I am Cuttleboss, and this is my fourth guide on this site (my first three are of Sand King, Necrophos, and DK). My history with Abaddon was one of resentment for a long time. Basically in my Dota 1 days, I just remember Aba as that broken pubstomper hero who could not be stopped on any level, only beaten by Arc Warden. That status was mostly the same when I started in Dota 2 to escape from Arc Warden, but as I climbed skill brackets, I saw that Abaddon had a lot of potential in being a support. Then I was involved in the third Forge of Creation on Dotafire (and got 3rd place) where I wrote a lore for the guy. That's when I started playing him, and realized I really like him as a support hero, as I've always been a reactive player as opposed to an active one, so the defensive nature of his spells stuck with me. Originally, I was gonna let my "Original Trilogy' of guides to Sand King, Necrophos, and Dragon Knight be left, but then I got inspired after I decided to try to raise my MMR. Here's to a new series.
Abaddon is a dominantly support hero that is notoriously difficult to kill and makes his allies equally difficult to kill. Abaddon can also be played in a core role, due to his strong scaling with items. In the lower pub brackets, he is usually used as a carry, though that is not using him to his potential. As for laning, Abaddon can lane anywhere but mid. He is good as a safelane support, offlane solo, or aggro tri farmer. In terms of farm priority, he's comfortable in positions 3 and 4. However, he is not truly a hybrid hero who can easily switch his roles throughout the game like Sand King, Wraith King, or Necrophos can do, once he has a role he is to take, he generally has to stick by it. I will explain why later.
Also, this guide is not concise, just like my other guides.
May 11, 2016: Updated for 6.87. Arcane Boots are a lot more viable. Infused Raindrops and Bloodthorn are viable. Value point on Curse is now a lot more viable. Added a small section on mid laning.
Do not laugh at me, or the house Avernus, lest you be cut down.
Abaddon is quite easy to play against the foolish and poor laners, but in most cases, there are a few tricks required to play Abaddon to his potential. First, Mana and health management. It's easy to lose track of the health cost of Mist Coil and accidentally set of Borrowed Time, so it takes a while to get used to that. It is also important to know how to gauge whether or not a situation is favorable to commit to, since Abaddon is quite powerful, but the right option is not always "attack". Also, it can take some time to build up your reaction time to properly time Aphotic dispels.
Over time, you learn certain tricks, like when to hit an opponent one time in order to gain Curse of Avernus's movespeed bonus. Aphotic Dispels can get more advanced too if the Crowd Control spell has a missile and you want to minimize the stun. Suicide by Mist Coil is also considerably harder than suicide by Soul Ring > Rot. Things like Aghs Scepter makes you have to time your ult usage a lot better in fights too.
So, Abaddon takes some time to properly learn, but once you know him, playing him is a breeze.
Let's see what the face of the House Avernus actually does well.
So, with all these in mind, this is a list of when to and when not to pick the Lord of Avernus.
Skill builds are not SET IN STONE. By default, you want to max Aphotic Shield, since it prevents kills on your lane allies (or if you're offlane, it lets you harass and get CS). You grab Mist Coil to deal with enemy harass, or to go for kills, since its your only skill that's remotely long ranged. Curse of Avernus can be taken at 4 if you want to try for kills as well, but I often delay it till 10, due to the other skills being more powerful early. Borrowed Time is taken whenever possible.
Skill Build A: Default Shield Maxing (Also Offlane build)
1 Aphotic Shield
2 Mist Coil
3 Aphotic Shield
4 Mist Coil/Curse of Avernus
5 Aphotic Shield
6 Borrowed Time
7 Aphotic Shield
8-9 Mist Coil
10 Curse of Avernus/Mist Coil
11 Borrowed Time
12-14 Curse of Avernus
16 Borrowed Time
Skill Build B: Coil Maxing (Against Harassers, pre vengeance)
1 Aphotic Shield
2 Mist Coil
3 Mist Coil
4 Aphotic Shield/Curse of Avernus
5 Mist Coil
6 Borrowed Time
7 Mist Coil
8-9 Aphotic Shield
10 Curse of Avernus/Aphotic Shield
11 Borrowed Time
12-14 Curse of Avernus
16 Borrowed Time
Skill Build 3: "My Enemies are all weak laners and I will kill them for this" (Pub Carry Skill sequence)
1 Aphotic Shield
2 Curse of Avernus
3 Aphotic Shield
4 Curse of Avernus
5 Mist Coil
6 Borrowed Time
7-8 Aphotic Shield
9-10 Mist Coil
11 Borrowed Time
12 Mist Coil
13-14 Curse of Avernus
16 Borrowed Time
Time to briefly look at his abilities. Numbers can be seen on his wiki page.
