Portals Save Lives - A Medivh Guide



Sat 2nd Mar 2019 - 6:34pm

Long ago, there was once an ancient line of powerful mages known as ‘The Guardians of Tirisfal’, so named by the Council of Tirisfal. The Guardians were tasked with protecting Azeroth from the demonic hordes of the Burning Legion. Medivh was the last in this long line of Guardians.

In Heroes of the Storm, Medivh is categorised as a specialist, but his kit has a lot more supportive qualities. He can take the form of an untargetable raven to fly over the battlefield, ignoring terrain and scouting for his allies. He also utilises shields and portals to protect his allies and to provide a means of escape or set-up. Medivh is a hero you don’t see often but is a pleasure to have on your team if played correctly. His kit controls a lot of heroes in the game while also providing his own team with high amounts of safety and utility. In Warcraft, Medivh took his place amongst the legends of the past, but in the Nexus his legend lives on. Have a seat and let me tell you why portals save lives!


Level 1
Choose your level one depending on how comfortable you are on Medivh. Some of these talents are easier to work with than others. 

Portal Mastery - Medivh can manually place both portal locations without breaking Raven Form.

At level 1, Portal Mastery is the most powerful talent you can go for as it makes it easier for you to place portals for your team without having to sacrifice the safety of being in Raven Form. It is also the only talent that actively affects your gameplay for the entire match. It gives you the ability to create a portal from greater range or leave half a portal for later use. It can be very helpful for your solo laner if you leave the unfinished portal in his lane. This way you can create an escape portal in that lane whenever it’s needed from a global range.

Winds of Celerity - 
Increase your Raven Form movement speed bonus by 50%. (Increases it from 20% to 30%)

Winds of Celerity can be a good choice on maps that require fast rotations, such as Braxis Holdout. With the extra movement speed and being able to fly over terrain, Medivh is able to get to his allies quickly. This map also facilitates ganks, which makes the movement speed even more useful.

Raven's Intellect - Raven Form increases Medivh’s mana and health regeneration by 75%.

When first starting to learn Medivh, Raven's Intellect is a fine talent to take. You can remain safe in your raven form and regenerate your health and mana slightly faster than normal, giving you greater sustain. I’d suggest taking this talent if you’re not too familiar with the hero yet or if you’re not yet comfortable with using Portal mastery.

Level 4
Choose your level 4 talent depending on the enemy team. You might find a good way to counterplay them on this tier already, or add more damage to your arsenal.

Raven Familiar - A raven familiar joins allies each time they use a portal. The raven will dive at the ally’s next basic attack target.

Overall, Raven Familiar is the strongest talent and the easiest to get value from. It also adds a nice bit of extra damage when you play around with the portals. Having all members of your team go through a portal multiple times during a teamfight adds to Medivh's damage count as a new raven familiar will join the fray every time a portal is used. When the Raven Familiar hits, it will also slow the target, which makes it easier for your allies to hit their abilities and for yourself to hit and stack your Arcane Rift.

Mage Armour - The first time an ally uses your portal they gain 30 armour, reducing the damage they take by 30 percent.

If you're playing with offensive portals it may be wise to take Mage Armour. This is the only way you get value out of this talent, because you will only gain the armour once you go through the portal. This makes it useful to have at the start of a fight rather then when disengaging from a fight. If you’re not planning on taking Circle of Protection at level 13, this talent will work in its place.

Dust of Appearance - Activate to greatly increase sight range for 5 seconds and reveal enemy heroes in the area for 8 seconds.

Dust of Appearance is often chosen against stealth heroes. In my opinion, it’s only valuable when you’re up against Samuro. This way you can distinguish between the real Samuro and his clones, making it easier to eliminate him.

Level 7
At this tier you really start to define your build and gameplay with Medivh. Each of these talents determine where your damage output is going to come from. Your decision will cause you to either deal more basic attack damage, area damage or give you increased spellpower.

Arcane Explosion - When Force of Will expires, it deals 80 damage to nearby enemies plus 50% of the prevented damage.

Arcane Explosion enables you to deal a lot of damage in teamfights. This talent excels if you have a heavy dive tank such as Diablo. If Diablo dives in and the enemies throw all their abilities at him while he is protected by Medivh’s Force of Will, upon expiration, the explosion it causes will deal a lot of damage around Diablo as the talent deals 50% of all damage prevented along with its baseline damage. Overall, this talent is better for your damage output. Remember that Medivh overall just has one real damaging ability in Arcane Rift, but by talenting Arcane Explosion you can separate this into two abilities as your Force of Will also deals damage now.

