SlashStrike’s Guide to Solo Mid Earthshaker

Raigor Stonehoof, the Earthshaker

Introduction

Hi, I’m SlashStrike (not slahser, a common mistake), and I’m bringing you my guide to solo mid Earthshaker. Normally when writing a guide to a hero I would not pigeonhole them into a certain role, but in the case of ES, playing him mid rather than support changes the hero’s optimal playstyle and impact on the game drastically. The basic playstyle is not very difficult, but has a high skill ceiling. If you enjoy forcing the enemies to react rather than reacting to them while you’re farming, then this guide is for you.

There’s a video accompanying this written guide – throughout the text you will find links to certain times of the video, demonstrating what I am discussing. At the end of this guide you can see the full video embedded with a transcript of everything I say in it, in case you want to look through it again.

Lastly, if you want to see me play Earthshaker or other heroes live at 6500+ MMR, you can check out my twitch channel as well as see my game history with him.

Characteristics & Statistics

Pros

  • Good at solo kills, skirmishes and teamfights
  • Decent farmer
  • Strong at all stages of the game
  • Deceptively hard to kill

Cons

  • Melee
  • Weak laning stage versus some heroes
Level 1 16 25
Hit Points 568 1423 2259
Mana 208 585 1027
Damage 46‒56 91-101 135‒145
Armor 2.68 5.9 10.18
Attacks / Second 0.65 0.79 0.97
Movement Speed 310
Turn Rate 0.9
Sight Range 1800/800
Attack Range Melee
Missile Speed Instant
Attack Duration 0.467+0.863
Cast Duration 0.69+0.5
Base Attack Time 1.7
Strength 22 + 2.9
Agility 12 + 1.4
Intelligence 16 + 1.8
(thanks to Dota2Wiki for the table)

While his starting stats aren’t too great, his strength gain is tied for 8th highest out of all heroes. His movement speed is a great above average 310, and his base armor is right about average at 2.7. His turnrate is an amazing 0.9, only bested by 6 heroes that have a full turnrate of 1. His cast point, however, is abysmal at 0.69 seconds, the second slowest in the game after Leshrac. Fortunately, Echoslam has no castpoint and is therefore instant. His attack damage and attack point are both quite average, but being melee he is very easy to last-hit with once you get used to him.

Skill Build

The optimal skillbuild is quite interesting, because while it follows a certain structure there are several moments where you can alternate depending on the game.
At level one, you don’t skill anything. If your supports gank the enemy mid or you get ganked, you want to have Fissure. If not, however, you leave the skillpoint open. At level two, you take one in Totem and one in Aftershock – this is your main lane-control tool, and having it at level two as opposed to level three makes a huge difference.

1. Fissure / Nothing
2. Aftershock (& Enchant Totem)
3. FissureEnchant Totem

  • At level 3, you always want to be at 1-1-1-0.

4. Aftershock
5. Enchant Totem
6. Echoslam

  • At level 6, you will be at 1-2-2-1.

7. Aftershock
8. Enchant Totem
9. Enchant Totem
10. Aftershock

Here you have some room for variation from levels 7 to 9. You rarely need more than 3 levels of Aftershock before maxing Totem, and sometimes even two could be enough, depending on the enemy heroes. If they have many escape mechanisms and/or fast casting animations, higher levels in Aftershock makes it easier to keep them chainstunned. If they are slow but tanky, higher levels in Totem will help you burst through their HP.

11. Echoslam
12. Stats / Fissure
13. Stats / Fissure
14. Stats / Fissure
15. Stats / Fissure
16. Echoslam
17. Stats / Fissure
18. Stats / Fissure

Etc.

At this point in the game you will normally have 400-450 max mana (without Treads on int), and taking level two Echoslam increases the manacost. If you start levelling Fissure right after, you will run into mana problems. Taking a few levels of stats not only increases your manapool, but keeps the manacost on Fissure low. How many levels of stats you take before maxing Fissure depends on the game a lot, but keep in mind that just 1 level in stats gives you +10 damage on a Totem hit. Generally I take at least two points in stats before coming back to maxing Fissure – the choice is essentially: Fissure for all-out teamfights, stats for solo kills and frequent skirmishes.

Another thing to keep in mind, however, is what kind of enemy heroes you are facing. Against slippery heroes with escape mechanisms like Storm, Puck, Mirana, etc., an earlier maxed Fissure can be very useful to catch them off guard from the fog and set up for other disables. If you’re up against the likes of Doom, DK and Rooftrellen then you might need stats more than you need extra disable time.

