The Seed of Victory (7.07c)
December 4, 2017
Hello! Cory here, and this is my guide to Lone Druid. It’s also my first guide, but I don’t see that as a problem and moreso a challenge to overcome. I’ll go over all of the things I have learned about playing Lone Druid, and it will be updated as the hero and the game changes. At the very least, I’ll be trying to help new players learn the hero.
As it happens, an update which changes half of the content in the game just dropped, which makes a lot of this guide’s information change. I’d rather stay with the times, so I will be doing my best to keep it updated. Can't say I'm not annoyed at having to go back and rewrite things, but I want this guide to be good.
Before we move on, I’d like to emphasize that what I will share with you is not absolute. My understanding isn't perfect, the build is simply a suggestion, and the best way to improve is to develop your own understanding. I am limited by the skill of my fellow players, so at different levels of expertise my advice may become less relevant. And for the record, I am not an expert Lone Druid player.
Then again, most people barely know the hero exists, so as far as I’m concerned I might as well be. Let’s move on before that goes to my head, yes?
Long before the first words of the first histories there rose the druidic Bear Clan. Wise and just they were, and focused in their ways to seek an understanding of the natural order.
The arch forces of nature saw this, and so sought the most learned among them. Wise old Sylla, clan justiciar and seer, stepped forward for his kin, and to him was given the Seed with these words:
'When all of the world has dimmed, when civilization has left these lands, when the world is slain and wracked by the endless deserts at the end of ages, plant the Seed.'
As he grasped his trust, Sylla felt his years recede and his vitality returned. Vast knowledge burst into his mind. He found himself able to project his very will into reality and, with some concentration, alter his own physical form as well.
Yet subtle whispers and cruel ears brought word of the Seed and its power to other peoples, and a terrible war crashed upon the Bear Clan. As his ancestral home burned, Sylla took his burden and fled to the wild places.
Ages passed, and time and myth forgot the Bear Clan, forgot Sylla and the Seed, forgot wondrous civilizations that rose and fell in Bear Clan's wake. For millenia Sylla has waited, waited for word from his deities, waited for peace to come to the ever warring realms, waited in exile and in secret for the end of all things and for the conclusion of his sacred commitment, preparing himself always to face and destroy whatever would dare threaten his purpose.
Lone Druid is an Agility carry who is most known for his ability to push towers very quickly. He is defined largely by his first spell, Summon Spirit Bear, which gives him a companion capable of holding items. Lone Druid excels in lane presence thanks to the exceedingly tanky bear and can play largely independent from his team. The specialty of the druid and his bear are in physical damage-dealing and split-pushing, but can also gank and teamfight if itemized and played properly. In short, this hero is versatile enough to do whatever his team requires.
Spells & Skilling - Druid
The reason you play the hero. The Spirit Bear starts tankier than every hero in the game at level 1
, and with more points it gets spells and grows progressively stronger in almost every way. It has a 6-slot inventory
like a hero, and building items for it is your top priority. It can only attack within a limited range of the druid
, but the range is pretty good (far enough to attack just past the river at mid, if my memory is correct). The bear starts with 300 mana and 0.5 mana regeneration at all levels, so items with actives can be used on it.
Summon Spirit Bear should be maxed first due to the importance of getting its stats improved and unlocking its spells.
Some other things to note:
- It has a long resummon cooldown, so treat its death as one of your own. You do also take 10% of your maximum health as pure damage when it is killed, so that might do you in if you're not careful. It’s possible to deny the bear without negative repercussions however, so don’t be afraid to do so if you know it can’t survive. The re-summon of the bear is cancelled when it takes damage, so that is a good time to deny it if the enemy team is coming.
- Most people don’t play Lone Druid for the same reason they don’t play other multi-unit heroes: micromanagement is tough. My tip? Use control groups. Hold Control and press a number while selecting at least one unit. Now, whenever you press that number, those units will be selected again. I use 1 for the druid, 2 for the bear, and 3 for both at once. You may also use TAB to cycle through your selected units.
- Do note that the Spirit Bear doesn’t benefit from Attributes (Strength, Agility, and Intelligence). Why? It doesn’t have any, it only uses base stats and whatever it gets from items. For the same reason, the bear can’t have illusions, and stat thieves like Outworld Devourer and Slark can’t take them away. This is why Heart of Tarrasque and Eye of Skadi aren't good items for it in spite of what you'd think.
- The Spirit Bear isn't a creep, it's a creep-hero. This weird gray area of unit classification is only shared by the Primal Split brewlings, Warlock's Golems, and Visage's Familiars. Most spells will affect the bear like it's a hero, but not all. here's a Reddit post with one player's findings about how the Spirit Bear is affected by some spells. Some things may have changed since it was written, so I may do some testing myself and make a chart.
Pretty simple spell. It buffs movement and attack speed
for the druid and bear. You will want to avoid spamming this before level 4, as its mana cost doesn’t scale and the duration and effectiveness are reduced at lower levels. Just like most applied buffs, it can be purged by any dispel
. If your bear is killed, save it for when you can re-summon to re-apply the buff.
Rabid should be maxed second, since the added attack speed and mobility will speed up Lone Druid's farm and help him run away faster from potential dangers.
- The movement speed increase is percentage-based, so I'd recommend switching to druid form if using the mobility.
- If you plan to try using Battle Cry for taking structures, save Rabid for then to make the most of the bonus attack damage.
I love how unique this is: a short-range AOE fear spell; it prevents enemy heroes from acting (read: do anything
) for its duration and sends a move command to their fountain. It can break channeling spells, so that during a gank of your own they can’t just teleport away from you.
Savage Roar should be maxed last since it doesn't play into pushing very much, but with a value point at level 2 for safety and utility.
- Make use of this spell in teamfight to scatter your foes. This can split the battlefield into manageable conflicts or peel the enemy carries off your supports. Of course, most of your fighting will be done by the bear as you stay just close enough for it to attack if it’s unsafe, so be wary if you cast this yourself.
- Also note this only works on heroes, so don’t waste it if there are no enemy heroes around.
You mean I already have a bear and I can be a bear too? Yes, please. A transformation spell that makes the druid become a melee bear with loads of bonus health, armor, and slightly faster attack time
at the cost of reduced movement speed
. For someone so innately squishy as Lone Druid
, this is a great help in keep yourself alive. As soon as you have this, you can start playing more aggressively (do still be careful, though).
True Form should be maxed as soon as possible after Summon Spirit Bear because of Lone Druid's inherent fragility.
- There are few reasons you’ll want to turn this off (which can be done with a sub-ability), but it’s best not to be in bear form when you are moving around the map or regenerating health.
- The transformation time can also disjoint some projectiles, but make sure you know which ones can be disjointed before you try it. As of the 7.00 update, the transformation back to a druid is actually faster than that into a bear, so it's worth it to switch out to make a run for it, but it does make disjointing a bit harder. And of course, make sure to change back again if you think danger is coming.
You might be confused now, but Lone Druid
actually gets a sub-ability
from his ultimate. This one is a short duration buff that massively increases damage and armor
. This is incredibly valuable, since you'll be up front hitting things constantly, especially if you have ways of locking down opponents or enough room to take towers. Another good use is on stacked camps (mostly Ancients), which I sometimes prefer to using it during a push.
- Be warned that Glyph of Fortification will negate nearly all of Battle Cry's duration and it has a very long cooldown, so be careful if you're using it to push.
- Try to use both your druid and Spirit Bear when you activate Battle Cry. Sometimes you can only attack with the bear, but if no danger is coming move your druid into the fight to kill things faster while it's up. This is especially relevant to tower pushes where you know the enemy is occupied with a teamfight.
- Battle Cry will affect all units Lone Druid controls, but only when they are within a radius around himself. Make sure your Spirit Bear is in it at least. If you're feeling saucy, try building Necronomicon or Helm of the Dominator to abuse it.
Spells & Skilling - Spirit Bear
As if the Spirit Bear wasn't awesome enough, it gets spells too. I'll go over these like we did the druid's since I think you need to know both sets to use the hero effectively. You don't get to skill these since each only has one level, so the title is a bit of a misnomer.
... Let's move on.
Think of this like your bear’s global Blink Dagger
. When used, it teleports the bear right next to you instantly
, no channel required. Quite useful for getting out of sticky situations.
There are two main drawbacks to Return: first, it is disabled upon taking any damage from a player, no matter the source or amount. Second, you can only ever teleport to the druid with Return. If you want to teleport anywhere else, you either need to get a Town Portal Scroll
, Boots of Travel
, or get the druid to go there and have the bear Return right after.
