Hi yall, welcome to my first guide on Dotafire. I've been playing Dota for about 7 years now since Dota 1 but by no means this make me a master of the game, in fact we always have much to learn with every game we play. I play largely in the High Skill - Very High Skill Bracket so some things which I mention might not be applicable to your play so please filter accordingly. I guess the main reason I want to write a guide about Terroblade is because though strong, he is one of the least picked heroes in both competitive and pub. However, the bright side of an underplayed hero is that he also have a lot of untapped potential and I hope we could explore that in this guide.
Terroblade is largely known as a Carry though I would consider him more of an Anti-Carry. This means that you will pick him more for countering your opponents rather than benefiting your own team. He have one of the highest agility gain and starting armour among Dota Heroes making him very resistant to physical damage. On the flipside, his HP is very poor so he is easily nuked down. He farms relatively quickly for a carry thanks to Conjure Image and Metamorphosis and can come online somewhat fast. Reflection is a great slow and anti-carry skill while Sunder makes it impossible to fight him in 1v1 without a strong burst.
Terroblade is a Weird Hero
Support heroes are strong early game, somewhat significant midgame and hides at the back of the fight in lategame. Ganker/Semi-carries requires some farm early game, dominate midgame and requires snowballing into lategame while regular carries gains relevance as the game progresses. Terrorblade however, does none of these. He have a terrific early game but a nearly non-existant midgame while coming back on top at lategame. Terroblade is a great laner as long as he does not go solo. Metamorphosis and Reflection lets him dominate the lane and net some kills with the help of his lane partner and can easily push down towers with his high damage. However, midgame is your nightmare phase as enemies will be roaming and ganking while you are an easy target due to your low health and lack of mobility. Once you get your core items, you become a pain in the a** due to your high damage output with illusions and you are extremely hard to kill thanks to Sunder.
Quite a crazy patch we have here with new items, jumping Earthshaker and Terrorblade now begins the game with 10 BASE ARMOUR (WTF!). However, with current meta still inclined towards the midgame, it will be difficult for Terrorblade to have an impact on the game early. The only new items that looks viable are Bloodthorn and the new Abyssal Blade which builds out a Vanguard, a stepping-stone item you can get early for some much needed hp. infused raindrop is a interestingly possible item to get early game giving spell protection as well as mana regen to spam illusions more often. I'm currently testing out if solo jungle works (nope) and will get back to to yall later.
The long awaited Terrorblade buff is finally here! I'm only going to cover the more important point so for those of you all who wants a more in depth analysis may want to check out DotaBuff. Reflection has gotten a huge buff: it is now AOE (like it was in Dota1 previously for those who remember). What's more, it has a whooping AOE of 900! The slow has been reduced but one point of it in early game is still useful for lane aggression. conjure images can't be used to play mind games with your opponents anymore as they now appear distinct. Metamorphosis has became an aura that transforms nearby illusions, basically forcing you to stay close to your illusions which is a huge blow to his split pushing power. Cast range of Sunderimproved slightly so you can save yourself more easily.
Terrorblade's role in the team remains largely unchanged as the predominant carry. He is much better at teamfights now with AOE Reflection but arguably will farm slower. His increased impact on team clashes as though strong in 1v1, he loses out to other carries late game in contribution to 5v5s. Changes to Metamorphosis has made it even more important (does this means we will see Refresher Orb build and Phoenix combo?). Manta Style has also received some small buffs which is good news to him of course. Personally, I don't feel it is a very huge buff but hopefully more players will be interested in trying out Terrorblade now.
There are better heroes to use in fulfilling the same roles
The last point is probably the main reason no one plays Terroblade. He is a good hero but there are many better heroes which can do what he do. Terror also doesn't synergise well with many heroes making him even more undesirable. In short you will only pick Terroblade if you clearly knows what you are doing or clearly have no idea of what you are doing.
Nukers, Disablers, Cleavers, Illusions, AOE Nukers, AOE Nuker and Disabler, AOE Nuker and Disabler with Cleave.
Your low HP makes you an easy target to nuke down and disables prevent you from sundering anyone. Reaper's Scythe also ensures you can never make full use of your Sunder. Your illusions are also easy to take down with AOE damage and that is not good for you as a large part of your damage comes from them.
