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14 Votes

Tiny - How to SMASH

May 21, 2014 by Sando
Comments: 22    |    Views: 180648    |   

Build 1
Build 2


DotA2 Hero: Tiny

Hero Skills


1 3 8 9


2 4 5 7

Tree Grab

10 12 13 14

Tree Throw

10 12 13 14


6 11 16




Tiny is a really fun hero to play, who else can casually lob a Tidehunter right into the middle of the enemy team, like he weighs no more than a bag of feathers? Have you ever wanted to smack Anti-Mage around the head with a tree? Or eat through a bunch of stacked ancients like candy? You're in luck!

With a mix of burst damage and strong carry potential, he can fit a variety of roles from mid ganker, to snowballer, to a pretty hard carry. We'll be looking at his two distinct builds and how to maximise his abilities.

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ Great strength and base damage growth
+ Good burst damage
+ AOE Stun
+ Gains considerable movement speed
+ Fantastic damage potential
+ Great Aghanim's Scepter upgrade

- Rubbish armour
- Terrible base agility and growth
- Item dependent
- Toss can be unpredictable
- Mana issues


Avalanche is your stun, and first nuke. While the stun time is only 1 second at all levels, it does have a reasonably large Area Of Effect (AOE) so can potentially hit multiple enemies if used right.

The first point to note is that Avalanche does DOUBLE DAMAGE if used on an enemy who is under the effect of Toss.

At early levels Avalanche does more damage than Toss, but this drops off as the game progresses and you level up your other skills. For this reason, we tend to max it second.

As usual for a stun, we want our first point in it to potentially setup/avoid first blood. Be aware that it has quite a long cooldown, so make sure you save it for important moments if a big engagement looks likely.


Toss is your signature ability, and has multiple uses - although the most obvious one is to inflict damage! With everything maxed out, you can potentially inflict 540 damage to a single target, plus up to 600 from Avalanche - this can be easily enough to take out squishy heroes and let you snowball. If you both throw and target enemy units, you'll do damage to both.

Toss has lots of other extra uses too:

- It breaks channelling, so can stop heroes getting away with Town Portal Scrolls or using abilities like Life Drain.

- You can help save on Blink Daggers by throwing your initiator into the enemy team, for example a Tidehunter with Ravage ready. Be sure they WANT to be thrown :)

- You can throw away unwanted enemies, for example if Huskar Life Breaks a nearby ally and you want to help them get away.

- Toss does splash damage to towers (33%), so while you can't target them directly, you can target an enemy next to one.

Be aware that Toss can also go very badly wrong - IT RANDOMLY SELECTS A NEARBY UNIT to throw. If you have several nearby, there is no guarantee Tiny will pick the one you want. You might end throwing your badly wounded Witch Doctor at them instead of your ready to rumble Night Stalker. This can make you extremely unpopular with your team, and turn a good situation into a bad one.

Be careful, and try to quickly weigh up the possibilities before throwing - ideally you should only have 1 unit nearby so you know exactly what you'll be throwing. This is especially important if you want to help out your initiator. Unless you're on comms with your team/part of a stack, I'd advice asking directly before the first time you do this - make sure they're happy and ready to go.

Craggy Exterior

While a useful passive, this skill doesn't really set the world on fire and should almost always be maxed last. It's especially useful against melee right click attacks, less so against ranged heroes unless you can get close to them.

It gives you a bit of much needed armour, but the most useful part is the chance of a reasonably long stun against attackers. The damage is pretty negliable, but every little helps, right?

There's not really a lot more to say about this skill, you should be actively trying to close with your enemies anyway.



The skill that makes Tiny what he is! As well as making you look increasingly big and scary, it changes some of your basic stats:

+ Increased base damage
+ Increased movement speed
+ Toss damage

- Reduced attack speed

This is almost all good, but be aware of how much it impacts your already rubbish attack speed. However, we almost always want to level Grow! at every opportunity, even at level 6 it offers a bigger boost to Avalanche and Toss than individual points in either.

Grow! effects how we build Tiny quite strongly, but we'll cover that later in the guide.

Skill Builds

There isn't really a lot of debate around Tiny's optimum levelling choices - you max both Toss and Avalanche ASAP, with points taken in Grow at every chance you get. Craggy Exterior gets left until last.

There is some debate about whether to max Toss or Avalanche first - Toss is more usual as it has a shorter cooldown and has more reliable damage, with the longer range being useful. However, Avalanche can potentially do more damage if you time the combo precisely.

Very, very occasionally you may want 1 early point in Craggy Exterior, mainly for the bonus armour if you're really struggling in lane. This is a really bad sign for a hero like Tiny who needs to get off to a good start, but it may be the only option you have.

Remember that you need 240 mana to do your Avalanche/ Toss combo, and especially early on you won't be able to do both until approximately 19 intelligence (level 4 without stats items).



Tiny at mid is a snowballing ganker who can get early kills thanks to fast levels in Avalanche and Toss. This gives him enough burst damage to quickly take out squishy enemies and create space for his team. He's generally a #2 or #3 in this role.