Usage: Healing during battle, healing in between battles, Nuking, Getting an Assist, Finisher, Suicide, Self healing during ult, maintaining pushes
Notes: Yes, it does all those things.
Is your only still that is long ranged and often your only means to get assists.
Can be used on your creeps to maintain a push, and siege creeps too.
Health cost can be heavy before you get Tranquil Boots
Low cooldown, spam spam spam!
Usage: Anti Initiation, Anti Debuffs, Extra HP shell for someone at risk of dying, Pushing, Counterpushing
Notes: Spamming it on creeps keeps lanes pushed back.
Removes a majority of debuffs. Click here to see the specifics (under "Strong Dispel").
Low cooldown, if your team is initiating, cast it on the initiator before the fight starts.
Low cast range, stay close to the team members most likely to get stunned.
Curse of Avernus:
Usage: Anti BKB Slow, Pushing Towers, DPS increase against focused targets, Lane Killing
It's good for pushing because it works on buildings, slowing them like Liquid Fire.
Starts shining at the end of teamfights, after a large clash becomes a small one and you know who you're focusing down.
Usage: Get out of Jail Free Card, Counter to anticipated nukes. With Aghs: In team fights a guaranteed full heal, Protecting allies.
Notes: This lets you go on the frontlines basically whenever its off cooldown, as well as go warding more safely than most support heroes.
The Aghs upgrade is so amazing. It counters AOE damage and single target nukes like Laguna Blade too by dampening their damage.
Remember this can be manually activated, and you're gonna be doing that a lot once you have Aghs, like whenever the enemies are throwing big AOE spells out (like say Ravage), that's when you activate it.
Also once you have Aghs, you may want to actually stand back, since getting silenced is now suddenly really bad if you can't protect your allies.
It can be used while stunned. Don't forget that. Avoid tanking big nukes if you can.
"The fog of war, is what keeps me safe."
Your goal is one of two things: Either you're gonna keep your carry safe, or you are getting your own farm, often while disrupting enemy farm.
Dual Lane: In these lane setups, you're pretty much never going to be the lane farmer, but if you are, cool, grab last hits and go for kills if you can, its as easy as it gets if you get to be farmer. Laning is usually defensive for you. Pretty much protect your laning partner, heal them after harass, and save Aphotic for when the crowd control spells come out. Keep it mind that it takes a while for you to grab your Soul ring to really spam your spells, so save your mana. If your lane has much more presence, you can easily have your ally tower dive if you can assist with it, just by casting shield.
Defensive Tri-lane: Pretty much the same, except you also get to pull the lane, since your lane presence does not include harassing, so keep your carry close to the tower and keep them healed, same business, simple stuff, keep them protected, and try to get some farm. As a support stick to defensive trilanes and not aggressive ones.
Aggressive Tri-lane: Abaddon can be run as a core hero as the farmer of an aggressive trilane, a setup that takes advantage of his potentially strong laning by supplying him with 2 supports. It can dismantle lanes with weak laning carries at the helm, like ones with Spectre or Anti-Mage, and can possibly start an Abaddon snowball, which doesn't really happen besides here and as "Pub Star". You can feasibly be run as a support in these, but its not great, despite promoting tower diving due to level dependence.
Jungle: Feel free to stack camps if there's not much action in lane. If you have a flash farmer on your team like Shadow Fiend, Axe, Batrider, or even Death Prophet, you can let them have the stack while you soak exp. If no one else farms the stacks, just come back later with high level aphotic shield and clear the stacks with those, it'll take time, but it'll work.
Solo Offlane: Abaddon can take this role, and how he does it is very much similar to how a Dark Seer does it. Get Soul Ring, stand back a safe distance, and spam Aphotic Shield in order to keep the lane pushed back, and disrupt the farm of and harass the enemy carry, going for a 1-2 Mist Coils to finish them if they get to aggressive. It's a tough choice for the enemy team, they can keep multiple dudes on you to keep you controlled, or they can leave their carry with you, so you can farm up items and disrupt their carry's farm, but this only works fantastically against a melee carry. If the do leave the carry alone, be ready to attack them, make their farming hard, that is your purpose.
Solo Mid: This is far from an ideal place to run Abaddon due to being low armor and having not enough space to really chase people. However, if you are running into a mid Pudge, Abaddon completely owns him in lane since it is absurdly hard for him to kill you. If he runs at you with rot, you shield yourself and you hit him. This is the one situation to run Abaddon mid.
