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6 Votes

"The Bird Is the Word" - A Humble Guide to Outworld Destroyer

January 11, 2013 by Baba Ghanoush
Comments: 7    |    Views: 20523    |   

Stacking Intelligence

DotA2 Hero: Outworld Destroyer

Hero Skills

Arcane Orb

8 10 12 14

Astral Imprisonment

1 3 5 13

Essence Flux

2 4 7 9

Sanity's Eclipse

6 11 16


15 17 18

"The Bird Is the Word" - A Humble Guide to Outworld Destroyer

Baba Ghanoush
January 11, 2013


Harbinger the Outworld Destroyer

One of a lordly and magisterial race, Harbinger prowls the edge of the Void, sole surviving sentry of an outpost on the world at the rim of the abyss. From this jagged crystalline Outworld, forever on guard, he has gazed for eternities into the heavens, alert for any stirring in the bottomless night beyond the stars. Imprinted deep in the shining lattices of his intellect lies a resonant pattern akin to prophecy, a dark music implying that eventually some evil will wake out there, beyond the edges of creation, and turn its attention to our world. With his whole being focused on his vigil, Outworld Destroyer paid little attention to events closer in to the sun. But at last the clamor of the Ancients, and a sense of growing threat from within as well as without, sent him winging sunward to visit the plains of war. Harbinger's place in our own prophecies is unambiguous: he must be considered an omen of worse things to come. But his arrival in itself is bad enough.


Harbinger the Outworld Destroyer, also formally known as the Obsidian Destroyer in the original Dota, is an intelligence based carry who can easily cause grief and misery to the opposition if his core items are met. I especially enjoy Harbinger because he has a colossal amount of right click damage. Furthermore Harbinger is a special carry because he has the unique ability to wipe out the entire enemy team with his ultimate. Mind you, this is only possible if Harbinger is completely raping or if you either invest in a Refresher Orb or buy multiple Mystic Staffs which is a complete troll build. Nevertheless, Harbinger is an enjoyable hero to play even though he has a few flaws, most notably his low HP which makes him easy prey. This is why Harbinger must be played with extreme care and caution.

Harbinger's Skills

Arcane Orb

Adds extra pure damage to Outworld Destroyer's attacks, based on his remaining mana pool. Arcane Orb also does bonus damage to summoned units and illusions.
Range: 450
Percent Mana Pool to Damage: 6%/7%/8%/9%
Bonus Damage to Illusions and Summons: 100/200/300/400

Astral Imprisonment

Places a target allied or enemy hero into an astral prison. The hidden hero is invulnerable and disabled. When cast on an enemy Hero, Harbinger temporarily steals intelligence from that hero.
Range: 550
Intelligence Stolen: 4/6/8/10
Duration of Steal: 60
Duration of Imprisonment: 1/2/3/4

Essence Aura

Essence Aura

Whenever nearby allied Heroes or Outworld Destroyer itself casts a spell, it gains a chance to restore 25% of its mana pool. Outworld Destroyer also passively gains a bonus to its base mana pool. Several skills with no cooldown and toggled spells cannot trigger Essence Aura.
Radius: 1000
Chance to Restore: 10%/20%/30%/40%
Base Mana: 75/150/225/300

Sanity's Eclipse

Deals damage to enemy Heroes in an area of effect based on the difference between Harbinger and the affected Hero's intelligence. If the intelligence difference is under a threshold, the affected Hero loses 75% of its current mana. Sanity's Eclipse can hit units trapped in Astral Imprisonment. If an enemy hero has the same or higher Intelligence than Outworld Destroyer, Sanity's Eclipse has no effect.
Range: 600/650/700 (700/750/800*)
Radius: 375/475/575
Intelligence Difference Damage Multiplier: 8/9/10 (9/10/11*)
Intelligence Difference Threshold: 10/30/50
Aghanim's Scepter Up-gradable



Tangos are useful for survivability in mid lane. In most cases only one purchase of tangos is required. However if it is anticipated that you will experience a lot of harassment it is recommended that you invest in 2 or more.


