I had previously written a guide that elaborated the various ways to play Huskar, although I was dissatisfied with it, mostly because of my lack of experience at the time, as well as the contents that overlapped with the already existing guides. Thus, I asked that my guide be removed.
However, due the changes to Huskar's Berserker's Blood, there is an opportunity to make brand-new guides for Huskar.
His newfound magic resistance mitigates his vulnerability to magic nukes, although this comes at the cost of the monstrous amounts of damage he could deal at low health. His killing potential now comes from his improved Burning Spear. As such, lifesteal builds have become obsolete, while those that revolve around Burning Spear are the norm.
In this guide, I will explain to the best of my knowledge how to make the most out of the new Huskar.
Inner Vitality Inner Vitality boosts your regen according to a flat rate and an attribute-based percentile. You should know that percentage-based skills start off weak, but scale later in the game, eventually becoming very powerful. You will want to stack lots of strength, which is why it is delayed so much while another healing mechanism will be used in it's place. It is worth using this skill in a pinch, even if you only have 1 skill point into it, because it heals more if your health is in the red. For the most part, you will want to cast this as a buff on yourself prior to lifebreaking, since it hurts you almost as much as it does your target.
Burning Spear is what will allow you to harass and secure kills early in the game. It has no cooldown, does not cost any mana, stacks indefinitely, and if manually cast, will not aggro creeps, while slightly extending the range of your attack. Later in the game, it will not have noticeable effects against carries unless you got to cast around 10 of these, although it will always melt supports.
Lv 1 - 35 damage over 7 seconds
Lv 2 - 70 damage over 7 seconds
Lv 3 - 105 damage over 7 seconds
Lv 4 - 140 damage over 7 seconds
Berserker's Blood will grant you more attack speed so you cast more Burning Spear, and magic resistance so that you can resist more magic the less health you have. This doesn't mean you should enter a fight with 200 hp to make the most out of it though. Most people I play against do a good enough job of reducing my hp for me, and I don't think they need my help.
Life Break is ideally used against heroes at full hp or that have high movement speeds, and is a bit of a waste if cast on a squishy support. It takes out a good deal of your own life in the process, so you actually need to be careful before using this skill. You can mitigate the recoil with Inner Vitality, activating Armlet of Mordiggian after the jump, or using Black King Bar to jump free of charge.
As a rule of thumb, you want to pick Huskar if the other team does not pick too many heroes with escapes or disables. Think in terms of heroes you can easily land a Life Break on and finish off afterwards without any trouble. A lot of stuns and crowd control will mess up your game, unless your team can provide cover for you with disables of their own.
Although Huskar can be effective in any lane, I prefer to play him mid to quickly raise his Burning Spear and grant earlier use of Life Break, a skill that allows you to gank virtually any hero that does not have an escape. For this reason the mid hero the other team picks is the deciding factor of whether or not I will pick Huskar. Below is a list of heroes Huskar may face mid and how he fares against them, based on my experiences:
Pudge - Considering the fact that he is the most played hero of all time, you might be seeing his ugly mug a lot. Huskar works great against Pudge, unless you get hooked. Lifebreaking him is somewhat tricky if he has his Dismember. Because has so much health, it is best to harass him lightly with level 1 Burning Spear and wait until it is level 2 before playing more aggressively.
Sniper - Sniper is not actually a proper mid hero, but if the other team does not have anyone better, he is the most likely to end up at mid. He may be mid even if they do have someone better. You shouldn't plan on it, but at least when I'm playing this happens far more often than it should if the rest of the dota community is trying to win. At worst, he should only be a nuisance to you. At best, he'll be a steady source of income.
Outworld Devourer - OD is being played more often lately, which is understandable: He will ruin any int hero he lanes against, the only exception being Batrider, but who actually likes to play Batrider? Huskar was already effective at laning against OD since he doesn't need his mana anyways. Now, with Berserker's Blood magic resist, Huskar can shrug off Sanity's Eclipse, and later Arcane Orb. Astral Imprisonment and OD's 15 extra move speed still makes him difficult to kill early on, although enough Burning Spear stacks will melt OD's meager health pool.
Dragon Knight - DK is a strong hero, but I'm still not convinced he's as effective of a mid laner as classics such as Queen of Pain, Tinker or Puck. Huskar is naturally very effective against DK: Breathe Fire is mitigated by your magic resist, Burning Spear does magic damage, therefore unaffected by Dragon Blood bonus armor, and as long as he is in melee form, he can't land Dragon Tail if you are kiting him. Merely harassing him with Burning Spear does not work so well against DK, so if you are going to orb attack, it has to be done with the intent to kill.
Queen of Pain - She is one of those heroes with an escape that makes her difficult to kill. She can also harass back with her Shadow Strike. I know I am repeating myself a lot, but as you know, Berserker's Blood magic resist will keep you alive and well. It isn't so much getting killed you should worry about, but if you can kill her. Cast as many Burning Spear as you can on her before she blinks away and cross your fingers.
