|2.||The Artist Formerly Known as Necrolyte|
|3.||Strengths and Weaknesses|
|9.||What you need to know when Necrophos is on your Team|
|15.||Enemies you Counter|
Necrophos is an unusual hero, capable of offering huge sustain to his team, and constant attrition to the enemy. He's an extremely capable anti-tank, and can kill enemies so hard they can't even buy back. He offers considerable pushing and farming power combined with a big team fight presence.
Overall he's a very contradictory hero; he's not a true support or a genuine carry, he starts off incredibly squishy but is usually played as a tank. He doesn't appear to offer a lot of damage at times, but can quietly be extremely destructive.
Read on to find out more...
They had to change it for legal reasons, copyright with Blizzard or something. It's taken me the whole guide to actually get used to writing it properly. In tribute, here's a funny song by a strange little man who also changed his name:
+ Fantastic sustain from Sadist
+ Great teamfight presence with Death Pulse
+ Strong Pusher
+ Fast Farmer
+ Flexible role between carry and support
+ Massive damage potential with Reaper's Scythe
- Squishy without equipment
- Average stat gains
- Mana Dependent
- Lacks auto-attack damage
- Lacks slow, silence or non-ultimate stun
- Slow Movement Speed
Death Pulse is a dual use heal/nuke that effects EVERY unit within it's radius (even if they're invisible). It has a high mana cost and a short cooldown, making it ideal for spamming when farming or pushing. The main barrier to this is being able to sustain the mana used - Sadist can help here, but you'll need enemy heroes or creeps to be dying for this to work.
When pushing this is easily supportable provided you have at least a few levels in Sadist, but team fights can be trickier, especially if you're in a low farm role. Don't be afraid to kill-steal with Reaper's Scythe in this situation if it will allow you to continue spamming pulses - it's really important:
Level 4 Death Pulse hitting every hero on both teams inflicts 5 x 275 = 1375 total damage, and heals your team for 650 total. This is roughly a 2000 HP shift between the two sides - you can do this every 5 seconds provided you have enough mana.
Be aware that the projectiles from Death Pulse are very slow (400ms), but they will always hit their target eventually. Unfortunately fast heroes or ones with transport spells are capable of outrunning them for long enough to potentially get healed enough to survive.
Heartstopper Aura is a powerful and unusual aura that scales extremely effectively into the late game. It uses HP Removal damage to constantly drain a percentage of enemy unit's maximum hitpoints away. This damage is not reduced by magic immunity, magic resistance or armour. However, it also won't stop people using potions or reset the cooldown on Blink Daggers.
This is another subtle but effective weapon in Necrophos's armoury - even being near him drains enemy health (or at least reduces their regeneration), making him a real threat in long fights.
In the early game it's quite common to put a single point into this skill, as it's the only period of the game where you're likely to have 1 or more enemy heroes constantly in range of it for a sustained period. However, be aware that it will also slowly drain the health of their creeps and push your lane out.
Early Game Example:
Against an enemy hero with 500 max HP, level 1 Heartstopper Aura inflicts 0.006 * 500 = 3 DPS. This may not seem like much, but it will put most heroes into negative regen, and inflicts 180 total damage over a minute if they stay in range for the whole time.
Late Game Example:
Against an enemy hero with 3000 max HP, level 4 Heartstopper Aura inflicts 0.015 * 3000 = 45 DPS. Over a 20 second engagement this would equate to 900 damage, provided they stayed in range for the entire time.
Sadist is the skill that ties the rest of your abilities together, and when you level it is usually reflective of your role in the team. It offers you a short (6 second) burst of extra health and mana regeneration every time you are responsible for any unit dying - be it last hits, denies or hero kills (which offer 10x the normal rate).
This skill can give you incredible amounts of sustain, especially when you're pushing big waves of creeps and stacking that bonus up. Hero kills also give you massive sustain, for example:
Level 4 Sadist will heal you for 6 x (4 x 10) = 240 HP, and restores 6 x (10 x 10) = 600 mana.
Even at lower levels, Sadist is pretty helpful at keeping you in lane (and makes you a reasonably competitive mid), provided that you are the farming hero. It's much less helpful if you're the support, as you'll just be picking up scraps on denies.
Reaper's Scythe is Necrophos's ultimate and signature skill. It has received various buffs in recent patches and now offers some extra utility in addition to it's brief disable and big damage.
While the 1.5 second stun time is useful and goes through magic immunity, the real star of the show here is the damage. It's all based around how much health the enemy hero is missing from their pool. Bear in mind that it inflicts Magic Damage, so can be reduced by items like Hood of Defiance and skills like Spell Shield.
You can see below the maximum percentage hero health you can definitely kill at depending on the level of your ultimate. This assumes standard 25% Magic Resistance.
Level (* with Aghanim's Scepter)
Max Enemy Hero Health
I've included a small selection of the more standard builds you tend to see on Necrophos and that work reasonably well.
