Heroes of the Storm Cassia Gold to Masters Guide
Heroes of the Storm Cassia Gold to Masters Guide by devuu
Hey all, my name is Devuu, and I’m a player on NA season. I recently hit Masters in Hero League and wanted to write a guide on Cassia, my favorite hero in HOTS and the hero I played most of my games on during my climb.
This guide will be long and detailed. Hopefully, by the end of it, you will find a new appreciation for the lightning slinging, Valkyrie summoning, unkillable damage goddess that is Cassia.
If you want a TL;DR, just go to Part VI.
Part I: Introduction—Who am I?
Okay, you’re probably thinking “who the hell is this guy, and why should I listen to him?” I started playing this game last year, right after 2.0 (and Cassia) came out. I immediately fell in love with the character, and even though I stopped playing for a while, knew she had potential.
I started in Plat the first season I played, 2017 Season 1, and ended gold. I did not play next until 2018 Season 1, where I placed and ended gold.
This season, I placed Gold IV after promos, and have now reached Masters in about 250 games with a 60% global winrate.
After I reached my goal of Masters I planned on writing a guide, so that’s what I’m doing.
Over all I have a roughly 65% global win rate with Cassia over 400ish games. According to HOTSLOGS, I am the highest rated Cassia main on NA servers, in terms of both winrate and MMR. While this isn’t a super foolproof calculation, it lends at least a little bit of credibility.
Part II: Why play Cassia—the pros and cons?
There are a lot of reasons to play Cassia. Maybe you’re nostalgic for the D2 Javazon and like throwing cool lightning bolts at people. Maybe you like to dish out more sustained AoE damage than any other hero in the game. Maybe you like interesting skillshots and stutterstepping.
These are just a few of the many reasons you might like Cassia:
- Arguably the highest sustained damage output in game with Charged Strikes build
- One of the highest sustained poke damage in game with proper use of Thunderstroke build
- True hypercarry
- Rewards skillful stutterstepping, skillshot placement and kiting
- Extremely durable against auto attackers
- Enables extreme aggressive and defensive play
- Two very viable build paths
- One of the few sustain damage auto attackers which can reliably create picks to initiate fights and win games
- Very good self peel and self sustain—especially in lane
- Heavy synergies with burst/protection supports and heroes with blinds
- Allows a team to build around her with heavy amounts of utility and protection
- Greymane counter all game; Garrosh counter lategame
- Good waveclear post level seven
- Fun to play
- D2 Nostalgia
Most heroes have well defined weaknesses to pair with their strengths (other than Hanzo/Maeiv/current most hated hero circlejerk). However, Cassia may be exceptional in that she has some of the strongest strengths paired with the most glaring weaknesses, and the balance between these two often depends entirely on how well you as the player play.
The biggest downsides to Cassia are:
- Requires a team that can play to your tempo, and be prepared to play aggressive in dangerous situations
- Short range
- Relatively weak to magic damage, especially Jaina, Kael’thas and Kel’Thuzad post-quest
- Teamcomp dependent—on both your and enemy’s team
- Weak camp clear
- No escape / repositioning tool other than Fend, which is usually only used aggressively
- Mediocre in solo lane except against certain heroes
- Extremely vulnerable to slows (looking at you, Arthas)
- Extremely vulnerable to blinds if you are playing Charged Strikes
- Low amount of skins (Blizzard pls)
Part III: When should you pick Cassia?
So now that you’ve seen why you should pick Cassia, you have to determine when to pick her. This is probably the most important part of this guide. If there’s one thing I want to get across to people it is that Cassia is not a hero that can be picked successfully into any situation.
If you specifically pick Cassia into a teamcomp with vulnerabilities that she does not cover, you can and will lose games. If you pick her against a teamcomp with vulnerabilities she punishes, you will almost assuredly win games.
This also applies to maps.
Cassia is best maps with big clear teamfights and point holding.
