Hello all, and welcome to my humble guide to one of my favorite heroes.
The first thing you will notice about this guide is how incredibly flexible this specific hero truly is; think of this guide not as a "be-all end-all authority" to the hero, but as a loose string of suggestions based on my (somewhat limited) usage of, and experience with the hero. This is indeed my first guide, so any comment/constructive criticism is much appreciated. I am also a busy individual, but I will try to respond to comments and questions as soon as possible. With that in mind, let's get started, shall we?
The professional team Natus Vincere has used Rubick with spectacular results; their captain, Na`Vi.Puppey, calling him "the strongest support in the game." This is because of his deviously simple, yet amazingly powerful ultimate. Spell Steal allows the player to steal the most recently used spell that the targeted enemy has used. This could be anything from Tidehunter's Ravage, to a lowly Grave Chill from an enemy Visage. Couple that with his Telekinesis, a fantastic "instant disable" (requiring no cast time) and AoE stun, his Nuke/Cripple, Fade Bolt, and an aura that grants Magic Resist (MR), Null Field, the Grand Magus can be a devastating teamfighter and counter-initiator.
Every time I see a hero with a big Ultimate, like Earthshaker, Tidehunter or Enigma, I instantly pick Rubick, knowing that my foes will truly fear my potential on the battlefield, and that I can completely nullify their effect in a teamfight with a few button presses and a mouse click or two. It is that knowledge that will help set my team one step closer to taking the match, and winning the mental war that comes to fruition in every Dota 2 match.
There are a few things to keep in mind when skilling Rubick: Firstly, take your ultimate, Spell Steal at 6,11 and 16; it is simply too good to pass up, and the extra duration is very, very handy. Secondly, max Fade Bolt first. It is a great nuke, and the manacost doesn't increase as you skill it. Lastly, Rubick's Telekinesis is also a great skill; it is an instant disable (no cast animation) with fantastic range, and can be followed-up with just about anything in your team's repertoire of disables and/or skillshots, assuming yours isn't the only disable. This is why it is ALWAYS picked up at level 1. Null Field's MR aura helps, but skill it late, because the 5% isn't worth picking up only a single point early.
**Also, as a note, Stolen spells have no cast animation, meaning that it's possible to land better Earthshaker or Jakiro spells than the heroes themselves (since they have absurdly long cast animations)**
Early Game: Choose either Courier OR Wards to start with, it is not not recommended that you get both. This will cost too much, and leave you with less stats items/consumables to start; if nobody else is, however, this is your job.
Mid Game: Also, although listed as the build's "Core Items," you don't have to get all three Mek, Pipe and Urn; just choose one. Ideally, if nobody is building Mek, you will. If your other support is, build Pipe or Urn, depending on kill count and potential for kills on both teams. Ideally, you will get a Blink Dagger and/or Drums of Endurance (max 1 per team) to help set up positioning for high-powered ultimates, as positioning is key to stealing and returning big teamfight ultimates.
Progression: As such, it isn't the end of the world if you can't finish your Perseverence; a casual Void stone is better than nothing, but on the same turn, if you are really doing "that well," a Bloodstone is unbelievably helpful too (Disassemble your Arcane Boots for the Energy Booster, and build Power Treads or Phase Boots, or Boots of the Traveler after this if you are farming unbelievably well). This is an idealization, however. In reality, you aren't going to get jack-squat for farm, so do what you can to help your team; Protective items like Mekanism gain highest priority. Building a Eul's Scepter with that void stone is also a noteworthy option, as it can be used as a pseudo-disruption ability; interrupting channeling spells and saving allies/pinning enemies in place for an initiation.
Rationalization for items:
When going mid, minimalizing consumables at the start will allow you to reach a bottle at the ~2 min mark. Don't whiff on last hits, though. The sooner you get the bottle and start controlling the runes, the harder your opponent's life will be.
All throughout the game, a Magic Wand will save your life. It's an eventuality. The stats from the branches are nice in the early game, and the active from the Wand is nice if you're facing a spell-spammer in lane like Skywrath or Batrider.
As a support, protective items like Mekanism, Urn (mainly for ganking and/or roaming), and Pipe of Insight help immensely with their active heals/barrier and passive tankiness and regen. The heals and barriers will help keep your team, up during and/or after skirmishes and full-blown teamfights. Don't be exclusive; this is why you are playing support, to save the skins of your teammates.
Other items for Rubick include items like a Force Staff, Bloodstone, Sheepstick, Rod of Atos or Shiva's Guard (if more tankability is desired, and the gold is there), Necrobook (for better split-push potential), and Refresher Orb for casting big ultimates twice during fights.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get Aghanim's Scepter on Rubick. Why spend the gold, when you can get a free Aghanim's-enhanced Ultimate off of the person you're stealing from?
If you prefer a more burst damage sort of build, and you are a reasonable distance ahead, a "Shotgun" build is not recommended nor encouraged on a pure support, but if building an Ethereal Blade and Dagon is your thing, it's up to you... If you choose to do this, E-Blade + Dagon + Fade-bolt is very, very painful.
The Blink-Arcanes Rubick has proven very potent in professional play, allowing for perfect positioning and a deep well of mana to draw upon. Assuming normal, support-level farm (stacking and pulling), your Arcane boots should come at about ~15 mins, and your Blink Dagger around 10 minutes after. Later is okay, just as long as you can land those big ultimates I keep referencing. I'll get to that in the next segment.
