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Created June 24, 2020

A Gentleman’s Guide To The Gentleman

Hello once again, SHreddedWInd back with another support guide, this time featuring the little old man that could, Deckard Cain. Personally, I thought he was in a really good spot BEFORE Blizzard buffed him a ridiculous amount of times. Now, he’s just ludicrous. Like my two other guides, I’ll give a general overview of his kit, his talents, and when to draft him. Next, I’ll go over some cool tips and tricks you can do to maximize your effectiveness with Deckard. 



As always, I've included a TL;DR at the bottom, for those who take your Deckard on the go.



Overview:



In my opinion, Deckard is overall a pretty easy hero to pick up. His kit is straightforward and intuitive, and powerful enough to be effective, even in the hands of a relatively inexperienced player. Therefore, the skill behind playing Deckard, besides landing your skillshots, boils down to knowledge! (very fitting for Deckard). When do I draft Deckard? When do I use my abilities? How do I use my abilities? Do you, Mr. Shredded, have any little known tidbits about maximizing Deckard’s potential? Fortunately for you, I’ll cover all of these in the sections below.



Build:



Before I start listing Deckard’s talents, I want to give a short piece about my opinions on his gems.

Gems are unique, talentable abilities that modify your next cast of Horadric Cube in some way. All three gems are viable, and I highly recommend getting used to using each one. However, never talent into all three gems at once! Teamfights in this game never last long enough for you to use all three gems in one fight, so one gem will always be left unutilized. Additionally, depending on the enemy’s team composition, one gem will usually get much more use than the other. My recommendation is to decide at the beginning of the game whether you’re going to get more use out of Sapphire (your team needs reliable initiation or peel) or Emerald (your team has reliable initiation, and needs some finishing power, OR the enemy team has double support/lots of healing), and choose accordingly. Almost always take Ruby on 4 (the only time I wouldn’t take Ruby is if neither team has any hard engage), and take another talent on the tier(s) that you don’t take a gem. 

I know that there’s builds out there that use Ruby as the only gem. This is fine if you choose, as every Deckard player will get different value out of their gem usage. The other talents on his 1 and 7 tiers aren’t bad, so if you’d rather use a Ruby-only build, feel free. 

For levels 1, 4, and 7 in my build below, I’ll list the gem as the choice talent. Depending on the game, substitute at least one of these three gems with another talent on the tier. With that being said, let’s explore his talent tree.



1. Sapphire



Take this gem when your team needs reliable initiation, or if the enemy’s healing isn’t particularly strong. A Sapphire-empowered Horadric Cube almost guarantees that Scroll of Sealing lands. Sapphire can also be a tool to slow the enemy’s advance when your team is retreating. I think Sapphire is a lot easier to use than Emerald, so if you’re just learning how to use gems, I’d always take Sapphire over Emerald.

If you decide against Sapphire, I recommend taking Field Study. Up to 40% spell power for 16 seconds is just….insane, especially at level 1. It’s a huge buff to Deckard’s base kit, especially since spell power affects healing. If you’re completely new to Deckard, and don’t feel comfortable using Sapphire, take Field Study every game. Note about Field Study: the increased spell power is NOT snapshotted whenever Deckard throws a potion. This means that Deckard’s potions only heal more while he has the Field Study buff active.

WARNING: Boring Math Ahead, feel free to skip past this paragraph: Field Study changes the damage of Scroll of Sealing in an interesting way. Assuming you didn’t already have the Field Study buff, Scroll of Sealing will apply a different amount of damage to every enemy you hit, depending on how many enemies you hit. At level 16, Scroll of Sealing deals 281 damage. If you hit one enemy with Scroll of Sealing, the enemy will suffer 281 damage. If you hit two enemies with Scroll of Sealing, one enemy will suffer 281 damage, and the other will suffer 337 (281 + (281 * .2)) damage. If you hit three enemies, the first enemy suffers 281 damage, the second enemy will suffer 337 (281 + (281 * .2)) damage, and the third enemy will suffer 394 (281 + (281 * .4)) damage. Aka, Field Study’s spell power buff applies to the cast of Scroll of Sealing, but affects heroes unevenly. Note that this interaction works the exact same way if you decide to take Scroll of Stone Curse. The math here works out to be (281 * 3) = 843 to the first target, (281 * 3 + (281 * .2)) = 900 to the second target, and (281 * 3 + (281 * .4)) = 956 to the third target. 

