Heroes of the Storm – Zeratul Guide

A basic overview along with a few suggested builds for playing Zeratul in Heroes of the Storm.

A basic overview along with a few suggested builds for playing Zeratul in Heroes of the Storm.

Welcome to the Heroes of the Storm build guide for Zeratul. In this guide, you will find basic information on the game and Zeratul, as well as tips on how to play and build him.

This guide will break down into six categories:

  • Introduction – A breakdown of the kind of character you’re playing
  • Starter Abilities – The abilities your character starts with at the beginning of the match.
  • Heroic Abilities – Pick from one of these two ultimate-like abilities at team level 10
  • Talents – The character improvements you can choose from to custom build your hero
  • Talent Builds – Recommended builds that I have personally found success with
  • Playstyle Tips – Extra information about the character to help you play your best


 In Heroes of the Storm, Zeratul is a melee assassin with a kit that centers around hit-and-run tactics. His abilities will help him sneak up on an enemy hero, gank them, and escape before their laning partner can do anything about it.

As an assassin, Zeratul is a very squishy character and should probably never solo a lane. He is best when he can go one-on-one with another Hero, especially one like a support that is squishy and cannot effectively deal damage back. He can also be effective in team fights if you are cautious with him.

Zeratul will be one of the main sources of damage on your team. Make sure that your teammates pick characters that go well with him. When laning, your preferred teammates are a support, a warrior, or a ranged hero.

Starter Abilities

  • Permanent Cloak (Combat Trait)
  • Become invisible while not attacking or taking damage.

  • Cleave (Q)
  • Cooldown: 6 seconds
  • Damage nearby enemies.

  •  Singularity Spike (W)
  • Cooldown: 12 seconds
  • Slow and damage the first enemy hit.

  • Blink (E)
  • Cooldown: 10 seconds
  • Teleport to a location. Ability does not break cloak.

Heroic Abilities (Choose One)

  • Shadow Assault (R)
  • Cooldown: 100 seconds
  • Duration: 6 seconds
  • Zeratul gains attack speed, life steal, and can charge to his targets.

  • Void Prison (R)
  • Cooldown: 100 seconds
  • Field that traps all targets touched and makes them invulnerable. Zeratul is immune.

Talents (Choose One from Each Tier)

Tier 1

  • Regeneration Master: Gather 3 Regeneration Globes to permanently grant you +3 health per second. Stacks.
  • Path of the Assassin: Your Hero gains an extra 2 attack damage for every level gained.
  • Greater Cleave (Q): Increases the radius of Cleave by 1.
  • Rapid Displacement (E): Reduces the cooldown on Blink by 1.5 seconds.
Tier 2

  • Focused Attack: Every 5 seconds, your next Basic Attack deals 50% additional damage.
  • Vampiric Assault: Basic Attacks heal you for 15% of the damage done.
  • Shadow Spike (W): Zeratul no longer decloaks when using Singularity Spike. Range increased by 20%.
  • Sustained Anomaly (W): Bomb now explodes for area damage and slows, regardless if it hits a target or not.
Tier 3

  • Block: Periodically reduces the damage received from Hero Basic Attacks by 50%. Stores up to 2 charges.
  • Rending Cleave (Q): Deals an additional 50% damage over 5 seconds.
  • Assassin’s Blade (Trait): Gain 25% Attack Damage for 5 seconds when breaking cloak. 10% increased movement speed while cloaked.
  • First Aid: Activate to heal 7.9% of your max Health over 4 seconds.
  • Searing Attacks: Activate to increase Basic Attack damage by 50% for 5 seconds. Attacks cost 20 mana per hit.
Tier 4

  • Shadow Assault (R): Gains +25% Attack Speed, 15% Life Steal on hit, and Basic Attacks charge enemies.
  • Void Prison (R): Traps targets for 5 seconds. Heroes, Minions, and Structures trapped become invulnerable. Caster is immune.
Tier 5

