PUDDING POP E-LEC-TRIC. An In-Depth Guide to the Mexican Blueberry.
August 23, 2013
Storm Spirit: An Introduction
Hello! Welcome to my guide to Storm Spirit, a rather spontaneous hero with a very high skill ceiling.
This is my first guide. Please leave some comments on this guide to help me improve.
I have chosen to write this guide because I have seen too many a pub player use Storm Spirit incorrectly. As he is my favorite hero, I almost feel obligated to make this guide. In this guide, I plan to go in-depth on the certain scenarios/builds presented.
Storm Spirit is literally a force of nature--the wild power of wind and weather, bottled in human form. And a boisterous, jovial, irrepressible form it is! As jolly as a favorite uncle, he injects every scene with crackling energy. But it was not always thus, and there was tragedy in his creation. Generations ago, in the plains beyond the Wailing Mountains, a good people lay starving in drought and famine. A simple elementalist, Thunderkeg by name, used a forbidden spell to summon the spirit of the storm, asking for rain. Enraged at this mortal's presumption, the Storm Celestial known as Raijin lay waste to the land, scouring it bare with winds and flood. Thunderkeg was no match for the Celestial--at least until he cast a suicidal spell that forged their fates into one: he captured the Celestial in the cage of his own body. Trapped together, Thunderkeg's boundless good humor fused with Raijin's crazed energy, creating the jovial Raijin Thunderkeg, a Celestial who walks the world in physical form.
Pros and Cons
The single-most mobile hero in the game.
An adept ganker.
A strong solo-mid hero with the ability to harass and control creep waves.
Has the ability to dodge many projectiles and stuns with his ultimate.
Literally the most fun hero to "stormball" as.
Silences make this tubby bastard as useless as an illusion rune (which is to say, useless)
Silences, man. No joke.
Makes you cry when he dies. (No, seriously. His death lines will make you tear up.)
Although Storm Spirit's farm-dependent, he can't out-carry a true hard carry.
When NOT to pick Storm Spirit
This is crucial. Now you may say, "Bimmer, why is there no mention for when you should pick Storm Spirit?" I did this because, if none of the following is a problem, you can pick Storm Spirit as you please.
ANYONE WITH A SILENCE WILL F*** YOU UP[/b]. This includes common mid heroes like Death Prophet, Drow, Doom, etc.
MANA DRAINERS AND BURNERS. The moment you initiate, Antimage will burn all of your mana, thus taking away any chance of escape you had. Special mention to Keeper of the Light, whose Mana Leak will burn your mana even through ball lighting. The only way for this not to happen is if you travel an obscenely large distance in a short time with ball lightning.
ORCHID MALEVOLENCE. This item gives a lengthy silence. Be weary of heroes like Clinkz who build Orchid on a regular basis.
Note: Stuns counter everyone, so I'm not mentioning them in this list of foes. With practice, it becomes rather easy to dodge certain stuns with Ball Lighting.
Skills and Build Explanation
Storm Spirit has four great skills, three of which are active. Unfortunately, many of these skills are misunderstood. Here's my explanation of them.
Creates an explosively charged image of Storm Spirit that lasts 12 seconds and will detonate and deal damage if an enemy unit comes near it.
Trigger Radius: 235
Cooldown: 3.5 Mana Cost: 70/80/90/100
My view on this skill: Static Remnant is a great nuke on a low cooldown and with a fairly low mana cost. Yet, in the above skill build, I opted for maxing it out last. Why is that? Early-game, you are primarily using the remnant to last hit or proc your passive (we'll get to the passive later). By maxing this skill out, you increase the mana cost but keep the cooldown the same. You pick this up at level 1 to last hit, but the decent 140 damage is competent enough to heavily harass a melee mid hero. In general, it is much more effective to max out your second skill first, Electric Vortex.
Notes about the skill:
- Remnants do have a small cast animation (about a second or so)
- Remnants give flying vision in a small AOE. These suckers are great counters to gankers who take advantage of being in or behind the treeline like Pudge or Batrider.
- The explosion radius is actually a bit larger than the detonation radius itself
A vortex that pulls an enemy unit to Storm Spirit's location, it also slows the Storm Spirit by 50% for 3 seconds.
