Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spotlight on Naga - how to abuse Song

A brief list of abilities you can use while Song is active, or just before cancelling Song:

Warlock – Upheaval channel
Undying – Tombstone spawns zombies during Song
Elder Titan – Set up an Earthsplitter
Enchantress/Chen – get Creeps in position
Brood – surround with spiderlings
Shadow Shaman – easy surround with Wards
Jakiro – pre-drop Macropyre, then quick Ice Path after Song cancelled/ends
KotL – charge up an Illuminate for when Song ends
Techies – lay mines right on top!
Enigma – easy setup for Black Hole (Naga must cancel Song)
Dazzle – allow Weave to tick a bit longer on your team before engaging
Invoker – drop an Ice Path perfectly
Phoenix - Supernova channel, cancel Song before it pops
Kunkka - Cast Ghost ship, cancel Song before it hits
AA – Drop a few Vortexes on enemies

Too much carry? Build these items...

Updated for 7.05

If your dota 2 pub team drafts yet another carry hero, you should abandon the typical item build patterns for your hard-carry hero, and focus on items that will allow you to be effective earlier in the game.  Most of the builds shown in the in-game list assume you have a balanced team, with supports that will get you through the early and mid-game, so you can be a powerhouse later.  Well... that might not happen in pubs, so adjust your item builds accordingly.

Here's a list of some items that are easier to afford / assemble, and will also allow you to be more effective, sooner in the game:

Infused Raindrop:  Perfect for the mana-starved, squishy carry, who's up against magic burst.  This item will save your life, especially when you don't have a support who will die for you...

Power Treads:  these are a good, cheap, flexible item.  Tread-switching to a different ability might just give you the survivability (Str) or Mana (Int) you need.

Drums:  Sometimes thought of as a support item, but it gives a lot of stats for the price, and it's "cheap" on item slots for the stats that it gives.  Good to buy if your hero is squishy.  Drums are now an intelligence-hero equivalent of an Aquila.  Generally better on supports, now.

Ring of Aquila:  Normally bought on agilty heroes that need mana, gives a little starting boost to damage, armor, and mana regen.

Solar Crest:  Although the Medallion is normally thought of as a support item, the Solar Crest is actually quite amazing, and gives your squishy carry both survivability (armor/evasion) and mana regen which can make them very effective in the mid game, especially with lockdown + armor reduction on enemies.

Dragon Lance:  For ranged carries who need bulking up, this is a great item.  The range bonus is great and aids your positioning, but early-on, you mainly want it for stats.  Builds very nicely into the Hurricane Pike for more mobility.  Against some opponents (Clockwerk, Ursa, Riki), you might even build the Force Staff first!

Vanguard:  My experience with this item is that it makes you extremely durable in the early and mid game.  Often sneered at in favour of damage items, this item really bulks up the squishier carries (like PA), and directs you toward building a Basher (quite a good item, and inconvenient to your opponents who like to TP away), and eventually an Abyssal.  Do NOT build this if you already went for a Poor Man's Shield - if you go too defensive, you won't do any damage and will still be ineffective in midgame fights.

Vladamir's Offering:  Not to be underestimated - this item is easily assembled, and gives lots of little bonuses.  You can also hang onto it for most of the game.  Just make sure someone else isn't also buying it, as more than one is a waste.  If you need your own lifesteal and someone else is getting Vlad's, get Helm of the Dominator.  just get a straight Morbid Mask, and later build into Satanic.

Maelstrom:  this weapon does surprising damage with its procs, and acts as a farming item as well.  If your hero is pretty good on survivability and/or has an escape ability, this might be your first go-to item.  You can keep this a long time before building into Mjolnir - it gives you damage but little else.

Sange and Yasha:  for Str and Agility heroes, this gives a lot of what you need to be effective mid game:  survivability, damage, and chase/speed.  It's easy to assemble out of lower-cost parts (mostly), and even the Sange or Yasha is quite effective on its own.  Can also be disassembled later for Halberd + Manta, or Silver Edge + Manta.

Black King Bar (BKB):  Sometimes you just need magic immunity early.  Don't dismiss this item because it doesn't give as much damage as you'd like, for the price.  Sometimes, having one means being in the fight instead of running for your life or getting blown up instantly.

