Hello and welcome to my guide for playing Lich. Lich is a support hero and should be played like one. He can play in lane with a strong carry or take the mid lane and become a mid game scary beast. He can also work well in a dual mid lane, helping your carry to become much bigger than the opponents.
He is an intelligence hero with low base damage, low health, no easy way to farm and takes some getting used to to play well.
However, he can ruin the enemies experience gaining, harass constantly and has a beast of an ultimate that can turn a team fight single handed.
I'll try to run you through a normal lane with Lich, step by step.
Your first skill point goes into sacrifice for a very good reason, you can use it to not only deny your opponents experience and gold, but also to get mana back for your spamming of Frost Blast, the nuke ability you should skill next.
After you have taken sacrifice hang around by the creep spawn point in the short lane and instantly use it as the first creep wave spawns. Munch a creep and then try to block the other 3 as they make their way to the tower.
As soon as the sacrifice is available again use it to deny another creep whilst awaiting your next level of xp. Remember to leave the last hits to your lane partner and just concentrate on denying as much as possible. By using your sacrifice and denying a few creeps as well, you can really keep your lane opponents under leveled and very poor. If you need mana then deny a melee creep as they have more HP so give you more mana.
Keep an eye on the clock and try to stack some neutral creeps. Once stacked you can either stack again or pull some of your creeps into the neutral creep camp, thus denying your opponents even more experience and gold. Lich's strongest asset is his ability to limit the progression of your opponents farm.
You should be getting your second level of experience around the time your third sacrifice becomes available. DO NOT USE SACRIFICE YET. Wait until you have leveled up and have the Frost Blast skilled, use it on a hero trying to farm and then use the sacrifice to refill your mana.
This is your bread and butter for the next few levels, spamming the Frost Blast and sacrifice for easy harass as well as xp and gold limiting for your opponents. You should use the sacrifice after the frost blast, for pretty obvious reasons, but don't be afraid to use sacrifice even if you don't need the mana, you're still denying your opponents xp and gold.
You want the frost blast maxxed out asap as it's effectiveness really drops off through the mid and into late game. It's never completely useless due to the small amount of slow it provides, but it won't get you many kills past 15-20 minutes unless you can catch a fleeing very low enemy.
The ice armor can make a difference early on as well, so if you feel your partner could do with some extra armor to farm with then feel free to skill it before you get level 3 sacrifice, if your mana is holding out well.
Buy wards as and when you can. Wards will help out a lot. Buy lots of wards. Obviously you'll need Sentry Wards for invisible heroes or Dust of Appearance can work well too.
So you should have your Tranquil Boots now and using their active heal with your sacrifice means you should have no problem keeping full health and mana a lot of the time.
Getting the Drum of Endurance finished means you can now do some more right click damage as well as move around faster to escape or catch those low runners and nuke them with your Frost Blast. The drum and boots will allow to farm neutral creeps easier should you wish too, however, make sure you're never too far from your team for safety and in case any possible opportunities to nuke or Chain Frost the enemy come up.
The Tranquil Boots active heal works as long as you don't take damage from an enemy hero or tower. Creeps doing damage to you won't break the heal effect meaning you can attack a neutral camp, activate the heal and 'tank' them down.
Level your Chain Frost every time you can and be on the lookout for opportunities to use it whenever it's off cooldown. In your average mid to late game team fight, having 7 instances of a few hundred damage bouncing around can really tip a fight in your team's favour. Try to limit the amount of enemy creeps in the area you use it though, look for off lane activity or groups in the river or jungle. Again, wards will help here. Buy wards.
Late game is where Lich doesn't have a huge amount to do. Basically you're a walking Chain Frost machine who provides some armour to his team too.
Look for team fights to unleash your ulti and spam the ice armour onto your team. You will still be squishy so stay back and unleash the beast from as far back as you can, the Aghanim's Scepter gives it a very large cast range so fire and forget.
Remember it will mini-stun the first target and slow everyone it hits. Wait for groups of heroes with no illusions, creeps or minions and try to combine it with Frost Blast.
Your Frost Blast falls off in it's usefulness at the end of the game, but the slow it provides can be useful and it's a nice way to finish any very low enemies. It only does low damage by this point in the game, it barely tickles a pudge with a Hood of Defiance, but it will slow the enemy, so is still worth spamming.
The items I've listed above should be used as a base for you to add to as you play and learn and depending on what you're up against in the opposition. Buying wards will benefit EVERYONE on your team A LOT. You should be buying a lot of wards and using them often. Your carry will love being able to see where the enemy are and your team will get a lot more kills if you can all see what's going on and where. I've added wards to every stage as you should be buying them throughout the game.
Take the Tango and Healing Salve for obvious healing purposes, the Gauntlets of Strength will give you some extra HP at the start as well as build into your Bracer and eventually the Drum of Endurance later in the game.
If someone else buys the courier then buy wards, if your lane partner has wards and you already have a courier then buy yourself a Ring of Protection as that's the only part of the Tranquil Boots not available in the side shops. The Iron Branchs can be built into a Mekansm later, but the extra +2 to your stats is useful in many ways, more health, more armor, more damage, more attack speed...all useful to you in your attempt to win the lane.
Lich has a high base movement speed, suppose it's being able to float that helps, and this should be used to your advantage. Adding Tranquil Boots, a Drum of Endurance and even a Eul's Scepter of Divinity makes you very hard to catch. Boots of Travel, the Drum of Endurance and Eul's Scepter of Divinity really is ridiculous, making you move incredibly fast around the map...who needs haste runes!
Lich's base movement is 315. Add on the drum's 5% passive/10% active extra movement bonus, the boots of travel +100 and Eul's scepter's +30 and we got ourselves the Usain Bolt of Dota2 ladies and gentlemen.
Lich has 4 skills.
Being a hero with a beastly ultimate ability makes you a prime target for killing early in team fights and your squishy nature combined with low damage output makes you a great target for ganks as well. You need to play very carefully and defensively.
Try to time the chain frost for when there is no, or very few, enemy creeps around. Look for allied spells that group enemies together or have AOE stun, like those from Enigma, Tidehunter, Faceless Void or Dark Seer and join in the fun.
Use high ground and ambush tactics to get the best results from a Chain Frost. Catching 2, 3 or 4 enemies as they chase someone down the river or in the woods with no creeps around, is the best way to utilise the 10 instances of tonnes of damage.
Spam both Frost Blast and sacrifice as much as possible and the same goes for ice armor when you get that leveled as well. Not only do they not cost much mana, you got sacrifice to fill up with.
Remember that sacrifice converts a creep's current HP into mana and a creep's HP increases as the game goes on making it scale nicely as the match goes on. You should rarely, if ever, have any mana problems playing Lich.
Don't be afraid to run away, you will be quick, especially with the Drum of Endurance activated or with the Boots of Travel and a Eul's Scepter of Divinity in place. You're good at running away for a reason, you're soft and squishy. Remember that.
Buy wards. Wards win games. If you see the gank coming you can turn the tables and gank right back or back off to safety.
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