No matter what role you're playing, a TP scroll is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! This cannot be stressed enough. The ability to quickly rotate is what separates the good supports from the mediocre ones.
Warding is also essential. I once read a fact that has stuck with me in my months of playing Dota 2: Vision is the most essential commodity. Warding gives vision, and with vision, you can make more educated decisions on when to push and when to defend. With this said, a Gem of True Sight, if you are confident in your ability to survive, can be invaluable if there is an invisible/Shadow Blade-holding hero on the other team, as it grants true sight of all enemy heroes in sight-range.
Not all spells are good for every occasion. Here are some of my favorite situational spells that I can think of off the top of my head:
Harassment spells like Battle Hunger, Shuckuchi, Brain Sap, Enfeeble, Powershot; lower manacost, low-moderate damage, nuisance spells that agitate and disrupt enemies
Stuns, nukes and slows like Grave Chill, Storm Bolt, Ensnare, Nightmare, Frostbite, Cold Feet, Crystal Nova, Ice Path, Shackleshot; A little something-something to keep enemies in place while you and your allies wail on them
Nukes, ultimates and lockdown like Ravage, Epicenter, Black Hole, Soul Assumption, Fiends Grip, Calldown, Split Earth, Powershot, Lucent Beam/Eclipse, Ancient Apparition's Snowball from Hell, Song of the Siren, Chronosphere, Reverse Polarity; Anything that will gain your team an advantage in a teamfight. Steal, then proceed to abuse.
Utility/Mobility: Burrowstrike, Blink, Blinkstrike, Windrun, Illusory Orb, Shuckuchi, Time Lapse, Morph Strength; Getting around and potentially escaping trouble/initiating with a Double blink or Burrow-Blink is always agitating to foes. Survivability spells help a lot in this regard too (Like being the most tanky Rubick ever when morphing strength). Playing the part of Puck and living to tell the tale is a fantastic mind-game to play
[+]Fits into any team composition as a 3-5 role
[+]Adapts to many situations
[+]Able to single-handedly turn fights around
[+]Great disables and crippling nuke
[-]Squishy; able to be nuked down almost INSTANTLY
[-]No innate survivability or mobility until level 6; not guaranteed afterwords
[-]Hard-countered by heroes with abilities that silence (Silencer, Drow, Death Prophet, Disruptor, etc.) (Read as: You're no good if you can't cast spells)
[-]Knowledge of every spell stolen is a must AND
[-]High level of "Game sense" preferable; not suited to those who don't yet know the game
Rubick can be played as a:
Solo mid (3 or 4 role)- Start with a stack of Tangos and three branches. Rush bottle first, then boots and wand, then farm up an energy booster (for Arcane Boots) and Blink Dagger. Rune control is nice, as are ganks, and both are recommended, but winning lane is also important. Continue on into Core Items.
Lane Support(4-5 role)- Start with either courier or wards, a salve, Tangos, Iron Branches and a pair of Clarity Potions (Optional). Give the wards to anyone who is going to the "Short lane" (Top for Radiant, Bot for Dire), so that they can ward the Rune spawn in the river and the pull camp for the opponent's easy lane (the same lane for the opposite side). After that, get to work stacking (attacking the creep camp at ~ --:53 seconds of every minute, as they spawn in on the minute mark, then run away) and pulling (Attack the creep camp when it is 2/3 of the way to your tower, then run out in front of your lane creeps. When done right, this denies a bunch of experience to your enemy's offlaner(s), and allows your carry to farm under your own tower) if you are in a dual-lane in the infamous "Hard lane," all you can really do is start soaking experience and defending your teammate. Farm where you can, and get your items up ASAP (get your first defensive item before getting Arcane Boots), lest any fights occur when you're not prepared. If you are nominated as the "ward b****," buy wards every time you are able, as vision is very important. Try to place them in important gank paths and on high ground for more security. If the situation requires, buy a Sentry Ward to find and de-ward enemy wards. As if this wasn't complicated enough, you should also upgrade the courier to a Flying Courier with the first 220 gold you amass.
No matter which role you play, always have at least one Town Portal Scroll to move around the map to react to enemy activity, force a fight, or push out a lane. This CANNOT BE STRESSED ENOUGH!
If you can, talk with your teammates; let them know what's going on. Time your wards and Roshan (put time of completion and/or warding in chat for reference), to keep yourself on task, and co-ordinate stuns to chain-disable during ganks. If you're not talking/using chat, you're doing it wrong! I find the voice chat feature especially helpful in coordinating with my team, mapping the push-to-talk to my 'V' key for quick access.
One of the best Rubick players in the EU, Na`Vi.KuroKy, can be seen playing the hero in the 4-5 role here:
Na`Vi.Dendi can also be seen in several International 2 highlight Vods playing the hero in a more aggressive style out of the Mid lane.
Other notable Rubick players include Liquid`Korok, QPad.SingSing, Mouz.Pa5, DK.ZippO,iG.Faith, as shown in the vod below:
**In case you haven't figured it out, I am indeed a Na`Vi fanboy; and I certainly don't deny that. Don't post hate in the comments, please.**
Thank you for taking time out of your life to view and critique my guide to Rubick, The Grand Magus. As mentioned before, commenting constructive criticism is always welcome, and I hope I can help Rubick players to blaze a trail to victory.
Good luck, good hunting, and give 'em Hell,
**Shoutouts to Paperbags, Peppo_oPaccio, Ab4ddon._.E43, maercS and chenboy3 for their comments that helped in the revision of this guide.**
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