Force of Magic - Preventing at least 268 damage with a single Force of Will will grant 30% spell power for 15 seconds, stacking up to two times.

Force of Magic is an overall good choice in my opinion as the spell power is easy to acquire. Simply taking damage from a single tower shot while protected by Force of Will is enough to get the bonus. This is a superior talent if you intend or are forced to take longer teamfights, regardless of your team's composition. You will get a fair amount of spell power which makes all your abilities do more damage, including Raven Familiar (Level 4 talent). Consider this talent on point brawling maps such as Volskaya Foundry. Medivh doesn’t particularly like playing long teamfights, but if the map requires it, this talent is a wise choice.

Mystic Assault - If Arcane Rift hits a hero, Medivh’s next basic attack within 6 seconds deals 40% more damage and heals him for 40% of the damage dealt.

Mystic Assault falls out of favour here because it simply doesn’t have much to offer for Medivh’s team as a whole. Most of the time you will play Medivh with a healer on your side, so there is no need to build into self-sustain. This talent is a bit risky as you have to be in close range to AA after every Arcane Rift you cast. If you find yourself fighting a lot of 1v1s, such as in the solo lane, then this is the best talent for that situation. Otherwise, this talent falls out of favour because of the risk you have to put yourself in to get value from it.

Level 10
Both Medivh’s heroic abilities are great for different reasons. The choice depends on the matchup entirely. In my opinion, Leyline Seal is the best ability in Medivh’s entire kit.

Ley Line Seal - Release a wave of energy, causing all enemies hit to be put in stasis for 3 seconds.

Ley Line Seal synergizes perfectly with ultimates that require setup, like Apocalypse from Diablo or Jaina’s Ring of Frost.You can feel the fear of your enemies when you seal them into a 3 second time stop, waiting for what comes next. It also gives Medivh an extra ability to shut down the enemy team completely and save his allies in sticky situations. One way of using Ley Line Seal is to follow the enemy team around, scouting for an opportunity to catch them all together with Ley Line Seal and set up the wombo combo. You can also use it for isolation purposes, to deal with one target at a time or stop the enemy team from assisting in the fight. Oh, did I mention you can steal bosses with it too? I will explain how to do that under gameplay tips.

Poly Bomb - Polymorph an enemy for 2 seconds, silencing them and making them unable to attack. Upon expiration, spreads to nearby enemy heroes.

Need a showstopper to cancel a powerful ultimate like Mosh Pit or a hero that is being nuisance to your team? Poly Bomb is your answer! Poly Bomb has a short cooldown of only 40 seconds, which means you will have it available for every teamfight. It’s a great choice if your team needs more lockdown on a target. When playing against heroes with a lot of mobility such as Genji or Tracer, it comes in handy. Play with it to punish heroes that are out of position and to make it easier for your team to focus them down. When you pick up Poly Bomb, you should play more aggressively, especially if you’re playing against squishy targets. It’s quite easy to punish them if they commit to killing you. You Poly Bomb them and portal your team in to help you.

Level 13
These talents depend entirely on the matchup you find yourself in. Pick a talent on this tier that counters the enemy team. 

Enduring Will - Preventing at least 268 damage reduces the cooldown of Force of Will by 4 seconds.

At this tier, Enduring Will is the easiest talent from which to gain value. If you time it correctly, using Force of Will to prevent something like a Li Ming combo will allow you to have another Force of Will back up in no time. This talent has great synergy with Force of Magic at level 7, which grants you spell power for preventing that same amount of damage. Having the shorter cooldown on your Force of Will means you can protect an ally from damage again even faster, allowing you to have your spell power bonus stack up while also prolonging it's duration, as you will immediately get it back the moment the buff expires. So if timed correctly, it means you can have 60% increased spell power for the entire duration of a fight. If you decided to pick Arcane Explosion at level 7, you will be able to do area of effect damage more often because of the synergy with this talent.

Circle of Protection - Force of Will hits all allied heroes near the target.

