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13 Votes

Sando's Guide to Abaddon

August 20, 2014 by Sando
Comments: 18    |    Views: 66340    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Coil Support

DotA2 Hero: Abaddon

Hero Skills

Mist Coil

3 4 5 7

Aphotic Shield

1 8 9 10

Curse of Avernus

2 12 13 14

Borrowed Time

6 11 16




Abaddon, Lord of Avernus; a multi-role hero who can be incredibly frustrating to play against. Healing allies, removing stuns with impunity, and even gaining health from the damage you inflict on him, he can be a nightmare to deal with.

However, his powers require careful usage, and even his amazing tanking abilities have to be used carefully to get the maximum effect - tough isn't the same as invincible. Abaddon also runs the risk of simply being ignored by the opposition once they get wise to you, so we'll also look at how to deal with this issue.

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ Flexible, multi-role hero
+ Incredibly strong tanking ability
+ Can instantly remove debuffs from allies
+ Powerful buff placer in Curse of Avernus
+ Good base movement speed
+ Can heal and protect team mates

- Lacks any hard disable
- Can struggle for damage output
- Needs some equipment to be effective
- Skill scaling isn't brilliant
- Ultimate can be minimised by good play or big burst damage

Mist Coil

Mist Coil is a combined nuke/heal depending on whether you target a friendly or enemy unit. It has an extremely short cooldown (5 seconds at all levels) and a good range.

On paper Mist Coil is somewhat lacklustre. It barely manages to come out "cost efficient" at any level, and is extremely poor early in the game. By the time you taken into account the self-damage and mana cost, the heal/nuke is almost always a negative trade off unless you can secure or deny a kill.

The real saving grace of Mist Coil is how it combines with your other skills, and the control it gives you over your own health pool.
] Self-damage can positively be a good thing on Abaddon:

1) You can deny yourself with it if your health is low enough.

2) If you have an active Aphotic Shield, it will take the damage for you, potentially bursting it.

3) Using it while under the effects of Borrowed Time will actually HEAL you.

As a support Abaddon, items like Tranquil Boots and Urn of Shadows allow us to balance the bad effects of Mist Coil more easily.

Aphotic Shield

Aphotic Shield is an extremely powerful and useful skill. It essentially gives the carrier a bunch of extra hit points, but the benefits don't just stop there. The shield will burst after either a time limit, or when it takes sufficient damage. This burst will hit all nearby enemies.

This obviously makes it useful for pushing, harassing and tower diving. It's pretty unpleasant for enemies to deal with early on because they either have to back off while you attack them, or fight back and take the damage from the shield before they can actually hurt you.

The real magic of Aphotic Shield though is that it removes most debuffs and stuns from the target.
Your Morphling just caught a 5 second Sacred Arrow? No problem, he's straight out of it. Bane's Fiend's Grip got your Invoker in trouble? Not anymore.

Once maxed, it has a very short cooldown, and can make it incredibly irritating for an enemy team who are dependent on single target lockdown skills. Obviously it can save allies who are on very low health and/or under the effects of Damage Over Time spells.

Finding the mana to keep using this can be an issue early game, so it's quite important that we at least get some levels and basic equipment to help us out with this.

Aphotic Shield does drop off quite hard after the early game due to it's very limited scaling, but the ability to remove debuffs will always be useful.

Curse of Avernus

Curse of Avernus is your passive skill, and procs whenever you attack an enemy or neutral unit. It slows the enemy unit, while also giving a series of buffs to anyone who attacks them for a short duration.

The slow maxes out at 20%, which isn't bad for a "free" skill, and can be increased further by grabbing an Orb of Venom. Combined with the 15% movement speed buff it gives you, it's incredibly easy to chase down enemies who can't use mobility spells. It can also be handy for escaping - give a quick smack to a nearby enemy creep and you have 4.5 seconds of movement boost.

The buff also solves one of Abaddon's issues - his agility gain isn't brilliant, so having the attack speed buff from Curse of Avernus compensates pretty nicely to make him a viable right-clicker.

Generally I like to get an early point in this for the harass/buff value, and then max it last as your other skills need to be maxed early game to make them useful. It still gives you good benefits at level 1.

