Feeling *****? How about some Magnus. I am Goo and welcome to my guide. Its been a while, phew. Havent wrote a hero focused guide in at least 6 months, but whatever. Here we go. As you may well know I tend to go in-depth in my guides, so dont be scared and you are warned, wall of text ahead.
If you like what you see you might like my other guides too:
-Drafting & Strategy
-Improving your play
So Magnus is a hell of a hero, he is currently on my top 10 played right under Invoker if I recall correctly, and he is also being picked quite a lot in the competitive scene in this patch, since teams are going for teamfight/carry centric strategies. He is one of those heroes that I call the melee intelligence, because of how they play out, like Earth Spirit for example; they are strength heroes that use a ton of spells and mess around with different items. Anyway, Magnus is a strength hero (pointing it out explicitly just so new players arent confused right from the start).
You probably already know that the reason Magnus is played is because of his massive fight-turning ultimate, but he is much more than that; he is not like Enigma in the sense than once he casts his ultimate its useless for the downtime, no, Magnus can do a lot of work in the map, farm quite efficiently, zone out heroes, etc; all of that on top of Reverse Polarity. So even if he is an initiator by excellence that doesnt mean he cannot be a solid utility all around hero.
I wouldnt say playing Magnus is easy, but it is not particularly hard either, once you get the hang of your spells and you feel comfortable eyeballing your RP range you should be good to go. However, mastering concepts of the bigger picture like learning how to mid flawlessly, farm efficiently, create space, etc; will help you become much better much faster.
The way the item progression layout I did is used is that I just put up pretty much your pool of options, in there are cores, situationals, luxuries, etc. You are not supposed to be buying everything at all, thats the items I will be talking about in the following sections and I will go over details of each item and when you should buy them, then with that information you can do whatever pickups you see fit in your own matches, not just toss you a general item progression that you could build in an inappropriate match like most guides do.
This is the section for starting items and laning phase. If you are new to my hero guides and how I lay them out its really simple, apart from the introduction and other appendixes, I divide my guide into big parts, early, mid and late game; with their respective variations.
Each section talks about what you should have in each stage of the match, the reason for the item pickups, your role as a hero and component of the team in said stage of the match and everything in between. So as I said, this is the section for the starting items.
So, the early game does not presents itself with much variation most of the time, you finish your Bottle, then take a pick in boots and follow up with your starting item plan (wand, urn, whatever).
Your go-to first pickup as in most other cases when talking mid is going to be your Bottle. The Bottle is just great on Magnus for many reasons, main one being he makes much more out of the regen than most other heroes, for example, a Zeus with Bottle just has the ability to cast a few spells more and thatâ��s it; if you give the bottle to Magnus (reason being he is a low mana pool/low mana cost hero, but efficient) he is going to be able to refill his whole pool with the charges, and on top of that recover himself with the harass he will receive for him being a melee midder. As I said in the starting item section, Magnusâ�� spells are really cheap for what they do, even RP you could say is mana cheap for what it does, Shockwave is a ranged nuke with relatively high damage and decent range and cast point for just 90 mana at all levels (Level 4 being 300 damage for 90 mana on a 7 second cooldown, great spell), Skewer is a spell that could be the difference between you dying and you getting a kill, being a huge aggressive spell and escape at the same time (during the early game) a huge forced movement ability and a decent 280 damage nuke, on only 80 mana cost (itâ��s cooldown is quite long though, at 30 seconds at all levels, so donâ��t waste it or misuse it).
Extra notes about shockwave for the early game:
-Travels at 1050.
-Has a 150 effect radius in all directions (meaning you can potentially hit someone 1300 range away).
-Itâ��s a predictable spell due to its cast point, cancelling animation and changing angles can help you land shockwave as harass more consistently.
