Abilities and Talents Overview
General Pros and Cons
Hero role and aim in fight
Hungering Arrow Build
Auto-Attack Build Pros and Cons
General style of play and tips for Auto-Attack Build
Alternative or situational Talent choices for Auto-Attack Build
Tips on How to play against Auto-Attack Build
Heroes that are good with and against Auto-Attack Build
Battleground specific tips
This is third part of the guide. If you wish to read previous parts, follow these links:
Part 1 (General hero overview, Hungering Arrow Build)
Part 2 (Multishot Build)
A-A Valla Build is designed to provide tons of single target damage. Damage output is moderate, at the beginning of the game, and grows into insane numbers the longer game lasts. Overall, A-A Build is considered late game oriented, but can work nicely in earlier stages of the game. Of course, that will depend on many conditions, like map or hero picks. Keep in mind that A-A Valla has stationary gameplay, and is also very dependent on disables from allies, to be effective.
Very popular in the past, during Technical Alpha, this build now rises in competitive play. Occasionally in NA scene, teams show off how strong A-A Valla can be if she has double/triple tank setup. Recently, you could have witnessed its power on IEM Shenzhen 2015, by Korean team MVP Black. They literally obliterated their opponents, Brave Heart, in the Semi-finals with A-A Demon Hunter. Map was “Tomb of the Spider Queen”. Setup consisted of ETC, Muradin, Zeratul, Valla, and Uther, as support and semi-tank.
You can watch this game here:
Generally speaking, A-A Build is specific one. It is, of course, much easier to play then Multishot Build, as it requires less communication and teamplay, and is also less setup dependent.
Common talent choices for Auto-Attack Build
image source: https://www.heroesfire.com/hots/talent-calculator/valla
First two talents will be based around Valla’s trait – Hatred. At level 1, talent named “Rancor” will be source of additional attack speed, while at level 4, talent named “Manticore” will provide additional damage from auto-attacks. “Searing Attacks” will be the name of talent that is picked on level 7, and on level 10, it will be “Rain of Vengeance” as a Heroic choice. “Frost Shot” and “Executioner” will be the talents for level 13 and 16. Lastly, on level 20 “Nexus Frenzy” is the choice.
A-A Build has core and optional talent tiers. Core talents will be on level 1, 4, 7, and 20. And optional talents will be situated on level 10, 13, and 16. However, this can be altered a bit, as Heroes are very dynamic and decision making based game. And many of your decision are influenced by conditions of the game, like map, enemy hero comp, your team setup and so on. Sometimes, you can see “Bolt of the Storm” taken on level 20, or “Vampiric Assault” talent being picked on level 4.
Now that I’ve describe talent choices in general, let’s look at each talent separately. Build described below is standard A-A Build, with situational talents focused on bringing additional firepower to your auto-attacks. Other situational talents for this Build are described below, in the “Alternative or situational Talent choices for Auto-Attack Build” part of the guide.
(Level 1 talent)
“Rancor” will increase the effectiveness of Valla’s auto-attacks and Trait, as it will add 1,5% bonus attack speed for each stack of Trait. Total attack speed increased will be 15%.
Basic auto-attack speed for Valla is 1.67, so 15% buff will increase the speed to 1.91. And that is almost 2 attacks per second. Right now, it doesn’t seem like a big impact on the damage output, but this talent serves as a foundation for other talents, as they will also benefit from speed increase.
(Level 4 talent)
Second talent in the build is “Manticore”. It will increase the damage of every 3rd basic attack, against the same target, by 50%.
As you can see, this talent effectiveness depends on the basic attack speed, so talent directly benefits from “Rancor”. “Manticore” serves as stepping stone in building up your auto-attack damage. Sometimes, it can be changed for “Arsenal” or “Vampiric Assault”, but those situations i will describe in the part of the article about alternative Talent choices.
(Level 7 talent)
Level 7 talent tier brings first activatable ability to the kit. Upon activation, SA will increase damage of each basic attack by 50%, but each attack will cost 15 Mana. The ability lasts for 5 seconds and has 25 seconds cooldown.
“Searing Attacks” is a 3rd core talent in the build, and is a power spike for Valla. The talent will drastically increase your damage output. Before this talent Demon Hunter was annoying fly, now Valla is a threat that needs to be dealt with. Keep in mind that each attack costs Mana, so you need to have at least 150 Mana if you plan to use the talent for the whole duration.
