Dominator of the Light
October 30, 2012
Keeper of the Light (Ezalor) has been in Dota since the beginning of time, yet, to this day remains one of the most misunderstood heroes in terms of being utilized to his full potential. Typically being written off as a one dimensional pusher/counter pusher, Kotl not only excells in that, but ganking, babysitting, offlane soloing, and dominating team fights, as well. This guide will give you a detailed description on efficient builds for various situations, Dealing with heroes that counter him, and how to effectively dominate games with him.
Your starting items can vary, but depending on your team composition, you'll probably be getting both courier and wards. So to start, get a thing of tangos, a healing salve, a set of wards, and a courier. If a teammate of yours happens to get a courier, get a ring of protection.
The ring of protection allows you to option select a few ways you can go when laning. It allows you to either pick up Ring of basilius quickly or go for tranquil boots depending on how the lane goes.
Your eventual item build should likely include ring of basilius and tranquil boots. Next, build mekansm ASAP. It is a core item to him, not only as a support, but to early game survivability. After building Mekansm, you'll have a number of options you can go. Scythe of Vyse is a great item that is good against pretty much anybody. Necro book is another item that's absolutely amazing on him when used right. In ganking after initiating with a mana leak, you can really get a quick stun off with the mana burn the summons offer, and combined with the speed boost, can really make ganking and team fights heavily go your way.
If you're dying fast to nukers, or simply need more effectiveness in team fights, drum of endurance is also another great option.
Eul sceptor is a decent item that gives good gank potential and survivability, but it comes at a risk. The items that build up to it don't particularly help you that much compared to other items that have better things that build on them. Nonetheless, eul can allow you do several things.
- If you see somebody roaming in the river near the runes, cast eul on them, go into spirit form, then use blind to blast them on to the cliff. If done right, they'll be stuck up there.
-Eul people to setup ganks, and quickly mana leak then blind back into your team as fast as possible.
Force staff is another item that can get you out of a lot of situations against some of Keeper's tougher foes, but offers less support utility than the other items listed here.
After you've gotten a significant set of items in the late game, just sell tranquil boots and get Boots of Travel. This allows you to really control the map and solo push to constantly keep pressure on the other team.
Some guides may suggest getting Dagon. Do not, I repeat DO NOT. It gives no utility in team fights or anything resembling support, and generally gets you killed in the long run as you'll be spending little money on survivability. You don't need to kill people with kotl using this silly item, as gold already super easy to acquire. Never listen to anybody that tells you to get dagon.
Upon looking at the skill build I laid out, you may be scratching your head at some of the choices. But fear not! I shall explain!
Level 1, get illuminate. You can cast illuminate twice at level 1. Effectively being able to hit twice with it will damage the opponents significantly forcing them to use a lot of heals.
level 2, chakra. While not very effective at level 1, just be patient.
Leve 3, Chakra. At level 3, the lane is yours. With only a 45 mana cost, this will effectively allow you to keep harassing with blast to your hearts content, as well as supply allies with a significant amount of mana to cast any one of their spells more to harass or kill.
Level 4, illuminate. Keep up the pressure, baby
Level 5, illuminate.
Level 6, mana leak. Start maxing mana leak as quick as you can. Why? Kotl's ult doesn't have the most utility early game. Since most of the early game's high damage is primarily magic damage, blind isn't going to give the most utility when stopping things. One of the biggest pitfalls keeper players get into is not maxing out mana leak early.
Level 7, illuminate
Level 8, mana leak
Level 9, mana leak
Level 10, spirit form. By now, blind and ghost form will help you take out teams effectively in big fights.
level 11, mana leak
level 12, chakra. You may be wondering "Why do i wait this long to get chakra level 3". Chakra level 3 only gives 75 more mana totalling out at 225. 75 more mana is pretty trivial when comparing it to how much better mana leak is at level progression.
level 13, spirit form OR Chakra, depending on whether you want more mana or 10 seconds more of ulti.
level 14, chakra OR spirit form.
level 15, stats
Level 16, spirit form
I recommend taking the offlane with kotl whether you're solo or not. By effectively warding the creep pull at the beginning and providing yourself with a ward either in the jungle or the rune spot (You can do both simultaneously in an easy ward spot on radiant jungle side), you can control the lane. If laning with somebody else, you can effectively harass with your blast by shooting behind the trees. Be careful, though, because you ideally want to blast where you hit as little creeps with illuminate as possible, as you don't want the lane pushing.
If you're in a solo offlane, and put the opponents on the backfoot early so they can't effectively zone you out with a support, you can simply force them to tower hug and keep them on their toes with well placed blasts. Lane pressure is the key, due to how much space you control with illuminate. Never let the opponent have breathing room in the lane.
In the event the other team becomes frustrated to the point where they just try to chase you in the jungle, you know you're doing your job right. With sufficient wards, you can preemptively move back to the lane and force them to chase while they get no farm and your ally gets all the last hits.
