Well, since Lycanthrope was the first hero i played in the original DotA, the first hero where i got a Beyond Godlike streak in DotA and since there aren't any guides about him and he is my favourite hero, i decided to write a guide about Lycanthrope. I will explain my playstyle, and since English isn't my native language, don't blame me for my grammar.
Banehallow was noble-born to the house of Ambry, the greatest of the landed castes in the old kingdom of Slom. Before the Fall, as the Kings wants grew strange, and his court grew crowded with sorcerers and charlatans, the house of Ambry was the first to rise against the avarice of the throne. No longer willing to pay homage and fealty, they instead sent six-thousand swords into the capital, where they were wiped out in the Massacre of the Apostates. And then came the teeth behind the old truth: When you strike a kings neck, you had better take his head.
Enraged by the betrayal, the king exterminated the vast Ambry bloodline, sparing only the lord of the house and his youngest son, Banehallow. Before all the royal court, with the disgraced lord chained to the ornate marble floor, the King bade his magicians transform the boy into a wolf so that he might tear out his own fathers throat. Do this, the king said, so that Lord Ambry will understand the bite of betrayal. Powerful magic was invoked, and the child was transformed. But though his body was changed, his spirit remained intact, and instead of biting the exposed neck of his father, he attacked his handlers, tearing them to pieces. A dozen of the Kings knights perished under the wolfs teeth before they managed to drive it off into the night. Lord Ambry laughed from his chains even as the King ran him through with a sword. Now the heir to the lost house of Ambry, Banehallow wanders the trail as the Lycan, part warrior, part wolf, in search of justice for all that he lost.
Banehallow is an avatar of bestial fury created by the scourge. For years he has dwelled in the dark forests of the world, hunting innocents that wander therein. Now he is called to aid his masters. He revels in blood and battle, using his wolfish persona to draw the feral beasts to his side and imbue his allies with his flesh-shredding strength. He is also unnaturally quick and agile. Some say he can even transform into a giant wolf, giving him more durability and the speed to gouge and maim with near impunity.
Strength: 22 + 2.75
Agility: 16 + 1.9
Intelligence: 15 + 1.55
As you can see, Lycanthrope's stats are not bad, since his power comes from his spells and items.
-Very strong Mid-game DPS'er
-Can jungle from level 1 and do an early solo roshan
-Good pusher with his wolves
-Can gain maximum movespeed and cannot be slowed(not even sheepstick will slow his ulti)
-Not so good late-game.
-Not a real carry
-Mana problems early-game.
As you can see, i start with 3 Iron Branches, a Magic Stick, Gauntlets of Strength and some Tango's. These items provide some early game survivability and the power to last-hit creeps. I always upgrade my 3 Iron Branches and my Magic Stick into a Magic Wand, because it can be life-saving AND it will provide the little extra mana you will need as Lycanthrope.
If you really need the extra stats upgrade your Gauntlets of Strength into a Bracer, or else just keep it and sell it when you feel like you need the extra gold/inventory space.
Next i buy a Ring of Basilius. This item will fix some of Lycanthropes mana issues early game, and is needed for Vladmir's Offering. After the ring i buy Boots of Speed, since mobility is really important in DotA and i make Power Treads. After PT you should finish your Vladmir's Offering. A level 9 Lycanthrope with Power Treads and Vladmir's Offering can SOLO ROSHAN. After your Aegis of the Immortal the only item you really should want to buy is a Skull Basher. Then stop farming. All your gold will come from ganks.
Now every other items are situational.
-Is the enemy team disabling you like crazy, nuking the hell out of you?
Get Black King Bar
-Do you want to become tankier?
Get Heart of Tarrasque
-Do you have Slardar and Lanaya in your team and want to decrease the enemy's armor alot?
Get Medallion of Courage, Desolator, Assault Cuirass
-Are you losing and do you feel like you want to give it 1 last chance
Get Divine Rapier
-Does the enemy team have alot of images and is noone on your team getting a Radiance?
-Do you want an overpowered amount of lifesteal and don't have any other orbs?
-Do you want to push and can you micro like a boss?
I max out Summon Wolves first. They are way too strong to be skipped.
If you really get harassed alot in your lane try to take some stats instead of Feral Impulse but Summon Wolves MUST BE MAXED at level 7. They can take down a level 7 hero on their own.
Then i max out Feral Impulse for the attack speed and damage bonus on both wolves and lycan.
I just think howl isn't really needed untill the later stages of the game. Ofcourse level your ulti whenever possible.