Rain of Vengeance
The name of the Build is Auto-Attack, and so is your main source of damage. It is logical to pick the ultimate that won’t steal your auto-attacking time by being channeling ability. So, most of the times, as a Heroic, you will use “Rain of Vengeance”.
Rov possess a decent threat to an enemy, and is very good tactical tool for Auto-Attack Build. Firstly, it is another stun in your setup. And that means two things: you are able to help to stun lock the target of your allies and you can use Heroic to increase the damage numbers of basic attacks, in case you took “Executioner” talent.
Secondly, it is another AOE disable in your team comp. So, RoV can be used in many ways. As most of AOE disables, it allows you to zone enemies, save allies, disengage from unfavorable spot, do some wombo-combos, and so on. In some dire cases it can be used for self-salvation. The only downside is, of course, its cooldown and mechanic. “Rain of Vengeance” has specific way it works, it has animation time and delay time, and that can be tricky for new players.
(Level 13 talent)
Your “Multishot” now applies slow effect to the targets. The effect lasts for 2 seconds, and slows enemies for 40%.
This talent comes as natural choice for auto-attacking Valla. With stationary type of gameplay, which A-A Build is, you want to have as much disables as you can. Also, kiting potential is always nice. Lastly, this talent has synergy with level 16 talent “Executioner”. And will allow you to dish out even more damage from it!
(Level 16 talent)
The talent adds 40% bonus damage to the right click attacks if you are hitting stunned, rooted, or silenced target.
As A-A Valla, you usually have plenty of allies with CC’s, so “Executioner” comes as natural choice. Paired up with previous talent choices, talent allows you to deal tremendous amount of basic attack damage, and is also a huge power spike. Lastly, don’t forget about this talent if you have Arthas in your lineup. He is just amazing for this talent, as he provides constant disable of the target.
Quick note: despite being not mentioned in the description, the targets that are slowed are also offering 40% bonus to your basic attacks.
(Level 20 talent)
Valla’s auto-attack range and speed will be increased by 20%. The attack range will be 6.6, and attack speed will be 2.0. With 10 stacks of “Hatred” AS will be 2.25.
“Nexus Frenzy” is a third power spike in A-A Build, after “Searing Attacks” and “Executioner”. With more attack speed and range you are able to deal more damage, as all previous talent choices get benefits from increased AR and AS. Also, increased range puts you on the edge of most enemy spells, allowing some juking to happen. Lastly, NF makes your stutter stepping even more effective.
Auto-Attack Build Pros and Cons
image source: http://goshun.deviantart.com/art/Demon-Hunter-468522521
No resource dependency
Main part of your damage is basic attacks, especially in the late game, so you almost don’t need Mana to be effective in fights. That leaves Valla always prepared for the fights.
Unrivaled late game damage output
When played with “Nexus Frenzy” and couple of others power spike talents, Demon Hunter has best auto-attacking DPS in the game. On level 20 and further, you are able to destroy enemy squishies with 3-4 basic attacks.
Very good at long team fights
When most of enemies and allies are left without Mana and cooldowns, Valla is still able to bring good amounts of damage, as her main damage source are basic attacks. She has very consistent and high damage in long fights.
Late game oriented build
This is both, strength and weakness of the build, as in the late game your damage output is insane. With the help of some active talents, you are able to do damage numbers equal to usual spells, with just your basic attacks.
Most of the times, you will be standing still and auto-attacking the disabled targets. That will leave you as very easy, to hit with spells and abilities, target. To compensate this weakness try “stutter stepping”. More info on “stutter stepping” is situated in next chapter of the guide.
Late game oriented build
This is both, strength and weakness of the build, as there certain maps and situations when you won’t be able to fully use your potential, because game will be over before levels 16-20.
Poor survivability and positional dependency
Valla’s basic attack range is 5.5, so it is not a problem for enemy to hit you with a spell or initiate on you. For that reason positioning, when playing A-A Build, is very important. The positioning is also important due to the fact that Valla is very easy to burst down, as health pool is relatively low, and there are no defensive abilities except “Vault”.
General style of play and tips for Auto-Attack Build
The Stutter Stepping
The stutter stepping is a moving pattern technique that allows to maximize the damage output from the basic attacks, and at the same time, allows to be less easy, to hit, target. Your auto-attacks have some cooldowns between them. So, instead of just standing still, with your hero, between the cooldowns, you move a bit towards the target, or in place.
