Xin, the Ember Spirit
Hi, I’m SlashStrike, and I’m bringing you my renewed guide to Ember Spirit. He’s been one of my favourite heroes for a long time. 7.00 gave the hero many buffs and introduced talents that give Ember very different strengths and changed his available playstyles a lot. Despite this, people have the tendency to jump on a set build which they go for every game, but that is a silly thing to do with one of the most versatile heroes in the game.
If you’re looking for a guide that will tell you to buy x items and level y skills so that you can thoughtlessly repeat the same thing, this guide is not for you. If you want to understand the hero well and know about different builds, when to go for which one and to be able to adapt to the game, then keep on reading.
Lastly, with each passing version of Dota the concept of ‘bad skill and item build’ has been fading further away. Every build has different strengths and weaknesses and is therefore best suited for a particular play style, and awful for another play style. The introduction of many items and talents means that pretty much every hero is capable of many different play styles. Some play styles will have a higher winrate than others, but this could be for a variety of reasons. One play style can win you every 4k mmr solo queue game, but will lose you most 6k mmr solo queue games. One play style can win you competitive games with your team vs another team, but lose you most 5k mmr solo queue games, etc. So, bottom line, if you want to be a good and experienced player, try your best to innovate and experiment with new builds, because it will make you unpredictable and prepare you for any situation and decrease the chance that you are unable to adapt to an unusual game.
My Ember “Credentials”
According to Dotabuff I have 257 pubs played with Ember (the majority being solo ranked), and 19 competitive / “esports” games with him (including this win versus Alliance: https://www.dotabuff.com/matches/3049397146).
Unfortunately I’m not in the top 100 rankings for the hero on Dotabuff – from what I can see it says the ‘division’ of my games is too low, although the alleged #1 Ember player, Aui_2000, only has ~50 unranked party pubs played on the hero and 0 competitive games, so their system seems flawed. Dotabuff hero rankings aren’t really to be taken too seriously, but I feel it’s worth pointing out.
I am in no way implying that I was the first to come up with any of these builds, or that I ‘invented’ anything to do with Ember. I am simply the person writing it down.
Nobody’s gonna watch a 2 hour video, and nobody wants to read several thousand words of raw text. This guide finds a middle ground – the basis is textual, but there are many short clips accompanying it, in which I explain and demonstrate exactly what is being discussed in the text. Look for little hyperlinks like this one: vid throughout the text, they’ll take you to a part of the video that’s relevant to the context. If you want to follow along the text, then keep clicking the links and pausing the video once you’ve seen the particular segment, but you can of course choose to watch the entire video fully here:
Table of Contents
- Significant 7.00 Changes
- Characteristics & Statistics
- Skill Builds
- Item Builds
- Laning Stage & Match-ups
- Spell Use, Item Use and Combos
- To Farm, or to Gank
- Closing Words
2. Significant 7.00 Changes
- Gigantic buff to roots and therefore Searing Chains
- 10% spell amp talent at level 10
- +0/50/100 Fire Remnant damage vid
- 20% Cooldown Reduction talent at level 25
- +10 armor talent at level 20
- Searing Chains now reveal invisible units
3. Characteristics & Statistics
- Extremely mobile
- Godlike talents
- Good farmer
- Strong at all stages of the game
- Very hard to kill
- Versatile playstyle
- Weak laning stage versus some heroes
- Low stat gain
- Becomes item dependent after early game
(Thanks to Dota2wiki for the table)
His starting stats are decent, but his stat gains are terrible – this is to compensate for the hero’s powerful skillset. His movement speed is a great above average 310. His turnrate is in the middle of the pack at 0.6, to a small extent balancing his instant cast point, which is the hero’s defining aspect and also what makes his spells so powerful. His attack damage is slightly below average and attack point is average, but he is very pleasant to last-hit with due to his animation. His main weakness is his terrible base armor of 1, which is what you typically find on tanky strength heroes that build into armor items, not on a mobile agility carry. This used to be a problem in older patches with older builds, but now thanks to many armor items being viable on him, this is no longer an issue. Furthermore, if there’s any hero good at avoiding damage in fights, it’s Ember.
4. Skill Builds
Ember Spirit has one of the most flexible skill builds. This is because each of his spells scale extremely well, meaning there are no defining ‘value points’ that you can find in other heroes (i.e. spells with 50%+ of their potency at level 1).
To expand further on this, take for example DK’s stun, starting at 2.5 seconds and only increasing by 0.25 seconds as you level it, meaning a 10%, 9% and 8% increase per level. Or Phoenix’ Dive, which starts at 10 dps increasing by 20 per level. While the damage triples from level 1 to 2, you’re still adding nothing but a very small amount of extra damage to a spell primarily used for slowing or re-positioning.
Some spells scale best up to a certain level, such as Sniper’s headshot – you get the full slow from level one, but the damage starts off at 15 and increases by 25 each level, meaning you get 166%, 62.5% and 38.5% damage increase, which is why level 2 can also be considered the ‘value point’.
Ember’s skills scale in a very interesting way in the sense that there are no clear value levels or 1 point wonders, meaning the skill build is extremely adaptable to each game. Let’s take an in-depth look at each spell.
Ember Spirit unleashes fiery bolas that wrap around nearby enemies, anchoring them in place and dealing damage each second.
