EVERY Way to Throw, Every Build You Can Go
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It’s time. I can’t put this off any longer. Cover your ears folks; we’re covering a real tank. The world is ending, the fat lady’s about to sing. Let’s dive in!
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I'm only doing this for twitch subs Today’s lesson: throwing the right way with Garrosh Hellscream! The son of Grommash needs no introduction, so let’s dive in!
Garrosh’s kit packs about as much CC as a dev team can legally add, with talents offering adaptable tools for virtually any scenario. This tank can Wall, Pick, and Flank with the best of them, but before we get to classifications, let’s apply our tank model!
Hellscream's Eyes are Upon You!
As a reminder, I break down tanks by the following six categories: Scout, Sustain, Peel, Threat, Engage, and Escape.
Garrosh has terrible scouting, bordering a fail; with Warbreaker completed, Q-ing bushes becomes okay, but it’s certainly not a selling point.
He possesses excellent sustain, both through his base armour (1 per 2% of missing Max HP), as well as his W, Bloodthirst. The latter will also increase healing for missing HP, up to almost 20% if used on an enemy hero while at 1 HP yourself. Notice a trend? Garrosh has higher Effective Health the lower Actual Health he sits at, making you more durable the lower you get. This also increases the effectiveness of allied healing, since Armour makes each point of Healing achieve more damage mitigation.
The Warlord has phenomenal Peel and Threat, bordering on the best available to any base kit since Medivh’s Portal and ETC’s Loud Speakers. You can quite literally lob a teammate out of their impending doom, simultaneously cleansing and armouring them to boot. You’ve got two slows baseline, a third on an ultimate, and a fourth on a talent, since the first three weren’t quite enough. Your Q stuns, your E deports, and when all that just isn’t enough, you’ve got access to a (short range!) two second AoE silence. If you can’t kill with this kit, the problem isn’t the kit.
Now, all of that? From the opponent’s perspective, that’s a metric fuckton of battlefield control. In terms of the Wall Tank, Garrosh is the pinnacle. You’ve got solutions to every single situation imaginable, including impending time stops and hostile CC. Not hard to imagine this is the highest threat base kit on a main tank, now is it? You’re comparable to a Stitches with Fishing Hook right out of the gates, and millions of player deaths can be attributed to forgetting that simple fact.
Your Engage is two-pronged; you can Wall and Gate till opponents run low on CDs, then walk up to the tank and engage in parley, or you can come in charging on your mount off the flank. Both are valid, both need to be employed to win.
Finally, his Escape, or complete lack thereof; flavourfully, Garrosh does not retreat. It’s not from a lack of trying, more a complete inability; short an Indomitable to escape a CC chain, you have no ability to disengage the enemy team sans furious right clicks. This tank commits to engagements, so choose them wisely.
Alright, let’s circle back around; I’ve used the term Wall a few times now, as well as the term Gate. You know those definitions I’m so fond of? There are a couple more we can apply to help improve our tanking comprehension. Don’t worry, we’ll blow through these quick.
Wall Tanks hold the frontline. It’s a basic necessity for every tank to Wall in some capacity, as you’re often the only thing with the
bravery kit necessary to do so, but some tanks hold advantages over others; namely, the ability to Gate. Gating is simple; think of the portcullis on a big castle gate slamming shut, trapping invaders outside, while locking up anything within. Wall tanks will allow one or two opponents into their clutches, then isolate them from their team. An ETC will achieve this with a boop into a slide, while a Garrosh can achieve this with the classic Throw->Q Stun->Taunt the enemy team. More on this under Builds & Playstyles.
Dive Tanks enable backline penetration; their threat, perceived or otherwise, creates space for fellow dive assassins to wreak havoc, and they trade efficiently for cooldowns through sudden aggression and intimidation.
Pick Tanks are those that can make a kill out of a straggling hero; alternatively, those that sit in a bush and watch their prey walk into them. Muradin and Stitches are some excellent examples, where a hook will turn a hero into mincemeat, or a sudden stormbolt will invite a quick 100-0.
Finally, Flank Tanks are those that achieve great value by appearing suddenly in close proximity, either through ultimate usage or simply mounting up and sprinting. Sindragosa, Stage Dive, and Falling Sword are some traditional examples of ultimate-based flanking, but hitting Z and walking a few steps is often just as effective. Virtually every tank is terrifying coming in on the flank, so be sure to use these often!