With Bottle you have the ability to completely spam those two spells in your lane, this will secure you last hits, make balancing the lane really easy and provide you with powerful harass zoning capability along kill potential. During the early game you want to keep yourself at a bully positioning, try keeping yourself at high ground as much as you can, keep your eyes on the opposing midder, if itâ��s a hero with same or better laning capabilities as Magnus (like Tusk, QoP, Lina, Razor, to say some examples, heroes with handy lane nukes) you could consider getting an uphill ward to keep yourself safe from kill attempts, as you are going to be closer to them and to the lane creeps (being a melee hero). If you succeed at zoning the opponent you should get at least 1 level advantage, and with that plus a rune you could attempt a kill at the opposing mid, and if they retreat or are a hero that just cannot be ganked (puck, slark, etc). Go and use that in a side lane. Remember Magnus is a machine during the early game, good right clicks, good speed, two nukes (one also being a forced move) and RP; under the right circumstances you can get three kills pre 5:00, that should end up in a <9:00 Blink Dagger, but that is the topic of the next section.
If the lanes are too pushed back and ganking is out of the frame you should focus that mana injection on taking on offltime jungling; push the lane with 2 shockwaves (if you can hit the midder even better, force them to fight for the runes they need), go stack the large camp, then go get the rune, then back to lane, with a single bottlecrow you should be able to take at least a triple stack on the large camp by minute 5:40. This is one of the reasons apart from the ganking positioning why Magnus has Dire advantage (being the large camp being closer to mid and the top rune).
Magnus can do a lot with runes, you can get creative with those, illusion, haste and double damage you should use on side lanes, invisibility you can use to kill the opposing mid; as long as they donâ��t see you fade you should be able to position yourself for a full length Skewer to your tower, top it off with RP if needed, set them back on unreliable gold.
Unless your team has an aggressive trilane (in which case you would want to get Urn of Shadows before) you want to follow that Bottle with Boots of Speed. Really basic, get your Boots of Speed, help all around where allies need help, judge for yourself. Not much to explain.
Now with Bottle and Boots of Speed you have the core for early game, follow that up with either Magic Wand, Urn of Shadows or Bracer if you plan purchasing drums later on. The choice between magic wand and urn is up to you and up to the situation you are in, if you expect an early game with aggressive moves (not ganks, but tier 1 pushes, skirmishing and quad laning) get Magic Wand, a full charge active will save you from death more than once, and it is a good follow up to the initial branches, if you expect a lot of ganking from you (especially if your opposing mid is a farming focused hero) and/or your team is running an aggressive trilane, get urn, under those situations the urn will have more chances to store charges and provide you and your allies sustain for long term fights, and less trips to fountain to keep pressure.
If you donâ��t know what I mean is that mag is a solid hero for quad lanes, a term I have mentioned before in my guide to Drafting and general lineup strategy, and basically what it does is the midder (in this case Magnus) joins his teamâ��s aggressive trilane and even if not fully in the lane, rotates near said lane, lurks around and zones out supports (or the solo laner), pulls creeps and the initial aggressive trilane has all the space in the world to push the tier 1 tower, and if retaliation happens you will be there with RP and three other heroes to take on the fight (urn of shadows goes yay).
Not getting either of those (wand or urn) is totally viable, get only if you think they will provide you the help you need and you can get back your investment.
After that there are some options, you have to decide if you are going to build Power Treads or Arcane Boots (I tell you right now, the arcane pickup is a really situational one, you have to really think if you need them, the vast majority of matches you are going to be building Power Treads), anyway, think ahead on your power treads, get the piece you need the most first of course, if you need laning and jungling power get the Gloves of Haste first, if you donâ��t, get the stats first (think through if you need the Belt of Strength or if you would rather have Robe of the Magi for one more Shockwave).
Now if you are getting Robe of the Magi there is a old type of thing that Magnus players would do if they would build drums later on is buying two Robe of the Magis together (called double int or double int build), thatâ��s 10, and 10 intelligence does a big difference, especially because Magnus has really mana-worth spells, then they would finish power treads and drums after it. In encourage you to try this if you remember the next time you are building drums.
Finally now out of that mess we can get into the more fun stuff. In this section we talk about the mid game, this is when those meaningful teamfights happen, carries start coming online and you already have items to work with, so this is when you should start getting a little creative with ganks and teamfights; and you are going to need good communication with your team for them to start a push or bait a teamfight in which you are going to have the upper hand, with RP and a farmed mag.
