Saturday, August 20, 2011

LOD Builds

The Super Tank - If you are often under-leveled, or make a habit of dying too often, then this build will certainly help you. (Great Fortitude, Return, Dispersion, Morph) The tree is obviously the best choice for this build due to it's high strength gain per level, but if tree is taken, Sven or Pudge also work nicely for these purposes.

Once in lane there are a few things to remember with this build. You'll want to level return and dispersion first since these are the only skills you have that actually damage enemies. I always level morph lastly, usually picking just one level of morph at level seven, then the rest as I finish stat gain and ultimate picks. This will give you some time to afford big regeneration items and some armor. Armor is very important with this build because as soon as you start using morph your armor class will start dropping due to your lowered agility. Ideally, by the time the dropping agility becomes a problem you should have afforded blade-mail. Blade-mail with return and dispersion will reflect so much damage back on an attacker that most players will simply ignore you once you reach this point, allowing you to farm your late game items without interruption.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that your job as a super tank is not to chase down and kill enemy heroes, it's to push lanes relentlessly and draw enemy fire when necessary to protect your mates. Resist the temptation to chase. If your opponents have lots of disable, get black king bar a.s.a.p. If you are playing aggressively and have the edge over your opponents get a blink dagger and counter-push anyone pushing. This will force them to choose between waiting to get ganked by your mates or retreating.

Overall, this is a very dependable build that will keep you in lane for almost the entire game. I often get Hood of Defiance first, even before boots. After boots, if I don't think I need a bkb, I'll usually get a vanguard or a blink dagger depending on whether I just need to keep pushing the lane I am in, or if I need to assist other lanes with counter-pushes.

The Hard Carry - There are lots of carry builds that work very well in LOD, but the one I am going to focus on is my personal favorite. (Empowering Haste, Inner Beast, Overpower, Grow). This build revolves around Tiny's ultimate, grow. Grow will give you massive damage per attack, but it will reduce your attack speed significantly. In order to counteract this effect, all three of the other spell picks are chosen to make your hero attack and move faster.

Overpower is your most important skill to level up early. Overpower, combined with Grow at level six will waste most opponents within a few seconds. Empowering Haste and Inner Beast will augment your attacks between volleys of overpower, so these aren't nearly as important early game as overpower and grow. This being said, I still tend to buy boots first and pick level one empowering haste first in order to make last hitting and denying during the first few levels a little easier. I tend to hide the overpower ability from my opponents until I see a possible kill. If you can hide it until level six and pick grow you can almost certainly get a kill immediately thereafter.

Once you start leveling grow you'll need to start leveling empowering haste and inner beast at the same time to compensate for the loss of attack speed. Even with these skills, you will definitely want to afford a hyper-stone and lothars a.s.a.p. for lightning quick ganks and invisible escapes. Once you have those you will easily be able to afford Boots of Travel with all the gold you'll be farming which will max out your empowering haste buff. If the game goes late (which it shouldn't if you are doing well) complete AC, Satanic, or Buriza, whatever it seems like you need.

A note on ganking: With this build you are a ganking machine, but you are very weak to disable and should tend to avoid a head on fight with any intelligence heroes. Lothars is key for ganking, and I often afford it sooner than later because the invisibility is so helpful. One common mistake I see made by lothars users happens when they go to gank an opponent:

Often, a player will activate lothars just before initiating a gank, get close, then break invis and attack. This is stupid for a number of reasons. For one, if your overpower/grow blitzkrieg doesn't kill them they will be able to respond with an attack while your lothars is still cooling down. Then you are left hoping you will out dps them while auto-attacking, and they have all their spells ready to fire. Bad idea.

Better yet, after breaking invis to attack, maybe another opponent appears and the two of them disable and pawn you.

The point is that you don't want to waste a lothars activation any more than you would want to waste any of your other spells. A better strategy involves a little patience:

Let's say our target is Invoker on the top lane (Scourge Side). Let's pretend they have a Naix jungling top woods that we see from time to time that could spoil our gank. We know Invoker picked at least two disables and Naix is dealing mad dps so if this gank is going to happen, it needs to happen quickly and expertly. Let's also assume the rest of your team is complete garbage because otherwise we would want some help.

The smart thing to do in this situation is buy observer wards before going top. You'll only need one, but it is well worth the price considering that if you die it will cost more than the observer wards did anyway. Use your lothars to sneak into the top woods if you have to and place an observer ward just to the left of the creep camp closest to the first tower in the top lane. This will cover the path near the creep camp as well as the area below the creep camp (the two paths Naix may come to support Invoker).

Before initiating the gank, make sure your lothars is cooled down. When you do initiate the attack, try to aim from tree cover. Your opponent will probably still see you, but it is not nearly as obvious as jumping into the lane. You'll want to be as close as possible when attacking in order to avoid having your target retreat out of your range during the overpower strafing. As soon as the overpower strafing has ended, your opponent will be dead or nearly dead. At this point, activate lothars to avoid any counter-attack and/or to give chase. From this position Invoke will probably retreat to the secret shop to tp away or simply run back up lane. Either way, after activating lothars you will be ready to pursue in either direction.

The Stun Caster - Stun caster definitely one of my most favorite lod builds (Storm Bolt, Fissure, Chakra, Ravage). There are plenty of other stuns to substitute if you like another more, but this is my personal favorite stun combination. Chakra is absolutely core for this build in order to get off some early fissure/storm-bolt spam action. Chakra is very important early game, but becomes less important late game as you will most likely have acquired some serious mana regeneration items.

After level six the build gets really fun when you are able to throw three huge aoe stuns and then chakra replenish all the lost mana.

This build is most effective against carry heroes and other intelligence heroes but is obviously most vulnerable to tank builds that will be able to shrug off the stuns and keep coming. Ideally you should be laning with a carry hero or a tank that can dish out decent dps.

Also, keep in mind that this is a fragile build when facing a 1v1 with any type of hero unless you time your stuns carefully and avoid auto-attack damage hitting you. Pay attention to your cool downs. Fissure and storm-bolt have short cool downs, but ravage takes a while, so don't initiate with it. Throw both fissure and hammer first, that way after you throw ravage, fissure and hammer will have cooled down and will be able to be thrown again. If you time this correctly you will be able to throw five stuns one right after the other, just as each previous stun wears off. Anything short of a morph tank should fall to this onslaught, and if you are ganking with one or more dps heroes you probably won't even get to the third or fourth stun before your opponents die.

I usually wait until level three to throw a stun so that I have at least two stuns and chakra. If it's level four, I'll have picked level two fissure for more damage at the point of initiation. Either way, a diagonal fissure trapping an opponent with a couple of creeps is what you should be watching for. I say diagonal because you don't just want a horizontal fissure blocking retreat. That works sometimes, but if you can create a bottleneck with a diagonal fissure against some trees you'll usually succeed in forcing an opponent to run out and around the fissure, bringing them past the fissure's point of origin (where you would be located). This method will allow you to wait several seconds after casting fissure before you throw a hammer (the longer the better). If you can allow them to waste several seconds trying to go around the fissure, then throw the hammer, your fissure will nearly be cooled down and you may be able to repeat the process, or at least throw one more vicious blow as they are retreating. 


DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) is widely regarded as the best custom map ever created for Warcraft 3. I have been playing DOTA for over five years and consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject.

Legends of DOTA is a relatively new map very similar to what used to be called "OMG mode" on older maps. This map allows players to choose skills and create a customized hero to do battle on a typical DOTA map layout.

These modes are very fun if you are like me, and have become bored with regular DOTA. Almost every game is a completely new experience and there seems to be no end to the possibilities once you begin mixing skills.