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.
+ 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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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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