Please note: this build is the second part of the guide. If you wish to read the first part, you can find it here.
The “Auto-attack” Build
Build Pros and Cons
General style of play and Tips for the Build
Situational Talent choices and Build variations
Tips on how to play against Sylvanas and the Build
Heroes that work well with and against the Banshee Queen
Meta - conditions of the game in which some heroes are more popular than the others due to the nature of the game environment. For example, Meta game in professional games and Hero League will be different. In first case people have voice communication and spend a lot of time in the game, so they can play various heroes on extreme level and do organized moves as a team. At the same time, Hero League is an environment of players of different skill and understanding of the game, so heroes that are easier to play and provide effective results will be more valued there.
AOE - Area of Effect.
to Poke - to deal some amount of damage to the enemy while staying at the safe distance.
Wombo-Combo - a setup of spells or Heroics that brings overwhelming results, like bringing every enemy team member down almost simultaneously. Usually, it involves spells with tricky mechanics.
to Burst down - to use high damaging spells and abilities in quick succession.
DPS - damage per second.
Divy hero - mobile hero that is able jump in and out of the fight, while bringing in moderate damage numbers.
DOT - damage over time.
Stutter-stepping - movement technique that utilizes cooldown between the auto-attacks to move a bit towards the targets. As a result, a player is able to dish out more right-click damage.
to Peel - to use disruptive abilities, as well as body-blocks, to protect your allies. Usually, it is done by Warriors.
Once upon a time, there was High Elf ranger Sylvanas Windrunner. Oh, wait! I already told you that in the original guide. Okay! Then, I’ll talk about talent builds that were not mentioned. I wrote the first part to be very new player friendly. The builds described there are easy to pick up. The builds described there, they are very suitable for people that are not familiar with the hero at all, or have some experience and looking to try something new. The builds that await you in this part are more oriented towards very experienced players and players looking to try playing on the extreme level. I’ll also try to describe and explain them in new player friendly way, but they will be harder to execute. They will require more game involvement and understanding. They will require more patience and mechanical skill. They will require very good execution and positional skills. Also, they are specific in way that they are not playable in any setups and situations, like Standard Sylvanas build is.
Don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid to try playing these builds if you are new player, or think that you are not experienced enough. You might discover new exciting and intriguing playstyles. And. They might keep you busy until you hit level 20, in you hero progression level.
The “Auto-Attack” Build
As I’ve stated in the original guide, Sylvanas fulfills both, Assassin and Specialist, roles. The Standard build focuses on maintaining capabilities of the roles on decent levels, while also providing additional burst-down damage and self-sustain options.
The “auto-attack” build will moderately shift the gameplay towards the right-click Assassin style of play. The role and damage output of your basic attacks will be higher. But. You will retain strong Specialist abilities in form of the Trait and “Barbed Shot” talent. However. The build will be less forgiving, as there will be no sustain talents. The positioning will be much trickier task.
Lastly, i wanted to mention that this build will be introduced in two variants. The First variant, described below, will be more team oriented, while the Second one will be more standalone and mobile.
The goal behind these talent choices is to boost the right-click damage, but at the same time retain key team-fighting and wave-clearing capabilities. The buff will come in form of direct damage increase and additional effect of the right-clicks. The effect will additively slow the target up to 25% movement speed debuff. Also, your Trait will be slightly buffed. Its duration will be increased to 2 seconds of time.
The talent will increase damage from “Withering Fire” by 200% to Minions and Mercenaries. Note: 200% means x3. So, if description of the spell states that the charge does 50 points of damage, it will do 150 points of damage to Minion or Mercenary. This upgrade increases your wave clear potential, but most importantly it allows you to capture Siege Camp faster. Sylvanas can capture Siege camp on her own. But, it takes some time. With this upgrade in action, the process is faster.
The “Paralysis” talent will increase the duration of the Trait,“Black Arrows”, by 100%. Now, the Trait will last for 2 seconds of time. Firstly, this talent will be the foundation to the “Overwhelming Affliction” talent. Thanks to this talent, slow effect from OA will last for 2 seconds. Secondly, you can simultaneously disable 2 structures with your auto-attacks.
This will increase your pushing power with active objectives, like Dragon Knight, by a lot. As you will keep both damaging structures stunned, the map objective will take less damage and will do more structural damage.
This talent will be Sylvanas’ version of common “Follow Through” talent. “Remorseless” will increase the damage of next basic attack by 25%, for 3 seconds after using the ability. This talent will be huge buff to right-click DPS and burst down potential, as Banshee Queen has very fast a-a speed, 1.67, and has lots of abilities. Each charge of “Withering Fire” will count as separate ability. Keep in mind that you will have to change your playstyle accordingly. I mean, you no longer hold that “Q” key, but bash it every second.
Right now, unlike many other Heroes, Sylvanas doesn’t have viable second Heroic. Your choice will always be “Wailing Arrow”. Unless you are playing the A.I. match). “Wailing Arrow” has mechanic similar to “Haunting Wave”. You fire an AOE spell that flies towards pointed location and can be activated manually to deal AOE damage and apply Silence effect. If not activated, the Heroic will detonate when it reaches max range. The Heroic deals 158 (+18 per level) damage and applies Silence effect for 2.5 seconds. This ultimate is very powerful spell. It can be used to burst down single enemy or disable key enemy Hero. It can be used in some wombo-combo setups. Lastly, “Wailing Arrow” can be used to break enemy initiation and force counter-initiation of your team. Ideally, you want to hit as many targets as you can. But, it is best to use it accordingly to your teammates actions and general situation.
For general knowledge, i will also describe second Heroic, the “Possession”. This ultimate costs 20 Mana. It has 7 charges, and each charge has 12 seconds of cooldown time. What this ultimate does? It converts enemy lane minion into allied one. Each “Possession” consumes 1 charge and increases unit attack rate by 20%. With this ulty you are able to steal away whole enemy creep wave. For that, you will pay 140 Mana and spend 7 charges. The stolen minions will be your allies until they die. They will also have some violet effect around them. While this Heroic seems to be good at pushing, it completely kills your team-fighting potential and utility. Sylvanas has plenty of Specialist tools already, so there is no real reason to kill one of your biggest strengths for a bit of additional pushing power.
The Trait now also applies to Heroes, slowing them by 5% for the duration. This effect stacks 5 times, resulting in 25% movement speed debuff. As we are using the “Paralysis” talent, the slow effect will last for 2 seconds. Combined with “Remorseless”, this talent is the core of the build. The talent brings team utility, as it is much easier to focus down the target that is constantly slowed. The efficient use of this talent will require good “stutter-stepping” skills from the player.
After learning this talent “Shadow Dagger” will apply the Vulnerable effect to the enemies. The effect will increase damage taken from any source by 25%. The effect lasts for 2 seconds. The talent will reduce the range of “Shadow Dagger” ability by 25%. “Cold Embrace” is very powerful talent for burst oriented gameplay. It will require more teamplay, but is more rewarding. Also, it has some kind of AOE effect, as poison from the dagger spreads to nearby targets applying Vulnerable effect to multiple targets. This talent will be a huge buff to DPS output of your team.
Lastly, the talent will increase your poking potential, as “Shadow Dagger” damage also benefits from the Vulnerable effect.
Bolt of the Storm
If you read my guides, you know that I am a big fan of this talent. There are many reasons for that, but i will describe them after the talent overview. So. “Bolt” is 3rd activatable talent in this build. It has 70 seconds cooldown and costs no Mana. The talents that cost Mana are almost non-existent. Probably, i should stop writing that talents cost no Mana. Whatever. What this talent does? It instantly teleports a Hero to a selected location, within the range of the talent. So, “Bolt of the Storm” is an escape tool. But, at the same time, it can be used offensively. You can blink out of danger situation, or blink in to force a fight and do cool initiation move. Also, as the spell is instant, it allows dodging enemy projectiles, skillshots and even Heroic(s). First one that comes to mind is Tyrael’s Judgment. You just blink out when he is mid-flight. The result will be him wasting his Heroic and having it on cooldown, and you chilling nearby and not being stunned or damaged. For Sylvanas, this talent is nice save ability. You might think that “Haunting Wave” is enough. But, no! In mass fight(s), you can melt down in 1 second of time. So, you won’t have time to reposition yourself properly with “Haunting Wave”. Unless, you cast it prematurely. But, you won’t have that possibility all the time. Other valuable argument, to take this talent, is many enemy Assassins will get it. If you will not have it, then enemy will have positional advantage over you. Also, he will be able to use it as an escape tool, and you can lose him while chasing down. So, "Bolt of the Storm" for everyone!
