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9 Votes

Alchemist Shrugged: A Carrying Guide

January 18, 2015 by R-Conqueror
Comments: 12    |    Views: 16115    |   

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

The weight of the game rested on Alchemist. He sat upon his long sought after mountain of gold, he had his fill of creeps, his team was ready to push the Radiant to victory! But on the threshold of conquering the enemy, the Dire being on the doorstep of defeat...

Alchemist Shrugged...
and went into the jungle to farm up a Divine Rapier.


Hello everyone, my name is R-Conqueror and I am excited to present you with a guide to help out carries. This guide is aimed at those who know the general mechanics of the game but aren't able to effectively play carries. I'm trying to put lots of specific nuggets of information along with general ideas which will hopefully make this guide a worthwhile one to read/re-read. This is my first general topic guide, so it might jump around a bit, but I'll do my best to cover all that you need.

Let's get going.

My Carrying backround

I enjoy playing carries most, which is probably pretty typical but it's true. While I have no problem playing support for a friend, most of the time in pubs I go for the 1-3 farm slot. My reason for this because I love the subtle decisions involved in farming and item builds, and I enjoy the thrill and stress of lategame when its all on you to win that teamfight. For this reason I adore people who enjoy supporting most and promptly friend/commend them.(Shout out to LazyEvaluation) The carry I play best used to be Dragon Knight, because dragons, but now I don't really know.

While I am obviously not XBOCT or Lod[A](My favorite carry player is KuroKy), I hope have a few things I can share with you guys and help out with.

What does being a carry mean?

Carries are heroes that are built for later in the game. They're spells are normally passives that either allow them to farm faster, be tankier, or do more damage. Those spells also often become more effective the more/better items you have. Most carries are agility based, but there are a few strength and intelligence carries as well.

When you are a, or the, carry on your team, it comes with a certain amount of stress and responsibility. When you have a Divine Rapier on Medusa, it is a crazy adrenaline rush, and that's why I play carries. While great supporting can win the early and sometimes mid game, often times it is up to you to slug it out in the late game. Although in teamfights you may feel like you just right click(although that's not often the case), there are several important decisions you have to make leading up to those fights.

Carry Tiers

Hardest Carries, not that they are useless midgame but they're almost unbeatable in ultra late game scenarios:

Hard Carries, good later game, can challenge the top tier with lots of items:

Semi Carries/Snowballers, can be dangerous late game but normally only get there through lots of kills midgame:
* outworld devourer

Midgame Carries, aren't nearly as effective when the game goes late:

Pushing Carries...They Push:

Unconventional/Weaker Carries, can fill the role of doing DPS but it isn't really their natural hero role, might be initiators/pushers/weaker hero:

I've lumped all these guys into pretty broad categories, there's some that are kinda in the middle depending on the game. This stems from my experiences with/against the heroes, so please don't focus on just this list I've put together. Keep reading.

*(Not really for tusk, just making a pun)

Tier Gameplay Guidelines

Hardest carries: I'll do each one of these guys separately
Medusa-Farm Farm Farm, only participate in fights by using your ult defensively until you get at least three big core items up. Then start being more aggressive.
Spectre-Farm as much as you can, use Haunt to clean up teamfights if there is low risk. Then once you get at least 1 damage item and 1 tank item you can start being more aggressive.
Faceless Void-A little different then the other two, you want to be much more involved in teamfights. A lot of your gold is going to come from setting up kills with Chronosphere. Later game once you have more damage items, get as many in the chrono as you can and eliminate the highest value target first. This could be the enemy carry or it could be a Warlock to stop him from getting off his ultimate.
Hard Carries
Spend much of your time farming, but be looking for the occasional kill and way to help out your team. You don't have to afraid of the lategame unless there is one of the top three carries on the enemy team. If not, you can relax a bit and get your items up. If there are, go a little more aggressive with your build and try to come online earlier.
Farm early game, then once you get your core item up, be very aggressive, it's make or break time. You have to rack up as many kills, assists, and towers as you can to propel you into the late game.
Midgame Carries
You need to play this type of carry in a team that is either poised to win in the midgame or has another carry to take up the fight lategame. maybe gank a little in the laning stage, and once you get a good core item up you need to immediately start rotating to gank. Then coordinate with your team to push so that you can wrap this game up before the enemy has time to bring it back.
Pushing Carries
Normally use the jungle to find some farm after the laning stage, then transition into split pushing once you have a core item up. You want to have constant pressure in at least one lane, so these guys take a lot of teleport scrolls and micro skeelz to be useful.
Unconventional Carries
You are already at a disadvantage by not playing a more traditional/stronger carry. To have a hope of making it work you're going to have to take advantage of every opportunity that comes, and move fast. Most other carries are gonna pass you by if that game goes late at all.

