5 Tips To Improve Your Raynor Play ft. POILK



Thu 22nd Nov 2018 - 7:30pm

James Eugene Raynor, or as he is more commonly known, Jim Raynor, is a character from the Starcraft ll universe where he is known as a rebel outlaw, determined to dethrone the Terran dictator, Mengsk, with the help of the Queen of Blades, Kerrigan.

In Heroes of the Storm, he has been known as our beloved vanilla tutorial character, welcoming new players to the game and showing them the wonder that is the Nexus. After the tutorial was changed, there wasn’t much need for Raynor anymore. For more than a year, the community called for a rework that would make good ol’ Jimmy viable in competitive play, and finally their prayers were heard.

These days, Raynor is a top-tier Ranged Assassin that can deal with most situations and offers a skill set that can be put to use by players of all ranks. We teamed up with one of the best Raynor players in the world, Dignitas Ranged Assassin player Vilhelm "POILK" Flennmark, to get a better understanding of the many ways to utilize Raynor’s kit.

POILK: “I haven’t liked Raynor much up until recently, but after I bootcamped in Korea before BlizzCon I have gotten a better understanding of why other players like to play him. Raynor is definitely in a good spot right now.”

“I think the rework for Raynor was really successful. He sees a lot of play now. He’s got a great kit now, his damage increases well during a game. He fits really well in the current meta, even after he got nerfed after the rework. He also works well with the other heroes in the meta right now, and I think that’s one of the main reasons he’s been so popular lately.”

Q for damage or escape?

We have all tried it, or at least seen it happen. An enemy hero is low and starts running to safety from a teamfight. Raynor sees it and lines up for the final shot with his Penetrating Rounds - BOOM - The enemy hero escapes with a sliver of health and is knocked away from the stun that your teammate cast a split second later. This creates the question, "Should Raynor’s Q be used for damage, or should it be saved to prevent an enemy from engaging on you?"

POILK: “It really depends on what you are up against. If the enemy Tank is something like a Garrosh, then use it for damage all the time. If it’s another Tank with engage, then save it. Don’t hold it for too long though, just play safer when your Q is on cooldown. It should definitely be used for damage most of the time. It does a lot of damage and the range is good on it. There will be situations where you, unintendedly, save an enemy hero, but those instances are so few that the overall damage will make up for it during a whole game."

Inspired to kill minions, or inspired to kill heroes?

As an auto-attack based hero, everything that either buffs your auto damage or makes you able to hit faster is important. As it so happens, Raynor’s W ability, Inspire, doesn’t do any damage. Instead it buffs your attack speed so you can go absolutely ham and proc your trait more often. Now, the question is should you use this to clear waves faster, or should you wait until you are able to connect on an enemy hero?

POILK: “I use W every time I attack something, no matter what it is. If I need to waveclear, I’ll use it. At any point in a teamfight, I’ll use it. Even if I don’t have kill potential and just want to get a good trade on a hero, I’ll auto -> W -> get three quick autos that will secure I proc my trait -> Q. Raynor has no mana problems at all, so I would say just use your abilities aggressively all the time.”

E - Extra fountain or defensive cooldown?

After the rework, Raynor’s E ability has now become manually activatable instead of proccing at low health. The cooldown is fairly short, so my question to POILK was, "Do you use the healing from your E as an extra fountain so you don’t have to go back to your base and heal, or do you need the armor it provides in teamfights? And if you use it in teamfights, should it be before you take damage so the armor will mitigate it?"

POILK: “Raynor should be in the 4-man, which means that your healer should always be nearby. Should it happen that you get out of a teamfight where your healer died though, then I think it’s perfectly fine to use it as a heal to keep you on the map.”

“The ideal use of your E ability in a teamfight is just before you are about to take a lot of damage. That way you prevent some of the damage, and you’ll heal up the rest. An easy to understand situation would be a Kael’thas Pyroblast. Pop your E and run into it, a few seconds later you’ll be at full health again.”

Heroic choice

Raynor is one of the few heroes where both Heroic abilities are viable, but when should you go for the consistent damage of the Raider and when should you let damage rain on your enemies with Hyperion? Apparently, the choice is not that hard according to POILK.

POILK: “Both of Raynor’s Heroics are really good, but there are a few factors to take into consideration when you pick which one to use for a game. The default pick for me when I’m in doubt is Raider, but if the enemy team has two auto-attackers, I’ll take Hyperion. The Raider is killed with autos, so this is one of the scenarios for Hyperion. Another scenario for Hyperion is if you don’t have enough zone control in your comp for Infernal Shrines and Cursed Hollow. Raider is just overall the best as it helps you trade very effectively against heroes like Genji, and you can use it for scouting over walls and such. Sgt. Hammer is a huge counter to Raider by the way. Always pick Hyperion against her.”


Every hero has strengths and weaknesses, and we build our comps around that. Who are the heroes that can help Raynor give the enemies some pepper, and who don’t you want to see on the other side of the battlefield? My obvious thought was to pair him up with Jaina, her slows would give great value to Raynor’s level 1 talent. POILK had other ideas though.

POILK: “Tyrael’s level 7 Smite talent makes Raynor super deadly, you will outspeed and outrange everyone. Another good combo is Tyrande, she gets a lot of value when you can step up and deal a lot of damage with her healing style.”

“As for counters, Raynor isn’t really countered by anyone. Someone might say Kerrigan or other divers, but you can trade so effectively against them that it isn’t really a counter. The fact that Raynor doesn’t really have any counters is one of the reasons that he is played so much right now.”  

POILK’s Raynor build

Level 1: Ace in the Hole - "Always Ace in the Hole. I wouldn’t even take Exterminator on Battlefield of Eternity. Ace In the Hole is the best talent in every situation."  

Level 4: Fight or Flight - "I see a lot of people pick Behemoth Armor, but I’m not really a big fan of it. I prefer 25 armor and reduced cooldown on my heal, the cooldown reduction is huge."

Level 7: Unstable Compound - "Always Unstable Compound. Being able to slow enemies yourself has really good synergy with the level 1 talent."

Level 10: Hyperion/Raynor’s Raider - "Hyperion if your comp doesn’t have enough zone control on Infernal Shrines or Cursed Hollow, or if the enemy team has two Auto Attackers, or if the enemy team has Sgt. Hammer. Otherwise, Raider all the time."

Level 13: Giddy-Up/Debilitating Rounds - "I used to only take Debilitating Rounds in the past, but after seeing the Koreans play with Giddy-Up I have started to like this talent as well. I would say you should try both talents and see which one you prefer, they are pretty close."

Level 16: Paint Them Red - "The healing is insane because it counts on every hero you hit, so this is basically the only option."

Level 20: Dusk Wing/Weak Spot Acquired - "If you feel confident with controlling your Raider all the time, then Dusk Wing is good, but if you are not 100% sure on your ability to control your Raider you should go with Weak Spot Acquired. If you are snowballing hard, then you can go for Execute for more damage on a core call."