Pull Duration: 1/1.5/2/2.5
Pull Distance: 10Casting a spell creates an electrical charge, which is released in a burst on his next attack, dealing damage and slowing nearby enemies.0/150/200/250
Cooldown: 20 Mana Cost: 100/110/120/130
My view on this skill:
Relative to other disables in the game, this isn't very good as a stand-alone ability. It's a standard 2.5 second stun, but it deals no damage, has a rather long cooldown, and hinders your own movement. However, this skill has great synergy with Storm Spirit's first ability, Static Remnant. Because the disable pulls the target into Storm Spirit, the target will get in range of a Static Remnant placed at the point of casting. This is the first skill you max out as it is your only disable. It is a great ganking spell, and the repositioning part of this spell can make a difference in a gank.
Casting a spell creates an electrical charge, which is released in a burst on his next attack, dealing damage and slowing nearby enemies.
Slow Duration: 0.6
Movement Speed Slow: 80%
Attack Speed Slow: 50%
My view on this skill:
This is one of Storm Spirit's most defining abilities, and contrary to popular belief, Overload is his main source of damage in the mid-game. The slow to both attack and move speed are great and can almost be looked at as pseudo-stuns. The bonus 90 damage is a godsend as well.
Notes about the skill:
- The best way to utilize this skill is to make sure that all of your attacks in a ganking situation are overloaded attacks. The most popular (and effective, in my opinion) combination is to zap in, overload attack, electric vortex, overload attack, static remnant, overload attack, zap through them (to deal damage and dodge a possible counter-stun, like those of Vengeful Spirit, Sven, and the like), overload attack again, and if they're not dead, either pursue or retreat. This combination deals a total of 360 magical damage FROM OVERLOAD ALONE.
- Many smart mid players will see overload-autoattacks coming for harass in lane. Some will stand out of your vision when they see that you have an overload attack at the ready. However, an interesting trick to counter this is to throw a normal attack at the enemy hero, and BEFORE the attack hits, press 'q' to cast your remnant. Now, that attack you just threw at the enemy magically turned into an overloaded attack IN MIDAIR.
- When getting ganked before level 6, don't be afraid to use this skill to kite foes away! When I was midding vs a good Pudge who hooked me in and rotted me (pre Lvl. 6), I was able to overload-kite Pudge and run away, even while under the influence of Rot's slow.
Storm Spirit becomes volatile electricity, charging across the battlefield until he depletes his mana or reaches his target. The mana activation cost is 15+7% of his total mana pool, and the cost per 100 units traveled is 10+1% of his total mana pool. Damage is expressed in damage per 100 units traveled.
Damage Per 100 Units Traveled: 8/12/16
Mana Cost Per 100 Units Traveled: 10 + 1% of Maximum Mana
Travel Speed: 1250/1875/2500
My view on this skill:
Holy Sh*t this skill is fun. And it has so much utility, too! It destroys trees, makes you invulnerable, and makes for a great escaping, initiating, and damaging spell. The invulnerability part of the skill makes for some amazing options. A competent Storm Spirit can easily dodge stuns and damaging spells alike. Sven's storm hammer's got nothing on this skill! Also, this skill is great to proc your Overload. You just zap an incredibly small distance and BOOM. Free Overload attack.
Notes about this skill:
- The ability destroys trees in Storm Spirit's path
- Interestingly enough, some spells that would normally affect everyone don't affect Storm Spirit whilst in Ball Lightning. For example, he can zap through
a Chronosphere from Faceless Void. Also, oddly enough, if Silencer casts his ultimate, Global Silence, while Storm Spirit is in Ball Lightning, he will not be silenced.
- You can use items while in Ball Lightning, single target or AOE. You can activate a Shiva's guard while zapping through a whole team to maximize effect. Another neat trick is activating Orchid Malevolence on the foe BEFORE you hit them with Ball Lightning; that way, you actually amplify the damage done by Ball Lightning, which in some cases can be massive.
Playing Storm Spirit Early: The Laning Phase
As a powerful mid hero, Storm Spirit has little trouble expressing dominance over the other mid hero in lane. Be sure to block the first creep wave so you can get an advantage in lane, but there's no harm in camping a rune spot to test your luck. Many mid players start at their tier 3 and block all the way, and if you block enough, the creep wave will be at your tower, which will mean the wave will actually push instead of stay back.
Of course, make sure you team AT LEAST has a courier. When I solo-queue (which is most of the time), I usually don't expect my teammates to buy wards, but when someone does, it's a rather nice luxury.
