Crusader of Zakarum. A guardian who stands between all that is pure, innocent, and holy, and the darkness that suffuses the world. Despite being left handed, she wields her mace in her right hand because above all Johanna is the shield that guards her team. To be a wall, to endure, to take the cuts and blows so that those you protect do not have to. Are you willing to take up the burden?
Roles that Hero Can Fill:
Wave clear tank. Johanna excels in this niche more than any other warrior, which is good because she literally can’t fill any other role. To some degree she is also the best anti-CC tank, to the point where she is usually a good pick up any time your support lacks Cleanse as an option.
- Q; Punish: A medium damage small frontal arc that slows for 60% decaying over 2 seconds. Because of the way your W works you will almost always combo the two together for maximum impact.
- W; Condemn: Every enemy in a large area is pulled towards you after 1 second, stunning them for .25 seconds. Deals low damage but triple damage to minions and mercenaries. This is the defining ability of Johanna. It is her wave clear, it forces enemies to group and be adjacent to you when it hits, a Q follow up will always land which enables very strong peel and chase. It is a unique enough effect that certain heroes are better with Johanna than with any other hero in the game.
- E; Shield Glare: A frontal cone that blinds for 1.5 seconds and does low damage. An excellent mitigation tool against auto attackers and in most fights you should save it exclusively for that, holding it until an auto attack is on top of a squishy target. Also, as a reasonably long range ability, it can check bushes, interrupt channels, and generally make you a nuisance. This is important because Johanna lacks a mobility mechanic to escape, so you need to get vision other ways.
- D; Iron Skin: Gives you a massive shield for 4 seconds. While the shield is active, you are Unstoppable. There is often a compromise between activating this early purely for mitigation and activating it later to deny crowd control on you. It comes down to how hard you are getting focused and how much crowd control the enemy team has, but this ability is all of Johanna’s survivability. In almost all cases where you die as Johanna, and it wasn’t simply a positional error, it was because of a mistimed D. Use it wisely.
Johanna has 25 physical armor baseline. This means she takes 25% less damage from all auto-attacks, which does include The Nexus Forces (all minions and buildings). With few exceptions almost every hero has a decent auto-attack and some heroes, Zul’jin, Raynor, Illidan, Zarya, Sgt. Hammer, almost all their damage comes from auto attacking.
As the wave clear tank you might imagine that Johanna’s best maps are wave clear centered and you’d be right. Tomb, Infernal Shrines, Blackheart’s, and Dragon Shire are amazing for her. Battlefield is her weakest map because all she really contributes is disruption to the enemy team’s race with E. Take her any time you just need more wave clear in a composition and she’ll do reasonably well, regardless of the map.
On the vast majority of her best maps Johanna wants to W a wave, Q it if your team has poor wave clear or if it is early game, mount up, and check for the enemy team’s rotation to dismount them with E. When your team finishes the wave, rotate to the next wave and repeat. Sometimes on Tomb, this pattern will literally last the entire game until core dies, with minimal team fighting because of how much pressure superior wave clear puts on the enemy team. If you’re soloing a lane on a bigger maps like Cursed, clear it and move out of vision so the enemy team has to wonder if you rotated or not. You can’t really go for picks with Johanna until you have Blessed Shield (10) unless you have a hero like Kerrigan, who has a good initiation tool to follow up on. So just focus on the lane pressure.
In team fights you don’t want to position too aggressively because you lack mobility. Let your backline poke with ranged abilities while you stand between them and the enemy team and wait. Either the enemy team will dive your team and you can peel everything off of them, not something every tank can do, or an enemy will over extend just enough in the poke war to caught by W or by Blessed Shield (10). If you do go deep for a big W, make sure your team is right behind you.
Surprisingly good tank for Cho’Gall comps because he often requires a lot of peel. By far the best tank for Kael’Thas because of how W can force the spread of Living Bomb and synergizes well with all the Mages really as a result of W making the enemy’s positions predictable about a second in advance. She zones well for heroes like Sgt. Hammer and W into Napalm strike is another piece of guaranteed value. You may notice a trend: if a hero can benefit in any way from strong peel or the enemy team being grouped, Johanna is good with them.
All supports that lack Cleanse excel slightly more with Johanna because she essentially has her own “self-cleanse” in Iron Skin. Auriel and Lúcio compositions in particular really value Johanna highly.
