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1 Votes

Beyond the Bear Necessities

October 10, 2015 by Terathiel
Comments: 10    |    Views: 11798    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Retard hard carry druid

DotA2 Hero: Lone Druid

Hero Skills

Summon Spirit Bear

1 3 5 7

Spirit Link

10 12 13 14

Savage Roar

2 4 8 9

True Form

6 11 16


15 17 18


Oh dear, I'm at it again. By now to a lot of people on this site my adoration and love for both farming and split-pushing, preferably on a hard carry with micro, should be apparent. Well, this guide combines all of those criteria into a bear and his bear. I've been honing it often, and will likely revise the item build as I figure out what works better.

So. Lone Druid. This isn't a guide for someone just picking up the hero. There are plenty of guides for that. This is an alternate way of playing him - the art of the autistic hard carry druid that isn't very often done... probably for good reason. We'll see. It certainly isn't designed for pub play, and requires a coordinated team and a good draft to compensate for the build's weaknesses. However, if you can get 6-slotted, you're a terrifying force. In that one-in-a-hundred 90 minute game, you won't fall off like your typical Lone Druid. You'll just keep building and building, and in the end it's unlikely even a Medusa can withstand your wrath.

It's a fun build, despite the unsure viability. But then, what's a game without fun? A game without rat dota, that's what isn't fun. So be like our furry cousins and scurry around the map, turkey-slapping towers with your bear ****.

A Boy and his Bear

As I said, this isn't a guide for a player just starting at Lone Druid. This is very much an extension, much like those English courses at school only the nerds took.

Actually, I do Extension Two English. Disregard that last comment.

Anyway. What Lone Druid's abilities are, and what they do, aren't exactly hard to decipher. What this section does is look at them, and explain WHY they make Sylla such an effective hard carry.

First, his stat gain is very solid in the Strength and Agility departments, at 2.1 and 2.7 respectively. His Strength gain is high for an Agility hero, and his Agility gain is a bit above average. His Intelligence is a non-factor as Lone Druid doesn't consume a lot of mana until you've got a lot of lategame items, in which case you've had plenty of time to expand your mana pool. His attack animation is also very good, and unlike a lot of carries he has a solid lane and can hold his own against an offlaner pretty easily - there's a reason he's put solo offlane!

However, it is his abilities that seal the deal on his carry potential.

This is the signature spell of Lone Druid: Summons his faithful companion, Herbert the Bear. Now, contrary to what people believe, it's the actual druid himself, not his fluffy buddy that is the carry of the duo. While the bear does a fair amount of DPS when itemised, his Health doesn't scale and his armour is mediocre (this is why we buy Assault Cuirass). The primary function of this build takes advantage of the bear's absurd 515 movement speed and his 1.45 base attack time to act as a disabler, ensuring that Sylla isn't kited and can deal his full damage. So, we build some attack speed for value, and then get Skull Basher. Combined with the bear's entangling passive and an Orb of Venom, he's the most annoying mini-hero in the game.

This spell has two purposes that pertain to being a hard carry: Firstly, it acts as one of your damage steroids, giving you a hefty +40 attack speed, which is extremely effective as I'll explain later when combined with the rest of the Hero. Secondly, it gives you a huge speed boost to eliminate kiting issues that most melee heroes face. Be aware that it is a purgeable buff, so keep it off-cooldown and in reserve if against Shadow Demon.

This spell of its own doesn't do a huge amount - sure, it gives your bear a bit of damage that helps in the lane, but the most important part is the movement speed bonus and the Health bonus in True Form. The former allows the bear to run down its foes with ease; the latter makes taking down Sylla a daunting prospect. This is maxed first like in every other build because it is highly effective during the laning stage and the time period immediately after.

