Brave, resilient, stout hearted, and a commanding presence on the battlefield. Keen eyed and gentle of spirit, Misha is one of the strongest recruits to the Nexus. Unfortunately as a condition of fighting in the mysterious challenges set by whoever controls the Nexus, she insisted on bringing along her pet Half-Ogre, Half-Orc named Rexxar. But if a bit of a handicap doesn’t bother you, maybe you’re ready for Bear.
Roles that Hero Can Fill:
Misha makes a great off-tank, solo laner, jungler, and stun chain assistant. Unfortunately she is shackled to a nearly useless “Beastmaster” she determinedly keeps around as a healbot and he constantly over extends and gets injured, after which she disappears to play Mama Bear for a bit and nurse him back to health.
- Q; Spirit Swoop: A high damage in-line skill shot with a reasonable range and 30% slow on hit for 2 seconds. This is Rexxar’s primary waveclear, poke, chase, and peel ability. It is pretty narrow which means it can be easy to miss and is only completely effective against waves when they haven’t yet spread out.
- W; Misha, Charge!: A 1.25 second area stun in a line. This is essentially a weaker version of E.T.C.’s Powerslide, as the range is shorter and the damage is less. On the other hand, it’s attached to a Murky’s worth of experience so going deep with it, assuming it secures a kill either directly or by distraction, is not an issue at all, and stuns are very disruptive to backlines.
- E; Mend Pet: A fairly substantial heal over time for Misha, restoring about a third of her hit point total over 5 seconds. As a heal over time you usually want to activate it earlier rather than later, always keep an eye on Misha’s health bar and estimate the rate she is taking damage to max out the value.
- D; Misha, Focus!: Misha gains 15% passive move speed at all times. Clicking on the ground or Misha causes a purple icon to appear over her head, and she will wait at that point, attacking any enemy that comes in range. Clicking on an enemy is a red icon, and she will follow that target until you retarget her or she leashes. Casting D on Rexxar, usually via self-cast or Alt+D, will cause a yellow icon to appear and Misha will run towards Rexxar at mount speed, 30%, until she reaches him, at which point she will default to neutral mode with no icon.
All About That Bear:
For all the wisecracks I’ve made in this guide about Misha being the hero, it isn’t actually a joke. For all intents and purposes Misha is a hero. She can pick up globes, secure capture points, and counts for hero-hitting stacking quests from the enemy. She cannot channel objectives, is only worth .25 of a hero kill when she dies, and her resurrection timer is special at 14 seconds +0.5 second per level, and she spawns next to Rexxar. Those are basically the only exceptions… except her control scheme, which is different.
We went over her D above, but I want to get into some depth with them and explain how it should be used. There are three icons and four behaviors you can manipulate using D. Heel with the yellow icon, Focus Area with the blue icon, Focus Target with the red icon, and Attack with no icon. Heel, which is used by self-casting D, either by clicking on yourself or using Alt+D, causes Misha to run to you no matter what, but once she finds you the icon fades and she goes back to “default” mode. She will return to Rexxar at mount speed along the shortest route, though remember the in-game pathing of HotS isn’t perfect. Using W in her Focus Area mode or her Follow mode will cancel them and revert her to Attack mode, while using W when she is in Focus Target mode will not cancel the focus on that target. Last if you auto-attack something while Misha is in neutral mode, there will be four red arrows around the target, indicating Misha has also acquired the target. She will continue to attack it until you auto-attack a different target or specifically command her to do something else.
You can also now give all these commands outside of Misha’s leash range and she will follow them until she leashes, meaning if you are moving with Misha you can issue her commands in an area you are moving to without having to do multiple continuous clicks. This makes using your D for scouting much less clunky and APM intensive than it used to be.
Misha’s passive speed boost increases to mount speed when you are mounted. Consequently, Rexxar should always be mounted unless he is doing something else because it makes Misha better and Misha is the hero. This also means Misha can always be used to scout ahead of you even while mounted.
