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1 Votes

The Terror From The Barrier

July 5, 2015 by Fortissimo
Comments: 1    |    Views: 9873    |   


DotA2 Hero: Tusk

Hero Skills

Ice Shards

2 3 5 7


1 4 8 9

Tag Team

10 12 13 14

Walrus Punch

6 11 16


15 17 18

The Terror From The Barrier

July 5, 2015


Hello, and welcome to my first guide, to Tusk! Tusk is one of my absolute favorite heroes; he is just so fun to play. He has the potential to initiate on enemies with his entire team at once, as well as what is quite possibly the funniest and most satisfying ultimates in the game. He doesn't see much competitive play, as he is quite reliant on getting an early lead and being able to maintain that lead over the course of the game. Picking tusk can be a big risk, especially against a coordinated opponent, but in pubs he is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful heroes. Tusk should be played in the 3, 2, or 1 position (in that order of priority). He can be played in the 4 position if absolutely necessary.


It had been a brawl to remember. There stood Ymir, the Tusk, the Terror from the Barrier, the Snowball from Cobalt, the only fighter to have bested the Bristled Bruiser in a fair fight, and now the last man standing in Wolfsden Tavern. What started as a simple bar bet of supremacy ended with four regulars, a blacksmith, and six of the Frost Brigade's best soldiers writhing against the shards and splinters of almost every bottle, mug, and chair in the building. The Tusk boasted and toasted his victory as he emptied his brew.
No sooner had the defeated regained consciousness than the cries for double-or-nothing rang out. The Tusk was pleased at the prospect, but none could think of a bet bigger than the one he just conquered. Horrified at the damage to his tavern and desperate to avoid another brawl, the barkeep had an idea. As skilled as he was, Ymir had never taken part in a real battle, never tested himself against the indiscriminate death and chaos of war. He proposed a wager to the fighter: seek out the biggest battle he could find, survive, and win it for whichever side he chose. The stakes? The next round of drinks.

Anti-Mage: Fights to avenge the deaths of his friends.
Ember Spirit: Fights to spread knowledge.
Tusk: Fights to win a drink.

Pros / Cons


  • Great initiator
  • High burst potential
  • One of the few heroes not completely countered by BKB
  • Good anti-carry with Frozen Sigil
  • Very low cooldown on abilities
  • Not super powerful once combo is over
  • Annihilated by harder carries late game unless given a significant advantage
  • Small mana pool
  • Poorly timed Snowball can kill you and anyone in it


Q: Ice Shards

Tusk compresses shards of ice into a ball of frozen energy that damages all enemies it comes in contact with. When the ball reaches its target destination the shards are released, creating a barrier that lasts for 7 seconds.
Cast Time: 0.1+0
Cast Range: 1800
Damage Radius: 200
Shards Spawn Radius: 200
Damage: 70/140/210/280
Shards duration: 7
Cooldown: 19/16/13/10 Manacost: 90

This skill is just so damn useful. Its main use in your combo, but it can also be used to block an enemy's retreat or to form a barrier for chasing enemies. I've seen a lot of Tusk players who don't know this is a ranged spell, so here: Ice Shards is ranged. Use it as such.

Ice Shards ignores terrain, so you can use it get enemies on cliffs or below cliffs. It also gives vision while moving, so you can check Roshan with it. Ice Shards will form in the direction you are looking. Make sure not form them sideways or something.

W: Snowball

Tusk begins rolling into a snowball, Allies within a 400 radius can be added to the snowball by right-clicking on them, even while the Snowball is moving. Once launched, any enemies caught in the snowball's path will be stunned and take damage. Each allied Hero in the snowball will add to its damage.
Cast Time: 0.1+0.5
Cast Range: 1250
Damage & Stun Radius: 200 + 40 per Second
Gather Radius: 400
Stationary Time: 4
Base Damage: 80/120/160/200
Damage per Gathered Hero: 20/30/40/50
Snowball speed: 675
Stun duration: 0.5/0.75/1/1.25
Cooldown: 21/20/19/18 Manacost: 75

