|1.||Welcome to my Sven Guide!|
|2.||Patch 7.01 Changes and Impact|
|3.||When to choose CARRY Sven|
|4.||When to choose SUPPORT Sven|
|5.||Volume 1: Carry Sven, Build Philosophy|
|6.||Chapter 1: Early Game|
|7.||Chapter 2: Mid Game|
|8.||Chapter 3: Late Game|
|9.||Tips and Tricks|
|10.||Volume 2: Support Sven|
|12.||Chapter 1: Early Game|
|13.||Chapter 2: Mid Game|
|14.||Chapter 3: Late Game|
|16.||Thanks for reading!|
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide! Sven is quickly becoming one of my favorite heroes for a number of reasons that will be discussed below. Sven is an excellent carry and a highly underrated support and this guide is an attempt to shed light on Sven's true potential in both the carry and support roles. This guide will assume you are already familiar with Sven's abilities and have a basic understanding of his gameplay as I want to cover some of the more obscure nuances of the hero that can help you unlock his true potential. If you are unfamiliar with Sven's abilities and/or general gameplay, feel free to check out another guide and come back later!
This section will be updated each time a new major patch is launched and will discuss the changes that are relevant to Sven and how they impact his gameplay.
No direct hero changes except the addition of the talent tree. Sven's talent tree is pretty good compared to a lot of others, specifically his Evasion talent at lvl 20 and Storm Bolt talent at 25.
The talent tree has me conflicted about how viable support Sven will be. Almost all of his talent tiers offer great options for support Sven, but compared to other supports' talent tiers, they actually seem lackluster. Supports like Crystal Maiden and Omniknight offer xp and gold talents to supplement their lack of farm and levels as supports. The lack of these types of talents on Sven means he will fall behind traditional supports in farm and levels.
Tons of map changes that are an overall buff to the quality of life of every hero. The relevant changes for Sven include the following...
- Sanctuaries to reduce the number of trips back to base while farming
- Additional Ancient camp
- Camps now spawn every other minute instead of every minute
The addition of the backpack is a nice quality of life change for all carries including Sven.
This patch is a buff to Sven, but not as much as it was to other carries. He will still be a strong pick, but other carries got a lot more love this patch (looking at you, Anti-Mage.
Sven is a risky hero to pick, especially early on in a draft. There are certainly heroes that "counter" Sven (I use the term loosely because your teammates can help you succeed in even the hardest matchups), but carry Sven can fit nicely into a wide range of lineups...
- You have defensive supports that can keep you alive or help you stay on top of the enemy ( Oracle, Dazzle, Omniknight, etc.)
- You have aggressive supports and/or teamfight ultimates that let you go ham ( Magnus, Enigma, Shadow Shaman, Lion, Tidehunter, Earthshaker, Warlock etc.)
- The enemy team lacks ways to kite you ( Necrophos, Zeus, Luna, Broodmother, Juggernaut, etc.)
- Because you want to have tons of fun 1 or 2-shotting heroes.
When NOT to pick carry Sven...
- The enemy team can easily kite you ( Shadow Demon, Warlock, Disruptor, Storm Spirit, Ember Spirit, Earth Spirit, etc.)
- You don't know how to use Helm of the Dominator to stack ancients
- Other reasons that I can't think of right now...
Support Sven is a very non-meta pick, and for pretty good reasons, perhaps the largest of which being his awful mana pool and dependence on farm. That said, support Sven can be a viable situational pick...
- You have high base damage heroes on your team ( Tiny, Outworld Devourer, Silencer, Phantom Assassin, Visage (Agh's affects his birds!), or if you have a Magnus or Enigma in general).
- And that's about it. Support Sven is almost never seen because he has a hard time roaming and securing kills early on, and there are supports that scale well into the late-game without requiring nearly as much farm as Sven would need.