This is what makes Terroblade such a strong anti-carry. Hard carries with 6-slotted inventories simply fall before this skill. Early game, it doesn't do much damage but still spammable for it low mana cost and the slow. Some things to note are:
The reflection created gains all item and skills a normal illusion would gain e.g. Mana Break, Radiance
The reflection have 522MS, free pathing and chases its target, useful for enemies who would try to blink away
Blocked by spell immunity and the slow can be dispeled but not the reflection.
"Not any random illusion"
You probably noticed two things about this illusion: the damage output is high and the damage intake is also high. Hence, you can conclude that your Conjure Image illusions are meant to do damage rather than tank damage. This is also why you need Metamorphosis to use this skill to its fullest potential. In fights later on, it is a good idea to leave one illusion at the back (full HP of course) to Sunder when you have no good targets in the vicinity for a quick heal.
"Unleash the Beast"
Terroblade's unofficial ultimate skill, your play will greatly differ based on the cooldown of this skill. When transformed, you have 550 attack range and 20/40/60/80 bonus damage. It disjoint projectiles on cast but you generally wouldn't use it only for that purpose. You receive a 25ms drop in this form, take note when chasing. Dying removes its bonus and the cooldown is long so don't panic activate this on the brink of death. Illusions get full benefit of this skill.
"What doesn't kills you simply heals you"
Many people think this skill is OP but it really isn't. It does make TB extremely frustrating to deal with late game but the high mana cost and his lack of HP early game makes this skill hard to use. Too many times had Terrorblade died while trying to do a Low HP>High HP sunder only to get disabled at the last second. Sometimes, a Mid HP>High HP sunder is good enough as you can finish the opponent off with the high damage from Metamorphosis and Conjure Image. Gauge the window which you can safely Sunder, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
Notes on Sunder:
Sunder goes through BKB but is blocked by Linken, use Reflection first
Reflection is taken first for the slow which aids fights in lane but maxed last as the damage output isn't a lot early. Metamorphosis is maxed first as it's your main skill followed by Conjure Image to help you farm. Sunder is taken when possible even though you will rarely use this, it can still be a potential lifesaver at times. CRUCIAL: PLEASE REMEMBER TO ANIMATION CANCEL! TB'S CASTPOINT ISN'T SO TERRIBLE BUT HIS BACKSWING LAST NEARLY A FULL SECOND! IT IS BULLSH*T!
I always get stats first as it gives you more survivalbility in lane. I don't get Stout Shield or Quelling Blade because Terrorblade should be playing more aggressively in lane instead of passively farming creeps. If you are really getting out harassed you can get a Poor Man's Shield(but that shouldn't usually be the case). Your main trouble in lane would be against spammers but thankfully you have high HP regen to help you abit.
The GOLDEN RULE
No, no, no, no..... The otherGOLDEN RULE
It doesn't matter when you are winning or losing, there's only one way to build items on Terrorblade, so for those of you who still do not know, HAMMER THIS INTO YOUR HEAD:
You always prioritise survivalbility first because:
You don't wanna get insta-nuked down in a fight
You want to make the most out of Sunder as it is percentage based
Benefits goes to illusions too
Next you get mobility to help you chase and run. You are strongest in Metamorphosis but you also lose 25ms and it would really suck if enemies can just run away and kite you. Damage items is gotten last as your main damage source should come from Meta. What you need is HP and Mobility to make use of it.
Now that you have understood this, we can finally move on to the items discussion....
Manta Style vs Sange & Yasha
These two are the most common items people get on Terrorblade. I usually prefer to get Sange and Yasha over Manta Style because it has a easier build up and gives more HP and mobility. The only factor I would consider Manta over Sny is the dispel which is used mostly against silences. The illusions aren't really strong as well so there is no point getting it early. If you really want a Manta, you can always disassemble SnY later in the game. Sange and Yasha: 1, Manta Style: 0.
Basic boots for you. Gives you abit of everything but mostly you want the HP so you keep it in Str Mode. Doesn't need much explaining really.
You get this for added chasing power. The damage is a nice bonus but it gives no other stats so you need some supplementary items.
Gives mana substain along with a bit of stats.
Gives you substainability when jungling/ancients. That's why you don't get this if you are playing midgame build. Builds into Satanic later.