Cassia excels on:
- Volskaya, Sky Temple and Dragonshire
Is decent on:
- Braxis, Towers of Doom, Cursed Hollow, Tomb of the Spider Queen and Battlefield of Eternity
And struggles on:
- Infernal Shrines.
I am not including Blackheart’s Bay, Warhead Junction and Garden of Terror as frankly those maps are awful.
Good conditions to pick Cassia:
- You have a strong burst protection healer, hopefully with a Cleanse. Supports that are excellent with Cassia are:
- Uther; Auriel; Li-Li (skill dependent); Malfurion (skill dependent)
- Lucio; Stukov; Alexstrasza; Rehgar; Morales
- Tassadar; Zarya; Abathur (pseudo supports that enable hard carry play)
- You have a heavy front line capable of both peeling and diving
- You already have mage or waveclear assassin and need a steady source of damage output
- You need poke (Thunderstroke build on Towers of Doom, for example)
- You lack initiation after tanks and solos have already been picked
- Your team has reliable heavy slows
- Enemy team has 3 or more melee characters
- Enemy team lacks strong slows, roots or stuns
- Enemy team lacks heavy magical burst
- Enemy team is reliant on auto attacks
Bad conditions to pick Cassia:
- You have a low sustained healing / skillshot dependent healer, like Brightwing, Ana or Kharazim
- Your team already has two damage dealers
- Your team needs a solo laner or lacks waveclear
- Enemy team has heavy stuns, roots or slows
- Enemy team has Arthas
- Enemy team has a durable carry which needs to be deleted to win (think Cho’gall)
- Enemy team has powerful single target burst/magic damage
Fundamentally, I think Cassia is more allied team dependent than enemy team. You might hear a lot that Cassia should only be picked into physical damage or auto attackers. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. In my experience, teamcomps with a solid solo laner, decent amounts of protection/healing and at least decent waveclear are usually wins. Losses usually come when I pick Cassia at a time that doesn’t shore up large compositional weaknesses, or when I can’t reliably be kept alive.
While the enemy team certainly factors into that, Cassia’s powerful trait and synergy with blinds, which make her a natural counter against physical attackers, are not her only strong point. She still has impressive damage output, good catch with Valkyrie and strong self healing.
That is all to say this: if you see an opening where you have a powerful healer like Uther or Malfurion and your team lacks sustained damage, or you see that the enemy team has picked Blaze Diablo Kharazim and Thrall altogether on the same team, you probably should pick Cassia. (Just don’t pick her into Arthas, or you’ll regret it!)
Part IV: Cassia’s Skills
Cassia has reliable, but not flashy or oppressive basic abilities. Most of their power is unlocked in her early talents.
As you play her more, you’ll begin to develop a feel for what makes her abilities unique. For example, you will learn how to properly angle Lightning Fury to hit targets behind walls or at their healing fountain, or how to maximize positioning to hit all the minions in a wave. You’ll learn how to cancel Fend properly to maximize auto attack uptime, or when it is better to channel to finish off a vulnerable target. You will learn how to properly time Blinding Light to catch multiple heroes or minions, and pair it with Surge of Light for insane burst healing that can turn even the scariest outnumbered fights around. You will learn when to let your Ball Lightning spread among a team, or when you stick with it to ensure bounces.
These are all fundamental skills that you will quickly develop by playing Cassia, and can be the difference maker between someone who plays her and someone who maximizes her potential as a hero.
- (D) [[Avoidance]]: While moving unmounted, Cassia gains 65 Physical Armor against Heroic Basic Attacks, reducing the damage taken by 65%.Cassia’s defining, and arguably most important ability is her trait, Avoidance. Unlike many heroes with relatively forgettable traits, Cassia’s is one of the best in the entire game. The 65 physical armor Cassia against Heroic attacks makes her extraordinarily durable. To put it into perspective, most block talents are 50-75 armor (Garrosh gets around 50 armor when almost dead; Johanna has a permanent 25). So, Cassia more or less has permanent block against auto attacks while she is moving.
