Thoughts on Falstad

Recently Falstad became one of my favourite heroes in HotS. He’s awesome in so many ways. Here’s a guide on talents and general strategy when playing this hero.

I’m not going into detail about every talent available, just the most useful ones. In the end it’s all up to your own preference and play style, but some talents are just better than the others.

Talents

Power Throw increases range of your Q ability by 40% and it’s slow duration by 25%. Pretty much a must have. It is the best pick you can do in the first talent tier. Countless times I was able to hit enemies running away on low HP with just that bit of extra range and secure the kill. Increased hammer flight time also works in great synergy with the Secret Weapon talent, that I recommend to pick later.

Gathering Power or Vampiric Assault other two are inferior to any of these talents. I tend to pick Vampiric assault if there’s no healer or healing sucks, but when I’m playing with a confident Brightwing or Lili – it’s always Gathering Power. The increased damage is great and when fully stacked – just awesome. Death isn’t an issue for Falstad, cause of his escape ability and general mobility of being on mount all the time, so if you play him right, you won’t lose the GP stacks too often.

Secret Weapon is also a must have talent in the third tier. Doing 80% increased damage while your hammer is in flight is essential to Falstad’s gameplay. Not only you damage and slow with your hammer, the second you release it you start hitting enemies like a train. That’s why you want to maximize its flight time and take Power Throw in the first tier.

Hinterland Blast – the icing on the cake. Falstad’s ultimate ability that does considerable damage to enemies in a staight line. Good finisher, more often than not you’ll be able to get multiple kills with it on enemy team that’s stuck in narrow passes, surrounded by mobs or just immobilized by our team.

Giant Killer is the next talent to take in this build. It adds to the damage output and is too good to pass. Just take it, thank me later.

Hammer Time or Overdrive is another pick you’ll have to figure for yourself on time to time basis. Hammer Time helps with securing kills of players running away a lot and preventing abilities like Sonya’s Whirlwind from channeling, cause it allows you to stun them, while Overdrive is another damage increasing ability, very strong too, but the drawback here is the mana cost and cooldown. While 25 sec CD sounds great, especially compared to similar abilities on other heroes, but the way it burns through your mana pool is something to be aware of. Actively played Falstad is almost always low on mana even without this ability, so pick carefully.

Nexus Frenzy is the last talent to pick. 20% increased attack speed AND 20% increased attack range is just great. Among many other things, one obvious reason to take it is because this way you’ll be able to toss in more attacks with Secret Weapon while your hammer is flying, thanks to increased attack speed, and do it from a bigger distance, also meaning that you’ll be able to damage more running away targets and so on.

Tactics

Mobility is the key in this game and Falstad provides plenty of it. He’s always mounted, meaning you don’t waste time on mounting. You gain speed of a mounted character while not taking damage after a short time, so that’s fair. If you played any other character you know that, for example, when enemies are chasing you it may be tough decision to stop and cast mount or keep running away and hope they won’t get you. Well, no such problem with Falstad 🙂

However, it doesn’t end there, because he can also cover large distances using his “Z” (default mount button) ability. It takes a short time to cast, then you spend some time in flight and land at the other end of the map. Range isn’t limitless and you’ll have to come closer to location, especially on big maps, but the flight distance is still great. Very useful on objectives in Sky Temple and anywhere else really, such mobility is awesome. You have to be careful though. Your landing spot will be marked and visible to both teams, so if the fight is going on and there’s such option, I try  to land in bushes or fog for the surprise element. It’s a great way to make a comeback after death when you were unlucky enough to die and either the fight is still going or a new one started while you waited resurrection. In any case, you’re able to quickly come and help your teammates even if you’re far away. That IS useful.

Don’t hesitate on using your ultimate on low HP enemies and try not to waste it when they’re full, it’s not always necessary to wait for them all get into position so you hit all with one blast, just go for the low ones, try to predict their movement, because you can completely waste your ulti and not kill anyone, preferably use it on slowed or stuck low HP enemies.

Falstad’s “W” ability is great, but initial cast range isn’t that big, so don’t try too hard to get it off while chasing someone under fire from enemy forts and towers – the situation can quickly reverse itself. Use it on targets that are stupid enough to come close to you,  at the same time slow them with your “Q” and watch the fireworks 🙂

And of course this guide would be incomplete without a few tips on Barrel Roll (“E“) ability. It’s your survival cooldown, try not to waste it – it is NOT meant to help you travel faster or charge into enemies. It’s for escaping and you have to save it for when you’re low, you’re getting focused, you need to leave the scene ASAP – then use it. It can be used in interesting ways, for example, you can travel through obstacles with it and not only walls, bushes and even forts are “passable” with it too.