With Sally Whitemane entering the Nexus via Heroes of the Storm’s PTR, we’re finally getting a good look at her full kit and talents. This article will be showcasing her base abilities and a couple of the many builds that have popped up on the PTR.
Sally Whitemane: Base Kit
(Q) Desperate Plea: This ability heals for a small amount and gives Whitemane a stack (to a maximum of 3) of Desperation that lasts for 4 seconds. Desperate Plea has a very short cooldown which allows you to cast it frequently for quick, small heals. Each stack of Desperation increases the mana cost of this ability by 60. As this is her only ability that costs resources, playing Whitemane is all about managing your Desperation so as to not run out of mana.
- This is Whitemane’s main way of applying her trait, Zeal, to allies. It’s versatile in that you can use it to apply your trait to multiple people or you can spam it on one target for more healing.
- Whitemane’s mana bar has a pink section that indicates how much mana the next Desperate Plea will cost you.
(W) Inquisition: Whitemane channels a laser for up to 3 seconds, slowing and damaging the target enemy hero.
- You can click W mid-channel to cancel the ability. This is useful because, while channeling, you’re a perfectly still target for enemy skillshots and CC.
- Inquisition is an excellent ability when it comes to slowing an enemy hero to help your team secure a kill.
(E) Searing Lash: When cast, this ability deals damage in a rectangular area of effect. If it hits a hero, the ability casts again with a rectangular area perpendicular to the previous one.
- This ability is Whitemane’s main source of damage and is on a reasonably small cooldown. Hitting a hero with this (and getting the second cast) is very important as this allows you to deal more damage and, because of Zeal, heal more.
- Searing Lash is also Whitemane’s only real waveclear ability. It doesn’t do much, but it can provide limited waveclear if you need it.
- The low cooldown and lack of mana cost on this ability makes it ideal for scouting. Throw it in a bush or behind a wall for vision if you think the enemy may be waiting to gank a teammate.
(Trait) Zeal: Any ability she uses that heals an ally applies Zeal for 8 seconds. While infused with Zeal, allies are healed for 100% of the damage that Whitemane deals.
- Zeal heals your allies for all the damage you deal, including your autos. Auto-attacking is very important for Whitemane because every little bit of healing you can supply is always needed. Be sure to stutter-step to keep your enemies from landing easy skillshots on you.
The Heroic Abilities
Scarlet Aegis: When cast, this ability heals nearby allies for a small amount, applies Zeal, and grants 40 armor for 4 seconds.
- With 40 armor for 4 seconds, your allies will be taking 40% less damage than normal. This compounds nicely with your healing as it means that the health you give them in that 4 seconds of armor will be really hard to burst through.
- Because this ability provides so much armor, it will be better to use it preemptively so the armor can prevent as much damage as possible. This ult is less about saving your low health allies (though it can be used for that) and more about preventing your allies from becoming low on health in the first place.
Divine Reckoning: After a short delay, a large circle appears and deals consistent damage over time for 4 seconds.
- This ability seems like a bad version of Tyrande’s Starfall at first, but you have to remember that Whitemane heals for 100% of the damage she deals. Landing this ultimate while having allies affected by Zeal gives your allies 4 seconds of health regeneration while the enemy team is getting damaged at the same time.
- The more enemies you hit, the more damage you deal, the more health you restore.
Q Build: This build for Whitemane focusses solely on her Q ability, Desperate Plea. I believe this build offers the most straight-up self-sustain for Whitemane while offering loads of healing for her allies. Keeping yourself at 2 Desperation with this build seems to offer really good sustain.
- (Level 1) Martyrdom: This increases the healing of Whitemane’s Q ability by 30% for each stack of Desperation. This is just an overall buff to healing throughout the game and allows for amazing single target burst healing if you need it.
- (Level 4) Unwavering Faith: This talent reduces the mana cost of your Q by 30 mana and provides a shield at max Desperation stacks. This is great for mana sustain and for some extra protection in a pinch.
- (Level 7) Zealous Spirit: After 2 stacks of Desperation, Whitemane gains Zeal. This is just a good way to make sure that you stay healthy throughout fights.
