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10 Votes

Swiggity Swagnus, Let's Play Magnus

April 19, 2017 by Nahmae
Comments: 18    |    Views: 44371    |   

Build 1
Build 2


DotA2 Hero: Magnus

Hero Skills


1 3 5 7


11 13 14 16


2 4 8 9

Reverse Polarity

6 12 18


10 15 17

Hero Talents

+1s Reverse Polarity Stun Duration
+10% Empower Damage/Cleave
+375 Skewer Range
+125 Shockwave Damage
-7s Skewer Cooldown
+16 Strength per hero hit with Reverse Polarity
+0.5s Shockwave Slow Duration
+10s Empower Duration

If you're playing with a friend...

If you're playing Magnus with a friend and you're looking for some good hero combinations, check the Friends, Foes and People You Wreck section below.

One of the Magnus partners is Lich - See our Lich guide Sweet Vivification for some tips and tricks.


Magnus the Magnoceros is a powerful giant rhino that can utterly upset enemy formations in teamfights to your advantage. He requires some skill to play, but it is well worth it - Magnus is a valuable addition to almost any team.

Magnus' playstyle can be a little hard for newer players to wrap their heads around. The reason for this is that he isn't really classified as a carry or a support, or even a ganker. Magnus is a utility hero, meaning that his abilities are useful in combination with other members of his team. Magnus excels at disrupting the enemy team during a fight or isolating individual players for easy slaughter.

Magnus is not picked very often. This is because he's a fairly difficult hero to play, and requires a coordinated team to be effective. Because he isn't picked that much, not as many people know how to play or counter Magnus, especially as he has a few major tricks up his sleeve - namely, "fishing".

As a utility hero, Magnus needs some gold to be effective, especially if you're going for an early Blink Dagger. However, Magnus is not important enough to take the farm away from a hard carry. Magnus is also a strong ganker at level 6, and with his Shockwave he is a very viable candidate for the mid-lane. He can also solo lane quite well, if your team has a jungler or tri-lane.

Oh, and Also...

Magnus may be hard to play, but damn, he can be fun. There's no greater (or sadder?) feeling than landing the perfect Reverse Polarity and winning your team the game.

Pros and Cons


- Great teamfight abilities
- Good escape capability
- Powerful mid/solo lane presence, despite being a melee hero
- Can dominate early and mid game with Skewer
- Most abilities useful in late game
- Abilities synergize well with other heroes
- Awesome in nearly any team composition


- Difficult to play
- Requires a good team to be effective
- Cannot hard carry

Friends, Foes and People You Wreck


Lich - Reverse Polarity with Chain Frost is perfect.
Faceless Void - Reverse Polarity and Skewer can gather the enemy team perfectly for Chronosphere, and Empower is perfect for Void.
Bloodseeker - Many of Magnus' abilities involve movement, which synergizes with Rupture and Blood Rite.
Disruptor - Static Storm works extremely well with Reverse Polarity.
Sven - Cleave damage master race.

Disruptor can Glimpse Magnus away after a Skewer/Blink initiation.
Bloodseeker can Rupture Magnus, preventing him from moving into position.

People You Wreck
Anti-Mage - [Magnus]] can use Skewer and Reverse Polarity to prevent Anti-Mage from escaping with his Blink.
Juggernaut - If Omnislashed, Magnus can Skewer away from the fight, causing it to be far less effective.

Skill Descriptions

This is Magnus's "bread and butter" skill in the laning phase. Shockwave does 75/150/225/300 damage to all enemies within a 150 radius in a 700 line . This is a decent amount of damage early game, for only 90 mana and with a 10/9/8 cooldown. Shockwave should mainly be used for harassing enemy heroes after the skill gets to level 2, or to get some last hits if you're laning against a ranged hero. Shockwave is very effective when used with Skewer or Reverse Polarity.

Empower is a great team utility skill. It grants an ally (or Magnus himself) a bonus 20%/30%/40%/50% damage with each auto attack for 40 seconds - as well as granting 20%/30%/40%/50% cleave in a 200 radius! A free battlefury for Magnus and all of his allies. Empower is most effective later on in the game, and is a very good farming tool for himself and teammates.
- Note that Empower allows Magnus' attacks to cleave all enemies affected by Reverse Polarity!

Skewer is the defining ability of Magnus. It causes him to lower his horn and run for all he's worth, picking up any enemy heroes in his 750/900/1050/1200 charge, damaging them for 70/140/210/280 and slowing movement speed by 40% for 2.5 seconds. Skewer perfectly sets up enemies for a Shockwave, a Reverse Polarity or just a beating down.

Reverse Polarity
Reverse Polarity is an excellent stun that synergises perfectly with all of Magnus' other abilities. Reverse Polarity pulls all enemies in a 410 radius together infront of him, stunning them for 2.25/3/3.75 seconds and dealing 50/100/125 damage. It has a 200/250/300 mana cost and a rather lengthy 120/110/100 cooldown. Note that Reverse Polarity goes through Magic Immune units but does not deal damage.

