Our complete Butcher guide has everything you need to know about playing this Hero, with the latest builds, tips, map advice and counters.
The Butcher belongs to the Melee Assassin category of characters in Heroes of the Storm, and if you enjoy stomping your way around the battlefield and slicing your way through victims, then we think you'll get a big kick out of this hulking Hero. He's remarkably resilient in one-on-one fights, has some extremely powerful crowd-control abilities, and can lane with the best of them.
If the enemy team manages to isolate him though, then he will go down rather quickly, and so it's important that you head into battle with the appropriate amount of support - a lone wolf approach won't take you far. You'll also need to manage his unique Fresh Meat Trait, which means picking up the scraps of blood that fall on the floor in battle, which in turn empower his Basic Attacks.
The Butcher strategy and overview - January 2016
During the earliest laning phases of a match, it's good to get The Butcher up and about, working lanes and ganking fools until he's got a full stack of Fresh Meat. This ensures that his damage output creeps up and up until he gains access to his meatier mid and late-game Talents. Keep in mind that dying will result in the loss of your hard-earned stack, so caution is very much the watchword while you work on levelling.
When it comes to picking a fight you can race into action with Ruthless Onslaught, although against a full team of five you're likely to get obliterated pretty quickly afterwards. If you've got the team support to pull this off, you should at least charge up your Heroic skill first so that the effect procs shortly after you arrive at your target. This takes a little practise, but is well worth mastering as quickly as possible. Get Butcher's Brand in early so you can gain the healing effect before your Abilities can be locked down, and don't forget to Hamstring anyone fleeing - particularly squishier foes who might be able to heal up and undo some of your hard work.
When you're not in the thick of a team fight or soaking up XP, try to gank any stragglers you come across - again, Ruthless Onslaught is great for closing a gap quickly and finishing off a target. Just watch out and make sure you don't stray too near enemy lines when doing this, and try to avoid walking into an ambush yourself. If you pass a Mercenary Camp, keep in mind that your Butcher's Brand Ability provides you with some incredible self-healing that should allow you to clear out the camp with relative ease.
The best Butcher Talent build - January 2016
There are a few gentle variations on the following build out there in the wild, but we recommend using the following as a base, then tweaking as you see fit depending on the enemy composition. If you're just looking for a quick vanilla Butcher build to memorise for this month, sticking to the base version here is absolutely fine.
Butcher standard build
Level 1 - Victuals - Heal for 3% of your Maximum Health when you collect Fresh Meat. Meat continues to drop at maximum stacks.
Level 4 - Flail Axe - Increases the length of Hamstring by 40%.
Level 7 - Abattoir - Increases the maximum number of Fresh Meat to 35, and you only lose half upon death.
Level 10 - Furnace Blast - After a 3 second delay, fire explodes around you dealing 300 damage to enemies.Can be cast while using Ruthless Onslaught. Cooldown: 90 seconds.
Level 13 - Spell Shield - Upon taking Ability Damage, reduce that damage and further Ability Damage by 50% for 3 seconds. Can only trigger once every 30 seconds.
Level 16 - Blood Frenzy - Fresh Meat also increases your Attack Speed by 1% per stack.
Level 20 - Nexus Blades - Basic attacks deal 20% more damage and slow the target for 1 second.
Butcher Abilities, Heroic Abilities and Traits - January 2016
The Butcher's all about slowing down and disabling enemies, then finishing them off with his meaty and mighty attacking powers. Take a little bit of time to acclimatise to all of his core Abilities before heading into a fight.
Hamstring (Q)- Deal 240 (50 + 10 per level) damage and slow enemies by 49.92% fading over 2 seconds. Your next Basic Attack will strike immediately. Mana: 50, Cooldown: 4 seconds.
Butcher's Brand (W)- Deal 80 (32.5 + 2.5 per level) damage to an enemy and cause your Basic Attacks against them to heal you for 75% of the damage done for 5 seconds. Healing doubled versus Heroes. Mana: 75, Cooldown: 20 seconds.
Ruthless Onslaught (E)- Charge at an enemy, becoming Unstoppable and gaining Movement Speed. If you reach the target, they are stunned for 1 second and take 260 (70 + 10 per level) damage. Mana: 75, Cooldown: 20 seconds.
Lamb to the Slaughter (R)- Throw a hitching post that attaches to the nearest enemy Hero after a 1 second delay. This deals 375 (90 + 15 per level) damage and causes the enemy to be chained to the post for 4 seconds. Mana: 75, Cooldown: 60 seconds.
Furnace Blast (R)- After a 3 second delay, fire explodes around you dealing 1000 (335 + 35 per level) damage to enemies. Can be cast while using Ruthless Onslaught. Mana: 75, Cooldown: 90 seconds.
Fresh Meat- Nearby Minions drop 1 and Heroes drop 3 Fresh Meat when they die, which you can pick up to gain 1% bonus Attack Damage. Can hold up to 25 Meat. All Meat is lost on dying.
Butcher counters and match-ups - January 2016
Before taking The Butcher into combat, it pays to know his current strengths and weaknesses when it comes to enemy Heroes, and who he teams up well with. For this sort of information, we like to consult the crowd-sourced opinion of a resource like HeroesCounters. Here's the current top five for each category, subject to change in the future.
- Strong against- Lt. Morales, Sgt Hammer, Valla, Greymane, Nova
- Weak against- Uther, Brightwing, Muradin, Li Li, Johanna
- Teams well with- Abathur, Trande, Uther, Lt. Morales, Rehgar
Butcher tips - January 2016
The Butcher isn't a particularly tough HotS Hero to master, but there are a few general guidelines that will help you spend more time fighting and less time waiting to spawn. Take him out for a spin in a few practise AI matches until you've mastered the following special tips and techniques.
- It's one thing to go racing into battle with Ruthless Onslaught, but you need to have an exit strategy in mind, particularly if there are other dangers nearby. You've no hard escape skills, so you should make sure you have support nearby.
- Butcher's Brand pretty much allows you to go toe-to-toe with any Hero in a 1 vs 1 situation - assuming they stick around for the whole fight, that is. Just be aware that those who stick around will often have summoned a little incoming help, or know it's very close by.
- On the subject of Butcher's Brand, try to save it for when you need it, rather than as a fresh source of damage. It'll often be the only thing standing between you and a miserable death.
- Want to minimise the annoyance factor of the three-second charge on Furnace Blast? Just prime it up before racing into a pack of enemies with Ruthless Onslaught. As mentioned above though, just make sure you have support nearby if doing this isn't sure to wipe out the pack.
- If you die on the battlefield, get farming lane minions as soon as possible so that you get your stacks of Fresh Meat back up nice and quickly. This mechanic is a really important part of keeping your damage high, and yet another incentive to avoid being too reckless in battle.
- The Butcher just loves to clean up Mercenary Camps, thanks to the healing benefits of Butcher's Brand. He can get clearing out camps earlier than most Heroes in the game, and you should always watch out for easy opportunities to do so.
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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