- In lane, use Return to disjoint projectiles. All physical attacks and some spells can be disjointed. This is particularly useful in lane when the tower targets your bear as you harass.
- Your bear will always teleport to the top-right of your hero, so use it to move your bear around faster between areas. Avoid blocking yourself or your bear when moving to the top-right.
- If you have an Aghanim's Scepter, casting this will teleport your bear where Lone Druid died. Take advantage of this to push and defend.
A handy root effect that is sometimes applied on right-click. (When I mention a root in this guide, assume I mean this.) It does physical damage over time to an affected unit, pierces spell immunity
, and lasts longer on creeps. If you do get a root on a jungle creep, focus your attention to the other creeps in the camp, and if it will die to the damage, feel free to go to the next instead of finishing it off.
- Root as a status effect was just buffed to prevent the use of most mobility spells, though it's not exactly a buff since it was supposed to do that anyways. At any rate, this makes blink heroes a lot more interesting to fight since you have a way to pin them down.
- Focus on moving the bear in chases. When in lane, landing Entangling Claws on the opposing hero can sometimes be enough for a kill, especially if they were weakened beforehand. You can get more hits in, and thus more chances for Entangling Claws to proc so you can secure the kill. Oftentimes, however, it won’t last long enough for Battle Cry, so don’t waste it for that unless you’re sure you can make use of it all.
- As an added layer of skill, the cooldown of the spell (along with all the others your bear has) refreshes when it levels up. Save your level 4 Summon Spirit Bear point so you get a fresh Entangling Claws to use right after the first. Two roots generally ensure a kill on any target during the laning phase.
- Do note that Entangling Claws has a 5-second cooldown and only 3 seconds of duration, meaning you can’t keep a target rooted forever. Furthermore, nothing stops them from fighting back, using items, and casting spells. Do be wary of hunting down enemies who have something that might be able to save them, such as a Town Portal Scroll or a Force Staff.
Your bear gets Savage Roar
too! How cool is that? The spell shares cooldown
between the druid and Spirit Bear, so using it on one means they both have to wait to use it again.
- Your bear can scare away enemies while you are stunned so you can escape. Most of your Savage Roar castings should be from the bear since it won't be risking as much by moving in to use it, due to its tankiness. Just make sure you've selected the proper unit when casting the spell, as its range is very short.
- Entangling Claws prevents movement, while Savage Roar prevents all actions but movement. Landing a good root on a hero and then roaring allows you to quickly render them helpless.
Most carries get a single vital spell that defines the way they scale into the late-game, and the best carries usually have more than one. For Lone Druid
is that spell.
After level 4, your bear gains 33% spell resistance
(most heroes have 25% for reference) and now deals 40% bonus damage to all structures
. Structures are any buildings and siege engines.
It’s for this reason that you should build lots of damage and attack speed on your bear; if your bear has 65 damage, hitting a tower makes it deal 91 damage instead (before accounting for the tower's armor, of course). Combining this with armor reduction and even more items can make Demolish
quite ludicrous. More on this in the Math Corner.
Of course, this isn’t really a passive for late-game
by this definition, since it gets very tough to take advantage of more structure damage if the entire enemy team will actively defend their high-ground. As such, try to start taking towers as early as you can
, since the enemy team will eventually get to a point where they will no longer fear your bear.
UPDATE: Hoo boy, things have changed. With the Dueling Fates update, the talent trees for every hero in the game have been updated, among many other changes. I suggest you read them for yourself, but I have helpfully updated the talent tree section of my guide to account for them.
This is an entirely new section dedicated to the new mechanic the New Journey update has introduced. Essentially, instead of the Attribute Bonus you’d end up skilling after you max out all of your spells at level 16, each hero now has a number of specific bonuses to choose from.
I personally feel this is much more appropriate for the majority of the hero pool because it’s often something stats would not be able to compensate for, in addition to the fact that many spell-based heroes (especially supports) don’t benefit from stats all that much.
The way this works is that at levels 10, 15, 20, and 25, you have two options to pick as a specific perk for your hero. You can only pick one of the two, and afterwards the alternative options become unavailable, so you have to be careful in what you decide.
In particular, the Talent Tree encourages two styles of play: The Bear Focus and the Battle Druid builds. The first is the traditional method of building items primarily on the Spirit Bear and pushing towers, while the new style focuses on making the druid strong enough to battle more like a traditional carry in teamfights.
I find that the way I play leans towards the Bear Focus build, but with some hybridization due to the addition of the talent system and Aghanim's Scepter upgrade.
+250 Health vs. +175 Attack Range
Spoiler: Click to view
+10 Spirit Bear Armor vs. -8s Savage Roar Cooldown
Spoiler: Click to view
Spoiler: Click to view
Entangle has 0 second cooldown vs. Battle Cry grants spell immunity
Spoiler: Click to view
Item Build Justification - Spirit Bear
I get it, he looks cute this way. But please, don't build these items on your Spirit Bear. Except for the Pipe of Insight... That might be fine.
The Spirit Bear should be the focus of your items. Most of what you build should be damage per second
(if needed), and cheap effective items
in that order of priority. Aura items
are good too because they will affect both you and your bear.
Often you'll find yourself running out of room for the cheap stuff when building large items with several components. It's at this point you should consider giving the less valuable items to the druid instead
, to make space for the crucial ones.
A new in 7.00 feature is the backpack
, a 3-slot inventory section where items are muted
. This helps in carrying utility items like Observer Ward
s, Dust of Appearance
and components for your next big item. As if that wasn't enough, your Spirit Bear gets a backpack too!
It does make building items for your hero a lot easier, since inventory organization isn't hell anymore (well, it still
is, but much less so than before). Unfortunately, your Spirit Bear still can't place wards. Ah well, maybe someday...
Having this allows the bear to soak up a lot more physical harass than otherwise. Since the bear doesn’t have as much damage early on, it will probably take more damage than it deals, so this helps. Unfortunately, it doesn’t upgrade into anything useful to us other than Abyssal Blade, but if you will be buying a Skull Basher you may want to keep it for then.
Just like any other item-dependent carry, your Spirit Bear needs one good farm item to help it get more money to start making core items. Most of these also help in pushing in some way, but you shouldn't build more than one unless the first was named Hand of Midas.
Spoiler: Click to view
Probably a Bad Idea
Spoiler: Click to view
Item Build Justification - Druid
If the Spirit Bear is a carry, then Sylla the Druid is more of a support. He's usually behind the front lines, buffing his bear and staying just close enough to let it attack before moving in to get the kill. He won't need many items in the game, but what he should invest in is utility
. Getting items that do more than what your bear already does is key to scaling in the later parts of the game.
These all go in the same category because they all have a single common distinction: They’re consumable health regeneration
. I will generally buy one of each of these; I’d prefer to have more regeneration than I need in case the lane is hard. The bear can benefit from holding the Faerie Fire to get damage, but your druid should be using the consumables since the healing they provide will barely make a difference to the bear’s health.
Iron Branches are the most efficient stat item in the game by gold value. They give you a bit of everything for a low price, which helps immensely early on. They can also upgrade into a Magic Wand
or a Headdress
, a component for Pipe of Insight
and Vladmir’s Offering. If you care that much, you can plant them and eat the happy little trees for more health. Just remember that the Spirit Bear can’t use Attributes
, so the druid needs to hold these.
You should probably get your bear's set of boots before your druid's, though ideally in a good lane you would have them both delivered to you at once. It's very important you do get them in good time, however: Your Spirit Bear still has that nasty attack range leash
to worry about. If you're chasing someone and your druid is too far behind, your bear will just sadly contemplate their backside with a broken sword floating above its head. Buy boots early and for both
of your units.
Are you tired of Tinker
ruining your life? Do you want an easy way to defeat them?
... Well, sorry, I can't do that for you. But a Magic Stick helps a lot by giving you charges every time they use their spells. When you upgrade it (which you should do against aforementioned lane bullies), it also incorporates your Iron Branches and gives you a reason to start the game with an Enchanted Mango
This item also falls into the category of 'my enemy midlaner's a magic jerk and I need to dodge death'.
The mana regeneration is nice, but the real reason you want this is the magic damage block passive
, which will considerably aid you in surviving against enemy nukes.
Should you be fighting the likes of Tinker
, you will need to get one before your Boots of Speed so he doesn't melt your face.
