In depth guide to CORE lina
June 1, 2015
In the current meta, Lina is one of my favourite heroes and I have played over 180 games with her. She is one of THE most versatile heroes in Dota 2, able to be played anywhere from 2nd to 5th position .
Personally, I think she shouldn't be played in 5th position as she does best with farm and there are other heroes who fill this position better (shadow shamon, crystal maiden, lion, lich, dazzle etc), but this doesn't mean she can't be .
My favourite thing about this versatility, however, is that it allows her to be picked early in the lineup. Lina isn't a hero who is typically countered and when picking her your opponent has no idea whether you are going to be mid, safe lane support, offlane support, offlane farmer, or even solo offlane. My preferred lane for Lina is offlane, preferably as the farmer with a stun support with me or solo offlane. I like this role as I don't particularly want to be buying wards until I have my Euls, as otherwise Lina can become a liability. I usually play her as third position, but even with this build do not be "that" Lina who is supposed to be 4th position and help, at least a little, with supporting and just refusing .
ALWAYS remember- chances are if you spend the 150 on wards, especially as an offlaner, those wards will pay for themselves in either getting kills or avoiding ganks. Optimally with this build you want to be third position or even second position, but even if you are not, you should be building towards this as Lina with aghs is great for late game.
Lastly - notice how the title says CORE, not semi-carry/carry? That is because at best Lina is a semi-carry. If you want to play a proper carry, CHOOSE A PROPER CARRY.
Skill build and How to use them
I recommend picking level one Light Strike Array first in the hopes of helping get FB at a rune spot, or even just a gank.
Never forget, this spell has to 0.5 casting delay so you need to think about where your enemy will be in that time.
After this, you usually don't worry about putting any more levels on Light Strike Array until level 10, as between level 1 and 4 there is only an increase in stun duration of .9 seconds and an increase in damage of 120, which is minimal compared to the scaling of your other spells.
- I don't like to have things in stone though and you always need to adjust to the game, so for instance if there is a blink hero Queen of Pain Anti-Mage or a Storm Spirit you may want to put extra levels on your stun early. Alternatively, if you are too squishy and getting owned you may want to put level on your stats before levelling up Light Strike Array past level one. I always like to use Light Strike Array when I can see that the enemy is coming in to get a last hit as then I make them miss the last hit and get in a few free hits which helps with harrass.
- Further, if you are laning with someone else/ganking you may want to put levels on your stun earlier as your right click is low early and the slightly longer stun duration will allow more of the team to get hits in, which will ultimately do more damage.
Max your Dragon Slave
by level 7 first as this does your most damage.
This is critical to playing core Lina as it allows you to hit a different creep than the ones your own creeps are attacking and then using this spell on the enemy creep wave you will get those 2 creeps and the ranged creep (who has little enough health you don't need to attack at all) in one swoop. You NEED to do this to be able to get farm for your early items, and you should also be able to get the fourth creep
With a Void Stone
and a Sage's Mask
you should have enough mana to cast Dragon Slave
every wave. AGAIN, doing this is critical for your farm
, even if you are supporting, getting even just 5 minutes of free farm past level 7 will allow you to get 8 creeps per minute at an average of 42g/creep and you get 100g/min anyway which comes to just over 2K, which is as a lot, and with Dragon Slave
you have the ability to do this easier than most heroes. USE SPACE CREATED.
(and Aghanims) is what makes lina such a great core hero. This spell is amazing. What a lot of people don't seem to realise is how your attacks per second is determined
The formula for this is (1+IAS)/BAT, where the max for IAS is 4(IAS is made up by your agility and items which grant extras attack speed).
And last but not least, for the amazing Laguna Blade.
- This means that when you have 3 stacks of Fiery Soul going you get 85*3=255 IAS IN ADDITION to whatever you are getting from your agility or items.
- To put this is comparison, Troll Warlord ultimate only gives +180 IAS at level 16. This means, at level 12(if you follow this guide) you are getting almost 80IAS more than troll gets from his ultimate.
