April 19, 2017
Foreword on Supporting
Supporting is interesting. Everybody wants to be the one making the fabulous plays, carrying the team, getting the kills. Supporting does, yes, involve buying the wards and letting other people get the gold.
Supporting is about winning the game. Vision, freedom to farm, safety.
And, if you think that only carries make the big plays, look no further than EG Universe's Game Winning Echo Slam.
Ethrain the Lich is a powerful ranged support hero, great at dealing high damage with his ice spells. He is relatively simple to play, and is very powerful in the early and middle stages of the game.
Lich is known as a "babysitter" support hero. This means that he's great at helping other heroes farm up in the laning stage, with the use of his Sacrifice and Frost Blast. Babysitter heroes should always lane with a carry, preferably a melee "Hard-Carry" (heroes that become incredibly powerful once they have enough gold and experience).
The Hard-Carries in-game include: Medusa, Phantom Assassin, Faceless Void, Luna, Phantom Lancer, Anti-Mage, Spectre, Terrorblade, Riki, Troll Warlord and Meepo. If you see one of those heroes on your team in game, that's the hero that you should be laning with.
Lich can also mid-lane well - his Frost Blast means that he can pose a considerable threat to the enemy hero. Middle laning allows Lich to get his Chain Frost much earlier to assist his team. A good Lich can actually have impact when Mid-Laning, but you probably shouldn't -- if you're reading a guide, you're probably not arrogant enough to steal the mid-lane from someone who needs it more than Lich, which is pretty much everyone.
Lich, as a support, is also King of Vision (warding). Throughout the game Lich is in charge of placing Observer Wards (and possibly Sentry Wards if necessary) in strategic places around the map. See the warding section below for tips on where to ward.
Pros and Cons
- Powerful support abilities
- High movement speed
- Strong teamfight attacks
- Easy to play
- Good at laning
- No escape abilities
- Low health/armour
- No stuns or crowd control abilities
Frost Blast is an excellent magic ability with 600 range that deals 125/200/275/350 damage to an enemy target, and 75/100/125/150 damage to other enemies in a small area. It also applies a debuff to all affected enemies that slows movement speed by 30% and slows attack speed by 20% for 4 seconds. With a short cooldown (8 seconds) and a low mana cost (125/150/170/190), Frost Blast is the perfect spell for harassing enemy heroes, taking down a group of creeps, slaying a fleeing enemy, or slowing pursuing enemies as you flee yourself.
Ice Armour is a useful support ability that can be used on yourself and allies. It grants the target 3/5/7/9 bonus armour for 40 seconds. If a target with Ice Armour is attacked, a debuff is applied to the attacker that slows movement speed by (30%) and attack speed by (20%). It costs 50 mana to cast, but even so, turning auto-cast on can be a bad idea. Auto Cast will automatically cast Ice Armour on allied heroes that are attacked; when casting the killing blow on an enemy you don't want Lich to turn around to cast a shield spell! Instead, try to manually keep it active on yourself and any nearby allies.
Sacrifice is an extremely useful ability that instantly kills a friendly creep, converting 25%/40%/55%/70% of its health into mana and granting experience to all nearby heroes. This skill can be used to bring the fight closer to your tower, give you the upper hand in experience early game and replenish your mana. Sacrifice has a 44/36/28/20 second cooldown, and should be used as soon as possible for maximum exp.
Chain Frost is a devastating ability. It has a very demanding mana cost - 200/325/500 - but with Sacrifice it shouldn't affect your mana pool if you are in lane. Chain Frost launches a slow moving bolt of frost that deals 280/370/460 damage on impact, mini-stunning the target and slowing its movement speed by 30% and attack speed by 20%. The bolt of frost will then jump to another target within a small area (575), dealing the same amount of damage and slow, jumping a maximum of 6/8/10 times - or an infinite number of times, with Aghanim's Scepter. With a fairly long cooldown of 120/90/60, until level 3 it's best to save this for multi-hero fights or when a group of enemies are about to get away - the range on Chain Frost is an impressive 750. Note that the frost-bolt will only jump if there is another target within 575, no matter how many jumps it has left.
