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12 Votes

To hell and back

November 7, 2015 by michimatsch
Comments: 22    |    Views: 32219    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3

Hero Build

DotA2 Hero: Lion

Purchase Order

Animal Courier
Observer Ward
Observer Ward
Ring of Protection

Always buy if needed

Observer and Sentry Wards
Smoke of Deceit
Dust of Appearance


Tranquil Boots
Force Staff
Blink Dagger


Glimmer Cape
Scythe of Vyse


Shiva's Guard
Aghanim's Scepter
Eul's Scepter of Divinity
Ghost Scepter

Hero Skills

Earth Spike

1 4 7 8


2 12 13 14

Mana Drain

3 5 9 10

Finger of Death

6 11 16


15 17 18



Hi there and welcome to my Lion Guide! My name is michimatsch and I mainly play as a 5th support and my favorite hero is Lion. He's really fun and I hope I'll make you love him as much as I do.
I want you to notice that this is my first time so pls be gentle ;)



  • Lots of disables
  • Infinite sustain(with Tranquil Boots)
  • 0-cast time disable
  • Great killing potential with his ultimate

  • Slow
  • Squishy
  • Mana-hungry (the reason he drinks it :/)
  • Low mana pool
  • spells cost a lot of mana

What does Lion offer?

Lion is a great 5th position support. Theoretically he can have infinite mana and is able to dish out lot of damage and CC even without items. As fearsome as his disables might be the moment he gets his ultimate Finger of Death he can basically instantly kill anyone with just a little help.
He also scales pretty well as his ultimate gets significantly less cooldown and he can disable an enemy for 6.52 seconds. Not to mention the 850 magic damage (638 after reductions).


An Earthspike a day keeps the ganker at bay.

Rock spikes burst from the earth along a straight path. Enemy units are hurled into the air, then are stunned and will take damage when they fall.
Type: Active
Target: Point, enemy unit
This is Lions bread and butter skill. It has just so many uses:
Initiate a fight, farm the jungle, harass, counter initiate....
And it is probably the skill that you will use far more often than the other skills.
This skill is maxed first for the simple reason that it has the best scaling.
Every level gives you another .50 second stuntime and 60 magical damage.
The skill is actually more complicated than it might look like at the first glance. The thing is that the range of this skill is higher than its cast range which means that you should not always cast it on an enemy but on the ground in front of him.

You can see 5 Antimages and Lion is standing right in front of the first one.
We want Lion to hit the last Antimage
In this picture you can see Lion casting it on the ground directly in front of him.
As you can see every Antimage is hit and Lion does not need to reposition himself.
Here you can see Lion trying to cast Earthspike after the last Antimage was selected as a target. Lion has to walk up to him which obviously means that Antimage would have time to escape.
Always keep this in mind. The range of Earthspike is extremely huge when casted on the ground (5 Antimage long compared to 4 Antimage long when casted on an enemy - yes I am using this instead of meters). In most cases this will make the difference between a kill or an escape for you, an ally or an enemy.

Hex (pictures for Xp denial missing)

Transforms an enemy unit into a harmless beast, with all special abilities disabled.
Type: Active
Target: Enemy unit
This is definitly Lion's bread and butter skill (I love bread and butter, you know?)
What this skill does is fairly simple. Make an enemy unable to do anything (except running away with 140 ms) for 2.5 / 3 / 3.5 / 4 seconds respectively while you tear him/her apart. It is extremely strong even 2.5 seconds are extremely long and this is in fact the reason why we take a value point at level 2 but the scaling is so terrible that we max this skill last.
Now let us take a look at some facts about Hex
  • Has 0 cast time
  • Instantly destroys illusions
  • Disables experience gain

So how can we use this 0 cast time? Well the most interesting thing is that you can react instantly to stop any initiation from an enemy.
Spirit Breaker is a pretty famous hero to stop with Hex
Pls disregard the items.

While it might be true that it destroys any illusion it is cast on I haven't found myself in many situations in which this came in handy. But if you ever find yourself in a situation in which you need to get rid of two illusions you can do it with Hex aaaand Mana Drain - forced transition; much writing skills; much wow

Gimmick idea for tryharding tryhards

Mana Drain

Nono don't worry no bread and butter here. This skill turns every enemy and neutral unit into your milkshake, mango lassi, beer (***am or Earl Grey or whatever you like) you just have to take your time to drink it. And that's the catch.
Usually enemies won't just let you stay still for 5 seconds. However let us begin with the skill description first.