If you’re playing into heavy area of effect damage, like a Maiev or Kael’thas, it might be valuable to go for Circle of Protection. Being able to protect your entire team from heavy area damage can completely turn a teamfight in your favour. Pair that with Arcane Explosion and that’s a lot of damage. It will take a very specific matchup where your whole team is going to reliably be put in danger to go CoP, so do consider if the matchup fits before taking this talent over Enduring Will for example.

Reabsorption - Force of Will heals for 70% of the damage prevented.

Reabsorption is the talent to go for if you find you or your team lacking in sustain. Again, if you time Force of Will correctly this talent can grant you a big sudden heal. It can also counter certain enemy heroic abilities pretty hard, like Last Rites from Malthael or Pyroblast from Kael’thas, causing them to actually heal instead of damage. However, with that being said, when compared to the other two talents at this tier, this is not a talent I would necessarily pick unless I’m playing by myself or in a composition without a support.  

Level 16
Not every talent is as strong as the other, but in some matchups they might find value. 

Stable Portal - Decrease portal cooldown by 25% and increase portal duration 50%.

If your team is using your portals (which unfortunately isn't always the case), you will get value from Stable Portal. The synergy between Stable Portal and Raven Familiar is that a longer portal duration means more Raven Familiars, and more Raven Familiars means more damage for your team. With Stable Portal, you can start looking to take teamfights more often, since you will have a shorter cooldown and a longer duration on your portals. This means you can engage or disengage at any given time.

Temporal Flux - Each basic attack reduces the cooldown of Medivh’s Heroic Ability by 3%. Hitting enemy heroes with Arcane Rift reduces the cooldown of his Heroic Ability by 9%.

Temporal Flux can be a very rewarding talent. Reducing the cooldown of your heroic ability means that you're able to cast your most impactful ability far more frequently. This is especially true if you chose Poly Bomb, since its base cooldown is only 40 seconds anyway. This talent has the most value if you tend to adopt an aggressive playstyle. The downside is that you might find yourself using your Heroic Ability early in a fight, thinking that with this talent you will get it back very fast, while sometimes it’s more rewarding to save it for high-impact lockdown later in the fight.

Arcane Charge - Damaging a hero with Arcane Rift causes the next Arcane Rift to deal 15% more damage.

I think it’s a good talent with which to practise hitting your Arcane Rift, since it gives you a little notification after hitting a target with it. Overall however, I wouldn’t take this talent compared to the other available options. If you need more damage at this stage of the game, Arcane Charge isn't going to provide enough to really change things, because the damage increase is just the flat 15%.

Level 20
Showstopper or fun talent, make good use of them as you go into the late game.

Medivh Cheats! - Ley Line Seal can be redirected by reactivating the ability.

Medivh Cheats! gives you the possibility to redirect the Ley Line Seal, making it easier to catch a full enemy team to set up a deadly engage or shutdown a fight that isn’t going in your team's favour.

Arcane Brilliance - Activate to grant all nearby allied heroes 200 mana and 10% spell power for 10 seconds.

Arcane Brilliance is also a good choice if you have other spellcasters in your team. And let’s be honest here, it’s always good to be able to give your teammates mana.

Guardian of Tirisfal - Arcane Rift kills all minions in its path at once.

If you find yourself on a map such as Tomb of the Spider Queen or Alterac Pass, where waveclear can make all the difference in successfully defending your base, Guardian of Tirisfal can really come in handy. However, it’s only on maps like that where I would take this talent into consideration.

Glyph of Poly Bomb - Poly bomb explodes 1 second sooner and the spread radius is increased by 25%.

I normally don’t go for this talent, because I don’t want my Poly bomb to spread faster. Usually you take this Heroic Ability to lock a certain assassin on the enemy team down. This means it’s focused on single target use and making it explode sooner decreases crowd control which is the reason why you picked Poly Bomb in the first place. If you picked Poly Bomb, your choice will normally be between Arcane Brilliance and Guardian of Tirisfal.  

Dust of DisappearanceStealth an allied hero for 20 seconds. Stores up to 2 charges.

Dust of Disappearance is a very fun talent to play around with but doesn’t bring much to your gameplay or teamfighting potential. Try it once, because it’s fun... and after all, we play this game to have fun.  

To take a short look at the most 'ideal' build for Medivh in most situations with their icons; We have Portal Mastery, with Raven Familiar, and Arcane Explosion. Ley Line Seal will most often be the Heroic Ability you take, Enduring Will at 13 to protect your allies more often and Stable Portal for the longer duration and cooldown reduction on Portal. To round that off, you upgrade your Ley Line Seal at level 20 with Medivh Cheats!