Rejected (7.05)

Helm of the Dominator:  This used to be a great item for stats, but they nerfed it a lot, and now it's more of a support item.  However, do not underestimate the power of creep buffs!

Other Items for Mid-Game fighting carries:
  • Phase Boots (good for chase or if hp is already decent)
  • Crystalis (good if your damage is already high and you just need more damage)
  • Armlet (str carries)
  • Mask of Madness (nerfed then buffed - good again, but only on tougher heroes)
Race Car” Carry:  Phase Boots, Windlace, S&Y / Manta.  For S&Y, get Yasha first for the speed.

Your item slots might look like this:
  • Power Treads or Phase Boots
  • Drums or Aquila
  • Maelstrom
  • Sange and/or Yasha
  •  TP scroll
  •   <Hero-specific item (Blink, Soul Ring, Hp or Regen item, etc)  or “leftover” starting item (such as a shield)>

Low-Tier Picks for Higher Win Rates (6.86)

Tired of picking Pudge, Invoker, Spectre and Juggernaut?

The following heroes have lower pick rates (<10%) in low-tier pub matches, but >50% average win rates:
  • Elder Titan
  • Centaur
  • Beastmaster
  • Lycan
  • Treant
  • Ancient Apparition
  • Jakiro
  • Warlock
  • Undying
  • Nightstalker
  • Veno
  • Abaddon
  • Sand King
  • Dragon Knight
  • Medusa
  • Chaos Knight
  • Dazzle
Stats pulled from Meta Analyzer on

Spotlight on Zeus 6.86

Spotlight on Zeus
Zeus is a hero who seems to dominate the lower brackets, but is rarely picked in the pro scene. Let’s look at pros and cons first:
  • Extremely high magic damage
  • Can snowball heavily
  • Poor mobility
  • No lockdown
  • Squishy
  • Slow attack animation / difficult to last-hit without Arc Lightning spam
  • Falls off lategame / no lategame synergy
  • Easy to steal kills from carries
How to Play Zeus
You need to like playing from the back lines.
Use your ult at the start of a teamfight, as the first blows are struck, not at the end. Not only does this make the enemy team less likely to be aggressive, but it also allows your carries to get the kills rather than you stealing them all later.  
Stealing kills is bad because Zeus is mediocre in late game when nukes do less against high health pools, and BKBs are commonplace.  Yes, Zeus has static field, but that's more about chip damage than serious wounds.
Ground-Targeting Lightning Bolt can check high ground, and also reveal hidden enemies.  It's an under-used and highly useful application of the ability. You can also kill enemies by ground-targeting the lightning bolt - it actually has a 325 search range, and will hit the closest enemy in that area.  You can also get extra range out of this (700 cast range + 325 search range).
How to Counter Zeus
  • Magic Stick/Wand:  Zeus relies on spamming his spells, both in lane and in teamfights.  You are almost guaranteed to get a ton of charges.
  • Buy a Pipe. This is almost non-negotiable if you ever want to teamfight – starting teamfights at half health is not fun.
  • Supports buy cloaks / glimmer capes:  it's almost always worth buying even just a "casual cloak" against Zeus. Even a L2 ult + L4 Lightning Bolt = 700 damage.  A cloak brings you innate magic resistance from 25% to 36.25%,   Instead of 525 dmg from the combo, you take 446, or 80 less damage - that's pretty good for a 550-gold item.
  • Smoke to avoid Thundergod's Wrath when running away – it will reveal but not damage you if you are “invisible”.
  • Blade mail can be good if you are tanky, or are a high-priority target that people tend to jump on. It may not save your life, but at least it hurts Zeus!
  • Gap-closers with decent Hp are very good (Spirit Breaker good, Storm Spirit ok),
  • Burst heroes (Skywrath, Spectre, Lina, QoP), to prey on squishy Zeus.
  • Silences (Death Prophet, Drow, Skywrath, etc)
  • Pugna, because Zeus wants to be able to spam his spells without getting zapped.
  • Anti-mage, 'cause... he's an anti-magic hero.

  • Gank him frequently, especially if he goes mid. He has no escape or stun, and only gets stronger once he has items (mana regen, mobility, hp)
  • If you find that teamfights aren’t quick, decisive affairs, try targeting Zeus earlier, so he can’t spam his spells.
  • Jumping on Zeus and killing him before he can ult greatly increases your chances of teamfight success.