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Last Edited July 9, 2019

Victory Above All!

Stukov is one of the most fun hero designs I've had the pleasure of playing in any MOBA. I hope this build and some of the explanations here further the community's understanding of my favorite hero in the game and inspire more people to try him.



Stukov is largely about lining up the cooldowns and status of your basic abilities with the activation of your trait. Sometimes the most valuable Lurking Arm is one dropped on their backline, and sometimes it is most valuable used on the enemies frontline - or in some cases, sometimes even between the two to split up their team. Use your own discretion. Think about what abilities have been used, and what abilities have yet to be used. Don't waste time silencing someone who's already dumped their entire rotation on your whole team, for instance a diablo thats already wallbanged + overpowered. A few of his tiers are not cut-and-dry decisions, I've done my best to explain my rationalizations for choices below.

Strengths:


+High utility and playmaking potential for a support

+High sustained healing

+Good area/zone control

+Highest auto attack damage in the game

Weaknesses:


-Lack of a cleanse

-Low, cumbersome in-combat healing

-Long animations on lurking arm and his ultimates mean his kit requires a lot of game sense to get value out of

A few pointers that should be remembered at any level of Stukov play:


Making 'plays' with weighted pustule and lurking arm (especially post 13) should still come secondary to healing your team. You are a support first. If you're using your trait to set up a combo, do so knowing you won't have big-heal for the next however-many seconds.



Lurking arm has a lengthy, roughly second long wind-up, keep this in mind when throwing it out.



Stukov's in-combat healing is relatively low, and unreliable due to the time it takes to spread healing pathogen. Mitigate this weakness by keeping everyone topped off outside of combat.

Stukov's Best Friends:


Tanks - Johanna, Garrosh

Melee - M A I E V, Alarak, Imperius, Leoric

Ranged - Nothing in particular stands out here.

Stukov's Worst Enemies:


Johanna, Tyrande, Ana, Alarak, sometimes Greymane.
1
Reactive Ballistospores
When taking damage below 50% Health, instantly spread a Weighted Pustule to all nearby enemy Heroes and reset the cooldown of Bio-Kill Switch.
Level 1 is a tier where every talent can be considered viable. I'll do my best to explain the stronger rationalizations for picking each one, it's possible I leave some reasons out that you might deduce on your own. I will also be listing them in descending order in terms of frequency of which I pick them.
Fetid Touch - Can't really go wrong here - being able to cast W more frequently and for less mana enables you to take advantage of other talents later more often (most importantly your 7 talents and 13 tier). Upon completing the 2nd half, it really frees up your mana pool for the rest of the game. Just take this if you aren't comfortable with the others.
Spine Launcher - Lose almost half your damage to become a 5.5 Range Hero with a minor slow. I'll take this against teams with an abundance of melee heroes that I know I'll be able to auto relatively safely into. Some melee heavy comps are more dangerous than others to auto into however, even with Spine Launcher. Against tanks like ETC and (Post-4) Garrosh for instance, or heroes like Alarak. If you take this talent it's important that you get as much value out of it as possible. Always look to take advantage of free damage you can get on the enemy team.
Reactive Ballistospores - Even more niche than spine launcher. If the primary objective of the enemy team is to dive you and eliminate you before your team can react, I'd consider this. I'll take this against teams with 2 or so strong dive heroes like Genji or Illidan. The most important thing with this talent is making sure you have your Q up for your D reset. When you drop below 50% you can easily still die if you don't heal yourself with the incoming D + AOE W slow.
Low Blow - I'll take this if the primary objective of my comp is to kill the enemy (frontline) inside of a Lurking Arm. Against a Muradin per se. This helps eliminate the possibility of him walking out of your puddle alive and Dwarf Tossing away.
Just to reiterate, there's a place for each of these talents and there are more justifications I probably didn't touch here - consider your own playstyle when choosing a level 1 - in the grand scheme of your games it probably won't be an incredibly impactful tier.
4
Vigorous Reuptake
Bio-Kill Switch heals for 30% more when detonating 3 or more Healing Pathogens.
Similar to Level 1, all of these talents are viable. Here are justifications for each and the frequency at which I pick them are in descending order.
Vigorous Reuptake - The only time you might not be able to take advantage of the condition here is inside of combat when you need to immediately heal one person. I see the heal increase (that you'll be getting a vast majority of the time you use your D) as worth more than being able to use Q 2 seconds more often with One Good Spread (which also has a 3 person conditional). Just pay attention to where your healing pathogen is going and make sure you're getting as much value out of this talent as possible.
One Good Spread - After several rounds of nerfs this talent doesn't really have the mana saving and sustain power it used to. I'll take this if it seems like my team is going to be taking a lot of free poke damage before or during objectives. Example enemy heroes include Lunara, Hanzo. Verdict - take against teams with sustained poke damage and games where long fights are common.
Biotic Armor - A great talent in its own right, just more niche than the other two. I'll take it if the enemy team has two auto attackers as their primary source of damage, such as Raynor, Valla, Tracer, etc. I'll also take this if the team is centered around a single hypercarry backline like Zul'Jin or Valla paired with a Tassdar, for example. I recommend take Targeted Excision at 7 with this talent, to increase the frequency at which you can give people 75 armor.
7
Growing Infestation
Lurking Arm's area expands by 50% over 2.5 seconds, but it cannot be Channeled for longer than 4 seconds.
You know the deal - all viable.
Targeted Excision - Let's you use your D more often if its used to blow up just one Weighted Pustule. Let's you 'big-heal' your team more often and allows you to combo people (13) more often.
The Long Pitch - Greatly accelerates stacking Fetid-Touch (your level 1 quest) and gives you a very long range, potentially long slow and tool for dismounting people, stalling objectives (particularly useful on maps like Towers of Doom or Tomb of the Spider Queen). One thing to note is that your Lurking Arm cooldown does not start until you finish channeling it, meaning that the bonus cooldown reduction you get from both Targeted Excision and Long Pitch will probably not help your Lurking Arm CD much because you typically use Arm in conjunction with your trait. Typically the ability to stall objectives and what map I'm on is how I decide this tier. Your mileage may vary, however.
Growing Infestation - Not a bad talent but unfortunately now the weakest on this tier. Good if you went Low Blow at 1, or if there are heroes on the enemy team whose kits are disrupted by by being silenced. Think Lt. Morales - she can't heal anyone for several seconds if she so much as touches a silence puddle. There are more examples. I've been favoring big arm over the others lately
10
Massive Shove
Extend Stukov's arm. If it hits an enemy Hero, they are rapidly shoved until they collide with terrain, dealing 190 damage and Stunning them for 0.5 seconds. Stukov gains 50 Armor while shoving an enemy.
Stukov's ultimates both serve a similar purpose, just in different ways. There are situations where Shove is better and situations where Swipes are better. I find I go Shove about 90% of my games however.
Flailing Swipe - If they have a hard engage/dive comp. Can also be used as a several second stun when hitting an enemy into a wall (think Mighty Gust from Falstad). Example: to keep a Muradin from jumping away for several seconds, hit him into a wall. Swipes is a rather long channel. Be sure you understand how long you're committing to stunning yourself to cast this.

