G’day ZiggyD here! Welcome to the first guide in my detailed series on the Heroes of the Storm hero Jaina Proudmoore. In this series I’ll break down skills, builds tactics and strategies for playing this incredibly fun hero. By having guides covering at first the basics and later advanced builds and concepts you’ll be able to learn how to get playing and enjoying Jaina in some fun pickup games and then later you’ll be able to take things more seriously on the ladder.
Jaina is a Ranged Assasin and is themed heavily as a Frost Mage. She focuses on dealing damage, slowing and freezing enemies.
Jaina can be played a few different ways depending on the talents you take and how you combine them together. Some talent builds will focus on keeping the entire enemy team debuffed and taking more damage from your teammates and other builds will focus on powerful spell combos to do very high burst damage. By virtue of being ranged and having a lot of ways of slowing opponents she can also carry in a sustained fight and prevent enemies from fleeing the battle or giving chase.
Keen to see Jaina in Action? Check out the video version of this guide!
Jaina’s trait, Frostbite is very powerful but mastery of it’s effects are not easy. Frostbite causes all of Jaina’s core abilities to chill enemies, slowing their movement speed by 25% for 4 seconds. Slowed enemies also take 50% more damage from Jaina’s abilites. This 50% more damage is represented in game with the “CRIT!” text.
As you can probably guess the idea is to combo Jaina’s abilities together to keep an enemy chilled and to maximize your damage output.
A 25% reduction in movespeed might not sound like much but it can make it very difficult for enemies to pursue you, flee from you and even avoid other attacks and get out of nasty area of effect skills.
A good Jaina will be able to keep the chilled status on ememies indefinitely with the proper comboing of skills. This can be done right from level one by using the different cooldowns on skills together intelligently. An advanced guide on skill rotations and combos will be available in a later video.
Q Skill: Frostbolt
The first of Jaina’s basic abilities is the Frostbolt on the Q key. This is a fairly long ranged single target skillshot. It has a bit of a travel time so you will have to lead your target a bit to land a hit at long range. It will take some practice to use this skill reliably but you will be rewarded with very high damage and the ability to kill escaping heroes very reliably. Like all of Jaina’s abilities this applies chill and with the Ice lance level 7 talent, which reduces it’s cool-down to 2 seconds when you hit a chilled target, you can chain Frostbolts against an enemy indefinitely. It’s very satisfying to hit a fleeing enemy with 4 consecutive frostbolts to finish them off, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be on the other end of that scenario.
It’s currently quite popular to build around this ability as in addition to the ice lance cool-down reduction you can also significantly increase the range with Winter’s Reach and allow it to pierce the first target with Frost Shards. On top of this with the level 13 ability you can reduce the cool-down of Frostbolt to 1 second, giving huge DPS.
To use this skill you press Q and then aim with the mouse followed by left click to fire. Remember to try and judge where your target will be when the Frostbolt reaches them. If you’re not a Trigonometry Savant then you will need to practice this a fair bit so you can do it by instinct.
W Skill: Blizzard
Jaina’s W-key ability is Blizzard. By default this skill calls down two waves of ice in a small area, about two heroes across. There is a short delay before the first wave and then about a 1 second delay before the second wave lands.
Each wave of Blizzard chills enemies and without using any other skills if both waves hit an enemy the second will be a crit. However, the best thing to do is often to hit the target with another ability first to chill them as this will make it harder for them to avoid the area of the blizzard and it will cause both waves to crit increasing damage.
Because of the short delay before the first wave lands you also must judge where your target will be when you cast it. It’s a good idea to also try and use the full size of the AoE to ensure both waves will hit. If a target is commiting to flee for example then you want them to enter the AoE just as the first wave lands and then still be running through the rest of it by the time the second wave comes down.
This is also a popular skill to build around with talents tanks to it’s high damage, large AoE and excellent zoning potential. Well used Blizzards can make a huge different in a team fight and the skill can also instantly clear a full creep wave at higher levels.