So of course the true core of the magnet is the dagger of the mind, or as the kids call it, Blink Dagger. The Blink Dagger is not only the gap closer you need for the quick jump-in Reverse Polarity, it is a ganking tool too, and on top of that it provides Magnus with enough mobility to flash farm pretty efficiently (usually from minute 17-20 to min 25-30), this way he can get big tide-turning items faster than what the other teamâ��s position 2 or 3 can keep up with; this item can come in the form of an early Refresher Orb, Assault Cuirass or Shiva's Guard.
Before Blink Dagger you usually have to use Skewer to get face to face with enemies, and more than often you get enough time to distance yourself from the incoming Magnus making it difficult for him to land a proper RP, with blink dagger you have enough time to actually to a turn RP (turn while casting for better positioning, like this). Now a big part of how Magnus plays out during the midgame involves the use of skewer.
You do not need to use a full range Skewer every time, you have seen what happens when they donâ��t notice this (the Magnus no and countless other fails). Now keep in mind, Skewer is not a spell to be used lightly, it has a relatively long cooldown and offers just some extra damage. The pullback effect from RP joins any affected units towards Magnusâ�� horn (your front by the way), by a fixed amount, enough for them to be affected by cleave effect, enough for a Shockwave hitbox to clip all disabled units, and just enough for them to be caught in a Skewer pull. Just as RP, Skewer has a pull force to the start of the animation (not the casting animation but the actual charge frame), if your hero is in contact with any part of Magnusâ�� hitbox (125 radius around him aswell) you will be pulled in by Skewer, forced into his front and be moved all the way it was casted for it to move; remember this when using Skewer aggressively because more than once you are going to need to catch up to escaping heroes and using the nuke and slow to set up for yourself can make a difference between getting a kill and missing it.
To set yourself for Skewer do it similarly as you would for a Meat Hook, just keep in mind the difference, the first and most important one is that you are using not a Meat Hook collision box but a full hero one, and you will end up in situations where you catch heroes that are completely to a side of the charge due to the hitbox interaction.
Slows affected units for 40% and their attack speed for 40, for 2.5 seconds.
You are going to want to use Skewerin teamfights just to get this effect on enemies, but be very careful not to move enemies to unwanted positions, like messing up another spellâ��s setup, ruin your teamâ��s positioning, etc. If you really want to cast it try to do it with the minimum distance possible, this will catch enemies into the Skewer effect, get disabled and get slowed without you moving them too far away from your allies.
The reason I just tossed a huge class on Skewer is because midgame is when this spell becomes the most relevant, it will secure you kills, save you multiple times, etc; and you want to be comfortable to use this spell as much as you need, having the confidence to use it to its max. If uncertain use it as a disruption spell, like Power Cogs, to move heroes around and make it hard to keep up with the teamfight.
Some extra notes on Skewer for the midgame:
-It charges at 950 speed, enough to get out of the way if you see it at least 400 units away.
-During the charge heroes are disabled.
-Goes through terrain and destroys trees around Magnus at a 200 radius and 400 radius on the landing point.
-Drags other hero controlled units such as Syllabears, Warlock golems and non-magic immune Primal Split pandas.
-It has a global casting distance, but it will only travel max distance (duh, no global Skewers).
During the midgame a lot of stuff happens, teamfights, tower pushes and defenses are very common and you will not have RP ready for all of them, if that is the case you can just blink behind enemy line or fighting and skewer back to your teammates, more than often you will catch heroes and secure a few kills. Be very careful when blinking for Skewer without RP, if you get stunned during the cast animation of Skewer you could very easily get killed. Be especially careful when doing it with no vision, its somewhat a suicide plan blinking into fog to skewer without having an idea of where could heroes be standing. By the way, remember how Blink Dagger ranging works, if you overshoot the maximum range you will not travel 1200 units, and this can be more than enough to not reach the RP positioning and fail an RP horrendously, for starters if you cant eyeball your Blink Dagger ranges, just get closer. Better safe than sorry and reported.
