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Created September 20, 2019

Traditional Tanky Arthas

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Welcome to Carry Class! This week's lesson: zoning laws, and their impact on your winrate. Let's dive in!

TLDR at the bottom!


What He Does

Arthas is a borderline immobile tank. To compensate, he has the following: nigh infinite soft crowd ontrol, a pseudo lockdown, an actual lockdown, two burst damage tools (one of which is ranged), and a self ancestral-and-a-half. Of course, since that list isn't long enough, he can also talent into an AoE armour-breaking root, an AoE root on his kill aura, and a Black King Bar (BKB) spell and percentage immunity shield. Oh, and the shield heals for a quarter.

In other words, this is the tank to pick when you need to get things done. What things? Everything!


How He Does It

Arthas boasts the fourth-largest hit point pool of the tanks, at 2782 starting. Factoring in his trait and aura, he possesses one of the highest sustained damage values of any frontliner; these are useful things, because they augment his signature ability: Frozen Tempest. Arthas' kill aura stacks to a 40% MS and AS slow over four seconds, rendering most targets virtually still to skillshots and followup. Once a target is caught in aura, cooldowns are blown to save it, it dies, or you die. Letting kills go is for cowards, and you are the Lich King.

Every talent you take is designed to enable the playstyle of standing insulting close to the enemy frontline. Icebound Fortitude (IBF) will frequently outshine your ultimate as your best defensive; with it, CC trains are rendered absolutely meaningless. That's important, because the main way you die is getting completely blown up. The most essential practice of a good Arthas is knowing when to stand just out of range, when to confidently cast Army, and most importantly, when to IBF.

Pro Tip! IBF is a twenty five second cooldown. That's absolutely insane for what is effectively a heroic; use it to bait out ultimates, and stroll away laughing.


How to Dance

Arthas' preferred playstyle is a Staccato Tango; short, deliberate movements designed to lure and entrap all the same. Picture this: it's level ten, and both teams are ready to fight. Neither team has any form of positioning advantage; what do you do?

The answer is push. Your objective is to reduce the amount of space the enemy team has to maneuver in. Slowly but surely, you want to gain ground on the enemy main tank. Whether that's an ETC or a Garrosh or a Diablo, you want the enemy tank to stun you, but not before you've popped IBF. Tanks are dictated by CC cooldowns; without them, they're dead weight. Steal your enemy's CC, survive, and your team is golden.

Unlike most tanks, Arthas' CC is eternal; your E exists as long as your mana bar does. What this means is, as long as you're alive, you always have the last laugh. In the window it takes for their cooldowns to refresh, everything is immobile, and Arthas dominates the slow fight.


How to Build

We've talked a lot about his E and 1, but there's a lot more depth to the Lich King's kit. An enormous part of that is granted through talents, particularly your level one quest, Frost Presence. Hitting five roots will push the cooldown to 10 seconds; hitting 10 will enormously increase the range, and hitting 20 will cause it to root anything in its path. Ideally, you want your quest completed somewhere north of level ten, so that it can benefit you in teamfights. This is a very generous estimate; as you improve on the hero, so will your quest times.

At level four, we select Frozen Wastes. This relieves an enormous amount of mana off your easily emptied pool, lowering the cost to 11 per second. This is important, because even with this reduction, your E can empty your mana pool in a measly 47 seconds.

Luckily, there's several ways to mitigate that. Firstly, your E does not need to be on nearly as often as you think; if you're not in the middle of a wave, and if no enemies are touching the edge, your E should not be on. In the stages of a fight just before the engage, during the Tango, toggle your E on only when you believe the enemy is engaging. Anything earlier is a waste of mana. This applies to the laning stage too! You'll quickly learn what heroes are worth trading damage into, and what heroes shrug off your aura with ease.

Secondly, your trait, Frostmourne Hungers, restores 30 mana every ten seconds. That pays for about 3 seconds of E, and will be an enormous relief to your mana. It also instantly resets your auto attack animation, meaning that if you auto and press D, you can immediately hit with the empowered auto attack.

At level seven, pick Icebound Fortitude. 'Nuff said.

