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5 Votes

Gramm's different guid to Lich (and why you should avoid Aghanim's Scepter)

December 23, 2013 by gramm
Comments: 12    |    Views: 23713    |   

Gramm's build

DotA2 Hero: Lich

Hero Skills

Frost Blast

2 4 7 8

Frost Shield

5 10 13 14

Sinister Gaze

1 3 9 12

Chain Frost

6 11 16


15 17 18

Gramm's different guid to Lich (and why you should avoid Aghanim's Scepter)

December 23, 2013


Edit: I will take the time to answer the comments and update this guide after the Chritmas holidays.

Hello there! My name is Gramm and this is my first guide. This guide focuses on different items than the classical Mekansm/ Aghanim's Scepter combo used in other build, because as we will see later, Veil of Discord is a much better item on Lich than aghanim's.

The layout of this guide is not very fancy, but I hope it is readable enough. If you have suggestions, do not hesitate to comment, criticism is welcome :)

Finally, do not forgot to vote if you find the information in this guide valuable. Thanks!

Lich Skills

Frost Blast

Frost Blast is a spammable nuke which also damages and freezes unit in a small area around the target. The main target takes 125/200/275/350 magical damages. Frozen unit have a 30% movement and 20% attack speed penalty.

  • While you might get some early kills with this nuke, the strong point is the slow - it can either save a teammate from a chasing enemy, or allow your teammate to catch-up with a fleeing hero.
  • Use it to harass during the early game, as sacrifice will keep your mana bar filled.
  • Should be used after Chain Frost has made its damage, in case an enemy must be finished.

Ice Armor

ice armor
Ice Armor is your support skill. It increases the armor of the target by 3/5/7/9 and add a passive freeze aura against attacking units.

  • The slow penalty on attacking units is 30% movement, 20% attack on melee units, and 15% movement, 10% attack on ranged units.
  • The slow penalty doesn't increase with levels, which is one reason why this skill is maxed out last. The second reason is that high armor bonus work better on high HP heroes, and early game HP are usually low.
  • I do not recomment putting this on autocast, as it drains your mana and might kill you when Lich decides to cast the spell while being chased.
  • Priority targets are yourself, people being chased, high HP teammates, then the rest.
  • Can be cast on creeps, but from my experience it brings little advantage. A shielded creep takes 2 or 3 more level 1 tower shots to kill, but that doesn't make you a pusher in any way.


Sacrifice unit, get mana. It's that easy.

  • Always pick first and sacrifice one of the first units to get out of the barrack.
  • During early game, try to sacrifice units behind your tower to maximize your experience gain.
  • Sacrificing a ranged units means the enemy creep wave will have more HP after beating your creepwave (than by sacrificing a melee unit).

Chain Frost

Stay frosty! Chain frost is what makes Lich such a gratifying hero to play sometimes, but also the skill that prevents him to get picked in competition. Chain Frost bounces up to 10 times and deals up to 2800/3700/4600 magical damage.

  • Will be easily countered by experienced players if cast to early. For this reason, wait for the fight to start or get close to a pair of ennemies before casting it.
  • Obviously, better cast against group of heroes.
  • Will randomly bounce between heroes and creep (including jungle creeps).
  • At level 3, can be used to farm a horde of enemy creeps if you think they'll be no fights in the next 60 seconds.

Build concept

  • Lich's biggest asset is its ultimate, Chain Frost.
  • Chain Frost is a nuke, and as with all nukes, becomes less lethal as the game progresses.
  • Therefore it's important to maximize the use of Chain Frost as soon as possible.
  • As this ability countdown is fixed, it is only possible to increase it's efficience by increasing the base damage of the spell.
  • What's the most effective item to maximize Chain Frost damage output?
  • Veil of Discord

As we will see in the next chapter, Veil of Discord is more efficient than Aghanim's Scepter. By getting Veil of Discord as soon as possible, we maximize Lich's presence during early and mid game, and allow her to prepare for the late game.

Veil of Discord VS Aghanim's scepter

As you (I hope) know, all heroes have a 25% magical resistance (some have more, Visage has less, but 25% is the very standard). This means that if you zap a dude with a 1000 damage magical bolt, you will actually deal 750 damage. If you take this in consideration, your ultimate has really a maximum damage output on the ennemy team of 2100/2775/3450 damage (if it hits 10 time heroes with standard resistance).

