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Heroes of the Storm: Zagara Builds | Guide - February 2016

Our essential guide to playing Zagara with this month's most effective Talent build.

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About John Bedford

John is a freelance writer based in West Sussex.

Our complete Zagara guide has everything you need to know about playing this Hero, with the latest builds, tips, map advice and counters.

Zagara brings a great deal of utility to every single stage of a Heroes of the Storm match, from aggressively pushing a lane in the early stages, to sieging towers and causing the enemy team all manner of problems in mass brawls. Her unique Creep Tumor Ability also allows her to seed a slowly spreading ickiness across the battlefield that provides extra eyes across the map, and also speeds up her travel and health regeneration.

The main drawback of this character is her distinct lack of mobility when not riding along on that residue - at least until Level 20 when Bolt of the Storm becomes available. She can also chow through Mana in a flash and has very little in the way of crowd-control until Level 10.

Still, Zagara's unique flavour makes her a Hero you should really try out at least once or twice. In this guide, we'll explain the basics of getting to grips with Zagara, outline a solid Talent build you can work with, and finish up with some tips to help you get ahead of the game nice and quickly.

Zagara strategy overview - February 2016

During the early laning stages of the game, make sure you're spreading your Creep Tumor all over the place and whenever it's off cooldown (see our tips section further below for more details on this). Use Infested Drop to land a sticky bomb on the marching minion waves, and save Hunter Killer for when you think it can finish off a Hero.

You can churn through Mana pretty quickly with Zagara, so only use Baneling Barrage on minions if you can slam into the lot of them and really make it count. Get into the habit of paying a visit to the Healing Fountain after your first couple of lane engagements, so that you've always got some juice in the tank for when you need it the most.

When you're not involved in team fights - and if all lanes are being taken care of - use Zagara to take down Mercenary Camps and just keep spreading those Creep Tumors all around the map. They'll really give you an advantage over the course of an entire match, but it can be pretty easy to forget to pop this active Trait when it's available.

When fighting with your team, throw down your Infested Drop as soon as it's off cooldown and try to hit a bunch of opponents. Try also to land Hunter Killer on a Support enemy, so they're effectively disabled from the fight as they try to fight off their new friend. Assuming you're following our Talent build recommendation, try to land Devouring Maw on more than one enemy so your team can follow up with massive amounts of AOE. When they emerge from the Maw, land your Infested Drop and Baneling Barrage combo on them for a really effective shot of your own burst damage.

The best Zagara Talent build - February 2016

There are a few different takes on the standard Zagara Talent build, but we've found the following to be a pretty consistent performer, regardless of the enemy team or your own team's composition.

Zagara standard build

Level 1 - Reconstitution - Health Restoration bonus on Creep increased by 200%.

Level 4 - Envenomed Spines - Basic Attacks have their range increased by 20% and deal an additional 42 damage over 3 seconds.

Level 7 - Rapid Incubation - Channel to regenerate up to 25% of your Health and Mana over 3 seconds.

Level 10 - Devouring Maw - Devouring Maw (R)- Summon a Devouring Maw that deals 555 (317 + 3% per level) damage and devours enemies for 4 seconds. Devoured enemies cannot fight and take 78 (45 + 3% per level) damage per second. Usable on Unstoppable enemies. Mana: 100, Cooldown: 100 seconds.

Level 13 - Mutalisk - Your Hunter Killer spawns a Mutalisk with a bounce attack and 50% increased duration.

Level 16 - Brood Expansion - Can hold up to 2 charges of Hunter Killer.

Level 20 - Bolt of the Storm - Activate to teleport to a nearby location.

Zagara Abilities, Heroic Abilities and Traits - February 2016

Zagara has a few fairly unusual Abilities to play around with, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the tools at your disposal. Baneling Barrage is great for hitting structures or clusters of enemies, while the combo of Hunter Killer and Infested Drop can cause squishy opponents a minor disaster. It's Creep Tumour that provides the truly unique flavour for Zagara though - use it well, and use it often in order to infect the battleground.


Baneling Barrage (Q)- Launch 4 Banelings that deal 136 (78 + 3% per level) splash damage each. Mana: 50, Cooldown: 10 seconds.

Hunter Killer (W)- Summon a Hydralisk to attack a single target, dealing 161 (92 + 3% per level) damage per second. Lasts 8 seconds. Mana: 60, Cooldown: 14 seconds.

Infested Drop (E)- Bombard target area with a Zerg Drop Pod for 300 (171 + 3% per level) damage. The pod spawns 2 Roachlings that deal 53 (30 + 3% per level) damage per second and last for 8 seconds. Mana: 50, Cooldown: 12 seconds.

Heroic Abilities

Nydus Network (R)- Summon a Nydus Worm at target location that you can enter by right-clicking. While inside, you exit by targeting a Nydus Worm with R or right-clicking near the Worm. Maximum 4 Nydus Worms. Cost: 50 Mana, Cooldown: 60 seconds.

Devouring Maw (R)- Summon a Devouring Maw that deals 555 (317 + 3% per level) damage and devours enemies for 4 seconds. Devoured enemies cannot fight and take 78 (45 + 3% per level) damage per second. Usable on Unstoppable enemies. Mana: 100, Cooldown: 100 seconds.