Scroll of Identify is a good talent. The reveal duration is handy in the early game to spot rotations, and -15 armor is a good bonus. However, due to the quest component, this talent has the weakest early game out of the three talents on this tier, and the -15 armor upon completion isn’t good enough to make the talent a clear winner over the other two. In other words, if this talent didn’t have a quest at all, and just gave the armor shred right at level 1, I wouldn’t necessarily pick Scroll of Identify every game. Therefore, Scroll of Identify’s quest component (one that has an inconsistent timeframe for completion), and the lack of a powerful reward makes it the weakest talent on this tier.



4. Ruby



I don’t know which dev at Blizzard thought it was a good idea to keep buffing this talent. Even before Blizzard changed Ruby’s cooldown to 10 seconds, I still thought it was the best talent on the tier. Now, Ruby is insane. The uses for this talent are limitless. Since Ruby increases the damage of your next Horadric Cube by 100%, you can use Ruby-empowered cubes as a decent source of PvE damage, such as clearing waves, or taking a mercenary camp. Only use Ruby this way if you think you won’t need Ruby in the next 10 seconds. Alternatively, Ruby can be used as both an offensive and defensive tool in teamfights. If the enemy team is collapsing on top of you, cast Ruby on yourself, and run around picking up the many little potions that drop right at your feet. When engaging on the enemy, use Ruby right as your tank steps forward to help ensure that your frontline stays healthy. This talent is a huge power spike for Deckard, learn it, use it.

I think some people who don’t believe in the power of Ruby are caught up in the fact that the potions are “little”, and therefore aren’t worth your time. In reality, each little potion is approximately ~30-50 (depending on hero level) less healing than one of Deckard’s regular Healing Potions. 

HOWEVER, even though I’ve been showering Ruby with praise, I don’t think Shielding Potion is unpickable. Even though Ruby is a lot of healing, it’s only healing your team gets if the potions land near you. Therefore, if your team never wants to directly engage on the enemy (say you have a heavy poke comp), AND the enemy team never wants to directly engage on you (say they ALSO have a poke comp), Ruby won’t be getting much value, and you’d be better off taking Shielding Potion.

Rejuvenating Potion fails the stat check. The mana return is useful, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that Shielding Potion “heals” for more.



7. Emerald



Take this talent when you don’t need the slow from Sapphire, if the enemy has double support/lots of healing, or if the enemy healer has predictable, easily disruptable heals, like Alexstrasza. Try to save using Emerald for when you’re looking to blow someone up, as it shuts down most of the enemy support’s attempts to save their ally in need. There’s not much more to say, it’s -75% healing. Really strong talent, but only take it when you know you’ll get consistent value.

Kanai’s Cube is my go-to when I don’t take Emerald. Damage reduction is one of the most powerful debuffs you can apply to the enemy team, so I heavily prioritize damage reduction talents on any hero I play.

Personally, I never take Cube Mastery. I don’t think the effect is powerful enough to sacrifice Emerald or damage reduction cubes. A common argument I see for this talent is, “With Perfect Gems at 20, Cube Mastery is insane!” My logic for judging late game talent synergies is that if you take a weaker talent at an early level expecting to synergize with a late game talent, that synergy needs to win you the game. Cube Mastery is powerful with Perfect Gems, but it’s not a game winning synergy like Cleave build Zeratul. Therefore, all the way until level 20, (and a lot can happen in the time it takes to reach level 20), you’ll be stuck with a sub-par talent. “But Cube Mastery isn’t a sub-par talent! More scrolls! More CC! How is that bad?” is the second most common argument I see. Well, it’s not bad. In fact, I could see some fringe uses for Cube Mastery. The enemy needs to lack both high healing (otherwise, you’d take Emerald) and high damage (otherwise, you’d take Kanai’s Cube). However, this rarely happens, as most teams that aren’t high damage most often run high sustain comps, such as hyper carry comps. Basically, this talent is only the clear best versus some whack Quick Match comps OR if other members on your team already have plentiful damage reduction options, AND you don't need Emerald.



