Preserver Guide by Darkangel

Darkangel’s Guide to Icing the Competition:


Base stats
Model: Preserver
Race: Protoss
HP: 150
Shields: 100
Energy: 250
Damage: 12
Attack Speed: 1.2
Targets: Ground
Range: Melee
Move Speed: 3
Armor: 1

Table of Contents:
1. Quick Guide
2. Introduction
3. Skills
4. Skill Order
5. Items
6. How to Fight
7. Gameplay
8. Conclusion

1. Quick Guide:

1.1 – Skill order:

1.2 – Item Build:

1.2.1 – Early Game:
Warp Out, Soul Channel, Gravitic Booster, Psitrous Oxide, Observers/Plasma Surge

1.2.2 – Late Game:
Warp Out, Gravitic Booster, Stasis, Plasma Surge, Disruption Web/Soul Channel/Observers

2. Introduction:

This guide is aimed to be helpful to all levels of Preserver players, from never played before to In-House level players. Preserver is a powerful damage dealing hero with support capabilities that synergizes with many other Protoss heroes. With a high base movement speed of 3, Preserver is rarely susceptible to ganks if you practice good positioning when in lane. Combined with a bit of teamwork and good decision-making, Preserver can be a match winning hero.

Preserver has long been one of my favorite heroes in public and private games. The loss of the original hard stun capabilities of Ice Prison (Q ability) forced me to take a slightly different angle when playing Preserver. Choosing your engagements wisely is now more essential then ever for preserver, but does not diminish the hero’s potential throughout the course of the game.

This is the hero for you if you like to be able to do it all (stun/deal damage/clear creep waves). It will require good awareness to the area around you since Preserver will more likely than not be on the losing end if an enemy spots you first. It will also require good decision making when deciding if you can gank a hero. If he spots you before you can put down your Ice Prison (or if you miss your Ice Prison), there will not be much you can do to save yourself if they decide to engage you.

3. Skills:

Ice Prison (Q)
 Summons a vortex of ice with a radius of 3, lowering the movement speed of enemies caught within to
 1 and increasing the effect of all slows by 10% every second. The duration lasts 5 seconds and 
 stuns all units in the area upon expiring. The stun duration is halved against heroic units. 
     Range: 5
     Costs 50 Energy
     12 Second Cooldown
     Level 1: 3 second stun duration
     Level 2: 5 second stun duration
     Level 3: 7 second stun duration

My thoughts: this ability is fantastic during team-fights and in enclosed areas (bridges of the desert map). It has a rather short cast range of 5, so getting the opponents in the middle of the AOE isn’t always worth the risk. However, it synergizes extremely well with other Protoss heroes/items (e.g. Colossus’ pyramid, High Templar’s time bubble, Dark Templar’s vortex, Oracle’s preordain, Dark Archon’s maelstrom, Sentry’s force fields, Phoenix’s graviton beam, disruption web, and stasis). Also, remember to keep in mind that this ability also effects air units.

Ice Wall (W)
 Allows the Preserver hero to cast ice wall. Ice wall creates a wall of ice from the caster to the
 target that deals damage to nearby enemy ground units. The ice wall will last 5 seconds.
     Range: 9
     Costs 50 Energy
     12 Second Cooldown
     Level 1: Units hit by the ice wall take 24 (+ 2.4 per level) damage.
     Level 2: Units hit by the ice wall take 36 (+ 3.6 per level) damage.
     Level 3: Units hit by the ice wall take 48 (+ 4.8 per level) damage.

My thoughts: Ice Wall is preserver’s best ability and also my favorite. Against terran and zerg, it can clear tier 1 creep at level 2 (hero level 3). This is essential to kick-starting your income and to avoid being by range heroes. It also impedes movement which allows you to send an icewall behind enemy heroes to stop them from retreating. It is also extremely effective when used in combination with Ice Prison to prevent heroes from escape the stun.

Frost Bolt (E)
 Allows the Preserver hero to cast frost bolt. Frost bolt deals damage to enemy units within a
 radius of 1.75. Units hit by frost bolt cannot cloak and have a slower attack speed and movement
 speed for 5 seconds.
     Range: 9
     Costs 50 Energy
     12 Second Cooldown
     Level 1: Units hit by the frost bolt take 22 (+ 2.2 per level) damage and have a 10% reduction in movement speed and attack speed.
     Level 2: Units hit by the frost bolt take 33 (+ 3.3 per level) damage and have a 15% reduction in movement speed and attack speed.
     Level 3: Units hit by the frost bolt take 44 (+ 4.4 per level) damage and have a 20% reduction in movement speed and attack speed.

My thoughts: A typical AOE damage dealer that also gets the benefits of some debuffs to targets. It can also be a great help in creep clearing early game, and also assists in a high burst damage during the mid to late game.

Freezing Aura(R)
 Reduces the movement speed and attack speed of enemy units within a radius of 8.
     Level 1: 4% reduction in movement speed and attack speed.
     Level 2: 8% reduction in movement speed and attack speed.
     Level 3: 12% reduction in movement speed and attack speed.