- As if this passive isn't good enough already, you also get a MS speed for each stack. When you have Boots of Travel and 3 stacks going you have max MS (522), which is obviously very helpful for either chasing or running.
This spell is good before Aghanims Sceptre, but after it is AMAZING
. You have 950 pure damage that goes through BKB. One important point I need to raise is that the animation for the spell precedes the damage by 0.25 seconds, meaning that Dazzle can shallow grave the hero, Puck can Phase Shift
or before aghs an enemy hero can BKB. This isn't the end of the world as there's not particularly any way to prevent this happening apart from ensuring that they are already stunned/ no Dazzle about when you ult.
Now, who to use Laguna Blade
on is an obvious important question. I have no hard and fast rule, but below are a few suggestions which may help you:
- Even in a 3v2 gank in your favour, do not be afraid to ult a support and not the carry.
Why you may ask?
Because carries can do a lot of damage very quickly and if you allow an enemy support to stun someone involved in your gank that hero may die needlessly.
Also, many supports can do A LOT of damage early ( Lich Lion etc) and letting them live may result in them killing your carry, which doesn't have to happen. The obvious question is, "but if you let the enemy carry live by ulting a support won't the carry kill one of your own heroes?" This is a possibility, and why you must use your discretion to think about how to get the best outcome for the team.
- For example, if the support is outside of your stun range but in your ult range you can ult the support and stun the carry. Conversely, if you can stun the support (or euls when you have) and laguna the carry this is preferable as obviously killing the carry is your highest priority.
- Late game preferably save your ult for the enemy carry (who presumably has BKB by this point).
Do not just throw it down!!!
First time to ult is when it will kill the enemy carry/practically kill them that they aren't going to lifesteal, blink, or Ball Lightning themselves away. YOU WANT TO SECURE KILLS!
- If you ult, say Phantom Assasin or Skeleton King straight away they are just going to lifesteal it back and your ultimate has achieved nothing. EVERYONE has had those games when you think they enemy carry is dead only to have them turn it around and anihilate your team. You DO NOT want this to happen! Hence the use of laguna to guarantee kill. Secondly, if you've initiated a fight and your carry is dying fast to their team you want to use your ult on the biggest threat to your carry (normally the enemy carry) as unless they have over 3K health this will hopefuly be enough to scare them away from your carry and give them a chance to lifesteal or escape. REMEMBER- your carry (if they are farmed) is THE MOST important asset your team has, you need to protect them!
- If the enemy is pushing and you have a chance for a guaranteed kill without initiating, TAKE IT!
What I mean by this, is say the disruptor, cm, any squishy hero comes a little too close on under 950 hp, kill them. A great hero to do this with is Sniper as between Assassinate and Laguna Blade you will usually be able to kill a squishy hero. Why do this? People don't like pushing 4v5, for good reason. You are at an instant disadvantage and Not having Laguna Blade isn't the end of the world as they will still have your carry and whatever other spells you have to go through. Almost all of the time that 1 pick off is enough to at least buy time until you have your ult again (as it has a short cooldown).
- You can also do this when you are one down to even it out as again people like to push when they have an advantage. Ultimately you would want to manage to pick off a high threat target, even if it is a support who has been screwing up your tea fights, but at the end of the day TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET!
A last quick little point on your ult - Considering how amazing this spell is it has a short cooldown, which means you should not be afraid to throw it down, even if you are about to die.
At any point in the game using your ult can make a terrible situation less bad for your team, and there is NO point in dying with your ultimate
In early ganks when you want to try help your carry get farm but don't want to risk missing the kill throw your laguna blade down quickly so that you don't end up using it for a kill steal.
Again, remember that it is our carry who brings the game home for the team, your job is to help get them there.
To start with, optimally all you will buy are Tango and Sage's Mask. If your team doesn't have a solo support than chances are you will either have to buy wards or courier. If you don't have to buy these it means you can get your Void Stone faster. You may also want a Clarity or 2 if you really want to harass. If you use your harass to also get the creeps then it may lead to a faster Void Stone also.
