As things go by, I love to play initiators, and I tend to look at guides to see what could be good ideas to build on heroes, like for example Earthshaker, whom i love. But when i look at these guides, i tend to see some items are overlooked even thought they are REAL powerful. And truth be told, that kind of annoys me, because in any game, you should consider all your options for their utility and for what they can bring on any team. I decided to then give it a shot and do my own guides to initiators I particularly love. So yeah, here I go with my very first guide with ES, the mad slammer who can turn team fights around with enough positionning.
Let's take a quick look to what was given to you.
CASTING METHOD: ACTIVE
TARGETTING METHOD: POINT
ALLOWED TARGETS: GROUND/ENEMY UNITS
Slams the ground with a mighty totem, fissuring the earth while stunning and damaging enemy units in a line. Creates an impassable ridge of stone for a duration.
Fissure duration: 8
Stun duration: 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75
Damage: 125 / 175 / 225 / 275
Mana Cost: 125 / 140 / 155 / 170 Cooldown Time: 15
Well look at that. Creates an impassable ridge of stone for a duration. So basically, you create a wall, and if you do it right, you can trap ennemies into tight corners (or allies for that matter) and you can pretty much give yourself or a teammate a kill. Useful, good stun duration, good range and aoe, you should max this out. Damage is good too so yeah, max it.
CASTING METHOD: ACTIVE
TARGETTING METHOD: INSTANT
ALLOWED TARGETS: SELF
Empowers Earthshaker's totem, causing it to deal extra damage on the next attack.
Duration: 14 seconds or 1 attack
Bonus: 75% / 150% / 225% / 300%
Mana Cost: 50 Cooldown Time: 6
Useful lategame because it activates your third skill, Aftershock, this only boosts your base damage, meaning if you go for divine rapier (and let's face it, you shouldn't), it won't boost it's dmg by 300%. Get a point early game in that then forget about it until level 10, point at which you should max it out because your damage can help finish ennemies at that point.
CASTING METHOD: PASSIVE
ALLOWED TARGETS: ENEMY UNITS
Causes the earth to shake underfoot, adding additional damage and stuns to nearby enemy units when Earthshaker casts his abilities.
Duration: 0.6 / 0.9 / 1.2 / 1.5
Damage: 50 / 75 / 100 / 125
This is getting better. Aftershock is such a useful passive since it boosts pretty much your damage potential and gives you 2 more stuns with Enchant Totem and Echo Slam. Point to be noted, Fissure is blocked by Linken's Sphere, BUT if you are close enough, you will still stun your ennemy because of Aftershock. Keep that in mind. This should get maxed second since your ult stuns for 1,5 seconds when this is maxed, making sure you can Fissure and Enchant Totem BEFORE the ennemy team can react.
CASTING METHOD: ACTIVE
TARGETTING METHOD: INSTANT
ALLOWED TARGETS: ENEMY UNITS
Shockwaves travel through the ground, damaging enemy units. Each enemy hit causes an echo to damage nearby units. Illusions are considered to be heroes.
Damage: 200 / 265 / 340
Echo Damage: 40 / 55 / 70
*SCEPTER UPGRADE: Causes each echo to activate twice per unit hit instead of once.
Mana Cost: 145 / 205 / 265 Cooldown Time: 150 / 130 / 110
This skill is what makes Earthshaker such a good initiator. This skill has no cast animation, so it's a WTF BOOM on your ennemies, illusions now count as heroes so heroes like Naga Siren and Phantom Lancer have a bad time with this ult, and corpses of creeps boost the damage too (i don't know if your own team's creeps count too thought, sorry for the lack of info). This should always be used when there are a lot of creeps and heroes close together since when you use that, the more units are cought by it, the more damage you deal.