Build Pros and Cons
Here i will describe what is so specific about this build and will talk about its availability. I will compare it to the Standard build and will tell what heroes this build is good versus. Let’s go! The specifics of the build can be described through its availability and the heroes that are suitable enemies for this build. It is all bound to each other and comes as a result of each other.
I know, I sound crazy, but we will get along, and through! So. The build. The build is specific because he has high skill cap in form of the good mechanical skills, very fast paced and momentum based gameplay, and tons of decision makings. I’ll describe the gameplay down below, in the style of play section.
The build availability. It is not as versatile as the Standard burst build. Here, part of your utility and DPS comes in form of right-clicks. That means you want to have a setup of heroes that will allow you to land those attacks, and at the same time can provide peeling against divy enemy line-up.
Heroes this build is good vs. You need to look at enemy Support(s). If they are good at providing burst healing for single target, then this build will be very effective against them. The build allows continuously dishing out moderate amounts of damage, and spreading your damage over time. Previously mentioned supports have a hard time dealing with such style of play. More in-depth description of the heroes that are good with or against Sylvanas will be provided in the end part of guide, in corresponding part.
Lastly, compared to Standard burst down build, the auto-attack build has less self-sustain, wave-clearing and burst damage. But. Has higher right-click DPS, and is good versus heroes that counter the burst down gameplay.
Moderate A-A damage
The Banshee Queen has very fast attack rate, and is able to perform 1.67 auto-attacks per second. With the “Remorseless” talent in the kit, Sylvanas will be the constant source of moderate right-click damage numbers. She has no problems in keeping up the effect of the talent, as each charge of the “Withering Fire” counts as the ability. This makes her especially powerful against enemy front-liners and Supports, which aren’t suited for prolonged fights.
Additional pushing power
In general, Sylvanas is already good when it comes to sieging with map objectives like Dragon Knight, WebWeavers and etc. She is able to shutdown enemy structures with her Trait, thus increasing the survivability and damage of the objective. This build has “Paralysis” talent as level 4 talent choice. The talent makes Trait duration to be 2 seconds. This allows stunning the enemy buildings with just right-clicks, as Sylvanas does 1.67 auto-attacks per second.
Additional teamfight potential
Incredible utility that Sylvanas has when it comes to the teamfights will be boosted by the “Overwhelming Affliction” and “Cold Embrace” talents. They are both very effective when it comes to providing focus fire assistance. The movement speed slow effect will make chasing and focusing down targets much easier. It will also be a great tool for flanking. The Vulnerable debuff will boost target damage numbers, while also providing some kind of zoning effect. Your enemies won’t be willing to receive the debuff.
Positional dependency and absence of decent escape ability until level 20
This topic is crucial for many Assassins and Specialists and it is also crucial for Sylvanas. She is very fragile hero. She has no self-sustain. The “Haunting Wave” plays the role of escape ability. However, in the situations when you are not aware of the danger ahead, and you need to reposition yourself immediately, it won’t be effective. The Wave has specific mechanic. It takes some time for the spell to fly towards a point. So, it won’t be able to reposition you immediately. And that leads to my next point. The Banshee Queen doesn’t have decent escape until level 20. All this puts additional pressure on your positioning. If found in a bad spot, Sylvanas will meltdown in few seconds of time. She won’t have enough time to escape using “Haunting Wave”. Sometimes, you are able to teleport on the wave, but the distance it traveled won’t be enough to escape.
High skill cap
Partly, this topic emerges from the previous one. Due to high positional dependency, Sylvanas may be a relatively hard to play hero. How hard it will be to play her? Mostly, it will depend on two things. Your positioning. Your understanding of the gameplay. When playing as Sylvanas it is very important to anticipate the flow of the fight and make decisions that will be beneficial in the future. I mean not only the positioning. It is also very important to understand when it is best to use your ultimate. Silence effect Heroic brings is half of Sylvanas’ utility.
I also want to mention that this build has no self-sustain, compared to default build, and provides more mechanical and gameplay challenge. You will need to time the “Withering Fire” use with auto-attacks. You will need to do a lot of “stutter-stepping”. At the same time, you don’t want to overextend with your positioning, you want to assist your team with focus fire, or flanking, and proper Silences.
As if the stuff described above were not enough, you also want to avoid this build when facing enemy setups that will force you to take the “Spell Shield” talent. Apart from “Remorseless”, the choice you make at level 13 is also very crucial to the build. It can be shifted more towards self-oriented and mobile gameflow with “Evasive Fire”, when you feel that the teamplay spirit is weak in your allies. But. I will describe such options in the situational talent choices and variations of this build. Here i want to mention that this build is not very viable when it comes to playing enemy setups that force you to take the “Spell Shield” talent, or are very punishing to auto-attacking gameplay, as the main shift of this build, compared to other Sylvanas builds, is towards the right-click style of play.
General style of play and Tips for the Build
Here i will describe general approach to the Sylvanas gameplay, which is viable for every build. Then, I’ll provide info on how the shift towards auto-attack gameflow affects the approach.
Of course, there is a style of play for the Hero. But it will be highly influenced by many things. The things like enemy hero composition. The things like map, and so on. So. The topic is very relevant. This means i can’t describe the ideal pattern. There is no ideal pattern. There will be different situations in the game that will require different decision making. And right decision making you’ve made in one game, may turn to be wrong decision making in the other. But i have to explain the basics somehow, right? So. I’ll explain some reactionary patterns in some scenarios. This way you will be able to build up your own understanding of the style of play for Sylvanas. It will let you make right decision making in different situations, which are not described in the guide, but may occur.
The Laning phase. Here you want to dominate the lane and be aggressive. Most heroes will lose a lane to Sylvanas if it is solo lane. Beware of Zagara though. You can’t win a lane versus her. So, it is best to play reactionary and just clear the waves near your towers, and don’t take Hydralisk damage. In general, you want to create a lane pressure, so enemy has to play reactionary. This is especially important right before the map objective will spawn. With you pushing power, you are able to clear the enemy creep wave fast and force enemy into the decision. He will have to decide between rotating to objective and clearing the wave. Both decisions will result in slight advantage to your team. In first scenario small amount of XP will be lost, and your team will go forward in XP, or will catch up a bit. The second scenario will lead to a number and a positional advantage for some period of time.
However, while pushing the lane, don't overextend with your positioning, as Sylvanas is very susceptible to rotations. You don't want to be near the enemy gates, unless you are aware of the enemy location.
Written above is also true for auto-attack build. While your wave-clear won’t be as insane as it is with “Unstable Poison” talent and burst damage potential will be decreased by the absence of the “Envenom” talent, your ability to dominate the lane and push it will be stronger. The “Remorseless” talent will be source of constant poking damage and enemy hero pressure. Heroes without good self-sustain will have a hard time laning against you. And. When the lane is cleared and no one is guarding the gates, you will be able to deal even more structural damage with “Paralysis” talent.