My thoughts: This is always the last ability I’ll get, but should not be underrated. With a few short cooldown damage spells, Freezing Aura helps preserver chase/escape heroes with much more ease.

Blizzard (T)
 Allows the hero to cast blizzard. Blizzard causes ice shards to fall from the sky, dealing damage
 over 5 seconds to enemy units within an area of radius 3.
     Range: 9
     Costs 100 Energy
     60 Second Cooldown
     Level 1: Blizzard deals 90 (+ 9.0 per level) damage.
     Level 2: Blizzard deals 135 (+ 13.5 per level) damage.

My thoughts: Blizzard is an early game creep clear tool that is essential to helping preserver get a high income. However, keep in mind that Ice Wall and Frost Bolt combined deal more damage when you only have Level 1 Blizzard, and the combination also costs 10 less energy. During the mid to late game, it is a great AOE damage dealer during teamfights, especially if you’ve stunned a few heroes with Ice Prison.

4. Skill order:

Level 1: W-Ice Wall
Level 2: E- Frost Bolt
Level 3: W-Ice Wall
Level 4: E- Frost Bolt
Level 5: W-Ice Wall
Level 6: Q-Ice Prison
Level 7: T-Blizzard
Level 8: E- Frost Bolt
Level 9: Q-Ice Prison
Level 10: Q-Ice Prison
Level 11: R-Freezing Aura
Level 12: R-Freezing Aura
Level 13: R-Freezing Aura
Level 14: T-Blizzard
Levels 15-20: Stats

Whether laning or crittering, this will generally be a good skill order to follow. Early game often focuses on simply clearing the enemy wave, then running back to your towers for cover. Before level 3, you shouldn’t try to exchange blows with an enemy since you will likely run out of energy before your warp prism cooldown is up or you will miss income via creep kills if your abilities are on cooldown. As the game progresses and teamfights start occurring, your Ice Prison will become more relevant, but Preserver should focus on keeping a relatively high income in order to afford those expensive energy upgrades and energy intensive items.

5. Items:

5.1 – Early Game:
Warp Out, Soul Channel, Gravitic Booster, Psitrous Oxide, Observers/Plasma Surge
Note: focus on attack and energy upgrades during the early game and try to be a glass cannon. Psitrous oxide and Gravitic Boosters should provide a sufficient amount of movement speed to avoid ganks.

5.2 – Late Game:
Warp Out, Gravitic Booster, Stasis, Plasma Surge, Disruption Web/Soul Channel/Observers

6. How to fight:

6.1 – General 1v1:

As a Preserver player, you will rarely if ever want to engage in an all out 1v1. One slight slip up on your part, and the enemy hero will more likely than not be able to hunt you down for an easy kill. When deciding whether or not to engage in a 1v1, you must take into consideration positioning, match-up, and your own burst potential via items/abilities.

Positioning will be the first thing to consider. The skill that will make a break a 1v1 engagement will be Ice Prison (Q). Due to its relatively short casting range, you want to make sure that you can approach from a blind spot for the enemy.  As always, you should start off with soul channel to prevent the opponent from porting out.  You will want to start with either an Ice Wall (W) or Ice Prison (Q).  Which one you use is 100% dependent on positioning and nearby terrain of the map.  After you’ve got the enemy trapped in your Ice Prison (Q), throw down Blizzard (T) and Frost Bolt (E).  Do everything you can to keep your opponent trapped in Ice Prison (Q) which can include Disruption Web, Ice Wall (W), or even use yourself to try and body block the enemy to keep them in Ice Prison (Q) long enough to get them stunned.  

Do NOT try to gank heroes with blink or any other sort of escape spells (Stalker, Hybrid Destroyer, Dark Zealot, Sentry, Viking, Thor, etc) unless they have a semi long cooldown escape spell and you are 100% certain it is on cooldown since they will be able to escape your ice prison with ease.

6.2 – 1v1 vs Flyers:

As mentioned in the General 1v1 section above, you rarely want to try and take on another hero 1v1. However if you have Disruption Web, air heroes will actually become rather simple to pick off. As always, you’ll want to approach from an angle that the opponent will not be suspecting. If you’ve got it, get a soul channel off on the hero ASAP to prevent the hero from porting out. Alternatively, you can use stasis in place of Soul Channel since the cast range is similar. If you choose to go the stasis route for these ganks, be sure to damage the opponent instantly (before DWeb) after stasis wears off or else they will be able to port. Then use DWeb, followed by Ice Prison (it will now be easy to land since enemy hero is rooted), and then let loose your spells (Ice Wall, Frost Bolt, Blizzard) if you think you can kill the hero in one runthrough of all of these abilities. If you know you will not be able to take the hero down quickly, do not use frost bolt right away. Instead save it until the hero is close to porting out (1-2 seconds after dweb/Ice Prison have worn off depending on the last time the opponent was damaged). Use Frost Bolt to prevent the opponent from porting while also slowing movement speed. Soul Channel should be off of cooldown relatively shortly so you can try to finish up the kill with a second Soul Channel. If you have enough energy, you can use Disruption Web and Ice Wall again as well.

