Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mechanics: Illusions

There seems to be a lot of confusion around Illusions. I'd like to do a Discussion / Q&A to clear a lot of that up.

Basic Idea

  • Illusions are meant to confuse the enemy, deal extra damage, etc.
  • They have offensive and defensive/evasive uses
  • They are imperfect (usually take more damage, deal less damage)

General Information

Illusions benefit from:

  • Evasion
  • Movement Speed bonuses
  • Attributes (INT, AGI, and STR)
  • Health and Mana
  • Radiance's Burn Damage (does not stack though)
  • Bonus Damage to Creeps from Quelling Blade

Illusions DO NOT benefit from:

  • Raw Damage, Armor, or Attack Speed Bonuses (e.g. Items that say +50 Damage, +5 Armor, +15 Attack Speed, etc...)
  • Magic Resistance from Items


  • If the hero levels up, the Illusions' level DO NOT chang
  • Illusions have no regeneration. This is one way to check for the real hero

Common Misconceptions

NOTE: This is the CORRECT information for things people commonly say otherwise
  • Illusions DO NOT benefit from any form of HP/MP regen, including Lifesteal
  • Just because the Illusion plays the animation does not mean the effect is applied (remember, Illusions are used to confuse enemies. If an animation didn't play, it would be pretty obvious which one was real)
  • ONLY Melee Illusions can benefit from Feedback (AKA Mana Burn)
  • Riki's Illusions do not do bonus damage from Backstab (even if it appears as though they are)
  • Illusions CANNOT Bash
  • Illusions CANNOT Cleave (AKA Splash Damage)
  • Illusions DO NOT benefit from Damage Block (i.e. Vanguard, Poor Man's Shield)
  • Illusions CANNOT use most Unique Attack Modifiers (e.g. Lifesteal, Desolator, Eye of Skadi, etc..) though the animation will play
  • Illusions CANNOT use Greater/Lesser Maim (e.g. Sange, Heaven's Halberd, etc..)
  • Illusions can Crit, but they will deal less damage than the number that shows above their head (i.e. most Illusions deal reduced damage, but to hide the original, it will appear as though they Crit for the amount the original would have)

Niche Information/Little Known Facts

  • Illusions benefit from True Sight (reveals invisible units), this means they reveal around themselves if the original had True Sight (i.e. like a Gem that doesn't drop when the holder is killed)
  • Axe's Illusions inherit Counter-Helix
  • Illusions inherit Magic Resistance from Abilities (but, as mentioned above, not from Items)
  • Invoker's Illusions DO NOT display orbs (i.e. Quas, Wex, Exort
  • If Templar Assassin's Psi Blades spill from an Illusion to another unit, the other unit will take amplified damage correlating to the bonus damage the Illusion takes (e.g. TA hits an Illusion for 100 damage, Illusion takes 300% amplified damge, Psi Blades spill for stupid damage)
  • Luna's Illusions inherit Moon Glaive
  • Manta Style provides an invisible Attack Speed Aura that Illusions benefit from (only applies to Hero + their Illusions)
  • Spectre's Illusions benefit from Desolate
  • Phantom Lancer's Illusions will play the Spirit Lance animation when the hero uses it


  • Illusions will grant allies the auras that the original possesses
  • Illusions will generally NOT benefit from the aura (EXCEPT for Attack Speed or Move Speed)

Bonus Damage to Illusions

Bonus Damage to Illusions:

  • Outworld Destroyer's Arcane Orb
  • Brewmaster's Storm Panda's Dispel

Instantly Destroy Illusions:

  • Purge
  • Hex
  • Mana Drain (after 0.25 seconds) 
  • Disruptor's Glimpse 
  • Pugna's Ultimate

Special Illusions

  • Morphling's Ultimate - Morph can swap places with it, appears as the color of the copied player
    Darkseer's Ultimate - Appear Blue to Enemies

DotA 2 Wiki Referencial Data
Play DotA Mechanic Page

Comparison: Radiant vs. Dire Side Advantages

The Pro Match Stats are out there, and we can see that the win-rate is about 50-50 (some say Dire has a slight advantage). What I want to take a look at is the Advantages of each side.


  • Mid Lane can pull creeps
  • Potential Psychological Benefits
    • Some maintain that it's more natural to view the map from Radiant side
      • Move Left to Right
      • Progress from Bottom to Top
    • You are the "good guys"
  • Safe Lane has a ward spot that can watch the rune and prevent ganks
  • Able to get to Ancients faster from the Mid lane (and/or stack them)
  • Dire's Hard Lane feels more "cut off" 
  • Some say the Radiant Jungle is "safer"


  • Hard Lane can stack ancients more easily
  • Roshan's Pit is more accessible
  • "Magic Bush" ward can block 2 of Radiant's spawns 
  • Easier to pull creeps in the safe lane
  • Able to pull a second set of creeps in the safe lane by cutting down a tree (left-most neutral spawn)
  • Radiant Jungle is more "open" and easy to ward
  • Dire Jungle has a better flow to it (Radiant Jungle has 2 camps that are cut off)
  • Hero colors can be more difficult to see on mini-map (due to all being darker colors)
  • Less likely to misclick the mini-map and retreat in the wrong direction
  • Dire might have a slight advantage due to perspective (Radiant is drawn "closer to the screen" making them easier to click on)

That's what I can come up with now, but I'll add in anything else I think of and take suggestions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The "Chinese Number System"

Last Updated: October 8, 2012

Due to big events like The International, some of the Chinese DotA scene has come to light. With that, so has the "Eastern Meta". One of the big pieces to this alternate meta is the number system. Essentially, it boils down to:

(Most Farm Priority)
  1. Hard Carry
  2. Solo Mid Lane (or Semi-Carry/Ganker)
  3. Solo Side Lane (or Ganker/Initiator)
  4. Ganker/Jungler (or Secondary Support/Utility)
  5. Pure Support
(Least Farm Priority)

Farm, in this context, refers to both Gold and Experience. As I understand it, if someone else with a higher number comes to your lane, you're supposed to yield to them. So, a #2 would find a lane other than where the #1 is to farm.