Ah, your magnificent ultimate. While it does slow you down, the benefits far outweigh this disadvantage as you have Rabid to compensate for this. With maxed Synergy, True Form at level 3 gives 1000 bonus Health and 8 bonus armour - which does tremendous things for your survivability, and as an Agility Hero you don't lose out on any damage while doing so! This skill is another damage steroid - in bear form, you have a 1.5 base attack time, compared to the usual 1.7. What this means is that attack speed items and effects are more potent due to the formula that calculated attack speed.
What the **** does this mean Tera

A skill that just keeps getting buffed! While it does have a short duration and a long cooldown, think of this as your combat ultimate. In case of emergency, break glass. 90/120/150 bonus damage and 10/15/20 bonus armour is ridiculous, and if you're not so far on the back foot you've already lost, will make it almost impossible for a rivalling carry to manfight you, especially since this build gets two Abyssal Blades. Consider this as your final damage steroid.
Something I'll point out is that this applies not only to the bear, but to ALL your summoned units - ie, Manta Style illusions. Though they don't get the damage, they do get the armour. In addition, Necronomicon can be pretty hilarious against certain lineups.

A bit further down the rabbit hole...

So now that we've explored that, let's look at this build and the pros and cons of it:

  • Scales perfectly into the lategame
  • Pushes hard, farms fast
  • Good laning presence
  • Is never slot-starved
  • Good Aegis carrier
  • So. Many. Bashes.
  • Immensely tanky

  • Highly momentum dependent, can have issues coming back from behind
  • Requires a lot of consistent farm
  • You don't ever get 12 slotted - slots isn't your problem. Filling them is.
  • Item build is fairly rigid
  • Can struggle to deal with evasion due to 2x Monkey King Bar needed
  • Midgame is reliant on a good start
  • Timing dependent as all hell; you've got to outfarm your opponents

What this means is that the hard carry Druid is lineup dependent on both sides. You need allies who can take the pressure off you early game and create space for you to splitpush, and your enemies should ideally be playing a defensive lineup. Of course, it's not as simple as that, because Lone Druid fits better with some heroes and plays worse against others, despite not having what I'd call any hard counters. The reason for this wariness is because, for the build to work properly, you need to follow a fairly strict item progression I outlined in the Builds section at the very top. This is due to a couple of factors:
  • Timing dependent. Radiance no later than 20 minutes. Maelstrom and Basher done by 30 minutes, so you can start working on your Druid and making him a dangerous force. And this is fairly slow. Adding something like a Monkey King Bar can throw this off dangerously.
  • To be able to move around in fights, the Druid needs to keep up with his bear. Hence, Boots of Travel and Yasha.
  • You start to drop off when other hard carries are catching up with items. The build is designed to get as many disables and as much damage in as little time as possible by utilising value items like Maelstrom and Orb of Venom.

This makes the hard carry build something of a risk-reward gamble. However, if you pull it off correctly, then by Gaben you haven't seen more of a massacre.

Playing it - Early Game

Lone Druid is a pretty flexible laner and can fit most places. Ideally, you'll go safelane for guaranteed farm, but he can work well as a mid against some matchups and even can be put in an aggressive trilane to take advantage of his early-game diving abilities.

Your first priority is farming. A good start is crucial to taking control of the game. An advantage Lone Druid has is that he doesn't need constant babysitting and can be left alone for extended periods of time, allowing supports to stack, pull, gank, ward, do whatever they do (I have no idea wtf this is I don't play ***** for people). As with any rat carry, this allows Lone Druid to push towers while the enemy team is distracted - giving *you* more space and taking it away from enemies.

Get kills where you can, but don't overcommit and die as a result since this throws your timings off badly. How exactly you play out your farming depends much on the game. First, you can stay in lane and just last hit, which is the safest option in most games but isn't using the bear's full potential. If the lane is hard, or you are finding yourself the focus of ganks, Lone Druid is actually a very good AFK jungler, although I'm not particularly fond of jungling any heroes that can't make an impact once they hit level 6 - pushing lanes is a much better use of your time.

