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6 Votes

Divine Punishment: Mid Zeus Guide (Updated for 6.87)

April 27, 2016 by not_my_username
Comments: 19    |    Views: 74352    |   

Classic Zeus Build

DotA2 Hero: Zeus

Hero Skills

Arc Lightning

1 12 13 14

Lightning Bolt

2 4 5 7

Heavenly Jump

3 8 9 10

Thundergod's Wrath

6 11 16


15 17 18

Intro to Zeus

Zeus: God of Olympus

Zeus is an intelligence based hero played solely as a nuker. He has the
highest magical damage output of any hero in the game and his strongest aspect is his early to mid game dominance as well as a extremely strong late game (for an intelligence based hero), even with minimal farm. If you play him correctly he can easily win games on his own.

Pros and Cons


  • Extreme magical damage output.
  • Can easily snowball.
  • Relevant at all stages of the game.
  • Strong lane pressence, can outlane most heroes.
  • Can secure important kills with Thundergod's Wrath on enemy carries and assist on teamfights from across the map.
  • His second ability, Lightning Bolt gives true sight, making him a dewarding machine as well as a nightmare for invisible heroes and Shadow Blade owners. (Huge counter pick against Techies).
  • Is the best anti-initiator, because he can cancel blink daggers with his ultimate throughout teamfights.

  • Squishy
  • Bad attack animation makes you rely on your first skill for last hits
  • Average-low movement speed
  • No escape mechanism.
  • No strong disable.
  • Zero rune control against most mids.
  • Can deal huge damage, but can't carry.
  • Very weak against magic resistance.
  • Useless against an enemy with Black King Bar activated.

6.87 Update Notes and Changes

Many thing changes in this patch, and a lot of them affected Zeus to a big degree. Only time will tell
if the hero got buffed, nerfed or stayed the same, since there are a lot of thing to consider. The most important notes are the following:
  • Spell amplification

    : 1% extra spell damage per 16 intel. Might seem pretty rough, but consider that a total of 160 intel will return only 10% extra magic damage (only 2% more than last patch's Aether Lens). Since most heroes will need lots of farm and levels to get at this level of intel, the extra damage is pretty small. I believe it is most advised to go intel items on Zeus rather than the usual Refresher Orb and Aghanim's Scepter rush, since his late game will be improved by a tone.
  • Heavy nerfs on his skills

    : I believe the only reason they nerfed him is because of the new concept of added spell damage with int points. His passive was reduced by 1% on each level and his ulti by 50 magical damage.
  • Pipe of Insight barrier now stacks fully

    , so supports won't hesitate buying more than one for the same team. This only bring bad news for Zeus since not only he has to push throught the 800 magic damage barrier, but also will have to deal with more high magic resistance heroes.
  • Aether Lens nerf

    . Extra damage from 8% to 5%.
  • Static Field no longer disables blinks

    , so you should time your ultimate a lot more carefully to cancer blink initiators at the right moment.

Overall, I believe Zeus now is extremely farm depentant. His effectiveness has fallen a lot with all the indirect and direct nerfs on his skill. It is more adviced to consider int items now, and Scythe of Vyse is a whole lot for relevant as an item to pick up for him. With enough intel items he will scale a lot better than before, but without them he will be a lot weaker to the point of being useless. For this reason I believe that Zeus has evovled into a semi carry or even carry hero, and Valve should add a point on carry for his description.

Skills and how to use them.

Zeus' skills are pretty straight forward: they simply deal damage. All four of
them. Here is a closer look:

  • Arc Lightning

    Spammable nuke that can be used for last hitting and harashing at the same time. Get one point at the start of the game then procceed to max it last. It's higher mana costs only leaves you mana starved, and your passive can deal the same amount of added damage with no extra mana.
  • Lightning Bolt

    Single target nuke. Deals a massive amount of damage early and should always get maxed first. With a 6 second cooldown it is also pretty spammable. Only cast after you get 3 points on it. Also gives true sight on an area and a mini stun to cancel channeling abilities. Can be cast on the ground and will hit the nearest enemy hero, so always cast it on the ground after you lose vision of an enemy; it will either hit him or give the much needed vision for your team to chase him.
  • Static Field