Alright, mid game, thankfully, since you're not a hard support, you probably won't be spending too much time or money warding. You now have the mana and health regeneration to support spamming your first 2 spells as much as needed. Aphotic to keep the creeps back if not useful on heroes, and Mist Coil to keep your circle of friends healed between ganks while you regenerate your health back.
Ideally, you want to look for small clashes this point in the game, avoid large fights, its not your strong suit. As Abaddon, you want to take advantage of these small clashes, keep your allied heroes (or yourself if you're a target for whatever reason) healed and shielded. 250 extra health in Mist Coil, extra 200 in shield. Those 2 spells together is 450 extra hp, keep that in mind, it is the key to your midgame power.
Once you have a few points in Curse of Avernus, you can start using your auto attack on heroes you want to chase down, make sure they can't escape, and with Curse, you can easily take towers after winning fights due to the bonus attack speed for your team and slowing down the tower's attack speed.
Let's get serious...
Once the game drags on for a bit, Mist Coil loses some effectiveness, although the heal penetrates BKB, so its not useless, Aphotic is gonna be used only to keep creeps back and remove debuffs since the damage negation is now negligible. However, late game is where your last two skills come into play. Well, your ult is only useful if you got Aghs, but you got that covered, right? Curse becomes a mad kiting ability due to penetrating BKB, so those heroes will have severely limited mobility. Abbadon lacks the farming items to go too late in the game, but if he gets the items ,he scales well. Once you got Aghs upgraded Ult, teamfights are usually in your favor thanks to how powerful that skill really is, and at this point in the game, you want to try to take the barracks when you can, with Curse, it's really easy. End the game when you can. If you're a core Abaddon, save for buyback as well in case you're needed.
Default: Support Role
Ring of Regen, Tango, Animal Courier or Observer Ward
Ring of Regen is gonna be building into your Soul Ring, as well as negate some harass you may be experiencing, share tangos too if you must, and you can hand the ring to your carry if they are facing harass. Courier or Wards as usual for a support.
Default: Core Role
Ring of Regen, Tango
Same, but no support items, since you'll probably in the solo offlane, you may want a Soul Ring recipe from the start. The pub star path also takes these items.
Soul Ring, Tranquil Boots, Town Portal Scroll
This is all you need to have sustained healing, Tranquils will make up for the health cost of mist coil and soul ring, and Soul Ring will allow for fairly free casting of spells.
Alternative 1: Soul Ring, Arcane Boots, Town Portal Scroll
This can be picked up if you are not gonna be moving around much from your lane and spamming your spells, and instead, you want to rush a Guardian Greaves, or you plan to make an Aether Lens or Lotus Orb.
Soul Ring, Phase Boots, Orb of Venom, Town Portal Scroll.
The early build is much the same. Soul Ring is still gotten for mana sustain, and Phase Boots is picked up instead of Tranquils because of less Mist levels early, so its only used to put Aphotic on yourself while you dive your opponents. The other difference of the pub Abaddon is that Orb of Venom is a needed pickup this time, since this item build is all about tower diving and all.
Optional Early Game Items:
Orb of Venom, Ring of Basilius, Infused Raindrops
An orb of venom may be picked up if you can find an opportunity to use it and have enough item slots, given how you're gonna be carrying items like wards and dusts, but generally, you try not to buy them because you require a few items to properly scale into late game. Basi Ring is also an option in order to have a trickle of mana if you have multiple lanemates that can benefit from this aura, especially if facing an aggressive lane that requires constant refreshing, and it builds into Vlads anyways. Raindrops is also good for mana regeneration, giving more than Vlads, especially if enemies deal a bunch of magic damage.
Tranquil Boots: Usually the boots for Abaddon, his armor is low, mist coil and soul ring has high health costs, and the movespeed is nice because for Curse, you generally only need to get the first hit off for it to start annoying people.
Arcane Boots: This can be picked up as an alternative to Tranquil Boots, especially if you are looking to get a quick Guardian Greaves. However, it actually makes it so you cannot be as active on the map besides group pushes, since you cannot spam your heal as much, however, it builds into Aether Lens and Lotus Orb, so if you are considering making those items, this is a good pickup.
Phase Boots: For the Pub Star build, this is the choice, since it adds speed to quickly get the first slowing attack with Curse + Venom. That's its really. Otherwise, these boots kind of suck on Abaddon.
Power Treads: Weakest boots on the Lord of Avernus. Its not enough movespeed, and it doesn't sustain you at all. These are boots good for farming, and the extra 9 to a stat is not something Aba uses well either.