The ideal situation when freefarming, is called flash farming in its simplest form. This basically consists of pushing out the lane up to the enemy tower, rotating into the jungle to quickly take a camp, and then going back to lane in time for the next creep wave. Lone Druid does this decently, but is slower than a Shadow Fiend or Leshrac. This form of farming requires the offlaner(s) to be well and truly zoned out and preferably not even in the lane. It usually results in the enemy tower falling pretty fast, which is what Lone Druid wants especially.

Lone Druid's Timing Windows and Peaking

Lone Druid is a weird carry in that he has a couple of timing windows he has to make an impact. The first occurs in the laning stage, at around level 6-8, which is when you get access to your ultimate - and more specifically, Battle Cry. Getting this ability is the game's way of throwing you a sign saying 'take a tower now'. Push with it, and try and bait out the Glyph of Fortification before using it or you'll waste 83% of the duration. At level 7, your Spirit Bear will get Demolish, enabling him to melt towers in conjunction with the buff. This is why it's good to bait out Glyph with [Battle Cry]] at level 6, leave the tower, and go back at level 7 when it's off cooldown.

His second timing window relates not to towers, but Heroes. Once you have Radiance you can take on a much more active role as the item will make everything in the vicinity throw money at you. The primary reason you get Radiance on Lone Druid is actually as a fighting item - since the bear is extremely hard to kill at 17 minutes in, Radiance will be a constant annoyance in fights and snag you a lot of kills. It's especially good against Blink Dagger due to the disabling effect.

The next timing window to watch out for is after you've started building the Druid up - after Yasha and the second Basher. This is when manfighting you becomes impossible, and yes I'm including Faceless Void. At this stage of the game, you're immensely tanky and deal a ridiculous amount of damage, not to mention your disables. Here is when to try and end the game - but if you can't, then ease up, and above all DON'T THROW THE GAME. Your next timing window is long away.

This final timing window, of course, is from nine or ten slots. If the game has gotten to this stage, it's a fair assumption that it's intense and either very close, or a base defence by one or both sides. In any of these situations, save buyback and try and finish items. What to get is based entirely on the game, as your 12 slots allow for a lot of flexibility.

Speaking of which...


The most important part of any carry is your items. I've mentioned that Lone Druid has a strict item progression - well, here is where I explain what these items do and what they mean.

This item, acquired around 17 minutes, signifies a huge power spike for Lone Druid. That early in the game, the burn damage hurts a lot and the miss chance is an important factor causing enemies to miss roughly one in every six attacks. In addition to this, it's a potent farming item, and allows the bear to move away from the Druid - very useful if returning to base.

An item that is gotten basically to cement your farming and to provide the bear with a nice chunk of attack speed. Due to the BAT formula I explained earlier, the +25 attack speed and the +40 from Rabid are all that you'll really need until later on. If you're finding that you need to get a specific item to adapt to a sudden situation in a game, you can skip Maelstrom and go for something else.

Lone Druid gets two of these - one for the bear, and one for him. Two Bashers, each activating separately, on two fast-hitting units... you can probably picture the carnage. It's this which makes Sylla such a potent manfighter in the lategame and has applications while chasing.
You will most likely only need to upgrade one to an Abyssal Blade, which saves 3800 gold if you look at it that way!

Both of these are pretty decent depending on the game, however I'd urge towards Manta Style. While Sange and Yasha make you even speedier and give even more Health, neither of these are particularly necessary, and nor is the Maim effect which, again, is overkill. Funny, yes, but overkill. However, some games it might be a good pickup, in which case, you don't lose anything by getting it.
Conversely, Manta Style has a lot of applications. Firstly, by the time you get it the illusions will be huge damage machines with an attack speed of 0.50 or thereabouts. The 1000 bonus HP from True Form, and the 1.5 base attack time, apply to them, as does all of your stats. This means that they can be really hard to take down along the lines of a Chaos Knight illusion. In addition, the item allows you to split-push without risking the bear or yourself, and also provides you with a self-dispel that gets rid of all sorts of nasty effects.

