Friday, November 27, 2015

Heroes with Highest Cast Ranges

For the purpose of this list, we're going to ignore Global cast range abilities (AA Ice Blast, etc), because you can find those in my Global Abilities list.

I've also left off heroes with spells that summon or dominate creeps - those ranges aren't that relevant in combat.

NOTE:  This post is still a work-in-progress.

1200+ Effective Range

Wind Ranger - Power Shot (2600)
Jakiro - Ice Path (1200)
Tinker Heat Seeking Missile (2500)
Keeper of the Light - Illuminate (1800)
Disruptor - Glimpse (600/1000/1400/1800 by Level)

1000+ Effective Range

Rubick - Spell Steal (1000, 1400 w/Agh's)
Bane - Enfeeble (1000)

900+ Effective Ranges

Pugna Life Drain (range 900/1050/1200 by skill level)

Crystal Maiden - Crystal Nova (1100 = 700 range + 400 radius)
Puck - Orb (2175 = 1950 + 225 radius)

Jakiro - Macropyre (900, or 1800 w/ Agh's)
Silencer - Last Word (900)

Disruptor - Kinetic Field (900 + 325 radius)

Keeper of the Light - Mana Leak (550/700/850/1000 by Skill Level)
Keeper of the Light - Blinding Light (900 + 675 radius)

800-850 Cast Ranges

Lina Dragon Slave (800 extends to 1025)
Wind Ranger - Shackleshot (800, +575 second target latch range)
Zeus - Arc Lightning (850, +500 bounce distance)
Nature's Prophet - Sprout L4 (850)
Silencer - Curse of the Silent (800 + 350 radius)
Rubick - Fade Bolt (800 + 440 bounce)
Disruptor - Thunder Strike (800)
Disruptor - Static Storm (800 + 450 radius)

700-750 Cast Ranges

Pugna - Decrepify (700)
Puck - Dream Coil (750)
Enchantress - Agh's Impetus (740) ((550 normally))
Zeus - Lightning Bolt (700)
Jakiro - Dual Breathe (750 max)
Chaos Knight - Reality Rift (700 @ L4)
Ogre Magi - Ignite (700, 1400 multicast range)

600-650 Cast Ranges

Lina Light Strike Array (625)
Lina Laguna Blade (600)
Shadow Shaman Ether Shock (600, can extend to 1100)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Team of semi-carries

What if there's no hard carry?

Reference:  List of Semi-carries

Team ideas:
#1: (Dual lanes)
Venge safelane farm + Abaddon safe support
Veno mid
Timbersaw farming offlane + Lina offlane support

#2: (Aggro tri)
Beastmaster solo safelane
Leshrac + Lina + Axe aggro tri
Windranger mid

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Spotlight on Vengeful Spirit (6.85)

I'm writing this article with a hypothesis:  Vengeful spirit could and should probably be played more often as a carry.
Updated for 7.05 on April 26, 2017

Venge as a hero
  • 3rd Highest starting Agility in the game (after Riki and Phantom Lancer)
  • 2nd Highest Agility growth in the game (after Morphling)
  • 2nd Highest overall stat growth in the game (2.55, after Silencer's 2.57) 
  • Higher base attack damage and attack speed than Phantom Assassin (levels 11 & 16).
  • Low-cooldown stun (10s at L4)
  • Powerful skills that scale well with right-click damage (armor reduction, % damage aura)
  • Ultimate that allows re-positioning of self and of allies/enemies, and also acts as a interrupt. 

Pro players have been valuing Blink Daggers and the Force Staff more and more lately - realizing that positioning in Dota 2 is key, and the more the better.  Perhaps it's a holdover from old patches, but Vengeful Spirit didn't used to be able to use a Blink Dagger, which might still be clouding the thinking of some long-time players.