Finally, a footnote; most tanks can do most of these, to varying degrees of efficacy. Flanking is more a style than a kit, as is Diving and Gating. Only Picks truly require something out of a baseline kit, that being a means to engage (such as Shadow Charge) or the ability to suddenly isolate (such as Holy Ground). These are more styles than limitations, and can be applied across most heroes in the game.
Alright, now that we’ve covered basic definitions, let’s move on to the kit!
I lead from the front!
Firstly, as we’ve mentioned, Garrosh clocks in at a relatively low 2060 Base HP, but that’s compensated for with enormous potential armour gain. You receive a point of armour for every 2% of your maximum HP you’re missing; at 50% HP, you’ve got 25 armour. At 1 HP, you’ve got 49. It’s worth noting that every point of armour is more valuable than the point before it, since armour scales exponentially, not linearly; 75 armour isn’t 25% more damage mitigation than 50 armour, it’s 200% more. Likewise, 50 armour is effectively twice your base hit points, whereas 25 is only 44% more.
Here’s an excellent post by ChaosOS explaining Garrosh’s armour. Note his HP was buffed after this article came out!
The second part of Garrosh’s kit to consider is his W, Bloodthirst. You deal about an auto attack of damage whilst healing for 10% of your MISSING health, doubled versus heroes. At 50% HP, you’ll heal for 10% of your bar; at 1%, you’ll heal for almost 20%. This spell is far more valuable at low health, and the longer you can hold out, the more effective HP you’ll have. Be brave!
Garrosh’s Q requires little introduction, but I like to remind players that Groundbreaker also slows by 40% for 2 seconds. This is a lot more compelling than it first reads; hitting two or three heroes with a 40% slow makes them fishbait for your ranged DPSes, and sets your team up nicely for success. The stun is just gravy, more useful for interrupting abilities and disrupting channels than anything else.
Garrosh’s E sit in a similar boat; Wrecking Ball slows by 30% for 2.5 seconds, and in an AoE. This is another major component of the huge displacement; it means that the E is more valuable against immobile targets, excepting when you have Warlord’s Challenge, since they’ll struggle to escape. Wrecking Ball is also useful for disengaging an opponent, especially if they spent a spell with a long CD, like The Hunt or Ultralisk. As long as you uptrade, it’s usually a good trade. If you’re deporting an opponent, be sure to throw them onto their team, then follow-up with a Q; this halts most engages dead in their tracks.
Finally, we’ll get to Garrosh’s ultimates - and contrary to popular opinion, both are absolutely viable. It’s not a niche situation either; I’m confident stating that the majority of SL scenarios will benefit more from Decimate than from Warlord’s Challenge, independent from build. One of these ultimates lets you constantly control battlefield space and deal damage; the other will only help you insofar as your team can followup.
Warlord’s Challenge is as well-known as Garrosh; a 50 second cooldown with 2 seconds of Taunt. Incidentally, Taunt is coded as a silence. The key to Warlord’s is that it’s an AoE; while it can be used to lockdown a single target, Warlord's Challenge is often far better at locking the enemy team, after you’ve thrown a single target to the feeding frenzy.
Decimate is slightly more obscure, seeing infrequent play – but having almost permanent uptime with enormous effect. Decimate enables you to slow nearby heroes (where else have we seen a 40% slow today?) as well as deal about two-thirds of an auto attack in an AoE at a 4 unit radius. This increases Garrosh’s “threat” range from the edge of his Q to anywhere within that circle; once slowed, the target will be cleansed, use an escape, or get thrown.
It’s as simple as that; Decimate is an excellent engage, a strong solution to stacked opponents, and a powerful supplementary damage tool. Dealing 100 (scaling!) damage might not sound glamorous until you consider it’s in addition to your hard-hitting autos, your E, W, and Q; Garrosh is a system of many small bleeds, adding up to consequently larger numbers. One spin on three targets is 300 (scaling!) damage; spin again, double; spin again, triple; spin again, quadruple. You’ll get an additional charge off triple three-man spins, and at that point you’ve done 1200 (s c a l i n g) damage. Damage off a main tank is incredibly important, because it’s virtually always on a kill target. In the thick of things, you’re typically the focal point of the bloodbath, and anything you touch can be thrown even further in.
