- 1 Predator Overview
- 2 Predator's Perks for OS and HW
- 3 Predator's Mastery Order for OS and HW
- 4 Branches after Level 40
- 5 Summary of Patch 14.8 for Predator
- 6 Effects of Patch 14.8 for Predator
(Updated to v14.17)
Predator buffs his allies with Battlecry, which provides very significant spell damage reduction from nukes and ravager bileshots.
Predator is an excellent introduction to being an extreme tank. He is much easier to master compared to Dune, and much tankier than Dune as well.
Predator and Dune are the only two heroes with Block, an extremely powerful mastery that prevents them from taking more than 135 damage from any non-spell-based damage.
Predator deals high focused point damage with his Corona Beams while his mandatory toxic waste perk and retribution talent deals mediocre but essential AoE damage. This AoE damage is essential because that is the only way to get his 2500 score in a reasonable amount of time and to prevent him from getting immobilized with broodlings, zerglings, etc.
Predator's Perks for OS and HW
Predator's core perks for Oldschool and Hellwalker are:
- Toxic Waste
- (Hellwalker) Tenacity
For quick entry of Perks at the beginning of the match, type (without quotes) "-perk oxwt".
If Predator picks Onslaught, which he should for the +20% movement speed and +20% increase to all damage, he should also take Weaponsmith.
Predator's Mastery Order for OS and HW
Once we settle on Predator's most important perks:
- Level 0 = Sun God
- Level 10 = Adaptive Armor
- Level 20 = Blink
- Level 30 = Block
- Level 40 = Unstoppable Force
Sun God is essential by Level 0 and synergizes well with Weaponsmith. It provides a constant source of point damage through-out the game, allowing Predator to instantly kill an ordinary spine crawler or deal massive damage to Hives, Lairs and Hatcheries using his Corona talent.
Branches after Level 40
The following branches occur after level 40:
Branch A (Improving Team Survivability)
To have maximum Survivability, you must have selected Tenacity as your 4th Perk. Taking Onslaught locks out Iron Man mastery within the game.
With Booming Voice, Predator gets enhanced spell damage protection abilities, granting a maximum of 100s of 3 stacks of Battlecry. Battlecry and Demoralise have increased radius.
In the case of Hellwalker with many deaths and future hordes of toxic bosses, Predator cannot afford to get slowed by the toxic clouds since combo slows with blue roaches and/or nightmares can be lethal and start chain spawns of even more bosses:
- 2K Streak = Booming Voice
- Level 50 = Juggernaut
- Level 60/ Hourly Free Mastery = Immovable Object
Branch B (Maximising Corona Beams)
Predator will be able to push enemy bases with ease:
- 2K Streak = Lightweight Equipment
- Level 50 = Energy
- Level 60/Hourly Free Mastery = Booming Voice
Summary of Patch 14.8 for Predator
There are 6 consequential changes:
- Unstoppable Force, the ultimate mastery no longer grants increased movement speed
- Unstoppable Force, no longer grants additional energy regeneration
- Big Game Hunter mastery has been replaced with Juggernaut mastery
- Juggernaut increases attack and movement speeds by 15%. It also completes Iron Man mastery within 6 minutes for all players.
- Battlecry has a cooldown of 50 seconds, duration of 80 seconds, can stack 3 times and each cast resets the duration of all stacks to 80 seconds.
- Given Unstoppable Force, each Battlecry stack provides 35% spell damage resistance, stacking multiplicatively, up to a maximum of 3 stacks. The current result is about 27% total damage taken from spells. This represents a very significant increase of +15% damage taken from spells compared to the old predator, who took only about 12% total damage from spells with maximum stacks of battlecry (which was 2).
Effects of Patch 14.8 for Predator
Corona Beam Predator
Corona beams required 4 masteries to be usable:
- Lightweight Equipment
- Weapons Research
- Sun God
- Unstoppable Force
As if 4 requirements were not enough, Predator now requires either Energy Mastery or Absorbtion perk for a Corona Beam Build. Corona beams take a severe nerf since Unstoppable Force no longer provides energy regeneration. Even prior to patch 14.8, Predator could still not mindlessly spam Corona beams but now, even engaging a Hive or a high HP boss completely depletes the energy of Predator. This is especially relevant for non speedrun multiplayer games, which are the overwhelming majority of games concerning Predator.
