Jungle lifestealer guide, with an emphasis on the jungling part
July 21, 2012
Lifestealer is a jungler that has a reputation for being braindead and easy. While it is true that fighting other heroes with him mainly just comes down to pressing Q and E and right clicking, actually farming well in the jungle requires a bit of knowledge.
Lifestealer is a good laner and kind of a shaky jungler, so if you have a support you can trust on your team, you probably want to lane with him. But if you have to choose between laning with another carry, laning with another melee, or jungling, jungling is the best choice. Sadly, this means you frequently have to jungle this hero in pubs.
As jungle lifestealer, you have strong ganks starting at level 2, fast farm starting at level 6, and a lot of mid-late game potential. However, you get hurt badly by the jungle creeps if you don't know what you're doing or if you have bad luck with spawns, your farm's a bit slow before level 6, and invaders can be tough to deal with.
Your autoattacks deal bonus damage and heal you. The bonus damage and healing are both more effective the higher the target's HP is. It's based off current
HP, so the more damage your target takes, the less effective feast is.
You need the extra damage and healing from this to fight jungle creeps at all before you have your ult, so max this first. It also gives you burst vs. enemy heroes, kind of. A full health hero takes a surprising amount of extra damage from this.
For 75 mana, you get short term magic immunity + bonus attack speed. It's always useful for dodging magical projectiles that could stun or seriously hurt you, but in order for it to actually help you fight, you need to put levels in it. It's not strong or spammable enough to let you jungle on its own, so you do need to max feast first, but this skill is your next priority.
For 110 mana, you get a very powerful long range slow with an instant cast time and no projectile. If you or an ally attacks a target affected by this, the attacks gain bonus lifesteal which stacks with all other sources of lifesteal.
At level 1, it slows at its full potential, which is a lot. Leveling it up reduces the cooldown and increases the lifesteal, two perks which help a lot lategame when lifestealer can actually stay in a fight for a long time , but are useless during the early game where lifestealer just skirmishes for a bit then goes back to jungling. Get a point of this at level 2, then ignore it for a while.
It's okay to use this once on a jungle creep soon after you get it, for a bit of extra health. After that, always save it for heroes.
A gimmicky and weird ult. You jump inside something, anything but an enemy hero or ancient creep, and lie dormant and untargetable until you either jump out or your host dies. Jumping out always deals magic damage in a big AoE. If you jump out of a creep, it kills the creep, healing you equal to however much HP the creep had.
Things you can do with this:
-Stack a large camp, fight it until you're almost dead, then ult the biggest, healthiest creep for a full heal + lots of damage.
-Participate in a gank by hiding in a friendly hero with either a lot of mobility (wisp, furion, anyone with a blink) or invisibility (bounty hunter, clinkz, riki)
-Heal yourself in the middle of a teamfight by ulting a lane creep. Try and pick one that isn't hurt. This is also a great way to finish off a severely injured enemy hero who ran too far away for you to autoattack, or who went invisible. 700 AoE catches a lot of people off guard.
It has a 100s cooldown, so be careful what you decide to use it for.
Jungling - picking your targets
Jungle creeps first spawn at 0:30. Every minute starting at 1:00, new creeps spawn in every empty camp.
Each jungle has 1 easy camp, 2 medium camps, and 2 hard camps. Each camp has 5 different sets of creeps that can spawn in it. The sets are chosen at random. Here is a map; green dots are easy camps
, yellow dots are medium camps
, red dots are hard camps.
Always start at the easy camp at 0:30 and kill what you can. Leave the camp at exactly 0:52, wait for it to respawn at 1:00, and then turn around and clear it completely. This will always get you to level 2. Now it's time to do medium and hard camps - but you have to pick your battles carefully now. The easy camps are pretty much the same no matter what spawns in them, but there's a great deal of variance in how strong the medium and hard sets are, and how much gold and experience they give you.
The 5 creep sets for medium camps are Centaurs, Satyrs, Golems, Wolves, and Ogres.
The 5 creep sets for hard camps are Centaurs, Hellcallers, Dark Trolls, Firbolgs, and Wildkin.
When fighting jungle camps, always kill the biggest, strongest creep first.
Medium camps: Best targets
Lifestealer takes barely any damage fighting these early on. At level 5, he actually gains health fighting them. They give the most gold out of all the medium camps, and the second most experience. They die in a roughly average mount of time.
They do a bit more damage than golems, but also die a bit faster. They give the most experience out of all the medium camps, and the second most gold. All in all, about the same as golems.
