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Dune OverviewEdit

There are 12 total heroes. If you exclude Messiah, mastering Dune is the equivalent of mastering the other remaining 10 heroes combined.

But once Dune has been mastered, he is a game-changer (AKA an overpowered hero):

  1. He has surpasses Predator's tankiness by far (in the hands of a skilled player)
  2. He has the most mobility of all heroes by far with Rush and Recall (in the hands of a skilled player)
  3. He deals the greatest AoE damage of all heroes (further enhanced with the cooperation of allies that donate minerals to him)
  4. He is the most efficient kiter that does not even need tenacity even when triple slowed by roaches, nightmares and toxic brutalisk (in the hands of a skilled player)
  5. His prism can reduce damage taken by 33% and heal himself and allies such as Smoker.
  6. He only needs 3 core perks to function to his maximum. Those perks are Onslaught, Compartment and Mercenary. 

In summary, an expert-level Dune can single-handedly almost guarantee a multiplayer Hellwalker win.

Dune's Perks for OS and HWEdit

Dune's optimal perks are straightforward:

  1. Onslaught
  2. Compartment
  3. Mercenary
  4. (Hellwalker) Air Support

Because of Dune's extreme mobility, he does not even need tenacity to carry a team with 15 deaths facing toxic brutalisks. Air Support is a good perk to have because it grants immediate high ground vision compared to Akhundelar (his prism). Additionally Air Support reduces the talent pool by removing 3 air support talents upon selection. This improves the chances of Dune getting Impenetrable Armor (+9) armor and his HP talents. Many beginner-level or even intermediate level Dune players sometimes pick Toxic Waste perk for Dune. Since Dune is an AoE damage dealer, this is a complete waste of a perk slot.

Beginner or Intermediate Dune players might consider picking Tenacity, not so much to prevent Dune from being slowed (because Dune has extreme mobility already), but to add almost 3000 HP to Dune's health pool, allowing beginners to make more mistakes with unforgiving front-line hero and not die.

Dune's Mastery Order for OSEdit

This is the optimal mastery order for non-speedrun multiplayer games:

  1. Level 0 = End of Times + Free Lightweight
  2. Level 10 = Echoes of Gantrithor
  3. Level 20 = Obelisk
  4. Level 30 = Path of the Guardian
  5. Level 40 = Conservator
  6. 2K Streak = Eldrumoran's Might
  7. Level 50 = Supersonic Drift/ Nuke

End of Times' primary benefit is to reduce the cooldown of Rush by 'Cleaving' enemies with auto-attacks, thus allowing more rage to be generated when Rush is used. And therefore, increases both the AoE damage of Dune, as well as his survivability and his mobility with more frequent Rush.

After level 40, we are still assuming a non-speedrun game where bosses are triggered the conventional way. Therefore Eldrumoran's Might is picked.

Dune's Mastery Order for HWEdit

This is the optimal mastery order for non-speedrun multiplayer games:

  1. Level 0 = Conservator + Free Lightweight
  2. Level 10 = End of Times
  3. Level 20 = Echoes of Gantrithor
  4. Level 30 = Path of the Guardian
  5. Level 40 = Obelisk
  6. 2K Streak = Eldrumoran's Might
  7. Level 50 = Supersonic Drift/ Nuke

Conservator is picked first in normal Hellwalker games to protect and heal smoker, thus allowing allies to pick their masteries faster, and make the game, as a whole, progress faster.

Echoes of Gantrithor is picked at level 20 for his Overload talent to deal double damage and also for his Auriga Prism to gain Echo Bombers to deal much more damage. This allows Dune to reach his 2500 score very fast in Hellwalker.

Supersonic Drift might be a fancy party trick to not get lifted by hybrids that come after the completion of ultralisk waves, but spending a mastery point on that is not necessary before level 50 in a normal speed game. That is why Supersonic Drift should be picked after level 50, where its primary utility would be to be unslowable by nightmares and blue roaches. Later on in the game, after killing each elite brutalisk patrolling the brain bug's base, numerous hybrids will spawn on each player. Supersonic Drift then allows Dune to engage them without getting lifted.

Comments on Dune's other masteriesEdit

Supersonic DriftEdit

A mandatory first pick mastery for speedruns to trigger the General first by 3 minutes. Can be picked late in normal speed games where its main benefit is to remove all slowing effects on Dune and to avoid getting lifted by hybrids. For normal speed games, there is no reason to pick this early. That is why you can consider picking it only after level 50+.

Weapons ResearchEdit

Weapons Research increases auto-attack damage, thump damage and overload damage, while also increasing Rush damage and anti-air range.

However, Dune does not depend on auto-attacks to deal damage, but rather depends on AoE and nukes for heavy damage. Weapons Research does not add anything of value to Dune RELATIVE to masteries such as Echoes of Gantrithor and Obelisk that add more AoE damage to his Overload talent, while also adding Echo Bombers and creating a psionic matrix respectively, which are immensely beneficial to Dune.

Other masteries such as Eldrumoran's Might and Nuke mastery by far outshine Weapons Research mastery.

Solarite AugmentationEdit

Solarite Augmentation is the reason why Tenacity can be skipped for Dune. Most importantly, this mastery increases movement speed. Its tiny side benefits are to make a path of fire when Rush is used. A skilled Dune can channel nightmares and ground bosses to chase him along the path of fire. With Rush and Solarite Augmentation, Dune has the highest movement speed of all heroes in the game. 