Cast Time: 0+0.87
Search Radius: 400
Max Targets: 2
Damage per Second: 80/60/120/100
Total Damage: 80/120/240/300
Cooldown: 14/12/10/8 Manacost: 110
- Despite the visual effects, the effects are applied instantly and can’t be disjointed.
- The 2 units rooted are completely random, with no priorities.
- Affected units can still turn, cast spells, use items and attack. Affected units receive a stop command upon getting rooted – what differentiates this from a ministun is that when you cancel a spell / command with Searing Chains, the enemy has to re-cast or re-issue it.
- Roots the targets, preventing them from moving and casting certain mobility spells.
- Interrupts channeling spells of the target upon ensnaring, but affected units can channel spells during it (keep in mind when jumping on CM/WD/Enigma etc.)
- Provides True Sight over the targets. Does not provide True Sight if the root was applied during the fade time of invisibility spells.
- Does not target invisible or fogged units – this means careful use when chasing someone through trees and up cliffs – you have to wait ~0.1 sec after using SoF for the vision to arrive before using Searing Chains.
- Deals damage in 1 second intervals, starting 1 second after cast.
- Cooldown with talent only: 6.4
- Cooldown with talent + octarine: 4.8
- Cooldown with talent + arcane: 4.0
- Cooldown with talent + octarine + arcane: 2.4
- 100% duration and 50% damage increase from level 1 -> 2.
- 0% duration and 100% damage increase from level 2 -> 3.
- 50% duration and 25% damage increase from level 3 -> 4.
This is usually the spell you’re going to max out second, since the duration is the same at levels 2 and 3, and you usually want more points in Flame Guard earlier on to tank up. However, sometimes when facing low-damage nukes, what you could do is buff up your level 2 Flame Guard with some raindrops, allowing you to get the level 4 chains by level 7.
Sleight of Fist
Ember Spirit dashes around with blazing speed, attacking all enemies in the targeted area of effect, then returning to his start location. Deals bonus damage to heroes, and less damage to creeps.
Cast Time: 0+0.7
Cast Range: 700
Effect Radius: 250/350/450/550
Hero Attack Damage Bonus: 20/40/60/80
Creep Attack Damage Reduction: 50%
Cooldown: 30/22/14/6 Manacost: 50
- Ember Spirit is invulnerable, and his model cannot be selected during Sleight of Fist. However, it does not disjoint projectiles, meaning both spells and attacks can still hit you after you are done bouncing around. If you collide with them during Sleight of Fist, they will effectively be ‘dodged’ as they hit you while you are invulnerable. This is not entirely reliable, since the jumping order is random.
- Targets are determined upon cast. The targets have a flaming sword above their heads as an indicator, which disappears once Ember Spirit slashes them.
- This means that units entering the targeted area after cast are not hit, and units which were in the area upon cast and leave the area will be hit, no matter how far they moved.
- Does not mark or jump on invisible units. When a marked unit goes invisible, it will be fully skipped if it’s still invisible on his turn. Units in fog are fully affected.
- Jumps in 0.2 second intervals. The jumps are randomly between all marked units, there are no priorities. The damage is dealt immediately upon each jump. *Note: the cooldown on the Chain Lightning proc from both Maelstrom and Mjollnir is 0.2 seconds as well, meaning that every SoF hit has a chance of proccing them.
- Ember Spirit can cast spells and use items during Sleight of Fist. Can be great for that long-range Eul’s
- The damage is based on Ember Spirit’s attack damage + the stated damage when jumping on heroes, or – 50% when jumping on creeps. This means that the +80 damage is also taken into account for critical strikes.
- Bashes, critical hits, mini-bashes and all attack modifiers / orb effects fully apply or have a chance to trigger on each slash.
- If Sleight of Fist is cast during the fade time of Shadow Blade, each target will receive the bonus backstab damage. Furthermore, upon completing the Sleight of Fist, Ember Spirit will be invisible.
- When Ember Spirit is disarmed, he will deal no damage on slashes, since he cannot attack. He also can miss, and damage reduction will affect the damage.
- After all marked targets have been slashed, Ember Spirit will return to his position he had upon casting Sleight of Fist. That position is marked by a remnant for the duration.
- Sleight of Fist is not canceled when Ember Spirit gets moved by e.g. a teleport, but it does get cancelled by activating Fire Remnant.
- Cooldown with talent only: 4.8
- Cooldown with talent + octarine: 3.6
- Cooldown with talent + arcane: 3.0
- Cooldown with talent + octarine + arcane: 1.8
- 27% CD reduction and 40% radius increase from level 1 -> 2.
- 36% CD reduction and 29% radius increase from level 2 -> 3.
- 57% CD reduction and 22% radius increase from level 3 -> 4.
The radius increase does not change much with each level, but clearly level 3 to 4 is the biggest value point because the cooldown is decreased by more than 50%, which is when the spell finally becomes spammable. For this reason, you could get 1 point early to have the occasional dodge or long-reach chains, but once you start levelling it you need to stick to it until it is level 4. This definitely means maxing it before getting your second talent. There is no game in which it’s better to grab the level 15 talent while leaving SoF at level 3.
While it’s a very strong spell, it is usually the one you will be maxing last since it’s the only one that doesn’t benefit from your spell amp talent.
