|2.||What you should know if you're ally is Sniper|
|3.||Strengths and Weaknesses|
|9.||So no support Sniper?|
+ Try to keep the focus away from him in fights
+ Defensive items like Glimmer Cape, Force Staff and Solar Crest are very useful to help him
+ He'll generally want to fight high ground where possible
- He's very slow and vulnerable early game
- He's useless if caught out of position, good warding is essential
+ Longest attack range in the game once levelled
+ Good mix of long range nukes
+ Great stat gains
+ Two right click passives make for a strong late game
- Slow movement speed
- No escape or mobility skills
- Weak attack damage early game
- Farm and level dependent
Shrapnel is a powerful AOE nuke that slows and damages over an extended period. You gain up to 3 charges for it over time, and can potentially rapid fire it when you have multiple charges available.
It has a wide range of utilities:
There's not an awful lot to say about this - it's a passive that helps you inflict extra damage, and control opponents. It can be ferocious and annoying for focused enemies once you have some power in your right click.
On average this works out at 6/16/26/36 per shot (40% of proc damage), as of 7.06. You can lifesteal from this damage, but it doesn't contribute towards crits.
When it procs, it causes a 0.5 second 'pseudo-stun' which decrease enemy movement and attack speed. It doesn't break channelling or stop them using items or abilities though.
You get the most out of this skill by simply increasing your attack speed (and/or agility) as much as possible. More shots = more headshots.
In many ways this is Sniper's signature skill - ever increasing range on your right click. With multiple levels it can easily reach the point where you can hit towers from outside their range, making it very difficult for enemies to stop you without committing to the attack.
You're also very dependent on this to allow you to take up safer positions to attack from.
Fully stacks with the range boost from Dragon Lance.
Sniper's other signature skill is a long range nuke with significant power and relatively low cooldown. It's pretty easy to use - lock on to an enemy, wait, and you'll automatically hit them unless they manage to use an item or skill to dodge or block the damage.
Examples: Astral Imprisonment, Eul's Scepter of Divinity, Black King Bar
A few things to note about usage:
- Generally don't use this skill if you could be auto-attacking instead, the DPS is lower compared to your right click
- Lock on to fleeing targets on low health before they move out of vision
- You can use Shrapnel to see juking enemies and target them quickly
- Later on, feel free to harass sieging enemies who are outside right click range. At level 3 the cooldown is very low and your mana pool big enough to handle it.
- Ability inflicts a mini-stun that breaks channelling
The Aghanim's Scepter upgrade for this skill is interesting - locking on to an area and potentially inflicting multiple headshots. However, like many hard carry Aghs, it's not really suitable for mainstream builds as it focuses more on your nuking than right click abilities.
The common builds for Sniper are relatively well defined - you max Shrapnel first to give you early game presence, while levelling Take Aim up.
A value point in Headshot is often taken, but adding more makes you vulnerable and item dependent. Shrapnel and Take Aim are what allow you to stay safe and influence the game.
Assassinate is a very useful skill and worth upgrading at every opportunity.
I think there have been a few experiments with this to try to leverage the power of Shrapnel and Aghanim's Scepter Assassinate.
At present (7.06) however there aren't really any viable builds as your two passives don't offer much without additional items, and the long charge cooldown on Shrapnel means you can effectively only use it about once per minute.
My choice here usually rests on how well the game is going. +15 attack is ok, and will give you the most benefit in the late game as a little extra edge.
If you're getting a lot of action and getting plenty of use from Assassinate and Shrapnel then +5 mana regen essentially fixes your mana issues. However, once you have Force Staff you don't particularly need this.
This is a straight choice between survivability and more damage on Shrapnel.
Potentially you might get an extra 220 damage out of a Shrapnel cast with this boost. However, 200 hp for free is not to be refused lightly - you don't do any damage when you're dead, and right click is your bread and butter later on.
Take the damage if you think you get away with it, otherwise take the health.
Another choice between damage utility and survivability. You have good agility growth so armour is not particularly a problem, but more is better and can help you a lot against late game carries.
25% cooldown reduction is useful though - it effects Shrapnel charge replenishment, Assassinate AND any item actives you have.
This is another choice that is about how effectively the enemy team are getting to you during fights - pick the armour if you need it, the reduction if things are going well.
Both of these skills are very useful - even more attack range, or a disgusting ability to spam Shrapnel around the battlefield.
My feeling on this choice is around whether you've picked Shrapnel focused talents already (i.e. extra DPS and cooldown reduction). If so, 7 instances is worth taking.
