If Kerrigan is the Queen of the Zerg, then Zagara is the mother of the brood. Cunning and tenacious, she commands her vicious children on field of battle. Encounter her brood and beware: mess with her children, and you’ll answer to mama.
In the wake of The Queen of Blade’s defeat at the end of Wings of Liberty, a power vacuum was created on the Swarms volcanic home planet of Char. It was here in this crucible of flame and chaos that Zagara was born, ascending past her peers in brutal conquest as her brood slaughtered those deemed too weak. If it wasn’t for Kerrigan’s return, Zagara may well have become the new Queen of the Swarm through sheer cunning alone, but that was not to be. Now Zagara serves her queen with fierce loyalty, commanding the broods to carry out her will across the galaxy and beyond.
Indeed, Zagara is the manifestation of the Swarm in Heroes of the Storm, and much like her Zerg counterpart Abathur she is one of the more unique heroes to choose from. All of her special abilities spawn in different types of Zerg units to do her bidding, indeed she is a one-bug-army specialist hero capable of controlling lanes and push towers on her own. On top of spawning a mini army, Zagara can also plant Creep Tumors that grant map vision, movement speed, and faster regeneration while allied units are moving through the infested areas.
We’ve decided to focus more on Zagara’s talents more than we have with other heroes since she is so unique, and they are more important when determining her play style. For instance her four starting talents are all very good and a case can be made for any of them, but we find that Demolitionist tends to be the better of the four. Demolitionist grant Zagara’s basic attacks the ability to drain ammo from structures and extra damage, making her a valuable lane pusher in the early game and mid game. Coupled with the second tier talent Medusa Blades – basic attacks hit up to three targets – and she can quickly clear lanes and pressure towers while keeping their ammo low.
When her basic attacks aren’t getting the job done, Zagara can use her Baneling Barrage to launch four of rolling Banelings out from her body exploding in acidic goodness. While not as powerful as they are in Starcraft these bugs can easily clean up a bunched up wave of enemy creeps, and there is always something to be said about shock and awe. Their neon explosions are still as satisfying as ever and will have enemy heroes thinking twice when approaching.
Coupled with her Banelings, Zagara can call down a Zerg drop pod packed with Roachlings to bombard a targeted area with her Infested Drop ability. The pod crashing into the ground packs an explosive punch, and the summoned Zergling/Roach hybrids provide a few extra bodies in the lane to soak up incoming damage. Unfortunately, none of the talents available to buff this ability stand out and are better spent on her next ability, Killer Hunt.
With the Killer Hunter ability, Zagara spawns a highly aggressive Hydralisk to deal extra damage from afar, and serves as her highest damage ability. With the right talent selection this ability can be buffed to devastating effects, adding in increased range, damage, and a second Hydralisk. These serpentine bugs will chew through half of an opposing hero’s health bar before they realize, and popping all of her abilities in quick succession can quickly kill the unprepared.
Finally we have her two Heroic abilities: Devouring Maw and Nydus Network. Nydus Network works like it does in Starcraft with Zagara creating a tunneling system for quick movement across the map. However, we found that it’s hard to coordinate in a pick-up group and the rounds tend to end almost as fast as it takes to set the network up, ultimately making it a situational choice at best, rather than the easier choice of Devouring Maw. Devouring Maw summons a giant Nydus worm at a target area to devour enemies within. Dealing damage over time as well as initial burst damage, the maw will also remove enemies from play for 4 seconds. This is great when initiating combat or can help in a pinch when running from other heroes in a route.
When playing as Zagara it is important to remember that she is still a specialist, and better off staying back and letting her brood do the fighting for her. The Creep Tumor ability is incredibly useful, and if she’s played right she should be constantly pushing towers in whatever lane she’s in; just remember to time your creep waves to assist in pushes.
Zagara is the newest hero added to the roster and Blizzard has really thought outside the box with her. We really think you’ll have a lot of fun spawning in waves of Zerg. Now, we always say we have a lot of fun playing as heroes, but she has been one of the better characters we’ve played as so far, and she brings refreshing new mechanics to the genre. We are more excited than ever to see what new heroes Blizzard will be rolling out in the coming months, and we would love to hear what you think about Zagara and the others.
Her conquest has only just begun.