Ogre Magi - Support
October 2, 2012
Intro & Considerations
I play Ogre pretty frequently, and I tend to prefer to use him as a main support rather than a roaming/ganker/semi-carry like some people play him. Both are valid, I just find he's strongest behind carry or teamed with another nuker. This guide will focus on the supportive Ogre Magi. I will write another guide shortly focusing on a more mutant build style -- playing Ogre like an Initiator/Carry.
Ogre is one of my favorite heroes in the game, and particularly one of my favorite supports to play. The reason for this is mainly because he is goofy and says funny **** throughout the game (and I play intoxicated frequently) but aside from that, his randomness makes for interesting encounters -- huge lols can occur. Because I play pubs mostly, this works out. For competitive play, I'm not sure how he would hold up, but to be honest, I'm surprised he isn't used more.
Here's where consideration comes in. Ogre Magi has among the best starting and growth stats of any other hero. He gains strength at a rate greater than most Str heroes and gains INT on par with INT heroes. His starting armor is high, his starting right click damage is very solid as well. His cons, however, is low starting Int and thus poor mana pool (even though it's offset fairly rapidly) and low agility gain per level. That really only affects attack speed and armor, but considering Bloodlust offsets both move and attack speed, and Ogre starts out with nearly 5 armor, it doesn't really matter.
The only real annoyance playing Ogre, stat-wise, is his early-mid mana pool and regen. Otherwise, you're looking at more HP, more armor, and more damage at the start than other heroes in your role.
Early Game / Laning
The starting items should be 599 gold if I can add. Either case, you have flexibility on if you buy courier or not. I usually just do. It's one of the best contributions a support can provide early on. If you don't have to buy a courier, consider str gloves or a mantle of int, or perhaps an extra salve/tango/clarity.
For your early game, you should top or bottom with a partner -- opt to give middle and a solo lane to better heroes for that, Ogre is not a strong lane farmer. Since Ogre is melee, you will be moving around a lot and likely will not have as much success with denying -- but it depends on if your enemies are ranged and harass. Do not CS away from the carry, unless for some reason they are out of range for the last hits (died, shopping, being a noob). If you're not getting harassed for denying, then have at it. Like any support, do your best here -- the only thing that makes it Ogre specific is that it's melee rather than ranged, but you're base damage is solid so in some ways it can be easier. Ogre is durable and has stat advantage early on, so you're not as likely of a target for an early gank.
I do not typically harass with Fireblast or Ignite until Fireblast is level 3, unless there's a solid amount of mana regen (extra clarity, laning partner has basilius, CM is on your team, etc). Until then, I use it defensively only to protect myself and my carry against aggression.
The main goal is to level Fireblast ASAP with Ignite, because one is a hard disable/nuke and the other is an effective slow/DoT. This puts Ogre and his partner in a good position for early gank if the opportunity arises (roaming mid, solo enemy, good partner). Since your mana pool is limited, you should defer level 1 Ignites and Fireblasts and wait for them to rank up. They do little damage, and should only be used to save yourself, your laning partner, or to finish a gank if your partner is aggressive and determined to kill.
I can think of few comps when grabbing a rank of Bloodlust would serve better than more Ignite or Fireblast. With a frost arrow Drow, maybe? It's hard to say, but generally, I've found FB/Ignite a better early option (cooldown on lust sucks until Multi-cast, anyway).
Try to keep clarity on you at all times until mana boots. Ogre mana pool is pretty terrible and his regen is greatly lacking if he has no boost (your own build does not usually contain boost until mid-late game).
Once laning has ended, you primarily will be providing strong stun/nuke and slow for team fights/tower pushing. Depending on the pace of your particular game, this can be severely taxing on your limited mana.
Ideally, you'll build Wand, Arcane Boots, and Mek for mid-game. At this point, you're pretty much a boost bot. Wand should be saved for pinch moments when you need to survive or to provide a crutch stun/slow.
Depending on the enemy comp, your attack (right click) will either be used a lot, or used very little. In the event it's not being used, just be sure to stay within casting range for your stun. If you're forced into staying back and being really defensive (rare, but it happens), LoS on trees/cliffs when you can to stay off the enemy team's radar. This way you won't get unwanted focus, but you'll still be supporting with your spells as needed. Keep Bloodlust on yourself at all times if you find yourself in this situation. If you need to run to safety, it will give you a huge speed advantage -- and casting it while backing, you will stop to cast, which can get you killed. It lasts a long time, there's no reason not to have it up before you need to back.
If the enemy team is easily harassed by right clicks and they're playing conservatively and backing up often, you might find yourself in the front trying to grab their attention so your carry can do their thing (baiting). You'll know best where you should be, as this depends on how favorable (or not) the game has been for your team.
Essentially, you can semi-init with Ogre because of his stat advantage and his unusually large model (especially with blood lust). If you don't have a real initiator on your team, you can fill a semi-initiator role by stunning/igniting, and running up with Blood Lust. Yeah, this can get you killed against a good team, but it can be a solid strat in public games (I primarily play pubs). Do not do this without some or all of your team nearby, obviously, and only if there really is no other initiator role available in your comp. I don't recommend 1v1 with Ogre. He simply does not have enough right-click power to finish without a solid item or health advantage, and you can never rely on multi-cast (but if it procs hard you can easily win).