It is critical to abuse Misha’s different speeds to optimize her movement. For instance, if you leave Misha in a far bush and the enemy collapses on your team, Misha can rapidly flank from behind if you recall her with D, then, as she gets close to the enemy team, sic her on a fragile target. The combinations are endless, but really manage her constantly and you’ll eventually get the hang of it. The icons above her head are really helpful as well, so try to remember what “mode” Misha is in: Follow, Attack, Focus Area, or Focus Target.
D can be used while mounted, while mounting, and while channeling objectives without canceling them.
When drafted as a solo laner, which Misha almost always should be, the two best maps are Braxis Holdout and Dragon Shire, and for the same reason: Misha on the point, Rexxar soaks the lane. It is almost impossible for any single hero to deny the capture and they certainly can’t do it while soaking, so either you win the lane in terms of soak or you win the objective until there is a rotation to deal with you, giving the rest of your team, who should be grouped as 4, a numbers advantage on the rest of the map. Outside of that dynamic, you really want to optimize for stun chains in team fights so it becomes more comp dependent than map dependent. However, Misha being able to dive deep to interrupt channels is a big advantage on Tomb, Cursed, and Towers, she can solo the Temples on Sky Temple efficiently, and you always need a strong jungler on Blackheart’s, which she can fulfill as well.
As the solo laner in most compositions, you’re not with your team during the laning phase. You really just want to manage your lane safely. If you’re pursuing the full PvE merc strategy, the benefit is that you can solo camps, so you’re still not with your team. Only during objectives or when the laning phase is essentially over do you spend much time with your team. In the solo lane you always want Misha to be in the more dangerous forward position while Rexxar hangs back, so if you get collapsed on, use Misha to peel for you.
When you are with your team, Misha should usually be diving the most fragile backliner to zone them out of the fight. Anyone who is immobile is a prime target, Lt. Morales being top of the bear hit list. If you have a stun chain comp, keep an eye on all the stuns in your team and position Misha near them so you can follow up if they initiate. If a hero comes too far forward, you can start the stun chain with Misha. Remember, Rexxar is a fragile liability to Misha, so keep him far back. Rexxar can peel for the backline with Q and you can always call Misha back and peel with W if necessary.
Heroes with stuns: Tyrande, Muradin, Kerrigan, E.T.C. Heroes who have self peel knockbacks, such as Raynor, Hammer, or Morales, also pair well with Rexxar because it makes Q peel more valuable. Misha can be used to augment the soft-CC of tanks like Chen and Tyrael with a hard stun, especially as it can be up so often with the right talents.
Heroes who can require a lot of peel. The problem is Misha has to peel for Rexxar first and foremost, so oftentimes the enemy team can set up a dynamic where either Rexxar dies or a squishy hero dies if they execute a good collapse. Heroes with self-peel or mobility mechanics aren’t as punished in that situation.
Low mobility or low health ranged heroes with a Misha on top of them are usually either dead or out of a fight. Gul’Dan, Chromie, Jaina, and Valla are some good examples. The zoning potential of a tank that doesn’t care about dying recklessly diving a back line is enormous. Lt. Morales stands out as a hero who can be incredibly vulnerable to Misha harass.
Dive. Kerrigan, Tyrael, The Butcher. Rexxar is fragile, if a team gets on top of him it is very bad. He also lacks a spell shield of any kind so Li Ming’s long range poke requires a lot of attention to play well against. Against The Lost Vikings, the idea of a “solo lane” goes out the window and Rexxar struggles against the four man rotations. If you let a Gazlowe set up turrets on you in the solo lane, it can be very hard to ever force him back out. A Zagara who took Serrated Spines (4) can get free stacks on Misha if you lane against her, which invalidates a huge part of the solo lane strategy on Braxis and Shire because you can’t just leave Misha on point. Tychus with In the Rhythm (4) presents a similar issue, as will any hero-hitting stacking talents we might see in the future. Illidan is arguably a skill match up, whoever plays it better will win but his ability to get on top of Rexxar is always a concern.
The Default: This talent is usually the default pick just because of how strong it is and at best other talents at this tier are only situationally better.
Niche/Situational: One of the most common questions I get asked is when do you take certain less picked talents. They often have uses but the uses are specific to either comps or maps. These are those talents.
