I decided to make a guide for Abaddon due to him being my favorite and most played hero, as well as I think a lot of people do not understand how to build him very well or to utilize the combination of all the aspects he excels at.
This guide will most heavily focus on Abaddon as a support hero, but with a nice twist compared to most support heroes as you'll see later on. I've also included a separate build for a carry (really a semi-carry), which I can't advise as much but included it for the few times I think it's acceptable to build as such as well as to get people to play Abaddon that normally wouldn't do so (you out there who never play supports :/ ) and hopefully will see how great he is at it and like to do both!
I'm going to make a quick remark now that will be repeated several times in this guide:
Abaddon is in my opinion, almost indisputably the most versatile hero in the game. That being said, there's going to be a lot of times where I'm going to give a rather large range of choices for how to skill/build him, simply because to play him well this will vary far more than most heroes and even though I will try to give the best advice for what path to go, but the builds I use vary wildly from game to game so lot of it is going to have to depend on the game and you'll have to use your own discretion.
At a later time I'll include a second build for aiming to be a semi-carry/carry right out from the start.
Alright, let's get started!
The Font of Avernus is the source of a family's strength, a crack in primal grasses from which vapors of prophetic power have issued for generations. Each newborn of the cavernous House Avernus is bathed in the black mist, and by this baptism they are given an innate connection to the mystic energies of the land. They grow up believing themselves fierce protectors of their lineal traditions, the customs of the realm--but what they really are protecting is the Font itself. And the motives of the mist are unclear. When the infant colt Abaddon was bathed in the Font, they say something went awry. In the colt's eyes there flared a light of comprehension that startled all present and set the sacredotes to whispering. He was raised with every expectation of following the path all scions of Avernus took--to train in war, that in times of need he might lead the family's army in defense of the ancestral lands. But Abaddon was always one apart. Where others trained with harness and bridle, he bent himself to meditation in the presence of the mist. He drank deep from the vapors that welled from the Font, learning to blend his spirit with the potency that flowed from far beneath the House; he became a creature of the black mist. There was bitterness within the House Avernus--elders and young alike accusing him of neglecting his responsibilities. But all such accusations stopped when Abaddon gallped into battle, and they saw how the powers of the mist had given him mastery over life and death beyond those of any lord the House had ever known. Afterwards, a silent hooded figure took to riding on Abaddon's back, because he had the best sugar cubes, so why the hell not?
As with other supports your main job is to assist your carries as best you can, while trying to stay alive yourself. The very nice difference with Abaddon Though is that his damage potential doesn't fall off so hard as other supports. Witch Doctor may have be nice for early game laning for abusing the other team, but no one is going to care about their right-click damage at all soon enough, where as with Abaddon if the game goes late enough your Mist Coil will often have less of an impact for the obvious reason of larger health pools and higher damage output, and your Aphotic Shield will mainly serve the purpose of removing debuffs (still incredibly useful don't neglect using it just because the absorb value seems somewhat negligible.
But with your support items such as Mechanism / Pipe of Insight / Vladmir's Offering in addition to your one or two carry items you may have been able to build, you can be of some very nice assistance in helping take down enemies in team fights. If you can help it, try to let your carries still take as many kills as possible. Preferably most of the kills you should have should either be from enemies running away with a gap and the only way to kill them would be for you to Mist Coil them or else they would get away, or if your teammates backed out/died and you simply have to take the kills.
Just keep in mind that no matter how well you're geared, if you are neglecting to help your allies with your spells, than in nearly every circumstance you are greatly under utilizing this hero.
So for your starting items I highly suggest always grabbing Tango and a Ring of Protection. The Tango for obvious reasons and the Ring of Protection because you're going to use it to form a Ring of Basilius / Tranquil Boots.
You should Always being purchasing either an Animal Courier or Observer Ward to start off with as well (at times both). If you get the Observer Wards Makes sure you give one to whoever will need it for whichever side lane you will not be in, or wherever it needs to be depending on your team's and the other team's heroes.