Medium camps: Okay targets
Basically the middle of the road camp. Their damage, durability, and rewards are all about average. If you're level 2, they can seriously hurt you, though you'll still win. If you're level 3 or higher, don't be shy about fighting these.
Their offense is pitiful; - as with the golems, it's not long before you actually heal yourself by fighting them. However, they take ages to kill and give very little experience. Their gold reward is okay.
Medium camps: Bad targets
These things hit really, really hard, and their low HP means that no matter what rank of feast you have, it's not going to do much. They give the least gold out of all the medium camps, and average experience. You risk death fighting these at level 2, and take a ton of damage at level 3 and 4. At least they die quick.
Hard camps: Best targets
The most rewarding of all the camps, it gives the most gold by FAR and the most experience, though by a lesser margin. It's a fairly strong camp, but you can handle it comfortably enough at level 3. Always kill the red one first. If you're going to use open wounds in the jungle at all, the big red hellcaller is the best target; you kind of need to do that to beat the hellcaller camp at level 2, and doing that gives you a big leg up for the rest of your jungle.
A relatively weak group that can be beaten at level 2 without casting anything. They give a lot of experience, but very little gold. If anything dies in the camp while the big troll is still alive, the big troll will spawn 2 skeletons from the corpse. That's all you have to watch out for.
Hard camps: Okay targets
The exact same centaurs that can spawn in a medium camp. See the previous section for them.
Hard camps: Bad targets
These guys are strong as ****. Fight them at level 5 at full health and they will kill you, unless you cast open wounds. Even then, you barely make it. You pretty much need your ult, power treads, or hand of midas for these guys to be worth fighting. They do give good rewards if you can beat them, though.
They're not quite as strong as firbolgs, but they can still kill you before level 5, and the rewards they give are pathetic. Most of the medium camps give you more exp and gold than these guys.
Sometimes you can gank the side lane near your jungle.
Usually, your teammate will be in the lane 1v2, which makes it dicey to successfully gank. You're likely to be focused by the enemies first, and you have no escape, so if the fight is fairly even, you're very likely to die. Most of the time, you need to let your teammate either get a level advantage, or seriously hurt his lane opponents. If your teammate gets some good harass in, or his opponents stray too close to your tower and get lit up, by all means gank early. Otherwise, either wait, or don't bother.
If the lane is 1v1 or 2v2, ganking becomes much easier, and a level 2 gank becomes a very attractive option. Because your slow is so powerful, you're extremely hard to get away from, and actually outnumbering your opponents means it's much safer for you.
If you're ganking, always make sure to say so in team chat, and/or ping the enemy champion you're going to attack. Otherwise, your teammate might not realize you're ganking until it's too late. Lifestealer is a jungler that most people expect to do nothing but farm early on.
Jungling - some helpful techniques
Usually, teams start with a courier, a lil donkey that can deliver items yo heroes out in the field. It's always a couple minutes before anyone else wants to use it for item delivery, so at the start of the match, you can take control of it yourself. Send it to the edge of the jungle and leave it there till you start fighting the easy camp for the first time, then order the courier to check all the medium and hard camps, then send it back to base. Memorize what creeps you see by doing this, so you can go for the easier targets without having to look for them yourself. If there's nothing but wolves, wildkin and firbolgs, prepare to do a pull.
If you attack a camp at XX:51-52, then immediately run away for 10 seconds, the creeps will chase you far away from the camp - far enough that when it's time for new spawns, the camp will be considered empty, and new creeps will spawn. The creeps you picked a fight with will return to the camp after 10 seconds, resulting in a stacked camp.
Stacked camps are too strong to beat with just auto attacks, but you can do it with your ult, and you can do it if lane creeps are helping you - see the next technique.
Pulling into lane
Each jungle has one medium camp that's really close to the outer tower - refer to the map I posted earlier. If you attack this camp at XX:15 or XX:45, then run into the lane behind the tower, the creeps will follow you into lane and run into your lane creeps, which will then start fighting with the jungle creeps. The jungle creeps will head back to their camp, the lane creeps will follow them, and the fight will finish there.
As a consequence of this, the enemy lane creeps get to run straight to your tower to bang on it, or chase your teammate around the tower.
Be sure to try to last hit the jungle creeps when you pull. If a lane creep gets the last hit, you get experience, but no gold.
There's an important decision to make when pulling: Stack the camp first, or not?
Pulling a stacked camp
A stacked camp is strong enough to kill all the melee lane creeps that fight it, which means the enemy laners can't farm them for gold or experience. It's easier for you last hit the creeps in a stacked camp, since your lane creeps do relatively less to it. However, you have to waste about half a minute setting up the pull, and it takes a pretty long time to kill a stacked camp - which means the enemy laners may have time to realize what's going on, and head to the camp to fight you for all the last hits, or try to kill you.