Alright! That does it for Garrosh’s base kit and fundamentals. Whew, that was a mouthful; feel free to take a break before we roll into playstyles and builds!
Garrosh has enormous talent diversity. Again, contrary to what the hivemind tells you, there’s often a lot more available than when you initially scratch the surface.
Stand tall and proud
All-purpose Wall Garrosh:
Warbreaker – Indomitable – Into the Fray – Decimate – Defensive Measures – Wrecking Ball – Titanic Might
Some of these talent names will be unfamiliar to you, and the ultimate choice might scare you off – the best advice I can give is power needs to be experienced, not read about. Use the build in the right situation, and you’ll begin to see the multitude of ways a hero can shine.
At level one, pick Warbreaker. The end goal on Warbreaker is the 2 second Q CDR reduction, allowing you to more consistently interrupt abilities or lockdown groups. Again, the point of Garrosh’s Q is to hit as many targets as possible; don’t be afraid to throw a tank onto his backline and CC the lot of them!
At level four, pick Indomitable. You’ll use the self-cleanse to bait hostile abilities, survive CC trains, and create a lot of personal safety while risking your neck on the frontlines. Often, just having Indomitable available discourages enemy CC usage.
At level seven, pick Into the Fray. You’ll use this to shepherd your flock, lobbing them out of CC trains, incoming damage, and general poor positioning. Knowledge of enemy engages is a cornerstone of good tank play; use it to Fray your teammates proactively.
At level ten, I’d recommend Decimate over Warlord’s Challenge. With Q build Garrosh, you’re a Wall tank designed to win sustained engagements where multiple Q uses generate increasing value. You constantly control hostile space, dealing steady damage and setting up your DPS for success. To that end, you want the sustained ultimate, not the burst one. Additionally, with Defensive Shielding at thirteen, you’re designed for long, brawlly fights, not one-and-done explosions. If you prefer that style, skip forward; there are better builds for Warlord’s Challenge!
At level thirteen, pick Defensive Measures. Note that it effectively “pauses” your armour value when it’s procced, but can be used effectively at maximum health, so it’s a very reasonable way to start the fight. Be mindful of taking advantage of your increased health; gain some ground, or steal some damage meant for a squishy!
At level sixteen, pick Mortal Combo. Remember your game plan; Q Garrosh is a generalist Wall tank. Your purpose is to control enemy space, and a big part of that is deporting an enemy to disengage them, or Gating them for the kill. Mortal Combo lets you displace quickly back-to-back, allowing you to double throw a hapless victim or achieve multiple cooldowns of value with a successive E-Q-E. Uptrading is the name of the game; look to get significant enemy abilities!
And finally, at twenty, pick Titanic Might. Deadly Calm is a reasonable alternative if fights go incredibly long or very short, but Titanic Might enables you to carry by simply lobbing two targets, stunning them, spinning, and lobbing them again. Titanic Might lets you combo two heroes with Mortal Combo, and is the best one-tank displacement combo in the game. Heroes are effectively stunned and silenced in mid-air, and creative use will allow you to gate multiple heroes.
With this build, you want to channel your inner Portcullis; you’re the castle, moat and all, impenetrable and sturdy. Don’t take needless damage; rather, look to control hostile space simply by moving forwards and backwards on your mount, then Decimating your way to victory once your key DPS are in position.
I’ll say this again, ensure you’re not taking unnecessary damage; many Garrosh’s will flounder back and forth in the no-man's-land between their team and the enemy damage. Every point of HP you enter a teamfight with is relevant, and it helps no one friendly to be missing half of that at the beginning of the fight. Keep your distance or close it rapidly; do not faff about in the middle. Make a decision – then follow through!
Need to start a fight? Back up out of vision, mount up, and proceed to the enemy backline completely out of vision. A visible Garrosh is an annoyance; an unseen one is a menace. Applies to most tanks, but especially to you, because your engage is using your only mobility tool – your mount, out of vision.
Right; with that out of the way, let’s venture into the unknown. The following is a build that’s been utilised to climb straight to #1 GM NA this season; it’s a unique style that I was made aware of thanks to RussDT - credit to him for utilising it most effectively in recent memory – but has seen play in the past, and is beginning to resurface. It’s effectively a DPS Tank build that allows Garrosh to virtually 1v5, holding the frontline while simultaneously drawing enemy Aggro, creating space, and dealing sustained damage.