Borrowed Time

Borrowed Time is your ultimate, and what a nightmare it can be for the opposition. Activated manually, or automatically when you drop below 400hp, it will remove most negative buffs immediately, and for the duration any damage you take will heal you instead.

Obviously this is a really big deal - it can get you out of a lot of trouble, heal you to full health from almost zero and make you a real handful for the opposition.

Abaddon always triumphs!!! (Youtube)

Be very careful to only engage in risky encounters when it's off cooldown - your survivability is significantly lower, and the cooldown on it is relatively short. Don't accidently waste it when jungling for example.

Abilities like Culling Blade, Lagune Blade and Finger of Death can kill you without activating Borrowed Time ( Axe can even kill you with it active if you're below the threshold). Same with big critical hits from heroes like Phantom Assassin. Manual activation is recommended here.

Good opponents will stop attacking you when it activates and wait out the duration, so you need ways of forcing damage on to yourself, such as using Mist Coil. This is part of the reason I recommend items like Armlet of Mordiggian (careful with those toggles!) Soul Ring and Mask of Madness.

However, the best way of using Borrowed Time is to pick Abaddon against opponents who are not "in control" of their damage output. For example, if Jakiro uses Macropyre or Tinker uses March of the Machines then they can't stop that damage from healing you. You're really good against heroes who can't precisely target or stop damaging specific units.

Another important part of using it well is simply to make yourself enough of a problem - if you're running in and hurting people with Curse of Avernus, removing debuffs from allies and generally making a pain of yourself, the opposition have to do something to deal with you - which is exactly what you want.

A quick note here on the Aghanim's Scepter upgrade - it's pretty tremendous really. Although the time increase isn't that significant, being able to absorb damage for the rest of your team is. Not only will the enemy be unable to avoid healing you in most situations, but it provides considerable damage reduction for everyone else.

Skill Builds

The three builds I've listed above are pretty standard, and you'll want to pick one based on your main role in the game, and the situation.

I've generally left Curse of Avernus until last because it's your best scaling skill, and the benefits of higher levels in it only really come through later in the game. However, there may be situations where you want to max it sooner - such as if the extra slow will almost definitely lead to kills, or you have an unexpectedly large amount of farm.

Mist Coil may not seem that useful early on, but it can be the difference between a kill secured or a carry saved. It's also extremely useful to have more points in it when you're operating under Borrowed Time. All that self-damage is guaranteed heal, and you get a "free" nuke out of it.


Abaddon can play in a variety of roles from #1 to #4, although I think he works best when not the primary carry. He can play in much pretty any lane, although is usually favoured as a lane support, or a solo offlaner.

I wouldn't generally recommend Abaddon as a #5, he can do the job, but without extra equipment his potential does go to waste. Even as a support you want a reasonable amount of healing equipment and mana regeneration to ensure he's always available to help his team mates.

Abaddon's played in a farming role usually end up with some combination of tanking and DPS items. Sometimes there's a distinct overlap in these roles - you need some DPS to be threatening enough to be focused by the opposition and do your tanking job properly.

If played as a #1 or #2, Abaddon can be pretty scary for an unprepared opposition, but despite his fighting ability, he's not a hard carry and should generally be aggressive rather than AFK farming.



Abaddon is not a conventional support as he lacks anything approaching a strong stun or slow, and he's melee which makes it harder to harass and deny in some lanes. He's reasonably level dependent and doesn't want to be stuck babysitting in a lane for too long.

You can be quite aggressive with him in the laning phase by running in to harass with Curse of Avernus, you can combine this with Aphotic Shield to make yourself a real pain and generally force opponents backwards. However, you won't have the mana to keep doing this indefinitely, and have to be more restrained until you reach level 6 and Borrowed Time.

Personally, I think Abaddon works better in a dual lane than a trilane, unless it's a very aggressive trilane that doesn't mind diving to get kills and will generally be ballsy. Those early assists will help a lot.

For dual lanes, he does extremely well in those really tough situations that most heroes don't want to be in. Say you're against a Bane and Mirana looking to setup big arrows - you and your lane partner should be able to look after each other and ensure that those big stuns don't last.