I always try and get Void Stone first as I prioritise harassing enemy carries and with a Sage's Mask and a Void Stone you can cast Dragon Slave almost every wave to harrass. This use of Dragon Slave should also obviously be used to not only harass but also last hit. If you are not the farmer try and make Dragon Slave only hit enemy heroes as you do not want to take the carries last hits or push the lane. Get boots and always carry a TP scroll.
Eul's Sceptre of Divinity is your early bread and butter item. This spell has numerous benefits for you, including the mana regen and extra 10 damage. The base 40 MS bonus itself should not be under-rated as with phase boots this give you a MS of 385 before phasing. Along with Fiery Soul this will make you the fastest/almost fastest hero in the game at this stage, and this should be abused as much as possible.
So, how to use euls?
From here my favourite thing is to start chasing down enemy carries. With Eul's Sceptre of Divinity you will be able to solo most heroes who aren't really tanky. Euls, Light Strike Array Dragon Slave into Laguna Blade is the order you want to do.
The biggest thing?
DO NOT CAST YOUR STUN EARLY!!!
The amount of times I see people shank this is ridiculous. Relax, take your time, listen to the cyclone sound and you will stun the enemy. If it is a whisker late most of the time THIS WILL NOT MATTER! Do not forget, Light Strike Array has an AOE effect, and also that most spells, including Blink, and even Ball Lightning have a cast delay. Further, almost all stuns have a cast delay and to make it even better if the hero isn't facing you they will have to in order to cast the stun on you. The
thing you can do is cast your stun too early as then your euls and your stun are gone so you better hope that the enemy doesn't decide to kill you!.
Why cast all of your spells? It increases your attack speed and movement speed if the hero doesn't die.
Even if the hero is tanky you are likely to kill with auto attacks and a short chase. Again, Laguna Blade
has a short cooldown, so don't hold it back. The amount of experience and gold you get, as well as death time and gold the enemy loses, makes it far worth the cooldown.
Lastly, Eul's Sceptre of Divinity is obviously highly useful for chasing in general and fleeing. If you can stun 2 people chasing an ally and euls another you have a very good chance of getting away. If your carry is in trouble, or the enemy has no lockdown so you feel confident you at least will live, help your team.
Why phase boots? it gives you the obvious ability to phase which increases your mobility as well as gives you a nice damage boost for early game. One of my biggest pieces of advice is that if you are going really well and saving lots skip Phase Boots
and go straight to Boots of Travel
. BoTs are an AMAZING
item which saves you money in TP scrolls, makes you A LOT
faster, and allows you to TP to ANY creep either for ganks or to save allies. I prioritize this over Aghanims if I am rich as it helps THE TEAM
most. Also, obviously helps pushing significantly also.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE EARLY BoTs!!!
Mid-game (30ish Mins)
Finally, we get to Aghanims Sceptre. Since this now goes through BKB and does PURE
damage it is amazing and the reason why I play Lina so much. If I go phase before BoT if I am 3rd position I can normally get this at about 22 mins. This is great as if you can get this early you will be able to annihilate pretty much any enemy if you can land your full combo. I'll elaborate a bit more on the beauty of Aghanims for Lina in my list of who she is good against.
FINAL 6 ITEMS
is the new fancy intel item. Its great for lina, finally giving some amount of lifesteal which is critical. No more going "I wish I had 250 more health!"
as you died just a second too early. Why do I say 250 health? Thats how much you get by just casting you ulti.
First important point on the actual item though: it decreases not only spell c/d, but also items. This is huge!
This means that your stun gets reduced to having a 5.25 sec c/d and, once you have Scythe of Vyse
means that you can stun, into hex, straight back into stun. Also, BoTs, which you should have by now, have a c/d of just under 34 secs. Again, maneuverability cannot be over-rated in DotA
. This allows you to be that hero who when the enemy are pushing a lane to tp to whichever of your lanes is pushed the furthest and still be back at base by the time the enemy gets there.
