Friday, December 28, 2012

Analysis: Neutral Creep Pulling in the Safe Lane

Pulling creeps is a tactic used for controlling the lane. A lot of player blindly say to stack-pull every time. Others completely ignore pulling. Neither is the correct approach.

DotA is a game of making decisions to fit the scenario. You can never just blindly do something for every situation.


Stack-Pull refers to stacking the safe lane pull camp before pulling it. This gives you two sets of neutral creeps. When you pull these creeps (around the x:17 mark), they will completely destroy your creep wave.

This does two things:
  1. Moves the collision point of the creep waves closer to your tower and to safety
  2. Denies your opponent an entire wave of experience (~250-300 XP, in the early game), and gold

You Do Not Always Want to do This Though

If done at the wrong time, this can prompt a few bad things:
  • Your Opponents Push the Tower -- there are no creeps to help defend it, so they just apply pressure and get early tower gold
  • Your Carry/Support Tanks Damage -- if you don't want the tower to get hit, you can kite the creeps to some extent, but a hero will inevitably take some damage
  • Your Opponent Dives a Hero -- with creeps already there, your opponent can dive a hero while one support is busy with the pull. You may be able to react in time, but even then, your carry might be too low to do much beside leech XP until a Salve can be sent to them.
Also note that a good opponent can apply harass under the tower by attacking a hero, then immediately doing an attack-click on their allied creeps (thus losing aggro). By doing this, they will not be targeted by the tower.

Single Pull

Single Pull refers to pulling a single set of neutral creeps into your wave. This will deny 1-2 lane creeps potentially. It also delays the creeps from re-entering the lane.

Generally, you do this when you want to push.

For pushing, try to do this:
  • On the wave that has the catapult
  • Or the wave just before the catapult wave
Note: Siege creeps come every 7th wave (the first is at 3:00 minutes).

When you do this around Siege Creep time, you'll get a double wave + a siege creep, which is very hard to defend.

Other Times to Single Pull

When playing Trilane vs. Trilane, you typically do not want to be pulling much at all because they can take the tower, contest the camp, or get easy kills. However, you can single-pull the first wave (given your camp is not warded) to bring the lane creeps closer to your tower / a more favorable position.

If the wave gets too far out, but you cannot risk stack-pulling, a single-pull can be useful as well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DotA Rules of Thumb

DotA is a complex game, mostly in the area of decision making. Here are some helpful rules of thumb I've discovered that help you become a better player. Also note that while I call them "rules of thumb", there are no "rules" in DotA, only guidelines that you'll have to understand when to break.

  1. Have a Justification for Every Decision
    1. Never do something blindly because a pro did it, it worked last game, etc.
    2. Every game is unique, so you have to play uniquely
  2. Minimize Down Time
    1. When you're doing nothing you lose Experience/minute and Gold/minute
    2. There is always something you could be doing (e.g. stacking neutral creep camps)
  3. There is Always Something You Could Have Done Better
    1. Dunning-Kruger Effect, a term you'll hear over and over - everyone thinks they're better than they are
    2. Another reason not to rage at teammates - there's something you could have done at some point in the game (action, saying something, a ping, etc.) that could have helped your team win. Even if another player on your team was legitimately bad, the game was not unwinnable most of the time.
  4. Focus on Team Cohesion
    1. Morale is hugely important for the team. If everyone is having fun, your team will naturally do better than the team that is stressed.
    2. Don't worry about counter-picks as much as making sure your lineup is solid. While a counter-pick is nice, it isn't always helpful if you don't have someone that knows how to play the hero well or a lane that suits the pick.
  5. Have Fun
    1. If you enjoy something, you'll naturally want to improve and you'll improve faster
    2. If you're having fun, you have one less stress and that leads to playing better
    3. Having fun gives you a good mindset. There is nothing worse than going into a game thinking "jeez... no one picked a support. I'll have to do it AGAIN. I hate support." How well do you think you are going to play like that?
  6. Information is a Key to Victory
    1. Watch the minimap constantly because it will tell you how to play (see players coming for you, play defensively or teleport out)
    2. Look at what your teammates and opponents are building. Don't get redundant items (e.g. to Vlads on your team). Be prepared for your opponent (e.g. you see their initiator got Blink Dagger - watch out for them)
  7. Play to Improve
    1. Winning is fun, but you can't win all the time. Don't be frustrated though.
    2. Set small goals for yourself so there is a victory in each game (e.g. I'm playing carry, so my goal is to get 80% of the last hits on each creep wave for the first 5 waves)
    3. Over Time: Effort Towards Improving > Achievements
  8. Focus on What You CAN Change
    1. Yelling at a teammate during the game isn't going to change the fact that they didn't rice hard enough early game. That happened. It's done. Focus on the immediate and the future.
    2. Beating yourself up for a mistake during game will only make you play worse / hurt your attitude. Save it for watching the replay.
    3. Pointing out that less than optimal picks were made is good for reflection, but it's not worth the effort to debate that during the draft/game. You cannot change it at the moment, so don't waste time on it.
    4. If you see someone dying a lot (or it's you), try to figure out a way to stop that from happening. Give specific pointers rather than "play better".

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hero Guide: Undying

Undying is an extremely aggressive hero. Therefore, to no surprise, he's usually found in an aggressive Trilane setup (i.e. 3 heroes in the Hard Lane with the purpose of getting a shit load of kills and denying the enemy carry farm).

In pubs, you'll probably find him in a Dual Hard Lane, or even solo (which he can do decently well, due to getting a higher HP pool from Decay and being able to last hit with it to some extent).

The problem you'll have is that he's mediocre late game. He's extremely aggressive early to mid game though. And you'll want to take advantage of that. Knowing when a hero peaks is part of playing them (e.g. you can initiate with Crystal Maiden before level 6-8, but after that she'll get torn apart).


  • Get One Level of Decay (unless you are specifically doing something else, then you might want level 1 Tombstone)
  • Max out Tombstone next
  • Max out Soul Rip after that
  • Take Ult when you can
  • Finish off Decay after that
  • Lastly, get stats


  • Getting additional levels of Decay:
    • Reduces Cooldown
    • Increases Mana Cost
    • Increases Duration
    • Increases Damage
  • Why I leave this at level 1:
    • You have absolute shit for a mana pool - each level increases cost by 20 mana
    • Tombstone is better
    • Soul Rip is more versatile (damage or healing)


The one exception I've heard of is taking Undying solo mid against a STR hero like Pudge because then he cannot be aggressive against you (i.e. Rot will kill him before you), you'll also probably have a bottle to resolve your mana issues.

Some players like going multiple levels of Decay early. Could just be a personal preference thing. Perhaps they're with a KotL, who can give them a lot of mana for it. I just find it less useful overall (Soul Rip can heal your Tombstone if it gets focused).

Other Skills:

  • You need to max Tombstone early, it is more or less why you pick Undying in a match
  • Tombstone will stop pushes, or allow you to be aggressive and commit to a fight
  • Tombstone is very hard to deal with early on because it has too much HP for the enemy to get rid of quickly
  • Soul Rip combos well with Tombstone for damage or healing an ally that is about to die


Undying will change drastically based on who you're up against. He's a Utility hero at heart and builds what the team needs most.

You're also going to want some Tankiness because you ult provides damage amplification based on how close you are to your enemies (750 range max). They're also slowed by a static 9%.

TP Scrolls


This item deserves its own section. TP Scroll are huge for Undying (especially in pubs where you probably aren't aggressive trilaning). Undying is great at turning ganks around, making a dive into a double kill, etc. Get TP Scrolls. Watch the map. You should probably pick one up by 4 minutes into the game or so, as that's when shit usually starts happening.



  • Arcane Boots - this is going to be your choice most of the time. You need the mana, most teammates need mana. The only time this might not be applicable is if you have a KotL and you're the only other mana dependent hero.
  • Power Treads - this can be another good choice because it gives you some tankiness and more mana. Switching to different stats will help you cast more spells, take more damage, etc.


NOTE: You might not be the one getting support items, but these are good choices if you are
  • Mekansm - more healing for the team, you'll also stay alive long enough to cast it in a fight
  • Pipe - more tankiness against spells, survivability, etc.
  • Sheep Stick - you can use the mana/INT, the regen, and stats. It also helps you shut down enemy carries.
  • Heaven's Halberd - the STR and Evasion benefit you so you can provide Damage Amp more effectively. The Disarm is huge against right click heroes like Faceless Void, Phantom Assassin, Ursa, etc.
  • Vlad's - if you have a melee carry, you might consider picking this up for them and being somethng of an aura packmule for the team. You have high survivability
  • Drums - same as Vlads more or less. Good item too if you're behind a bit because all the stats benefit you.


  • Shiva's Guard - more slow is good, the armor is good, the INT/mana is good, and the aura is excellent on a tanky hero
  • Necro Book - excellent for pushing, excellent for chasing, really good against heroes that might accidentally kill the melee creep (does 200/400/600 PURE damage), the stats work well for Undying too
  • Assault Curiass - armor is good, the aura is good, the attack speed on you is kind of meh (depends on the amount of strength stolen)
  • Also, see Heaven's Halberd in the Support Section, as it can be Utility as well.


  • Heart - good for survivability if that's what you need most
  • Armlet - good if you're the primary farmer and get it early for midgame dominance. You're sustained by Soul Rip and the healing from kills in your Ult Form
  • BKB - you might need this to stay alive in fights. Being able to do Decays during fights is crucial to your survival. You can't do that while stun locked.

Things I don't really see a purpose in getting:


  • Aghs - I don't think it buffs you enough. The stats and nice, but doesn't seem very necessary in comparison to getting items with higher utility
  • Vanguard - You get plenty of HP from Decay. It just feels like a waste to me. Grab the Vitality booster and get a heart instead.