Anyway, Force Staff. The Force Staff pickup has become really core as of the last two patches, and people started buying it instead of drums of endurance; and I cannot blame them, even if Force Staff has gotten some nerfs. There are two reasons why Force Staff is so good on Magnus: First, it provides you intelligence, and Magnus does not really need it (like for example a Tidehunter would), but the more you have the better; second, it provides you with another mobility, and as Magnus this is a really important thing to have; the Force Staff is going to be your backup plan for Blink Dagger, when positioning yourself for RP of if you were caught out you and your blink got cancelled use the Force Staff. Now, you can use Force Staff as a way of escape without having to waste skewer, and even better, because Force Staff does not have a prior animation. When speaking aggressive the main big thing is that you can cast RP during the force staff effect, just as you can turn and cast, you can do this. It does not pull units for the first animation frames but for the actual RP effect cast (when it makes the impact sound and the pull happens), this will come really useful for heavy teamfights where there is a lot going on and people donâ��t count this in as a variable, imagine going through a fissure, getting a big RP and returning everyone back with Skewer, most people discard this because they see the fissure and work around it, and you can ignore terrain with multiple ways (blinking, Skewer and Force Staff). Also it is as great at gap creating as it is at gap closing, if you get blinked on you can Force Staff, get enough distance for yourself to cast skewer or to blink away without it being cancelled.
Another good use of Force Staff is to avoid getting kited, as you have noticed Magnus is a melee strength hero that relies on spells, even when having a good right click game, and due to this and his long animations and low attack speeds you are going to be facing a lot of kiting, people can just go around you and easily avoid getting hit, this is why most of the time the only windows of opportunity to hit people as Magnus are after RP and with the Skewer slow (or for another disable your team has). Using Force Staff usually closes you the distance for to hit someone once (or twice with mask of madness), or to land a Shockwave point blank making it impossible to be dodged, or even for a skewer if you manage to go past them and shift queue it (this may fail most of the time though, its easy to see it coming).
Force Staff is the core extension for a position 3, 4 Magnus; the main initiator that is. Power Treads (or Arcane Boots), Blink Dagger and Force Staff are enough for an initiation Magnus to be sorted until the late game, your main focus is going to be part of every teamfight, create space, force pushes, etc. In initiator focused Magnus the force staff also provides you extra intelligence and a second mobility for the use of Refresher Orb later in the game; blink, RP, Skewer, Refresher Orb, RP again while Force Staff, Skewer again, etc. Use the fact that it gets refreshed to your advantage.
In a position 2 dps semicarrying Magnus you are almost always skipping Force Staff in order to get a faster Mask of Madness, only really situationally you can get the Force Staff after the mask if you feel your team really needs it, or if the opposing team has a lot of jump-in spells, like blinks, stuff like Time Walk, etc.
And this takes us to the next point, Mask of Madness. So the mask pickup in Magnus has some story behind it, but it all boils down to the fact that RP+DPS=Profit, and Magnus can really help in the dps component of the equation, Mask of Madness plus Empower will grant Magnus extra damage, lifesteal, movement and attack speed and cleave in exchange of taking extra damage (which you probably wont take since enemies will be stunned in RP). So basically its like a Faceless Void concept, you already have the disable, now you need the dps, and you have to help you team make the best out of 3.75 seconds of disabling, and in that small lapse of time you have to hit as many times as possible, considering you already have cleave. On top of this it will help you farm a bunch, along with Shockwave and blink dagger Magnus can become a fairly decent flash farmer for a hero usually seen as a bare initiator.
Drums of Endurance is a pretty standard pickup for Magnus, but it has fallen back a lot because of people picking Force Staff, but it is still a decent item, and you can take both. Neither of those are expensive, the issue is that Magnus starts running out of inventory slots quite quickly, considering you have your boots, the Bottle and the Blink Dagger almost in every match, so its your call. Drums will grant you decent early to mid game stats, movement speed & attack speed to you and everyone around, very slight amp but its something anyway. This will make your RP in teamfights to be a little bit better, everyone having extra attack speed.