When it actually comes to laning, you have to ask yourself a few questions:
Who am I laning against?
What are his starting items?
How much regen did he bring with him?
Did he block too? If so, is he also an experienced mid hero?
Is he ranged? Melee?
What's this hero's base damage?
Many of these questions have a lot to do with the player himself, not the hero. It is crucial to size up the player himself in just a few seconds. Typically, for me, when I see the enemy team's mid hero start bottle only, I look forward to the laning experience, because
A good mid player knows never to start bottle unless you randomed
Also, if the enemy mid started with just a tango and three branches (indicating bottle rush), be sure to use mana and time to harass him down. Denying creeps vs. a mid who's rushing bottle becomes a priority, even over last-hitting, because the more you postpone his bottle and harass him, the less effective his starting build was. Of course, 15 seconds before the next rune spawn, make sure to use both your Static Remnant and your Overload to push the creep wave to the enemy's tower.
Now comes the quintessential question of being a solo-mid Storm Spirit: Why should you never start bottle (even if you randomed)?
Answer: Early game stats matter more on Storm Spirit than super-early mana and hp regen. A bottle will serve you little good before 2 minutes vs. having stat items to help you last hit, deny, and harass, and solid hp regen. A Tango is the superior health regen item for the laning stage. Even when I random Storm Spirit, I prefer starting with the typical regeneration set of a tango and a salve, and then buy a Null Talisman and some branches, solely because it give me the power to make every single last-hit and deny-attempt count. One should shoot for bottle before two minutes to bottle the rune, but NEVER START BOTTLE.
(Note: This advice applies to most mid heroes, but NOT ALL. Although I don't like starting bottle on Storm Spirit even when I random, this mechanic doesn't apply to all mid heroes. Zeus, for example, would strongly benefit from a starting bottle if he randomed. But as a rule, if you have the usual 600 starting gold, never start bottle on ANY mid hero.)
Lane Control: Ranged vs. Melee
Although playing a solo mid role is somewhat consistent in all situations, many times circumstances change. This especially applies for Storm. If you are laning vs. a ranged hero, there are many different strategies you have to apply to dominate late compared to laning vs. a melee hero. Here are some of the tips.
Ranged: You will have less opportunities to exercise lane dominance on your foe. It will be harder to overload-harass, and landing a remnant on the enemy will literally be impossible. In a situation like this, really focus on getting those last hits and denies. Don't worry too much about harassing the enemy hero unless the opportunity prevents itself (Also, a trick with using Overload on smart foes is to throw a normal auto-attack, then cast your Static Remnant before the projectile hits the enemy). Of course, always push the creep wave to the enemy's tower shortly before rune spawns.
Melee: This situation is much more interesting (and easier, for the most part). You can harass with overload like crazy, and because your foe is a melee hero, all you have to do is cast a remnant near the creep-line so he either can't last hit, or he takes 140 magic damage + an overloaded attack for a last-hit. It shouldn't be too hard to harass a melee hero out of lane (especially if went a rush-bottle starting kit with just one tango). Of course, always push the creep wave to the enemy's tower shortly before rune spawns.
Introduction: Item Progression
There are many ways to build items on Storm Spirit, but in my mind, there are two general "builds" on this hero: the Bloodstone Rush and the Orchid Rush. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and both the Bloodstone and the Orchid as items dictate what your early-game playstyle (and early-game items, for that matter) will be.
Build 1: Orchid Rush
As Storm Spirit, you want to get a great start in lane. In order to do so, you need a healthy breakfast! (or good starting items)
Here's what your starting load-out should be:
2x Mantle of Intelligence
2x Iron Branches
Why: Average regen, and great stats for hitpoints and damage.
You'll want to shoot for a pre-2minute bottle. (If you haven't used up either of your regens and you need space for the bottle, get the courier to pick up one of your branches in the same trip it delivers your bottle.) After that, farm up your Boots of Speed and two Null Talismans (each Talisman will be 320 gold, since you already have the mantles)
At this point, not including regen, you should have:
1x Bottle (with runes in it, hopefully)
1x Boots of Speed
2x Null Talisman
At this point you start bottling runes and ganking other lanes. Once you have sufficient funds, buy your Power Treads and keep them on Intelligence. If you don't know how to tread-switch to maximize regen, learn how to. Many would say to get arcane boots on Storm Spirit, and I will have to admit, they're pretty damn good on him, but the reason why we go treads on this build is because we are going more for an auto-attacking build. The treads help us attack faster and get more Overloaded attacks out, and with Power Treads on intelligence and two talismans, We're hitting for over 100 damage.