Gameplay Strategies and Tips
It's important to stress how good Lich
is in the laning stage. When played well, he can completely shut down the opposition. Sacrifice causes every wave to draw closer to Lich
's tower; every Frost Blast
is a devastating blow that Lich
can cast over and over again. Abuse your power, destroy the enemy, win the lane and then the game.
Early game, you always want to have the fight as close to your tower as possible - for protection, and to deny the enemy last hits. A great way for Lich
to bring the creep line closer to your tower (and to gain a tiny bit more experience) is to Sacrifice a creep in the first creep wave.
Every time Sacrifice is off cooldown, use it! The best target is a melee creep on high health, as they give more experience than ranged creeps (and replenish more mana). Whenever you sacrifice a creep you gain experience, replenish lost mana and deny the enemy gold.
!! as of the 6.85 update, Sacrifice no longer provides the enemy with experience -- so use it whenever!
When Laning With a Friend
Sacrifice and deny allied creeps as much as possible, and harass enemy heroes with your auto-attack and Frost Blast
when possible. If an enemy is out of sight for an extended period of time report them missing (alt+click on their portrait). Remember to always stay close to the safety of your tower.
Try to keep some Observer Ward
s active around your lane to protect you and your carry from ganks. As a general rule, you should always have vision on the closest rune to your lane, as often the enemy midlaner will come to your lane via the river.
After a little while, if:
- An enemy hero is playing boldly
- Your Carry is a stunner
- An enemy hero is on low health for another reason
- There is only 1 enemy hero in lane
Then consider going for the kill. Depending on the situation, there are several effective ways to do this.
If your laning partner is a hero that deals high damage or has a movement slow (such as Phantom Assassin
, rush in using Frost Blast
as much as possible. Make sure not to overextend yourself or take unnecessary risks - you and your partner's survival is more important than a kill.
If an enemy hero is on low health or by himself, tell your partner to hide himself in the trees. Then run forward and cast Frost Blast
, and if the enemy attacks or flees, your partner can jump out and destroy them.
When Mid Laning
Middle lane has quite a different playstyle to the other lanes. Instead of letting your Carry have the last hits, you want to get them - as many as possible. You also want to deny your creeps, and the enemy will be doing the same. Mid lane is a very intense back and forth lane, as it is unlikely that either of you will push down the tower in this stage of the game - you'll both just be competing for the upper hand.
Many people underestimate the raw power that Lich
can have in early game. Use this to your advantage! Harass the enemy hero with Frost Blast
, use Sacrifice, deny and last hit as many creeps as possible until you reach level 6. Before this point the most you will probably be able to do on the enemy hero is hurt his health a small amount with Frost Blast
and your auto attack. Chain Frost
deals 280 damage - when combined with the 200 damage of a level 2 Frost Blast
, that's 480 damage (minus magic resistance)!
A simple way to kill your midlane enemy is to lightly damage the enemy with auto attacks, then Frost Blast
him. After that, if he is close to 1 bar of health, hit him a few more times. Once he's below 1 bar of health send a Chain Frost
his way. Follow the bolt of frost down - if he doesn't die, he should be on enough health to kill instantly with a Frost Blast
. Remember not to chase him too far, though - driving him to fountain to heal up is good enough, costing him experience and gold, as well as making him more wary of you in the future.
Mid Game is generally the ganking/teamfight stage of the game, and begins when heroes start to leave their lanes for longer periods of time (generally after a few kills have occurred). Both teams want to gain as many kills as possible at this stage, as this will help them to level up quickly and purchase much-needed items. Mid Game is also a great period of the game for heroes to farm up, using their new-found power to easily kill enemy creeps. Defending towers in the Mid Game stage is also crucial.
Note that "gank" is basically another word for ambush.
is a powerful support class hero dealing tons of damage - as well as slowing enemies with 3 of his abilities. However, he has very low health and armour, and no abilities that are overly useful for escaping fights. This means that you should always be with another hero
- if you stay alone in lane too long, you have a very high chance of being ganked and killed.