When you pick (random) Lycanthrope, level your wolves and buy the recommended items. If your team needs a jungler you can easily do the job. If you random Lycanthrope, pick a Stout Shield/ Animal Courier/ Observer Ward/ Town Portal Scroll with the extra gold or max out your Magic Wand. Just before the game starts send your wolves to scout. You can go check for the rune with them and if the enemy team has a Goblin Techies, go destroy those bombs!! At level 1, your wolves aren't really strong but good enough to help you tank the neutrals and help you with lasthitting/harassing the opponent. You need the gold and experience but do not take the solo lane. You can easily get harassed/outfarmed by a good Viper/ Tinker/ Invoker. When you hit level 7 you can go and gank but only do so if you are sure to get a kill. Else keep farming untill you have your Vladmir's Offering and Power Treads. When you have those 2 items and you are around level 7.. Congratulations, you are now ready to solo roshan. Just let the wolves tank Roshan and whenever they reach half hp, send them back and let roshan attack the other wolf. Then let him attack again. You can also tank a little bit damage with your lifesteal and ultimate, just make sure you don't die. If someone wants to come and help just tell them to gtfo. You will lose money and experience. IF you are level 7 and you kill Roshan you will become level 9 and yes, you can now gank the **** out of your opponents and towerpush really good. You are really strong and with the Aegis of the Immortal almost unstoppable but don't get too cocky. A team can still be stronger than 1 man. You can stop farming now (finally) and with the money you get from kills/tower pushes. Your next item is depending on the situation: Black King Bar or Skull Basher. If you are really pubstomping get the Basher but if you keep getting disabled go for the Black King Bar. Now the other items are completely your decision. Just get the items that fit the situation/your playstyle. He is also a decent Divine Rapier carryer but be carefull...It might fall into the wrong hands. Try to finish the game because Lycanthrope loses his effectiveness late-game since his wolves won't be so strong anymore.
- Boots of Travel Are boots that you CAN pick if you have a really good farm since they will make you a pushing machine. With them you can teleport to any allied unit, which include your Summon Wolves
- Medallion of Courage Is often picked by the support of your team, but if noone buys it, feel free to take it. You and your wolves will benefit from them, as well as your own team, they also solve your early mana problems and make soloing roshan alot easier.
- Necronomicon Is often seen as a noob/pub item but since Lycanthrope is a really great pusher, they will make that job even easier. Also remember that with your ultimate EVERY unit you control gets maximum movespeed.. So will the units from Necronomicon.
-Lycanthrope can NOT BE SLOWED while in Shapeshift. Not even Sheepstick will work.
-If the enemy team has picked Goblin Techies, let your wolves destroy his bombs. Let the ***** RAGEQUIT!
-Lycanthrope can teleport to his wolves with Boots of Travel.
-While Shapeshifted Lycanthrope gets 1800 vision in the dark.
-When Lycanthrope uses his ultimate, every unit you control gets maximum movement speed. ( Summon Wolves + Necronomicon + Helm of the Dominator)
-Howl affects all allied player-controlled units, not just those under Lycanthrope's control.
Why isn' Lycanthrope a carry?
I stated that he isn't a real late-game carry because the 'REAL' carries like PA, Spectre, Troll Warlord, ... can counter him.
He should not be played as a carry but as a strong mid-game DPS'er. The mid-game is where Lycan really shines and if your mid game was really good ofcourse you can be really strong late-game, but if a game takes 100 minutes, your main carry will always do alot better than Lycan.
Lycanthrope hasn't got the skills to carry. Let's take PA as example.
Phantom Asassin has a 4-second slow, blink with attack speed boost, passive evasion and a passive critical chance.
Those skills are really good late-game and always get better with the better items you have.
Same for the other carries. They need to buy items to make their skills better.
Lycanthrope has the ability to summon wolves, that can't scale into the late-game as good as all of the above skills, because they don't get stronger with your levels and items.
He also has a howl ability that gives his allies damage, but it is a constant amount, not really game-breaking and has the same effects when you're level 7, than when you're level 25.
His passive is actually a late-game passive, but still, since his wolves won't get buffed they will always have the same attack speed.
His ultimate is just really strong with his slow-immunity but even there, it will never get buffed in the level 17-25 stages of the game, nor will it be buffed with items, besides with the critical damage...
That is why i think that Lycanthrope can not really carry a game, but since he mostly has a good mid-game, he will be really strong late game with the farm and the items from all his ganks.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this guide as i did writing it. After all he IS my favourite hero and really hope to see more people to get their hands on this sexy wolf.
Take care x