Prerequisite for Null Talisman. Useful because it gives a bit more survivability and intelligence early game with +2 stats for intelligence, strength and agility.

Mantle of Intelligence

Prerequisite for Null Talisman. Gives +3 intelligence and stacks well with Harbinger's Astral Imprisonment. Increases base damage that is useful for last hitting and denying.

Power Treads

Important component that improves Harbinger's relatively slow movement speed. Power Treads can increase Harbinger's survivability and HP regenenration when switched to strength and can also increase the damage output from Sanity's Eclipse when switched to intelligence.

Null Talisman

Increases intelligence by +6 as well as strength, agility and damage by +3. Increases base damage and damage output from Sanity's Eclipse due to more intelligence.

Force Staff

Provides +3 HP regeneration which is vital for survivability. Also increases intelligence by +10 which again increases the damage potential from Sanity's Eclipse. Force provides active mobility to any target which increases chasing potential and escape from ganks.

Scythe of Vyse

Increases Harbinger's intelligence by +35 which increases damage from Arcane Orb due to increased mana pool as well as Sanity's Eclipse. Provides +150% mana regeneration which is not important because essence aura instantly fills the mana pool. Hex is extremely useful to disable the enemy carry or chase down fast enemy heroes. With Hex Harbinger has enough time to kill off most enemy heroes in the span of 3.5 seconds with the help of Arcane Orb.

Orchid Malevolence

Does not provide as much intelligence compared to Scythe of Vyse with +25 intelligence. Increases damage by +30 and mana regeneration by +150%. Soul burn is an active spell that can be useful with Arcane Orb and Sanity's Eclipse as it amplifies the damage taken by the target hero by 30%. soul burn also silences the target which is useful when disabling AOE ultimate heroes such as Tidehunter, Magnus and Enigma.

Black King Bar

Provides Harbinger with +24 damage and +10 strength which increases HP. Black King Bar does not help increase the damage from Sanity's Eclipse but provides magic immunity which is sometimes a vital component in team fights. Very useful when enemy has a single target disabling hero such as Bane or mass amount of AOE damage such as Sand King's Epicenter. Most often a core item to build, however, in a scenario in which the opposition does not have team fight potential, it behooves Harbinger to purchase Shiva's Guard instead.

Shiva's Guard

Another important item that helps increase Harbinger's intelligence by +30. Also increases armor by +15 which dramatically helps Harbinger survive right click and magical damage. Arctic blast is a useful active spell that deals 200 damage and slows the enemy heroes movement speed by 40% in a 719 radius area. Helps chase down heroes or slow down the attack speed of the opposition in the middle of a team fight with freezing aura.

Refresher Orb

Provides a minimal intelligence boost of +6. However it does increase damage by +40 and HP regeneration by +5 which is vital for Harbinger. +200% mana regeneration as mentioned before is not important due to essence aura. The most important component of the Refresher Orb is the active spell which resets the cooldown and all items and abilities. This enables Harbinger to land Sanity's Eclipse twice in a row which in most cases results in a rampage even if all enemy heroes start out with full HP. With this item Harbinger can guarantee a kill even against the most tanky heroes.

Boots of Travel

Increases movement speed and provides Harbinger with global mobility which he can use to farm multiple lanes safely. Also allows Harbinger to be present in every team fight.

Aghanim's Scepter

This item provides all round good stats with +10 intelligence, strength and agility. +150 mana also increases the damage output from Arcane Orb. However I would personally do not recommend this item because its cost of 4200 gold does not justify the minor upgrade of Sanity's Eclipse. With Aghanim's Scepter Sanity's Eclipse's intelligence difference multiplier is increased from 8,9,10 to 9,10,11. This means that if there is an intelligence different of 40 compared to Harbinger and his enemy, Aghanim's Scepter will cause 440 damage instead of the regular 400 damage. To me it is not worth 4200 gold to increase the multiplier by 1. Furthermore, Aghanim's Scepter does not decreases the cooldown of Sanity's Eclipse which makes it more of a waste of money. It is therefore smarter to purchase a Scythe of Vyse which provides +25 more intelligence than Aghanim's Scepter in which case the damage from Sanity's Eclipse would be 650 instead of 440 from the scepter upgrade.


