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Predator Overview[]

(Updated to v15.0)

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. That prevents them from taking more than 135 damage from any physical (non-spell) damage.

Predator buffs his allies with Battlecry, which provides very significant spell damage reduction from nukes and ravager bileshots.

Predator deals extremely high point damage with his Corona Beams while his 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 and other small hordes of weak enemies.

Some interesting facts about Predator is that he can achieve 129 armor with the help of Atlas' fortify. This means he takes only (135-129) = 5 damage per physical hit, provided enemies do not ignore armor. Without Atlas, Predator can only achieve a maximum of 105 armor on his own. His maximum HP with Tenacity perk and Atlas' fortify and 3 stacks of Battlecry and 15 stacks of Adaptive Armor is 10,867. His maximum shields with 3 stacks of Battlecry is 2842.

Predator's Perks for OS and HW[]

Predator's core perks for Oldschool and Hellwalker are:

  1. Onslaught
  2. Toxic Waste
  3. Weaponsmith
  4. Tenacity

For quick entry of Perks at the beginning of the match, type (without quotes) "-perk oxwt".

Predator picks Onslaught for the +20% movement speed and +20% increase to all damage.

Weaponsmith should also be taken, because it massively synergizes with his auto-attack damage to structures (further enhanced by Bring Down The Wall talent) such as hatcheries and spine crawlers, as well as boosting the damage of Sun God mastery.

Toxic waste is essential for Predator to drastically reduce the time being surrounded and immobilized by weak enemies such as zerglings and broodlings, which happens very often.

Tenacity adds approximately 20% HP to his total health, and makes Predator immune to slowing effects of the game. This allows him to retain maximum survivability and mobility to defend allies.

Predator's Mastery Order for OS and HW[]

Once we settle on Predator's most important perks:

  1. Level 0 = Sun God
  2. Level 10 = Adaptive Armor
  3. Level 20 = Blink
  4. Level 30 = Block
  5. Level 40 = Unstoppable Force
  6. 2K Streak = Booming Voice

Sun God is essential by Level 0 and its damage is further boosted 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 Beam ability. Sun God mastery provides detection, and will be essential in hellwalker games while kiting ravagers, nemesis and brutalisks. This would allow other allies such as Nova, Anvil, Fury, Swann, etc to hit those enemies while they are detected by Predator. As such, since Sun God must be taken anyways, it is better to take Sun God early game to benefit from its immense damage boost, rather than by middle game

Many players skip Blink mastery. This is a massive mistake for the following reasons:

  1. This reduces the survivability of Predator when he is cornered or surrounded by enemies.
  2. This also reduces the survivability of the whole team, since Predator will not be able to blink and save an ally.
  3. Additionally, to trigger certain traps and bosses, Blink is extremely useful.
  4. Blink requires time to max out its range and cooldown

As such, Blink mastery must be picked from early game.

By level 30, Block mastery is picked to allow Predator to tank hard-hitting enemies such as ultralisks and bane lords. Block is not needed before level 30 on Oldschool and Hellwalker because that level is reached faster than the arrival of those hard-hitting enemies. In the event that an ultralisk trap is triggered before level 30 on Oldschool, Predator can simply kite them around and allow his teammates to handle them quite easily. Sun God, Adaptive Armor and Blink are far more important masteries.

For the 2K streak Booming Voice mastery grants Predator enhanced spell damage protection abilities, granting a maximum of 100s of 3 stacks of Battlecry. Battlecry and Demoralise have increased radius. Booming Voice also adds 1 extra Corona beam to the Corona beam ability for improved damage.

Branches at Level 50[]

The following branches occur at level 50:

Branch A (Improving Team Survivability)[]

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:

  1. Level 50 = Immovable Object
  2. Level 60/ Hourly Free Mastery = Juggernaut

Branch B (Maximising Corona Beams)[]

Predator will be able to push enemy bases with ease:

  1. Level 50 = Lightweight Equipment
  2. Level 60/Hourly Free Mastery = Energy

Summary of Patch 14.8 for Predator[]

There are 6 consequential changes:

  1. Unstoppable Force, the ultimate mastery no longer grants increased movement speed
  2. Unstoppable Force, no longer grants additional energy regeneration
  3. Big Game Hunter mastery has been replaced with Juggernaut mastery
  4. Juggernaut increases attack and movement speeds by 15%. It also completes Iron Man mastery within 6 minutes for all players.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

  1. Lightweight Equipment
  2. Weapons Research
  3. Sun God
  4. 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.

Juggernaut Mastery[]

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 might allow Predator to pick Iron Man mastery towards the middle of the game and have it completed within 6 minutes. However, in Hellwalker games, Predator should always take Onslaught perk for the extra damage and movement speed as well as Tenacity perk. Therefore, Juggernaut mastery simply provides more attack speed and movement speed for a Predator which picked Onslaught.

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[]

  1. Removing the movement speed and adding it into Juggernaut feels like a cheap way of trying to sell the new Juggernaut Mastery.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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