For the Skill Sequence, it's really difficult for me to just put down any one build. I change it up or moderately every game and really don't have a "go to" build or one that even varies in the placement of one or two points.
The skill build I listed I doubt I ever even use often, but it serves the purpose for being a decent enough skeleton. For one, I would highly suggest starting most every game with your first point in Aphotic Shield, it's great for saving you and your lane parter(s) from slows/burst damage and certain disables as well as removing stuns from your lanepartner(s). It also allows your lane to be very aggressive if your lane suits that.
At level 2 Mist Coil is what you're going to want to pick up. Curse of Avernus is a nice ability but levels one and two are simply not very useful on their own and I would suggest most games waiting until at least level 3 to grab it. One option I particularly is waiting to see if you can get an early kill, and if so purchase a Orb of Venom. The Orb of Venom is slightly better for slowing enemies than a level 2 Curse of Avernus which can be a very enticing purchase for only 275 gold, allowing you to put those early two skill points elsewhere.
From level 3 onward, this is where it's really up to you to decide where to skill. Does the opposing lane have a lot of stuns/slows where the decreased CD on Aphotic Shield can be crucial? Are your lane partner(s) trying to be very aggressive and you think the added health (or damage) from Mist Coil is lucrative? Do you have a really nice lane dominance in every way except something to hold them down or slow the enemies and feel that even 1 or 2 points in Curse of Avernus is heavily needed? You're just going to have to judge it game by game and hopefully after a little but have a very easy time deciding what is most needed.
Mist Coil is a very versatile and useful skill throughout the entirety of the game. How does it work? Upon casting on an freindly or enemy unit, Abaddon will sacrifice a fixed amount of health and either heal or damage the unit you cast it on depending if it's friendly/foe for a little less than twice the amount you get hurt for. You're going to have to be mindful of your mana and if it's more important to use Mist Coil or Aphotic Shield if you only have enough for one, or even if you can do both, if it's better to save the extra mana for the near future in the same or separate engagement.
Things to Keep in Mind:
-There is only a 5 second cooldown.
-The damage you deal to yourself is pure damage.
-You can use this to consume some of the remaining value of your Aphotic Shield, if it consumes it, you will succesfully burst your Aphotic Shield which at times can be very useful if you feel you're about to die and the combined damage of the two spells will kill the enemy rather than you getting killed (or denying yourself). Other times this is a bad idea, when you could have otherwise escaped by leaving it on.
-Spamming it can lead to you being out of mana very quickly early game, and unable to use an Aphotic Shield which could have been more helpful.
-Level one is rather lackluster and the mana and health cost for it is quite high so use only if needed. Level 2 and onward are much more efficient.
-You can deny yourself with this spell. Use this if an incoming projectile/DOT is about to kill you or you know the enemy will close the gap you have and there's not chance of you living.
-Cannot target units (including allies) under the affect of Black King Bar
Is up there as one of the greatest support skills in the game possibly in my opinion. While the amount of damage absorbed or dealt at later stages of the game is often, but not always insignificant, the fact that you can remove nearly all slows, stuns, and as well as many disables, makes Aphotic Shield incredibly useful.
You can be your teammates only hope of being saved by removing such spells as Fiend's Grip,
Dismember, Shackles and so many more.
You should always have your whole team in mind and think of saving it for a possible slow/stun/disable you see coming instead of instantly using it on yourself. Saving Aphotic Shield CD a few seconds so you have it when a likely used disable or slow is coming is far more important for instance than giving yourself a shield just for extra survivability or to get rid of a slow.
Don't underestimate the absorbance of the shield either. Many times even in the later parts of the game using an Aphotic Shield -> Mist Coil repeat, has saved many carries or supports even in the later stages of the game where these skills fall off some. Unless your positive a teammate will die don't neglect to attempt to save them, as using a quick Aphotic Shield followed by a Mist Coil can be more than enough in conjunction with a teammates stun to save someone that likely seemed doomed.
