Say hello to Sarah Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades – Avatar of the Zerg Swarm.
“Once a Terran ghost with formidable psionic abilities, Sarah Kerrigan was betrayed by her allies and transformed by the Zerg into the Queen of Blades. Now freed of the dark one’s corruption, Kerrigan faces a threat that could destroy the galaxy itself.”
Sarah Kerrigan is arguably one of the biggest baddies in the Starcraft universe, and her presence in Heroes of the Storm reflects her strength. When Kerrigan was a child she always knew she was different from other Terran children, and when she lost control of her growing psionic abilities – and her powers accidentally killed her mother in the process – she was forced to join the Ghost Program. Years were dedicated to the Terran Confederacy, only for her to be betrayed by those she was trying to protect, leaving her left for dead and confronted with the monstrous Zerg Swarm. At the command of the Overmind, Abathur the Evolution Specialist twisted and corrupted Kerrigan into the Queen of Blades, a calculating and powerful Zerg/Terran hybrid.
In Heroes of the Storm, Kerrigan is a melee assassin-class hero who specializes in getting up close and personal with her enemies, often through the use of pulling and dashing abilities. Kerrigan is formidable in combat and comes equipped with a surprising amount of utility for an assassin. Experienced players will look to chain her low-cost abilities together in quick succession to devastate opponents. Caution can be thrown to the wind when playing as Kerrigan: she gains a shield from any damage she deals to any target, making her extra “tankier” than your average assassin. Kerrigan also provides excellent initiation abilities to help force team fights. Equip her with the right talents and she can do reasonable area-of effect-damage that can enable you to clear out entire groups of creeps.
As mentioned, Kerrigan commands an array of enemy control abilities that are all quite strong regardless of the talent path chosen for her. She can leap at her opponents with her Ravage ability – dealing heavy damage as the leap connects. Ravage also refreshes its cooldown should it kill the target, and with extra talents it can refund its mana cost to be used in quick burst to clear out creeps or low-health heroes.
Once the distance has been closed with an enemy hero, Kerrigan can use her Impaling Blades ability to shoot claws out of the ground in a small area, stunning any targets within reach. At later levels Impaling Blades are a great way to clear out waves of creeps as it will do enough damage to kill the mindless minions. When chained together with Ravage it will provide extra burst damage and lock an enemy in place to allow Kerrigan’s strong auto attacks tick away at enemy health.
Should the target manage to get away from Kerrigan’s close-range abilities, she is able to use her Primal Grasp ability to pull a wide area of targets towards her. We found this ability to be the cornerstone of most of our combat encounters, using Primal Grasp to force initiations as heroes try to run away from a team push. We highly recommend the starting talent of Sweeping Grasp to increase the range of the ability by 20% because more often than not enemies will be running from Kerrigan.
Kerrigan’s two heroic abilities are Summon Ultralisk and Maelstrom. Both have their ups and downs depending on your play style. With Summon Ultralisk, Kerrigan can create a mighty Ultralisk that will soak up incoming damage and assist in push lanes with its cleaving attacks – useful against towers and creep waves. However, we leaned towards Maelstrom and its pulsing area-of-effect damage. Maelstrom surrounds Kerrigan and supports her already close-range play style. The added damage from Malestrom, combined with her other base abilities, packs a punch that will easily bring down the heaviest of enemy warriors.
Finally, when picking talents for Kerrigan we elected to choose those that supported her base abilities, rather than adding to her tanking or healing. She can already survive quite a lot of damage with her shields, and unless you find that you are constantly being targeted down we see no need to buff her further. However, we do recommend the second tier ability, Envenom – which adds a nice damage-over-time poison effect to your base attack, a skill which can help get that last hit in on a fleeing opponent.
Kerrigan plays well as a hybrid between Assassin and Warrior classes, making her hard to take down and powerful on the battlefield. With the correct timing, you’ll be able to play Kerrigan fast and loose to create havoc for the other team, and we think you’ll have a blast doing so. Remember that she is the embodiment of the Zerg Swarm and her abilities help create a fast and oppressive play style that makes her one of our favorite heroes.