A very good item for Terrorblade but more for teamfights and ganks plus it delays your core. That's why you don't get this if you are playing traditional build. Doesn't build into anything later.
This is a situational item but you need it 90% of the situations, unless your opponent runs a full physical team. BKB protects you from nukes and disables so you can get sh*t done.
The most logical item to get after your core. It gives Terrorblade everything he needs and more. It's so awesome you should be able to understand that without even having to read this. Why am I even explaining it to you?
Gives a nice chunk of HP and an active that works as an alternative to Sunder.
Nothing to f*** up those right clickers more than by adding 30% evasion to your already high armour. Benefits illusions too.
Your final and only damage item you should ever get. Helps you finish enemies quickly after Sunder. Benefits illusions too.
Need a hard lockdown against that Anti-Mage? Skadi serve you better otherwise. A lot more viable now due to different build up.
Eventually you will need this.
Get it early or not at all.
HP is always good on Terrorblade as you have Sunder. It is situational and that situation should only be you are rich as f***.
As I've said, Terrorblade has a strong early game as long as he have a suitable laning partner. His high armour and HP regen easily deals with harassments and Reflection kites opponent melee heroes. As this is your strong phase, you want to take advantage of it as much as possible by going aggressive dual or tri lane. Heroes like Venomancer, Earthshaker and Vengeful Spirit make good partners for they have disables to help you get kills. Try to kill everytime Metamorphosis is up, if your opponents play too passively, pressure them and push down their tower. A good early game will give you space to farm midgame. A bad one will let enemies out level you and gank you when you try to farm midgame.
In the forest hides a Marauder
You may have remembered me saying something about how weak Terrorblade is midgame. The reason is because midgame is usually when enemies will be roaming, ganking and pushing and you want to avoid them as much as possible because you don't have enough HP to fight and mobility to escape. Yes, the reason why Terrorblade has a weak midgame is because his play style doesn't fit the current meta. That's why you don't fight. You hide.
You hide in the forest where no one can see you, where no one can hurt you. You have your support ward and deward the forest so it's safe. You farm neutral creeps and try to get your core. All this time, you don't forget to send your illusion out and push out lanes. When they do come for you, you send your illusion and dominated creep to scout and act as a diversion while you jump to the other side of the map to farm lane when it's safe or ancient when it's not, you are a Lycan without wolves. When your Metamorphosis is up and they push lane, you let your team defend while you try to take their tower in another lane with Meta and illusions. Your supports would have warded and warn you if them come, if not, a little map awareness can go a long way. Remember you are a Lycan without wolves. When your Metamorphosis is up and they push lane and your team desperately needs you, you may go to their aid but remember to hide in the forest and farm while waiting. All this time, you do not forget to send your illusions to push another lane to their tower and pray they retreat; pray you do not have to fight. You farm your core, you wait till you are strong enough to leave the forest to unleash terror on your foes.
As you decimate your opponent's ancient, you do not forget your humble begining. You remember that the forest is your friend even if you have none, the forest won't hurt you, the forest nutures you. He is your watchful guardian, your silent protector, your Dark Knight.
You are strong now. You should have gotten your core with an Eye of Skadi by now. You repay your teamates who have been putting up with your absence by butching your opponent carries. In a teamfight, you aim the supports first followed by the carry. You aim the tank last as you already reserved your Sunder for him. You can also rat efficiently but team fights are more important. If you are getting out carried, you get a situational item to deal with him.
I focused more on the midgame phase for Terrorblade as I feel it's the greatest hurdle for him. It is still possible to play him actively in the midgame but how you play will depend greatly on the cooldown of your Metamorphosis. Though I've said TB doesn't fit along particularly well with any team, I doesn't mean you go solo as a TB. In fact, good teamwork is evermore important for playing Terrorblade well.
I wanted to start a discussion section as there are many things that I would like to go in depth about as well as address some comments raised. I didn't want to add them directly to the guide as it would make it too long and I want to keep the guide concise. Do take note that even though there is hardly any wall of text in other parts of this guide, you will find them here, but since you have read this far, you might be willing to go a little furthur.
I realised that I may not have explained clearly enough with my Manta vs SnY discussion above which is why I am going to add "abit" more info here. You may have gotten the impression that I think Sange and Yasha is a better item than Manta Style but thats really not the case. What I meant to say is SnY is a lot more viable than Manta on Terrorblade because the fact is SnY is a midgame item while Manta is lategame and the current meta is inclined towards the midgame.