10. Stay Awhile And Listen



More often than not, I take Stay Awhile And Listen. It’s super easy to hit multiple enemies, and can be used offensively or defensively. This is one of the best answers amongst other support heroes for dive in the game. Here’s a few tips on how to best use Stay Awhile And Listen:

1. A trap I often fell into while learning how to use this ultimate was that I tried to cast all of my abilities before casting Stay Awhile And Listen, to get maximum value out of my cooldowns before starting the ult’s long channel. However, this meant that I slept all my enemies, right before waking them all up again when Scroll of Sealing finished unraveling. If practical, try to use Q and W before using Stay Awhile And Listen, but not Scroll of Sealing.

2. Try to move yourself out of vision before casting the ultimate, so that the enemy doesn’t see your ability windup. I know I’ve encountered a great Deckard player when he sleeps me while he’s standing in a bush, when I’m least expecting it. This trick can be utilized to make a sudden initiation, or a sudden counter-engage.

3. When using this ult offensively, it can be tempting to use it on the enemy your team is focusing down. Instead, use this ultimate to sleep the enemy team while the rest of your team finishes off the enemy. This removes any possibility the enemy may have of his team saving him, and makes him a much more isolated, vulnerable target.

4. If you finish channeling this ultimate, and hit at least one enemy player, a global sound plays that can be heard by all players in the game. Just…useful to note. If the enemy is split across the map, and your team engages on one of the enemy members, just know that as soon as you use your ultimate, the entire enemy team will know stuff is going down, somewhere on the map.

Lorenado is a perfectly fine ultimate, and I have no issues with people that pick Lorenado. I think this is a rare instance of two ultimates having similar power levels, so choosing an ultimate comes down to personal preference. Lorenado is especially powerful on maps like Cursed Hollow, which has many narrow corridors, and highly important boss points. However, Lorenado is flexible enough to be viable on any map, so if you prefer the gale force of Lorenado, have at it.



13. Ancient Blessings



Ancient Blessings has been nerfed four times since Deckard’s release, and it’s still the best talent on the tier. Since this talent applies a flat damage bonus, heroes with high attack speed make better use out of Ancient Blessings than heroes with high attack damage.Therefore, you don’t need to be in the mindset of, “I gotta draft Raynor/Greymane/Fenix to make use out of this talent”, as non-dps heroes with high attack speeds, like ETC, can still become killing machines when this talent is activated. However, note that the talent has an internal cooldown of 1 second, to prevent super fast attackers like Tychus from abusing the talent. Ancient Blessing’s most common use is to secure kills, as you can provide your team with massive burst damage out of nowhere. 

I think Super Healing Potion is useful only as a tech choice versus certain comps
. It’s very handy versus teams that like slow, drawn out fights, such as double support, or poke comps. Otherwise, in faster fights, Super Healing Potion takes too long to mature. If you keep finding yourself in situations where you’re trying to save an ally that’s taking a lot of damage, and needs healing RIGHT NOW, Super Healing Potion will never get any value. Even if you place Super Healing Potions before a fight starts, pretty much no potions you cast during the actual fight will have the time to benefit from Super Healing Potion.

Never go Potion of Revival. Oh god, never take this talent. I think it’s probably the worst talent in Deckard’s entire tree, up there with Safety in Numbers (spoiler alert). The radius is super small, so the talent rarely gets value. Ruby heals multiple allies better than Potion of Revival does.



16. Scroll of Stone Curse



This is the default pick on this tier. It’s a massive damage buff. Damage is good. Not much else to say. 

Horadric Staff is also a very good choice, but only if the enemy has lots of dive heroes. It’s especially useful against mobile dive heroes, like Genji and Tracer, that will dodge your Horadric Cube and Scroll of Sealing anyways. Most of these dive heroes will not expect the sudden stun, it really messes with assassin spell rotations.

Safety in Numbers will have to give me 50 armor, 200% mana regeneration, and cause the enemy team to explode every time it procs, in order for me to take this talent. As is, it’s not powerful enough to justify the bad play it encourages. In order for this level 16 talent to have ANY use at all, you’re going to have to be standing around three of your other teammates. Good luck with that in solo queue, and in competitive, you want to be standing far away from the action, not close to your frontliners. Even if you’ve managed to get three allies to stand around you, then congratulations! Your entire team has clumped for the enemy team! Kaelthas, Malthael, and Maiev send their regards. I think if Safety in Numbers’ effects ramped up, like if you gained half of its effects by standing around 2 heroes, it would be a much better talent. In its current state, the effect is much too polar.