Let's say there are 7 Phantom Lancers, 5 Meepo, 6 Naga Siren(manta style), 6 Chaos Knight(manta style again) and images from Dark Seer's wall. Let's say that just for the fun of it ok? That makes 36 units counted as heroes (I hope you will never face that because this game would be 1: Stupid 2: Really annoying).
So let's calculate that. 36 X 340 X 2 (if you have aghanim's scepter). Before magic armor is accounted for, that would deal 24 480 damage IN AN INSTANT. Ouch. Add Refresher Orb in that and Shiva's Guard too and it's a sure clean up.
What should you buy at first on this awesome hero?
One of my problems when starting a game is a never know what I should go as basic items at first, so nowadays i go for my set of Iron Branches, followed by other items i choose depending on the hero (and on the line-up too).
Tangos or Healing Salve, that is your call what to get between these two. If you are going to get damaged a lot faster, a salve is the way. If it's harass you fear, a quick tango or 2 here and then does the job.
If your team doesn't have a better support than you, a courrier should come to your mind. If your team HAS a support, you can always buy wards if you feel nice, or you can do as I do with the remaining gold and buy your recipe for Soul Ring.
Why buy the recipe? Well for one, it's cheap, and 2, you can buy all the other items needed for it on the side shop, so it's ok to buy it if you want to.
If you still have gold, Clarity Potion can be useful and are cheap, so buy some if you can.
You should try to save for either a Soul Ring or Arcane Boots depending on the items you bought early on. If you bought soul ring's recipe, then go ahead and finish it, items are easy to come by anyways.
If you didn't buy it, go for Arcane Boots right of the bat since it's great to have.
If, and only if, you have someone in your lane that can spam his spells like crazy (*cough cough* Bristlebug... *cough cough*) Magic Wand is a great item to have by before Arcane Boots, since it heals for quite a good amount of hp, it's cheap, and it gives good mana regen. Later in the game you will want a magic wand anyways, so why not buy it if you need it.
By now, your main focus is to get Blink Dagger ASAP since you ARE (or should anyways) be your team's initiator/counter-initiator. Your ult has absolutely NO CAST ANIMATION, so blink in and hit R; INSTANT DAMAGE.
If you can't farm Blink Dagger fast enough, consider buying Force Staff. It is a great item overall and can help you escape tight corners a little more efficiently than dagger.
Then here is the one item that I DON'T SEE in ANY initiator build I looked into even thought it IS a great item for your WHOLE TEAM, Veil of Discord. Let me tell you something. Veil reduces magic resist in a big area by a whooping 25% to ANYTHING hit by it, even creeps (lol). And guess what? Your ult deals magic damage in a BIG area, plus, if your team has quite a bit of magic damage, IT HELPS A LOT. So ya, recipe it tough to get for you (1250 gold for earthshaker is kinda annoying to farm but doable), but GOD is this item worth it.
After that, well, Aghanim Scepter is a great item overall. Better stats, your ult deals twice as much damage, a bigger mana pool, even a little bot more armor (like we care this much anyways but hey, worth mentionning), and a little more hp. What's not to like?
Now you have to choose your options based on how your game is fairing.
If you need to ult a second time to deal more damage because you feel like you don't do enough with only one ult, Refresher Orb is your best friend. And since your aghanim ALREADY makes the damage double to heroes, well, you deal that 4 times. Ouch.
If you need more armor and a good slow (because there are hard hitters on their team), Shiva's Guard will do the trick. Plus, the active of this item deals magic damage, which is nice, a good slow, which is great, and since you have veil (should at least before Shiva's anyways), it's a little more damage that can be just what your team needed.
Scythe Of Vise is a great item to have around on ANY team, so if you can afford it, buy it, your team will love you if you can disable someone painful on the opposite team for 3 seconds.
Why did I put Bloodstone in this category? Well, if you get focused a lot in team fights and you feel like your team could use some heal of any kind, Bloodstone can and will be appreciated for what it gives: a heal if, and only IF, you die. This one is pretty much your call. I do not recommend it, but you know, you should keep it in mind just in case, it could come in handy.
