How to Properly Walk the Churn (Churnwalker guide for WP, Support, and Other Builds) by Crazedjellyfish

How to Properly Walk the Churn (Churnwalker guide for WP, Support, and Other Builds)

By: Crazedjellyfish
Last Updated: Oct 28, 2017
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NOTE Top

The following will be mostly regarding support Churnwalker. I plan to add other builds in the future. This disclaimer is here so you don't get confused while searching for a WP section.

Introduction Top

Churnwalker is a great hero, and I admit that when I first unlocked him, I wasn't the greatest. I was used to playing Ardan, where you can slightly harass the enemy and escape easily, but when I tried to do that with this guy, it wasn't pretty.

However, I did learn fairly quickly, and now I'm climbing the ranks with this hero quite comfortably.

So, let me explain what makes this hero so good:
  • Very versatile
  • Decently high damage without any damage items
  • Extremely powerful and tanky when working with allies properly
  • Good at cleaning up fights
  • Great recovery potential, allowing for several engages & disengages in a short period of time
  • Excellent multi-target damage when with allies

However, every strong hero still has their weaknesses. Here are the problems you may encounter when playing Churnwalker:
  • Kind of squishy when alone
  • Cannot escape well when ult is down
  • Not very fast
  • Hard to master/isn't beginner-friendly
  • Team reliant

A Detailed Dissection of Churnwalker's Abilities (For Support) Top

By the way, before I begin: no, I will not dissect dissect Martim Walker. That would be weird.

Anyways, in this chapter I'm going to thoroughly analyze Churnwalker as a support. I'll start with the abilities:


: This is your primary skill, and although it is valued mostly for its combos into Torment and Trespass, the ability by itself is a great poking tool. If you use this on two nearby enemies and you have a good poke fighter like Kestrel or Blackfeather with you, this double hook followed up by poking from your ally can recover a decent amount of your HP and inconvenience the enemy, especially if you and your teammate continue to follow and harass the targets (sometimes this can lead to a kill as well). However, please be wary of your surroundings, and make sure to flare bushes frequently, as Churnwalker does not retreat well.

In Teamfights:

To start a teamfight, try to land a hook on an enemy (it doesn't matter which one, but preferable the squishiest hero), then engage on them with your team. Soon enough the rest of your opponents will rush in and fight (usually). The second an enemy is within range, hook them, then repeat this process until all enemies are chained (unless the situation requires something different, of course). Now, after you have everyone chained, try to follow them around, but usually stick to the center of those 3 heroes. This way, you can group them up and make them vulnerable to an attack such as Baptiste's ultimate or high damage shots from Kestrel. However, don't just sit there while the enemies hack away at your HP. if you're getting low, you should retreat (see Trespass: In Teamfights).

Situational Strategy: I've discovered that due to this ability's very low energy cost, you can hook an enemy, move far enough away to break the chain, then move forwards slightly in order to land another hook on the target in less than 2 seconds. This may seem odd or hard to perform, but this is a great way to safely poke the enemy (and apply a significant amount of damage) while in lane. Except, please remember this: minions devour your HP at low levels, so I would suggest doing this when you have a stronger minion wave than the enemy. This is also because if the enemy is able to move close enough to attack you back your minions will gang up on the enemy for some very significant damage. Also, please note the word "situational", and only use this strategy if you feel like the situation requires it, because the carry is the one who should be doing the poking and damage dealing usually.

: This ability is simple yet amazing (Simply Amazing haha). Use this skill to disrupt enemy movement and pull them in range for your teammates to start raining down high damage skills (this is usually useful for getting them into position for skillshots). When using this, wait until the enemy moves a moderate distance away before activating it, just so you can maximize how long they stay hooked for. Remember to follow them if necessary.

In Teamfights: In team battles you'll want to use this to clump enemies together, in order for them to be hit by AOE effects, and knock them out of position. If AOE doesn't exist in your team comp (which it definitely should), I would recommend using this to get the enemy closer to your team so your allies can attack. However, please do not make the mistake of pulling (lets say a Krul) into your low HP carry. I see this happen so many times in ranked, and it's a really bad idea, because it just gives the enemy a free kill.

: One of my favorite abilities in the game right here. It may seem sort of bland but it's so dynamic! You can use this skill to retreat, engage, assist allies in escaping, chase down enemies, set up additional hooks, etcetera. This skill encourages creativity, and unless you like diving into the enemy sanctuary with it, there isn't a very incorrect way to use it.

In Teamfights: during a fight you should this to disrupt dangerous but predictable channeling abilities for your enemies (kind of like a Crucible, but not really). Also, if you need to stop the damage flow from the opposing team so you can disengage/re-position, using this is ideal.