20. Perfect Gems



This talent is Deckard’s second huge power spike (with the first being Ruby, and arguably Ancient Blessings). This talent is your payoff for managing your gem cooldowns in the first part of the game. Now, feel free to spam all the gems in the world! You can still take Perfect Gems, even if you only take 1 gem. Perfect Gems is just that powerful of a level 20. Most of the value behind Perfect Gems lies in reducing the window of downtime your team has, significantly. The talent takes abilities balanced around long cooldowns, Sapphire and Emerald, and turns them into spammable abilities. Even if you only take Ruby, Perfect Gems reduces the cooldown window by a significant amount, and is still worth taking to spam Rubies. 

Respect the Elderly is a good alternative to Perfect Gems. It effectively turns Stay Awhile And Listen into a Mosh Pit, as enemies hit by the ultimate have no way of fighting back when woken up. I typically take Perfect Gems over this upgrade, as I believe the constant gems are more flexible than Respect the Elderly, but I often take this upgrade if I find myself using Stay Awhile And Listen as a counter-engage tool. The silence and blind can halt enemy engages dead in their tracks, while providing your team with a good opportunity to engage. Otherwise, when used offensively, it seems very win-more, as your team can still diligently focus one target at a time, and leave the others sleeping. 

Morenadoes! is what I take when I don’t want Perfect Gems, and have taken Lorenado (this situation rarely comes up for me). It’s decent, flat value.

Bottomless Flask used to be Deckard’s huge power spike when the recharge time was 5 seconds, but an 8 second charge time is too long for regular use. Let me put it to you this way: In the time it takes for one of Deckard’s Healing Potions to recharge, you could have cast another Ruby-empowered Horadric Cube by taking Perfect Gems, instead. I’d basically only recommend it whenever you take Super Healing Potion, aka, against comps that like to take fights slowly. It’s also decent on maps with long, drawn out fights, like Volskaya Foundry.



When Do I Draft Deckard?



This is going to be a short section this time! Deckard is a very flexible hero, which allows him to support any style of comp on any kind of map. If you truly want to min-max your drafting, Deckard is best on maps that have objective points to fight over, like Infernal Shrines or Volskaya Foundry, and is weaker on maps that have lots of rotations, like Tomb of the Spider Queen. However, the discrepancy in power level is too small to realistically be taken into account; he’s still perfectly usable on rotational maps. Feel free to draft him on any map.

Deckard works best with OR against comps that have hard engage. Deckard’s entire kit is great at both engage and counter-engage, so take advantage of his kit to enhance your team, or counter the enemy’s. 

His only real notable weakness is that he has no Cleanse, so avoid picking him if the enemy team is drafting a single target blowup comp with lots of crowd control. Otherwise, Deckard’s flexible talent tree can be used to tech into facing any sort of comp. He’s a strong hero, man. Feel free to one trick this guy!



Tips and Tricks:



There are many subtleties to playing Deckard. Some are only applicable early game, and some are general tips that are applicable in all stages of the game. I’ll divide my tips up into these two sections.



Early Game:



Deckard’s early game is quite strong. If the rest of your team has a strong early game like you, look to play aggressively. Assuming you took Sapphire, you can help your team set up an engagement on any out of position enemies. If you took Field Study instead, only use your Horadric Cube and Scroll of Sealing for follow up CC, as it’s hard to land a raw Scroll of Sealing. Alternatively, if you feel the enemy team has a stronger early game, play defensively instead, using Horadric Cube/Scroll of Sealing to peel, if the enemy decides to engage.

When you have some downtime, such as the first 5 seconds of game start before the minions reach the lanes, or in between rotations, go to points of interest and toss a potion or two near the area. I like to call these “tactical potions”. Are you on Garden of Terror, or Cursed Hollow, and plan to do mercenary camps as soon as they spawn? Go and throw two potions at hard-to-take camps, like knight camps. When your mercenary taker goes to capture the mercenary camp, you don’t even need to rotate to help them, as your ally will already have some reserve healing prepped for them. Are you on Volskaya Foundry, where you know that the first objective will be the mid control point? Throw two potions onto your side of the point, so that they’re there when your team starts to contest the objective. Keep track of the number of tactical potions like these you have out on the map. If you have more than five potions on the ground at once, and try to throw a sixth, one of your tactical potions may disappear. Take advantage of the fact that Deckard can throw permanent, non-interactable potions. Anticipate your team’s map movements, and provide bonus healing in advance. 

