Welcome to the first of many Backlog Adventures guides, this time covering Blizzard’s new MOBA sensation, Heroes of the Storm. Today, we shall be covering a misunderstood and often underestimated hero, the Murloc specialist, Murky.
What is this guide for and who is it for?
This guide is intended to give a basic understanding of the mechanics, abilities, play style, and psychology revolved around using Murky. While I am by no means a professional MOBA player, I consider myself to be a student of professional competitive games, as well as a pretty decent Murky player in my own right.
Thus, this guide is for anyone who either wants to know more about a character that is labelled with misconceptions.
Additionally, if you just like hearing Murloc noises, I have that covered as well:
Let’s get this slimy show on the road.
In the four pillars of HOTS hero types, Murky falls under the category of Specialist. What does this really mean? To be honest, the archetype is a misnomer, as Murky is an adept ganker in addition to being a great siege engine and all around pain in the rear.
Here is a short rundown of Murky for those that LOVE bullet points:
- Has the ability to create havoc, pester, and annoy thanks to his passive trait.
- Doesn’t use mana for his abilities.
- Incredibly fast health regeneration
- Very high burst damage capabilities from Level 10 and up, with this ability growing exponentially at level 20.
- One of the best junglers in the game.
- Safety Bubble ability allows him to play footsies in lane, as well as escape, mess up skill shots, and in general be a jerk.
- Is an absolute monster in 1v1 situations against non-warrior characters.
- Is one of the few characters that can operate solo, split pushing or harassing objectives without hurting the team by being out of place.
- Players who don’t know how he works will always be at a disadvantage, thanks to his unorthodox play style.
- Is a Murloc, and therefore is better than every other character.
- The smallest health pool in the game, which still comes into play despite his faster re-spawn.
- Completely reliant on keeping his Egg safe. If your Egg is found, you’ve effectively been taken off the board as a threat to anyone or anything for at least 20 seconds.
- His offensive centers around being close to opponents who can often kill you in just a few hits, as such, it is easy to make mistakes or find yourself stuck in bad situations.
- Nearly worthless in team fights until Level 13 and/or 16.
- His best tools, the Pufferfish and Octo-Grab are able to be countered and Cleansed. Good players will plan for it accordingly.
- Very cooldown heavy.
- The sheer fact that picking Murky causes people in public matches to act as if picking him was a waste. Be prepared for potentially getting a ton of negative feedback.
- Very little variety in regards to viable talent choices, especially at levels 4, 7, and 16.
- Requires a high level of coordination and timing to play well.
Why is Murky so annoying? What harm could a baby fish monster with an overbite really cause? The root of all answers stems from Murky’s passive trait, Spawn Egg:
At first glance, you may assume that you read the ability wrong or that this is some type of typo. Your eyes have not deceived you: Murky does indeed return to the field of battle 5 seconds after death for as long as there is an Egg on the field.
This ability is Murky’s greatest advantage, as well as his biggest curse.
The Egg allows Murky to be aggressive in-lane as well as at team fights centered around capture points. Essentially, a well placed Egg can turn a 4v5 fight into a 6v5 fight as Murky picks off squishier enemies and stragglers, or potentially jumps in the way of potentially lethal attacks aimed at fellow team members. Enemies may think they are seeing double each time they kill Murky, only to see him rear his fishy head to slap foes with his trout over and over.
The Egg can also serve as a fount of frustration in regards to your foes. Some players gain a mindset of searching out and destroying Murky Eggs through an entire game without realizing they’ve fallen into Murky’s trap. A player focused on eliminating the Egg is a player that is, most likely, out of position and focusing efforts away from objectives and team fights. More to the point, frustrated players may waste Ultimates and cool downs on Murky, failing to notice that he has returned 5 seconds after dying and is back for revenge.
The Egg is also a problem in that many Murky players allow it to be a crutch. It’s very easy to overextend and Murky, and proper Egg placement plays a big part. A well-placed Egg can allow Murky to push lanes, siege, or give his team the upper hand in a fight. A poorly placed Egg can leave Murky vulnerable or scrambling away from key positions in an attempt to place his Egg and avoid further detection.
A note: The Egg can be placed in stealth areas, but will appear if an enemy enters that same patch of stealth. Proper Egg placement changes from map to map, so take a hard look at stealth placements and find spots that are safe as well as advantageous.
