A hero that has been previously lurking in the shadows, both physically and within the meta, has been recently brought to light at the professional stage. Starting at the Mid-Season Brawl event in Sweden and continuing into Phase 2 of the Heroes Global Championship (HGC), Valeera has seen an uptick in play from relative obscurity to silent threat.
Team Octalysis’ Francisco “Goku” Avalos wielded her successfully over the weekend in their match against LFM and took time out of his day to chat with me about her talents, why she is seeing play currently and tips about how to execute her combos effectively.
At the professional stage, players select heroes who they think give them the best chance to win a given match based off the opponent’s team composition, among many other factors. Valeera is not a hero who has recently been buffed to where her new kit is obviously better than it was a couple weeks ago, so why has she seen play recently? Goku alludes to timing being everything with her.
“I think a hero’s resurgence is usually due to a meta shifting over a period of time. A couple of months ago, the off-laner would usually be running a tank(-y) hero and, even further back, it was a double support meta so assassins were very weak during that time. Over time, ranged heroes started to get buffed so Greymane started to show up less and mages started to appear more and you would have compositions that would run either double range or a Falstad for global pressure,” said Goku. “As a result, stealth heroes started to appear more, mostly with Zeratul, but people started to realize that Valeera is almost as good in terms of ganking and can be deadlier late-game as she can almost one-shot most assassins. She’s also good at killing tanks if your team has enough follow-up because she can start up the CC (crowd-control) chain, which is so valuable.”
“Currently, right now is the best time for her to abuse the meta because, over time, I think tanks are going to be slowly buffed just because tanks right now are in a weird position,” said Goku. “You only have a few main tanks right now that can engage and deal with stealth heroes.”
Goku’s preferred talent build for Valeera is below, in addition to some insight into why each talent is preferred in each tier.
Crippling Poison (Cooldown: 15 seconds) -- Activate to make Valeera’s next damaging Ability and subsequent Abilities within 4 seconds Slow targets by 20% for 4 seconds.
“It’s pretty much 100 percent Crippling Poison. The utility helps to set up ganks and even when you’re roaming around, you can easily gank the off-laner. On top of that, you can always start with Garrote, her E. All you have to do is pop Crippling Poison, pop Garrote and that’s pretty much a Silence and a Slow so it’s like a pseudo Stun in that way.
Wound Poison (Cooldown: 15 seconds) -- Activate to make Valeera’s next damaging Ability and subsequent Abilities within 4 seconds reduce enemy healing received by 50% for 4 seconds.
“I’ve seen people play with Relentless Strike and, while I don’t think it’s necessary, it’s still pretty good if you really don’t need Wound Poison at all, like if the enemy decides to run an Abathur composition. Hemorrhage used to be the old go-to talent to pick near her release when you’d just run a one-shot build with her but, obviously, all her one-shot talents got nerfed so it just became Wound Poison. You now just run double poisons at level four. It’s between Relentless Strike if they don’t have much healing or the Wound Poison. I have found for competitive that if the team is more coordinated, Wound Poison makes more sense to reduce their initial heal but Relentless Strike can get more value in Hero League because the team is less coordinated.”
Mutilate (Q) -- Sinister Strike now hits with both blades, dealing 125% additional damage, but its range is reduced by 1.
“It’s pretty much Mutilate 100% of the time right now because the extra damage does deal a lot more. It is hard to land the ability but, over time and with practice, you can make it very consistent.”
Smoke Bomb (R1) (Cooldown: 60 seconds) -- Create a cloud of smoke. While in the smoke, Valeera is Unrevealable, can pass through other units, and gains 25 Armor, reducing damage taken by 25%. Valeera can continue to attack and use abilities without being revealed. Lasts 5 seconds.
“I used to run Cloak of Shadows a lot and, in situations, it’s really good, but, at the moment, Smoke Bomb is the superior ultimate considering it’s a 60-second cooldown, gives you armor and it’s a get-out-of-jail-free card.”
Strangle (E) -- Using Garrote on a Hero reduces their Spell Power by 40% for 6 seconds.
“I would say it’s Strangle because, a lot of the time, you’re opening with your E, not your stun because your stun is just too short and it doesn’t really do much on top of that unless you’re trying to interrupt someone, like a Sonya but, even then, it’s not really worth it. The entire Q-tree got nerfed so there’s really no use in taking Death From Above. I just go Strangle and look to go in on their Li-Ming, mages or tanks."
Seal Fate (Q) -- Sinister Strike deals 50% additional damage and generates an additional Combo Point when used against Silenced, Rooted, or Stunned enemy Heroes.
“Currently it is Seal Fate because it mixes well with all her other Q-talents at level four and seven. Basically, your combo when you open up on somebody prior to level 16 and your goal is to get three stacks so you can Eviscerate someone at the end is: You want to E (Garrote), then you Q then you follow up on the target then Q again then you E. There’s no use to using Blade Flurry unless you know you’re going to get three Combo Points in an instant. Once you get to 16 your combo is: E, Q then Eviscerate, which is insanely fast."
Elusiveness (Trait) -- Increase Valeera’s Movement Speed while Vanished by an additional 20%.
“In the game I used her against LFM, I went Elusiveness because I just like the extra movement speed, I’m essentially always on mount speed when I stealth and it’s annoying to deal with as it’s hard to hit a target moving that fast. The Adrenaline Rush is kind of unnecessary if you ask me just because your cooldowns don’t regenerate fast enough to get the value from the ability so, at the moment it’s between Rupture and Elusiveness.”
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