Ember Spirit surrounds himself with a ring of fire that consumes incoming magic damage, leaving him unharmed. Flame Guard deals damage per second in an area around Ember Spirit while Flame Guard is active. If the shield is broken, the damage is also lost.
Cast Time: 0+1.07
Damage Radius: 400
Damage per Second: 30/40/50/60
Magic Damage Absorbed: 50/200/350/500
Cooldown: 35 Manacost: 80/90/100/110
- Flame Guard blocks damage before any reductions. The only exception here is spell immunity, during which it does not block any magic damage.
- Deals 6/8/10/12 damage in 0.2 seconds intervals, starting 0.2 seconds after cast.
- Can be dispelled and purged (this includes not only the purge from Diffusal Blade and SD’s ultimate but also the Cyclone from Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, Invoker’s Tornado, and a devoured / dominated purge satyr neutral creep)
- Cooldown with talent only: 28
- Cooldown with talent + octarine: 21
- Cooldown with talent + arcane: 17.5
- Cooldown with talent + octarine + arcane: 10.5
- 300% absorption increase and 33% DPS increase from level 1 -> 2.
- 75% absorption increase and 25% DPS increase from level 2 -> 3.
- 43% absorption increase and 20% DPS increase from level 3 -> 4.
Something that is immediately apparent is the huge increase from level 1 to 2, meaning again that you definitely want at least two points in this spell, pretty much always by level 4-5. After that, it highly depends on the enemy heroes. The main reason to level this spell up is not to deal more damage because as shown it scales poorly, but rather to make sure the shield stays up and does not get nuked down. If you’re up against a lot of physical damage, it’s often a good idea to keep the shield at level 2 or 3 and max out your other spells first. If you’re up against big nukes, you want the shield maxed so that it does not drop to one dragon slave or one lightning bolt. However, keep in mind that the duration also scales, so if you have a very early pair of BoT’s and are planning to do a lot of split-pushing, you need level 4 of this spell so that you can reliably clear 2 waves with it and not just 1.
Ember Spirit generates Fire Remnant charges every 35 seconds, with a max of 3 charges. Releasing a charge sends a Fire Remnant that runs to the target location at 2.5x Ember Spirit’s speed. Using Activate Fire Remnant, Ember Spirit can dash out to his Remnants, exploding them for area of effect damage. The targeted Remnant will be arrived at last.
Cast Time: 0+0.53
Cast Range: 1500
Max Charges: 3
Charge Replenish Time: 35
Remnant Duration: 45
- Ember Spirit gets all 3 charges immediately upon learning Fire Remnant
- Fire Remnants move to their targeted location at a speed of 250% of Ember Spirit’s movement speed. The speed is set upon cast and does not adapt.
- Since Fire Remants last for 45 seconds and the replenish time is 35 seconds, it is possible to have 4 (5) remnants up on the map at a time.
- Every time a Fire Remnant is placed, Ember Spirit gets a status buff, showing the duration of the remnant. The status buff disappears once the Remnant expires or is used.
- Fire Remnants deal no damage when they expire.
- Fire Remnants are visible to everyone.
- Charge replenish time with talent only: 28
- Charge replenish time with talent + octarine: 21
- Charge replenish time with talent + arcane: 17.5
- Charge replenish time with talent + octarine + arcane: 10.5
Activate Fire Remnant
Select the Fire Remnant to arrive at.
Cast Time: 0+1.07
Cast Range: Global
Remnant Damage Radius: 450
Remnant Damage: 100/200/300
Cooldown: 0 Manacost: 150
- Ember Spirit moves to a Fire Remnant with a speed of 1300, or reaches it in 0.4 seconds, whichever is faster.
- Always costs 150 mana, no matter if Ember Spirit has to travel to 1, 2, 3 or 4 Fire Remnants.
- While traveling, Ember Spirit can attack, cast spells and use items.
- Using Sleight of Fist or Blink Dagger while traveling will cause him to stop traveling and lose the invulnerability, and then instantly get moved to the next remnant.
- Always travels to the Fire Remnant furthest away from the targeted point first.
- The damage is dealt around each Fire Remnant upon reaching them.
- Destroys trees within 200 radius around Ember Spirit while he’s traveling to a remnant. Though at high speeds, some trees may be skipped.
- Can be targeted through the minimap.
- 100% Damage increase from level 1 -> 2.
- 50% Damage increase from level 2 -> 3.
What used to be the worst-scaling spell in the game now actually gives you incredible magic burst damage in the lategame. You still have to be extremely careful about using all your remaining remnants for burst damage because it leaves you very immobile and vulnerable. Also, keep in mind the giant cooldown before you get your lvl 25 talent and octarine core – with a triple remnant you can kill a lot of heroes in the early game, and while that’s worth doing to kill a core SF for example, it’s usually not worth it for a support Ogre, because it will take 105 seconds for you to have all 3 remnants back up again and have the same kind of damage and mobility available.
Ember’s talents are still quite straight forward, since 3 of them are no-brainers and only one of them really requires thinking. Spell amp at level 10, armor bonus at level 20, and cooldown reduction at level 25. They are simply superior to their counterparts and what they allow you to do is just going to be stronger in (almost) any matchup and with any item or skill build. Of course, feel free to use your head in extremely unusual cases, for example you might want to take the extra Flame Guard absorption if for some reason you’re up against a Zeus+Veno and neither of them bought a Eul’s.