Low damage teams. For all of Johanna’s strengths, her major weakness is having low damage and few talent options to increase it. She’s in the bottom three warriors when it comes to damage. Her lack of initiation outside of her heroics can also be an issue, which makes her questionable with most dive heroes unless they have an initiation tool, like Kerrigan.
Good against other wave clear heroes. Especially good against crowd control heroes like Xul, E.T.C, Kael’Thas, and Malfurion because of her D. Can put a lot of pressure on heroes who need to be positioned a certain way to be safe including Lt. Morales, Medivh, and Alarak. W and Blessed Shield (10) are both excellent cancels for Jugs on Li Li or any other channeled ability that needs to be interrupted.
She is also obviously strong against auto-attack reliant teams because of the combination of blind and her innate armor.
Heavy dive compositions that also have a Tyrael. Since it negates your peel, you need to cancel the Sanctification with W or Blessed Shield (10), or someone on your team dies while you watch helplessly. She’s also exceptionally weak against Rexxar because it is very difficult peel Misha off your backline and you can’t dive Rexxar himself. She is also only good against Cho’Gall if you can strangle the map to abuse the lack of a fifth body. If you have to team fight, Cho’Gall should win.
Heavy ability burst is also a struggle for her, Li Ming, Jaina, even Valla with certain builds absolutely melt her.
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.
- Blessed Shield: The Captain America heroic. This is an amazing engage tool as well as a peel tool if you desperately need it for that. The cooldown is low enough that you can use it during an objective, use it for a pick between objectives, and still have it up in time for the next objective. Patching one of the two major weaknesses she has as a tank, even if it is on a 60 second cooldown, makes it almost always the right choice. Blessed Shield into W into Q with any follow up at all from your team should be an easy kill every time.
- Falling Sword: As part of a wombo combo, this does a surprising amount of damage. As a follow up to Zagara’s Maw, Sonya’s Leap, or Nazeebo’s Zombie Wall, we’re talking about levels of damage that erase heroes. It can also function as an escape when needed and provides you an option to go deep against certain heroes like Lt. Morales that are otherwise impossible for you to close with. It also is an extremely effective way to deal with Auriel’s Aegis, the moment you see Aegis cast, Falling Sword on top of it. However, you essentially stop being a tank for a full two seconds every time you use it. So keep that in mind.
- Regeneration Master: As a hero with decent wave clear, stacking this yourself is trivially easy. There are very few maps, Battlefield being the top one, where you are unlikely to finish the quest by the 16 to 18 minute mark if you are consistent with getting globes. On four man rotation maps, the 10 to 12 minute mark is very reasonable.
- Reinforce: Better early game and arguably always better on Battlefield because of the way drafts favor auto attack heroes on that map. If the enemy team has one or more heroes with enhanced auto attacks of some kind (Focused Attack, Follow Through, The Butcher) this has enormous value. You can become amazingly hard to kill for those heroes, particularly with your E and Imposing Presence (16). When you do take this talent make sure to use two abilities while in base and ideally every time you hearth to pre-stack it.
- Righteous Smash: Compared to not dying, having to back for mana once or twice seems like a good trade off. That is literally the trade off you’re making by taking any other talent at this tier.
- Roar: Q does a surprising amount of damage. Enhancing it by 50% actually isn’t that bad. The problem is this talent does nothing to help you tank. However, triple warrior is sometimes a thing and your W is an incredibly powerful ability for keeping fights in melee range, which is something triple warrior needs. In triple warrior you can draft Johanna for wave clear and take Roar to help secure kills. In addition this gives you burstier wave clear, which can allow for faster rotations in low wave clear compositions, for example double support.
- Laws of Hope: By far the best talent at this tier with very little competition. The sustain from passive regen is strong with shields, your D is a shield. The heal over time is more effective with shields. Your D is a shield. Indestructible (20) is a huge shield. So incredibly strong.
- Eternal Retaliation: Against melee heavy teams on maps like Tomb and Shrines, or if you have double support, this talent is no end of aggravation for the enemy team. The constant peel from W combined with a tank who often just will not die when they to turn to focus you is very, very annoying. If you have a second tank, you can almost play like a specialist with this talent and leave your other tank to zone while you double soak two lanes. Usually, however, it simply gives up too much personal safety and it can make mana management very difficult.
- Blessed Momentum: Johanna’s base kit is incredibly strong. Having it up more often, particularly the Q and W combo, is very strong. The only downside to this talent is her base attack speed is pretty slow and it can run you out of mana if you aren’t careful, but Amplified Healing (4) helps with that.