Chances are one of the enemy will have to tp back to def the lane you've pushed also. This also decreases the c/d of refresher when you get that. Add to that the survivability (hp), extra intel (so damage and mana also), mana regen, and mana? Yea, you want this item!
important point on this item- do NOT get it before your Aghanims. The whole point of aghs is that it allows you to pierce BKB, which is VITAL
. Octarine is nice, but aghs is critical. I guess if the enemy hasn't started towards BKB yet you could go for this first, but if that's the case you obviously aren't doing good enough as the enemy should be **** scared of you!
Scythe of Vyse
is an amazing item when you are able to save up for it, giving your team an extra disable. I MUCH
prefer this item over Orchid Malevolence
as it gives 3.5 seconds of lockdown onto the enemy carry if you can get it off before they BKB, which isn't too hard due to its instant cast.
Further, if you can stack it with your stun we are talking over 5 seconds of disable, which can obviously be a game changer. Whether you get this or Refresher Orb
first is up to you and depends on the teams needs. I usually go for it after.
is one of the main reasons that motivated me to write this guide. At first I did it in a game when I was sick of struggling to cope with the enemies Juggernaut
. And it worked amazingly.
Then I started doing it more and found that late game the ability to do 1900 PURE damage to a BKB carry is beyond good and can EASILY
change the tide of battle. Like with aghs I'll go into this a bit more later.
What people seem to always forget (when I say I am going refresher orb I quite often have my team get mad at me) is that this spell refreshers ALL abilities AND ITEMS!!!
Now, the abilities in itself is good as you get not only 2 Laguna Blade
but also 2Light Strike Arrays. THEN,
you also get to use your Scythe of Vyse
THIS IS AMAZING!
This pretty much guarantees at least 7 seconds of disable on an enemy carry, and if you can land both your stuns nicely 11 seconds. Personally, I think this makes refresher orb MUCH
better than any other possible 6th items that people generally get for lina. I usually get this as my 4th item (after BoT, euls, and aghs), however, if I am getting owned by magic I will build BKB first. I put this even over Scthe of Vyse as my main reason for this item is to get rid of the enemy carry as early in team fights as possible and in fights at T3 you usually won't get the chance to hex the enemy carry before they BKB and so I find that refresher helps team fights more.
Black King Bar
This item is pretty variable as to when you get it. If I am just getting shut down (stunned/silenced) every fight I will get this before I even get my BoTs. I used to always get this after BoT, but with Octarine Core
providing HP as well as lifesteal if I am not getting shut down I will go for Octarine first. Even though you are only a core you definitely need this as your damage output makes you a target!
Again, if the enemy is focussing you you aren't doing a good enough job! I much prefer this over E-blade with Lina, and I'll get into that when I talk about rejected items.
Rejected items! And possible items
This is another reason why I am writing this guide - I am sick of people playing "semi-carry" Lina and building a lot of these items. CORE/semi-carry lina should not have DPS items built; you get the most DPS output by maximizing your ult, being able to disable, and all the +intel this build provides.
At the end of the day, pretty much all carries/semi carries who have these items will have a larger dps output than Lina, so if you want to get this items simply play one of those heroes!
Lastly, Lina is definitely not a hard carry- leave these items to the hard carry (and support for mek).
Not inherently bad, just that there are better items for Lina. You only get this early (as late people have BKB) so to get this you are delaying your aghs, which as said is critical.
As mentioned in some of the comments below, Orchid can be helpful when you're facing a Storm Spirit and you need that quick silence, but be aware that you are sacrificing Agh's farming time to build it!
As mentioned above, if you want to have a hero with a high right click output simply choose one of those heroes! I especially don't like this item on Lina as it doesn't even utilize her high attack speed as it doesn't have a proc.
Lina doesn't have high enough damage to bother with crits. You will do more damage being able to lock people down with a 5.25 sec c/d on a stun, a hex, and 2 ults that go through BKB (never forget, after armor late game even a 2K crit only does 1K damage!)
You're a core hero- leave this to the supports.