  • Giant Killer: Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal an additional 1.5% of the target’s max Health in damage.
  • Spell Shield: Periodically reduces the damage received from Hero Abilities by 50%. Stores up to 2 charges.
  • Burning Rage: Deals 10 damage per second to nearby enemies.
  • Vorpal Blade (Trait): Activate to teleport to the last target you attacked within 3 seconds. 15 second cooldown.
  • Wormhole (E): For 3 seconds, Zeratul can activate Blink again to return to the point where it was cast from.
 Tier 6

  • Executioner: Basic Attacks deal 50% more damage against slowed, rooted, or stunned targets.
  • Double Bombs (W): After you cast Singularity Spike, you can cast a second one for free within 3 seconds.
  • Stoneskin: Activate to gain 30% of your max health in Shields for 5 seconds.
  • Berserk: Activate to increase your Attack Speed by 50% and Movement Speed by 10% for 4 seconds.
Tier 7

  • Fury of the Storm: Basic Attacks bounce twice to nearby enemies for 50% damage.
  • Bolt of the Storm: Activate to teleport to the target location.
  • Nerazim Fury (R): Increases the duration of Shadow Assault by 50% and the lifesteal by 15%.
  • Protective Prison (R): Allies are no longer affected by Void Prison.

Talent Builds

 High Damage with Some Survivability
  • Path of the Assassin: Increases your auto attack damage every level. Enough said.
  • Vampiric Assault: Gives you some sustain.
  • Rending Cleave (Q): Having a DoT is always useful. Block can be useful, too, when trying to maximize your chances of staying alive.
  • Shadow Assault (R): This will greatly increase your damage output.
  • Burning Rage: Increases your overall damage with a little bit of AoE. Giant Killer is useful if going against a tanky team.
  • Berserk: Increases attack speed which is always useful. Executioner might be worth taking if laning with someone that has a lot of disabling abilities.
  • Nerazim Fury (R) or Fury of the Storm: I usually go with increased Heroic duration and lifesteal Nerazim Fury, but Fury of the Storm is good if you want to do more AoE.

This build is optimized to deal as much damage as possible while still retaining a little bit of survivability with talents like Vampiric Assault and, if you choose, Block. This is good if you are looking to get as many kills as possible when playing with randoms. It is also good if you have someone who can stun and/or slow in the lane with you.

Hit-and-Run Zeratul
  • Path of the Assassin: The damage increase is worth it, but if you truly want a boost to your mobility, take Rapid Displacement.
  • Shadow Spike (W): Having the option to do damage while cloaked is great for early harassment.
  • Assassin’s Blade (Trait): This gives you high mobility when cloaked and increases your damage when you decloak which is something you want to keep in mind while playing this build.
  • Shadow Assault: The better choice for this build.
  • Wormhole (E) or Vorpal Blade (Trait): Either of these will increase your mobility and help you get more kills.
  • Double Bombs (W) or Berserk: The former will let you further annoy your enemies while cloaked and the latter will increase damage output overall.
  • Nerazim Fury (R) or Bolt of the Storm: Nerazim’s Fury is self-explanatory; BotS will give you a second blink.

This build is designed for lane harassment and stealth ganks. You will want to try and coordinate with teammates so you can isolate targets to assassinate. The high mobility lets you get away in case your squishiness gets the best of you.

Zeratul Playstyle Tips

Abuse Your Stealth
  • Stealth and hide in bushes to maintain sight on the enemy while laning.
  • Let your laning partners focus on pushing unless it is urgent. Stay stealthed to surprise your enemies.
  • Enemies can see you as a blur while stealthed, so, try not to spend too much time walking around them while stealthed.
Void Prison
  • Despite not being in either of the builds above, Void Prison is highly useful.
  • If your team already has a lot of damage, VP is worth taking.
  • VP can give your teammates a chance to escape, pursue, or let cooldowns come back up.
Remember: You’re Squishy
  • Zeratul can die pretty quickly if he is overextended or going up against an enemy with a higher damage output kit than he has.
  • Try not to take enemies 2-on-1 unless you are sure you are going to win.
  • Try not to take enemies in a 1-on-1 unless they are already damaged.
  • Harass first, kill later.

About the author

Joseph Rowe

World traveling English teacher, writer, and aspiring front-end developer.