Slime is Murky’s main spammable ability that hits everything in an area around him, marking hit enemies as Slimed. With a short cooldown, a slow, and decent damage, Slime is a strong part of Murky’s kit in clearing lanes, staying safe, and being annoying. The area of effect is large enough to allow Murky to poke at in-lane foes while remaining safe. Additionally, Slimed enemies can potentially receive more damage later in the game thanks to talents.
Murky’s biggest gun, in the form of a floppy, stinky fishy. This ability is Murky’s go-to damage dealer, and part of the reason he is so dangerous as a sieger, lane wiper, and mercenary killer. The Pufferfish won’t be targeted by towers, but enemy placements like Gazlowe’s turrets will shoot at it.
Speaking of shooting: The Pufferfish can be killed in 2-3 hits, rendering your attack useless. While many novice players will hardly ever attack the Pufferfish, those who have played against Murky enough will know what is up. Be smart with your placement and get used to throwing fish in ways that optimizes it’s area of effect. The Pufferfish can be used to flank enemies who are attempting to flee, thrown forward to siege against towers, or tossed into a way point to disrupt and harass enemies.
Avoid using in-lane against auto attack Heroes like Tycus or Valla. It isn’t worth the effort.
Ever thought to yourself: “Gee, if only a character had Uther’s Divine Shield Ultimate but on a 14 second cooldown?” Well, here yo go. Safety Bubble is the key to Murky’s zen-like ability to be an annoying little turd. Want to bomb in and out of scrums? Wish to attack and leave like the Viet-Cong army? Is your desire to trick someone into using a long cooldown or Ultimate only to see it washed away in the loving safety of Safety Bubble?
You can do all this and more.
Safety Bubble is also a great way to catch up with fleeing enemies, body block opponents during team fights, or save your own bacon. My personal favorite use of Safety Bubble is getting the attention of 1 or 2 enemies, getting them to chase me, and bubbling away, leaving their own teammates outnumbered and exposed.
Be mindful of the cooldown. Safety Bubble really is a magic button, but it can only save you if the cooldown is up. Only use it in situations where you know you can either recover or hide.
In the case of Murky, one Ultimate is clearly better than the other. Alas, the mantle of Superior Ultimate does not belong to March of the Murlocs. This ability serves a few uses, including pushing against turrets or trapping enemies in a team fight. However, those few uses and the ability’s insanely long cooldown don’t merit a choice over Murky’s other, far superior Ultimate.
Cool-looking? Absolutely. Useful? Eh.
Count to 3 and a half.
It may not seem like a long time, but in the MOBA genre where seconds at a time are absolutely vital, being unable to act, move, or us abilities for 3 and a half seconds is practically a lifetime. Thus, Octo-Grab.
The squid grab is Murky’s key to 1v1 and ganking superiority, allowing him to rush from stealth and latch onto an enemy and keep them there. Whether you’re using Octo-Grab in a Slime+Pufferfish+Octo, near 1 hit KO combo or immobilizing a healer during a team fight, this Ultimate is vital.
A word of note: Murky is vulnerable and stationary while using this Ultimate, but your opponent will stay latched in place, even if Murky dies.
For more instances of Octo-Grab being awesome, please view this recording:
Talent choices will be ranked from best (Yes, choose this) to worst (Oh god, why?).
LEVEL 1 TALENTS
- 1. BLOCK
In most cases, Block is going to be the talent to take at the start of the game. This is especially true if facing a team with Nova, Valla, Tychus, or Illidan. Block goes a long way to keeping Murky alive. If you’re not as worried about survivability, then by all means take Bribe. Otherwise, take Block and stick around just a little bit longer than usual.
- 2. BRIBE
Bribe is my personal favorite in the Level 1 tier, with a wide variety of application across all maps. Bribe gives Murky the ability to pressure the enemy side of the map at specific times by taking mercenary camps just before key objectives, such as Sun Temple nodes. Thanks to Murky’s ability to mow down minions, Bribe will build up fast, allowing Murky to take mercenary camps as early as level 6, once again leading to Murky being an annoyance and distraction.
If you aren’t worried about staying alive or if your team has a good tank/healer combination, take Bribe every time.
- 3. BUBBLE BREEZE
Bubble Breeze is outclassed in this tier due to the utility and usefulness of Bribe and Block. This isn’t to say that Bubble Breeze is a bad ability. However, in comparison it just lacks bang for your buck. The movement speed increase is great in cases where you may want to chase down an escaping foe or run away in a pinch.
But, honestly: Just take Block or Bribe.