Boots of Travel: If the game gets late, get this, immediate backup for a gank could mean a lot late, where a pickoff could mean the game. Usually, you need a few items before this.
Mid Game Options (Support/Auras):
Mekansm: Solid choice to win midgame fights, especially since Abaddon can likely get it off in every teamfight that he enters with full mana. And don't underestimate the saving potential Abaddon has with this item, 250 + 250 + 200 = 700 health that is healed back or blocked adds a ton of survival. Pair this with Arcane Boots, since you won't have the mana to use this otherwise.
Vladmir's Offering: Abaddon is probably the best carrier of this item in the game, a melee frontliner support who can't be burst down in most cases. This item on him gives a large edge for him and his team.
Lotus Orb: You have one pretty severe weakness, Silences. A quick removal, lots of mana regen, a big mana pool boost, and armor to make you tankier. The reflection will dissuade people from targeting a specific target too, good against heroes with dangerous single target spells like Vengeful Spirit and Bane. This item is fantastic, if a bit expensive.
Aether Lens: A powerful item on Abaddon, as his shield has short range, and it synergizes well with casting items like Euls, Lotus Orb, and Force Staff. The stats provided are also quite useful to Abaddon, as he needs health regeneration and the mana pool lets him do longer teamfights and sustain his allies longer.
Guardian Greaves: A good pickup. It can remove silences as well as provide a heal without a massive mana penalty, and since Abaddon can't really be focused down in proper teamfights, Guardian Aura has a lot of time to be effective. You're a pretty good carrier of this item, although Tranquils is your preferred boots, you can still get this, especially in a game where you run Arcane Boots.
Drum of Endurance: A nice cheap efficient way to increase your damage and carry a very useful aura, making chasing easier for the whole team.
Urn of Shadows: A useful support item that can make you heal even faster. Only works if you do lots of ganking.
Force Staff: Useful all around, can be used for kiting, whether to get close to strike, or to save allies or yourself.
Rod of Atos: Allows easy chasing and a huge mana pool for long teamfights. The long ranged slow allows you to actually gank and go for pickoffs. Also very effective for breaking Linkens Spheres.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity: Provides a heavy stream of mana and allows you to interrupt tp scrolls. For a gank based game, this is a good pickup generally. Plus, it lets you purge silences.
Solar Crest: This item massively buffs the survivability of an ally, which synergizes well with your skillset, as the armor penalty doesn't hurt abaddon that much since he can ultimate. Good for taking Roshan as well.
Pipe of Insight: Pick this up if you plan on early pushing or are just struggling against heroes like Sand King, Venomancer, and Zeus.
Crimson Guard: Effective against heroes with many instances of damage, especially Troll Warlord. Also adds a nice stack of HP and makes tower diving really easy.
Blade Mail: A fairly useful item, since it makes enemies even more inclined to ignore you. Works better if enemies have a lot of AOE damage, since people will not target you with target spells usually.
Glimmer Cape: Possibly useful, the mana cost is high, but it is a good way to escape after Borrowed Time removes any possible dusts the enemies have, and is good against the Venomancers of the world. Also if an ally is about to be hit by Reaper's Scythe, this prevents that from doing the full brunt.
Necronomicon: They get Curse's buff and you are a natural Vlads carrier, so in a push strategy, they can be a nice pickup, especially if your allies have disables.
Diffusal Blade: Only against Omniknight. Otherwise, this item is of little use to you.
Mid Game Options (Core/Carry Role):
Radiance: Abaddon is a very strong carrier of this item if he's in a core role (offlane preferrably, aggro tri farmer or mid against Pudge also works). It lets him lead charges against enemy teams to find blinkers, and he cannot really be nuked down most of the time even if he has no other items. The burn damage and miss chance application really can add up with Abaddon as the carrier. Also, the increase to farm rate lets you easily get the later game items you'd need, since Abaddon's farm speed is slow. As a support he can also get one late game against enemy core initiators, like Magnus or Tidehunter.
Sange and Yasha: More movespeed, more stats, but not a lot of damage output. Still can be useful for helping your team kite, since it goes through BKB, and Abaddon uses bonus movespeed well.
Skull Basher: If you get some attack speed, this item is really useful against enemy carries. Also it has synergy with Curse for ganking and dealing with TP scrolls (although scrolls can be more easily cancelled with Euls).
Armlet of Mordiggian: A nice cheap source of damage, it requires you to snowball, but this actually snowballs Abaddon quite a bit harder than the other damage items because +65 damage for him is quite a lot. Plus, armor is nice for him too.