Except for  Pudge (skillshot) and Batrider (Blink + Lasso + Forcestaff), Vengeful Spirit is the only other hero who can literally move an enemy hero into an ambush.  Now that she has the ability to use a Blink Dagger, she can also get HERSELF out of the bad spot that Nether Swap usually puts her in, and rejoin her team, instead.

What Limits Venge As a Carry?

1) Farming Speed
There's a trend lately, towards fast-farming carries, namely Alchemist, Shadowfiend, Queen of Pain, and Sven.  Venge does not have any innate farm-boosting skills, although Wave can help her farm neutrals and push waves a bit faster.  She's also not typically itemized with a Maelstrom for faster farming (but she could be!).

2) Skills:  Self vs. Team
Venge's skills will benefit her team regardless of whether she's the carry or not.  Thus, there's no reason not to take another hero as a carry that synergizes well with Venge, instead of making Venge herself the carry.

How Carry Venge Could Be Itemized

Most players build Venge with a Desolator, to allow her to snowball as a semi-carry, and also to synergize with her Wave for additional armor reduction.  While this is not "wrong", there are other possibilities:

1) Illusion-based Venge
Since Venge's aura doesn't affect illusions, it's not optimal to build Manta first.  However, items that boost base damage such as Skadi, DO take advantage of Venge's aura.  So, if you're adding stat-based damage anyway, why not add some illusions that also benefit from stats?  This results in a Aquila+Yasha into Manta/Skadi type of Venge build, which is pretty decent.

2) Damage-based Venge
Since Venge has better Str-gain (2.6) than some Str-based carries, as long as she has time to get some levels and possibly a minor hp-boosting item (Treads, Aquila) (Drums, or casual Ogre Club, perhaps), Venge can focus on damage.  Items such as Chrystalis, Shadowblade and S&Y come to mind.  Like most Agility-based carries, she also benefits from a Poor Man's Shield in early game.

3) Maelstrom for Farming / Pushing Venge
I think the Maelstrom is an underrated early item.  The proc alone is almost worth a nuke, and it's mana-free on a really low cooldown.  Better yet, it allows faster wave-clear and farming of neutrals!  The only downside is that it doesn't boost Venge's low early hp pool - so buy a casual Ogre Club (you can turn in into an S&Y or BKB later). Also, if you buy the Mithril Hammer first, it doesn't give away your item build - you could be going for a Desolator or BKB, too.

4) Utility-based Venge
While I don't recommend a neither-support-nor-carry build for Venge, because this type of role usually falls to the 3-position, Venge COULD be itemized with utility items, such as an Agh's (low-cooldown swap), Vlad's (team damage boost), or Solar Crest (single target armor reduction).  She could also boost her hp pool and stats by getting an early Mekanism for her team, which has been done in the past by mid-carries such as Shadowfiend and Viper.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Spotlight on Venomancer (6.85)

Venomancer is currently being picked as a semi-carry or a greedy support hero.  With powerful teamfight and push/anti-push, the hero can be a great asset to a team... if you can find somewhere to lane him.

My own experience with Veno is that without farm priority, the hero is extremely slow and squishy, similar to Crystal Maiden (CM), but without the early-game power that CM gives.  This basically means that Veno ISN'T a support, and other than trying to get a very-early kill with, for example, Venomous Gale + Blade Flurry, the hero should be played as a snowballing semi-carry.

Nerfs to Venomous Gale:
It should be noted that Venomous Gale's early damage, and Veno in general, has been severely nerfed in recent patches.  Check this out:
6.85:  Damage = 75/250/425/600 (or 56/187/319/450 after typical magic resistance)
6.80:   Reduced base attack damage from 24-26 to 19-21 (total attack damage is now 41-43), and reduced base health regeneration from 0.75 to 0.25

6.79:  Rescaled damage over time from 15/30/45/60 to 0/30/60/90 (total damage from 250/500/750/1000 to 25/500/975/1450)
6.76:  Reduced initial damage from 50/70/70/100 to 25/50/75/100,  and increased damage over time from 10/20/40/50 to 15/30/45/60 (total damage from (200/370/670/850 to 250/500/750/1000)