Using your Skills


  • Use it pretty frequently in lane, not so much that you can't Tombstone though
  • Try to only use it if you can get 2+ heroes in the AoE, or at very least the carry (so they're afraid to last hit)
  • Use it as soon as it's off cooldown during fights - this is how you survive and get huge


  • Only drop this once your team has committed to a fight
  • Try to place this so your opponent is stuck in this range as long as possible (generally cutting off the escape route)
  • Defend the shit out of this
  • You can Soul Rip your Tombstone to heal it
  • You can use Tombstone defensively too - once the enemy has committed to taking a tower or something
  • If you're not sure whether to put it down, DON'T, the cooldown is too long to waste a tombstone. Good opponents will try to bait it out. That's why it's better as an aggressive skill. You KNOW when your team is going to commit. You don't know when the opponent will.

Soul Rip:

  • You can use this to heal your Tombstone
  • Use this to heal yourself or allies that are almost dead
  • Use this to do crazy amounts of damage mid game to high priority opponents (e.g. annoying supports, carries), this works really well once you've spawned a few Zombies


  • Again, don't use this until you commit to a fight
  • The closer you are to an enemy, the more damage they take (i.e. the damage amplification aspect)
  • If you're low HP, kill an enemy creep (or ideally a hero) to heal a percentage of their HP

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hero Guide: Tinker

Tinker is a fragile burst damage hero and excellent pusher/counter-pusher. His skillset revolves heavily around mana regeneration and his Ultimate, Rearm.

Skill Progression

There are two main skill progressions for Tinker. One is a bursty nuker. The other focuses on pushing (which gets you a ton of farm). Note that these are the two purest forms of the builds, it's not necessarily uncommon to pick up a spell here or there depending on your lane or other conditions.

Build 1: March of the Machines (Most Common)

  1. Heat-Seeking Missile (1)
  2. March of the Machines (1)
  3. Heat-Seeking Missile (1/2) / March of the Machines (1/2)
  4. Heat-Seeking Missile (1/2) / March of the Machines (1/2)
  5. Heat-Seeking Missile (2/3) / March of the Machines (2/3)
  6. Heat-Seeking Missile (2/3) / March of the Machines (2/3) / Ult (1)
Basically, you'll be maxing out Heat-Seeking Missile for kill potential and March for pushing. Some players skip the ultimate till later on because it has a huge mana cost and takes too long to be very effective (i.e. you either won't be able to rearm in time, or you won't have the mana).

March is a huge asset for a lot of reasons:
  • Able to push the wave so you can grab the rune
  • Able to discourage players diving you for a kill
  • Farming ability
  • Huge damage output over time

 Build 2: Max Burst

  1. Heat-Seeking Missile (1) / Laser (1)
  2. Heat-Seeking Missile (1) / Laser (1)
  3. Heat-Seeking Missile (2) / Laser (2)
  4. Heat-Seeking Missile (2) / Laser (2)
  5. Heat-Seeking Missile (3) / Laser (3)
  6. Heat-Seeking Missile (3) / Laser (3) / Ult (1)
Going this route will give you a lot more kill potential early on. However, you will be lacking in creep clearing. It might be wise to pick up at least one level of March of the Machines just for creep clearing.

Item Progression


Starting items vary by player preference and match up. Two fairly standard builds are the Bottle Rush and maximizing last hitting potential. Bottle Rush gives you stats and some minor regen, but will allow you to get your bottle before 2 minutes.

Last Hitting will take longer to get your Bottle, but sometimes it's necessary because your opponent might have higher base damage. Some players get 2 Mantles of Intelligence, but that might also go to waste (all you can build it into is a Null Talismen / Dagon).
  • Bottle Rush
    • Tangos (90g)
    • 3 x Iron Branch (53g / each)
  • Last Hitting
    • Mantle of Intelligence (150g)
    • Tangos (90g)
    • 3 x Iron Branch (53g / each)

Early Core

  • Bottle --- Main source of early mana and helps with your gank potential. Tinker has excellent wave clearing with March of the Machines, so you should always be able to get the rune.
  • Boots of Travel --- This will be your next item after Bottle. Paired with your Ult, Rearm, you can freely move around the map for ganks, farming, and refilling your Bottle at the Fountain.


  • Soul Ring --- Another critical part of your survival. Tinker needs the immediate mana provided by Soul Ring. Rearm will also give you a second charge of it. When porting around, using Soul Ring once will usually give you the mana needed to Rearm. Then you can use it again if you need mana to Teleport.

Situational & Late Game

  • Magic Wand --- This item is great for a quick burst of mana and HP, but depending on your playstyle, may not be necessary. It's still a great early-midgame pickup before Tinker maxes out his item slots.
  • Blink Dagger --- Serves multiple purposes on Tinker. He can use it for chasing, ganking, or blinking into trees to safely Teleport back home.
  • Force Staff --- Mobility is key on Tinker, and Force Staff will work when Blink Dagger is disabled. Good for Utility/Support, chasing/ganking. However, it won't work as well if you want to move into the trees for a clean get-away.
  • Ethereal Blade --- If you're doing very well, Ethereal Blade can be a great pick up because Tinker deals massive amounts of Magic Damage (with certain item builds). Paired with Ethereal Blade, you can get rid of most heroes quickly and turn the tides of a battle.
  • Shiva's Guard --- Gives Tinker armor and mana, which are both important for a mana heavy, squishy hero. Shiva's provides a great aura and an excellent active, which Tinker can spam freely with assistance from his ultimate.
  • Dagon --- Depending on who you're facing, a Dagon + Ethereal Blade can be very potent (along with Heat-Seekers, and the rest of Tinker's spells). If you picked up an early Mantle, Dagon will give it a purpose. While Dagon can be great for quickly getting rid of a support or carry, it won't bring much else to the team, or your pushes.
  • Scythe of Vyse --- Provides a lot of great mana & regen to keep you out on the field longer, also great stats from Ultimate Orb. Being able to sheep an enemy brings a lot to team fights and ganks.
  • Manta Style --- While you don't get much out of having Illusions, Manta gives you a lot of great stats. More importantly, when you use it, debuffs are cleared.
  • Eul's Scepter --- Gives you a lot of extra mana regen to keep you out on the field longer and more involved in battles. Cyclone can be great if you or a teammate gets focused. If you're chasing, it gives you time to Rearm and finish off your target.
  • Black King Bar --- As a squishy hero, the extra Strength and the magic immunity help Tinker to survive long enough to cast his spells multiple times during a team fight.
  • Orchid --- sometimes the item is necessary against heroes like Storm Spirit or blinkers. The bonus damage helps, as does the mana regen.


  • Spell Notes
    • Laser
      • Deals pure damage (ignores armor)
      • Blinds target for 3 seconds (miss 100% of physical/auto attacks)
    • Heat-Seeking Missiles
      • Must have vision of the opponent in order to hit them
      • Massive 2500 range
      • Will not hit ethereal units (i.e. Ghost Scepter, Pugna's Decrepify, Ethereal Blade)
    • March of the Machines
      • Deals universal damage (i.e. reduced by magic resistance, but goes through magic immunity, deals 1.4x to ethereal units)
      • Can be used to farm Ancients
      • Generally want to angle the march for maximum impact (otherwise you might not hit the opponent hero)
  • Early Game
    • Use March of the Machines to push mid lane before rune spawn (8-15 seconds beforehand)
    • Gank if you get a good rune and the opponents are overextended, otherwise you're missing valueable farming time
    • Get your Bottle fast, then go immediately for Boots of Travel
    • On Radiant, you can easily stack the Ancients and farm them with March of the Machines
  • Mid-Late Game
    • Fights
      • Positioning is the key part for Tinker, you will die immediately if focused
      • Stay off to the side spamming nukes and items
      • If you can get a March in, go for it, but sometimes you'll have to put yourself too out there
    • Pushes
      • Use your Boots of Travel to put pressure on lanes
      • You are a Split Pusher with Boots + March
      • Remember to use Soul Ring before Rearm (get bonus mana)
      • You can use Blink Dagger to move into the trees and teleport out from there (safer)
    • Counter-Pushes
      • March of the Machines is incredibly hard to push against
      • Once Rearm is a high enough level, you can use it and March from multiple directions
  • Heroes to Watch Out For
    • Storm Spirit --- able to gank you quickly and keep you locked down. SS is great at killing split pushers like Tinker
    • Clinkz --- an invisible ganker that has Orchid as part of his core
    • Bounty Hunter --- basically same as Clinkz (minus the Orchid)
    • Pugna --- in team fights, you will kill yourself by casting with his Netherward in range
    • Riki --- Same as Clinkz and BH
    • Wisp --- Global ganker (though you can usually tell when you're going to get ganked)
    • Spectre --- Global ganker that has a dagger that allows her to pass through any terrain (no blinking into the trees for safety)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spotlight Build: FnC Lifestealer (Naix / Na'ix)

This is the signature build for FnC. These are my observations based off a few replays I've watched.