Massive Shove - More surgical than Flailing Swipes. Useful to disrupt just one diver or have a quick wallbang on someone. Examples of uses include denying Blaze's stun charge into your team or Diablo's charge. Doesn't take you out of the fight and isn't as disruptive to your teammates as Flailing Swipes. Can also be used as a ranged nuke to finish off fleeing enemies. As you become more and more familiar with how much damage it does you'll be able to use it for kills more often. During the midgame, always keep a mental checklist of which Forts of yours have had their gate destroyed. Know what angles you can play to shove a lone enemy into your Fort - it is often a death sentence for them. Just don't kill yourself to get into a position to shove someone into your base. And be cognizant of how long each Shove is going to take you. Don't shove someone across the map while their whole team jumps on you.
13
Virulent Reaction
Detonating a Weighted Pustule on an enemy who is inside of Lurking Arm Roots them for 2 seconds.
Root at 13 always. Even if they have a cleanse support. Trading cleanse for root is always a valuable trade - just make sure your team knows your root will be cleansed and not to invest too much into collapsing on a rooted target.
16
Superstrain
Whenever an ally with Healing Pathogen is Stunned or Rooted, they are instantly healed for 250 Health.
Superstrain and Pox Populi are the two competitive talents here. You'll find yourself going Superstrain slightly more often however.
Superstrain - Heals someone for about half of the amount of your trait every time they're stunned or rooted. This effect has no cooldown. I take this typically if the enemy team has about 2 or 3 stuns or roots that are on a relatively short cooldown. Think Thrall root, Anub'araks kit, etc. there are also certain heroes that solely convince me to take this talent - some of these include say Johanna or Anub'arak.
Pox Populi - If the enemy team does not meet the criteria for Superstrain, take Pox. It's good sustain and still better for healing than Universal Carrier. Pox is also useful if you took a talent like say, Biotic Armor, that benefits from your pathogen being on them for longer than usual.
20
Push Comes to Shove
Massive Shove slows its target by 50% for 4 seconds upon colliding with terrain. If Massive Shove pushes a target for more than 1.25 seconds, its cooldown is reduced by 15 seconds.
You can't go wrong with both of the ult upgrades here.
Controlled Chaos - Actually turns your Swipes into a much more manageable tool for disengage and disruption - you aren't stunned for as long and can use them at your discretion. Also a little known Stukov tip - use Flailing Swipes before you upgrade to your 20 with Controlled Chaos - you will immediately get two charges of Flailing Swipes after you pick your 20. Effectively giving you 5 slaps.
Push Comes to Shove - Even if you shove someone a very short distance, it is still a 50% slow which is rather large. The cooldown reduction aspect can be useful for say a core defense, or anti-siege. As said before, just be cognizant of the rest of their team and whether they can punish you for long shoves.
Top Off - Really not that bad if you have Pox Populi for instance. The ult upgrades, especially so in Controlled Chaas case, slightly edge it out for usefulness however.
Balance Patch - 01/03/19
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