You want lots of healing equipment so you can make use of Mist Coil to help allies, do some tanking where possible, but your most important job is to ensure your key heroes like carries and initiators have timely Aphotic Shields.


Obviously your gold income will depend on which lane you get here, but either way you'll be able to afford some items which are usually out of the reach of supports.

The most important thing here I find is that you need to make yourself genuinely threatening to enemies, while also increasing your HP to get maximum benefit from Borrowed Time - every point in your pool can be essentially tripled with the right plays (lose it once, gain it back, lose it again).

Any damage you can add automatically makes you more threatening, and the attack speed bonus of Curse of Avernus can compensate for your agility here. Additional effects like Skull Basher add to the threat, and make it hard for enemies to ignore you. You can also be pretty ballsy with dives and aggressive play provided you think you can make it out again - given time you'll start thinking of enemy towers as "guaranteed healing" :)

What mixture of tank/DPS you go will depend on the composition of your team - if you're the primary carry you'll need more damage, while if you're a #3 offlaner you will probably be happy just to tank up and add some threat.



A fairly standard selection of starting consumables and stats. The Stout Shield is always a good pickup if you can possibly afford it, as you can harass and compete much more effectively - sometimes I'll even pick it up before boots as a support in the laning phase.

The Clarity potion is situational - you won't get the chance to use it in some lanes as you'll likely be getting hit, but it can be useful to have if your role is more passive.


A sizable number of options here, and completely different choices depending on our role. Lets start with the support items...

It's usual to pickup the Tranquil Boots for the healing and armour bonus, with Soul Ring providing your mana restoration ability. Between these two items and Urn of Shadows you have considerable sustain for both health and mana.

Soul Ring has the additional bonus of damaging you - always useful when under Borrowed Time to get a free 150 health back and enough mana to ensure you can cast Mist Coil.

This would usually be my preferred core, but you may consider replacing items with say Ring of Basilius or Bracer if you're rushing to pickup a Vladmir's Offering or Drum of Endurance.

The carry options are distinctly different. We want to pickup damage here, and also items that will let us manipulate our health pool, or offer more threat to opponents.

Phase Boots should almost always be your preferred choice due to the increased damage and chasing speed. Curse of Avernus will provided the attack speed we need, so Power Treads aren't really that desirable.

The other options are quite interesting - Drum of Endurance gives you an all round bonus, plus an aura for your team. It's the most generalist choice.

Armlet of Mordiggian is a statement of intent - the fastest and cheapest way of boosting your damage output. The health drain can actually be quite useful when under Borrowed Time but the effect isn't hugely noticeable. The main thing to be careful of here is toggling it off when doing so will leave you under 400hp and potentially activate your ultimate accidently.

Mask of Madness
is another really useful aggressive item - lifesteal combined with a big bonus to attack and movement speed can make you really threatening and force opponents to engage you. Even the increased damage vulnerability can be helpful - taking more damage when under the effects of Borrowed Time will just heal you faster! Combines well with Skull Basher and Armlet of Mordiggian.

Maelstrom is our final interesting item. I wouldn't say it's a standard pickup, and you'll need more early levels in Curse of Avernus to boost your attack speed and make it viable. However, it can greatly boost your farming and pushing speed, while adding extra damage in team fights.

Extension Options:

Again, we have a fairly distinct split between the support and other roles, although it's not impossible to move Abaddon up the farming priority as the game progresses.

Mekansm - you're a strong carrier for this due to your survivability, and it helps manage your health and provides an aura.

Pipe of Insight - another item that suits you well, providing improved tanking abilities as well as team utility against strong magic damage attacks.

Drum of Endurance - improves all your stats and provides another strong aura for your team.

Blade Mail - an interesting item on Abaddon, but one that requires careful choosing. The general stats are cheap and extremely good, while your relatively high HP makes the active component interesting. You need to be careful not to further dissuade enemies from attacking you during Borrowed Time, but it can be useful just afterwards, or when bathing in uncontrollable enemy damage.

Orb of Venom - this should really be picked up during laning, provides a useful additional slow on top of Curse of Avernus, and is very cheap.

Vladmir's Offering - good all round stats and aura boost, combined with some team lifesteal and bonus damage. It's very useful, especially a little later in the game.

The carry options continue our themes from our core - with even more emphasis on either tanking, threat or both.