- 4. ASSAULT EGG
Ugh. Useless. Look, I realize that you may be thinking that your Egg having more health sounds like a great idea. But, to be honest, if an opponent is actively attacking your Egg, then this ability really only buys you a second or two of extra time before the Egg dies regardless.
Even if you’re looking to be more aggressive with your Egg placement, Assault Egg still isn’t worth the investment over the rest of the tier.
LEVEL 4 TALENTS
- 1 AND ONLY: LIVING THE DREAM
Look: There is no other talent to pick in this tier that is worth the time or effort. You will not find a Murky build since his changes back in March or so that doesn’t have Living The Dream, so don’t fight it. Sure, Envenom is sometimes okay, and having a bigger slime radius seems cool, but…No. Just…Stop.
This ability is the key to Murky’s power and makes him an absolute beast in 1v1 situations, against mercenaries, and just about every other time in between. This Talent may seem antithetical given that Murky dies over and over, but if anything Living The Dream serves as a reminder to play games safe and minimize deaths.
A damage boost of 15% is nothing to sneeze at, and Living The Dream is one of the main reason why Murky should never be overlooked. Pick nothing else. Trust me.
LEVEL 7 TALENTS
- 1. SLIME ADVANTAGE
Slime Advantage is a great damage buff to one of Murky’s biggest weaknesses. While buildings aren’t affected by Slimed, Heroes, minions, and mercenaries are still going to take extra damage from this talent. As with other tiers, this talent is simply so good that it overshadows everything else available.
- 2. COMPRESSED AIR
Compressed Air is a great talents for beginning Murlocs because it allows you to figure out the spacing and mechanics of Pufferfish. However, at a point this talent becomes a crutch. You’re far better off becoming more accurate with your Pufferfish tosses and eventually taking the damage bonus talent.
- 3. HINDERING SLIME
While an increase in slow amount sounds great, I find a 10% increase to be rather negligible. I suppose there are universes where Slime builds are a thing and you’d take this over Slime Advantage, but that reality isn’t the one I currently live in.
- 4. CLAIRVOYANCE
Incredibly situational, but I would personally never take Clairvoyance. I suppose this ability could have uses in Blackheart’s Bay or Ravens Hollow, but it is hardly a worthy substitute for Slime Advantage.
TIER 13 TALENTS
- 1. WRATH OF COD
An essential component of every Pufferfish build, and just an awesome name for a Talent. Given the fact that the Level 16 Talent Slimy Pufferfish will automatically Slime targets in the Pufferfish’s landing zone, Wrath of Cod is just too good to pass up.
- 2. BUBBLE MACHINE
The ability to place Safety Bubble on a 9 second cooldown is a tempting offer. Bubble Machine becomes viable if building a survival/harassment build, especially if taking Rejuvenating Bubble at Level 16.
Bubble Machine will allow you to hang around in teamfights longer, as well as harass 1v1 in-lane scenarios with ease. However, it is important to keep in mind that you’ll be taking a hit in damage generation by not taking Wrath of Cod or Continuous Slime.
- 3. CONTINUOUS SLIME
By its placement in this tier’s rankings you might assume that I dislike Continuous Slime. To be honest, I think it is a great ability that can really turn the tide in a tight teamfight. However, given that I consider Pufferfish builds to be the optimal Murky build, Wrath of Cod is still the ideal choice. However, Continuous Slime is a very viable and situational second choice.
- 4. HIDDEN ASSAULT
I have no idea why anyone would choose this ability or why it even exists. Absolutely useless and very much part of an inane design choice made for Murky way back in Closed Alpha. Skip.
TIER 16 TALENTS
- 1. SLIMY PUFFERFISH
Yet another tier where I consider there to be only one real, viable option. Slimy Pufferfish eases in taking mercenary camps in a speedy manner, as well as sets up useful, negative debuffs on the opposing team. Obliterate minions, camps, and buildings with ease once you acquire this ability.
And, of course, this also doubles the damage of your Pufferfish if the correct Talents have been taken. A key component of the Pufferfish+Octo-Grab combo build.
- 2. REJUVENATING BUBBLE
Thought Murky regenerated health fast already? This ability turns the knob up to 11. If you’ve taken all of the Safety Bubble Talents up to this point, Rejuvenating Bubble can be a very good ability that provides a large amount of grief for the opposing team. A good secondary choice, but hard to recommend as an alternative to picking Slimy Pufferfish.