Item Build

Early game

Ask a support to pool you 2 tangos, buy a salve, 2 branches and a stout shield. If no one pools you just buy the tangos, it’s not fatal. You can swap the stout shield for a magic stick against some spell spammers like Zeus and Batrider. If the enemies have a Nature’s Prophet, you should consider getting a set of tangos instead of the salve, so you always have one ready in case he ganks you with sprout. Get Bottle as soon as possible and Boots after. If the enemy have aggressive heroes, it’s important to buy an early TP scroll as well (right after Boots and Bottle) so that you can react and punish towerdives, something that Earthshaker is very good at.

Core

Bottle, Blink, Magic Wand, Power Treads, TP Scroll and Stout Shield

This is the absolute core that will be the best choice in 99% of games. Bottle and Wand give you just enough mana when combined with Treads-toggling. Swapping Wand out for another smallish item (Urn/Basi/Medallion/etc.) is situational and could work, but will leave you with less mana over-all. Getting one of those items as well as the Wand and Bottle will mean you’ve run out of slots already and have to start selling items very early, which is of course something you want to avoid. Stout Shield is the first item you sell as you start working on a luxury item. You only lose 125 gold, and while this item has made your laning stage a LOT easier, it is not really necessary afterwards.

In the event that you’re farming safelane instead of mid, you can get a Ring of Basilius (later Aquila) instead of Bottle. This allows you to push the tower, helps your mana regen, and gives armor to make up for the lack of a stout shield. Aquila is worth it as an upgrade simply because it’s so cost efficient.

Luxury

Black King Bar, Heaven’s Halberd, Assault Cuirass, Armlet, Sange and Yasha, Abyssal Blade, Heart of Tarrasque, Daedalus

Your first post-core pickup will often be a BKB, because it allows you to get your spells off uninterrupted in the middle of the fight – it is an absolute must versus certain heroes like Puck, Invoker, Earth Spirit, etc. (spell heavy but none of them go through magic immunity)

If the enemies have many right clickers, little magical damage or only a few disables that do not go through BKB, a Heaven’s Halberd can be a great pickup – it makes you extremely hard to kill, and the +20 strength gives you +100 damage on Totem hits, not counting the raw +25 damage from the Halberd, while the active is amazing at shutting down heroes that rely heavily on hitting people (most often ranged heroes like TA, Huskar, Furion, Storm, Clinkz, but also melee’s like PA, Ursa and AM). Note that Heaven’s Halberd is not dispelled by Manta Style.

Assault Cuirass is often my preferred pickup after BKB, because the 3 auras give you incredible teamfight presence, while the armor bonus makes you extremely difficult to kill. The -armor boosts your Totem hits, of course, and the attackspeed when combined with your Treads turns you into a solid right clicker, not relying solely on Totem. It also helps immensely with pushing highground!

Armlet is one of the most cost-effective items, giving you a lot of damage, attackspeed, health, regen and armor for a low cost.

Sange and Yasha is more of a fighting item and works well if you go for an Abyssal afterwards, because it gives you plenty of attack speed. There is no point getting it and then dissassembling into a Halberd, because turning the Yasha into a Manta is a pretty huge waste of gold, and letting the 2k gold item sit in your inventory is not exactly what you want either.

Abyssal can be amazing because it extends your late-game lockdown on a single target a lot, essentially allowing you to Echo->Totem->Abyssal->Fissure->Totem and chainstun someone for 7-8 seconds.

Heart is nice for obvious reasons, but is rarely the best choice, because it gives you just survivability while other items give you that and more.

Why not x?

I personally would never get Daedalus unless it’s my 5th or 6th item, simply because I don’t like how unreliable it is. I’d rather deal slightly less damage but guaranteed, than have to take my chances with a critical hit. Furthermore, like HoT it is a very one-dimensional item, giving you a lot of right click single target damage but nothing else.

I dislike Shadow Blade because the initiation it offers is a million times weaker than Blink, and after the dagger there are many more useful items. Furthermore, people on your team often pick Mirana when they see you take Earthshaker, and getting an Sblade when the enemies have sentries up for Moonlight Shadow is a pretty bad idea.

Aghanim’s Scepter is straight up one of the worst items to buy – you are spending 4200 gold for mediocre stats and its true ‘usefulness’ is only once every time your Echoslam is off cooldown. Even then, the damage boost is negligible compared to the way you can buff up your Totem physical damage as well as survivability through the other items. Seriously, never buy this.

Laning stage & Matchups

Your goal in the laning stage depends on the enemy you’re facing. Generally speaking, if it is a melee hero, you can look to bully them out of the lane and even score an early kill. If it is a ranged hero, you should aim to farm safely and stay healthy in terms of HP and mana so you can assist should your teammate’s gank. Don’t be afraid when you get ganked – you have your Fissure and Enchant Totem to slow the enemies down, and can even use Echo to turn it around.

