Role: Disabler / Nuker / Lane Support / Support
Lore: Once a Grandmaster of the Demon Witch tradition of sorcery, Lion earned fame among his brethren for fighting on the side of light and righteousness. But adulation corrupts. With powers surpassed only by his ambition, the mage was seduced by a demon and turned to evil, trading his soul for prestige. After committing horrible crimes that marred his soul, he was abandoned. The demon betrayed him, striking better deals with his enemies. Such was Lion’s rage that he followed the demon back to hell and slew it, ripping it limb from limb, taking its demonic hand for his own. However, such demonoplasty comes at a cost. Lion was transfigured by the process, his body transformed into something unrecognizable. He rose from hell, rage incarnate, slaying even those who had once called him master, and laying waste to the lands where he had once been so adored. He survives now as the sole practitioner of the Demon Witch tradition, and those who present themselves as acolytes or students are soon relieved of their mana and carried off by the faintest gust of wind.
Hello and welcome to my guide for Lion. This is my first guide, so if there are any errors please comment and let me know. Lion can be played many ways - pure support, ganker, semi-carry, and god forbid a hard carry. He also has extremely good team presence and with disables, a powerful nuke, and his range of playing styles, Lion will be welcomed in any game. He's a really fun hero to play if your teammates are looking after you, and quite easy to learn so he is beginner-friendly. However easy, Lion can also be a bit hard to nail down completely.
Now, let's get started!
Lion the Demon Witch
STR: 16 + 1.7
AGI: 15 + 1.5
INT: 22 + 3
Level 1 Stats
Movement Speed: 290
Sight Range: 1800/800
Attack Range: 600
Missile Speed: 900
Cast Duration: 0.3+0.51
Choosing lane, and early game:
In this case, you should be laning with your carry, or possibly trilaning.
Get denies. Be a little aggressive depending on the opposing heroes. With a point in Earth Spike and Hex you can already stun for almost three seconds with 60 damage included, which at only level 2 is nothing to be laughed at. Try to work with your partner and get a few kills in.
If they're being passive, there's not much you can do but keep pushing - but remember to check other lanes and keep an eye out for a missing hero. With his low armor and HP, Lion is a delicious target for many heroes.
In my build, I include a Bracer (even two sometimes) for the strength gain, RoR that can later be made into a Mekansm (RoR -> Headdress -> Mekansm). Considering the Headdress is only a RoR + Branch and the recipe, just gauge which heroes you'll be up against and what kind of role you'll have to play, and skip the clarity or the tango to get the branch letting you build up the Mekansm that much quicker. Also if you don't think you can get enough gold for a Void Stone, get a Sage's Mask and skip it in the mid game.
By now you should have your arcane boots finished, and be partway to getting Mekansm. If you're having mana trouble, get a Void Stone to help. You really want to be sticking to your allies - this is still in the dangerous part of the game for Lion. His HP is picking up, but not quite big enough, same with the mana pool- and the long cooldown of Finger of Death is a real ****.
Also it is important to stay back in teamfights. Remember that Earth Spike has a casting range of 500 but shoots 700 in a line, so you should be aiming at the ground just before the enemy. Clicking on the actual hero guarantees you hit, but you've also stepped in their range which is NOT GOOD.
Mekansm is top of the list for any support hero. See if anyone else is building one, and if they are, go for a Pipe of Insight instead. Since in the support build you're using Arcane Boots, I like to include either a Shadow Blade or a Blink Dagger just for the extra escapability. I'm not a big fan of the Force Staff so I haven't included it, but you can go for it as well if you can spare the money.
Oblivion Staff is also very useful, it's relatively cheap and gives quite a boost. If you didn't manage to farm enough, go for Oblivion. You can build it to an Orchid's in the late game if you want to - but Oblivion can be good enough on its own.
This is where it gets either really really fun, or really really ****.