This is an item that goes on the bear to give it +15 armour. Unlike most items here, there isn't a set point where you get it. Instead, consider it as a purchase if the bear is starting to suffer from physical damage and needs more armour. Don't discount the aura, either - it has increased value on Lone Druid due to you having two units to benefit from it!

Three situational items that you should know when to get based upon the enemy lineup. Blowing a slot on these isn't a big deal as you have slots to spare.
Also, don't hesitate to put Black King Bar on the bear. He is your disabler, and his survival is pretty important for you to be fully effective.

This item pretty much clinches your survivability. Since you've got an Orb of Venom already, it builds up pretty nicely, and the slow is a great convenience to give your duo a whole team's worth of crowd control.

From here on, you are unlikely to actually reach the stage where you will have enough gold to purchase these items. However, for the sake of completion and those rare 90-minute games, I'll go over them.

This functions as an offensive item once you have Manta Style, as it's a very strong stats item. Hell, even without Manta it's a great boost to your damage, but as with most heroes consider the evasion as a primary factor in buying this, especially if your rivalling carry is someone like Naga Siren or Terrorblade for whom building Monkey King Bar is a lackluster affair.

Pure offence, for when you just need a chunk of massive damage to end the game. This is a hyper-lategame item, since there are much better things to get earlier on. Crit works on illusions which is worth considering when deciding whether to buy it or not.

This is another item you are probably not going to get, because any lifesteal you may desire can be achieved with the (third of the cost) Vladmir's Offering, which also has bonuses that apply to all of your units.

If you need lifesteal, aka against Necrolyte, then Vlad's is the poison of choice. Put this on the bear, which benefits immensely from the armour. This is an item which can be gotten basically whenever depending on how the game's going. The entire aura is actually a buge help to Lone Druid, whose bear doesn't have any natural mana regeneration, and the +15% damage is pretty huge on a stats hero.

Seriously, it's an amazing disable. Though it doesn't apply Break anymore, it's still a good item to deal with Storm Spirit or Anti-Mage, or really any elusive Hero. This item is probably the best example of playing your slots advantage, because unlike a lot of heroes, getting one doesn't suddenly halve your carry potential!

The main reason to upgrade to Mjollnir is not the added 55 attack speed on top of Maelstrom, but rather the lightning shield. Putting it on the bear will disincentivise the other team from hitting your disabler, or throw it on the Druid and watch the enemy team die before you do. Be careful, as it's another purgeable buff.

+120 attack speed on the bear sounds like a huge deal, but in reality you don't need that much more than the basic items provide. As a result, this is to be considered as highly situational. Otherwise, just buy it when you'll consume it immediately and have 4k gold to spare... so basically never.

The lategame item to rule them all, this is for when things go tits-up and Summon Spirit Bear is still on cooldown. In this case, Refresher Orb can quite literally save the game. It's a necessity in the ultra-lategame when buybacks are flying around.

Even more situational

Here we have items which you may want to pick up if experimenting. I haven't tested out these myself, but they sound like they might work, so...
Put this on the bear, and it sounds like a dream come true - lots of EHP to deal with physical damage, and a cheap boost to damage for both your units. However, this is an item which falls off hard in the late game, so this is mainly if you're opting for a non- Radiance build.

Ok, this isn't an item you get if you're playing full carry. But, there is one giant reason to consider buying this, and it's called Battle Cry. Adding 150 damage to both of these units is a damn big deal no matter what you're using them for.

On the bear? You know, why not. It might work, but the movement speed is pretty much wasted.

Rejected Items

Just no.

These items are bought on gankers or carries who can make use of the stats - neither of which applies to Lone Druid.

With the attack speed, you'd think these shoes would be good on the bear - but alas, they are not. Phases allow the bear to pass through obstructing units, whereas the ONLY useful feature of treads is the attack speed... and for that, there are simply better items.