Last Hitting

In general, you will be spending most of the game farming. Your most reliable gold source is creeps in lane. To be able to farm them well, you MUST MUST MUST be able to last-hit. I'm pretty sure we can all relate to seeing an [Alchemist] in the safelane auto-attacking and missing 3/4 of the last-hits. To help with this, I recommend the SHADOW FIEND CHALLENGE.
This is a pretty solid way to get a feel for last hitting, and can get you some crazy skills on SF. Some carries have interesting attack/missile impact animations, as well as varying base damages, so if you run into problems with different heroes make it the MEDUSA CHALLENGE or the SPECTRE CHALLENGE or whatever you need.


Although lane creeps are reliable, there are other ways to farm. Although you can clear regular jungle and ancient camps for a decent amount of gold, a great way to boost your GPM is with Stacks.To do this, have either you, your support, or a dominated creep attack the camp and pull the creeps away from it at ??:53. The result will be more creeps in the camp(you can stack more than once) which means you get more out of your time spent there. However, if you do not have lifesteal or a way to hit multiple targets at once, stacks may be a bad idea as you don't have the DPS/HP to clear them effectively. Great stack clearers are heroes like Anti-Mage with Battlefury, Medusa with Split Shot, and Alch with Acid Spray.

Towers can be a gold mine for some heroes, but once the tier ones are gone your job gets drastically harder. If you are playing someone like Dragon Knight, you want to be pushing towers with your dragon form.

Your final source of income is farming heroes. Although it sounds strange to say, its true. As a Clinkz, once you get your Orchid up your main gold supply is/should come from hero kills. This is only feasible for a few heroes, but when you are playing Nyx Assassin or Clinkz or several mid heroes: kill heroes and let the rest of your team farm elsewhere.

Fight vs Farm

With the exception of those heroes who farm other heroes, when should I be helping my team and when should I be getting more CS? I can't really give you much of a general rule, it just depends on your game and how much your team needs you. This is an area where I think you just have to play carry and get a feel for it, I know it's a cop-out answer but I truly believe it's an acquired skill.

So while I can't give you a rule on it, I can say that choosing when to fight and when to farm is very important. If you sense that the teamfight ahead is going to be a lot of poking and not a full engagement, pull out. You can go clear an ancient stack and get a lot more out of your time than the Faceless Void who spent 2 minutes waiting in the fog to use Chronosphere. In essence, just try to spend your time wisely. And time is money, so now let's figure out how to spend our money wisely as well.

What does my Hero Truly Need?

So as you are amassing a GPM number higher than a group of miners in Cali during the gold rush, what do you by with all that $$$?

Well most of the time you need to have a mindset of getting some physical damage. "Alright then, I'll get Daedelus!" Well, if you don't have a ton of attack speed those crits won't do you much good. "Then I'll just buy a Hyperstone!" Not quite, the right amount of DPS is normally a mixture of Damage and Attack Speed.

Let's look at Faceless Void. You just want, like, three battlefury's and a daedelus so you can just wail on someone in Chronoshpehere right? Well he also has this ability called Timelock, which many people forget does bonus damage as well as stunning you. It has a 25% Pseudo Random chance to proc.


This basically means that time lock starts out with a lower chance to happen on an attack, but will then get higher and higher as you go on without time locking anyone. So when you have a faster attack speed, this skill will proc more often, giving you that bonus damage more and more. The bonus damage is doubled inside chrono, making you hit an average of 35 higher with lvl 4 of Time Lock Chrono(as compared to 17.5 on average normally). So as you can see, I've gotten really far away from my original point, but hey, it's cool stuff.

