1/11/2013: Guide published.
2/11/2013: Fixed some typos, added two hidden links. Can you find them?
4/11/2013: Tweaked micro chapter to use Ctrl instead of Shift to assign units, (Ctrl key assigns units to groups anew, Shift just adds units to existing groups, which may cause problems), added possible early point into Inner Beast for pushing strat pro teams. Added a sick intro picture.
7/11/2013: Technical Terms update! Alienate your friends by using these terms in conversations!
6/9/2014: Fixed broken Youtube links.
Hello all, TEL9021 here, this time with a guide dedicated to a very underplayed hero with an awesome name, Beastmaster.
Currently the 8th least played hero (on Dotabuff, as of patch 6.79), many players avoid playing Beastmaster because they are scared of his need of micromanagement, don't know about his Dire-side Ancient-stacking farm ability, and neglect his excellent late-game scaling.
In this guide, I'll attempt to show new players the merits of a well-played Beastmaster by showing you a few micromanagement tips & tricks, how to successfully stack and farm Ancients, and how to exploit aura synergy to win teamfights and games.
I'll explain a couple of more advanced DOTA terms here. Pro players can skip this chapter.
Creep Score (CS): This is basically the combination of last-hits and denies scored by the hero and all the units he controls. You can always check your CS in-game at the lower right corner of your screen, where it says LH/D. For example, [LH/D 2/0] means 2 last hits and 0 denies.
Camp Stacking: The act of emptying a jungle camp from its neutral creeps by making them leave its general area, so new ones spawn in their place at the exact XY:00 minute of in-game time. Camps may be stacked up to 5 times theoretically. Practically, it is very difficult to stack them more than 3 times, due to the amassed neutral creeps blocking each other from moving.
Camp Blocking: If there is any type of unit (hero, creep, summoned unit, ward) inside the general area around empty jungle camps at the XY:00 minute of in-game time, neutral creeps will not spawn in that camp, denying farm from the jungle of that team. The importance of farming in DOTA as well as the fact that the "general area around" jungle camps isn't well defined makes this an incredibly difficult and constantly changing mechanic in DOTA's pro team metagame.
Creep Pulling: The act of using friendly, enemy, or neutral units to make creep waves leave their pre-planned route of marching through the center of each lane. This has tactical advantages, such as drawing allied creeps away from the lane into the jungle to deny farm from the opposing team, or drawing an enemy creep wave away from an enemy tower in order to destroy it.
Micromanagement (Micro): The art of controlling multiple units at the same time. Its difficulty can range from sending your Courier to the Secret Shop while laning to using summoned units to block, stack, and pull jungle camps. Few heros actively need micromanagement skills, but having these skills can aid every hero in battle (Notably, tactically using Manta Style illusions to confuse the enemy team).
Late-game Scaling: The ability of a hero to continue providing a worthwile contribution to the team (or even becoming better at it) late into the game's progression. All carry heroes have late-game scaling, but various support heroes do as well. It's tough to pinpoint exactly what makes a hero scale favorably into the late game, but it mostly depends on the fact that magical damage loses power as the game progresses, whereas physical damage gains power.
- Really fast attack animation (Great for your CS and flash farming)
- 4 second stun that goes through magic immunity
- Constant cross map vision with Greater Hawk
- Excellent late game scaling
- Ability to farm Ancients with Wild Axes
- Not a carry
- Not a flexible laner, needs to solo a lane or farm Ancients
- Picking him screams "Ancient Stacker" to the opposing team
- Requires a bit of micromanagement
- Your summoned creatures drop gold when killed
- Farm dependent at least until level 6
Q - Wild Axes
- Beastmaster throws 2 axes in an arc in front of him, which return back to him
- Each axe deals up to two seperate instances of damage on units
- Each unit hit by Wild Axes can receive up to two instances of damage from both axes
- Axes destroy trees
- Axe damage instances go through magic immunity
This is your nuke and main farming ability, due to the damage from the Axes being ranged and going through magic immunity, meaning you can jungle Ancients from level 1, and snipe the enemy Animal Courier. Keep in mind you'll need heavy mana regen early game (i.e. Soul Ring or Bottle) to spam them reliably. This ability should be maxed first.
W Call of the Wild (Hawk) & E Call of the Wild (Boar)
- W summons your Bird (aka Greater Hawk), E summons your Beaver (aka Greater Boar)
- Bird is flying, goes invisible after 4 seconds of standing still
- Bird does not have a right-click attack
- Beaver's right click attack adds a 35% attack & movement speed slow
These two skills (which level up together) are what make Beastmaster a master of beasts: they summon two creatures to aid him in battle, a beaver and a bird. You'd think that a man called Beastmaster would summon something a little more intimidating, but whatever. Anyway, what's unique about this ability is mainly the Greater Hawk, which is essentially a mobile Observer Ward. The power of vision is massively overlooked in pub games, but it's a key to victory, be it to scope out an enemy hero's location, check Roshan, or avoid incoming ganks.
