Our updated guide to playing Johanna with this month’s best talent build.
Our complete Johanna guide has everything you need to know about playing this Hero, with the latest builds, tips, map advice and counters.
As an all-round, well-designed tank it’s hard to find fault with Johanna. Compared to her colleagues she has incredible survivability and crowd control options at her disposal, and she can seriously disrupt the opposing team in group encounters. Outside of team fights, she can off a pretty mean job of soloing a lane too.
What she lacks, however, is mobility – although this is something that’s made up for somewhat by her Iron Skin Trait, which provides a very welcome shield. She’s also best played with a healer who really knows their stuff, and can sustain Johanna even longer in combat.
Those niggles asides, there are plenty of very good reasons why Johanna finds herself riding at the top of many a HotS tier list. In this guide we’ll walk you through the basics of playing her, and also point out some really useful tips that will help you along the road towards mastering this Hero.
Johanna strategy overview – March 2016
During the early game it’s worth teaming up with a Support character if you want to lane effectively. Watch your Mana at all times here, and stick to using Condemn (with Knight Takes Pawn) when it comes to dealing with minions. Do your best to frustrate and force back any enemy Heroes who come wandering by, and don’t be afraid to roam a little between two lanes to maximise XP.
When it comes to getting stuck into a proper team brawl, you want to use Johanna extremely aggressively and dive right into the action. Skills like Condemn can be used not just to cluster the enemy into a nice-sized pile for your team’s AOE, but also to interrupt any channelled shenanigans that would otherwise threaten to undermine your assault.
The best Johanna Talent build – March 2016
Johanna’s Talents are extremely simple to spec out and you’ll come across very few worthy variations on this extremely solid, evergreen build. Do yourself a favour and take a little time to review the selection though, so you’re fully prepared for how they’ll change the shape of battle.
Johanna standard build
Level 1 – Knight Takes Pawn – Condemn deals 165 additional damage to Minions and Mercenaries and stuns them for 3 seconds.
Level 4 – Laws of Hope – Regenerating 10 Health per second.Activate to heal 20% of your max Health over 4 seconds.
Level 7 – Battle Momentum – Basic Attacks reduce Ability cooldowns by 0.5 seconds.
Level 10 – Blessed Shield – Deal 250 (119 + 4% per level) damage and stun the first enemy hit for 1.5 seconds. Blessed Shield then bounces to 2 nearby enemies, dealing 125 (60 + 4% per level) damage and stunning them for 0.75 seconds. Mana: 90, Cooldown: 60 seconds.
Level 13 – Burning Rage – Deal 23 damage per second to nearby enemies.
Level 16 – Imposing Presence – Enemies that attack you have their Attack Speed slowed by 40%.
Level 20 – Indestructible – Upon taking fatal damage, gain a Shield equal to your maximum Health for 5 seconds. This effect has a 120 second cooldown.
Johanna Abilities, Heroic Abilities and Traits – March 2016
Here’s a quick look at Johanna’s Hero-specific Abilities. Condemn’s great for clearing packs of minions, Punish is a great way of hobbling an enemy Hero, and Shield Glare will do much to temporarily neutralise the damage output of your opponents. Note that your Trait, Iron Skin has to be manually activated.
Punish (Q)– Step forward dealing 248 (118 + 4% per level) damage and slowing enemies by 60% decaying over 2 seconds. Mana: 40, Cooldown: 8 seconds.
Condemn (W)– After 1 second, you pull nearby enemies toward you, stunning them for 0.25 seconds and dealing 121 (58 + 4% per level) damage. Mana: 50, Cooldown: 10 seconds.
Shield Glare (E)– Deal 130 (62 + 4% per level) damage to enemies and cause them to miss Basic Attacks for 1.5 seconds. Mana: 45, Cooldown: 12 seconds.
Blessed Shield (R)– Deal 250 (119 + 4% per level) damage and stun the first enemy hit for 1.5 seconds. Blessed Shield then bounces to 2 nearby enemies, dealing 125 (60 + 4% per level) damage and stunning them for 0.75 seconds. Mana: 90, Cooldown: 60 seconds.
Falling Sword (R)– You leap towards an area. While in the air, you can steer the landing location by moving. After 2 seconds you land, dealing 550 (262 + 4% per level) damage to nearby enemies and knocking them into the air. Cost: 100 Mana, Cooldown: 80 seconds.
Iron Skin (D)– Gain a Shield that absorbs 1344 (638 + 4% per level) damage for 4 seconds. While this Shield is active, you are Unstoppable. Cost: 25 Mana, Cooldown: 20 seconds
Johanna counters and match-ups – March 2016
Like every other Hero in the game, Johanna counters some Heroes hard and suffers herself at the hands of others. Then there are the Heroes who make particularly good buddies in battle. As the meta can change so much, we like to use a site like HeroesCounters to get a picture of how things currently stand.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the standings for Johanna, correct at the time of publication. We’ll update this section regularly.
- Strong against- Nova, Zeratul, Illidan, Xul, Thrall
- Weak against- Leoric, Nazeebo, Lunara, Zagara, Jaina
- Teams well with- Kael’thas, Jaina, Li-Ming, Nazeebo, Azmodan
Johanna tips and batleground guides – March 2016
Once you’ve got the basics of Johanna down, it’s worth getting accustomed to some of her more refined plays. Take a look through the following strategic tips that should help you make a powerful impression on the battlefield.
- You can use Punish defensively to keep an enemy Hero off your trail while you escape to safety.
- Blessed Shield has a number of uses. You can either use it to flat-out initiate a fight on great terms for your team, give everyone a chance to get to safety if a fight turns sour, or just interrupt your opponents’ channelled skills.
- You can use Condemn to cluster enemies together before dishing out a very wide-reaching Shield Glare or Punish.
- Try to bag multiple enemy Heroes with your incredible Condemn Ability, and draw them into a position where you teammates can AOE nuke the victims down.
- Shield Glare’s damage is pretty rubbish – save it for when you actually need to frustrate an enemy Hero, particularly those who depend heavily on their Basic Attack.
- Iron Skin will save your life many times but don’t pop it too early in a fight. In general, you should try to keep a healer in range at all times.
- Watch your Mana, particularly in the early-game. It’s very easy to run out fast, so stick to Condemn (enhanced by Knight Takes Pawn) when it comes to clearing out lanes at the start of a match.
- If an enemy is trying to escape to safety, get your Punish off immediately so that you increase the odds of you or a teammate securing the kill.
Battlefield of Eternity
Because you are highly unlikely to be clearing a lane by yourself on the Battlefield of Eternity, you may wish to consider replacing your first Talent choice with Reinforce. Otherwise there’s not much map-specific advice to consider for Johanna here.
Unlike the previous map, you are likely to be working the upper lanes aggressively here, so make maximum use of your Condemn and Knight Takes Pawn combo. This will help your team level up nice and quickly, and maintain the snowballing pressure against your opponent’s lanes.
Fightin’ Cowboy’s videos helped us out a huge amount while we were learning the game. The builds have changed with balance patches and shifting metagames, but the broad principles remain the same.