Hello dotafire. I'm Dynasty and this is my first guide. I decided to make a guide for Ancient Apparition as he is my favourite support, and in my opinion, there is not a very good guide for him at the moment. This is how I like to play ancient apparition. It may not be the way you like to play him, if this is the case, I enjoy discussing my reasonings in the comments below.
Good attack animation and range
Amazing kill potential from level 2
Global ult allows for picking off heroes who might otherwise escape and assisting ganks whilst not being present
Landing a good ult is incredibly satisfying
Fairly good mana cost/mana pool ratio early game
Squishy intelligence hero
Ult is a skill shot which requires practice and good estimation of oppositions movements
Stun requires setup
While I think Ancient Apparition is an incredibly strong hero, he is not a support you want to pick every game. For you to be effective in lane you need a lane partner with a decent length stun/root so that you can get Cold Feet to actually stun something. You also need to be laning against an opponent who cannot escape easily, so abilities such as Blink, Leap and repel make it pretty much impossible for you to get kills in lane. As you are a support you want to be laning with a carry because you do not need the gold from creeps in lane. I have had sucess laning with any of the following carries.
Chaos Knight Pray to the gods you don't get 1s stuns all the time!
Slark Note this requires your lane partner to be able to hit Pounce
Other combinations are no doubt possible, and there are many strong trilane possibilities as well.
Cold Feet is maxed first as it provides good damage and an awesome stun, providing you have a setup disable.
Chilling Touch is taken at level 2 as it can be used to buff your lane partner(s) yielding huge damage (300 damage in a duo lane and 450 in a trilane from 3 attacks per hero).
Ice Vortex taken at level 4 as it provides a slow and increases magic damage taken, both of which increase your kill potential in lane.
The more astute among you will have noticed I did not specify the skill order for Ice Vortex and Chilling Touch post level 7. This is because there are some situations where one is better and some where the other is preferred. If you are leaving your carry to farm and roaming as 3 or 4 from an early stage, more levels in Chilling Touch can be absolutely devastating in early skirmishes. If you are just going for single targets with nukers such as Lina then the increased slow and magic damage amplification from Ice Vortex could be preferred. Use your brain and decide which might suit the team judging from how the game is going. Remember that ice votex can be used defensively whereas Chilling Touch is only really an offensive skill.
Hopefully you will be laning with a carry who has a disable, for reasons discussed above. Head to the safe lane with this carry and possibly another support. I do not suggest supporting an off lane ever for a few reasons.
-You cannot stack and pull/chain pull in the offlane (radiant offlane can do this but it is easily countered/contested). This means you will have no source of gold other than killing the opponents, which is risky in the offlane.
-You cannot control the lane as well as your opposition.
-Your carry will not be able to farm safely so it's a waste of a lane.
-You may well be up against a trilane or offensive jungler in which case you're screwed.
Try and get someone to pick a hero who can solo the offlane and get a jungler/trilane.
Once you get to the safelane what you do next depends upon what you're up against. The chances are you won't be going for a kill until level 2 (unless in a trilane or your jungler is something like enchantress or chen) so focus on denying and harassing. If you are against a solo offlaner you want to force him out of xp range if at all possible. This is more important than stacking/pulling as you will generate a level advantage over the offlaner which will allow for super easy kills if they ever come forwards. If against a duo lane then try to kill one at level 2 - use your judgement as to which is a more sensible target. Ideally you want to Cold Feet and have your carry stun straight after but the precise timing is unlikely to be important. Instantly use Chilling Touch after the stun and auto attack your target to death. A simple Ancient Apparition and Dragon Knight lane can really punish anyone who over extends.
Aaaah, the ultimate. An incredible skill when used correctly but also easy to miss. Ice Blast has a global range, does decent damage in an aoe which varies depending on how far away the target is from you (longer is bigger so more room for error), and places an awesome debuff on all opponents hit by either the final blast or in the line from you to the target point. The debuff does damage over time, prevents ALL healing (think Mekansm, Nature's Attendants, Urn of Shadows etc and also fountain regen and also will cause the debuffed enemy to instantly die if they drop below ~10% HP, dependant upon level).
The first press of R will let you select a target. You will then fire a tracer towards that target which gives vision. Press R again when the tracer has reached the area you want the blast to hit, and then an ice ball will spawn at Ancient Apparition, travel to the place you selected and explode in an aoe which will be shown as it travels. The key to sucessful ultimates is good preciction of movement and also practice. As with any skill shot in dota, you get better the more you use it.
Note: Because the debuff will be placed on any enemy hit by the ball as it travels to its destination (though they will not take the initial blast damage damage), it is always better to overshoot than undershoot as you will still get the debuff.
The ultimate can also be used to help push lanes if you are sure there will not be a fight for 45 seconds. Creeps take the initial blast damage but are uneffected by the debuff and damage over time.
I really enjoy playing Ancient Apparition and hope that if you've never tried him, this might have encouraged you to give it a shot. He is incredibly rewarding and can be part of some devastating lanes.
As said, this is my first guide, I won't pretend it took me hours and hours to write so there may be a mistake or something I've forgotten. If this is the case I will be more than appreciative if you let me know. On the contrary, if you agree with me then it is always nice to hear that also!
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