First of all, it will allow you to reposition yourself towards the target, a bit, with each move. Such action will result in few more basic attacks when target will start to flee, as you will be closer than usual.
Second of all, it will be much harder for enemies to hit you with a skillshot, as most of abilities in Heroes of the Storm are non-target and require some skill to hit.
So, the results of “stutter stepping” will be increased damage and survivability. However, be mindful about enemy stuns and other important cooldowns, as repositioning yourself towards target may be more beneficial to the enemy then yourself. Overall, SS is trick for experienced players, and requires some game understanding\feeling.
The Right Positioning Value
Auto-Attacking Build heavily depends on the positioning. The basic attack range is 5.5, and that is the less than the reach of any spell in the game. That means that going in for a fight and landing your attacks, puts you in range of enemy disables and nukes. So, right decision making, about when to go in and out, is very important.
Same goes about positioning. You have to keep in mind most of enemy spells that are dangerous to you, and keep yourself out of their range, unless you have a support aid, or target you attack possesses no threat. And if you happen to be in range of dangerous enemy spells, repositioning yourself, in most cases, will be your priority. By “no threat” i mean that the target is either disabled, or has dangerous spells on the cooldown.
In general, right positioning is important for all Hots heroes. For some of them it has less value, for other, it has more value. It depends on many factors, such as health pool, escape abilities, overall sustain, and so on. A-A Valla build happen to be the most depend on the positioning, due to Demon Hunter having to be at closer range to the enemy, than other Builds.
The Movement and Action Pattern
Now that we discussed such scary things as positioning and “stutter stepping”, let’s move on to the bigger scale of things, to see how they all combine together. And also decide how to move and create action efficiently.
Ideally, you want to have few heroes with disables, in your team comp. So, you can follow them around, and when they disable someone, you would throw your spells and start auto-attacking. If you happen to play a-a build, but there are no such heroes in your lineup, it is best if you wait until one your frontliners gets focused by the enemy. That way you will have a window of time and opportunity to go in a do some DiPS, without risking your health pool.
It is also important to have a general idea of what enemy spells and abilities are used, and being on cooldown, because it is best time for you to strike. Other than that, this info will allow you to understand at what time it is best to reposition yourself behind the frontliner, and out of the range of enemy nukes and disables. Believe me, once they will be up, you don’t want to be in the basic attack range, near enemy.
So, your movement will either be reactionary or aggressive, depending on the action pattern you would like to go. Apart from things described above, the positioning of your allies and foes will play a key part in the outcome of the fight, and your action pattern. You don’t want to play defensive when half of your team is taking down isolated enemy hero. And on the contrary you don’t want to engage while you are on the frontline, or your team is on the retreat.
Overall, I’m stressing so much on these basic things, because they have much higher value and impact on your decision making and health pool. This build is very easy to punish for positional and decision mistakes. Only heroes, or builds, that are punished harder are melee Assassins and heroes without escapes, like Kael’thas.
The laning phase
In general, it is best to play fairly passive until you get your first power spike – level 7 talent “Searing Attacks”. SA will allow you to trade you HP efficiently, and dish out decent right click damage. Depending on the enemy laner, or lane composition (solo lane, triple\double lane), you will be able to break even, or secure lane dominance.
For A-A Valla, proper positioning in lane has same importance as it has in team fights. Securing the right spot in the bushes and “stutter stepping”, can be a difference between won and lost lane.
Also, don’t forget that right click Valla is very good at destroying enemy buildings, starting with level 7. On some maps and in some situations, it may be more beneficial to leave the objective and secure XP lead with your push. However this is very rich and in-depth topic for a discussion, and i will provide more detailed info in the “Battleground specific advices for the builds” part of the guide.
How to position yourself
Despite providing some insights on the positioning topic earlier, i feel that it has to be discussed more detailed, as it is very valuable for this build. Above, in general style of play, i talked about how it is important to keep in mind\feel cooldowns of key enemy spells. The value of such action will only increase if you can also keep in mind important cooldowns of your allies. They will, most likely, allow you to do more damage, or be more flexible in your decision making and positioning.
First of all, I’m talking about zoning and disabling abilities from frontliners and saving abilities from supports. These will prolong your auto-attacking sessions and will keep your life pool healthy. Second of all, it is the synergies of the heroes and spells. Being able to prolong chain stun on the target, and knowing the synergies between allies will not only allow you to do more DiPS, but also to win a fight, and potentially a game!
