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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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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