The hunters become the hunted from 1:32 till 1:46

Lanaya is an extremely strong laner that flat out wins the lane versus many heroes by outfarming them as well as harassing them and having solid kill potential. While Earthshaker doesn’t beat her, he can get decent farm, superior rune control and should never die due to TA’s short attack range. Try baiting her to attack you, going back and letting your creeps take off her Refraction charges. Going for a kill with Echo won’t work unless her Refraction charges are down, so keep a close eye on that.

Despite being ranged, he likes fighting in melee range due to his remnant – it’s important to keep in mind his very high starting armor, because your Totem hits will not be as effective. Nevertheless he is squishy and can be bursted from full hp when you hit level 6-7.

Even though Tinker is a fairly strong laner, this lane is even at worst, and in your favour at best. Even if he Lasers you, you can still last hit with Fissure and/or Aftershock – at level 6 and onwards if you ever get close enough for an Echo next to the creeps, you can burst him even from full hp. If he plays passively by spamming March, you’ll get freefarm and thus get a very early Blink Dagger, which again means Tinker will be an easy kill for you.

Video demonstration from 1:19 till 1:31

Similar to Tinker, she should never even get close to killing you, and should not get any runes as long as you’re in position to Fissure block her. She’s not very tanky early on and you can man up and run at her to fight her in melee range. If she backs off you get some cs and tank her mediocre harass, if she manfights you, you’ll get the better trade. Also killable at 6.

One of the harder lanes for you, focus on getting farm for your blink and Bottle Crow – you can’t really contest runes because he can orb over your Fissure. Don’t bother trying to manfight because he can not only Phase Shift your spells but cancel the huge casting animations with Waning Rift. As soon as you get your Blink, however, Puck should be easy to kill.

Again, one of the strongest laners that Earthshaker is actually quite good against – he’s melee, meaning you can hit and nuke him plenty and threaten a kill! Furthermore, your Totem has a 5 second cooldown and 50 manacost, and even though his clap is a bit stronger it costs a lot more mana and is on a much higher cooldown. If he ever goes on you, you also have your Fissure. When he hits level 6, however, he could go for a kill on you, but as long as you stay at above 2/3rds hp you should be fine.

Fairly even lane, he’s going to keep his distance so you probably won’t be able to solo kill him unless he makes a mistake, but he’s not going to deny you any farm either. Just remember to buy a Magic Stick.

Quite tough to deal with for any melee. Don’t use Fissure after he links you and runs after you – the animation is so long that he’ll have drained enough damage by the time you break it. Try to anticipate when he’s going to cast it and Fissure preemptively. Other than that, respect his long range damage output and just get whatever cs you can. You should have superior rune control because he cannot pass the Fissure.

Similar to Razor, but not as bad. If he maxes his Orb and Nethertoxin, he will pressure you a lot but be an easy kill later on. If he maxes his corrosive skin forget about solo killing him, but you will be able to get decent farm on the lane.

Fairly easy lane for Earthshaker, if he goes Wex you just outfarm him with your higher base damage and make sure you’re low on mana so that if he goes on you with EMP it won’t burn much and he won’t have the damage to kill you. If he goes Exort it’s even better for you – run up to him and manfight him (he has a very low base MS and armor), kill his Forged Spirit with Totem and get complete rune control.

Midgame with Kelen’s Dagger

Midgame starts for you as soon as you pick up your Blink. At this point you should be able to deal at least 70-80% of most heroes’ max HP with your regular combo, and solo kill anyone from full if you add your Echoslam. If you jump multiple targets, all the better. The key is to make the enemies afraid to be alone, forcing them to 5 man. Of course, when they group up you are even stronger!

The regular combo is in fact not easy to execute perfectly, especially if you include Treads-toggling (which is not always worth it, sometimes it’s better to make sure you get the kill, even if you spend a bit more mana). Basically it goes Totem cast -> wait until ~1.5 sec cd left on Totem, blink in and Fissure from melee range so the Aftershock hits them. Fissure in a direction that won’t displace the enemy nor block you, and will allow you to hit them quickly. Hit with your Enchanted Totem, then cast it again and hit again.

How exactly to pull this off from 0:04 till 0:51 

The higher your attack speed, the easier to pull off, and lategame you could even have time for two rightclicks before using Totem again. When your Fissure is maxed later on, you can use it from fog to initiate, sacrificing a little bit of damage while eliminating any possibility of a reaction by the enemy.
Your only weakness at this point is the cooldown on Echoslam, but it requires incredible coordination from the enemy team to exploit it, something often lacking in pubs. Don’t hesitate to use Echo if you can kill more than one hero, or solo the 1 or 2 position on the enemy team. If going for multiple heroes, remember to hit the right targets with Totem.

