How to play Lich
July 2, 2018
In life, the frost-mage Ethreain (not yet a Lich) had used the threat of destructive ice to enslave entire kingdoms. His subjects, aided by a few desperate magicians, eventually grew bold enough to ambush him. Armed with enough charmed rope to bind him forever, they tied the frost mage to adamant weights and dropped him in a pool known chiefly for being bottomless. It wasn't. He only fell for a year or so before an outcrop snagged him. There he rested, dead but undecaying, until the geomancer Anhil thought to verify the legend of the supposedly bottomless Black Pool. Anhil's plumbline snarled with the ropes that bound the drowned magician, and up he hauled an unexpected prize. Thinking that by rendering the dead undead, he could question the Lich about the properties of the pool, he removed the bindings and commenced a simple rite of resurrection. Even the descendants of Ethreain's enemies were long forgotten by time, so there were none to warn Anhil against imprudence. But he learned the error of his judgment almost immediately, as Lich threw off the shackles and consumed him.
This is the eigh guide I've ever created and I wanted to start with a short introduction about myself and the hero featured in this guide, Lich
, the safe lane destroyer!
I've been the Community Manager of DOTAFire since March 4th 2014 and I've started playing Warcraft III's DotA map back in 2007. In 2012 I've joined DOTAFire and a month later I've received a Steam invitation to play DotA 2 BETA, at the time you needed an invitation to play so I had to wait for a while to get one. :D
Right now I have over 3.800 hours played and I'm trying my best to climb up my MMR, currently sitting at about 5.000 MMR. I've used to play competitively years ago in some amateur 6.000 - 7.000 MMR teams and didn't focus too much on ranked matchmaking at the time, so hopefully whenever I have the chance to play I'll be able to improve more!
Alright, let's go back to Lich
, one of my comfort picks that I find useful and safe to pick in any situation. As we've seen in the last weeks, Lich
has become stronger and stronger and his pick rate together with his win rate have increased, meaning players have realized how strong Lich
can really be if played at his full potential. Lich
is a wonderful support hero that doesn't require items at all to be strong, but since his damage output is pretty high, he's going to get some extra gold nevertheless and afford some items for himself, others than wards of course! He's strong in the lane, he denies the farm and experience of the enemy heroes, he forces the enemies to spread out or else they'll get destroyed, really fun and easy hero to play with.
In most cases, Lich
is first picked so his team's cores can properly counter the cores of the enemy team, and since people tend to not care enough about Lich
to pick counters for him, he's a good pick in most situations. Since he can deny the experience and gold of the enemies he's against on the lane, he's often picked against carries who heavily rely on farm ( Spectre
, for instance). Let's not forget that he can easily regenerate his mana and keep the harass going, so besides all the gold and experience the enemies are missing, they're also missing their health! More gold spent on regeneration, more time in the base, all these are beneficial for Lich
's team, for this enemies, not so much!
Pros & Cons
When to pick Lich?
- Great laner
- Strong team fighter
- Increases the durability of his team
- Safe (first) pick
- Doesn't require farm
- No disables, only slows
- Not great at ganking
- Ultimate can be easily countered
- Weak against magic immunity
- Easy to kill, needs good positioning
Taking all of the above into consideration, you should pick Lich
whenever your team needs a committed support that can also disrupt the enemy lane as much as possible during the early game. Lich
directly counters specific heroes such as Io
, Arc Warden
and so on, since they are most of the time together with other units, Lich
's ultimate will be a real threat.
needs to support his team at all times, think well about the early game especially. Whoever is going to be your lane partner will have a good life, since denying your creeps with Sacrifice
will grant experience to both you and your partner. Lich
is going to be a real pain for the enemy laners, because he can continually deal harass damage using Frost Blast
while regenerating his mana using Sacrifice
. Even though Frost Blast
doesn't seem that great, it deals high amounts of single target damage while also slightly damaging the units around the primary target, keep using this to your advantage to efficiently harass your opponents. In most cases, once Lich
hits level 6 and can use his ultimate, the kill potential tremendously increases.
