Valeera: Not So Terrible After All

Forgot to do a post last week, my bad there.  We’re about three weeks into season 4 and I still haven’t done placements, so I guess this weekend/the next post will be all about that.  But for this week, things are going pretty well with Valeera now, though I still can’t figure out how to be successful with the librarian (AKA silence) build from that guide I linked last week.  But, here’s how it went for me.

Level 1: Subtlety, Combat Readiness, Vigor (in descending order of preference)

Combat readiness is the anti auto-attack choice, especially in quick match when you’re unlikely to have a healer.  It’s great at protecting you from auto attacks after you eviscerate someone, setting you up for the next one.

As for vigor, it sounds good, but try getting 20 regen globes as Valeera in less than 15 minutes.  It’s even harder to complete this quest than it is for the Butcher to get 125 meat (and far less tasty).

Oh, and to answer my own question from last week: crippling poison isn’t more popular because it’s easy enough to land a three-point eviscerate without it.  Ambush/cheap shot, (probably) sinister strike, you’re there.  If you got unstealthed before landing one of those, you shouldn’t be chasing anyway.

Level 4: Initiative

This is really the only choice.  Wound poison seems good, but at best, you’re only going to stop one heal with it (or with continuous healing, a few seconds’ worth).  The only hero that really cares about this is a Rehgar who Ancestrals someone after you poison them.  It’s just not worth giving up the extra damage that a free combo point via initiative gives you (and a block charge, if you went combat readiness).

Level 7: Assassinate, Mutilate, Fatal Finesse (distant 3rd)

I’d take mutilate only when I’m facing an auto-attack team, because it combines well with cheap shot/blind.  Assassinate for the other times.

Fatal finesse (quest to hit people with blade flurry) is something I’ve had zero success with, probably because I reread the guide just now and realized I was doing it all wrong.  But, that’s probably because it’s only supposed to be used against double healer teams, and how many of those you see in quick match?

Anyway, for fatal finesse you absolutely must take wound poison, or it’s pointless.  So you open, activate poison, then flurry on everyone you can, inflicting poison on them all.

Level 10: Smoke Bomb, Cloak of Shadows (distant second)

Cloak is only supposed to be used in the anti-healer build, which I haven’t had much luck with for reasons I just mentioned.

With smoke, remember that it doesn’t work if you move out of the cloud.  Get used to escaping death with it, or you’ll have teammates telling you to kill yourself like I did.

Level 13: Death from Above, Blind (distant second)

Blind is just extra protection from auto-attack teams, and great against solo auto attackers.  Cheap shot, which blinds them; then sinister strike, which will get you up to 3 combo points while they’re stunned; when they recover, eviscerate, which will grant you block, but they can’t hit you anyway, because they’re blinded.

Level 16: Expose Armor, Seal Fate (distant second)

Seal Fate is only for the anti-AA build.

Level 20: Nightslayer

Cold blood is more popular, but I forget to use it sometimes.  I’ll have to fix that.  Nightslayer should be only for those times when you’re getting revealed a lot.  For example today I played against a Zagara, Nazeebo, Butcher, Alarak, Abathur team.  It’s really tough to get an ambush off against that.

Now for general guidelines:

Do everything you can to let someone else engage.  You’re far better when you land an assassinate/cheap shot.  I’m not a big fan of garrote.  Maybe I’d use it if I could guarantee that someone died during its effect, but when does that ever happen?

If you’re ambushing, use sinister strike, then eviscerate.  It’s harder to hit with than blade flurry, so you might be tempted to use that instead, but you’ll have a harder time following it up with eviscerate because of flurry’s higher energy cost.  So choose wisely.

If you’re using cheap shot, you have to use sinister strike, because seal fate gives you an extra combo point and damage against stunned targets.  It’d be a total waste to use flurry.  You can then land a 3 point eviscerate before they get away.

Don’t panic when you throw down a smoke bomb.  A lot can happen in its five second duration, such as the opportunity to re-stealth and land an ambush or something.  Just remember to stay in the cloud.

If it’s really hard to stay stealthed, you could always let someone engage, stealth right next to them, then open, because even if they know you’re there you’re unrevealable for a split second.

Play like you don’t have stealth, i.e. don’t chase and don’t fight 1v2 or something just because the enemy’s low on health.

Next week: Butcher guide?  Placement match results?  We’ll see.  Valeera probably won’t make the cut for ranked play though.

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