Maelstrom: In the "carry' route, this can be picked up for farming or dealing with illusions, or in the support route, if you lost a set of barracks and you need to defend against supercreeps, this is good for that too.
Orchid Malevolence: Pretty good for improved lockdown. Solves mana issues as well. However, since you don't have a gap closer, it's not that good.
Mask of Madness: Well... it's synergistic. The amplified damage is also amplified heal. The movespeed is also nice to catch that "First hit curse" to make sure a target can't escape from you. Still, with the item, expect yourself to die quite a bit more and remember it can get purged, and that you're still easy to kite. I do not recommend it on any level, but it can work in low levels.
Blink Dagger: Abaddon has one of the saddest initiations in the game, you blink in and start smacking people with your lackluster damage, and the enemies are greatly confused. However, Dagger has possible applications on Abaddon for counter initiation, as Shield has a really short and sad range and you may need to blink in order to save your ally, and additionally, Borrowed Time prevents Abaddon from taking damage, so with it active, Abaddon can escape from almost any situation without dying.
Late Game Options:
Aghanim's Scepter: THE late game item for Abaddon. This highly increases his input in late game fights. Since he's now able to protect his teammates, and the duration increase is a welcome addition as well. You almost never want to go into late game without this item, it's just that good in teamfights.
Heaven's Halberd: A giant increase to survivability for Abaddon, and the active is a giant middle finger towards non-BKB buying carries, especially Medusa.
Scythe of Vyse: Standard late game item. No mana issues anymore, and the extra disable on enemies gives Abaddon a way to kind of initiate fights.
Shiva's Guard: You're not a great carrier, since you benefit from things other than raw int, but the aura in prolonged fights can win a lot of battles, since it stacks with Curse.
Black King Bar: Sometimes AOE disables are unavoidable, but with this, you can still save your allies even when things come out. Unless you're a carry Abaddon, in which case, you're using this so you can avoid those damn nukes and disables.
Eye of Skadi: This is an option, taking the stacking slow to an extreme, since it works with curse. The stats are decent, but usually utility is what you'd prefer as Abaddon instead of going for max slow build.
Assault Cuirass: This item's aura is fantastic, and as a hero who is pretty much never the main damage dealer, you can pick this up for your awesome teammates.
Linken's Sphere: The active can protect your ally from deadly spells. No rational team would initiate on Abaddon, except one with Doom, so this can be picked up against him as well.
Mjollnir: The static charge buff is useful, the damage output is pretty high too, and its a logical upgrade to Maelstrom if you have enough attack speed.
Heart of Tarrasque: Rare pickup, you rarely need more raw survivability in lieu of damage or utility, but late game, having that regeneration can mean more successful towers after teamfight victories, so its very good if you're ahead.
Daedalus: If you need dps ... whynot?
Monkey King Bar: If you need dps against evasion/miss chance heroes... whynot?
Silver Edge: Bought mostly countering carries, as Break and damage reduction is really powerful against the Spectres and Phantom Assassins of this world. The bonus MS from the active may also be nice for starting the Curse. The active invis gives decent potential for ganking as well.
Abyssal Blade: With some attack speed, this item may be potentially useful, because it will give your team an edge over a key hero on the enemy team. Plus, you're melee and you have a semi steroid for attack speed, you should get some procs.
Moon Shard: If you have Basher, and you want to bash more often without the penalty of Mask of Madness, this is a good pickup.
Bloodthorn: If you find yourself against a butterfly carrier or an evasion based hero like Windranger, this item will serve you and your team well, especially paired with Curse of Avenus on that target. Only viable on a core Abaddon due to its insane price tag.
Do Not Buy:
Desolator: Abaddon is really, really, easy to kite. The other orb items offer him something besides that, Maelstrom offers farm speed. Mjollnir offers AOE damage. Skadi offers insane tanking. Even MoM offers movespeed. This item is simply not worth it.
Octarine Core: His cast animation is too big so the cooldown reduction does not do enough. And also Abaddon's spell damage is low. It does work with Radiance, but that's hardly worth the buy.
Bloodstone: Abaddon's mana demands are not THAT high, and there's not that much benefit to respawning quicker with him, since he doesn't snowball easily anyway unless he's a dpser.
Manta Style: Low stat gain, illusions can't get bonus attack speed from curse. This is not for Abaddon.
Dagon: You survive for a long time, even as a support, having burst damage is the opposite of what you want.
Veil of Discord/ Ethereal Blade: You don't have lots of reliable magic damage, and Veil is not even an aura, so it makes little sense to carry it on you.
Battle Fury: Abaddon attacks slowly, and is as stated many times, easy to kite, so Maelstrom/Mjollnir is superior, especially with attack speed. He is not supposed to afk farm anyway.