Also, from my understanding, a #5 will pretty much have jack all game because they're buying all the team items (wards, dust, smoke, etc.). Looking back on The International 2 games, it looked like most #5s had boots, Magic Wand, and sometimes Force Staff or Urn of Shadows.

Some popular hero choices in each role are (as of The International 2):
  • Position 1
    • Anti-Mage
    • Morphling
    • Faceless Void
    • Naga Siren
    • Lycan
    • Juggernaut (usually as a special case/counter)
  • Position 2
    • Queen of Pain
    • Rubick
    • Invoker
    • Tinker
    • Brewmaster
    • Night Stalker
    • Templar Assassin
    • Bat Rider (used to be more popular)
  • Position 3
    • Broodmother
    • Tidehunter (can also be Position 4)
    • Windrunner
    • Beastmaster
    • Dark Seer
    • Sand King (can also be Position 4)
    • Lone Druid
    • Bounty Hunter
  • Position 4
    • Leshrac
    • Enigma
    • Enchantress
    • Chen
    • Keeper of the Light
    • Nature's Prophet (can be other roles too - usually 2 or 3)
    • Chaos Knight (usually in Trilane)
  • Position 5
    • Venomancer (can also be Position 4)
    • Crystal Maiden
    • Shadow Shaman
    • Shadow Demon
    • Lion
    • Lich
    • Dazzle
    • Jakiro (can also be a #4
    • Lina (can also be Position 4)
Each of these roles also has a general game plan, which will change based on line up (e.g. a #4 will function differently in a trilane than in the jungle). Here are my generalizations:

  • Position 1
    • Often paired with #5 (and sometimes with #4 in addition when tri-laning)
    • Takes the last hits and kills in lane
    • Always in XP range for maximizing level advantage
    • In a pro game, GPM will be around 500 if they won, around 300-400 if they lose (given about equal skill teams)
  • Position 2
    • Often takes solo mid
    • Even in a bad situation, should always have high amounts of denies
    • Often will Gank or Initiate, but sometimes can heavy Push
    • Generally build items to initiate and survive (e.g. Blink Dagger, sometimes BKB/Linken's, Shiva's, or Guinsoo/Sheep)
  • Position 3
    • Often takes solo hard lane (and occasionally jungle)
    • Avoid death, get some farm (safely)
    • Heroes like Beastmaster can stack ancients to catch up farm
    • Heroes like Broodmother will strategically push when it is safe
    • If it is a 1v1 scenario (e.g. Tidehunter vs. Broodmother), then the goal is to farm initiation items while harassing (and in the case of Broodmother, killing her Spiderites)
  • Position 4
    • Often a roaming ganker (or jungle ganker)
    • In a trilane, they help harass and deny, set up kills, and eventually gank other lanes
    • In jungle, they farm neutrals, then help gank the safe lane and push towers
    • Often, #4 will build team-oriented support items like
      • Drum of Endurance
      • Mekanism
      • Pipe
      • (Vladarmir's Offering - rarely)
      • Force Staff
      • Eul's Scepter
  • Position 5 
    • Hard support, usually found paired with the #1 role
    • Buys Courier/Wards, and team consumables (e.g. Dust, Smoke)
    • Stack and Pull creep camps for money
      • Important to stack before pulling so that an entire wave of creeps is denied to enemy (they lose all that potential gold and XP to a neutral camp)
      • Helps to control the lane (keep creeps where you want them)
      • This also will give the carry more XP (because you're out of lane creep XP range)
    • Harass enemies and deny creeps in lane
      • Be careful to avoid creep aggro and to use fog effectively so you don't take damage
      • In a tri-lane, denying creeps in huge. Against a solo, you want your carry to have 3+ levels on them
    • Set up kills
      • Most #5's have skillsets that include slows, stuns, or immobilizes
    • Help carry last hit under tower
      • With good communication and timing, you can hit the creep, then the carry so that the tower does not take the creep kill

Note: Team Liquid did a nice write up too on their Liquidpedia for DOTA2.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Item Guide: Starting Items

Starting Items can have a pretty big impact on the laning phase. Each item has a particular purpose and while many are good in almost all situations, some are situational.

Item Summary


  • Tangos
    • Keep you topped off on HP
    • Technically heal less total HP than a Salve
    • Are not cancelled by being attacked
    • Can be useful for juking, or against a Nature's Prophet (Sprout)
  • Salve
    • Restore a lot of HP quickly
    • Can be cancelled if attacked
    • If you live on the edge, use this while being chased and juking to turn the battle by recovering HP then surprising your persuer
    • Can easily be used on an ally
  • Clarity Potion
    • Slowly recovers mana
    • Good for restoring mana so you can play aggressively with your spells
    • Can be cancelled if attacked
    • Can easily be used on an ally
  • Observer Wards
    • Great use of early money because of the vision they provide
    • Can be used to block neutral spawns (good for anti-pulling and countering jungle heroes)
    • Nice to have one on the Rune Spawn for your mid hero
    • Prevent ganks
  • Courier
    • Always great because it helps the whole team, especially mid
    • Pretty cheap to get a ground courier (back in the day, it was 200g for ground, 200g for upgrade)
  • Dust
    • Awesome against heroes that get invisibility early (e.g. Broodmother, Bounty Hunter, etc.), they won't expect it --> Easy First Blood
  • Smoke
    •  If you get 3-5 heroes together, this is a great way to get an early first blood by roaming the enemy jungle (or your own in some cases)
    • Can also be used if your lineup allows for level 1 Roshing
    • Some heroes (e.g. Dark Seer) can use this to jungle harder creeps at level 1
      • Ion Shell --> Smoke --> Stand by Creeps (they take damage, but cannot attack you)
  • Sentry Wards
    • In some games, you know the other team will ward, so it can be a cheap way to immediately get rid of the enemy vision and hurt them bad in the lane phase
    • Great for counter-warding your pull
    • Generally best as an early item, but not as a starting item (unless you have courier + wards already)