The Fights. In fights, Sylvanas gameplay will look like a dance between the back-line and front\middle-line. Ideally, you always want to be behind someone and take zero poking or AOE damage. You want to go in do the damage and go out. The amount of the damage you can do and the amount of the time you can stay will depend on the type of the fight. There can be fights based on poking, or there can be quick fights with hard engage. The right time to go in is when your allies are doing some moves which require follow ups. Mostly, these will be Warriors or Melee Assassins engaging the enemy team. The form of engage will vary. It can be ultimate. It can be usual ability with stun or the slow effect. Your job will be to damage the enemy hero that is engaged on. But. You need to stay in relatively safe position, as the Banshee Queen is very fragile hero and will melt down very fast. Huge part of your utility and the fight outcome will depend on the use of “Wailing Arrow” Heroic. This spell is the key for winning a fight. Understanding when it’s best time to use this Heroic will require very good game anticipation, as well as game experience.
While playing “auto-attack” Sylvanas you would also like to do a “stutter-stepping” and deliver more damage to the frontline. Also, efficient use of “Shadow Dagger” will have huge impact on the fights.
“Stutter-stepping”. This is a basic part of the gameplay of any hero that is designed around right-click damage. However. For Sylvanas, it is a hard part as you not only have to do a lot of things simultaneously, but also because her fire rate is very fast. “Overwhelming Affliction” talent will make it easier task as target will be moving with lesser speed. While “stutter-stepping” it is very important to not lose the bigger scale of things and overextend with positioning, or do some unnecessary moves like chasing heroes you won’t kill. Chasing is a part of right-click style of play. However. The balance between its usefulness, and doing it because "you came here to fight\that hero has cool skin" will be forged by the experience and game understanding.
Attention to the frontline. Due to auto-attack damage being free, and in case of Sylvanas it is also true, as “Withering Fire” charges cost nothing, it is vital part of the gameplay of the right-click based hero to also deal damage to enemy frontline. It is done to pressure enemy Support(s), and will be handy in long fights, as Support(s) will run out of resources faster. By any means, I’m not saying that you have to do a common mistake and always focus Warrior. No. It’s just a general pattern - if you have the ability to land a free damage to enemy Warrior, and your damage is not needed elsewhere, then it will be an okay move. The move that can build up a future teamifght advantage.
The value of “Shadow Dagger” with “Cold Embrace” talent. As it is with any ability that buffs ally damage, or increases the amount of the damage the enemy hero(es) receive, the value is insane. It is especially true for SD spell, as it also has an AOE effect in form of the spreading to nearby targets for the duration of the DOT effect. It is very crucial to understand your team comp and anticipate the incoming use of most of the abilities. This will be the “right” and most efficient time to use this damage boost. I guess, it is needless to say that you should assist your team with this spell when they focus someone.
The “Cold Embrace” talent will also affect your positioning a bit, as it will reduce the range of the “Shadow Dagger” by 25%. Also, the spell will become even more effective at poking and zoning. The spell itself will do 25% more damage, plus enemies will be less prone to stick to each other, as they clearly don’t want to give a luxury of scoring 25% more damage towards whole enemy team to you.
Proper “Wailing Arrow” use. In general, there are 3 “right” scenarios to use the Heroic effectively. You want to engage, disengage or burst down the target with this ultimate. In the engage scenario, your team is diving in, or initiating a fight, on enemy hero(es). They are in reach of their abilities towards the enemy. It is anticipated that in next 1-2 seconds of time it will be best to follow them up will your kit. In this scenario, it will be best to use “Wailing Arrow” either for target(s), to secure their death, provide additional burst damage, and prevent them from using any abilities that might save them. Or for the enemy Support and hero(es) that can provide good disengage for the enemy team. This way, you will prevent such heroes from assisting their allies and saving them.
Second scenario. Using the Heroic to disengage. You see that fight won’t go your way, and you see that your team is starting to retreat. Now comes tricky part. If you read the situation in a wrong way, or will panic, the ultimate will be wasted. You need to use Wailing Arrow to disengage only when there is no other way around. I mean. Your allies won’t survive otherwise.
Third scenario. Bursting down the target. Be it a duel situation, when you caught some enemy Assassin, which you can kill single-handedly, or you are assisting you allies in killing isolated enemy hero, you can use the Heroic to secure the kill. But. I’m talking about the situation when the Heroic plays key part in the result. Rarely, you need to waste your ultimate to just add additional damage to the target that will be killed eventually.
If it is a duel, the “right” use of the ulty will be to deny enemy from using their escape ability and finish them off in the next 2-3 seconds of time, or to deny the timing of powerful ability that can turn the tides of the duel. Same logic applies in case of teamfights. If Heroic just provides additional damage on target that will be dead in next 2-3 seconds of time, and there is no way it can be saved by the teammates, then it will be a waste. However. If the target has escape abilities. If the target is able to survive, or escape. If the target is in the 2-3 seconds of reach of the allies that can save it, the use of the Heroic will be the right decision. You will prevent enemy from escaping, or surviving, until allies can assist him.
As you can see, the “Wailing Arrow” topic is very relative and tricky. These were some general patterns i explained. There is more stuff that needs to be learned. About the “Wailing Arrow”. But. It will be very inefficient to write about it. This stuff will become understandable after the reader will acquire some experience and game knowledge that comes after playing as Sylvanas.
If you need to fire all charges of the ability as fast as you can, there is no need in bashing the “Q” key many times! All you have to do is hold it down. This way, Banshee Queen will fire all the charges automatically. One by one. At the maximum follow up speed possible. Targeting nearest hero.
However. If the fights are prolonged and you took “Remorseless” talent, you want to fire charges manually. This way, you will get the max efficiency out of the talent. Each right-click attack will deal additional 25% damage. Of course. The matter of balance, between quickly releasing all charges for the additional burst damage, and firing them according to your auto-attack rate, will come with experience of playing Sylvanas.
Unexpected Silence is very powerful tool. It can turn the tides of the battle. Most likely, it will. One of the ways to use your Heroic so it won’t be seen by the enemies is to flank them. Ideally, you want to throw the ulty through the impassable terrain. Usually, enemy doesn’t have vision there. This way, your ulty will be unexpected. Also, it is much easier to hit many players that way. When they are unaware of your positioning, or don’t see the projectile of the Heroic.
Here we are. Discussing the use of the tricky escape ability. The ability is tricky indeed, and can be so for both Sylvanas and her enemies. The ability has very long range, and you want to teleport on the end of the wave to travel the maximum distance. This is considered to be effective use, and to do so you need to anticipate the flow of the game. It takes time for the projectile to fly to the maximum distance. So. What you want to do is cast the ability prematurely. This way you will guarantee the escape. Constant anticipation of the game flow requires very good map control. Efficient use of “Haunting Wave” will be based on a good map control. If you will use the ability right before you are being ganked, it won’t make much difference, as the teleport will be disrupted or you won’t travel enough to escape.
You want to run in the opposite direction of the wave’s path. And. You don’t want to leave much traveling space between your escape point and the teleport point. During the movement to the escape point you are as susceptible to killing as you where before using the escape ability. So, it’s best to make your teleport point to be your escape point.
Lastly, i want to mention that "Haunting Wave" grants the Unstoppable effect. It lasts for the duration of the teleport, which is not instant. It takes time to teleport to a point of the wave, and the longer the travel distance is the longer teleport time will be. During all this time, while she is teleporting from her location to the point of the wave where player used the ability for the second time, Sylvanas will have Unstoppable effect. This will allow her to negate any disabling effects.
To use this talent at its maximum efficiency you want to disable two enemy structures with your auto-attacks, while damaging minions with charges of “Withering Fire” and other spells, if you have resources or situation that supports such actions. In case of “gates” structures, you want to position yourself a bit closer to the gates, something like 4.5 range, so each Tower can be reached by the right-clicks. When the “gates” structures are destroyed, and you are attacking Fort and Tower, you want to position the Banshee Queen at the right-click reach of the structure that is situated further towards enemy base. Depending on the lane and map, it can be either Fort or Tower.
The “right” use of this talent has the potential to turn the tides of battle, just like “Wailing Arrow” does. However, as the talent reduces the range of the spell and its range becomes same as your a-a range, it is very important to mind your positioning while using it. Also, you want to anticipate the flow of the battle. And. If it is quick, burst-down fight, use it on the target that is focused by the team during the burst, or right before it. If the fight is prolonged, “Shadow Dagger” will be very good poking and zoning spell.