  1. Feast (1)
  2. Open Wounds (1)
  3. Rage (1)
  4. Rage (2)
  5. Rage (3)
  6. Infest (Ult)
  7. Rage (4)
  8. Feast (2)
  9. Feast (3)
  10. Feast (4)
  11. Infest (Ult)
  12. Open Wounds (2)
  13. Open Wounds (3)
  14. Open Wounds (4)
  15. Stats
  16. Infest (Ult)
  17. - 25. Stats


  • Starting
    • Ring of Protection (175g)
    • Gauntlets of Strength (150g)
    • Tangos (90g)
    • 2-3 x Iron Branches (53g / each)
  • By 20 Minutes:
    • Ring of Basilius
    • Phase Boots
    • Drum of Endurance
    • Magic Wand
  • Mid-Late Game
    • Mjollnir
  • Situational
    • Vladamir's Offering (though, very common)
    • Daedalus
    • Heaven's Halberd
    • Abyssal Blade
    • Boots of Travel
    • Monkey King Bar
Core Build Progression:
  1. Phase Boot
  2. Ring of Basillius
  3. Magic Wand
  4. Drums
  5. Mjollnir
  6. Vlad's / Situational/Late Game


  • Take Lifestealer to the lane (either Safe or Hard)
  • Stack Camps (if possible) and use Infest to help you kill it (auto the creeps as far down as possible, then use Infest to go back to full HP and splash damage them)
  • Ring of Basillius gives you mana to use Rage more often than normal
  • Mjollnir is your farming item
  • Goal is to farm fast and easily in the lane - if you cannot get your core by 20, you're doing it wrong


  • Feast helps you last hit in lane
  • Rage helps you survive and get kills
  • Lifestealer basically needs movespeed (to not be kited) and attack speed (to deal damage with Feast quickly)
  • Rage scales very well early game (better than small percentages of Feast, which is good late game)
  • Open Wounds gives you more life leech, but not additional movespeed slow

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Analysis: Mid Lane Heroes

LAST UPDATED: May 28, 2013

Mid heroes are a pretty crucial part of the game. Generally, most teams will have a solo mid. The interesting part about mid is that almost any hero can do it, especially if there is a large difference in player skill. Most would say Solo Mid takes the most "skill" in the game, by which I mean mechanically the best with last hitting, timing, etc.

You put heroes at mid for different reasons. Sometimes it's to hit level 6 quickly, sometimes it's to farm fast, some heroes are good gankers and can use the runes to amplify that. Occasionally, some heroes are picked up as a direct counter-pick to the other mid.

Generally, you're going to see the "#2" role at mid (that is second highest farm priority). This is a pretty wide category, but notably encompassing Utility heroes and Semi/Mid Game/Snowball-Carries.

Sometimes, you'll also see Dual Mids. This is not as common, but can be done for a few reasons:
  • Shut down a strong mid player, especially on one of their signature heroes
  • Give a carry additional farm/XP by not running them in a Trilane
You passively gain a lot if you run a Dual Mid vs. a Solo Mid properly. For instance, you should have superior rune control, excellent farm, high kill potential, and more distributed XP.

Lastly, there aren't exactly tiers of mid heroes, but there are stronger mids, situational mids, and more common / "trendy" mids. That's how I'm going to approach this Analysis.

Note: I'm generally not a mid player, this is for my own benefit / personal notes, so don't take this all as 100% accurate

Trendy Mids

  • Puck
    • Put mid for fast levels and ganking
    • High survivability due to Phase Shift, Silence, and Illusionary Orb
    • Able to harass with Illusionary Orb
    • Can have difficulty last hitting due to base attack damage
  • Queen of Pain
    • Excellent Rune Control with Blink
    • Excellent Survivability with Blink
    • Able to clear waves quickly with AoE spells around rune time to force opposing mid to choose between Gold/XP and Runes
    • Very good ganker
    • Want to reach level 6 quickly to get her ult and use it for ganking
  • Outworld Devourer
    • Put mid against Intelligence mids (generally) due to Astral Imprisonment sapping INT/attack damage
    • Put mid to farm and for fast levels / played as a carry/semi-carry
    • Damage scales well with farm / items (based on mana pool)
    • Especially deadly when combined with Treant Protector's Living Armor (popularized by DD/Quantic)
  • Dragon Knight
    • Put mid to farm and semi-carry, but also to push
    • High survivability due to Dragon's Blood (regen + armor)
    • Able to farm and clear waves with Dragon's Breath
    • Hitting level 6 quickly helps DK a lot
    • Decent ganking skills due to his long stun
    • Using his ult, he is able to push towers quickly (the level 1 ult gives Green & Red Dragon a DoT that works on towers)
    • Relies a bit on Bottle-Crowing

Good, But Less Common Mids

  • Warlock
    • Put mid to get levels fast (get ult ASAP)
    • Excellent harass due to Fatal Bonds
    • Decent Creep Clearing from Fatal Bonds
    • Decent Survivability from Shadow Word (healing)
    • I would argue he's still a good mid, but he's out of style and potentially bad against heroes like Queen of Pain (blinks and burst damage), Templar Assassin (he could get rid of her shield with Fatal Bonds, but she still has the higher kill potential)
  • Windrunner
    • Utility mid hero
    • Ability to harass and clear waves with Power Shot
    • High Survivability due to Windrun
    • Good rune control with Windrun
    • Good ganking due to Shackle Shot
    • Put mid for fast levels and ganking potential
  • Mirana
    • Able to farm well and clear waves with Starfall
    • Decent ganking skillset, but unreliable due to Arrow being a skill shot
    • Getting a fast Ult allows for ganking, saving allies, etc.
    • Decent survivability due to Leap (but slow turn rate hurts her escape mechanism)
  • Invoker
    • Spells scale with levels moreso than other heroes
    • Able to farm well with Exort (Damage) Builds
    • Able to survive well with Quas (Regen + HP) and Wex (Move Speed)
    • Able to gank well with Wex (Move Speed) Builds
    • High Utility hero, very adaptable
    • Does not rely on Runes
    • Fairly farm dependent
  • Templar Assassin
    • High Survivability due to Refraction
    • Ability to harass with Psy Blades
    • Getting her to level 6 is a priority because Refraction bonus damage is better the earlier you get it
    • Getting her Ult is a priority for rune control and ganking
    • She's able to use all runes effectively
  • Batrider
    • Very powerful harass with Sticky Napalm
    • Want to get level 6 quickly for powerful ganking
    • High Survivability with Firefly
    • Extremely potent early-mid game
    • Having farm is good for Batrider because he becomes much more deadly with Blink Dagger
    • He can use runes very effectively
    • Somewhat considered a counter to TA due to ticks of damage getting rid of TA's refraction shield
  • Tinker
    • Put at mid for fast levels and farming
    • Able to clear waves quickly with March of the Machines to secure runes and/or screw over opponent's farm
    • Able to stack and farm Ancients (big neutral creeps) on Radiant side with March of the Machines
    • With Boots of Travel, Bottle, and Soul Ring, Tinker can use his ult to move around the map with ease to gank, split push, and farm
    • Hard to gank due to March of the Machines
    • Good counter-pusher due to March of the Machines
  • Brewmaster
    • Put mid to farm and hit level 6 quickly (excellent team fight ult)
    • High survivability due to natural Tankiness and from his abilities (built in evasion and miss chance)
    • Needs farm to initiate well
    • Mediocre rune control and creep clearing
    • Mostly a "farming" mid
  • Shadow Fiend
    • Put mid to farm fast and carry
    • Decent rune control due to ability to quickly clear waves with Razes
    • Low survivability (easily gankable and best dealt with by ganking due to squishiness, lack of escapes, and he loses damage when killed)
    • Able to use all runes effectively
  • Storm Spirit
    • Put mid to hit level 6 quickly, farm, and gank
    • Excellent ganking skillset
    • Excellent rune control after level 6
    • Farm Dependent semi-carry
    • Excellent anti-split push due to his ult
    • Able to clear waves with Static Image
    • Mediocre survivability before level 6 
    • Often picked for his synergy with Lifestealer's Infest
  • Death Prophet
    • Put mid to hit level 6 quickly, farm, push, and semi-carry
    • Able to clear waves quickly with Crypt Swarm
    • Able to use Runes effectively
    • Mediocre survivability other than move speed from her passive and silence
  • Skywrath Mage
    • Put mid to farm, level, and gank
    • Able to harass with Arcane Bolt
    • Low ability to creep clear
    • Able to rune control with high base move speed and Concussive Shot
    • Low survivability if ganked (some if you can manage to silence before they get to you)
  • Magnus
    • Farm Dependent Initiator (needs Blink to be most effective)
    • High Survivability due to Skewer and being a STR Hero
    • Able to farm and harass well with Shockwave
    • Want to get level 6 quickly for his huge AoE disable ult
  • Night Stalker
    • Put at mid to get fast levels and some farm, levels are crucial on him because his spells are extremely good early-mid game
    • Once night hits, NS becomes an amazing ganker (and much of his success is determined the first night) 
  • Slark
    • Put mid to farm, level, and gank
    • With early Essence Shift harass, he can gain some lane control
    • Snowball mid-game carry
    • Good survivability due to Dark Pact and Pounce
    • Outclassed by many ranged mids
    • Some ability to creep clear
    • Decent Rune control
  • Beastmaster
    • Able to farm, harass, and clear waves with his Boar and Wild Axes
    • Hitting level 6 fast is beneficial for ganking and team fights
    • His attack speed aura is valuable to the team
    • Able to scout, control runes, and detect ganks with his Hawk
    • No escape mechanisms
    • Viable in the off-lane makes him less of a priority for mid
  • Kunkka
    • Put mid to farm and get fast levels
    • Works well against heroes like OD mid because Tidebringer is unaffected by INT loss and requires no mana to work

