The latest Nexus addition is none other than Gul'dan. This unique Hero offers an interesting gameplay and while he's release is still fresh, some time has passed for us to be able to pinpoint some of his core mechanics and highlight a guide as well.
Why Should I Pick Gul'dan? (Or the Pros)
1. Gul'dan is single-handedly one of the best laners in game for his short cooldown and sustain.
2. All Talents are viable, unlike other Heroes with straightforward Talent picks.
3. Fast creep farm with Fel Flame.
4. Drain Life costs no Mana and is on a short cooldown.
5. Corruption can hit from afar and his poison stacks up to 3 times.
6. Due to Fel Flame's short cooldown, Gul'dan is awesome at poking enemies or finishing them off.
7. A good Gul'dan shall recall twice or three times thanks to Life Tap.
8. A well-cast Rain of Destruction helps clear altars, temples, plants, defend pushes and more.
9. His ultimate ability, Horrify can quickly reverse a team fight and turn the tides of battle into your favor.
What are Gul'dan's Cons?
1. Low Health Pool (only Tracer and Chromie are among Heroes with less Health than Gul'dan).
2. He's got a quite low basic attack damage.
3. Some Heroes can one-shot you with ease and you need to be careful if you're focused by let's say, Greymane.
4. Gul'dan's learning curve is high as the Hero requires a lot practice, you will be weak for starters.
5. Even though he's a caster, he's got a low Mana pool.
6. He has no heavy burst like unlike other Assassins.
7. Life Tap is a double-edged sword if used incorrectly.
Having looked at his abilities, let's look at his playstyle. To compensate for his low Health/Mana pool and weak BA, his Basic Attacks have a chance to drain Health and Mana while still doing damage. He's a great counter against melee Heroes such as Tyrael, Diablo or Illidan, because these targets are susceptible to frequent Fel Flame & Drain Life punishments. He counters easily laners (specialists) like Xul, Zagara, Azodan or Nazeebo. As the Master of Poke, he harasses his opponents twice or three times with Fel Flame, retreats, uses Life Tap when needed or Drain Life on minions or enemy Heroes. Make sure to drain at least a couple of seconds, add Corruption to it and make sure to hit the enemy at least with 1-2 circles or you'll be punished with a long cooldown.
Here's a look at three main Gul'dan builds, I will break them down and explain all of them.
This build revolves Drain Life as your core ability. It's also useful if unbuffed, but with spent talents its potential is great. At Level 1 with 25% gained range, at Level 7 it deals 50% more damage to enemies below 50 Health, at Level 13 it heals for 50% more when used on Heroes and at Level 16 every spell cast deals 20% additional damage after Life Tap. Literally, when all the above conditions are met, the spell deals 70% more damage, heals us for 50% more and with the extra range in mind, we can benefit from the spell during its entire three-second duration. This build's goal is in both 1v1 // 2v2 situations is to either peel or bring down targets below 50% Health finishing them off with Corruption + Drain Life.
DoT stands for damage over time. It has a big range and can be tricky to use (get used to). It has a weird mechanism, but with enough practice it shouldn't be a problem to master. If you hit with 2-3 circles it has a high damage output. The main aim is to finish the Level 1 mission for Echoed Corruption, at Level 7 with Bound By Shadow (maximized sooner - 1 second CDR when you hit a hero with Fel Flame). The main disadvantage of this build is safe gameplay, due to the untalented Drain Life, so if you're positioning is bad, you can get easily brought to justice. If you want to be offensive, always wait for Drain Life to recharge if you want to land some Fel Flames or Corruption. By the time you reach Level 16, the mission should be finished and Corruption will shoot 6 times and deal increased damage thanks to Ruinous Affliction (Talent) that will boost the final damage output by a notable margin.
Our last build is about increased survivability, you'll get lots of Health, mobility, CC at the cost of damage loss. The Level 1 mission (Chaotic Energy) gives you sustain and later you'll be able to spam Fel Flame without having to worry about potential Mana issues. At Level 4, if you're amidst a lane fight, you can instantly self-heal for 800 Health with Consume Souls and use it during the whole match as it has 2 charges and almost no cooldown. At Level 7, it's great to sacrifice 1/4 health received by allies for +15% additional global damage. At Level 13, there's a permanent 25% Health gain. Fel Flame augments Gul'dan's damage by 6% for each enemy hit up to a maximum of 30%. Additionally, Demonic Circle has an instant cast and can be used differently, one usage is to instantly escape when you're being focused another one includes placing it at a critical point near objectives, camps or the enemy base to backdoor.
Hopefully this guide has shed some light on Gul'dan's gameplay. If you have any comments feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I'm interested which builds are you guys using!