Bottle is a highly controversial starting item. Most Pros would say its a "trash starting item". In my opinion, if used correctly (i.e. timing, positioning, etc.), any item can be good. Here are the pros and cons though:

  • Fast HP/Mana Recovery
  • More able to spam spells like Hook/Rot
  • Already have it at the 2 minute mark (to get rune)
  • Can ferry to and from the fountain if you have a courier
  • No Stats --> Harder to last hit, can take less hits, have less mana
  • Cancelled if hit
  • If ganked early, you'll probably have to immediately use all your bottle charges
The idea behind it is that you better be using the regen you get from it if you opt to go bottle first. In 99.9% of scenarios, that isn't the case. You also better have a good way of last hitting because early on, 2 damage you get from GG Branches can make a world of difference (as well as that 2 STR which is roughly 40 HP or something).

Stats Items

  • Iron Branch (53g)
    • Nicknamed the "GG" Branch for a reason - a lot of stats for only 53g. However, each takes up an item slot and they are built into a limited amount of early items (e.g. Magic Wand)
    • Excellent for Stats and Filler
  • Gauntlets of Strength / Mantle of Intelligence (150g)
    • I generally find these to be a waste because for a little more, you could have bought 3 Iron Branches and got +3 to all stats
    • Mantle can be decent on some Int Carries (e.g. Carry Silencer, Outworld Destroyer, Storm Spirit)
    • Gauntlets can be good for survivability or if you plan to go early Urn of Shadows / Drum of Endurance
    • Likewise, you can get Mantle for going early Dagon
    • Mostly, these are used for taking up less space and giving you more ability to last hit
  • Slippers of Agility (150g)
    • Situationally, these are good for better last hit ability as an AGI carry
    • Can be built into a Poor Man's Shield
  • Circlet (185g)
    • I also find this to be a waste. For 106g, you could have bought 2 Iron Branches and got the same effect (though they take up 2 spots in inventory)


  • Ring of Protection (175g)
    • Some people get this for rushing Ring of Basilius or Tranquil Boots
    • Provides +2 Armor, but that's usually not as valuable as stats or regen
    • Can be decent for jungling and then making into an early Ring of Basilius, but you also won't be taking most of the hits (your minions will)
  • Stout Shield (250g)
    • Generally useful as a melee hero in a lane where you expect harass
    • Can help you get last hits without taking as much damage
    • Can be built into Vanguard or Poor Man's Shield
    • Less useful for ranged heroes (60% chance to block 10 Damage vs. 20 for Melee)
  • Quelling Blade (225g)
    • Helps ensure last hits
    • Can cut trees down (good for juking or against Nature's Prophet)
    • Not really useful on Ranged Heroes (+12% Damage vs. Creeps, instead of +32% for melee)
    • Good in lanes where you're against a hero that has high base damage (e.g. 1v1 Tiny)
    • Can be useful for farming into mid-game
  • Magic Stick (200g)
    • Can be useful in a lane where you'll get a lot of charges (e.g. a Batrider that spams Napalm)
    • Doesn't give any stats
    • Doesn't give regen if no one is casting spells 
    • The hero that will charge it might not be in your lane

No Items (e.g. Rushing an Item like Ring of Health)

  • Generally not a good strategy
    • No Stats
    • No Regen (until you get RoH)
  • Once you have Ring of Health, you can take harass, but you'll have trouble with last hits, mana management, and be squishy

Ring of Basilius

  • Again, you get no stats
  • The Mana Regen can be nice if you're in a Trilane or something of the sort (applies to more heroes)
  • Odds are, you won't be using the aura for pushing THIS EARLY
  • Can be decent for jungling (aura applies to minions), but a lot of the time, Clarity Potions work better.

Sage's Mask + Ring of Regen (i.e. Rushing Soul Ring

  • Good Regen, but no stats
  • Also, the regen is slower than what you'd get from well timed consumables


  • This is seriously just silly. You get nothing from a recipe alone
  • A courier can bring this to you

Common Starting Combinations

General Laning

  • Wards/Courier (if Support Hero, or you have Random Gold in AP)
  • 1 x Tangos
  • 1 x Salve
  • 2 x Clarity Potion
  • 2-3 x Iron Branch

Melee Jungling (e.g. Axe, Lifestealer, Dark Seer)

  • Stout Shield
  • 1-3 x Tangos
  • 1-2 x Salve
  • 0-2 x Clarity
  • 0-2 x Iron Branch
NOTE: Dark Seer uses more mana, so more Clarity Potions might be useful. He can also use Smoke to jungle because of Ion Shell.

Heavy Harass Lane

  •  Configuration 1:
    • Stout Shield (250g)
    • 1 x Tangos (sometimes more)
    • 1 x Salve (sometimes more - e.g. they are a double stun lane)
    • 2-3 x Iron Branch
    • 0-2 x Clarity Potion
  • Configuration 2:
    • Stout Shield
    • Quelling Blade
    • Tangos / Salve
  • Stout Shield allows you to take extra harass
  • Quelling Blade allows you to last hit easier

Heavy Spam Lane (e.g. Zeus, Bristleback, Batrider, and sometimes Shadow Demon)

  • Can be worth it to get a Magic Stick because it collects charges
  • Lots of Regen otherwise (probably Tangos moreso than Salves)
  • Might not know which lane the hero that can easily charge it will be in

Minion Jungling (e.g. Enigma, Prophet, Enchantress, Chen)

  • Configuration 1
    • Tangos
    • Clarity Potions
    • Ring of Protection (for early Ring of Basilius)
  • Configuration 2
    • Tangos / Salve
    • Clarity Potions
  • Configuration 3
    • Ring of Basilius
    • Tangos/Salve
  •  Pub Stomp Build
    • Gloves of Haste
    • Clarity Potions
    • NOTE: This is for rushing Hand of Midas, usually just for Nature's Prophet. Not exactly a "serious" build.