Level 10 talent explanation
“But what if I have a Magnus and a Wisp on my team and I go for Power Treads into Desolator, wouldn’t the +dmg talent be better then??”
In the famous words of N0tail as heard in Combo Wakamaka’s video, “Dota is a weird game… everything can work can work can work… “But it might be better to then just play a Jugger or most other melee cores that aren’t Ember.
Level 20 talent explanation
Extra Flame Guard damage block seems nice at first until you consider it practically. First and foremost – by the time you reach level 20, it is very likely that even a team with 0 purges has purchased at least one HotD with a purge creep, Diffusal Blade, or Eul’s Scepter, removing your Flame Guard regardless of its block capacity. Secondly, by the time you are level 20 you will have a maxed SoF and several core items, meaning that the majority of magical damage spells should never even hit you since you are nearing peak mobility. Physical damage is your biggest weakness, whether you bought a Veil or not, and +10 armor helps immensely.
Level 25 talent explanation
While +2s Searing Chains is obviously really really good, CDR is just better. Once again, by the time you’re level 25, enemy heroes will have a ton of ways to get out of your Chains (bkb, manta, lotus, euls, greaves) which they will use as soon as they get chained, meaning extra duration is irrelevant, but being able to quickly re-apply the chains once their defensive items are on cooldown is incredibly valuable. And that’s ignoring the fact that CDR is amazing for your 3 other spells as well as your BoT’s and any other active items.
Level 15 talent reasoning
The interesting one, however, is the level 15 talent. Most people opt for the stats because they are planning to buy a Blink early, which makes movement speed rather obsolete. This leaves their Ember with 310 base + 100 from BoT = 410 MS. However, if you go for a Eul’s Scepter right after BoT, then re-buy the windlace (selling the PMS then Bottle for future items) and take the MS talent, you end up with 310 base + 100 from BoT + 40 from Eul’s + 20 from windlace + 20 from the talent = 490 MS at all times. Any MS buff from your team (bloodlust, Bara aura, drums aura, track, dominated kobold) brings you (near) to max. This allows you to forego the blink and maneuver a lot easier in fights. Of course you lack the instant initiation of blink, but you are able to bait and kite a lot better, and it also makes your Remnants faster as they fly at (490 x 2.5 =) 1225 ms as opposed to (410 x 2.5 =) 1025 ms. Why this is important is explained more in-depth later under ‘Spell Use, Item Use and Combos’.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re doing a lot of dangerous split-pushing (enemies have heroes with good catch) and / or you do NOT have another reliable jump->disable hero on your team, you will need a Blink Dagger.
If the enemies have few / no heroes with great catch, and you already have a jump->disable hero on your team (Slardar, SK, Axe, etc.), skipping the blink can be the better choice.
Exemplary skill build
- Searing Chains
- Flame Guard
- Flame Guard
- Searing Chains
- Flame Guard
- Fire Remnant
- Flame Guard
- Sleight of Fist
- Searing Chains
- Searing Chains
- Fire Remnant
- Sleight of Fist
- Sleight of Fist
- Sleight of Fist
I would have preferred to not add such a skill build, because it seems like a step-by-step rule set that must be followed, which is not the case. There will inevitably be people commenting that this is the ‘wrong’ skill build. However, I am sure many people want to just see what a regular skill build is like, afraid to ‘mess it up’. The truth is that when you play Ember on the mid lane you level up very fast, and deciding what you level up should always be done in the moment according to your immediate goals vid.
For example, you may want to take a point in SoF at level 5, to make a solo kill happen before you’re level 6. You may even want to take it at level 2, to surprise the enemy and set up your teammates’ gank with a very early SoF+Chains.
You may want level 2 Chains at level 3 because you just levelled up and will be able to chain him at the tower for some harass, or you may want level 2 Flame Guard at level 3 because you want to push out the lane and go for the rune.
You may want level 4 Chains at level 10, delaying the spell amp talent by 1 level in favour of the additional second of root. Or you may skip the early point in SoF altogether so you can have Chains and Flame Guard maxed by 10 together with the talent.
You may end up maxing SoF by level 9, because you only put two points in the guard and chains, since they have little magical damage to break your Flame Guard with. Or, you may end up maxing it at 15 because you really want to have your level 4 Chains and Guard ready earlier, using your ultimate to run people down.
In niche cases, against a Skywrath mid for example, you could even max SoF by 7 with two points in Chains, skipping the Flame Guard until later because it would break immediately to Sky’s spells, and relying on the long-range physical damage harass from SoF to bully Skywrath out of the lane, and with some luck dodge his Arcane Bolts. Or you could max the Flame Guard regardless and simply use it to creep-skip behind his tower once you hit level 6.
One thing to point out though, is that the 4th point in SoF is always better than whichever level 15 talent you go for. This is because SoF goes from being okay to amazing from levels 3 to 4, while neither of the level 15 talents are super important.
Lastly, against a team that is very difficult to kill early on with your magical damage burst (e.g. a Jugger, Pudge, Visage, Invoker) you can opt to delay the level 10 talent, latter points in Flame Guard as well as the second point in Fire Remnant, just so you can max SoF earlier (for example 4-4-3-1 at level 12 or even 4-4-2-1 at level 11).