Deckard can have mana issues if you keep spamming Horadric Cube and Scroll of Sealing. My recommendation, especially in the early laning phase of the game, is to only use Horadric Cube and Scroll of Sealing for engaging/disengaging the enemy. If you’re using it as poke, or as waveclear, you’re wasting mana, and you’re risking not having the cooldown up when you need it. I spend most of the early game only throwing out Healing Potions, and rarely using Horadric Cube or Scroll of Sealing, at all. As the game progresses, you can be more liberal with using your spells for waveclear, but try to be mindful of whether your team is likely to fight in the next few seconds, before using your abilities on a wave.



General Tips:



The general engage combo you should use is Horadric Cube -> Scroll of Sealing, in very quick succession. If empowered by Sapphire, the slow from Horadric Cube almost guarantees that your Scroll of Sealing will land. 

I covered this in my Build section, but if you want to use Stay Awhile And Listen, make sure you don’t cast Scroll of Sealing first! The Scroll will wake enemies up after they’ve been slept. Similarly, once you finish your channel, you should cast Scroll of Sealing, and wait for the scroll to become mostly unraveled before you cast Horadric Cube! Cast Horadric Cube too early, and you’ll wake up all the enemies before your Scroll of Sealing lands.

A cool engage combo you can do with Lorenado is to use Lorenado similar to Cassia’s Valkyrie. The combo consists of Horadric Cube -> Scroll of Sealing -> Lorenado pointed back towards your team. If you can see that Scroll of Sealing will land on a target of interest (like the enemy healer), try to cast Lorenado slightly before the scroll finishes unraveling. The enemy will be rooted by Scroll of Sealing, and will be unable to move, as the Lorenado constantly pushes them backwards into your team. If you happen to land this combo in a tight corridor, there’s almost no escape possible for the poor enemy hero caught in the tempest. 

Don’t forget about your passive, Fortitude of the Faithful! This should be fairly obvious, but I see many Deckard players forget that their passive exists. Always make sure you’re standing near an allied hero, if you can. The cooldown reduction you get from your passive is huge, and can significantly increase your healing throughput in teamfights. However, make sure the ally you’re standing near is an ally that likes to be in the backline, too. Fortitude of the Faithful’s benefits aren’t worth putting yourself out of position by standing near a frontliner.

Don’t be afraid to throw out lots and lots of Healing Potions. The potions will remain there until someone uses them, so there’s rarely a reason to not just keep chucking them out. Having the healing out and available for your team can be good in shorter skirmishes, as your team will out trade the enemy every time by running to your field of potions. At level 13, if you choose to take Super Healing Potions, throwing out potions in advance will ensure that the potions will mature by the time you need them.

If you get Ruby at level 4, every Horadric Cube you cast should be empowered by a gem. Basically, consider Horadric Cube to have a flat, 10 second cooldown, even though Fortitude of the Faithful can reduce Horadric Cube’s cooldown below 10 seconds. Be patient, and hold your Cube cooldown a few seconds to always make use of a gem, as gem-empowered cubes are exponentially more powerful than regular Horadric Cubes. If you don’t take Ruby, you don’t need to abide by this principle.

Here’s how I use my gems if I take Perfect Gems on level 20: If I have Sapphire and Ruby as my two gems, I still use them in roughly the same way as I did pre-20. I use Sapphire to initiate or escape, and I use Ruby once my team is fully committed to a fight. If I have Ruby and Emerald as my two gems, I use Emerald way more often than Ruby. With Perfect Gems + Emerald, you’d have an almost 100% uptime on the healing reduction, which can cripple enemy teams that depend on healing. From here on out, I only use Ruby when I really think my team needs the healing.



Closing Thoughts:



Thank you for reading yet another support guide, this time featuring Deckard Cain! I really hope that this guide helps shed some light on how to maximize Deckard. I think he’s in a very good spot in the meta right now, possibly contending for top 5 supports in the game. Most of his power lies in his flexibility and his base stats, which, in my opinion, are currently overtuned. I don’t think Deckard is going to receive nerfs any time soon, because his winrate isn’t sky high, but I think those that take the time to learn how to play Deckard effectively will find much success.