Body Check Garrosh (Gameplay here!)
Body Check – Thirst for Battle – Oppressor – Decimate – Bloodcraze – Mortal Combo – Deadly Calm
There’s going to be a lot here that’s unfamiliar to most of you, so let’s start with the talents and move forward from there.
At level one, pick Body Check. It gives you an additional engage, especially from your mount, and reduces received healing by 30%; this can make or break the difference in securing a kill, and is excellent into burst healing such as Ancestral, Diablo W, or Sonya E.
At level four, pick Thirst for Battle. This effectively doubles your survivability, since your primary defensive tool is yor W; specifically, you’re looking to use your W when you’re as low as possible, in order to maximise the healing. The effect is your opponents see you at low health and tunnel on you; kite backwards and auto attack to reset your W, then continue to bait them forwards. It also incentivises you to constantly land autos!
At level seven, pick Oppressor. This reduces spell power of auto-attacked opponents by 40% for 2.5 seconds. The primary danger to you when you’re at low health is being bursted from 30-0 by large, single-source damages such as Alarak Q and Jaina E. Oppressor gives you defense against the most dangerous type of damage there is; barring Minigun and Last Rites, the main way you’re going to die is through bypassing the majority of your low-hp armour by simply one-shotting you at a threshold above.
If you’re at 600 HP and an opponent deals 600 effective damage, they’ve made your armour significantly less impactful. If you’re at 600 HP and they deal 10 damage 60 times, they’re incapable of killing you, as the armour increasing as you go down in HP will mitigate more and more damage. Burst Spells and Percent Damage are your biggest threat; oppressor mitigates the former.
At level ten, pick Decimate. This is your primary sustained damage tool, besides your auto-attacks, and is a huge part of your threat. It increases your threat radius to the edge of the circle, as that’s how far away you can engage from. Hitting four heroes with all three charges will effectively give you two additional charges, factoring in the time to cast, CD reduction, and delay between charges. At ten, this is 740 damage across 4 targets, equaling 2960 damage total. Garrosh wants to get into the thick of things and stay there as long as possible, setting up kills by reducing the enemy’s overall resources and drawing aggression.
At level thirteen, pick Bloodcraze. When at low HP, your armour is most effective; press W as close to death as you can, and you’ll not only gain nearly 20% of your HP bar, but another 15% over 3 seconds. You can W every 5 seconds with optimal autos, so you’re effectively constantly healing for <7% of your HP bar per second, factoring in armour. You’re the king of sustain, make sure you don’t get bursted!
At level sixteen, pick Mortal Combo. Simply your kill tool, a double throw on an immobile target is a death sentence. Earthshaker is a reasonable alternative if you need additional lockdown or an interrupt.
At level twenty, once again, pick Deadly Calm. While 25% damage reduction might not sound like much, proc it enough and you’ll significantly hamper the enemy’s kill potential; remember that you’re a sustain king, and that anything enabling even a few seconds of survivability can buy you time to get another 35% Max HP heal off.
Okay, let’s talk playstyle!
Body Check Garrosh is a brawler, as you’ve gathered; you tank by creating space. Space is a lull in enemy cooldowns or the distance between heroes, whichever is more relavent in the context; it allows you to take pressure off of the rest of your team by drawing aggression, which often results in opponents clumping in an attempt to maximise damage.
Additionally, with your E->Q, you can ‘reset’ a fight when the heat is too high. This givies you breathing room to cast an auto and, vitally, get another W. This build centers around creating space to get another W; your auto attacks are the foundation of your efficacy, and everything in this build works together to enable that. An excellent tool for incentivising good stutter stepping, and damn fun to boot!
Finally, we’ll move into the more difficult variants. First up is Isolation/Pick Potential Garrosh, which has two major build options. The first is going to look very familiar, while the second will feature some lesser-seen elements.
Standard Q Garrosh
Warbreaker – Indomitable – Into the Fray – Warlord's Challenge – Defensive Measures – Earthshaker – Titanic Might
Cut-and-dry, this is the build that most’ve you are accustomed to. You have a good amount of versatility, with the caveat that you really need your ultimate available to post significant threat – down your ultimate, you’re little more than a set of 0.5s stuns and a displacement. With it up, you boast one of the strongest one-man CC chains available in HoTS, and have the capacity to single-handedly enable any number of damage followups to easily pop off.