5. Item Builds
- 2x pooled tangoes
- Faerie Fire
Ask a support to pool you 2 tangoes, buy a Poor Man’s Shield, an Ironwood Branch, and a Faerie Fire. You can swap the Poor Man’s Shield for a magic stick + stout shield against some spell spammers like Zeus, Batrider and Skywrath. After you pick up the bounty rune, ferry yourself a salve with the courier. If you’re looking to just passively farm and not really contest the lane much or fight, you can get a quelling blade + stout shield instead of a PMS. Get Bottle as soon as possible and Boots after, preferably with a TP. As you’re nearing level 6, with a TP you can start making instant trips to base and back to lane.
- TP scroll
- Windlace / Raindrops
Bottle and Boots should not need any explanation.
TP scrolls are generally a no-brainer on any mid that is capable of ganking and counterganking, but Ember has an amazing additional use of them thanks to his ultimate, allowing you to leave a remnant, TP home, heal, fill up your bottle, buy items, and come back to lane in the matter of seconds.
The magic stick is optional depending on the enemy heroes and can be skipped.
Raindrops are great because their damage block triggers before Flame Guards’, so they essentially increase your Flame Guard capacity at all levels.
Windlace is just an item you should have if you have the empty slot for it (even if you may end up selling it soon), which you almost always will have since BoT eliminates the need for a TP scroll-slot.
Veil is still a great item on Ember. The stats are simply perfect for him. It completely solves your low-armor weakness and gives you a great manapool to work with, all the while having a very easy build-up. It’s worth considering how much your team benefits from the magic damage boost, but in a game where you’re not really countered and have easy solo kill targets, go for it. However, the spell amp talent nerf combined with the fact that people improved at picking, itemising and playing against Ember, leads to the need for some flexibility.
Aquila is still nice and can be seen as a mini-veil, giving 1/4th of the manapool and half the armor for half the cost, but boosting early split-push capability thanks to the armor aura. This is the choice for games in which you’re going to be mostly avoiding fights in the early game and pressuring towers from very early on. You’ll often need to pair this with a Magic Wand so that you don’t run into mana issues.
A third option is to go Arcane Boots. Costing even less than RoA, they give you no stats but even more mana than Veil. You can then disassemble them to complete your BoT’s, and keep the Energy Booster for the lategame when you’ll inevitably buy an Octarine Core at some point. You won’t run into slot issues since BoT’s eliminate the need for TP scrolls and the huge mana pool boost means magic wand isn’t necessary either. It’s unusual, but I have tried this build and like it a lot, with its biggest strength being that it leads to much quicker BoT’s and subsequently everything that follows, compared to the other builds. So, in conclusion, I would suggest the following as core:
Bottle, Veil / Aquila / Energy Booster, PMS, Boots of Travel. Notice how these are only 4 items and you are left with 2 empty slots, in most games 3 even because the PMS is not that important after the laning stage. This leaves you with the ability to carry multiple cheap but high-value items until you replace each with a bigger item.
Dust is something you should always have if there are invis heroes on the enemy team, and versus some you might want sentries instead (for example a Nyx or Shadowblade SF ganking you while you’re split pushing).
Both Wind Lace and Raindrops are amazing as well, as mentioned before. A back-up magic stick/wand can save your life or give you the slight mana boost for an extra kill, and is always great versus spell spammers.
Lastly, special mention goes out to Orb of Venom and Blight Stone – both these items become extremely powerful for their price thanks to your Sleight of Fist allowing you to apply them consistently on multiple targets. Blight Stone just boosts damage (also on towers when (split)pushing), while OoV not only slows by 12% but also cancels Blink Daggers and Salves. These are especially effective when paired with a skill build that maxes SoF earlier than usual.
The reason you don’t see these items on many heroes is that most don’t build early BoT, and therefore need not only an extra slot for a TP scroll but also don’t have the mobility to let them regen often, meaning they need to carry more regeneration / sustain items. The biggest cost of OoV and Blight Stone is essentially the slot they use up, not the gold. Because Ember has an unusually high amount of slots to work with in the midgame, it is a mistake to not fill them with any of these.
“What about Drums?”
I do not recommend Drums because while the MS is nice, it is once again inferior to Veil in terms of mana-pool boost and tankiness, since drums gives no armor. The active ability of Veil is also much stronger and not charge-based. Drums do give mana regeneration while Veil does not, but on a hero like Ember who is able to make frequent trips back to base, a larger manapool is more valuable than higher mana regeneration. Drums also cost far more than Aquila and Arcane Boots without offering significant benefits over them.
“No Treads or Phase?”
While both are not necessarily bad, they are early-game items, which means you would want to get them before the core Veil/Arcane/RoA. But as mentioned before, delaying the core is not a good idea because neither Treads nor Phase will give you the same amount of stats and over-all offensive and defensive benefit. Once you have your core, you don’t lack stats so it simply doesn’t make sense to get another early game item as your boot choice, especially when BoT’s are what allow Ember to be one of the best split-pushers and creep-skippers in the game.
Maelstrom over Battlefury? vid
Maelstrom is much cheaper, gets boosted by your talent as well as your Veil, and eventually upgrades into Mjollnir which deals far more damage than Battlefury. Obviously the lightning damage is magical and gets blocked by BKB, but since Ember is so incredibly mobile it is very easy to back off once the enemy does use their BKB and simply wait it out. Furthermore, it is stronger than physical damage versus most cores, because unlike armor which they gain from stats, magic resistance can only be gotten through a hood (pipe) or glimmer cape, and the majority of carries will not buy either.