While it will only last so long against a persistent high-damage nuker in lane, at level 1 it will give you a total of ~40 mana over the duration of Rabid
, which is nearly enough to cast it again.
As I went over in the previous section, remember to do the boot swap.
This is usually the boot of choice for the druid; having the regeneration and extra movement speed allows him to maneuver the map more efficiently and regain lost health. Remember to switch out of True Form
to make them work faster and stay out of sight while the bear farms.
A very lucrative option late-game, allowing you to teleport to any allied unit except heroes and not waste money on Town Portal Scrolls. I generally buy these if the game doesn’t look like it can be won through a fight and then push, and that split-pushing is the only option
- You can teleport to your Spirit Bear, since it doesn’t count as a hero.
- It also counteracts the movement speed reduction from True Form.
Boots of Travel now target towers from further range, meaning you no longer have to click directly on a tower to make if your target destination.
Best Upgrade Ever
Spoiler: Click to view
Spoiler: Click to view
Situational / Luxury Items
Spoiler: Click to view
Another evasion counter. The only issue here is that it’s got more Intelligence focus than Monkey King Bar
, meaning part of it is wasted on the Spirit Bear and you will need to put yourself at risk to use its active and defeat the evasion hero you're countering with it.
It also doesn’t give any damage at all and not very much attack speed, which isn’t effective for increasing DPS. Critical hits also don’t work on structures, which Monkey King Bar does. I want to like this item, but for us it’s not good enough.
UPDATE: The Dueling Fates update has reworked Monkey King Bar, but it's still better than Bloodthorn for the most part, especially due to its occasional Pure
A cheap early-game item. Most supports buy this for inexpensive stats to stay alive more easily, but Lone Druid doesn’t have this problem after level 6 since True Form
gives him more health.
The real reason you buy this is to get more movement speed and attack speed for a short time with the active. Rabid
and boot upgrades should make this a non-issue (in fact, your Spirit Bear will quickly outrun you after the Boot Swap). I just don’t see the need for it.
Gameplay (Game Progression)
Lone Druid can lane anywhere on the map and still be somewhat relevant. My experience is that mid is the best place to spend the laning phase, as you will only have to deal with one person and be able to quickly take the tower if they leave. As such, I will assume you are mid-laning for the remainder of this section. I may perhaps expand the guide with gameplay sections relevant to other lanes in the future.
NOTE: This section of the guide was written before I added the Battle Druid build, so it will probably reflect that perspective. I'll update it in time to account for the new build.
At the beginning of the game, you should immediately skill and cast Summon Spirit Bear
. Move in front of your bear so it won't slow you down and make your way towards one of the Bounty rune spots. Since it's best that you get your Boots of Speed as fast as possible, you should usually be the one to grab it when it spawns. Since the first round of Bounty runes don't give experience anymore, it doesn't matter if you or your Spirit Bear is the one to do so.
Offensive maneuvers towards the enemy Bounty runes are not recommended
as Lone Druid
, since you don't have Entangling Claws
yet and your two units will make chasing difficult. Furthermore, if you or your bear die at this point you could well lose the lane.
players can lane anywhere on the map with sufficient experience, but I would strongly recommend the mid-lane
. Why? It gives you only one opponent to deal with, meaning it will be that much easier to assert dominance. Your Spirit Bear essentially forces the enemy midlaner into a 2v1.
The safelane is still possible, but not as easy as it used to be, since Orb of Venom
, Blades of Attack
, and Stout Shield
can no longer be purchased at the side shop.
The key to being a good carry is to last-hit properly
and always find safe farm. Lone Druid
is an excellent last-hitter because he has two units to use. Time your attacks so they connect at the same time. Freeze the lane by denying creeps when it pushes out and have your bear tank the wave to keep it out of tower range.
Denying now gives only 25% of experience to the enemy, instead of 70%. Make denying your second priority after last-hits, provided they are still within experience range.
If the wave pushes too far anyways, go take some jungle camps
while you wait for it to come back. In this situation, it may be wise to purchase Observer Ward
s of your own so you can keep an eye on areas just outside where you farm; nobody likes being interrupted.
The jungle is a sort of safe haven
for farm if the lanes are far away or heavily manned; the Secret Shop, several camps of various sizes, a Bounty rune spot, and a Shrine
to act as a regeneration area and teleport vector. You can use Shrines to heal your druid and Spirit Bear, but they have a 5-minute cooldown
, so be sure to share. Don't underestimate the power of the Shrine active; Sanctuary can easily heal over 1000 health on a level 4 Spirit Bear.
Jungle camps now respawn every odd minute (1:00, 3:00, 5:00 and so on), so stack them when you can't take them. This is especially true for Ancient camps, which will be worth a lot of money when you can kill them and can be reached quickly with a Shrine teleport.
Here is a map that marks all of the camps, Shrines, and Rune spots on the standard Dota 2 map as of the New Journey update:
Spoiler: Click to view
If your lane is empty, try to take the tower
. As always, watch for the Fortification Glyph
, since wasting Battle Cry
on it is unfortunate. Ganks
may also be incoming, especially if you have already taken towers and the enemy team realizes just how screwed they are if they leave you alone, so you might want to keep your druid back a bit so he has a head start if someone comes after you.
Before level 6, Lone Druid
is painfully squishy. Play carefully and try to keep your distance from the enemy. Get your boots and farming item as soon as you can; at this stage, offense is the best defense. After your bear gets Entangling Claws
, you can get kills, and after you get True Form
on the bear you can push effectively.
This period of the match is also crucial for your item build: If you buy the Sacred Relic before the 20-minute mark, complete the Radiance
. If you don't have it yet, switch to Maelstrom
instead. If you're free-farming, buy Hand of Midas
and proceed to either of the previous options. Buy your cheap items as the necessity demands, and always have Town Portal Scroll
s on your druid.
You really start to shine in the mid-game, as it's when you have either won or lost the lane and start to move into the other lanes. You are a pushing machine
; if nobody is farming a lane and you aren't needed elsewhere, try to take the tower. If they teleport in, back the druid off and keep hitting with the bear until you need to retreat.
At this period, players of both teams may gather in lanes to teamfight and take objectives. On one hand, pushing objectives
is very important, and a whole team behind a druid and his bear are very hard to stop before the enemy carries come online. Then again, it's possible you will either be unable to turn the tides of battle by helping or simply be too far away to help. In this case, you should probably just keep pushing the lane to take a tower while everyone's distracted.
The decision is tough to make, but make sure you're in the right place at the right time
. Lone Druid
should ideally be farming the most profitable creep camp near where a fight is about to break out if he knows he can help win it. Always have a Town Portal Scroll
ready to be where your team needs you. It takes time and practice to figure out when a fight will happen and when you should be helping, and even I make mistakes at times. Practice
is the key word here.
This generally makes one of two things happen: Either the enemy team will keep fighting your allies as you take the tower largely without trouble, or they will teleport to the threatened tower
to defend it. Both of these are wins for you: The enemy's teamfight is weakened because one person or more had to go stop you, meaning the rest who are still fighting are easier for your allies to deal with. If they don't respond at all
, you get a free tower and farm.
Even if you're there, sometimes the best thing you can do is prioritize the objective
and hit the tower while the fight erupts around you. That way, you can either get back once it falls or stand your ground if the fight is going your way. Taking towers is the most critical thing
that will win the game. Heroes respawn, towers and barracks do not. Plus, you get money for destroying them, and who doesn't
You will also need to decide on your next big item. You should have a farming item and maybe some cheap trinkets between you and your Spirit Bear. Assault Cuirass
is pretty much core every game and should be next up, but after that it's open to the need. Monkey King Bar
for countering evasion, Necronomicon
for invisible units, Desolator
for high-armor heroes, Skull Basher
for teamfighting, etc.
You're not as strong by now, but depending on how well the early and mid-game shaped up, there's still a lot you can do. Keep on pushing out the lanes
and taking towers
when you can, and be present for teamfights
your team can win.
Now, let's talk about Roshan
. Should you have succeeded in taing towers early on, your team should have a good amount of map control, meaning the enemy team will not be able to contest as easily (make sure at least one or two of them are dead, just to be safe). You're not the best person to hold the Aegis of the Immortal
, but your Spirit Bear can keep fighting as you resurrect and you come back in True Form
if you'd been in it before you died, so you're by no means the worst carrier. You should also take the time
as soon as Roshan dies, especially
if you're the one carrying the Aegis. The Aegis disappears 5 minutes after Roshan's death, and he respawns 8-11 minutes after being killed. Work within these parameters to win fights with a numbers advantage, and know to back off if your Aegis is about to expire.