Absorbs the magical energies of a target enemy unit by taking mana from it every second.
Type: Active, channel
Target: Enemy unit
It's a pretty straight-forward spell it is used to sustain your mana in lane, in and between teamfights and it can be used to jungle.
It can also be an extremely satisfying zoning tool. When the enemy is closing in for a last hit or just to sap XP you can use it on him and he will be faced with the choice to keep loosing mana or to loose Xp and gold.
Against a single enemy offlaner this is actually an extremely viable way of zoning.Which I will explain later
Click to see the in-depth explanation

The bigger the icon the better Mana Drain works against these folks. Consider leveling Mana Drain earlier if you have an enemy like this in your lane.
I know how good all of this might sound. But please do never forget that you have a big "auto-attack (or Meat Hook/ Sacred Arrow)me"-sign while you channel this ability.

Oh and it destroys illusions. Might be useful to get rid of one Manta Style illusion or that pesky naga illusion.....
You will in most cases have to use it to have enough mana to use your ult
(#forced transitions).
Basically Lion's bread and butter skill....-#justkidding

Finger of Death

Rips at an enemy unit, trying to turn it inside-out. Deals massive damage.
Type: Active
Target: Enemy unit
BOOOM!ZAAAAP! By my horns, you'll not live to see the dawn!
This is what you will be screaming when you hit those ultimates at the right moment - or you are just glad you didn't **** up this time and managed to be there in time.

This skill deals a needlessly large amount of damage but uses also a needlessly large amount of mana in the early game. It is basically a free kill once you reach level six
and in the late game you will still take out a huge part of the enemy hp. The scaling of this skill should not be underestimated. While the damage only increases by 125 magic damage per level the cooldwon decreases by 60 seconds per level. And we end at only 40 seconds ! That means you can use it whenever you see a possibility for a kill arising (but keep the huge manacost in mind).

Oh and by the way. The moment you get this skill you should look for an opportunity to use it or create one yourself. The cooldown is rather long and the earlier you use it the earlier you can use it again.

Hitting multiple enemies with Earth Spike

So this might be a bit more advanced but you should always look for an opportunity to hit multiple enemies with a single Earth Spike a Blink Dagger or at least a Force Staff are a must-have for this (well you can still theoretically do it but then the enemy is pretty bad with positioning). If you can pull this off you are basically becoming an extremely good initiator.
If you blink in and hit two or three enemies with an Earth Spike that is basically a pseudo- Ravage and if your team mates follow up this will lead to kills and a won team fight.


Which spells to prioritise

You will sometimes find yourself running out of mana with just enough to support one or two spells. Which one should you prioritise?

> > >

So this should be your priority when you have backup and you attack a single enemy or have a single enemy that is extremely important to bring down. The same priority applies if you have no possibility to hit multiple enemies with one Earth Spike if you have this opportunity swap the priority of Hex and Earth Spike. The enemy won't be able to escape with any abilities and your team can wreak havoc among him and his teammates. Note that in the early game you will sometimes need Finger of Death instead of Earth Spike because your teammates won't be able to do that much damage.

Always priorities disables over damage except in the early game.

When do I use which spell?

This is what separates a good Lion player from a bad Lion player.
When do I use my spells? If it is too early the enemy will just run and if it is too late you don't change something and end up ksing the kill.
You will want to use your ult when the enemy can't really back up anymore.
A few examples

  • The enemy just engaged /you engaged the enemy team and everyone is in a huge mess.
    Start off with a Finger of Death at the most important enemy that has no active
    Black King Bar. Note that in some cases the most important enemy might be that
    Crystal Maiden that just started to channel her Freezing Field or a support
    that is rushing to help - he will be forced to go back. You ult first because your
    ult has a superior range compared to your other skills. Now Force Staff into the
    enemy team and throw your frag grenades and flash bangs - errr your Earth Spikes
    and your Hex.

  • An enemy is trying to escape. Believe it or not but as your ult has the greatest
    range it is sometimes your best bet to finish off an escaping enemy. If you have your
    Force Staff off cooldown you can reach any enemy within a range of 1500 units.

Talking about Force Staff let's move to the items, shall we?
Talking about force let's move to the next forced transition, shall we?


Starting items

Well as a 5th position support your starting items are extremely important because those 625 gold are the biggest amount of money you will see for a while as you are upgrading the courier, warding, dewarding, tping, smoking, getting flamed by teammates...
Animal Courier: It is a sad fact that you will almost always need to buy an Animal Courier and two wards - but hey those items are gonna win you the game. But if someone actually offers to buy an Animal Courier or even a single Observer Ward be sure to thank them and offer them to up the courier for example.