“Remorseless” and “Overwhelming Affliction”
Unless you are playing with “With the Wind” talent, you want to be situated towards the target closer than your right-click reach. This is due to “Withering Fire” having almost the same range as auto-attacking range. And. When your target is moving and you are chasing it, from time to time the target will slip out of reach of the WF ability, resulting in less damage done with “Remorseless” talent and "Withering Fire" ability.
All written above is true even if you skilled the “Overwhelming Affliction” talent. Sylvanas will attack the target at max range of your right-clicks. And. The target will still slip out of WF range from time to time. However. It will be easier to “stutter-step” as target will be slowed.
So, in both cases you want to be closer to your target and “stutter-step”, to get maximum efficiency from your talent choices and deal max amount of damage with your abilities, and right-clicks.
S-S requires good mechanical skills and closer distance towards your target. And. This is a tricky part. You always need to imagine the cooldowns and the abilities used by your target. This is done to prevent situations in which your “stutter-stepping” will be more beneficial to the enemy, because you’ve put yourself in the range of their abilities and they have easy time shutting you down. Ideally, you want to be aware of the situation on the battlefield and lay down your right-click damage when enemy have used the abilities and there is no real threat to you, around him.
“Bolt of the Storm”
As you are playing more of a follow up style, you rarely need to use this talent in offensive way. It is best to keep it as a perfect escape tool. This will be especially true if you overextend with the positioning while “stutter-stepping”.
Situational Talent choices and Build variations
Apart from having some situational talent choices, this build also has some variations. First one is about more self-oriented approach. At level 13 you take “Evasive Fire” talent, and on level 4 you go either “Ranger’s Ambush” or “Envenom”. Such talent pattern shifts the gameplay to more self-oriented. You will have more burst damage with level 4 choice, and level 13 talent will be good at chasing down targets, evading enemy skillshots, and will generally improve your mobility and survivability. However, you will have less team utility, as your attacks won’t have slow effect.
Strengths and Weaknesses. Generally speaking, this build variation retains the order of things of the original build, but has minor alterations and is more suited towards solo play. The core idea is the same - you have a shift towards more auto-attack oriented gameplay. It’s just done with other talents. It will be a better choice if you feel that teamplay spirit of your allies is not so strong, and it is better to invest your choice in more self-oriented talents. Compared to the pros described earlier - you will still have additional teamfight potential. But. It will come in form of increased burst damage. As for the cons, this build is less difficult to play. The “Evasive Fire” talent solves many problems at once. It is much easier to survive. It is much easier to escape. It is much easier to chase a target, dodge some skillshots, and reposition yourself.
Gameflow. You will still need to stutter-step, but the overall gameplay will be less punishing and more forgiving, as you will have constant buff on the movement speed. It will be much easier to change targets, as the buff will stay with you. Also, you will have additional burst damage power in form of either “Envenom” or “Ranger’s Ambush”. Personally, i prefer 2nd talent. Not only it brings in additional burst damage and additional sieging power, but also it feels more suitable for the fast paced combat this build variation offers.
Tips. The best use of the “Envenom” talent would be to use it right at the start of the fight/burst. This is done due to its long duration, 10 seconds. You want all that DOT damage to be dealt to target while you have the vision and control over the target.
There is nothing really tricky about using “Ranger’s Ambush”. Except, you don’t want to spoil your positioning with it. General anticipation of the fight, as well as experience of playing with this talent, will get you used to it. Lastly, it can also be used for additional pushing\sieging power.
Lastly, the “Evasive Fire” tip(s). You can use the additional movement speed this talent gives to body-block the target and allow your mates to score more right-clicks\spells towards it. Doing so will require very good map awareness and the idea of what enemy cooldowns look like. Otherwise, while performing this move you might a fall a victim of unexpected enemy ability or ally. And. You will actually help your enemies to win the game\fight instead of helping your allies to secure the kill.
This is second variation of the build. And. I think it can be defined by saying that if you wish to go extreme with the level of your play, this build is for you. You will use “Ranger’s Ambush” as level 4 talent, and “Splinter Shot” as a choice for level 13. This build is super hard to play. But. It is super rewarding and dynamic, once you master it. The build variation offers additional wave-clear potential, additional burst and poking power. But. You will be less mobile, so the positioning is very crucial for this build. It will also be very unforgiving in terms of positional mistakes, as often times “Haunting Wave” will be used offensively. Lastly, i want to say that with proper execution this build is extremely powerful against Support heroes that are not suited for long fights and have weak AOE healing.
Situational Talent choices
Please note: the talent choices pattern shown above is a collective image of situational talent choices. It's NOT a talent build you should always follow.
If you feel that you won’t require additional wave-clearing power, you can go the “Lost Soul” talent. It will reduce the cooldown of “Shadow Dagger” ability by 2 seconds. This talent will be good if you are planning to take “Cold Embrace” talent on level 16, and you anticipate using "W" ability a lot in the fights. Also, talent will increase your poking potential and damage in prolonged fights.
Important thing to keep in mind is if you are going to pick other talent than “Paralysis”, on this talent tier, than the effectiveness of the “Overwhelming Affliction” talent will be significantly reduced. It is best to not pick OA at level 13 if you are going a different talent on this tier.
So. This tier has 2 viable talents. First one is “Envenom”. Nerfed, but still viable talent. It will be good at bursting down targets, as it provides 210 (+30 per level) damage over 10 seconds of time. “Envenom” is activatable talent that has 60 seconds cooldown and costs no Mana. This talent will be power spike in Sylvanas’ burst-down potential. “Envenom” has range that is a bit shorter than the range of your auto-attacks or “Withering Fire”. You want to be closer towards the enemy to use it. Also, talent will be very useful versus invisible enemy heroes. They won’t be able to retain invisibility until poison wears off. And that is 10 seconds of time. If I’m not mistaken, you can’t dispel “Envenom” other than using “Divine Shield” on the poisoned target. But, who wastes such powerful Heroic to dispel poisoning effect, right?
Second viable talent is “Ranger’s Ambush”. The talent will refill all “Withering Fire” charges, once Sylvanas teleports to “Haunting Wave”. RA boosts both the pushing and fighting power of the Banshee Queen. This talent will be extremely good in prolonged fights, as it basically gives you free pocking damage, and additional right-click damage, every 11 seconds. Combine it with “Splinter Shot” and enemy Support will have a hard time against you.
I prefer to go “Ranger’s Ambush” if enemy has problems keeping up with sustained damage. And. On the contrary, i go “Envenom” when enemy has a good sustain in prolonged fights.
The “Remorseless” talent is core talent of the build. So, there won’t be any alternatives to it. If you don’t like the talent, or auto-attacking gameflow which this talent shifts the gameplay to, i suggest you to try different Sylvanas build(s). You can read the first part of the in-depth guide here. It will provide you with more standard and not “Remorseless” based builds.
Sadly, as of now, there is only one available Heroic for Sylvanas. Devs has been working on buffing the “Possession”, but it is still not viable ulty. The Silence “Wailing Arrow” brings is so damn strong that sometimes it is major reason for Sylvanas to be picked. I only go for “Possession” in AI matches)
This talent tier will be most versatile. Let’s start with “Splinter Shot”. “Splinter Shot” is an upgrade for “Withering Fire” ability. Now, the ability will fire additional projectile that will do 75% damage, ( 21 + 2.25 per level ), of the damage of the original projectile. This upgrade is very good at putting additional pressure, and providing additional poking power, on the enemy line-up. If you like the talent, depending on the need, you can further increase its effectiveness with “With the Wind” or “Barbed Shot” talents on level 1. Combined with the "Barbed Shot" talent, "Splinter Shot" will be very effective at soloing camps on Diablo themed maps, where every camp consists of 3 mercenaries.