Cutting off the enemy's Shrines
is crucial by now. If the enemy can teleport and heal by their jungle camps, they will continue to farm, have a fountain away from home, and as such could potentially outcarry you. To kill them, all the T2 towers (every tower outside the high-ground of their base) must have been destroyed.
Do be wary that the enemy team will try to get rid of your own Shrines
as well if your towers are gone, so make sure to keep them safe
if this happens. Being cut off from your own jungle puts you at a big disadvantage
, since you need to be able to take camps and access the Secret Shop without worry of being murdered to keep up the pressure.
No matter the game, at some point you will probably want to buy an Aghanim's Scepter
. It's just that amazing; you can keep farming your jungle (or the enemy's) as the bear fights with your team or pushes lanes. At this point, however, ganks
become far more commonplace, so make sure you can Return
your bear to save it or yourself.
In general, the game will probably be decided by this point, but there are matches that are just too even to know the end beforehand.
Don't give up!
Keep trying your best, defend with the team whenever you can, and take advantage of big teamfights. You should also avoid teleporting anywhere if you can, since you may need the item off cooldown to defend your base.
I originally wasn’t going to do one of these, but I decided having a bit of above-and-beyond thinking would benefit players reading my guide. Before you ask, yes, I also met Safecyn, and he was the one who suggested it, so I'm not stealing his idea or anything. Today, we’re going to discuss effective hitpoints and pseudo-random distribution. Onwards to learning!
The Law of Diminishing Returns and Armor
Pseudo-random distribution and Bernoulli Trials
Thanks for visiting the Math Corner, I hope you learned something. Back to your regularly scheduled guide...
Bonus Chapter: Battle Druid (Ranged Build)
NOTE: As with everything in this guide, this section is subject to change, but especially this one since it's new and I might have to fix it up and add more information about gameplay specific to it.
Well, I guess it's time.
Time for what, may you ask? Well, time for me to realize the error in thinking that all my readers would agree with me. Because apparently, a lot of people prefer what I'll tentatively call the Battle Druid build. Some other people invented this, not me, so I'm not claiming any credit on their behalf.
When 7.00 first came out, everyone was buzzing about the new possibilities the Talent Tree system would offer. One particular build that the competitive players picked up was the Battle Druid. Essentially, you forgo nearly everything on the Spirit Bear in favor of making the Lone Druid more threatening instead.
Before we continue, I'd like to say that I believe in innovation. Sure, the guide I've made is largely similar to the way people have been playing the hero for a while now, but that's because it works. Innovation is great for Dota 2, as it keeps the experience from becoming stale and helps make things interesting.
At the same time, I'll be the first person to say that just because a build is old, doesn't make it any less useful. Anything can work, given the situation. This new fancy ranged build isn't going to outclass the traditional way to play Lone Druid anytime soon, and I won't stop using it.
Now, to best highlight how the Battle Druid differs from the traditional Bear Focus build, we will need to go over another list of pros and cons for each. Besides, it saves me typing space and makes the guide look more interesting.
Attack range is much higher, allowing for some safety
Not as vulnerable when Spirit Bear dies
Can easily kite enemies with high speed
Deals high damage to heroes and creeps
Can't use Savage Roar effectively on druid
Squishy due to no True Form
Spirit Bear becomes largely useless and easy to kill
Weaker at pushing due to Demolish neglect
Difficult to kill due to bonus HP and armor
Slightly higher DPS inherently
Constant access to Battle Cry
Demolish boosts structure damage greatly
Only about as fast as most heroes
Reliant on Spirit Bear being alive
Melee range means being nearer to danger
Now, did you notice something interesting about my list? That's right; neither of these builds deviates from what Lone Druid
inherently is. He's still a single-target physical carry, he's still strong at pushing, and he's still useless without farm and good micromanagement. Lone Druid is still Lone Druid.
So why are we acting like he's some new thing just because of a new build coming out? It's not like you couldn't do this before, it's just way easier with the new talents.
With that out of the way, let's finally get to talking about what the Battle Druid
is all about!
Quite a few items that don't have much sense in the Bear Focus
build are far better for Battle Druids
. Just remember to get those cheap efficient items I talked about before, those are still great on the Spirit Bear no matter what.
Strange early buy, but hear me out. If you want a mixture of stats prioritizing damage on an Agility
hero, these guys are the best you'll have. Getting several can compensate for a lack of farm if you miss your Radiance deadline. It also builds into Ring of Aquila
, but we really want this for our Hurricane Pike
These actually become the go-to druid boots. Since Tranquil Boots are not as useful since you won't be taking damage, more attack speed will be better since it lets you hit things more.
want consistent buildup, so Radiance is out of the question. Since it helps speed farm and the Chain Lightning is useful in a teamfight, we build this as the principal core item. Since we want to fight, Hand of Midas isn't necessary as it slows down item progress too much. As with Radiance on the Bear Focus
build, you should start fighting and pushing with your team as soon as you get it.
Pretty much always a good purchase. Easy to afford with very good stats (the Strength is useful for a Battle Druid
who won't be getting True Form
health and armor) and added attack range to keep you safe. After you get the Level 10 attack range talent, it will stack with Dragon Lance and allow you to attack a very long way from your target. Once you get it upgraded, it also combines a useful active that lets you theoretically expand your range even further, gain some team utility, and being mobile around the map.
are good at kiting their enemies. Skadi makes this even easier to do by constantly slowing down your opponents with every attack. It also gives you a generous amount of Attributes, health and mana, which make you harder to take down in the event that someone closes the distance.
UPDATE: Eye of Skadi
no longer builds from Orb of Venom
In the item section relevant to this item, I went over why it might be useful but admitted I was giving it too much credit. A percent-based increase of 65 damage (95 with the talent) isn't going to give you very much since Vladmir's Aura only uses base damage
. On the Battle Druid
build, Vladmir's Offering becomes substantially better since the druid himself is dishing out much more consistent DPS than his Spirit Bear, in addition to the fact that his base damage gets higher over time (stat growth).
I only talked about Vladmir's Offering in this section, but it goes for anything with a percent-based damage increase that doesn't factor in bonus damage from items
, such as Magnus' Empower
, Sven's God's Strength
, Packleader Aura
, and so on. There are still much better items for increasing the damage of the druid alone, so unless you have other carries on the team who are outscaling you, you should probably let someone else buy it.
Congratulations, your name is Clinkz
. The basic idea behind this build is to infiltrate the enemy territory, sneak up on someone you can burst down, Return
your Spirit Bear and try for an Entangling Claws proc, and then attack your target to break the invisibility
and start hitting them so you can kill them quickly.
Unfortunately, if you want to get your Spirit Bear in the fight (which is only a maybe since it won't be getting attention with this build and will die very quickly) you need to be right next to them unless you want to blow your cover. It shouldn't always work, but if you're in a game where your enemies treat invisibility like godmode, it should be fun to cause a bit of mayhem with. And if you're really into that, the Silver Edge carries Break which helps counter people with strong passives
- If the enemy team is paying attention to the Spirit Bear's disarm icon, they can use it to identify whether or not you are near your bear... Or they'll just catch on and know to dust when your bear wanders into their jungle seemingly by itself.
UPDATE: Silver Edge no longer reduces the attack damage of a target when attacking out of invisibility, so be very careful who you plan to kill.
A simple purge
that also gives you illusions. I haven't tested whether or not they benefit from your attack range passive (the damage shouldn't work since Illusions only get Attributes), but Lone Druid is still a ranged Agility carry with good stat growth. It also makes you a little faster (not that you need to be, but why pass it up?), but it doesn't synergize perfectly with an abundance of bonus damage, which is what Lone Druid should be building between attack speed.
If you want a high amount of damage but don't need or want a Monkey King Bar / Divine Rapier, this is your best option. Aside from that, it also grants a critical hit chance
that will make your damage even higher. Do remember that unlike other items, it has no defensive benefit or utility, so think carefully before you buy it.
An offensive item with less double-edged offensiveness than usual. Evasion, damage, Agility, and attack speed. All of these are very useful on a Battle Druids
who doesn't care about raw health for the sake of maximizing DPS. It has very expensive components, so leave it for the later parts of the game and watch out for a Monkey King Bar
purchase on the enemy team.