If you aren’t sure if you’ll able to burst the opponent down, do not risk the engagement and save your spells for a more favorable scenario. Ganking is not your main role and you should not feel obligated to do so. If you try to gank and fail, chances are the opponent will be able to turn around and kill you so deciding whether to engage or not can make or break a Preserver player.

6.3 – Teamfights:

Teamfights is where Preserver can excel quite a bit. It’s support and burst damage potential can really help it shine. When engaging a teamfight, wait for your initiator to really get the ball moving in teamfights (Dark Templar swap/stun, Phoenix Gravitation Beam, Colossus Time Pyramid, etc) and then do your best to land your Ice Prison (Q). If your team is lacking in initiation tactics, you should pick up Stasis and get used to the timing of using Ice Prison (Q) in order to get a near immediate stun on the target you’ve placed in Stasis. When placing Ice Prison (Q), you should do your best to hit multiple enemy heroes, or on one of their squishier targets (DON’T USE IT ON THEIR TANK!). If there are no good opportunities to drop your Ice Prison (Q), place it in front of an enemy to force them to run around it to join the fight (essentially using it as a force field). Then do what Preserver does best and burst down one of the high priority targets.

6.4 – Avoiding Fights:

As with many heroes, a large portion of the game is hand picking the fights you engage in. If a fight does not look favorable, it is often best to avoid it altogether. This can include avoiding getting poked in lane, avoiding ganks, or unfavorable teamfights. As Preserver, you will need to make your decisions quickly because if you are indecisive, you will most likely get stunned and bursted down before you even have a say in the matter.

When laning, first thing you should do is try to figure out what hero you’ll be facing off against. With 3 base movement speed, you can usually scout out the opponent before the first wave arrives without much risk. If your lane opponent is a range hero, you’ll be much better off if you split your creep. Do your best to use your hero to push the zealots back towards your base while letting one zealot run forward. This will allow your creep to die quickly while the opponents creep takes little to no losses. This will allow the creep wave to reach your cannons so you can gain experience without putting yourself in range of the enemy hero. Make sure you start doing this early! You do not want to figure out that you need to split creep waves once you’re already being denied/taking fire. See example video below:

The next scenario is disengaging from a teamfight. If a vital allied hero or two die during the first few seconds of a teamfight, you’ll often want to disengage and regroup. As the support hero, helping your team escape with their lives will be largely up to you. If you have not already used stasis, use this to slow down advancing enemies. Throw down an ice prison just between the opponents and your own team. This usually will provide a sufficient amount of time for allies to extricate them from the unfavorable teamfight.

Lastly, we must avoid getting ganked. When laning, Preserver is often an easy target to take down. If you get surprised by a stun, you’re often times not going to have the capability to escape death. Preserver is most suited for outside lanes becuse it is easier to avoid ganks with heroes only able to come from inner lanes. Also, there are often more capable gankers that should use middle lanes and roam for early kills. To avoid ganks, make sure you get an observer very early on in the game and place it towards the side of the lane. This will open up plenty of vision and should help you avoid any early game setbacks. Preserver is a hero that needs constant attention to stay relelvant. If you get ganked a few times early on in the game, you’re income will be set back and you’re DPS utility will become weak. If a Preserver player needs to switch to an entirely support role early in the game (energy upgrades and stasis), it will have an extremely difficult time keeping up with stat upgrades since the creep clearing capabilities will be diminished.

7. Gameplay:

Preserver is a hero that requires a very strong start. If you become under-leveled or underfed early on in the game, it is extremely difficult to catch up. The reasoning for this is that you are very exposed when you try to solo push lanes, and if you lose focus for a split second and an enemy hero jumps on you, it is likely the outcome won’t go in your favor. Therefore, you must do everything in your power to start off strong.

A strong start is possible via crittering and/or laning. Preserver’s lane presence is generally quite weak up until level 2, since I wouldn’t recommend running up to an enemy marauder and auto-attacking them. If you are to play Preserver, I recommend splitting your creep so the possibility of your lane opponent denying you is reduced. The most advantageous route to pursue is usually going for creep clear as soon as possible. Therefore, you will want to start out leveling up Ice Wall (W) and Frost Bolt (E). Once you have 1 level of Ice Wall and Frost Bolt, you can begin clearing marine or zergling waves. Both of these abilities will be sufficient to kill the creep. Try to use these abilities before the enemy creep engages your friendly creep. This way it will be easier to hit all the enemy creep in a single line with Ice Wall. Once you are level 3, get the second level of Ice Wall. Ice Wall will 1-shot marine and zergling creeps. If you are laning vs a squishy opponent, you may choose to poke at them a bit, but until level 6 you probably won’t have Ice Prison so its usually just better to save your energy and play passively.

8. Conclusion:

I’ve been sitting on this guide for a while now and figured I should put out everything I have this far. I will still be planning on putting the finishing touches on this guide, but this is what I’ve got for now.


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