"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 is a playable hero-commander in the Co-op Missions mode of Legacy of the Void. Dehaka is able to absorb the essence of weaker units to strengthen his army. Dehaka will be able to personally take the field and grow with the essence dropped from fallen units (including allied units).
In addition to his normal arsenal, three other packs have allied with Dehaka. The leaders are Glevig, Murvar, and Dakrun. Like all primal zerg, they follow strength, and Dehaka is a true force of nature.
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.
Dehaka’s primal underlings must be kept constantly at attention. The player can order them to fight each other to prove in order to raise their level. Each of his basic units can evolve into a new form, becoming a new unit with new attacks and abilities.
Power Set 1: Devour Buff Duration
This set comes down to preference, as devour healing aids a lot with the early game. However, in the later game the power of the devour buffs adds a good amount of power to Dehaka.
Power Set 2: Pack Leaders Active Duration
By the time of mastery, Dehaka will have the ability to gain detection, which overlaps with the Greater Primal Wurm’s roles. Pack Leaders are powerful and a longer duration can help them clear entire attack waves or bases with ease.
Power Set 3: Dehaka Attack Speed
Some points in Gene Mutation is helpful, as the number of evolved zerg will mean some will get gene mutations. However, Dehaka is the powerhouse of his army, so adding to his attack speed is helpful in the early game and powerful in the late game.
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's tech tree is very different from more standard zerg. He starts with 200 control (much like how Nova Terra starts with 100 supply), and has no need or ability to create overlords. Dehaka does not need (and therefore does not create) creep.
The main unit-producing structure in the primal warden, which produces units in a manner similar to Stukov's infested factory; the hatchery does not produce combat units. At the start of a mission, it can only produce primal zerglings, but can produce other units depending on other structures created by drones. The primal warden is mobile and even capable of fighting when uprooted.
Dehaka will be able to personally take the field, and will gain mass, attack speed, damage, and health as he collects essence. Essence appears on the battlefield as DNA symbols and are dropped by slain enemy units. Dehaka also gains essence from units he devours.
This essence will allow him to evolve through a leveling system. He has the ability to leap on targets, causing area damage, unleash an intimidating roar that slows enemy attack speed and movement, devour an enemy to instantly kill it and gain abilities depending on its flags (biological heals Dehaka, air units give him a ranged attack, psionic units reduce his cooldowns, etc.), and scorching breath, which deals area damage and holds three charges. Dehaka will unlock passive abilities as he gains power, including a healing aura and detection of cloaked units.
Like Kerrigan and Zagara, if Dehaka is killed he will revive at the hatchery within 90 seconds. Unlike them, however, the player can sacrifice drones in order to speed up the rate of revival.
Dehaka's unit consuming ability also affects heroic units, so hybrids will be vulnerable to being devoured. However, devouring heroic units lengthens the cooldown time before the devour ability can be used again.
Artanis is a powerful commander when used alongside Dehaka. As a lot is focused on his hero, Artanis’s guardian shell allows Dehaka to gain extra time when taking fatal damage, allowing him to regain health via essence or devour and get back into the fight. As far as armies go, Dehaka’s frontline melee units, especially primal igniters and tyrannozors, can be well suited to be used alongside long range Artanis combos like dragoon/reaver or tempest. Artanis’s global abilities can also clear waves, while Dehaka’s devour can be used on priority targets like hybrid.
Karax and Dehaka have situational synergy depending on what map they’re used on together. On defensive maps like “Temple of the Past” and “Night of the Dead”, Karax excels at covering for Dehaka’s lack of reliable defensive structures, allowing Dehaka’s longer ranged units to pump out the damage they need or push out when necessary. However, on maps where both players need to push they have minimal synergy, as Dehaka has no mechanical units to benefit from reconstruction beam, and the amount of damage his larger units take mean that the shield Karax gives is of minimal use.