Black King Bar, Blink Dagger, Maelstrom, Eul’s Scepter, Manta Style, Linken’s Sphere, Blade Mail, Lotus Orb, Octarine Core, Mjollnir, Eye of Skadi, Shiva’s Guard, Ethereal Blade, Scythe of Vyse, Bloodthorn, Radiance
Though it may seem strange, BKB is not a defensive item on Ember, but an aggressive one. With Ember it is not difficult to dodge spells with slow missile speed. You are only vulnerable to instant disables such as hexes or long range stuns, against which a BKB does not help much, because if you couldn’t get your SoF/ult off you probably wouldn’t get off the BKB either. In those cases you would rather get an Octarine/Shivas/Skadi for a direct EHP boost, or a Eul’s / Manta / Linken’s / Lotus for more elusiveness. The purpose of a BKB on Ember is to enable you to charge headfirst into fights, which magic immunity allows only versus line-ups with low physical damage (teams with Zeus, Spectre, Skywrath, AA, Disruptor, etc.) Do not buy this as your second item unless you are far ahead and able to force fights with it, because if it does not get you kills it will heavily stunt your item progression. You may find that it is a must in the lategame versus some heroes that have a very easy time stunning you for ages, like Nyx Assassin.
Blink Dagger is an item that bought a tad too often on Ember Spirit. While it is never bad to have, it’s also not always the optimal choice. If your team is heavily lacking any other form of initiation and/or you are forced to split-push and play very cautiously around fights, then it may be necessary to pick up early. Its weakness is that it stunts your damage output since it gives you neither damage or mana. Pro teams often have their Embers pick one up early as they are better able to utilize the initiation and generally move together in a more efficient way, allowing the added mobility to really shine. For pubs, however, you are sometimes better off getting items that allow you to fight and farm without relying on your team too much, at least in the early to mid game.
Maelstrom gives you that extra punch in midgame fights, boosts your waveclear speed and builds nicely into the Mjollnir you will inevitably want later on in the game. Usually you will be buying this as a 3rd or 4th item, after BoT+Core(+1)
Eul’s Scepter is often an amazing pick-up as it gives you a lot more mana to work with, crazy movement speed coupled with your BoT’s (and talent + windlace if you have the slots) making you even more mobile and elusive, and gives you not only another defensive ability (that also removes debuffs and silences), but also another disable. Normally people can simply TP out when you chain them, but if you have a Eul’s they can’t – this is absolutely huge when it comes to catching an enemy split-pusher and setting them up for your team . In fights, you can chain 2 people and cyclone a 3rd, allowing you to control over half their team. Keep in mind you can cast it not only while flying to a Remnant but even during SoF, meaning that (provided you have vision) with quick fingers you can get it off from a very far and safe distance.
Manta Style as well as Linken’s Sphere are both stat-heavy items great versus strong single target disables such as Storm Spirit’s (inevitable) Orchid, Beastmaster’s Primal Roar, Doombringer’s Doom, Legion Commander’s Duel, Batrider’s Lasso, etc. Linken’s is the slightly more defensive of the two, giving you a fairly large reaction window and allowing you to splitpush safely as even a linken’s break immediately into a disable is likely to give you enough time to just zip out. Keep in mind it is fairly useless versus blink->aoe disable initiators such as Axe, Centaur, Slardar and the likes. Unlike Manta, it increases your mana regeneration which is useful for prolonged fights, especially in the late-game when the cooldown on your spells is very short. Manta has a different type of utility, making your splitpush stronger thanks to the bonus agility and illusions. The MS bonus also works nicely with your BoT’s, MS Talent and and potentially Eul’s and/or Windlace.
For a hero as elusive as Ember, having illusions is great for messing with the enemy team, since you can constantly send them around to scout. Because killing an Ember requires an instant jump and chain-lockdown, they are more likely to waste spells on the illusions. If they fail several times and stop committing so hard, they may also be slow to jump on the real you. Keep in mind of course that the Flame Guard does reveal that you’re the real hero.
The active of Manta also dispels tons of debuffs, most notably any non-area lingering silence, making it the ultimate counter to Orchid. A special mention goes to Slardar’s Corrosive Haze, which is hard to dodge in fights and definitely hurts you as an already low on armor hero. Of course, Lotus Orb is also a great item for the same purposes, giving you less damage but more regeneration and armor, with the added utility of being able to cast it on a sieging allied Luna/Weaver/etc., just like Linken’s.
Blade Mail synergizes very nicely with your talents, but most importantly it allows you to actually stay in the thick of action, either being untouched and free to do what you want or dealing ludicrous amounts of damage and quickly taking down enemy heroes with you. More importantly, it lets you go for solo chases and pick-offs on heroes that would otherwise be able to manfight you and force you away.
Octarine Core is pretty much a must for lategame Ember – the large HP boost and spell vamp increases your survivability a ton, and even though it no longer gives any mana regeneration to go with the huge manapool increase, it allows you to go to base and re-fill your mana more frequently. It also increases your damage output more than most items obviously by virtue of decreasing the cooldown on your 4 spells which all deal damage. How early you get this depends mostly on whether you desperately need other items first – you very rarely want to get it straight after Veil though, most often you’ll need at least one, probably two other mid-range item first, such as Maelstrom, Eul’s, Linken’s, etc.