Satanic: Is it almost impossible to get Abaddon's damage output high enough to really use this, especially since you'll just get kited.
Divine Rapier: The unkillability of Abaddon makes him seem like a natural carrier, however, he's still easy to kite, and unlike Wraith King, his ult is not a guaranteed full heal.
Once you have your early items, there are many sample paths to take your Lord of Avernus.
(at some point if you went Mek)
Support Teamfight Oriented (A Healing Hand)
This is the default Abaddon build, Mekansm or Vladimir's Offering, one of the two, with Vlads being easier to support with mana, but Mek being better if you went Arcanes.
Aghanim's for those late fights, and then into more aura items as needed, which can be anything from Pipe to Crimson, but Assault is generally the best if the game is late. You can sub Pipe and Crimson for Mekansm, and you can delay Vlads if it fits your team.
Places to lane this: Safelane Support, Dual Lane Support.
Support Utility (The Supportive Noble)
This build is for non-teamfight oriented Abaddon, in this case, specializing in saving people. Force Staff keeps enemies off ally tails, and Lotus Orb is an instant removal of slows and silences on himself and allies, or can be put before the start of a fight. An Aether Lens becomes a useful pickup later to cast your items and spells from a farther range once you've acquired them.
Feel free to veer off the path into the Teamfighter build if your team calls for it.
Places to lane this: Safelane Support, Dual Lane Support.
Core Aura Man (A Beacon of Hope)
This build is similar to the first one, except its as a core hero, and Aghanim's is picked up first to secure late game, and then any of the required supplementary items are picked up as required, but usually, the path will go as you see here, Scepter, Greaves, Vlads, AC.
Places to lane this: Offlane Solo, Aggro Tri Farmer, Dual Lane Farmer.
Core Tank and Anti-Blinker (Burning Desire)
This build is pretty much all about farming that Radiance before minute 30, camping out in the offlane, most of the time, and farming it from a safe distance, like you're Dark Seer, though you are a far better carrier of the item than the Seer. Or not, Abaddon is still decently high impact with just Tranquils Soul Ring. You may notice that there is no additonal items, its because you can buy pretty much whatever you want after that, go wild.
Places to lane this: Offlane Solo, Aggro Tri Farmer, Dual Lane Farmer.
Snowballing Carry (Pub Star)
This is a very popular build for a core Abaddon that maximizes his speed and enemy slows. I would not be correct if I said it was completely ineffective against bad laning heroes, since Curse allows you to easily take advantage of easy lane kills, and the huge slows and tankability of Abaddon with these items makes him rather hard to fight. A Mask of Madness can substitute Vlads for even more fun, and Armlet increase his midgame power a lot, but it can hurt his late game. Still, Slows for Days.
Places to lane this: Dual Lane Farmer.
Experimental Rat Core Abaddon (A Rat Don)
This was a build I theorycrafted on the forum and tested out in a few games, basically playing on the synergy between Borrowed Time and Blink Dagger to always escape situations. Once Abaddon has his maelstrom, then he can farm and push the waves back, pressure towers, get jumped, ult, blink out in 3 seconds where he can't be hurt, and teleport out. The downsides of this build is that it costs him his direct fighting power, and is it not invincible, just really tough for enemies to deal with, and that it pushes slower than many other rats. Still, it's a build worth a shot for the experimental minded and for Abaddons that cannot possibly teamfight the opponents he's against.
Places to lane this: Dual Lane Farmer, Aggro Tri Farmer.
Abaddon, as a fine gentleman, has complex relationships with most heroes.
Friends of the Font: Allies for the House Avernus
Mana Batteries: You are a spell spamming hero, and even with Soul Ring, you can't use your spells with impunity, just a lot.
Non-Illusion Pushers: Abaddon has this great ability to take towers quickly after teamfights due to Curse granting a semi Battle Trance for his team as well as a Liquid Fire on the tower. Combine this with some right clickers and towers will fall really fast.
Tower Divers: Heroes that can towerdive can now do it harder and more often with your protection. Your spells are very much of a "go wild" card for your buddies.
Limited Laning Presence Carries: These heroes are harass magnets. Thankfully, Abaddon is on their side to mitigate massive amounts of harass with Mist Coil, and ruin many kill attempts with his Shield.
Bubble Bursters: Self damage means that Aphotic Shield can become a reliable source of burst damage, while keeping these heroes safe from their own damage.