Generally, pulling a stacked camp for a 1v2 lane is too risky.
Your teammate has to stay in lane to defend the tower and kill the enemy lane creeps, so both of his opponents are free to head to the stacked camp and bully you out.
Only do it if you have a 1v1 or 2v2 lane, or if the creep wave in lane is pushed far towards the enemy tower.
Pulling an unstacked camp
Pulling an unstacked camp is quick, easy farm + healing for you, since the creeps will hit each other and not you. It's relatively safe from invasion, as you will usually kill all the jungle creeps before the enemies realize what you're doing.
Usually, your creep wave will win without any casualties, then return to lane and join up with the next round of allied creeps, leaving you with an 8 creep wave pushing forward. This has some pretty important implications: The lane will push hard toward the enemy tower, leaving your teammate in lane a lot more vulnerable to ganks from mid, but making him a bit safer from harass since he has a lot more creeps on his side. Because it shoves back the enemy heroes for a while, you have a window of safety against them.
Generally, this is the kind of pull you want to do for a 1v2 lane. These lanes are rarely the target of enemy ganks, so that weakness doesn't matter much. 1v2 lanes are also generally free farm for the 2, but you **** with that by pushing the lane with 8 creeps, since they all quickly march to the enemy tower, which makes it a lot harder to last hit them. The window of safety it gives you is also pretty important, since the most dangerous invasions come from 1v2 lanes.
Choke point jungling
Using your quelling blade to cut down certain trees, so that only 1 melee creep can hit you. There's already a pretty good guide on this.
Saves you a lil health in jungle.
Always buy gloves of haste with the first 500 gold you farm. It strengthens your jungle and builds into both of the first core items (treads, midas)
Midas -> treads is the best farming kit, but it makes you unable to fight for a while. If you're team's doing badly, it's a great option, because you're not winning early fights anyway in that case, so you want to just forget that and play for the long game. You also want it if you're the only melee hero on your team who can really fight lategame.
Treads -> medallion is a powerful fighting kit. The extra armor makes initiating a lot safer, Valor is great for finishing a fight once the threats to you are dead and you don't need extra armor anymore, and you gain bonus mana regen, so you don't have to return to fountain before the next fight - just farm more, leech health from creeps, and let medallion's mana regen bonus do its work. And of course, earlier boots means better early ganks. If you want to push hard, or buy someone like void or anti-mage more time to farm, these are your starting items.
Either way, you go armlet, which gives you a massive burst of damage during your rages (+61 per hit) as well as more armor, a stat which lifestealer sort of lacks naturally.
Post armlet items
Divine rapier sucks because of the dropping gimmick, and Daedalus is the second best raw DPS item in the game.
Heaven's Halberd, Assault Curi***
Lifestealer does the bulk of his work while magic immune, so autoattacks are the main threat to him. These two items give him quite a bit of the physical bulk he needs. AC gives a ton of armor, halberd gives HP, evasion and disarm, and both give a decent amount of offense as well, especially AC.
Disarm is pretty ****ty vs. manta style so if you're facing a carry who relies on that item, go AC and skip halberd. I prefer halberd first, otherwise.
Monkey king bar
Stronger than daedalus vs. a target with evasion. If you're facing a strong Mortred, Brewmaster, or any carry who bought heaven's halberd or butterfly, replace deadalus with this.
Only buy MKB for an evasive hero who is actually dangerous. A support windrunner who spent all game firing powershots down the long lane is not worth buying an MKB to counter. Neither is some blink agha initiator brewmaster.
A DPS item that gives you some stuns. If your team is short on crowd control, and you don't need MKB, replace deadalus with this.
If you want a second big DPS item and have no need for abyssal or MKB, this is the best choice.
Heart of Tarrasque
Raw HP item. Rush it if the enemy team has an insane amount of direct magic damage. Against a balanced enemy team, it's an okay luxury, once you have your big DPS item and and a big physical tanking item.
Black King bar
If you're the team's only carry against enemies with a ton of CC, you'll need this. Rage is usually enough to cut it against magical disables, but against a really powerful chain disable comp using someone like rhasta or tinker, BKB right after armlet is an option. If you have another decent carry on the team to pick up some of the slack in teamfights, though, don't go BKB. In that case, you WANT all the disables thrown at you once rage wears off.
Against a team that can **** with you hard from a long distance, and force you to use rage from really far out, you can use this as a gap closer.