Brewmaster is currently top-ban/top-pick material in the competitive scene.
- Safest initiators/counter initiators in the game
- Strong from early to lategame, only drops in extreme-late game (>50 minutes)
- Vulnerable to hard disable
- Vulnerable to silence
- Mana issues
Laning: Solo against enemy solo, or dual-laned with support in any lane.
Brewmaster revolves solely around his ultimate. Playing him as a DPS hero cripples you and your team.
- Increase Brewmaster mobility to get off a good ultimate
- Increase Brewmaster survivability to get off a good ultimate
- Secure Brewmaster mana to get off a good ultimate
Brewmaster has terrific base damage and animation, and decent health.
Starting with Quelling Blade, stats, and health regen, Brewmaster has a great laning phase against most heroes.
Laning will usually only suffer if you're solo against two heroes with at least one disable.
Boots, bottle, and wand solve early game mana issues. Burst mana from wand is essential especially against mana-draining teams (Antimage, Invoker).
Blink is core for initiation.
Once Brewmaster picks up his core, his team can essentially force teamfights with pushes in safety.
Boot choice- Phase and arcane are both good choices.
When to pick phase boots:
- When you got off to a good early game, and most engagements are two/three hero engagements.
Phase boots allow you to continue pressing your advantage in last hitting and killing potential.
Only get phase boots if you have gotten your core and are still in early game (<15 min)
When to pick arcane boots:
- When you have your core and it's already midgame and teamfights have already started to become 4v4/5v5 hero engagements.
Also get arcane if your team is mana-dependent or if enemy has mana-drain abilities.
- Aghanim's Sceptre should be obtained only after level 16. Most of Brewmaster's utility comes from the safe disables in ultimate form. The increased survivability of Brew spirits obtained from Sceptre doesn't come into play until late-game, where heroes pack enough DPS to actually kill the Brew Spirits.
- Auras work on the Earth spirit; Drums and Vlads are options to be considered when you're getting great farm and it's too early for Aghanim's sceptre
- Force staff is underrated on Brewmaster.
- Even more initiation range.
- Escape sticky situations after ultimate wears off
- More chasing ability
- More intel for bigger mana pool
- Black King Bar is to be considered when other team has instant-cast disables and there's someone on the team with fast enough fingers to stop your initiation (Hex, sheepstick, Echo Slam etc). Unlike other heroes, the lower duration of multiple uses of BKB doesn't matter at all with Brewmaster (you're only using it to guarantee intiation).
Gem works on Earth Panda - Get it early if your team needs detection.
Max clap, two levels stats early for mana/hp.
One level in drunken haze can be situationally useful but clap/stats cannot go wrong. Haze costs mana (which you need for clap), and doesn't really do anything to stop early-game spell damage which is the main threat.
Max ultimate when possible.
Drunken Brawler is maxed next for more Effective HP and damage.
Max haze last.
Once Brewmaster has his core, his team should start forcing teamfights with pushing/Roshan.
Brewmaster should not be primary initiator unless there is a great opening.
Blinking on a spread out enemy team, then wasting precious seconds of ultimate in chasing enemy heroes is a bad way to lose teamfights.
It's much more effective for Brewmaster to be hidden in fog and followup on teamfights that have already initiated.
- Enemy has initiated and stunned one of your teammates. They start making a beeline towards the stunned hero. You blink in, clap and ultimate, start focusing on enemy supports with Stun and right click damage, while cycloning enemy carry.
- Your team has initiated (e.g. ES has fissured, or Windrunner shackleshot hits). You blink and clap/ultimate the two heroes who are caught. The enemy has to make a tough choice: Fight it out against a Brewmaster ultimate or let the two caught heroes die, and having to defend the next push 5v3. Both choices are good for your team.
Brewmaster essentially rinse/repeats the above strategy each time his ultimate is off cooldown throughout the game.
Don't play around in normal form in teamfights - just clap/ultimate at first opportunity.
Delaying your ultimate leads to:
- Possibly getting picked off with a hard disable/silence
- Lowers your health to a point where you need to keep tabs on where Earth Panda is so you won't die after ultimate ends.
- Lowers your health so you aren't confident in chasing stragglers after ultimate has finished.
- Allows enemy to recover from initial clap slow and run away
Don't even take the time to use drunken haze if a great opening for clap/ultimate is available.
And try to use your ultimate as much as possible - force teamfights at every opportunity, you want to push and end games before 40 minutes, as Brewmaster drops off towards the late game.
Competitively, Brewmaster is often laned with Venomancer or Crystal maiden. Brewmaster's early tankiness and melee range provides an effective meatshield for the squishy supports, while the combination of strong disablers dominates most lanes.
Brewmaster's team should consist of a reliable soft-initiator.
Earthshaker, Windrunner, and Darkseer come to mind.
His team should also be highly mobile to capitalize on opening that Brewmaster makes, before the enemy team all run away. Queen of Pain, Antimage, Morphling, Windrunner are ideal.
Watch out for these kinds of heroes on the enemy team:
Long duration hard disables (Beastmaster, Rhasta)
Instant cast disables (Lion, Rhasta)
Silence (Nightstalker, Broodmother w/ Orchid, Silencer)
Blinks/Escapes (Antimage, Queen of Pain, Morphling)
Mana drain (Invoker, Antimage)
Enigma black hole does not disable Brewmaster ultimate (extremely good counter)
Brewmaster ultimate does not reveal Smoke of Deceit (often used in competitive games to escape early Brewmaster ganks)
Gem and auras all work on Earth Spirit.
Brewmaster preferentially re-spawns on Earth, then Storm, then Fire spirit.
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