Gameplay Strategies and Tips

Early Game

Magnus is a giant rhino, with one of the largest hit boxes in game. This is a bit of a flaw (easier to click on), but it does make it easier for him to creep-block (slowly walking in front of your creeps at the start of the game to bring the creep equilibrium closer to your tower).

Magnus is also great at contesting the rune. This is why it's good to get Skewer first - the slow/displacement can make for an easy rune grab, or even First Blood!


Magnus is a superb Mid hero. He relies on his Shockwave for ranged last-hitting / harassing, so mana is a major issue early game. Try to get a Bottle as early as possible, as it will greatly increase your power.
*** Note ***
-- When leaving mid to gank, if the enemy has a hard carry such as Drow Ranger or Sniper, don't leave mid unattended! Either don't leave, leave for a very brief amount of time, or get someone else to go mid.--
If the enemy is greatly over-extending into your team's territory in another lane, consider quickly leaving mid to sort them out as they flee. Magnus is an incredible early game ganker, as his Skewer's charge and slow is perfect for early game kills.

Once you reach level 6, ganking becomes easier. Reverse Polarity is a very powerful skill all throughout the game, but especially at the start. Use it whenever you see an opportunity.

Mid Game

Mid game is a great time for Magnus. Most enemy heroes won't have Black King Bars yet, but you will have your Blink Dagger. Use this time to gank enemies! Try to place some Observer Wards strategically where you think the enemy might be (enemy jungle, enemy ancients, river, etc). If you see an opportunity to get a kill, gather some teammates and destroy the lone enemy (Blink and charge for initiation).

There are two ways most games pan out - either the mid game is intense teamfights and pushing and the game ends, or the hard carries of both team farm. If your team has no hard carries, then you should try to end the game here - force fights, pressure some towers, basically play aggressively. Magnus is great for initiating fights, but make sure that your team is ready -- there is nothing worse than blinking in, landing the perfect Reverse Polarity, only to realize that your team is gone.

If your team has a hard carry who needs some farm, you should try to avoid major fights, as you will probably be fighting 4v5, giving the enemy an upper hand. Instead, you and other members of your team should try to take some towers without fighting, or continuously pick off enemy heroes to stop their progress. The longer the game goes, the more farm your carry gets and the higher your chance of winning is.

Items are very specific to each game. However, as a general rule, items that work for Magnus are:
Arcane Boots for the bonus mana so you can repeatedly cast spells (and always have enough mana to cast Reverse Polarity when needed!).
Bracer for bonus health and damage. As these are so cheap, several can be bought, and as a bonus Bracer builds into Drum of Endurance.
Mask of Madness isn't a necessity for Magnus, but it synergizes perfectly with Empower and Reverse Polarity! The movement speed is handy, too.

There are some other items for Magnus that are useful, but are not needed in every game. Other players on your team may have already built them, or you may need more powerful items to specifically counter an enemy hero (such as Blademail).
These items include (but are not limited to):
Drum of Endurance - Upgraded form of the Bracer, provides great all round stats, movement speed, and can be used in teamfights for an all round speed boost. Great item, but not as powerful as others, and should generally be purchased if you are in great need of some more health (like if you're losing).
Mekansm - Provides passive health regeneration for yourself and nearby teammates. When activated it heals all nearby teammates (and other friendly units) for 250 health. However, the aura and the heal does not stack with other Mekansms - having 2 on the team is redundant!
Pipe of Insight - This item is basically a magical- Mekansm - it has an aura that provides allies with +10% magic resistance (although the bearer of the item gets +30%), and when activated gives nearby allies a shield that blocks up to 400 magical damage. The shield lasts for 12 seconds - so in mid-game, when used at the right time it can completely deny the the enemy in teamfights (it's really good against Sand King, for example!).
Glimmer Cape is a beautiful item that provides +20% magic resistance passively (which stacks with other sources). When cast on yourself/allies, it casts a buff on allies that lasts 5 seconds - after a 0.4 second fade time, the ally will gain +55% magic resistance, and become invisible. If the ally attacks, the fade time will be reset. Glimmer Cape can be used to protect a channeling ally, to get into perfect position to Reverse Polarity, to protect yourself after initiating, to save a fleeing ally... the possibilities are endless, all for 1950 gold.

The new Aghanims Scepter upgrade for Magnus is interesting. Turns Empower into an aura. This would be absolutely awesome in conjunction with a big Reverse Polarity. Prepare for some big plays.

