The main thing to note here is that you have 3 aoe skills with very low cds (4, 8, and 8 [seconds]), and reasonable mana costs. The more you can spam them, the better you can farm, and the more kills you will get. This guide is focused on having enough mana and regen to keep your skills constantly on cd.
Make sure to get an early level of this for the sake of skill spamming, and because it removes part of any affected heroes main stat. Otherwise max it second, as it gives only slightly more damage than Timber Chain
, and doesn't offer as much utility.
- Try to also hit a tree if you can help it, so that the damage will be pure (ie ignore magic resistance). A standard hero will have 25% magic resistance, and other certain heros could have much more ( Pudge, Anti-Mage, and heroes with Hood of Defiance). Hitting a tree could make a difference of 75-150 damage on these heroes.
This skill should be maxed first due to its versatility: damage, initiate, escape. If you are not good with it, practice. You can't be an effective Timbersaw
until you can use this skill properly. The best thing about this skill is its 4 second cooldown. Spam it until your wrist hurts, and then spam some more.
- Make sure there is no tree between you and the tree you want to hit, then click on or slightly past the target tree.
- While initiating, or just for damage, make sure the chain will go through the enemy(s) you are trying to hit.
- Cast Whirling Death in mid swing if the enemy is not directly next to the target tree.
- When escaping, try to target a tree on the other side of a cliff. Special mention goes to the trees just inside your base, between base entrances.
- Disables stop you in mid swing. If facing multiple disables, cast Timber Chain during the first one. Players will often let the full duration of the disable go before casting the next one, and its possible you could get away before the next one lands.
Grab one point early for survivability, but otherwise max it last. This skill works just like it sounds. Tons of armor and regeneration, each charge lasting 16 seconds. Get some health from items, and you are very hard to take down with this skill at level 4.
Another versatile skill: ranged aoe damage and slow. Great when used with an allied hero skill that holds multiple enemies together, but most of the time its best to just throw and immediately release for pass through damage x2.
General tips and facts:
- Only leave it in place if it is actively slowing an enemy or damaging multiple enemies. Otherwise, the damage per second isn't really worth the mana. Best to just retract it so the cooldown starts and you can use it again sooner.
- This skill is great for farming lanes. Throw it through the melee to the ranged creep, leave it for 1-3 ticks (only 1 tick for skill level 3), then retract. The ranged creep should be dead, and Whirling Death or Timber Chain should finish off the melee creeps.
- This skill is also your best tree clearing skill. Use it to clear a path for you or your allies to escape, or perhaps to setup a longer Timber Chain.
- While farming the jungle, use Whirling Death or Chakram to clear a direct path to the next node (while also damaging nuets in the current node). No sense walking around trees when you can walk through saw dust.
- Chakram can actually be made to hit an enemy 3 times with proper timing and placement. Throw it just past the enemy, release, side step, and then Timber Chain through him. Depending on the distance, you might have to Timber Chain immediately, but most times you need Chakram to come back a little first. Its difficult, but I've landed it a couple of times. Bonus points if you catch him with Whirling Death while in mid swing.
- You have the potential to cause 1880 (possibly pure) damage in ~8-9 seconds. TC->CK->WD->TC->CK->WD->TC
- Spam. Push. Farm. Gank. Spam.
The reasoning for my builds in pub games comes from the fact that you don't know what to expect, so you need to be flexible. To be honest, I start off with the assumption that my teammates are going to be useless. If this turns out to be true, I build items that will keep me formidable even into late game. If instead some of my teammates turn out to be capable, I will likely move to my organized games build in order to support my team.
You'll notice that my pub spawn list comes up a little short. This is because I usually buy the Soul Ring
recipe if there is no courier. Otherwise, I will get a Gauntlets of Strength
and get the recipe with the courier.
If you are playing with competent players, buy the Animal Courier
. You have more survivability early game than most heroes, and can afford the slight setback.
Ring of Basilius
- Many people might argue this item, but if your team is incompetent, or if you don't have a late game carry, you need to end the game as early as possible. This starts by keeping your towers alive. The +2 armor will keep your lane creeps alive longer, and therefore your tower will take less damage, and the enemy tower will take more. If you dominate your lane early (even w/o getting hero kills), you will have a big advantage over the enemy heroes in your lane.
