Hi! Earth Spirit (Kaolin) is a melee strength hero, that possess a vast arsenal of disabling skills.
Unlike his brothers (Ember Spirit and Storm Spirit), Kaolin is shifting roles since his introduction in the game. Designed to be a Tanker, played heavily as a Core in early interactions of the game, Earth evolved to be a Support/Roamer. Earth Spirit has the longest reach area stun in the game, and his high mobility makes him extremely fun to be played. Being a strength-based support, he can still be built to be tanky(-ish). But his biggest contributions will be through his disables and TON of magical damage.
While not as powerful as before, in the right hands he can still dominate the game, dictate the pace of your team while frustrating the opposition like no other hero.
However, he is difficult to master. He have a unique mechanic , that forces the player not only manage his mana but also resource manage his Stone Remnants. Also, you WILL need to develop muscle memory to properly deliver his combos and maximize his impact on the game.
While challenging, none other support has the same “clutch” potential as Earth Spirit. A well-placed stun can crush enemy team initiation or save an ally. But at the same time, not properly deliver his abilities will impact negatively your team. So Kaolin will need to be practiced and studied.
After almost 300 games, this is my ideas of how you can maximize your journey with our beloved rocky buddy =)
This is an in-depth guide of Kaolin, so I won`t be shy about the size of my points. Also, feel free to adjust my ideas to suit your playstyle.
My name is Leoh. I'm Brazilian, playing Dota since 2013 - but games in general since 3 yo. I always liked to share knowledge and help other people to succeed, and also learn from other people experiences in the process. I've written several faqs for other games like Shiritsu Justice Gakuen: Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki 2 (Rivals Schools 2), Suikoden 2, Final Fantasy Tactics Series, X-Com and so on.
I was a very active DF`s discord and done a lot of coaching with people all over the globe. But Dota is a very complex and ever-changing game. I still consider myself a student of the game and will be available to exchange ideas. I really hope my points can help you improve your game somehow.
Outside Dota, I`m into strategy and RPGs. I also LOVE sandbox games like Cities Skylines and the Civilization Series. I suck at FPS but most of my friends play PUBG and Counter-Strike, so I'm giving it a chance.
But my main game outside Dota is being Street Fighter V. Last year a friend invited me to play, and after being beaten badly (lol) I rediscovered the joy and excitement that FGCs provide to you. And also the incredible people that you meet along the way ;)
Right now I`m Ranking Gold as Laura - and learning some Zeku after much insistence.
As said before, Kaolin shifted roles during the evolution of the game and tons of nerfs that he received since his introduction. Right now, he is normally played as a support – preferably a position 4 support that can roam. Kaolin has an early game stomping potential and will shine if he can setup up kills for his teammates on the laning phase. He does not need tons of items but will need levels to stay relevant in the game. If you roam around and can’t get kills (or worst, die in the process), you will have a tough game ahead. So be clever and learn how to properly time your efforts to maximize your XP and take the right chances in the game.
Earth needs to create setbacks for enemies to properly survive during the later stages of the game since he will have some problems after the enemy carries farm a BKB. If you don’t punish them early on, they will be prepared against you and Kaolin will be kinda useless on mid/late game. On that stage, you should already have some farm available to spend on a utility item, or shift your focus to lock-on enemy supports and remove them from the fight as quickly as possible.
Sticking with the rock motif, your decisions in the game will be written in stone. A nice start will secure a win, but a troubled one will stop your momentum and limit your impact and lower your ceiling.
+ High Mobility
+ Can solo kill most heroes in the game with lvl 6 and 5 remnants (more about this later)
+ Powerful crowd control
+ 2000 Distance Stun
+ Can be build to be tanky if needed
+ Can Boulder Smash allies into safety
Pick Him when:
+ Your team needs a stun
+ Enemy team have squishy heroes that can be ganked and easily get killed
+ Your team has another support or other reliable disabling abilities, that can chain disable an enemy.
+ Your team have a nuker, someone that can burst damage and a enjoy your ganks and setups.
Thousand years-old heroes may suffer Arthritis sometimes
- Needs to properly manage Remnants
- Is mana dependent, and will have short mana supply early on
- Will be punished by mistakes
- Silence makes him useless
- A nice Magnetize will be your most powerful weapon, but will expose you to damage.
- BKB will nullify him later on.
Avoid Picking Him when:
+ Your team have already supports, specially supports that needs to compete in farm with you to be reliable IE: Skywrath Mage, Elder Titan, Bounty Hunter.
+ Enemy team have silence that can be used to counter-initiate you. Riki and Silencer for instance are tough matchups.
+ Enemy have a tanky, survival-oriented hero that can survive you. Bristleback, Axe are another tough challenges
+ Your carries don’t have early game potential to secure kills, or needs to farm expensive itens to start contributing to your team. IE : Spectre, Lone Druid, Alchemist
Bloodseeker: Can Rupture enemies to lock enemies, making them a sitting duck for your combos. ALSO you can kick enemies to force rupture damage. Enemies will take rupture damage even if you turn them into stone using Enchant Remnant, one of the cheesiest tactics on the game.
Naga Siren : Ensnare is a reliable tool to make enemies immobile, to secure stun/silence. Song of the Siren can be used for you properly position yourself and your remnants to a good Magnetize and chain silence thru Geomagnetic Grip.