AGI Carry

  • 2 x Slippers of Agility (300g)
  • 1 x Tangos (90g)
  • 1 x Salve (100g)
  • 2 x Iron Branch (or Clarity)
 This is good for increasing ability to last hit, as well as rushing Poor Man's Shield.

Mid Bottle Rush

  • 3-4 x Iron Branch (159g - 212g)
  • 1 x Tangos (or Salve) (90g - 100g)
This gives you good stats, some regen, and a lot of leftover gold to get an early bottle with.

Hero Guide: Leshrac

In my experience, Leshrac can be played as a Utility hero (high farm priority, but not the highest; Chinese #2 position), or a Support (generally roaming/ganking, or trilane).

Personally, I don't like playing him unless I can have some farm, so my personal guide is focused around that.



  • Pretty fast (315 Base Move Speed)
  • Good attack animation (easier to last hit with than some heroes)
  • Very Squishy
  • Lots of AoE Damage
  • Some Crowd Control
  • OK Stat gains


  • (1 - W) Split Earth
    • Traits
      • Stun for 2.0 seconds (all levels)
      • Radius of 150 / 175 / 200 / 225
      • Range of 750
      • Magic Damage of 120 / 180 / 240 / 300
      • Cooldown of 9 seconds, Mana Cost of 100 / 125 / 140 / 160
    • Notes
      • Awkward 0.35 second delay
      • Destroys trees
      • Gets easier to hit with each level
      • Stun time does not change
    • Uses 
      • Stun (must be able to predict to some extent - using choke points helps e.g. ramps)
      • Helps find juking enemies via tree destruction
      • Cast on Nature's Prophet's Sprout (tree circle) to get rid of them early
  • (2 - W) Diabolic Edict
    • Traits
      •  32 "explosions" dealing 12.5 / 25 / 37.5 / 50 Composite Damage
        • Deals total of 400 / 800 / 1200 / 1600 Damage
        • 32 Explosions over 8 seconds = 1 every 0.25 second
        • Composite Damage (AKA "Mixed Damage") gets reduced by Armor, Magic Resistance, and Damage Block, but is not stopped by Magic Immunity (e.g. BKB). Ethereal units won't be affected.
          • Edict, however, is not affected by Damage Block (e.g. Vanguard)
      • Duration of 8 Seconds
      • Radius of 500
      • Cooldown of 22 seconds, Mana Cost of 95 / 120 /135 / 155
    • Notes
      • Damages Structures
      • Unlike other Composite Damage spells, Edict is not reduced by damage block
      • Continues after death
      • Damages invisible heroes
      • Hits random viable target within AoE (i.e. if there is only 1, then it will only hit that)
    • Uses
      • Pushing Towers
      • Owning people that are dumb enough to follow you 1v1 into the jungle (or otherwise area devoid of other targets for Edict to hit)
      • Because it hits invisible units, you can "guesstimate" where a Riki/Gondar/Etc. is
  • (3 - E) Lightning Storm
    • Traits
      •  80 / 145 / 205 / 265 Magic Damage
      • Jumps 4 / 6 / 7 / 8 times
      • 700 Range, 650 Jump Range
      • Cooldown of 5.5 seconds, Mana Cost of 100 / 115 / 130 / 145
    • Notes
      • Deals same amount of damage to each target
      • Cast range is longer than your auto-attack range
      • Blocked by Linkens
        • Totally blocked if first target has Linkens
        • Otherwise, does not deal damage to Linkens target, but continues to jump
      • If gets max amounts of jumps, deals 400 /  1015 / 1640 / 2385 total damage
    • Uses
      • Last hitting in a dangerous lane/position
      • Harassing in a dangerous lane/position
      • Hitting a Hero too far normally, but hit-able via jumps
      • (I think) getting vision uphill by jumping (if target is up there)
  • (4 - R) Pulse Nova
    • Traits
      • Magic Damage of 66 / 100 / 144 DPS in an AoE
        • 88 / 133 / 177 with Aghanim's
      • AoE of 450 around Leshrac
      • 110 Initial Mana Cost, 20 / 40 / 60 Mana Per Second
      • No Cooldown
    • Notes
      • Will not damage if Leshrac is invisible
    • Uses
      • Team fights / DPS
      • Clearing Waves / Farming



There are a ton of ways to build Leshrac. Many of them focus on taking your ult late. This is because in early game, you lack mana, and your ult take a lot. Much of the time, it's better to max out your other spells that can do a lot of damage for less mana, take down towers, etc.

  • General: (1) Stun / (2) Edict / (3) Edict / (4) Stun / (5) Edict / (6)Stun / (7) Edict / (8) Stun / (9) Ult
    • This basically makes you good at pushing, good at landing stuns, and then goes into your Ult
    • Some people will opt to not get Lighning at all (i.e. get Ult/Stats, Lighning from lvl. 21-25)
  •  Difficult Lane / Suicide Lane: (1) Stun / (2) Edict / (3) Lightning / (4) Edict / (5) Lightning / Max Lightning/Edict
    • This allows you to farm safely from far back
    • Must be good at hitting stuns (note: stun is always 2 seconds, it's the AoE and Damage that increase)
    • Getting Edict makes you hard to dive/chase, plus you can push the tower when they're not looking
  • My Old Build: Max Stun / Edict, then Lightning, then Ult
    • Reason was that you can push with lightning similarly to how you'd push with your Ult
    • Lightning is pretty cheap and has a low cooldown
    • Your ult takes a shit load of mana and regen to be maximally effective


