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Dehaka, Essentially Survival

by - 2 years ago

Dehaka has finally stalked his way into the Nexus. Bringing a unique warrior style with him. This surprisingly tanky hero is fantastic at setting up ganks. Below I will cover a build that I feel takes advantage of these unique skills.


Z Brushstalker

Dehaka cannot use a mount. Instead he is able to dig, like Abathur to any brush/vent on the map. This is a great skill that can be utilized to set up ganks at weird moments for your opponents.


Essence Collection

Hero kills will give you 10 essence and creep kills will give you 2 essence. Dekaha is able to store up to 50 essence. What can this essence be used for? Healing! This can be used during drag and burrow.


Q Drag

Acting like a frog, Dehaka throws his tongue out and latches onto to the first target it hits dealing a base 166 damage and stunning the target 1.75 seconds. The best part of this ability is you can reposition your enemy wherever you want them. Drag enemies away from your squishies or vice versa. Go hog wild!

W Dark Swarm

This is a great ability. Not only does it do a fair amount of damage over time, starting at 62.40 a second for 3 seconds this also removes any collision Dehaka might encounter that isn’t a wall. This ability also works with his next skill.

E Burrow

You dig into the ground. And you enter an Invulnerable state for 2 seconds. That’s it. It’s an underrated ability in his kit. This will disjoint ultimates that target you. Triple tap, pyroblast. You can also pop your trait to regain health while you’re burrowed.



This launches a blob at an enemy doing a base 208 damage, not to mention silencing them and slowing them by 30% for 3 seconds. The extra benefit is that they can only see a very short range around them for 6 seconds. You know, because a zerg just spit a dilophosaur blob in your face.


This skill lets you heal for 60% of the damage you’ve taken during the 5 seconds while its active. This is potentially a self ancestral healing. This combos with burrow so you can recover that health safely. Use this wisely in large team engagements and you’ll almost never die.

The Build

Level 1 Enduring Swarm

When you activate Dark Swarm, the next two abilities used against you will be reduced by 25%. This is wonderful for the damage reduction AND the damage that Dark Swarm will provide, allowing you to get into people’s faces much more easily and safely.

Level 4 Hero Stalker

Granted I prefer One Who Collects much more, but the 25 essence that Hero Stalker provides with hero kills is MUCH more valuable than the creep essence. Two quick kills and you’re at full essence for practically a full heal again.

Level 7 Feeding Frenzy

Basic attacks now reduce Drag’s cool time by 1.5 seconds. Drag has a huge cool down so the reduction this provides is highly valuable allowing you to get more Drags off in fights for more stunning action.

Level 10 Adaptation

People love isolation and rightfully so, its a fantastic ability. However people are sleeping on adaptation I think. Popping this at the start of a team fight and then going in, eating a bunch of damage, burrowing and letting this pop to recover your health is like a self ancestral. Not to mention that you’ve probably gone in with a lot of essence so you’ll be popping that to recover even more health. Give this ability a try, you’ll find it really works well when you use it right.

Level 13 Whirling Dervish

Now Dark Swarm grants you relentless. Once again, this is more mitigation for CC when you’re up in people’s faces licking them. Amazing skill for a tank.

Level 16 Paralyzing Enzymes

Now you get a 50% for 2 seconds after you drag someone. Quicker Drags and and slows mean more enemies are going to be further out of place for you to murder and gain essence from.

Level 20 Hardened Shield

I really really want to like Change is Survival but I feel it is unnecessary. I also want to really like Apex Predator for this build, but it reduces your tanking capability for a HUGE increase in mobility.


You want to be patient in the early game. If you can drag someone into tower shots by all means go for it, extra damage on heroes is great for the early game. However, you want to maximize your ability to jump to brush anywhere on the map. Staying mostly hidden, but in the XP range of creeps will benefit you greatly by allowing to to collect free essence as well as soak XP for your team. You are shockingly tanky and have the ability to recover health at an amazing rate. Making good use of your skills in team fights is going to go a very long way here since Dehaka is incredibly reliant on them. Baiting that big ult onto yourself will go a very long way. Dodging that pyroblast from Kael, or dodging a wailing arrow with a well time burrow will give you the advantage your team needs in order to potentially turn a team fight into your favor. Once you start entering the level 13 range you’re at much more liberty to start being highly aggressive on the map as long as you are securing kills or just being near by them when they occur. Like I had mentioned in the build, 2 kills gets you 50 essence which is practically a full heal over time. Getting good drags off onto squishy targets to distract and delay them from team fights or objectives is also going to be fantastic to assist your team. Grabbing someone and pulling them towards your team is a great way to lead to a kill or getting the enemy team to blow their high priority skills onto you, leading to prime opportunities to use your adaptation/burrow combinations with a dark swarm up, popping up just in time to let the adaptation pop and get all that lost health back to continue the assault.

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