Think well about your strategy starting with the picking phase! The right pick and decision can decide the outcome of the match!
Skill & Item Build
- Frost Blast
- Frost Blast
- Ice Armor
- Frost Blast
- Chain Frost
- Frost Blast
- +200 Health
- Chain Frost
- Ice Armor
- Ice Armor
- -4s Frost Blast
- Ice Armor
- Chain Frost
- +180 Gold/Min
- Ice Armor
provides +30 HP Regen
Let's talk about the skill build displayed above, which is one of the most popular skill builds used in ranked matches. As mentioned before, the most important objective of the early game is to deny as much farm and experience to the enemy heroes as possible, and to do that we're going to begin with an early point into Sacrifice
, which we are going to use as soon as the creeps spawn to sacrifice the ranged creep, either on our own lane either for the mid lane (ask the mid player if he wants a deny on his lane or not). We also want a pretty early point in Ice Armor
at level 4, this point will make a pretty big difference even though it doesn't seem that important, because whenever you're attacked, you will receive less damage and your enemies will be slowed, allowing you to deal even more return damage as they retreat. The first skill we're going to max out however is Frost Blast
, our main source of damage and our mean of dealing harassment on the lane. The cooldown is relatively short but the mana cost increases with each level, but you're still going to heavily annoy the enemy laners, just make sure to use Sacrifice
as soon as it's off cooldown and you should have enough mana most of the time to throw another Frost Blast
. The second skill we are going to focus on is Sacrifice
, our source of mana and experience, with each level its cooldown will be decreased and it'll grant you more mana, meaning you'll most of the time have more than enough mana ready. The last skill we're going to max out is Ice Armor
, which should not be underestimated, it's a very strong ability that increases the durability of your team and decreases the damage output of the enemy team's. Remember that it can also be cast on towers, this significantly slows the enemy sieges!
Of course, whenever you have the chance place points into Chain Frost
, the anti- Meepo
Alright, let's move on to Lich
's talents and see which options are the strongest.
At level 10 we have to choose between +200 Health and +25 Movement Speed. Even though the extra movement speed is tempting, Lich
already spawns with a base movement speed of 315 and gains even more from Tranquil Boots
, which should be more than enough for the early game. Instead, the early +200 Health should make you more durable and enemies will be forced to use more resources in order to kill you.
At level 15 we have to make a choice between two interesting picks, +120 Damage or -4s Frost Blast
Cooldown. I know, killing creeps in one-two hits is amazing and feels good, but having Frost Blast
at only 3 seconds cooldown is really strong, it boosts your damage output and enemies will surely feel it.
Moving on to level 20, we have to make a choice between +180 Gold/Min and +175 Cast Range. I believe Lich
has a good enough cast range and doesn't really require more, instead the 180 gold per minute should enable you to save gold for more expensive items like Aghanim's Scepter
, Scythe of Vyse
and so on. Even though they seem expensive, you'll be surprised how often you'll have the chance to pick them up!
And now the final pick, the level 25 talent! We have to make a choice between Attacks Apply a 40% MS/AS Slow and Ice Armor Provides +30 HP Regen. The first choice basically gives you the effects of Eye of Skadi
, which for Lich
might seem fitting (frosty) but I believe are useless. The extra health regeneration for Ice Armor
also works on towers
, meaning sieges will be really tough for the enemies and that you'll be able to save your towers, barracks and even ancient, really crucial!