  • Wards / Courier
  • 1 x Tangos
  • 1 x Salve
  • 2 x Clarity Potions
  • 2-3 x Iron Branches
  • Phase Boots - help you move around for ganks, escape, keep on targets while using edict/ult
  • Magic Wand
  • Perseverance -  I build Lesh as a Bloodstone carry, so you want this for the regen
  • Bloodstone - Regen/HP
  • Boots of Travel - at some point late game, you should swap your Phase Boots and get these. They help you push quickly after a successful team fight or gank, frees up a slot so you don't have to carry around TPs, and just generally make you a pushing niusance.
  • Sheep Stick
  • Eul's - More speed, great active, tons of mana regen
  • Aghanim' - more DPS, HP, Mana, and Stats, but countered by Magic Immunity
  • Shiva's Guard - Armor that you need, INT that you love, and an active that makes chasing easier, an aura that helps your team, generally pretty good
  • Pipe - good team support item
  • Necronomicon - good for pushing, revealing invis units, chasing, etc.
  • BKB - pretty obvious
  • Force Staff / Blink - additional mobility (or support)
  • Orchid - locking down blinkers, good INT, mana regen, etc.
  • Assault Curiass - doesn't help you exactly, but helps your pushes and team
  • Veil of Discord - You do a lot of magic damage, this reduces magic resistance
Some people support with Lesh. In that case you'd opt more for:
  • Mekanism
  • Force Staff
  • Pipe
  • Ring of Basilius (mana regen in lane, armor, pushing)
  • Drum of Endurance
  • Medallion of Courage (this can work if you gank)
  • Power Treads can be viable if you're dying a lot and need the extra HP (remember, you're already faster than most heroes by default)
The Support options also work well if you're not doing super well in early game with Leshrac. Drum is a great item. Ring of Basilius is easy to build and helpful.


Leshrac is an aggressive push hero (in my playstyle). His strengths are:
  • Roaming the Jungle - he has a stun, and Edict owns pretty much anyone 1v1 early-mid game
  • Pushing Towers - Edict owns them
  • Ganking - he has a powerful stun/nuke, 2 second stun at all levels
  • Want to fight heroes outside of the lane (e.g. lure them into the jungle) because Edict is so powerful 1v1
  • His stun is best used as a follow up stun (i.e. pair him with a reliable stunner like Sand King, Vengeful Spirit)
  • Leshrac snowballs
  • Don't get Bloodstone if you're not doing well
  • Push towers early for that delicious bonus gold
    • Remember, use your positioning so that the explosions only hit the tower
  •  You are a very good farmer
    • Take lanes that aren't being farmed
    • Stack the jungle and use your ult to farm it
  • In a risky situation, get Edict going because it continues after your death --> bonus kills from people that don't understand Leshrac
A lot of people would disagree, but I say he's a decent Suicide Lane hero:
  • Use Lighning to get farm and harass (it has a low cooldown, bounces around, deals decent damage, and is pretty cheap)
  • Have a level of stun for certain situations
  • You don't have an escape, but you have Edict which makes you hard to chase and dive
  • You have to be careful because getting caught out of position will lead to your death (especially if you get perma stunned)
Always have TP Scrolls so you can:
  • Take untapped farm
  • Push lanes and get towers
  • Counter Gank
That said, Leshrac is one of my favorite heroes. He's gained a lot of spotlight in the scene recently and isn't always banned. He's pretty versatile and adaptable (e.g. he can play Support, Pusher, Utility, and Bloodstone Carry). I think he's a ton of fun with a really interesting skillset. While this guide is mostly for myself, I hope others find it useful and leads to better games.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hero Guide: Vengeful Spirit

Vengeful Spirit is interesting in that she can be played as a Roaming Support or a Semi-Carry. That's one of the reasons I like her. When the game gets rough, you can step up and carry the team, whereas some supports just start to feel helpless.

This is my personal way of playing her, it's what I enjoy on her. It's not necessarily the best for every situation or every player.



  • Attributes (in terms of Agility Heroes)
    • Fairly high Strength gain: 2.3
    • Sub-Par Agility gain: 2.35
    • Decent Int gain: 1.75
  • General
    • Pretty squishy
    • Low mana pool


  1. Magic Missile
    • Summary
      • 100 / 175 / 250 / 325 Magic Damage (+75 @ each level)
      • Cooldown: 10 Seconds
      • 1.45 / 1.55 / 1.65 / 1.75 second stun (+0.1 @ each level)
      • Cost: 110 / 120 / 130 / 140 Mana ( +10 @ each level)
      • Single Target
      • 500 Range
    •  Notes
      • Breaks Linken's
      • Does pretty good damage
      • Stun is good at level 1
      • Bad increments for stun duration
  2. Wave of Terror
    • Summary
      •  -2 / 3 /4 /5 Armor Debuff
      • Duration: 20 Seconds
      • 18.75 / 37.5 / 56.25 / 75 HP Removal
      • Cooldown: 15 Seconds
      • Cost: 40 Mana
      • 1400 Range & 300 Radius
    • Notes 
      • Gives vision as Wave fires, so it can be used for scouting
      • HP Removal = deals exactly that amount of damage, however, it won't interrupt anything or count as "you got hit"
      • The Armor Debuff is VERY POWERFUL early on
  3. Vengeance Aura
    • Summary
      • Passive Aura
      • +12% / 20% / 28% / 36% Bonus Damage
      • 900 Radius
    • Notes
      • Bonus Damage is based on affected unit's Base Damage and Primary Attribute
      • Can push the lane a bit
  4. Nether Swap
    • Summary
      • Swaps positions with target Hero (Unit with Aghanim's)
      • 600 / 900 / 1200 Range
      • Cooldown: 45 Seconds (10 with Aghanim's)
      • Cost: 100 / 150 / 200 Mana
    • Notes
      • Aghanim's Upgradeable
      • Can be used to save an ally (e.g. they're stunned/slowed)
      • Can be used to screw over an enemy
      • Can be used to initiate (though that can be suicide)



I've seen two main ones:
  1. Max Stun & Wave first, taking Ult when available
  2. Get one level of stun, then Max Wave & Aura, taking Ult when available
I prefer build #1 because:
  • Aura can push the lane
  • Raw Magic Damage is more effective early game
  • Aura isn't going to give as much damage output earlier in the game


