During week two of China’s HGC, eStar and Hots Ladys faced off on Battlefield of Eternity. The draft started off with meta picks that ultimately lead to Hots Ladys drafting a triple melee lineup. With eStar being left with the last pick, they saw an opportunity to pick Nazeebo and utilize a rarely seen talent build specializing in Plague of Toads.
Battlefield of Eternity has several characteristics that make Plague of Toads Nazeebo a smart choice:
• Tons of choke points that cause enemy heroes to clump up, allowing Plague of Toads to deal maximum damage.
• A pushing objective (the Immortals) that allows Plague of Toad Nazeebo to make quick work of enemy walls and structures.
• The need for extreme single-target damage when fighting for the Immortals and defending against them.
In addition, Hots Lady’s melee line up will naturally find themselves grouped up in order to make use of Auriel’s healing abilities. This, combined with the enemy compositions low number of stuns and the non-committal playstyle Plague of Toads encourages made for an impactful Nazeebo game.
In this clip, the frequent choke points on Battlefield of Eternity makes it easy to connect with Plague of Toads
In order to fully understand the strategy and playstyle Tiger used, let's look at his talents:
Pandemic is a simple talent to understand. If you hit lots of Heroes with Plague of Toads, than you are rewarded with more toads. More toads means more damage and increased zoning capability, so this is a must choose talent that enhances further Plague of Toad talents down the line.
Once this quest is completed five toads can offer a surprising amount of zone control. In the picture above taken from one of the featured matches team fights, Nazeebo is able to zone away the majority of the enemy team with one cast of Plague of Toads.
Most Nazeebo talent builds choose to sacrifice this talent for Hexed Crawlers, but the Plague of Toads build should always choose this talent. If Nazeebo reaches 150 Voodoo Ritual stacks at level 20 (to complete the Vile Infection Storm talent), he is left with a whopping 4,790 health! That is more than even some warriors and allows Nazeebo to go toe-to-toe with virtually any hero.
This is the most important talent to take and single-handedly makes the strategy possible. While Toads of Hugeness doesn’t increase the damage of point-blank casts, it greatly increases the amount of damage and zone control Nazeebo brings to a fight.
With this talent, Nazeebo begins to play like an Arcane Orb style Li-Ming delivering huge amounts of damage while always staying a safe distance. Just look at how much damage Valla takes from a single max hop toad in this clip while Nazeebo remains completely safe.
This is a questionable choice in general. but Tiger made it work. After correctly assessing that the enemy team had few ways to reliably interrupt the ability, Tiger chose Ravenous Spirit over Gargantuan and adjusted his playstyle to best make use of it’s channeled damage. Just look at how Tiger immediately adjusts his positioning after selecting Ravenous Spirit in case a team fight breaks loose.
Ravenous Spirit is a more viable pick when utilizing this Plague of Toads strategy because Nazeebo will naturally be farther away trying to land max damage Toads. This makes it easier to set up safe Ravenous Spirit channeling. Watch how in this clip Tiger stays a distance away as he channels the heroic, punishing the enemy team for clumping up around Sanctification.
This talent is peculiar, and it’s rare that Nazeebo should ever choose it over Superstition or Iceblock. It’s difficult to assess whether or not Guardian Toads ever negates enough damage to be worthwhile, but eStar’s Tiger seems to think it is.
The only argument I can make for Guardian Toads is that it negates all types of damage without losing DPS. In theory, Tiger may have correctly assessed that his team relied on him for consistent damage and trapping himself with Ice Block would hinder that damage and harm his team’s kill potential.
Soul Harvest is an equally valid talent when selecting Plague of Toads, but Tiger made the right decision in choosing Ring of Poison. The talent is particularly effective at punishing Auriel’s Crystal Aegis and also adds to Nazeebo’s Immortal DPS.
While Soul Harvest allows for some seriously damaging Plague of Toads, the majority of teamfights on Battlefield of Eternity happen out of lane and away minion waves. This makes it much harder to consistently hit five targets and gain max bonuses. If you can’t ensure max bonuses, then the talent isn’t worth it.
This talent is the reason Nazeebo is considered such a late-game threat and should always be chosen if you have managed to reach 150 Voodoo Ritual stacks. Tiger and his team won before they reached level 20, but it’s fair to assume he would have gone with this talent.
However, if you haven’t managed to get close to 150 by level 20, you should go Annihilating Spirit instead. This upgrade to Ravenous Spirit is Nazeebo’s second best Storm talent and allows for even safer channeling positions thanks to the increased movement speed and range of the spirit.
Be sure to check out our previous strategy guides where we highlight Rich’s Probius and Merryday’s Lucio. You can expect more guides and talent discussion in the future thanks to the return of the HGC and the bounty of new talent builds and strategies it is bound to bring.