This also means, with her low health pool, that Cassia is one of the most healing efficient heroes against physical damage in the game. Thus, in practice, nearly no hero can duel Cassia 1v1 with only physical attacks. This applies to Illidan, Greymane and even the Butcher. With proper ability food usage, blind placement and stutter stepping, these heroes can be bested by Cassia—if unsupported.
Avoidance’s strength also gives rise to Cassia’s biggest weakness as well—lockdown. Although it is axiomatic to say that all heroes are countered by lockdown, Cassia is particularly vulnerable to not moving. Not moving, even for a fraction of a second causes Avoidance’s armor bonus to drop. So much of Cassia’s power is locked into Avoidance that not moving, even for a few second, can be suicidal.
As a Cassia player, you should never not be moving except to auto, cast Q or channel E to heal in lane or finish enemies. Eventually, you will get so used to stutter stepping on Cassia that you will be able to time your autos after your enemy autos, so as better to maximize your protection.
- (Q) [[Lightning Fury]]: Hurl a lightning javelin that deals 175 (+4% per level) damage to the first enemy hit and splits into two lightning bolts that deal 175 (+4% per level) damage to enemies in their path. Costs 30 mana on a 4 second cooldown, which improves with talents.Cassia’s Q is a deceptively simple one. It shoots a straight line, fast moving skillshot in the direction of your cursor. If that skillshot hits a target (including monsters, minions and destroyable walls) it will split into two perpendicular bolts that hit all nearby targets.
This ability is great for finishing running heroes, killing minions when not pressured by enemies, and poking. It has a low cooldown (bolstered by talents), decent damage and good mana cost. Over all, a very strong ability that can give potential for cool skillshot placement (with proper prediction of angles).
A tip to keep in mind when using Lightning Fury is how to maximize it to clear minion waves if unpressured. I see a lot of Cassias throwing Qs at the backline or frontline, which wastes a lot of damage. If you put yourself parallel to a minion wave and throw your Q at the middle minion, the bolts will split and hit the backline and frontline minions as well. This can also be a way to tag someone with your Q if they are hugging back behind their caster minions.
- (W) [[Blinding Light]]: After 0.5 seconds, Blind enemies in the target area for 2 seconds. Passive: Cassia deals 20% increased damage to Blinded targets. Costs 70 mana on a 15 second cooldown.A long duration, AoE circle blind skillshot with medium range. This will be your primary defensive tool as Cassia, and with proper talents will be your self-heal ability. When properly aimed, it can neuter a physical damage dive squad and be a self-damage buff.
Remember that this ability’s passive means that Cassia will deal 20% more damage to any blinded target. Because of this, you can use Blinding Light to help secure clutch kills on fleeing enemies by comboing W > E > Q(D).
- (E) [[Fend]]: Charge at an enemy, and upon arriving channel for 1.5 seconds, dealing 78 (+4% per level) damage to enemies in front of Cassia every 0.25 seconds. Deals 50% reduced damage to non-Heroes. Costs 40 mana on an 8 second cooldown.Fend is an interesting, but weak ability. Although it seems good on paper, being a gap-closer and AoE damage tool, in practice it is only useful as a repositioning tool or as a cheap source of waveclear/AoE healing.
Some helpful hints with Fend are knowing that you can cancel it faster with abilities (such as Surge of Light) than you can with right clicks. Also, you can you can place it on a minion next to a structure or wall to allow yourself to damage structures which are normally unable to be targeted by Fend. Another great tip with Fend is using it to clear waves. If you walk up to melee range of a wave, facing forward to the enemy front line minion, cast W, wait 0.25 second and then cast Fend onto the minion facing you, you can channel a full duration of fend, and follow with a Q to clear the whole wave. This is a very useful tool for improving Cassia’s poor waveclear, and is enhanced if you select Surge of Light at 7, which can be used to cancel Fend.
