Tyrande Whisperwind - High Priestess of Elune, expert archer, known lover of all things with the last name Stormrage, and quite possibly The most underrated “Support” in Heroes of The Storm. In Heroes of The Storm she is classified as a Support Hero, I assume that this is because she has a heal spell attached to her Q key. That heal spell is where her similarity with other Support Heroes ends, though. When we look at Tyrande, specifically her talents and kit, we see something more akin to Assassins in this game, which has led to some confusion for new players, as well as some very strong opinions from the community as a whole.
Fresh off of the North American Championships this weekend, we are getting a Tyrande Free Week in Heroes of The Storm. Those of you who are involved in the community are well aware that many podcasters, bloggers, and pros bemoan Tyrande’s current classification as a Support, and some of these people do not feel she is a viable hero right now.
The important thing to remember is that these people are often referring to queueing with her in Quick Match, where she still meets the games “Support” requirement, or in solo queue Hero League, wherein this can often times leading to some imbalanced match ups. The championship games this weekend saw a lot of Tyrande picks and bans, Cloud 9, in fact, utilized her to great effect in the final game to edge out Tempo Storm to take home the title. With Tyrande both being on sale in the North American region AND free to play this week, we are likely to see a lot of Tyrande in the Nexus.
For the purpose of this guide, I’m going to be going over a couple of quick builds that can help play Tyrande effectively in a single or duo queue. Please note that Tyrande is really best utilized in an extremely coordinate and cohesive team, and she is increasingly difficult to utilize effectively when playing with less people. The other issue currently is that Quick Match will often times pair a team with tyrande as their only support against a team that has a support that is much more effective such as Uther or Rehgar.
First, let’s take a look at Tyrande’s kit, starting with her trait, Hunter’s Mark. This is an activated ability on the D key, causing the targeted hero to become vulnerable, taking 25% more damage and being revealed for 4 seconds. This makes Tyrande one of the strongest initiators in the game, and if she is being played on a coordinated team by that team’s shot caller, she will ensure healthy starts to a majority of team fights. Let’s take a look at her abilities.
Q: Light of Elune – 45 Mana, 8 second cooldown. Heal yourself for 74 (+14 per level). If cast on an Ally, also heal them for 148 (+28 per level) Health.
W: Sentinel – 65 Mana, 18 second cooldown. Send an Owl that travels across the battleground revealing its path. Deals 76 (+16 per level) damage to the first enemy hero hit, and reveals them for 5 seconds.
E: Lunar Flare – 60 Mana, 12 second cooldown. After a short delay, deal 108 (+18 per level) damage and stun enemies in target area for 1 second.
R1: Shadowstalk – 75 mana, 50 second cooldown. Stealth all allied Heroes and heal them for 91.1872 (+20.8 per level) over 8 seconds. At the conclusion of Shadowstalk, they receive a burst of 60 (+14 per level) healing.
R2: Starfall – 100 Mana, 100 second cooldown. Deal 26 (+6 per level) damage per second and slow enemies by 20% in an area. Lasts 8 seconds.
Tyrande’s kit is very unique among the current support roster. It is extremely aggressive, and often times she plays a lot more like an assassin with a heal button, rather than a “True Support.” However, after the recent changes to Shadowstalk, her healing capabilities have been much improved, making her even stronger than she was previously.
Taking a look at Tyrande’s talents reveal not only an extremely versatile hero, but also one that requires a huge amount of awareness on the player’s part, and the ability to pick talents on the fly, based on the enemy team comp, your team comp, and how the overall game is going so far.
In this specific guide I’m going to be going over 2 very basic and beginner friendly builds. Please note that these are not Top Tier builds for Tyrande, as in a best case scenario you are going to be making a real choice at each level, based on all kinds of sensory input from the game to that point.