UPDATE: The active Flutter no longer removes the passive evasion granted by Butterfly.
This is a snowballing item. You buy it when you're very far ahead and don't feel the need for anything aside from Maelstrom and Dragon Lance. As with Monkey King Bar, it's only an offensive item
, so be willing to disregard it if things aren't looking good. Also has some slight use when ganking at night or when defending from ganks at night, since your higher vision range means you can get more attacks in from range.
Being isolated from the world for so long has made it tough for Lone Druid to find allies in the War of the Ancients. Similarly, his playstyle in a Dota 2 match is quite independent, in that he doesn't often need help to farm and push lanes. That said, there are still quite a few people he likes having around.
Having more armor is just great, especially if both you and your bear can have it. Since you both have high health and probably have all the magic resistance you'll ever get with dual Cloaks, more armor is the best way to stay alive later in the game. Of course, two of these heroes have a way to reduce armor instead, which is also handy because all of your damage is physical and single-target. Dazzle can do both at once with Weave
, so he's a great example.
These heroes all have a way to buff your physical attack, through raw damage or attack speed (or both if you're named Invoker). Wraith King is basically walking lifesteal, which adds on to Vladmir's Offering if either of you have one. The prize for aura variety
goes to Enchantress, Chen, and Doom for their ability to use creep abilities to help in pushes. Special considerations are the Frost Ogre, Alpha Wolf, and Ancient creeps. If you want team items, Drum of Endurance and Guardian Greaves are both great to have on an ally.
These heroes (though they are by no means the only) have strong single-target stuns with good duration and a magic nuke to follow up. These combined with Entangling Claws
should help you net a kill. They are regrettably fragile on their own, which is why you can help by keeping them safe.
I haven't tried it yet, but on paper this combination sounds like it would work quite well. Warcry
's armor and movement speed are very helpful in pushes and teamfights, especially since they apply to the bear as well. Storm Hammer
is an awesome stun in general, which will allow you and Sven to catch up to your target and potentially root them. Great Cleave
makes Sven as potent a pushing hero as you, meaning he can help put up double the pressure in addition to scaling late-game far better than you generally will. Finally, if Sven buys an Aghanim's Scepter, God's Strength
will transfer to all allies in a 900 AOE
, which will make your druid hit much harder.
Lone Druid might be capable of functioning independently from his teammates, but there are still a number of heroes who just make him cry... Know your enemy, right? Let's find out what you can do about it. And if you just got beat by a Lone Druid, here's a list of names and ideas he won't like seeing again.
Generally bad news for just about anybody who goes mid. Viper's Poison Attack
prevents you from winning the lane. Nethertoxin
makes him hurt even more when you're damaged, with particular regards to your Spirit Bear. Corrosive Skin
means you probably shouldn't make a Radiance against him since it will constantly damage and slow your bear.
Viperstrike can also be difficult to deal with since it gimps your carrying powers while it lasts and does high damage. He's not as tanky as you, so close the distance and out-DPS him when you have high health. Consider dual Cloak
s against Viper. A Heaven's Halberd
might also be a good pickup, since everything he has to directly damage you is based on his auto-attack except for Viperstrike. Silences are also worth mentioning, since Poison Attack
is a spell despite being an attack modifier.
UPDATE: Viper is strong in mid, but that's all he's good at. He has no stuns and is bad at ganking, meaning he can't snowball as well as other mids. The only way he will perform well enough to gank is if he gets kills in lane. I've found over time that it is possible to kick a Viper out of lane with DPS. You will have to play with high-ground
, since he will have the advantage trading from his side of the river.
Another mid destroyer. Burning Spears make him as bad as Viper in lane. Berserker's Blood
makes low-health skirmishes very threatening to you, while Life Break
takes a lot of health since it's percent-based. Huskar has low armor, but high health, so trying to take the offensive is not a good idea if you're alone. Build a Heaven's Halberd
, armor reduction, make use of Savage Roar
to save allies, and pray he never buys an Aghanim's Scepter.
Science rules, but the third lane-wrecker of this section has me seeing red. Equipped with potent spell damage (which also includes the Pure
kind) in Laser
and Heat-Seeking Missiles, he will make your laning phase quite painful to endure. Worse still, Laser applies a 100% blind, making efforts at harass potentially impossible. You will need a Magic Stick in your starting items and an Infused Raindrop as soon as possible.
Beyond that, he's also a potent pushing hero with March of the Machine, Rearm
and Boots of Travel giving him constant global farming ability. That said, it can only hurt units, so you have the advantage in directly hitting towers while he does not.
- Don't stand on the robots. If there are no robots, you won't get hurt for being there.
- Monkey King Bar can mini-bash Tinker out of his teleport and will make Laser's blind not an issue for you. Skull Basher does the former as well with much more effectiveness.
- Aghanim's Scepter is an item to be feared. Tinker gets double the missiles (which still only target you) and Laser will target multiple units, potentially allowing him to blind you and your bear. Buy your own to push without having to worry about him killing you.
- Contribute to pushes early and often. Tinker gets an advantage the further out creep waves are. Make sure none of them are close enough for March of the Machine to close the distance and you severely limit his global presence.
Behold, the anti-carry. Static Link
reduces you or your bear's damage to nothing very fast unless you break it. Eye of the Storm
allows Razor to manfight you more effectively by reducing your armor, and Unstable Current
makes rooting him a bit of a double-edged sword since it purges Rabid and makes him much faster (and thus difficult to catch in the first place). Break Static Link with Return
and don't fight when Eye of the Storm is up. Since he can't really hurt more than one person at once without Plasma Field
, it's easier to handle him with friends.
Screw nightmares, Bane will give you migraines. Enfeeble
is absolutely crippling for your Spirit Bear and might as well make Demolish
useless. Brain Sap
spam in lane will inflict Pure
damage on your bear and keep him in good health, even if you harrass him. Fiend's Grip
makes either of your units helpless for its duration and deals heavy damage. Nightmare
will mess with your micro quite a bit by inflicting what is essentially a transferable stun. Try to keep your bear free from Nightmare
and engage when he doesn't have spells left to use. He's mostly a teamfight problem, but if he tries to stop your pushes, get your team to take advantage of his absence.
will slowly take away experience and gold from your lane, which will inevitably put you behind. Frost Blast
spam is annoying and will drain your bear's health early on. Ice Armor
will make killing people with your bear difficult, and Chain Frost
takes advantage of your two units to do lots of damage. Try to switch lanes if you can and split your bear and druid apart when Chain Frost
More bouncing spell madness! Paralyzing Cask
is a really good stun, but if he catches you away from a creep wave it will have perfect efficiency. Maledict
is a very strong damaging spell that will hurt you the more damage you take; since it's a DOT it will also put Return
on cooldown. Thankfully, his Death Ward
channel won't hurt the Spirit Bear and can be broken with Savage Roar
or Entangling Claws
. Separate your units when Paralyzing Cask is out and you should be fine; he has low armor and is helpless without his spells.
Windranger's spells will make your life hell: Shackleshot
, a multi-target stun that can also use trees and prioritizes your druid. Windrun
, a spell that gives her 100% evasion and doubles as an escape. Powershot
, a high-range magic nuke. And Focus Fire
, a channelled ultimate that lets her push towers as fast as you by accelerating her attack speed. Consider Windranger a very dangerous and slippery opponent.
- It's usually best to try and shut down Windranger early, before she has levels and items. It will be tough for you since she can keep pushing the wave back and save herself with Windrun, but if you bring a friend with a stun you can employ Savage Roar to prevent spellcasting and kill her before she can use it.
- You should buy Magic Stick and Cloak if she is spamming Powershot, and try to separate your units if you think she might cast Shackleshot.
- Fortify your towers when she channels Focus Fire. She hates it as much as you do. Savage Roar can also drive her away from the tower if she's targeting it, with more effectiveness should she be under Windrun, since it increases her movement speed.
- Windranger can still close the distance while she attacks you with Focus Fire,
so try to keep running.
- Buy a Monkey King Bar to negate most of her evasion. The Pure damage will also rip through her low health pool
Another potent anti-carry. Thunder Clap
gives Brewmaster a good laning presence and gets him farm while damaging your Spirit Bear and slowing movement and attack speed
. Drunken Haze
is even worse since it applies more
movement speed slow and a miss
, to say nothing of Drunken Brawler
's passive critical and evasion. Under his ultimate Primal Split
, he's not
going down if you're the only one in the fight.