While your most ideal playstyle involves walking up and taunting the entire enemy team, it’s rarely that simple. If you’re operating as the frontline, bide your time until the enemy tank or frontline overextends, giving you the opportunity to step up and lock down. Alternatively, if your team needs an engage, you can utilise your mount to find a flanking action – you'll be hard-pressed to lose an engage if you throw and taunt the enemy support, for example.
On that note, Taunt while your throw target is mid-air; this will ensure they’re CCed the entire time from the throw through to the landing. This is especially relevant for characters with saves or escapes, such as Tracer’s Recall or Genji’s E. It’s also just as relevant on characters that have strong counter-engages, like Malfurion’s Twilight Dream or ETC’s Mosh Pit. Be sure you’re not granting the enemy a free engage when you throw them in – this is one of the biggest challenges for rookie Garrosh’s, and is a big pitfall to overcome!
The best-case scenario involves throwing an enemy onto their team, stunning them with the 16 AoE stun, walking up during the stun, and taunting them all. The more targets you can silence, the better – be on the lookout for enemy clumps, and take advantage of them!
Unrivaled Strength – Indomitable – Into the Fray – Warlord's Challenge – Double Up – Mortal Combo – Titanic Might
Okay, NOW we’re talking. One man wombo-combo? Sign me UP. A significant jump up in difficulty, in exchange for a hell of a lot more reward. A build favoured in competitive, where the followup is swift, and violent. Unrivaled Strength grants a 25% range increase on Wrecking Ball, allowing you to displace enemies significantly further. A paltry 25% might not sound that enticing – until you realise that every step a displaced backliner has to take is precious seconds of concentrated DPS your team can output.
Additionally, the purpose of this build isn’t just to displace a target – it's to lockdown the entire enemy team. How? By simultaneously throwing an enemy to the frenzy, while taunting off the enemy team with a Warlord’s Challenge. An incredibly effective strategy into teams relying on saves (Anduin’s Trait, Ancestral, Divine Shield) or for simply isolating stragglers and showing them to the respawn screen.
This build also offers a variety of niche applications; on Cursed or Alterac, Unrivaled Strength allows you to displace opponents directly into your forts. On Dragon Shire, you can disengage a hero from siege camp to the mid-lane, denying the enemy their tank - during a Siege Camp invade, for example.
The most valuable trait Unrivaled offers, however, is the level 20 combo; by throwing two targets twice back-to-back, you can deal ~900 damage per target; do it twice with a Mortal Combo, and that’s (at twenty) 3947 total damage, with a double E, Q, and immediate second double E. ‘Nuff said.
The prime value of this build is in your ability to isolate a prime target while simultaneously subduing their team. With good game sense, you’ll achieve a respawn every time you throw post ten – the downside is being tied to a 50 second cooldown to execute your gameplan, and of course, the knowledge required to execute it – if that sounds daunting, don’t worry! Getting in there and practicing will give you exactly what you need – an understanding of what works, and what doesn’t. Partner with a DPS player, learn to co-ordinate abilities, or expand your awareness – there are dozens of ways to improve upon tanking, and trying new builds will get you there!
Finally, we’ll take a look at a build that could very well quietly be the highest potential hypercarry build on a tank. Certainly boasting the most esoteric mechanic: the long-dreaded last hit!
Unrivaled Strength – In For the Kill – Variable – Variable – Variable – Variable – Variable
Right, first things first; what’s with all the 'Variables’? Waveclear Garrosh only really requires two specific talents; the 125% damage increase on Wrecking Ball at 1, and In For the Kill at four. What’s In for the Kill?
Waveclear is worth its weight in gold. Johanna is picked almost solely for her capability to efficiently nuke waves. Blaze is a fantastic main tank, almost solely enabled through strong clear and AoE damage. Hell, main tank Xul (and for those who don’t recognise that phrase, it is absolutely a thing ) was experimented with as a means to load efficient wave and camp clear onto the tank, allowing significant flexibility in the remainder of the draft.
Taking a brawl-heavy, fiesta-abusing tank like Garrosh is a defensive measure; by taking it yourself, you ensure the enemy cannot abuse it to run your team over. But adding waveclear to that system? That blows the equation right out of the water. You’ve got fantastic teamfight, excellent walling, the ability to wombo combo, and the ability to one-man macro. That’s an award-winning recipe; the only comparison is ETC, and he doesn’t get that till 7.
