Our complete Zagara guide has everything you need to know about playing this Hero, with the latest builds, tips, map advice and counters.
Zagara brings a great deal of utility to every single stage of a Heroes of the Storm match, from aggressively pushing a lane in the early stages, to sieging towers and causing the enemy team all manner of problems in mass brawls. Her unique Creep Tumor Ability also allows her to seed a slowly spreading ickiness across the battlefield that provides extra eyes across the map, and also speeds up her travel and health regeneration.
The main drawback of this character is her distinct lack of mobility when not riding along on that residue - at least until Level 20 when Bolt of the Storm becomes available. She can also chow through Mana in a flash and has very little in the way of crowd-control until Level 10.
Still, Zagara's unique flavour makes her a Hero you should really try out at least once or twice. In this guide, we'll explain the basics of getting to grips with Zagara, outline a solid Talent build you can work with, and finish up with some tips to help you get ahead of the game nice and quickly.
Zagara strategy overview - February 2016
During the early laning stages of the game, make sure you're spreading your Creep Tumor all over the place and whenever it's off cooldown (see our tips section further below for more details on this). Use Infested Drop to land a sticky bomb on the marching minion waves, and save Hunter Killer for when you think it can finish off a Hero.
You can churn through Mana pretty quickly with Zagara, so only use Baneling Barrage on minions if you can slam into the lot of them and really make it count. Get into the habit of paying a visit to the Healing Fountain after your first couple of lane engagements, so that you've always got some juice in the tank for when you need it the most.
When you're not involved in team fights - and if all lanes are being taken care of - use Zagara to take down Mercenary Camps and just keep spreading those Creep Tumors all around the map. They'll really give you an advantage over the course of an entire match, but it can be pretty easy to forget to pop this active Trait when it's available.
When fighting with your team, throw down your Infested Drop as soon as it's off cooldown and try to hit a bunch of opponents. Try also to land Hunter Killer on a Support enemy, so they're effectively disabled from the fight as they try to fight off their new friend. Assuming you're following our Talent build recommendation, try to land Devouring Maw on more than one enemy so your team can follow up with massive amounts of AOE. When they emerge from the Maw, land your Infested Drop and Baneling Barrage combo on them for a really effective shot of your own burst damage.
The best Zagara Talent build - February 2016
There are a few different takes on the standard Zagara Talent build, but we've found the following to be a pretty consistent performer, regardless of the enemy team or your own team's composition.
Zagara standard build
Level 1 - Reconstitution - Health Restoration bonus on Creep increased by 200%.
Level 4 - Envenomed Spines - Basic Attacks have their range increased by 20% and deal an additional 42 damage over 3 seconds.
Level 7 - Rapid Incubation - Channel to regenerate up to 25% of your Health and Mana over 3 seconds.
Level 10 - Devouring Maw - Devouring Maw (R)- Summon a Devouring Maw that deals 555 (317 + 3% per level) damage and devours enemies for 4 seconds. Devoured enemies cannot fight and take 78 (45 + 3% per level) damage per second. Usable on Unstoppable enemies. Mana: 100, Cooldown: 100 seconds.
Level 13 - Mutalisk - Your Hunter Killer spawns a Mutalisk with a bounce attack and 50% increased duration.
Level 16 - Brood Expansion - Can hold up to 2 charges of Hunter Killer.
Level 20 - Bolt of the Storm - Activate to teleport to a nearby location.
Zagara Abilities, Heroic Abilities and Traits - February 2016
Zagara has a few fairly unusual Abilities to play around with, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the tools at your disposal. Baneling Barrage is great for hitting structures or clusters of enemies, while the combo of Hunter Killer and Infested Drop can cause squishy opponents a minor disaster. It's Creep Tumour that provides the truly unique flavour for Zagara though - use it well, and use it often in order to infect the battleground.
Baneling Barrage (Q)- Launch 4 Banelings that deal 136 (78 + 3% per level) splash damage each. Mana: 50, Cooldown: 10 seconds.
Hunter Killer (W)- Summon a Hydralisk to attack a single target, dealing 161 (92 + 3% per level) damage per second. Lasts 8 seconds. Mana: 60, Cooldown: 14 seconds.
Infested Drop (E)- Bombard target area with a Zerg Drop Pod for 300 (171 + 3% per level) damage. The pod spawns 2 Roachlings that deal 53 (30 + 3% per level) damage per second and last for 8 seconds. Mana: 50, Cooldown: 12 seconds.
Nydus Network (R)- Summon a Nydus Worm at target location that you can enter by right-clicking. While inside, you exit by targeting a Nydus Worm with R or right-clicking near the Worm. Maximum 4 Nydus Worms. Cost: 50 Mana, Cooldown: 60 seconds.
Devouring Maw (R)- Summon a Devouring Maw that deals 555 (317 + 3% per level) damage and devours enemies for 4 seconds. Devoured enemies cannot fight and take 78 (45 + 3% per level) damage per second. Usable on Unstoppable enemies. Mana: 100, Cooldown: 100 seconds.
Creep Tumour (D)- Lay a Creep Tumor that generates Creep. You and your summons move 20% faster on Creep and restore 8 (5 + 3% per level) Health a second. Tumors last 240 seconds. Cost: 20 Mana, Cooldown: 15 seconds
Zagara counters and match-ups - February 2016
Zagara's counters are many and varied. Some Heroes will beat you down, while others make great targets to focus on. We like to reference HeroesCounters for the latest picture of where things stand for this particular Hero. Here's how things currently shape up at the time of publishing our guide:
- Strong against- Sgt Hammer, Sylvanas, Brightwing, ETC, Malfurion
- Weak against- Kerrigan, Zeratul, Nova, The Butcher, Arthas
- Teams well with- Valla, ETC, Tyrande, Sylvanas, Zeratul
Zagara tips - February 2016
Zagara plays very differently to most other Heroes in the game, and so it pays to spend a little time reading up before taking her out for a fight. Have a look through our round-up of some of the must valuable tips we've come across for this character - they'll really help you get off to a good start.
- You need to keep track of your Creep Tumour Trait at all times, and make sure you're dropping fresh ick all over the map, all throughout the match. It'll give you eyes on all parts of the map, speed up your travel and improve your health regeneration.
- To maximise the chance of your Creep Tumour staying alive long enough to get a good spread going, plant it in the obscured shrubs of each lane. You should be able to get a few of these off in the early game, and before the enemy can fire a single shot at you.
- Do not throw your Level 10 Ability out there lightly. If you've followed our Talent build, you want the Maw to drop on a cluster of enemy Heroes that your team can then AOE nuke down.
- Baneling Barrage is fantastic for chewing through structures, and you should always be firing off this stream of critters whenever it's available. They'll also cause a lot of bother to bunched-up enemy Heroes.
- If you're heading into a big old team fight, consider dropping a Creep Tumour behind you so that you slicken up your escape path a little if things go badly and you need to get out of Dodge fast.
- Rapid Incubation is a channelled Ability and so if you're interrupted you'll lose the effect. Get behind a tower or hide in the bushes before popping this skill.
- If you've multiple enemy Heroes to contend with, drop Hunter Killer and Infested Drop on a squishy character - preferably a healer. This will lock them out of the fight as they try to keep themselves alive and deal with the distraction.
- Consider dropping the above combo on a Hero(es) as soon as they emerge from Devouring Maw as well - it'll often be too much pressure for them to handle.
Fightin' Cowboy's videos helped us out a huge amount while we were learning the game. The builds have changed with balance patches and shifting metagames, but the broad principles remain the same.
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