BACK TO DPS. This concept about Faceless being able to use attack speed to boost his Damage Per Second applies to many other heroes. If you hit really hard but really slow, you aren't that effective, as well as if you hit really fast but really wimpy.

Now normally, a carry either has a skill that boost damage or one that boosts attackspeed. If you are playing Sven, you just need attack speed since God's Strength takes care of damage. But if you are playing Phantom Assassin with your Blink Strike to increase attack speed, for the most part you just need damage for her regular attacks and critical strikes.

TLDR: You need both attack speed and damage.

But wait, what about tankiness? Well the answer to that is pretty much taken from Sando's guide, but it is dead on. Your goal as a carry is to dish out damage, not to take damage, but you have to be alive to do it. It's just a different way of looking at it: The strength of spells like Mana Shield for Medusa and Dispersion for Spectre is not that they make you be able to take more damage, but that they keep you alive in order to do more damage.
That doesn't really change item builds for those heroes, but it might change your philosophy on how the hero is supposed to act. Again, it's a balance. You want to live ling enough to do damage, but you don't want to spend all your money on survivability and then be unable to deal significant damage.

Specific Itemization

What you build is a crucial part of every game, and every game your build can be different. That's because each match as a specific set of heroes and strategy that you have to adapt to as the carry. Let me give you some examples of situations where you have to buy some unique stuff.

- Doom-You might want Linken's Sphere to give you an extra layer of defense against his ult.

- Juggernaut- Ghost Scepter. If you aren't playing a hero with an easy escape, it's not probable that you'll survive a solo Omnislash without this item.

- Brewmaster-While it's normally obvious that you need a Monkey King Bar against Phantom Assassin, Brew isn't normally recognized since he spends a lot of time in his ult. But if you try to 1v1 the powerful panda on your own against his natural evasion and Drunken Haze, you'll hardly ever hit him

- Omniknight-Against a well aware omniknight you will want a Diffusal Blade if its a viable option for your hero at all. or if you want to get super tricky(untested but I don't know why it wouldn't work) you can get the small white Satyr with Helm of the Dominator and micro it to use its purge on the desired enemy. This should remove both Guardian Angel and Repel, giving you free license to wail on them.

- Warlock-Diffusal will instakill his Golems, the creep's purge will only do 400 damage to them.

-Invis Heroes-Detection. Yes, you need it too if you're the one chasing down the fleeing Rikimaru, don't alllwwwaaayyysss rely on the support being right there when you need a dust.

-Heroes that don't have an interrupt(stun, imprison, disable i.e. Bloodseeker)-A Teleport Scroll. WHAAAT. Yes this item can actually be a counter to heroes as you can just whisk yourself away for a drink in the fountain without them being able to do anything.

-Split pushing heroes- Boots of Travel/Teleport Scrolls. BoTs can actually accelerate your farm since you are able to move to different creep waves/spawns faster, and can make defending against rats easier.

Now we are gonna look at some general carry item groups and talk about when to purchase them.

Good Stuff

Maelstrom/ Mjollnir seems to be a rather underrated item but it is one of the best DPS boosting items in the game. In gives you damage, attack speed, along with magic damage, which helps against high-armor teams.It's never really a bad choice, but sometimes you just need something else.

Butterfly is up there with Mjollnir, its almost never a bad choice on an Agility character(or sometimes on a strength one) because of its great balance of offense and defense. Just don't auto buy it, you might need to go a different direction.

Monkey King Bar is one of my favorite extensions because of how safe it is. If you are a strong right clicker, the enemy will naturally want Evasion(not many people build up a lot of armor). By getting MKB, you make sure that you will always be hitting the enemy (except void's Backtrack) and don't have to worry about losing 1v1s.

Again, remember that on many characters, attack speed and damage are interchangeable as to how they will affect your DPS.

Hand of Midas

Hand of Midas is an interesting item because it requires the game to go on longer for it to make itself useful. I personally only like getting it if I can have it before 7 minutes. After that it starts to become a more and more risky investment, as it will take about 20 minutes for the item to pay for itself. In the games I play in, game times are pretty unstable, which means I might be better off getting an item that's a bit safer if the game starts progressing quickly. If you are certain the game is in for the long haul, go for it as it can certainly help and be on top about using it as soon as its off cooldown.