The first big decision you've got to make is whether or not to take Heartstopper Aura at level 1 - if you're going to skill it at all early, then take it as soon as possible, as it's very dependent on inflicting damage over time.
It's especially effective against tankier heroes, who take proportionately more damage. Be aware that it will require more lane control work on your part, as enemy creeps will be damaged too.
Almost all successful Necrophos builds max Death Pulse first, it's mana expensive at all levels, but does much more damage at higher levels, and can frequently be the difference between deaths and kills.
Levelling Sadist is dependent on your exposure to last hits - if you're the farmer in any lane then you'll definitely want points in it sooner rather than later. If you're supporting a lane, a sneaky level at 4 is more usual, although you could even consider a 2nd level in Heartstopper Aura.
Generally speaking Reaper's Scythe should be levelled at every chance you get, although be aware of it's high mana cost at level 3 - you might have to delay it if your farm has been exceptionally bad.
+ If he's got Sadist, try to let him get last hits and/or denies if he's low on health or mana
+ Taking kills with Reaper's Scythe is NOT kill-stealing, especially early in a fight
+ He's very squishy early game, try to look after him
- He can play as a support, but don't make him ward
- Don't build a Mekansm, he will do it
- Be aware, he will sometimes transistion from support to carry
This is one of the trickiest questions to answer about Necrophos - he's really quite difficult to place on the carry to support spectrum. Generally he can pickup any role from #2 to #4.
He's not suitable to be a #1 as he's sorely lacking in right click damage, even with good farm. Neither is he suitable to be a #5 as he needs equipment to be able to do his job of sustaining the team in the middle of a fight.
In more competitive games, he's most likely to lane solo mid, gaining access to farm and quick levels, before roaming to push and pickup kills with Reaper's Scythe.
As a support he's best played with a carry who has decent lane presence, and only requires a little babysitting to keep them healthy and unharassed while they farm. This allows you to pull, and stack up neutral camps for later flash farming. You're good at turning around situations, but not especially aggressive as a lane partner.
Regardless of role, Necrophos will almost always try to build survivability equipment - his starting role merely determines how much of it he gets, and how quickly. Thanks to Death Pulse and Sadist he has incredible flash farming speed, and can usually catch up pretty quickly given some time and space.
Necrophos starts out extremely vulnerable - he has poor movement speed and health, combined with no stun, slow or escape. His only real protection is good positioning, and the heal from Death Pulse.
However, as the game progresses, and he gains levels and equipment, he can become one of the toughest heroes in the game to bring down. Constant spams of Death Pulse, the sustain of Sadist and the hidden threat of Reaper's Scythe can turn around some extremely bad situations.
Necrophos's damage and impact all comes from long term presence in fights - he makes his whole team harder to kill, while constantly whittling away at the enemy's strength. He's not a "showy" hero in this regard, but can be extremely influential if he stays alive.
You need to stand as close as possible to the middle point of the fight, healing your team using Death Pulse and Mekansm while weakening the opposition. Strike down a dangerous enemy on lowish health using Reaper's Scythe, or even use it to restore your mana if necessary. With sufficient equipment you should be able to tank a considerable amount of damage while healing your team and hurting the opposition.
Your starting items will depend quite strongly on your starting role - if you're heading to mid, you'll generally want some additional last hitting power to get you rolling. A semi-support role usually requires you to provide either an Animal Courier or Observer Wards, in addition to some consumables and cheap stats from the Iron Branches.
Your best friend in many ways - the combination of Life Break and Reaper's Scythe can be instantly lethal for even the tankiest hero. He'll very much enjoy the constant heals from Death Pulse, while he'll tend to draw enemy focus away from you.
The big magic multipliers from these guys are very handy when you're trying to land a good Reaper's Scythe.
More defensively minded heroes stack with you to help increase the length of fights and ensure each other's survival.
You tend to provide a reliable problem for most heroes and boost most allies fairly equally with the sustain from Death Pulse. It's when the enemy has a lot of tanky heroes that you really shine however - Reaper's Scythe really doesn't care whether you have 100/500 HP left or 4000/9000 - you're still dead.
You're also something of a counter to late game heroes, as you offer considerable push through out the game, and scale considerably better than most support/utility heroes.
Your best friend makes quite a bad enemy. You can survive better than most against his attacks once you have some farm together, but his magic resistance makes Reaper's Scythe ineffective.
The frostbite effect from Ice Blast disables healing for all heroes effected - this is very, very bad for your impact on team fights.
Any extra magic resistance that enemies have it bad news for you, reducing the effect of all your spells bar Heartstopper Aura. Anti-Mage's ability to burn your mana is also extremely unpleasant, as are heroes wielding a Diffusal Blade.
An odd matchup this one - he really won't enjoy Heartstopper Aura, and Reaper's Scythe can be pretty effective against him if he doesn't have too many stacks of Flesh Heap. However, he can potentially get a lot of resistance together, and can definitely eat you early game given half a chance.
Silence is really not fun, and you have no easy response to Curse of the Silent early on.
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