A Mjollnir is extremely powerful as it not only increases the lightning damage from 120 to 150, but also triples the number of bounces from 4 to 12. With a Mjollnir you can easily clear waves even when you are 2 rax down on that lane, and the active once again is really nice to put on any sieging or initiating core on your team. This is the single item that increases your damage output the most.
While lately overshadowed by Octarine, it can be a good idea some games to get an Eye of Skadi. It gives you more HP as well as some armor, but more importantly the 35% MS and 45% AS slow is also incredibly powerful, giving you solid control versus magic immune targets, which is the one thing Ember lacks. As Ember is a melee hero, the slow from Skadi lasts 5 seconds, meaning that with the 6(5.1) second cooldown on SoF you can keep applying it almost constantly. Buy this when you do not lack burst damage, but simply need to kite the enemy’s BKB cores (usually melee) in order to win the fight, usually as a 3rd item but sometimes as a 2nd. It is especially powerful versus immobile melee heroes heavily relying on high MS, such as Bristleback, Tiny, Juggernaut, Troll, etc.
Shiva’s Guard and Ethereal Blade are both items that simply become strong on Ember thanks to his spell amp and cooldown reductions. Each of them increases your teamfight presence both offensively as well as defensively, and can be great versus heavy physical damage line-ups. E-Blade is the more situational of the two since it’s single target and gives passive bonuses, whereas Shiva’s is good in the majority of games.
Scythe of Vyse can be a great late-game pick-up if you are having trouble locking down elusive heroes that are able to escape your root. While it’s nice that your chains keep the polymorphed unit in place, they are all dispelled by even weak dispels. However, when you have your talent and Octa-core, the cooldown of hex becomes so low (~14 seconds down from 25) that this is less of an issue. Definitely a good 5th/6th slot pick-up.
Bloodthorn is a great lategame 5th/6th slot item. It will greatly increase your team’s ability to burst down a single target, finally solve any mana issues you might still be having, and also force the enemy supports to use their Lotus Orbs on themselves when you silence them, even though they originally bought them to remove your Chains from their cores. This item already has a low base cooldown, but with your talent + Octarine it turns into a disgusting ~8 second cd which just absolutely insane considering the 5 second duration. The raw right-click damage boost is also not to be underestimated, since there will often come a point in the lategame when you’re doing some ratting and hitting buildings.
Radiance, while being quite powerful, has a terrible buildup. Mjollnir gives you better wave-clear vid, more damage in fights, and is just as good if not better at cancelling Blink Daggers (doesn’t hit invis, but hits a much bigger radius). The one advantage that Radiance offers over it is the miss chance, which is mostly only valuable versus teams with loads of right-click damage that is unlikely to buy BKB – think Visage, Lone Druid, Beastmaster, Bristleback, Lycan, Terrorblade, etc. However, as you notice, the majority of these are summons or illusions, meaning that straight-up killing them with Mjollnir is usually more effective than relying on miss chance. Another important point is that Radiance has an abysmal build-up and gives you literally 0 benefit until you finish it. Mjollnir, on the other hand, builds very nicely from the cheap mid-game Maelstrom, which even allows you to pick up a different item or two along the way and only finish the Mjollnir once you really need the additional damage.
“But < insert good player here > bought Radiance on Ember! Are you saying he’s a bad player and doesn’t know what he’s doing?!”
Once again quoting the famous words of N0tail, “Dota is a weird game… everything can work can work can work… “So do what you think is best, because at the end of the day if it works for you, it doesn’t have to work for other people. That’s why every player is different.
Why not x?
The -armor from Desolator is great when applied in an AoE, because it boosts the physical damage of your team, but in practice, getting utility items allowing you to disable more enemies more frequently and without running out of mana is far more likely to let your team deal more damage. Furthermore, it does not boost your farming speed, nor give you any survivability, nor significantly improve your wave-clear ability. Also important to note that despite the -armor debuff lasting 15 seconds, you can only re-apply it reliably once every 6 seconds with a SoF, making it weak versus any heroes with dispels (Slark, Abaddon, Legion, PL, manta-carriers, etc.) which people often pick versus Ember in the first place to counter the Searing Chains.
Daedalus used to be a very popular pick-up on Ember, but now that the magical damage is simply superior, there is no situation in which Daedalus is the best item to go for vid. Even in the lategame as a 6th item, you will already have a Mjollnir and the crits don’t benefit from the lightning damage, meaning you are better off getting any other item.
Similarly Divine Rapier used to be great, but is now simply inferior to the magical damage and mana-giving item builds. Considering the difference in damage is marginal and situational compared to other items, buying an item that drops upon death is simply not worth it.
Basher has a cooldown of 2 seconds. If it did not, it would easily be the most powerful item, giving you a ranged pseudo aoe bkb-piercing stun.
Butterfly is not terrible but hardly ever the best choice. The evasion is its main selling point, and it is rather useless as on Ember you want to avoid getting hit at all using SoF and Remnants. The only time you desperately need evasion is versus many summons, but at that point you’d rather get a Radiance which would make them miss versus your entire team and also burn them.
