|2.||Pros and Cons|
|7.||Choosing your skilling order|
|8.||Roles and playstyle|
|9.||How do I last hit with my bad attack animation?|
|10.||Chasing and Retreating|
|16.||When to Pick|
|17.||When not to Pick|
Death Prophet is an unusual hero, combining tremendous pushing power with nukes, some good team fight abilities and potential as a semi-carry. Unlike most intelligence heroes she makes a great tank once farmed - a useful option if another melee strength hero isn't what your lineup needs...
+ Excellent Strength and Intelligence Growth
+ Huge pushing power
+ Fast movement speed once levelled up
+ Spammable AOE nuke and AOE silence
+ Extremely potent midgame
+ Good farmer
- Poor Agility Growth
- Slow attack animation
- Slow casting animation
- No stun or slow
- Loses some potency late game
- Needs reasonably good farm to operate effectively
Crypt Swarm is your AOE nuke and farming spell. It fires in an expanding cone from your initial position, and it's worth noting that it's final range is longer than the casting range.
It's well worth getting used to casting it close to your hero in the direction you want, rather than trying to cast directly onto targets at long range - this can lead to missed kills as your hero moves again and then repeats her slow casting animation. Remember that like all slow casters, you can click on the enemy hero to directly target them if they are too close - this means your hero will actively turn to face them when casting, giving you the best chance of hitting.
Most nukes you want to max ASAP, but level 4 Crypt Swarm you only gains you 50 damage, at a cost of 25 mana per use. For this reason I tend to get to level 3 quickly, and then max it a little later.
Once you've levelled up Witchcraft it becomes both cheaper and has a faster cooldown. You should be actively spamming it in team fights as you will generally be inflicting far more damage than your right click alone.
Silence is the closest thing you have to a slow or disable. It's an AOE ability that targets the ground, generally one point is sufficient to start with - but as always with skill builds you should be flexible - against certain heroes (usually ones with good escapes) a longer early silence can be very useful.
This is a great ability for team fights - you can often hit 3-4 players at once, preventing them from using their abilities for 6 seconds once maxed. This combines well with allies who can draw enemies together and make them easy to hit en masse. With the cooldown reduced to 11 seconds, you can often use it a second or even third time during a fight.
Witchcraft is a unique and interesting passive. It offers multiple improvements - a general movement speed buff, and upgrades to all your other abilities.
The movement speed bonus is excellent, and turns you from one of the slowest to one of the fastest heroes once you've maxed it. This helps tremendously with both chasing and retreating.
Secondly, it reduces both the mana cost and cooldown of Crypt Swarm and Silence, allowing you to use them more often. This is the primary reason I recommend maxing it before your other skills - it allows you to make far more use of them.
Thirdly, it increases the number of spirits present from Exorcism - boosting both the damage and the amount of healing you could receive at the end. This is especially important when your ultimate is at level one, as you can easily double the effectiveness by having a few points in your passive.
Your ultimate and also signature spell. The cooldown time is long enough that you can't just use it for any old gank, but its short enough to allow you to use it for pretty much every push and team fight.
- They inflict physical rather than magical damage. This means they become less effective against heavily armoured and agility heroes as the game progresses. It also means Black King Bar provides no protection.
- You can't directly control the ghosts, but they do follow your wishes in their own way. Spirits within 700 range of you will attack your last target when they look for a new victim, so get at least one right click in on your preferred choice.
- When there are a lot of potential targets (e.g. creeps) around, spirits can seem to not be doing an awful lot of damage as it's being spread around. However, if they focus on a single target you can see just how deadly they are.
- If you die, even with an Aegis, Exorcism will end instantly.
- At the end of the spell, the spirits will return to you and heal you for 25% of the total damage they inflicted - this is usually enough to quickly return you to full health.
As a general rule you should activate this ability just before a teamfight starts, as your spirits will continue to attack even if you are stunned or silenced. It also takes a little time for the spirits to begin attacking people, so you're not really losing any effect time.
Exorcism does lose some damage potential in the late game as heroes increase their HP and armour, but is still extremely useful for base pushes as you simply need to be within 700 radius of the tower or rax occasionally to keep your spirits targeting it.
As any good guide will tell you, while there are suggested build orders, you need to react to the situation in hand when choosing your skills.
As a general rule, I find 3 points in Crypt Swarm, 1 in Witchcraft and 1 in Silence works well before I unlock Exorcism at level 6. This gives both your nuke and your ultimate a lot more potency, and saves a little mana.
I'd say you always want at least 1 point in Witchcraft before level 6, otherwise you're really going to lose a lot from your ultimate. Your Silence is useful enough that at least 1 point is a good idea too.