    By far Zeus' most important ability. This is what makes him the unbelievable nuker that he is and what will make your enemies question where their hp went. If you manage to cast 6 spells during the fight all of your enemies will lose 50% of their health JUST from your passive.
  • Thundergod's Wrath

    A global damaging ultimate. Nothing more to say. Fleeing enemies are your farm with this. Every time you see a failed gank from your team, press R and secure the kill (NEVER killsteal). It is always better to cast it before a teamfight to ensure vision for your teammates as well as counter blink initiators like Enigma, Earthshaker, Tidehunter, Sand King etc.

Item build

Zeus is considered pretty item-reliant, so you really need to build him correctly, by analyzing the situation the game is on. Here are the most common items and why you should get them:

  • - Bottle: A must for every mid ganker of the game.
  • - Soul Ring: Spam a free Lightning bolt to your enemy every 30 seconds. Enough to outlane everybody.
  • - Arcane Boots: More mana is all zeus needs.
  • - Veil of Discord: Always get this item even if you have zero magical damage on your team. Zeus is all about AOE damage and veil can make all of your 4 abilities hurt even more. Basically you will win every teamfight until the first Black King Bars arrive. The armor is also very helpful with Zeus's low starting armor.
  • - Aether Lens: More magical damage, more mana and added spell range. All great news for Zeus.
  • - Blink Dagger/ Force Staff: Get one or both of these items every game. Absolute core. Zeus has no mobility and can't position himself well or escape.
  • - Octarine Core: By far my favourite item on Zeus. Lifesteal from spells and extra health make you survive longer, less cooldown on your spells will make your passive proc more. Basically a core for Zeus EVERY game. It will drop the cooldown of your ultimate to 67 seconds and it will improve your damage output by a ton. Always get this item.
  • - Refresher Orb: Used to be a great pick up, but since his ultimate got nerfed, it is not as effective anymore. Would not recommend this anymore, since Zeus now requires intel items. It will remain here, since it still does a good combo with aghanims scepter.
  • - Eul's Scepter of Divinity: added mobility, good synergy with blink dagger as well as a debuff when the enemy team has silences. Great pick up.

6.87 Additional Items

  • Scythe of Vyse: Now that spells are amplified by magical damage Zeus is going to need some int to amplify the damage of his spells. I would recommend going Scythe against the cheaper Orchid Malevolence, since enemies will always buy Black King Bar to deal with you.
  • Rod of Atos: For the extra intel and the added tankiness. Can be a great pick up now.
  • Shiva's Guard: Can be picked up solely for the stats it gives and not the active, which has no synergy with Zeus. The armor and exta intel are pure gold for late game to go against heavy right clickers with more added damage to your spells.

Very Situational
  • Aghanim's Scepter: Increases the damage of your ultimate by 180. Great deal for a 4200 item. Not. Your ultimate is not the main source of your damage output and 180 magical damage is nothing on late game. Only get if you are snowballing and enemies do not build survivability items and are squishy. EDIT: Aghs can now be considered, since the damage of his ultimate got nerfed by a ton.
  • Dagon: Zeus is all about AOE damage. A 7600 item that does not scale is simply a waste of money.
  • Ethereal Blade: as said before single target damage is not Zeus' thing. The agility gain is useless for a hero that never right clicks, but the armor is good.

Early Game - Winning Mid

Try to secure the first bounty rune to get the XP advantage from your enemy mid. Don't spam Arc Lighting for last hits: Good Zeus players can last hit with normal attacks and you should practice, too. Arc Lighting is mana expensive early on and you need mana for possible ganks to defend yourself. Only use when creep wave is on enemy high ground. It will also harash the enemy mid from the jumps and push the lane. Since you have zero mobility, only try to grab runes after you harashed or pushed the creep wave. Invoker, Templar Assassin and Pudge are heroes that you should not fight against on rune spots, because they can easily kill you before you kill them. Always spam a Lighting bolt on the enemy mid with your Soul Ring and refill the lost health with some Bottle charges. As usual gank side lanes with good rune spawns and keep an eye on the map for low HP players to secure kills with Thundergod's Wrath.

