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Earthshaker - a Visual Guide

September 30, 2013 by Sando
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Standard

DotA2 Hero: Earthshaker


Purchase Order

Starting

Core

Optional

Extension Options

Luxury

Situational



Hero Skills

Fissure

1 3 5 7

Enchant Totem

4 12 13 14

Aftershock

2 8 9 10

Echo Slam

6 11 16

Talents

15


Earthshaker - a Visual Guide

Sando
September 30, 2013


Introduction

Earthshaker is an unusual and fun hero with a unique set of skills that make him quite different to play. He's a casting strength hero who has the ability to trap and block enemy heroes from level 1, making him a great support and roaming hero. He has tremendous AOE disabling potential allied with massive team fight damage.

However, as powerful as some of his spells are, they can prove ineffective or even backfire if used badly. As it's so difficult to describe in words how to use powers like Fissure properly, this guide will use plenty of pictures to help show you.

Pros and Cons

+ Incredible disabling potential
+ Can trap enemies for 8, seconds even at level 1
+ Great AOE damage and disable
+ Fantastic team fighter
+ Reasonably tanky


- Severe mana problems
- Requires more equipment than most supports
- Some skills are tricky to use well, or can even backfire
- Slow casting speed
- Needs good positioning and synergy to be effective

Fissure



Fissure is your bread and butter skill, the most difficult and powerful ability that you have. It creates an impassable rock barrier along it's path that stuns and damages any nearby enemy unit - this lasts for 8 seconds and prevents BOTH sides from moving over it without special skills.

You will pretty much always want to max Fissure first to increase the damage and stun time - although this increases its mana cost even further. Combined with its cooldown, this means that you can usually only cast it once per gank/engagement and you really have to make it count. Assists means gold, which will let you resolve your mana problems!

You always want to manually target Fissure
as clicking on an enemy means you have no control of which side of the barrier the enemy will end up on. Remember that once you level Aftershock, casting this will proc it and potentially hit nearby enemies with both.

To properly demonstrate how to use Fissure we'll look at some picture examples below:



1) How to block the lane for a gank



/dota-2/skill/fissure-173 2) Blocking a choke point



There a multitude of choke points across the map, get used to recognising an area you can cut off, and the position you will need to be in to do this. There are many possible reasons you might want to cut off a chokepoint - it might be to save an ally from pursuers, to stop an enemy escaping, or to cut off half a team during a team fight.

3) Sniping an enemy

If you're arriving late sometimes the best you can do is to hit an enemy or two at the limit of your range - this might be enough to finish them off or setup a team mate.

4) An angle trap



One of the most difficult Fissures to land, but extremely lethal if done right. You trap an enemy in an extremely tight space, sometimes surrounded by hostile creeps and at the mercy of your team. Your timing and positioning have to be very good for this to work.



Common Mistakes:

A) Blocking team mates.
Think before you cast! It's easy to rush this and cause more harm than good - you can easily block off your team mates, save enemy heroes or condemn your own. With the ever-friendly DOTA community you can imagine how well this goes down!

B) Casting too late. With the slight delay on casting it's easy to get your timing wrong without some practice. This can leave an enemy on the wrong side of the barrier with an easy walk to safety. Have a game or two against bots just to get used to it.

C) Leaving a Gap. It's easy to miscalculate the length of the barrier, especially when casting at an angle, leaving a gap at the end that the enemy can escape through. Sometimes you can block this yourself by standing there, by try to know at least the most common spots and what you can get away with.

Enchant Totem



Enchant Totem is a cheap, almost throw-away skill that still has some good utility. When cast it can activate Aftershock, giving you another short ranged stun. On it's own, it amplifies the damage of your next attack, potentially as much as 300%.

Some people get very excited by this and think Earthshaker can be run as a carry on the back of it, but be aware that the bonus damage only applies to your base damage and primary attribute increase.

It's still a useful skill however - the extra stun makes it worth a point once you have one in Aftershock (usually at level 4), and it can also help you deal a little more damage in a tight spot. Once you have some mana regeneration sorted you can use it for farming.

Very occasionally you might even level it at 2 if you need a cheap spell to get rid of Curse of the Silent, but otherwise you'll want Aftershock.

