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8 Votes

Spin! Cut! Shred! A guide to Timbersaw

January 25, 2016 by Cyryna
Comments: 8    |    Views: 67593    |   

Offlane Timbersaw

DotA2 Hero: Timbersaw

Hero Skills

Whirling Death

4 8 9 10

Timber Chain

2 3 5 7

Reactive Armor

1 12 13 14


6 11 16


15 17 18

Spin! Cut! Shred! A guide to Timbersaw

January 25, 2016


Hello and welcome to my first guide on Dotafire.
My name is Cyryna and I'm pretty much your average Dota player, sitting at about 4k MMR. Timbersaw is one of my most played heroes, with a winrate sitting at about 60%.
In this guide I will try to cover everything I find important on playing Timbersaw offlane. I will go over my prefered skillbuild as well as my item choices.
Timbersaw has seen some play as a mid hero but I have never played him in that position, so this guide will focus solely on playing offlane.

Timbersaw is a melee strength hero who uses his spells to deal massive amounts of pure damage in an area of effect. He is usually played in the offlane as his skillset allows him to survive and even get a little bit of farm. He does not scale that well into the late game, as all of his spells are blocked by magic immunity.

On a sidenote, english is not my primary language, so I would like to apologise in advance for any grammar mistakes made.

Pros and Cons


  • Strong nuker, dealing massive amounts of pure damage
  • Great escape in Timber Chain
  • Good lane-sustain with Reactive Armor
  • Very strong against strength heroes due to Whirling Death
  • Good depush and good at killing illusions
  • Fun to play, with one of Dota's best voicepacks

  • Mana starved until you get your Bloodstone
  • 0 starting armor and somewhat bad agility gain
  • Useless against magic immunity
  • Quite farm dependant for an offlaner
  • Suspectible to nukes in the early game
  • Skills need some time to get used to, missing Timber Chain might be fatal for you

When should you play Timbersaw

When to pick Timbersaw

  • Your team need someone to play offlane
  • Your team needs a strong damagedealer and midgame tank
  • You think you can get some kind of farm out of your lane
  • The enemies have mostly slows, you can easily escape with Timber Chain
  • Your team needs waveclear/depush/illusionclear
  • The more strength heroes there are the better

When to pick something else
  • Your team already has an offlaner
  • Your team needs disables or reliable initation rather than damage
  • The enemies safelane has a lot of stuns or silences
  • You already have 2 or more very farm dependant heroes on your team

Overall Timbersaw is a good pick against most duallanes. Reactive Armor and Timber Chain allow you to get some kind of farm and levels out of most of these situations. Against weak duallanes (say Spectre and Rubick) you can get a lot of farm and even some kills. You might struggle against trilanes however and Timbersaw has a hard time getting experience and farm out of the jungle before he hits level 6.
Playing Timbersaw in a duallane yourself is not that bad either. Trading some of your solo experience for more farm is acceptable for the Goblin Shredder.


Whirling Death

Your first skill is the reason you are so good against strength heroes. It deals up to 250 magic damage in a 300 AoE around you. The damage changes to pure if you hit at least one tree with Whirling Death. In any case, every hero hit by this ability will loose 15% of their main attribute for 11 seconds, therefore strength heroes loose 15% of their maximum HP in addition to taking the actual damage.

Timber Chain
Your second skill is your escpae tool and a nuke that deals up to 220 pure damage. You shoot out a chain and if it connects to a tree you get pulled towards this tree, dealing damage to everything you pass through on your way. If you dont hit a tree, nothing at happens at all. If you get stunned mid-chain, the chain disconnects and you stop moving.

Reactive Armor
This passive gives you your lane sustain and tankiness. You get one stack every time an attack (not a spell) hits you. Every stack gives you 1 armor and 1 hp regen per second. You gain stacks from being attacked by heroes, creeps and towers. This ability allows you to trade hits somewhat efficient.

Your ultimate is a big Sawblade dealing pure damage to everything it hits. You cast it at an area on the ground. It will travel from your hero to your targeted area dealing pure damage to everything in its path. Once there it will remain in that are until you run out of mana or retract it. On its way back the Chakram will again deal pure damageto everything it hits. It will also deal pure damage at its location albeit not as much as it deals while moving. It will also slow your enemies as long as they take damage from the Chakram. While your Sawblade is out, you loose the ability to attack but you can still use your other spells.

What is pure damage?