Generally I'll max Witchcraft ASAP after level 6, as your spells already work well enough, and the reduced cost and cooldown will really help with your mana problems. Again, this combines well with running Phase Boots - you're getting the maximum possible movement speed, and the cheapest possible spell costs.
Although Crypt Swarm level 4 is pretty meh, you do want to get it before too long to maximise the effect of your nuke. More time on your Silence is always useful too, and doesn't increase the cost, so take it earlier than the build order suggests if you need it.
For me, Death Prophet is a semi-carry. She doesn't have the agility to be a true carry unless massively ahead on farm, but if played correctly has enormous damage output from her abilities.
The main reason I'd say she's less suitable to be played as a support hero is down to her passive skill and ultimate. It's easy to point out that there is no item you can buy to improve Exorcism - Aghanim's Scepter doesn't work for her, and the physical nature of the damage means Veil of Discord is out too. Surely that makes it a perfect support hero ability?
There's just one big problem here. Dying instantly ends your ultimate, and also means you would miss out on a massive amount of healing. Tanking ability is very important for you to use Exorcism to best effect.
Secondly, Crypt Swarm works as an ability by being spammable. You've got to have enough mana and regeneration to be able to keep throwing out a 140 cost ability every 4 seconds. Support heroes can't generally afford the kind of equipment that allows this.
Ultimately, Death Prophet can be played somewhat as a support hero, but I'd question whether you miss out on the best of her, and might be better off with a different choice.
Learning to last hit is one of those DOTA skills that is essential, and that you just have to practice, practice, practice. After a while you'll find that it becomes easier and more natural. You'll find you can adjust to new heroes relatively quickly.
Having a slow attack animation and/or slow projectile speed means that your timing has to be more precise, that you need to anticipate more, and that it's easier for your opponents to mess you up as you can't respond as quickly.
You probably didn't learn to play with a hero with a slow attack animation though, so how do you compensate for it?
Skill obviously plays a part here, but assuming a fairly equal skill level between you and your opponent you need to find a way to cover your weakness. You're not going to be able to gain enough agility or attack speed with your starting money, so what else can you do?
Answer: Get More Damage
Being able to hit harder than your opponent makes it very difficult for your opponent to mess you up - as you can attack and get the kill/deny at a point where they wouldn't have enough damage to do so.
This is why I suggest the Null Talisman as a starting item - obviously you need to be careful who you pick this setup against, but it adds 9 points to your attack damage, and allows you to be competitive in last hitting. Even 2 more last hits is enough to buy you a healing salve should you need one.
One of Death Prophet's best features is her speed, combined with her ultimate. If you get Phase Boots and some levels into Witchcraft you become one of the fastest heroes in the game, able to outrun most others. This is incredibly useful for those tiny margins between getting a kill or getting away with low life.
If you need one good attack on a player, I usually try to close to within 600 units of them, then send a Crypt Swarm in their direction - with it's max range of 700 and wide AOE at that point, it should be enough to finish the job.
Your movement speed also plays well with Exorcism - with your slow attack animation and casting speed, sometimes the best way to run down a fleeing enemy if you have it active is simply to chase after them without attacking. If you can get close enough the spirits will do their work. If possible you can even overtake and start body blocking them, auto-attacking or nuking them down.
It's also great when you're retreating from a situation - many players will try to chase you, desperately trying to get in that last hit or two...however Exorcism can quickly turn things in your favour. First of all many players won't realise just how much damage the spirits will do once they get away from their team/creep wave and they start to be focused by them. Secondly, if you've got your eye on when your ultimate runs out, you know when you'll be returned to full health and can turn the tables on them.
As you can imagine, Eul's Scepter of Divinity can come in very useful in these situations...
Personally I like to play Death Prophet as a mid, although you can do ok in the hard lane with a suitable support, or even as a safe lane solo.
I recommend buying items that will quickly increase your damage to make up for your slow attack animation. A Null Talisman and Phase Boots are a good way of doing this.
Keep your distance from enemy heroes in the early game, all of your attacks and abilities work at long range, so there is rarely any need to move closer to them. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't harass or stand up for yourself, but pick your fights carefully.
You can go ganking if you have other heroes present to stun/slow the enemy, but generally you want to farm until you hit level 6, and then go and combine ganks with pushes.
This is your most potent time in the game, provided you've got sufficient farm and levels to take advantage of it. Your nuke and ultimate are very potent for ganks, pushes and team fights, and if these go well you should quickly be able to rack up some substantial cash.
Look at pushing or ganking every time your ultimate is off cool-down, and farm up quickly in between.
Personally I like to go straight for a Soul Booster after Phase Boots as it's seriously good value for money, and gives you exactly what you need in terms of HP/Mana pool, and regeneration. I prefer this over Perseverance as that item only improves your regeneration rather than your overall pool size. However, there are other options as discussed later.