  • Courier / Wards
  • Tangos
  • Salve
  • Clarity Potion x 2
  • Iron Branch x 2 or 3
  • Magic Wand
  • Mekanism: early game, you have little HP. You need the active ability and it really helps your team.
  • Phase Boots: I like these for the mobility. It helps with roaming, getting a tough stun off, juking, etc.. A lot of boots are fine on Venge though. It's a personal preference
  • Manta Style: I love this for late game DPS, survivability, and even more mobility
  • Skadi: It's hard to farm up, but it's a nice item for survivability and will let you just rip enemies to shreds.
  • Desolator: Adds to your Wave, making Armor drop super low.
  • Assault Curiass: Gives you more survivability, the aura is great for the team and pushing, plus the attack speed works well on you late game.
  • Force Staff: Always a solid pick up if you're going hard support
  • Drum of Endurance: This is a good item if you're having a rough time. The aura and active help allies. Gives you some more HP and Mana as well.
  •  Sheep Stick: Again, if you're going hard support, this is a good pick up
  • Other
    • Butterfly (DPS & Evasion)
    • Heart (survivability)
    • Linken's Sphere (if you're initiating with your Ult)
    • Aghanim's (in certain games, generally I think it's bad on her though)
    • Rod of Atos (the active lets you hit enemies longer, the HP is good for you, and you're mana dependent in early-mid)
    • Orchid (good for when the other team has an annoying hero like AM that can blink. Gives you good DPS and Mana Regen)

Play Style

Normally, she falls into either a Roaming Support (most of the time), and occasionally as a Carry.

Personally, I like to transition.

Early Game:
  • Try to gank mid almost immediately. Especially if you get a good rune like Haste, Double Damage, or Invisibility. Even Illusion can work. Just stun and then face block (block them with your hero so your mid can get more hits in)
  • Play aggressively in lane. Try to stun and Wave so that you can easily rip through your target. Use your Clarity potions to keep doing this.
  • Roam to other lanes or look for jungling heroes. Vengeful Spirit is actually pretty scary 1v1 early on. Yes, she can be nuked down. But she also has a good nuke and stun, plus the armor debuff makes you do a ton of damage.
Mid Game:
  • You want to be buying wards, dust, etc. here
  • Finish your Phase Boots and Mek
  • Roam around looking for easy kills (i.e. don't wait around forever or you'll lose XP)
  • Don't be afraid to take good ganking runes
  • If no one is farming a lane, use Wave and then easily last hit all the creeps
    • The extra farm will also level you faster, which is good for your allies that love your Aura
  • Use TP Scrolls to get around to different lanes and fights
Late Game:
  • Start taking a higher farm priority
  • Start working on Manta Style
  • Push towers by using Wave to kill all the creeps, allowing your creeps to tank the hits
  • Use Wave frequently to scout areas out, scare enemies off, etc. It's a very powerful spell
  • Once you get Manta, you can basically 1v1 almost anyone. You have a ton of Armor debuff, making you do a lot of damage they won't expect. Multiply that by 3 of yourself, and shit goes down.
Key Things to Remember:
  • You do a lot of hidden damage because you have Wave of Terror, which drops armor hard
  • Wave of Terror is good for scouting Rosh, Uphill, Across the River, etc..
  • Your Aura makes you great for team fights and makes you a DPS beast
  • Wave of Terror is HP Removal. It does exactly how much damage it says it will.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hero Guide: Jakiro

 Updated: November 6, 2012 (Game Version: 6.75c)

Jakiro is an excellent support at the moment. The biggest issue for most players using him is positioning. His spells are all target-area (versus target-unit).

Personally, I love playing Jakiro. Here is my breakdown:



  1. Dual Breath
    • First slows by 30% (and 20% attack speed slow) for 4 seconds
    • 0.3 second delay
    • Then 30/70/105/140 Magic Damage + 5/10/15/20 burn damage
      • Note: that's +40/+35/+35 damage between levels
    • Odd Mechanics
      •  Linken's Sphere blocks the slow, but not the damage (good way to pop a Linken's)
      • 200 Starting Radius ---> 500 Distance ---> 250 Final Radius ==> Able to hit units 950 distance away!
  2. Ice Path
    • Travels 1100 distance after 0.5 Second delay
    • 100 Magic Damage
    • Freezes units in the path for 1 / 1.4 / 1.8 / 2.2 Seconds (basically a stun)
    • Leveling benefits:
      • Reduces Cooldown (12/11/10/9)
      • Increases Duration
      • Mana Cost DOES NOT CHANGE (always 90)
    • Odd Mechanics
      • Triggers Linken's Sphere, but the effect STILL HAPPENS (i.e. win/win)
        • However, BKB/Magic Immunity still prevents it
      • The 0.5 second delay throws a lot of people off (but the massive 1100 distance makes up for it)
  3. Liquid Fire
    • Passive Ability
    • 20/15/10/5 second cool down
    • Deals 10/15/20/25 Magic Damage per second
    • Lasts 5 seconds
    • 300 AoE
    • Reduces enemy attack speed by 20/30/40/50%
    • Odd Mechanics:
      • Affects units and buildings
      • The attack speed reduction affects towers
  4. Macropyre
    • Deals 100/140/180 Magic Damage per second
      • i.e. 700/980/1260 damage over the full duration
    • Lasts 7 Seconds
    • Can cast from 850 units away, affects a 250 radius, and has a 900 distance
    • Massive Mana investment (220/330/440)
    • Short cooldown (60 seconds)
    • Aghanim's Upgradeable
      • Increases Cast Range to 1150 (+300)
      • Increases Distance to 1350 (+450)
      • Increases Damage to 125/175/225 (+25/+35/+45)
        • i.e. 875/1225/1575 (+175/+245/+315) damage over the full duration
    • Odd Mechanics:
      • Destroys all trees in path


  • High Base Strength (highest for INT heroes) -- 24
  • High Strength Growth -- 2.3
  • High Base Intelligence (2nd highest for INT heroes) -- 28
  • High Intelligence Growth -- 2.8
  • Sub-Par Base Move Speed -- 290
  • Sub-Par Range -- 400
  • Clunky Attack Animation
  • Slow-ish Spell Casts



There are a lot of ways to build him. 