In Dota, every hero hase a basic amount of magic resistance. In most cases this is a flat 25%. There are a few exceptions though. That means, they take 25% less magic damage.
For example: A nuke that deals 100 magic damage would deal only 75 damage due to the magic resistance.
Pure Damage on the other hand ignores magic resistance, therefore a nuke that deals 100 pure damage would actually deal 100 damage, regardless of magic resistance.

Skillbuild explanation

After covering the spells you have at your disposal I would now like to discuss my reasoning behin the skillbuild I use in this guide.

Please do note, that is is just a cookie cutter build. It is not set in stone and you can differ from my skillbuild at various times.

Beginning with level 1 I usually put my first point into Reactive Armor. Most players tend to go for level 1 Timber Chain but let me explain. Before skilling anything, I take a look at the actual lane I am up against. If they have high killing potential (2 or more stuns/silences, strong nukes, enemy trilane etc) I usually go for Timber Chain level 1 myself. If they do not have killing potential on you, taking Reactive Armor as your level 1 skill is completely fine. This decision however is up to you. With that bening said, taking Timber Chain at level 1 is the safer option.
Lately I've played against quite some people who skilled Whirling Death on level 1. I would advise against that as it delays either your escape mechanism or your lane sustain by quite a lot.

Going on, you usually want to max out Timber Chain first. The added mobility and damage are simply great. This does deal less damage than Whirling Death if you do hit a tree with it.
Remember Timber Chain always deals pure damage, whilst Whirling Death deals magic damage if you don't hit a tree.

After maxing out Timber Chain you want to max Whirling Death. As for pretty much every nuker, you want to max out your nukes as fast as possible, because they deal "more" damage to enemys with lower HP pools. Take your Ultimate whenever it is available and leave Reactive Armor at one. Physical damage tends to be more of a problem in the later stages of a Game.

Skillbuild adjustments

At the beginning of this section I already discussed the choice of your level 1 spell. Now to move on, there are some situations in which you can take more points into Whirling Death instead of Timber Chain. This is useful if you are up against several melees in your lane, as it is somewhat easy to hit them with Whirling Death. Keep in mind that you limit your ability to escape tight situations by skipping Timber Chain levels. It is mostly used in 1v1 scenarios against melees, as you will most likely not need the additional escape power provided by Timber Chain .

Let me repeat myself here: Skillbuilds are always flexible and ultimately come down to the situation you are in. Use your experience with the game to go for the build you think is the right one.


Early Game/Laning Phase

Your goal in the early stages of any game is the same as every other offlaner. Get whatever you can without dying. You mostly want experiance, but gold is obviously great if you can get it.

Right at the start of the game you'll probably want to block your creepwave as much as you can. Letting your own range creep pass through said block will most likely result in the lane eventually pushing towards you to gain at least level 2.
In lane, use your superior regen, provided by Reactive Armor to trade hits with the enemy support(s) and sometimes even the carry (you can use creeps to keep Reactive Armor stacks up). Be ready to escape with a well placed Timber Chain if the enemys team up on you. You need to be extra careful if the enemys have disables or nukes ready to throw at you.
If you feel safe or if you've seen the support leave the lane you can use Timber Chain to harass as well as last hit. Just keep the cooldown in mind.

Timbersaw has some pretty strong kill potential on his own. People tend to underestimate the damage your spells can deal, so feel free to go for kills if you see an opportunity coming up.

As soon as you hit level 6 you can use Chakram to last hit. Beware of the tax this puts on your mana though. You should aim to get 2 CS for every Chakram, one by throwing it out and one by pulling it back.
If your teammates are in trouble, you should use a TP to help them. Your damage output can easily turn around ganks or at least scare your opponents enough to back off. If you get kills with this it will also help your farm.

Mid- and Lategame

I've decided to put these together, as your goals and gameplay are pretty much the same.

Your goal after the laning stage is somewhat simple: Fight with your team whenever there is a fight, farm and splitpush in the meantime.

The laning stage usually breaks apart somewhere in between the 10 and 15 minute mark. People start grouping up for objectives, bigger fights happen etc. Your goal here is to be there when these fights happen. Your damage is a great asset for your team (It's why you picked the hero in the first place). In the meantime, Timbersaw is great at farming if you have the to mana sustain your spells, as all of them deal AoE damage.
Creeps die incredibly fast and Timbersaw can make great use of items.

However, try not to take away farm from your actual carry. Timbersaw does fall off at some point in the late game.
Being quite tanky and having an escape mechanism you are an excellent splitpusher. Keep in mind however that you deal very poor damage to buildings as your right clicks aren't exactly strong.

