June 8, 2012
I've looked around the internet to find out how other people play him, and there are a lot of awful ideas out there. Some of them do have a point, but a single point does not make a guide.
Skills Build Justification
You're probably used to seeing people get Homing Missile as the first thing they do, as well as max that first. I choose to do that with Barrage instead, because there are very few skills that deal 330 damage at level 1, and have 6.5s cooldown, and it also costs less mana.
To put it another way, if you opponent believes you have Missile at 1, they have a minor deterrent from bumrushing you at your tower, but they know that if they can kill you before the arming time of your Missile, they can get away scot-free. On the other hand, Barrage will half-kill any hero just for being near to you, every 6 seconds.
Missile also deals same stun no matter what, rarely reaches maximum damage against opponents who know what they are doing, and can be destroyed to totally negate the effects.
TL;DR : Barrage may be a bit harder to use, but it is worth the effort.
Items Build Justification
The item build I give you is a loose suggestion. You just need to know that you have rather big mana needs as a first big issue. You need to solve that somehow, and the easiest way to do that is mana boots. Other decent alternatives :
This well set you up as a proper ganker with the ability to support allied mana pools. Getting windwalk next will help you with surviving and ganking as a low-range, low-HP hero.
Eventually though, provided you aren't flat out dying in every clash (in which case you will not need HP regen) you'll need reliable HP regen. Bottle is nice, but at this stage it doesn't heal enough anymore, and you can't guarantee you'll get all the runes.
HoTD gives you pretty much everything you want, and for a good price. And if you can be bothered to micro, troll net/free skadi/stomp will help you gank some more. There are always other options :
If nobody is bothering to damage you in clashes - forego HP regen entirely
Once you get past the ganking phase of the game, the next step is preparing for team clashes. BKB allows you to hit everyone with Flak Cannon all 6 times instead of just getting disabled and dying every time. Between BKB, HoTD and Lothar, you have a respectable +82 dmg. Your flak cannon will be a decent contribution to clashes if everything goes according to plan.
Tier 4 Item Choice
And we're finally here! If the game goes into lategame, the best way to spend your money and item slot is a damage item to improve your flak-cannon. Due to the nature of Split-shot related abilities, a lot of items have already been ruled out for us. Here are a few :
Buriza/MKB - In D1, if they trigger they will override split shot for that attack, but it will still count against your Flak Cannon 6 attack counter. In DotA 2, splitshot still happens, but only the primary target gets effects. Overall not a bad choice, but not great either.
Battlefury - You no longer need regen, you don't benefit from cleave, and +65 damage alone doesn't carry as much weight as other possibilies.
Desolator - Also good but not optimal.
Mjoll/AC - While it isn't a bad thing to inflict the 6 spread attacks as fast as possible, ideally you want your precious 6 attacks to carry weight rather than just tickle.
It may be a bit difficult to farm, but the awesome damage and IAS boost (not to mention evasion) you get from Butterfly cannot be matched by any other item for this hero.
TL;DR : If you won't read my justification, just use the build or go away
More to come!