Sustained AOE DPS Heroes / "Get More Dangerous as the Fight Goes On" Heroes: Basically, your preservation based skillset is great for letting these heroes run rampant and wreck faces and various other body parts of enemies. These heroes are listed over hard carries because they come online midgame when your Coil and Shield are at their strongest.
When you and Axe get together, not only do you significantly improve his chances of survival with your heals and buff, you allow him to cut and dive so such efficiently that a huge rotation will be needed to stop you.
Ion Shell is annoying. Ion Shell on someone who is not killable is actually dangerous, as it deals almost double the damage of a Radiance. Since you're usually in the front lines, having Dark Seer surge you is also a good way to be a decent ganker too.
Babysit him, and you will get a fantastic reward. As an excellent Aghs carrier, Abaddon often struggles to choose between Aghs and other items the team needs more like a Pipe against certain teams. In this case, if your Alch is smart, Abaddon will receive a massive reward for his good work.
Shapes in the Mist: Those who Abaddon specially wreck.
Single Target Disablers: Uniquely, Abaddon completely destroys heroes dependent on single target disables. An Aphotic removes the stun, factoring in Aba's cast time, you cut down every stun to about ~0.7 seconds (0.45 second cast time, average young person takes about 0.25 seconds to react).
Deadly Debuffs: Besides stuns, things like slows, armor reduction, ensnares, and miss chances are all things you'd rather not want to have on your allies. Again, easy removal.
Damage over Time: If you're Doomed, you're Doomed, no way out. However, if an ally is affected by big DoT spells, you can get several shield and coils on them to keep them safe, so it requires a big commitment to finish off the DoT'd heroes when Abaddon is on your side! Also, as a natural tranquil boots carrier, you may get away alive.
(Carry Tiny only)
Melee Dpsers Reliant on BKB: Curse of Avernus pierces magic immunity, making it extremely painful on melee carries who need to chase down a target that is almost certainly not you while you wail on them incessantly.
Through the Fog: Those who counter the mist of fate.
AOE Crowd Control: You can remove stuns if you don't get stunned yourself, if you tank the stun, its one stun that doesn't hit your team. However, if you and your allies get hit by one, then you can't save them, not without blowing your ultimate and only to save one, but this is less of a concern once you have Aghanims.
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) (Soul Catcher)
Undispellable Skills: Some spells cannot be dispelled. Heroes like these are good counterpicks to Abaddon, and you may struggles a lot if there are too many heroes like this.
Silences: Abaddon cannot be helpful if silenced. Worst part is that he cannot remove it with Borrowed Time's stun activation. Get a Lotus Orb or Euls to deal with this.
Banishes: This kind of disable can make you waste Borrowed Time's duration to soak up rampant AOE spells and/or the attacks of stupid opponents. Also this type of disable on allies is terrible because it cannot be dispelled. Also, fun fact, OD can kill you with his ult while you're in his imprisonment and you can't activate borrowed time.
"I still get more dangerous even when you ult" Heroes: Stacks keep going up, even when you're borrowing time. Razor will find you a dependable meal for static link specifically because you won't die.
(Nuker/Ganker Tiny Only)
Fast Burst damage Heroes: Abaddon responds well to sustained damage and damage over time. High Burst damage heroes will destroy his fragile friends before his cast animation can save them with his spells. Ironically, he doesn't care that much if they target him, but only idiots nuke Abaddon.
Mana Burners: Abaddon has mana troubles, getting your mana depleted means you have no spells to help your friends. These heroes are a much larger threat if you're the Mek carrier on the team and you have not gotten to Guardian Greaves yet.
Super Mobile Bros: Heroes who are really mobile can easily disengage when Abaddon uses his ultimate and reengage to kill him. Additionally, since he has no hard disables, they can just escape him when he hits them.
Man the sea hates Abaddon; Slark, Tide, and now Siren. She has armor reduction, which hurts you. However, Song of the Siren completely wastes Borrowed Time, which loses its promise of healing and protection in teamfights.
Ice Blast stops Mist Coil healing. Aphotic cannot remove Ice Blast. And It prevents any sort of healing during Borrowed Time. What a nightmare of a hero, especially since you can't really target him in fights due to him always being in the back. Probably the one hero you want to nominate for banning when you want to play Abaddon in ranked.
Your arch nemesis in lore, and he's mad at you probably because you're wearing one of his buddy's heads as your helmet. Nyx is also tailor made to deal with you. He has an AOE stun, and 2 with Aghanims. He is a very fast nuker and can kill your allies before you have any chance to shield or heal them, especially with Dagon. And he mana burns you to make sure you're constantly low. He is of little direct threat to you, but he certainly counters the hell out of you, after all, he despised you since the birth of his whole entire caste.