You need to be aware that all of your abilities are blocked by magic immunity.


Before heading into the item section you need to know that item pickups are even more variable than skillbuilds. You need to pick your items according to your situation.

First Items

Your basic regen items, they help you to stay in your lane. The find the Mango great as it provides you with a nice burst of mana, either to finish of an enemy or to escape.

Everyone loves their boots. This is usually the first item you will get after your starting items. Arcane Boots are the best choice for Timbersaw as you need the extra mana provided and they will later on be disassembled into a Bloodstone

This helps you tank through the harass that you will face as an offlaner.

Another component of your Bloodstone it also provides you with some mana and hp regen. Use it before using your spells to save some mana if you have the health to spare. Works quite well with Chakram.

Easily the most important item on Timbersaw. The Bloodstone provides you with everything you want. It increases your HP- and manapool whilst giving you 200% increased mana regeneration, allowing you to spam out your spells. If enemys die in your vicinty you gain a charge, further incresing your mana regeneration and decreasing your respawn time. Its active allows you to deny yourself which denies your opponents any gold and experience.


This item provides you with much needed armor before Reactive Armor kicks in. The Intelligence also helps with your mana. The active is a great slow and a good initiation tool. Shiva's Guardalso passively slows the attackspeed of nearby foes. In my opinion you should pick this up as a second big item almost every game. Its obviously weak against spell damage.

One of stronge upgrades, picking this up gives you a second, blue Chakram to use. It is on a spereate cooldown with your regular ultimate. Beware of the massive mana cost 2 Sawblades require. It can also be somewhat difficult to handle. Once purchased Timbersaw cannot remove the Aghanim's Scepter from his inventory.

A super late game item, the Octarine Corereduces the cooldown on all of your abilities and items while also granting you lifesteal through spells. The stats on this item are good as well, its very expensive though. The cooldown reduction will greatly increase your damage output if you can land your spells.

Also known as the Sheepstick, this item is one of Dota's strongest items. It's active allows you to disable an enemy for 3,5 seconds, preventing him from using any spells or abilities. Does not work against magic immunity but this is still a great item to disable the enemies carry either before they can activate their Black King Bar or after it expires. The mana regen is a nice bonus as well.

The follow up to your disassembled Arcane Boots the BoTs help splitpushing by allowing you to teleport to creeps. Timbersaw does not really need any other boots, so you can stay on Brown Boots for quite some time.

This item tanks you up a lot. If combined with a Shiva's Guard for the armor you become very hard to take down. To be honest, I would advice against the Heart because in my opinion the items mentioned beforehand are superior.

An item you'd rather avoid on Timbersaw as you are usually tanky enough to take some punishment. On the other hand you are completly useless if you are permanently stunned or silenced. This is fine however as long as your team cleans up the opponents. If your team does not seem to deal enough damage to score important kills you might want to consider the Black King Bar.

Cheaper Alternatives

Blade Decent armor and an active that could turn the tides. Doesn't sound to bad on paper but I am not a big fan of Blade Mail on Timbersaw especially if you pick it up before the Bloodstone as it does not really solve your problems. Does nothing against magic immunity as well.

Quite popular in the past Blink Dagger has fallen out of favour in recent times. It was used to reliably hit your spells. Nowadays you get the Aghanim's Scepter instead to dish out that damage. The Blink Dagger is still great if you are struggling with highly mobile enemy heroes.

A somewhat unpopular item in general, the Rod of Aui is decent on Timbersaw. The stats provided are quite good and the active makes hitting your spells incredibly easy. The active also helps your actual Carry dealing with enemys who picked up evasion as it gives 40% accuracy on the target.

First off, the mana regeneration this item provides is very good. The active is useful to either dodge stuns used against you or purge you from silences. It can also be used to interrupt channeling spells like TPs or dangerous ultimates like Death Ward. In addition Eul's Scepter of Divinity serves as a great setup for your spells. A great item overall it should be considered, if you find yourself silenced for longer periods.

These items greatly increase your survivability against lineups heavily focusing on magic damage output ( Zeus/ Leshrac/ Lina). The Pipe of Insight even helps your entire item.

Last Words

Thank you for reading my guide on Timbersaw

I would appreciate any kind of feedback.
I am aware that the friends and foes section is still missing as well as a few other things I have in mind but I would like to get some feedback before I continue my work.


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