Second viable option is “Evasive Fire”. After you pick it, each use of “Withering Fire” will grant you the 10% movement speed increase for 2 seconds. The buff stacks up to 30% movement speed gain. “Evasive Fire” will boost Sylvanas’ mobility a lot. With its help she will be able to dodge many skillshots and be very good at chasing down heroes. Also, repositioning on the battlefield will be an easy task. The 30% buff is huge. The mounts give 40% boost. You will be able to maintain the speed buff not only by hitting enemy Heroes, but also by hitting any object in the game. Minions. Structures and Mercenaries.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the “Spell Shield” talent. It is a very strong survivability talent. The talent will provide shield that absorbs half of the spell damage. The shield lasts for 3 seconds and is triggered by enemy spells. The shield appears every 30 seconds. The talent is very effective against enemy spell casters and burst down oriented line-ups. Depending on the ally setup, I usually take it against some strong burst damage heroes like Kael, Jaina or Nova.
Here i have to point out that if you want to play with the “Overwhelming Affliction” version of the build, taking all the talents listed above is not an option as the talent is situated on the same tier. But. If you see that composition wise you will require this talent, i suggest playing the variation of the build with “Ranger’s Ambush”\”Envenom” and take “Spell Shield” on level 13. Or. You can just choose to play another build, which is not based around auto-attacks. The level 13 talent choice for this build is kinda crucial. Ideally, you want to avoid picking "Spell Shield" if you are playing this build.
I love playing with “Evasive Fire” and “Splinter Shot” talents. For me, they are both super fun and very dynamic to play. Of course, i do that when i have the possibility to play the build, which depends on stuff like enemy\ally comp and so on.
By far, “Cold Embrace” is the best talent on this tier. However. If you find it difficult to play without self-sustain, you can try “Blood for Blood” talent. It is Activatable talent. It has 60 seconds cooldown and costs no Mana. It steals 10% of targeted enemy Hero max HP and heals for twice the amount. This talent will be boost to both, Sylvanas survivability and burst-down potential. With its help it will be easier bringing down beefy targets, or staying alive in duels. Also, the talent will lessen the load on ally Support. “Blood for Blood” has range that almost equals ranged auto-attack. Something around 5.0 or 5.25. If you will be attacking Hero at max range of your right-click attack, you will notice that Sylvanas will take a step forward when ordered to use BFB. Lastly, i want to tell that this talent is best used on Warriors, when there is a need in self-heal. Usually, enemy Warrior has double the max HP of Sylvanas. So, healing numbers will be huge.
Personally, i prefer playing with “Cold Embrace” talent. But. Sometimes, when i face the comp that is oriented at prolonged fights, and they have a support that is suited for overtime healing but is weak when it comes to burst healing, i tend to choose “Blood for Blood”.
Generally speaking, you don’t want to pick other talents than “Bolt of the Storm”, unless you are 2-3 levels above the enemy. In such case you can go “Deafening Blast”. If you manage to finish the game before enemy hits level 20, then this will be like a nail in the coffin. If not, it might backfire, as enemy team may pick few Bolts and have easy taking you down. And you will have to be really, really good with your positioning.
The reasons why Bolt is so good for Sylvanas I already described earlier, in Talent Choices section. Here I will describe other talents that are presented at level 20. So. Apart from Bolt, there are also 2 Heroic upgrades and “Fury of the Storm” talent. Let’s start with “Fury of the Storm”. The talent is augmentation of right-click DPS, but is designed to be effective against minions. Every 5 seconds, your basic attack will deal 200 additional damage to the target and 500 additional damage to minions, mercenaries around the target.
“Deafening Blast” is an upgrade for “Wailing Arrow” Heroic. The upgrade will increase damage of the ultimate by 50% and the Silence effect duration by 2.5 seconds, to enemies that are hit by the center of the explosion.
Lastly, “Dark Lady’s Call” is an upgrade for “Possession” Heroic. The upgrade will boost ultimate’s efficiency. The number of charges will be increased by 3. The recharge time will be downed by 4 seconds, and 5 charges can be used to convert enemy mercenaries. The upgrade won’t work on Bosses.
Tips on how to play against Sylvanas and the Build
When playing versus Sylvanas you want to use her weak spots and have the answers for her strong plays. As every Assassin\Specialist, she doesn’t have huge HP. Also, her self-sustain is non-existent and escape ability is tricky to use. This leads to the most effective way of dealing with her - lock her down with stuns or roots, at the same time provide enough damage to kill her. Usually, one hero with stun and one hero with solid DPS is enough. The damage can be magical burst down, like Kael’thas, right-clicks, like Raynor, or mixed type, like Zeratul or Sonya. The main role of the hero with stun ability is to disrupt the escape with “Haunting Wave”. To do that you either land a stun towards the end of wave’s duration, the time when Sylvanas usually ports to the wave, or you can follow the wave and land a stun on the teleported hero. Once it is done, Sylvanas’ escape ability is disrupted, it will be a matter of few body-blocks, from the hero with stun(s), and few abilities\right-clicks, from the damage dealing hero, before the Banshee Queen will be killed. So, the key part of ganking\killing Sylvanas is to anticipate\disrupt the “Haunting Wave” escape.
Other ways of dealing with her are standard. I mean the mass ultimates that allow you to disrupt enemy positioning, isolate target heroes, or split enemy team apart.
All the stuff described above will also work against “auto-attacking” version of the Banshee Queen build. Moreover, as the gameplay is much harder, positional wise, you will have easier time punishing the Sylvanas player for positional mistakes. Baiting the overextension with “stutter-stepping”, or aggressive use of Haunting Wave, will result in quick and easy kill.
This was general approach of how to play against Sylvanas. Now, let’s dive in more particular stuff, like laning and playing versus her abilities.
First, let’s talk about the abilities. Her “Q”, “Withering Fire”, is basically free ability that cost no Mana and provides solid poking/burst damage. The fact that it is free leads you to such approach. You don’t want to take free damage from this ability. You want to punish Sylvanas every time she tries to use it for free. Also, keep in mind that this spell auto-targets nearest hero. So, you can help your ally(s), which is(are) being focused, by absorbing the charges.
When hit by “Shadow Dagger” ability, you want to reposition yourself away from any ally units, heroes and structures. You don’t want it to spread towards units, as it will stun them, deal damage and push the lane. You also don’t want to spread on the ally Heroes or Structures for the same reason. You don’t want to increase the amount of the damage it does, by spreading, as it will put additional pressure. It is also crucial to anticipate the use of “Shadow Dagger”, as experienced players will use it when you are nearby the targets for the spread effect.
Lastly, as was described before, you want to disrupt the teleport effect of the “Haunting Wave”. The spell is rarely used for pushing\dealing damage. If it does, than Sylvanas can’t do anything against ganks\initiations. To cancel the teleport effect, just stun her in 1-2 seconds after she uses the spell. The auto-attack build can be played with aggressive Haunting Wave use. In such case, one disable ability paired with few body-blocks and decent damage dealer will be enough to bring the Banshee Queen down.
The stuff described above is usable for both, laning and mass fights. So. Down below I’ll provide general approach to the laning. Usually, to out-push the Sylvanas in solo\triple lane is not a thing. The Heroes that can do this with ease are Gazlowe and Zagara. So, what you can do is let the lane be pushed. In a way that Sylvanas will be in right-click range of your towers. This way she is very susceptible to your team rotations. Even successful “Haunting Wave” won’t save her, as she will have a solid distance to run, before she reaches her own gates. Usually, this distance is enough to land a killing blow.
Now that basic abilities and laning phase is discussed, its Heroic time!
As it is with every major AOE Heroic, like Zeratul’s VP or Zagara’s Maw, you don’t want to be grouped up. Ever. Especially in the late game, as death in the late game fights can cost you a game. Of course, I’m talking about the situation when you and your teammates are in the reach of “Wailing Arrow”. Also, as it is with every hero that poses major threat, you want to know the positioning of such hero. This information will allow you to react and anticipate the Heroic.