You might think – “what the hell this all has to do with the positioning?” Well, like in case of the enemy spells and threats, that affect your movement and positioning, the stuff described above has also a lot of value for the decision making and positioning. Knowing it, counting on it, and using it to your advantage will greatly increase your game understanding, results, and skill.
What talents can counter weaknesses
Depending on how good you are with the positioning, this build may, or may not, be hard to play for you. While talents can’t compensate the misplays, they are certainly good at providing defensive and utility options that will cover some weak spots of the build. Also, if you struggle with playing this build on a decent level, talents can cover some hard parts for you.
“Arsenal” talent will help if you feel that going into the late game will be a problem. It will bring more AOE damage. Overall, it will allow you to do more damage in earlier stages of the game.
If survivability is the issue, you can try to compensate it with defensive talents of level 13(“Spell Shield”) and 16(“Blood for Blood” and “Stone Skin”). Also, holding your ultimate for defensive capabilities can help.
Positional issues can be solved with “Bolt of the Storm” and “Tumble” talents. “Bolt” will even allow you to dodge some spells and Heroics. More info on that is in the description of the talent.
Lastly, if self-sustain is the issue, during the laning phase, on maps that value laning phase, taking “Vampiric Assault” will help. It will increase the efficiency of HP trading, and will make taking camps easier process.
More detailed description and value of the talents, for A-A Build, can be found in “alternative talent” section of the guide.
Alternative or situational Talent choices for Auto-Attack Build
image source: https://www.heroesfire.com/hots/talent-calculator/valla
Generally speaking, each Build has its core talents. While this is true for A-A Build, there are some situations when you can take different talents. The essential parts of the build are, of course, “Rancor” and “Searing Attacks” talents. “Rancor” is a framework of your Build, as it will buff any auto-attacking talent you might choose. And SA talent is a first major power spike for this build.
So, other talent choices are situational and will depend on the conditions of the game. See the description of each talent tier below, to know more about benefits which other talents bring to the table.
About the ultimates. It is not required that you take “Rain of Vengeance”. Auto-Attacking build can be played with "Strafe". RoV just feels like a natural choice, as bigger part of your damage output will come from basic attacks. And you are not able to auto-attack while casting "Strafe".
In the end, choice is situational. I will describe advantages of Strafe, for A-A Build, below.
Last thing i want to mention is I’m talking about Auto-Attacking Build here. And that means that every talent that will be described below, will be described from the point of view of A-A Build. I will tell how effective and beneficial a talent is to the build.
Now that the general brief is over, let’s dive into each talent tier, and see if there are any viable talents for A-A Build.
Level 1 Talent choices
“Rancor” is the choice! That’s it! I know you want to experiment and stuff, but no! If you skip this talent and go for something else, you will lose a lot of potential and buffs for other a-a talents. All auto-attacking talents are more effective when you have more attack speed. So, not choosing “Rancor” talent would be an option if this talent tier provided another option with the same level of benefits to the build. However, it is not the case!
The talent will reduce the cost of “Hungering Arrow” by 30 Mana.
SA heals Demon Hunter for 50% of the damage dealt by “Hungering Arrow”.
You don’t take HA upgrades for two reasons. Firstly, you have “Rancor” on this talent tier. Secondly, your main damage source is basic attacks, not spells like Hungering Arrow.
This talent will increase cone range of “Multishot” by 20%.
The reasons for not taking this talent are similar to the reasons why you don’t go HA upgrades.
Each ability usage grants 3 stacks of “Hatred”
Probably, one of the least used Valla talents. It is not used in any of the competitive builds. This talent is not used even in mixed builds! Talent is good for ramping up the amount of Trait stacks. However, “Hatred” is not some imbalanced passive ability, so you don’t want to have 10 stacks as fast as you can!
Level 4 Talent choices
Despite being considered as one of the core talent tiers, this tier has variety in it! Apart from standard choice, you can go “Arsenal” or “Vampiric Assault”. Both choices are specific. “Manticore” is effective talent when you know that you will be able to proc it at least 3 times. Otherwise, and in conditions described below, it is better to go other talent.
Basic attacks will heal Valla for the 15% of the damage dealt.
This talent can be a valid option when winning a solo lane means a lot for your team. Usually, it’s the case for very small and aggressive maps, like “Tomb of the Spider Queen” or “Dragon Shire”. VA will allow you to trade HP more effectively than enemy hero, resulting in lane domination, and allowing you to create objective pressure. Later in the game, this talent will also benefit from other a-a talents.