At level 4 you can increase the radius of the Blizzard with the snowstorm talent, at level 13 you can increase your cast range with Storm Front and then at level 16 you can add a third wave with the Snow crash talent. All three of these combo together nicely to turn Jaina into a powerful AoE mage.
E Skill: Cone of Cold
Jaina’s E-key ability is Cone of Cold. This skill blasts a single hit of damage in a small cone in front of Jaina. This skill deals the least overall damage of Jaina’s abilities but it is incredibly useful for comboing with other skills. Hitting enemies with cone of cold and following up with Blizzard is an excellent early game combo for example.
Where Cone of Cold really gets interesting is how the different talents effect how you use it to combo. At level 16 you get the choice of either Northern Exposure or Numbing Blast talents. If you pick Northern exposure you will always use cone of cold first to maximize the damage of your follow up skills. However, if you take numbing blast you will instead use cone of cold after another ability so that you can root the chilled target for a full second.
If you are building around Cone of Cold’s ability to combo then at level 7 you can take the ice floes talent, which increases it’s Width and gives it cool-down reduction allowing you to use it more often.
I haven’t seen many builds built on Cone of Cold but it’s nearly always used in some fashion and I think it can be very powerful espeically in Blizzard-focused builds.
Jaina’s two heroic abilities are both excellent and which one you take can come down to build, strategic choices in game or personal preference.
Ring of Frost
The first, Ring of Frost, I feel fits better into AoE or zonining-focused builds. After a short delay Ring of Frost deals damage in a large area and then roots targets for a whopping 3 seconds. It will also linger and chill all enemies in the area.
There is obviously excellent combo potential here, especially with the Blizzard skill since Ring of Frost roots the targets for the entire duration of the blizzard. You can quickly bring a whole team to low health with a Ring of Frost + Cone of Cold + Blizzard combo.
The level 20 talent modifier for Ring of Frost adds extra zonoing potential by creating a second blast in the centre ring after the 3 seconds expires. This modifier I don’t feel is very strong but it can catch some enemies off guard or at the very least discourage them from entering the area.
Recommended For Group Play: I recommend this skill mainly for when you are playing with a co-ordinated group as it can be difficult to fully take advantage of without voice chat.
Summon Water Elemental
Jaina’s other heroic ability is Summon Water Elemental. This ability deals a bit of damage in an area and chills enemies and then summons a controllable pet water elemental at that same location. The water elemental has a basic attack have a small AoE splash and will chill enemies. The water elemental can do an extremely good job at keeping chill up on multiple targets and can chase fleeing targets very well. The elemental itself can also act as a distraction since it has it’s own health bar. Because of it’s suatained damage and chills enemy heroes will have to make a tough call on whether to focus the elemental down or continue attack their preferred target.
You can control the Water Elemental by using the ‘R’ key. Pressing R and then clicking the ground will tell the Elemental to attack-move in that direction – this can be great for scouting ahead or clearing the long grass. If you press R and then click on a hero or other target the Elemental will continue attacking that target unless it dies, exprires or loses line of sight. Telling the Water Elemental to target a squishy assasin in a teamfight can pressure them preventing them from dealing damage and it will often even secure kills for you.
The level 20 talent modifier for the Summon Water Elemental Heroic is Wintermute and…it…is…insane. This talent causes the water elemental to mimic all of your abilities at 50% damage. The added burst damage of this is incredible and it’s also incredibly useful as you can be out of range but the water elemental might still be able to hit with that last frostbolt required to kill that pesky Nova. The targeting of this takes some getting used to but basically the elemental will target at your mouse cursor always, though the point of origin of your cast and your elemental’s cast depends on your positioning.
Recommended for Solo Queue: Summon Water Elemental can work extremely well even without any party input, as such, it’s my choice for solo queue games. It does still work well in a party, especially if you are playing a Frostbolt build.
If you want to see a full match with Jaina then check out this commentary below!
And that closes us out for this introduction to Jaina and the detailed look at her skills. In future guides I will cover various builds for Jaina, skill comboing strategies and I’ll likely also share some gameplay commentaries on YouTube full of tips so keep an eye out!