- (Level 10) Scarlet Aegis: Because 40 armor, a decent heal, and applying Zeal in an area is amazing in this build and in general
- (Level 13) Self Righteous: Casting Desperate Plea heals Whitemane as well as the target. Another just really solid way to make sure you never die, but I feel like this is less important in this build since you’ve already taken Zealous Spirit.
- (Level 16) Radiance: Upon hitting max Desperation stacks, all allies with Zeal receive a sizeable heal. This is an excellent way to keep your team healthy as it’s a passive byproduct of using your Q in fights.
- (Level 20) Scarlet Crusade: Scarlet Aegis now grants the Unstoppable status for 1 second to all affected allies. This gives Whitemane a way to allow her team to shrug off enemy CC whether they’re engaging in a fight or getting jumped on. Combined with the armor and healing of the base ability, Scarlet Crusade makes your team very hard to lock down and kill.
Utility Healer Build: This build may not have the same healing numbers as the previous build, but I think it’s more competitive because of the utility it offers in addition to good healing output.
- (Level 1) Clemency: This ability allows you to channel Inquisition on an ally to heal them over 3 seconds. Clemency gives Whitemane a solution to her lack of healing when not in combat.
- (Level 4) High Inquisitor: Now when you cast Inquisition on an ally or on an enemy, you lose all stacks of Desperation and you are refunded 60 mana for each stack removed. This talent is really good at keeping your mana up throughout the game and has awesome synergy with Clemency at level 1.
- (Level 7) Intercession: This ability is essentially Cleanse except that it gives you a stack of Desperation. Use this to save allies trapped by enemy CC or to protect them from the hard engage of the enemy tank.
- (Level 10) Scarlet Aegis: Again, it’s hard not to choose 40 armor, trait application, and a heal all in one ability.
- (Level 13) Harsh Discipline: Hitting an enemy hero with Searing Lash while they’re being targeted by Inquisition roots them for 1.5 seconds. This ability requires some practice to use correctly as you have to hit a hero with Searing Lash, then target them with Inquisition before the second cast of Seating Lash lands. A little difficult, but rooting a target can be the difference between losing and winning a fight so this talent is very important.
- (Level 16) Radiance: Like in the Q build, this is just a solid choice because it increases your healing output a lot. You can actually hit 3 stacks of Desperation, use Inquisition to restore a lot of mana and get rid of the Desperation stacks, then spam Q to hit max Desperation again for a lot of healing.
- (Level 20) Scarlet Crusade: Again, just a very solid talent that makes your allies basically impossible to kill for 4 seconds. Another way to remove CC and to just keep people alive.
- Overall, Whitemane seems more than capable of being a main healer. Her numbers are solid and she even has a Cleanse, something we haven’t seen on a support in a very long time. That said, I think you could take her damage talents and Divine Reckoning for a decent support-mage hybrid playstyle alongside another support.
- Her level 4 talent Fanatical Power gives her 5 seconds of -25 armor in exchange for +50% spell power. That’s 50% more damage and healing for 5 seconds and I feel like that’s insanely powerful but I’m not sure when the best time to pick it would be. Maybe swapping it in for Zealous Spirit in the Q build, or taking it over Intercession against low CC comps.
- Subjugation at 20 makes your Inquisition target have 75% less damage. Part of me thinks I would pick it over Scarlet Crusade unless I really needed the team-wide Unstoppable.
- At 16, you can take Shared Punishment to make Inquisition chain between two enemies. This is strong when combined with Harsh Discipline because you can actually root two enemies if you can land both abilities just right. This seems difficult, but it may be worth trying out if you also take Subjugation at 20 so that Shared Punishment gets value outside of its combo with Harsh Discipline.
Thank you to everyone reading this, please feel free to share if you find it interesting or to let me know in the comments what I could do better. I think Whitemane is going to be an excellent addition to the Nexus and I’m very excited to see her in action! Remember, these builds are tentative as she’s only been on PTR for a few days and there will most likely be a few balance changes before she is officially released. I’ll see you guys in the Nexus!