Corona beams are very energy intensive to use as a source of damage against high HP targets such as Hatcheries, Lairs, Hives, Hive Guardians, Omagalisks, Brutalisks, Leviathans, Creep towers, Upgraded Spine Crawler, Nemesis, Hybrids, Hybrid General, etc. Oldschool and Hellwalker difficulties have an abundance of high HP targets and unfortunately Predator can no longer count on a Corona Beam build to sustainably deal damage to high HP targets. Energy regeneration has been reduced drastically, on a hero that was already almost energy starved.
Corona beams require proper and often difficult positioning of Predator and always engage certain types of enemies first, meaning that proper foresight and planning is required to engage certain enemies and areas of the map. In the hands of a skilled player, Corona Beam Build was a highly effective strategy.
Conclusion: Corona beam predator is gone. It was already a tight build with 4 core masteries, and neither can Absorbtion as a perk nor Energy as a Mastery, can fit in within the first 50 levels.
Battlecry's Duration and Cooldown
The base duration of Battlecry is 80s. The base cooldown of Battlecry is 50s. Therefore, Battlecry needs to be used as late as possible but before 80s to save energy.
As an added bonus, a player saves energy to keep 3 stacks of Battlecry active, since casting Battlecry once refreshes the duration of all previous stacks of Battlecry.
Conclusion: The skill ceiling for using Battlecry has therefore been slightly increased, since a player would have to time the casting of this ability properly. The energy penalty for keeping Battlecry on auto-cast is heavy.
There was an attempt to increase the appeal of Juggernaut by adding +15% attack speed and movement speed while simultaneously nerfing Unstoppable Force, but those are negligible in multiplayer games with Predator. Predator is not the damage dealer in any multiplayer game, and while extra movement speed is always nice to have, there are far more important masteries to pick.
In Hellwalker games with many deaths, Juggernaut allows Predator to pick Iron Man towards the middle of the game and have it completed within 6 minutes.
Conclusion: Juggernaut is a very situational mastery that offers assistance to beginner-level teams. The core benefit of Juggernaut ties back to an Iron Man progression that completes fast.
Unstoppable Force Nerf
- Removing the movement speed and adding it into Juggernaut feels like a cheap way of trying to sell the new Juggernaut Mastery.
- Removing the energy regeneration reflects narrow understanding of Predator. If the aim was to make the usage of Battlecry less automatic to force players to conserve energy, then simply increasing the energy cost of Battlecry would have sufficed. Unfortunately Corona beams take the greatest hit.
- If the aim of removing energy regeneration was to nerf Corona beams, then it would be an even poorer decision, since it already takes 4 Masteries including the ultimate mastery to start being effective.
- The overall spell damage reduction has been nerfed by 15%, meaning heroes now take +15% more spell damage. In relative terms, this means Heroes now take 220% more damage from spells. For normal games, +15% spell damage is not very significant, since those games usually run on the safer side of things.
For all those years, Predator's spell damage resistance was finely balanced, especially for hardcore speedrunning on Hellwalker. This nerf was done to maintain the projected difficulty of Nemesis episodes. However, this was done the lazy and easy way, by simply adjusting the numbers on Battlecry, rather than actually working on Nemesis episodes themselves.
This was done with no testing on Hellwalker speedruns, where heroes such as Nova and even Anvil must play the Lag and Nukeback lottery during inevitable laggy moments. This is despite the well known fact that lag management is essential in speedruns. There are phases where intense lag is just inevitable, and heroes die off to nukebacks or ravager shots or hybrid AoE spells.
The poorly tested nerf to Block was done in version 12.10 of the game and had to be rolled back in version 12.11. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this poorly tested nerf to Battlecry will be rolled back, because unlike the straightforward nature of how the change to Block was bad, understanding the nuances of Battlecry takes a nuanced and deep understanding of game mechanics, especially speedrunning dynamics.
While other heroes received significant power boosts, Predator went to the opposite way with a severe unwarranted nerf to Unstoppable Force. His movement speed increase would now cost another mastery point in Juggernaut, his energy regeneration is removed and forces Predator to pick Energy, especially in solo and 2-player games, and this ability to protect allies, especially in hardcore speedrunning have taken a massive hit, with allies now taking 220% spell damage.