Also, don't discount the mana regen. At level 1, this flat mana regen boost almost doubles your mana regen. You would have to buy 2 Sage's Mask
s or a Void Stone
to get the same effect at level 1. And of course it gives your laning partner more mana as well, improving your lane presence even further.
Another note: I usually sell this item late game (~30 minutes), as its value falls off and I often need the extra space.
- For me this item seems like a no brainer. It trades what you have plenty of (health) for what you are starving for (mana). It also gives good regen at a cheap cost. With this item you can farm your lane and (especially) neutrals much quicker, while likely taking less total damage as well(ie less time creeps are hitting you). I always try to use this item as soon as it cd's. Here is my typical usage:
Full mana: Chakram
-> Soul Ring
-> then your other 2 spells.
150 less than full mana: Soul Ring
-> then whichever spells make sense at the time.
Note that its cast gives 40 more mana than Arcane Boots
cast, and has almost half the cooldown.
- Offers survivability, and offsets the impact of Soul Ring
to your health. Also builds into a useful item later in the game.
Boots of Speed
- Duh. But believe it or not, I often don't get boots until I have most/all of the previous items. Timber Chain
offers enough mobility to warrant putting off boots in favor of mana regen.
- To be honest, at this point this item often isn't necessary. Most games I'll go straight into getting the health and regen items for Bloodstone
. The exceptions are if you are facing a hero that removes your mana ( Anti-Mage
, etc), or if your team is very caster heavy and you are trying to 5 man roll the lanes early on. If you do get it, make sure to disassemble it when you have the other items to make your Bloodstone
Town Portal Scroll
- For when another lane is struggling, a teammate is being chased past the tower, or you just think you can help them land a couple of kills. Might also come in handy for escaping, Timberchain away then tp home.
The Early Options section is just a list of cheap items that you can buy, w/o having to decide exactly what to build it into. For example, if you're facing lots of physical damage, buy a Chainmail
, and later decide if it will become a Buckler
, Medallion of Courage
, or Blade Mail
. Of course you would also just sell it if its value falls off later in the game.
- Great for pushing towers, and great for early/mid team fights against heavy physical lineups.
Drum of Endurance
- Get this if you have some teammates that could benefit from the auras. Especially for carry's with a passive stun, or that don't have an escape mechanism.
Medallion of Courage
- Great item if a physical carry on your team is doing well. Anything you can do to help him/her get kills is good.
Urn of Shadows
- Get this if your team is starting to get ahead in kills. Keeping your team full on hp enables you to push longer, and be more prepared for team fights.
Veil of Discord
- Very situational. Only get this if your team is very heavy in magical aoe damage ( Lich
, etc) and they are doing well. Otherwise, the other listed items offer you much more value.
- I would only recommend this if you are dying a lot, or if you are against a very heavy physical lineup. Otherwise, Bloodstone
plus your other items offer more than enough survivability.
Hood of Defiance
- Get this against a heavy magical lineup. You'll laugh in their faces as you absorb their nukes while slicing them with razors. Mwahahaha... ok im done. Also builds into a fantastic defensive team item.
- A good item choice against heroes with predictable burst damage, but it is my opinion that too many people get this item. It is NOT a good counter to a strong lifestealing carry. He can either just lifesteal through it, or attack something else to keep his health up for 4 seconds. A much better item in this situation is Heaven's Halberd
- Gives you everything you need, plus some. It also comes in affordable parts that are very beneficial for early/mid game. I would only recommend not building this if you are dying a lot, as its value diminishes with each death. One thing worth mentioning: I recently played a game where I was doing very well. I was level 20 something and had 16 charges on my Bloodstone
, and I died while trying to push. I then was respawned immediately w/o having to buy back, due to the charges on Bloodstone
. With Boots of Travel
, I then tp'd directly back into the fight and finished off the lane. How much cooler can it get?
Boots of Travel
- Maybe not quite core, but certainly very valuable. With these bad boys you will become one of the best pushing heroes in the game, and never have to fear pushing too far or losing towers to backdoor or other pushers.
Late Options and Luxury
- A great item to get when you are facing strong targeted nukes or disables. I might even suggest getting it instead of Bloodstone
if the enemy team has 4+ disables.
