Hey guys, Airwave here. I've been playing games of the MOBA/DotA genre for the majority of the past four years, first in HoN and most recently in DotA2. In Heroes of Newerth I was an 1850-1900 MMR hard support player with 57-60 percent win in public matchmaking. More recently I've been a member of the teams CoN2 and Team Jacob as their offlane solo player while maintaining a 55+ percent win rate in the "very high" matchmaking bracket while also (as of 2/10) being rated 4352 in TMM, good for 50something in the world. This guide will be part of a longer series as I attempt to write a guide for every hero in the DotA2 hero pool. In this guide I will explain my Rubick builds, both when I play him as a support and as a solo-mid.
Rubick is a very unique intelligence hero who has an AoE CC, AoE nuke as well as a passive that provides massive magic armor to all of his teammates in a radius around. While his three base skills make him a strong hero his ultimate is what allows him to be special. Spell Steal allows Rubick to copy an enemies last used spell, giving one hero the opportunity to use spells like Black Hole, Ravage and Reverse Polarity to his hearts content.
+Fade Bolt is a great farming/harassment tool that severely reduces your opponents ability to last hit early game
+Very dangerous team fight hero if the enemy has big team fight spells
+Spellsteal allows for great early game gank potential
+Null Field provides a very strong aura to the team (20% magic reduction - 2/3rd's of Hood)
-Requires great positioning and reflexes to maximize skill set
-Tails off significantly after the mid-game
-His two primary skills have high mana cost (120/150)
-Poor base move speed and armor as well as below average strength gain (1.5)
-Poor timing on Spellsteal can give you less-than-stellar skills (I.e. Anchor Smash/Gush when trying to steal things like Ravage.
-Requires a strong grasp of most (if not all) of the heroes in the game in order to play well.
A great skill with a significant downside. Telekinesis is a unique stun in the sense that it will "lift" an enemy first and subsequently stun heroes in the radius around the hero dropped. The duration of Tele's lift and stun are both extremely good and you can even toss the lifted enemy 325 units away from his beginning position, forcing them further out of position or keeping them further away as you run. While the stun and positioning benefits of Tele are great, it has two key flaws. First, the spell does zero damage, making it a good-but-not-great ability in lane. Secondly, the spell has an 18 second cooldown, meaning that it must be used judiciously or else you won't have it when you really need it.
[W] Fade Bolt:
Rubick's nuke, a moderate damage dealing spell that function similarly to Zeus' Arc Lightning in how it chains to targets. Unlike Arc Lightning, Fade Bolt doesn't have a maximum amount of targets, instead it's damage is reduced by four percent for each subsequent target it hits while also applying a handy debuff that reduces the enemies base damage, something exceptionally useful for slowing pushes and out-hitting somebody mid. The ability has seen some slight nerfs over the past months, most notably with the bounce distance being reduced from 500 range to 440. While this may not seem important, it affects Rubick's laning since Fade Bolt will not always bounce from the last melee creep to the ranged creep/enemy hero if they're positioned away from the melee creep group.
[E] Null Field:
A rather simple passive that reduces incoming magic damage by a percentage. Powerful skill that is essentially a beefed up casual cloak for your team that doesn't take up an entire item slot. Not too much to say about it.
[R] Spell Steal:
The ability that turns rubick into Rubick. It's a pretty simple spell that gives you the last spell an enemy cast for 180/240/300 seconds. The key to Spell Steal is knowing when to get a new spell and knowing when to hold a spell. A good Rubick will be able to get off 2-3 quality enemy spells in a teamfight while a bad/unlucky Rubick will grab the wrong spells or use them at the wrong times. My basic rule for Spell Steal is that if an ability has some type of CC attached to it, or even better a damage dealing CC, you'll want to steal it. That being said, many ultimates are worthy of being stolen and kept and I'll go over Spell Steal in the tier list chapter of this guide.
In my guide I use two different skill builds for Rubick depending on where I am and what role I'm fulfilling. When I'm playing Rubick in the Mid lane I'll usually max out Telekinesis before getting Null Field but in my support build I'll only get two levels of Tele before maxing out Null. The reason is simple; experience and propinquity to allies. When you're soloing mid you'll be getting much, much more experience than if you're in a dual/trilane (obviously) so getting to that key level of 14 should be significantly easier than hard supporting as Rubick where you'll find yourself underleveled and underfarmed. Secondly, in a dual lane the aura will help not just you, but your lane partner. Although it won't always make a difference, there are time when the extra 5-10% magic damage reduction is the difference between your carry staying alive and your carry dying.
