Assassins in Heroes of the Storm don’t come any deadlier than Illidan Stormrage, The Betrayer. This hero from the Warcraft universe literally marks opponents for death, and only the most skilled players will be able to escape his clutches. A character that can strike when you least expect it, hiding will also be futile once the Mark of Azzinoth has been placed on you. Here’s our guide on how to be the most effective killer in your team while you play as Illidan in Heroes of the Storm.
Illidan Stormrage, the first Demon Hunter, is also known as the Betrayer, and for good reason. Throughout history, he has betrayed friends and family alike for his own personal gain. Even his brother, Malfurion Stormrage, was not exempt from his betrayals as he let the Burning Legion into Azeroth in exchange for power and to impress Tyrande Whisperwind, the object of Illidan’s affection.
Imprisoned for his actions, Illidan was freed in the hopes that he would redeem himself. However, despite a short period of fighting on the side of good, Illidan was turned into a demon and betrayed his brethren once more. Siding with the Legion once more, Illidan now hides in Outland after failing a mission given to him by his new masters, and here he rules until an opportunity once again presents itself.
Illidan uses blades which he uses to great effect in order to cut through swaths of enemies. His demonic abilities also allow for him to curse his targets such as slowing, stunning, and rooting them in place. His powers’ also allow him to turn into a true demon that can deal huge damage to those unfortunate enough to be in his sights.
Illidan’s Mark of Azzinoth is also a powerful tool that can increase the damage and effects of his attacks. Illidan can mark enemies, and these would allow him to either reap certain benefits or cause enemies to get harmed more by basic attacks or abilities that hit him. Additional effects may also be added once Illidan hits enemies that have the Mark of Azzinoth upon them.
Illidan is able to place the Mark of Azzinoth onto targets. Enemies who have been marked will get harmed more by Illidan’s abilities, such as taking more damage or having silencing or rooting effects. Using basic attacks on marked targets will also reduce the cooldown time of abilities by 0.5 seconds, allowing you to spam them more. Using Betrayer’s Strike and heroic abilities will place Mark of Azzinoth, and this effect would last for 8 seconds. Players controlling Illidan must therefore try and prioritize those with marks in order to maximize offensive effects.
Illidan has three abilities to start with. Betrayer’s Strike (9 seconds cooldown) lets Illidan gain a 50% increase in damage for his next basic attack as well as place a Mark of Azzinoth on the target. Crescent Sweep (10 seconds cooldown) deals damage to enemies in a cone shaped radius. Enemies with the Mark of Azzinoth and hit with Crescent Sweep are dealt with 125% extra damage and are silenced for 1.5 seconds. Lastly, Lunge (8 seconds cooldown) is a skillshot where in Illidan will damage the first enemy in his path as well as flip behind them. Those marked and hit will get rooted in place, and hitting marked enemies will also reduce the cooldown period of Lunge to 4 seconds.
For heroic abilities, Illidan can use either Metamorphosis or The Hunt. Metamorphosis (100 seconds cooldown) turns Illidan into a large demon that deals damage in a small area of effect and marks targets. Using Metamorphosis will also add to his health, depending on number of enemies hit, and attack speed. This effect lasts for 18 seconds. On the other hand, The Hunt (60 seconds) launches Illidan to the target enemy, dealing damage, stunning him, and also putting the Mark of Azzinoth on the target.
Illidan must be built primarily to boost his damage dealing abilities as well as to be able to reduce their cooldowns. However, players must also take into consideration survivability, which is why the first build is geared more towards giving Illidan more defensive capabilities especially against opponents who are ready for your attacks, and for giving Illidan the time and abilities to escape if he himself is marked as a target.
This is the recommended build for a more defense oriented Illidan:
Betrayer’s Mark – reduces the cooldown of abilities to 1 second when attacking enemies with the Mark of Azzinoth on them
Vampiric Assault or Thrill of the Chase – Vampiric Assault heals Illidan for 15% of basic attack damage done while Thrill of the Chase adds movement speed up to 30% for each enemy near you that has the Mark of Azzinoth on them
First Aid or Evading Lunge – First Aid heals 8% of Illidan’s health over 4 seconds while Evading Lunge lets Illidan dodge 2 basic attacks 3 seconds after using Lunge
Metamorphosis – attacks a small range of enemies, stunning them, and placing the Mark of Azzinoth upon them. Also temporarily increases health and attack speed.
Spell Shield – reduces the damage from enemies’ abilities by 50%. This can be used up to two times per activation.
