+ Excellent pusher
+ Fantastic health sustain
+ Partial invisibility and impassable terrain movement
+ Incredible lifesteal potential
+ Huge horde of minions
+ Great solo hero
- Poor base damage
- Poor stat gains
- Vulnerable outside webs
- Static playstyle
- Level and item dependent
- Countered heavily by some heroes
Spawn Spiderlings is one of your key spells, acting as both a nuke and a way of spawning minions. The nuke itself is fairly standard, but any target killed by it or within 2 seconds of it hitting will burst into 1/2/3/4 spiderlings, which you then control.
Once you have at least 2 points in it, and some decent mana regeneration, you can start spamming it last hit creeps and build up your horde. You can also start harassing heroes with it once you have a Soul Ring.
Spiderlings are key to your playstyle, they're quite tough with 450 hp (a melee creep has 550), and faster than most heroes if they haven't got boots yet. They will also spawn a "spiderite" (a small, weaker version of themselves) from any unit that they kill. All types of minion last for 60 seconds.
Spiderlings give opponents less bounty, but more experience, while the reverse is true of spiderites. It's REALLY important not to feed your minions to enemies. Both types do equal damage to buildings, but spiderlings are much better against creeps and heroes due to their movement slow and poison (worth about 16 damage against heroes).
Spiderlings have a number of uses:
Spin Web is your other signature ability - allowing you to cover a large area with a semi-permanent web that gives you a series of powerful bonuses. Webs are a really key part of your playstyle, giving you invisibility, unrestricted movement (unless recently attacked), a movement speed boost, and health regeneration.
Basically Broodmother is not the same hero without her webs - and this is one of the key reasons we tend to stay in one area of the map instead of moving around like most heroes do. We're somewhat overpowered while in webs, and distinctly underpowered outside them.
Spin Web's health regeneration gives us great sustain right from the start, and also allows us to spam our Soul Ring whenever it's off cooldown. The movement speed makes us difficult to gank, and relatively easy to chase down heroes in our zone of control.
As with any invisibility hero, it's vital that you don't RELY on the invisibility too much. Sure, it's very useful, but you need to be super-aware of enemies' inventories and when they have Sentry Ward, Dust of Appearance etc. A good way of scouting for Sentry Wards is to have a spiderling or two near the enemy creep wave while you have no creeps present - if they're attacked, a Sentry Ward is present.
You should buy your own Sentry Wards and attempt to take out enemy ones whenever possible and safe to do so. A Quelling Blade can be pretty useful here, and try to place your own Sentry Ward in an area where the enemy have no vision (you only need the true sight radius).
You'll also lose your bonuses immediately on leaving a web, so try to make sure they all join up (the radius is slightly bigger than the actual web graphic), and that you can move between them easily, with good escape routes.
Placing your webs well is also important, you should start by making sure you have them completely covering the lane between the two opposing towers, and also ideally have them extending to cover some impassable terrain or trees. If you're in the side lanes, extend them into the jungle as soon as you have 4 available. This allows you to contest pulls easily, and gives you more escape options.
Incapacitating Bite is your passive, and adds some effects to your right click attack. It provides a slow and % chance of missing attacks for a short period to any enemy unit you hit - however this only tends to be the unit you're attacking at the time, and it does count as a Unique Attack Modifier, making you unable to use most orb items.
This isn't a bad skill, and can be extremely helpful in 1v1 situations, especially combined with Insatiable Hunger to get you kills.
Generally you'll avoid levelling this until later on as your first two skills are so strong, however, it can be worth considering earlier if you think it will get you kills - a 10% slow combined with 15% from spiderlings and the movement speed bonus of Spin Web makes you very capable of chasing and killing.
Your ultimate provides a combination of bonus damage and extremely strong lifesteal on your right clicks for a short period. The lifesteal will even stack with other items like Vladmir's Offering and even Satanic (although this would require you never to skill your passive), regularly exceeding 100% at high levels.
The cooldown is relatively short at 45 seconds, so don't be afraid to pop it whenever it seems necessary. However, bear in mind that it can be purged by the likes of Diffusal Blade and Demonic Purge.
There are generally 3 situations where you'll want to use this skill:
1) Teamfights. The extra damage and lifesteal makes you far more effective at fighting.
2) Ganking. The extra damage is often important for securing kills.
3) Sustain. If you've taken a real battering in lane, you can activate your ultimate and heal quickly from creeps.
There isn't generally too much contention around Broodmother builds - you'll always be taking the first point in Spin Web, and generally maxing Spawn Spiderlings first.
I have seen some players putting multiple points in Incapacitating Bite early on, with the hope of getting kills come level 6. Generally I'm not a fan of this as without spiderlings you'll struggle to push down towers and disrupt the jungle, but it can be worth considering if you're against opponents who'll thrive against them.