This is primarily an initiation skill, and what makes Tusk such a good ganker.
Important Things to remember with Snowball:
1. If you are laning with a melee hero or a ranged hero who isn't particularly squishy, always put them in the snowball by right clicking them once you have cast it. It will do more damage and you will have a much better chance of getting the kill.
2. You must manually either manually launch the Snowball at any time or wait the 4 seconds for it to launch automatically. Waiting the full 4 seconds can sometimes be an incredible escape tactic. For example, you get hooked into the bushes by Pudge. Immediately cast Snowball with him as the target. This will prevent him from Dismembering you. Then evaluate the scenario: could I kill him with my full combo? If the answer is no, launch the Snowball and run while he is stunned. I cannot emphasize enough how elusive you can be with proper use of this tactic.
3. Snowball does not have infinite range. It will break apart after 4 seconds of rolling. Don't be hesitant to launch it if an enemy is running away, especially one who runs quite quickly like a Bloodseeker.
4. You cannot cancel Snowball once it is rolling. Be wary of accidentally rolling under a tower or into the fountain.
5. You can cast Ice Shards and Frozen Sigil while rolling.
6. Snowball will cross impassable terrain and destroy trees. It can also be used as an escape in this way. If you can get vision of a less threatening enemy hero or a neutral creep, just Snowball to them to escape your pursuer.
7. Snowball cannot target spell immune units, but spell immune allies can still be put inside.

E: Frozen Sigil

Tusk summons a Frozen Sigil by calling upon the deepest cold of winter. The Sigil creates a snowstorm which slows all enemy units within 600 range.
Cast Time: 0.1+0.87
Radius: 600
Hero Attacks to Destroy: 3/3/4/4
Non-Hero Attacks to Destroy: 12/12/16/16
Move Speed Slow: 10%/15%/20%/25%
Attack Speed Slow: 30/40/50/60
Sigil Duration: 30
Cooldown: 50 Manacost: 75

This skill is often overlooked as it is not quite as flashy as Tusk's other skills. That said, this skill is very powerful. It isn't that great early on,, but in the late game the attack speed slow can cripple enemy carries. This is also a great escape skill. When cast it will by default follow you, and with its lower movement speed it will lag behind you...slowing any enemies who may happen to be following.
Note: This spell is pronounced "Si-jil', not "Sigg-il".

R: Walrus Punch

Tusk connects with his mighty Walrus Punch, a critical strike so powerful it launches its victim into the air. The victim is slowed upon landing.
Cast Range: 128
Critical Damage: 350%
Move Speed Slow: 40%
Slow Duration: 3/4/5
Stun Duration: 1
Cooldown: 20/16/12 Manacost: 50/75/100

And now we reach Walrus Punch, my favorite skill in the game.
Notes on Walrus Punch
1. Walrus Punch is a physical damage crit, which synergizes quite well with armor reduction.
2. Walrus Punch Cannot miss (take that, Phantom Assasin!).
3. Walrus Punch Slows the target, making it a great skill to end your combo with.
4. Walrus Punch is a great intimidation spell, which is to say it will scare your enemy ****less.
There's really not a whole lot to say about this spell. Just use it.

Walrus Kick

Kicks the target unit back 900 units and slows their movement speed by 40% for 4 seconds.
Cast Time: 0.2+1.3
Cast Range: 128
Knockback Distance: 900
Move Speed Slow: 40%
Slow Duration: 5
Stun Duration: 1
Cooldown: 12 Manacost: 100

I'm not a huge fan of the Aghanhim's Scepter upgrade on Tusk. I hardly ever find myself using it. It does come in handy in certain scenarios, especially against carries who excel in 1v1 manfighting like Ursa and Axe. There's nothing funnier than seeing an Ursa pop his ult only to get kicked out of the battle.