Mid Game - Winning Teamfights

Have your team initiate the fights and have a good positioning. Getting killed at the start of the teamfight is the worst thing you can do. If the enemies are afraid of you start pushing towers. They will have no choice but to fight you. You carry should safely be farming on your jungle. Your damage output is so huge that you will still be able to devastate the whole enemy team, while being 4vs5. You will have a hard time with the first BKB pick ups, since the 10 sec activation time is huge early. Try to nuke the rest of the team down, mainly the supports.

Late Game - General Topic about Scalling Abilities.

In dota2 one of the most important capabilities a hero can have is how well he scales into the late game, where HP pools are over 3000 on all heroes. Basically any spells that have a static number as damage, like Lina's Dragon Slave, Axe's Counter Helix or Shadow Fiend's Shadowraze . The damage will be easily sustained by everyone making the spell useless to some degree. Carries on the other hand have abilites that scale a lot better with levels and items, such as criticals or stat steroids. The first set of abilities make for a good early game, while the second for a good late game. Zeus mostly possesses the first set: 3 Abilities with static numerical numbers as damage that simply do not scale, but are extremely useful when health pools are low. What makes his inevidable scalling is his passive. You simply can't outscale a percentage based ability no matter how much HP you make your hero he will ALWAYS lose the same percentage of life. Enemies will start building Heart of Tarrasque and Eye of Skadi to survive your nukes, but they will never hide. You will still destroy their HP like it is your job. Althought the will be harder to kill the lower the get, since your passive is percentage based on current HP, but your carries will be able to take the matter on their hands. That is Zeus's job if the game drags for too long. Spam spells at the start of the teamfight as fast as you can and you carries procceed to destroy the enemies.

Playing against Zeus - Strongest weaknesses

Zeus might seem OP and he really is a huge pub stomper. One of the highest average k/d and w/l of the game according to dota buff. The most common mistake people make when playing against zeus is that they make HP boosting items like heart to survive his burst. Very. Wrong. His passive doesn't care if you are Axe with 5 hearts, you will still lose most of health in seconds.
What really hurts Zeus is Magic Resistance. If the enemy Zeus is snowballing and killing you nostop consider getting a hood of defiance or a simple cloak. All four of his abilities are magical damage. He wont be able to kill you with a combo any more and his passive wont be near as effective. Especially now, that Pipe of Insight sheild can be stacked and a team can have multiple Pipe of Insight, there is no reason to not to buy on any support/tank that has to deal with a core Zeus

BKB is also a thing Zeus is extremly weak against. He basically can't touch you for the duration and you can simply kill his squishy *** with no problem.
Stuns-Silences-Hexes are extremely effective to kill everyone, but extra effective against Zeus. A team full of those only means bad news for him.

Outro - Summary - Zeus as a pick in a high MMR games

Zeus is a great and fun hero. He can dominate lanes take easy kills deal massive damage and give vision to your team for easy ganks. He is not very item dependant but can benefit greatly from them.
His pick thought is very situational, since he can get counter-picked very easily. Huskar, Viper, Pudge, Rubick, are all famous mids with high magic resistance that can simply destroy in any stage of the game and make him a non factor. Also Anti-Mage is a very famous carry and will most certanly get picked against a line up with Zeus as a mid-core ganker. Also most strength based heroes will make his early game snowballing a hell, since he won't have the burst to kill them early on and dominate.
As you can understand, he is not the optimal pick and most pro teams-high MMR players cannot pick him with confinence. But when the enemy line up consists of standard magic resistance agility and int based heroes, his pick a 0:00 minute GG for your team. His burst is huge and he can really solo kill the entire enemy team mid game.
I hope this guide helped you understand the nature of this hero and how he is played. So now you can have a good time playing him and dominate your games.

Zeus be with you.

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