Patch 3.17 Preview: New Co-op Commander Dehaka

Patch 3.17 Preview: New Co-op Commander Dehaka

The Zerg are known for their ability to adapt and evolve, and no creature desires these qualities more than Dehaka. He grows stronger as the battle progresses, and can be customized to help deal with any enemy you face. His army’s huge array of abilities gives you the flexibility to adapt to anything a mission can throw at you. Dehaka leads his pack with the cunning and ferocity that the Primal Zerg represent.



Dehaka and his pack of primal Zerg have a well-established history. The primal Zerg hunt down their prey, gaining strength and evolving new abilities as they defeat their enemies and harvest their essence. Dehaka was another Commander who was an obvious choice to become a controllable hero for Co-op missions. We wanted to incorporate the essence hunting aspect, but do it in a way that was different than Abathur. Abathur focuses on the collection of biomass to evolve his army. Dehaka and his primal Zerg are based on a hierarchy, with the strongest being the pack leader. Since Dehaka is the leader, he is the only one that gets to taste that sweet, sweet essence and use it to mutate and grow. The rest of his army is forced to fight each other for the chance of consuming essence and evolving into more powerful forms.

It was important to us to preserve the fantasy of the primal Zerg. Here are a few examples of how we did that:

  • Drones don’t morph into structures, they summon primal beasts to support Dehaka by sacrificing themselves as the lure.
  • Primal Hives and Wardens can uproot and fight.
  • Primal Zerg don’t use a hive mind to function and thus don’t require overlords.

When Dehaka returned to Zerus, he dominated the primal pack leaders that rose in place of the ones Kerrigan had eliminated. The new leaders, Glevig, Murvar, and Dakrun now follow the strongest primal Zerg, Dehaka. Not only do these primal leaders provide their packs to support Dehaka, they also offer upgrades to the pack themselves, and can even be called into the battle to fight for Dehaka’s cause temporarily.

The main focus of playing Dehaka is the direct control of his hero unit, collection of enemy essence, and making choices for unlocking new abilities during the mission. As Dehaka picks up essence from fallen enemies, he will grow in size, gaining health, attack damage, and mutation points, which he can use to unlock new active abilities and passive upgrades. By the end of the mission, Dehaka should be a nearly unstoppable force of nature rivaling anything we’ve ever seen in Co-op.

Dehaka’s primal underlings must be kept constantly at attention. You can order them to fight each other to prove who is strong and worthy to serve their leader. Each of his basic units can evolve into a new form, becoming a new unit with new attacks and abilities. Choose when to order your minions to perform primal combat and evolve your army to fit your needs.

Evolve Primal Regeneration
Dehaka passively heals all allied units nearby.
Evolve Keen Senses
Allows Dehaka to detect cloaked, burrowed, and hallucinated units.
Evolve Chitinous Plating
Increases Dehaka’s armor by 3.
Evolve Deadly Reach
Allows Dehaka to attack air units.