- The Storm Brewling can cyclone for an eternity and purge your buffs. The Earth Brewling is exceedingly tough to kill with an annoying ranged stun to spam. It's not worth the effort to kill them during the ultimate most of the time, especially if he's hit level 15 and picked the +1500 Brewling Health talent for his Brewlings. Instead, follow the Earth Brewling when he uses Primal Split to start targeting him when he comes back.
- Buy a Monkey King Bar. Drunken Haze, Drunken Brawler's evasion, and any other evasion/miss items he's build will become mostly useless, making him a lot easier to take down. Even a casual Javelin will help a little.
- A Radiance will also deter Blink initiation and escape if he's unwilling to purchase a Black King Bar.
- You may wish to consider the talent that gives spell immunity for Battle Cry, since Brewmaster is heavily reliant on his spells to perform in a teamfight. This is especially the case if he built Aghanim's Scepter, which gives his Brewlings access to his basic spells on cooldowns independent from his own.
With the new Dueling Fates update, Mortal Strike
no longer deals tons of bonus damage against creeps. Now, it instantly kills them.
This includes our beloved Spirit Bear, meaning he can flush all our hard work down the toilet with a single basic attack. DO NOT FIGHT WRAITH KING WITH YOUR SPIRIT BEAR.
- I really don't have any tips for this one, except... Why isn't the Spirit Bear considered a hero for this interaction? God knows everything else in the game does.
- If you really feel like it, messing with his right-click using a Heaven's Halberd will help your team kill him.
- At the very least, opt for a Battle Druid playstyle so you can kite Wraith King, but try to keep your Spirit Bear away from him in a teamfight.
- Wraith King is one of those heroes that makes Roshan easy to kill. Keep the river warded for anyone who might be going inside his tarn.
Quite a few supports give you trouble, but the white knight of the All-Knowing One is especially good at it. Purification
allows Omniknight to heal his allies easily throughout the game and deters your bear from harrassing due to its AOE Pure
will dispel Entangling Claws
, potentially saving anyone you otherwise had locked down. Degen Aura
might not be a great passive, but it makes catching him or his teammates difficult. And finally, Guardian Angel
can swing any fight in favor of his team with proper use. Worse still, with an Aghanim's Scepter he can completely stop you from pushing the base.
- Your best chance is to pressure him early so he can't build too many items. You might also want to buy Necronomicon to remove Guardian Angel in a fight with the Necronomicon Archer's active.
- Entangling Claws pierces spell immunity, so it can root someone who already has Repel active on them.
- Diffusal Blade can no longer purge his spell actives, but all types of cyclones and strong dispels can do so. It also burns Mana, which is useful since it will prevent him from repeatedly casting his spells throughout a fight due to his low Intelligence gain.
A very strong mid hero, and with a kit uniquely suited for her position there. While it is possible to outplay her, I'd be wary of underestimating a good Templar Assassin
, which is why she isn't in the Bear Chow section. Let's get to learning, shall we?
- Refraction is a big part of what makes Templar Assassin strong in lane. Unfortunately, with two units to hit her in the face, you will shred its charges quickly. Entangling Claws will also make short work of them. Orb of Venom won't do the trick anyore, but Radiance can render it trivial. Do be wary of the talent which increases the number of charges by 4.
- Meld is a free Shadow Amulet which grants up to 8 armor reduction on its first strike. It also has a talent to reduce 4 more armor. Thankfully, you can break Meld with Savage Roar and hurt her inside it with Dust of Appearance. Just don't use your druid for casting it, or she will unload her burst onto your face, and that armor reduction will hurt quite a bit.
- Psi Blades is especially useful against Lone Druid because she always has a target in front of the druid; your Spirit Bear. Sure, it's very tanky even in the early game, but the druid has far less health and she should really be trying to pressure your bear anyways to force you to send it home or resummon. It also gives her bonus attack range, making her harder to harass from high-ground. Adapt your micro to work around this. (It also has a talent which stuns the targets behind the first, so watch out for that.)
- Psionic Trap requires a good deal of map knowledge and planning to use effectively, but can be a powerful tool in chases and ganks. Considering Lone Druid's main defense from enemies is to run away, its 30% slow is very tough to deal with. If Templar Assassin isn't just spawning and activating her trap on you during a chase and it's had time to sit around, it slows for 60% instead. She can also set up a large number of them throughout the map. They never expire, and will also provide some vision. Expect her to use these to secure rune control, so ward your high spots. (She uh, also can get +100 damage or +3 max traps with talents... Man, Templar Assassin is getting all the cool tricks nowadays.)
- Most Templar Assassins buy a Blink Dagger to have better mobility and to turn Meld into a semi-escape. Buy that Radiance to shut this down.
- They also tend to get Desolator, which is bad news for you and your Spirit Bear since it stacks with Meld. Consider taking the armor talent along with Assault Cuirass, but also keep your distance ( Dragon Lance is also an item which exists, which stacks with the increased range from Psi Blades).
These things all have some way of dealing damage based on your maximum health pool. Lifestealer has Feast, Necrophos has Heartstopper Aura and Reaper's Scythe (seriously, screw that spell), and Death Prophet has Spirit Siphon. You should avoid them all and build magic resistance for the latter two.
- You cannot manfight Lifestealer, so don't try. Just stay away from him as much as you can, and make sure your Spirit Bear has a Town Portal Scroll and that Lifestealer didn't build Skull Basher. He is also a terrifying late-game carry, so don't let him farm and try to take away his jungle access.
- Necrophos will become more dangerous the longer the fight goes on, so try to focus him first if you can. Glimmer Cape and other magic resistance sources can also neuter his Reaper's Scythe. That said, your higher health pool means he will always be doing lots of damage with it, so treat him with a great deal of caution.
- Death Prophet is slightly more manageable than the others. While she is one of those annoying mid-lane spell spammers you will need Infused Raindrop and Magic Stick for, if you can silence her, she's basically helpless. Orchid Malevolence is a good item, but try to wait out her use of Eul's Scepter of Divinity first.
- Spirit Vessel gives me the creeps. Not only does it give the hero carrying it a bunch of health, movement speed, and stats all around, but the active drains 3% of your current health per second when it hits you. This spells disaster for your Spirit Bear and his titanic healthpool, in addition to disabling Return like Urn of Shadows does.
These are all good ways to reduce the armor of the druid or his Spirit Bear, which also offsets the bonus armor you get from True Form. Weave and Amplify Damage last for a very long time, so watch out for ganks while under their effects.
- Solar Crest will also negate 40% of your evasion when cast on you, so it might not be a good idea to buy anything that uses it if you see one in the game.
These heroes are in this list as examples of serious out-scalers. Given enough time, they will become stronger than you no matter how far ahead you are. Early on, they might not have the power to fight you off, but make it your life's mission to secure the game before they can become relevant.
UPDATE: Apparently I felt like this needed a bit more information, so here I am. Hard carries like these people are not very good early game. Well, Tiny is decent with proper support, but that's not my point. None of these people can deal with an enemy who wants to end early.
This is really what your split-pushing and farming is about. You want to secure as much of an advantage as you can in the early game before these guys get stronger, so that by the time they have whatever items they need to become relevant, they've lost everything worth defending. In a perfect world, you do outscale them because you have twelve item slots, but that is never going to happen since an enemy team with any amount of brainpower will never let you farm that much.
TLDR; End games early, kids.
Tanky enough to take the heat from you and can usually battle back in some manner, with reliable stuns and some manfighting capability. Unless you're sure you can kill them without any risk to yourself, it's best to avoid these guys. Consider purchasing a Desolator in matches against them.
- Dragon Knight is tricky. He's an AOE carry with his Elder Dragon Form's splashing breath, which becomes terrifying later after it gains a movement and attack speed slow. Dragon Tail is an instant stun and has decent range when he's transformed, and Breathe Fire is just an annoying spammable attack damage reduction. Thankfully, he's vulnerable to crowd control, meaning he can be kited. You can also root him through the Black King Bar he will almost certainly build.
- Tidehunter's Kraken Shell gives him insane damage block, allowing him to shrug off your harrass early game. Gush will make you weaker and slower, meaning it's harder to chase him down after. Anchor Smash's attack damage reduction is even more insane than Dragon Knight's, and his ultimate Ravage brings the house down for his team to wreck you. He'll need a Blink Dagger, though, and you just so happen to build Radiance. This might be a game where you want to be in the fights, unless someone else on your team can stop his initiations.
