Maiev Shadowsong is a dangerous, combo-based melee Assassin whose playstyle can vary significantly depending on which talents you choose. We’ve enlisted the help of Maiev specialist Andrew "Droplets" Chi from LFM Esports to explain one of his favorite builds for the Warden.

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Droplets’ build emphasizes hitting two or more targets with Umbral Bind (W), which tethers enemy Heroes to Maiev for 2.5 seconds. If a tethered Hero moves too far away from Maiev, the tether is broken, and the enemy Hero is pulled towards her and suffers 110 damage. Umbral Bind causes Maiev’s next basic attack to cleave, tethering any Hero unlucky enough to be within range of its targets (including minions and structures).

Trait Talk: Vault of the Wardens

Maiev’s trait, Vault of the Wardens, granting Maiev Protected and Unstoppable for 0.75 seconds as she leaps into the air.

“For your Vault of Wardens, I think a lot of people just tend to use it right after they go in,” Droplets said. “Try to be aware of the enemy team's cooldowns—save your Vault of Wardens for avoiding the enemy team’s CC. Watch the enemy for their ability animations. If they don't have heavy CC, you can save it for things like Tracer’s Pulse Bomb or Malthael's Last Rites.”

Level 1: Bonds of Justice

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Bonds of Justice is a quest talent that increases Umbral Binds damage by 15 for every secondary target Maiev hits with the ability. After applying tethers to five secondary targets, Umbral Binds’ damage is increased by an additional 75. After applying tethers to 10 secondary targets, Umbral Binds’ cleave damage is increased by 30%.

“Bonds of Justice is a stacking quest talent that stacks infinitely. It scales more damage every time you pull a secondary target,” said Droplets. “Most people don't like this talent because they don't think that you'll get many chances to pull two or more people in a competitive match. When I look at a target, I look at everything that is around them rather than the Hero itself. The misconception everyone has is, 'If I want to hit that person, I need to pull that person', rather than the structures or minions or anything that is near them.” 

Level 4: Blade Dance

Blade Dance empowers Maiev’s Fan of Knives (Q) to do 50 physical damage to enemies in her immediate vicinity.

“Basically, any time you use Fan of Knives it has an AOE damage effect that falls right around you,” said Droplets. “It increases your DPS significantly and helps Maiev to clear waves and do mercenary camps faster.”

Level 7: Elune’s Wrath

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Elune's Wrath significantly increases Maiev's damage output when Fan of Knives finds multiple targets.

When Maiev’s Fan of Knives hits at least two Heroes, the next Fan of Knives she casts drops a star on the targets it connects with, dealing 77 damage.

“I like this talent a little more than Bonds of Corruption because if you can hit multiple resets with Fan of Knives, it helps you to dish out more damage,” said Droplets. “Maiev is very combo-based—if you can't get multiple person pulls or Fan of Knives resets then you aren't really doing much in a team fight.” 

Level 10: Warden’s Cage

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For Maiev’s Heroic, Droplets usually takes Warden’s Cage. Warden’s Cage summons eight Warden Avatars as a “cage” around Maiev. After 1.5 seconds, enemy Heroes that touch an Avatar are knocked to the center of the cage, consuming the Avatar. The Warden Avatars last 5 seconds. “Just because of how her kit works and the fact that you can bring people into the Warden's Cage with her Umbral Bind makes it my go-to,” said Droplets.

Other option: “I can see a lot of situations where Containment Disc makes sense,” said Droplets. “The one that comes to mind would be when you're playing with Anub'arak and you can kind of double contain someone by using it at the same time as his Web Wrap and force a five versus three.”

Level 13: Chain Gang

At level 13, Droplets takes Chain Gang, which grants Maiev 35 Armor for 4 seconds when she manages to tether at least two enemy Heroes with Umbral Bind.

 “The reason why I go almost full W build is because I think it gives Maiev more of an all-in and combo-based playstyle,” said Droplets. “The time when she's most vulnerable is when she goes in, but if you can land a two man pull when you go in, you're more likely to survive with Chain Gang. It grants you the most armor out of all three talents on this tier. You don't have to play as scared once you have Chain Gang because it’s such a big power spike.”

Level 16: Cruel Chain

Droplets leans on Cruel Chain at level 16, which grants 25% movement speed for 2.5 seconds after attacking with Umbral Bind. In addition, each time Maiev deals damage to tethered targets, Umbral Bind's pull damage to all targets is increased by 30% (up to 150%).

“Cruel Chain just empowers your Umbral Bind damage even more. This build is really focused on getting at least a two man pull and the movement speed helps you to get in there, tether, and get out quickly.”

Level 20: Shadow Orb: Huntress

While all of Maiev’s Storm Tier talents are exceptionally powerful, Droplets prefers Shadow Orb: Huntress—an activatable ability that increasing Maiev’s movement and attack speed by 40% for 5 seconds. Shadow Orb: Huntress can be recharged by dealing Physical Damage to enemy Heroes 10 times.

“I mostly use Huntress for the Movement Speed because I think it helps you to set up a lot better,” said Droplets. “I don't think the attack speed is a big deal, although it helps her damage output.”

Final Thoughts

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There are multiple ways to play Maiev (Droplets himself recommends checking out a more Auto-Attack focused build). Whichever way you play, there are a few themes you’ll find persistent for the Warden regardless of her build.

“She can feel a little squishy for a Hero that’s supposed to be up close and personal, auto-attacking people's faces,” said Droplets. “Maiev’s biggest strength is that she does an insane amount of damage, and she can setup and engage without the need to wait for the rest of her team—she can kind of make plays by herself. If you have someone that can wave clear and follow up she is good in almost any composition.”

"The only Hero I find difficult to play into as Maiev would be Sonya," said Droplets. "In a situation where Maiev is trying to setup, Sonya can just kind of run at Maiev and you can't really do anything about it. Sonya hits harder than Maiev and sustains more, so it almost feels like you're not doing damage against her.”

For more information on Maiev, be sure to check out her Hero page on the game site. Droplets and the rest of LFM Esports will take on Tempo Storm this Saturday, September 1. Catch all the action when the broadcast goes lives this weekend right here at playheroes.com/esports