Broodmother is one of the most underrated killers in Dota 2. She is so often labelled as a tower pusher (which admittedly she does like no one else) but she is a single target monster with the right build. The heroes that can 1 v 1 Brood and win are very few.
With her excellent and recently buffed talent tree Broodmother is becoming even more of a beast. Brood dominates lanes making her a natural pick for the off lane however she is an amazing mid lane hero. With her +25% XP talent she will be making a comeback in the mid lane.
I hope this guide will detail not only the basics of playing Brood well but also some of the more advanced strategies you can use to destroy enemy teams.
One of the most perplexing issues with Brood is her late game weakness and late game team dependence. Her talents have addressed this issue somewhat however it must still be noted. I have lost count of the number games I've played where Brood completely destroys the enemy team in the early and mid game only to loose late game.
This is my first guide and is a bit of a work in progress. I will be uploading more video examples soon. I know the formatting is not the best and constructive criticism is welcome.
So this is often one of the most important questions for potential Brood players. Brood is hard countered by only a few heroes but struggles against many depending on the skill of the players and enemy team. Additionally Brood needs team mates that can fend for themselves on the map and have good awareness of Brood's limitations.
As a general rule enemies with AOE stuns, AOE damage and "tankiness" or heroes that can track down or reveal invisible units can be very hard to deal with. Remember, even though many of the below heroes have ways to shut Brood down they can also be easy food for you and your spider babies given the right play style and item build. The better you get the more the heroes that counter brood become regular food.
Hard counters that solo kill Brood quite easily (you may even consider re-picking)
Sand King Has a great stun and his caustic can be used on Brood's spiderlings.
Timbersaw Aoe burst damage, kills trees Brood likes to hide in and is a tank. Hard to kill.
So looking at these lists you could reasonably come to the conclusion; why would anyone ever pick brood except maybe as a last pick in the perfect draft. Well if play in the high MMR or very high skill ranks I'd say that's spot on. That is exactly where Brood usually sits.
In the lower ranks however things are much better. Yes there are a lot of heroes, when combined with a competent team, can ruin your game. But remember although they can counter Brood I don't mean she cant kill most of them. You definitely can and that's where the fun is.
Broodmother is not nearly as complicated as some multi-unit heroes but you absolutely need the basic keybindings setup to be effective. Once done you will quickly pick up how to control Brood and her spiderlings. I know this will be old news and already setup and for many of you but just in case, here are the basics.
Go to Settings > Hotkeys
Allocate a key to "Select Hero" and a key to "Select All Controlled Units"
Go to Settings > Hotkeys > To Advanced Hotkeys(Bottom of Window)
Allocate a key to "Select All Other Units"
I use two buttons on my gaming mouse for some of these actions but pick what works for you.
While playing, think of your spiderlings as one separate unit that you will constantly be swapping between when necessary using "Select All Other Units" for you spiderlings and "Select Hero" for Brood. If necessary you will be able to grab all your units with "Select All Controlled Units". It's not nearly as hard as it may sound and getting into this habit brings your Brood game to a whole new level.
There are of course other methods of controlling Brood and her spiders but that's the basics.
Even in lower skill games most enemy laners will buy sentries to counter you in the first few minutes. Get in early with these to be ready. With your single observer you can block the main enemy safe-lane pull camp before the lanes start and also give critical vision of the enemy ganking path. With your sentry and quelling blade you can drive your enemy mad - keep checking your enemy's inventory. Wait for them to get a sentry. Watch when they have placed it then place your sentry and deward with quelling blade. Any other sentries they place instantly quell it. It's a lot of fun. The Soul Ring recipe means you wont need to use the courier for a long time leaving it for the safe and mid laners.
Finish your Soul Ring next in lane from the side shop. Soul Ring is fantastic on Brood as it converts her innate health regen (while standing in her Spin Web's) into much needed burst mana. Use it before Spawn Spiderlings whenever possible to extend your mana pool. Always get a soul ring on brood. Don't go bottle even if mid, its terrible.
