Hello, I'm Bleapo and this is my guide on Support Sniper. I think it's a really fun, but also really strong concept which I started playing back in December, and now that it's actually fairly popular I decided to make a guide for it, you can read it here or watch it on Youtube below.
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I also stream on twitch which you can find here
Support sniper was first picked in a professional game by Kuroky at ESL: LA 2020 on the 17th of April, with him rushing an Aghanim’s Scepter which had been recently reworked to make his ultimate, Assasinate, fire much quicker which was previously one of his level 20 talents. It also causes it to stun, previously for 1.8 seconds but was nerfed to 1.5 seconds in 7.26c
The pick however it was not an instant success with Nigma losing the game, but Kuroky had managed to show the concept to the rest of the world, with other teams now picking up the hero semi-regularly, most noticeably Team Secret. So why support Sniper? Sniper had always been a core, probably one of the most classic midlaners in Dota 2 but now is being picked more as a support, being picked 15 times as a support (as of writing), while being picked as a core 14 times according to DatDota in the 7.26 patches. Well first of all there’s the obvious, the change to the Aghanim’s Scepter. The change to a more utility based Aghanim’s made sniper a more viable support, having an almost instant far ranged stun which has a low cooldown and decent damage can be fight winning. Also, the level 10 talent, now a 15% cooldown reduction but previously was 25%, then 20%, means Sniper can really spam out his two spells, which as a support are your main sources of damage, meaning simply put you’ll be doing 15% more damage, controlling the enemy team 15% more often, as well as if you pick up items such as Force Staff or Guardian Greaves they’ll be ready to use so you can repeatedly save your team.
Shrapnel when cast does damage and slows in an AOE, as well as giving vision. You have three charges which have no cooldown inbetween casting, meaning if you want you can use all three in quick succession, but then have a long restore time of 40 seconds. Shrapnel is probably Sniper’s best spell, as you can control fights from the backline slowing and damaging enemy heroes, if the enemies decide to try and disengage you can place down Shrapnel, disrupting and hopefully stopping them getting away. You can also force heroes to go on you in lane, place down a Shrapnel then trade with them, if they stay they’ll die as they will be taking a large amount of damage from Shrapnel, if they try to leave you can chase them down and they’ll most likely die as well. This is especially good against heroes who either want to walk into fights, or heroes who want to use Blink Dagger to initiate fights, as you can completely control their movements around the fight, cancelling blink dagger and slowing down their initiations.
Overall, I think this is shown best by YapzOr in Team Secret’s first game against Na’Vi in the final of the Gamers Without Borders tournament, where he puts on a dominant display on the hero. Although being second picked, the draft he was playing into showed the strengths of the hero.
Combined with the slow from Puppey’s Enchantress and the stun from Zai’s Dragon Knight they were able to kill the Slark they were laning against early on. When going to kill the Rubick who has moved into his team’s triangle, he controls the Rubick’s movement with Shrapnel, forcing him to turn back into Nisha’s Zeus who then bursts him down. Since Zai is playing a tanky offlane in a lane where it’s unlikely he will die, Yapz0r is able to move across the map, warding and reacting to Na’Vi’s rotations. He uses Shrapnel to aggressively push in lanes, getting himself farm and helping to take objectives. During fights, he places down Shrapnel to split up Na’Vi, resulting in Necrophos being killed, he also uses Assassinate whenever available, doing good chunks of damage and keeping vision on the opposition which helps his team chase down and kill enemy heroes. When his team goes highground he places down Shrapnel around the barracks giving vision of the enemy team’s movements and dissuading them from trying to stop Secret’s push. Since Sniper can farm waves easily with Shrapnel, Yapz0r has both an Aghanim’s and a Blink Dagger by 30 minutes, but this is when the game ends.
So let’s talk about Yapz0r’s item choices for this game. He starts with a set of Tangos and a Ring Basilius, which is pretty standard for a position 4 at the moment. He then gets Boots of Speed, then queues up the Aghanim’s Scepter, after he gets Aghanim’s, Yapz0r decides to get a Blink Dagger but the game is basically over by the time he gets it. This all seems standard but let's specifically talk about the Blink Dagger. Yapz0r is playing against multiple heroes that want to jump the backline, those being Slark and Mars. Being able to reposition with Blink Dagger is really nice, dodging Pounce and Arena of Blood which lets you continue Assassinate spam and lay down Shrapnel.