Another item to be left to the hard carry/position 2. With all the +AS you get from Fiery Soul you don't particularly need +80 more. Obviously the PROC is nice and works well with Lina, but an extra +80AS isn't going to do a hell of a lot when your AS is already high and again once people have BKB lightning isn't as effective. Basically, although the PROC works well, you will do more damage(ESPECIALLY AGAINST BKBs)/have more survivability/have better lock-down FOR TEAM, so I don't think this is a good item for Lina.
Ah, the item everyone builds on Lina. personally, I REALLY don't like this item on Lina.
Firstly, it doesn't replace euls which makes it a hell of a lot easier to land your stun then blinking in.
Secondly, you shouldn't need to have to blink in order to get your euls off most of the time as you are fast and should know how to abuse vision so you can sneak up.
Thirdly, if you get this after your euls you are slowing down your aghs, which is much more critical. Even if the enemy doesn't have BKB, 25% magic resistance on heroes (BETTER HOPE THEY DONT HAVE A PIPE AS WELL) is a lot.
PURE damage though? NO ISSUES.
So, why not get it after aghs? Basically, because all of the other items provide more for Lina. Lastly, blink can get you into trouble if you jump in and suddenly there are 2 heroes (unless you have vision, obviously).
Basically, I do really well with Lina and never get blink as she doesn't need it to get euls off and also because the other items provide you with more. Also, it has a tendency to make you jump in which especially sucks when you give a carry the extra gold for whatever spree you are on.
In a nut shell, BKB is better as you need to be able to get your spells off. Also, as your ult is pure its damage isn't increased. It also stops you from being able to right click the enemy and you will do A LOT more damage right clicking then you will from the extra damage from your 2 magic spells. Further,it stops your right clickers from being able to attack, which is very important. Lastly, the enemy can just BKB out of it. The only thing this is really helpful for is in running away, but you are hella fast anyway so should be fine.
Monkey King Bar
You're right clicking is important, especially seeing as you have quite a bit of base damage from intel, and so if you are missing attacks you might be screwing yourself. I do occasionally get this item, not for the damage but just so that my right clicks are assured to hit. For instance, if you stun, hex, and ult a Phantom Assassin (the main person I get MKB for) or whoever even if they are on a sliver of health if you are missing all your attacks they're just going to satanic and own you. Which item you slot out is up to you, its basically which you need least out of octarine, refresher, or scythe. The best item to slot out is probably refresher.
I haven't actually got this on Lina in quite a while as I like my build, but its another possible item. If your team has 2 Scythe of Vyse or have other spells going through BKB (eg bane, pudge, whatever) you may want to swap out either refreshers or scythe for this. It has great survivability against right clickers, not only with the armor but also the AS slow and the active. Personal preference whether you get this or not, definitely not a bad item.
Who you own and who owns you.
Who you own
-Basically, heroes with spells providing magic immunity and BKB builders. She is especially good against squishy carries as well, as obviously your ult does a larger percent of their life. Examples include:
Juggernaut is probably the best hero for Lina to go against as not only does your ult go through Blade Fury but euls also allows you to dodge (most/all) his ult. Jugg is also good to go against as being an agi heroe hes not tanky and so your ult is really helpful against him.
Again, your ult goes through Rage. Not as good as against a jugg as LS is tanky.
Personally, I bloody hate going against this heroe. I'm sure most people ahve had games when a Huskar on a sliver of health gets a triple kill+. Solution? Screw your magic resistance, imma hit you for 950 pure damage. You NEED to make sure this will actually kill husk though, else you're just in the same issue. Also good against husk as you can dodge his ult and he typically builds BKB.
Another nice, squishy heroe who relies on BKB to do his damage. Obviously him making you miss attacks is problematic, so try and stay out of range of his spell.
One of my favourites to go against as he is just so squishy. Not so much good against in team fights as he is hard to get to but Lina is very good at hunting him. Snipers think they are safe sitting back, so abuse vision, buy smoke, and shut the bugger down.
Another heroe who is dependant on BKB. VERY squishy early, so like with sniper try and hunt her. As she is melee she is easy to kill also and if you are positioning well she shouldnt be able to get to you. May well need MKB here though.