Bloodseeker - The beauty of playing a Burning Spear Huskar is that you can dominate mid lane against almost any melee hero. His Blood Bath will allow him to stay in lane if you're not constantly setting him on fire as soon as he shows up. The best he can do is silence you, and all that will accomplish is give you bonus damage.
Zeus - He relies on magic damage, barely has half the hit points you do, moves slower than you, and has no escape mechanism. Think of him as a Sniper, but with a better looking mustache.
Templar Assassin - Her Refraction that normally makes her very survivable is easily taken care of by your Burning Spear. However, if you want to kill her, you may need detection because of her Meld. That is, unless she has accumulated too many Burning Spear stacks.
Viper - He is a powerful harasser as well, so if you want to get the better of him, you have to put him in his place as soon as the first creep wave hits. Either kill him or force him out of lane before level 5 when his Poison Attack is no longer limited by a cooldown, or else his powerful slows will be too much for you to overcome. Keep your hit points from being reduced too much, as it is all too easy to forget about his Nethertoxin.
You get the idea. As long as you are laning against someone who can't do anything against Burning Spear, you should be able to win.
Dazzle - His Shallow Grave is especially powerful if cast when you are near death, as it will let you make the most out your Berserker's Blood and Burning Spear with little risk. Watch out for Axe's Culling Blade though! Weave bonus armor will allow Huskar to have a tolerance to physical damage on top of his magic resistance.
Rubick -Null Field stacks with Berserker's Blood. If both skills are level 4, Huskar at 30% health will have 83% magic resist, plus 20% resist from Rubick. Spell casters will inflict more damage against you with insults than magic attacks.
Io - Overcharge will give you ridiculous attack speed, and the 20% damage reduction is great for the same reasons as Rubick's Null Field. Io can also benefit from this collaboration himself if you cast Inner Vitality on him during the Overcharge.
Omniknight - Then again, Omniknight is always a good support to have. Of course, he's got Repel. If you cast Life Break, Purification will heal the recoil, and is guaranteed to damage your target as well.
Shadow Demon - Level 4 Soul Catcher causes an enemy to take an additional 50% pure damage from all attacks. All I can say is, Life Break will be a hell of a lot more fun to use.
Two Gauntlets of Strength, Iron Branches, a Healing Salve and Tangoes has always been the standard build for Huskar, and this hasn't changed. The gauntlets are components for Urn of Shadows, the branches give cost-effective stat bonuses, and you should always grab two healing consumables no matter who you pick.
The branches can be used for building a Magic Wand. This comes down to personal preference, but you should certainly purchase it you are laning against someone with a spammable spell, such as Batrider.
Even though you do not need a Bottle, don't let that stop you from grabbing the runes. It's better to have them and not need them than to not have them at all.
Because lifesteal is not as effective on Huskar anymore, and putting points into Inner Vitality early on will limit your damage potential, we need a different healing mechanism.
Urn of Shadows is the way to go. This, coupled with level 4 Inner Vitality will heal you very quickly in between fights, and you have the option to use it offensively for even more damage over time. The mana regen will seem useless at first, but it does make a difference when you rely on Inner Vitality later on.
Power Treads will maximize your DPS, although I understand why others prefer Phase Boots. Ultimately, you should choose what you are most comfortable with.
I've tried out many different core items on Huskar, even Ghost Scepter. No matter what,
Armlet of Mordiggian is the better choice 99% of the time. It gives you health, damage, attack speed, and armor, all at the same time. The health drain actually helps you out, and even if it worries you Inner Vitality will balance it out.
The next logical step after Armlet is acquiring Heart of Tarrasque. Coupled with Inner Vitality and Urn of Shadows, you can restore yourself from the brink of death to full hp in mere seconds. It also allows you to share your healing capabilities with the rest of your team and use Urn of Shadows offensively without having to neglect yourself. You can even attack towers unscrupulously with your armlet active.
After this, any other item you buy is up to personal preference. You may need to get some of the other situational items before Heart. For example, if the other team has a Clinkz or Ursa, you may want to get Heaven's Halberd and disarm them. Shadow Blade is just a pub thing, but if the other team does not have a support, that should tell you that you can go invis and not worry about getting detected. I mean, if no one on their team bothered to pick a support, it is safe to assume that they won't be willing to buy dust or sentries either.
You do not need Black King Bar just to avoid magic damage, but it is still good to get if you have to deal with a lot of stuns. It will also allow you to safely initiate with Life Break.
Builds that make a Helm of the Dominator may be outdated, but Satanic is still a very powerful item. If you don't care so much about pushing towers and would rather kill more people, you can get Satanic instead of Heart of Tarrasque.
Did you know?
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. It is still a work in progress, so any additional info about laning matchups, hero synergies, items and fun facts is more than welcome.
Most importantly, I hope that this guide will help improve your experience with Huskar. Good luck, have fun, and may great honors await you in the Nothl Realm.
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