Once you knock your second point into this skill, you'll get to summon your Beaver. He strangely has a ranged attack with an awesome passive ability, Poison, that inflicts a 35% attack and move speed slow on units. Use this to your benefit in 1v1 duels. Note that like Bird, Beaver drops gold when killed, so don't leave him exposed. In short, you should always take good care of your Beaver.
This is also where Beastmaster needs a bit of micro, but it's not nearly as heavy as that needed for other heroes and you won't die if you mess it up. I will explain how to deal with Beastmaster's micro in the next chapter.
- Attack speed aura in a 900 unit radius around Beastmaster
Not much to say about this one, it's an attack speed aura. Its power scales really well into the late game, where right-click attack damage becomes more important than magic damage. Don't level it up early game, because it also affects creeps, pushing the lane towards the opposing tower.
However, if you are playing in a team game with a pushing strategy, you may want to put an early (i.e. level 4) point into this skill for some extra early pushing potential in order to quickly take down a Tier 1 tower. This is very situational, of course, and you should avoid it in pub games.
R - Primal Roar
- Goes through magic immunity
- Nearby foes get pushed aside, take minor damage and are slowed by 50%
- Countered by Linken's Sphere
- Aghanim's Scepter decreases cooldown to 45, increases cast range
This is your ultimate and the longest single stun in the game with a max duration of 4 seconds. Use it to lock an enemy hero down and pick him off. It's great for countering enemy channeling abilities ( Black Hole, Dismember, Town Portal Scroll). Be wary of its side pushing effect, as sometimes you might push an enemy hero to safety.
This part explains how to micromanage your Call of the Wild summons. The central idea is this: While keeping an eye on Beastmaster, use your Bird to fly across the map and give you vision, and use your Beaver to harass enemy heroes and stack jungle camps.
I use the number keys to assign units to control groups.
Quick memo for anyone who doesn't know how to, you assign units you have selected by left clicking+dragging, then pressing the Ctrl key + a number. Then, when you press that number, the game will automatically select those units. Also, double tapping a number key with units assigned to it will center the camera on those units.
Here's how I micro my beasts:
Ctrl+3: Beastmaster + Beaver
The game now saves the control groups you make, so you only have to assign them once.
Now that I explained the basics, time for some pro tips for possible usage of your beasts.
Pro tip #1: Save yourself when being chased and hunt enemies down with Beaver. Just select Beaver (by pressing 2), then right-click on the enemy, then press 1 to select only Beastmaster. Your enemy will be slowed down, and you can either escape or pick him off.
Pro tip #2: Stack camps with Beaver. While Beastmaster is still laning, you may stack jungle camps like this: at around the 00:52 second of in-game time, attack a neutral creep in a camp, then let them chase you out. If done correctly, at the 1:00 minute the camp will respawn, and will now have two teams of neutral creeps. This could be theoretically used to stack Ancients even when playing on the Radiant side, but I've yet to see someone who has the crazy micro skills to do so, including myself.
Pro tip #3: Nail ranged denies with Beaver. Just like you can deny creeps and heroes by pressing A + left-click, so can Beaver. However, Beaver has very low right-click damage, making this insanely difficult.
Pro tip #4: Bait enemies with Bird. Leave your Bird directly behind an enemy hero, then when he turns to attack it, start moving it away from him. If he falls for the bait, you can drag him out of position this way.
When on the Dire side, it is possible to level 1 stack and farm Ancients with Wild Axes. This takes advantage of the Dire side Ancient camp being right next to the bottom lane.
This video shows you exactly what you need to do.
Note that timing is of key essence here as well. Also, in order to farm Ancients efficiently, you must rush a Soul Ring so you can spam Wild Axes on them.
This is a great technique to get tons of uncontested gold and XP early game, and freeing space on the lanes for a possible solo laner (Think Batrider, Puck, Nature's Prophet, etc.)
When playing pro games, the opposing team will most likely try to place a ward inside the Ancient camp to block it and stop you from farming it. It is of the utmost importance that this doesn't happen, so go with the entire team there to ensure that camp is safe.
Because Beastmaster needs tons of early game mana regen, I suggest starting with only a Tango and three Iron Branches so you can rush a Soul Ring or Bottle.
An alternative to this is super-rushing a Soul Ring by buying its recipe and a Sage's Mask as your starting items. This is an extremely dangerous build though, so I wouldn't recommend it in pro games.
If playing a support build, you should start by buying an Animal Courier, then upgrade it once you kill a few Ancients.