Blood for Blood or Stoneskin – Blood for Blood steals 15% health from a target and reduces their movement speed by 30% for 3 seconds. Stoneskin provides Illidan with shields equal to 30% of his max health for 5 seconds
Bolt of the Storm – allows Illidan to teleport to a different location
The above build provides some movement buffs as well as some health regeneration enhancements. This will allow you to sustain more damage and to be able to move away from danger faster. This may also be used offensively, such as when dealing with more powerful foes and so that you would be able to withstand a couple of more hits in the time that it takes you to deal a killing blow. Still, Illidan will not be able to survive for long in a fight with a more powerful character when it comes to one on one battles, so always proceed with caution.
The next build recommendation will take advantage of Illidan’s ability spamming and crowd control abilities. This will give him the ability to bring maximum damage to the table, as well as present more opportunities to support allies through crowd control effects that come with some of his attacks:
Betrayer’s Mark – same reason as above
Both Blades – lowers the cooldown time of Betrayer’s Strike to 6 seconds
Betrayer’s Fury – increases Illidan’s attack speed for four seconds after Betrayer’s Strike has been used
Metamorphosis – same reason as above
Cursed Strike or Immolation – Cursed Strike increases damage and silence effect of Crescent Sweep when used on marked targets while Immolation turns the cone attack range of Immolation into a shorter but more encompassing area of effect. Immolation also reduces cooldown time of Crescent Sweep by 2 seconds.
Berserk – increases attack and movement speed for 4 seconds
Fury of the Storm – allows basic attacks to bounce twice to nearby enemies, causing 50% damage of the initial attack
This build ensures that Illidan is able to utilize his abilities much faster and to greater effect. It also allows Illidan to increase his basic attack and ability damage. With no health talents added, however, Illidan should be more careful than ever when it comes to sneaking in and out of the enemy’s range of attack.
Choosing targets wisely would be any player controlling Illidan’s greatest responsibility. While he would be able to deal some decent damage, make sure that you are able to connect before striking. His starting abilities, specifically his Lunge attack, will require some skill to use, and players must be able to take proper aim especially since the flip effect of Lunge can work as much to his undoing as to his benefit. Using Metamorphosis is the best course of action if you want to mark multiple targets at once, and this is good if you simply want to kill enemies at random with your other abilities. For single targets, however, then The Hunt is more recommended.
Illidan also requires players to move around. Build your character for more survivability as you will definitely get hurt as you chase around your intended victim. Illidan was not created for upfront battles, so making sure that allies will be able to work towards distracting enemies or herding them away from the group is a must. This is absolutely necessary in order for Illidan to be able to function more effectively, and to ensure his survivability.
Pros and Cons
Illidan is a melee assassin, which means he would need to get up close in order to deal some real damage. Also, this means that he is not as durable as, say, warriors that can sustain more attacks from powerful enemies. Lastly, players who tend to target enemies that have been marked will have the advantage of knowing when they would need to run away, or when the rest of the team would need to support your intended victim. Thus, this means that chasing down enemies with the Mark of Azzinoth on them will not be as easy as it seems.
Luckily, Illidan requires no mana to call upon abilities, and their cooldowns are relatively short. This allows him to spam abilities relentlessly, and certain talents will lessen their activation times some more. In addition, Illidan’s abilities can also root, stun, or slow enemies in some cases, allowing him to either hit/run, or to give allies a better chance to join in and deal damage to enemies without risk of getting harmed. Be careful when using Lunge, though, as its flip effect might put you in a spot that you don’t want, specifically in the thick of the action where you wouldn’t be able to survive for long. If such is the situation, then use your speed to your advantage and move quickly away. Using Lunge or Bolt of the Storm, if available, is highly recommended.
Tips and Tricks
Whenever possible, target enemies that have the Mark of Azzinoth on them. You will be able to deal much more damage and, at the very least, crowd control effects will allow your teammates to finish your targets off. This is especially recommended if you are able to use the Metamorphosis and Crescent Sweep combo. Not only will you be able to deal more damage, but the silencing effects will keep you safe from the enemies’ more powerful abilities.
Don’t rush in unprepared, though. The Mark of Azzinoth lasts eight seconds, which gives you plenty of time to measure your attack. Letting others engage with a marked opponent before striking when they least expect it is recommended, so simply hang back and choose the right time to strike. If this is not possible, then make sure that you have your abilities charged and then choose another target as your victim.