Let's begin with the starting items:
We need someone to deliver our items to us when we need them most. Buy the Animal Courier if no one else does, don't be greedy!|
The item that can win games, the Observer Ward. Always pick it up at the beginning of the match and place it in a spot that can help your lane or your mid player. Usually I place it where it can scout one of the runes while also providing vision for my carry and mid player, it's important for them to be safe. Don't forget that wards can also be used offensively, if your teammates are safe enough and you're confident you can get something done, feel free to plant them in the enemy territory. Also, try to find spots that aren't too obvious, it's important not to get your wards removed. Besides losing vision and gold, your enemy is also earning gold for the ward kill.|
This item is essential against invisible enemy heroes and also for removing the enemy Observer Wards. Vision is crucial and it can decide the outcome of the match, so make sure to always have Sentry Wards on you if needed. I like to pick up one early in case I see where the enemies have placed their starting wards; they're a must against heroes like Riki in the early game.|
Provides you with some extra movement speed, you're going to be faster than some heroes with boots! You're going to upgrade this item early into Tranquil Boots.|
Should be enough to provide you with early regeneration, make sure to give 2 tangos to the mid player if he needs them.|
That's everything to say about the starting items, let's discuss further the core items:
The most efficient pair of boots for Lich! It grants health regeneration and good movement speed, sustaining you in lane and increasing your mobility, great!|
A wonderful item to always keep you up and running. Provides you with some extra stats and can save you in a lot of situations if you have enough charges. Great against heroes who tend to spam their abilities ( Batrider, Phantom Assassin, Bristleback).|
Not very costly, this item can be of great value since it enables you to save yourself or your teammates while also forcing the enemies to spend gold on true sight items.|
More mobility is always welcomed! Force Staff will help you both offensively and defensively, enabling you to quickly jump into the fight or to retreat. Remember that Force Staff can be used both on your allies and on your enemies. Use this to your advantage to save your allies or to get your enemies out of position.|
That's all about the core items, let's move on to the situational picks:
Good item choice to sustain your team, usually great to have in every situation. Pick it up if you don't need another item urgently and if no one else is building Mekansm. Can be upgraded later on into Guardian Greaves.|
Eul's Scepter of Divinity
Bonus intelligence, movement speed and mana regeneration. Useful item to catch fleeing allies, cancel teleportation, or simply avoid enemy spells or remove debuffs such as silences.|
If you're getting picked off often or generally you cannot stay alive whatever you do, this item might be a good choice, since it greatly delays your death and saves enough time for you to get away or saved by your team.|
This is a good item choice against heroes that deal heavy physical damage. If you're getting targeted by heroes like Clinkz for instance, make sure to pick this item up. It also provides you with some extra stats which is always welcomed.|
Urn of Shadows
If the game is action-packed and many kills are happening everywhere, an Urn of Shadows might be a smart pick, since you're going to gain charges with every kill, you'll be able to heal your teammates so they don't return to the base so often; of course, you can also use it to kill low health enemies! This item can be later on upgraded to Spirit Vessel, its stronger version (great against healing).|
And to sum it up, let's talk about the luxury items that are mostly bought in the late game:
Increases damage and casting range. Removes the limit on the number of times Chain Frost can jump. What more could you wish for? This item will greatly increase the damage and stress dealt by Chain Frost!|
Scythe of Vyse
Rarely seen because it's very expensive, the Scythe of Vyse is a great boost to mana and mana regen while providing a strong 3.5 seconds disable. Always great to have but takes time to save gold for. The +180 Gold/Min talent will usually be the mean to get this item.|
Provides a lot of armor and extra mana, an aura that greatly slows the attack speed of the enemies, and an active area ability that deals damage and applies a slow to the movement speed of the enemies hit.|
One Chain Frost is strong, but imagine two bouncing Chain Frost through your enemies! Really fun and strong pick-up, however it's rather expensive and other items are more important. Pick this item up only if all the items that your team requires are already owned.|
More intelligence, mana and health, but most importantly, the damage dealt by your spells heal you while your cooldowns are shorter. Strong item, but very expensive.|
In the early game, your main objective is to take care of your lane partner while creating as much pain as possible to your enemies. Since you're going to purchase an early Observer Ward
and Sentry Ward
, make sure to gain vision of an important part of the map for your lane or your mid player. The early Observer Ward
's objective is to keep an eye on the enemy supports that might try to gank you or other lanes. Make sure to also watch out for supports that are trying to stack camps or pull the lane, make sure to stop them so they'll carry won't get a boost of farm! In the best case scenario, you can attempt to steal the stack together with your team. Going back to your objective, make sure to use Sacrifice
as often as possible on the ranged creep, because it has the most experience and gold that the enemies can get, meaning they'll have way more to lose than from a melee creep. This will also grant you and your lane partner more experience, and having a level advantage on the lane can make a huge difference! Use your Frost Blast
to harass the enemies and try to surprise them with the amount of burst damage you can deal. Some times enemies are very bold and don't care too much about Lich
, often forgetting about his burst damage, which is a huge mistake if they're caught out of position. In case the enemies are trading blows, try to play it safe and from a better position, while shielding yourself and your ally with Ice Armor
. Play smart and make it cost for your enemies! I've put a lot of emphasis on the laning stage and your lane, but don't forget about the other lanes too. If the enemies are winning their lanes and diving your teammates, make sure to always teleport to help them. A well-timed teleport can save the lives of your enemies or at least you can make the trade-off kill. If your lane is going very well, you can let your partner farm in peace and grow in levels while you can help the other lanes. Adapt to the game situation, even though the game plan is the same, make sure you're doing your best!