The three Iron Branches you start with can be later turned into a Magic Wand.
As soon as you buy your starting items, quickly run to the hard lane and go cut down the trees past the river next to the lane with Wild Axes.
Here's a video showing you how to do this.
You'll have just enough time to do this and go back to base to restore your mana. This little trick will give you a ton of vision and combines with your Greater Hawk's flying vision, making you effectively ungankable.
After that, you may either start stacking Ancients or go to the middle lane. Once you are level 2, knock a point into Call of the Wild (Hawk) and use your Bird to ward a rune spot.
If in the middle lane, you should heavily rely on spamming Wild Axes to farm and harass, just like a Clockwerk spams his Rocket Flare. A Bottle is mandatory and rune control is essential. Better yet, use the courier to refill your Bottle by taking it back to the fountain. You can easily micromanage the courier by pressing F2 to control it.
Once you hit level 6, grab a Town Portal Scroll and start roaming. With Primal Roar, pick-off kills are relatively easy to get.
Continue helping your team by roaming to lanes and try to spot out of position enemies with your Bird. You may occasionally roam back to the Ancient camp to stack and farm it, though do so only when your team doesn't need you.
Your Inner Beast aura starts coming into play now. Remember that you need to be close to your teammates for the aura to work, so start hugging your carry like it's going out of style.
Summon your Bird on cooldown and make it patrol the map: Check your jungle, Roshan, rune spawns, enemy jungle, everything. You have the power to know what your enemies are doing at all times, so use it all you can.
Your aura is now maxed out, giving you insane flash farming ability and teamfight power. Nailing a really good Primal Scream is essential to winning a teamfight: Good targets include the carry and the initiator. If enemies have channeling abilities, consider saving your ult to counter-initiate at the right time with it.
Communication with your teammates is necessary concerning item purchases: Item auras do not stack, so make sure you're not all buying the same stuff.
The items you'll buy differ greatly according to your preferred playstyle: A semi-carry Beastmaster needs items that boost his survivability and offensive auras, whereas a support Beastmaster benefits from multiple spells through purchased items and defensive auras.
In general, go for Power Treads to boost your survivability. However, I've noticed that Phase Boots are also a very useful pickup, especially for new players, because they help you to get into position to land a good Primal Roar.
Mid Game Options
Directly after you purchase your preferred Boots and your Magic Wand, you may either go for a Bracer, then build it into a Drum of Endurance, or go for a Medallion of Courage. Both items are equally good pickups, but if another player on your team is definitely going to also build Drums (I'm thinking of Crystal Maiden, Invoker, a hard support Nyx Assassin), go for a Medallion instead.
To Blink or not to Blink
A known pick up for semi-carry Beastmasters, Blink Dagger gives you tons of mobility, allowing you to use your abilities to the max. The downside of picking this item though, is that if you don't know how to use Beastmaster's abilities, you've effectively wasted 2150 gold for an extra ability that you can't use. So get this only if you're really familiar with this hero.
Go for Arcane Boots if no one else on your team is going to buy them. Beastmaster doesn't really need them, though, so if you have another dedicated mage who definitely builds Arcane Boots (Think Dark Seer, Magnus), go for Power Treads instead.
Mid Game Options
You have four choices for possible mid game/core items. The choice of utility item depends on whether another allied hero is intending to buy it or not and goes in this priority:
B) Drum of Endurance
C) Vladmir's Offering
D) Force Staff
First off, a Mekansm is the most important item a team needs. If you go mid, rushing one gives you really good early teamfight power. This combines with Beastmaster's early ganking potential and the fact that you'll be getting in fights as much as you can to make the most out of your ultimate.
After that, every team needs at least one set of Drums, so buy them if no else intends to. If someone will buy Drums and you have a melee hard carry, build a Vladmir's Offering to help him by removing a bit of farm pressure off of him. This works really well with a hard-carry Anti-Mage who often would build this item himself. DO NOT buy this item if you have an Ursa or Lycanthrope on your team, because it's a core item for those heroes and Vlad's aura doesn't stack.
Alternatively, if your team already has all three auras and/or your hard carry is ranged, go for a Force Staff to add utility and mobility to Beastmaster's ability.
Force Staff is so damn useful that even if you pick Drums or Vlad's instead, you might still want to buy it in the late game.
No matter what your starting build, you will find yourself needing certain items for certain occasions. The following items are all good pick-ups for a late game Beastmaster. However, a support Beastmaster will want to most likely build defensive/utility items, while the offensive items should be bought only by a semi-carry Beastmaster.
Assault Cuirass: Does your team need even more attack speed? The answer is YES. This is a must pick-up for the semi-carry Beastmaster, as buying a Hyperstone will crank your already insane flash-farming ability up to 11. However, don't build one if your hard carry has already done so.
