Shad Sheds Holy Light on Uther
Uther has had a place in the competitive meta since Heroes of the Storm was released, an honor few other supports can claim. Daniel "Shad" González, the support player for Zealots, has put hundreds of hours into the Hero and experimented endlessly with the limits of his various builds.
It’s difficult to grasp the full impact that Uther can have on a match. Not only does he dish out massive healing, but also acts as deadly bait in many situations. However, Uther’s abilities have long cooldowns, so it’s important to be patient and prioritize not only the order in which these spells are used but which targets you are healing and when. Playing Uther well is something of an art form, especially at the highest level of competitive play.
Shad’s build is straightforward, starting with the level 1 quest, Silver Touch, which reduces the mana cost and increases the range of Holy Light once it’s been completed. Essentially all you have to do is heal off damage that is inflicted from enemy Heroes 80 times. “Generally, it's a really easy quest to complete," Shad said. "If you finish it before level 10, you're completely good. The other day I played Uther against a solo-damage Hanzo, though, and it was a pain to complete! So sometimes I guess… maybe not easy.”
Moving onto level 4, Shad takes Holy Shock, which allows Uther to use his Holy Light on an enemy Hero to inflict a small amount of damage. Once the Silver Touch quest is complete, Holy Shock gets quite a bit more value on the Battlefield. Shad said, “It’s literally almost free! Once you complete the level 1 quest, Holy Shock only costs 5 mana.”
The Case Against Cleanse
Not taking Cleanse on Uther has been considered something of a cardinal sin in the competitive community. Shad comes from a new school of thought when it comes to this subject. He said, “There are some things Cleanse is useful for—for example, Chromie's Temporal Loop and things like that. When you Cleanse someone, you’ve saved that someone, but Cleanse goes on a pretty long cooldown.”
Instead of Cleanse, Shad takes Guardian of Ancient Kings, which gives allied Heroes 50 armor when healed while silenced, stunned, or rooted. “Ninety percent of the time I go [for] this talent because I think it has more potential than Cleanse and it has a much shorter cooldown,” Shad said. “They're going to commit to the Hero that is stunned, but the armor from Guardian of Ancient Kings is going to absorb all that damage and you're going to be able to re-engage. It also has good synergy with the range from the level 1 quest, because you're going to be able to position better.”
Shad almost always takes Divine Shield over Divine Storm at level 10. Level 10 is also where part of Uther’s trait, Eternal Vanguard—allowing him to continue to heal after death—starts to come into play a little more. “In general, a good thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to die if your Divine Shield is up,” Shad said. “You don't want to throw it randomly either. Once you've used Divine Shield, you can die. I mean, obviously don't suicide. But if dying is going to make you win the team fight then it doesn't matter.”
The preferred target for a Divine Shield is a Hero who has a high damage output who wants to be in the middle of a fight. Obviously, you can use it on a squishy ranged damage-dealer as well if needed. “You don't want to use Divine Shield on a Hero that is just going to run away," Shad said. "If possible, you want to give it to a Genji, Greymane, or something like an Illidan—but sometimes you don't have that opportunity and you're just going to be giving it to an Arthas or something, that is completely fine.”
There are other uses for Divine Shield as well, such as helping your team to secure objectives in the late game. “It depends on the situation, really. If there is one alter left on Towers of Doom then you can for sure commit your Divine Shield to capture the Alter. Getting the Alter is basically the reward for winning the fight, right? Sometimes it makes sense to use Divine Shield to capture an objective if it's like, the last, game-ending objective, such as a late-game Dragon Knight.”
Every talent at level 13 serves a different purpose. According to Shad, being flexible here is incredibly important: “I like Blessed Champion for the extra healing. I find it especially useful for when you're pushing a lane and you're able to hit a wall or something. It heals for quite a lot. Then, Well Met is a talent I like a lot against Heroes like Greymane, who are going to jump in. Spell Shield is not a talent I take often but it has its uses. Maybe you're playing against a wombo-combo nuke composition—here it can save your life.”
At level 16, Benediction is Shad’s go-to. “Benediction is a really good talent because Uther has really long cooldowns. It gives you the possibility to basically cast Holy Light (Q) twice, one after the other in the middle of a team fight. This is super-valuable for this build, where you might be using your first Q on a tank that just got stunned to absorb the incoming damage, because then you can use the other Q to heal your carry who might be getting dived by a Genji or something. You can also double-stun people with Hammer of Justice, on a target that you're going to kill or your team is collapsing on.”
Know When to Redeem Redemption
“Basically, with Redemption it's like, you want to die!”
Yes, at level 20, under the right circumstances, you should really try to die, as Uther enters spirit form and can relentlessly heal his allies for eight seconds before returning to the battlefield. “You want to die because Uther's spirit heals so much it's insane," Shad said. "They commit to kill you, they have to use their spells and cooldowns to kill you. You're absorbing their skill shots, it's free value! All that damage you absorb and take. Then you're healing when you're dead, and then you're alive again for free! Redemption is too good to pass on.”
Positioning with Uther is incredibly important, and even more so before your level 1 quest has been completed. You want to be close to your damage-dealers but far enough away that you’re not going to get silenced, stunned, or crowd-controlled (CC’d) because obviously when you are under the effects of CC you can’t help your teammates! “Auto-attacking doesn't matter with Uther, it's not important," Shad said. "Neither is casting your Hammer of Justice (E), honestly. Sometimes even hide in a bush until something happens, that is fine as well. Once you've used your cooldowns, you can go in and die if the situation calls for it. Once you have saved your teammates you can position more aggressively.”
Watch for Shad to play Uther this weekend when Zealots take on Diamond Skin and Leftovers. You can catch all the action right here at playheroes.com/esports.