- Sven is scary. He's not as kiteable as other carries, since he has a reliable stun in Storm Gauntlet and a movement speed buff with Warcry. Your best bet is to use Savage Roar to disengage when his Black King Bar is down, and hope you can nail him down from a distance, since close-range combat will almost certainly mean the end of you.
Return is like a Blink Dagger in that it can be disabled by any damage which has a hero for a source (including summons, items, and spells). These heroes and items are especially difficult to handle because their effects will deal DOT that can keep it down, potentially long enough to get your Spirit Bear killed.
Several of these also have secondary effects attached to their DOT in the form of movement speed slow, attack speed slow, or stuns among others. Just be careful of your health and don't be afraid to back off if the damage ticks start to add up.
Lone Druid might have a strong pushing factor, but if the enemy has a hero who is just as capable of pressuring towers as you, they may be able to offset your advantage, especially if you're not present in the teamfights you have to help with. More than anything else, you will need to be ready to defend a lane at any time with a Town Portal Scroll or Boots of Travel.
- Lycan is a lot like you. Transformation ultimate, summon spell, damage and attack speed buffs, pretty cool. He's slightly different in that his wolves have invisibility (and obviously can't build items), and his ultimate is where he gets his movement speed from, along with a critical strike. In a fight, he will target your druid instead of your bear, so be prepared to build tanky.
- Lycan's also one of those people who loves to take Roshan, so ward up the tarn and keep a lookout. You can see him walking in even under Smoke of Deceit, but not on the minimap. He also tends to build Medallion of Courage.
- Keeper of the Light is a support hero, and a frail one at that. But don't be fooled, his spells are incredibly strong. Illuminate is his bread and butter, channeling to deal high magical damage in a line at long range. Mana Leak is his stun for chases (which also drains mana, obviously), while Chakra Magic allows him to constantly have mana and reduces his cooldowns to continue spamming. After he uses his Spirit Form, he gains access to Recall, which gives one of his teammates a free teleport, and Blinding Light, a large AOE which forces and blinds enemies hit. Build Monkey King Bar and murder him every chance you get provided he is alone.
- Nature's Prophet is a very common level 1 jungler, and is a versatile pick. He is a lot like Tinker in that he will show up to a lane, push it somewhat, then teleport away before anyone can punish him. Buy a Quelling Blade and chop down his trees to Savage Roar him out of his teleport, forcing him to either stand his ground or flee. Given the nature of things, you will probably come out on top if you proc Entangling Claws. Just watch out for Desolator and be ready to run if his team shows up.
Anti-Right Click Measures
As always, you can only deal single-target physical damage. These abilities and items will prevent you from killing their holders, either by hurting you when you try or making it very slow and tedious when you try. Unless you can find a way to work around these, you should probably avoid trying to kill these people.
- Return makes harrassing Centaur Warrunner impossible, so don't bother trying to kill him. His Stampede is also a global haste rune you should always be aware of if the enemy team is missing from the map.
- Enchantress may be a fellow of nature, but she will only cause you pain when you fight her. As with Centaur Warrunner , Untouchable makes killing her nearly impossible with basic attacks. Impetus is a very real danger to you, since it doesn't care how much armor you have and will deal more damage the further away from her you are. With the right talents, Nature's Attendants can become an incredibly potent heal, allowing her team to sustain sieges. There isn't much you can do to kill her but hope your spell-oriented allies can handle it better.
These abilities make hitting their holders counter-productive by triggering alternative effects. This is worsened all the more on Lone Druid since you like to stack attack speed. Legion Commander, Bristleback, and Axe are also quite tanky and build items to emphasize this, so killing them is difficult. Avoid doing so if you can.
- Legion Commander can use her Duel to devastating effect, not only allowing her to kill you easily and ignoring your Spirit Bear, but its bonus damage upon victory will make her scale harder than you by far. You can use Savage Roar to keep her away (but it won't disable Duel once it's started), and Radiance will disable her Blink Dagger. Never let her reach the late-game, and keep an eye out for alternative initiation methods such as Shadow Blade. You should also avoid playing the Battle Druid style, since your crazy attack speed and increased range won't save you once she's in your face. Also hope she never buys an Aghanim's Scepter, which ensures your Spirit Bear can never intervene to save you again. (Get one yourself, so you can still help if she catches you out.)
- Bristleback is just the worst. Viscous Nasal Goo slows you and reduces your movement speed, Quill Spray's damage adds up quickly and is applied to every unit around him (both of these stack with themselves). Bristleback makes chasing him irritating at best and dangerous at worst, and Warpath makes him faster and more dangerous as he casts spells (which he will be doing very frequently, if you hadn't gotten the memo).
- Axe is annoying. While he never becomes a carry, he will be a constant annoyance whenever you meet him. High armor and ridiculous HP regen ensure that killing him is very difficult. Counter Helix punishes you for doing so, especially since it deals the dreaded True damage type which will shred thrhough your otherwise tanky bear. Berserker's Call and Blink Dagger enable him to jump on your face and potentially hack you to bits, so keep your distance and build a Radiance. (While an afterthought, Battle Hunger is annoying in that it slows you or your Spirit Bear while speeding him up, potentially allowing him to escape an otherwise deadly situation.)
Matchups: Bear Chow (Easy opponents)
These are heroes you will want to see on the enemy team. Lots of heroes fit into this category early in the game, since most are not strong enough to fight off two heroes with nearly 2000 combined HP and 80 damage at level 1. Of course, many in this list will eventually become strong enough that Lone Druid cannot bully them anymore, so your priority is to secure a strong lead for your team before this happens.
High Mobility Heroes (among others)
As of the New Journey update, the root status effect was buffed to disable many more mobility spells than only true blinks. Entangling Claws
is a root, so it now prevents escape for many of these heroes. It's especially useful for the likes of invisible heroes, since Entangling Claws also reveals invisible units while it lasts, and most of them are squishy to start.
Oh hey, another
single-target physical damage carry like us! Seriously though, she's a very common pick and is sometimes seen in the mid lane. You WILL
need to know how to deal with her. She has high armor, but low health and needs farm to be relevant. Kill her when you can and build a Monkey King Bar in good time to keep her down.
- A mid-lane Phantom Assassin will probably be spamming her Stifling Dagger to get farm. Make sure you buy a Magic Stick if you think she will be your opponent. She'll probably also be throwing some of those daggers at you, so it might not be a bad idea to stay where she can't see you in lane, especially before level 6. If you can harass her before she has Blur, do so with great prejudice to slow her down.
- Phantom Strike acts like a unit-target blink that buffs attack speed. Use Savage Roar to disrupt this when she tries to go on somebody (including you). You may also want to watch out for her ultimate, Coup de Grace, which will crit for high amounts of damage and can also be applied to her dagger. Evasion (especially in the form of Heaven's Halberd) can be effective if she isn't building a Monkey King Bar herself.
- The real problem Phantom Assassin poses is in her Blur passive, which makes her very hard to hit and lets her split-push unnoticed from the minimap. For this, you will need to build a Monkey King Bar as soon as you're finished Assault Cuirass. The invisible-on-minimap component of Blur requires good map awareness, since you need to check every creep wave pushing to your towers for her presence. As with other hard carries, end the game before she can become relevant.
A textbook mid since the dawn of time. Where so many people go wrong with this guy is when they leave him in his lane, and then 30 minutes later he has an Aghanim's Scepter and starts slaughtering your entire team with his massive spell potential. Lone Druid
aims to win the lane, and that's precisely what Invoker can't fight if the other guy is being pushy. His Strength and armor are very low
early on, and without quick access to every spell in his repertoire he won't be able to fight back effectively.
- Buy Orb of Venom in lane with your boots and use your bear to harrass him whenever he goes to last-hit. Deny as much as possible when not taking last-hits yourself to slow down his leveling speed. If you manage to kill or drive him out, he'll play a lot safer around you.
- Destroy his tower so he can't farm there. If you snowball before he can come online, he'll have a tough time recovering, but when he has all his spells, the crowd control he will then possess is too great for you to nail him down by yourself.
- Should he kick you out of mid, watch for Sun Strike if you walk back to base.
- Tornado will purge Rabid and Battle Cry.
- Forge Spirits don't treat the Spirit Bear like a hero, so they won't reduce its armor with Melting Strike.
- If the game goes late, the level 25 talent that grants Battle Cry spell immunity ensures he will not be able to touch you while it's active. He won't even be able to purge your buffs anymore.
