Friday, September 14, 2012

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

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