Things to keep in mind:
-Replacing an existing Aphotic Shield will burst the original one, you can use this when you or a teammate is chasing down an enemy who is slightly faster if you think the AOE will kill them.
-Regardless of how much of the shield was "used up" it will always deal the same damage for a particular rank.
-Cab be purged by a Diffusal Blade
-Cannot place on heroes under the affect of Black King Bar, although if an ally had it on beforehand, it will not be removed.
This is a really interesting and all around great passive. It works by placing a buff on Abaddon as he attacks his target, meaning that even on the first hit he will receive the buff. Then, once the enemy target is hit they receive a the proportional debuff (exact affect Abaddon gets but negatively) and all units that attack the enemy receive the same buff as Abaddon. Pretty cool right?
It's very useful for slowing escaping enemies, and making sure that those who attack them can keep up with them even if their movement speed is lower, as well as also increasing the attack speed on friendlies and decreasing the attack speed of enemies affected. It's great for increasing damage output of your carries or lowering that of the enemies carries.
You'll really start noticing the difference at around level 3 of this skill and once you or your allies have a higher attack speed, as once you have the buff you can ramp up to a very quick rate.
Many of you probably know this, but Curse of Avernus can often effectively be used to slow one or two enemies chasing down your team mate. Often an Aphotic Shield and a Mist Coil may help save them, but doing a quick hit and run will allow them to get to the tower often enough, and may even allow you to kite the enemy(s) in the lane if the other hero you're laning with is ranged.
Things to keep in mind:
-Effects magic immune targets.
-Creeps benefit from attacking a target with the debuff.
-Can be purged.
-Abaddon will still get the buff when attacking structures, inluding towers, but the structure will receive no debuff, so it will only apply to you.
-Slowing effects stack with those of Orb of Venom or Eye of Skadi. Curse of Avernus should stack with the proc of Sange and Yasha afaik but I never build it on him.
A really great ultimate that adds to the versatility of this hero. It greatly increases Abaddon's survivability which which is useful regardless of what role you're playing. It works by simply returning any what would normally be received damage, as health instead. You can manually activate it, or if you reach the HP threshold of 400 it will automatically activate.
Upon activation it removes many debuffs on Abaddon as well as activating through most silences (NOT Doom though :c ).
What you need to know:
If you use Mist Coil when you're low on health the health loss can make you proc Borrowed Time effectively wasting it. Although, don't be afraid to do so at times if it will save your teammate and you're confident you're far enough away that you can gallop away and both live.
There are still ways to die even with this great ult "active".
Axe will kill you with Culling Blade if you are at the HP threshold for that ability, if you see this coming and are very close to it, try to manually pop Borrowed Time and shoot off a quick Mist Coil /heal from Mekansm if you think/know that the amount healed by using either will get you over the threshold for the amount of health you have remaining (which you should always be aware of, especially as Abaddon!!!) to not be instantly KO'd by Culling Blade
Ancient Apparition's ult Ice Blast will keep you from receiving any health returned, so if you're running away while under it's effect and feel you may die, the best thing to do is to just throw an Aphotic Shield on yourself, as that will absorb some of the damage.
Borrowed Time will still activate if you are Duel'd by Legion Commander.
If Doom Bringer Dooms you, before you are at Borrowed Time's threshold, it will not activate, at which point you're pretty much screwed like every other hero in the game.
Lastly, if you have Aphotic Shield on you, don't worry, you will still receive health even if it's up. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I'm guessing that it still keeps track of the damage it normally would have absorbed, meaning it can still burst during Borrowed Time.
Whew, still with me after those lengthy explanations? You must be bored or very intent on playing Abaddon. But with all that behind us we get to possibly the most important section: How do I deck my horse out?
"Hot damn!", said Clinkz, as he looked over the many items listed for this guide.