Yapz0r’s skill build was max Shrapnel, then maxing take aim with headshot being the last spell leveled. This links back to the Blink Dagger purchase, Yapz0r wants to be able to sit back out of danger, away from the Mars and Slark so that he can help win team fights with Shrapnel and Assassinate, as well as his right clicks, as even though they don’t do much damage it all adds up when trying to get a kill.
Now, I first tried out the concept of support Sniper back in December, I was trying to play cores in a support role for fun and Sniper seemed like he could work. I realised when playing him as a core he is too weak overall, but he dished out a lot of damage early on. Shrapnel was doing the most work by far so building him as a support you could really abuse the 25% cooldown talent (now 15%) to spam it out. This also applied to Assassinate, lowering the cooldown to 15 seconds (now 17 seconds) at level 1, meaning you could abuse this low cooldown to deal a lot of free damage in fights, getting it off at least 2 twice, maybe up to 4 times.
I played around the cooldown talent, getting Guardian Greaves then an Aghanim’s. I figured being able to spam out saves for my team like no support could other than Dazzle would be really strong, but what made this much, much stronger than Dazzle is that I also did damage, a lot of damage.
As you can see I did the most damage in the game, even though there is a Kunkka, Viper, and Clinkz, all heroes capable of doing massive amounts of damage throughout a game of Dota 2. I also healed for 5.1k, having Guardian Greaves on a 30 second cooldown (now 35.5) was huge, giving my team the sustain it needed to comfortably win fights. I didn’t even need the Aghanim’s this game, since we had suitable control with our Kunkka, Lion, and Viper. I wouldn’t build the Veil of Discord on support sniper, it’s too greedy for what it offers and I was just trying out what could’ve been good on this concept at the time.
I asked for some advice for my build from TeaGuvnor, former Chaos Esports Club coach and manager, in his discord that he has for his coaching streams (if they ever return). Tea said that to “make this usable” I should get a Force Staff before Guardian Greaves and abuse the fact that I could have a Force Staff on a 17.25 cooldown (now 19.55), then build Guardian Greaves or an Aghanim’s Scepter.
Now what surprises me is that I don’t see anyone building Arcane Boots on support Sniper, you gain more value out of them compared to other supports because of your early cooldown talent, and you can end up being low on mana often since you spam out Assassinate and Shrapnel, so having Arcane Boots really helps. I’ve seen players either go Boots of Speed into Agh’s, or Tranquil Boots into Agh’s. Tranquil Boots do seem to be very nice on Sniper, giving you much needed movespeed as the hero is relatively slow.
I would say you will want to start with a set of Tangos and Boots of Speed, skilling Shrapnel level 1. You should then try to build Arcane/Tranquil Boots, while maxing out Shrapnel and Take Aim, while taking a value level in Headshot at Level 2.
Once you have Arcane/Tranquil Boots you should buy an Aghanim’s Scepter, then look to get a Force Staff, then Guardian Greaves. You could also build a Lotus Orb or Spirit Vessel if the game requires one. You should obviously take the 15% cooldown talent at Level 10, then take all the Shrapnel based ones after that, those being the movespeed slow at level 15, the damage at level 20 and the extra Shrapnel charges at 25.
What’s nice about support Sniper later in the game is that you always have the option to build it as a core if your team is struggling for damage. Remember, this is a guide, not an order, Yapz0r maxed Take Aim second since he needed to stand at the back of fights and dodge the Slark and Mars, build your hero the way you think it’ll be most effective. If you think you can position in fights correctly, you might consider maxing Headshot second, with the value level being Take Aim instead, it’s flexible.
Look for “Bleapo’s Support Sniper” when searching for guides and you should be able to see it in-game.
So that’s it. I have no idea how relevant this will be in the future since Icefrog may decide that he’s seen enough of this super fun and distinctly different concept and remove it from the game.
If you find this helpful and interesting please say so that I can continue making these guides/articles.
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