Itemization (Support) Top

Churnwalker does well with standard support items, and damage items aren't usually needed on him. However, a support-ish item which still grants some CP, such as Frostburn, can be pretty helpful for catching up to enemies, and the damage increase can end up being significant. Remember, though: do not build CP early game as Churnwalker! You need to be tanky as a captain, not a squishy hybrid. And, due to the fact that everyone already has little max HP at low levels, you cannot afford to be that squishy, or you'll be torn apart when fights break out. I won't really go into that much detail about the normal support items, because every support player should know how these work already. However, Stormcrown on Churnwalker might require some explaining. It was put in this build for the cooldown reduction, for Churnwalker to deal slightly more damage while still having a lot of HP, and for the significant damage to turrets and other objectives. But, as I type this, I realize that Stormcrown is used like this for most captains. I suppose that it is a bit of an odd item, then again, so explaining it wouldn't hurt.

Situational Items


Choosing the right situational item can determine whether you'll win or lose. Getting targeted and bursted down by the enemy carry? Bam, Slumbering Husk. When you purchase this, you'll be able to stay in the thick of fights for a longer period of time, and it can prevent you from dying early (which can ultimately spell defeat for your allies in that fight). And, chances are, if the enemy is so busy with attacking you, they're letting a lot of free damage come in from your teammates. Try not to buy this if you're already tanky enough, though, because that inventory slot could be put to much better use, in that case.

Is the enemy always popping their speed boots and escaping, preventing an ace for your team? Use Nullwave Gauntlet (alternatively, use this on an enemy captain right before a fight breaks out, if your allies are constantly getting blocked by Crucible). Amazingly, I almost never see people buy this item. I assume this is because players think it's used just for the item silence (which is already really strong). However, this is incorrect. Just look at the percentage damage. It's very significant! Countless times I have used this item to secure a kill and get the ace for my team. This item gives you a moderately damaging target ability with a very short cooldown, plus 25% cooldown reduction, a good amount of energy recharge, and +400 max HP. All of these things packed into one item. You would think that it would be more common on supports. I recommend purchasing this item in the mid/late game, after you finish your primary support items (like Fountain, Contraption, Stormcrown, and Crucible). Maybe buy this earlier if the enemy is giving you serious problems during fights.

Note on Crucible: It's sometimes a good idea to hold off on getting this if the enemy doesn't have much burst/CC, and instead focus on buying items to further counter your opponents otherwise.

I feel like a desperate salesperson whenever I begin by asking these questions, so I'll just start getting to the point: Aftershock is a great item that you can't really go wrong with. It fits very well into all builds (just make sure you evaluate whether you need a separate item for that specific situation), and the damage it brings to the fight is very high, especially for Churnwalker, where Hook & Chain gets refreshed after every successful hook. That means you can blast a hero for 45% of their health in 4.5 seconds (taking into consideration Aftershock's 1.5s cooldown). Not to mention the cooldown reduction, which allows you to act more frequently, the CP, which can help with your damage over time, and energy recharge, once again. Although energy is barely needed on Churnwalker, I have noticed that over the course of long fights, it does deplete. This can make sure you're ready to throw hooks and CC the enemy. I would suggest purchasing this mid/late game, like Nullwave Gauntlet, after your primary items.

Note on purchasing order: the order of items you buy really vary from game to game, but I typically get them in this order:

1.
2.
3.
4. <Insert situational item here>
5.
6.

Try to purchase Tier 1 boots slightly after you get your Fountain, then upgrade them whenever necessary. It's good to rush Fountain for 3 minutes in, so stick with your jungler (see a later section for working with the carry) in order to collect ambient gold. Try to help them farm quickly, but avoid taking their last hits.

The last item, Atlas Pauldron, is fairly straightforward. If you have someone like SAW on the enemy team who is shredding you or your teammates, use this to defend yourself with a bit extra armour, and activate it to protect your allies from the high DPS. Try to get in close by using Torment and occasionally Trespass, although I wouldn't recommend using your ult for the sole purpose of activating this though, unless the circumstances suggest it would be efficient.

Potential Boot Swap: if you feel tanky enough, and if it would work with your team comp/teammates' item choices, you could add Journey Boots in place of War Treads in order to chase down enemies and keep them hooked better.

Positions (Support) Top

Churnwalker should primarily be played as a roamer, but occasionally, if your carry is having trouble in lane, you can go up and help out for a bit. Watch for counter-ganks and obvious traps, however! If an enemy has pushed too far, you and your jungler could go up and attack the unaware opponent, but sometimes other enemies could be lurking in the brush, waiting for you to come and attempt a gank. This is why it's very important to have map vision. Neglecting to place Scout Traps can cause problems, and will cause you to lose the game very frequently.

When helping out allies with farming, please don't take their last hits. They need to be high level for late game. Having a level 12 support Churnwalker & a level 9 jungle Baptiste is usually not a good idea. Sometimes, you may accidentally take your jungler's farm due to the damage over time from Hook & Chain, which isn't terribly serious, but to avoid taking any of your ally's farm, it's best to roam with a burst-damage jungler who can take out the creatures before the DoT gets them. In preference to this, your ally might want to just strike when the monster is low enough to be killed, instead of just randomly whacking it. Think of it like a carry in lane, waiting for the perfect moment to get the last hits, only your A represents the damage from allied minions. If the carry just keeps attacking without paying attention, a friendly minion might kill the enemy minion and the carry wouldn't get the gold. Now, I'm not saying that your jungler should pause before attacking like a carry does. I'm just saying that they should be a little bit more aware than usual, so they know when to activate an ability to land the killing blow.