- 3. BLOOD FOR BLOOD
Always a strong and viable choice, even after a recent nerf. Blood for Blood shines in scenarios against high HP tanks, even if Murky won’t always be getting the most out of so much health gain, given his small health pool.
There is potential for an Envenom+Blood for Blood combination, but considering both were nerfed in potency, it just isn’t the ideal Talent choice any longer.
- 4. SLIMY END
Don’t take this.
If you do, I’ll tell Murky. Murky will be very sad. And probably eat your cats.
LEVEL 20 TALENTS
- 1. … AND A SHARK TOO!
… OF COURSE YOU TAKE THE SHARK. Why? Allow me to explain through the magic of ANIMATION AND PICTURES!
SEE? WHAT MORE MUST BE SAID?
Oh: You want a real reason? Well, okay.
I always pick Shark over Rewind for the simple fact that Rewind is far too reliant on landing a perfect storm of situations and combinations. Given the choice, Shark is much more of a sure thing in regards to damage. Sure, with a proper Rewind combo, Murky can, in theory, 1 hit KO any character in the game. Such a move isn’t nearly as reliably or situationally applicable as theory-crafters would have you believe.
Assuming your opponents don’t have or won’t use Cleanse, Shark is the way to go. HURRAY SHARK.
- 2. REWIND
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate Rewind. However, unless you’re a professional HOTS player, I doubt you’ll get as much out of Rewind as you will with our Shark friend.
Despite my bias, Rewind is an excellent ability. If you’re able to predict when the best time to press Rewind is, it is a powerful and deadly Talent.
But, your mileage will vary.
- 3. NEVER-ENDING MURLOCS
If you somehow got confused and took March of the Murlocs, then take this, I suppose. Or don’t. I mean….Yeah.
March of the Murlocs is still terrible, even with this Talent.
- 4. BOLT OF THE STORM
Enjoy running away? THEN THIS IS THE TALENT FOR YOU!
I have no clue why Murky even has the option to take Bolt of the Storm. Useless choice.
TIPS, HINTS, TRICKS, AND MURLOC STUFF
- In the early game, don’t fret over team fights. Until level 10, Murky is just about useless. Instead, focus on soaking lanes, pushing buildings, and possibly taking a mercenary camp or two.
- Once Level 10 is achieved, Murky can spread out across the camp in search of prey. However, his full ganking power doesn’t come to fruition until after Level 16 Talents are taken.
- Don’t be overly aggressive with Egg placement until the late game. Opposing teams are less likely to go Egg searching towards the tail end of a game. This is a great chance to place it in a secluded piece of stealth on the enemy side of the map and attack targets or prevent enemy retreat.
- Murky works well with: Johanna, Nova, Valla, Kael’Thas, and just about anyone with a decent stun.
- Watch out for inept team mates playing the likes of Diablo, Nazeebo, or anyone else that can knock enemies out of Pufferfish or Octo-Grab range. Trust me: It’ll happen.
- I love using Bribe to steal early Mercenary camps right before objectives, forcing the enemy to prioritize. It can cause a lot of havoc in the early game, leading to the opposing team to ignore soaking the lanes.
- Don’t be afraid to die for a good cause. Murky is a great body blocker and meat shield. Sometimes a Murloc has to do what a Murloc has to do.
- With that in mind, protect your Living The Dream damage buff in the late game. It can mean the difference between a dead Jaina and a Murloc Popsicle.
- Don’t be afraid to hide in the bushes for a tasty, squishy enemy. After Level 16, Murky can 1 shot KO just about any non-tank. Prime targets are Nova, Jaina, Kael, Illidan, Gazlowe, Falstad, and Zeratul.
- Murky’s worst enemies are Tychus, Nova, and Zeratul. If you are in the lane against any of these three, leave. Immediately.
- Don’t be afraid to let your team mates fight in a 4v5 situation if it means you can steal a mercenary camp, objective, or building. Murky is built to wander and does it better than any other Hero in the game currently.
- This is a given, but be mindful of your cooldowns. Each one is precious.
PROFESSIONALS AT WORK
FIN (Haha. Fish pun.)
I hope this guide can help out anyone that either wants to learn Murky or is looking to figure out how the little guy ticks. I don’t know why, but I immediately fell in love with him. His play style is interesting and fun, and it is simply a joy to play such a unique character.
This may be why he is my only Level 10 where I’ve purchased the Master Skin.
If you have any questions, additions, comments, or queries, feel free to find me on Twitter @DoubleUHarrison or email me at Backlogadventures@gmail.com.
Murky and I wish you farewell!