Which hero should you master first?
Valla is a very simple, yet powerful hero that forces you to use mechanics that are present in all heroes*. The most important of which is to make the best use of your auto attack. On Valla it’s your main damage doer, so you’re forced to think about trying to get in every single auto attack. Hungering arrow and multishot are cherries on top. Multishot builds are viable in maps where you know teamfighting, and small hallways are prevalent (Tomb of the Spider Queen, Cursed Hollows, Battlefield of Eternity). For the sole purpose of your mechanical improvement, the auto attack (AA) build is what I’m referring to in this guide.
I’ve been using the term mechanics a lot here, what that refers to is your actual capability of using your heroes set of abilities, or kit. Every game has a slightly different feel to it. If you’re anything like me, when you switch from CSGO to GTAV there’s going to be a brief period of acclimation, because the games have a different feel to them. Heroes of the Storm and MOBA’s are exceptionally knowledge intensive in the fact that you need to understand and be comfortable with the mechanics of your hero, and the mechanics of your teammates, AND the mechanics of your enemies. If you’re fighting Anub’Arak and you don’t realize that both of his offensive skills (not including beetles) are in a straight line then you have the unnecessary handicap of ignorance. There are a few heroes with very straightforward kits, and it is my opinion that Valla is the perfect entry level assassin.
Taking a more scrutinous look at her kit, starting with her trait, hatred stacks. Each auto attack builds one stack of hatred. Each stack of hatred (up to 10) gives you +2% damage and +1% attack speed. If you play rpg’s you understand that the potential for an additional 20% damage and 10% attack speed is actually very significant. For this build you’re also going to take the lvl 1 talent that gives an additional 1.5% attack speed per stack, which raises your potential additional attack speed to 25%. The way you want to work this into your strategy is to make sure you’re occasionally getting a shot off so your stacks won’t start to atrophy.
The implication of Valla’s trait is that one is always trying to get another shot off. This encourages stutter stepping, or the holy grail of playing properly. Stutter stepping is taking a shot, moving (either towards if you can be offensive, or away if you’re losing the battle) based on how your battle is going. There are also times when stopping to shoot, like while you’re being chased, will get you killed. That’s where personal judgement comes into place.
In addition to choosing which direction you’re going to stutter step, knowing when to use your abilities is just as important. With searing attacks, the obvious choice on level 7 for an auto attack build, you’ll notice that it burns through your mana pretty quickly. Luckily when you’re fighting any group of people your hungering arrow becomes just about worthless, and your multishot just doesn’t do that much damage if you haven’t chosen the right talents for it. That leaves searing attacks, vault, and your ultimate as your main mana consuming abilities. Vault is something you’re going to have to play with to get down, but my biggest piece of advice is to not use it aggressively unless you’re positive you can walk out after. Searing attacks is easier to underutilize.
Searing attacks eats 15 mana per shot but makes your auto attack do 50% more damage. It only has a 30 second cooldown so pop it whenever you can do damage, just remember that if you’ve already tapped you need to leave an adequate amount of time to hearth, and then walk all the way back to the objective. What makes auto attacking so important?
Every hero has an auto attack. What you will get used to being your main means of damage doing with Valla should eventually come to be the way that you move any hero. If you can be getting an auto attack in as soon as your auto attack’s very short cooldown** is over the damage will build over the course of each game.
*Why Valla over Raynor? Raynor relies on his shotgun blast as a means of making space between himself and enemies. It’s far more difficult to get a skill shot to land than it is to just move yourself away with a vault.
**You can find the cooldown of your auto attack, and a bunch of other helpful stats by pressing ‘c’ while in game.