- More health and evasion, great stats. However, the main reason to get this item is for the cast. It is perfect against those heavy physical carry's that rely on lifesteal and/or passive stuns. Most of the time, 3/4 seconds is just enough to pummel him to dust.
Scythe of Vyse
- This is another to consider getting instead of Bloodstone
, if your team is competent and lacking in disables. Also a good additional item for dealing with those strong carrys. It may be more expensive than Heaven's Halberd
, but the disable is more versatile (ie good against casters too).
Pipe of Insight
- This is the item that Hood of Defiance
builds into. You can laugh even harder and longer while your team is unfazed by their measly nukes and ults, MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahaha..... uhum, sorry.
- A great addition to your aoe arsenal, especially if you are doing very well. Doubly useful if the enemy has strong physical carrys. Triply useful if the enemy has Assault Cuirass
. Quadruply...... no, I think thats it.
Items only for organized games
- Add this to Urn of Shadows
and the enemy will really hate you. Great way to keep your team alive in team fights, and continue pushing.
Smoke of Deceit
- A great ganking tool if you don't have a good initiator with an aoe stun, especially if the enemy is warding the river and jungles.
and Vladmir's Offering
- Get these if you have very good physical carry's on your team. In addition to your healing, this lets them focus purely on damage.
Timrbersaw can be very effective in team fights. He can soak up damage, he can manage very high sustained damage for early/mid game, and he has a ranged aoe permaslow (well, almost).
Early Game/Laning Phase
You basically want to push hard, but also take opportunities to net some kills. People often dont anticipate your quick initiate, and the burst damage that follows. To dominate your lane, all you really need is another disabler/nuker. Few heroes can stand up to the damage of 2 strong casters in the early game. Special mention goes to:
- Lich - At level 3, Lich can cast almost constantly. The slow makes it easy for you to land your skills, and the total damage is usually enough to make the kills certain.
- Keeper of the Light - A good KotL will be able to land several waves to keep the lane pushed and the enemy heroes on low hp. Jump in to finish them off, and take the tower down early. It won't be hard. He also has constant casting, and can lend you some mana as well.
- Crystal Maiden - Same as Lich, she can slow and nuke enemy heroes. The mana aura is also very beneficial.
also does fairly well as a carry babysitter, especially one with good chasing capabilities. Your burst damage is usually enough to keep enemies from chasing into/past the tower, and your lane mate should be able to pick off low hp heroes after your nukes.
Once you are level 6, make sure to lead with Timber Chain
and Whirling Death
so that the slow of Chakram
is maximized. At levels 6-11, landing all of your skills on an enemy will almost always get you a kill, especially if a teammate is helping.
Keep pushing, but start roaming the map for ganks as well. Don't be afraid to initiate a team fight, especially if you can get all of your skills off on 2 or more enemies. You can usually jump back out with Timberchain if you need to, or use it to chase and finish them off. But even if you die, its worth it if it led to a successful team fight.
Once you have Bloodstone
you can start to be much more aggressive. You will be hard to kill, and you can perma spam all of your skills. If you do die, your death time is greatly reduced, and you can even still get xp while waiting.
In mid to late game, you should start leading with your Chakram
in team fights, because often times enemy heroes won't have low enough hp to warrant the slow until later in the fight anyways. If you lead with Chakram
its cd should finish in time to be used again for slowing or finishing off any low hp enemies.
Special mention goes to allies that can hold enemies in place for your Chakram
, and that can chase with you:
Its hard to say how you should play at this stage of the game because it depends greatly on how the game is going. Just make sure to keep pushing and pay attention to the mini map to avoid ganks.
If you are doing the best on your team, make sure to end as quickly as possible because an enemy carry will eventually get strong enough to take you down.
If you have a carry on your team that is doing well, try to stick with him to help him get kills, and hopefully to soak some of the damage. Do whatever you can to keep him alive and farming/feeding.
If your team is losing, just keep defending as best you can. The advantage in defending is that its easier to escape ganks, and you also should have constant farming in your lanes. Use your skills to your advantage to bring in the gold and xp. Who knows, maybe it will make you strong enough to turn the tides =P