“Multishot” will fire 3 grenades, which deal additional damage. The damage is (42.5 + 7.5 per level). Damage can only hit same target once, even if you hit the target with all 3 grenades.
Just like “Vampiric Assault”, this talent is situational pick. It has its value when you know that you won’t have much time to land the basic attacks, or get enough number of right clicks. And by enough number i mean at least 9 attacks, on the same target. As for the time – it’s 5 seconds. And actually, it is the same time that you need to land 9 basic attacks.
Reasoning for all that mess written above is damage numbers. “Manticore” talent is more beneficial in terms of damage output if you are able to stay on the target for 5 seconds of time. If not, “Arsenal” talent will provide more damage output. Keep in mind that this is true if we are talking about single target damage.
Lastly, this talent choice over “Manticore” is a specific one. In later stages of the game, the damage output of M will surpass the damage from “Arsenal”. Each talent that will boost your basic attack damage will also boost “Manticore” talent. So, picking “Arsenal” is more of a safe play. Pick it if you feel that you will be pressured a lot in the beginning\mid game, and want the game to go into the later stages, where A-A Build does tremendous amounts of damage.
The upgrade for “Hungering Arrow” increases number of bounces by 1, and range of the spell by 25%.
Very strong upgrade for HA, however it’s has no value in this build, as most of the damage will be from basic attacks and there are more valuable options, for the build, that are situated on the same talent tier.
Level 7 Talent choices
This is the second core talent tier, so “Searing Attacks” is your choice. You don’t choose other talents for similar reasons as it was for level 1 tier. SA is very strong boost for your damage output and is very beneficial for the build. All other talents, on this tier, are weak. “Repeating Arrow” is ok, but it won’t be effective for A-A Build.
Every time “Vault” is used, 3 “Caltrops” are dropped. They slow enemy by 20% for 2 seconds, and do (27 + 2 per level damage).
The talent offers some kiting potential. Problem is the area of the “Caltrops” is small and they are easy to dodge. Also, other downside of the talent is it’s rather weak, and there are other stronger talents on the same tier.
When Valla is at 10 stacks of Trait, the movement speed bonus will be increased to 20%.
The idea of the talent seems very cool. It strives to boost the chase down potential, with increased movement speed. However, there are talents like “Frost Shot” that are more useful. And 10% of movement speed is very low amount. So, in the end this talent is very weak, and then again, you have stronger talents on the same tier.
The talent refreshes cooldown of Hungering Arrow when “Vault” is used.
Very strong talent for “Hungering Arrow” Build, as it basically doubles the damage output of the HA. In case of A-A Build, it won’t be the choice, as it has no synergy with auto-attacks.
(Level 10 Talent choices)
Value of “Rain of Vengeance” for A-A Build was described above, so let’s talk about other ultimate. About “Strafe”. It will be great choice if you feel that your team lacks AOE damage, for team fights.
In the A-A Build, Valla will be doing single target damage, mostly. In certain conditions you might feel the need of additional AOE damage. As Heroic ability is not the core element in this build, you can walk away with situational choice.
The downside of the “Strafe” choice is that you won’t be able to auto-attack. This seems to be not a big deal, at start. However, at some point of the game your basic attack damage output will surpass the damage output from the ultimate. Depending on the talent choices, it happens at levels 13-16. From that point onwards, it will be beneficial to use “Strafe” on more than 1 target, as your basic attack damage will be higher than that of “Strafe”.
In the late game, situation is even more drastic, as you won’t go for the upgrade of Heroic. Usually, on level 20 you chose either “Nexus Frenzy” or “Bolt of the Storm”. And that situation leaves “Strafe” usage in even trickier spot! On level 20 and further, damage of your basic attacks will be 3 times higher than damage of the ultimate. So, only beneficial usage of heroic will be when you can hit more than 3 targets with it, provided “Strafe” will be cast for its full duration! And in latter stages of the game it is usually more critical to do quick -1, instead of trying to damage everyone…
As you can see, the “Strafe” choice is very specific one. It provides benefits of AOE damage, but using it properly, on every stage of the game, can be a very tricky task.
Level 13 Talent choices
This talent tier doesn’t have core talents, but there are some that seem more valuable than others. In general, talent tier offers amount of talents for both, defensive and offensive options.