The downside? Mechanically intensive last-hitting. This build isn’t for everyone, and to those who really give it a shot – I applaud you. My biggest advice would be to go to Settings>Mouse and Keyboard, turn on cursor crosshairs, and make your cursor as small as possible. This increases click-by-click accuracy, without ruining your ability to follow your mouse. I myself am looking forward to trying this build quite a bit more in the future!
As for later talents, you have the option to build in any direction you please; Warlord’s Challenge and Double Up for isolation, Oppressor and Decimate for skirmishing, Mortal Combo and Titanic Might for nuking – the world’s your oyster.
And that’s it for builds! We’ve covered every major variation of talents I know of. If there’s something I’ve left out – please make me aware of it! I’ve given you all the talent knowledge I hold. Now, let’s apply it!
Watch a real warrior at work!
Part of the thrill of HoTS is discovering new things; combinations, synergies, diverging talent paths – and then using them. Part of the value of the knowledge in this guide is textbook – knowing what does what, how X interacts with Y – but a big part of it is where you can apply it. To that end, when do you pick each build?
To make it simple, we can break Garrosh down into three major styles; two with Decimate, and one with Warlord’s Challenge.
If you need to wall, pick Decimate. The frequent area control can be combined with either of Warbreaker/Indom/Fray/Defensive OR Body Check/Thirst For Battle/Oppressor/Bloodcraze, whichever seems more effective for the composition; Warbreaker gives you more interrupts and AoE, while Body Check gives you better single-target focus (via healing reduction).
If you need to create picks, choose Warlord’s Challenge. It enables both single-target and teamwide lockdown, making it easier for your team to followup with colossal focus fire.
If you’re looking to up your game, pick In For the Kill at 4; practicing last hitting is a fantastic minigame that rewards strong mechanics with excellent waveclear, and waveclear carries games on its own.
If you need cleanses, opt for Indomitable and Into the Fray.
Know your place!
Garrosh’s place in the draft is unique amongst tanks; because of his monumental kill pressure, Garrosh is virtually S tier in all of SL, simply due to too many people walking up to him and dying. The sad truth is the vast majority of people will die at some point if the enemy team has Garrosh; to deny this, pick a tank that reacts well to a throw (ETC, Anub’arak, Johanna) or simply pick him yourself. Done!
Garrosh has builds for every situation imaginable; he can function as virtually every type of tank you need. So, rather than strengths, let’s go over weaknesses.
Firstly, Garrosh is immobile; he suffers greatly from slows and zoning tools. Junkrat W, Jaina’s Chill, and ETC’s Loudspeakers are some prime examples of tools that’ll stop you dead in your tracks. Of course, with Indomitable, you can play into your opponents presumed safety to go through these tools and create a kill – alternatively, you can simply close the distance on your mount or outside of vision. Finally, you can, ahem, incentivise your opponents to close the distance with you. Drawing aggro is tanking after all!
Secondly, all of Garrosh’s tankiness comes through his armour. He has a relatively miniscule health pool compared to most tanks, and that’s compensated for via armour and his W burst-heal. However, this is not without a cost; Garrosh is extremely vulnerable to percentage damage. Beware Kharazim’s Seven Sided Strike, Tychus’ Minigun (the only situation where a Tychus should go In the Rhythym is into an enemy Garrosh; always go Bigger They Are otherwise!), and Malthael’s Last Rites and Mortality.
Thirdly, Garrosh has intensive decision making. Sure, you can braindead E into Q, but there’s usually a whole host of options available to you. Do you save your E to disengage the enemy damage? Taunt the tank or the Greymane? Indomitable the Stukov R or try to sidestep it? Garrosh can challenge even the best players’ ability to think on their feet, and will strongly reward efficient, intentional ability usage.
What are you waiting for?
Garrosh can pair well with burst and sustained damage alike, able to enable any type of DPS in the game with his incredible build diversity. He sets up combo mages particularly well, and his AoE Taunt can be fantastic as both a follow up (Dragon Arrow) or a set up (Wailing Arrow).
Garrosh does will with a second beefy frontliner, particularly ones that benefit from Into the Fray – throwing a Dehaka for a tongue or a Blaze for a stun is a creative application of that tool.
Healers will love or hate you, depending on your ability to avoid damage. You generally require very little healing, since you’re mostly self-sufficient at lower HP values, and generally only lose HP when the teamfight is over or ending.