A: Generally speaking I always bottle rush as Rubick mid, aiming to get my bottle before the 1:30 mark so I can spam out mid lane before the two minute rune spawns. If my team doesn't have wards I'm less likely to go for a straight bottle rush and if there isn't a courier I will not be bottle rushing. You can also avoid a bottle rush against a hero like Queen of Pain who should beat you to most runes because of her Blink.
Q: Phase Boots or Arcane Boots?
A: It's personal preference. I usually go for Arcane Boots just because I tend to spam a lot more than most players. If you're on an int-heavy team or a spam-heavy team Arcane Boots are preferable but if you like the mobility and attack damage provided by Phase Boots, by all means go for them. Either way there isn't a wrong answer.
Q: Do you get both Force Staff and Drums of Endurance?
A: I will almost always get a Force Staff on Rubick. The biggest weakness on Rubick is a lack of mobility, something that going Arcane Boots doesn't really fix. Fortunately, Force Staff does a lot to help in the mobility department. Drums is a similar item in that makes up for some of the movement speed that Rubick is missing while also providing some great all-around stats. That being said, if somebody else on your team wants to get Drums it's fine, you can just pick up the Force Staff and move on with the list.
Listed in the mid-game section I have four items, Blink, Mek, Eul's and Pipe and normally I'll only get one of these items in a game. Blink is fantastic for mobility and ganking, basically allowing Rubick to make up a lot of positioning weaknesses very quickly. Mek is an item I'd prefer a support hero to get, but if it's not going to be picked up on anyone else Rubick isn't a terrible alternative. Eul's offers some move speed (I hope you're starting to get that I value MS and mobility on Rubick - I think it's his biggest flaw and one that can not be under addressed) as well as some fantastic mana regeneration. Pipe makes Rubick into a magic damage sponge, similar to Mek, it's a situational item that isn't bad on Rubick but should only grabbed if nobody else plans on making it.
Towards the end-game I always try to make a Sheepstick. Quite frankly 3.5 seconds of CC on a single target is amazing and the other stats on the item are nothing to scoff at. Necronomicon is strong item that requires decent micro, regardless it's good and exceptionally strong against invis heroes. Shiva's is another strong late-game item with strong anti-carry tools as well as giving Rubick more kiting ability.
The situational items should be considered early in the game (except Halberd, which I'll explain in a moment). Ghost Scepter is a fantastic option against teams with a lot of melee damage or one particularly fat tunnel vision hero (i.e. Naix or CK). Bloodstone can be a good option if you're dominating the early game and have Arcane Boots. It's not the greatest option, but it lets Rubick snowball much harder than most other items. Rod of Atos isn't a common pickup, and for good reason, but the health is good on Rubick and the slow is absolutely insane. Heaven's Halberd is one of the best anti-carry tools in the game. The disarm is mind-boggling and the fact that it provides 20 strength, a maim and 25% evasion is great, the only issue is that in most cases you'd want something better for ~4k gold.
When playing Rubick Support:
Many of the things I just listed apply to Rubick as a support hero, but keep in mind that you're not going to be getting anywhere near the amount of gold a solo mid Rubick would. You're going to want to keep wards up while holding reveal should the other team have an invis hero or be warding themselves. When playing Rubick as a support I prefer to build Mek as my first big item since your two branches build into the Buckler and Headdress that the item requires. Furthermore, you'll notice that I only listed Arcane Boots and not both Arcane's/Phase for support. This is because Arcane's offer more for your team and you won't have a mana regen item such as bottle if you're not in the mid lane.
So I began compiling a "tier list" of sorts in terms of what heroes are best for Rubick to be matched against. Admittedly, it's a rudimentary list, but it will be divided into four sections: god tier, demigod tier, A-tier and everyone else. Every single ability in the game will help Rubick, albeit in varying degrees. For the first three tiers I will explain what makes the hero a good steal in a sentence or two.
Black Hole is one of the best abilities in the game and it's a channel. So long as you're out of the Black Hole radius it should be an easy steal for any Rubick. Furthermore, Malefice stun is really strong in a single target situation, even if the damage isn't particularly outstanding.
Ravage is one of the best abilities in the game, offering damage and a powerful stun in a massive radius. Unfortunately for Rubick players, it is one of the most difficult spells to steal since a good Tide will always Anchor Smash immediately after ulting. Requires amazing reflexes to steal during the cast (but it can be done!).
Magnus, one of the newer heroes in DotA2 is a fantastic Spell Steal candidate thanks to his game changing ultimate Reverse Polarity. Not quite as easy to steal as Black Hole, but much easier than Ravage considering how RP only has 410 radius. Keep in mind that a good Magnus will use Shockwave immediately after RP'ing so your window of opportunity isn't very large.
Wave Form and Replicate are two extremely useful skills, but stealing Morph Strength Gain allows you to permanently change all your agility to strength, making you much much tankier. Just remember, never go full agility.