Vorazun and Dehaka cover for each other’s weaknesses well, and make for a powerful late game army. Vorazun struggles against some early attack waves, while Dehaka benefits from having to deal with them as it will give him early essence. Use Dehaka (with talents picked depending on the composition) to defeat the early attack waves, allowing Vorazun to save her energy for a push or emergency situation. In the late game, Dehaka’s ability to tie up and slow enemies works well with Vorazun’s disruption web, preventing enemies from moving out of them. Dehaka’s ability to snipe big targets with devour mixed with the shadow strike of dark templar means large attack waves can be destroyed easily. Dehaka’s calldowns and worms can provide damage and detection to areas where Vorazun can’t cover.
Alarak and Dehaka have some power together, but mostly aren’t the most powerful of combinations. Both rely on powerful hero units that are designed to take the brunt of a lot of damage, which while powerful both suffer when in the face of abilities that do heavy single target damage like yamato cannon. Dehaka usually has a medium sized army relevant to his supply due to the primal combat mechanic, so he gives below average benefit to Alarak’s Empower Me ability. However, Dehaka’s pack leaders can cover for the global presence Alarak lacks, allowing him to save his Death Fleet ability for a sticky situation, while Alarak’s structure overcharge provides a reliable defense that will usually be off cooldown and can even be deployed on the frontlines via primal wurms.
Fenix and Dehaka have moderate synergy, but both suffer from overlapping mechanics. As with Alarak, Dehaka and Fenix both rely on single points to take a lot of their damage for their squishier army units, though in the later game Dehaka has tyrannozor and primal ultralisks to take damage for him. In the late game, Fenix can provide strong anti-air in his carriers and dragoon shell that Dehaka has less of. Fenix’s arbiter shell also augments Dehaka’s ability to have a global presence, allowing Fenix to move Dehaka’s army around while Dehaka himself can deep tunnel anywhere.
Raynor and Dehaka are a strong combination. Dehaka’s units and Dehaka himself gain extreme benefits from having medics around, especially in the early game where Dehaka is lower leveled. Both have powerful defensive global abilities at relatively the same cooldown and scans can give vision, let Dehaka use his calldowns and deep tunnel to any part of the map, and Dehaka’s primal wurms can function as impromptu detectors in the early game. In the late game, Dehaka becomes a strong tank and disabler for Raynor’s army, and is powerful alongside bio, allowing Raynor to do the damage while Dehaka and his higher health units like tyrannozors and primal igniters, the latter negating the need for firebats, hold up enemy lines and providing a healing and armor aura.
Swann and Dehaka are deceptively strong together. One of Dehaka’s major issues in the later game is gas consumption with his army, a problem Swann and his vespene drones help mitigate. This also allows Dehaka to potentially transition into an air combination, something usually hard without suffering midgame. Swann also has a long ranged army with high damage that suffers in melee, while Dehaka has a low to mid-range army with heavy armored melee units. This allows Swann to deal heavy damage with goliaths and siege tanks while Dehaka does the brunt of the fighting. In addition, with how early Dehaka comes out, he can keep the first attack wave at bay without Swann having to use his ARES warbot calldown.
Nova and Dehaka overlap in a lot of ways, but are still powerful. Both have a powerful hero unit that can reliably function against group of light enemies or single big enemies, and both have powerful global presence and armies usually on the smaller side (albeit Nova’s much smaller). However, Nova’s tactical airlift ability can move Dehaka’s units around the map, whereas Dehaka, his wurms, creeper hosts and Glevig are the only units that can deep tunnel in Dehaka’s forces. However, this means both players can be anywhere they need to be, with Dehaka’s main army working with Nova and tying up enemies while Dehaka and his calldowns can be in another place. Ravens also benefit Dehaka, as they can heal his frontline forces. In return, once Dehaka evolves healing aura, he is able to heal Nova's army without the Nova player having to tech to and expend resources on Ravens for the sole purpose of healing.
Han and Horner and Dehaka cover each other's weaknesses too much, but work well together. Dehaka himself works well in the early game with the support of an assault galleon and some reapers, and in the mid-to-late game he can tank and take on armies while Han and Horner deal damage from behind. Dehaka’s cooldowns on his global abilities are much lower than Han and Horner’s, meaning that with proper communication there can be a cooldown ready for any situation. Horner’s strike bombers can also reveal an area for Dehaka to deep tunnel to through the fog of war. However, both lack reliable defensive options, relying mostly on their armies, so both struggle together on defensive maps.