This guide will now split into two volumes: Volume 1, The Carry Sven; and Volume 2: The Support Sven. We will start with Carry Sven and just a few of the many different ways you can build him...
Build 1: The (Rogue) Knight (Late Game Build)
Boots of Travel
Black King Bar
Heart of Tarrasque
GPM required at 50 minutes: 652
A knight is a formidable warrior that focuses equally on offense and defense. This build offers great damage through Daedauls, Assault Cuirass, and Moon Shard as well as the high STR from Heart of Tarrasque and Satanic. You also have a ton of EHP through Heart, Satanic, BKB, AC, and Warcry. This build lacks a Blink Dagger, so you need to rely on your teammates to initiate for you so you can run in and clean up. If your team has plenty of initiation and chase, this build is the way to go!
Build 2: The Skirmisher (Late Game Build)
Boots of Travel
Black King Bar
GPM required at 50 minutes: 615
There are a few different ways to create this build, but the idea behind it is a more tactical hit-and-run style. Instead of standing still and swinging away like The Knight, you will need to focus on specific targets with Blink Dagger and Abyssal Blade. Butterfly is a fairly interchangeable item in this build and you can use this item slot for whatever item suits the game best. The key to this style of play is that you sacrifice raw damage output for more control and maneuverability in teamfights because let's be honest, Sven hits like an absolute truck regardless of how you build him.
Build 3: The Berserker (Mid Game Build)
Mask of Madness
Black King Bar
Armlet of Mordiggian
Crystalys or Daedalus if you have enough farm
GPM required at 35 minutes: 493 (if you finish Daedalus)
This build focuses on a mid-game-centric lineup like Pugna, Dragon Knight, Huskar, or Drow Ranger lineups. These lineups need to get a lot done in the mid game and ideally want at least two lanes of rax by the 30-35 minute mark. As such, you don't have time to build straight into the late game. This build will last a maximum of 40 minutes depending on the enemy team, so it's your team's job to end the game before this build expires, or you need to start transitioning your build into the late game and replace Mask of Madness.
Build 4: The Slayer (Mid or Late Game build)
Armlet of Mordiggian
GPM required at 45 mins: 434
This build is the more standard build in 6.88, centered around Echo Sabre. It offers great initiation and kill potential as well as farm potential. Echo Sabre addresses one of Sven's main problems in the early and mid game which is his low attack speed. A great build for most games, and you can also build a Helm of the Dominator early on as well to speed up your farm.
Sven needs a good laning stage to be able to snowball. Sven thrives in a safe lane trilane with supports that can help him kill his lane easily. Crystal Maiden is one of my favorites and it really doesn't matter what the other support is. Anyway, the goal of your first 10 minutes of the game is to get as much free farm as possible.
The popular Sven build right now is a 1/3/1 followed by maxing Great Cleave. The reason for this is that by the time you've maxed cleave out at lvl 7, you should have at least 3-4 stacks of Ancients to farm with your ult which instantly propels you to lvl 9-10. What I like to do is build brown boots into HotD and start by stacking the large camp near my lane. Stack to a triple or quad stack, then send my creep to start stacking ancients. I farm the hard camp at lvl 7 with my ult and 4 points in Great Cleave. I get an instant lvl 8 and by the time my ult is off cooldown, I have Power Treads and a double or triple stack of ancients to farm as well. This is all done in the first 10-12 minutes of the game depending on your HotD timing. From there, you maximize your farm pattern while remembering to stack ancients every minute. By 20 mins into the game, you should be the most farmed hero in the game by a large margin...
The mid game for a Carry Sven is a balance between fighting with your team, taking objectives, stacking ancients, and farming. If you've had a good early game you should still be maintaining a gold advantage over the opposing cores, so you can use your farm advantage to take fights and objectives, just don't forget to stack your ancients in the meantime so you don't lose out on farm while you're fighting (especially if you end up dying).
