Thursday, December 22, 2011

Guide To Lycanthrope, Banehallow

BaneHallow, the Lycanthrope

I played a few Lycan games over the past week and was rather impressed by the results I gathered. Necro-Lycan does indeed work, and so far all the games were won. Apart from achieving consistent results, I went on to stress test the strategy in various ways as well. Eg with constant feeding and playing with delay. So yeah, this guide will serve to present my findings. Sorry for the lack of colours and presentation style. If there is any beauty in this guide, it can be found in the content.

How does Necro-Lycan works?
The idea is to rush Necro but you wouldn't be using it in teamfights. The necroboys are there to help you in pushes. There are many arguments going around on how max speed necros+wolves can be a beast in teamfights but I doubt it works everytime. Kinda iffy as it relies quite heavily on the skill of the player, and his micro. You see, I'm a lazy person who prefers to win games through the easiest method. Which is exactly the intent and purpose of this guide.

So back to the idea. You will be using wolves+necroboys to assist you in your Solo pushes. You will only summon them when you are taking down a tower or a rax, and for the very reason you do not summon them during teamfights. Necroboys for teamfights means no necroboys for pushes. In fact, you should avoid teamfights altogether! Because teamfights create a perfect opportunity for you to push without much resistance since your opponents are busy with their own battle.

Skillbuild and Item Build?

If you need to check the hero details and abilities, click the link below.
Lycanthrope - DotA Hero Details

Skill Build
1. Wolves
2. Feral Impulse
3. Wolves
4. Feral Impulse
5. Wolves
6. Shapeshift
7. Wolves

You max wolves first. Level 4 wolves are great for farming your crucial items ie Necrobook. Then focus on maxing Feral Impulse, get Shapeshift whenever possible and max Howl after that. Add stats only after you have maxed everything

Item Build
Start off with the following items:

Good mana regen, good armor aura, great for wolves.

Aim for the following items:

First priority is to build your Necrobook. They are key to your pushes. Healing salve is great because you don't have lifesteal (from Vlad's) yet. Also, it can be quite a waste needing to go back base to heal while still having 50%+ mana.

Other items to get in order of priority:
--> --> or
Boots of Travels -- the next most critical item after Necrobook. You need this for the extra mobility. Opportunities to push can spring up in an instant but you need to get there quick to seize the opportunity. To be able to tp to creeps is insta-win.
Vlad's Offering -- Nice lifesteal, bonus dmg aura, etc.
MoM & BKB -- these two comes in a pair. MoM gives you more dps for your main wolf. Pushing outer towers are easy but inner base towers and raxes can be a challenge cos there are usually 4-5 heroes defending it. I usually activate both MoM + BKB and continue whacking them till I die. Yes it's suicide, but worth it.
Manta -- An alternative if you don't like MoM/BKB.

***It is worth to suicide if you have BoT no longer on cooldown and cash at hand for buybacks. Base pushes usually occur around 30th min (for me) and eversince the remade on the buyback formula (it is now time-based rather than level based), you only need to pay around 800-1000 gold at around 30th min which is a pretty good deal if you still need to finish up the rax before it heals, especially Ranged rax. Traditionally, the old system would require you to pay around 1300-1500 gold.

Do I lane or jungle?
Erm, anything goes. It doesn't really matter much as long as you get good farm and levels. However to play safe (and never fail), I usually follow the following method:

-- If you are playing in scourge, head off to top lane cos it has easier access to the forest. There is no need for fanciful jungling. Pull the medium camp at x:42, lane abit then pull again the medium camp once they respawn. By then you should reach level 3.
-- Lvl 2 wolves are strong enough to take most small and medium camps so if you aren't comfortable with laning, you can farm the woods. To kill big camps (centaurs/furbolgs etc), have at least lvl 3 wolves.

The goal here is to level and gain as much gold as you can. Look out for opportunity to push (when you are level 7 especially) as tower gold can help finance an early Necrobook.

Taking down the Towers and Raxes
Here comes the fun part. Playing a Necro-Lycan is like playing a cat-and-mouse game. You must avoid enemy heroes at all cost. You should not attract too much attention. You strike when least expected. Never let your opponents anticipate where you are going to strike next. Easier said then done, but here are some guidelines on how to achieve them

Map Reading
1: Push when the enemy are busy in a fight, especially a teamfight!
2: Look out where the enemy heroes are on the map. If most of them are at the bottom, try pushing top. They might tp. So you wait, till all of them tp in. Then you tp back to bottom and push that lane.
3: If enemy heroes are missing on the map, you can expect them staging a push or trying to initiate a gank. Look closely and spot which allied heroes are farming in lane. The one closest to the enemy base is likely to be ganked first. If that poor guy is close beside you (or you yourself), get out of that place immediately, tp to the other side of the map and push.

Taking down Outer Towers
1: Necro3 + wolves can clear the tower completely even without your main hero present.
2: Wolf summons last 55secs. Summon them way before you reach the tower so that by the time you reach, the ability has already cooldowned (cd is 30secs). Make them tank, let them die, immediately cast a new pair. You can use the tower cycling trick or whatever its called as well.
3: Necroboys are tanky (800hp) and they have uber strong magic resistance (40% reduction). Your wolves will die from AoE nukes, but you can always re-summon them immediately. So worry not of having to micro them intensively to avoid damage.
4: Cast howl only when you are taking down towers. Or when allies are in teamfights. It may look spammable but in reality it is not. 35secs cd, 12 sec duration.
5: Run away from heroes at first sight! The moment you see a hero approaching, expect to be chain stunned/disabled. Pop your ulti and run away. Don't worry, your minions will take down the towers for you.
6: There is no need to clear creeps first before attacking the tower. You Necroboys + Wolves can tank and dps without outside help.

