Hello everyone. I'm a level 109 and counting Whitemane. Life's been a little hard for me as of late so I've not managed to climb much from the last post I made on Whitemane, but I've thought about it and I think I still need to write this.
Whitemane is one of the strongest healers in the game from a sheer HP/Time ratio, but is held back by her kit being extremely difficult to play to its fullest potential. Almost all of her healing might is locked up in one specific playstyle, and it's not the sort that her HP pool makes friendly.
To play Whitemane is to be aggressive. To put your neck and HP pool on the line to kill someone. You are not Malfurion, poking from the back from extra heals. You are Kel'Thuzad, looking for that chance to land the combo that will decide a fight. You are not Morales, aiming to keep your beam active on the enemy, you are Azmodan, having the range to poke, but wading into combat so you can channel your laser. Whitemane has the damage to hurt people, even kill people. Come 20, she can even have a 100-0 kill combo.
If you are not comfortable with being incredibly aggressive and having no way out of a fight but to try to outlive it, Whitemane is not for you. If you want a healer who can keep people alive through the most insane of damage by putting their own neck on the line, Whitemane is the healer for you.
Whitemane's Q has a fair bit of depth to it for how simple it is. Zeal lasts for 8 seconds, but Desperation drops off in 4. Some talents reward you going to 3 stacks, but you will often want to sit on 2. 30+90 = 120 mana consumed, while 30+90+150 = 270 mana consumed, more than double, and when comboing for High Inquisitor, this becomes even more true, being 20 mana lost and 120 mana lost respectively.
Beyond that, however, is the fact that at 140 base healing, it is one of the strongest burst heals in the game baseline, being able to drop 520 healing on a target by maxing your stacks. Tyrande is at 510 from her heal charges.
One of the most important rules of Whitemane is floating 2 stacks in fights. Going to 3 is costly, moreso than going from 0 to 2 twice, but the effects can be worth it. Floating 2 stacks allows you to purge them with your combo, quickly cast a third and purge it with a combo, or simply let it expire without fear as to your mana pool's fate.
Clemency is a must take, but I'm going to get it out of the way now. Clemency is not how you heal in combat. Clemency is for poke skirmishes and impromptu stack dumping. It is not rare for me to clemency and then instantly cut the beam simply so I can clear my stacks. If you are lasering an ally while combat has begun in earnest, you are sacrificing your spell combo and a massive portion of your healing. It is for stack dumping, PvE, and poke wars where you don't get to get close.
Whitemane's E, Inquisition is one of your main healing tools. With an impressive Base 350 damage, standard scaling, and the ability to heal multiple people through zeal, its impact cannot be overstated. A single full channel of Inquisition is more healing than Rehgar's Chain heal, with as much if not more AoE. Much of Whitemane's play revolves around this cooldown, for it is used to dump Desperation stacks, deliver high healing numbers, and is integral to her kill combo. In fights, it allows her to duel anyone who cannot shut her down quite effectively, due to its strong healing over time. When playing Whitemane, Inquisition and Desperation Stacks should always be in the forefront of your mind.
E is your more sustained healing tool, and also the ability that gets the talent that allows you to root people when it hits, which is the cornerstone of your combo. Its cooldown is short, its cast is instant, and the small delay before landing is the only defense against it. Properly managing Searing Lash's hit zones is important, but not as required as many may think. One of its largest advantages is that from its instant nature, it allows you to immediately begin auto attacking. Spamming E with impunity is important, and you can cast E between lasers once without sacrificing your combo when Clemency is taken.
It should be noted that you NEED to Auto Attack as Whitemane. It's less obvious than Tyrande, and you don't have the HP pool to straight up turret, but your AA's double as an AoE heal through Zeal. Not making use of your AA's means leaving healing on the table. If the enemy is on someone else, or you're simply in a 1v1 duel, remember to right click.
As a whole, Whitemane's healing potential is locked up in her aggression. AAing, comboing, and generally pressing the attack is where your heals are. You NEED to play aggressive, because clemency can be worth as little as 1/6th the HP of Inquisition once you factor for the damage it deals.
Whitemane's ults are much the same. Aegis value is not in its heal, the heal is weak. Aegis value is in its armor, and its ability to spread Zeal. Aegis should be used proactively, and aggressively, as a tool by which to mass spread zeal and to protect yourself while you combo.
Divine Reckoning is for countering dive and isolation. Its healing of 450 base is impressive on its own, but pales compared to Aegis 40% damage reduction, heal, and auto zeal spread. What makes it shine, is its large area of effect and solid cast range, allowing you to respond to dive or isolation compositions by making approaching their target counterproductive. 450 hp healing is not impressive. 1350 HP healing is an ancestral. Popping Fanatical Power and Divine Reckoning, and then comboing someone inside of it is such an astronomical amount of healing, and AoE healing at that, that even trying to compare it to any other heal in HotS is impossible. The value simply has no equal, but to set it up, you need to be confident the enemy will either be hard diving your team, or will be relying on picks such as Stitches Gorge or Garrosh Throw.
Whitemane's Talents fall into three categories. Talents that do almost nothing for her power level, but serve to make her easier. Talents that are niche but have their use cases, and talents that actively make Whitemane a more difficult character to play.
Whitemane is best played fully embracing the third option. Take the actives Fanatical Power, Clemency, and Purge. Embrace Radiance stack cycling (Q, Q, Fanatical Power, Radiance Q, Laser, Q Q Q FP ends). Take Harsh Discipline to make your spell combo root. Embrace that to truly play Whitemane is to build into her difficulty, not try to play her as a lesser Li Li or Morales. You are at your best when the actives are being thrown around, you have a foe chained down and rooted, and are in the process of incinerating them for so much damage that the enemy healer has no choice but to respond to your damage.
Clemency, High Inquisitor, Fanatical Power, Ult, Harsh Discpline, Radiance, Purge the Wicked. This is your default build for playing aggressive. For being aggressive. It offers a strong mix of healing options and potency, allowing you to play defensive if you absolutely must, gives you an extremely strong out of combat heal option in Fanatical Power Clemency, mana restoration in Q into Clemency, and most importantly, high damage (and thus healing) output on a single target. With Purge the Wicked, you force a response from the enemy healer when you catch someone, and can point and click 375 base damage and thus healing on someone every 40 seconds. More if you have FP as well.
Whitemane is not easy. People only call her easy because she has talents expressly designed to reduce her difficulty in place of enhancing her strength. Much of her power is locked up in talents that, while not easy to play, offer immense power spikes. No other healer can press one button and suddenly be doing 50% more healing for a time. Nor can they simply highlander the enemy healer in a matter of moments, deleting their rival and winning the teamfight for their team. Whitemane is an extremely strong character atm, even after the nerfs, but requires a great deal of mastery to truly make her power apparent. For the few of us who have already spent the time learning how she works and developing the instincts required, she is one of the most fun and rewarding characters in the game.
There simply is no feeling quite like being ganked as the healer, and proceeding to turn your ganker into a healing battery that saves your overextended Illidan. Nor is there a feeling quite like instantly killing the enemy carry from a bush as a healer simply because you were damaged and wanted to drink their healthbar like one of Cain's potions.
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