When you get Aghanim's Scepter, your ultimate damage output doesn't increase to 3700/4600/5500. Accounting for the standard magic resistance, you really deal 2775/3450/4125. Let me make this clear: on a lvl 3 ultimate, you spend 4600 gold to increase your maximum damage output by 675 damage. Thats 67,5 HP a rebound, for 4600 gold.

Let's compare this damage output with which of Veil of Discord. This items lower the magic resistance of ennemy heroes in a huge area by 25%. The resulting magic reistance is 6% (because DOTA2 maths). In other words, it allows your ultimate to deal almost the total damage indicated. The maximum damage output with Veil of Discord is 2625/3468/4312.

The result is summarized in the table below: Veil of Discord actually does a better job than Aghanim's Scepter to maximize Lich's ultimate, and for a much cheaper cost.

The table belows show the actual maximum damage output increase between a standard ultimate and an improved ultimate.

Veil of Discore
  • 525
  • 693
  • 862
Aghanim's Scepter
  • 675
  • 675
  • 675

Other advantages that Veil of Discord has over Aghanim's Scepter
  • Increase not only your ult's damage, but the magical damage of all your teammates.
  • Spammable (60 seconds countdown).
  • Synergizes well with Lich, as it gives in-fight HP regeneration, even more armor, and intelligence.
  • Cheap
  • Quite easy to build.

You will notice I did not compare the stats gain given by Aghanim's Scepter: the reason is that aghanim's is once again less effective than a simple Drum of Endurance. In the end, Veil of Discord + Drum of Endurance is comparable to Aghanim's Scepter, but is much easier to build, is available much sooner in game, and the magic resistance reduction dealed by the Veil will always out-damage Aghanim's when taking your teammates into account.

Core Item explanation

Tranquil Boots

Tranquils allow you to stay in lane during the early game, and pretty much negates any harassing done to you.

  • Depending on how much support item you bought, you can complete tranquils between 2 and 6 minutes without any last hits.
  • Once tranquils start healing, resist the temptation to get last hits - getting a full HP bar is more important.
  • Casting spells does not interrupt tranquils. You can therefore harass and heal at the same time.

Veil of Discord

Veil of Discord gives you stats, armor, HP regen, and pretty much increase your team's magic damage by 25%. It is simply the most efficient item for Lich.

  • Depending on how good you're doing, either starts with a Null Talisman or directly buy the Helm of Iron Will
  • Do not hesitate to cast Veil of Discord even for a single nuke.

Drum of Endurance

Unless you are snowballing out of control, you will need a Drum of Endurance for the stats and bonus it gives to you and your team.

  • Don't forget to use the active! Either for chasing, fleeing, or finishing a tank or tower quickly.
  • Drums should be bought after Veil of Discord.

Extension Items explanation

Once you get your core items, its time to think about what are the next items that can help your team the most. This is highly dependant on the enemy team, however here are the different paths I usually follow.

Medallion of Courage

Whenever I find myself at the fountain with a thousand gold coins available I pick a Medallion of Courage. I consider Medallion of Courage to be the counterpart of Veil of Discord: as the game lingers on, being able to boost your allies right click DPS might win your team fights.

  • Don't be afraid of the armor loss when using medaillon: since medaillon provides +6 armor, the result is that you have the same armor as when wearing no medaillon.

Hood of defiance

If you land some nice ult you will definitely be targeted by nukes as soon as the ennemy sees you. Hood of Defiance is almost a core item for this reason: the HP regen and magical resistance is the best thing you can do to improve your survavibility and be able to spam your level 3 Chain Frost as much as possible.


gem of true sight

To buy after Gem of True Sight if the enemy team has natural stealth heroes and Shadow Blade carriers.

  • Nothing special to see here.


I pick dagon when I can start building it quite early (before 30:00) and if the enemy team has tanky heroes. A veil + frost blast + lvl 1 dagon is already a 750 dmg nuke.

  • If you go dagon, then go all the way to level 5. The upgrades aren't so expensive.

Orchid Malevolence

Give you a huge DPS boost (you still aren't deadly, though) and a 5 seconds silence / damage enhancer. I build Orchid Malevolence after Hood of Defiance when the enemy team isn't too tanky.

  • The 30% bonus damage is applied at the end of the 5 seconds as pure damage. It is possible to have delayed kills thanks to this.
  • This mean that the damage increase is not visible directly.

Scythe of Vyse

I never pick Scythe because I find that Orchid Malevolence gives better overall stats, but the disable from Scythe is better than Orchid's.