Brood can be played with no boots at all as she has very high movement speed bonuses from her webs however I have found Phase Boots are extremely good. They give +24 damage and the active ability Phase gives crucial survivability in tight spaces. Brood and her spiderlings loose free movement for 6 seconds when they are damaged causing all sorts of movement issues. Having phase boots allows her to run through units regardless and has saved many an arachnid over the years.
Blight Stone can also be purchased now for its negative armour effect (although no longer in the side shop unfortunately) that will later be made into a Desolator.
Do not hesitate to purchase more Sentry Ward's and Observer Ward's as needed throughout the game. Observer Ward's not only help you avoid incoming ganks but show you foolish heroes straying into your webs for easy kills.
Next focus on completing your Orchid Malevolence. It will give you all the mana you need with Soul Ring and the active 5 second silence and 30% damage amplification allows for regular kills. Some players swap Orchid Malevolence with an Echo Sabre. This is fine I think against teams with few stuns and active escape abilities however I think Orchid Malevolence is a far superior items for brood in general.
Building an early Black King Bar next takes brood to a whole new level. I used to hate buying it as I thought of it as a defensive item. On brood it is better used offensively and to devastating effect. With Black King Bar and soon a Desolator you can become a complete nightmare to the enemy. Use it while attacking groups of two or three heroes and watch the bloodbath.
I usually go for Assault Cuirass as the next item if the game is heading into late game. Things are usually getting hard for Brood now if the enemy hard carries are coming online. The armour aura and attack speed help Brood stay alive while still killing enemies hopefully.
There is plenty of room to experiment with builds late game according to the draft.
Other Items Often Used by Players and in Guides
Many of you might be wondering why Manta Style is missing. Don't get me wrong, I used to get this instead of Black King Bar always as its in every guide and everything about it should be amazing. Manta can dispel dust, can disjoint many stuns and has great stats. The problem with Manta Style as I see it is all in the timing. Manta Style costs $5000 gold. Even for brood that's a hell of a lot of time farming. So say you build this after Orchid Malevolence. That's Brood's mid game pretty much done. Then you consider Manta Style is all about being defensive and staying alive in lane, you have yourself one tower pushing rat build. If you're against a decent team with some disable and tank you will struggle to keep the enemy under control.
Radiance It's expensive and will reveal your position while hiding in your webs due to the burn damage aura. Radiance is however used in "Build 2" for its miss chance.
Bottle Many builds and players seem to get bottle on Brood instead of Soul Ring. Brood passively regenerates health anyway and Bottle has been nerfed so its mana regen is very limited unless replenished often. Soul Ring is the better item I think even if Brood goes mid lane.
Vladmir's Offering has long been a contentious item on Brood. Lifesteal does stack with Brood's Insatiable Hunger but she does such massive natural lifesteal it seems almost negligible. By the time Brood has an Orchid you don't need the mana aura but I suppose the armour for your spiderlings and team might make this a valid option in some situations.
I can only suggest this talent build, I am sure other builds will work. The level 10 and 25 talents though I think are more clear. The level 10 "+25% XP Gain" is fantastic and will get you to you level 25 talent of "+8 Max Webs" faster. The webs help you move around the map in relative safety and help address one of Broods biggest weaknesses; her reliance on a limited web pool. The level 15 and 20 talents are more debatable. See what you prefer.
As mentioned brood dominates lanes so she can easily go mid or the off lane.
Brood is usually played solo off lane and I find most players understand this. If I do find another teammate wants to off lane as well I recommend not getting into an argument over it and I usually don't even mention it now. Simply ask for last hits in the first few minutes or so giving you crucial early levels and your completed Soul Ring. As long as they don't start last hitting from the start you should both be fine. The key when running a duel lane is to quickly setup webs in the jungle to farm giving Brood's lane partner some creeps to kill and both of you get your own XP.
Blocking the enemy safe lane pull camp with Observer Ward's helps enormously in the early minutes of the lane. The last thing you want is a squishy meal farming under their tower. Far better to have the creep waves meeting out in the open for easy kills.
See the next chapter for discussion on Web placement.
What if things are going badly for you or your team?