Tusk's Combos

1. Snowball --> Frozen Sigil --> Launch Snowball --> Ice Shards --> Walrus Punch
This is your bread and butter combo, used for both ganking and initiating team fights (if your team gets in the Snowball). It can be performed so quickly the enemy often times won't have time to react. If done correctly, Ice Shards should be cast during the snowball stun and Walrus Punch immediately after, to keep the enemy disabled. The sigil will normally reach your location by the time the enemy has fallen from the sky, stacking with the movement slow from Walrus Punch to keep them from escaping if they aren't dead by the time they escape the Ice Shards.

2. Walrus Punch --> Ice Shards --> Snowball --> Frozen Sigil
I call this one "Panic Punch". I generally use it when I am caught off guard in the jungle or something. Ice Shards can hit enemy heroes while they are in the air from Walrus Punch, making the entire combo very quick. The Sigil is used at the end to prevent the enemy from escaping.

3. Ice Shards --> Snowball --> Walrus Punch --> Frozen Sigil
If for some reason you can't use your first combo in a teamfight, or diving in with your team would suicide, use this combo. Ice Shards will push enemies apart, meaning that a well-placed Ice Shards can isolate a hero from their team. Use to pick off squishy but dangerous heroes like Lina, Sniper, and Clinkz, while they are with a friend or two. Frozen Sigil is used at the end to help you escape from danger.

Since your skills have ridiculously low cooldowns, you should be performing one combo at the beginning of a teamfight and another at the end to pick of fleeing opponents.


Starting Items

Get your basic regen: Tangoes and a Healing Salve. After that I usually get a Circlet, as it gives some nice stats and it ensures that I won't have to use the courier to complete my magic wand. You could also get a Stout Shield, Quelling Blade, or Animal Courier depending on your team. Fill the rest of your inventory with gg Iron Branches.

Early Game

A quick Bracer can really help with survivability and is very cost-effective. It also builds into your Drum of Endurance. Get Boots of Speed, or course, and finish your Magic Wand at the side shop. An Orb of Venom, also purchasable at the side shop, is great for getting early kills (since you don't have a slow before level 6) at a low cost, and builds into Eye of Skadi if you get a lot of farm.


Phase Boots are my personal favorite boots on Tusk. The extra damage will also increase the damage of Walrus Punch, as well as giving you a chase and an escape. The active is especially useful if you Snowballed into a group of enemies you probably shouldn't have. Drum of Endurance is basically a cheaper Ultimate Orb that has a very useful active. The stats increase Tusk's tankiness and damage, helping him when fighting people in the Ice Shards. Desolator is very very very good on Tusk. Walrus Punch deals physical damage, meaning that any sort of armor reduction will greatly increase its power. Desolator is a fairly cheap item that adds a ton of damage (increasing the power of your ultimate) and reduces armor (increasing the power of your ultimate). This item is basically a pseudo-Aghanhim's Scepter upgrade for Tusk, which also happens to upgrade your right clicks. Now onto Battle Fury. This is your secondary pseudo-Agh's. Since Walrus Punch is just a crit, with Battle Fury it will cleave. Walrus Punch will cleave with Battle Fury. Let that sink in. This should almost always be purchased after Desolator, as Deso will maximize your ganking potential in the mid game and Battle Fury will maximize your teamfight potential in the later game. Lastly, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a Town Portal Scroll on you, if not 2 or even 3. Please. I beg you.