While not even as good of a mid anymore, people still play the Butcher there a lot. Against Lone Druid
, he will regret everything. Pudge is slow, has low armor, and very little manfighting capability outside of his spells, which you can disrupt. He also relies on positioning to get kills, whereas you can use his spells to get kills on him.
- Pudge's combo will kill most heroes early-game. Before you get True Form, Lone Druid is no exception. Stay on top of your micro by always keeping the bear between you and Pudge. If he does Meat Hook the bear, he probably won't try to kill it since it's too tanky and can hurt him a lot more. Once you have a level 3 Spirit Bear, proccing Entangling Claws lets you dish out some serious hurt.
- In the event Pudge does land Meat Hook on you, it's wise to quickly Return your bear and use Savage Roar to cancel Dismember. You may also want to build dual Cloaks against a Pudge, but as the game goes on he will fall off even harder than you unless he snowballed. If you're that worried, take an Observer Ward with you to place on his side of the river.
- Rot will take away Pudge's health when active. It does do a lot of magical damage, but your bear will have nearly double the health Pudge does early on, so it doesn't care. Harass him when he uses it to get last-hits; if he doesn't bother to turn it off you get free damage on him and maybe even a kill. It adds up very quickly and Pudge starts with pitiful armor.
Most of Silencer's kit isn't really that important for Lone Druid, but Glaives of Wisdom
is a pretty strong Pure damage orb effect that scales with his Intelligence. This makes laning against him bothersome (again, especially before level 6). Silencer does has even lower armor than you to begin with, so harass him in lane
to make sure he can't start ganking and making your team stupid with his passive Intelligence theft.
- Avoid casting Rabid when you're hit by Arcane Curse. Should he be spamming it, buy a Magic Stick. Conversely, when affected by Last Word, cast a spell as soon as you can (unless it's Summon Spirit Bear) to mitigate the damage over time. Global Silence really doesn't matter to you since you don't have any big spells it'll prevent you from using. At worst, it'll delay your recast of Rabid.
- Whatever you do, don't let him kill you too much, not even in 1 for 1 trades. Silencer will always get the Intelligence as long as an enemy hero dies before he does. If you're losing too much Intelligence, consider buying items to rectify that, and Aghanim's Scepter to push lanes without worrying about him ganking you.
Another midlaner who is weak early game and requires lots of farm to become relevant. He will have Shadowraze
to farm with, gets more damage through Necromastery
, usually buys armor reduction, and Requiem of Souls
will unleash unspeakable horrors on your team. Needless to say, we must stop him early.
- Shadow Fiend relies on Necromastery for most of his damage in the early parts of the game. If you use your two units to get as many last-hits and denies as possible, his damage won't be nearly as consequential. Killing him actually eliminates half of his Necromastery stacks, so try for Entangling Claws if you can; he doesn't have very much health to start with. After he gets his Shadowraze, expect him to use it to secure farm and harass you, so don't stand still so that he can hit you and buy a Magic Stick.
- Presence of the Dark Lord reduces armor, which can make it harder to keep your bear alive near Shadow Fiend. He also tends to build Desolator, the combination of which will make your bear very sad. Several other big items on him such as Black King Bar, Shadow Blade, and Aghanim's Scepter will result in some potent teamfighting on his part. Do try and win before this happens, his flash-farming will allow him to recover later even if he dies.
- Do remember that Requiem of Souls casts again when Shadow Fiend dies, so if your health is low, it might not be worth killing him if it'll somehow finish you off.
Wrapping Things Up
Take a seat, children: It's storytime.
I first fell in love with Lone Druid long ago, back before the hero became relevant. This was when Synergy existed and Juggernaut ran rampant in every game, so you can imagine my difficulties. While the hero himself was tough to play, I started to practice where I could, though I was nowhere close to what I had to accomplish to truly become a good player.
At the time, Lone Druid needed to hit at least level 10 or so to be truly relevant since, since he needed Synergy and Summon Spirit Bear maxed and a point in both his ultimate and Rabid. Otherwise the bear would have too little health, not enough damage, or not enough speed. This wasn’t even when Lone Druid became relevant as a mid, since this was before all the truly disgusting mid-laners were nerfed, so the only way to go was safe-lane, or offlane if you knew how. Summon Spirit Bear’s cooldown was also ridiculously high, making it easy to be bearless at any stage of the game.
I languished at these difficulties, though I still longed for a time when I could pick him freely. Recently, Lone Druid has been subject to a few groundbreaking balance changes: Summon Spirit Bear’s cooldown is a constant 120 seconds at all levels, Synergy’s stats have been incorporated into the spells it used to affect, and Synergy itself has been replaced with Savage Roar.
This has an enormous impact, since Synergy was just holding the hero back and the cooldown on Summon Spirit Bear was quite costly after it got a bounty. Along with some new items added to the game, these changes have made the hero a whole lot more interesting to play and much more viable than before. There's no way I could properly express how thrilled I am at the fact that Lone Druid is viable again.
I decided I’d start looking into some guides to see if some people smarter than me made guides to compensate for the improved viability, until I set my mind on writing something of my own. A few of the popular guides were outdated, so I felt there was something I could contribute in improving the hero in general as far as player understanding went. In particular, I feel like Aghanim’s Scepter isn’t being given the credit it deserves.
I called this guide “The Seed of Victory” because of two reasons: First, it comes from a Lone Druid quote, and it seems to be a weird tradition here on DOTAFire to name your guide after a voice line. Secondly, it carries meaning for how I believe the hero should be played. Lone Druid’s job is to push down enemy towers before anything else, to gain an advantage for the team and not just yourself. Your ultimate goal is to lock the enemy in their base so your team can out-farm them.
This is sowing the seed of a won match; either you take down everything the enemy has protecting their farming carries, or you make sure your own early game is strong enough to start taking objectives before they can fight back. Your job is not to get kills or farm constantly, but to help your team get an advantage that by pressuring the enemy.
I'd like to thank all of the wonderful people in the DOTAFire Discord for their advice and support in this endeavor. Particular thanks go out to Cuttleboss, Safecyn, and Sofa for their exemplary guides. AdmiralBulldog is also deserving of my thanks, since he made the guide that initially helped me understand the hero and sparked my interest in him.
Well, at least for now, this is all I have. Thanks so much for reading, I hope you learned something about Lone Druid from my guide, or at least that you had something interesting to think about when read it. As I said before, I will be expanding this guide in the near future: I plan to refine the content I already have, including a section with examples of well-played games with the hero.
Cory signing off!
- Add more items to the build & rejects ( Eye of Skadi, Moon Shard, Crimson Guard)
- Test new ideas ( Lotus Orb, Drum of Endurance, Solar Crest, Aeon Disk)
- Add more heroes in matchups (Luna, Juggernaut, Templar Assassin*, Queen of Pain, Bristleback, Effect-stacking heroes in general?)
- Find a smaller Medic Bear picture
- Expand guide to include offlane and safelane positions, as well as a warning to jungling
- Talk about Battle Cry + Demolish in Math Corner
- Rune breakdown (Because why not? Lone Druid is a mid hero.)
- Add to the Spirit Bear's Savage Roar beeakdown about the Entangling Claws interaction
- Expand Math Corner to include more relevant calculations
- Add a section about jungling, when to do it, and why it's sometimes a terrible idea
- Add Techies and Winter Wyvern to the list of counters, update Viper's matchup in counters
- Add new section: "Bear Micro and You"
- Figure out how to make in-game build (can't edit old builds for some reason?)
December 17, 2016 - Version 1.0 - First version of guide, published early to get advice
January 4, 2017 - Version 1.1 - Revisions to account for Helm of the Dominator, aura items for Aghanim's Scepter, Talent Tree update, admissions to previous overrating of Vladmir's Offering and similar percent-based damage buffs on Spirit Bear
February 3, 2017 - Version 1.12 - Second revision of guide, added in Battle Druid section and corresponding build to match, right-click answers in Counters
July 26, 2017 - Version 1.3 - Fixed pictures, touched up talents after changes, crossed stuff off the to-do list, returned from the dead
July 31, 2017 - Various touch-ups for visual effect, some revision of content
October 31, 2017 - Version 1.4 - Dueling Fates update. Added relevant information, updated percent-based damage in Counters section. Follow-up update is planned imminently
November 1, 2017 - Version 1.5 - Overhaul and added information to counters section, changed item formatting, updated talents
December 4, 2017 - Version 1.55 - Added Legion Commander, Bristleback, Axe, Templar Assassin to Counters