Creep Tumour (D)- Lay a Creep Tumor that generates Creep. You and your summons move 20% faster on Creep and restore 8 (5 + 3% per level) Health a second. Tumors last 240 seconds. Cost: 20 Mana, Cooldown: 15 seconds

Zagara counters and match-ups - February 2016

Zagara's counters are many and varied. Some Heroes will beat you down, while others make great targets to focus on. We like to reference HeroesCounters for the latest picture of where things stand for this particular Hero. Here's how things currently shape up at the time of publishing our guide:

  • Strong against- Sgt Hammer, Sylvanas, Brightwing, ETC, Malfurion
  • Weak against- Kerrigan, Zeratul, Nova, The Butcher, Arthas
  • Teams well with- Valla, ETC, Tyrande, Sylvanas, Zeratul

Zagara tips - February 2016

Zagara plays very differently to most other Heroes in the game, and so it pays to spend a little time reading up before taking her out for a fight. Have a look through our round-up of some of the must valuable tips we've come across for this character - they'll really help you get off to a good start.

  • You need to keep track of your Creep Tumour Trait at all times, and make sure you're dropping fresh ick all over the map, all throughout the match. It'll give you eyes on all parts of the map, speed up your travel and improve your health regeneration.
  • To maximise the chance of your Creep Tumour staying alive long enough to get a good spread going, plant it in the obscured shrubs of each lane. You should be able to get a few of these off in the early game, and before the enemy can fire a single shot at you.
  • Do not throw your Level 10 Ability out there lightly. If you've followed our Talent build, you want the Maw to drop on a cluster of enemy Heroes that your team can then AOE nuke down.
  • Baneling Barrage is fantastic for chewing through structures, and you should always be firing off this stream of critters whenever it's available. They'll also cause a lot of bother to bunched-up enemy Heroes.
  • If you're heading into a big old team fight, consider dropping a Creep Tumour behind you so that you slicken up your escape path a little if things go badly and you need to get out of Dodge fast.
  • Rapid Incubation is a channelled Ability and so if you're interrupted you'll lose the effect. Get behind a tower or hide in the bushes before popping this skill.
  • If you've multiple enemy Heroes to contend with, drop Hunter Killer and Infested Drop on a squishy character - preferably a healer. This will lock them out of the fight as they try to keep themselves alive and deal with the distraction.
  • Consider dropping the above combo on a Hero(es) as soon as they emerge from Devouring Maw as well - it'll often be too much pressure for them to handle.

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.

More great HotS guides:

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  • andreicristianprodan #1 6 years ago
    @andreicristianprodan ah, I can't edit the damn thing. I meant devouring maw upgrade is better than blink!
  • andreicristianprodan #2 6 years ago
    No offense to whomever wrote this build but the tips section is not enough.

    FIrst of all, for the level 20 talent, I'd get the devouring maw upgrade. Until level 20, that blink would be great for any hero, but to be honest, once you reach 20, you're gonna mostly have team fights, which means, there will be less situations when you get ganged and need to blink out. If anything, you can use the maw to escape. The cooldown kicks in and you'll help less in the battle, but you should be smart enough to not have to do that and not get yourself in those situations. But most importantly, I didn't see a lot of situations where the enemy heroes were bundled up and I couldn't reach them with the maw. So that's two reasons why I think blink > dev maw upgrade.
    Now if you get the maw upgrade at 20, in a fight, you will most likely get at least one player, also most likely not get all 5 players. That means your cooldown for this ability will be almost halved (because 30% more damage and 30 sec reduction per takedown) and since I can't stress enough how important it is to have it ready for team fights, there's a good chance you'll be ready to use it in the next fight. (in opposition with the blink where you might find yourself without it when the next fight is up)

    Also, mutalisk is not always the best choice, you might want to get the spell shield if enemy has burst dps.

    Now for extra tips:
    You want to focus the banelings not to attack buildings, but to destroy the minion wave. Also you want to use the roaches before the enemy wave hits your wave, so that the roaches soak the damage. Aim it at the ranged minions so that the melee ones turn back to attack the roaches and get bundled up with the ranged ones. NOW you wanna use banelings on that cluster of minions for maximum damage. Throw the hydra on the enemy hero if he tries to prevent you from doing this. Do this every wave.
    If you time your roaches right, you can do this in a place between the enemy gate and tower, and you'll do damage to those as well as all the minions.

    If you're on the lane with a tank that has the burning ability which deals damage around him, you should stop placing creep tumors, it will be a waste of charges and mana.

    Devouring maw situation: there might be a situation where you're pushing a gate and towers and a few enemies are outside the gate. It would be better here to not cast your maw on the enemies but on the gate, so you block them from entering but not catch them inside your maw, or at least a few of them in the maw, a few out the gate. The ones out of the gate and maw will most likely die and by the time they do, your team can focus the ones coming out of the maw, already torn up a little. If you have enough damage, you'll probably destroy the gate and can kill before they run away. You can use this blocking strategy in different situations and tight spots, I just wanted to give a clear example. This is important: the best zagara maw is when you catch 5 players and that will almost never happen. So sieze the terrain opportunity AND rush it rather than hesitate and lose the fight.

    Make sure you throw the roaches and banelings (in that order) just before the maw releases the enemy heroes for max damage.

    Use roaches to check behind obstacles.

    Never use banelings on a single hero.

    Use roaches, hydras and banelings to deal damage to towers and forts without friendly minions around. They will focus your creatures before you. So start with banelings, then roaches and last hydra(s). Keep hitting the fort. Get out before your last hydra die. Keep an eye on the map while doing all this. It doesn't take a lot of focus to do the combo, make sure you use this time to see what's happening on the map. Make sure you're not about to get ganged.

    Lastly and MOST IMPORTANTLY when the enemy core has less than half hp and you're 100% you're going to win. Pay attention!! Go between the enemy core and the respawn zone, unmount and type in /dance in the chat for complete t-bag/rubbing it in their face satisfaction. The game doesn't count as true victory if you don't manage to do this.

    Have fun!