While I do believe Swaghanim's is a good item on a regular Lone Druid build, the stats do suck monkey nuts for carries. In addition to being a lackluster item in this department, you're going to be sticking with the bear in most situations, rendering the removal of the leash irrelevant in almost every circumstance. Finally, if the Druid dies, the bear won't be doing much on his own due to having way less items, so that mechanic's out too.

With what nukes?

What do you do if...


Now that the yelling is over... let's explore some situations and figure out what to do. For this, let's have a quiz.


A teamfight breaks out and you're not there.
1. Can you make it there in time to participate?
If yes, go to 2. If no, go to 3.

2. Are you able to make a difference and not just feed?
If yes, TP in and help. If no, go to 3.

3. Are you near an enemy tower?
If yes, go and push it. If no, keep farming.


You're pushing a lane.
1. Are any enemy heroes missing?
If yes, go to 2. If no, keep at it.

2. Are any enemy heroes missing that can cause a problem for you?
If yes, get back. If no, go to 3.

3. How many enemies are missing?
If one (or two if you're overfarmed), keep at it. If any more than that, get back.


You've just died and are contemplating buyback.
1. Is Summon Spirit Bear available, or will be very soon?
If yes, go to 2. If no, don't buyback.*

*Unless you are farmed enough that you can beat them without the bear.

2. Will your buyback be able to stop your opponents from taking an important objective?
If yes, go to 3. If no, go to 4.

3. If you wait out your respawn timer, will you still be able to stop your opponents?
If yes, save buyback. If no, buyback now!

4. Will you be able to trade objectives or make a difference in the immediate game future?
If yes, buyback now! If no, save buyback.

Some Mathematical Nerd Stuff

For those of you who are still skeptical about this build standing up to other lategame carries, I've got some numbers for you.

Here, I compare four hard carries who I consider in roughly the same tier as Lone Druid, if not a bit below: Luna, Anti-Mage, and Phantom Assassin.



Phantom Assassin

So, of these three, Luna has the best combat stats, and her damage steroid passive allows her to rip a team to shreds and then take their barracks in a matter of seconds.

Lone Druid

So, as the numbers show, Lone Druid is actually a very scary force itemised like this - and his net worth is slightly below the other three!

Of course, combat stats alone don't show a hero's carry potential. Let's take into account:

Farming Speed.
Lone Druid farms rather fast, even without a Radiance. While he isn't as fast as Anti-Mage or Luna, he's not that far behind them, and he far, far outstrips Phantom Assassin.

Lone Druid pushes faster than all of the other three, and is only really vulnerable if he gets caught out by 3 or more Heroes. In a split pushing scenario, Anti-Mage is probably better due to his reliable escape, but Lone Druid does destroy the other two, and can get away easier due to a movement speed of over 500.

Lategame Utility
It's not even a contest - Lone Druid has by far the most disables and team-beneficial effects.

Teamfight Presence
By this stage, Radiance burn has dropped off, leaving Sylla as a mostly single-target Hero - however, his auras and the plethora of disables gives him a solid teamfight presence, as does his high durability. I'd rank him second, after Luna, on a scale of this.

Base Race
Lone Druid outstrips the others, no contest - but do consider that he *is* a pushing carry. Still, this certainly counts for something...

How good Lone Druid is with buyback depends very much on how you've managed the cooldown of Summon Spirit Bear. Otherwise, the other three have him beat here.

So, as the numbers seem to show, Lone Druid can at least rival the mid tiers of hard carries. While he won't be able to beat someone like a Phantom Lancer, Medusa or Terrorblade, he'll hold his own against Troll Warlord, Gyrocopter or any of those three above.

Conclusive Thoughts

So that little awkward mispublish before it was finished aside, it's been a pretty smooth ride. I'd love to know how your experiments with this build go, because I'd like to think it's something most people have just missed, yet is still powerful.

For more information, I can be contacted here on Dotafire, either in PMs or the comments below.

My YouTube channel, in a process of population.


And as always, comments and criticisms are wanted!

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