Whether you’re playing with a friend or helping your team to secure an effective composition on the draft screen, knowing which heroes work together is an invaluable skill. Every hero is powerful in their own way, but the synergies that we feature in these articles are tried and tested pairings that can have a significant impact on the game.

Our first featured duo is Xul and Li-Ming. These powerful Nephalem from the Diablo series combine to bring both unrelenting AoE ability damage and safe poke damage to any team composition. It’s not uncommon to see this pairing played by professional teams, and below are three examples of matches in which it saw action.

TEAMS BATTLEGROUND VOD
mYinsanity vs. Team Liquid Tomb of the Spider Queen twitch-icon-box.jpg
Astral Authority vs. Gale Force Esports Blackheart's Bay twitch-icon-box.jpg
OMG vs. Star Club Tomb of the Spider Queen twitch-icon-box.jpg

As evidenced by these matches, pairing Xul with Li-Ming can be especially effective in team fights, where their complementary skill sets go a long way towards compensating for each character’s weaknesses. Individually, Xul can have a hard time securing kills while Li-Ming isn’t durable enough to dive heavy compositions. Together, they’re capable of a one-two punch that even the toughest opponents will be wary of.

Li-Ming inflicts massive Disintegrate damage on an enemy E.T.C. caught in Xul's Bone Prison.

Looking to the aforementioned matches for examples, here are some of the reasons why Xul and Li-Ming often appear alongside each other:

  • Xul’s Poison Nova deals considerable damage to heroes in close proximity, but rarely lands killing blows. This is where Li-Ming’s ability to finish off heroes and continue chasing is at its strongest. In the highlighted match between Team Liquid and mYinsanity, the first major team fight goes in favor of mYinsanity thanks to a successful Poison Nova by Xul. The poison damage isn’t enough to kill anyone, but allows Li-Ming to get a triple kill, resetting her cooldowns after each enemy hero falls.

“Xul has the perfect crowd control ability to set up Li-Ming's massive, skill-shot oriented burst. The pair also work well as a draft denial from your opponents; taking away the Xul that is so effective at soaking Li-Ming's damage through the use of summoned minions and his Skeletal Mages storm talent.”
- John Paul 'KingCaffeine' Lopez, Crescendo

  • The same devastating combo happens again 11 minutes into the game and once more during the last team fight of the game. During that last fight, take a look at how much safe damage Li-Ming is able to inflict on the enemy E.T.C before the fight courtesy of Xul’s Bone Prison. The powerful AoE synergy of these two heroes made it tough for Team Liquid to mount a comeback.

A well-timed Poison Nova from Xul affords Li-Ming an opportunity to clean up the entire enemy team.

  • In the featured match between OMG and Star Club, OMG further supported the AoE combo of Xul and Li-Ming with Xul’s level 1 Backlash talent and Diablo’s Lightning Breath heroic. The result? Game-winning team fights.

TALENT CHOICES

Talent picks are, of course, an important consideration for any hero. Which talents you opt for as a game progresses will depend on a number of factors, including both teams’ compositions, as well as how previous fights have played out. Regardless, here are a few factors worth considering:

XUL LEVEL LI-MING
Shade is a great defensive option that's helpful when you're trying to get into the perfect position to unleash a Poison Nova. Backlash, on the other hand, makes it easier for Li-Ming to secure kills and trigger her passive Critical Mass ability. 1
4
7 Calamity and Seeker are great choices; both afford Li-Ming an opportunity to deal additional damage to trapped enemy Heroes.
If Li-Ming is under constant pressure, consider using Skeletal Mages to provide her with a safe area. Otherwise, choose Poison Nova for its damage potential. 10 The channeled damage of Disintegrate can devastate a target trapped in a Bone Prison.
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Amplify Damage causes enemies trapped in a Bone Prison to take more damage and, as such, is crucial for this Li-Ming synergy.  16 Mirrorball adds two extra Magic Missiles to Li-Ming's volley. Bad news for a stationary target!
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COUNTERS

Now that you know how to play with Xul and Li-Ming, you might be wondering what you can do to counter them. As with all combinations, the key to countering them is understanding both their strengths and weaknesses:

  • While Bone Prison makes for powerful combos with Li-Ming, it can easily be Cleansed by a watchful support hero. Look to Heroes like Uther or Kharazim who can easily pick up Cleanse and still remain effective healers.
“The main counter to this duo is Cleanse. When Cleanse has been wasted or used poorly, Xul and Li-Ming should capitalize and try to force a fight immediately.”
- Alexander 'AlexTheProG' Grumstrup, Team Dignitas

  • Anub’arak is also a great choice against Li-Ming thanks to his beetles soaking up her stray spells. Anub’arak can also avoid Xul's Bone Prison with a timely Burrow Charge.
  • Xul excels in the laning phase and will usually stay in lane until he is needed in a large team fight. Stick to small skirmishes and avoid letting Xul and Li-Ming into 5 vs. 5 team fights where their AoE damage gains maximum value.

Armed with this information, hopefully you feel empowered to play better not only as part of this duo, but also alongside and against it. Be sure to let us know how you’re getting on and share any additional Xul and Li-Ming tips in the forums.