All those tips aside though, the biggest tip for using Fend is knowing when not to use it. Casting Fend properly is a judgment call. It should only be used in PvP when you can successfully all in a weakened opponent, or a gapcloser which you cancel immediately to land Qs, Autos and/or your ultimates. Unless someone is going to die from Fend, the time you spend channelling it is just time that someone gets farther away from you and takes advantage of your short range.
The primary weakness Fend suffers from is that it counteracts Cassia’s core mantra—to always be moving. When you channel fend, all the strength funneled into your trait is essentially wasted. This more or less throws away the reasons to play Cassia over safer, higher ranged damage dealers. In my opinion, 90% of the time Fend is not a useful PvP ability, and is certainly not worth siphoning away Cassia’s considerable talent and trait strengths to be the focus of her build.
Part V: Talent Tree
Cassia has two primary talent trees, which depend on your choices at level one. Thunderstroke and Charged Strikes are both great talents, which synergize strongly with most of her other viable talents. Charged Strikes, in particular, is likely the single most powerful level 1 talent in this game, and is the reason Cassia can do upwards of 7,000 damage in the first minute of play during early fights.
A bit earlier I said that understanding when to pick Cassia is a huge difference maker in her efficacy as a hero. If that is true, the second most important thing to recognize is how you need to play her to maximize her value over the course of the game. As with a lot of other heroes, there is no “one set” build which is going to be most effective every game. Making meaningful decisions about Cassia’s talents, and really thinking about what will be more powerful both with and against certain compositions, is one of the reasons I was able to climb up to Masters.
For example, in the past I would go the same build every game. When I started playing again this season, I also began thinking through my choices, talking them over in my head, and making selections based on what worked for the team. Before I rarely talented Valkyrie, thinking it utility was weak compared to the raw damage of Ball Lightning. While that might be true against a heavily melee team, Valkyrie shines against vulnerable backliner who needs to be caught to win teamfights or sieges, such as Junkrat or Guldan. Learning to make concrete choices about talents and when to select them greatly improved my ability to climb.
I hope that the explanations of the talents here gives you a clear idea of what is superior in each situation, and allow you best to maximize Cassia’s potential.
- [[Thunderstroke]]: Quest: Hit Heroes with Lightning Fury. After hitting 20 Heroes, increase Lightning Fury’s damage by 100 (+4% per level). After hitting 40 Heroes, Lightning Fury gains a second charge and its Mana cost is reduced from 30 to 15.This talent is the lynchpin of the Q build. Charging it quickly leads to a sizable early powerspike, and at 40 stacks it transforms Lightning Fury from a decent poke tool into a potent sustained damage source. Hitting this quest early is critical, as it gives reliable poke for low mana and with proper later-game talents can lead to oppressive damage in lategame fights.
Fundamentally, this is a strong, reliable and easy to understand talent. I would take it more often if Charged Strikes wasn’t so incredibly good. Being that Charged Strikes is incredibly good, I usually will take Thunderstroke only if we need poke, if we’re against lots of people who out range me or have magic damage, or if auto attacks will not be very helpful, such as against lots of block.
With proper usage, this ability should be 20 stacked by the first few minutes, and fully stacked by level 13 (which is consequently when it starts picking up in strength even more).
- [[Seraph’s Hymn]]: Reduce Blinding Light’s Mana cost from 70 to 40. Basic Attacks against Blinded enemies reduce the cooldown of Blinding Light by 2 seconds.I don’t understand why they moved this ability to level one. It used to be a powerful level 13 tool that synergized with Cassia’s Charged Strikes build. Now, it is so outclassed by its competitors that it is never picked.
I would even go as far as to say that if you pick this talent you’ve more or less subjected your team to an autolose, as you lose out on nearly all the reasons that Cassia is so incredibly deadly.
