Similar to their Khalai brethren, Nerazim’s Dark Templar also has the capacity to sacrifice themselves together with a fellow Templar to turn into an archon. The Dark Archon is even more powerful when it comes to the psionic potential but like the Khalai archon, they can’t sustain this form and burn out.

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Ulrezaj — official art and cover for Dark Templar Saga books

There is one being, however, that defied everything: Ulrezaj, who was introduced in the bonus Enslavers campaign for Starcraft, then expanded in the Dark Templar Saga series by Christie Golden (Thank you redditor Subsourian for the correction!) Through ancient and forbidden knowledge and ruthless appetite, Ulrezaj was a combination of three dark templars, who later assimilated four more into the fold. Named after the most dominant entity in this seven-piece ensemble, Ulrezaj also managed to maintain its existence over a very long time. Not having gotten over the hatred for being cast out from Aiur, he recruited, enforced and manipulated forces of Zerg, Terran and Protoss alike. Finally, Ulrezaj was imprisoned, yet the Dark Templar is still rumoured to hear the dark entity.

“As far as we are concerned, killing high-born Templar is an act of righteous justice! Let the rulers of Aiur feel what it’s like to be hunted and driven from their homes! Let them suffer as we Dark Templar have suffered at their hands!”

-Ulrezaj

And now, Ulrezaj made its way to Nexus. Drawn to the power of the Dark Nexus but unwilling to be commanded by the Raven Lord, he is about to recruit others to his fold and unleash terrible powers to destroy anyone who stands in his way.

Abilities

Ulrezaj is a Ranged Assassin that excels in medium-range combat. He can choose to do sustain damage and have higher survivability or burst as much as he can to take a risk without a durable shield. His main survivability comes from his shield — his hit points are similar to Abathur.

A quick disclaimer: Below you’ll find the concept. The numbers may not make sense balance-wise.

His abilities are as follows:

Trait - Dark Archon: Ulrezaj is made almost purely of energy. He has an energy shield that absorbs the damage as long as it’s up, which also serves as a resource for his skills. As Ulrezaj damages enemies, he drains raw energy that is displayed with 4 circles on the character. Each circle filled increases his damage and he can activate his trait to convert this raw energy into his shield. After 3 seconds of not generating raw energy, the existing energy automatically converts to shield.

Dark Blast (Q): Ulrezaj targets a medium-range point and a wave of dark energy moves from him to the target, damaging everything on its path. The wave narrows as it moves to target and damage is increased, inflicting maximum damage at the precise, targeted point. Cooldown: 8 seconds

Break Will (W): Ulrezaj targets a short-medium range, small area and after a 1-second delay, all enemies in the area will be stunned for 2 seconds. Cooldown: 12 seconds

Dark Volley(E): Ulrezaj chooses a short-medium range target and after a 0.5-second delay, starts channelling and tarts shooting bolts of dark energy every 0.5 seconds. The target needs to be in range however each hit also increases the range of the spell up to 3 times (which is reset at the next cast). There is no limit to the length of channelling and once cast. Cooldown: 5 seconds, starting at cast time.

Wrath of the Seven (R1): After a 0.5-second channelling, Ulrezaj sends a projection of himself (effectively, it’s simply a skill shot) to the targeted short-medium range point and first enemy hero hit by it is damaged and momentarily interrupted. 6 more similar attacks then are automatically forwarded toward the target with 0.25-second delays between each. These following attacks have a very long range and ignore stealth (but do not reveal the hero.) Cooldown: 80 seconds

Fist of Ulrezaj (R2): Ulrezaj calls upon his hoard of minions and a host of Hydralisks, Dragoons and Marines surround him. They move together with Ulrezaj and attack the last target that he used a basic skill on. When they die, their life energy is sent to Ulrezaj as raw energy. If his energy is at maximum capacity, they are directly converted to shield without him requiring to activate his trait. Cooldown: 80 seconds

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A Dark Archon

Talents

Ulrezaj’ talents include some “void upgrades” that add additional effects. He also will have some talents that reward landing skill shots and executing combos. Some samples:

Destroy Will: Hitting enemies affected by Break Will with Dark Blast’s peak point will stun them for lengthen the stun by 1 second and reduce the cooldown Break Will by 1 second.

Void Volley: Dark Volley bolts are upgraded to Void bolts that have 25 points of armour piercing.