Unless you did so well in the midgame that you're massively ahead, the 'proper' carries in the game will now start to assert themselves more. However, you still very much have a role to play.
Hopefully you've had time to get some decent luxury items together that will allow you to tank up damage, and throw out a constant stream of spells when required.
During team fights you need to use your speed and judgement to tank some damage for your team, while not actually dying. With enough farm, you may find that your right click actually becomes more damaging than Crypt Swarm.
We've already discussed why I think it can be worth risking a Null Talisman in the early game, and my usual choices for the midgame. However, there are some options here that should be considered:
Mana can be a real problem if you don't get your regeneration sorted, and these boots can fill that gap for a while. You can also disassemble them later on and use the Energy Booster as part of your Soul Booster. You do miss out some of your last hitting and chasing/escaping ability though.
Pretty much the ideal choice for Prophet. Your high movement speed from Witchcraft combines extremely well with these boots to make you one of the fastest heroes in the game - great for escaping or chasing down enemies. The extra attack damage is probably more useful than the attack speed from Power Treads at this point.
Medallion of Courage
This seems like an odd choice on Prophet as she isn't really a right-click hero. However, if you look at it on a slightly different level, this is actually a great item for her. The mana regeneration is obviously useful, as is the tankability offered by +6 armour. The real key though is that Exorcism inflicts physical damage, where the active armour reduction of Medallion can work wonders.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity
Eul's is another item that fits really well with your needs. Extra intelligence, mana regeneration and movement speed...what more could you want? Well...how about an active ability that allows you to become invulnerable while your spirits continue to attack or bring that bounty of stolen health back to you?
I really can't recommend this item enough for Prophet. The combination of increased HP/mana and regeneration is just ideal. The faster respawn is an added bonus, and somehow seems in keeping with her biography.
Another very strong item for Prophet - extra armour, extra damage and extra mana is hard to argue with, especially with another slowing nuke and the debuff aura. A creditable alternative or addition to Bloodstone in the right circumstances (mostly against teams with right click rather than magical damage).
Scythe of Vyse
Another great item, adding massively to your damage and mana, plus giving you a genuine disable. The only problem is that it adds less to your health pool, so this is more of a situational item, or the next big item you buy after a Bloodstone or Shiva's Guard.
I'm not going to go through the rest of the items on the recommended luxury list, but they're all excellent choices in the right situation.
N.B - the Shadow Blade is extremely situational, mainly used by squishy support Prophet's who need to use their ultimate without tanking damage.
Death Prophet offers an unusual set of skills, but you need to find the right lane slot for her in the team. She prefers solo lanes to maximise her farm/experience, but is not well suited to taking the hard lane on her own.
At least some of your team mates must be able to provide stuns or slows to go with her Silence, and in a balanced line-up you'd also expect a 'proper' right click carry to offer more in the late game.
She is a good pick when you want to aggressively pressure and push back the enemy, and offers a fair helping of team fight ability. Her nuking and silencing abilities make her a good choice against squishy heroes who rely on their abilities.
If your team already has a lot of carry or semi-carry heroes you might want to make a different choice. As Death Prophet you don't want to be lower than 2nd or 3rd in the pecking order for farm.
You also need to consider the enemy heroes you will be up against - heavy early game harassment is your biggest potential problem, along with dangerous gankers who can slow down your ability to push hard.
Don't think that you can carry your team alone in the late game, with that kind of line up you'll have to accrue a substantial advantage before it reaches that point to be successful.
Death Prophet doesn't have a lot of synergy with specific heroes, her style is more about fitting well into the team roster. However, there are a few particular sets of heroes that can dovetail nicely:
Armour Reducers: Slardar, Dazzle and Vengeful Spirit all have abilities that can substantially reduce enemy armour, making your spirits much more effective.
Pushers: Keeper of the Light, Chen and many others have good pushing abilities that will help you to maximise the impact of Exorcism in the early game.
AOE Disablers: Magnus, Enigma and Treant Protector are amongst the best AOE disablers, giving more time for your spells to have their effect.
Death Prophet also doesn't have particular counters as she's fairly well rounded. However, she can be vulnerable, especially during the early game she hasn't had time to level up her passive speed boost and tankiness.
The biggest threat early game are burst damage heroes like Tiny, Lion and Lina who can take you down quickly given the opportunity.
Good harassers can also be a problem, such as Disruptor, Shadow Demon or Lich. They can wear down your ability to stay in lane, even if you're playing defensively.
After that, the main issue are agility carries (such as Anti-Mage) and high armour heroes (such as Dragon Knight) who are resistant to your abilities.
A special note, be sure to cast another ability straight after Exorcism if Rubick is on the other team - you definitely don't want him stealing it!
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