Aghanim's Scepter: As I've said, I don't think this upgrade is quite worth its cost. That said, if need a bit more tankiness and you have a lot of extra gold, by all means go for it.
Assault Cuirass: Increases tankiness, increases ability to 1v1, and reduces armor for your ultimate. Only reason that this is situational instead of luxury is that there may be a harder carry that would be looking to buy the same item.
Black King Bar: Is they enemy team wrecking you with their arsenal of stuns? Are you playing against a Lion, Shadow Shaman, Sven, Spirit Breaker, and Slardar (god help you)? Black King Bar should be purchased immediately after Desolator.
Orchid Malevolence: If the enemy team has a lot of casters or you are ganking into the late game, Orchid can be a great pickup. The attack speed in particular can be very helpful, especially in conjunction with Skull Basher.
Heaven's Halberd: Complete lockdown of right clicks after your ult? Yes please! Evasion? Even better! This is a seriously underrated item that I considered making core. Use it immediately after your ult to stop heroes from fighting back before you take them low enough to make them run. Well, to make them try to run.
Arcane Boots: Pick these up if you are playing more of a support role, initiating more with your team than by yourself.
Blade Mail I would say don't buy this and halberd, choose one. Blade Mail is more situational than halberd, and its main use is to make people wait to hit you with their hard spells (and hopefully by the time it expires you will have wrecked them).
Monkey King Bar: **** you, Phantom Assassin and Brewmaster.
Armlet of Mordiggian: I actually find myself building this quite often. It's always an option on strength heroes. Toggle it on right before your ult and off right after. You shouldn't need it on unless fighting a super tanky hero.
Medallion of Courage: More armor reduction? Yes please! Get this if the enemy team has heroes that aren't being quite finished off by your combo. The active should put the damage over the edge.
Bottle: If you can get this before the midgame, do it. If not, skip it.

Luxury Items

Eye of Skadi: Gives you great tankiness and a great slow in conjunction with the rest of your slows. HOWEVER, it doesn't stack with Desolator. This is a true luxury item. Only buy it if you get very fat early and don't need Desolator to take out foes.
Heart of Tarrasque: Heart is basically luxury on every strength hero. It will make you nearly impossible to 1v1, and you will be able to push like nobody's business thanks to the passive.
Shiva's Guard: As most people know, armor is always better than hp once you reach ~2200. Buy this lategame if you reach that point, or buy it earlier if you are facing an illusion hero like Phantom Lancer, Chaos Knight, or Naga Siren.
Abyssal Blade: Suuuuuper late game. If you get enough attack speed to proc it often though, the lockdown can make you unstoppable. Don't forget to use the active on carries to chew through them before they can chew through you.
Scythe of Vyse: Great lockdown, great stats, and you will never have mana problems again.

Troll Items

Dagon: Walrus Punch --> Dagon. Your enemies will uninstall Dota 2.
Shadow Blade/ Blink Dagger: It's pretty damn funny to watch enemies get Walrus Punched out of nowhere.



  • Solo Midlane: Tusk can absolutely go mid, in order to get your level 6 fast and gank early. This is a risk however, as you are quite vulnerable to harassment and your skills aren't great at returning the favor. If you do end up mid, occasionally use Ice Shards to harass. If you against a strong harasser like a Disruptor, Puck, or Windranger, stay back form the wave and get exp. This is the main reason you would go mid: the enemy team has a lot of heroes that need to be kept down and you need to start asap. You aren't that farm dependent. You can try to get a kill if you see your enemy going for a rune or something, but don't dive towers for kills.
  • Safelane dual: Only go here if your team has no harder carries. In pubs though, this generally won't be an issue.
  • Safelane solo: I've actually never tried this, but if a trilane is happening, then Tusk should be a part of it. Snowball is great in such a situation.
  • Offlane dual: This is where Tusk does best. He has good potential to dive towers with Snowball as well, as towers can't target you while you're rolling. With your skillset you should be able to disrupt the enemy carry's farm early and often.
  • Offlane solo: This works as well, although it will limit your kill potential and make it more difficult for you to leave your lane. As I said, if a trilane is happening somewhere, that's where Tusk should be.

Early Game

Farm and harass. Tusk should be played quite aggressively; I mean, you are a bar brawling walrus. You can go for kills as early as level 2, although level 6 is required to solo kill. If you want to kill the Dark Seer you're laning against, coordinate with your laning buddy.

Mid Game

This is where Tusk shines. Gank constantly, especially the enemy carry. Finish your Desolator and start your Battle Fury. Aid in any teamfights that may occur. In the case that taking down a particular enemy would require multiple people, DON'T not gank them. Coordinate with an ally, get a few people in a Snowball, etc. Tusk needs to get an advantage here in order to remain effective in the late game.