Heart of Tarrasque: This is the second must pick-up for semi-carry builds. This item will allow to stay in teamfights indefinitely, soaking up damage and staying alive while your auras destroy the enemy team.
Necronomicon: Do you need more pushing power? Are your micro skills off the charts? Then go for a Necro book. Assign the 2 necro creeps to numbers 5 and 6, and add both to control group 3. These Necronomicon Warriors are insanely powerful, but also insanely difficult to micromanage, what with your hero already needing micro skills. Necronomicon Warriors also get the buffs from your auras, making them even more powerful.
Orchid Malevolence: Go for this item when facing heros that Blink such as Storm Spirit or Anti-Mage, or mages and initiators such as Dark Seer and Magnus.
Heaven's Halberd: A very viable alternative to Heart of Tarrasque, Heaven's Halberd gives you 20 points to your primary ability, 25% evasion, and an awesome 4-second disarm. Use it against high-damage carries such as Phantom Assassin or Drow Ranger.
Shiva's Guard: A must defensive pick-up when facing attack-speed heavy teams (Think carry Alchemist or Lifestealer). Don't forget to cast the active ability, and don't buy it if someone else on your team already has it.
Pipe of Insight: If playing a support build, go for this item if facing heavy amounts of magic damage (Think Invoker, Ancient Apparition, Zeus). Every team should have at least one.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity: This item gives you a neat disable, decent mana regen and +40 movement speed, something really good for a support Beastmaster.
Scythe of Vyse: Need more lockdown ability to counter a pesky Faceless Void? Go for a Scythe. Its active Hex makes it a worthy pick-up even though you don't really need the extra Intelligence it gives you.
Blade Mail: If facing assassin heros such as Clinkz or Nyx Assassin, go for this item to counter them.
Boots of Travel: This is a good late-game item on any hero. Gives you even more mobility and synergizes really well with Necronomicon for global pushing ability.
Aghanim's Scepter: This item decreases your ult's cooldown to an insane 45 seconds, and increases its cast range. This works especially well in the mid-game, and synergizes really well with Blink Dagger.
Beastmaster is a really good ally to heroes with pick-off abilities and/or slow attack speed. Here's a few notable mentions:
Pudge: A Primal Roar by you sets up a perfect Meat Hook from him, and he can really use the attack speed aura.
Batrider: Again, initiate with Primal Roar, then let Batrider blink in and land an easy Flaming Lasso.
Sven: An otherwise slow farmer, Sven really benefits from Inner Beast.
Anti-Mage: You may pick up a Vladmir's Offering and/or Assault Cuirass to remove farm pressure off of him.
Tiny: His insane damage + your Inner Beast = dead enemy tower.
Io, Nature's Prophet, Spirit Breaker: Use your Bird to see an enemy hero who's alone, then send in Io, Nate P, or Space Cow for a free and safe global gank.
Lifestealer: Lifestealer can use Infest on your Bird. 'Nuff said.
Ursa: Now that Roshan doesn't respawn exactly 10 minutes later, but in a time range between 8 and 11 minutes, checking the Pit with your Bird becomes way more necessary and helpful for him. Not to mention that he loves the attack speed buffs when Overpower is on cooldown.
Beastmaster doesn't have any specific enemies that counter him, but there are few pesky heros that he has more trouble with than others. Notable mentions include:
Chen, Enchantress: These two crafty buggers can persuade your summoned creeps to become traitors to the Motherland! Curse them!
Rubick: Be wary of an enemy Rubick trying to steal your Primal Roar. Either cast it on him and kill him, or have another ability off cooldown and immediately cast it after your ult so he steals that ability instead.
Lifestealer: Infest is a double-edged sword when he's your enemy. If you spot him Infesting into one of your creeps, send it manually back to base or directly into the hands of your entire team, so you can kill him. Don't send Infested creeps to only one of your friendlies, because you're basically giving him a free kill.
Linken's Sphere: This item counters Primal Roar. To counter-counter, have another unit target ability ready to use, such as Force Staff or Heaven's Halberd. Be wary of natural carriers of this item, namely Weaver, Storm Spirit, and Puck.
Smoke of Deceit: Sadly, your Bird cannot see smoked enemies, so you aren't as ungankable as you think. Still, you may be lucky enough to spot enemies using it with your Bird, giving you time to fall back.
That's all! I hope I persuaded you to try playing this awesome hero!
Shoutout to ezbreh, the only other Beastmaster guide creator here, whose guide helped me become a better Beastmaster. You should check his guide out, too!
If you have any questions or need more tutorial videos, just comment here or follow me on Twitter (@The_Dork_Seer) and send me a direct message.
To all budding Beastmasters out there, RAWR!
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