Battle Fury

So I know... I know the guide told you to get Battle Fury NO MATTER WHAT. So at 30 minutes in you're chipping away at that Claymore even if its just for the principal of the thing. I know, I fall into that every now and then too. BF has the potential to turn very ugly, with it delaying more important items just because of the principal of finishing a Battle Fury. Now to be honest the only hero I feel like BF is really a core item on is Anti-Mage, and even then you can try a vlad's/ Maelstrom combo instead. The only unique thing this item offers is cleave(makes your attacks to damage in an area around the original target), which is awesome, but not applicable in many cases. Cleave doesn't work on ranged heroes, so please don't get it on one.

Faceless Void-No, you need single target DPS first
Juggernaut-Meh, Mjollnir seems to be more consistent on him but BF works.
Alchemist-Already farms fast
Spectre-Already has a way of hitting multiple targets
Dragon Knight-NO, you normally fight when you are ranged from and the you already have splash damage. Please no.
Sven-Well you already have a lot of cleave, if you want 100% just for the fun of it then do it, but otherwise nope.
Kunkka-Yeah! that's right, I'm actually endorsing battle fury on a hero, it gives Kunkka want he needs. Remember this day.
Phantom Assassin-It's okayyy, but rushing a BKB/Basher makes you even more of a dangerous 1v1. Sometimes I build Battlefury later in my build on her.
Ember Spirit-Go ahead, just remember that maelstrom/mjollnir can proc multiple times at once now, making it much more viable for him.

Straight Damage vs. Utility

This is really getting into the meat of what items to get, which is great. Thia is also delving a little deeper into my personal style of playing carries. So there's 3 items I don't get a lot: Daedalus, Battle Fury, and Desolator*. These are all fantastic items for killing static heroes faster, for the most part they offer you raw damage in three different ways. Deso allows your attacks to not be reduced as much by lowering enemy armor. BF allows you to hit multiple targets, and the mighty crit stick gives you a big fat monster of a hit every so often. But they all rely on you being able to just get up there and hit they hero you want to. If the hero has evasion, a blink, or can just turn around and run away... too bad. It's like an Ursa getting kited around: you could kill them so fast if you could

To solve this problem, I propose a different set of 3 items(not that you will need all three in a game). I said that the hero might get evasion, so let's anticipate that and counter it with a Monkey King Bar. They might be able to blink away, so let's get an Abyssal Blade. Or they could just turn tail and run... but not if you have an Eye of Skadi. These three items don't quite have the blockbuster DPS as the first three, but they make you much harder to counter for the enemy team.

* Desolator's big saving grace is that it works on towers, which makes it pretty viable if you are looking to push a lot with your hero.


There is a philosophy echoed in thousands upon thousands of pub games. "If I play carry I can do it all myself, can't get anything done as a support." This mentality is entirely
d r a w k c a b. Carries can at times be almost entirely dependent on their support system to make the game work. You need wards up so you can farm safely, you need protection in lane, you need camps stacked so you can farm faster, you need heals, you need mana, you.need.supports. And in a good game, after the support sacrifices a lot to make the game easier for you, you repay them by telling your poor, beaten up Crystal Maiden to cheer up, I've got my items, now we are gonna push mid and win this game, and then I'll commend you.


So when it finally is time for you and your chosen carry to teamfight, your primary focus is to not be focused...especially by Focus Fire..ok I'm done. Find a unique angle to attack your primary target, don't ever get caught up in all the Crowd Control in the center of a fight. Take out your primary objective as quick as possible, then move on to your next biggest threat. If you can stop heroes from getting off their big ultimate, do it, then move on to their carry. Again, the biggest thing is positioning, you cannot be the one they land all their spells on. A common trick I use is just to be late to the party. You can say "GO GO TEAM," wait a few seconds until all the big CC is gone, then swagger in to start cleaning up the mess.


I hope this guide has helped out, I'm very excited to present it to you guys. I'm not sure whether or not I'm going to add in a "What carry should I pick" section, as that is almost another issue entirely(and has been covered by Sando).

Thank you for reading this! I'm going a little out of my depth on a general topic guide like this, so suggestions on how to clean it up and what information to add will be implemented if I have time. Also,you can check out my updated Axe and Drow Ranger guides which I would greatly appreciate(shameless plug).



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