Heroes, Community & CCL Esports
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Created September 20, 2018

Winning with Twinning

As someone who has been championing the power of Twin Blades for a long time, and with the recent surge in popularity due to HeroesHearth using him in HGC, I wanted to put together a quick guide about the ins and outs of how to play this style of Varian. To start, when playing Twin Blades, know your composition and your enemy composition.

While Twin Blades can absolutely work in a tankless composition, it's far better if you have someone else playing a main tank with you acting as more of a Bruiser/OT type role. However, know your enemy composition as well, as blinds are probably his biggest weakness and can shut down a lot of his damage output. Varian starts off somewhat weaker than most heroes, so it's important to play a little safer pre-level 4, and to a lesser extent level 7, as these are when some of his largest power spikes are. Varian starts out with several weaknesses as well, but the cool thing is he mitigates many of these as he levels, which I'll go into more detail on in the talent section.

Twin Blade Varian is also an incredibly "sticky" hero, owing to the increased movement speed from basic attacks, his charge on E, and his slow on Q, which can make for a really bad time for enemy heroes that are squishy or have no escapes. He is also a very competent Merc killer, and is one of the few Heroes that can solo bosses in a reasonable amount of time while still retaining greater than half his health after the fact. This allows for a lot of really cool plays with the other four members of your team who can continue to soak lanes or distract the enemy (I would not recommend soloing bosses until you hit level 10, though it can be done as early as 7 with perfect execution).

If you're looking for good synergies, anything that can increase his damage or attack speed is strong, because it will also (post 7) contribute to his self-sustain. Morales can be a very strong healer for a Twin Blades (and of course Stim Drone is disgusting), any hero that can slow or root will add to your "stickiness" and ability to deal damage, and a good Abathur can make you an absolute monster with Regenerative Microbes, Adrenal Overload, and Needlespine.
High King's Quest
Quest: Hit 50 Heroes with Basic Attacks. Quest: Participate in 5 Hero Takedowns. Quest: Gather 15 Regeneration Globes. Reward: Completing a Quest grants 10 Base Attack Damage. Completing all 3 Quests grants an additional 30 Base Attack Damage.
This will be your primary level 1 quest. This is awesome because it will provide you with small boosts of basic attack damage (the most important thing to a Twin Blades) as you finish the steps, with a massive boost once you get everything done. Usually the auto attacks will be the quickest to finish, just be careful not to overextend to get them, it's only 50. The kills will happen fairly organically, so the globe part is usually the only one I find myself having to actually focus on collecting.
Twin Blades of Fury
Basic Attacks reduce Heroic Strike's cooldown by 9 seconds, and increase Varian's Movement Speed by 30% for 2 seconds. Passive: Attack Speed increased by 100%. Passive: Base Attack Damage reduced by 25%.
Heroic Strike cooldown reduction, extra movement speed from auto attacks, 100% extra attack speed. Oh yeah. There is a damage reduction as well, I'm sure because Blizzard is afraid of the unchecked power, but we can make up for that with High King's Quest.
Second Wind
Basic Attacks heal Varian for 1% of his maximum Health. While below 50% Health, they also heal him for 50% of the damage dealt.
This is an incredibly important tier, as Second Wind is what gives Varian the sustain he'll need to survive. 1% of your max health every attack (and you're attacking pretty quick now), and when you drop below 50%, you also get healed for 50% of the damage you're doing, making High King's again, even more important as it now can contribute directly to your sustain too.
Shield Wall
Parry grants Protected, preventing all incoming damage while active. Additionally, Parry's cooldown is reduced by 5 seconds, but it loses 1 charge.
So, originally when Varian was reworked the first time, I thought that there was no way anything could compete with Shield Wall, and to be fair it is what I pick a lot of the time. However, Warbringer can be absolutely fantastic situationally too. I will usually go with Shield Wall if the enemy team has a lot of burst damage, or things that can keep me from getting to people quickly to auto attack. Shield Wall can do a great job at mitigating both those things. However, if the enemy team has a lot of sustain or auto attack damage, your standard Parry will usually serve you well enough, and you can go Warbringer. Warbringer brings Charge's cooldown down to 4 seconds which is absolutely bonkers for chasing people down, and keeping them slowed. It also allows you to charge to an Ally in case someone is in need of assistance or for a quick out if things are going south.
Mortal Strike
Heroes hit by Heroic Strike receive 40% reduced healing for 4 seconds.
In a lot of ways this whole tier is very situational, but under many circumstances you will get a ton of value out of Mortal Strike. This allows you to essentially put a permanent 40% healing debuff on your primary target, making them an ideal team focus to kill as well. Shattering throw can also be very useful if you are up against Heroes like Fenix, Artanis, Zarya, and Tassadar, negating much of their mitigation with ease. I occasionally will go Juggernaut under very specific conditions. One, I have to have picked Warbringer as my level 10, otherwise the long cooldown of charge makes it not worth using. For two, the enemy must have at least two high health heroes, though I prefer three. This will allow you to get maximum value when trying to burn down beefy targets.
Banner of Ironforge
Activate to place a Banner that grants 20 Armor to nearby allied Heroes, reducing damage taken by 20%. Lasts 12 seconds.
I go Banner of Ironforge almost 100% of the time with Twin Blades. 20% damage reduction to you and any allies in the area is a massive deal, plus the fact that while you are taking less damage your healing from your auto attacks now counts for even more.
Twin Blades of Fury increases Heroic Strike damage by an additional 25%, and Basic Attacks increase his Movement Speed by an additional 10%.
For this tier I usually switch between two different talents. Most of the time I'll lean towards Frenzy, as it takes what you're good at and makes you even better at it. 15% faster attack speed means that many more Heroic Strikes, that much more damage, that much more self-sustain. Also, this pushes your movement speed bonus to 40% from auto attacks. Now you can laugh as you quickly skip on by the enemy, then murder their faces with your two blades. The other useful talent on this tier is Glory to the Alliance. This reduces the cooldown of your banner, which more uptime on armor is great, but also health regen and all healing received by anyone in the radius by 50% (stay in the radius team, your healer will love you). This includes the healing you're getting from your auto attacks which can fill you back to full pretty quickly. The biggest weakness of this vs Frenzy is that the banner can be destroyed, negating all of the helpful benefits...Frenzy can not!
Balance Patch - 9/20/18
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ty for sharing this build I want to check him out and I like your style :D