Good, But Rare Mids

  • Nature's Prophet
    • Hitting level 6 quickly allows him to farm faster and gives him a good team fight ability
    • Able to farm and push with Treants
    • Sprout + Teleport give him a decent escape mechanism
    • Fast levels make him a deadly ganker, especially with Teleport allowing him to bipass normal routes for ganking (e.g. the river)
    • Less of a priority for playing mid due to ability to Jungle and Off-lane
  • Bane
    • Put mid for fast levels and ganking
    • Excellent rune control due to Nightmare
    • No ability to clear creep waves hurts him
    • Some survivability due to Nightmare
    • Able to kill nearly any hero at level 6
    • Excellent harass after he gets mana regen/soul ring due to Brain Sap being Pure Damage (i.e. ignores all forms of armor)
    • Less common mid because he also is a viable support hero and unable to control the creep wave
  • Lone Druid
    • Put mid for fast levels and farm (ganking is unreliable due to Entangle being chance based)
    • Bear gives him excellent lane control, harass, and farming (it's basically like having 2 heroes mid, but only one gets the XP)
    • Able to clear waves quickly to some extent due to the bear
    • Low survivability due to lack of escape mechanisms (other than speed and Entangles) and low base HP
    • Viable Jungler and Off-Laner contributes to being seen less at mid
  • Pudge
    • Put mid for ganking and fast levels
    • Wave clearing from Rot
    • Able to semi-carry if he snowballs in farm or kills
    • Mediocre Rune Control (dependent on hitting hooks)
    • Unreliable due to skillshot (Hook)
    • If played well, adds a huge strain on the opponent because of Hook's ganking potential / constantly worrying about positioning and where Pudge is
  • Rubick
    • Utility mid hero
    • Able to clear waves with Fade Bolt
    • Put there to hit level 6 quickly and farm
    • Good ganking hero with Telekinesis
    • Some survivability due to Telekinesis and Fade Bolt (reduce damage)

Situational Mids

  • Axe
    • Put mid against certain heroes, to farm and level quickly, some gank potential
    • Can be very good against melee mid heroes due to his ability to zone them out with Spins
    • Able to clear waves quickly with Spins
    • Some survivability due to Call giving temporary bonus armor, and naturally high HP; however, he has no escape mechanism
    • Able to harass well with Battle Hunter and good zoning
    • Mediocre rune control other than wave clearing
    • More kill potential with fast farming of Blink Dagger
  • Shadow Shaman
    • Put mid for fast levels, some farm, and pushing (also gank potential)
    • Some survivability due to his Polymorph spell, but other than that he has low HP and is easily killed
    • If Blink Dagger is farmed quickly, he's able to gank well (otherwise he's too slow)
  • Viper
    • Sometimes put mid to counter Templar Assassin (his poison damage ticks deplete Refraction shield)
    • Put mid for countering, fast levels, farm, and ganking
    • Some survivability from natural tankiness
    • Low ability to clear creep waves
    • Low rune control
  • Enigma
    • Put mid to farm, get fast levels, push, and gank at level 6
    • No real escape mechanism / low survivability
    • Excellent farming and harass due to Eidelons
    • No instant creep clearing ability
    • Not common due to working well as a Jungler and Second Support
  • Sand King
    • Put mid against some melee heroes, to farm fast, get levels, and gank
    • Caustic Finale serves to harass and creep clear
    • Excellent survivability due to Burrowstrike and Sand Storm
    • Decent rune control due to Burrowstrike
    • Rare because he is outclassed by ranged heroes, works well as a second support and sometimes off-laner
  • Nyx Assassin
    • Put mid to farm, level fast and gank
    • Outclassed by many mids because he's melee
    • Farm Dependent
    • Some survivability due to Spiked Carapace
  • Dark Seer
    • Put mid to hurt the opponent's farm with Ion Shell
    • Scales well with items and farm
    • Level dependent
    • Good wave clearing with Ion Shell
    • Good Rune control with Surge
    • Rare mid because he is a very good / top-tier off-laner (and can Jungle)
  • Lich
    • Put mid to deny enemy farm, get fast levels, and gank
    • Able to sacrifice a creep, which leads to less farm for opponent and outleveling
    • Able to spam spells due to replenishable mana pool
    • No escapes lead to easy kills against an aggressive mid hero or ganker
    • No anti-push
    • Works well as an off-laner and support
    • Doesn't really need farm to be effective (so that's lost on him at mid) 
  • Alchemist
    • Put mid to farm (and gank to some extent)
    • Decent creep clearing with Acid
    • Decent harass / zoning with Acid
    • Low survivability until he gets his ult 
    • Needs to be against a melee hero like Dragon Knight so he can get CS
  • Weaver
    • Put mid to farm and semi-carry
    • Works well when paired with Treant's Living Armor
    • Is able to zone and harass with Shukuchi & Geminate
  • Lifestealer
    • Put mid to farm against melee heroes
    • Still basically plays the carry role at mid 

Out of Style / Rare Mids

  • Razor
    • Put mid to farm, gank, and outlevel the enemy
    • He's a mid-game snowball carry
    • Able to creep clear and harass with Plasma Field
    • High Kill potential with Static Link
    • Weird attack animation is a put off to some
    • Low survivability
    • Doesn't necessarily scale as well as others with farm (he mostly needs to tank up and keep Static Link on someone as long as possible while his ult hits them)
  • Clockwerk
    • Put mid for fast levels, farming, and ganking
    • Decent survivability due to Cogs
    • Low creep clearing ability (Rocket Flare works to some extent)
    • Low kill potential if creeps are around (Battery Assault works better in 1v1 scenarios)
    • If he doesn't get farm, Clock is fairly useless
    • A lot of players complain that he doesn't play the same in DotA 2 or that his abilities don't work the way they should
  • Morphling
    • Put mid to farm (as a carry)
    • Mid-High Survivability from Wave Form and Strength Morph (though it was nerfedin 6.75 patch)
    • Good rune control from Wave Form
    • Decent creep clearing with Wave Form (you lose your escape by using it though)
    • Less common due to nerfs in 6.75 patch
  • Dazzle
    • Rarely seen (at this point, I think only Dendi of Na'Vi has taken him mid in a pro game)
    • Good creep clearing from Shadow Wave
    • High survivability from Shadow Wave and Shallow Grave
    • Some ability to harass with Shadow Wave (if melee opponent)
    • Decently ganking skillset
  • Necrolyte
    • Put mid for fast levels and farming, and pushing to some extent (via Death Pulse)
    • Decent creep clearing with Death Pulse
    • Decent harass with aura
    • Some survivability due to Death Pulse and Sadist
    • Primarily a farming mid
  • Leshrac
    • Put mid for fast levels, farming, pushing, and ganking (to some extent)
    • Able to clear waves decently fast with his Stun and Ult (or Lightning if picked up)
    • Low-Medium Rune control (he has a stun and above average move speed)
    • Low-Medium survivability (squishy, no escape mechanism, but dangerous to dive him because of Edict)
    • Able to quickly take down mid Tier 1 Tower
    • Able to Semi-Carry with enough regen
  • Ancient Apparition
    • Was a popular mid in The International 1
    • Put mid for fast levels and ganking
    • Able to gank from the mid lane with his ult
    • Low ability to harass
    • Low ability to clear creeps
    • Low ability to rune control
    • Fairly farm independent (arguably wasted on him)
    • Works well as a support, so rare to put him mid now
  • Pugna
    • Put mid to farm, level, and push (gank to some extent)
    • Excellent creep clearing
    • Low survivability (easy to kill, no escapes other than Decrepify, but that amplifies magic damage --> potentially hazardous)
    • Low rune control
    • Similar to Leshrac in that he can support or be a very item dependent INT carry
    • Similar to Tinker in that he can get Boots of Travel and be used to gank and push / split push
    • Situational pick-up because Netherward and Decrepify might not be useful with or against certain lineups

 Pub Mids

  • Bloodseeker
    • Considered the bad version of Nighstalker (who is more reliable and his skills synergize better)
    • Put mid to level and gank
    • Unreliable kill potential
    • Med-High survivability due to regen from creep killing, but no escape mechanism
    • Low ability to creep clear
    • Low ability to control runes
  • Pudge
    • (same as above)
  • Lion
    • Put mid to level and gank (farm to some extent)
    • Decent creep clearing
    • Decent rune control
    • Good ganking
    • Poor survivability (he has disables, but no escape mechanism and is very squishy)
  • Viper
    • (same as above)
  • Huskar
    • Put mid to farm, level, and gank
    • Snowball mid-game carry / reliant on getting kills
    • No ability to clear creeps
    • Low Rune Control
    • Low-Medium Survivability (he has Inner Vitality, also Berserker's Blood makes him risky to gank unless you have good disables)
    • Decent Harass with Flaming Spears
  • Keeper of the Light
    • Put mid to Push and screw opponent's farm
    • Excellent creep clearing
    • Decent rune control (from high movespeed and Mana Leak)
    • Illuminate forces the opponent to last hit under the tower which is more difficult
    • Illuminate also works well to harass
    • Low Survivability (very squishy, no escape mechanism)
    • Item Independent (farm is arguably lost on KotL)
  • Sniper
    • Put mid to farm (and push to some extent)
    • Low survivability (slow, low HP, easy to gank)
    • Medium ability to clear creeps (Shrapnel to some extent)
    • Decent Harass (long ranged attacks)
  • Drow
    • Fairly similar to Sniper
    • Put mid to farm and level (ganking to some extent due to Ice Arrows)
    • She's more of a mid-game carry versus Sniper who is more late game
    • Low survivability (she has Silence, but that's about it)
    • Low creep clearing
    • Decent Rune Control (due to Ice Arrows)
  • Silencer
    • Put mid for farm and fast levels (his ult is a huge part of the reason to pick him up)
    • Primarily a farming mid
    • Can soft counter some mids that cannot spam spells
    • Low survivability and easily gankable
    • Low Rune control
    • Low Creep Clearing
  • Broodmother
    • Put mid to farm, level, and push
    • Decent rune control from move speed and webs
    • Decent creep clearing due to Spiderites
    • Decent survivability due to web regen and ult regen, plus invisibility
    • Problems with her:
      • Many heroes can clear her Spiderites for massive bonus farm
      • Easily countered by Sentry Wards
      • Works very well as an Off-Laner

