#1. Do not forget you have Ranged and Melee forms.
I see way to many replays and games where people play Troll Warlord as 100% melee. That is an extremely daffy thing to do. They use the ranged Whirling Axes more often than not, thankfully, but they rarely switch to Ranged to harass and last-hit things they can't get to in Melee, or to just last hit more safely in lane. One of the keys to having success with Troll as of this patch, is using both aspects to benefit yourself at your enemies deficit. The best way I can illustrate this is considering Troll mid vs Melee mids like Pudge and Nightstalker. His melee form can out last hit them, ESPECIALLY if he picks up a Quelling Blade. However it's tricky to harass someone in melee when they can hook/silence/blind you, but when you can swap to Ranged between last hits and harass them, manipulating the creep waves as you do so; it's an amazing thing to have in your arsenal. The same is true for killing heroes. I cannot count the number of kills I've gotten with one last ranged auto-attack following an enemy into fog. Learn to play him as both Ranged and Melee, you'll greatly improve your Troll skill set.
Farm/Offlane = Ring of Basilius, Brown Boots, Ring of Aquila, Phase Boots, HotD
Mid = Bottle, Brown Boots, Aquila, Phase Boots, HotD
That's my general item progression. I like Circlet > Branches because it builds into Aquila which is core, while Branches are not really and often get sold; so really the gold efficient thing to do is buy a Circlet. I don't care for Stout Shield or Poor Man's Shield on Troll because basically no Melee is going to go heads up with you, plus you have a 60% evasion blind. Both shields are really poor at blocking ranged damage comparatively. If it's your thing however, I doubt this will change your mind.
Bottle is viable on Offlane Troll as well as mid, because of his excellent movement speed and preference for Phase Boots. However he has little need for mana and once he has Lifesteal HP isn't much of a concern. I think Bottle is relatively core for Mid Troll because of runes and ganking.
Quelling Blade isn't really needed on Troll, since it only benefits his fantastic last hitting in Melee form. However if you're heads up mid vs another melee, it's an excellent way to dominate the CS game, especially if you can bully them with Whirling Axes, melee trades, and ranged harass. I don't do AFK farming Troll so that may play into this and my stance on Stout Shield/Poor Man's Shield.
Magic Stick and Magic Wand are pretty much situational for every hero. I don't think it's a big concern for Troll, but if you're against heroes that will give you lots of charges; it's always a good idea. Burst heal on Troll is nice, which is why Mek Troll used to be meta before the mana cost got upped on Mekanism.
Orb of Venom (OoV) is an excellent pickup, adding a bit more slow that stacks with Ranged Whirling Axes and later on Sange/Sange and Yasha. Plus it builds into Skadi which I think is one of the best late game items on Troll. This is a very good pickup, so give it a try sometime.
Vladamir's Offering is a good item on Troll, it's a good item with Troll.
However comma space, I think Helm of the Dominator is better. The reason being the Armor/Mana regen you get from Vlad's is handled by Aquila. The bonus damage isn't going to outweigh what you get from Aquila. HotD also gives you the ability to control creeps which makes doing Rosh solo and early much easier. Best creep is the Ogre Frostmage, next is the Alpha Wolf. HotD also can build into Satanic for the late game. I don't much else I can say.
This does let me bring up the point that Troll + Lycan/Broodmother is a brutal push combo. Broodmother especially, spiders with bonus attack speed from Battle Trance melt structures. And notice that both of those heroes build Vlad's as core, it's a sign.
I'm sure people are going to ask two questions, among others, when it comes to this build. Why max Berserker's Rage 2nd and why get Sange before Yasha?
Because Yasha doesn't really do too much on it's own. With lvl4 Berserker's Rage, Troll has a ton of movement, Fervor with even 1 level and Ult with 1 or 2 levels are attack speed in spades. Sange adds a slow, or rather maim, and it gives Troll much needed HP at this point. He'll have armor from Aquila and HotD, so the STR from Sange is a very useful thing.
This is based on my own experience with Troll. I will say that if you're farming semi-AFK in the jungle for extended periods of time, you'd be better off with Yasha, and you'd be better off maxing Fervor. But I think Troll is best at taking off and applying pressure, and never really letting up. So I play to that strength.
Either way, Sange and Yasha (SnY) are the next pickup on Troll after HotD. The movement speed, HP, damage, attack speed, and slow/maim are just the duck's nuts on Troll. Troll is a hero who's fairly independent from his active skills, so I don't really think Manta is a good idea on him.
Monkey King Bar (MKB) is basically an item you pickup after SnY if you're against PA. There's not a ton of reasons to rush this otherwise. Exception would obviously be if heroes are buying evasion items. It's not a bad item, I just don't think it's absolutely core.
Black King Bar (BKB) is generally considered core, but I've found it not so. I've found that BKB Troll tends to lack in other areas and gets kited. In pub games especially it's hard to coordinate a good team fight, so your BKB never really gets to shine. That being said, if you know you need it, get it. Troll is a big target for CC spells, obviously. Just use it smart, and even consider delaying it. Because a 5 second BKB doesn't do a whole lot for Troll. It's really the first 3 charges that are going to make the BKB purchase worth while. I'd much rather have an Aegis and go Swaggerson McYolo5c0p3z personally.
Diffusal Blade is basically there to counter Medusa. She can get pretty ugly late game. And combine Troll's attack speed with mana burn (which is now not a Unique Attack Modifier), you can shred her of her shield and murder her. I don't think it's necessary or all that good, but it also slows with Active. So I'm putting it out there. It's also decent for breaking Ghost Scepters, dealing with Omniknight and a bunch of other stuff.
Part of the reason I really like Phase+SnY+Skadi is it reduces the need for items like Blink or Lothar's. However, it doesn't entirely remove it either. Realize however that Blink does little to help you scale as a Position 1 carry, if that's how your game is going. Lothar's is a bit better, but still has it's issues.
These items need to be mentioned because position and getting the jump on people is really how you win fights, it's not a matter of who has more crit sticks or maelstroms. If you catch them with their pants down, ults on cooldown, and alone; they die. So that's why wards, vision, initiation, and items like Blink/Lothar's are so important. This is also why Troll combos well with heroes who can scout.
aka Luxury Lane
Boots of Travel are basically just there to allow you to TP while 6-slotted. There's no real functional advantage for the movement speed since the Phase active is pretty vital for chasing in most instances.
Daedalus is without a doubt the best DPS item on Troll. I don't make it a priority. I go for it post SnY/Skadi/AC but if you're not doing enough damage consider crit. Even the Crystalys as a value pickup is viable.
Assault Cuirass is one of my favorite items. Because even with Aquila, SnY, and Skadi; Troll's armor is lackluster. But his HP is great. The attack speed is important late game so you can more effectively get going on someone. Butterfly I feel is a dumb pickup because it's countered by MKB, which people will already consider to counter Melee Whirling Axes. The negative armor on AC is also super duper.
Eye of Skadi is my favorite post-SnY pickup. The stats, the HP, the damage, the attack speed, and most importantly THE SLOW. Nobody gets away from Troll Warlord with maxed Q and W, Phase Boots, SnY, and Skadi. It's the bee's knees for bring down people you find alone.
Satanic is just a solid late-game upgrade for HotD. The additional HP is nice, the active instant full HP function is amazing. However If I say have Phase, SnY, Skadi, AC, Daedalus; I'd rather get a BKB than Satanic. Although combo Troll with Omniknight and never need one, that's an option too.
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