Like sniper- nice and squishy for you to hunt. You can still use euls to get away when she silences, but have to have decent timing for euls into stun so that she doesnt silence you. If you manage to get your stun off though you've got her.
Probably the best to pick Lina into actually, as most BS players don't seem to understand that giving you +40% damage output is a bad thing! If you can avoid being silenced you should own BS.
Who owns you
Now, for the heroes you aren't too flash against. Personally, I will pick Lina into any heroe, but against the above heroes is when you really want to be picking her, while if you aren't confident with her you should avoid playing her against these heroes.
Probably the worst heroe for Lina to go against.
The issue here is that you REALLY
need euls against storm, and you need it fast. Until you get it you are probably one of the easiest targets for storm as even your stun is easily dodged. In saying that I sometimes end up mid against storm, which is fine as then you can get your euls quickly. You need to land your stun really well against storm due to his short cast animation for Ball Lightning
I'd really like to emphasize if you aren't confident with Lina, don't pick her into a Storm. After having just finished a game as Lina against storm it made me have to go BKB earlier than I would have liked and Storm is good at baiting out BKBs.
Basically the same issue as storm in that she will just wail on you until you get euls. Slightly longer cast animation for her blink though.
A pretty tank y heroe, but more than that if he ults you're going to have issues kiilling him as you won't know which is the real one. Can also kill you very quickly.
If he dooms you you aren't even going to be able to euls to save yourself. He is also a naturally tank heroe so you have to harass him quite a lot before you go in for the kill.
Same issue as doom. Although having euls against an LC is always good for when an ally is duelled.
If she has refraction on your beloved ult will do nothing!
Bit of a mixed bag here. He is a squishy heroe and you should be able to wail on him for quite a while until he tanks up (same as drow and sniper). BUT, this bugger has sunder, which means that if he lives on a sliver of health you are guna get screwed and end up giving a kill to one of the best carries in the game.
A real pain to deal with. He is a tank heroe, which means you can't use your combo to kill him. Further, he has inbuilt critz meaning if he gets his stun off on you you are in big trouble as he can kill you in a few hits. The biggest issue though is that even if you do manage to kill him, he just comes back to life! And euls is on c/d and so is your ult so unless you have allies run. In fact, even if you have allies if they don't have stuns, run as WK is notorious for coming back and managing to take someone down with him!
is a major pain. Until you have BKB this will really screw you over as it means that casting your own ult is going to own you. Worse, it deals damage before it is cast, so you might die and not even get your ult off.
Your a squishy intel heroe, which is what NA feed off. You're really buggered if you ult him while he has spiked carapace on.
Firstly, I'll mention this now as it is too late to un-read this guide- this is my first guide. Because of this I am very open to input to help with any future guides I may write.
So, the important points:
1-DON'T build Lina as a right clicker carry!. She is a core hero, not a carry!
2-Lina is an incredibly versatile hero- pick her early whenever you want to play her without worrying. Especially pick her against squishy heroes/BKB dependant heroes.
3-Its a team game guys-> help support if you have to. Somehow in my last game as Lina I ended up solo offlane and solo supporting. These things happen! Conversely, if you don't have to support, THANK YOUR SUPPORTS AT THE END OF THE GAME!
4-Be malleable in your build-> you always need to adapt to the game. Build BKB when you need to, hex when you need it, MKB when you need it, BoT when possible, stats instead of stun if you need. Play to the game
5-ALWAYS use your ult for what is best for the team-not what is best for you. Also, NEVER[/b} die with your ult. Cast the bloody thing!
6-Another one of the main points I wrote this-. It is much better to have it slightly late than early. Most of the time due to it being AOE even a reasonable amount late will still hit the target before they can do anything.
7-If possible, try and get Boots of Travel early. Again, MANOEUVRABILITY CANNOT BE OVER-RATED IN DoTA
Lastly, although I know it can be
REALLY hard, do try and be nice to your team. It makes people play a whole heap better. I know this isn't always possible lol some people are just so frustrating!
May the DotA be with you!