Void Blast: Dark Blast is upgraded to Void Blast, which slows the enemies between 30% to 60%, depending on where the blast hits them, for 1 second.

Rage of the Seven: Each attack sent by the Wrath of the Seven also applies a stacking 15% slow to the target, stunning them for 1 second with the final attack.

Army of Ulrezaj: Every time a Fist of Ulrezaj minion is converted to shield automatically the cooldown of Fist of Ulrezaj is decreased by 1 second. Upgrades the minions to be Hunter Killers, Immortals and Marauders.

Style

Ulrezaj can use black, dark tones of grey, dark purples and reds. He has a bigger “body” than a regular protoss thanks to the fog-ish energy surrounding him which can also differentiate his silhouette from regular protoss and Archon mode Tassadar.

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Portrait from Remastered

“For the truly powerful, power is not overwhelming.”

Toward others, he is brutal and condescending, but he also tries to actively recruit those he sees useful or worthy to join his ranks or even the entity itself.

Ulrezaj’s voice will be a mixture of multiple sounds like this (In case it wasn’t obvious, I’m not a sound expert). Some samples:

Same team Alarak: If it is power you seek, you have only to join us and we can rule this world together!

Reply: Hah! Do I have to remind you that I succeeded and you failed? You’ll learn to respect your superior.

Same team Tassadar: You are misguided, but you understand our power. Join us and we’ll show you the right path.

Reply: Misguided? You rebelled for your individuality and yet you assimilate others. You deluded fool.

Same team Zeratul: First you allow the Khalai in Shakuras, then you beg before Artanis for help? Pathetic.

Reply: Did you forget it was a Khalai who allowed us to be in Shakuras in the first place? Your hatred will be your undoing.

Same team as a Khalai protoss: Khalai filth.

Same team as Gul’dan, Deathwing or Diablo: I respect your ambition but only one of us can rule this world and only I have the power to do it.

Same team as Abathur or Kerrigan: This is interesting. Why don’t you join me and reveal the secrets of the zerg?

After killing Alarak: *scoffs* “Highlord”, your vision was as lacking as your power

After killing Tassadar: THIS is power. Overwhelmed already?

After killing Kerrigan: So this is what Khalai failed to defeat?

Being healed: Good, healer, you know your place. Keep serving me.

Challenges

I went through different iterations for Ulrezaj. The shield and low hit points were the first things I decided. In Starcraft, archons are tough — as long as they have their shield.

Skills were the hardest to choose. Typically, Dark Archon have mind powers (confusion, mind control etc.) but too much CC is, well, too much and mind Control is already in the game. I guess it could have been a different version of Mind Control but instead, I decided to give him a single CC, but focus on the destructive powers.

I thought this character could also go crazy with power, which then should come with a risk and ended up with the final version of the trait: As he casts, his damage is increased but survivability suffers. He can choose to keep the damage bonus or use the energy to repower his shield and “mana.” In the end, Ulrezaj is a glass cannon, but he has the option to stay on the tougher side by keeping it to sustain damage rather than burst.

To double-down on his risky gameplay, I added the Dark Volley. This spell can potentially destroy most heroes, but it requires channelling. If performed right, it’s not only devastating but hard to run from. However, it exposes Ulrezaj.

I knew I wanted to do an ultimate called X of the Seven, I ended up with this super annoying ult that doesn’t fully stun you, but keeps interrupting. This is to Ulrezaj’s advantage in some cases (abilities that block the next spell will partially block this) but to his disadvantage in others (the target can still act between shots, activating shields etc.)

I wanted to also include how he commands a host of minions but simple summons would’ve been awkward with his kit. So I ended up with Fist of Ulrezaj (named after the faction used in the campaign) that adds some passive damage but also lets him spam his spells at full capacity without the fear of losing the shield. Fun fact: I completely forgot about Arthas’ ultimate and I was wondering how this entourage would look, following him. I realized how similar they are writing this paragraph. There is enough difference I guess.

Conclusion

I really enjoy coming up with skills and skillsets for Heroes of the Storm. It’s a game I enjoy a lot and since the characters come from settings that I also love, it’s always a delight to work on these designs.

What do you think? Does the kit fit Ulrezaj? Do you think the kit makes sense? How would you do it?

Written by

Gamer, gaming industry wanderer, development and design enthusiast. Current WIP: TBD

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