This is the point in the game where you will decide your item progression. If the game calls for a Black King Bar, build that first. If it's not terribly important to get one yet, you might consider a Blink Dagger, Crystalys, or Echo Sabre. Most games I like to build Crystalys into Black King Bar and then go back to finish the Daedalus, but it always depends on the pace of the game and what you feel is best for your team. If you have a team that needs to get a lot done in the mid game, you might consider throwing in an Armlet of Mordiggian as well.
Ultimately, your job as a carry is to secure as much farm as possible while being active with your team for crucial teamfights and taking objectives. You should NOT afk farm as Sven. You can offer a lot for your team in the mid game.
By 40 mins into the game you should be at least 4-slotted (~550 gpm). If not, you've probably missed a few ancient stacks, died a few times, or both. But if you've managed to stay ahead on gold, your team is in a great position to close out the game. The late game for you is about keeping the creep waves pushed out, farming when your team can't fight (ults are down, enemy team has Aegis and isn't pushing, a teammate is dead or not with the rest of you, etc.). Your team has the responsibility of keeping you safe in the late game. They should be sitting behind you while you push out a lane and protecting you when a teamfight breaks out.
As a 6-slotted carry Sven, you should be able to easily 1v5 their whole team, so your team just needs to focus on keeping you alive and able to stay on top of the enemy. Using Force Staff to maneuver you around fights, Glimmer Cape if you're being focused, dropping their ults at key times to stun/kill key targets that can hinder or kill you, Arcane Boots or Guardian Greaves if you're low on health/mana, Diffusal Bladeing that pesky Guardian Angel or Cold Embrace, etc. Basically what I am saying here is that you hold the game in your capable hands at this point and whether you live or die in a teamfight will largely determine the outcome of a game. If you can stay alive and get to swing away for even a few seconds, it's easily 2-3 enemy heroes dead and an easy cleanup from there. But if the enemy team succeeds in kiting/killing you in the teamfight, your team will have a hard time cleaning up without you depending on your lineup. Unfortunately, Sven depends a lot on his teammates throughout the game which is why he's not the most popular carry. You cannot single-handedly win a game like Anti-Mage or Juggernaut given the same amount of farm.
This section will focus on the more obscure aspects of Sven that can help you maximize your potential with the hero...
- Great Cleave: When maxed out, you will cleave enemies near your target for 66% of the INITIAL ATTACK. A unique aspect of Great Cleave is that its damage is only reduced by abilities that grant physical immunity like Guardian Angel or Cold Embrace and not by armor value. So essentially, you can use Great Cleave to actually deal MORE damage to a high-armor target than if you hit them directly. If you hit a low-armor support (0 armor as an example) and deal 500 damage, then nearby targets take 330 cleave damage. But if you hit the carry with 40 armor (70% damage reduction) with the same attack, it deals 150 damage and cleaves for 100. So it seems counter-intuitive, but in a teamfight you can actually focus down a high-armor target faster by hitting something NEXT to them instead of hitting them directly. This applies to Battle Fury cleave as well. Use this to your advantage in teamfights when possible. Are you 1v1'ing the enemy carry in the jungle or near a creep wave? Hit the creeps and cleave the enemy carry to kill them faster than attacking them directly.
- Evasion: The same principle we discussed above applies to evasion as well! Great Cleave damage cannot be evaded, so if you're trying to kill a Phantom Assassin or any hero with a Butterfly in a teamfight, just hit something next to them and their evasion is useless!
- Efficient Farming: Aside from stacking camps with Helm of the Dominator, there are other tricks to maximizing your farm rate. Use a Quelling Blade to cut down trees in the jungle so you can move from camp to camp faster. Alternate attacks on the creeps in the camp so your cleave ends up killing all of them on the same attack. Attack creep #1, then hit creep #2, then #1 again, and so on to keep your cleave damage equal on all targets. You can use this tactic to kill a camp in 5 swings instead of focusing the first creep in 3 swings while the other 2 creeps need 2 more swings each to be killed (5 swings vs 7 swings). Tiny little things like this may seem trivial, but after 45 mins or so, you can do the same amount of farming but with 100 less swings. This is the difference between 600 gpm in a game and 650-700. Basically, you will accelerate your farm as if you have a Hand of Midas without actually having one.
