[HotS] Abathur Character Breakdown
I got into the Heroes of the Storm Alpha 15 days ago. I’ve been having lots of fun. Recently someone on NeoGAF asked about Abathur since he’s free this week. I decided to do a quick character breakdown. As usual, I haven’t actually played as this character, but this is what I’ve learned from hours of playing with and against Abathur, as well as hours of stream viewing.
Abathur Character Breakdown
Abathur never engages foes directly. He’s “not evolved for combat.” So instead he supports his teammates with Symbiote while hiding in a bush or behind a tower. The way XP works in this game, you get credit whenever an enemy minion dies near your body. So you don’t actually have to kill them yourself and just hide in a bush in a lane as the minion waves go back and forth. Easiest way to test; if an enemy minion dies near you and you don’t see any XP pop up from its death, that means that you personally are too far away to get credit.
Abathur also gets XP for any minion that dies near where his Symbiote (Q) is. So at any time he can be hoovering XP from two lanes at once. He doesn’t even need a friendly player for this as he can also latch onto towers and minions. Alternatively, if you have players in every lane your Symbiote causes any 1v1 to become a 1.5 v 1, which can often be the thing that barely saves an ally from death or forces a kill on an enemy.
His Toxic Mines (W) can also decimate a creep wave, so one favorite strategy is to lay one or two mines when two minion waves meet and then use Symbiote just before they explode to get the experience. Toxic Mines also grant vision once they finish their planting animation even if you place them in bushes. They can act as wards if all the lanes are full of friendly players already.
Abathur’s Passive Locusts will naturally push a lane for you. It provides an extra body to a minion wave that will naturally cause that lane to push the enemy towers if left unattended. Most people like to take the extra health for that very reason. Although personally, I’m thinking that on certain maps (Haunted Mines mostly) it’s better to take the range upgrade. The proper circumstance is rare though.
Abathur doesn’t have a mount but his Burrow (Z) but instead has a map wide teleport that he can use to get anywhere his team has vision. This can be used in combination with Toxic Mines to even burrow straight into bushes. An Abathur player can easily place a Toxic Mine to double check to see if an area is clear (your first check should be the mini map), use Burrow to sneak over and Bribe a minion camp on the enemy’s side of the map, then hit B to hearth back to base. This is actually one of the primary reasons Bribe was nerfed. Alternatively, if it’s late into the game and it’s too dangerous for you to get into a position for your Locusts to push a lane, you can temporarily teleport across the map once you see the enemy team pushing somewhere. There’s also a talent that Abathur can take that will allow him to mass spawn three extra Locusts at the press of a button. So you Burrow to a bush, cause four Locusts to suddenly push up with a minion wave onto an enemy inner tower, then hearth out until the next cooldown. You can do this in between cooldowns of your Ult/Heroic ability.
Abathur’s only Heroic Ability choice, Ultimate Evolution (R), clones a friendly player. Ten seconds after you clone that player you get access to their own Heroic Ability. So you know how most of these games are balanced under the idea that you can’t have two of the same character on the same team? Yeah, you get to break that rule. When a team fight happens you get to copy the most imposing hero there (often an Assassin) and double their pressure on the enemy team. Best part? If your clone dies you don’t die, so you can play a lot more aggressive without fear of death. Also to note, your body disappears into the clone when you use this ability, so if you think someone is about to kill you then you can clone a friendly and have a respite for a little while. Unless they’re camping where you morphed from, of course.
Abathur’s advantage comes from the fact that he can easily grab XP and push two lanes at once. While doing this the enemy team can’t do anything about it other than push back harder. But this means that you can have an extra teammate or two free to either roam for gank opportunities or grab Merc Camps super early while the enemy team is stuck having to push back lanes more often than usual.
Abathur’s disadvantage comes from the fact that your team is a man down much of the time, so they quite often need to group up more. Unfortunately, being a man down also means it’s much harder to contest objectives. Your team needs to be sufficient and skilled enough to have the potential to beat the enemy team 4v5 or even 4.5v5 up until level 10. Because of this it’s imperative that you get the XP ball rolling, get lanes pushed so that enemies need to split up and stay in lane or face consequences, and check your mini map often to quickly help out at any sign of engagement or small skirmish.
Abathur is often cited as the hero that allows for the most RTS skill to transfer over rather than MOBA/Hero Brawler skill. So good luck with that. Unless you want an actual talent build to work with I’ll let you explore the character from there.