My preferred/generic is:
  • Get Dual Breath & Ice Path maxed out by lvl 8 (i.e. skip your ult), prioritize Ice Path
  • Level 9: Either your Ult or Liquid Fire
  • Level 10: Get your ult if you haven't
  • Level 11+: Max out Liquid Fire & your Ult
  • Early levels of Liquid Fire can accidentally push the lane
  • Your ult is a huge mana investment and is hard to hit for the full duration, so I skip it until later
    • The exception to this is when you have someone like Enigma or Faceless Void who have ults that allow yours to work better
The Alternative:

  • Ice Path
  • Dual Breath
  • Ice Path
  • Liquid Fire
  • Ice Path
  • Ult/Dual Break

Liquid Fire can be incredibly useful on its own. As long as you target an enemy hero when its up, you won't risk losing lane control. It's great for pushing if you want to do some early. The slow helps in general as well.


  • Courier/Wards (150g /200g)
  • Tangos (90g)
  • Salve (100g)
  • 2 x Clarity Potion (50g each)
  • 2-3 Iron Branches (53g each)
  • Flying Courier
  • Wards/Support Items
  • TP Scrolls
  • Boots:
    • Phase Boots/Tranquil Boots + Soul Ring
      • 2nd Support Build. Helps you roam/gank, you're also super slow and have spells that require good position, Soul Ring gives you the mana you need
    •  Arcane Boots
      • Hard support build
  • Magic Wand (always good)
Mid-Late Game/Situational:
  • Support items (wards, dust, smoke, etc.)
  • TP Scrolls 
  • Hard Support
    • Mekansm - good for pushing, team fights, etc. Excellent all around
  • Second Support
    • Force Staff (good for positioning, versatile)
    • Rod of Atos (good HP, Good INT, and the slow helps your Ice Path & Macropyre spells)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Aghanim's (good stats, improves your ult - so long as you're using it well)
    • Sheep Stick (kind of a no-brainer)
    • Eul's Scepter (move speed buff, good active ability - synergizes with Ice Path, lots of mana regen)
    • Drum of Endurance (good stats, the active helps your team, bonus move/attack speed aura)
    • Blink Dagger (good for setting up spells, but the money investment is going to be too high unless you're balling out of control)
    • Shiva's Guard (active synergizes with your spells, the aura is useful and adds onto your spells that already slow move/attack speed, increases survivability)
    • Boots of Travel (if you have a ton of money, it's late game, and you need to be able to quickly get to the lane and push)
    • Orchid (odds are you won't pick this up because the attack speed doesn't do much for Jakiro since his Liquid Fire has a cooldown. But, it's good for Silencing - if they have a blink hero or something) 
    • Veil of Discord - you have a ton of magic damage, this works well with you
    • Pipe - pick if up if they have lots of magic damage

Play Style

  • Role
    • Support - you can play him as hard support
    • Roamer - his skills lend to being good at ganking (lots of slows and stuns)
    • Pusher - Liquid Fire is a great pushing spell because it affects towers and units. Dual Breath is also great for pushing. Laying down Macropyre around a tower will deter enemies from trying to defend the tower or deny it.
    • Utility - in some cases, you can take on a higher GPM demand and be a very versatile hero doing ganks, pushes, and filling the gaps for your team
  • Synergies
    • Dual Breath will help land Ice Path, it's also a good follow up to Ice Path so you can chase
    • Ice Path works with your Ult
  • Miscellaneous Tips
    • Ice Path
      • Use this to cut off an escape route - their choices become: run back into enemies or get frozen
      • Cast this from the trees/fog to hit with ease (it has a huge 1100 distance)
      • This pops Linken's and still freezes the enemy
    • You make Linken's Sphere carriers cry
      • Dual Breath pops Linken's and still damages the holder (but won't slow)
      • Ice Path pops Linken's and still freezes them in place
    • You're very good at pushing
      • Dual Breath takes down creeps fast and makes them attack slower (dealing less damage to your own creeps)
      • Liquid Fire works on buildings
      • Liquid Fire slows Tower attack speed
    • You're good at counter-pushing
      • Again, Liquid Fire slows attack speed and damages over time
      • Dual Breath rocks creeps
      • Macropyre will demolish any push when used correctly
    • You're an excellent team fighter
      • Liquid Fire slows attack speeds. Try to hit the enemy carry with it to make them useless
      • Dual Breath slows move speed and attack speed
      • Macropyre will force an enemy to move. You'd be stupid to fight in it because it can deal a Laguna Blade (Lina's ult) worth of damage over time
      • Macropyre makes it hard for enemies to defend their tower or push yours

Analysis: Lifesteal

Should you decide to get lifesteal on a hero, there are many options to choose from. Here is my breakdown of the items, when to get each, as well as some comparisons/generalities.



Mask of Madness

  • The extra attack speed helps proc percent based abilities (i.e. gives them more chances to proc)
  • Gives a quick burst of attack speed (+100)
  • Can help you escape/chase due to increased movespeed (+25%)
  • Take additional damage (30% more)
  • Must have good positioning (or the additional damage will own you)
  • Lasts 12 seconds with no way to turn it off
  • Getting stunned/locked down makes you even more vulnerable than you already are
  • Takes up your one Unique Attack Modifier (a.k.a. Orb)

Helm of the Dominator

  • Lets you control a creep (usually used for stacking or scouting)
  • Can be diassembled
  • Good build up (Helm of Iron Will is a nice lane item for armor and regen)
  • +20 Damage, +5 Armor
  • Can be built into Satanic
  • Counts as a Unique Attack Modifier
  • Only 15% Lifesteal (as opposed to 16% or 17%)
  • Does not provide a whole lot of survivability and only decent damage