He'll almost always go with a Bottle and Arcane Boots in this role to ensure he has enough mana/regeneration to keep using his skills. Blink Dagger is also core so he can initiate and quickly get into position to Toss enemies. Generally he'll tank up as the game progresses.


Generally played as a safe lane carry to try to ensure farm (#1), he can potentially go offlane with a suitable support, but this is rarely seen in competitive play. Ideally you can pickup some kills to boost your early game, but carry Tiny is mainly trying to rush Aghanim's Scepter to get the cleave effect, and boost his farming/pushing speed.

Carry Tiny really needs extra attack speed items to boost his damage potential, but then can do sick amounts of it thanks to his massive base damage. His Aghanim's Scepter upgrade also allows him to do massive damage to buildings, so he's quite flexible depending on if you want to gank or push or farm.



Your starting items may well vary from game to game depending on your role and matchups. Generally a mid Tiny will try to Bottle rush, but occasionally may feel he needs to start with a Stout Shield or Ring of Protection to minimise harassment.

Tiny's extremely low starting armour (basically zero) makes you vulnerable here despite your starting strength. Stout Shield provides more protection early on (average 12 per hit) compared to the Ring of Protection (10% reduction, approx 5 per hit early on), but can't be built into anything more useful as the game progresses.



This is your standard core and also the order you want to buy them in. The Bottle provides runes and regen, the Magic Wand burst regen, and the Arcane Boots do a lot to alleviate your mana problems.

The Blink Dagger allows you to gank much more effectively, appearing next to squishy heroes and laying down the Avalanche/ Toss combo for an easy kill. It also gives your team a basic form of initiation as you can blink in and Avalanche an area.

Some players prefer a Shadow Blade, as it does also improve your right click a little, but I think it's much easier to counter, and the only time I'd really consider it is if the opposition are running Radiance illusions all over the place.


You might want to consider a Ring of Basilius here too - my personal basis for this is whether you're running a mana dependent trilane, and how much action you're seeing against enemy heroes at this point. The trickle of mana from the RoB is great for a hero like Tiny who has pretty low regeneration. It also gives you some more armour and a bit of extra damage.

Power Treads are a relatively easy choice for a carry Tiny - you need all the attack speed you can get, with the tread switching between strength and intelligence also quite useful. Some people prefer Phase Boots for that little bit of extra speed, but I think the damage is poor later on compared to attack speed.

Aghanim's Scepter pretty much deserves a chapter to itself. This is a fantastic item on Tiny, and worth considering on any build. It boosts your Toss damage, but this is really all about what it does for your right click.

When you buy the scepter, Tiny starts carrying a tree around to hit things with. This immediately makes the 4200 gold worthwhile. BUT, it gets better. The tree increases your attack range, gives you 50% cleave, and gives you a 75% bonus to building damage. All of these things are awesome.

I focus on that early Aghanim's Scepter primarily for the cleave - it's basically Tiny's version of a Battle Fury. You can now farm extremely quickly, and also push over towers easily given the chance.

Extension Options:



Your next item as a mid is usually something that can help you snowball further and lay the smack down on unsuspecting gank victims. The Drum of Endurance is the cheapest option, giving you improved overall stats and movement speed - it's pretty useful all round, but often a little late as you've already saved for your Blink Dagger.

The Dagon is frequently frowned upon, but it makes sense on a burst damage hero like Tiny. That extra 400 damage can make or break an instant kill - personally I'd only advise 1 level as you can buy other items that will do more for you in the long run.

The Veil of Discord is a good match for you, improving your armour as well as providing stats and a magic damage boost. It's a little tricky to use when ganking, especially against heroes with good escapes. It works very well in team fights, especially if other heroes on your team pack magic damage.

Orchid Malevolence may seem unusual, but it works well on most bursty-gankers. The damage you inflict during the Silence will be amplified, so makes it easier to take out heroes quickly. The Silence part is particularly useful against heroes with good escapes like Anti-Mage, Storm Spirit, Weaver etc.


Black King Bar is the most defensive option, but can be important against line ups with a lot of slow or disable. If you're not attacking, you're not doing your job.

Assault Cuirass is fantastic for you - tons of attack speed and armour is exactly what you want. This is a pretty key item on Tiny - getting it is usually the moment that you really step up into being a serious carry with a lot of damage output. Always start with the Hyperstone first, if possible.

Vladmir's Offering
and Helm of the Dominator are both nice lifesteal options that can be helpful on Tiny. It's very situational whether you get them before or after your Assault Cuirass - you need it to really make the lifesteal worthwhile in fights, but they're useful for sustaining you in the jungle either way.

Personally, I quite often buy a Morbid Mask after Aghanim's Scepter, then make the Assault Cuirass before finishing the lifesteal item off. They both offer slightly different advantages - Helm of the Dominator gives you more armour, a minion to stack ancients for you and can be built into a Satanic. Vladmir's Offering builds from Ring of Basilius and offers an aura that includes 15% bonus damage. (works well with your high base damage)


This is a selection of items that work best on a well stocked Tiny. Your exact choices will vary a little game to game, depending on your role and opponents. Generally you tank up a Mid, and boost the damage of a Carry.