- [[Charged Strikes]]: Active: Activate to increase Basic Attack damage by 20% for 8 seconds and cause Basic Attacks against non-Structures to bounce to nearby enemy Heroes for 8 seconds.In my very biased opinion, this is the best talent in Heroes of the Storm. Full stop. This talent gives you an AoE chain auto attack, which can effectively double your range, destroy entire teams with proper positioning, gives increased damage that synergizes with your increased damage to blinded targets, and has an incredible 45% uptime, with a 20 second cooldown and no mana cost.
I can’t think of any other hero which has this much power locked into an early active talent. It would be like if Tychus’s minigun was a talent rather than a trait. Essentially, it changes Cassia’s auto attack from feeling like insignificant plinks to the righteous lightning of the gods.
This is my go-to choice at level 1, and I almost always pick it into multiple melees, physical attackers who will be close and in teamcomps with AoE slows.
A fun and useful tip for Charged Strikes is abuse the fact that it bounces off of minions. If someone is hugging the back of their wave to avoid your damage, you can auto attack ranged minions with Charged Strikes to enjoy increased range. This can zone out most melee laners, and lead to cheeky kills against targets which think they are safe.
Charged Strikes is very dependent on positioning in teamfights. Proper usage of this talent goes by two main rules, which don’t always synergize with eachother: (1) always hit the closest target available to be hit, and (2) try to position your auto attacks to hit the most targets possible. Proper decisionmaking with Charged Strikes means that sometimes you will have to dive into a team and hit a central target to maximize damage output, a dangerous move which benefits from having strong protection on your team. On the other hand, sometimes you will have to kite back and let Charged Strikes whittle down enemy tanks and bruisers as you stutterstep away.
Experience will be your guide for when the call is right, but my general thought process depends on if I’m being pressured or not. If you are unpressured, you can and should posture aggressively to maximize bounces. If you are being pressured, kite back and let their divers melt to your stutterstep.
- [[Ring of the Leech]]: Cassia heals for 25% of the damage she deals to Blinded enemies.This talent gives wonderful sustain, which, like all of Cassia’s blind-synergies, procs off any blind, and allows Cassia to be deceptively hard to kill. When combined with Fend, Surge of Light and Lightning Fury, you can heal from nearly zero to full on a minion wave. Synergizes heavily with allied blinds, so I would almost always get it when paired with an Auriel, Johanna, Artanis or Li Li.
- [[Inner Light]]: Whenever Cassia is Stunned or Rooted, Blinding Light is cast at her location. This effect has a 6 second cooldown. Passive: Blinding Light’s radius is increased by 25%.Truth be told, I almost never pick this talent, even though it is great on paper. It makes landing blinds in clutch situations much easier, gives free peel and protection from dives and makes characters like the Butcher want to ragequit.
That said, the lack of self sustain from Ring of the Leech is very felt whenever you go this ability. I personally think it is only really viable in competitive play, when your lack of self sustain is less likely to matter and when a player is not likely going to 3v1 and need the burst self sustain from Ring of the Leech to stay alive. It is also very good with a healer you trust.
Very good into dive + stuns, so consider it if you’re against Greymane Muradin combo, or something like that. ALso, it is important to note that it does not share a cooldown with Blinding Light, so you can cast it immediately after Inner Light wears off for a double set of large, AoE blinds.
- [[Plate of the Whale]]: Regenerate 5 Health per second while Avoidance is active. Quest: For every 8 Basic Attacks absorbed with Avoidance, it regenerates an additional 1 Health per second. After absorbing 75 Basic Attacks, increase Cassia’s maximum Health by 10%.This talent is okay, but is outshined by RotL and Inner Light in every way. I would only recommend getting it against a bad Tracer or Zarya, when you know you can stack it up very quickly. And even then, it is not as good as its competitors. Probably needs buffs to compete.