By itself, Sange and Yasha> Manta Style but with Eye of Skadi, it's the other way round. This means that if you plan on getting Manta, you will be farming all the way to Skadi as well, which will probably be taing you ~30min. You can afford to do this if your team is able to hold off 4v5 against the enemy without you but in most cases, your team is going to lose a few towers and teamfights in this process. The worst thing about this is you are also losing map control to your enemy and it reduces the rate which you can farm safely.
On the flipside, if it is a high tension game where both teams' carries are racing to get their items fast, you gotta ask yourself does your opponent team have a more dangerous carry than you? Lets say they have a Medusa, sure a Terrorblade can fight her 1v1 but in a teamfight, Medusa would totally wreck sh*t on you and your teammates. In such situations, it might be better to get Sange and Yasha and end it midgame rather than going on a farming race with the enemy.
Sange and Yasha is like a stepping block in the midgame for you to get to the lategame. If you decide to skip this step and jump straight into Manta Style and Eye of Skadi to save time and gold, just remember that if you fall, you fall hard as you have nothing to fall back on. SnY is a solid pick up that generally wouldn't go wrong and as I said, it can be disassembled when the time comes.
While reading many other guide, I often find Radiance among the different builds for Terrorblade. If you have read this far into my guide, you would have probably guessed that I would be against it especially a radiance rush. I do not deny it have its benefits but it also gives no HP and Mobility. To do this properly, I am going to compare terrorbalde with 3 other heroes that commonly rush Radiance and you will see for yourself why it isn't fantastic.
One of the top heroes who can get an early Radiance and abuse its split pushing power. When people say get a Rad for TB, I imagine they are refering to using illusions with radiance to push multiple lanes. You would probably build a Rad>BoT>Manta and stay the hell away from teamfights before that. Though this works for Naga, it doesn't work for Terrorblade and here's why:
Naga Siren can farm her Radiance much faster than you can. She has Rip Tide which can be used to farm and harrass lane and she can even go mid with a bottle. Ensnare and Song of the Siren also makes her a lot hard to gank for the opponent, while Terrorblade on the other hand have to run and hide everytime there is a risk of a gank which severely limits the speed in which he farms.
The reason Naga Siren split pushes so well with Radiance is because Rip Tide also help her clean up creep waves after the radiance burn, ensuring she get most of the last hits, accelerating her farm tremendously. Terrorblade ends up losing a lot of last hits to his own creeps because he doesn't have an AOE nuke to help him do that unless you micro his illusions really well. This usually just ends up pointlessly pushing your creeps too close to the enemy giving them farm while denying your own team (which Tinker does sometimes).
Even while farming, Naga can still help his team get out of bad fights or initiate fights with Song of the Siren and Boots of Travel. Terrorblade can't to that at all. If you think about jumping in to help a fight when you only have Rad and BoT, you are gonna be as dead as Hilter was. You can't fight until very much later which is when you have gotten Manta and Skadi on top of Rad (which is at least till 40min) and you can finally reunite with your team (assuming you haven't lost the game already).
Spectre commonly rushes a Radiance as she farms like sh*t without it. You wouldn't get a Rad just to accelerate farm for Terrorblade as he really isn't a terrible farmer as compared to Spec. If you really want to, a Hand of Midas is much better at increasing your farming speed than a Radiance would ever do for you. Moreover, Rad has a good synergy with Spectre's skill set. Haunt and Radiance allows her to contribute greatly to any midgame team fights without disrupting her farm and even get some kills. Terrorblade's synergy with Rad (as I explained in the Naga section above) is not that great.
Though not so common nowadays, Weaver sometimes gets an early Radiance because he can abuse it in many midgame team fights. Shukuchi lets him freely dish out Rad's burn damage to everyone and Time Lapse makes him even harder to kill. Terrorblade can only passively farm even after getting Rad and cannot help his team snowball to victory like a Weaver.
In conclusion, Radiance isn't viable on Terrorblade for most of the matches that you will play. Even if there is a situation where you can get a Rad, rushing Manta and Skadi would always be better than getting an item which gives no stats, no mobility and no HP. What Radiance would give you is a reason for your teammates to blame you should your team lose the game.