Vlads now is a very very situational pick, but in those situations it can be a solid pickup. Magnus is present in almost all teamfights, and that makes him a proper aura carrier by default, you saw AC, Drums, Shivaâ��s, etc. Vlads is not only lifesteal, remember, it has extra damage, armor and some mana regen. Vladimir's offering should be a replacement for Mask of Madness in this case, a replacement that is aimed at helping out your team as a whole instead of boosting your farming and dps yourself. It also opens the possibility of an early team rosh.
Assault Cuirass is my gangsta. Itâ��s a really powerful aura effect and also a ton of armor and attack speed for you. AC can be bought in both builds, the initiator and the dps one. In the initiator build it will give you the attack speed to pay for the Mask of Madness you donâ��t have (as you have Force Staff), and the aura will make teamfights more one sided, and your RPs better, with the enemiesâ�� armor reduced. In the dps build its all the same, but it synergizes with Mask of Madness and Daedalus very well, in terms of beating up the disabled enemies. You can buy whichever part you feel you need first, but hyper stone will speed up the farming of the rest.
Shivaâ��s Guard is yet another aura (Freezing Aura, reduces attack speed) with a powerful teamfight active and a ton of more intelligence for you to be using your spells more freely, and it also opens the possibility of using a refresher orb later in the game. On top of that its even more armor.
Eye of Skadi is a good alternative to Heart of Tarrasque. It gives you a ton of stats, some raw Hp and Mana pool and a quite powerful orb effect for you to follow up on fleeing enemies. You will often want to get Skadi over heart because you already have a ton of armor and a lot of ways to escape, you donâ��t really need the 40+ Strength, Skadi will give you Intelligence too, and extra agility which Magnus often lacks. The orb effect will stack with Mask of Madness, as it is a lifesteal item. The slow (movement & attack speed) from Skadi will help you deal with man fights and also with kiting.
Linken's Sphere is a situational pickup, more often you will see yourself getting BKB instead, but Linkenâ��s gives you regen, stats and the ability to block a single target spell which can be big sometimes, it could prevent getting doomed, getting spell stolen, or even getting eulsâ��d in a bad moment. You can give it to your carry too if you consider that is the right play.
BKB on the other hand will give you general spell immunity which will let you do your RP and rest of spells without getting interrupted (unless they bash you or something). RP isnâ��t a channeling spell like epicenter or something, but you getting stunned and not being able to cast it just the right time the teamfight can go really bad really fast. Also overall will make you more survivable from high damage spells, anything AoE and you can use it to purge stuff like Global Silence off of you.
Refresher Orb is a pretty huge item, in all terms, its expensive and has really high impact, potentially doubling your disabling ability. It grants you regen but anyway you arenâ��t buying it for any passive abilities, but for the refreshing itself. Now it is pretty simple, you use it, and you can RP, Skewer again, use your Force Staff once more to get out, etc. The thing is that in order to be able to use RP, refresh and RP again you are going to need to stack up mana pool, Arcane Boots, Force Staff, Shiva's Guard, Skadi, etc. If you are going for the Dps build this is going to be a bit problematic, as you skip Force Staff, and your boots are Power Treads (even in the initiator build they are most of the time), so there are two possible outcomes, you either build enough damage for one RP to be enough, or you get a Mystic Staff, get the Refresher Orb, then finish the staff into Shiva's.
Daedalus is one of the big items that make up the dps build, along Mask of Madness. The extra raw damage and crit chance synergize directly with Empowerâ��s extra damage and cleave, and Mask of Madnessâ�� attack speed bonus. If you activate Mask of Madness, then Empower yourself, blink and RP, and hit the disabled enemies repeatedly and in those you get at least 2 crits you are going to be helping your team out with the damage output a lot, and that can even kill the squishy heroes you caught. Remember cleave damage is pure, and so ignores damage block and armor.
In the 3.75 Seconds of RP, in level 16 with Mask of Madness activated and with Power Treads Magnus can hit 8 times in 3.71 and 9 times in 3.82. In level 25 with Mask of Madness activated, Power Treads and AC, Magnus can hit an enemy 11 times in 3.80 seconds.
