Heroes of the Storm: F2P Raynor

May 8, 2015 | | Say something

I set about the task, this morning, of getting Raynor to level 5 to get that sweet, delicious freebie gold bonus.

I realized while tooling around with different talents that while Raynor is by default an assassin, he’s not best used for laning (though what he is best used for does require some minion massacre, it’s best to go in a lane with someone else, rather than solo, so you’re free to move around.)


Level 1

Raiders Recruitment

Holy. Shit. Such windfall. I did not know how powerful mercenaries were, and it wasn’t until I learned how to ping my the mercenary camps that I ever even bothered trying to take one when my team wasn’t already on the task. Even later in the game, when I’m trying to support my mercenaries by killing minions and I get ganked, the mercenary camps near my base have often already regenerated and I have three stacks of “go fuck yourself” to work with.

This is my favorite talent in the game so far. I don’t waste any time/health recruiting mercenaries, and I still get that regen booger thingy. Fantastic.

Give Me More

This was my favorite talent pre-Mercenary Enlightenment. It’s still a solid backup pick if I’m going into a map that lacks the encampments to hire from. Garden Terror, for example, was a pain in the ass with a useless Level 1 Talent. Luckily I often was in control of the Terror anyway, but I’ll have to remember for when the games really matter to not bother with Recruitment on this map.

Seasoned Marksman and Scouting Drone didn’t give me much whole-game value. As much as I hated the last-hit mechanic in League, having that skill made me farm minions for Raiders so much more efficiently, and I find that my play style as Assassin (which it is worth emphasizing: Assassin does not carry) is mostly bursting heroes down as well, not sustained DoT. I find that I only ever am engaging heroes who have already been taken down about halfway by my team.

Seasoned Marksman might be better if I were 1v1 more often, but in team battles I haven’t noticed such an advantage to this talent that I think it’s must-pick.

Scouting Drone has never come into play for me at all, I just assume my hero isn’t intended to be the vision hero, and someone else on the team has it if we need it. Probably not the best assumption to make. It seems like Raynor has Drone just to emphasize how Batman-like his set of utilities are: he has an answer to almost any team setup.

Level 4

Tie: Focused Attack & Activated Rush

I feel like, after I play the other heroes more and am more comfortable managing 3 active abilities (wah wah, I know, git gud) that Activated Rush will eek out the lead here and be my default pick with almost any Raynor build. Focused Attack does sort of feel like an apology for offering Seasoned Marksman as a talent. I am constantly mowing down minions to activate Recruitment, and I try to keep an eye on when Focus triggers to get a little extra damage on Mage Minions, Heroes, and Archer Minions in that order. If an enemy Hero is being focused on, though, that bumps priority for the Focused Attack.

Vampiric Assault was a comfortable pick when I first started because I was worried about all the damage I’d be taking as an Assassin. It turns out that Raynor’s default healing ability is sufficient for the level of dumb damage I tend to walk into.

Confident Aim was my first pick when my builds emphasized Penetrating. When I switched to Puttin’ On A Clinic, later in the build, I felt this was kind of redundant. I don’t feel like choosing Confident Aim gives me enough time¬† advantage to feel it’s worth invalidating older talents with newer ones.

Level 7

Hamstring Shot

I’ve pretty much never enjoyed taking anything else. This was the only consistently useful ability for me, and it synergizes with Executioner, simplifying my late game Talent pick considerably. That’s actually important for me, because I tend to lose my ability to make snap decisions on my build when I’m using all of my ability to reason on what’s happening in the field.

Mercenary Lord would be my go-to pick every time, if I didn’t have to babysit my Mercenaries. I did pick this for a couple of games because I noticed I was sitting close to them anyway, to buff their attack speed, but in more complicated games with other objectives to worry about… it just sucks… unless I’ll have my whole team backing a Mercenary push (and how am I going to coordinate that shit with a bunch of random assholes?)

Fight or Flight is a little too conditional. I feel like I would need someone constantly harassing me with personal-vendetta-levels of gimping for this to come into play. But in practice, Raynor is just not a high enough priority target. Escaping from a mis-timed core ris probably the only consistent time I’d need to use this. I don’t like the idea of relying on a talent when I could just get slightly better at the game.

Revolution Overdrive is sort of my instinctive go-to. It’s probably a 70/30 split between Hamstring and this with regard to picking something without really deciding to pick it. This is strictly better than Fight or Flight, because the condition that I be in a team fight is something that happens fairly regularly.

Level 10


The only time I like Raiders is for objectives. Dragon Shire, Blackheart’s Bay, and Sky Temple really give you value for picking Raiders because of how often the map forces me into 1v1 situations. For 20 seconds, I have a backup hero, and it’s usually enough to chase off an enemy or finish off a gutsy one. Particularly in Dragon Shire, my most-played map of those three. In almost every other case, Hyperion sweeps. Quickly clear a lane (kind of a weak use for it though), smash through walls and massively damage forts (personal favorite) or just getting enemies to scatter when we go for Core (even better if they don’t, since it often leads to a Domination.)

Incidentally, Hyperion is also the name of a starship from a different series that I really enjoy. I don’t know anything about Starcraft, so I have no idea if it’s a reference.

Level 13

Tie: Giant Killer & Puttin’ On A Clinic

Giant Killer: Because fucking warriors. I generally do feel like improving auto attack damage is a wasted effort, but this is so good. It cleans up. Muradin isn’t so confident around me after level 13. Bastard.

Clinic: I haven’t timed how much my damage output changes if I can Penetrating more often, but that’s not really why I take this.¬† When I know I can take a lot of Merc camps. Clinic really makes cleaning up minions a breeze.

Double Barreled is great if you’re really focused on Penetrating your enemies. I’m not, but when I tried it, I had a lot of fun faking out my opponents by missing the first Penetrating shot and watching them turn around and run right into the second, killing them.

Steel Resolve pure garbage. If you chose Activated Rush earlier, this might be part of a path to making a supportive Raynor build, where you’re constantly Inspiring people. Seems like a waste of a Hero to make that build, to me. Even if you do want to be super-inspirational, PoaC does a fine job of refreshing your Inspire while also being more beneficial overall.

Level 17


In almost every game I played, I had Malfurion/Jaina/Muradin trotting around slowing/stunning/rooting people, which made this an easy pick for me. I only had one game that didn’t have them, but had Arthas, and I didn’t know Executioner synergized with him, so I picked Bullseye instead.

Bullseye is better if you have Double Barreled, which I rarely do. Stun, get closer while auto-attacking, second Penetrating either kills or gives you time to chip for the kill.

Relentless Leader and Berserk are garbage. Berserk either needs a shorter cooldown or a longer-lasting effect. I vote cooldown. In the minute it takes to cool down, I’ve usually forgotten that I even have it… Relentless Leader is just Fight or Flight 2: The Fighting Flighteners. If you’re in a position where you need this: stop sucking so much.

Level 20

Nexus Frenzy

Though this is the clear winner, I want to also make clear that there isn’t really a bad choice at Level 20… it’s just that by the time you’re level 20, the benefits the other three provide simply aren’t enough to change the game in a major way. Hyperion doesn’t need the boost, you probably haven’t even picked Raiders anyway, and if you already have Puttin’ on A Clinic, you don’t need A Card to Play.

Bolt of the Storm is a distant second, heh heh heh. While I do tend to play a harassin’ more than a straight assassin, by the time you’re level 20 you’ll know if you actually need this: if you’re prioritized in team fights. I have almost never been. I must prefer the strict upgrade to DPS than the arguable survivability benefits provided here.

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