TL;DR:



Build:



1. Sapphire, or Field Study if you don’t go Sapphire



4. Ruby, Shielding Potion if you don’t go Ruby.



7. Emerald, Kanai’s Cube if you don’t go Emerald.



10. Either ult, really comes down to personal preference.



13. Ancient Blessings, Super Healing Potion vs longer, drawn out fights



16. Scroll of Stone Curse is the default, take Horadric Staff vs dive



20. Perfect Gems, ult upgrades also viable, Bottomless Flask acceptable whenever you take Super Healing Potion



When Do I Draft Deckard?



Deckard is a very flexible hero, that can be teched to fit any map or team composition. Watch out for high CC comps though, as he has no Cleanse.



Tips:




  • Deckard’s early game is quite strong, feel free to look for early engages.

  • Throw Healing Potions near mercenary camps or objectives early game, to prepare your team for when they move to the camp/objective.

  • In the early stages of the game, only use Horadric Cube and Scroll of Sealing when engaging the enemy team, don’t use them for poke or waveclear.

  • Use your abilities carefully when using Stay Awhile And Listen, to ensure you don’t accidentally wake up your enemies.

  • Cast Lorenado pointing back towards your team, to trap any enemy unfortunate enough to be caught in the Lorenado.

  • Your passive is powerful! Use it! Make sure you are near an ally, whenever you can be.

  • Spam Healing Potions! They last until they’re picked up, so don’t be afraid to just leave some on the ground.

  • If you get Ruby at 4, every cast of Horadric Cube should be empowered by a gem.


1
Sapphire
Activate to increase the Slow of the next Horadric Cube by 100% and its slow by 30%. Only 1 Gem may be active at a time.
DISCLAIMER: If you take Emerald, DO NOT TAKE SAPPHIRE!

Take this gem when your team needs reliable initiation, or if the enemy’s healing isn’t particularly strong. A Sapphire-empowered Horadric Cube almost guarantees that Scroll of Sealing lands. Sapphire can also be a tool to slow the enemy’s advance when your team is retreating. I think Sapphire is a lot easier to use than Emerald, so if you’re just learning how to use gems, I’d always take Sapphire over Emerald.

If you decide against Sapphire, I recommend taking Field Study. Up to 40% spell power for 16 seconds is just….insane, especially at level 1. It’s a huge buff to Deckard’s base kit, especially since spell power affects healing. If you’re completely new to Deckard, and don’t feel comfortable using Sapphire, take Field Study every game. Note about Field Study: the increased spell power is NOT snapshotted whenever Deckard throws a potion. This means that Deckard’s potions only heal more while he has the Field Study buff active.

Scroll of Identify is a good talent. The reveal duration is handy in the early game to spot rotations, and -15 armor is a good bonus. However, due to the quest component, this talent has the weakest early game out of the three talents on this tier, and the -15 armor upon completion isn’t good enough to make the talent a clear winner over the other two. In other words, if this talent didn’t have a quest at all, and just gave the armor shred right at level 1, I wouldn’t necessarily pick Scroll of Identify every game. Therefore, Scroll of Identify’s quest component (one that has an inconsistent timeframe for completion), and the lack of a powerful reward makes it the weakest talent on this tier.
4
Ruby
Activate to increase the damage of the next Horadric Cube by 100% and it spawns 3 Lesser Healing Potions from each enemy Hero hit, healing allied Heroes for 250 when picked up. Lesser Healing Potions last for 10 seconds. Only 1 Gem may be active at a time.
I don’t know which dev at Blizzard thought it was a good idea to keep buffing this talent. Even before Blizzard changed Ruby’s cooldown to 10 seconds, I still thought it was the best talent on the tier. Now, Ruby is insane. The uses for this talent are limitless. Since Ruby increases the damage of your next Horadric Cube by 100%, you can use Ruby-empowered cubes as a decent source of PvE damage, such as clearing waves, or taking a mercenary camp. Only use Ruby this way if you think you won’t need Ruby in the next 10 seconds. Alternatively, Ruby can be used as both an offensive and defensive tool in teamfights. If the enemy team is collapsing on top of you, cast Ruby on yourself, and run around picking up the many little potions that drop right at your feet. When engaging on the enemy, use Ruby right as your tank steps forward to help ensure that your frontline stays healthy. This talent is a huge power spike for Deckard, learn it, use it.