Early Game

It is highly recommended that Harbinger start in mid lane. This is because he needs to level up his ultimate as soon as possible and also because he needs a safe lane to farm up his core items. If there is another hero that wants mid tell them to GTFO and join the supports in top or bottom lane. The way I like to play Harbinger is to harass the opponent with Astral Imprisonment. I constantly spamming Astral Imprisonment does a number of things. First, it increases Harbinger's base damage because intelligence is temporarily stolen. Since stolen intelligence can be stacked, Harbinger can easily reach 100 base damage early on which makes last hitting and denying very easy. Also by stealing intelligence the opposition has an extremely low amount of intelligence which means that the mana pool and mana regeneration is basically nonexistent. An example of this is when Harbinger plays mid lane against Pudge. By spamming astral imprisonment Pudge loses most of his intelligence which means that his mana pool is less than 100. With only 100 mana Pudge can't land a Meat Hook and therefore Harbinger can safely farm and deny creeps. Spamming Astral Imprisonment does not work against heroes who do not rely on much mana to harass the opponent. Examples include Viper and Batrider. The reason that I recommend maxing out Astral Imprisonment and essence aura is that this skill build enables Harbinger to auto cast Arcane Orb during mid game. With essence aura maxed at level 9 Harbinger can spam Arcane Orb without worrying about his mana pool. Essentially this enables Harbinger to become a hard right clicker earlier on in the game.
Anyways I basically farm mid lane until I reach level 6 and have built a Force Staff. I normally rush Force Staff before Power Treads because it is a vital tool for survival and ganking. Harbinger is a pretty slow hero and even though he has mass amount of right click damage he needs the Force Staff to finish enemies or escape when being ganked.

Mid Game

At this stage of the game Harbinger can start to help out ganks in order to get kills and gold for his core items. During a team fight it is recommended to stay back due to Harbinger's pitiful amount of HP. If played carefully Harbinger can Force Staff into the heat of battle and use his ultimate to melt the enemies around him. It is also important to mention that Astral Imprisonment can help save Harbinger and his allies from the enemy if used correctly. Astral Imprisonment has the potential to evade a wide range of spells such as Gyrocopter's Homing Missile and even Lina or Lion's ultimates if timed correctly. Furthermore, during teamfights it is useful to Astral Imprisonment be used on the enemy carry so that your allies can finish off the supports and battle the carry together. During Mid Game it is important to build a Scythe of Vyse to disable to the enemy carry or heroes who are running away from Harbinger. Also at this stage it would be wise to decide whether to invest in a Black King Bar or Shiva's Guard. If the opposition does not have many disables or mass amount of nukes, Shiva'ss Guard is a better choice because it increases Harbinger's intelligence which amplifies his ultimate. Armor from Shiva's Guard is also important as it increases Harbinger's survivability. Black King Bar is vital in situation in which the opposition possess multiple disables or painful AEO ultimates such as Epicenter. Having a Black King Bar guarantees that Harbinger will be able to land his ultimate and do mass amount of AOE damage.

Late Game

By now Harbinger should have Scythe of Vyse and a Black King Bar or Shiva's Guard. At this stage of the game it is important to continue to gain experience and pursue a Refresher Orb. Harbinger can sometimes be out carried by some of the more hard core agility carries such as Faceless Void due to the fact that he cannot farm as fast in the jungle. When playing against hardcore DPS carries such as Drow Ranger it is wise to purchase a Ghost Scepter so that you have time to land Sanity's Eclipse and even to escape ganks. Therefore it is important to get kills and engage in team fights where Harbinger's final is most useful. Although it is tempting to use Harbinger's ultimate at the later stage of a team fight, it is also useful to use his ultimate in the beginning since has the potential to burn 75% of the enemies mana pool.