Primal Zergling
  • Primal Zerglings can battle and evolve into a Ravasaur.
Ravasaur
  • A percentage of damage done heals the Ravasaur.
  • Can evolve to deal bonus damage to armored targets.
  • Can evolve increased attack range.
Primal Roach
  • Regenerates life very quickly while burrowed.
  • Can evolve to increase movement speed.
  • Primal Roaches can battle and evolve into a Primal Igniter or Primal Guardian.
Primal Igniter
  • Regenerates life very quickly while burrowed.
  • Can evolve to increase its movement speed.
  • Can evolve to deal bonus damage to light units.
Primal Guardian
  • Can evolve to fire an explosive spore at a target that causes area of effect damage.
  • Can evolve to increase its attack speed with each consecutive attack, capping at 50%.
Primal Hydralisk
  • Can evolve to increase movement speed and attack range.
  • Primal Hydralisks can battle and evolve into a Primal Mutalisk or Impaler.
Primal Mutalisks
  • Can evolve the following traits:
    • Deal bonus damage against air units.
    • Reduce damage taken while moving.
    • Revive on death after a short time.
Impaler
  • Can evolve to deal damage over time to units and apply ‘Tenderize.’ If Dehaka consumes a tenderized unit, his consume cooldown will be reduced by half.
Primal Host
  • Spawns flying Primal Locusts that can land to engage round units.
  • Primal Hosts can battle and evolve into Creeper Host.
Creeper Host
  • Spawns flying explosive Creepers that land and detonate on impact, dealing bonus damage to structures.
  • Can evolve the movement speed of Creepers as well as allow them to attack air units.
Primal Ultralisk
  • Can evolve and learn the following enhancements:
    • Brutal Charge: charge a target location knocking back units and dealing area of effect damage.
    • Regenerate live quickly when out of combat.
    • Melee attacks have a chance to stun enemies.
  • Can battle and evolve into a Tyrannozor
Tyrannozor
  • Can evolve the following enhancements:
    • Unleash a barrage of spikes, dealing damage to ground units surrounding the Tyrannozor.
    • Grants nearby friendly units additional armor.
    • Melee attacks have a chance to stun enemies.
Essence Gatherer
Dehaka can collect essence, grow stronger, and choose mutations. Dehaka spawns in faster than other hero units and can devour Primal Drones to reduce his respawn time.
New Units: Ravasaur and Primal Igniter
Units can be commanded to engage in primal combat to force evolutions. Unlocks the following new evolutions:
  • Primal Zerglings can evolve into Ravasaurs.
  • Primal Roaches can evolve into Primal Igniters.
Ravasaur Upgrade Cache
Unlocks the following upgrades at Glevig’s Den:
  • Ravasaurs gain +1 attack range.
  • Ravasaurs gain +5 attack damage against armored enemies.
Deep Tunnel
Dehaka, Primal Wurms, and Greater Primal Wurms gain the ability to Deep Tunnel.
Primal Insight
Dehaka’s maximum level increases from 10 to 12 and unlocks the following mutation choices for Dehaka:
  • Gain the ability to detect cloaked and burrowed units.
  • Gain increased armor.
New Units: Primal Mutalisk and Primal Guardian
Units can be commanded to engage in primal combat to force evolutions. Unlocks the following new evolutions:
  • Primal Hydralisks can evolve into primal Mutalisks.
  • Primal roaches can evolve into primal Guardians.
Primal Mutalisk and Primal Guardian Upgrade Cache
Unlocks the following upgrades at Murvar’s Den:
  • Primal Mutalisks revive on death after a short time.
  • Primal Guardians can fire area damaging spores at enemy ground units.
New Units: Creeper Host and Primal Impaler
Units can be commanded to engage in primal combat to force evolutions. Unlocks the following new evolutions:
  • Primal Hydralisks can evolve into Impalers.
  • Primal Hosts can evolve into Creeper Hosts.
Primal Igniter and Primal Impaler Upgrade Caches
Unlocks the following upgrades at Glevig’s Den:
  • Primal Igniters deal bonus damage to light units.
Evolved Pack Leaders
The Pack Leaders and Primal Wurms gain new abilities:
  • Glevig gains a flame breath that deals area damage.
  • Murvar also spawns explosive creepers.
  • Dakrun reflects damage to enemy attackers.
  • Primal Wurms and Greater Primal Wurms gain the ability to project a powerful stream of acid.
New Unit: Tyrannozor
Units can be commanded to engage in primal combat to force evolutions. Unlocks the following new evolution:
  • Primal Ultralisks can evolve into Tyrannozors.
Survival Instinct
Dehaka’s maximum level increases from 12 to 14 and unlocks the following mutation choices for Dehaka:
  • Passively heal nearby friendly units.
  • Can attack air units.
Elite Primal Zerg Upgrade Cache
Unlocks the following upgrades at Murvar and Dakrun’s Dens:
  • Primal Ultralisk and Tyrannozor attacks have a chance to stun enemies.
  • Tyrannozors gain an ability that deals area damage.
  • Creeper Host Creepers gain increased movement speed and can target air units.
Zerus Cunning
Dehaka’s maximum level increases from 14 to 15 and Dehaka starts with an additional mutation point.
Gene Mutation
Primal combat evolutions have a change to mutate, providing permanent passive bonuses that can increase life, attack speed, grant life leech, and more.
  • Know when to combat evolve your units. These evolutions change the unit’s roles. Primal Ultralisks can evolve into Tyrannozors, giving them an anti-air attack. Primal Hydralisks can become an anti-armored siege unit, the Impaler.
  • Dehaka is the most important part of your army. Make sure to keep him alive and collect essence as often as possible.
  • Getting ahead of the power curve is key. Dehaka starts off small and weak early on. Fortunately, he spawns in faster than any other hero in the game, which gives him a head start in building up power.
  • Dehaka’s Devour ability is his most important ability. Be sure to have at least one point allocated to Devour. This ability gives Dehaka access to a variety of temporary powers that are critical to victory (healing, damage, speed, armor, cooldown reduction, etc.).
  • Powers absorbed are dependent on enemy unit types (biological, armored, light, massive, psionic, etc). Learn the different types of powers available and which enemies will provide that power. Eating the right food at the right time can make a huge difference.
  • An advanced tactic for Devour is to use it just before an enemy is killed. The cooldown is based on the amount of life the unit had when you eat it. The temporary powers granted are the same no matter how much life the enemy has.
  • Dehaka’s Leap ability is great for dealing area damage as well as giving him mobility. Be careful, though – if used too recklessly, he may not have an escape. If you use Leap to jump into the fray, be sure to Devour enemies to stay healed, or use the level 3 version to gain temporary armor.
  • Make early choices for Dehaka’s mutation upgrades based on the enemy AI composition.
  • Detection is provided by Primal Wurms. Be sure to keep some charges of Greater Primal Wurms handy—or, once you’ve unlocked the Deep Tunnel ability, build extra Primal Wurms at home and tunnel them over when needed.
  • Weapon and Armor upgrades are found on the Primal Hives. All primal units benefit from these upgrades so a mix of melee, ranged, ground or air units can be combined to create a pack that best fits the mission.
  • The tech path is simple but critical. Make sure to summon all structures as soon as possible, unlocking tech as well as top bar summon abilities.
  • Devour drone on Dehaka’s Den allows him to recover quickly allowing him to be extremely aggressive. Using Devour drone early on might be necessary if you need Dehaka to recover quickly, but it will hurt your economy so be careful. Late game it may be a good idea to build up some spare drones or remember to replace them if Dehaka decides to have a snack.

Dehaka and his primal Zerg will be available for purchase with the release of Patch 3.17.0. What Commander will synergize well with this behemoth? Who would win a fight between Dehaka and Abathur? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Loading Comments…

An error has occurred loading comments.