Now, depending on how the game progresses you will want to start building either Aghanim's Scepter
, Glimmer Cape
or a Veil of Discord
. If your team is doing well and you generally aren't taking that much damage, Aghanim's Sceptre is best for if you're just not doing enough damage in teamfights, or if they have illusion heroes. Glimmer Cape
is a superb item for every game if you're going well. Veil of Discord
is better if you find that you're taking lots of damage, as it has a nice all rounded stat bonus of 6
, as well as 6 health regeneration
, 6 damage
and 6 armour
. When activated it emits a weakening blast that increases magic damage taken by the enemies in the target area by 25% for 25 seconds
So, to summarize:
- Stay with another hero at all times!
- Help your team push lanes or defend towers where required.
- If your team is preparing for a gank assist in any way you can, whether it be as bait or simply helping to slow and damage the victim.
- If you see a team fight about to start, make sure that you are there when it happens to help kill enemies and protect your allies.
Finally, remember to keep your wards active. Depending on where the game is (what towers are active, pushes are occurring) ward in spots that will be the most useful.
Late Game is the teamfight/pushing stage of the game. It generally begins when several heroes reach level 16. In this stage of the game, both teams try to gain the advantage over the other team, through destroying towers, barracks and gaining lots of gold and experience.
Lich's Ice Armor comes in handy here, as well as his Aghanim's Sceptre Chain Frost
. You should assist your team as much as you can, helping in teamfights and pushes. Make sure that you never stray too far away from your team, and you should be fine.
The items you should get here really depend on how the game progresses - what heroes are in play, how strong your team and the other team is, whether another support has items, etc.
Rod of Atos
has a useful movement slowing ability. This item would be good to get if you your enemies have high movement speeds.
Drum of Endurance
is a good item to get if your team is doing well in general, as it gives a nice passive movement speed buff to everyone around you. This movement speed bonus is nice to have, but if your team is doing badly it isn't really advisable..
Scythe of Vyse
is a brilliant item that can turn the tide in teamfights. It is most useful to get this item if the enemy team has a powerful hero who is dominating teamfights.
Pipe of Insight
is a very powerful item. When used correctly it can remove the harmful effects of an enemy's spell against your whole team. However, if the enemy team doesn't have any magical heroes it is ineffective. Also, if someone else on your team already has this item, getting it again isn't really helpful.
can be very useful, when used in the right situation. When used, it pushed the target 600 units in the direction it is facing, including over impassable terrain.
Warding and Dust of Appearance
As a support, Lich is in charge of making sure that Observer Wards are placed in strategic locations around the map. These wards are highly important - they allow your team to track the movements of the enemy team.
Observer Wards are invisible, and provide sight of the surrounding area for 7 minutes. Sentry Wards last for 4 minutes, and instead of providing sight they allow invisible enemies in the nearby area to be seen.
Observer Wards are a necessity throughout the game. As the game progresses, there are different places where wards should be placed. For more details about where to place wards, see below.
Dust of Appearance reveals nearby invisible enemies for 12 seconds, as well as slowing them by 15%. Dust of Appearance is the perfect item to get if an enemy hero has abilities or items that turn them invisible (such as Bounty Hunter, or Shadow Blade).
Sentry Wards are more useful in the Early Game when the enemy has a long-lasting invisibility ability, such as Templar Assasin, Clinkz, Bounty Hunter or Riki.
Early Game Observer Wards
In the Early Game, Observer Wards are most useful on the runes. If you're bottom/top lane, have 1 ward that sights the rune closest to your lane and 1 ward in the nearby jungle. If you are in the bottom lane, you can ward both jungle and rune at once by using the ledge.
Mid / Late Game Observer Wards
Throughout the whole game, make sure that the runes are always warded! It's always good to know what runes are where, as well as knowing if the enemy is about to grab a rune. In certain situations it can also be very helpful to ward off other locations. Look at your map and ask your team where wards might be needed - you basically want as much visibility as possible in an area where the enemy might reside.