Some players also delay Insatiable Hunger until level 9 or 10 and then get two levels in it. They max Spin Web first for sustain. Personally I think it's well worth a point at 6 for both the kill potential and sustain that it offers.
Broodmother has a very clearly defined role - she's a #3, although farming priority is somewhat moot for her as she'll rarely be moving around too much, and people will only generally come to her lane to push or fight.
She can be played as either a mid or solo (generally offlane, but safelane too if you run an aggressive trilane), and it's really important to find the right matchup for her (more on this later).
Her primary job is to put tremendous pressure on the lane she's against - the heroes, the towers, and the jungle around it if offlane. This fits into her two main plans for winning the game:
1) Push/Snowball so hard you roll over the enemy team and take rax before 20 minutes.
2) Put lots of pressure on a particular lane, punishing the opposition if they leave it unattended, and creating space for a harder carry to farm.
Broodmother also specialises in dealing with greedy picks - for example a hard carry and an AFK jungler on the opposition. From the offlane she can exert considerable pressure on the entire area, making the enemy jungle a no-go area.
She is generally referred to as a Carry, and while there is some truth to this, I think it gives a very wrong idea of how to play her. Yes she wants farm, yes she wants levels, but she's definitely a midgame carry, and a snowball one at that.
Brood falls off pretty hard as the game progresses for a variety of reasons:
- Poor primary stat gain (2.2 agility growth isn't great)
- Most skills don't scale particularly well
- Detection equipment becomes much more affordable for the opposition
This doesn't mean you're useless late game, but that you should know your limitations and the best timeframe for you to be effective.
One of the key skills to being a good Broodmother is knowing when to pick her, and when not to. Against the right opponents she can easily dominate or at least occupy multiple heroes and causes severe pressure on opponents. Against the wrong opponents she's just a squishy pest who you can shake down for extra gold.
So what causes Brood problems? CHEAP AREA OF EFFECT DAMAGE. Basically, any hero who has a spammable AOE damage spell, or *hell of hells* a SCALING AOE damage spell.
If enemy heroes can reliably blast your spiderlings without running out of mana any time soon, you've as good as lost the lane, and you're certainly going to struggle to push their tower down.
Without a good snowballing start, you'll probably remain a minor footnote to the game. Be aware that potent enemy heroes may even change lanes specifically to go against you, and may even follow you round the map to farm your spiderlings.
By AOE damage I specifically mean spells that hit an unlimited number of enemies in a given area, such as:
Jakiro's Liquid Fire
Tidehunter's Anchor Smash
Sand King's Sand Storm
Axe's Counter Helix
Timbersaw's well, everything.
Even worse, those abilities that scale up when more targets are present:
Legion Commander's Overwhelming Odds
Earthshaker's Echo Slam
Undying's Tombstone and Soul Rip (near enough)
Generally, I'd seriously consider a repick if these kinds of heroes are present in the game, or at least try to throw the enemy a curveball with an unexpected laning choice. The difficulty is that it's tough for you to change your playstyle - you need a good start, to be aggressive early on, and to sit in one lane pushing. You can't go too far outside that remit without being ineffective.
Good lanes for you are ones where the opposition heroes lack cheap AOE, armour and escape abilities. For example:
Supports and Misc:
These heroes you can consider "safe", everything else I would try to avoid, as although their standard build may not include much AOE, they will have abilities they can skill early on that will let them counter you (e.g. Moon Glaives or Great Cleave).
Lurking under your network of webs with a vast army of minions at your command, you strike unseen against anyone who dares enter your domain.
Brood's standard play is to setup camp in the offlane and basically spend the entire game there. You arrive and get your webs setup early and are almost impossible to shift away from the lane without considerable enemy manpower being used.
There are two key things that Broods need early on - levels in Spawn Spiderlings, and mana regeneration equipment. Once you have both, you should be actively building your army of spiderlings and also trying to pick off enemy heroes whenever possible.
You have decisions to make regarding harassment with Spawn Spiderlings versus using it to last hit and get more of them - see how many consumables enemies have and if you can wear them down to the point they have to leave or you can go on them. Remember that you can even just kill them with spiderlings if they can't get away, and that the tower offs them minimal protection. You can even sit in the trees near the tower and pick them off with your nuke.
If you make a kill, or enemy heroes leave the lane, push their tower hard. If you take it, immediately move forward and start applying pressure on the next. You want to either get cheap towers, or force the opposition to come and defend it and leave themselves short elsewhere.
During this time, you should expand your webs to include as much of enemy jungle as possible. You want to both farm it, and deny it as a resource for the enemy team. You want them either too scared to risk venturing in there, or for you to have already picked off all the choicest creeps and left tiny amounts of farm in the camps.