At level ten, we select our ultimate, Army of the Dead. On activation it'll spawn 6 reasonably tanky Ghouls to attack whatever's closest and run beside you; reactivating your ultimate will consume a ghoul, healing you for about as much as a selfcast Q. Added together, you get about as much healing as an ancestral and a half over eight or so seconds. If you find yourself critically low when you pop ghouls, make sure to instantly slam a Q and R on yourself to get yourself out of respawning, and make space between the enemy damage and yourself. It is CRITICAL to survive after you're bursted down, because you'll generally be in a position to kill everything remaining. Remember, in the land of no cooldowns, Arthas is King.

At thirteen, you've hopefully completed your W quest, because we're about to buff it into the stratosphere; Shattered Armour lowers the armour of targets hit by Howling Blast by 15 for a full four seconds. Against dense targets like Garrosh or ETC, this is back breaking, because they completely depend upon their armour to keep them alive. Additionally, it opens up a catch-and-burst playstyle for Arthas, enabling you to find creative kills by ensnaring unsuspecting enemies. Remember, clever usage of your abilities can surprise the enemy as much as you!

At sixteen, you've actually got some choice; while Remorseless Winter is our go to for the free 1.25 seconds root (and it will win games in and of itself), it's never a bad idea to consider your alternatives.

Frostmourne Feeds gives you a second empowered auto attack, granting double the mana and double the damage; it's an excellent consideration into tanky, heal-heavy compositions that can fight forever, such as double support or Zarya/Tassadar compositions.

Embrace Death turns your Q into an additional panic button; if you find yourself getting bursted through IBF, this can help you survive just long enough to start popping off your Army's heads. It's infinitely more useful at healing you than damaging enemies, although a 500 damage Q to kill a fleeing tracer is always hilarious.

At twenty, my usual recommendation is Anti-Magic Shield. The main thing that kills Arthas is incredibly heavy damage in a short period of time; Anti-Magic Shield is one of the most unique defensives in the game, capable of protecting you from percentage damage (Last Rites, Seven Sided-Strike, Cursed Bullet) as well as magic damage (everything that isn't an auto attack). It also heals for a quarter of the damage prevented, which can compensate for the auto attacks you're taking while getting bursted down. Remember, same logic as IBF; the skill is in pressing it before you get stunned.

Legion of Northrend increases your Ghouls' healing by a whopping 50%, and generates an additional 3 ghouls; this is over twice as much healing as the base ultimate, equating to almost 6500 HP of healing. At 20, that's over your entire health bar, and you still have an IBF and Q to add further effective healing.

Death's Advance is an excellent, excellent talent that is unfortunately overshadowed; it is nevertheless extremely useful on an immobile tank, and is situationally extraordinarily effective, such as into mobile heroes like Illidan and Greymane, or for catching up to a tank that's used their escape. You'll generally be able to discern when this is the best pick quite easily.


How to Play

From levels one to four, move from wave to wave, positioning your body in the center of the wave, toggling your E on, and clearing the backline minions. Use your empowered auto attack on one of the melee minions, and mount up after the ranged creeps die. Stand at the far edge of XP range (approximately your heroes' view range) to get the last trickles of XP as the melee minions die, and ride off.

For the curious, preserving melee minions is done in order to make the wave more difficult for the enemy team to approach. Killing the wave evenly (with the melee and ranged dying at the same time) allows the enemy team to quite easily soak from behind their towers, without any danger. It also makes it easier for them to freeze the wave just outside their gate, causing the minions to clash almost adjacent the enemies base - this makes it monumentally more dangerous to soak.

By killing the ranged minions and 'freezing' the wave with the last three surviving melee minions, you effectively increase the time it takes for the enemy team to clear and rotate. It's also generally safer for you, since you spend less time clearing the wave, and more time near your towers.

If you're still confused, melee minions are tanky and deal no damage; ranged minions are deadly and have no hp. Hence, if only the enemy melee minions are alive, the wave will 'freeze' for a bit in place, whereas if you kill the melee, it will quite quickly transition forward.

From levels four to seven, look to stack off the enemy tank wherever possible. Both of your quests benefit enormously from being completed earlier, and the easiest target to hit will generally be the one directly in front.