ExterminatusEdit

This mastery makes the CP base or Dune's teammates to fire a nuke at the same spot as Dune, using the nuke upgrades (talents, masteries, etc) available to the nuking entity (CP base or teammate). There is place for a late game pick for this mastery, when allies are nuking bases, and most importantly, when CP base and allies have maximum talents and masteries that improve nuke damage.

Phase-Smith's BlessingEdit

Just don't pick that, unless it is your last mastery. Or if you want to play on Hard difficulty and see if your summoned units can try to win the game within 8 hours for you while you sleep.

For speedrunning, Dune is the hardest heroEdit

Dune can be very easy to play in casual games by just kiting enemies.

For speedrunning, other heroes are not easy to master, but mastering Dune is the equivalent of mastering several heroes combined. In other words, Dune is the hero that requires the highest skill ceiling of all heroes, by far.

Below are the detailed reasons to support the above claim:

Extreme MobilityEdit

  1. His Rush ability is far more complex than the Blink ability, since proper anticipation, timing and planning are necessary to stun moving targets and spine crawlers.
  2. Teleportation, a potentially global ability, is a unique mechanic for Dune. 
  3. Extreme natural movement speed, making Dune one of the fastest moving heroes of the game on par with Tychus, but with the added complexity of being temporarily immune to Hybrids lifting spells, which require proper timing of using Rush for the maximum movement speed.

Given his extreme mobility, there are exponentially more branches of possiblities given to Dune compared to any other hero. Therefore, the skill ceiling is naturally exponentially higher.

Conditional(Active) TankinessEdit

Dune is very difficult to use as an effective front-line hero and tank:

  1. His energy regeneration is dependent solely on four aggressive actions (attacking, getting hit, getting nuked, using Rush)
  2. His tankiness requires proper positioning and proper timing of his ability usages, which is the polar opposite to passive tankiness offered by Predator. 
  3. No second chances if there is a timing mistake in ability usage. Due to the constant situations of being in life and death situations, the slightest mistake means death, as opposed to a mistake by another hero usually being just a small delay in the game. Retreat is almost always an option for other heroes compared to Dune such as engaging the Omegalisk base with patrolling nemesis, engaging the Leviathan base with bane lords, and engaging the General + Angry Brutalisks, all of which are absolutely unforgiving in nature.

Therefore, using Dune to his fullest of abilities comes with incredible risks that require a lot of planning, foresight and practice.

Shifting Aggro PriorityEdit

Dune is uniquely capable of shifting his existing aggro priority when using the Obliterate ability. Situations where this occur are protecting Command Centers from Brutalisks by shifting aggro priority, taking high risks to pull certain enemies such as Leviathans and General closer to Odins, pulling Omegalisks to desired positions, protecting teammates from enemies or pulling Nemesis to the center of a nuke landing spot.

Therefore, adding decision points unique to Dune increases the skill ceiling required to use him properly. 

Secondary Assault AbilityEdit

Secondary Assault abilities are abilities which do not require the current presence of a hero, but which allows the hero to clear enemy units and structures, such as Pyro's Liberators, Dune's Akundelar, Fury's Iron Legion and Anvil's Jotunbanes. This excludes Nexus Exiles since the player cannot make Nexus Exiles spawn at specified points/hero location, like it is done with Liberators, Akhundelar or Iron Legion.

Dune's Akhundelar is on the same complexity level as Pyro's liberators, which are both much more complex than Fury's Iron Legion or Anvil's Jotunbanes. Akhundelar needs to be properly centered to hit multiple structures, very much like Pyro's liberators. They are both equal in that regards. Where they actually differ in terms of complexity are:

  1. In addition, Akhundelar also spawns units, which must be spawned in such a way to protect the said units from assault from enemy forces, especially if clearing structures are a priority. Therefore, that is an extra layer of complexity compared to liberators.
  2. Additionally, Akhundelar has much higher cooldowns that liberators do, which means proper initial placement and placement planning are even more important.
  3. Most importantly, Akhundelar is the destination of global teleportation for Dune, which means much more foresight is required as to when and where to place it compared to Liberators.

Therefore, proper usage of Akhundelar is much more difficult to achieve.

Dune's Nuke mechanicsEdit

  1. Dune's nukes, when upgraded with the necessary talent points, can land twice as fast as other heroes, which simply means double the multitasking as far as chain nukes and hellwalker nukeback positioning are concerned.
  2. The slightest mistake in chain nuking, hellwalker nukeback prediction, and protecting himself with a bubble can usually be lethal.

Therefore, the actual degree of multitasking Dune's nukes is more than just a simple and reductive "double the multitasking".

ConclusionEdit

Very clearly, playing Dune optimally entails a degree of extreme multi-tasking, mandatory Actions Per Minute(APM) and map awareness that is simply unparalleled by playing any other hero optimally, making him without any doubt the hardest hero of all to use effectively and thus the hero with the highest skill ceiling of all heroes.

That is why Solo Dune Hellwalker speedrun games are the most challenging of solo games by far. However, although considerably less difficult, multiplayer Dune still remains a challenge. At the extreme, speedrun multiplayer Dune includes the challenging part of dealing with the General and then, with the angry brutalisks and ordinary brutalisks, where there is absolutely no margin of error allowed.

This might come as a surprise, but Dune is also a hero that I personally do not like as much but whose difficulty in using makes it more worthwhile than playing my favorites heroes, such as Nova, Anvil, Fury, Pyro, Messiah or Predator. The challenge presented by Dune was much greater than the fun in playing my favorite and easier heroes.

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