Counter Warding is where you put a sentry ward in a place where you think the enemy will place a ward, and then removing their ward. Counter Warding is most likely to yield results near the rune.
"Stacking" Neutral Creep Camps
A strategy for supports to give the Carries of the team more farm is to "stack" neutral creep camps. "Stacking" is when you force the creeps of a camp to leave their area for a few seconds over the minute mark so that another neutral creep camp spawns. The carry can then kill the double-stacked creep camp for very fast gold/experience.
So, for those a bit newer to the Dota scene, the Neutral Creep camps across the map all respawn at the start of every minute (other than the first). Neutral Creeps will, however, only spawn if there are no entities within the spawn area of the camp (entities being, heroes, units or wards). Neutral Creeps will only leave their camps to give chase to an enemy, and will return to their camps after about 5 seconds.
To stack a camp, simply attack a Neutral Creep after about 52 seconds (1:52, 2:52, etc) and run away from the camp. The creeps will not have enough time to chase you down and return to their original location
Three times is generally the best amount to stack a single camp - any more than that and it becomes harder to kill (early game) or too hard to stack. Mid game, stacking ancients instead of jungle camps is more useful.
You can also dominate a creep with Helm of the Dominator and use it to stack.
Try this on bot games first :)
- As a support, Lich's job is to buy the Courier. The Courier is a vital item to a team's success.
- Wards are another important item that the support hero should buy. When placed correctly, they greatly enhance the team's visibility. Visibility is a crucial key to the game and could be the difference between a victory and a loss.
- Healing items are essential as they allow you to stay in lane without running back to the fountain for healing.
A mana regeneration item (such as a Clarity
) is redundant with Lich
. His Sacrifice restores more than enough mana.
Early Game Items
- This item grants Lich +12 health regeneration
, +4 armour
and +90 movement speed
. The boots only cost 975 gold
. They are a very handy item; the +12 health regeneration is incredibly useful for Lich
to regain lost health without another healing item, the +4 armour protects Lich
from small amounts of damage and the +90 movement speed is useful to chase down and flee from foes or simply to move around the map. The only downside to these glorious shoes is that when you are attacked or attacking, the +12 health regeneration and +30 movement speed is lost for 13 seconds. Despite this, Tranquil Boots
are absolutely perfect for Lich
Urn of Shadows
- Gives +6 Strength
and +50% mana regeneration
. This small amount of bonus strength is nice, and the mana regeneration can come in handy when there are no friendly creeps nearby. The best part about the Urn is that whenever an enemy hero dies within a 950 range
, the Urn gains a charge. This charge can be used to restore 400 health to yourself or allies, or to damage an enemy for 150. The healing/damage occurs over 8 seconds. If you use the Urn to heal it acts like a Healing Salve
, cancelling if damage is taken. At a cost of only 875 gold
, the Urn of Shadows
is a perfect item for quick health regeneration or minor damage. However, ALWAYS check if someone else on your team (maybe a Pudge
) is buying an Urn - the charges gained only go to one Urn, so having two on the team makes it worse for both.
Mid Game Items
- Gives a +5 all round stat bonus
, and +5 armour
. It passively gives +4 health regeneration
to allies in a 750 area. When activated, the Mekansm
instantly heals all allies in a 750 radius for 250 health
, as well as +2 armour
. This ability has a 45 second cooldown
and costs 150 mana
and 2300 gold, but is an excellent support item. Mekansm
has the potential to save a team-mate in a fight, to restore health to bonus allies, etc, making it a very valuable item for a support hero.