At seven, you can begin playing a lot more aggressive. Look for small skirmishes before objectives, where you can eat cooldowns and still have IBF up in time for the tribute or shrine. Practice your IBF religiously, and it will reward you.

From ten onwards, focus on the staccato dance; constantly duck in and out of the fight, and bait the enemy to either diving too deep or getting pushed too far. When you feel you're about to get focused, smash IBF, smash R, and start dodging. With luck and a bit of skill, your enemy will be too busy focusing on you, and get picked apart for it.

If you're at an advantage, mount up and look for a deep flank. An Arthas can approach the enemy from the flank and immediately latch on to the squishiest hero; with an ultimate advantage (whether you're 10 before them or because they have no cooldowns), it's generally quite safe for you to stand on the enemy team. Make sure to communicate the dive beforehand!

At thirteen, your quest should be complete; your playstyle is mostly unchanged, although you're now rewarded far more for hitting your howling blasts. Bursting the tank also becomes far easier.

At sixteen, pick your talent based on whether you need CC, Mana, or Burst Heals. You're an incredibly dangerous threat in chokes, and bosses are more relevant at this point of the game than ever.

If you're nearing twenty, look to play passively until you can talent up; your twenty spike is titanic, one of the best in the game. At twenty, you can take very aggressive engagements, with the hope to bait significant enemy cooldowns. In particular, Anti-Magic Shell has no animation whatsoever; the enemy can almost never tell you're using it.


Tips and Tricks

AoE damage completely shuts down your ult; be wary of explosives such as flamestrike, rip tire, and whirlwind. Sonya in particular feasts off your Army.

Bind IBF to something easy to hit, like F; you want to smash it near instantly when you see CC coming.

Your D resets your auto attack animation; always auto attack once before pressing D, it's free damage on top of your reasonable burst.

Try to root enemies with Remorseless Winter before using your W; the prior can only occur once every ten seconds, so it's better to use its 'cooldown' first, since it's more difficult to activate than simply pressing W.

You can use Ghouls to dive under forts and keeps. Try not to dive if the wall is up though, as three cannons will make short work of your 'Army'.

If you click the center of Howling Blast directly on the center of a melee-distance hero, it cannot dodge unless it uses a movement ability.

If you're having difficult pinning down elusive targets, make sure to mount. Mounting is a free 30% movement bonus; it allows you to engage far more efficiently, and closing distance is what Arthas is all about.

Speaking of which, if you're not doing anything, mount. If your team is sieging a building, mount. If you're almost done taking a camp, walk into the nearest bush and mount. Never stand around when you could sit on Invincible.



Mount, IBF, dance, and bait. Hit your roots! Conserve mana!


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Frost Presence
Quest: Root enemy Heroes with Howling Blast. Reward: After rooting 5 Heroes, Howling Blast's cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds. Reward: After rooting 10 Heroes, Howling Blast's range is increased by 30%. Reward: After rooting 20 Heroes, Howling Blast also roots enemies in its path.
Frozen Wastes
Frozen Tempest Mana cost reduced by 2 per second. Quest: Damage enemy Heroes with Frozen Tempest. Reward: After damaging enemy Heroes 150 times with Frozen Tempest, the Movement and Attack Speed slows of Frozen Tempest last an extra 1.5 seconds against enemy Heroes.
Icebound Fortitude
Activate to gain 25 Armor, reducing damage taken by 25%, and reduce the duration of Stuns, Slows, and Roots against Arthas by 75% for 3 seconds.
Army of the Dead
Summons Ghouls that last 15 seconds, deal 20 damage, and have 1060 health. Sacrifice Ghouls to heal for 267 Health.
Shattered Armor
Enemy Heroes hit by Howling Blast have their Armor reduced by 15 for 4 seconds.
Remorseless Winter
Enemy Heroes that remain within Frozen Tempest for 3 seconds are rooted for 1.25 seconds. This effect only happen once every 10 seconds.
Anti-Magic Shield
Activate to make Arthas immune to Spell Damage for 3 seconds and heal Arthas for 25% of the damage prevented.
Balance Patch - 08/28/19
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