- [[Surge of Light]]: Active: After taking 500 (+4% per level) damage with Avoidance active, Cassia can activate Avoidance to deal 225 (+4% per level) damage to enemies around her. No mana cost on a 0.25 internal cooldown.One of the most underrated, overlooked and misunderstood talents in the game. This ability gives Cassia a huge amount of damage, kite potential and waveclear she lacks. In my opinion this is the only viable option for Cassia at seven, and can be as build defining as her level one because it covers her weaknesses, mainly cheap waveclear.
It is important to keep in mind that all damage taken while moving counts towards its total, including magic and non-heroic damage. Also, it has a minor internal cooldown of 0.25s, which can lead to extremely heavy damage over time if fighting something that is chasing you You can press D immediately while channeling Fend to auto cancel it with no delay. This can allow you to heal up to full off minion waves (W, cast E while blind lands, cancel fend with Surge of Light before blind wears off, and also allow you to turn around 1v2-3 fights by baiting multiple people into blinds, then burst healing with Surge of Light.
- [[Impale]]: Enemies below 50% Health take 50% increased damage from Fend.Fend and its talents are a trap. As I’ve described above, Fend is a bad ability on Cassia because it removes her strengths. Its talents make it somewhat strong, but any good player will dodge to the left or right and avoid nearly all of the value you gain from the ability.
If Fend is your only damage tool you are just wasting Cassia’s unbelievable stutter step potential, fantastic trait value, and breaking the cardinal rule of “always be moving.” Don’t go this unless you’re playing a QM game.
- [[War Traveler]]: Cassia gains 4% Movement Speed every 0.5 seconds while Avoidance is active, up to 15%. This bonus is reset when Cassia stops moving or uses an Ability.An alright talent which is neutered by its anti-synergy with Cassia’s focus on stutter stepping and kiting with sustained damage. If it applied without cancelling on your autos or abilities, it would be great. As it is, Surge of Light performs the same role of aiding kiting, but is much better over all as it also gives Cassia waveclear.
- [[Valkyrie]]: Summon a Valkyrie that rushes to Cassia after 0.75 seconds, pulling the first enemy Hero hit, dealing 225 (+4% per level) damage and Stunning them for 0.5 seconds at the end of her path. The Valkyrie knocks back all other enemy Heroes in her way. Costs 60 mana on a 60 second cooldown.Valkyrie is another hugely powerful, but misunderstood and underutilized ability. It can easily lead to 4v5s, free wins lategame and turn 1v1s against opponents who outrange you. I have a relatively similar pickrate with Valkyrie as I do Ball Lightning, but a much higher winrate with this ability as I became better at Cassia.
As you get use to using it, you will be able to call out when you have picks ready. The more experienced you are with this talent, the more likely you will win your games. Especially good against squishy, well protected backliners, who are vulnerable to mispositioning, like Chromie and Kaelthas. Also, with its short cooldown, it is very good for catch people off guard.
One tip for using Valkyrie is to remember that it always catches the first target it hits. If you position it in a teamfight this means it has a lot higher chance of catching a backliner than a frontliner. Also, the Valkyrie always travels the same amount of time. This means, if someone is at the upper edge of the pull when caught, they will be disabled for longer than someone caught near the tip of the spear. It is also much harder to dodge when cast on a target farther away.
Basically, Valkyrie is best used to catch backliners hiding behind their tanks.
- [[Ball Lightning]]: Throw a ball of lightning at an enemy Hero that bounces up to 6 times between nearby enemy Heroes and Cassia, dealing 180 (+4% per level) damage to enemies hit. Costs 60 mana on a 60 second cooldown.Standard. A good AoE teamfight tool that can turn 1v1s against melees. This is Cassia’s most common ultimate, and synergizes well with her role as an AoE damage dealer. Doesn’t provide any utility though, and I personally think the more used to Cassia you get, the less appealing Ball Lightning is.
Can have incredibly high value in certain teamcomps lategame once you have your level 20, and can occasionally singlehandedly win you games. Recommended into lots of slow moving, immobile tanks.
