Ménè Details Darkness Incarnate
“Now is the perfect time to talk about Gul’dan,” says Thomas "Ménè" Cailleux, as he flips through his catalog of Heroes on the Asia server. He’s joined up with Fnatic for the 2018 HGC season and is currently tucked away in his team’s practice area at the Gold Club World Championship (GCWC) in Beijing.
Ménè is respected around the world for his innate ability to perform miracles with mages. These high-risk/high-reward heroes are fragile, but have massive damage output. His favorites in order are Li-Ming, Gul’dan, Jaina, Kael'thas, Chromie, and Kel’Thuzad (though he admits he’s not quite up to snuff on the Archlich of Naxxramas quite yet).
“The reason Gul’dan fits in the current meta is because a lot of teams run double support without a cleanse,” says Ménè. Because of this, you can get big value from Fear in team fights.” A well-timed Fear can single-handedly change the course of a game, and act as a way back into the fold when you’re down and out. It is the pièce de résistance of Gul’dan’s kit.
Don’t Be Greedy
The 25-year-old Frenchman does not waver from his build around Gul’dan’s Corruption (E).
At level 1, Ménè takes Echoed Corruption, a quest talent that requires you to hit 40 enemy Heroes with Corruption. “You don’t want to be greedy and find yourself out of position,” he says. “If you see a tank clearing the wave, put two circles on him and back off. You’re aiming to finish the quest around level 14 or 15.”
Why? Because at level 16, Gul’dan really comes online with Ruinous Affliction: “If you’re fully stacked by level 16 and you land four circles on a ranged carry you will one-shot them.”
Part of what enables this burst damage is the talent Hunger for Power, taken earlier on level 7. Hunger for Power boosts Gul’dan’s ability power by 15% but makes him receive 25% less health when healed. “You don’t really feel the 25% reduction in healing received, but you do see the 15% increase in ability power in waveclear,” says Ménè.
Gul’dan’s main job in the early game is to waveclear and win rotations. “At the beginning of the game you need three or four Fel Flames [Q] to clear the wave. After level 7 with Hunger for Power it’s more like two or three, which is really good.”
Wait for Your Window
When it comes to Fear, Gul’dan’s go-to Heroic at the moment, Ménè advises, “If the enemy has a cleanse you need to be sure that they use it before you use Fear, unless you are fearing the support.”
Ménè takes the upgraded Heroic at level 20, Haunt. Haunt adds one second to the duration of Fear and makes enemies under its effect vulnerable, taking 25% more damage. As a result, Ménè says, “As soon as you hit level 20 you can focus the enemy tank.”
Gul’dan synergizes well with Heroes that also can do a lot of burst damage such as Greymane. He doesn’t do well into Heroes that want to dive or have high mobility, as Gul’dan’s weakness is ultimately his lack of escape.
Be Wary of Your Surroundings
Positioning is likely more important for Gul’dan than any other Hero in the game. He is fragile, and requires a great deal of practice to properly master. His talents on level 4 and level 13, Consume Soul and Healthstone, act as a means of keeping Gul’dan alive when the Fel hits the fan.
“I wait until I’m low on life to use Healthstone, same with consume soul,” says Ménè. “Since you are fragile, the enemy team will assume you’ll die easily from one or two spells, so they’ll put damage on you and switch targets. But with Healthstone and Consume Soul you’re back in the fight. It’s risky because these moments can happen super-fast.”
He also cautions that you need to know not only your goal in team fights, but your limits as well. “You have to know who you can focus during the team fights,” says Ménè.” If you always focus the backline with your Corruption in order to one-shot and they have a high-damage tank like Arthas or Anub’arak you are dead. You have to check if you can focus the backline safely, or if you need to wait for them to step up.”
Ménè believes this is the most optimal build for the Destroyer of Dreams. To see this build in play, look no further than Fnatic’s group-stage matchup against KSV Black.