Enigma : Black Hole is an awesome tool disable enemies while you deliver a good Magnetize. A Black Hole and a Magnetize combo team-wipe enemies depending on the enemy team itemization. You can also follow-up with a stun to hold them in-place to take extra damage on Midnight Pulse. Malefice also slows enemies down so you can chase them up. But keep in mind that Enigma is also a greedy-ish hero, and is supposed to be off-laning to really complement Kaolin. If your team picks a supp 4 Enigma, consider not picking Kaolin so Enigma can get his Blink Dagger faster.
Crystal Maiden: One of the best pairs possible. Crystal can lock down enemies for you, provide slow, have burst damage AND give you mana regen – making your life WAY easier. Boulder Smash is a nice area stun that can be used to defend Rylai during her ult. Rolling Boulder`s slow stacks with Crystal Nova and Freezing Field, almost reducing to 0 your opposition move speed.
Enchantress: This one is kinda situational. But if you have an offlane Enchantress, your ganking abilities will be more than welcome to help her to secure kills. Untouchable and Enchant are powerful slows that can help you to land your skills. ALSO you can kick your enemies while Enchantress is throwing her Impetus to further the distance between Aiushtha and her target, making her deal EVEN more damage. Just make sure that you do this to secure a kill, since your kick can benefit the enemy by moving him away from Ench`s range. Also, legend says that Earth Spirit used to dig Enchantress booty =P
Faceless Void, Dragon Knight, Sven: these fellas can chain-stun with your Boulder Smash, and have burst damage to secure kills early on. They are probably the best carries to complement your abilities and snowball through the game.
Talents on Kaolin are situational
LVL 10 - I normally pick Intelligence for better mana regen, but you can also take +40 Damage to help you farm a bit.
LVL 15 - This one is 50/50. If enemy is dealing primeraly phisical damage, I would take the armor buff anytime. If the opponent is relying on Magic Damage or if you are confortable in the game, take the +200 Rolling Boulder. It triples the damage output of this skill, and can guarantee some kills for you.
LVL 20 - I normally will take the +15% Magic Damage. Since most of your damage output will be magical, this will help from flash farming to helping on team fights.
I would only take the GPM Talent if I'm having to share warding responsibilities or in case of being so far behind the game that I could not get items to sustain myselft reliably.
LVL 25 - This talents sucks to be honest. 9 times out of 10 I would take the stun increase, simply because Boulder Smash is just too good.
are basics survival items. Keep in mind that Earth Spirit have a short mana supply early-on, so use your claritys wiselly.
stacks with your Rolling Boulder, increasing the slow afflicted in the enemy. This 12% more will help you to secure kills on your rotations.
here is where I differ from other players. Most high-level players go for Tranquil Boots. However, I think that Arcane suits more my playstyle, since I get a bigger mana pool and can stay roaming around the map without going back to base for regen.
Veil is a must on Earth Spirit since you can deliver 25% more damage on your skills. Not only that, but the HP regen will keep you active around the map and provide armor to your ganks.
With this items, your job is pretty much done. Earth Spirit does not need items, and I had my fair share of matches where I ended with only the items above.
But, in case you might need:
Some players that I admire consider Blink Dagger a Core Item on Kaolin. With it, you can jump on enemies to Magnetize and catch them off-guard - way faster than you ever could with Rolling Boulder. However, I find it hard to a Roamer to gather that amount of gold before enemy carry got himself a BKB - making my initiation useless.
Kaka in special uses Blink very creatively, blinking to Enchant Remnant an ally and save him from certain death.
If this suits your playstyle, keep in mind that option. If you need a defensive mobility option (against Riki or Monkey King), go for Force Staff.
Is a nice cheap option that provides magical resistance, and also some escape to be used by you or your teammates. Worth the investment
Provide armor, magic regen and can be used while you sneak on your enemies to magnetize to disrupt their tactics even more. Worth the investment
Ok, this one is extremely situational. Kaya can make you deal more damage, stacks with Veil and makes your skills cheaper. But you will probably purchase Kaya on a stomping scenario where your team already is way ahead. And you got yourself a Veil.
Then if you wanna make the other team salty, go for it. Otherwise, spend on something else.
Atos is kinda good on Kaolin. It provides strength, makes you more durable and provides another lockdown to your team - while helping you to secure Boulder Smashes.
May worth the investment, but it may lose significance after BKBs.
Mek is situational as well. If your team does not have healing sources, needs to get a Guardian Greaves for some reason (and have the money to afford), then it makes sense. But I would rather spend in something else tho =P
Lens has a series of restrictions in Earth Spirit. It won't improve your ult, neither the distance traveled by Rolling Boulder or Boulder Smash. BUT it will make you pull remnants and heroes farther using Grip and you will be able to kick without actually touching the enemy (similar to Pudge's Dismember using lens).
Also, you will get a little bit more reach to Enchant Remnant
Some high-level players do pick Lens in their builds. I personally never faced situations where I HAD to, but is a good mana regen anyway.
At some point, you may need to pick something that protects you from being counter-initiated. BKB is a better option overall and is probably your go-to pick in most cases.
However, Linken makes sense, since it will deliver more mana regen and build you lots of stats.
Nullifier is expensive, but if you are able to get before BKBs, it's awesome.
Magnetize damage every 0.5 seconds, and each tick counts as a separate hit.
So if you are able to Nullify an enemy and magnetize him, he won`t be able to move - not counting the silence. Also, you will become much tankier.
It's not for every game, but it's really fun =)
Agh's is situational but will enable you to give lots of stats and will enable you to [Enchant Remnant]. Take a look at the skill section for more insights about it.
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KidneyShake - Earth Spirit chibi
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Step-S - Earth Spirit Watercolor
Shenron1030- Skills Image