Must be Paired with Other talents: Often there are certain talents that, by themselves, are not very impressive but synergize so well with other talents that if you plan on taking the other talent, you should take the talents that pair well with it.
Trap: Trap Talents are either actively bad or, more usually, simply so much worse than competing talents at the same tier it doesn’t make sense to ever take them.
Fun: This can be a little bit of a personal thing, but I’m going to label the talents I personally consider fun even if they are not actually worth taking in real games.
- Unleash the Boars: This is the only ranged engage option Misha really has. The slow enables Misha to collapse and get her stun off on a target which is a great way to start a team fight. If you’re going to be fighting with your team consistently post-10, take this every time. Note that the boars are untargetable summons, so while thay can’t be killed they do have to be able to path to their targets in order to hit them.
- Bestial Wrath: Misha’s AA is pretty low but this can make her a real threat when you send her to dive a backline squishy. Usually Boars is better because of the full team fight potential it offers.
- Easy Prey: This is the talent that allows Rexxar to be a reasonable, though no longer top tier, mercenary hero. It also increases wave clear on Misha who is the body that should be deep in lane anyway. Makes boss calls more efficient for your healer. It isn’t exceptional in any way as a talent, just solid all around value.
- Flare: The major danger as a solo laner is always getting killed on a rotation by the enemy team. You really never want to die as the solo laner. Being able to reveal a path of approach with zero counterplay for 20 out of 25 seconds is really good at denying those kills. This allows you to play aggressively in a lane match up you dominate anyway with little fear of reprisal and it can help you deal with dive heroes in team fights by spotting flanks, who are the bane of Rexxar.
- Bird of Prey: Giving Rexxar instant wave clear right at level 1 allows him to tie any lane match up. Period. With careful play there is no laning match up where you do not at least tie, which effectively makes him the safest solo lane pick up in the entire game. On maps where you drafted Rexxar specifically to dominate the solo lane, which should be in most cases, there is no better pick up.
- Hungry Bear: This allows Misha to sit on the point and 1v1 melee heroes on Dragon Shire and Braxis Holdout, as well as adding PvE healing. In every other situation, the other talents at this tier are in some way superior, but they are all more difficult to get value out of with the exception of Grizzled Fortitude.
- Hunter-Gatherer: The armor is the huge selling point here. Armor makes healing more efficient, you have a heal for Misha. Rexxar is vulnerable to getting dived and bursted out, armor negates that and makes saves from your support easier. The downside of course is gathering 20 globes starting at level 4 is very difficult on some maps, but trivial on others. On Braxis this is probably always the go to since you should be able to control the globe generator in your lane fairly easily.
- Grizzled Fortitude: Giving Block charges to both Rexxar and Misha is pretty big for their combined survivability but, especially compared to other talents at this tier, you should not take this unless the enemy team has heavy, big auto attackers. Focused Heroes like Sgt. Hammer and Raynor, Follow Through heroes like Zeratul and Thrall, and the value will be completely negated by Zarya, Kharazim, Tychus, Tassadar, and Tracer. So viable, but only optimal against highly specific team compositions.
- Animal Husbandry: Highest potential pay off of any talent at this tier with the biggest risk. It does have a cap of 4,000 bonus health which is 33 minutes, 20 seconds of staying alive. If you are against a team where not dying if you position carefully is a reasonable proposition, this is certainly something you should take. Note that it is slightly weaker against percent based damage, which has become fairly ubiquitous in HotS.
- Crippling Talons: The combination of 50% slow for 3 seconds and W offers essentially infinite chase. It becomes basically impossible to disengage from Rexxar. Unfortunately, Rexxar doesn’t do enough damage for that to be scary, so this is a talent this is only good with your team around you, and in most cases Misha should be drafted as a solo laner. It can be worth taking to set up for stronger peel and chase in the late game when the game becomes more about team fighting, but for most of the game the impact will be minimal. Also usually redundant if you already have another strong slow on your team. But in the right scenario, easily the best talent at this tier.