The only tip I have for Ball Lightning is knowing to use yourself as a bounce target if needed. Thus, if you are casting it in a 1v1, you should posture forward or else the bounces will end. It is very easy for a target to pull away after you cast it and end it before it even bounces once.
- [[Thundergod’s Vigor]]: Enemy Heroes hit by the primary missile of Lightning Fury reduce its cooldown by 1 second.An strong, straightforward talent. This causes any heroes hit by Lightning Fury’s main missile to reduce its cooldown. Considering its already short cooldown, and the fact that once you hit your stacks on Thunderstroke you get a second charge, in practice this talent can turn Cassia into a gunner.
There’s not much else to say here. You can turn an easy to hit tank into a pincushion if they attempt to dive you as you stutter step with this ability.
I will also note that, even though it is best suited for the Thunderstroke build, this talent can add a significant amount of damage to the Charged Strike build too, especially when paired with Pierce. However, I would only recommend it against heavy melee that have low maneuverability.
- [[Grounding Bolt]]: Lightning Fury Slows enemies hit by 20% for 1.5 seconds.A decent but slightly underwhelming talent. This is the “standard” level 13 talent for the Charged Strikes build. Conducive to good kiting, and has good synergy with Martial Law at level 16. I would say I get this ability around 60% of the time, and Thundergod’s around 40%.
- [[Lunging Strike]]: Increases Fend’s range and area by 20% and its duration by 0.5 seconds.Just like all the other Fend talents, good on paper, awful in practice. This one is even worse, as the additional .5 seconds of channeling are an additional .5 seconds of not playing Cassia the way you should.
- [[Pierce]]: The primary missile of Lightning Fury now pierces, but splits only when hitting Heroes.A strong powerspike which synergizes with the Q build. This ability gives additional, safe waveclear, as it is able to pierce through minion waves rather than forcing you to position awkwardly or use Fend. It also allows Cassia to AoE slow or channel crazy damage depending on your talent choices at level 13.
If you go Thunderstroke build, I think Pierce with Thundergod’s Vigor can be oppressively strong. Stacked enemy heroes reduces your Q cooldown to nothing, which allows you to zap them to death in seconds. Additionally, the split AoE from your Q will split for each hero hit, which can cover a battle field with lightning bolts.
The downside to this talent is that you lose the ability to go for cool, gimmicky “angle” kills. However, especially when paired with your 13 talents, this talent brings the thunder. I even recommend getting it occasionally with Charged Strikes build, if you went Thundergod’s Vigor.
- [[Martial Law]] Basic attacks against Stunned, Rooted, or Slowed enemy Heroes deal bonus damage equal to 3% of the Hero’s maximum Health.This is a very boring, but good talent. A conditional 3% Giant Killer which requires enemies to be disabled.
Pairs well with Grounding Bolt and big AoE slows and disables, like Thrall’s Earthquake and Zarya’s Graviton Surge.
A fun note with Martial Law is that it triggers for each target hit by Charged Strikes, so autoing a team with Charged Strikes can add an additional 15% hp damage per auto, spread across the enemy team. Also, like all %hp damage, it ignores all armor.
- [[Penetrate]]: Enemies take 3% increased damage from Fend each consecutive hitJust like the rest of the Fend talents, this one is bad. Like Lunging Strike, it incentivizes standing and channeling Fend, which against a good player will not only be sidestepped, but will likely lend to getting nuked to kingdom come.
Don’t get this talent.
- [[Titan’s Revenge]]: Cassia’s Basic Attacks now ignore Armor, and her Basic Attack range is increased by 2.This is one of my favorite talents in all of HoTS. It covers one of Cassia’s most glaring weaknesses, which is her low range. This takes Cassia from 4.0 (one of the lowest ranged auto attack in this game) to 6.0 (a little bit above average). This is a 150% range increase–one of the biggest relative range increases in the whole game.