Why are there so many listed, and more importantly why is core as bountiful as a Pudge's PUG successful hook count? Well, it's due to as I said in the introduction that Abaddon is so versatile that what you're going to build is very heavily influenced by team composition (mostly the enemy teams), which is true for any hero but the item pool is much more varied for this hero than most when it comes to what should you strap on your horse.
I'm of the opinion that there are very few, if any, truly core items on Abaddon, except Tranquil Boots, although as the game goes on at some point you will likely want to replace your Tranquil Boots with Phase Boots. A good time to do this is once you're confident you can get enough quick health regen from Vladmir's Offering that you won't constantly be running around with less than half health.
Okay, so you have your starting items and are babysitting your carry and doing your part stacking/pulling creep camps. What do you build first? Well, it depends, on a few things but largely, I try to get my Tranquil Boots as quickly as possible as they are very much needed on Abaddon in his early and mid game. Afterwards, consider making a Ring of Basilius (or if you made one before you finished your Tranquil Boots and dissembled, make another) as you will need some sort of mana regeneration item whether it be a Ring of Basilius which you can later build into a Vladimir's Offering, this a long with Tranquil Boots will offset the low starting armor and agility gain of Abaddon, or you could choose to go with a Soul Ring.
If you're in a lane against heroes who are good at harassing with ranged auto attacks you could consider picking up a Stout Shield from the side shop. I don't think you usually need it, but if you're new to the hero the added early game protection could be nice.
Considering getting Bracer, it's a nice boost to stats and a solid pickup for an early game item as long as you feel you don't need to rush a certain support item such as Pipe of Insight. Drums of Endurance are a nice item for Abaddon as well if someone else on your team isn't getting them.
Regardless, after boots you will want to start your first build item, of course getting wards between, and Dust of Appearance if needed. A lot of people feel that Abaddon is a good Mekansm carrier. I personally don't like to get it on him as frequently as most, because I find myself at a loss for mana as it is, but if the other support isn't a good Mekansm carrier ( Earthshaker for example) you may want to consider building it if you feel your team really needs one. It's an item that falls off pretty hard and it's window isn't too wide so don't just start making it simply because by default it's core on Abaddon.
Many of the other items go without saying, if they have a lot of magic damage go Pipe of Insight since you're one of the best carriers for it in the game.
If no one else on your team is making an urn, it can be a great idea to buy one. You get a little bonus health as well as damage, and what's great about it is if you're playing against anyone who's even decent they are not going to just attack you during Borrowed Time and will be very careful to cast spells near you when you are getting low like meteor or Macropyre as well, but you can urn yourself during Borrowed Time to assure you always get some health! Also it's a nice addition to your healing output from Mist Coil and helps save you some mana as well as health. In addition when someone like Slark Pounces away, and your Mist Coil just won't do it, the urn may be the difference between a kill or not.
This is simply a wonderful item on Abaddon plain and simple. The flat regen bonus is very welcomed since % based regen is less effective on you early and mid game seeing as you have a low Intelligence gain. And even if all your carries don't benefit from the lifesteal, or have their on with say a Sven and Mask of Madness you still provide a very nice increase to their damage output, and armor.
If the enemy team has a lot of magic damage output, it's almost always a good idea to buy a Pipe of Insight. In my opinion, Abaddon is one of the best carriers for it, and the innate magic resistance you get will really help you in teamfights as well.
(As mentioned earlier)
Some people think that Abaddon is by default a Mekansm carrier. I don't really agree with this. There's certainly games where it's a good idea you should buy one, but often enough, you'll find yourself out of mana when you have one, except in the late game by which time it's window to shine is already over. Most of the time the other support on your team will be a better carrier for this item. But, if you disagree than build one, it certainly isn't a bad choice, I just feel there's often a better option for Abaddon
Drum of Endurance are a nice item for a nice boost to stats and increasing the movement speed of you and your team mates. The active is also very handy for chasing down a carry who would otherwise have gotten away and is worth a hefty some of gold, or allowing you (and hopefully a teammate) to escape. Definitely a solid pickup in many games if no one else on your team will be purchasing one.