Can be Countered with some practice:
Potential Giant Crits/Ult Breakers: Can possibly kill you before you even ult with some luck. Activate your ult manually earlier to avoid this, anticipate. Break disables passive ult activation, which is really deadly combined with a silence, which means that a Lotus Orb is almost certainly required in that case. Otherwise, activate manually. Natural Silver Edge carriers like Slark fall into this category.
Abaddon messing around
Abaddon in serious environments (Also, I think I kind of ship this)
Abaddon has been a massive pubstomper ever since he was introduced into the game, consistently ranking in the top 3-5. There are reasons for this. As a carry, he is viable in pubs because he wrecks laning phase with his ability to endlessly chase and towerdive. The nature of aphotic shield is also fit for taking advantage of weak lanes. Fools also tend to keep throwing stuff at Abaddon after his ult activates, which triples his EHP. The effectiveness of this in low levels is the whole reason this guide does not completely denounce the Pub Carry build entirely, since it works.
He's still massively effective at higher level games in pubs too. There he usually takes a support role, and he's all about increasing "margin of error" for your team. Basically, his entire skillset is build around fixing all your ally's screwups and still winning. With his heals dealing well with single target stunners and sustained damage heroes, Abaddon is still effective as a support in pubs, and a great way to pump up your MMR.
In competitive, he is not as effective as pubs, which is the explanation if you're constantly asking yourself "WHY IS ICEFROG CONSTANTLY BUFFING ONE OF THE MOST OP PUB HEROES?" the reason is that he has a lot of weaknesses, which should be obvious, like his laning, and in organized environments, it's easier to take advantage of that, so his place on a team is niche. He is very pickable because of his excellent ability to keep his allies alive, however.
This is an illustration of a mid-game fight, showing how to Abaddon with your team.
The enemies take Roshan and put Aegis of the Immortal on Shadow Fiend, the evil/fragile mastermind.
Meanwhile, our heroes Abaddon, Razor, Sniper, Lion, and Sand King look to take mid, which has been fortified. Razor got the Mekansm this game, as Abaddon ran solo offlane and the early game was tough, so the earlier mek was needed.
The newly immortalized Shadow Fiend charges in first-
-and gets promptly plowed with Mist Coil, Hex, and Static Link.
Shadow Fiend flees to the side but his aegis is destroyed by Sand King, his team leaves him.
Sand King charges up an epicenter for the respawning Shadow Fiend and the onslaught resumes.
And Shadow Fiend dies before he can get off his proper requiem of souls, releasing the weaker version toward the Radiant team.
Sniper is driven off by Lone Druid's Radiance wielding Bear, Vengeful Spirit, Rubick, and Lone Druid seek to re-engage now that disables and nukes were all thrown at a 900 hp Shadow Fiend.
The Tanks Abaddon and Razor charge forward, and Dire team falls back after throwing a Missile at Razor, Sniper looks to rejoin the fray too.
Abaddon throws a shield and Coil onto Razor so he can keep advancing, but Rubick immediately lifts him as Lion gets off a 3 man Earth Spike.
Rubick drops the Bass, stunning Abaddon, but he manually activates his ultimate so he may continue advancing. Razor activates his Mekansm.
Rubick is struck by a series of spells, spelling his doom as Razor's shield pops and Vengeful screams in anger at her friend's death.
Razor and Abaddon continue their advance on Lone Druid and Vengeful Spirit. However, from behind is the enemy Bounty Hunter with a Haste rune.
The pursuit of Vengeful Spirit continues, but Bounty Hunter shows himself to Lion, who becomes critically injured.
As Vengeful Spirit is going to escape, the attention of everyone turns to the golden graham Bear, as Bounty Hunter kills Lion and turns his gaze to Sniper.
Sniper is tracked and Bounty activates his Drums to go for the kill? Will he make it?
Abaddon to the rescue! Bounty Hunter turns invis again for max burst damage to finish. Will Abaddon save Sniper in time!?
He does! He places Aphotic Shield and a Mist Coil, and since Bounty's Shadow Walk is on cooldown, the Radiant team have their way with the cat man.
The bear comes to clean up our three wounded heroes, but Razor, still healthy, drives the thing off. It was a successful day for our heroes after the battle was not in their favor.
Abaddon is a powerful defensive pick that has many options working for him. He is uniquely powerful late game and the most ideal aura carrier Dota has to offer. In order to reach his potential, he is to counter some big stuns and harassers, but cannot really go on the offense as much as some other heroes, due to his limitations of being melee and not having any form of significant crowd control.
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