Dual Mids

This is sort of a sub category of mid heroes. Some heroes are potent mids if they have a support to back them up. Again, the benefits of doing this are:

  • Shutting down the opposing mid (lane control, rune control, higher kill potential)
  • Spreading farm around (earn more XP because you're not in a Trilane)
 Dual Mids aren't exactly common, but they are effective in certain situations. As I don't know a lot about Dual Mids, I'll just give examples of combinations I've seen work well (in order of farmer + support):

  • Kunkka + Shadow Demon
    • Guaranteed Torrents w/ SD's Disruption
  • Juggernaut + Venomancer
    • Spin + Gale
  • Naga Siren + Leshrac
    • Net + Split Earth = guaranteed stun
  • Chaos Knight + Leshrac
    • Chaos Bolt + Split Earth = guaranteed chain stun
Heroes frequently seen in Dual Mids:

  • Chaos Knight - high early game kill potential with another stunner
  • Venomancer - very good against Templar Assassin (poison DOT burns her sheild)
  • Crystal Maiden - lots of disables and slows
  • Brewmaster - guaranteed farm with a support harassing
  • Jakiro - lots of good disables and pushing abilities
  • Rubick - Telekinesis gives the damage dealer a lot of time to get hits in, Fade Bolt is useful for making the enemy hit softer
  • Leshrac - paired with a stunner, Split Earth will hit; Edict will allow the Dual Mid to take the tower quickly
  • Lina - same as Leshrac w/ her stun, but she pushes creeps better and has more burst damage
  • Morphling - out of style at the moment, but with a support he is guaranteed farm
  • Night Stalker - guarantees farm, but slows leveling if he has a support there
  • Templar Assassin - (don't know for sure, but guessing that she dual mids when the opponent dual mids against her)
  • Lich - used for guaranteeing farm, harassing opponent, and destroying their farm by denying creeps with his spell
  • Shadow Demon - has a lot of spells that combo well with stuns, plus Soul Catcher adds a lot of kill potential
  • Ancient Apparition - stun that works well with other stuns, able to amplify magic damage
  • Naga Siren - net is very deadly in combination with other stuns; high kill potential with Rip Tide

Monday, November 26, 2012

Defining the Lanes

There is a lot of confusion surrounding lane terminology. Here are my interpretations.

Basic Terminology

There are 3 lanes:

  1. Mid Lane - everyone knows this
  2. Hard Lane - Radiant Top / Dire Bottom, it's the lane that is riskier, you cannot pull creep camps as easily, and you're regularly far from your tower next to a jungle that is easy to be ganked from
  3. Easy/Safe Lane - Radiant Bottom / Dire Top - the lane that you're frequently near your tower, plenty of good gank spots from the jungle, etc.

Advanced Terminology

Now we get into trickier terms.


The offlane is a solo sidelane. This is typically used in a scenario where there is some form of a Trilane.

A special incarnation of the Offlane is the Suicide Lane. This is a 1v3 setup. The solo hero is there to survive and soak up XP for the most part. If they can manage to get some creep gold or even a kill, that's spectacular. There are some exceptions, like Lone Druid, where getting some creep kills is more expected because of the hero's innate abilities. (For Comparison, think of it like [Offlane - Suicide Lane] is similar to [Support - Babysitter]).


Simply put, a Trilane is when 3 heroes are in (NOTE: "in" is a loose term, because Jungle is frequently considered part of the Safe Lane) the same lane.

From here, you have a few types of Trilane that sprout:

  • Defensive Trilane - 3 heroes in the lane (no Jungle) attempting to get their carry safe farm while denying the enemy experience. Once the carry has been established (i.e. they have decent farm, on track with core items), one or both supports might start to roam.
  • Offensive/Aggressive Trilane - 3 heroes in the lane (no Jungle) attempting to get kills, while also denying creep gold/XP. The goal is to completely shut down the enemy carry. This is typically used in a Trilane vs. Trilane scenario.
  • Jungle Trilane - 2 heroes in the lane, and a Jungle hero. The Jungle frequently ganks the lane in some manner. The benefit here is to have additional farm and XP to go around because there are in effect 4 sources of XP and Gold with less heroes to split between.


A roamer is a hero that spends much of their time between lanes, setting up ganks and kills. Sometimes, this is done from the start (e.g. heroes like Earthshaker have good skills for doing this). Other times, a hero will break off of the Trilane to do this once the Trilane has"won" the lane (e.g. typically the #4/Second Support).

Long/Short Lane

Before talking much about this, note that these are bad terms because of how vague they are. Long and Short can be interpreted in many ways, and often are confused.

The actual definitions are:

  • Long Lane = lane it takes your creeps longest to reach the enemy tower = Radiant Bottom / Dire Top = Safe/Easy Lane
  • Short Lane = lane it takes your creeps the shortest to reach the enemy tower = Radiant Top / Dire Bottom = Hard Lane
By "Shortest/Longest" time to reach the tower, I mean where the creeps collide. In the "Long Lane", creeps collide close to your own tower and then they still have to walk around the turn and head to the enemy tower.

Again, this is a widely confused term. Some refer to it as the lane where your creeps fight farthest from your own tower. So you're a "longer" ways away from safety.

However, many sources will confirm what I have bullet pointed above:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guide to the DotA Community

This is the list of sites, media, etc. I've encountered that all relate to the DotA 2 community.
I'll keep updating this as I find more stuff. I still have some work left to do on this.


Team Sites

Shows / Media



  • DotA Cinema
    • Fails of the Week
  • PyrionFlax


  • PurgeGamers
  • XVRogue
  • DotA Cinema

Videos on Demand (VODs)


Community / Forums




  • FFSplit
    • Streaming Suite
    • Free
  • XSplit
    • Streaming Suite
    • Free w/ Watermark
  • DXTory
  • Virtual Audio Cable (VAC)
    • Tool to virtually split your audio (good for separating music, voice, game, etc. so your in-game mic doesn't pick up everything)
    • Must Purchase

Amateur Tournaments, Leagues, Scrims, etc.

Tournaments / Events

In House Leagues

  • C9-DL
    • IRC Based


  • Dota Clan Wars (CW) --
    • IRC Base

Informational Resources

Game Information / Wikis

  • Liquidpedia
    • Hero information
    • Item Information
    • Tournaments / Teams / Players
  • DotA 2 Wiki
    • Hero Information
    • Item Information
    • Mechanics
  • Play DotA
    • Hero Information
    • Item Information
    • Mechanics


    • Personal Matchmaking Stats
    • Verified Player Stats (e.g. Pros, Casters)
    • Statistical Analysis (e.g. item success rates on heroes, hero win rates)
  • DotA Academy Stats
    • Stats from Professional games (e.g. ban/pick rates, win rates, positional information)


Team Recruitment



  • Dota Academy Fantasy League
    • Fantasy League play (e.g. draft Pro players for your team and get points based on how they do; play against friends)
  • Dota 2 Draft
    • Drafting simulator
    • Draft against a random person for practice


Item Trading

Resources for Getting to Pro Level

 Last Update: Nov. 21, 2012

This is a collection of web resources on getting better and breaking into the Pro scene. I'll update this as I find more stuff.

Getting into the Competitive Scene

FLUFFNSTUFF's Blogs About Breaking into Competitive:

EternalEnVy's thoughts on breaking into competitive:

Strategy and Drafting

Wagamama's Guide to Better DotA:
Drafting in CM (Intermediate Level):
FLUFFNSTUFF's Blog About Team Composition:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lineups I Want to Try

 Using this as a note taking space of lineups I think might be effective.

Last Update: November 16, 2012

Aggressive Trilanes

[Nov. 16, 2012] Lineup 1:

Safe Lane: Riki, KotL
Jungle: Axe
Mid: Any
Sidelane: Any

Strategy is that Axe uses Battle Hunger, KotL can restore his mana so he can spam it. If they try to last hit, KotL can Illuminate or Riki can Pounce + Smoke and KotL can follow with Mana Leak.

Essentially, you just can't get away from it.

[Nov. 16, 2012] Lineup 2:

  • Trilane
    • Bane
    • Juggernaut
    • Pudge / Mirana
  • Mid
    • Any
  • Off-lane
    • Any
Idea is to have Bane use Nightmare so Pudge can hook. Then Juggernaut spins while Pudge rots.

Alternativley, Mirana can get 5 second arrows and Juggernaut gets easy kills.

In both scenarios, Bane plays a #5 (hard support) role. Pudge/Mirana would roam after the Carry is established.

[Nov. 16, 2012] Lineup 3:

  • Trilane
    • Ancient Apparition
    • Juggernaut
    • Pugna
  • Mid
    • Any / Invoker
  • Off-Lane 
    • Any
Goal is to massively reduce magic resistance for easy kills with Juggernaut. AA's slow has a magic reduction and Pugna's Decrep will slow and reduce magic resistance. Juggernaut's spin would be extremely lethal.

Also, AA's Cold Feet would be pretty much guaranteed due to the slow effect of Decrep.

You'd want to ban out Dark Seer and Wind Runner most likely here. Both have skills that make them run too fast for your combo to work well. Also, Dark Seer is pretty annoying against melee carries that are trying to get last hits.