--Utility Items--

Force Staff - Excellent intelligence utility item. This works well for any hero because of it's active -- a burst of 600 units of movement in whichever direction the ally/enemy hero is facing -- can help an ally to get into perfect position, chase down an enemy or escape, or simply to bypass blockages (trees, cliffs, etc). When used on an enemy it can disrupt their position, cause them to become trapped, force them into a negative position (eg into a Chronosphere). Force Staff is a great item to get if: you don't already have one on your team; the enemy has many slows; there is a Faceless Void in the game or a Bloodseeker on your team (there are other good hero combos as well); or you simply need some more mana.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity - Another brilliant intelligence item for Magnus. Eul's is awesome because of it's bonus movement speed, and it's active ability - Cyclone - which makes the enemy/yourself immune but disabled for 2.5 seconds. Cyclone can be used to disable an enemy (which effectively takes him out of the fight for a short duration), stop an enemy from running away, etc. Cyclone, when used on yourself, can be used to dodge projectiles, purging silences, etc. There are many different uses for Eul's! It's a great item to pick up if the enemy has a key player that is destroying your team in teamfights, to stop a powerful enemy from initiating (eg Puck), if your team doesn't have any stunners and the enemy has channeled abilities (eg Witch Doctor), if the enemy has a Faceless Void, or if you're simply in need of more intelligence.

Late Game

This is (generally) where the victors of the game are decided. A good or bad teamfight could win or lose the game; a good Reverse Polarity here could literally win you the game.

It is important to always keep Empower active on allies that attack predominately with auto-attacks - 50% extra damage and 50% cleave could be the difference between a won fight and a lost fight, especially if you have a Faceless Void on the team.
Empower is also an excellent pushing tool, allowing heroes to annihilate enemy creep waves with ease.

At this stage of the game, it is likely that some enemies will have Black King Bars, rendering most of your abilities useless. This means that you must either attack with the element of surprise ( Black King Bars cannot be activated when stunned) or wait in fights for the Magic Immunity to fade.

At this stage in the game, there are several items for Magnus that are quite useful for destroying the enemy team. These include:
Blademail - Magnus has a considerable health pool, and is often targeted by the enemy team because of his utility power. Blademail makes this work to his advantage, either dissuading the enemy team from attacking him, or causing considerable damage back to them.
Scythe of Vyse - If the enemy team has a key player that is creating havoc for your team (such as Faceless Void or Invoker), a Sheep Stick would allow you to easily take this threat out of the fight.
Battlefury - This item synergizes brilliantly with Empower (the Cleave stacks!). It also provides a lot more damage to be cleaved. When combined with the bonus attack speed from Mask of Madness, it turns Magnus into a viable carry. This is great if your team does not have a hard carry.
Black King Bar - If the enemy team has many stuns, getting into position to cast Reverse Polarity/ Skewer may be difficult. If you find yourself being locked down into oblivion, a Black King Bar would fix this problem, and provide you more freedom to attack with auto attacks.
Refresher Orb - **NOTE -- Don't get this item unless you have another intelligence item like Shiva's Guard, or you won't have the mana cost to use it!
This item is great for Magnus. It means that the enemy can be stunned for 7.5 seconds total! However, it is an expensive item with poor late-game components. It is excellent for a game that goes for 60+ minutes, or if you have just wiped the enemy team in a teamfight and have a large stockpile of gold. Note that the Refresher Orb is a purely teamfight item that has little effect if the enemy only have 1 key player that is carrying their team. For example, if the enemy has a Phantom Assassin that is carrying there team, a Scythe of Vyse would be more useful than a Refresher Orb. If the enemy team has a powerful all-round team composition, Refresher Orb is a wise choice.

Shiva's Guard is awesome on Magnus! Use it after a Reverse Polarity to deal instant damage to everyone you've just ulted, also slowing their attack speed. Get this item if you have the gold late game. If you have Shiva's Guard, Refresher Orb synergises perfectly with it, giving you the intelligence to use it and potentially 2 Ults and 2 Shivas!

Carry Magnus....

So, the build of "Carry Magnus" is an abstract concept, tried vaguely in some games, and it works to various extents. The Carry Magnus build generally works off his utility, granting him power to follow up his own initiation.

But recently, I was in a game that brought Carry Magnus to a whole new level. I don't know how viable this build would be in non-pub games, or at all. I just thought I'd mention it.

In this particular game, the enemy Magnus was not present in teamfights. He missed a few skewers early game, and most of us dismissed him as an idiot. We didn't see him for the next 20 minutes, and proceeded to destroy their team, taking objectives and kills with ease, until we got to their Tier 3 tower. With a Sniper on defence, this was going to be a long push.

Somehow, they defended. We made a few bad plays, they made a few good ones, and they defended. We were still in the lead. Nobody was worried. We had this.

We rotated bot and took the radiant's bottom Tier 2 Tower. Easy Dota. This was about 30-40 minutes into the game.
Then the enemy Magnus blinks in and destroys us all in a single felling blow of his spear.

Carry Magnus. Hard carry Magnus. Because why not.

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