My second guide ever. As you would expect, this may not be quite up to par with other guides, so constructive criticism is always appreciated. If you really like this guide, I have made an in-game guide of the same name "Ascension", so you do not have to alt tab out of the game if you forget anything. This guide was also written assuming you already have basic knowledge of Dota 2 and its mechanics.
The In-Game Guide:
Chen is one of the finest supports ever to be tailored for the role. He is also the least played hero in all of Dota 2. While this is certainly understandable given his role and playstyle, I assure you that learning how to play Chen is more than worth your time.
As said before, Chen is a support, an Intelligence Support, and he is pretty strictly bound to that role. What he makes up for in versatility, he more than makes up for in being excellent at supporting, as well as sporting some mechanics unique to him. Let's go over his abilities first:
Bonus Damage: 8%/16%/24%/32%
Cooldown: 14 Mana: 100
Penitence is a very useful debuff. The effects are percentages, which means it can scale very well into the late game, allowing your carry a significant edge over targets. In addition, the bonus damage applies to all types of damage, meaning nukes like Chen's own Test of Faith can be very lethal when using this spell. However, because of the importance of Chen's other abilities, and its ability to scale, Penitence is often leveled last.
Hero Teleport Delay: 6/5/4/3
Cooldown: 24 Mana: 200
Since 6.75, Test of Faith has been split into two different spells, that, while they level at the same time, have separate mana cost and cooldown times. So, this one I will call Test of Faith A. Test of Faith A allows you to teleport an ally home after a delay that decreases with level. It also instantly returns creeps under your command home, but more on that later. The mana cost is steep, and the cooldown is high, meaning you have to be very careful about when and who you choose to return home. Onto Test of Faith B!
Damage Min: 50/100/150/200
Damage Max: 100/200/300/400
Cooldown: 24 Mana: 175
Test of Faith B is Chen's only nuke, and even this is sketchy in its use. On top of being almost as costly as Test of Faith A, it has the same long cooldown. Add to that that the damage is random and the range requires Chen to get close to his target (Which is not really something Chen would want to do in most cases.). So what makes this worthwhile? It's pure damage, that's what! Even into the late game, 400 straight points of damage can really hurt, and combine that with Penitence for a really nasty combo. In conclusion, Test of Faith should be leveled to the max either first or second, as Test of Faith A is useful through all stages of the game, and Test of Faith B gives Chen the ability to actually fight, and even kill. Just be very mindful of use, as that mana cost can really bite you in the ***.
Max Units: 1/1/2/3
Health Bonus: 75/150/225/300
Cooldown: 30/26/22/18 Mana: 100
This is probably what makes so many people scared of playing Chen, and this is a major part of his play. Chen can gain control over up to 3 neutral or enemy lane creeps at its highest level. This means Chen can effectively jungle by maxing this skill first, but that ALSO means that Chen has to micromanage the creeps and their abilities in order to reach max effectiveness. Even if laning it is wise to put a level in this first, as having a creep assist you in lane can make all the difference. I will spend a whole chapter later explaining what creeps are good to take, for what situations, and how to properly manage them all.
Cooldown: 140/130/120 (30) Mana: 200/300/400
Can be Improved by Aghanim's Scepter. Reduces cooldown.
ALL ARE HEALED! Prepare to hear that alot when you use Chen. Hand of God is a GLOBAL INSTANT HEAL. It fully heals creeps under your command and heals by the above set values for your teammates. No matter how you may build Chen, it is critical to level this at the usual 6-11-16. But there are drawbacks. The long cooldown and high mana cost means you will have to have serious awareness of your allies and yourself, so the healing can save as many allies as possible or give them the edge in a team fight. Now Scepter effectively eliminates one of these issues by reducing the cooldown to a measly THIRTY SECONDS. The manacost is still fairly high, but the ability to constantly give your team healing from anywhere instantly is just too good to pass up.