[Nov. 16, 2012] Lineup 4:

  • Safe Lane
    • Slardar
    • Vengeful Spirit
    • Dazzle
  • Mid
    • Shadow Fiend / Templar Assassin
  • Off-Lane
    • Bounty Hunter / Beastmaster / Dark Seer
Massive armor reduction lineup here. Venge +  Slardar would make for easy stuns. Dazzle can slow. Dazzle's Shallow Grave would be excellent on Slardar if he's chasing or initiating.

Almost every hero here has some sort of armor reduction, so you become physical damage machines.

Darkseer could synergize with sitting up easy SF ults, mass stuns, or easy Dazzle ults.

Omniknight would be an absolute ban here because of his ult stopping physical damage.

[May 17, 2013] Pudge + KotL

  • Hard Lane
    • Support: KotL
    • 2nd Support: Pudge
    • Carry: Weaver/Juggernaut
  • Mid Lane
    • Probably Batrider
  • Safe Lane
    • Gyro / Lone Druid / Slark
The idea behind this draft is picking up Pudge early so they think he's your mid. Then they'll pick their mid, to which you respond with someone that outclasses them.

KotL + Pudge can hook heroes out of position. Weaver is good for finishing them off or against a hero like Lifestealer. Juggernaut would work too because of Healing Ward and Spin.

KotL + Pudge also work because you have the Rot + Mana Leak combo. KotL provides a lot of good anti-push or push as well.

Safe lane is basically your "real" carry. Lone Druid might be good because he looks like he'll be going offlane (same as picking up a Batrider in round 1). That will throw them off. However, Gyro and Slark would also work well as solo laners.

[June 17, 2013] Naga Support

  • Aggro
    • Juggernaut
    • Naga Siren
    • Crystal Maiden / KotL
  • Mid
    • OD / SF
  • Safe
    • Magnus / DS -- magnus is preferred
Start with the Magnus/DS and Naga picks. Ban out Rubick (no stealing song), and whoever else. Lifestealer isn't an issue against this lineup.

Jugg & CM/KotL need to come next if you have Magnus because they will think Mag is mid.

Otherwise CM/KotL & SF should be picked up. Just make sure to ban accordingly.

General combo is to have Jugg spin & Naga net. If they have Lifestealer, you have armor reduction. Use song to set up team fights, then have Magnus/DS do their thing. You cover both kinds of fighting - Jugg's ult means they don't want to get caught alone. The rest of the team makes it so they don't want to team fight.

 Defensive Trilanes

[Dec. 28, 2012] Lineup 1:

  • Safe Lane
    • Sniper
    • KotL (#4)
    • Ancient Apparition (#5)
  • Mid
    • Whatever is needed (probably something with a stun)
  • Off-Lane
    • Whatever is needed (probably something with a stun, maybe Beast Master)
Picking Order:
  • First Pick: KotL
  • Second Pick: Ancient Apparition
Reasoning: KotL is likely to get banned out or picked early on. AA will make them think he's going mid.

Play Style:
  • AA will get 1 point in each skill, then max out Chilling Touch
  • Sniper will get 1 point in each skill, then max out his Range
  • KotL will get 1 point in each skill, then level Chakra Magic + Illuminate
  • Combos
    • Chilling Touch + Sniper's range = long ranged magic damage nukes
    • AA + KotL = lose mana (mana leak) or get stunned (cold feet)
    • AA + KotL = mana to spam Chilling Touch (mana intensive)
  • Items
    • Sniper
      • Early Hand of Midas for farm + attack speed (Chilling Touch slows attack speed)
      • Power Treads (attack speed + survivability)
      • BKB
      • Manta Style (not sure if Chilling Touch works on Illusions) or Butterfly
      • Potentially Mjollnir or whatever is needed really
    • AA
      • Arcane Boots (need lots of mana for this playstyle)
      • Rod of Atos (survival + combos better than Eul's with Cold Feet)
    • KotL 
      • Mekansm (all very squishy)
      • Most of the Wards and stuff (he should farm jungle stacks to make fast money)
      • Force Staff
      • Veil of Discord
Extra Thought: Could be interesting to replace Sniper with Pugna (even more magic damage? not sure if you can target a decrepified unit, even with Chilling Touch), then grab TA for mid and Lone Druid for offlane (to make up for lack of physical damage, although Pugna can output a shitload with his massive INT gain).

[May 5, 2013] Riki + Lifestealer:

  • Safe Lane:
    • Carry: Riki
    • Support: Keeper of the Light
    • Second Support: Lifestealer
  • Mid
    • Magnus would be good, Storm could work, or even Nature's Prophet
  • Off-Lane
    • Pretty much anyone, Clockwerk might be a good choice
The idea is that Lifestealer might be able to be support because he does % based damage already. His slow + Riki's Cloud would kill many solo laners easily. You also have KotL to supply them with mana.

If Riki is fine solo, then Lifestealer + KotL can go jungle and give Riki the solo XP he needs.

When Riki & Lifestealer hit lvl 6, they make a formidable ganking duo.

Ganking Lineups

[Nov. 16, 2012] Lineup 1:

  • Safe Lane
    • Wisp
    • Stunner Support - Leshrac, Vengeful Spirit, Jakiro, etc.
    • Stunner Carry - Sven, Tiny, Chaos Knight
  • Mid
    • Global Presence: Invoker, Nature's Prophet, (Tinker) OR Bloodseeker
  • Off-Lane
    • Ganker: Bounty Hunter, Nature's Prophet

Goal is to  use Wisp + Stun Carry to gank a lot. Followups from Invoker/NP. Alternatively, have Bloodseeker mid to gain vision of low HP heroes.

Offlane joins in when ganking (BH can use Track, NP can come gank anywhere).

The nice thing about picking Leshrac up would be that Wisp + Leshrac could port to quickly push down towers if needed, then have a free ride back home.

[Nov. 16, 2012] Lineup 2:

  • Safe Lane
    • Tiny / Sven
    • Wisp
    • Ogre Magi
  • Mid
    • Invoker
  • Off-Lane
    • Beastmaster
Goal is to make Tiny/Sven into a DPS monster. Wisp's Tether & Overcharge, Ogre's Bloodlust, Invoker's Alcatricity, and Beastmaster's aura would make Tiny/Sven unstoppable in battles. Wisp could be used to gank with the stunning carry.

Dual Roaming

[Nov. 16, 2012] Lineup 1:

  • Safe Lane
    • Ranged Carry: Drow Ranger, Sniper, Luna
  • Roaming
    • Venomancer
    • Treant
  • Mid Lane
    • Broodmother
  • Off Lane
    • Lone Druid
LD and Brood are great solos. A ranged carry should be able to survive in the safe lane and get decent farm.

The good thing is when drafting, it's very hard to predict how you'll run this lineup.

Veno and Tree can use tree's invis to sneak around. Gale + Leech Seed is extremely powerful early game. Mostly wander between safe and mid lane to dominate them. Three carries/semi-carries getting a lot of XP will be brutal as long as their carry is kept in check.

Big Teamfight

[Nov. 16, 2012] Lineup 1:

  • Safe Lane
    • Witch Doctor (primary farmer)
    • Venomancer
    • Tidehunter / Omniknight / Vengeful Spirit / Sven
  • Mid
    •  Warlock
  • Offlane
    • Dark Seer
This is a fairly all in strategy, but the teamfight is phenomenal. Definitely want to ban out Omni if yuo're not using him and Rubick. Both can totally mess up team fights. Naga is also a good ban.

Main synergy is going to be using Dark Seer to vacuum, then Witch Doctor's Maledict. Follow that up with Fatal Bonds and Warlock Ult. This is almost a guaranteed wipe. Venomancer's ult is extra security, same with Tidehunter.

Sven could be used to stun after Dark Seer Vacuums. Alternatively, Omni could be used for magic immunity while Witch Doctor ults. Sven and Venge both have semi-carry capability, which would make them useful.

In lane, Venomancer would basically guarantee Witch Doctor lands Maledicts.

[Nov. 16, 2012] Lineup 2:

  • Safe Lane
    • Magnus (primary farmer, Undying could work too if Darkseer is picked up)
    • Disruptor
    • Venomancer / Venge
  •  Mid Lane
    • Batrider
  • Off-Lane
    • Dark Seer / Beastmaster
Utilize Magus' ult to collect everyone. Disruptor uses his Kinetic Field + Ult. Venomancer Ults or Venge uses Wave.

Batrider can stack Napalm and use Firefly to increase damage.

Darkseer's ult would synergize well. Beastmaster could be picked up for his Aura (same with Venge).

[Jan. 18, 2012] Lineup 3:

  • Safe Lane
    • Warlock
    • Any Carry w/ Cleave or usually gets a Battlefury (e.g. Sven, Medusa, Luna, Anti-Mage)
    • Dazzle/Witch Doctor/Venomancer/Sand King/Tidehunter/KotL/Undying/etc.
  • Mid
    • Magnus
  • Off-Lane 
    • Darkseer/Lich

Get a good Warlock Ult, followup with a Magnus Ult, then Warlock starts channeling his slow. Carry should be able to cleave the entire team down while other AoE spells are cast.


[Jan. 4, 2013] Lineup 1:

Pick 5 heroes that can be run in a variety of lanes. Once the other team has selected, you can place your heroes in the most ideal configuration.

  • Batrider - can be mid, can be solo hard lane, can jungle
  • Mirana - can solo hard lane (not super great due to turn speed), can mid, can roam
  • Windrunner - can solo mid, can solo hard lane
  • Beastmaster - can solo mid, can solo hard lane, and I think I've even seen him in trilanes
  • Nature's Prophet - can solo mid, can solo hard lane, can Jungle
From there, you can kind of do whatever you want. None of those heroes absolutely need farm, but all of them can benefit from it. You won't win against a team late game, but you can make their lanes crap.