Friends and Foes



Omniknight is a very useful support for Harbinger because he can use Purification to restore Harbinger's HP and Repel to provide magic immunity. In a sense Omniknight is portable Black King Bar that protects Harbinger in team fights.


Dazzle also has a similar role to Omniknight. Shallow Grave can give Harbinger 5 seconds of invunerability which can prove to be vital in chaotic team fights. With Shallow Grave the opposition cannnot target Harbinger while he is busy right clicking the enemy into oblivion. Furthermore, this could potentially enable Harbinger to skip his Black King Bar build a purchase an item that improves the damage output from Sanity's Eclipse.


Magnus's main synergy with Harbinger is Reverse Polarity which groups all nearby enemies in a small AOE for 3.75 seconds. With this spell Magnus is basically putting the enemy on a silver plate for Harbinger so that he can cook them up nicely with Sanity's Eclipse. Also the 3.75 second stun combined with Empower gives Harbinger 50% bonus damage and cleave which is enough time for Harbinger to right click down multiple survivors.

Dark Seer

Dark Seer's Vacuum and Surge are the two main components that can help Harbinger become a more effective carry. Vacuum has a similar effect to Reverse Polarity as it sucks all nearby foes into one spot, making it easier to land Sanity's Eclipse on multiple targets. Surge can be used to boost Harbinger's movement speed so that he can easily chase down fleeing heroes. In times of trouble Surge can also prove to be a mechanism for Harbinger to quickly escape ganks.


Tidehunter is another hero that can ***its the effectiveness of Sanity's Eclipse. A good Ravage has the potential to catch all 5 enemy heroes and stun them for 2.77. This can be a useful initiation tool when combined with a blink dagger. After Ravage Harbinger can quickly force staff into battle and use Sanity's Eclipse. These two AOE ultimates can prove to be a fatal combination for the opposition.


Nyx Assassin

Basically do not pick Harbinger if Nyx Assassin is picked by the opposition. Nyx Assassin is the bane of all intelligence based heroes due to Mana Burn which burns 5 times the intelligence of the target hero and deals the same amount in physical damage. For a hero like Harbinger who relies on high intelligence, Mana Burn is detrimental. This fact, coupled with Harbinger's low HP means that Nyx Assassin can easily solo kill Harbinger out of nowhere. I don't see an effective way for Harbinger to counter Nyx Assassin since purchasing Gem of True Sight and Sentry Wards only slows down his farm and does not guarantee safety from nxy assassin.

doom bringer

Doom Bringer

Doom bringer is basically a counter against most mage heroes. The biggest problem that Harbinger faces agaisnt droom bringer is his Doom. For a low HP hero like Harbinger, Doom does a hell load of damage and can easily end up killing him if he is below half HP. The most worrying dilemna however, is that Doom causes the target hero to also be silenced during the whole duration of the spell which lasts 15 seconds when maxed out. A silenced Harbinger cannot use Arcane Orb or Sanity's Eclipse which renders him completely ueseless in team battles. The only way to solve this problem is to purchase a Black King Bar as soon as possible. However even this item does not completely solve the problem due to the cooldown and the fact that the duration of magic immunity decreases with each use.


A well played Pugna can completely shut down Harbinger with Nether Ward. Nether Ward deals damage equal to the damage multiplier (1.75 when maxed out) times the mana spent by the hero. Unfortunately Nether Ward deals damage when Harbinger uses Arcane Orb. Since the cost of using Arcane Orb is 100 mana this means that when Nether Ward is maxed out, it deals 175 damage per use of Arcane Orb. If Arcane Orb is on auto-cast, which it should be in most cases, it means that Harbinger could literally kill himself by right clicking down heroes. I mean 10 Arcane Orb attacks will cause 1750 damage. There is no way Harbinger is surviving that.