Boots of Travel - a useful speed boost, and late game utility for when towers are gone and you no longer needs the bonus of your old boots.

Heart of Tarrasque - a substantial boost to your health pool, as well as some extra damage and rapid regeneration away from fights. Your health will usually end up absolutely massive, and conventional healing will fall far short of what you need. If you have enough damage you'll usually consider lifesteal instead.

Shiva's Guard - a nice tanking and team fighting item that gives you substantial armour and an aura that reduces enemy attack speed. The active effect is nice for a hero who likes to get in close and nuke. Doesn't offer much in the way of damage however.

Daedalus - who likes crits when we get +150 base damage and can hit people with a tree? You certainly will...your opponents not so much. A great addition once you've sorted out your attack speed, it makes you hella scary.

Mjollnir - normally I'd want to get this early to boost your farming speed, but the Aghanim's Scepter makes much more sense on Tiny. Still it's well worth considering late game for even more ridiculous attack speed, and the active shield is nice too.

- for a carry Tiny I'd normally consider this rather than a heart, as you can easily do enough damage to be healing fast even in the middle of a fight. The active gives you options if you're in a tight spot.

Manta Style - but isn't this an agility item? Well...a bit, but it gives plenty of general stats, a movement speed boost...but most importantly, illusions. They obviously don't have cleave or the bonus damage to buildings, but they do share your enormous base damage and strength.


We've already covered many of the other items mentioned here, so lets look at the new ones:

Blade Mail
- a good choice when faced with "glass cannon" carries like Sniper and Riki. As long as they don't have a BKB they'll hurt themselves equal to the damage they inflict on you. You have a lot more HP than they do. Also provides a nice bit of all round stats.

Heaven's Halberd
- a good solution to out of control carries, it gives you physical evasion and an active that stops them attacking for several seconds.

Scythe of Vyse - if your team is in dire need of extra disables, then this is actually a pretty good item on Tiny. Not recommended for carries unless you REALLY need it.

Pipe of Insight - mid heroes only, and only if your team really needs that magical protection quickly. It's actually pretty nice for tanking you up and gives considerable HP regen and magic resistance. No damage however.

- carry heroes only, and a bit of a weird choice. This is mainly needed if split push/rapid building destruction is really needed. You need more attack speed to make this worthwhile, and it doesn't stack with Helm of the Dominator.

Sample Builds



Good Allies

Ah lovely Io, he's pretty much your ideal partner - boosting your regen and attack speed, while adding burst damage and global mobility <3.

Your best friend, especially as a carry. His Empower is lethal with your high base damage, while Reverse Polarity into Avalanche, Toss and huge tree based cleaves is incredibly effective.

A good ranged lane support with a stun/nuke is a great compliment to Tiny, making up for his poor lane presence and offering kill possibilities. VS is especially good thanks to the effect of Vengeance Aura on your base damage.

More attack speed from Alacrity, Bloodlust and Inner Beast can considerably increase your damage output regardless of role.

These guys just love a good Toss (*s*******), it gives them a great way of initiating if they haven't been able to afford a Blink Dagger yet. Lets face it, nobody wants to be the victim of a high speed aerial teabagging from several tons of cantankerous leviathon or enraged lizard-fish.

As a general rule, mid Tiny benefits a lot from other gankers and heroes with high burst damage. Carry Tiny loves buffs and disables from team mates.

Bad Enemies

This is quite a tricky section to write as your primary damage output will primarily be magic if playing mid, and physical if playing carry.

Soul Keeper

These matchups depend a lot on game stages and relative farm - you can certainly squish them pretty hard in the right circumstances, but have to be very careful of Sunder and Reaper's Scythe.

More anti-tanks, and both these guys are harder to squish. As a mid you're going to struggle against these guys unless you have the right counter-measures. Huskar is also a particularly unpleasant laning opponent, but can be beaten fairly easily late game by carry Tiny.

While you'll be capable of squishing all of these puny heroes at some point in the game, they're all pretty unpleasant for you to lane against directly.


Many people misunderstand Tiny's main two roles, especially his ability to carry in the late game. He's quite a situational pick, with a really big focus on who he'll be laning with and against. Against the right heroes and with the right partner he's extremely dangerous and just loves chewing on squishy heroes. Against strong harassment he suffers from a lack of speed and armour early on.

He has excellent base damage but a slow attack animation from the start, but with a bit of practice you should be able to outhit other players pretty easily, even without extra equipment. Wherever you end laning him, he needs to be the primary farmer or he'll end up largely useless - support Tiny remains very theoretical.

Tiny offers a lot of flexibility within these roles however - he has options to farm, gank and push, and does them all pretty effectively, allowing him to influence the course of the game as you like. He scales extremely well considering he's not a hard carry, and can give many of those heroes a serious scare in the late game. His ability to push down buildings quickly is also invaluable then.

Whatever else happens, even when Dark Seer and his slow-*** karate are laughing at your lack of agility, just remember, you have a tree to hit people with - and that can only ever be a good thing :)

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