Taking down Base Towers and Raxes
Arguably the toughest part of the push and the most exciting.
1: DO NOT follow your allies in the push. You should push another lane and try to time it in such a way both lanes are pushing towards their base at the same time. Enemy will be forced into a dilemma, which lane do we defend?
2: IF for whatever reason you are pushing together with your allies, you need to stand back and not enter the teamfight. Once the fight breaks out, immediately pop your ulti and rush into their base (and pray nobody sees you in the midst of the confusion). Summon your wolves and boys, howl, then whack away. Someone will eventually notice you. Don't kill him, just continue raxing, once you are done, swing to the other lanes and take out the towers/raxes.
3: Bring a pair of wards before going for a base push. Plant the ward immediately once the tower is down. Helps to give advance warning of incoming enemy heroes.
4: Against chain stunners/disablers, you can suicide push by popping MoM+BKB and continue hitting while in wolf-form for a guaranteed Rax destroyed.
5: Shapeshift has a very low cooldown (40secs). Don't use it for dps, use it for mobility eg to escape or to get into an empty lane fast. This coupled with your BoT makes you extremely mobile to take advantage of your enemy's weak spots whenever they present themselves. You can even get Blink Dagger for additional mobility! (I haven't tried it though, there wasn't a need to)
6: There are more tricks which are kinda hard to explain, watch the replays!

Reading the Flow of the Game

From experience, there is a standard way on how the game will turn out. By that I mean the behaviour and responses of your opponents and your allies are basically similar across the games when you employ such a pushing strategy. It will be in your best interest to make them play 'in-your-game' rather than falling out of your game. Since falling out of your game means their actions will differ from their usual norms and it makes prediction and planning ahead rather difficult for you.

For example, your 4 allies are pushing mid while you are pushing bottom lane. You were expecting them to ignore you since mid is a larger threat but lo and behold, there is a hero standing at the tower waiting to welcome you and your dogs. This deviates from the usual norm and as such you must be quick to come out with a solution to the problem. All in all, it is a good thing as it forces you to actually think of your own counter (and not me spoon-feeding all the tips). Basically, the gist of this section is to show you how the metagame develops within your game. It may vary depending on your demographic and where you play from.

Early Game:
-- Against a stack team of sentinels, they might actually ward your medium camp to prevent creeps from spawning. Worry not, carry on with the usual laning. You can start pulling again around 6min onwards after the ward expires

-- As you start jungling fulltime, they will take notice and send gankers to hunt you in the woods. Keep an eye on the minimap

-- If the enemy team consists of many early gamers, they will be interested in doing an early team push to force you out of the jungle to defend. This is where your first opportunity to push opens up. As they team push, you sneak into their pushed lane and take down their towers. One for one.

Mid Game:
-- Okay so by now you already have a Necro1 and your opponents are probably laughing their ass off looking at your noob item build. That's good cos it's a sure sign they will ignore you which is exactly what you want. Your allies will be bitching as well, fine. Tell them you won't help in teamfights. Pretend to QQ. This is good because you don't want allies to be too hopeful to help them during teamfights. High expectations can ruin games. Make them feel it is a 4v5 and they will play more cautiously, smartly and learn to be self-sufficient.

-- By the time you reach Necro3, your opponents wouldn't be taking you lightly anymore. They know what you are capable of and try to find counters. Well, there aren't many. Necro3 are mighty hard to kill with spells, and the blue guy can be quite scary to kill. Enchantress can enchant the boys but who would suspect during the picking phase that you will be going Necro Lycan, right? HotD & Diffusal can work too but these are items which takes some time to build. It is not like you have warlock on the other team that screams 'must-get-diffusal' right from 0:00 min. Bottom line is, when they realise your One-man army is unstoppable, it is already too late.

-- So what's next? They will most likely anticipate the next tower you are going to wipe. Play their game, but don't fall into their trap. You will be their center of attraction but keep it that way. If you have 5 enemy heroes chasing your tail at every moment, it is a sure sign that your 4 other allies are having a free farm. Or at even a free push. If you have Boots of Travels, it works even better. Make them run and down like little kids playing soccer chasing after a single ball. Chasing and ganking are utter waste of time if you can't take down the target. They will realise it sooner or later, and they will start ignoring you again.

-- Once the outer towers have been cleared, the enemy will be forced to turtle. What you need to do is constantly push all the three lanes to keep your creeps as close to the enemy tower as possible. Make use of BoT and Shapeshift to swing from lane to lane. This is so reduce the time needed to push into their base whenever an opportunity arise (say a teamfight suddenly breaks out at mid) and to avoid people screaming backdoor.

-- The beauty of Lycan is that he doesn't need to push a specific lane. His One-Man Army has the ability to tank towers. You can push in from the bottom lane, and instead of raxing the tower, you dash into their base and whack the top lane tower instead. It makes you like an idiot which isn't a bad thing really. At this stage of the game, you will want to make yourself as unpredictable as possible. Yes, like an idiot. Create as much confusion as possible and avoid the conventional norms. Like ugh, all 5 heroes pushing the same lane etc. 5 vs 5 teamfights are exciting but it doesn't always win games. Remember, this is all about meta-gaming. If you make yourself unpredictable, they can never come up with a suitable counter since they can never read your moves.

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