If you feel that “Frost Shot” is not the talent you want to go, read about other situational talent choices. Usually, it is the case when you either need additional survivability, or enemy has very sustainable lineup.
“Giant Killer” is a passive ability that will deal bonus basic attack damage against heroes. The amount of damage equals to 1.5% of the hero’s max HP.
GK is passive ability that will benefit from “Rancor” talent, and will boost the a-a damage even more. The talent is also very useful against teams and setups that have good sustain, be it double\triple tanks or double support lineups. Keep in mind that this talent is not obligatory, as the talent tier is situational. Choose “Giant Killer” if you feel that you need to add up the right click damage, and you don’t have problems surviving the fights.
SS is another passive ability. However, it is designed to boost your survivability, as it grants ability damage reduction, when you are hit by the spell. Effect lasts for 3 seconds, and can be triggered once every 30 seconds.
This talent is very good at protecting your hero from enemy setups based around the ability burst damage, or lockdowns. Hero examples are Nova, Zeratul, Kael, Falstad, and so on. As for lockdown heroes let’s mention Tyrael, Johanna, Tyrande, and Butcher. SS will lessen the load on your support, and most likely will allow you to survive enemy focus. But you are still squishy hero, with low self-sustain. Don’t think of yourself as a frontliner after picking “Spell Shield”!
Tempered by Discipline
This is complicated. So, when Valla is on 10 stacks of “Hatred”, this talent allows her to gain new stacks. They are called “Discipline”. Each stack of “Discipline” will heal Demon Hunter for 3% of the basic damage dealt. The talent can have 10 stacks at max, resulting in 30% life steal. This talent feels like improved version of “Vampiric Assault”, but designed for Valla.
“Discipline” is one of the talents you don’t use. There are two main reasons for that. First of all, it has very bad mechanic. Initial idea is cool – increased survivability based around hero specific mechanic. However, in its current state it is far worse than either “Spell Shield “or “Vampiric Assault”. And that, points out the second problem – there are better alternatives. Lastly, its takes too damn long to gain those 10 stacks, and most of the times fight is already over. And if not there is another problem – those stacks start to decay if you have to reposition yourself.
To summarize everything up, this talent won’t cut through for A-A Build, as it has better alternatives and clunky mechanic. But idea is very cool!
Level 16 Talent choices
Situation on this talent tier is similar to level 13 – there is good a-a talent and some alternative talent choices. So, if you feel that you won’t get much use of “Executioner” or are looking for other options, you should take a look at “Blood for Blood” and “Stone Skin” talents.
Usually, you don’t go “Executioner” when you don’t have CC’s in your team and there is a need in boosting your survivability. Don’t forget to count “Frost Shot” talent as viable disable for “Executioner”.
This talent adds 2nd charge to “Vault” ability. The charge can be used after 2.5 seconds delay of initial cast.
Another great talent for Hungering Arrow Build! Oh, wait! We’re in the different build. So, as great as it is for HA build, it won’t have much value for A-A Build. And that will result in this talent not being picked.
Blood for Blood
Activatable ability. BfB will steal 10% of the targets Max HP, and will heal Valla for double the amount. The ability is usable only on heroes. It has 60 seconds cooldown and costs no Mana.
Has a range of an auto-attack.
This talent is very strong against enemy setups with 2-3 melee heroes. Not only you will increase your survivability, but also you will be able to add burst damage to your kit. Keep in mind that talent steals 10% of Max HP. It is best to use it on Warriors with big health pools. Also, you don’t have to use it on enemy with full HP, as talent counts target’s Max HP.
Overall, BfB is good at turning the tides in duels, due to unexpected heal, or helping your team to finish off targets. Lastly, it is decent survivability option, especially against melee heroes.
Another active ability. SS grants shield that equals 30% of Valla’s Max HP. “Stone Skin” has 60 seconds cooldown.
Unlike “Blood for Blood”, “Stone Skin” is very good versus ranged heroes. Also, it is good at negating some of the poke damage. Usually, it’s more beneficial to choose SS over BfB if most part of enemy damage comes from ranged heroes. The talent is self-cast ability. So, you won’t have a need to be in rage of the target to use it. Lastly, ability is very good against burst damage.
To summarize everything up, SS is good talent versus ranged heroes, most of the time. It is also good tool to negate poking damage, and it is very efficient against burst.