Observer Wards: As soon as you spawn split the wards and give one to your offlaner and hope he knows what he is doing with it.

of Protection
: So that's really the first item that you can argue about.
If you didn't buy it you could get a Healing Salve and an Iron Branch. Or maybe two Iron Branches and two Clarity. But I am just not sold on doing this because I can't build them into Tranquil Boots and this item is effectively tripling your armor at level 1 giving you 15.25% damage reduction instead of 5.66 damage reduction versus physical damage thus allowing you to actually trade some hits with enemies.

Tango: I think that is pretty clear hu? You need it to stay in lane. Sometimes four tangos may not be enough so maybe you will need to buy a Healing Salve. Don't forget that some mid - laners will want 2 Tango (Shared). Don't hesitate to do so, as a won mid lane will most likely result in a won game for you (or at least it will give you a better chance of winning).

Early Core

Tranquil Boots: That's your core. What did you expect? You are a support after all.
Well there are other items to get of course but if you get Tranquil Boots you have infinite sustain and will never need to go back again. In some cases I pick these boots before I get the courier if I absolutely need so because I ran out of regeneration and the lane is pretty hard. Always buy Boots of Speed if you have the money regardless of the fact that the courier is not upgraded. The ms-speed comes in extremely handy and will often mean the difference between a secured kill or an escaped offlaner or even worse the difference between you giving kills or escaping.


Force Staff: The only thing that Lion needs is mobility. If you are not in the right spot your spells will have minimal effects this is the reason you will get a Force Staff. It has relatively cheap parts so you can get it without jeopardizing your role as a support too much.

Blink Dagger: When I started playing Lion I thought that Force Staff was enough mobility. Today I know that something like enough mobility doesn't exist. If you get this item and a Force Staff you can finally play Lion to his full potential. Lion just scales so extremely well with mobility.
Get this item if you have enough gold and your team doesn't desperately need another item.

Situational Items

Glimmer Cape: Can be extremely useful in conjunction with Force Staff if you need to protect and safe allies. Especially from huge amounts of magic damage. Definitely never a bad pick-up but inferior to Blink Dagger due to Lion's need for mobility.
Ghost Scepter: So....this is kinda the counterpart to Glimmer Cape but the thing is that Ghost Scepter actually amplifies magic damage so it can be extremely bad if used in the wrong moment. As a rule of thumb you would get this if the enemy team is reliant on physical damage or has some heroes that completely burst you within seconds like Phantom Assassin or Juggernaut with his ult.

Veil of Discord: Well now this item is rarely seen on Lion which is not unsurprising as Lion's main job is to support not to inflict major amounts of magic damage. But if you got heavy magic nukers like Zeus, Sand King, Luna or Skywrath Mage then this item can work wonders.

Eul's Scepter of Divinity: This item can be extremely valuable if you need to purge silences, dodging stuns or just surviving for 2.5 seconds. You won't buy this item that often but it can be extremely valuable.

Urn of Shadows: After playing Crystal Maiden for quite some time and seeing worlds most favorite grill gamer ChiChi promoting it I tried this out on Lion.
I like this item a lot because everything it has is useful to Lion, at a cheap price:
  • It gives 6 strength, which means 114 health and 0.18 health regeneration (not bad for this squishy guy);
  • It gives 50% Mana regeneration (usefull if you have mana burners on the opposite team or just like to spam a lot all the time like I do - you won't be needing any other mana regen item, if you know how to manage your mana pool);
  • It has the active ability of gaining 1 charge every time an enemy hero dies within a 1400 radius, and that charge can be used either to heal a teammate (400HP) or damage an enemy (for 150 pure damage).
As good as it may be in the early game it should be sold in the late game as the heal loses muhc of it's initial value.

Blink Dagger versus Force Staff

The Blink Dagger's blunt cost, 2250 gold, must be "paid at once", that is, it is a one-piece item. Now, everyone knows that, in a real game, you will probably not be lucky enough to have that much money at once (at least until midgame), without compromising your role as a support or playing ultra-carefully (one death can be really painful when saving 2k+ gold). But while Lion is also good in the late game and has a real power spike with Blink Dagger you want to play aggressive in the early game because supports are always at their strongest in the early game.
But the thing with Lion is that he scales extremely well with any kind of mobility.
You might need to train a bit to use it but this baby rocks hard. You will just have so much impact and no enemy will get a good initiation off at your team because it is just too hard to be not hexed by Lion when going in. Your enemies will start swearing at you.