Aftershock



Your only passive skill, Aftershock is the glue that holds the rest of your skills together - adding the disable element to Enchant Totem and Echo Slam. It can be quite easy to forget that these abilities don't actually have it on their own!

We want to max Aftershock ASAP after Fissure to get us that full 1.5 seconds of stun and some useful extra damage.


Remember that it doesn't have a massive area of effect, but is a full 360 degrees - so it can quite easily hit enemies behind you when you cast a Fissure for example. It's AOE is also smaller than Echo Slam, so only the closest units will be stunned too. It also gives Enchant Totem a 1.5 second AOE stun and 125 AOE damage before you right click, making it a cheap and useful spell even at level 1.

Echo Slam



Easily one of the most satisfying and deadly ultimates in the game if you get it right... Earthshaker will even comment on the success (or lack thereof) of it with his tone of voice!

:-)
:-(

Echo Slam is unusual in that it's power is amplified the more enemy units are present when it's activated - many ultimates like Chain Frost and Eclipse have their damage diluted.

This means that ideally you want to use it around creeps, pushes or even neutrals if nothing else is available. It also makes it potentially devastating against heroes who have minions, summons or illusions.

How does it calculate damage?

- Each enemy unit in the area takes the initial damage 160/210/270, this even goes through magical immunity

- Each unit in the area will produce an echo in a 500 radius around itself, damaging itself and any non-magic immune unit in that area for 40/55/70. This can mean that units outside the initial radius are damaged.

- If you have Aghanim's Scepter, each enemy hero and illusion will echo twice.

How do I use it well?

Here is an example from a youtube video I found - really he left it too late and lost team mates (which you shouldn't do!), but you can see the devastating power of a good Echo Slam



The TL:DR version is - find the biggest concentration of enemies possible, and hit slap bang in the middle of it. Unlike your other spells, Echo Slam casts immediately.

Blink Dagger is a major help here - you can hide from the enemy team before positioning yourself perfectly to impact as many units as possible, then follow up with your other spells to cause chain stuns and massive damage. Force Staff can serve at a push, but the dagger is better.

As your spells provide both AOE stun and damage you can inititate or follow up other heroes on your team - it doesn't really matter as long as you don't waste too much chain-stun time.

Some allies can also help you to initiate without Blink Dagger - for example, Tiny's Toss, or Mirana's Moonlight Shadow.

Role

Earthshaker most naturally falls into the role of semi-support, roamer and/or initiator. This tends to make him a 3 or 4 in terms of farming priority.

While you can help out with some basic support items like Animal Courier, ES is very needy compared with some other support heroes. While Lich could probably exist for most of the game with just a Bracer and Tranquil Boots, you badly need to solve your mana problems or spend a lot of time clugging Clarity potions and taking trips back to the fountain.

He's not the easiest hero to fit into a lane lineup - he's not really an offlaner, and not much of a lane support (outside getting kills or saves). You could try roaming with him, but it's risky depending on how you do. He can potentially play mid against particular heroes, but it's not a natural role.

You can run him as part of a tri-lane, but you really have to make those Fissures count - and farm up the neutral camps as much as possible. He makes a good partner to a hero with strong lane control who might just want some stacks/pulls and occasional assists.

However you lane him, you need to get at least a Arcane Boots and/or a Soul Ring relatively early on - so ideally you don't want to be warding or buying other utility items.

A useful tip for getting some early cash together is to stack a jungle camp multiple times while laning - once you hit 6 you can Echo Slam it for a big pile of gold to get you up and running. Obviously this does depend on whether you might need it for a team fight, and if your team has a jungler.

Items

Starting Items:



A fairly standard set of support equipment - plenty of sustain, a few stats, and a courier for the team. If you ever start with random gold, you want to consider more Claritys or possibly most of a Soul Ring. You could of course buy Observer Ward instead of Animal Courier, but personally I like to avoid this as it may give your team the impression you're prepared to keep doing it.



Core Items:



Quite a big core set of items here, and you'll have to accept in some games that it might take some time to get them all. It can even be worth skipping 1 or 2 in particular situations.

Arcane Boots are always a must - both for the regeneration and increased mana pool size. Blink Dagger is also pretty well non-negotiable, although some players do prefer a Force Staff for the increased mana pool. Personally I think it limits your mobility somewhat for possibly the most position dependent hero in the game.