To that end, you benefit most from characters that’ll protect you from burst (Crystal Aegis, Sound Barrier) or offer pockets of burst heal when you’re low (Deckard Potions, Ana Q). Uther in particular synergises fantastically with you – Garrosh is the only hero in the game left capable of armour-stacking, I.e., benefiting from multiple sources of positive armour. Uther makes your healthbar virtually twice as effective near half your bar, and is a fantastic accompaniment.
One particularly disgusting synergy is Garrosh + Displacement; additional displacement allows you to absolutely eject a target from all realms of safety; Alarak combo into Garrosh throw is revolting to play or play against, capable of pulling someone half a lane to their death. Another strong contender for the king of filth is Garrosh E into Junkrat W, allowing you to lob someone from the center of a lane into your fort – potentially CCed the whole time thanks to Garrosh’s E functioning as a stun and a Junkrat trap providing a silence.
An important note is to recognise which Garrosh your team would benefit the most from, and assume that role. If you’ve got a sustained damage heavy team, build for sustained brawly fights; if you’re comprising of nuclear burst but poor over-time performance, pick up Warlord’s and get on the flank. An unseen Garrosh is a deadly one!
I'll go where I want to go!
What's involved in playing Garrosh well? There are a few constants regardless of build, so let's list them!
Firstly, minimise the damage you take. Good Garrosh players will enter a teamfight with a fullbar of resources, HP and MP, and a slew of cooldowns. Poor Garrosh players enter that teamfight with half a bar, thanks to facetanking a DPS sitting just outside of range. Respect the enemy DPS, and do not throw your health away.
Secondly, MOUNT UP. If you’re not clearing a wave, mount up. If you finish taking a camp, mount up. If you’re trading blows with the enemy team – m o u n t u p. A bonus 30% movespeed is crucial for creating picks and finding engagements, especially on an immobile tank. Take advantage of this! Use chokes, the long way around, bushes, natural terrain - whatever it takes to arrive on the enemy team without them seeing your approach. You'll win games for free if you learn this habit!
Thirdly, learn when (and when NOT) to throw. One of the first lessons aspiring Garrosh players will learn is that it’s not always correct to throw a target in. There’s an enormous difference between an ETC with mosh up and one who’s used every cooldown including powerslide; the latter is a burger, the prior will wipe your team. Poor throws give the enemy good engages; good throws give your team a hapless target. Think about which is which on the load in!
Fourthly, practice interrupting enemy abilities deliberately. Each game, pick an enemy cooldown you can deny with a good stun, and look to consistently shut that hero down. Whether it’s a Stukov E, a Brightwing Z, or something as simple as an Arthas stepping up, target something tangibly valuable for the enemy team, and look to constantly disable it. When you feel proficient, up the difficulty to two abilities that matter to you.
And finally, recognise and respect the enemy’s threat. Countless Garrosh players have no clue what to do when they get 100-0ed simply by stepping up to the enemy ETC. But if they’d taken a moment to think, they’d realise that a CC chain of a Malf root, Thrall EQ, and Tychus minigun is going to kill them 100% of the time, and adjust their playstyle accordingly. You don’t need to play dangerously to get value – you only need to tank. There are myriad styles to tanking, many of which we went over today; as long as you’re providing a useful frontline to your team, you’re achieving your goal. The easiest way to see your efficacy is to review your replays!
Here’s a few exiting tips and tricks you can utilise to help bolster your winrate!
Taunt enemies while you throw them overhead – they won’t be able to use their self-saves at all!
Learn to Indomitable common predictable abilities, like Stukov’s Massive Shove, ETC’s Loudspeakers, or Johanna’s Frisbee. As you play tank more and more, abilities like this will become second nature and easier to dodge!
Into the Fray can be used aggressively and defensively – throw your D Storm Uther directly into their backline, he’ll thank you!
Your Q carries a hefty 40% slow – that's generally more valuable than the microstun. Use it to control enemy spacing and force defensives, like Iron Skin or Dimensional Shift!
Speaking of which, both Into the Fray and Wrecking Ball also slow, by 30% for 2.5 seconds. You can use either to catch up to a fleeing enemy. Once you’ve got Earthshaker, Unrivaled Strength becomes a fantastic engage too!