This volume will cover the gameplay of support Sven, when to pick it, and how to maximize its potential. Support Sven is a very uncommon but potentially highly underrated pick for a number of reasons we'll get into later. I would not be surprised to see it make an appearance in the meta soon. But it does have significant drawbacks that keep it out of the meta for now...
- Low mana pool, can only throw one stun in a fight without Enchanted Mango
- Long-ish cooldown stun with a lowish duration compared to other stuns in the game
- Needs a LOT of farm to be truly effective in a game
- Other supports can do a lot without a ton of gold, Sven has to have farm to be worth the pick.
- Doesn't bring a lot of damage to a teamfight without Aghanim's Scepter
But it has great potential as a support too...
- Farms more quickly than most other supports
- Can bring amazing utility to a teamfight with farm
- Has a highly underrated Aghanim's Scepter, perhaps even more than Luna.
- If you can get the core items I've listed, your team becomes an unstoppable juggernaut in teamfights.
This section will cover the different builds that I think are effective for a Support Sven and why...
*NOTE* GPM estimates first consider the build items alone, then factor in buying 15 Observer Wards, 20 Sentry Wards, and 15 Town Portal Scrolls over the course of 45 minutes. The "Support Burden" is roughly 100 gpm.
Build 1: The Juggernaut
GPM required at 45 minutes: 359. Roughly 450 GPM if you factor in constantly buying Wards, TP, and Smoke.
This is the build I've posted at the top of the guide. This build is focused on two things: Plus Armor and Plus Damage. Consider this build when...
- The enemy has high amounts of physical damage: Juggernaut, Phantom Assassin, Death Prophet, Witch Doctor, Visage, Chaos Knight, Anti-Mage, Shadow Fiend, Templar Assassin, a Quas Exort Invoker, etc.
- The enemy has multiple sources of minus armor: Slardar, Dazzle, Templar Assassin, Shadow Fiend, Vengeful Spirit, etc.
The strength of this build is that between all your sources of Plus Armor ( Vladmir's Offering, Assault Cuirass, Solar Crest, and Warcry) and Plus Damage Vladmir's Offering and Aghanim's Scepter), your team gains a MASSIVE physical damage advantage over the enemy. With +30 armor (40 on someone with Solar Crest), your team gains 62% (70% with Solar Crest) reduced physical damage taken and 143.75% increased physical damage dealt with Agh's God's Strength and Vlad's. If your opponents rely heavily on physical damage, this build will absolutely cripple them. But if your opponents rely more on magic damage, first of all you shouldn't have picked Support Sven, but if you did there are still options...
Build 2: The Guardian
Pipe of Insight
GPM required at 45 minutes: 289. Roughly 380 if you factor in constantly buying support items.
A much more defensive (and arguably less effective) build than The Juggernaut, but it can be effective in certain scenarios...
- The enemy has lots of magic damage Venomancer, Leshrac, Zeus, Earthshaker, Crystal Maiden, etc.
All Support Svens need an Aghanim's Scepter regardless of the game. Without Agh's, you simply are not worth the pick because of how little damage you bring to the table. But this build throws in 2 defensive items to keep you and your team in fighting shape against heavy magic damage lineups.
Build 3: The Tactician
Scythe of Vyse
GPM required at 45 minutes: 348. Roughly 440 if you factor in constantly buying support items.
A more traditional support build. This will allow you great control and maneuverability in teamfights. There are definitely heroes that can use this build more effectively, but Sven can use this build to control the fight while his Agh's God's Strength does the rest of the work. Sven himself will have very little damage so you will not spend a ton of time right-clicking, but the control you offer will give your team ample time to use your damage buff to clean up the enemy team.