Build #1 - Solo Support Tyrande
Unfortunately, if you’re playing Quick Match, or Solo Queueing in Ranked, there will be plenty of games that you may end up as the Solo Support. This is not the ideal situation to find yourself in, but particularly in a Tyrande free week, we’re likely to see a whole lot of this. This build is going to focus on your Q ability, and trying to get the most out of your limited healing ability. You’ll also be using a lot of your abilities more defensively in this build.
Level 1: Celestial Attunement - Reduce the Mana Cost of Light of Elune by 15. With a base mana cost of 45, this is a ⅓ reduction to the mana cost of your main ability. In other words, every 3 casts you essentially get a free cast. This is helpful given that Tyrande doesn’t have any way to increase her mana regeneration, and can give you a bit more sustain in lane. Alternatively you could take Empower to make your owl reduce the cooldown of your heal, but the benefit will be less, and it requires you land a skillshot pretty much on cooldown.
Level 4: Protective Shield - Activate to shield an allied Hero for 15% of their Max health for 5 seconds. Protective shield is one of the standard generic talents for healers, often taken on full supports as a way to preempt some damage. This is obviously most effective on tanks with high health pools, since it is not a fixed number on the shield.
It’s great for either starting a fight and getting the enemy to waste some initial damage, or saving a retreating team member who is close to a gate or tower. Alternatively, if you’re very confident in your spacial awareness you could take healing ward to get some additional healing numbers, just bear in mind that they can be destroyed by the enemy team.
Level 7: Quickening Blessing - If cast on an Ally, Light of Elune also increases their movement speed by 25% for 3 seconds. This is a great pick up for our solo support build as it gives an extra level of survivability to anyone that we heal. Now, if your team is already pretty good at positioning and disengaging, Battle Momentum is a great pick up here as it will lower the cooldown of your heal significantly if you can get auto attacks in reliably.
Shadowstalk - Combine the amount of healing that Shadowstalk puts out with its extremely short cooldown, and global effect range, makes Shadowstalk one of the most powerful support heroics in the game currently, a big change from the previous iteration of the ability.
Level 13: Overflowing Light - When you are above 50% Health, Light of Elune’s allies heal is increased by 35%. Provided you are positioning well, damage done to you should be limited, giving a majority of your heals some additional weight when used on allies. If you aren’t super confident in your positioning, you can do a whole lot worse for generic talents than Sprint or Shrink Ray.
Level 16: Mark of Mending - Basic Attacks against marked targets heal for 2.5% health. A little more healing is always welcome when solo supporting as Tyrande, you’ll need all the help you can get. If you’ve noticed, however, that your team can’t focus fire your marks reliably, giving them a 15% passive increase to damage with Trueshot Aura is a great secondary pick.
Level 20: Storm Shield - The level 20 generic support talent that grants 20% Max HP shields to all nearby allies is pretty much a no-brainer if you are forced into playing solo support as Tyrande, while the ultimate buffs are good, you’re going to lose too much damage mitigation against a team of a similar level to make them worth it.
Once again, this build is assuming that you are playing Solo Support, and that your team is likely pretty uncoordinated.
Build #2 - Damage Build
This build is really only recommended if you have another support on your team, or if the enemy team does not have a support. This is a very basic build that could be used by beginning players, that will work in a lot of scenarios.
Level 1: Seasoned Marksman - For every 6 enemy Minion or captured Mercenary kills near your Hero, gain 1 Basic Attack damage. Hero Takedowns count as 3 Minion kills. So many of Tyrande’s aggressive talent picks are going to be generic talents, most of which have a very elegant design, rewarding players for doing what they will be doing naturally. As long as you are killing minions in lane, you’ll be building these stacks and dealing more and more damage as the game goes on.
Level 4: Focused Attack - Every 10 seconds, your next Basic Attack against a Hero deals 75% additional damage. Basic Attacks reduce this cooldown by 1 second. As with Seasoned Marksman, this talent rewards you for participating in team fights and attacking enemy heroes, it couples well with seasoned marksman, as it deals an increased percentage, making it better the longer the game goes. It is worth noting that this talent also has a pretty high skill cap, with many high level players switching targets on the fly to get the most out of it in Teamfights.
