place, allows you to teleport to the target, granting 30% increased movement speed for 3 seconds. Using the teleport also further triggers Combo Slash. The mobility is excellent and it plays perfectly into your level 16 talent...

Level 10: Void Prison

Without doubt one of the best skills in the game, Void Prison is a game changer at level 10. Try to use it so you seperate players from one another, or to buy your team time to reposition and then spike from a better location. Don't waste it, whatever you do. 

Variable: Shadow Assault is fun and incredibly powerful at allowing you to kill lone targets. It lacks the control of Void Prison, but absolutely has its place, especially if the opposition are running on large maps with squishy Heroes. 

Level 13: Mending Strikes

Considering most of your damage stems from basic attacks, once your abilities have been used, and pairing in with Combo Slash, gaining 40% healing based on that damage is huge. Mending Strikes gives some much needed sustain against Heroes 1 on 1 and allows for easy camps. With the damage multipliers on basics, it heals so a huge amount. 

Level 16: Sentenced To Death

Anyone affected by Singularity Spike now grants Zeratul 50% increased damage against them. This is where Seeker In The Dark brings its value, because Singularity Spike also lasts 50% longer. It's an outrageous boost to your damage potential. Sentenced To Death is a must. Considering you can open with Cleave > Basic > Singularity Spike > Basic > Trigger Singularity Spike again > Basic no target can evade you. If they do, you just use Vorpal Blade.

Level 20: Nexus Blades

Nexus Blades is a great talent to boost your basic attack damage even further. A 1 second slow combined with a 20% increase to your damage output means you can pretty much kill anyone from opening with Cleave, especially considering all your damage modifiers). 

Variable: Having two of everything is never a bad thing and with Rewind, you'll be able to destroy most targets thanks to being able to reset your cooldowns. Two singularity spikes (technically 4 with Double Bombs) combined with two Cleave is so strong. Also great for escaping with two Blink's. 

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. Any Heroes that aren't on this list are easy pickings for Zeratul. If a Hero is listed here, take greater care.

Hero

Threat 

Johanna: With many of her skills being AOE (including her ranged blind and pull) she's really tough to deal with because she'll always break your cloak. She's also so tanky you'll never kill her. 

8/10

Murky: Sounds silly, but Octograb, plus pufferfish will essentially kill you. In a 1 v 1 Murky wins if he gets the drop on you and his slime can easily pop you friend stealth. Having said that, you can also one-shot him if you're cloaked. 

5/10

Nova: Nova versus Zeratul is an interesting matchup. It's literally a case of who gets the drop on the other first. If you're exposed and you don't see Nova, try to escape ASAP as she'll be lurking to blow you up. 

9/10

The Butcher: His charge, Lamb to the Slaughter or self heal can rip you up in seconds. Even if you try to Blink, he'll have one of his crowd control skills waiting for you. 

9/10

Thrall: If he gets the drop on you with his root, you're going to take huge damage. His self healing also gives him good sustain against your burst. 

6/10

Raynor: His knockback combined with his self heal allows him to kite you fairly easily. Although you can still burst him down, it's best to only attack him when you know he has used his heal. 

6/10

Tassadar: His vision allows him to pop you out of Cloak at any time. He's a hard counter to you and if his team are protecting him, you'll struggle to kill him and still be revealed. 

9/10

Tips

This list of tips and tricks are just a handful of things we think will help your Zeratul. 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. If there is a Tassadar on the enemy team, always try to fight in other locations. If you have to fight near him (due to a team fight) wait until you know he's used his trait or engage only when he's busy. 

2. Your ultimate can turn a fight. Use it to single out a healer so that they're trapped and unable to look after their team, or to block the respawn of the enemy team as you hit their core. 

3. You can use Void Prison on your own core and structures to prevent them taking damage. It's great on maps such as Blackheart's Bay. 

4. During early game you can't really kill someone from Cloak. Instead, you should be roaming and helping your lane ally to gank players who are low health. 

5. Always try to focus high damage Heroes: Valla, Kael'Thas, Jaina and Illidan. 

6. Remember you always want to use a basic attack after every ability for maximum damage. 

7. Remember that you can use Blink to engage or disengage but it's undoubtedbly your most valuable escape tool.

8. With these chosen talents, your basic attacks do a lot of damage. Ensure you make use of this when someone is slowed with Singularity Spike.

9. If you're caught out of Cloak, buy time by using terrain, grass or allied team mates to avoid taking damage. Three seconds to waste isn't long, but it feels like a lifetime when someones chasing you.


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Last Updated: Nov 16, 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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