What do these changes mean?
6.76 - Veno's Gale initial damage decreases, but total dmg increased.  Target can be denied more easily.
6.79 - L1 Gale damage drops from 250 to 25. Veno a lot less relevant until Level 3.  Midgame damage increased.  Veno moves from a support to a greedy support or midgame semi-carry.
6.80 - Once again, Veno's ability to support is nerfed.  Moves further towards semi-carry.
6.81 to 6.84 - little to no change.  Poison Nova ultimate improved due to DoT change.
6.85 - Massive damage nerf to Gale.  Total dmg decrease from 25/500/975/1450 to 75/250/425/600.  While this brings Gale in line with a regular ability (rather than an ultimate), it further hurts Venomancer as a nuker-support.

How is Veno used now?
In pro games, Venomancer has been used in almost any lane, from solo offlane, to mid, to safelane carry.  He is rarely used as a support - and if so, he gets a Midas ASAP.  One mistake some teams make when using Venomancer is not allowing him to get the levels to get his ultimate online soon enough, or to get enough levels to keep his ultimate's scaling relevant.

However, Venomancer can shut down many mid-lane farming carries with a mixture of Plague Wards and Poison Sting (poison sting can deal 32/90/176/288 after reductions, with Wards dealing 16/45/88/144 after reductions, over 6-15 secs).  Unfortunately, Veno's own Sting DoT does NOT stack with the DoT from his wards, nor with itself (if you want an obscene stacking DoT, I recommend Huskar...)

Veno as Ganker
What's interesting about Veno is that, by Level 9 (Max Sting, Max Gale, L1 Ultimate), you can do 288+(600*0.75)= 738+auto-attack damage to one target with 1 cast and 1 auto-attack.  Add a Shadowblade onto this, and you get 175 extra (physical) damage, plus the auto-attack (assuming attack damage of 84 with L9 and only the shadowblade, and enemy phsyical resist of about 25%), for a total of 932 damage (over 15 secs).

Veno as Support
The problem with Veno as support is that you need levels, and you're very slow and squishy.  To me, this says "Blink Dagger", or perhaps "Midas into Blink".  However, you still don't want to jump into the middle of the fray - just close enough to get off your ultimate, and then perhaps catch a couple of heroes with Gale.  Throw down a few Wards to slow fleeing enemies, and your job is done.
As support, you will generally Max Gale and 1 point in Poison Sting, then Max Wards, and always prioritize your ultimate.

So how should I build Veno?
There are two popular skill builds:
1) Sting + Wards (anti-mid or support)
2) Gale + Sting (semi-carry)

Good Luxury Items for Veno:
Aghs:  Ultimate damage is already disgusting.  This makes it more disgusting, and reduces the L3 cooldown.
Octarine Core:  Again, you're trying to get your ultimate cooldown lower, and a lower cooldown on both Wards and Gale is nice, too.
Shadowblade:  As a mid-game item, you can gank quite effectively.  L4 Gale damage is very high for a non-ultimate, and combined with the slow + Shadowblade bonus damage + auto-attacks, you can solo-gank quite well.
Boots of Travel:  Veno also makes a respectable split-pusher, but I'd recommend a Blink Dagger or Shadowblade for escaping.  BoTs allow you to be where you need to be on the map.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Terrorblade Build (6.85) - Earlier Aggression

Terrorblade is a (somewhat) illusion-based hard agility carry.  He's extremely squishy early game, especially against nukes, but has great damage both mid and late-game with Metamorphosis and high agility growth and hard-hitting illusions.  His ultimate is a bit strange, but can be used both to weaken enemies and save both teammates and Terrorblade himself.