Threats to Churnwalker Top

What I love about Churnwalker is how you get to control the battlefield so well when playing him. It's like your flowing through water, and adjusting your position depending on how strong the waves are. In this case, the waves would represent damage, enemies, position of teammates, etc. But sometimes, the waves can get way too strong and knock you out of position, if you aren't careful.

Churnwalker, like every other hero, has counters. Heroes that counter Martim include:

Heroes with a lot of disruption


People like Catherine, Koshka, and Lance who can knock you out of position, silence, or stun you pose a serious threat. Against these types of heroes, you'll want to get Crucible quickly, maybe even before Stormcrown. This might not always be necessary, however, because activating Trespass at the right time can prevent devastating abilities such as Blast Tremor. The reason that Churnwalker is so susceptible to disruption is because he is a very ability-oriented hero. Churnwalker doesn't do that much when his abilities are momentarily shut down by a silence, and perhaps this is why his cooldowns are so low: to prevent him from being too weak.

Fast or Highly Mobile Characters


Churnwalker might seem like a good hero in terms of restraining and CCing enemies, but when facing fast and unpredictable enemies such as Koshka, you will encounter some issues. Since you aren't very fast as this hero, you will probably be able to use Torment to pull back enemies who are very fast, and maybe even activating your C to stun them, then land another hook could be useful. But that's a lot of wasted time just to make sure 1 enemy doesn't get away. And, chances are when your B and C are on cooldown, they'll get away pretty easily. To remedy this problem, I would suggest getting your team to focus the fast
hero, and take them out before they do anything serious. However, the advantage Churnwalker has over these heroes is the fact that they have to get in close to strike usually, and that's right in range of Hook & Chain. These heroes are annoying, but aren't as huge of a threat as the stunners talked about above. Be careful and play smart when faced with these ones.

High Damage Enemies That Don't Leave You Alone


People I'm referring to are Krul, SAW, etc. They shred your HP (particularly SAW) and it's so hard to get rid of them. Krul can jump out of a bush with Shadows Empower Me up and make sure you never escape, due to your already low movement speed. SAW doesn't follow you as much, but when fighting him you have to make the decision of staying in the middle of the fight and getting mowed down, or retreating and allowing your foes to gain initiative. Against these characters, try to stick with your team and lock them down. When stunned or CCed, they can be finished off quite easily.

Team Synergy Top

Finally, we have team synergy, which is a very important chapter, so take notes.

Churnwalker does well with high burst damage allies, due to Futility of Life, so a team comp like Joule (CP jungle) and Baron (WP lane) works pretty well. I once played a match where a Joule ult on all 3 chained enemies saved me from having to use an emergency fountain in order to avoid dying, and it also devastated all of the opponents, allowing us to easily clean up and get an ace.

Churnwalker does not do well with sustain fighters, however. You would think that Krul would work well with Churnwalker, due to Spectral Smite, but the pattern I've noticed during my testing is that the damage spread is rather insignificant. This was partly because our Kruls usually have no clue what they're doing, and I'm sure some people can make it work, but without strong cooperation these comps really don't do well in teamfights.

A Few Recommended Teams


I will now list some team compositions which I have found very efficient over the course of my testing (these are for support Churnwalker):

#1: Joule (WP jungle) and Celeste (CP lane).

Reason: Joule synergizes excellently with Churnwalker's passive, and Celeste's AOE does as well. Use Torment to pull enemies into the attacks of your teammates. This can be useful for correcting a slightly misplaced Solar Storm or for keeping enemies in the blast from Big Red Button.

#2: Kestrel (WP lane) and Alpha (CP jungle).

Reason: WP Kestrel defies all WP carry logic. The amount of burst damage is absurd, and all of your abilities can set up shots from Kestrel with ease. CP Alpha is a go-to hero for AOE damage. She's tanky, which is needed in this type of team, and your abilities can set up devastating Termination Protocols. Combined with Futility of Life, this is one team you really don't want to mess with.

#3: Taka (CP jungle) and Gwen (WP lane).

Reason: Taka and Churnwalker have excellent combinations when fighting along side one another. Taka's main problem is getting stunned/disrupted, and Churnwalker can keep enemies off of Taka with Torment, and prevent dangerous stuns/CCs with his ult. Also, the high and frequent burst damage sent along the chains ends up being very powerful. Gwen is a sustain fighter that normally isn't great with Churnwalker, but she does pack some burst into her attacks, and while Taka's retreating/recovering with Kaku, it's always necessary to have someone who can swap in while the other ally isn't ready. All of these heroes compliment each other very well, and they can back each other up with ease. This isn't a very defense-heavy team though, so be careful when fighting tankier enemies.

Conclusion Top

Well that's it for this guide. Hope you found it useful. I will probably add the other non-support builds some other time, because at the moment I feel like I've explored the Churn enough, and I don't want to end up like our buddy Martim over here. Ha ha.

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