Possible Transition to Semi-Carry
After you get one or two 'hard' support items (not counting things such as Urn of Shadows, I feel that it's nice to get a carry item that doubles as being 'supportive'. Don't just build something with raw damage like a Crystalys but rather get something that is going to benefit your team outside of you just doing more damage.
A good example is if the other team has some heavy dealing right-clickers, a Heaven's Halberd could be very beneficial in both keeping you alive as well as providing crucial disarming of the enemy hard carries, such as a Templar Assassin. It's a somewhat hefty price for a support to build though, so don't start building it willy nilly.
If your team lacks many stuns and you feel getting a Skull Basher is needed, it's not a bad option, but often times this isn't too great of an idea unless your team has a nice lead already.
Maelstrom is a very efficient item purchase and the gold can often somewhat easily be accumulated. Abaddon doesn't have too great of an attack speed. Even with Curse of Avernus you'll have quite a slowish attack speed, and Maelstrom really helps with that as well as adding some nice damage for a low price. It's also helpful for allowing you to push back creep waves somewhat quickly, or push them for split pushing. In addition you'll be able to soak up some gold to help you buy other items.
Note: This doesn't mean that you should be taking ancients from your carries or any jungle farm they may need, but if your team composition is really lacking in the pushing ability than an extra hero on the team you can push a lane quicker than a single target at a time can be beneficial.
If you don't know what to buy after having two of the following items: Pipe of Insight, Mekansm, Vladmir's Offering, then a simple Vitality Booster is an item I'd recommend. Having that extra 250 health, can often mean the difference mid game from you living or not, which means not only are you hopefully dying less, but able to continue shielding/healing your teammates as well, also if the game goes very late, and you find yourself with a lot of gold, you could always build it into a Heart of Tarrasque at which point you'll have exceptional survivability and rarely have to worry about the health cost of Mist Coil as well as giving you nice semi-carry ability.
This is a pretty solid item on Abaddon, but upgrading it can be a pricy endeavor that is debatable if the money is better spent elsewhere. It's worth noting that the minions will gain the bonuses from Cruse of Avernus.
Scepter can be a good choice for an item slot for Abaddon, but you need to know when is the correct parameters for building it. Due to the buff to Aghanim's Scepter it allows Abaddon to take 35% of the damage teammates would normally have received within a 900 radius while he has Borrowed Time active, as well as increasing duration of Borrowed Time by 2 seconds. I'm not going to go into detail about when is the proper time to build Aghanim's Scepter since the list of when or when not to build it could be quite exhaustive. After playing him enough you should have a good gut feeling on when building this item would be of great benefit, and when to instead consider building a different item or two less costly ones if you feel they will be more beneficial.
You are a great gem carrier, if your team needs one, purchase it.
As for the other luxury items, you'll rarely have a chance to build any of them if you've been constantly buying Observer Wards when they're up and letting your carries get most of the farm. Usually the best choice if you do feel you can make one of these is to get either Assault Cuirass if there are no better carriers for it on your team, or a Heart of Tarrasque. Eye of Skadi is also a worthy mention. If you find yourself with a lot of gold, in a long-lasting game, and one of your carries isn't doing so hot, this is a nice item for some a boost in your own carry potential to help make up for it. The slow stacks with Curse of Avernus which in addition to all those stats is incredibly nice, but it certainly isn't cheap.
Mjollnir is usually only an item I've gotten a few times if I was in a game against a Phantom Lancer my team's been able to deny him some farm but the game still looks like it could go on a while and you're need some additional aoe damage and I already have the support items I feel are necessary.
Keep in mind that your ultimate goal with this build is to assist and support your team. So outside of extended games you will usually not acquire any of the luxury items (Not withstanding PUBS).I included these items for consideration after you have your support items and you are still buying Observer Ward and Sentry Ward etc. as needed.
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