If all goes well you will kill heroes, take over the jungle and keep pressure on until you eventually push through the enemy rax. What if things go badly and your team is suddenly loosing fights while you stay in your lane? If you are not effectively pressuring towers and killing enemies in your lane at this stage I highly recommend helping out your team at every reasonable opportunity. If things are going badly for your team in the mid game you will most likely be the most effective killer as you will have had a lot of solo XP and gold and you are Broodmother, she likes killing things and is very good at it. Don't be afraid to join team fights! As I mentioned Brood completely destroys most heroes. Add this to your team's capabilities and you will suddenly find your team is winning fights again and back in the game.
Knowing when to push, when to farm, when to move your webs and when to join team fights is the key to winning with Brood.
What if the enemy groups as five and pushes through your lane?
This is one of the most effective strategies against Brood. You and your team have to fight. Do not let your lanes towers fall. If you have another teammate that is great at pushing lanes then they can split push another lane but failing this ask for help and stick together. With Brood in her own lane with her allies together you can defend your tower and get kills.
Try to single out the squishy supports first and delete them from the map with the help of spiderlings and Orchid Malevolence. If this was their main initiator then they already have a big problem. The enemy team will most likely take offence at this and attack you. All the better. Hopefully your team joins in at this stage and it's game on. Pick the biggest baddest hard carry on their team and unleash Insatiable Hunger and BKB. By the time they realise brood is killing their hard carry and staying alive while sucking ridiculous lifesteal it is too late. You team is hacking away at them and they are all dying. If Brood must loose her life for the team to win, so be it. Your team can clean up and you will be back to fight again soon. Most often though you will have won the team fight and you can push forward again.
There are many variations of placement of Broodmother's Spin Web's. No matter what you do however make sure you are doing it for a reason. Web placement is a key skill with Brood, if your doing it wrong you will severely limit your farm and kills. Web placement will depend on your potential to get kills or be killed and in some circumstances how well your teams other lanes are going.
No matter what web method you choose go to your lane ASAP before the counter reaches zero and place your first web. This will give you time to sort out the runes and run down the Spin Web timer (40 seconds) so you can place your second web before the lane creep waves meet.
This method can limit Brood's lane dominance in order give Brood a safer lane. Brood's first two Spin Web's are placed initially along the outer trees at the Secret Shop and the corner of the map where Brood can hide, running in and out of lane or simply sitting in the trees sapping XP. I never use this method unless in an impossible match up against Legion Commander for example or against a strong tri-lane. Brood is best when she takes over a lane.
The first two Spin Web's are placed in the lane but overlapping the inner trees. This allows for easy creep kills but also sets up for links to the next two webs unlocked at level 3 to the enemy jungle camps. Following webs can wrap on and behind the enemy tier 3 tower allowing for lane creep kills, enemy hero kills and jungling.
Webs are placed close to the players own tier 3 tower. The webs are then extended to the safe jungle and towards mid lane. This allows for jungle farm and pressure on the mid lane if needed.
Mid to Late Game Webs
Deleting Webs. You can delete webs by dragging a selection box around the web to select it then press the "A" key to delete the web. When the maximum allowable number of webs are on the map and a new web is cast, the oldest web is automatically deleted. This may not be the web you want deleted so use the manual delete method first to avoid this problem.
Mid game I like to take over the enemy safe lane jungle with Brood's webs. This will starve the enemy team of farm as you take it for yourself. Delete your old webs and slowly move forward. Remember to ward aggressively as you go this will help you kill stray heroes early.
If you are in the enemy safe lane you can also push your webs into the mid lane but I find changing webs to the enemy off lane is a mistake. Brood is often asked to do this as the enemy may well group up and attack your team and push other lanes when you take over their jungle. It is very important to keep pressure on their safe lane tier 2 tower in this case. This will force at least one and often two or more enemy heroes to stay in lane or risk it falling. Always keep pressure on the lane don't just farm the jungle.
I hope this guide may have given some of you helpful information about Broodmother. If you have not played her much give her a go. The more I play her the more I have found she excels at killing enemies. I have found with practice she is one of the most fun to play heroes in Dota 2. Seriously who doesn't want to be a spider biting peoples faces?