Let's say they defensive trilane because they see your Beastmaster pick. You can send something like Batrider + Mirana + Windrunner against that to play aggressively. Stacks of Napalm should make it easier to land Arrows and Shackles. Beastmaster can play mid (and who knows, maybe they picked something they thought would be against Batrider), and NP can safe lane (plus farm jungle with his creeps).

Alternatively, maybe it would work out running a 2-1-2 since all these heroes can solo well. There is a lot of harass between Windrunner and Beastmaster (and BM can stack ancients while WR gets solo XP). Mirana can solo safe lane while NP jungles. When he drops Sprout, Mirana can easily land Arrows. And Batrider is a dominant mid.

Could end up being that specialized lineups work better, but I wonder how a highly versatile lineup would work. Any of these heroes can snowball into a carry. Pretty much all of them can buy support items if needed. They all have skills that are decent throughout the game.

Might be interesting to try out and mess around with.


[March 26, 2013] Lineup 1:

  • Dual Mid
    • Bloodseeker
    • Disruptor
  • Solo Safelane Carry
    • Gyrocoptor
  • Solo Hardlaner w/ Teamfight (or goes Force Staff)
    • Windrunner
  • Jungle Ganker
    • Nature's Prophet
  • Glimpse + Rupture timed well might be able to kill a hero
  • Bloodrage + Flak Cannon = massive damage output boost (must time it right so that you activate Flak before getting silenced)
  • Windrunner's Force Staff will help Bloodseeker with Rupture damage
  • Kinetic Field + Call Down + Static Storm = amazing combo
  • Nature's Prophet = global ganking

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Item Guide: Invisibility Detection

Detection items are rarely seen in pub games. Even when you do see it, most people have no idea what item to get for their situation.

Here's the breakdown.

  • Sentry Wards
  • Dust
  • Gem
  • Spells
    • Long Term
      • Bounty Hunter's Track
      • Slardar's Amplify Damage
    • Short Term / Conditional
      • Zeus' Lightning Bolt & Ult
      • Bloodseeker's Thirst
Countering Detection:

  •  Diffusal Blade
  • Manta Style
  • BKB
Lastly, we'll work through some scenarios to see how/when you might use these items.

Detection Items

 Sentry Wards

  • Counter-Intelligence (i.e. destroying Observer Wards)
    • Blinding an enemy makes then very vulnerable to ganks
    • Gives you more map control
    • Observer Wards are on a cooldown, Sentries are not
  • Pushing
    •  If they have an invisible hero and you're trying to push a tower, plop down a Sentry to make it safe for the next 2 minutes
  • Defending
    • If you are defending a tower or your base, put one down to gain additional invisibility detection
    • If you're afraid of being back doored, put one down at a vulnerable entrance to your base
  • Roshan
    • If the other team has a hero like Ursa (who regularly Smokes into Rosh), it's good to have a Sentry up  on Rosh around the time Ursa hits level 7 (typical time Ursa will rosh)
    • If the other team has a hero like Riki and you're all Roshing, put one down so there is no chance he will steal the Aegis

  • They only last 2 minutes (versus Observer Wards which last 6)


  • Ganking an Invis hero
    • You need to know where they are so you can Dust
    • Prevents them from using Invis to escape
  • Team Fights
    • Use it during a teamfight so the enemy invisible hero is revealed the entire time
  • Counter-Ganking / Baiting
    • In some cases, Dust can be used once an invis hero has initiated, then your team will ideally come to your aid and get an easy kill (NOTE: This is risky because some heroes can be 1-3 shot by a fed invis hero)
  •  Can be Purged
    • Diffusal Blade (while offensively it slows and removes buffs), can be used defensively to get rid of debuffs on yourself/allies (i.e. things like Dust)
    • Manta Style removes debuffs when used
    • BKB gets rid of most debuffs
    • Many heroes have spells that get rid of debuffs like Dust too 
  • Long Cooldown
  • Does not Stack



  • Preventing a gank from happening
    • Gem is great for stopping a gank from happening
    • A lot of invis heroes will sit on top of you until allies come to assist them
  • Counter-Intelligence
    • Works the same way as a Sentry Ward, but it's mobile
    • Get rid of all their vision
  • Turning a Slight Advantage into a Huge One
    • You've made one hero's spell useless (maybe more if they have multiple invis heroes or Shadow Blade users)
  • True Sight works on illusions
    • Gem is similar to an aura, and auras work on Illusions
    • You and your illusions reveal (great for scouting out areas, split pushing, etc) 

  • Dropped on Death
    • If you have invis heroes, this can now be used against you
  • Costs 700g
  • Long cooldown on the item in the shop


Long Term

Track and Amplify Damage work similarly to Dust. They DO NOT counter invisible heroes. You have to have vision of them before these spells work. They are great once you get the spell on them (though they can be purged).

If picking up Slardar or BH will ruin your lineup, DO NOT get them. There are items that replace their ults' functionality.

Short Term / Conditional

A lot of people forget heroes like Zeus and Bloodseeker can reveal invisible heroes. It's not necessarily a reason to pick either hero up, but it is something to keep in mind.

Zeus' Lightning Bolt reveals for 3 seconds after it has struck. Same goes for his Ult.

Countering Detection

The big three are:

  • Diffusal Blade
    • You can activate it on yourself or allies for a positive effect of removing debuffs with no other side effects
  • Manta Style
    • Splitting into illusions will remove most negative debuffs like Dust
  • BKB 
    • Should remove most negative debuffs


Scenario 1


 Enemy team has Riki who has been initiating every team fight with a Smoke. The vision he grants his team allows for other heroes like Enigma to get very clean initiations.


Get a Gem. You will see Riki sneaking in and getting in position to use Smoke. Now you'll be able to kill him before he gets the chance

Scenario 2


You're defending your Barracks (Rax) but your tower is down. Enemy team has a Bounty Hunter that is very fed. Your team is pretty much broke.


Buy Sentry Wards and place them around where your tower once stood. Sentry Wards don't give a lot of sight radius, but they give a huge amount of Invis Detection radius.

Because you're stationary (sitting there defending instead of moving around the map), this functions like a Gem. You can see Bounty Hunter sneaking up to pick off a support and jump him before he knows what happened.

Scenario 3


You're trying to gank a free farming Clinkz. Your Mirana ults to give you all temporary invisibility to sneak up on Clinkz as he split pushes. Your team has only a bit of money.


Buy Dust. You know where he is and will be able to use the Dust so you can keep on him. If your team had more money, a Gem would work too, but it might not be worth the risk of losing it. Sentry Wards would not work here because Clinkz has a high move speed and would easily be able to move out of its detection range before you could do much.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Item Guide: Orchid Malevolence

If you're a #2, 3 or 4 (5's too, but you'd have to be pretty far ahead) farm priority and can benefit in any way from the Int, Mana Regen, or DPS Orchid Malevolence is generally a great pick up.

NOTE: if you don't know, generally 1 = carry, 2 = solo, 3 = offlane, 4 = 2nd support, 5 = support (see this post)

Almost every game has an opponent that is worth silencing.

Good Against

This is exceptionally powerful against heroes like Anti-Mage and Storm Spirit who rely on their escapes. If you can Orchid Anti-Mage and focus him a bit, the 30% amplified damage should finish the job.

Likewise, it's good against heroes that rely on spamming/spells to be useful like Leshrac, Invoker (well, Exort can DPS decently), or Zeus.

Not Particularly Useful Against

One-hit Wonder heroes like Tidehunter, Sand King, or Venomancer. If you can silence them and kill them before they use their ult, that's great. But most of the time that's not the case. You'd probably be better off getting a Pipe (or BKB).

Queen of Pain is an interesting case. It's good to lock her down and kill her (i.e. preventing her blink), but you're probably not going to stop her from blowing her ult.

Synergizes Well With


  • He loves the Mana Regen
  • He loves the attack speed
  • Silence + Amplified Damage means that he can gank without worry of being stunned or having his victim blink away


It was always a pretty decent pickup on him. However, with his new changes to Last Word, you can basically guarantee a disarm by using Last Word, then Silencing before they can cast (both Orchid and Last Word last 5 seconds).

It also gives him Int and Regen which benefit his Glaives, as well as attack speed which he desperately lacks.

Generally Recommended For:

Heroes that have a slow, but nothing to prevent their target from blinking away, stunning, etc. Or just generally need mana regen and DPS.

For instance:

  • Broodmother - can be great if you're not the primary carry. She can slow heroes, but has nothing that will prevent them from just stunning her
  • Venomancer - tons of slows, but no actual CC. The attack speed is somewhat useful, but the bonus INT and Regen are huge on Veno who is largely mana dependent.
  • Enchantress - she can slow, but again, nothing to stop her target from using spells. She also can spam her ult for tons of damage.
  • Nature's Prophet - he can surround someone with trees, but that won't stop them from jumping/blinking out or going invis until the trees go away
  • Storm Spirit - he has Vortex, but that has a 20 second cooldown. If you want to ensure you kill your target, Orchid is a nice addition; He also benefits from the regen
  • Wind Runner - she has a lot of spammable spells, the extra CC adds to her very versatile kit, and she can benefit from some DPS
  • There are plenty of others too, these are just some examples

Miscellaneous Notes

  • This will not stop Skeleton King from Resurrecting. He will still Rez even if he's silenced. Only burning his mana below 140 will stop his ult.
  • The 30% amplified damage is dealt as a lump sum at the end of the 5 second duration
  • The build up is pretty great
  • This is more of an offensive item than defensive
  • Heroes that have toggle abilities will continue casting because silence disables the ability to toggle the spell (e.g. Pudge's Rot, Leshrac's Ult)

Item Guide: Bloodstone

Great item on Mana Heavy heroes that can also benefit from some tankiness. However, it is mostly useful for the mana regen as the mana regen is the part that scales (along with reduced gold lost from death, death timer reduction, and the heal nearby allies get when you die).