Decimate is especially fantastic into Rexxar and Samuro; you can go almost infinite on your spins if you hit enough targets.
Body Check’s primary value is in the 30% healing reduction – be on the lookout for targets you can isolate afterwards!
Speaking of which, Body Check has a hefty three unit engage range; use it to engage from your mount before you E, to guarantee you get the correct target!
Don’t trust the throw indicator, it lies. Instead, judge based off the circular hitboxes on the ground – those depict where a hero really is, and makes it much easier to get good throws.
Oppressor reduces spell damage, which is the primary method of breaking through your armour. Use it proactively into heroes like Alarak and Jaina, but be sure to have an exit strategy planned!
If you’re feeling especially confident, try In For the Kill with Bloodcraze – a heroic kill will instantly reset your W, while also giving you a fat 15% 3s HoT!
Double Up at 13 is a fantastic way to bait enemy cooldowns. Intentionally overextend, pop indomitable, pop double up, and look for a big Taunt!
Titanic Might will apply Unrivaled Strength’s damage to both targets – this is 4k damage with two throws at 20! Take advantage of this herculean damage combo to one-shot fragile backliners, if you can get your hands on them!
Whether you go Unrivaled Strength or not, most hitboxes will clip your Q on the edge, whether that’s the inside or outside. You’ll almost always be able to hit your Groundbreaker on a thrown target, provided it’s a max range throw! Tiny hitboxes can slip outside your range, but this affects very few heroes. Big hitboxes are better!
Your E needs a bit of leeway if you’re moving in the opposite direction of your target, or standing still – you need to stand still for a brief moment when you cast E, so make sure you stand a little closer before you throw moving targets!
You have a ~0.2 second window to get the kill after hitting In For the Kill to get the reset – you can W and immediately auto after! This feels especially smooth when done in quick succesion, such as on a minion wave!
You can use In For the Kill on a variety of heroic summons – a Nazeebo Wall, for example, will easily full-heal you!
There are diminishing returns on your W value at higher health – avoid using it above 30% HP, as it’s generally quite unimpactful. Try to hold it for as late as possible!
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Unrivaled Strength offers fantastic wave clear, supplemental kill pressure, and a ranged stun with Earthbreaker. Flexible! It also allows you to punt heroes into forts from tributes on Cursed and Alterac.
Body Check forms the cornerstone of the brawler main tank build, wherein you tank via outputing threat and damage. It offers you an additional engage, as well as a hefty healing reduction on a priority target. Fantastic on healers!
Thirst for Battle follows up on the Body Check build, giving you a way to sustain yourself through long, drawn out teamfights - the kind that are common in SL!
Indomitable is the bread-and-butter default, capable of saving you from any manner of CC. Offensively, it can be utilised to trick opponents into closing the gap, allowing you to sneak kills from otherwise untouchable foes.
Oppressor is your best personal defensive on this level, helping alleviate the most dangerous type of damage you face (besides percentage).
Into the Fray lets you literally lob a friendly out of danger. Cleanse, displacement, and armour rolled into one. Can be utilised as an engage, escape, or get-out button!
Bloodcraze is fantastic with both the W talents at 4, offering you significantly boosted sustained healing, when you're at high armour to boot. Pair it with In For the Kill if you're feeling ballsy!
Double Up is a fantastic panic button and baiting tool. Be sure to use it proactively, like Indomitable, and steal enemy CDs!
Mortal Combo is a win condition paired with Titanic Might, allowing you to deal 4k damage across two targets at twenty. Juggling is an effective CC tool as well, and is well worth practicing!
Earthshaker is a strong CC tool in and of itself, but pairs especially well with Unrivaled Strength to turn a minion into a ranged missile. Use it for chains and creative engages alike!
Deadly Calm accents the Body Check build well, enabling you to survive for even longer periods of time. Damage reduction stacks with your tankiness which stacks with your self-healing which stacks with space creation which stacks with CC - look, there's a lot of incidental value here, okay?
Titanic Might is a fantastic capstone to the Unrivaled Strength - Mortal Combo tree, enabling that 4k burst damage at 20. It also does fantastic just by itself, or with Earthshaker, as an additional lock down tool.
Inner Rage is a reasonable tool in a long sustained fight, especially into double-support or inherently high-healing compositions. The main draw is the repeated healing-received debuff, but you unfortunately cannot stack the debuff to 75%. Often outclassed by the other 20s.