Your job is not much different in the early game than other supports. Your job is to safeguard your team from enemy aggression. You do this through lane dominance, carrying a tp scroll to be ready for enemy ganks, warding and dewarding, rune control, stacking the jungle, denying enemy farm/exp, setting up kills, etc. Sven has a severely limited mana pool, so Enchanted Mangoes are a must-have. Later on you will have Arcane Boots so it will be less of an issue, but for the first 10 minutes of the game, you will have extremely limited mana to make things happen around the map without going to the fountain every couple of minutes.
Refer to the skill build at the top of this guide for how you should build your support Sven. You will not be taking more than 1 point in your ult because without damage items, your ult does relatively little until you get your Agh's which won't be until around level 14-16 anyway.
The mid game is where you need to scrape together some farm. Stack the ancients and farm them, farm in lane when it is safe, try not to die in teamfights, etc. Similar to a support Alchemist, you will transition into somewhat of a core in the late game, but you need to get your Agh's at a decent time. Otherwise, your team will likely fall behind. The bad thing about Sven support is that he deals very little damage compared to Death Ward or Freezing Field or Chaotic Offering or Summon Familiars. These abilities all do great damage throughout the game, but support Sven doesn't bring damage like that to the table until he gets his Agh's. But after he gets his Agh's, let's do some quick math to see how much damage he can bring to the table...
Say you followed my advice above and picked support Sven because someone on your team picked a high physical damage hero like Tiny. And let's say Tiny has roughly 300 base damage and an Aghanim's Scepter of his own, so he cleaves nearby targets for 50% of the initial attack. Your Agh's will contribute the following (and this is ignoring the rest of your team's picks)...
300 x 125% = 375. So your Agh's gives Tiny a bonus 375 damage plus 188 cleave damage PER SWING. After just a few swings from Tiny and your teammates, your Agh's has contributed thousands of damage, putting it on par with Freezing Field or Death Ward.
If you managed to farm Arcane Boots, Vladmir's Offering, Aghanim's Scepter, and Assault Cuirass, let me just go over the bonuses your team is now rocking...
+143.75% Physical damage (115% (Vlad's damage increase) * 1.25)
+30 Armor (5 from Vlad's, 5 from AC, and 20 from Warcry)
+20 Attack Speed
-5 Armor to enemies
This is actually insane. Your team gets serious physical damage from your ult and physical damage reduction from your auras and abilities, as well as lifesteal which is even better during your ult since everyone hits like a truck. Your job in teamfights is just to stay alive, Storm Hammer at crucial moments, use Warcry to mitigate physical damage, and make sure you stay within 900 range of your carry so they get all of your auras.
If you can make it to this point as a support Sven, you're in fantastic shape. Even if your carry is underfarmed, your Agh's and armor buffs make him hit (and take hits) like he's 7 or 8 slotted. Sven himself hits very hard now too and it becomes imperative for the enemy team to focus you down or die a very quick death.
This section is dedicated to videos of Sven play. This first video that I found is a recent Miracle game. He uses the 2/1/2 into max Cleave build and farms like crazy. This video is an excellent example of how to maximize your farm rate.
Watch it here
This second video is an Arteezy Sven. He does a few very cool things, and you can see how he uses Great Cleave at 26:00 to kill a fleeing Juggernaut instead of hitting him directly. He does it again at 43:58, hitting Pudge to finish off Juggernaut. He also kills Lone Druid by hitting his bear next to him.
Watch it here
I will do my best to keep this guide updated as the game changes. Hopefully this guide helps you maximize Sven's potential in your games. Hopefully you learned some neat tricks about making the most of Great Cleave in teamfights and the counter-intuitive way you can focus down heroes in a cluttered teamfight. Feel free to add any comments below or suggestions from experienced Sven players on how this guide can be improved.
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