Some examples from 0:52 till 1:19 

Fissure blocking is an extremely important part of playing Earthshaker, but there is not too much to write about. The spell has incredible utility, and the ways in which you can use it are only limited by your imagination.

Take a look at the video from 1:59 till the end

Farming and Pushing

Since you should not spend a lot of time farming as Earthshaker after you have your blink (but rather be killing people and / or pushing towers), it’s important to do it as efficiently as possible. Don’t last hit a 10 hp creep with your x00 damage Totem hit, use it on the tankiest one alive.

Video demonstration from 1:47 till 1:58

Furthermore, keep in mind that unlike a critical hit, Enchant Totem hits deal their damage to buildings, which means you can siege towers quite effectively with Totem hits while killing the creeps with the Aftershocks.

Closing words

That’s it for the guide! I hope you found it informative, and if you did and wish to see more from me in the future you can support me by following me on twitterfacebook, youtube and of course twitch.

If you have any requests for the future guides feel free to send me a message on any platform.

Good luck and let’s shake things up!

Video Transcript

Hi guys, this is SlashStrike, and today I’m bringing you my guide to a solo mid Earthshaker.
These first few clips demonstrate a mid Earthshaker’s basic killing combo, without using Echoslam. You cast Enchant Totem out of the enemy’s sight in preparation, and wait a little bit for the cooldown. Stun them with Fissure, hit them with Totem, cast Totem a second time and hit them again. This combo deals about one thousand damage, partly magical but mostly physical, meaning it is more effective versus targets with lower armor.

What’s crucial to land the combo properly is to make sure the Fissure hits them from melee range. This is because a level one Fissure only stuns for one second, which is not enough to both attack with the Enchanted hit and cast Totem a second time. By landing the Fissure from melee range you trigger the aftershock, which stuns for 1.5 seconds at level 4, giving you enough time for the combo.

When going for multiple targets, it is important to you distribute your AoE and single target damage accordingly. Notice how I hit Clinkz with my first Totem hit, and then let the Aftershocks finish him off, while I use the second Totem hit to kill dazzle.

Whenever you can kill two heroes or more, it is always worth it to initiate with your Echoslam. Because the cast time is instant, it gives your enemies no chance to react no matter how fast their animations are.
As soon as you hit level 6, you can use your ultimate to burst down the enemy mid from full hp. Very few players expect this, and despite the long 150 second cooldown it is worth it because often you won’t have your blink dagger yet.

When you’re getting ganked, don’t panic. Try to bait the enemies close to you so you can hit them with your three aoe stuns. Remember to use Bottle while they’re stunned, so even if  you don’t kill them during your stuns, you’ll have more hp afterwards and still be able to survive.

Like with any hero, it is important to farm as efficiently as possible with shaker. Notice how I bring three creeps to low hp, let Aftershock last hit them and use Totem to kill the last one.

Fissure blocking is what separates a good Earthshaker from a great Earthshaker, because it depends so much on the enemy’s position, the only way to learn it is by practicing. The more you play, the more familiar you will get with how you need to position yourself.

Fissure is a very versatile spell. It can even be used to separate void from his target inside the chrono sphere! It is however not easy to use, and with a high reward comes a high risk. In the following clip, I miss my Fissure. Instead of blocking TA, I block my team and help her escape.
Of course, the risk of this happening does not mean you should not try to get Fissure blocks – even though a mistake is bad for the game you’re in right now, it improves you as a player in the long run.

This is a similar clip from a different game –t his time I don’t miss the block, and thanks to the vision provided by bloodseeker my team was able to seal the deal and get the kill on TA.
That’s it guys, thanks for watching – if you found this guide informative, and want to see more in the future, you can support me by following me on the social media linked in the description.

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4 comments on “SlashStrike’s Guide to Solo Mid Earthshaker

  1. Paul says:

    Nice guide! I’m going to try this out in some 1v1s before playing it in a real game. Looks like a good pickup, especially with Storm becoming more popular in pubs.

    Like

  2. Great man!! u got a real fan here!

    Like

  3. PernodCola says:

    Nice guide. But i would not recommend skipping fissure for stats. I know it has been a trend and people are jumping on it, but it scales fairly well and in many situations the extra stun duration helps your team to catch up. Also forcestaff is a great item. Apart from the obvious mana improvement, quite a few times you will be in a dangerous situation after you engaged. None of the items apart from Bottle/Wand provide you any sort of mana, which will certainly be a considerable problem lategame. I would recommend to think about getting a skadi in certain situations instead of a heart lategame, mostly due to that reason.

    Like

  4. Hi SlashStrike ! I really like ur guide, but will it work if u are not solo ? Like dual line ?

    Like

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