Playing against Silencer essentially becomes a brain battle between the smartest (highest intelligence) heroes in the game. Since Sanity's Eclipse relies on intelligence different as a source of damage, if Silencer ends up having more intelligence than Harbinger it could mean that his ultimate does not put a single scratch on Silencer. The real problem however, is the fact that Silencer as many nasty spells under his sleeve that he can use to harass Harbinger. curse of the silent causes heroes under a small AOE to take damage and lose mana until they cast a spell. It would seems that this wouldn't be a problem since Harbinger has Arcane Orb right? But that isn't the case since auto-casting Arcane Orb doesn't count as a spell under curse of the silent. This that Harbinger has to use Astral Imprisonment on himself or any target. Last Word and Global Silence are two spells that could cause serious problems for Harbinger in team fight as it cripples his ablility to use Sanity's Eclipse and Arcane Orb. In such scenarios rushing a Black King Bar can somewhat compensate the presence of Silencer

Pros and Cons


1. Deals pure damage with Arcane Orb which pierces through armor and resistance to magical damage. Examples include Pudge's Flesh Heap and Anti-Mage's spell shield.
2. No mana issues due to essence aura which has 25% chance to restore 40% mana. Basically Harbinger's mana pool is always full once essence aura is maxed out
3. Able to deal outrageous AOE damage against ******ed heroes (low intelligence)
4. Has potential to evade spells and damage using Astral Imprisonment. Can also disable the enemy carry during team fights with this ability
5. Restores mana to neighboring allies with essence aura
6. Looks bad *** and has a sick voice "Their sanity I'll shatter; their dreams of conquest I'll destroy."
7. Perfect counter against Anti-Mage
8. Powerful againsnt agility based carries such as Drow Ranger, Riki, Juggernaut, and Phantom Lancer due to the fact that these heroes have relatively low intelligence and low HP. This causes Sanity's Eclipse to become a deadly ultimate.


1. Low HP and easy to kill
2. Power of ultimate depends on items and intelligence of enemy heroes
3. Arcane Orb does not work on magic immune targets
4. Pugna's Nether Ward counts Arcane Orb as a spell. This means that Harbinger gets raped when he right clicks with Arcane Orb. (Trust me it happened to me once... I needed lube to ease the pain in my anus)
5. Can be out carried by hardcore carries like Faceless Void in late late game
6. Cannot farm in jungle as well as agility carries such as Anti-Mage, Faceless Void and Luna to name a few
7. Very item dependent and basically loses his manhood if ganked too much
8. Nyx Assassin's Mana Burn burns 5 times the intelligence of Harbinger and deals the same amount in damage. This spell is spammable and an extremely painful nuke against Harbinger. (Ex. If Harbinger has 120 intelligence, Mana Burn deals 600 damage. Oh did I mention that the cool down for Mana Burn is 4 seconds when maxed out? Harbinger is easy prey for Nyx Assassin.
9. Faceless Void's backtrack when maxed out has a 25% chance to dodge any source of damage including Arcane Orb and Sanity's Eclipse. Even under Astral Imprisonment backtrack allows Faceless Void to dodge Harbinger's ultimate.


I hope I have provided enough assistance and insight into mastering one of the most unique heroes in DotA. There is so much potential with Outworld Destroyer and it is my hope that people appreciate and respect him more. Harbinger is hard to play and requires patience and caution so that he can farm and build his core items. The beauty of Harbinger is the fact that you can increase the damage of Sanity's Eclipse by purchasing intelligence rich items. There is no other hero in DotA that has the potential to wipe out the whole enemy team in a split second. If Harbinger is played correctly he is enjoyable to play and offers thrilling gameplay due to his crucial presence in team fights. I hope this guide was useful and thank you for taking the time to read it. Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions and be kind enough to vote.
Thank you

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