I think some people who don’t believe in the power of Ruby are caught up in the fact that the potions are “little”, and therefore aren’t worth your time. In reality, each little potion is approximately ~30-50 (depending on hero level) less healing than one of Deckard’s regular Healing Potions. 

HOWEVER, even though I’ve been showering Ruby with praise, I don’t think Shielding Potion is unpickable. Even though Ruby is a lot of healing, it’s only healing your team gets if the potions land near you. Therefore, if your team never wants to directly engage on the enemy (say you have a heavy poke comp), AND the enemy team never wants to directly engage on you (say they ALSO have a poke comp), Ruby won’t be getting much value, and you’d be better off taking Shielding Potion.

Rejuvenating Potion fails the stat check. The mana return is useful, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that Shielding Potion “heals” for more.
7
Emerald
Activate to increase the damage of the next Horadric Cube by 100% and have it reduce healing received of enemy Heroes by 75% for 4 seconds. Only 1 Gem may be active at a time.
DISCLAIMER: If you take Sapphire, DO NOT TAKE EMERALD!

Take this talent when you don’t need the slow from Sapphire, if the enemy has double support/lots of healing, or if the enemy healer has predictable, easily disruptable heals, like Alexstrasza. Try to save using Emerald for when you’re looking to blow someone up, as it shuts down most of the enemy support’s attempts to save their ally in need. There’s not much more to say, it’s -75% healing. Really strong talent, but only take it when you know you’ll get consistent value.

Kanai’s Cube is my go-to when I don’t take Emerald. Damage reduction is one of the most powerful debuffs you can apply to the enemy team, so I heavily prioritize damage reduction talents on any hero I play.

Personally, I never take Cube Mastery. I don’t think the effect is powerful enough to sacrifice Emerald or damage reduction cubes. A common argument I see for this talent is, “With Perfect Gems at 20, Cube Mastery is insane!” My logic for judging late game talent synergies is that if you take a weaker talent at an early level expecting to synergize with a late game talent, that synergy needs to win you the game. Cube Mastery is powerful with Perfect Gems, but it’s not a game winning synergy like Cleave build Zeratul. Therefore, all the way until level 20, (and a lot can happen in the time it takes to reach level 20), you’ll be stuck with a sub-par talent. “But Cube Mastery isn’t a sub-par talent! More scrolls! More CC! How is that bad?” is the second most common argument I see. Well, it’s not bad. In fact, I could see some fringe uses for Cube Mastery. The enemy needs to lack both high healing (otherwise, you’d take Emerald) and high damage (otherwise, you’d take Kanai’s Cube). However, this rarely happens, as most teams that aren’t high damage most often run high sustain comps, such as hyper carry comps. Basically, this talent is only the clear best versus some whack Quick Match comps.
10
Stay Awhile and Listen
After 1 second, Channel for 3 seconds, putting enemy Heroes in front of Deckard to Sleep while Channeling, and for 2 seconds after. Enemies can only be put to Sleep once per cast, and Sleep's effects end instantly if they take damage.
More often than not, I take Stay Awhile And Listen. It’s super easy to hit multiple enemies, and can be used offensively or defensively. This is one of the best answers amongst other support heroes for dive in the game.

Lorenado is a perfectly fine ultimate, and I have no issues with people that pick Lorenado. I think this is a rare instance of two ultimates having similar power levels, so choosing an ultimate comes down to personal preference. Lorenado is especially powerful on maps like Cursed Hollow, which has many narrow corridors, and highly important boss points. However, Lorenado is flexible enough to be viable on any map, so if you prefer the gale force of Lorenado, have at it.
13
Ancient Blessings
Activate Fortitude of the Faithful to empower nearby allied Hero Basic Attacks for 8 seconds, causing them to deal an additional 62 damage in an area and heal for 90 for each Hero hit.
Ancient Blessings has been nerfed four times since Deckard’s release, and it’s still the best talent on the tier. Since this talent applies a flat damage bonus, heroes with high attack speed make better use out of Ancient Blessings than heroes with high attack damage.Therefore, you don’t need to be in the mindset of, “I gotta draft Raynor/Greymane/Fenix to make use out of this talent”, as non-dps heroes with high attack speeds, like ETC, can still become killing machines when this talent is activated. However, note that the talent has an internal cooldown of 1 second, to prevent super fast attackers like Tychus from abusing the talent. Ancient Blessing’s most common use is to secure kills, as you can provide your team with massive burst damage out of nowhere. 