If you look at the item's design, it screams "ganking". Regen helps you stay in the field longer. All the other benefits come from ganking. If you get a kill, you get a charge. If you die, it's not so bad when you have charges.

When to Get It


  • On #1/2 farm priority heroes (i.e. carry and solo lane) - "Bloodstone Carries/Semi-Carries"
  • When you're doing extremely well - it costs a shitload and you need to be getting/involved in a lot of kills for its passive to be most effective
  • You're a Ganker or heavily involved in Team fights -- gotta get your charges
  • You're Regen dependent

In Short: heroes that need mana regen, will not die often, benefit from flat HP, and are heavily involved in skirmishes/team fights.

When to Give Up

Remember, sometimes it's best to give up on a big item like this. If it's 30 minutes in and you've got boots, Magic Wand, and perseverance, just fuck it. Get something useful (i.e. a utility item like Drum of Endurance or Pipe - which you can break Perseverance apart for). It will help the team more than watching you struggle to complete the rest of your Bloodstone.

Also, if the enemy carry has their BKB before your Bloodstone is done, it may or may not be worth the investment.

Heroes You See This On

  • Storm Spirit - dude can use regen. More Ults, more jukes. His spells are all pretty spammable. Also, he's incredibly hard to kill, leading to massive amounts of charges on his stone.
  • Semi Carry Leshrac - his spells are spammable, and the better his regen, the longer he can ult. The longer he can ult, the more damage he does in a team fight and it makes it easier to push. NOTE: This is for SEMI-CARRY Leshrac (i.e. not #4/5 support Leshrac - I've made this mistake before, I'm sure others have too)
  • Death Prophet - she can spam spells and the added HP helps her take damage while ulting. She can get pretty ballsy for a woman because her ult heals her at the end.
  • Necrolyte - at a certain point, he becomes nearly invincible because he can keep spamming his heals. This makes his entire team hard to kill as well. However, Necro really needs some snowball for this to happen.

Heroes it can be situationally good on:

  • Zeus - he can spam like a mother fucker, the HP helps him survive. However, it can often be more beneficial to get other items like Aghs, Refresher, etc.
  • Enchantress - helps her spam impetus, the extra tankiness makes her more obnoxious due to her Untouchable spell. However, most Enchantress' are played as #4, so it's not really on your itinerary to get a big semi-carry item like this
  • Ogre Magi - more spam, more tank. Again, like Enchantress, he's usually not going to have the farm to get a big item like this
  • Witch Doctor - justification is basically being a walking Healing Well. However, WD is mostly a support hero at Pro Level.
  • Puck - helps with survivability and he's usually a big piece in team fights. Phase Shift helps him survive (i.e. keep charges). He doesn't have the spam to make max use of the regen. Generally seems better to get yourself a Blink Dagger and some utility/initiation items
  • Queen of Pain - able to spam to an extent and she has high survivability. A lot of players will opt for more utility or carry items though like Sheep Stick or sometimes a Desolator.
  • Semi Carry Lina - again, spammy spells, improves her tankiness, and she also has Fiery Soul, which means the more you spam, the faster you auto attack, giving her that carry potential

Things New Players Generally Overlook

  • Bloodstone > Aegis :P
  • You keep getting XP in a 1000 radius after death (makes a suicide initiation less sad)
  • You gain a massive 1800/1800 vision of the area around your death

Passively, Each Charge:

  • +1 Mana Regen/sec (but not HP)

On Death, Each Charge:

  • Reduces Gold Lost by 25
  • Reduces Respawn Time by 4 Seconds
  • Resores 30 HP to allies within 1675 range (in addition to the flat 400 HP) - it's like a Super Mek or Chen Ult


  • It's not necessary on anyone, but it's super nice to have
  • You can get early Mana Boots, break them apart and have a piece of your Bloodstone ready to go

Item Guide: Boots

There are many different options for boots. Each has its own set of scenarios where they are most applicable. Here, I'm going to walk through my understanding of when to get each.


Power Treads:




  • Versatility: you can switch the main stat depending on the situation (e.g. switch to Int so you can cast 1 more spell, switch to Str to tank that last hit)
  • Generally good if you need survivability, or you don't need move speed
  • Also can be good on illusion heroes because stats transfer to them
  • Gives raw attack speed as well
  • Only breaks invis if you switch stats


Example Heroes That Might Get These:

  • Fast & Squishy: Anti-Mage, Luna
  • Illusion Heroes: Phantom Lancer, Chaos Knight
  • Heroes That Need to Extra Str: Batrider, Enigma
  • Invisible heroes: you can't use other boots while invis, plus this gives you stats (most invis heroes are squishy), examples are Riki, Broodmother, Clinkz
  • Nature's Prophet - when you're not playing some sort of support, this gives him what he needs. He can TP around with his skills, so the MS isn't a problem, he can lock people in trees, so no chasing. Basically, he just needs attack speed and some stats
  • Morphling - this gives him more stats to morph between
  • Faceless Void - when you have people Chrono'd, the stats & attack speed work wonders (Phase could also be decent though)


Tranquil Boots:




  • High Movespeed (unless you get hit by enemies) - decent for ganking
  • Able to heal yourself - sometimes good for taking harass or jungle
  • Diassemble-able - has many of the components needed for Vlads or Mek
  • Very cheap - easy to make for broke ass supports, especially if you have crap for HP regen


Example Heroes That Might Get These:

  • Pudge - rotting can be used to harass/farm, gives him movespeed to gank, easy recovery from ganking w/ rot
  • Wisp - good for abusing tether
  • Some Junglers - Ursa (can be used until you want to finish Vlads), Axe (heal between clearing camps)
  • Solo Hard Laners - some players get it on solo hard laners to keep up with harass in lane
  • Supports that are broke/have no regen - Crystal Maiden (who also like the MS), Lich
  • Roamers - helps to get between lanes and heal between ganks


Phase Boots




  • No Collision - great for chasing through crowds of creeps or juking through them
  • Speed burst - again, good for chasing or escaping, also for getting between creep camps quickly in the jungle
  • Helps with positioning - use for a quick speed burst to help position that shackle shot
  • Raw Damage - gives +24 damage, which is the highest any boot can give you. Some heroes don't need anything more than just raw damage
  • Better able to stay on a target - if you have a DoT that is centered on your hero, this can help
  • Roaming - like Tranquil boots, Phase boots help with roaming as well. Both gives good move speed, but Phase are more dependable in a fight


Example Heroes That Might Get These:

  • Heroes that need positioning: Wind Runner, Invoker, Pudge, Leshrac (non-support version), Witch Doctor (if not hard support), Kunkka, Templar Assassin
  • Heroes that need to stay on their target: Pudge, Leshrac, Clockwerk, Juggernaut, Razor, Ursa
  • Heroes that benefit from the raw damage: Bounty Hunter, Kunkka, Phantom Assassin
  • Roamers: Pudge, Tiny, Vengeful Spirit (I like it on her at least)

Special Note: Juggernaut can start spinning and then use Phase Boots to get the Phase Bonus while spinning (the other way around cancels Phase Boots)


Arcane Boots




  • Benefits the whole team (or at least whoever is around you)
  • Improved Mana Pool
  • Disassemble-able
  • Gives enough mana to cast most spells


Example Heroes That Might Get These:

  • Mana Dependent Heroes: Sand King, Bane, Tiny, Zeus, Omniknight
  • Support Heroes: Rubick (when not mid), Jakiro, Dazzle
  • Wisp: can be abused the same way as Tranquil boots using tether (they get 2x the mana), however, Soul Ring can also provide the same benefit


Boots of Travel




  • Don't have to carry a TP Scroll
  • Best base movespeed bonus
  • Can TP to creeps (instead of just buildings)


Example Heroes That Might Get These:

  • Tinker - his ult resets the cooldown on these boots
  • KotL - his ult allows him to teleport a friend to his location (effectively getting a free BoT for the other player)
  • Pushers - easily port to a lane creep to help push, e.g. Pugna, Leshrac, Tinker, KotL
  • Beastmaster - he can port to his minions (i.e. Hawk/Boar)
  • Anyone during late game - if you're all maxed out and want to free up your TP scroll slot, get these. You probably have the stats to make any other boot negligible


Build Boots for the Situation:

  • Get Arcane in a Support/Utility Role (e.g. don't get them on Carry Tiny)
  • If you're dying a lot, you might consider Power Treads or Tranquil Boots. Both are affordable and help you deal with harass (though, don't get Tranquil if you're chased down a lot)
  • Don't get Boots of Travel early if you're not going to use them (i.e. pushing/ganking super hard)
  • Don't get Boots of Travel just because you can 
    • a) afford them
    • b) they're recommended (e.g. if you're Pugna and dying a lot, get something like Treads instead of wasting time saving your Boots of Travel)

Basically, make sure you're getting your boots for the circumstances, not because it's a recommended item. Situation is based on a lot of things:

  • What is your role in this game? (many heroes can be played in multiple ways. You're not always going to be Carry Nature's Prophet or Solo Mid Pugna)
  • How is your farm?
  • Are you dying a lot?
  • Are you able to use the active to max potential? (e.g. you're not ganking/chasing enough for Phase to be useful, but you could use the Stats & Attack Speed in team fights from Power Treads)