Level 20 Talent choices
Choice is simple: “Bolt of the Storm” or “Bolt of the Storm”. That is, of course, if you are having troubles surviving the fights. Otherwise, it is best to go “Nexus Frenzy”, as it is huge power spike for A-A Build. However, dead Valla does 0 points of damage. So, if you are playing this build for the first time, or see that survivability will be your main concern when enemy hits 20, it is best to take safer route. “Bolt” is not only the defensive tool, but also an offensive one. It will allow you to chase someone down or initiate fights with “Rain of Vengeance”.
The talent increases the damage of “Strafe”, as it adds piercing bolts, to usual projectiles, that fire every 0.25 seconds. The damage output of the bolts is 75 ( 10.875+3.38 per level ), at level 20. Overall, the upgrade increases damage of the ultimate by 67%.
Storm of Vengeance
This upgrade will increase number of waves from 2 to 4. This doubles the amount of overall stun and damage the ultimate provides.
While “Rain of Vengeance” upgrade is one of the least used Valla talents, “Strafe” upgrade is very strong one, and adds tons of AOE burst damage to Demon Hunter’s kit. However, both of them contain low value for A-A Build, as there is “Nexus Frenzy” talent, on the same talent tier. And main damage output of this build is basic damage. Also, right click build does insane DPS in the late game, so it’s better to either boost it even more, or add up some survivability.
Bolt of the Storm
“Bolt” is activatable ability. It teleports hero to a nearby location. Ability has 40 seconds cooldown and costs no Mana. The talent allows dodging many spells, and is rumored to have the increased cooldown in next patch.
Basically, this is the only viable option if you don’t choose “Nexus Frenzy”. As I’ve mentioned in general description to this talent tier, “Bolt” is good for both, defensive moves and offensive actions. For more experienced players, it will also be a tool for dodging enemy ultimates, like Tyrael’s “Judgement”, or baiting enemy to chase you down and be out of position. Other than that, you can take this talent if you know that many enemy heroes with good lock down, or burst damage, will take “Bolt” too. That way you will be able to react on their initiation with your blink out.
Tips on How to play against Auto-Attack Build
Punishment for positional mistakes
Being able to punish Valla player for misposition is a top priority when playing against this build. The build offers poor survivability combined with the need to be in close range with the target. And that is the main weakness of the a-a build. Demon Hunter is very squishy hero, and if focused by whole team, will melt down in a few seconds.
To secure the kill, or capitalize on the misplay, you will be looking for spells that have stunning and slowing effects, as well as spells that can block the terrain or change the positioning of the hero.
If we are to talk about usual spells than any stunning skillshot will do. General idea here is to keep Valla in place, so your teammates can do enough damage to either kill her, or force a retreat. If you have few stunning abilities, chain stunning Demon Hunter and the support will be the best use.
To put slowing abilities to a greater use, try body blocking Valla after you land the ability. This will buy few seconds of needed time, in which she will receive fatal damage. Tyrael’s “Q” is a good example. If you throw it behind the target, you are able to teleport on the ability and body block the hero.
Lastly, don’t forget that Demon Hunter is not unstoppable during “Vault”, and also “Vault” can’t hop over the terrain. So, spells that reposition the target, or create impassible terrain for few seconds, will have great value.
The value of disables and effects that mess up with auto-attacks
If Valla player is good enough, you will have a hard time catching him out of position. And that is the time when various spells and effects will come into play. Demon Hunter’s main damage source, in this build, is auto-attacking damage. That means that any spell or effect that won’t allow her to land basic attacks is our friend. So, if you can’t kill Valla, minimize her damage output.
First of all, let’s talk about blinding effects. Right know they are in a very good spot against heroes that heavily rely on right click damage. Blinds cause every attack from blinded hero to miss, during some period of time. Spell like Li Li’s “Blinding Wind” or Johanna’s “Shield Glare” will be strong not only against A-A Valla, but also against other heroes with damage output based on the basic attacks.
Second of all, i have to mention zoning abilities. If you can’t disable Valla player, force him to choose between landing right clicks and taking damage, or staying out of the fight. Here I’m talking about different abilities. The abilities like “Starfall” or “Phoenix” will do the effect described above, while abilities like “Devouring Maw” and “Void Prison” will either zone Demon Hunter out, or disable for some time.
Third of all, i wanted to mention “Shrink Ray” ability. It is very good against many abilities and spells that are either channeling, or provide damage boost for some period of time. Just using this ability in the right time will negate tons of damage from Valla. But what you can do is use this ability on DH when she pops up “Searing Attacks”. This will completely destroy her damage numbers. Also, “Shrink Ray” is good if Valla decides to go “Strafe”, as it will cut down half of the damage.