If you find they are focusing you because you are annoying the piss out of them with stuns and slows, or they are baddies and click the biggest thing they see -- don't fret; you're likely far more durable than your carry at this point, and if you die, the carry (hopefully) won't and it's a favorable exchange. Ogre is rarely a good focus target for the enemy because he isn't seen as a DPS threat (he's not), and his armor and health are too high for a lolstomp.
If you're getting an obnoxious amounts of multi-casts on Fireblast, you will be flagged erroneously as the main nuker/carry/dps on the team. That changes from cast to cast, so don't get cocky and don't get greedy. Take it when it's there, but don't expect it.
Situational Item Alternatives
If you're being extremely mana taxed, which often I am, sometimes you'll consider taking an Eul's before Scepter. There's no reason to get Scepter if you're out hard on mana because of farm or a team disadvantage, so it's more important to have the extra movement speed, mana regen, and CC -- that overall improves your support role tremendously. If you're finding your team is cleaning up nicely and money is not such an issue, go for the Scepter for extra stats, stun, and nuke damage. If that is the case, the bad mana regen won't be too relevant, because you'll have downtime between successful engagements.
Drums I've done just a few times when I took an earlier bracer because I was being focused a lot or our team comp was stronger and chasing was having an impact on finishing fights / cleanup. Usually someone picks up drums, but if no one does (ask your team), it can be a good support item for your team, especially if it's a right-click heavy comp and there's no blink daggers/heroes. It's very situational, but at times I've found it was the right item for my team comp -- it can make a big impact on clutch fights (both surviving and cleaning up).
If there's another Mek in game from another support, take a Pipe if you're up against Luna, Leshrac, Lina, Zeus or some other AoE magic nuker that has really big impact on team fights (or especially if you're being focused down by magic attacks). If that's not the case, another Mek is preferred. I almost always have a Mek, and if I don't, I probably have a Pipe.
For late game, I frequently opt for a Bloodstone. This is because with max rank Multicast, your Fireblast is on a 6 second cooldown and costs 215 mana. With Scepter, you get an extra Fireblast, but it costs 400ish mana on a longer cooldown (same damage/stun duration). This means you can, and probably will, be spamming nukes and Bloodlust (now on 5 sec cooldown). The Bloodstone gives you the ability to stay in the fight much longer. If for some reason I had not built an Aghanim's Scepter earlier, I will do Scepter then go Bloodstone.
If the game hasn't ended by Bloodstone, consider a Linken's or an Orchid. The Orchid is mainly a "lol ogre carry" item. From a supportive role it's valid though -- it adds minor CC and +dmg with the Silence. This can make a big impact depending on the enemy composition (if they are semi-carrying through Zeus, Lina, Leshrac for example).
My favored option is probably the Linken's though, as it provides more longevity in all areas of your play (armor, hp, mana/damage), and it will eat huge nuke ultimates like Wrath, Finger, and Laguna. It also provides passive avoidance against pre-emptive disable, where as a BKB requires you to hit the button, which if you get disabled first, won't happen. Usually, you'll be focused for sheep stick or an enemy stun/nuke in order to stop you from dishing it out to their team. Alternatively, BKB will serve you better for avoidance if you can get it off prior their disable on you. BKB is a lot cheaper, but doesn't provide nearly as much stat advantage. Ultimately, it depends on your playstyle and if you're getting boned by just one or two spells, or facing the entire enemy team's arsenal of spells.
Another way to avoid heavy focus is to Eul's yourself if you haven't got the BKB or Linken's, which is very possible in a tight game where farm and kills are low. It's not the best option ever, but it works in a pinch.
I really like +all stat items on Ogre since everything benefits him. More HP, more armor, more mana/damage all plays a vital role for his style. He's one of the few pure hybrids in my opinion where all of these are a factor. You could argue agility is weak, and there's merit to that (I wouldn't stack it, for example), but being melee makes Ogre more prone to right click, since if he wants to do more than hit Q, he has to close the gap because of his melee attack. And you'd be surprised how many people just right click you (ignoring the rest of your team) because you don't try to run from them. Ogre can be crucial in enemy player psychology (target acquisition), and often you're the hero they don't even want to bother with. You're more threatening in your size and appearance than your actual damage output and contribution to team fight. If the semi-init is working out for you, you absolutely need armor in contribution to HP, as health is easily spent without some kind of armor to back it up. It's ALWAYS better to have a healthy amount of both (I'm looking at you, Desolator).
Unless I go Shiva's, I don't have armor boosting items, so Ogre's strong starting armor and agility are what you've got to work with.
If you're good with micro/hotkeys, sheep stick, Euls, and other activated items can be stronger for you. After adding the D key with scepter, Mek/Pipe, Arcane Boots; I find I have enough active cooldowns to track, and prefer the passive bonus of Linkens with it's solid stat gains.
If for late game you are having slot issues, don't hesitate to dump your wand. After Bloodstone, it's mostly useless and the slot can be filled with much better options, money provided.
Ogre is a versatile, hybrid hero that can fill many roles depending on how you decide to play him. But aside from deciding between carry items or support items, keep in mind the following, which is true for any hero in DOTA.
- Don't feed.
- Play smart.
- Work with your team, not against them.
- Always stay busy -- there's XP and gold to earn, get out there and get it.
And remember: Go north. No, south!