As you know from General Style of Play section, there are 3 general and effective uses of the Heroic. Ideally, you want to anticipate the fight and play accordingly. You want to spread out once you see the Heroic projectile, to mitigate the effect. Ideally, you want to have your escape ability up, to be able to jump out of the AOE.
If you are playing as a Support hero, you want to be in reach of your mates to mitigate the burst, which will follow the use of the Heroic, or you want to throw your saving abilities prematurely on anticipated target of the burst, in case you are being hit by the Heroic. Of course, ideally you don’t want to be in Heroic’s AOE.
Any other class wants to play accordingly to their spells and anticipation of the fight. If you are the Warrior that is going to be bursted down, you want to use all your saving cds. If you are playing the hero with some disruptive AOE spells\ultimates you want to use them to mitigate the effect of the Silence and burst.
All the basic tips have ended. It’s time for Build particular Tips!
Sylvanas is good at taking easy camps on classical maps, where Siege camp consists of two Giants. You want to anticipate and punish such moves. Especially. When the “Barbed Shot” talent is taken.
Usually, Sylvanas disappearance from the lane will signify that move, when there is really nothing to do except laning or camping. Also, it will be very common move, to solo capture Siege camp, 30-20 seconds before the objective start.
The effect of the “solo camping”, described above, will be hugely buffed by the “Splinter Shot” talent. So, you also want to anticipate and punish such moves also in the middle game, as their effect will be even higher due to the SS talent.
Apart from pushing and “merking” effect, this talent also has impact on the fights. You don’t want to take a free damage from it, without punishing Sylvanas, as it will put additional pressure on the Support. And. Is especially hard to deal with for Supports with Burst healing, like Uther or Kharazim, when fights are drained out and prolonged.
"Envenom", "Blood for Blood" and dueling
Those two talents, listed above, they have the same range as standard right-click attack does. Envenom has a bit less. But. Let’s get to the point. The point is that they are huge part of Sylvanas' burst, apart from basic abilities and Heroic. To “dodge” them, you need to stay in the range that is higher than default auto-attacking range. This will be crucial in duels, and when you are on half of your HP as squishy. In duels, it will also be important to anticipate the Heroic use. In fact, it is the key part of winning the duel versus Sylvanas. If you are able to spread the burst from “Envenom” and “Blood for Blood”, and dodge the “Wailing Arrow”, while providing your damage, you are most likely to win the duel.
The effectiveness of this talent, as well as Sylvanas’ Trait, comes from the ability to land a spell or attack onto the structure. So, all you have to do is just poke and damage the Banshee Queen. She won’t risk her life and positing herself near the gates if she knows that it can be fatal.
The effectiveness of this talent is purely based on the ability to attack and land charges of "Withering Fire". So. Any disruptive measure that works against auto-attack heroes will be also very effective against this talent. Heroes with “Imposing Presence”, stuns, Muradin in “Avatar” and so on will be very effective.
The effect of this talent lasts for 2 seconds of time. Usually, you don’t see this talent taken if there is no “Paralysis” in the kit. It is important to understand that all 25% movement speed debuff, and all 5 stacks of the talent, will wear off if you disable Sylvanas for 2 seconds. Or. She won’t have the ability to attack you for the same amount of time. So, any ability that will either reposition you, or disable Sylvanas, will be effective. Also, in some dire cases, “Cleanse” can be used to dispel the effect, as well as the abilities that grant Stasis or Invulnerable state. Lastly, don't forget about abilities that provide Blind effect!
Usually, killing a squishy like Sylvanas is not problematic, once you dealt with the escape ability. However, in case of this talent there is a speed buffing effect in a kit. It might be underestimated by many. The increased movement speed and mobility this talent gives, allows Sylvanas to easily dodge many skillshots and makes it harder for you to land them. It will also be harder to body-block her. So. You need to keep that effect in mind. You don’t want to underestimate it. Also, you don’t want to be greedy and save a disruptive spell. It is better to secure the kill, than see Sylvanas fleeing on low HP.
Some experienced Sylvanas players may do the body-blocking of the target, when it doesn’t pose a threat, with the speed that this talent gives. You want to anticipate such scenarios and have an answer for them.
“Bolt of the Storm”
In general, you won’t see the offensive use of this talent. Sylvanas gains no benefit of using the Bolt to initiate, so most of the times it will be saved as decent escape ability. To counter play it, you need to anticipate its use or force enemy Sylvanas to use it in a way that will be beneficial to you. Also, you can try betting on the slower reaction of the player. If you will be able to lockdown Sylvanas for 1-2 seconds of time, it will be enough to bring her down.
Heroes that work well with and against the Banshee Queen
Sylvanas, the Banshee Queen, is very flexible hero in terms of hero compositions. She can be good at pushing setups. She can be good at poking wars and burst down setups. According to the approach of the match and anticipated hero composition you want to have the corresponding build and line-up. We can safely assume that any Sylvanas build is viable for pushing starts. So. Apart from Burst down comps, i will also provide heroes that suit well the idea of pushing your opponent. Also, I’ll describe heroes and approach to the draft that is best for the “auto-attack build” and its variations.
Keep in mind that information provided below is of general design. The usefulness of each particular hero can change, depending on the many variables, like map, enemy\ally comp and so on. The heroes that are named as the best ones are usually good in almost any match.
Supports and Semi-Supports
For pushing setups, the ideal heroes would be Malf or Brightwing. Usually, such setups have Sylvanas in tri-lane. And. Heroes described above will provide excellent lane pressure and support. Malfurion will also be a source of strong zoning and Mana.
Tassadar and Tyrande will be good for both burst down and pushing comps. In pushing tri-lanes they will be able to provide additional sustain and vision. Tassy will put additional pressure on the lane, while Tyrande offers additional lockdown.
For burst down oriented line-ups, the ideal heroes would be Uther and Kharazim. They are both good against burst oriented comps, so you want to snatch them from the enemy, with Uther being best support in most situations. These heroes are good for momentum based fights and dives, as they are able to provide immediate response and are best suited for fast-paced, burst down oriented games. And. Aggressive plays.
Double T of Semi-Supports is also good for burst setups. Tassadar will provide additional vision, blocking with “Wall”, or burst with “Archon”. Lastly, he will increase the sustainability of your Melee hero. At the same time, Tyrande is good for such setups as she is able to provide everything team needs: scouting, lockdown, burst healing, burst damage, zoning\healing with invis and especially the Vulnerable effect.
Other Support heroes are mediocre, in general, unless enemy\ally setup says otherwise.
As for the auto-attack build, the Support choice will depend on few general variables. In general, right-click style of play requires more peeling from teammates, and setup suited more towards prolonged fights. However, situation may vary depending on the variation of the build.
For “Overwhelming Affliction” version you want the Supports that are able to provide zoning and peeling in case of positional mistakes. Also, this variation is the slowest of all 3, so you want to have Support(s) that has abilities designed for drained out fights. Malfurion\Brightwing, as main Supports, and Tassadar\Tyrande, as semis, will be best for such gameplay style. Malfurion is good in long fights with overtime heals from “Q” and is able to fully heal your poked team with Ultimate. Plus he has nice poking spell in from of “Moonfire”. Lastly, his roots provide insanely good zoning and peeling effect in case your damage dealer made some positional mistakes. Brightwing falls into same logic. She just has different kit. And. Can support more aggressive plays with her “Polymorph”. If played slowly, she has free overtime heals from Trait. Poking in form of “Q”. Her ulty and “E” abilities designed to burst heal and help single target in dire situations. Lastly, “Polymorph” is also designed to eliminate single threat. So, the difference between her and Malf is that she is suited more towards single threat while Malf is more of an AOE guy.