Lastly, any usual disable, like “Polymorph”, that can stop basic attacks will do. Don’t forget to time it with “Searing Attacks” for greater effect.
Common plays versus squishies
This section will be small, as i want to remind you that Valla is squishy Assassin, after all. So, bursting her down, like you do with other squishies, will be legit play. Other usual stuff contains forcing fights in unfavorable spots, with key cooldowns not being up, with inefficient trades and so on. Oh, and don’t forget splitting her team apart, or isolating her down!
Heroes that are good with and against Auto-Attack Build
The size of part 3 of the guide has gotten out of hand, a bit, so I’ll try to minimize the amount of text, while being very informative. Basically, heroes that are good with and against this build come from pros and cons of the build, as well as mechanics of the build, and overall hero specifics and characteristics. So, we have heroes that good, because of the build, and we have heroes that are good, because it is still Valla, with all her pros and cons.
Overall, this sections contains examples of heroes from parts of the article that are situated above, and tell us about pros and cons of the build, or how to play against this build, or tips and general style of play for this build, and so on.
Heroes that are beneficial to A-A Valla
General idea is to look for heroes that are good versus enemy comp, but at the same time can provide decent early and midgame. This quality is very important, as A-A Build is late game oriented, after all. Usually, few heroes with good AOE’s, for wave clear, is enough. That way you won’t be pushed hard at the beginning of the game, and won’t have to be always catching up in XP.
Current pool of Warriors, which are used in competitive play, will provide disables and are good at space creation. Among others, Muradin and Arthas will be more beneficial to your “Executioner” talent.
(Leoric, Johanna, Muradin, Anub, Tyrael, Arthas)
Abathur will be nice pair hero for this build. He has the same effectiveness for Valla as he has for Illidan. Obviously, he will be using same build.
As for supports, you will be looking for heroes with burst healing, and ability to quickly cover the mistakes of Valla player. So, Uther, Rehgar will be your best choice. Also, it looks like Kharazim will be good at that role too.
The decision to take semi-supports, Tyrande and Tassadar, is very situational. And will highly depend on map, hero setups, and so on.
Lastly, there are no certain requirements for Assassin\Specialist role. However, it is best if you have hero that is good at bursting down and ganking, in case you see that enemy wants to finish the game early, or plans to push you. Other than that, you can take pushing hero for your lineup, and secure early game yourself.
(Jaina, Sylvanas, Zagara, Tychus, Kerrigan, Zeratul, Falstad, Nova, Nazeebo)
Heroes that are effective against A-A Valla
Johanna, Li Li, Brightwing will provide blinds, that will render Valla’s right click damage to zero. Kael’thas (“Phoenix”), Tyrande (“Starfall”), Zeratul (“Void Prison”), Zagara (“Devouring Maw”), Malf (“Entangling Roots”), Nazeebo (“Wall of Zombies”), Jaina (“Water Elemental”), Leoric (“Entomb”), Anub (“Web Blast”), Chen (“Wandering Keg”), are good at zoning hero out of the fight with their abilities.
Heroes with “Imposing Presence” talent are good chose for the Warrior role. Any Warrior hero has IP, except Chen, Arthas, and Tyrael.
Muradin has awesome “Thunder Clap” build, which is very effective against any right click Assassin, and is a reason why you don’t skill “Imposing Presence” on 16.
Heroes that have “Shrink Ray” talent are very good, especially when you time it with Valla’s “Searing Attacks” or “Strafe”. (Li LI, Uther, Malf, Tyrande, Tassadar). Tassadar is also good, as he wrecks backline if left uncontested, with the help of Sustain Build.
Lastly, heroes with good burst down potential are always good versus squishy Assassin.
(Zeratul, Nova, Jaina, Tyrande, Falstad, “Hunt” Illidan, “Hungering Arrow” Valla, Kerrigan, Sylvanas, Butcher, Kael (post level 16), Thrall, Sonya)
This is the end of the guide. This part of in-depth guide was about Auto-Attack Build. You can find other parts by the links below. The final part, which will have Battleground specific tips and conclusions to the whole guide, will arrive soon.
Part 1, which has general hero overview and Hungering Arrow Build:
Part 2, about Multishot Build:
Part 4, with Battleground tips and conclusions: