Hello DotaFire it's me again, Metabee the mexican wonder.
I will try to write on my own experiences on heroes I've had success with and I really like, my first guide was on Tresdin: the Legion Commander. Be sure to check it out and comment on it. :D
Have you ever seen a weird hero and a bad player? This is the sad Tusk story. A story of a poorly picked hero (94th most popular) with a trash win rate as of December of 2014: 42.45% According to DotaBuff.
Fear not my friends, Tusk is one of the most hilarious heroes to play (if you've got my sense of humor) and a very strong one, with a very special ability that no other initiator has; and also, endless versatility, since, you can almost do anything but hard carry in a game with our cuddly Tusk.
In this guide, you will find tips, tricks, and updated descriptions for Tusk's abilities, rather than the usual definition of skills and roles, it is aimed at people who have some understanding of the game's items and definitions.
As in my last guide, I'll include a theme song for you while reading this guide and whenever you are playing Tusk:
"Who's ready for a fight? The first hit is free! Anyone?"
The greatest late game hero. He is centered around bursting down enemies with mixed magical and physical damage, the first falling off late game with enemies with larger HP pools and the second with armor. You transition into some utility hero.
Intelligent: His spells early on will consume all of your mana, and you will have to invest on its recovery, wether it be a Bottle or Soul Ring or some sort of mana regeneration.
A carry, yes you might deal a lot of damage and get a nice number of kills, but a true carry will always pummel you down. Don't bother, leave the farm for your carry.
Beginner friendly: Tusk might seem easy on paper, but the proper usage and timing of his abilities is where it is at. You need to have a lot of map awareness too since you will be running around the map trying to find kill oportunities.
Tusk, as I stated, is not a popular hero and suffers bullying. Just Kidding. While not as important as many other heroes' abilities buffs or nerfs, Tusk has been constantly updated in terms of his abilties. Here you will find a quick definition and its usage:
Ice Shards is a very tricky nuke and skill shot. You can target it at units and the ground, which eases aiming. It deals 280 magical damage at level 4 (210 after reductions) at a constant 120 mana cost, which is huge for Tusk's minimal mana pool. So what will we use Ice Shards for?
Middle lane pushing spell/ Harass/ farming: AoE (Area of Effect) spells are great for the middle lane since they allow you to do a lot of things with less investment. Use it to farm and prefferably harass your oponent out of lane when you have your bottle ready, and push the lane when the timer is near to spawning new runes in order to refill your Bottle.
Trapping/ Chokepoint traps; the shards are unpassable terrain; just like Earthshaker's Fissure. This is lethal at all stages of the game: trapping diving foes under your tower's hits, preventing scapes and potentially encasing a lot of heroes in the tiny AoE.
Ice Shards now has a huge range but with a flaw; it used to spawn the pillars right when the nuke hit the hero, but it does not do that anymore. In order to trap someone exactly where you want, you must target the exact position wanted, if you target it just in front of you it will stop there. Be sure to practice this in a lobby since this is the trickiest part about it.
Snowball is one of the most amazing and uniques initiator skills in the game. It can be destructive to the other team, or yours. This tool is what defines the Tusk, it's an unreliable stun + gap closer + invulnerability, all in one ability. Neat uh?
Use Snowball as your main initiating skill. Ganking, teamfight, whatever, it's an amazing spell. Use right click on nearby heroes in order to pull them in your ball and lunge at the enemy faster and stronger: imagine 5 Meepos in that deathball:
No, but seriously, this ball has many tricks. You may also cast spells while the ball is charging; imagine yourself hiding in the trees charging, cast a perfect Ice Shards and then rolling into an overkill.
In order to launch the stun quickly, tap the skill button and then press it again to launch fast, great for quick needed stuns, it's almost impossible to dodge a snowball in the face.
Invulnerability. What other abilities are there in the game with full invulnerability? A selected few. All of them are great, and so is Snowball. You can use it for some crazy jukes when a hero is chasing you, dodge spells like crazy, you can delay some effects for the full 4 seconds of the snowball charge time (Example Rupture). On top of that, you can still do the same with your ally heroes, you could potentially save them from an asured death, just using one skill, and potentially turning a gank around. Be careful who you get stuck in the ball, you might screw the whole battle because you dragged a perfectly positioned Enigma.
"Every Tusk knows how to uppercut, selected few master the arts of the snowball"
Frozen Sigil...Eh... This spell is kind of underwhelming. But it does not mean it's bad, it maybe needs a bit of balance. Every spell is good. Leaving preferences apart, this spell is basically an AoE slow, for those poor survivors in order to ensure they get punched to space too. It is unique in the fact that it is AoE and pierces spell immunity, but it has some downsides:
**If destroyed, it yields a very fine bounty: 120 gold.**
**It requires some micro management skills. (Not many, since you can just activate and let it be, it will automatically chase you).**
The scaling is not that great for a 25% slow and 60 attack speed slow. Smart teams will take it down rather easily. It holds a niche ability of being a mobile ward, much like Beastmaster's eagle, with a shorter vision range. You could scout Roshan with this!
I tend to little to not use this ability. It's my personal preference, maybe a value point and the rest into stats. HOWEVER, this doesn't mean you should do this every game. It can synergyse well with other AoE abilities, think of Static Storm and Wall of Replica.
Best spell in the game. You can easily notice that this is the only spell that Icefrog has used capital letters on.
"You'd better be runnin' home to mama."
Alright you want to start punching everyone back to their spawn point. I understand, it is a natural feeling. You get the chance to strike as strong as Phantom Assassin in your attack.
Some patches before, it used to work as a buff, granting you said critical strike the next attack. This has been changed to manually selecting who you want to send flying up in the air, which in my opinion is great (sometimes you ended up hitting a creep, and it was a very noticeable buff, warning everyone that you had your punch charged)
Walrus Punch is auto-castable, meaning that if you want the "Next hit I'm gonna slap this hero's face", you can right click on the ability icon and the next attack will be an uppercut.
"What is this ultimate? Just a crit? I'd better pick Chaos Knight".
Essentially, yes. Hoever, no other hero has that critical hit % in the early stages of the game, and has some very specific utility which, too, make it unique:
Below I'll explain every single item I've got as Tusk and wether it is useful or not, and then, I will explain what items synergyse better with the style of Tusk we are playing.
Early stage items:
Tango & Clarity: Basic regeneration. Useful for both sets, since you will be harassed, no matter what.
Iron Branches: GG branches will be useful in both sets since they help you with last hitting (not the greatest) and overall stronger from useful stats. Upgrade to Magic Wand if there's a lot of spammable spells (like Quill Spray) in the other team.
Boots of Speed: every hero needs them, Phase Boots are prefered for the mid/ganking build, while Arcane Boots are mainly used if your team is very mana hungry or for the supportive build, since you will use items that cost mana, while replenishing your allies' mana too.
Gem of True Sight, Dust of Appearance and Smoke of Deceit can be bought by both sets, since you are a hero centered about bursting everyone down, there is no excuse to not bring detection for pesky invisibility heroes. Use Smoke to pass through wards without being detected.
Post laning/ganking phase: Your most important time.
This is the time when Tusk is an absolute destroyer, very few heroes can take (or scape) this punishment, so you have to do your best in this phase in order to have better chances of succeeding.
Bottle: While useful on both sets (Tusk is always mana hungry), I tend to only get it on the ganking build. Generally, if you are supporting there is another hero at middle lane who needs the runes better, and you buy some mana regen items like Arcane Boots. Rune of Invisibility and Rune of Double Damage will be your best friends.
Orb of Venom: A pretty great item that I like a lot, since you are melee your slow is better. Useful for both sets, while the supportive set might have problems managing inventory space.
Medallion of Courage: The great medallion. Synergyses great with the mighty FALCON Walrus Punch! It offers needed stuff for the Tusk: armor and mana regeneration. While I love this item, take note that it also lowers your armor. You might face some Slardar or Vengeful Spirit and then wonder why this backfired terribly. Use it a lot, but use it wisely. Useful on both sets.
Urn of Shadows/ Drum of Endurance: These provide cheap and effective stats while helping your mana problems. Make sure you dont stack drums in your team by alerting everyone and don't get the urn unless you are getting a lot of kills with your team. TIME TO FIGHT! Shadow Blade versus Blink Dagger
Both are great for ganking. Both offer some utility.
I am a Blink Dagger fanboy, and I can ensure you, it is never a bad item to have. Possibilities are endless.
However, Shadow Blade fills an specific space in Tusk's inventory: one of the greatest ganking items. The combo is relatively easy, and the damage is always welcome. You can quickly scape but if you are getting this item (relatively expensive) only for scaping, you'd better stick with Blink Dagger. Preferred on the ganking build.
Both items are great on Tusk. It's up to you deciding wether you will make it on time to get a quick Shadow Blade, or you won't need any at all.
On the utility/supportive build there are plenty of items Tusk can grab, since his abilities are already great.
Blade Mail is a fantastic item for him, damage, intelligence and armor suit you perfectly, and the active is great since you will be in the middle of the fight most likely. Consider it for heavy hitters and nukers.
Force Staff while thought as a strict supportive item, it deals with positioning, which is vital as an initiator, and offers a nice intelligence bonus. Consider this if you are short on money or facing annoying heroes like Riki and Clockwerk.
Tusk isn't the greatest hero over late game, as his damage slowly starts to hurt less. What you still have are your great disables and overall initiator utility role you fulfill, wether you started as a ganker or a support.
The items you farmed through the game will help you or prevent you from winning, that's why Tusk needs to be pretty active during early and mid game in order to be relevant late game. You may pick some of the following suggestions:
GANKING TUSK, MID GAME LEAD:
On the deffensive items, Blade Mail, Heart of Tarrasque, Shiva's Guard, Crimson Guard and Assault Cuirass all help the Tusk, but most important, his team, his ability to take hits will relief your other hero partner's. Since, you will be in the middle of everything. Mjollnir gets a special mention too, since enemies will rather not to touch you with the active shield. However, due to its cost, it is rather prefered for your carry to cast it on you rather than you buying it. Who knows, maybe you have to carry this game.
Don't be afraid to pick up a Scythe of Vyse, it is a great item on everyone. Your mana problems will be solved and you get the best disable in the game.
Pick up a Black King Bar if you can't do anything while in fights, due to the great teamfight ability the other team has. It is of outmost importance for you to be in the middle of the fight punching people and disabling them.
Lastly, in order to deal damage, Desolator is a great item, due to the ridiculous damage of your Walrus Punch!. If you manage to get this pretty early in conjunction with Medallion of Courage, you've almost won the game for your team.
Monkey King Bar allows every hit of yours to not miss and potentially ministunning, while Basher may proc on the luckiest of situations. Be careful though, in order for this items to work properly, you might want to build some attack speed too.
Lastly, Divine Rapier RAPIRA!! is an item you will pick up when you are cornered, without any more options. Your crits will obliterate most squishy heroes. Desperate times require desperate measures. Don't blame me if you lost the game because you threw it because you got ambushed.
On the supportive utility side, there are great items for you as well. Since your damage isn't going to be what will hurt their team, but rather all the oportunities you can offer, these items will help you in those situations.
You may pick armor items here too, as in the ganking build. Special mention to Shiva's Guard, since it is the more supportive armor item.
This is the preferred lane for Tusk, runes, uncontested gold, and faster level 6. If you are facing a ranged enemy mid laner, you might want to have some Clarity potions ready, in order to use Ice Shards to get as many last hits as possible. As Tusk you want the fastest Bottle and Boots of Speed you can farm. It will be easier to farm against a melee mid. Be sure to grab all the runes you can, and manage the creepwave with Ice Shards. Depending on your enemy laner, you will chose who you are going to kill next. If your oponent is very mobile or dangerous to engage alone, start to pick from other lanes. There's no time to waste as Tusk.
The key to perfect ganking is communication with your team. Ping the hero you are going to focus. Your prefered victims are squishy carries since you want to make their life as hard as possible in order to have an advantage over them. However, any kill is appreciated.
Basic ganking combos:
Start the Snowball out of vision if possible. If your teammate can't innitiate, try either to land a perfect Ice Shards or time the ball really close from them. After you land the snowball, follow with Ice Shards to trap them. This opens oportunities for unreliable spells and AoE like Torrent or Mystic Flare. Then just punch and fight and finish with a beautiful FALCON Walrus Punch!
Land a nice Ice Shards and follow up with Snowball. Your victim is pretty much done, use your ultimate when you will.
Snowball in, Walrus Punch! after wards to set up an easy Ice Shards. You need to ensure you have enough damage or your ally can to deal with enemies' remaining hp since you used your crit already.
**If you got Shadow Blade** Use Shadow Walk and roam around the jungle or where someone alone might be, Scare them with a huge punch, follow up with Ice Shards, and if they fade away, finish with Snowball. We leave Snowball last if we need the 4 seconds of immunity or to dodge certain spell.
Teamfight notions/how to:
Be careful when you Snowball in. You might set up your team for perfect Black Holes, Ravages, you name it. with fast fingers, you could counter initiate by gathering your whole team to avoid a big ultimate in the snowball.
Early on, take the squishiest heroes first by yourself, you deal enough damage 1v1. Later in the game, try to disable their carry as much as posible.
Fast initiating combo: Blink Dagger in and punch the hero you want to focus. It will be disabled and slowed. They will react immidiately, but you have Snowball ready. Use it, let your team come and release it when proper.
Escape maneuver: Use Snowball if you are being chased down and you have Blink Dagger! Charge the full duration and then blink out. You may make this longer with an Eul's Scepter of Divinity for a total of almost 7 seconds invulnerable. Great for purging of debuffs and scaping effectively. ( Puck would be jelly)
Support Tusk duties
As a supportive Tusk you will be doing exactly the same thing, going full man in the fight and trying to make your carry's life easier. Since you will most likely deal less damage and be somewhat squishier, you can still effectively set fights from afar with precise Ice Shards. That's why it is more important to have bigger mana when you are playing him as a support, to keep a constant flow of spells looking for oportunities.
In this section I will post the links of games I've played as Tusk, won or lost, in order to explain to you, what happened there and maybe learn something out of it. We won't blame the team, we will focus on me.
While my team was mediocre, so was my score, 1-7-10, with really ****py items. They had a lot of crowd control and magic damage for a relatively weak team. Although I had a Meepo, this did not grant the victory but instead a harsh defeat.
In this game, I had to man up and be the only support, since no one else would. Even then, I finished with a lot of kills and assists with a score of 9-3-23, with even higher XPM than my "carries". Blessed random excelent Pudge players. Notice that I had supportive items on me, Force Staff, Arcane Boots, Observer Wards.
This game was rather weird and dumb but very fun. When the Pudge abandonned, Kunkka farmed up well and was tearing us apart. Upon a certain defeat, I had a bright idea: Blade Mail. I did so, and hopped in a teamfight with it on, when the Admiral suddenly unleashes a massive critical strike which swipes off my team but me, taking it back and letting me steal the Divine Rapier. I had to drop my trusty mail, and started kicking butts with the Shadow Blade, even with a rough start. It is impressive how a single item choice can win your team a game.
This is the perfect explanation of why Tusk falls off late game, we opened plenty of space for our Wraith King to farm, while I went supportive and had a lot of kills/assists, I died a lot, and the Ember Spirit won the game with superior farm than our carry. Never overextend B O Y S.
And finally, my show-off game. I obliterated Pudge mid, and earnt a great advantage. Now take a look at my items: Specially Medallion of Courage and Blade Mail. I grabbed the medallion immediately after detecting many low armor heroes, namely Alchemist, Pudge and Undying, and Blade Mail for the lots of burst damage in Jakiro, Clinkz and Pudge. I also took stats instead of Frozen Sigil, since I felt I wouldn't needed with enough lockdown and chasing power in my team. Me and my team forced them to abandon early on (#Ragequit). The Radiance was for humilliation, don't get it please.
Tusk is a hero who deserves your love and your time. He is dynamic, requires skill, fast reflexes, and has great abilities, which synergyse well with other cool heroes. His voice, eh yeah might be a little annoying, but there are no words to describe the joy of punching people into the air.
If you are looking for a fun, and versatile hero to play, why not give Tusk a try?
Some overall tips I can give to you
Never stand still. Look for as many fights as possible and better, try to win them all.
You have a team. You might be a killing machine, but help from your team will always enhance your power. Don't be overconfident and accept help and don't be a douchebag and offer none. Your duty is to win the early game for your carry, so he wins the game for you.
That's it folks, I hope you like this guide, and have as much fun readint it and playing the walrus as much fun I had while writing it. Be sure to let me know any suggestions, any comments or questions and I will try to answer all of them. Let me know any grammar mistakes or typos too!
Published: December 22, 2014
-Will add friends and foes sections.
-Will look for Tusk competitive/pro games and analyse them with you.