Chen requires very little in terms of items. It is not so much what you need when playing Chen, but what your team needs. As such, you should buy:
....And any other support items your team may need at any given time, such a Dust, the Gem (Have someone else carry the gem if you really need a gem so badly.), Sentry Wards, Smoke, and the Courier of course. Whether playing in a pub or serious game, Observer Wards give you a serious edge, and since you require few items and jungling can bring in lots of wealth, you should be regularly buying these. Sentries will help you counter ward, and dust and gem are great for dealing with invisible foes like Riki or Bounty Hunter. Often when the game begins you should choose between buying Observers for the rune spots, or buying a courier. I would go with the courier, and have someone else buy the wards, as the courier is far more important in the laning phase, where going back to base will hinder the farm of you and your allies. If you are feeling very confident in your farm, buy both! Upgrade the courier at the earliest possible convenience if someone has not already by the 4 minute mark.
Despite not really needing items all that much, there are certain items to always look out for as Chen, depending on the situation. These include:
On top of being a great item to help your team early on, it can also help offset the high mana cost of your spells! In addition, it can be broken down to help you get a Bloodstone!
The heal provided by Mekansm, in addition to the aura, makes it a very good item for any team to have in a teamfight or gank. In a pinch, you can use it to save yourself, as well.
Ah, Scepter! This beauty reduces the cooldown on your ultimate to a mere 30 seconds!
Needless to say, being able to heal everyone from anywhere constantly makes this a big ticket item.
Now THIS is a situational item! Vladimir's Offering is best known for only giving lifesteal to melee heroes. However, Vlad's also gives bonus damage, armor, and mana regen; All things Chen can use to survive. By having Chen carry this aura, carries who may usually pick it up can occupy that space with a different item, and lastly, any melee creeps under Holy Persuasion will also gain the lifesteal of Vlad's, meaning with proper micromanagement, Chen could actually take on Roshan and let the carry take the aegis without a fight!
Some would think Dagon is a waste on Chen. This is completely false. Whether playing the high or low risk Chen, Penitence plus Dagon equals PAIN. The only way I could see you having issues with this item is not having the inventory space to get wards, and otherwise not having the money to upgrade the Dagon.
As mentioned above, one of Chen's key points is his ability to jungle by taking control of neutral creeps. This may rapidly become a problem for those who lack micromanagement skills. I will not tote myself as an expert on the matter, and this is by no means a complete guide to it(There are more than a few intricate guides to it on this site.), but I shall give you a basic idea of how jungling and micromanaging with Chen works. First, understand that you should never use your spells other than Holy Persuasion on creeps. It is a waste of mana that you could use if ambushed, or to jungle for an extended period. Second, max Holy Persuasion as soon as possible. Do not forget that in addition to increasing the number of creeps you can control, Holy Persuasion also increases the hitpoints of the creep you take depending on the level of Persuasion that you have. Lastly, Holy Persuasion is quite costly at the start of the game, so you want to pick creeps that can survive continuous creep camps, or at least take out enough creep camps with it to get another, not wasting any time that could be spent jungling more. Let me show you where to find the right creeps for the job:
Credit to Xenasis for making this map here. Tried to make one myself, but I could not seem to upload it. ANYWAY, as listed in the map, there are certain location where certain neutrals spawn. Small/Easy camps contain weak easy to kill creeps that offer little in gold. Their abilities are situational at best, with one notable creep that may be worth your time being:
Because his speed boost might help get you out of bad situations. Other than that, small creep camps are really only good for clearing out quickly and easily.
Medium camps may sometimes spawn creatures from Large/Hard camps, and those are the creatures you want, though there are some situational Medium creeps you could pick up as well. Otherwise, clear them out with the Hard camp creeps. The useful Medium creeps are:
Fragile as glass, Satyr Banishers are not at all conducive to jungling, but they can be useful in the actual game, thanks to their ability to purge debuffs from friends and buffs from enemies.
Satyr Mindstealers have mana burn, which can be very useful in a pinch. They are also more durable than the Tricksters, but again, not useful in jungling.
The Alpha Wolf's damage aura, a whole 30 percent damage increase, is one that can greatly benefit everyone on your team, particularly your carry. Not too bad at jungling, but should not be picked over larger creeps.
One last thing I should mention: Mud Golems, which can appear in Medium camps, cannot be persuaded. They are magic immune as well, so do not bother having creeps cast spells at them. They are fat, stupid, and a genuine pain in the *** when jungling, but they offer a fair bounty, so just kill them as soon as possible so better creeps can sprout up in their place
Hard/Large camps are the camps that will help you along in the jungling process. These are the toughest ones, and as you would expect offer the best gold. The ones you want are:
Conquerors are extremely tanky and have an AOE stun, making them useful both in the jungle, and on the battlefield!