Additionally, this makes Cassia’s autos ignore all armor. Remember how that Garrosh keeps getting away with ten health and healing to full? No chance of that any more– he can kiss his ass goodbye. This talent lets Cassia melt tanks lategame that rely on physical damage mitigation, laugh away Kharazim Earth Allies and make block takers wish they had skilled a different talent. Very strong.
The big downside to it is that it ignores all armor, including negative armor. I’m not sure if this is intentional or not, but it’s a mechanic you’ll have to get used to. Nonetheless, I go Titan’s Revenge 75% of the time.
- [[Infinite Lightning]]: Ball Lightning can now bounce indefinitely, and its cooldown is reduced by 3 seconds every time an enemy Hero is hit.A very situationally powerful talent, which can either be totally wasted, or win you the game.
This talent has two main uses. It is firstly useful against many clumped up melees, who are not good at (or good enough to) disengaging fights. For example, this talent excels against multiple tanks that don’t have armor. Second, this talent shines against single divers who want to 1v1 you lategame. With proper positioning, this ability will let you 1v1 anyone in the game that does not disengage.
The downside of Infinite Lightning is that it robs you of the safety of additional range, a choice which does not come easily. Also, against competent enemies, who recognize the danger of this talent, it will have most of its damage avoided. Better players will quickly split and you will find yourself wishing you went Titan’s Revenge.
On the other hand, in the scenarios where it is good, you can find yourself doing thousands of damage, even after you die. Another cool point to raise with Infinite Lightning is that each bounce reduces Ball Lightning’s cooldown by three seconds. If you get a good enough ulti off, you can cast another one—and they stack. Each bounce will reduce the cooldown of the next Ball Lightning, which can quickly to some wacky situations. I have personally only had two Balls in a teamfight once, but it was a hilarious and deadly spectacle.
Essentially, the choice between the two abilities is based on proactive v. reactive mindset. If you know that you will be dived on and people will be close without the ability to disengage, go Infinite Lightning. It can dissuade would-be divers, win 1v1s and crush clumped teamfights. If you need to proactively run people down, position forward in a teamfight and generally take advantage of the safety and utility of more range, go Titan’s Revenge.
- [[Imprisoning Light]]: Upon impaling a Hero, Cassia’s Valkyrie creates a wave of light that deals 200 (+4% per level) damage to nearby enemies and Roots them for 3 seconds.Overall, actually a pretty strong talent. In practice though, it is difficult to land effectively, and forces you to give up the safety of Titan’s Revenge. The range of the root tendrils is about as big as Blinding Light after Inner Light. So, a good sized AoE disable that can catch a team off guard, but better on paper than in practice.
Maybe someone will change my mind.
Part VI: Standard Builds
1. Standard Charged Strikes Build
- Charged Strikes
- Ring of the LeechSituational: Inner Light (vs heavy physical dive when you have strong burst healer like Uther)
- Surge of Light
- Ball Lightning or Valkyrie
- Grounding BoltSituational: Thundergod’s Vigor where you are vs large, non-maneuverable tanks that will allow you to quickly reset cooldowns, or when you know you don’t have AoE slows to help with Martial Law
- Martial LawSituational: Pierce if you took Thundergod’s Vigor
- Titan’s RevengeSituational: Infinite Lightning if: (1) you know you need to win one teamfight to win the game and are vs. multiple melees that can’t disengage, or (2) you are being dived by a durable frontline (like Artanis or Illidan) and need to kill him to survive.
2. Standard Thunderstroke Build
- Ring of the Leech
- Surge of Light
- Valkyrie or Ball Lightning
- Thundergod’s VigorSituational: Grounding Bolt if self peel and slows are needed
- Titan’s RevengeSituational: Infinite Lightning if: (1) you know you need to win one teamfight to win the game and are vs. multiple melees that can’t disengage, or (2) you are being dived by a durable frontline (like Artanis, Arthas or Illidan) and need to kill him to survive.