I got to spend a good bit of time on the Test Realm yesterday, most of which was dedicated to testing the new hero and the new penetration system. I like Al’Zahar’s spell set a lot, and I think he could be great for team fights despite the recent caster nerf.
Summon Voidling (Passive): After casting 5 spells, Al’Zahar summons a Voidling to engage enemy units for 21 seconds. Voidlings grow after 7 seconds (+50% Damage/Armor), and Frenzy after 14 seconds (+100% Attack Speed).
So far this is hugely underwhelming, but only because you don’t have control over the pet. It’s a great farming aid and can be fantastic for taking down towers, but without control it’s kinda pointless.
Call of the Void: Al’Zahar opens up two portals to the void, After a short delay, power erupts from the voids, dealing damage and silencing all enemies hit.
This is your bread and butter damage spell. It casts like Karthus’ wall and has about the same width as a rank 1. It hits pretty hard, and the fact that it can silence and deal full damage to multiple targets is pretty great.
Null Zone: Al’Zahar creates a zone which deals the greater between a flat damage and a % of the target’s max health.
This is another strong skill for both minion farming and killing heroes. At rank 1 it deals 4 percent of the target’s max health in damage per second and it only improves from there. If you have a good snare on your team, like Shen or Amumu, you will be melting anyone on this thing. The one drawback is the mana cost, but for the potential damage it kinda makes sense.
Malefic Visions: Al’Zahar infects his target’s mind with cruel visions of their demise, dealing damage each second. If the target dies while afflicted by the visions, they pass on to a nearby enemy unit and restore mana to Al’Zahar.
This is one of the best farming skills in the game. By rank two you can cast it on the first melee creep in a wave and then auto attack your way to killing the entire creep wave, following this thing as it bounces. In most cases it’s castable again before the first one has even worn off. It’s much less effective against heroes, but still deals decent damage, and if you can get it to bounce after killing an opponent you might be in good position to get a second kill.
Nether Grasp: Al’Zahar grips his target in an engulfing void of energy, dealing damage each second.
Again, a strong spell. The major setback is that it works like Warwick’s ult. Yes, it disables your target but it essentially disables you as well. Think of it like a less powerful version of Morgana’s ult. It’s a tough spell to time, but if your team can protect you it’s pretty easy to wipe out a unit if you land Nether Grasp on top of your Null Zone.
Overall I think Al’Zahar will fit well into most team comps. The silence is nice, his percentage-based damage hits like a truck, and his ult can shut down a carry. He doesn’t have any CC beyond his ult, though, so make sure your team brings a few stuns. Al’Zahar’s real strength is in his farm. Laning mid I honestly forgot that I even used mana, partly because so many heroes use energy now and partly because my mana was always full from Malefic Visions. You will start to notice mana issues once you start teamfighting, but he is so good at pushing you should have no trouble farming to support some extended damage output. In the games I played he always felt a little on the weak side, but that’s mostly because my teammates were all well above double digit deaths with very few kills. Even at such imbalanced team stats, I was still able to pull a lot of assists with enough killing blows to keep my kills at double my deaths or better.