Magnus in level 25 with Mask of Madness, Power Treads, Blink Dagger, AC, Daedalus and Refresher has 149+121 Damage (149+195 with Empower), and 25% chance to Crit for 240% damage. In a single RP he can hit 11 Times, turning it into around 20 times with Refresher (assuming you donâ��t time the ending of the first stun effect with the casting of the second RP). And in 20 hits and 25% chance you are surely going to crit multiple times, considering Magnus is critting at around 750 (830 with Empower) damage before reductions, and that you can cleave everyone for 50%(!) of that damage coming out as Pure, you got yourself some considerable damage per second there.
Anyway, Heart of Tarrasque. As I told you earlier, you are going to be getting Skadi instead most of the time, but if you think Heart is the right choice for the match or you feel more comfortable with it you can get it no problem. It also gives you pretty much infinite regeneration for offtime, and lets you tank a tower without taking damage.
Sheepstick, or Scythe of Vyse is your alternative to Shivaâ��s under some very specific circumstances. The first one and obvious but important is if your team already bought a Shivaâ��s (I am not kidding, pubs are spooky, you have to watch out for this kind of stuff), the second one if the other team has a very powerful BKB carry that you need extra disable to deal with and RP isnâ��t enough, and you need them to stay hexed after the RP ends so your team and you can finish them off (for instance to take down 6 slotted AM or a position 1 Juggernaut) so you can keep them disabled before them using their BKBs/ Omnislash.
And finally Boots of Travel. People tend to delay too much their BoTs and just wait and buy them when its really late and they are slotted, you can buy this much earlier, replace your current boots and have a component of a big item in your inventory instead of a TP scroll, for example having an Ultimate Orb for the Skadi you are building is better than having a TP and Power Treads. They give you faster movement speed (+ Mask of Madness, Skewer, Blink and Force Staff and already high movement speed Magnus has naturally). Also BoTs have a 15 second lower cooldown, which can be relevant late in the game. As I told you before Magnus runs out of inventory slots relatively quickly, as he has to carry his Blink Dagger throughout the game, and the Bottle as well up to mid-late game.
So its known that most people that you can perform a turning RP, anyone that has ever watched an s4 Mag has seen it and wondered what the hell was going on.
A turning RP is useful for those times during the early and midgame where using Skewer properly is crucial for the teamfight success, and using RPâ��s duration to the max as well. In order to perform this you just got to know two simple things (well technically three, but I count the last two as just one):
1.- RP puts the heroes where Magnus is facing (on his horn for better reference). So where ever you are pointing the heroes will be relocated in the end of the animation.
2.- You cannot move once RP is casted (unless you stop the casting and then move). You cannot rotate, move forward or backwards or use items until the animation is completed. This is why you force staff before you RP.
2.5.- However, you can cast RP once a move is commanded. If you command a move from point A to B and you cast RP in a point in between, it will be casted instantly, overwriting the move command and so stopping Magnus in the spot. Turning on the other hand is not overwritten, and it is still a move command, so RP can be casted on top of it without it stopping and without RP having to wait for said command to be finished, and so causing Magnus to cast RP while turning.
This means that if you cast RP and then try to turn 180° nothing will happen, it will be casted in whatever direction you happened to be pointing at that moment. But if you turn 180° and at the very moment after the click for ordering the turn, you cast RP, it will be casted during the turn, and when the RP hits the ground and the effect is applied to enemies they will be forced to where Magnus is facing, in this case to the back.
I hope I explained myself properly there...
This is it for now. I may add more stuff but this is the real core of what you should know when playing Magnus, and I wrote a whole lot and I am exhausted. I hope you found it helpful and if you think I missed something that should be in the guide drop a comment and I will put it up when I see it. Apart from that any kind of comment is welcome.
I link all my guides to /r/learndota2 on reddit, itâ��s a cool community for people who want to learn and people who like to teach. If you are trying to learn Dota and you lurk reddit go check it out.
If you are looking for a dota stream for learning I can recommend SkaiHighGaming. He does coaching for people from the stream itself, any experience level. Its fun, I hang around there when its up and running.
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