- This item turns Lich
's already powerful ability into a frosty ball of team-wrecking death. It adds an extra 90 damage
to Chain Frost
, as well as increasing the range from 750 to 850
. It also causes Chain Frost
to have the potential to bounce an infinite number of times! Agh's Chain Frost
can destroy the enemy team when cast at the right time, doing up to 550 damage
with each bounce and continuing to bounce as long as there are targets in range. The timing of an Agh's Chain Frost
is vital - correct timing can cause it to mega-kill
, poor timing can cause it to wither and die instantly. Aghanim's Scepter
also gives a +10 all round stat bonus
, +200 health
and +150 mana
. Aghanim's Scepter
costs 4200 gold
, but is well worth it when used correctly, in conjunction with Chain Frost
Veil of Discord
- This item gives a +6 all round stat bonus
, +6 health regen
, +6 damage
and +6 armour
. It's ability is to emit a weakening blast that causes enemies in a 600 radius
to take 25+ more magic damage
for 25 seconds
. Veil of Discord
only has a 30 second cooldown
and a 75 mana cost
. It costs 2670 gold
, and an excellent item for causing large groups of enemies to be more susceptible to allied spells.
- Arguably, this is the ultimate support item of the current meta. Not only does it give +20 attack speed
, but it also gives +20% Magic Resistance
! When activated, the Glimmer Cape
grants yourself or an ally invisibility for 5 seconds
, with a bonus +55% magic resistance
! The Glimmer Cape
is the perfect item for a support to carry, either allowing you to get in perfect position to cast your ultimate or to save an ally in the midst of a fight.
- This item gives an amazing +500 health
, +400 mana
, +9 health regeneration
, +200% mana regeneration
and +10 damage
. The added health and mana provide Lich
with a bit more survivability, allowing him to stay in a fight for longer. Bloodstone
starts with 8 charges. It gains 1 charge every time a hero dies within a 1675 range. Each charge adds 1 mana regeneration
, reduces gold lost on death by 25 and reduces respawn time by 4 seconds. When you die with Bloodstone
1 third of its charges are lost, but all allies within a 1675 range of you gain 500 health + 30 health per charge restored. When Bloodstone
is activated, you instantly commit suicide.
Rod of Atos
- This item slows the target's movement speed by 60%
when activated. This ability has a 1200 range, 4 second duration
and 10 second cooldown
. This movement slow can prevent enemies from fleeing or from chasing you, making it an excellent item for a support hero. As a bonus, Rod of Atos
grants Lich +350 health
and +25 Intelligence
Drum of Endurance
- The Drum passively gives allies in a 900 range radius +5% movement speed
and +5 attack speed
. The added movement and attack speed may not seem like very much, but they add that little bit of assistance that can make the whole game a little bit easier for everyone. When activated, the Drum of Endurance
gives you +171 health
, +0.27 health regeneration
, +14 attack speed
, +1.28 armour
and +117 mana
, as well as giving allies in a 900 radius +10 attack speed
and +10% movement speed
, which can also give that added bonus which really helps when you are involved in a high speed clash. On top of that, the Drum gives you +9 to all stats
and +3 damage
Scythe of Vyse
- This item gives a nice +10 Strength and Agility
and +35 Intelligence
, as well as +150% mana regeneration
. The reason that this item is great for Lich
is because it's ability is to turn the target into a harmless critter for 3.5 seconds
an ability that disables enemies.
Pipe of Insight
- This item is the perfect support item. As well as giving Lich +9 health regeneration
and +30% magic resistance
, the Pipe of Insight
gives a +4 health regeneration to all nearby allies
. When activated it grants all nearby allies a 10 second shield
that blocks 400 spell damage
, with a 60 second cooldown
- This is an excellent item for most heroes, but especially a support like Lich
. It gives Lich +30 Intelligence
and +15 armour
, and passively reduces enemies' attack speed by 40
in a 900 radius
. When activated, it emits a wave of frost in a 900 radius
that deals 200 damage
to all afflicted enemies and slows their movement speed by 40%
for 4 seconds
. This ability only has a 30 second cooldown
, and is great in teamfights - especially when running away or chasing fleeing enemies.
- A very cheap item that grants +10 Intelligence
and +3 HP Regeneration
. When activated it pushed the target (or yourself) 600 units in whichever direction the target is facing. This is a great support item, and when used correctly, can save someone's life.