- Aspect of the Beast: When you draft Rexxar for the stun chain potential this is an incredible talent. Remember W is essentially a weaker version of Powerslide on E.T.C. and this talent takes it from a 10 second cooldown to a 6 second cooldown if you AA with Misha continuously. If you have two stuns in addition to Misha’s, you can almost have it up in time to be the beginning and end of the stun chain. With the reduction to many stun durations and the fact that they usually have longer cooldowns, this in a very real way makes Misha one of the best heroes in the game for stun chain compositions. It also gives additional disruption and peel, in particular siccing Misha on Morales and stunning her more often cancels Healing Beam more frequently.
- Taking Flight: Since he is primarily drafted as a solo laner, Rexxar will spend a lot of time in lane against someone. Trading damage in lane is incredibly valuable because it forces your opponent to tap or even back, potentially missing soak or leaving a free capture for an objective on maps like Braxis or Dragon Shire. The increased range and mana refund offers safe, infinite poke in the solo lane scenario. If they are a melee hero or make the mistake of standing in their wave, you even get mana free wave clear out of it, especially with Bird of Prey (1). In the late game, being able to stand farther back for additional safety is also fairly strong, especially with Aspect of the Hawk (13).
- Wildfire Bear: Microing Misha is a bit of a pain and sometimes she just stands there. Thankfully just standing there is all she needs to do with this talent! Essentially, this is just Burning Rage for Misha only and it has all the same pros: free wave clear, free tick damage, but it is better because it is attached to a Murky’s worth of experience. You can send Misha deep into a backline and get that free damage onto squishier targets.
- Dire Beast: Rexxar is often valued in burst stun compositions. This adds burst to the stun chain. If you are in a stun burst comp, take this every time.
- Aspect of the Hawk: With good mechanics, especially if you took Taking Flight (7) this is essentially a permanent attack speed increase in team fights. Unfortunately Rexxar’s base attack isn’t very good, so the overall benefit is pretty mild. For pure burst Dire Beast is better, so this is the sustained damage option… which is also what Wildfire Bear does. This is technically more damage, albeit single target, so when you have good mechanics and need sustained, single-target damage, this is the go-to. That is a little unusual but can happen.
- Thrill of the Hunt: Sic Misha on something and run away. We’ve seen the Carbot video, we know it happens. This is a huge tool for negating dive against Rexxar, allowing him to disengage safely and it also has the benefit of enabling chase. Maximum value requires strong stutter stepping mechanics, sometimes for both Rexxar and Misha at the same time. If you can’t do that, this talent goes way down in usefulness. Has great synergy with Aspect of the Hawk (13).
- Primal Intimidation: The extra survivability for both Misha and Rexxar is pretty big after the rework. It also gives you a second slow and a way to mitigate AA damage for your whole team over a pretty large area since the active ability has two circles, one each centered Rexxar and Misha, which adds a lot of peel and chase potential.
- Feign Death: If you’re constantly getting caught out because of flanks this gives Misha or your team a chance to save you. It can also be used to negate things like Pyroblast. The first scenario really shouldn’t happen with good positioning, so otherwise unavoidable massive burst is the only real reason to take this talent. Tracer is the most common problem hero in the game for this talent, and negating Pulse Bomb is huge.
- Spirit Bond: The heal is pretty small overall, in terms of surviving more Hardened Skin will almost always be better. So this is only really worthwhile in the rare scenarios where late game fights are long enough to justify the duration increase. That can happen, but it isn’t common at all.
- Kill Command: Unleash is essentially taken as a strong engage tool. Damage is nice, but adding a root makes it even better at the thing you actually took it for. If your team is having any trouble at all getting clean engages in team fights, this will help solve that extremely well. Plus if you took Misha for a stun composition, auto-hit roots into follow up stuns is pretty good
- Frenzy of Kalimdor: Extra damage falls into “nice to have” rather than good, but 20% slow on Misha’s AAs makes her impossible to get away from for all the heroes Misha is already good at harassing. If that has been having consistent success all game, this just adds to it.
- Hardened Skin: Something that helps both Misha and Rexxar stay alive? Be still my heart, I never thought this day would come. This talent makes sending Misha deep into a backline even easier and can keep Rexxar from dying to counter initiations.