- Conviction: This stands alone as the only non-heroic talent that increases both Johanna’s ability to engage and disengage. If you’re having trouble catching people with your W, this is essential.
- The Crusade Marches On: Pretty much must be taken with Hold Your Ground (13) to be good. The increased frequency of having Unstoppable makes you much better again Kerrigan and E.T.C. in particular, but overall this is the least impactful of the trait talents at a very competitive tier.
- Sins Exposed: This talent does nothing to help Johanna tank better. It adds faster wave clear and technically adds more burst but usually over the course of a fight Blessed Momentum will actually do more damage by having Q and W up more often. So in the highly specific situation of needing more wave clear and needing more burst, but not needing anything else at this tier, you can take this. Strongest contender for viability is actually Infernal Shrines because any ally can trigger the extra damage you can race the monsters very quickly. It isn’t bad on Tomb either. When Knight Takes Pawn was a talent instead of being baseline but at lower strength, this actually wasn’t needed to fully clear a wave, now it actually does help during the mid-game.
- Burning Rage: The combination of this plus W makes Burning Rage better on Johanna than on any other hero who has the talent and as the wave clear tank this enhances that aspect of her play style enormously. This is also nearly her only viable way to increase her hero damage.
- Hold Your Ground: The only trait talent that is really good on its own. The shield increase and the cooldown reduction both add up to a lot of additional tankiness. Remember D only gives you Unstoppable while the shield is active, so this can increase the duration of Unstoppable as well.
- Subdue: Represents what seems like a small upgrade to Q, but in the right circumstances this is a clutch talent. A larger slow makes follow ups to the W then Q combo practically guaranteed to land. This actually is just enough time to ensure Ring of Frost lands for Jaina, Grav-O-Bomb for Gazlowe, Apocalypse for Diablo, and so on. Anything with a wind up can now follow up off of a combo you’re regularly executing in your base kit, which means the enemy team has to be constantly on their toes. The downside is it requires coordination with the follow up hero to understand that dynamic.
- Holy Renewal: Compared to the new Imposing Presence, this talent doesn’t stack up quite as well in terms of pure survivability, but against teams that group frequently or have clone targets like Samuro you can use this as a burst heal after Indestructible (20) has popped, massively increasing the value of that talent.
- Fanaticism: Shouldn’t be taken without Hold Your Ground (13) to make the shield large enough to get the full movement boost. It’s particularly strong against damage over time effects or if you have other shields in your composition. Fully stacked, this gives you former mount speed level movement, which is insane repositioning, chase, and disengage value.
- Imposing Presence: Having a second area slow to combo with W and adding a tool in your kit to combo with E to mitigate auto attack damage for your team is incredibly powerful. In general, low mobility tanks are fairly vulnerable to auto attackers like Raynor and Tychus, so this helps a lot in that regard for your personal survivability as well. If you aren’t up against any strong auto attackers it becomes just a second slow, which isn’t as good.
- Blessed Hammer: Uncontrollable tiny increase in damage, it spirals out too fast after the change to have it hit the same target repeatedly, though it does check bushes. It is a good pick up if you’re winning the game and just need to win the game a little harder in order to end. In any even game, the defensive talents at this tier will be better. Does a surprising amount of damage to buildings since almost every hammer rotation will hit.
- Indestructible: This is literally a full second health bar that triggers when you would have died. Johanna is a relatively low mobility tank who excels at getting herself focused because of W. You should rarely, if ever, take anything else. Make sure to back out or get a heal before the timer ends though. Laws of Hope (4), Holy Renewal (16), and your D can all be used after this triggers to give you an even greater buffer.
- Radiating Faith: 1.5 second stun goes to 2 seconds and the .75 second stun goes to 1 second, plus it hits two additional targets. That is a lot of stun potential and this would be a fantastic talent if Indestructible didn’t exist.
- Storm Shield: In some ways this is one fifth as good as Indestructible, but it also helps your team out. If you’re really not dying or getting focused and the enemy is just trying to always go ham on your team and succeeding through all of your peel, this will be good. In certain compositions with multiple heroes who have Storm Shield, staggering them is a very difficult thing to deal with. It can also be one of those strong talents to pick up during core rushes, because Johanna dying isn’t as big a deal as her damage dealers dying.
- Heaven’s Fury: When Johanna had Battle Momentum you could use this on Infernal Shrines to actually chain multiple Falling Swords together in the same fight. That doesn’t work anymore sadly, but it is still an incredibly fun talent to get the high damage Death From Above off over and over again.