Sniper is what's generally known in RTS games as a 'Glass Cannon' - very powerful at dishing out damage, but very vulnerable too.
The key to playing him well is positioning. This goes for all phases of the game, every moment. You need to constantly be assessing where the safest place to be is, while still farming and fighting.
You want wide sight lines where you can see enemies coming and can engage them at long range. Combine this with difficult to reach positions of your own - use trees, high ground and other natural obstacles to make you hard to see and reach.
Your team is very important here - you need to use them as another barrier to make you hard to get to. They can hopefully provide control and additional protection for you too. Smart enemies will try to flank or jump you, and you'll need your team to help out.
It should be pretty obvious from reading this that it's very important for you to have a good sense of where the enemy are - and what direction they're likely to come from.
Sieges (especially defensive ones) are a real strength for Sniper - you have 99% certainty where the enemy will attack from, and can stand very defensively while spamming attacks and abilities.
This can be a tricky time for you, but also one with opportunities. Without levels you have a small attack range, and this is combined with your extremely poor right click damage.
You have an almost instance projectile speed however, so try to build as much extra damage as you can early on, and practice your last hitting with him.
Technically Sniper can be played as a mid or safe lane carry, and your success will very much depend on who you're up against. See later in this guide.
You tend to suffer against multiple, aggressive opponents who can squeeze your early farm and potentially kill you before you get the levels you need to stand more safely.
However, bear in mind that Shrapnel is very potent, especially if you have multiple charges and support(s) available.
As Sniper you need to find a good balance between farming and fighting in the midgame. You need to be constantly active and maximising your farm to get those big ticket items flowing in.
Bear in mind that your abilities are actually very potent midgame - Shrapnel and Assassinate are great for tower defence and pickoffs.
My advice would be to concentrate on farming, but keep a TP scroll handy. If the enemy team are attempting to push a tower and your team wants to fight - go. You can often TP into the tier two tower, help the defence and quite possibly grab a few kills and assists. This is well worth your time for the gold/xp boost alone, but more importantly how much it can effect the balance of power between the two teams.
From here you can quite often then push on and grab a tower from them while they respawn. Always keep in mind that you need to stay safe though.
By now you should have a very potent right click, and can cause massive damage and disruption to a focused target.
The key here is still your positioning - you need to be laying down constant fire and you can't do this if you're stunned or dead.
In most team compositions you'll be the main target of the enemy team, so use this to draw them out of position and into the rest of your team.
We've covered this already, so in summary:
Range - try to maintain optimal distance to your enemies - for you this is about 1000 units. Hit them without them hitting you.
Concealment - use the terrain to hide you from enemy sight as much as possible. Stop firing if necessary.
Vision - it's very important to see them before they see you.
Relocation - try to be elusive and unpredictable. Change positions when appropriate.
In a break from tradition, I'm going to split this section into several different builds as it probably makes more sense this way.
Some sample starting items - some regen, combined with as much attack damage as you can muster. The most common choice is Tango and Wraith Band for good regen, plus as much stats and damage as possible.
You may be able to get away with a Ring of Basilius in an easy lane, with the mana regeneration boost helping you and any nearby allies with spell harassment.
As you can probably tell, this is a really important item on Sniper. It's pretty much everything you want in a single item - range boost, good stats, mobility skill and an active that lets you move enemies to a safe distance while you keep shooting them.
The only real question around this item is in what order and how quickly you get it. Generally Dragon Lance first makes sense if the game is going well and you have space.
Force Staff first is when the enemy is hunting you actively and you need the ability to get away from them.
Defensive supports are your best friends - keeping you alive in those clutch moments when an enemy jumps you.
I'd put these guys in the category of 'Bodyguards' - they're very good at disrupting enemies ability to get to you, or dragging them away before they can kill you.
The aura bonus to your right clicks makes laning and last hitting a whole lot easier, and provides considerable extra damage later on too. The problem is that the two of you have very similar strengths and weaknesses.
These guys are natural 'space closers' and don't even need to get a Blink Dagger to jump on you. They're difficult to play around and should be avoided where possible.
Fast, tanky and in your face. These guys are dangerous, especially once they have a Blink Dagger. Try to make it as difficult as possible for them to both spot you, and reach you. Be careful of Blade Mail and not hitting yourself.
Invisible heroes are not fun for you. They're often good at flanking the team and can appear unexpectedly, even when you have good vision of an area.