- Don't pick Terrorblade against a heavy-nuke (magic damage) line-up!
- DO pick Terrorblade against heroes that like prolonged fights!
- DO pick Terrorblade if you are running a defensive Safelane tri-lane, or have a dedicated hard support to back you up in the early game!

Worst Enemies (by Dotabuff win rate):
- Timbersaw
- Sand King
- Axe
- LC
- Slark
- Zeus
The Pro Scene

In the current meta of 6.85, as of this writing, Terrorblade hasn't seen pro play due to the preference for early-fighting carries, or carries with absurd early-farming speed, such as Shadowfiend and Alchemist.

So if you DID want a Terrorblade who could fight earlier, how could you itemize?

Early-Aggression Item Build:
Start:  Tango, Branch x 3, Shield, Gauntlet.
Early:  Boots, Bracer, Shield, (leftover branches), TP
Midgame*:  Power Treads, Ogre Club, Bracer, Shield, TP
Core**:  Power Treads, Maelstrom, Bracer, TP
Core Ext***:  BKB/S&Y (situational), HoD (once your hp pool and damage have been increased, add lifesteal - it's better if a teammate has a Vlad's, though - it works for your ranged form now with the recent change).
6-Slotted****:  Boots of Travel, Butterfly, Deadalus, BKB or Manta, +2 situational (Heart, Satanic, Skadi, Mjolnir, MKB)
7-Slotted:   Moon Shard

*This combination is largely to buff Terrorblade's terrible hp pool.  The idea here is to get cheap items that will give him toughness.  Because of high agility, he doesn't need armor, and a Vanguard is not a great choice because Terrorblade should be in ranged form whenever he is fighting.  The ranged form is your raw damage boost, which gets boosted further with the addition of crit.
** This becomes your early-fight equipment.  With L4 Metamorphosis and Agility Treads, you'll be doing 256 DPS, with 967 hp, or 1663 EHP / 1289 MHP (Magic EHP).  Mael is also good for farming and wave-clearing either both melee and ranged forms.
***Given that you took the Ogre Club for toughness, you can go for early a BKB against lockdown/nukes, or an S&Y for better chase and damage.  You can later disassemble the S&Y to create a Manta (sell the Sange eventually).
**** The order is which you get items is important, and depends on what composition you are facing.  You will generally just get BoTs to free up a TP slot, but with the decent decrease in cooldown of BoT vs. TP, you may want to get them earlier for farming.  You may also need another defensive item (Heart, Satanic, Skadi), or an MKB, depending on what you are facing).  I personally favour Skadi + MKB.

Skill Build:
General: You want to maximize Metamorphosis, for the raw bonus damage.  Given that you're going for cheaper toughness items rather than a drum for balanced stats, you can skip Conjure Image until later, and take some early Stats.  One level of Reflection is taken for the slow.  Sunder (ultimate) is delayed because of the lack of mana available to cast it when needed; the item build above skips the Aquila, meaning that you need a support with Arcane Boots, and/or you need to conserve mana for fighting.
*First Skill-up:  You should generally NOT skill your first point until you need it.  In some situations, having Reflection in an early engagement (especially 3vX or more) can make a huge difference.
Level 1* - Metamorphosis
Level 2 - Stats
Level 3 - Metamorphosis
Level 4 - Reflection
Level 5 - Metamorphosis
Level 6 - Stats
Level 7 - Metamorphosis (L4)
Level 8 & 9 - Reflection
Level 10 - Sunder
Level 11 - Sunder
Level 12 - Reflection (L4)
Levels 13-15 - Conjure Image
Level 16 - Sunder
Level 17 - Conjure Image
Level 18+ - Stats

** You should be level 4 before the mid-laner comes ganking, so delaying Reflection until this point shouldn't hurt you that much.  When enemies' right-click damage is low, Reflection L1 isn't a great harass tool anyway (40% of their damage for 2 auto-attacks, taking into armor mitigation, is going to be somewhere around 65*2*0.75*0.4 = 40 damage total).