Gameplay Tips

Something to keep in mind when playing Medivh is to recognise when you need to put down a portal for yourself or your allies. Once you get comfortable with working with portals and recognising when they are needed, you will find Medivh effective and you'll most likely start to enjoy him more. Medivh's other spells are easier to execute but timing them correctly is the key to getting the most value out of the talents you choose. The most time dependent ability is Force of Will, as you want to read the flow of the fight. 

Communicate the usage of your heroic ability! Medivh's heroics are real showstoppers and they should always be communicated to your team. Use Ley Line Seal to set up a wombo combo, isolate an enemy, or save your allies when they find themselves unable to disengage.

When attempting to steal a boss with Ley Line Seal, make sure you keep scouting the boss point and position yourself on the opposite side of the capture point. Drop down from your Raven Form and catch everyone trying to get on the capture point with your Ley Line Seal. Capture the boss, portal out, and then mount up again in your Raven Form. Pulling this off requires a bit of practise, most of all with timing your Heroic!

When you pick Poly Bomb, play aggressive with it. Use portals to get into the enemy backline and harass them with your Arcane Rift and Raven Familiar. If they commit onto you, use Poly Bomb and get yourself back to safety or have your allies come in through a portal to assist you. Communication is a powerful tool for Medivh. Coordinating your Portal use and the cooldown of your Force of Will with your allies’ movements can greatly increase your effectiveness.

Getting into Raven Form is a good way to escape. It also cleanses damage over time, which might in some cases save your life. When mounting up in Raven Form, you become invulnerable and untargetable, which makes you lose the damage you’re taking and regen your health. After his rework, Medivh’s quest ‘The Masters Touch’ became a baseline quest. Completing this early on in the game is ideal, but hard since you cannot die before completing it or you will lose all your stacks for that quest. Try to complete it as early as possible, but don’t take huge risks for it.  

Synergies and Counters

Medivh shines as a counter to an enemy team that has the setup to isolate and kill one target. His ability to completely protect an ally from damage and to place a portal to provide an escape is incredibly useful. He’s amazing both with and against heroes like Garrosh or Stitches. He can also negate the damage of entire mage combos, which is why he is often drafted as a counter to Kel’thuzad or Li Ming.

Pairing him with a tank that lacks the ability to engage on his own can be very rewarding. Portal a Garrosh or an Arthas into the enemy team to wreak havoc on your foes, then have the rest of your team take advantage. This means Garrosh can take a portal into the backline of the enemy team and throw someone without taking too much damage from the enemy team. A combination that is more frequently played is to pair Stitches with Medivh. Stitches picks Gorge at level 10. If he hooks and Gorges an enemy, Medivh can portal the Stitches even further away from the enemy team while he has an enemy in his belly, causing complete isolation and surely a kill.

Medivh is very hard to play into, which makes him a powerful pick in many cases. If the team makes good use of the portals, it’s very hard to kill anyone... but not impossible! Drafting a lot of displacement against Medivh can be the key to turning the game. If you have heroes with small displacement abilities in their kit, such as Garrosh, Lucio and Alarak, you can deny the enemy passage through the portals. If you do it correctly, you may be able to separate them from the Medivh and get a kill. Another weakness of Medivh is that he is weak into sustained damage. He can use Force of Will to protect himself or his allies from sudden burst damage, but the shield doesn't last long enough when faced with prolonged sustain damage. Playing around Force of Will and being able to constantly harass Medivh with sustained damage is a good strategy when drafting into him.


Medivh is a powerful hero to have in your arsenal because he is so hard to counter and fits in almost any composition. With practice, he can bring a lot of damage to the table and can singlehandedly turn an entire teamfight. The optimal use of his kit will allow your team to almost position freely and difficult to catch out. Medivh can at the start be intimidating to play as his gameplay choices are difficult to make, but with practice his playstyle will become familiar and so will the gameplay decisions.

Medivh makes up for tanks that lack engages with his ability to portal his teammates to a different position and can cause a lot of chaos with his other abilities (such as Poly Bomb or Ley Line Seal). Although categorised as a specialist, Medivh has more supportive qualities that offer setup and utility for his team. This makes him a true master of unconventional warfare. Let the games begin!

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