Vladamir's Offering

  • NOT a Unique Attack Modifier
  • Good/Easy build up
  • Provides an aura
  • Gives bonuses to Armor, Damage, Regen (MP/HP)
  • More expensive than MoM & HotD
  • Lifesteal only applies to Melee Units
  • Armor Aura doesn't stack with Assault Curiass, Ring of Basilius, or Ring of Aquila (best armor aura will trump others)
  • Bonus damage is based on base damage and damage from attributes. (i.e. not overall damage)


  • Survivability (+25 STR, which is 475 HP & +0.75 HP Regen)
  • 25% lifesteal
  • Active Ability increases lifesteal by 175% for 3.5 seconds
  • Builds on HotD
  • Expensive (6150g in total)
  • Unique Attack Modifier

Decision Making


  • If you get Lifesteal (with the exception of Vlads), you're opting not to get another Unique Attack Modifier like Desolator, Eye of Skadi, Mjollnir, etc. (there are some exceptions to the rules as well)
  • Lifesteal isn't that great unless you attack quickly or hit hard
  • If you can't keep on your target, Lifesteal will provide you with nothing
  • Lifesteal helps prolong your existence (provided you're not stunned/disarmed), it will not help bring down enemies faster
  • Lifesteal items generally don't provide that great of stats, damage, armor, etc. for the cost
Because of the poor stats, inability to attack quickly or deal lots of damage in early game, lifesteal usually isn't that great early game.
The one exception is if you plan to Rosh early (e.g. Ursa, Lycan). Then it will help you stay alive long enough to bring Rosh down.
Important Note: Lifesteal does not work on illusions (regardless of what animation plays)


  • Get this when you can easily gain the upperhand in positioning (e.g. many people get this on Faceless Void because his ult minimizes the downsides of the item)
  • The increased attack speed helps trigger % based spells (e.g. bash, crits)


  • Get this to make creep stacks for yourself
  • Works on ranged heroes (unlike Vlads lifesteal)
  • You want the Lifesteal, plus a little Damage and Armor to help you along


  • Get this if you want to Rosh early
  • Support heroes can carry this because it frees up and item slot for melee carries
  • You have melee minions
  • It's mid-late game, you have a BKB/Linkens, a decent attack speed or damage output, and want to be able to stay in the battle longer


  • If it's late game and you want to make more use of your HotD
  • You need the extra survivability
  • The active will really help you out

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Theory Crafting: Viper

Viper is a hero that is an excellent ganker and has some good survivability.

The Hero


  1. Poison Attack: A cheap cast spell that provides an attack speed and move speed slow, as well as a bit of magic damage over time.
  2. Nethertoxin: A passive spell that deals physical damage based on missing HP as well as adding some bonus base damage. It is less effective against creeps, dealing only 50% of the damage.
  3. Corrosive Skin: Another passive spell that slows the move speed and attack speed of anyone attacking him while dealing magic damage over time for 3 seconds. It also adds some magic armor.
  4. Viper Strike: A pretty big slow for 5.1 seconds that also deals pretty decent magic damage over that time. The cooldown is pretty short too (80/50/30 seconds). The only problem is it costs a lot of mana.


  • Slow as hell starting move speed (285)
  • Decent attack range (575)
  • Kind of squishy early game

Current Meta

 He's not used frequently in pro games. At one point, Viper was sometimes picked up as a solo mid. Now, he's only seen much in match making.

Items are pretty standard carry stuff:

  • Power Treads (survivability/adaptability)
  • Vanguard (more survivability)
  • Manta Style (move speed, DPS, survivability)
  • BKB (survivability)
Usually, he's taken solo mid and ganks a lot because his slows are heavily geared towards being a ganker.

You'll typically see a Viper maxing out Poison Attack, Nethertoxin and Viper Strike first before taking Corrosive Skin.

Theory Crafting

 Build 1: Radiance Carrier

The idea here is to get some early farm, make a Radiance, and push lanes using the Radiance aura and Corrosive Skin. This is how I see it working:
  1. Take Viper mid
  2. Go with a skill build prioritizing Poison Attack/Nethertoxin
  3. Get Phase Boots (or Tranquil Boots) quickly. Both give you the movespeed you need to roam and gank.
  4. Get lots of kills and save for a Relic
  5. Make Radiance and push lanes with it
  6. Tank up a bit (BKB, Manta Style, Linkens, Pipe, Heart, etc.)
  7. If you get the chance, upgrade your boots to Boots of Travel so you can move between lanes
Situational Items to Consider:
  • Drum of Endurance: HP, Movespeed, Attack Speed, and Mana - pretty much all things you want
  • Shadow Blade: Survivability and Ganking - in MM, most people will not counter you by getting wards and such. If they start buying detection, then they are spending money they wouldn't have needed to spend otherwise.
  • Poor Man's Shield: Survivability and AGI - depending on your stating items, it might be an OK upgrade
  • Aghanim's Scepter: If you're ganking a lot and could use the upgrade, it could be worth the money. Definitely adds some survivability.

Build 2: Jungle

The idea behind this one is to max Corrosive Skin first, get a Poor Man's Shield, and give someone a solo lane in the process. You can easily poke out of the jungle for a quick gank. This is how I imagine it:

  1. Corrosive Skin
  2. Nethertoxin (to kill creeps faster)
  3. Corrosive Skin/Poison Attack (depending on whether you want to set up a lvl 3 gank)
  4. Poison Attack/Corrosive Skin (depending on whether you ganked or not)
  5. Corrosive Skin/Poison Attack/Nethertoxin (depending on what you need)
  6. Ult
  • Poor Man's Shield: gives you AGI and blocking
  • Tranquil Boots/Power Treads: Both are good, just a preferential thing
From there, it's sort of whatever you want to continue on to. Maybe the standard build? Maybe the theoretical build above (rush Radiance)?

My main concern with this build is that Viper would either not be tanky enough to jungle so early or not be able to farm fast enough.