You'll have your core items and even possibly a luxury (go for Aghanim's Sceptre before Refresher Orb). You should be in every teamfight, healing with Mekansm, restoring mana with Arcane Boots, and stunning EVERYTHING. Generally you want to hit as many as you can with Earth Spike, and then Hex the most dangerous hero. This usually means the carry or the main spellcaster, but if someone on your team has an Orchid's or a Silencing spell, then for god's sake turn that beastie carry into a chicken and fry it with your Finger of Death.
Aghanim's is definitely worth it if you have the gold, it upgrades everything about Lion's ultimate - lower cooldown (55->50), less mana cost (650->625), more damage (850->1025!).
If you opted for Mekansm and no-one got a Pipe of Insight, you could consider getting an Orchid's at this point - the 5 second silence is really good. This can easily be used against you as well, and a silenced Lion = a harmless lolcat, so be careful.
I've included Refresher Orb in the luxury items as well. I'll explain why it's useful in the Ganker section.
In this build you should be in either a dual-lane or solo mid. Dual-lane you can play kind of like a support, although don't be afraid to hog some last hits for yourself.
For some reason if your team decides to have a solo Lion in the sidelane (******ed and has happened a lot) then good luck. Try your best not to feed, and call in assist ASAP. That early in the game (in fact almost never in the game) can you take on two heroes solo. His movespeed basically sucks, so say you get a good stun but if you're too far from the tower you're most likely dead. In this case you have to play extremely carefully; stay back, focusing on last hitting and denying using your long range, and maybe even consider purchasing a ring of regen/protection, or rush a bracer to up that horrific armor and HP.
Starting items are Tango/ Clarity/gauntlet of strength. Pretty standard. If you're playing solomid, then don't get the branches. You'll be much better off playing carefully and getting a bottle instead of the magic wand.
If you're sidelaning, get a wand. It gives a stat boost that Lion needs, as well as some regen giving you HP and mana at that critical moment. However it's only really useful if you're up against enemy spellcasters, so keep that in mind. Branches are good to buy nonetheless as they give you a cheap stat boost, but if you decide against going for wand, buy just 1 or 2.
The fun part. Hopefully, you've got Phase Boots and Aghanim's Sceptre and you're almost there with Blink Dagger. This allows you to get a little more aggressive - you can use phase boots to run away or chase (movespeed is 406 when phasing), while Aghanim's gives a good boost to your ultimate.
With this build, keep an eye on the minimap - someone should have warded up on your team, and if there are any enemy heroes wandering alone on approximately half HP, go get him. There is no better feeling playing with a squishy hero like Lion than popping out from behind a tree or over a hill, getting off your stuns and forcing the enemy hero to just watch as you completely annihilate him with your ******ed-demonoplastied-yetstillsexy-finger.
But other than that, stick with your team. Leave your carry to farm, get 1 or 2 other heroes and prioritise getting kills over farming. Depending on your role, and your situation, you might also want to pick up some health or armor boosting items. Soul Booster is a relatively cheap way to up your hit points, mana, and regen but like I said it's highly situational.
You should have a nice stash of gold now, so go get that Refresher Orb. With it, you can get your combo off (Spike - Hex - Finger) and then DO IT AGAIN!Aghanim's Sceptre upgrading, the combo does 1285 damage with a 6.52 second stun - hit refresher, and deal 2570 damage with a 13 second stun!
You can even solo a few heroes this way. Tiny and Tidehunter, some of the tankiest in the game, have ~2300 HP at level 25. If they didn't pick up any HP items (highly unlikely, but y'knw) you can kill them with this combo - heck, with a 13 second stun (minus ~3 second casting time) with base attack speed of 1 per second, you could take them down even if they were pushing 3500 health.
Incorporate Orchid's silence, and you're LAUGHING while they're probably crying because they got solo killed by a little Lion. [Spike - wait - Hex - Finger - REFRESHER - Spike - wait - Hex - Finger - wait - Orchid's] you should be autoattacking at the 'wait's, and try to get the Hex off just as he's coming off of Earth Spike. Orchid's just to make sure if he's not dead by then, you don't want him to stun you back, or use an escape skill.