Skull Basher is the logical progression of Armlet of Mordiggian/ Mask of Madness builds, with your attack speed now proc'ing frequent stuns and yet more damage. This item makes you extremely difficult to ignore, while also boosting damage and effectiveness.

Black King Bar
is for if your threat is attracting a little bit too much attention - you don't want to be getting disabled for long periods during fights or eating huge nukes before you can activate your Ult. BKB gives your more flexibility and survivability. Situational, but important.

Aghanim's Scepter
is really strong for you if you've taken on a tanking role. It increases your Borrowed Time duration, and most importantly channels 35% of all damage taken by allied heroes within 900 range to you while it's active. Not only does it almost guarantee you'll fully heal, but it provides a huge defensive bonus to your team.

Mjollnir obviously is somewhat dependent on you already having a Maelstrom but it's a further improvement. Gives you great farming/pushing ability plus extra damage in fights, while the lightning shield can help with tanking.


There's likely to be some convergence here if you make it to luxury items as a support, although there should still be more of a focus on utility and tanking rather than damage.

Heaven's Halberd is a great item for increasing your own survivability, but it's primary job is to disarm out of control enemy carries temporarily.

Assault Cuirass massively increases your attack speed, but also increases your armour and provides a very strong aura for your team. While this is preferrable on a carry Abaddon, it still provides good utility on a high-level support. Personally, I prefer it over a Shiva's Guard on him.

Necronomicon is another good utility item, especially against invisible heroes and Shadow Blade carriers. Nice strength and intelligence gain too.

Heart of Tarrasque is a good general tanking and healing item, making you exceptionally hard to kill, and fast to heal provided you can escape engagements. Also provides a nice little damage boost.

The carry items generally require you to have already focused on items to give you damage and/or attack speed.

Abyssal Blade is an upgrade to your Skull Basher and provides big extra damage combined with a reliable physical stun.

Daedalus is a nice way of boosting your damage output. While not a particularly natural carrier, your fast attack speed should guarantee regular procs and increase your average damage considerably.

Desolator is another nice damage boost, and will even play nice with Mjollnir if necessary. Armour reduction helps with pushing and fighting.

Satanic is the fighting man's Heart, providing big lifesteal and an active that lets you rapidly heal during combat. A great way of further expanding your survivability once you have sufficient damage.

Sample Builds

Utility Support:

Tanky Support:

Tanky Offlaner:

Standard Carry:

Mjollnir Carry:

Good Allies

Any space closing, tower-diving allies are good for you and vice versa. You can create a nice synergy where they can be ultra-aggressive and they provide the edge you need to get kills or assists.

More aggressive heroes, and these ones have the advantage of self-damage that can trigger Aphotic Shield for increased burst damage.

You and other members of the "you can't kill my friends" club can make life incredible irritating for the opposition with your constant removal of their spell effects and last second saves.

Useful utility assistance, Ion Shell makes you a lot more threatening in any given situation and forces you to be dealt with.

Bad Enemies

We have to be pretty careful around heroes who can do a lot of damage in a single hit - manual activation of Borrowed Time can be tricky.

The two of you have quite an antagonistic relationship - you can both counter each other pretty effectively. Aphotic Shield can really hinder his long disables, but his abilities can also cause you considerable problems - being Nightmare'd on the sidelines isn't much fun during a big fight.

More long disables and blocks can make it difficult to utilise your abilities and chasing effectively, as well as run down your Borrowed Time.

Although they might stuggle to actually kill you, denying you access to Aphotic Shield and Mist Coil can create problems trying to help your allies as a support.

These kinds of ultra-mobile heroes can cause you some issues as you really have no way of locking them down or forcing them to fight you.


Abaddon is great as a utility tank on most teams, and is a great go to pick if your team have very aggressive early heroes, or the enemy lanes look horrible to play against.

He's a very fun hero to play as you can get away with some frankly ridiculous plays that you wouldn't even consider with many heroes, let alone try. Easily one of the best tanks in the game, he's a great aura carrier, healer and debuff remover.

Remember to shout "Have at you!", "tis' but a scratch" and "I'll bite yer legs off!" as you charge bravely into mortal peril :)

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