Level 7: Battle Momentum - Basic Attacks reduce ability cooldowns by 0.5 seconds. OK, I know that we’re going with a lot of generic talents with this build, but so many of them are so user friendly and effective that they are hard to pass up, especially when learning Tyrande. Now, if you’re very confident in your ability to land stuns, Lunar Blaze is perfectly viable, possibly superior, and gives you huge reach on your stun.
Level 10: Starfall is the only real choice here, it’s an AoE that deals pretty good damage, and has a pretty large area, which, coupled with the slow it put on enemies, makes it pretty forgiving when it comes to positioning it. With the recent changes to Shadowstalk it is also completely viable in this build, depending on how much healing your “Real” support is doing.
Level 13: Huntress’ Fury - Gain 40% additional Attack Speed for 4 seconds when using Hunter’s Mark. This combos extremely well with many of the early talents such as focused attack and battle momentum, as you should be using Hunter’s Mark pretty liberally with this build, this ability will help you on a lot of different levels.
Level 16: Trueshot Aura - You Passively Grant 15% basic attack damage to nearby allies. Again this is a really simple talent that requires very little commitment on the side of the player. As long as you are near your allies (You should almost always be near at least one ally at level 16) you are giving them additional damage. Just like with level 7, Shooting Star is probably technically the better talent, but it requires you to be very proficient with your stuns.
Level 20: Nexus Frenzy - Just like with the healing build this one is an easy choice. Nexus Frenzy is the ranged equivalent of Nexus Blades and is an incredible passive talent that ups your attack speed by 20% and range by 40% making you a huge threat to anyone within your now massive range.
Tips for playing Tyrande
Tip 1: Whenever possible, use your Q on an ally. Ideally you will not be the only support in your games, and given that your Q is more effective when used on an ally, you are getting more health restored per mana when using it on an ally. That being said, if you’re solo laning early on, and just need some sustain, there’s nothing inherently wrong with using it on yourself, however it can also be used on lane minions.
Tip 2: Land your Stuns. Tyrande’s Lunar Flare is an extremely potent stun, that has a pretty decent range, even more so when talented. Take the time to get used to the timing, and work on predicting enemy movements, this talent is perfect for picking off a straggling hero on the retreat.
Lunar Flare is arguably the most important part of Tyrande’s kit, particularly when paired with her trait. Ideally, Tyrande will be a damage buffing stun machine, but when you are just starting out, you should probably take some more forgiving talents while you figure out how to best utilize her stun.
Tip 3: Your sentinel will be used differently on different maps. Each map in Heroes has different points that you want to be scouting. On Blackheart’s Bay, it’s Blackheart himself. On Tomb of The Spider Queen it’s the egg clutches.
Most maps it’s going to be the objective, but Bosses are also great owl targets. Your own will keep your team in the loop about what is going on at important points on the map, provided they are paying attention. The only thing that remains the same across all maps, is that nothing feels better than killing a fleeing enemy with an Owl and shouting “There’s Your Letter From Hogwarts!”
Tip 4: Starfall is a very forgiving heroic. It has a large area, and slows enemies, making it harder to escape the area. That being said, work on using it effectively at choke points to zone out enemies or secure last kills for your team as they try and escape.
I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but please understand that these are very safe and easy to play builds, meant for people playing Tyrande on Free Week. Looking through her kit she has very few completely useless talents, and picking a talent on Tyrande should always be a dynamic choice you are making at higher levels of play.
Tyrande is also best used in a coordinated team of people with a strong shot caller (Likely whoever is playing Tyrande), but with her Free Week upon us, this is not the reality that she will be existing in for the most part. Now go out there and make the best of Tyrande this week!