In the mid and late game your objectives are pretty much the same. Always stay together with your team, maintain a good map vision while limiting the vision of the enemies as much as possible, and only take fights you can win. You're a strong team fighter and your abilities are important, you have to be there when your team needs you, even if they initiated a fight that doesn't look very favorable for your team, you need to help and even sacrifice yourself for the fight to be won or for your team to be saved. Playing support means playing selfless, doing that will greatly help your team and will even boost their morale (and get you some nice commends)!
I want to emphasize the importance of vision and wards. It's crucial at EVERY stage of the game to always have vision and to reduce the vision of the enemies as much as possible. Purchase Observer Ward
s and Sentry Ward
s and make this happen! If you don't have gold for them, don't feel bad to ask your teammates nicely to buy them for you, in most cases they will help as long as you place them. Remember to place your wards in places where the enemies don't expect it. They will be way harder to be found while they'll provide vision of areas where the enemies won't expect to be seen. I always carry on me at least one Sentry Ward
just in case I notice an area is warded or if I spot an enemy hero that has just placed a ward. Let's not forget that it's also useful against invisible heroes and surprise Shadow Blade
The enemies might realize at one point that you're a crucial part of your team's fighting potential, meaning they'll shift their focus towards you and might try to pick you off before the fight. Don't wander around the map by yourself, because that will simply give the enemies opportunities to kill you for free, without being punished. However, if you wish to play it smart, you can use this to your advantage and bait the enemies, but make sure your teammates are right behind you ready to jump to the rescue! Always think about what you would do if you were in your enemies shoes, and you'll discover many things that you can predict and adapt to.
There are going to be scenarios when the enemy team has stronger team fight and you won't be able to properly fight them. In this case, you're going to have to focus on getting kills on enemy heroes that are alone or out of position. See a lonely support on the map? Kill him and then fight. The enemy carry is split pushing? Smoke and get him killed before initiating on the enemy team. Having the numeric advantage is important and playing smart based on circumstances is important. This can also be used for objectives, once you've gotten a kill or two and your team is alive, you can get towers or Roshan.
Talking about objectives, I've mentioned this in almost all of my guides, once you've successfully won a fight it's crucial to do something with the time when the enemies are dead! Get towers, barracks, Roshan, remove the enemy wards and place your own, use the time you have as much as possible to gain even more advantage from winning the fight! Time and timing is everything in DotA!
Always play with your team and for your team! Maintain map vision and control, only fight when the odds are in your favor, get objectives and don't waste time, sacrifice yourself for your cores and for the better outcome of the fights, play smart and have fun!
Play, practice and learn from every match, don't play a single match without thinking what could've been done better!
Thank you for reading!
Thank you for reading my guide!
Thanks you for reading and please let me know what if you have any question or suggestion!
I hope you've enjoyed my eight guide and I'll make sure to keep this guide updated as soon as the patches are released.
Good luck and stay frosty! :D