Now, you want to be rushing your oblivion staffs. There are three ways to rush these bad boys:
1. Buy an Oblivion Staff as a whole unit, then buy the next one in the same manner.
2. Buy two Sage's Masks for the high mana regen, then proceed to complete both of them.
3. Buy two Robes of the Magi for the high int, then proceed to complete both of them.
Once you have the Orchid, I recommend you get a BKB. Storm Spirit needs the damage and HP from BKB, and magic immunity makes sure he doesn't get silenced and stunned because smart teams will know to focus the Storm Spirit before his allies.
Advantages of this build:
- Storm Spirit's damage output is insane with this build. He can solo kill almost anyone 1v1 with this build.
Disadvantages of this build:
- Orchid makes it even easier for your team to gank a hero with a potential escape.
- Even early game, the high damage will guarantee early ganks, thus winning your other lanes.
- You have to be very careful with your mana usage. You can't zap too far because your mana pool (and regen) isn't large enough to sustain large periods of time in Ball Lightning.
- No for real. You REALLY have to be careful about mana usage.
- Because of your rather limited mana pool, Storm Spirit isn't as mobile as he's known to be.
Summary: The Orchid Build is all about gaining an Early-Mid-Game advantage by obtaining early DPS items to win lanes, fights, and ganks.
Build 2: Bloodstone Rush
With this play style, you want to rush your core items on Storm Spirit. Stat items aren't as important. I recommend starting with:
1x Mantle of Intelligence
3x Iron Branches
(If you have to get a salve because there's a heavy harasser in lane, then by all means get it).
Once again, you'll want to shoot for a pre-2minute bottle. Rune control is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY in this build because you don't build damage here. You're building a large mana pool and high mana regeneration. You want to shoot for an early pair of arcane boots (and make that mantle into a Null Talisman. You will need the damage since you get none from Arcane Boots). You also want to make a Magic Wand to free up space in your inventory. At this point, you should have:
1x Magic Wand
1x Arcane Boots
1x Null Talisman
1x Town Portal Scroll OR Smoke of Deceit (for ganking other lanes)
At this point, we want to start building the parts of the divine Bloodstone. On most heroes, you would build the soul booster first by buying the Vitality Booster and the Point Booster and disassembling the Arcane Boots. However, because the burst 135 mana from Arcane Boots is crucial on Storm Spirit, and mana and hp regen is such an issue, you should always build the Perseverance first. THEN, buy the parts of the Soul Booster and disassemble your Arcane Boots to get your almighty Bloodstone!
Advantages of this build:
- Storm Spirit's mana pool (and HP) is high and mighty, enabling him to jump even farther with Ball Lightning
Disadvantages of this build:
- Bloodstone is arguably one of the best snowballing, or st0rmballing, items in the game, enabling Storm Spirit to become more and more versatile every kill he gets.
- Shorter respawn times thanks to Bloodstone negates the need to buy back in a tense situation.
- The AOE Heal will win teamfights. When you have around 20 charges, the heal for your team is 1000 HP, or the equivalent of 4 Mekansm uses.
- You also gain exp and vision at the place you died WHILE YOU'RE DEAD.
- When you get enough charges, zapping across the map to farm different lanes is a viable option.
- SO. MUCH. FUN.
- Storm Spirit's damage output is meager when compared to that of the Orchid Build.
- If you are killed once or twice shortly after obtaining your Bloodstone, the purpose of this build, which is to st0rmball out of control, goes down the drain.
- Silence Storm Spirit and he literally has no damage source.
Summary: The Bloodstone build on Storm Spirit is the more enjoyable build, enabling players to zap across the map and regenerate their expelled mana in a blink. The heal and the shorter respawn times are game-breaking at times, too. But the Bloodstone really leaves Storm Spirit aching for more DPS items.
Well, that's my guide to Storm Spirit. He's the most mobile hero in a teamfight, capable of zapping into the fight and out in the blink of an eye.
"Everyone complains about the weather... well, I'm doing something about it!"
- Storm Spirit