  • Nothing.

Items you should not get


Mekansm is a the standard support item, but its quite wasted on a Lich with Veil of Discord: you already have high armor and provide high armor to your team, so Mekansms bonus is wasted. You have already high HP regen, so its also quite wasted on you. The HP regen aura and burst group heal is great, but becomes less relevant as the game carries on.

Because of the price of both items, its not possible to rush both, and building both in parallel means not benefiting from any for most of the game. Rushing one is to delay the other by 15 minutes: get Veil of Discord first and you have a late game Mekansm. Get Mekansm first, and youre missing the point of this build owning the mid game with devastating enhanced nukes.

If you still want to build Mekansm, I will let you find the optimal way to build it, as I have no experience in this build.

Aghanim's Scepter

Even after building [veil of discord], [aghanims sceptre] is still not worth it, as the enemy heroes will have high HP and magical resistance items, and the damage increase is still too weak. If you want to play the mighty wizard, get a dagon instead.

Refresher Orb

A Level 3 Frost Chain has a countdown of 60 seconds. Refreshers orb has a countdown of 160 seconds. So, for 5300 gold, you can cast 4 Ults every 3 minutes, instead of 3. Sure you can cast 2 ultimates at the same time, but apart from the fun factor it is a waste of money.

Rod of Atos

Eul's Scepter of Divinity

Force Staff
These items are mostly wasted on Lich, who doesnt need Mana or Slow, and who needs attack speed over damage.


Obviously, each game is different. However, there are different phase in the games in which Lichs role is quite well defined.

Shopping & first minutes (0:00 5:00)

- Get wards and/or courier (make sure you have a courier, seriously), a protection ring, if possible a ring of regeneration if you did not buy wards.

- Camp barrack until 0:00, sacrifice one unit, then go to your tower.

- Try to deny creeps and harass the enemy heros with Frost Blast.

- Let your carry farm! Only last hit when he cannot.

- At 0:30 or so go back to your tower and sacrifice another unit.

- Camp your tower and get creep XP.

- If you dont have one, buy a ring of regeneration at the side shop (hard lane) or by courier (soft lane). Dont hesitate to meet the courier and Sacrifice by the same occasion.

- Repeat until you have 450 gold, complete Tranquil Boots.

- If by any chance the creep waves meet themselves at the enemy tower, consider pulling a jungle camp.

- Dont forget to pull the enemy creep by right clicking enemy heroes. This is especially important if your carry is sustaining high harassment (ex. melee against 2 ranged).

Core game (5:00 - 20:00)

-Once you are level 6, get multi kills/assists with your ult.
-Don't hesitate to TP to another lane if you see that group of enemy heroes are isolated (example chasing in the jungle).

-Alternate Support and Gank with each refill of your Ult. Dont wait too long to use it!

-Dont forget to ward if your team push, get Magic Powder if needed.

-If youre really successful you can get your Veil as low as at 12 or 13 minutes. 20 minutes at latest. 15-18 minutes is an average time.

Once you have your Veil, your team should be able to destroy the other team: the sudden increase in magical damage, coupled with your lvl2 (by now) ult will just ravage everyone, even if your Ult doesnt land very well. With 115 seconds of CD, you should be able to deliver a pretty aggressive midgame. And with the Ice Armor frozing, your teammates are just a pain in the *** to attack.

Get your Drums after that! Its easy to feel like the king, but really you should prepare for the late game. Drums are cheap and give you a good increase of HP/MP/DPS.

Later Game (25:00 onwards)

Start building the items most suited to support your team and counter the enemy team. If you managed to dominate the mid game, your work is done and it's now time to your carries to shine.

Friends & Foes

I am not a big fan of the Friends & Foes section as it usually list dozens of heroes and in the end it is quite confusing. So, to keep things simple:

Friends: Lich is a hard support, so he doesn't need friends. However, any hero able to block multiple enemy heroes at one place will synergizes very well with Lich ( Faceless Void is a classical example). Heroes able to clear any enemy creeps so that Lich's ult will only hit heroes are only good friends ( Earthshaker).

Foes: Any hero able to spawn creeps and other minions. nature prophet for example. Stealth heroes are somewhat annoying because the magic snowball won't target them once they are invisible, so they are often able to escape a Chain Frost.


Well, that took quite some time to write. I hope you will give this build a try, it is very effective!

If you have comments, once again do not hesitate to post. Good luck and have fun!

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