In most games I like to get a Magic Wand and Bracer to stretch out your meagre stats a little - as a melee hero you sometimes need to be in the thick of the action.

If you're hard up for cash, a simple Magic Stick will do almost the same job (i.e. cheap instant mana regeneration). If you're particularly rich you may want to skip the Bracer and go straight for something like a Point Booster.

Soul Ring is an interesting item - it does a lot to alleviate your mana problems, but in the situations where you tend to need it, ripping away a big chunk of health isn't always great. It is half the price of Arcane Boots, so tends to come into reach earlier. Generally it's a good idea in games where you want to be on the offensive early on, but a bad idea against teams with aggressive gankers.



Extension Items:



Two solid midgame items for increasing the effectiveness of your ultimate, and your survivability. Which one to get depends on the situation - the Scepter is especially nice against illusion heroes, while the Veil comes into it's own if your team has other big magic damage. On a good day you may well get both.



Luxury Items:



These are some general suggestions for if you find yourself sitting on a vast pile of cash towards the end of the game. Some people like to try and build Earthshaker into a semi-carry on the back of Enchant Totem, but a much more standard and reliable way of playing is boosting your team fight instead.



Situational Items:



A much reduced set of situational items - as Earthshaker is rarely interested in many of the utility items other supports like. This is due to his focus on his own team fight/mobility, and that he's a strength caster rather than an intel one.

Black King Bar is not usually a necessity due to your "surprise" initiation style, but it can become so if you're getting hit with a lot of disable and silences before you're able to do your thang.

Drum of Endurance is a nice upgrade to Bracer, rounding out your stats and providing some buffs to your team.

Ghost Scepter is basically there to keep you alive against well fed carries who maybe need finishing off post echo slam. It can also be useful against annoying ults like Omnislash.

Heaven's Halberd offers a nice boost to your right click damage and survivability, but most importantly can disarm an enemy carry for a few seconds.

Blade Mail you're a fair tank with a bit of farm, making the active useful. Almost more important though is that it offers a nice set of stats at a cheap price.



Other Items:



These are your other mobility options, although I think Blink Dagger is still your best choice. Force Staff gives you some health regeneration and a bigger mana pool, while Shadow Blade can potentially let you sneak into position. You can also use it to queue up an Enchant Totem and then get a sneaky hit with it.

Bottle is a roaming option, giving you increased early sustainability away from the fountain. Your best runes for ganking are haste and invisibility, while regeneration can also be very helpful post-gank.

Good Allies

Team fight Assistance:



Although many other heroes can chain their own team fight powers (especially damage) after Earthshaker, these are the heroes he actively benefits from the most. Heroes who can group enemies like Dark Seer and Magnus are obviously choices, and Warlock's Fatal Bonds can make Echo Slam even more lethal.

Lane Partners:



These heroes all have good lane control and can solo against most enemies - this frees you up to gank, pull and roam without leaving them in trouble. They also all benefit hugely from well placed Fissure and can probably kill an opponent before the barrier breaks down.

Good Enemies

While you can't necessarily counter these heroes 1v1, they all offer opportunities for you to maximise the impact of Echo Slam, and don't have an easy way of passing your Fissure barrier.

Illusion/Multiple Heroes: (all count as double with Aghanim's Scepter)




With Minions:

Lycanthrope

Broodmother and Phantom Lancer are considered to be the heroes you counter the hardest - Spiderlings are an absolute dream come true for Echo Slam, while an Aghanim's Scepter can make all those Juxtapose illusions backfire.

Bad Enemies

Early Escapes:




These heroes can reliably bypass your Fissure even at level 1, making it fairly ineffective against them while laning.

Other Difficult Heroes:


- his ability to reflect your damage and burn your mana is not pleasant. He can also pick you off reasonably easily if he outlevels/outfarms you from mid.

- once he hits level 6 his mobility limits the effectiveness of Fissure. Still vulnerable to chained stuns.

- you have two very desirable spells that he'll want to steal given half a chance, be sure to cast Enchant Totem afterwards to prevent him getting hold of Echo Slam or Fissure. Without Aftershock it's usefulness if very limited.

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