Now, let’s talk about semis. In slow fights Tassy can provide extremely good poking with his Storms. The sustain he brings with his Shield is just phenomenal. And. If you anticipate slow and drained out fights, i suggest you to use the “Force Wall” Heroic. It is extremely good for drained fights. “Wall” is able to provide a form of disengage and zoning once you see that positional mistakes were made. Moreover, it can be played aggressively to trap your enemies and separate them, in some choke points. Lastly, it is extremely good on maps where you have tons of narrow spaces, like Cursed Hollow. Tyrande is of more aggressive design. However, she can also be played in slow setups, as a follow up hero with great utility. In drained out fights, you want to play with “Shadowstalk” ultimate. It does half amount of healing that Malf ult does, but it costs half the price, Mana, and has half the cooldown. Lunar Flare, “E” ability, can be used like Malf roots, to follow up teammates aggression or for zoning and peeling effect. Owl will provide nice scouting, or additional burst damage. Trait is purely for the follow up aggression, and “Q” is a form of nice burst healing, which usually gets insanely boosted by the level 13 talent.
Lastly, i want to say that in some situations such supports as Li Li and Morales can work. But. They are specific heroes with a lot of conditions that need to be accounted for. Morales is really weak against dives and disables. Li Li is also weak against stuns. They both can work against enemy setups that don’t have much interrupts, stuns and dives. However, it is much harder and more specific to play them versus popular meta heroes with stuns and dives. If you are really a fan of these two, you might want to add a semi-support to your line-up, to eliminate their weakness and add additional sustain to your comp.
Okay. All the stuff above was about “Overwhelming Affliction” variation of the build. But. What about other variations? Well, If you go “Evasive Fire” or “Splinter Shot”, it means you favor much more aggressive and dynamic gameplay. This choice will also affect Support hero you would like to have. With more aggressive gameflow you want to have hero that is more suited towards burst healing and momentum based fights. That’s why Uther\Kharazim and Rehgar will be the best supports for these variations of the build. Ideally, you also want as much stuns and disables on your team as possible. This way, as aggressive Sylvanas player, you will be able to fully realize the potential of these builds.
“Evasive Fire” build features very mobile gameflow, so it’s best to have a setup that is able to follow up the dives. Ideally, you want to have a Kharazim as your Support. Veradani Monk will be able to follow you around with his “Q”. He can provide good damage follow up with “Q” and “Deadly Reach”. If the situation allows, or you have semi-sup in your line-up, he can be played with “Seven-Sided Strike” Heroic, which will allow you two to obliterate enemy front-liner in few seconds of time. In less aggressive comps, Monk can always mitigate enemy burst with his Palm ulty. You can also play this build with Rehgar. But. Right now. Monk just feels like a better version of Rehgar, as Rehgar gains his effectiveness post level 13\16. However, Rehgar is much better against AOE damage. So. You can value him as better choice against mixed enemy line-ups that have strong AOE damage.
As for the “Splinter Shot”, Uther is your best friend. With this build you want to be in enemy face as much as you can, and Paladin is the best guy for such aggressive approach. Also, you want to have as much disables, in your team setup, as you can. This builds potential is used to its full extent when you can constantly dish out damage onto stunned\disabled enemies. Uther will be able to support divy plays with his “Divine Shield”. He is great when it comes to burst healing from long distance, you want to skill range upgrades on level 1\4 talent tiers. He is great when it comes to mitigating to positional mistakes and enemy disables. Lastly, he provides additional disable for your team and retains effective burst healing after death.
For burst down setups, as your main tank, you want heroes that are able to provide sustain, lockdown, peel and initiation. Ideal heroes for such purposes would be Muradin, Johanna or ETC. Muradin is the best tank in the current Meta. He works ideally for any setup. He provides tons of disruption, in a way of stuns, slows and auto-attack slows\stuns. Also, he is very durable and mobile. Johanna is good at what Muradin does, except she doesn’t have such mobility. Also, she is not that good versus right-click heroes. Basically, ETC is just harder to play version of Muradin. Also, ETC is god-like tank when enemies don’t have a lot of ways to disrupt “Mosh Pit”. In some specific scenarios Stitches, Chen and Diablo can work. But. They are specific. Very specific.
As an off-tank role, you want heroes that bring a lot of utility. The utility can come in various forms. For such a task, Tyrael, Anub and Sonya are the best ones. Leoric and Rexxar can also be good. But. They will require higher level of play. Speaking of which, Leoric can be insanely good in the hands of experienced player. In the current Meta, Tyrael is considered to be the best off-tank, or bruiser hero. He provides excellent lockdown, is very mobile, and brings tons of utility to the team. The utility comes in form of shields, body-blocks, speed buffs and excellent second Heroic, which can be used to counter play many popular mass ultimates and divy line-ups. Same we can say about Anub’arak, but he is trickier to play and is more specific. However, he provides excellent options and counter plays. For example, he is widely used to disrupt the Support with his “Cocoon” Heroic. Lastly, Sonya. Well. She is just good at wrecking heroes, as the amount of damage she provides, both magical and right-click, is insane. Also, she has good self-sustain. She is used to quickly kill enemy frontlines. She is used with particular build that brings in strong auto-attack damage, while providing additional sustain and mobility.
For pushing setups, the heroes described above can also work. The best ones will be Arthas and Johanna. For pushing setups you want to provide additional peel, and have additional survivability as a main Tank. Arthas is not only the best sustainable hero in the game, but also provides solid damage numbers and slows. He can also be used with “Sindragosa” Heroic, as off-tank, to trade insane survivability for insane pushing power. Other heroes described above will just have to change their approach to more peeling oriented, or more pushing momentum oriented, style.
Here comes part about the shift towards “auto-attack” style of play. For “Overwhelming Affliction” edition, you want to have Warriors that are more suited towards drained out fights. The gameflow of this edition tends to have slow approach so heroes like Arthas and Johanna will be the best. Muradin also suits. But. We won’t talk to him. He is godlike tier and suits any comp. In slow fights he just goes backline for few seconds and comes back with full health:) Also, i already described why he is good in the part above. So. Arthas and Johanna are both good because they can survive slow fights, as they have tons of self-sustain. For Arthas, it is his “Q” and Heroic. For Johanna, it’s her Trait, and the talents that buff her Trait, at level 7 and 13. Also, they both are beneficial to right-click hero, as they provide nice disruption and lockdown for peeling and assisting.
Also ETC and Chen can be used with the same approach, focus on sustain talents and peeling. However, they are for more advanced players. Their gameplay is more specific. In case of ETC, you want to skill talents that buff “E”, on level 1, 7, and 13, while also focusing your attention to disruptive talents. Also, ETC will be godlike against setups with no stuns, or few. Lastly, his Trait is very beneficial to auto-attack heroes, as he increases the attack speed. You can also skill level 16 talent, the one that increases movement speed of any unit affected by the Trait, to bring in insane mobility for your allies. Chen. The standard talent pattern, with Barrel as Heroic, is fine. It will allow achieving the same effect as heroes described above do. Also, like ETC, Chen is insanely good, feels game-breaking, against setups with no stuns.
As for the off-Tanks, for this edition of the build, there are no real preferences. They all are very specific and unique, so you just chose them according to game variables. Depending on map, enemy\ally comp and so on. Few good examples, according to the specifics they are valued for, i already described above for burst down setups.
For “Evasive Fire” and “Splinter Shot” editions, you want to have the same heroes that are described as best for the burst-down setups. The only difference would be that you want to emphasize more on the stuns and disables. This similarity comes from the fact that Sylvanas is not purely Assassin or Specialist hero, but a hybrid. Same goes for the auto-attack build. While the builds mentioned in the beginning of the paragraph shift the gameplay more towards right-click style of play, they don’t take away her ability to be good in fast-paced, momentum based, burst-down comps. This ability is installed in her kit of basic abilities, and especially the Heroic. With the talent choices you are able to augment this ability or shift the gameflow in some direction. But. Any build retains the ability to be good at burst-down type of fights. Lastly, as i described it in the part about the supports, you really want to be aggressive, in the face, with such talent choices. And. Mobile Warriors with tons of disruption are your best friends.