By the time you reach levels 6-7, you can effectively gank the other lanes by hitting the opponents will a well placed blast from behind the tree line, then running around the treeline and mana leaking/auto attack the weakened opponents with your teammates.
The earlier you can acquire mekansm the better. With mek and tranquil boots, you can really become a terror to the other by going from lane to lane constantly harassing the other team. If the other team doesn't have anybody who can immediately burst you down and ignore the rest of your team, you will be extremely difficult for them to deal with.
The key to playing keeper is pressure, ALWAYS keep the pressure on whatever lanes are remotely pushed. You have a big *** blast, use it! Even if you just see somebody farming mid, walk up to them and mana leak and immediately start blasting. Force them out of their comfort zone at any point, because keeper's pressure game is one of the best in the game. Mana leak has a 12 second cooldown, so harass to your hearts content. I really cannot stress enough how good mana leak is as a simple harassing move.
Stay back! There's little reason to ever engage fights on the front lines. Everything you have has amazing range (Especially mana leak with an incredible 1000 casting range at level 4). Use this to your advantage. Mana Leak out-ranges almost every other heroes abilities in the game, so harassing with it is a must.
In team fights, Keeper really starts to shine. just remember to constantly supply your nukers/stunners with mana, blind the ever loving **** out of the opponent with your ult (Which lasts 5 seconds, giving you just enough time to set up an illuminate that will hit should they decide to stay). As long as you stay out of range of the other team's initiation, you can counter initiate with blind and blast and really turn a sure lost fight into a win.
You're the captain of team fights, so remember that knowing the distances of the opponent's spells will be the most crucial aspect of staying alive and turning fights against the other teams.
DON'T PANIC! If an early to mid game ganker is coming at you, don't panic. Just mana leak, use spirit form, then blind. Hopefully you also have Mek by now to deal with initial nuke damage. Keeper's amazing movement speed takes care of the rest. As long as you're not horribly out of position or the opposing ganker doesn't have more people with him, you should be able to get out ok.
Abusing mana leak and blind in almost every situation will yield great results, and allow you to dictate team fights in ways most heroes can't.
YOU'RE A GODLIKE FARMER. Yes, Keeper can farm really fast, but not as fast as you want because you simply don't want to take creeps from your team. One of the best ways to generate quick income is to use level 4 illuminate on the weak creep camp in the jungle. Unless you have a teammate farm it, just take it for yourself. Your illuminate kills it instantly. You don't have to worry so much about farm as Keeper as you should be worried about ensuring your team wins battles. Since you're not going to be dealing much damage outside of illuminate (And late game, that isn't much), you really want pressure the other team into submission as quick as you can.
Dealing with keeper's weaknesses
You're an old guy on a horse with nothing more than your gallop and staff to save you, so this makes you a pretty easy target for some heroes.
After years of playing Keeper of the Light, I'd have to say the heroes that he struggles the most against are Huskar, Bloodseeker, Nyx Assassin, and Clinx. (Honorable mentions go to pudge, but he can be dealt with by avoiding his ganks with wards and whatnot).
How to deal with them?
Against Bloodseeker, getting a really fast mek can make the difference between a good and lousy game. If you get ruptured, having an early ulti and mana leak could potentially save you. Of course, if you're completely alone, there isn't much hope in surviving an ulti + silence, but having an early ult with mana leak with a teammate around is possibly the best way to deal with this (This is one of the few times I recommend getting spirit form at level 6 to blind him before he can silence you). If you see bloodseeker at any point, just mana leak him. Force him to engage you or your team when he's leaked so he loses almost all of his mana by the time he's in range to silence. Your blind also has amazing range, and can shut him down prior to being silenced. As long as you can see Bloodseeker and have mana leak ready, you should be fine.
Against the pair of invisible heroes, lots and lots of sentry wards are your best friend. Mana leak those bastards the moment you see them and watch your team destroy them.
UPDATE: Nyx Assassin, by miles and miles, is now the toughest foe for Keeper to deal with. His spiked carapace completely neutralizes any pressure game you can put on him in laning. Only recommendation I can give to laning against him is to be paired with a quick stunner like ogre magi so he can get stunned and effectively hit with a blast before he can pop the carapace and destroy your face. There's little tactics that are viable against him, as mana leak will still result in you being stunned, so even if you see him coming with a ward, your only option is to hope you have teammates around.
Huskar's a real annoying hero to deal with, because you can't simply mek, leak, then blind him to get away. Should you be against Huskar, you'll quickly feel helpless as he jumps on top of you and kills you in seconds. In this case, I recommend getting shadow blade, because there is honestly not many other options. This isn't a gimme either, as shadowblade is a lot of gold that can be spent on better items for support. Nonetheless, HUSKAR IS ANNOYING!!!!!
Venomancer can also be a formidable foe, but he's really bad when against your trio of leak, blind, and mek.