The Satyr Tormentor has a very handy regen aura, as well as a small damaging nuke that can hit whole groups at once. Not quite as useful on the battlefield, but the nuke is a solid lane pusher.
These guys are in my opinion the toughest creeps to fight in the jungle. on top of being durable and strong, Hellbear here has an AOE nuke that both hurts and stuns! As such, The Hellbear is a great unit to have when clearing out camps, or pushing lanes.
My personal favorite creep to persuade, The Dark Troll Summoner has the ability to summon two skeletons from nearby corpses that can tank creeps for both him and you, not to mention push lanes. Then add in his net, which entangles enemies, and Chen becomes a viable ganker!
To jungle, get a Large creep from the ones listed above as soon as possible and have him tank creeps for you. The Dark Troll is the best creep to have early as he can avoid taking damage by constantly summoning skeletons. The highest level of micromanaging required here is having one of your creeps run away so all the attention of the neutrals will be shifted to a new target (You, skeleton summons, another creep you own, etc.). You will want to start ganking if your teammate(s) in the lane beside the jungle (Known to whatever side you are on as the Safe Lane) needs help. Centaur and Troll make the most sense here, since they have stuns, and if you can get the two together, then you have a very powerful combo to utilize against whatever poor sap is trying to get first blood or an "easy" kill. Simply send Centaur and yourself after the target, switch over to Troll, have him cast the net, and then switch back to Centaur, make him stun when in range, then select all units and auto attack. If you manage to whittle them down to very low health, Test of Faith B ought to kill them. Congrats, you just made a complex maneuver and kill with Chen!
Now, of course this is not as simple as it sounds, but the idea is straightfoward. If you really need help doing this, get a second Troll to double up on entangles, or a Centaur if they get away before you can Test them to death. This is the go to combo for Chen, but because there are more creeps and you can have any combination of 3 of them, you can come up with some pretty clever ways to destroy your foes. There really is no particular order that works best, and you could even try using creeps I did not mention here for more advanced maneuvers like baiting or juking. As I said, I am not an expert. Track down an advanced micromanagement or jungle guide to get a better picture.
Immediately purchase the courier and make your way to the T1 Tower of the Safe Lane. Wait until creeps spawn at 30 seconds. Make your way to the nearest hard camp and Persuade the big creep of that camp, preferably a Troll or Centaur. Jungle in this fashion, going from camp to camp, replacing any creep you lose with another big one. If someone has not already by the 4 minute mark, purchase the Flying Courier. Keep an eye on the safe lane, and if whoever is in the safe lane calls for help, be ready to do what is needed to keep them alive or ensure a kill for them or yourself. By the 6 minute mark, you should have Boots and a Basilius Ring. You should also be level 6. Buy Wards regularly if there is not someone doing so already, and continue to jungle for Mekansm and then Agh's. After this, it is really up to you and the situation actively unfolding to determine what items to buy.
At this point, you can leave the jungle and start moving with your team. Your auras, both from you and your creeps, will benefit greatly in both pushing and in teamfights. When in a teamfight situation, teleport teammates who are being focused down or chased. Be careful when and who, as you will most likely only be able to do this once per team fight, and if you remove someone who COULD have survived and maybe even turned the fight around, you will get some serious rage directed at you. Remember that your Test of Faith B deals pure damage, and so you should direct it at tank enemies who are causing your team alot of trouble, like Undying or Axe, or fragile enemies that are critical to the enemy team's success, such as Venomancer or Lich. Hand of God should either be popped in the midst of the fight, when everyone is most likely taking hits, or at the end, to allow a harass free retreat or prevent enemy clean up attempts. Feel free to use Hand of God whenever you need it once you have your scepter. Penitence either fleeing enemies or the enemy carry, and remember to keep providing those wards! Do all of this, and all you will need for victory is a team that will make full use of your superior support.
I suppose I could update this guide with more later on, but for now, it is finished. I put quite a bit of work into this guide, and I do hope you enjoy it. I also accept the fact this guide is extremely wordy and most people will not read all of it. I hope this guide helps you! Remember, if you want the in game version, you can subscribe to it on Steam.
The In-Game Guide:
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