Kerrigan and Dehaka are a good combination, in spite of both focusing on a hero unit. Both Kerrigan and Dehaka benefit from hunting down groups of enemies in the early to mid-game, and the resource bonus Kerrigan gives to Dehaka can help him move into strong late game gas heavy compositions. Kerrigan can give Dehaka global mobility with her omega worms, while Dehaka can also deep tunnel to clear out areas. The only time the two struggle is in the mid game, where Dehaka is between getting his primal wardens constructed and Kerrigan is beginning to form her army.
Zagara and Dehaka have moderate synergy. Zagara relies on heavy masses of disposable units that she can buff, while Dehaka’s heavy frontline covers a lot of the same role. As such, Dehaka with Zagara should go for lighter units that benefit from her zerglings tying up enemy waves like hydralisks or guardians. Frenzy is a massive boon to Dehaka, as all of his units and calldowns benefit from it and can clear out attack waves with it, while Dehaka himself can also cover for Zagara as she deals her damage. Additionally, tyrannozors with their armor aura completely nullifies any need for aberrations and primal mutalisks with all upgrades can be an incredible relief for the need of scourges as air enemies will both take massive damage and have a hard time killing them.
Abathur and Dehaka are an exceptionally powerful combination if coordinated correctly, virtually unstoppable during mid and late game. Use Dehaka to lure enemies into Toxic Nests for maximum biomass and essence harvest. While both have similar weak points in their game, Abathur’s mend ability in the early game can allow a well-controlled Dehaka to clear out the initial enemies around his base, also allowing Dehaka to level up earlier. In the case both players go air units Dehaka can make a flight of highly durable mutalisks that shred through masses of air units to cover for either Abathur’s longer-ranged guardians or Dehaka's faster-shooting, bomb-lobbing primal guardians and Abathur's debilitating devourers. Abathur’s mines also help provide a consistent defense while Dehaka can call down the primal pack leaders to provide cover for Abathur’s mid game. With Brutalisks, Leviathans and Dehaka himself spearheading attacks while Abathur's Queens provide healing, both armies can easily plow through even the largest enemy attacks that appear on maps like Mist Opportunities, Oblivion Express, Temple of the Past...with little to no loss, though extra caution must be taken should the enemy attacks consist of massed anti-army units like Void Rays and Tempests.
Stukov and Dehaka are extremely powerful together. While he does not benefit from Stukov’s creep, the infested serve as a barrier that either block for Dehaka’s units or overwhelm them as Dehaka and his army tanks damage for them. Stukov also covers for Dehaka’s lack of reliable defense on maps like “Night of the Dead,” meanwhile benefiting Dehaka’s pushes with his endless waves of infested. Both have high cooldown calldowns however, though Stukov’s infestation can be relied on for early to mid-game defense. Dehaka's devour can also take out heavy target like hybrid or area-of-effect attackers like reavers or siege tanks that would normally rip apart Stukov' attack waves.
Dehaka was considered an obvious choice for a zerg commander. The developers wanted to incorporate the essence-hunting aspect of the primal zerg, but do so in a way that was different from Abathur.
The "fantasy" of the primal zerg was sought to be represented as well. This is represented in their mechanics (e.g. the ability to uproot, and the lack of overlords).
Data exists for units for Dehaka that aren't present in the final release. These include the primal baneling, primal corruptor, and primal viper. Others data seems to suggest all of Dehaka's units at one point a level system, which would max out at level 3. At each level the unit would evolve. This system was scrapped and maintained only for Dehaka's hero unit.
Dehaka's loading screen artwork and final evolved model used in Co-op Missions bears resemblance to his master skin in Heroes of the Storm.
Before his intended release was announced his inclusion as a Co-op commander was hinted via the Scythe of Amon mission. When the transport would begin picking up refugees, primal zerglings would appear instead of protoss units.