Late Game

There are two basic situations that you could be in once you reach the late game:
1. You Snowballed (pun intended) really hard mid game and are dominating the game: look into offensive items such as a Skull Basher/ Abyssal Blade or Heaven's Halberd. Push down towers and crush anyone who stands in your way. Teamfights will be happening more often, so help your team initiate with Snowball. Just imagine for a second an Enigma, Sand King, Tidehunter, and Magnus rolling into the middle of the enemy team. I'm imagining it now and it's pretty ****ing amazing.
2. You did average or below average in the mid game and are now outclassed by the enemy carry(s): Don't lose hope! you haven't lost importance, you just need to transition role. Look into defensive and support items like Shiva's Guard. Help your team initiate with Snowball, help in fights with Frozen Sigil, and use Walrus Punch and Ice Shards to keep enemies from escaping your more powerful teammates.

In both cases, do Roshan with your team. Your sigil make things very easy with the attack speed slow, as will your Desolator effect.

My Thoughts on Playing Tusk as a Support

Tusk can absolutely be played as a support. I think, however, that he is much more useful as a semi-carry/ganker. There are more effective supports than Tusk, especially since Tusk's ultimate is suited particularly to fight mano y mano, which isn't something support should generally be doing.

Friends and Foes


Tusk works very well with two groups of heroes: heroes who have powerful but hard to land stuns and abilities (especially in the early game) like Tiny and Slardar, and armor reduction heroes like Weaver, Razor, and Bounty Hunter. There are three special combos I would like to highlight:

Meepo & Tusk: This combo is incredible. Seriously, Meepo/ Tusk safelane = new meta. Each clone you get in your Snowball counts as a hero towards the damage total. If you manage to get 3 or 4 clones in, then all those people will bodyblock your enemy to hell if you use Ice Shards properly. This also sets up easy Earthbinds and Poofs for Meepo.

Troll Warlord & Tusk: Here's how this works: in lane, TW should switch to ranged mode and get a few stacks of Fervor on the target. He should then switch to melee and Tusk should Snowball them both in. This results in a very angry Troll Warlord with full Fervor stacks melting the target with little warning.

Pudge & Tusk: This one isn't quite as good as the other two, but snowballing Pudge in for a quick Dismember can let him save his hook for preventing the enemy from escaping.


Heroes that can stop Tusk before he can get his combo off are the only real counters to him. Ganking/invis heroes with silence and common orchid builders ( Clinkz, Riki, Drow Ranger, etc.) can stop him before he can get his combo off, thus rendering him helpless due to his underwhelming right clicks. Silencer's Global Silence can also be a pain. Extremely tanky heroes like Pudge can also be quite annoying, as your full combo may not be enough to at least make them run. Pudge in particular is annoying as if you don't manage to kill him, he can just perform his whole combo on you. Anti-Mage can also be a pain--since your combo already uses like half of your mana pool, it'll only take a few hits from him (and his Manta Style illusions, if you're in the later game) to get you to a point where Mana Void will wreck you. He can also Blink out of Ice Shards. I strongly reccomend buying an Orchis Malevolence if facing this guy. Finally, shoutout to Faceless Void--nothing is more annoying that this jerk Backtracking out of a Walrus Punch.

Heroes you Counter

Heroes that excel at a distance ( Sniper, Enchantress) and illusion heroes Naga Siren, Phantom Lancer, Chaos Knight, Terrorblade) will have a tough time against you. with Snowball it is very easy to get up close and personal with a hero, and both Sniper and Enchantress are paper before the all-powerful Walrus Punch. Also, since both Ice Shards and Snowball deal damage and stun (respectively) in an AOE, you shouldn't have too much trouble with pesky illusion heroes. Ice Shards in particular can split up the enemy illusion while revealing which one is real simultaneously.

Thank you for reading!

Thank you so much for reading my first guide! Any formatting tips would be greatly appreciated as I don't have much experience with such things. Please comment anything you think I should add or remove or change. Fortissimo, out!

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