Zoning Control With Kael’thas and Tyrande
Sun 2nd Apr 2017 - 11:05am
During the recent HGC Western Clash, Team Dignitas utilized a strategy of ultimates to help them complete objectives, win team fights, and defend their structures. Now this strategy wasn’t the main focus of their drafts, but the additional support from the ultimates of two important heroes drastically increased their ability to secure important areas. Kael’thas and Tyrande are two heroes that have an ultimate that is perfect for zoning, or keeping enemy heroes out of a selected area. In this article, we’ll go through a couple key games from the HGC Western Clash where Team Dignitas used these two heroes to help them with zoning and explain the synergy of these two ultimates.
First off, let’s explain these two ultimates: With Phoenix, Kael’thas targets an area and places a circular p
hoenix down on the ground, dealing 171 damage to enemies and splashing damage for 50%. This persists for 7 seconds. Tyrande’s ultimate is quite similar. Starfall deals damage in a selected area for 91 + 4% damage per level and also slows enemy heroes within the circle by 20%. It lasts for 8 seconds. The cooldown for Phoenix is 60 seconds and for Starfall it’s 80 seconds.
In most cases, it almost seems psychologically implanted for gamers - do NOT enter and stand in a circle that deals damage to you. But when these ultimates are by themselves, most heroes won’t take much damage walking through the zone, so it's not very impactful. It’s when these ultimates are stacked together and/or have the addition of the defending heroes to back them up that it becomes an incredibly treacherous zone to cross.
When these ultimates are paired for zoning, it is usually to defend a structure or objective. There are also times where these are paired with a burst composition that can pull an enemy hero in and blow them up quickly, using the zoning from Phoenix and Starfall to dissuade any enemy heroes from stepping in for a potential save.
So this gif is from a game between Team Dignitas and Fnatic on Infernal Shrines. Joshua "Snitch" Bennett as Tyrande and Thomas "Mene" Cailleux as Kael’thas use their ultimates stacked as a defensive strategy to deter Fnatic from pushing in and destroying the Keep. This also allows Team Dignitas to destroy the enemy Punisher safely. Infernal Shrines is a battleground where heroes with AOE damage are prioritized for obtaining the objective. Having both Tyrande and Kael'thas use their ultimates on a shrine can really stack up the kills on the Guardians and also zone out the enemy team from entering the objective area. Furthermore, in a defesnive situation, these ultimates can also be staggered, using one after the other to delay even longer.
Depending on the composition, the zoning synergy of Kael’thas and Tyrande is a nifty bonus to the huge amount of damage they dish out. During the Western Clash, Team Dignitas pulled out these heroes in compositions where they had the ability to pull in an enemy and burst them down quickly. Tyrande and Kael’thas can stun whomever is pulled in, and then place down their ultimates to deal extra damage. In draft, these two were often paired with Stitches or E.T.C. for the initiation, and either Tychus or Ragnaros for the follow up. To synergize with these ultimate choices, you want other heroes who are able to root, stun, or slow enemies to maximize the time they spend in the damage.
As seen in this gif of a game between Team Dignitas and Misfits on Tomb of the Spider Queen, Jérôme "JayPL" Trinh as Stitches gets an amazing hook onto the enemy Tyrael, who gets blown-up instantly, then the Phoenix and Starfall come down to zone and ensure the boss is secured for Team Dignitas. Battlegrounds with boss pits such as Tomb of the Spider Queen, Towers of Doom, Blackheart's Bay, and Sky Temple can benefit from the zoning potential of Kael'thas and Tyrande, if they fit in with the rest of the composition.
So to summarize, the Kael'thas and Tyrande's zoning ultimates can be used in many ways, either offensively or defensively. When picking these heroes, make sure the rest of the team composition fits, or else the rest of the team syngery will fail. These heroes thrive with another healer or shielding hero for sustain, and then any heroes that can initiate with roots, stuns, or slows. A good placement of a Phoenix and Starfall can secure what would be an impossible Keep to capture, or save an out of place team mate from getting jumped on by an entire enemy tream. Play around with these heroics and you'll find many other great ways to use their zoning synergy.