Brewmaster - Drunken Haze is a very good anti-carry ability as the game enters the late-game phase. Primal Spirit is one of the best teamfight ultimates in the game and not a terribly hard ulti to steal (you just need to wait for his ulti to drop). Almost made my "God" tier.
Bounty Hunter - Track is one of the best skills in the game and is doubly awesome for how effective it is against Bounty Hunter.
Beastmaster - Primal Roar is a great single target spell while Call of the Wild gives you a free moving ward. Wild Axes can be a great early game steal if you know that Beastmaster stacked his ancients, allowing you to steal them.
Chaos Knight - Chaos Bolt is arguably the best non-ultimate target stun in the game due to the fact that it can last four seconds and deal a sizable amount of damage.
Dark Seer - Literally every one of Dark Seer's abilities are strong on Rubick, but Vacuum and Wall of Replica are the preferable steals.
Windrunner - Similar to Dark Seer in the sense that each ability is good, although I try to avoid stealing Focus Fire
Omniknight - All of Omni's abilities have considerable cast times so stealing Guardian Angel is pretty easy while Repel is one of the best support abilities in the game.
Jakiro - Ice Path is an amazing stun on a low cooldown that doesn't have a cast time when cast by Rubick. The lack of cast times makes his other spells good on Rubick, but nowhere near as good as Ice Path.
Troll Warlord - Stealing Battle Trance will turn you into a carry's best friend. It's the only spell really worth stealing from Troll, but if you get it, it will be great.
Disruptor - Glimpse is absolutely amazing and extremely versatile in it's uses (it can make a TP worthless, it can send back either a pursuing or fleeing enemy). Unfortunately Glimpse has a long CD and the only other Disruptor ability that I consider worth stealing is Static Storm
Faceless Void - Would've been a tier above if it weren't for the change to Chronosphere that leaves Void unaffected by enemy Chrono's. Regardless, Chrono is a great steal and Time Leap is pretty decent for escape/chase purposes.
Centaur Warrunner - This ranking may be too low but I haven't seen Cent enough to make a really educated judgment. Need to see more, but Stampede seems like it'll be a great steal.
Templar Assassin - Refraction is wonderful, Meld is situational but useful, Psionic Traps don't disappear even after getting rid of the spell. Nothing mindblowing, but very solid overall.
Death Prophet - This is all about stealing an Excorcism and sowing some chaos throughout the fight, not a particularly hard steal either.
Queen of Pain - Blink is what you'll want most times although Sonic Wave is a great teamfight steal and Scream of Pain makes farming significantly easier throughout the game while also giving you a great burst combination early game(scream + fade bolt).
Shadow Shaman - Two awesome CC abilities and pretty easy to steal ultimate in Mass Serpent Ward.
Pudge - His ultimate Dismember is a powerful channeled stun that deals a fair amount of damage and stuns for three seconds but stealing Meat Hook is the best option as it has great synergy with Telekinesis while dealing high damage and forcing an enemy out of position. Unfortunately, Rot toggling allows Pudge to avoid spellsteal in many scenarios.
Sand King - Debated whether to put SK here or a tier lower, I decided to leave him here since an Epicenter steal is massive in teamfights and Burrowstrike is one of the best multi-hero stuns in the game.
Medusa - Her ult, Stone Gaze is a very powerful anti-carry tool that does great on Rubick simply as a surprise factor while Mystic Snake is an extremely useful creep clearing/harassment tool during the early/mid game.
Telekinesis can place enemies onto impassable terrain, this can not only guarantee a kill but prevent an enemy from doing anything for an extended period of time if done early in the game.
Certain spells can prematurely end the lift phase of Rubick's Telekinesis, causing the main hero to be stunned for a shorter duration while also immediately stunning enemy units around him. Examples of this would be Chaos Knight's Reality Rift, Batrider's Flaming Lasso and Magnus' Skewer.
Not really a tip but certain spells are more fun/hilarious than others to steal. Flak Cannon shoots lasers out of Rubick, Pudge's Hook is always fantastic and stealing Lycan's ult turns you into a ranged, critting werewolf. Snowball TURNS YOU INTO A SNOWBALL AND IT'S WONDERFUL!
Spell stolen version of skills don't have cast times, this makes Jakiro's spells, Leshrac's stun and Lina's stun significantly better and easy to land.
12/10/2012: First draft is fully completed.
12/11/2012: Added some icons while changing some formatting. Fixed grammar/spelling.
12/17/2012: Updated Pros and Cons, Added Pudge to the tier list
2/8/2013: Updated for addition of Medusa and Troll Warlord
Any questions, concerns or criticisms regarding this guide can be left in the comment section or via email ([email protected]). Thanks for reading and I hope it was enjoyable/informative for you!
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