Be aware that your strongest part of the match is from 5-20 minutes, and that you really need to have some impact during this time if you're going to give your team the best chance of winning. Generally, you want the game over as soon as possible.
Brood tends to be a very solitary hero who doesn't interact with her team anything like as much as most others, but still be aware that you're not playing a separate game, and that you can still carry a TP scroll and turn up at fights if you have Spin Web available. Generally you'll tend to use fights as a time to split push enemy towers, but be aware of your options.
These are my usual sets of starting equipment, and depend a lot on who I think I'll be laning against, and what kind of setup their running. Against a standard trilane or a lane that's going to be a bit tough, I'll usually pick the first set of equipment.
Despite the sustain from Spin Web, you still need Tangoes to get you off to a good start - you will get some harassment when last hitting, they may make a serious gank attempt on you, and you'll probably chew through some health using your Soul Ring until you get your webs to a high level. Not having Tangoes may leave you sat there regen'ing at 2-3hp second and unable to last hit, very bad.
The Quelling Blade is an interesting one, but works with this particular build. Basically you hardly use Spawn Spiderlings at all to start with, saving your mana for when you can build an army quickly and do serious damage. Your base damage is utterly awful, and you'll struggle for last hits against any decent opposition, so the Quelling Blade solves a fairly serious problem for us.
The Ring of Protection gives us a little more armour protection, and forms the basis for a Ring of Basilius which gives us more damage and mana regeneration, plus providing ~10% more protection for spiderlings once they start arriving.
Finally, we bulk out our stats a bit with some Iron Branches. We'll sell them later on, but they're useful to "rent" in the short term.
The second build is basically a Soul Ring rush (make sure you pickup the receipe so you can finish it with a Ring of Regeneration from the sideshop). It's for when you think you'll have an easy 1v1 or 1v2 and want to be able to start spamming spiderlings ASAP.
You can even consider a Stout Shield if you think you'll have a particularly nasty lane, but this does tend to slow your mana regeneration items somewhat.
You and your spiderling hordes can really benefit from strong aura effects, especially early-mid game.
Other strong early pushers on the team add considerably to your combined threat - if the opposition are busy dealing with you, they can easily take towers early on and vice-versa.
I quite like having one of these guys ancient farming when I'm offlane - they won't interfere much with your farm/xp, and you provide mutual cover that would normally be missing. They can also provide extra burst damage and pushing power when you need it.
This is quite a long list, so we're going to scale from somewhat problematic up to full scale abandon-arachnid and repick.
A selection of heroes who can cause you some issues due to their AOE/multi-target nukes, but are generally squishy and delicious if you can catch them out. They may also have mana issues, so be sure to nip any Clarity potions in the bud if at all possible.
All of these guys pack considerable AOE, and aren't necessarily easy to take down. They may require some additional mana regeneration or be gankable however.
These guys can all spot you out from invisibility once they have particular abilities or certain circumstances are met. Slardar especially is a complete nightmare. Big stinky lizard-fish.
Uhhhh...repick. These guys eat spiderlings for breakfast and you'll really struggle to kill them without an Orchid Malevolence...which you probably won't have...because you've had to lane against these guys.
These guys just love you. They can afford to buy you nice presents with the huge amounts of gold they get from farming your spiderlings, and every extra body just makes them stronger.
DO NOT EVER bring spiderlings to a fight or team push with these guys in the game. In fact, just repick or go for some funky Incapacitating Bite build because your spiderlings are a weakness now.
Broodmother is a very powerful hero if used correctly, but is also highly situational and doesn't feature much in top level competitive play.
It's really important that you get off to a good start and don't die - which can be tricky against conventional trilanes with early Sentry Wards and killing power. She's best picked when the enemy don't counter you, and they're running an AFK jungler.
Don't be picky about ganking squishy supports and any hero you have a chance against who enters your area. You don't particularly want to join in team fights until you have your Black King Bar, and should strongly consider split pushing whenever a fight occurs early/mid game. If you do join a fight, ensure you've got Spin Web available to cast on the area.
You've got to play aggressively as soon as you're capable of doing so - harass enemies strongly, pickup kills and push towers hard whenever you have the chance.
Try to take over as much of the enemy jungle as possible and always be on the look out for Sentry Wards and ganks coming in via your spiderling scouts. You're very capable of contesting pulls and don't need to worry too much about lane control.
If enemies do attempt to gank you, or you suspect they're incoming, remember that you can cast your webs over the trees and hide in terrain that blocks enemy movement. If you take damage, you won't be able to do this for 3 seconds, so try to juke about until you can use this ability.
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