I think Super Healing Potion is useful only as a tech choice versus certain comps. It’s very handy versus teams that like slow, drawn out fights, such as double support, or poke comps. Otherwise, in faster fights, Super Healing Potion takes too long to mature. If you keep finding yourself in situations where you’re trying to save an ally that’s taking a lot of damage, and needs healing RIGHT NOW, Super Healing Potion will never get any value. Even if you place Super Healing Potions before a fight starts, pretty much no potions you cast during the actual fight will have the time to benefit from Super Healing Potion.

Never go Potion of Revival. Oh god, never take this talent. I think it’s probably the worst talent in Deckard’s entire tree, up there with Safety in Numbers (spoiler alert). The radius is super small, so the talent rarely gets value. Ruby heals multiple allies better than Potion of Revival does.
16
Scroll of Stone Curse
Scroll of Sealing deals 200% more damage when hitting at least 2 Heroes.
This is the default pick on this tier. It’s a massive damage buff. Damage is good. Not much else to say. 

Horadric Staff is also a very good choice, but only if the enemy has lots of dive heroes. It’s especially useful against mobile dive heroes, like Genji and Tracer, that will dodge your Horadric Cube and Scroll of Sealing anyways. Most of these dive heroes will not expect the sudden stun, it really messes with assassin spell rotations.

Safety in Numbers will have to give me 50 armor, 200% mana regeneration, and cause the enemy team to explode every time it procs, in order for me to take this talent. As is, it’s not powerful enough to justify the bad play it encourages. In order for this level 16 talent to have ANY use at all, you’re going to have to be standing around three of your other teammates. Good luck with that in solo queue, and in competitive, you want to be standing far away from the action, not close to your frontliners. Even if you’ve managed to get three allies to stand around you, then congratulations! Your entire team has clumped for the enemy team! Kaelthas, Malthael, and Maiev send their regards. I think if Safety in Numbers’ effects ramped up, like if you gained half of its effects by standing around 2 heroes, it would be a much better talent. In its current state, the effect is much too polar.
20
Perfect Gems
Reduce the cooldown of all Gems to 5 seconds and the cooldown of Horadric Cube by 6 seconds.
This talent is Deckard’s second huge power spike (with the first being Ruby, and arguably Ancient Blessings). This talent is your payoff for managing your gem cooldowns in the first part of the game. Now, feel free to spam all the gems in the world! You can still take Perfect Gems, even if you only take 1 gem. Perfect Gems is just that powerful of a level 20. Most of the value behind Perfect Gems lies in reducing the window of downtime your team has, significantly. The talent takes abilities balanced around long cooldowns, Sapphire and Emerald, and turns them into spammable abilities. Even if you only take Ruby, Perfect Gems reduces the cooldown window by a significant amount, and is still worth taking to spam Rubies. 

Respect the Elderly is a good alternative to Perfect Gems. It effectively turns Stay Awhile And Listen into a Mosh Pit, as enemies hit by the ultimate have no way of fighting back when woken up. I typically take Perfect Gems over this upgrade, as I believe the constant gems are more flexible than Respect the Elderly, but I often take this upgrade if I find myself using Stay Awhile And Listen as a counter-engage tool. The silence and blind can halt enemy engages dead in their tracks, while providing your team with a good opportunity to engage. Otherwise, when used offensively, it seems very win-more, as your team can still diligently focus one target at a time, and leave the others sleeping. 

Morenadoes! is what I take when I don’t want Perfect Gems, and have taken Lorenado (this situation rarely comes up for me). It’s decent, flat value.

Bottomless Flask used to be Deckard’s huge power spike when the recharge time was 5 seconds, but an 8 second charge time is too long for regular use. Let me put it to you this way: In the time it takes for one of Deckard’s Healing Potions to recharge, you could have cast another Ruby-empowered Horadric Cube by taking Perfect Gems, instead. I’d basically only recommend it whenever you take Super Healing Potion, aka, against comps that like to take fights slowly. It’s also decent on maps with long, drawn out fights, like Volskaya Foundry.
Balance Patch - 11/12/19
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