In the early game, you should try to let your carry (if you are laning with a carry, or anyone who needs more farm than you anyways) have the last hits as much as he can, but try to "secure the last hits" in case he'd miss them in anyways. If your carry can't last hit, make sure the gold is not lost to creeps, since you need some too.
Fissure when you feel like you can trap your ennemies into tight corners and, along with your teammate, try to kill your opponents when you get the chance. Fissure lasts for 8 seconds, a lot of things happen in 8 seconds in Dota 2.
Once you get your level 6, you should carry a TP scroll AT ALL TIMES since your ult, as I mentionned somewhere along this guide, is a gamechanging ult, meaning you can turn a fight around with one button and turn a losing battle into a succesful fight.
If you have managed to get your Blink Dagger quickly along your Arcane Boots, you should pretty much always stay in the shadows waiting for the right moment to jump in.
If you see someone like Phantom Lancer, Meepo or Naga Siren alone and farming/pushing, let's be honest, you don't want them farmed, and they ARE worth your ult if you can finish them. Blink in and end their miserable lifes with Echo Slam (illusions now count as heroes, so if they have illusions around, that hurts).
Once you have Veil Of Discord, the fun begins. Stay back far enough to not get cought in anything, wait for the right moment, use your Veil on as much people as possible, and if your team is ready, go in with your Echo Slam. That should do the trick.
When in team fights, if your skills are on cooldown or if you're out of mana, don't stay there for nothing. You are a punching bag after you can't cast, and without Shiva's Guard, you are not really a useful tank. If your carries need someone to get punched on instead of them, you can try to stay a while longer, but don't take unnecessary risks if you can'c do anything more. You don't deal enough physical damage to help that much.
If they have a way to recon for you (for example a Bounty Hunter/Riki/any invisible hero), you should try to get a gem for your team and give it to the one hero that has better chances to survive. You wouldn't want a fight to happen and not be able to blink in for any reason.
- Deny a lot in early game and try to "secure last hits", just in case.
- Fissure to block ennemies and get easy kills.
- Initiate when your team needs you to and hit everyone if you can.
- Be nice to people or they might not follow you in fights (who wants to follow someone that keeps raging at them anyways).
- Tell your team before you go in because they might not be ready for it.
- Focus down heroes that need to go down first because they can do a lot of damage really fast or can turn a fight around too (tidehunter, lich, void, magnus, warlock, etc)
- Buy wards if your team needs you to, they are 150 gold for god's sake, you can afford it.
- Don't be an ***, this one is fairly easy.
- Don't use fissure to outlasthit your carry, he needs the farm and you need the mana.
- Don't EVER max Enchant Totem first, this is NOT good to max first, not with all of your awesome other skills.
- DON'T GO SHADOW BLADE AND CRIT. JUST... DON'T. I've seen someone do this and GOD was he a terrible Earthshaker. Shadowblade in itself is... useful... to place yourself correctly, but Blink Dagger or Force staff work way better. And anyways, your chances to actually use Enchant Totem, use Shadowblade and actually get a crit... let's just say it should not happen a lot, or if you do it and it works wonder for you, well i don't know who's **** you sucked but you are a lucky bastard.
- Don't go alone. Or if you do, damn make sure you don't waste your ult and kill no one.
- DON'T WASTE YOUR ULT. Cooldown is long as **** until level 16, and even after that, it is still very long. Make it worth it.
- Don't wait in the back doing nothing if your team is getting ganked. Help them, your help is needed since you are an awesome stuner.
- Do not EVER use fissure to block your team in Roshan's pit. You can really, really, REALLY **** your team up.
This pretty much sums up my first guide ever on this site. This is a guide that I tested myself a lot and with which I have a good rate of success. I hope you will enjoy your time with ES and I hope this guide was of any use to all of you. Thank you all and cya around for another guide.
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