Assassins and Specialists
Of course, Sylvanas is the best friend of many Assassins that favor the burst down style of play. It can come in many forms and shapes. You can have casters like Jaina and Kael, Nova and Valla. On the other hand, you can play with heavy dive in, momentum based heroes like Butcher, Thrall, Kerrigan and Illidan. Lastly, there can be a mixed type of heroes like Falstad or Zeratul that are able to provide both burst and field control.
As for Specialists, heroes like Abathur, Zagara and Nazeebo will be very strong for both pushing and burst down style of play. Abathur is insanely good when it comes to global pressure and map vision. On the other hand he can provide insane burst with copy of Jaina, or other caster hero. Zagara will form a deadly combo when it comes to pushing setup, while she can be very useful with proper Maw use in burst down fights. Same can be said about Nazeebo, but he is less straightforward and is more specific.
In current Meta, the best Heroes to use with Sylvanas are: Kael, Jaina, Valla, Raynor, as ranged Assassins, Kerrigan and Butcher, as melee Assassins, Abathur and Zagara as Specialists. Other heroes that are mentioned above, or not mentioned at all, can work. But. They are more specific and will depend on the map, or hero setup.
Kael and Jaina are very well suited for burst down style of play, as they get the most benefit from the Silence effect of the Heroic. The 2.5 seconds of Silence is more than enough to obliterate enemy squishy.
Valla is one of the best choices, as an ally of the Banshee Queen. She is on the most flexible heroes in the game, and even when paired with Sylvanas can be played in different ways. You can have "Multishot" build, for pushing in the tri-lane and poking gameplay. You can have "Hungering Arrow" Valla, for quick burst down oriented fights. Lastly, you can have a right-click based Valla if your setup allows you to do so.
In the current Meta, Raynor is one of the best auto-attack heroes. The pushing power his "Hyperion" brings can snowball the game very hard, especially when allied with Sylvanas' pushing power.
Melee Assassins in general are very good with Sylvanas, as their gameplay is very momentum based. But. Kerrigan and Butcher have the best synergy, as they are able to maximize the efficiency Silence brings.
This part will be easy for all variations of the “auto-attack” build. You can pare the Banshee Queen with any hero from these roles, according to map\your plans for the game\line-ups and so on. But. You don’t want to have two heroes with same gameflow and weaknesses, unless you know what you are doing, and you know it will work. What I’m talking about is playing “auto-attack” Sylvanas with “auto-attack” Raynor, for example. In general, such setup will be easy to outdraft and outplay, as you basically picking two auto-attack heroes with same weaknesses.
The Banshee Queen's lack of decent escape ability, and its specific mechanic, makes heroes that are able to provide either disables, which don’t allow to teleport, or burst down damage, to be very effective against her.
All the stuff described below that is good against burst-down and poking, will be also good against auto-attack versions. Moreover, it is much harder to play the right-click Sylvanas, than it is to play burst-down or poking Sylvanas. In that regard, the player that chooses to play right-click build is kinda helping you out! Right-click build is harder to play. It is more dynamic. It puts more pressure. It requires more decision making from the player, and it has much more room for mistakes. Mistakes that you can use for your advantage, and that eventually can lead to a takedown.
Lastly, as portion of the damage the build provide comes through the time, there are many ways to effectively influence the damage output of such build. For example, the value of stuns will be higher. Also, you have such ways of counter-playing as “Imposing Presence” talent, or abilities that provide Blind effects. They are very effective against right-click type of builds. They will be also effective against auto-attack damage that will come from the Banshee Queen. However. They are just and additional options, or tools, of counter-playing. You don't want to value them above all, as right-clicks is only part of the damage output, even for "auto-attack" build.
As it is dictated by the Meta and hero weaknesses, we will see similar heroes in this section, with more emphasis on the stuns and damage. Muradin, Johanna or ETC will be able to seal the deal. They will provide enough lockdown time and the damage to disable and kill Sylvanas before, during and after she teleports to “Haunting Wave”. Other Warrior heroes are also able to complete the task but are trickier to use. Some examples are: Arthas and Tyrael are able to provide enough disable and damage to assist in killing the Banshee Queen. Anub'arak and Diablo will be good at ganking, and body-blocking the hero. And so on. What i want to point out is how Stitches can be effective versus Sylvanas' escape. You just have to land an anticipating hook in the teleport point and that is it. Or. You can hook Sylvanas 1-2 seconds after she is casted the spell, but haven't teleported to it yet.
So called “Bruisers”, like Artanis or Sonya, will be extremely effective when it comes to eliminating right-click assassins. Such heroes have enough damage to single-handedly kill the hero, they just need to mind some rules. The main goal here is to save your mobile ability, “Phase Prism”, in case of Artanis, and “Ancient Spear”, in case of Sonya, to counter the escape ability of the right-click hero. That also means that with this approach you won’t use such abilities to initiate, but will wait for positional mistake from the enemy, or will initiate by just walking in\trying to walk closely with mount.
Assassins and Specialists
Here you want to emphasize on the burst damage or mobility. Many heroes described\not mentioned in the previous section, about heroes that are good with Sylv, can work. The best ones will be current top tier in the Meta: Jaina, Kael, Valla, Raynor, for ranged Assassins, Butch and Keri, for Melee’s, and Abby\ Murky, for Specs. Probably, i should explain why Murky is good. He provides 3 seconds disable with “Octo-Grab”. That is more than enough to destroy Sylvanas. Also, the cooldown of the Heroic is insanely low, 50 seconds. However, when playing as Murky versus Sylvanas, you don't want to be on the same lane with her. Experienced Sylvanas players will be able to completely counter your laning phase. Fast auto-attack will allow Sylvanas to easily deal with your "W". At the same time, she will have an easy time killing you with her "free" charges from "Withering Fire".
Here i also want to mention that Melee Assassin heroes like Thrall or Butcher, which have a form of dive in\initiation and bring tons of almost instant damage, are very effective against ranged right-click heroes. With their initiation, they will force a duel type of fight, for few seconds, which ranged auto-attack heroes have a hard time winning, without help of their mates.
Supports and Semi-Supports
Same faces here, as they were in the Allies section. However, the emphasis should be made on not the actual Support hero you play, but more on the positioning and anticipation of the game flow. It is, of course, the best choice to go Uther\Kharazim against burst down oriented comps, and Malf\BW versus pushing\poking comps. But. More importantly is how you will play them. You want to anticipate the action pattern of the enemy and act accordingly. It is very important not to get Silenced or disabled, but at the same time to be in the spell reach of your mates. More detailed tips for Supports and their style of play against Sylvanas are provided in the section above, named “Tips on how to play against Sylvanas and the Build”, the part about how to play against Heroic.
Lastly, i should say that throwing a good “Force Wall”, to separate enemy Heroes from the target of burst, can be a fight changer. Same we can say about Tyrande’s stun. However. It is harder to land. Also. It is very, very likely that you won’t land it on all enemy heroes that are going to kill your ally.
All the stuff above was about defensive play. I think it is understandable that you should also assist your allies in the offensive plays towards the Banshee Queen. But, don't overextend with the positioning. Stunning, or disabling ability that won’t allow to teleport on the wave\use Bolt, landed in the right time, onto Sylvanas, can be a difference, a fight changer, or even a game changer if we are to talk about the late game.
This is the end of the second part of the guide, and this is the end of whole guide. I want to thank everyone who managed to read it all, without skipping any part of it! I'm also looking forward to the discussion about the guide and Sylvanas gameplay. You can find the link to the first part of the guide down below.
Lastly, I wanted to say that in the articles I used wonderful cosplay made by Narga. The shots were taken by Arwenphoto and JustMoolti. Proceed to the links section, down below, to know more about them and discover their works!
First part of the guide: http://www.keengamer.com/article/12135_in-depth-sylvanas-guide
Deviant-Art profile of Narga: http://narga-lifestream.deviantart.com
Site of Arwenphoto: http://arwenphoto.com
Deviant-Art profile of JustMoolti: http://justmoolti.deviantart.com