Force Staff on the other hand:
  • Has only a fixed travel distance of 600 units so it has only half the range of
    Blink Dagger
  • Pieces are cheaper (1000 + 900 + 350 gold), and thus easier to
    acquire bit by bit during the game
  • Active does not go on cooldown if you are damaged allowing more defensive uses
  • Can save allies with it if they screw up - and they will
  • Gives intelligence for a bigger mana pool that Lion desperately needs

Zoning with Mana Drain (adapted skillbuild)

This concept should usually only be used against single enemy offlaners.
The basic concept is quite simple: As usually while zoning you are placing yourself so that the enemy can't get any XP (so most of the time between the creeps and the enemy) if the enemy gets closer or does anything you don't like you just Hex him and start Mana Draining him. Even at level 2 this will usually allow you to get off a full Mana Drain and will leave the enemy without mana after 2 or 3 times.
  • Safe way of zoning
  • Hard to respond to without loads of mana items=>delays enemy items
  • Easy to use
  • No options to go against more than one enemy early game
  • Hard to respong to without loads off mana items=>delays enemy items
  • Smart enemies may exploit the 30 secs cooldown of Hex.

Friends, Foes and Food


I will have my revenge.

Of course Lion works well with any ally. Everyone is happy about stuns but I just wanted to show some allies as an example.

At what do those guys excel at? Killing enemies at close range.
This is particularly easy when they can't escape. AS a rule of thumb:
Any carry that needs the enemy to not run/has kiting issues is good with Lion as they can't kite while being Hexed.

Those guys are here to make your Aghanim's Scepter upgrade worthwhile. Can you imagine what a 1025 magic damage (769 damage after 25% magic resistance) nuke on 3-5 enemy heroes means? The enemies will probably die before they can.

Free duels? Yes free duels! As I said before Finger of Death is extremely potent in the early game and a Finger of Death will mean free Duel damage for legion.

Lina or any other kind of hero that relies on burst works pretty good with Lion
as you can easily delete one enemy hero. This sort of combination is escpecially good against a 4p1 strat.


My hands are tied.
Before I start talking about foes of Lion I just want to explain that I don't think that Lion is truly countered by any hero but there are heroes that, when played right will give you some problems.

Lion completely relies on his spells to do something. If silenced he will just be dead meat. This is also true for Orchid Malevolence or Drow Ranger. I advice you to get a Eul's Scepter of Divinity as it will give you an easy way to purge the silence.

Always think twice before using Finger of Death on Spectre.
It will only deal 88% of the normal damage and with those 22%!. So you basically get 5*22% of the damage on your team. In most cases your best bet is to just Hex her and focus someone else. Oh and get a Ghost Scepter or a Glimmer Cape to not just casually die to her Haunt.

So uhm...maybe those guys are actually food against you. An Earthspike at the right time will always let you find the real one. And your Finger of Death upgrade with sceptre will make short work of their illusion army.


When the demon betrayed me, I took its very arm. Imagine what I'll do to a mere hero.

Why is this guy on the food list you may ask. He has more magic resist!!! But you know what he relies on? Blink. It can be pretty entertaining to see an Anti-Mage jump into a fight/ a creep wave just to get Hexed by you and then killed by your team. Force Staff and Blink Dagger will do the trick.
A Ghost Scepter will work wonders as well.

Similar to Anti Mage but she is even weaker when unable to cast.

No you didn't mean to burst down my carry did you? A simple Hex when he blinks in and he has bursted you down for the longest time. And if he got a Black King Bar you just need to Force Staff your ally away - if you are the target it is even more easy. It is so funny watching Ursa try to reach somebody just to be kited to no end.

You didn't need that mana did you? You crush him in lane. You crush him in teamfights like you would crush an Ursa. He will finally come to his rest.

Words to you

As this is my first guide I want you to tell me everything I forgot, I did wrong I ****ed up. And after hours of work and tears this guide may, just may be good enough for you.
PLs refrain from this guide sucks or similiar subjective answers. As I said I am a virgin so pls be gentle.

Hall of Fame

I just want to mention some people that greatly helped me with this guide.


She made me start creating this guide while we played (probably without noticing it).
But not only that! She let me take parts from her guide and use them for my guide and she never stoped to tell me that my guide would be a personal thing and could never be bad.
Ty so much


Hey you miserable creature who promised me a signature and never gave me one!
You...are...awesome! Thank you so much for your help with formatting stuff and all the links to help. Stay like you are planewalking (dotafire and mobafire are different planes, right?) creature.


Although I never talked to him his Guide to Making a Guide was really helpful.

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