In the late game phase though not many will be alone and you'll have to be very very careful to not get counter-ganked. To be safe, just stick with your team, rosh, and do your best in teamfights.
Right, I know you must be itching to rage about Mana Drain as soon as you saw that I didn't put a single point in it until I had to. In my opinion, it is a completely useless skill.
Sure you can use it to drain enemy mana, maybe use it on a creep to replenish your own. BUT, while casting it you stand still with a giant blue line ending at you - which just tops off the "Attack me I'm Lion" with huge neon arrows.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL. Every point you put into Mana Drain is more useful elsewhere, even stats. Lion's two disables should be maxed out as soon as possible, and maybe some points into stats early would be very nice helping his atrocious starting armor and hp. The mana gain of 470 when maxed out doesn't even give you enough for your ultimate.
Why not Tranquil Boots?
Yes it's cheap, but I would say highly situational. Unless you cannot get farm to make a Mekansm, then get it, although 170 HP over 10 seconds is still kinda ****, considering a fully charged wand gives you 225 HP AND mana instantly. I personally would much rather get another HP regen item, and upgrade boots to either Arcane, Phase, or Treads (on STR or AGI, switch between the two whenever you need).
Why not Force Staff?
OK. It costs 2200 gold. It gives you +10 int, +10 damage, +10 attack speed, and 'Force'. Compare with Oblivion Staff: 1675 gold, with +6 int +15 damage +10 attack speed AND 75% mana regen. I value my mana very much, especially in the early stages of the game. Also I'd go with this if I had to pick up a Sage's Mask instead of Void Stone in the early-mid game.
What's with all the 'Situational Items' ********?
Lion can be played many MANY different ways. You need to adjust according to what your team needs and what the enemy is playing. For instance, if your team consists of Juggernaut, Drow Ranger, Nature's Prophet and Windrunner, you'll want to be helping Jugger get early kills with disables, and lean more toward support role. If the enemy team has chasing heroes ( Anti-Mage, Riki), you'll want to invest in a Blink Dagger or Shadow Blade. There are many different combinations of items too, so just practice and get to know them. A few examples to help you out:
Shadow Blade + Power Treads (good for ganking and escaping)
Arcane Boots + Mekansm (standard support)
Tranquil Boots + Oblivion Staff (uber cheap)
Boots of Travel + Blink Dagger (LOLWUT)
Lion is everyone's friend. No, seriously. Two disables makes him crucial in all stages of the game, and Lion can serve big mean carries as frogs on a silver platter.
HOWEVER. Lion does have quite a few enemies. Anti-Mage and Silencer being the first that comes to mind - the drain and STFU ***** are just hell for spellcasters. If that wasn't enough, you run away from Man-gina only to have him blink next to you and reduce you into a pool of blood. In the early game if you don't have a strong lane partner STAY AWAY from Anti-Mage or you'll just end up feeding him.
Other heroes... Pudge with his hook, any hero with a disable or silence (e.g. Shadow Shaman, Drow Ranger or items like Scythe of Vyse or Orchids)
And tanks, or any heroes that you just can't damage. Juggernaut with Blade Fury (when he spins he is magic immune), or anybody that buys BKB.
You may have noticed that Lion has a few counters - that's why you have to play smart and carefully, check what items the enemy have and make sure your teammates know as well. One person picked up an Orchids? Make sure he's one of the people disabled in a team fight, and preferably taken down first. It is crucial that you learn to adjust to enemy gameplay, not just follow this or any other guide. This is a really good skill to have as well because you can apply the same thing to any hero and you'll be a better player.
Wrapping up, Lion is a fun versatile hero to play that is very noob-friendly, but also takes some skill to be able to master. He can be challenging and is a very good stepping stone to more difficult heroes. I've tried to write this guide for both beginners and experienced players, so please comment, let me know what you think, and feel free to give CONSTRUCTIVE criticisms. Thanks for reading!