As a melee assassin, the Butcher has eye watering damage, powerful sustain 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 healing (Butcher's Brand is amazing), he's incredibly strong.
Like many melee assassins, The Butcher requires 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.
The only drawback to The Butcher is the need to obtain meat stacks in order to maximize his damage. Failure to participate in team fights, or dying too much, will see his damage potential severely limited. Effective rotations, joining in with fights to secure kills, while roaming effectively can ensure The Butcher gets up to speed incredibly quickly.
Updated: 21 September 2019
Amazing damage 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
Good at laning due to his healing on Butcher's Brand
Can be punished easily if he uses Onslaught too early
Fresh Meat (Trait) - Fresh Meat allows The Butcher to increase his attack damage for every droplet of blood he collects. As a quest talent, the aim over the course of a match is to obtain 200 stacks of Fresh Meat. Once you have, you’ll gain 25% increased attack speed and then have the opportunity to continue to collect Fresh Meat from fallen Heroes. What’s particularly interesting about this trait is that minions provide very little (only 1 stack each), while enemy Heroes provide 25. Unsurprisingly, the incentive is on The Butcher to kill enemy players in order to complete his Trait quickly, before then further increasing your “capped” Fresh Meat past 200. With 10 Fresh Meat lost on every death, you don’t want to die often. Fortunately, once you’ve completed your quest, you won’t lose any more meat on death.
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 however 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. If you can, try not to use Butcher's Brand straight away as you'll gain little benefit from topping up a full health bar. If possible, use it when you expect to be placed under pressure so that you can begin to heal early.
Ruthless Onslaught (E) – This is your engage tool, and it’s undoubtedly 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 nothing 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 can turn any fight instantly. The only downside to Lamb to the Slaughter is the fact it has a slight delay before erupting from the ground (1 second), and players can move while tethered (only slightly). This does mean that even if you do grab a player, others can still stand between you and them.
Furnace Blast (R) – If you’re able to land it, the damage of this Heroic is absolutely massive. 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.
Level 1: Block
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.
Variable: Invigoration is a good alternative if you need sustain and poke, rather than mitigation. The mana return (50% of the cost) if you hit a Hero, combined with a 1 second cooldown reduction, works well on Battlegrounds such as Cursed Hollow where you need to constantly disrupt.
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 The Butchers movement speed when facing an enemy affected by the brand. It provides some much needed mobility (25% movement speed) 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 15% 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.
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 The Butcher.
|Arthas: His root, AOE slow and self sustain make Arthas incredibly difficult to deal with. The fact he lowers your basic attack damage also sees your damage severely limited.
Brightwing: Her Polymorph, Iceblock and Emerald Wind can ensure she locks you down easily in team fights. Of course she'll never kill you, but she massively neuters your potential.
|Genji: Incredibly mobile and annoying to pin down with Onslaught. He can be killed with a well placed
Illidan: His mobility combined with his ability to avoid basic attacks ensures he's a headache for The Butcher
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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. It's imperative that you maximize your Trait as quickly as possible. 200 stacks of Fresh Meat might sound a lot, but it's only 8 hero kills. It really doesn't take very long if you join in on every team fight, right from the start.
2. As noted above, don't just stay in one lane. Roam from the moment the match starts. This'll allow you to secure kills and Fresh Meat from minion waves for super-quick completion of your Trait.
3. ALWAYS be in team-fights. Even if you're low health, hang back and if your team does secure a kill, waltz in and pick-up the free 25 stacks of Fresh Meat.
4. If you die, head straight back to lane to recover your 10 lost Fresh Meat, but still prioritize team fighting (you may end up earning more Fresh Meat than you lost).
5. When you've completed your Trait, you still need to be joining every team fight. Enemy Heroes still drop Fresh Meat when they die, allowing you to stack infinitely past the 200 barrier.
6. Hamstring has a short range, but it's your best and only form of poke. Use it to soften a minion wave, disrupt an Objective or to slow enemies when you're retreating.
7. Use of Hamstring will cause The Butcher to immediately use a basic attack. This allows for an instant one-two punch of Hamstring > Basic Attack that no hero can avoid if you're in range.
8. Butcher's Brand provides incredible sustain 1 on 1 and with the exception of Arthas, allows you to go toe to toe with just about any Hero as long as you can land your Basic Attacks.
9. Clever players will allow The Butcher, when fighting 1 on 1, to use Butcher's Brand on them before walking backwards. This can result in you missing out on healing a large portion of your health. Only use Butcher's Brand against a target you can gaurentee multiple hits on (even if that's a Warrior that's next to you, rather than a high value target).
10. Remember that basic attacks against a Branded Hero heals The Butcher for double (where as it's a normal amount against minions or mercs).
11. Onslaught can be used against minions - this can sometimes save your life as you can cast it on a minion to zip past enemies that might be coming to attack you.
12. Onslaught has a clear "tell". Only use it when diving will likely result in a kill. If you dive too early, too deep, you'll die.
13. Onslaught makes The Butcher Unstoppable. If you're rooted, use Onslaught to free yourself.
14. Remember that when you use Onslaught, The Butcher not only runs incredibly fast but also paths the shorted route to the target. If that route doesn't look safe, or will send you the wrong way, quickly cancel the skill again by pressing E.
15. 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.
16. You have no reliable escape as The Butcher. Key to survival is through talent or only using Onslaught when you know a fight will go in your favor.
17. The Butcher is amazing at taking camps, even early game, because of Butcher's Brand. Make use of this potential.
18. Drafting The Butcher is a very bad idea vs a stun heavy or mobile team. Try to pick him late in the draft.
19. When using Lamb to the Slaughter, use it on a high value player. It will always grab the nearest Hero to the post itself. Aim while charging with Onslaught.
20. Despite being Silenced, players can still move when locked down by Lamb to the Slaughter. Use Hamstring to slow their movement while they're trapped.
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