6. Laning Stage & Match-ups
Your goal in the laning stage depends on the enemy you’re facing. Generally speaking, if they have a way to break / be immune to your Flame Guard, you should be pulling the creeps to yourself mostly focusing on getting farm, and then trying to push the lane when you can get runes. If they cannot easily break your Flame Guard, you should control the lane. Pull the creeps to your high-ground, forcing the enemy to step into the river where they are in danger of getting killed – if they stay back defensively, simply out-last-hit them. Solid knowledge of the enemy hero is crucial in order to know exactly which spells at what level you can tank with your Flame Guard. Once you hit level 6, the lane should become much, much easier.
You can try to kill the hero with a triple remnant, but make sure to create and get ready for the opportunity before you’re level 6, and then go the split-second you level up, because if you wait, most players will immediately adjust their positioning and deny you the chance of a kill.
Even if you don’t get the kill, you can outlast your enemy by trading hits and using a remnant to heal, refill your bottle and come back to lane. If you get a great rune or see a kill opportunity on a side-lane, don’t hesitate to TP and gank, since at this point you are much stronger than those dual or tri-laning, likely 2 or 3 levels above them.
If for any reason you’re unable to lane (very bad match-up, ganked a lot, far behind, etc.) you can always go for some creep skipping between the enemy tier 1 and 2 as long as you leave a Remnant behind vid.
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 she cannot remove your Flameguard, she can easily kill you through it. This is a very volatile lane as both heroes have solid kill potential against each other, but in the absence of aggression TA will easily outfarm the Ember Spirit through her superior damage. The main thing you should aim to do is dodge her Meld hit by getting an early point in SoF, doing this can let you win the trade in hits. Another weakness you can exploit is her low attack range which is shorter than the radius of Flame Guard and Searing Chains (both 400), meaning you can kite and damage her while avoiding her hits. However, don’t make the mistake of keeping Flame Guard level 1 just because she has no magical damage. At level 1, it does not deal enough damage to burn Refraction charges, meaning it will damage her but her Refraction will stay up and block your right-clicks or Searing Chains damage instances. Lastly, keep in mind that Searing Chains don’t hit invisible units, so be very careful not to miss them as she Melds.
Used to be a strong counter to Ember, this lane is definitely in Storm’s favour, but not as one sided as it may seem. Simply don’t get hit by remnants during the first few waves and focus on getting the cs you can, mostly ignoring denies due to his overload. Of course, if you can bait and maneuver around the Static Remnants while running at him, it is possible to get a kill, but it relies on the Storm making a mistake. Dodging a Remnant with SoF is also an option, but unlikely to get you a kill since your other spells are likely to be underleveled then. Having played a lot of Storm will be extremely helpful in this matchup. After the laning stage, Ember obviously counters Storm heavily as the root prevents Ball Lightning, so it is not necessary to win the lane.
Another dominant anti-melee laner that Ember is actually not that bad against. Get an early point in SoF to dodge her Shadowstrikes / Screams of Pain, and she should not be able to dive you as long as you have Flame Guard up. Her turn rate is slow and you have 10 MS on her, meaning you can run at her to harass with Chains and right clicks, forcing a blink out. She is also quite squishy and Searing Chains disables blink, meaning that you have solid kill potential at level 6. Avoid using level 2 Flame Guard when she has level 3 Scream, as this is the only point at which it will immediately break.
Similar to QoP, except having much stronger harass at the expense of no blink. Dodge her spells and try to get farm – some Linas will use Dragon Slave a lot to get cs and harass you, which is predictable and can be side-stepped. Be very careful with the LSA, as it landing allows her to get in 2-3 right clicks which will hurt a ton. You can attempt a kill at level 5 with a 2-0-3 build, but it is risky as you rely on her missing her stun. If you go 2-1-2 to dodge the stun with SoF, a single level 3 Dragon Slave will break your Flame Guard, ruining any opportunities for a kill. Dragon Slave has a starting radius of 275, and with a 1200 movement speed it will take (550/1200) ~0.46 seconds to pass through you, meaning that it can only be dodged with a 3-4+ unit SoF. However, if she is surrounded by 3 creeps you will be unable to chain. Ideally you can attempt the kill at level 6 and onwards, tanking the Dragon Slave (level 4 = 320 damage) with Flame Guard (level 3 = 350 absorb) and saving the SoF to dodge her LSA. A smart Lina may attempt to Laguna you right after the Dragon Slave instead of using LSA, but the Laguna can be dodged as well using SoF.
Searing Chains disable Phase Shift, which is why many Pucks will skip it during the laning stage versus an Ember. Another reason for this is that due to the scaling of Puck’s spells (70/140/210/280 and 100/160/220/280 damage), assuming he does not level Phase Shift, using both of them will always be enough to break your Flame Guard (70 > 50, 70+160 or 140+100 > 200, 140+220 or 210+160 > 350). Of course, this also means that every time he uses either of them to farm or push the lane, you have a window of opportunity to dive him.
Again, one of the stronger laners that Ember is actually quite good against – his Thunderclap has a fairly obvious casting animation, so if you see him about to cast it just pop your Flame Guard to absorb the damage and harass the Brew (keep in mind the levels of clap’s 100/175/250/300 damage and your 50/200/350/500 shield). A smart Brew may also cancel his animation to bait out your Flame Guard – if this happens, run at him to make use of the damage and force him to clap in order to escape. His physical hits are strong but nothing serious – the only way he can kill you is if he claps you before the shield, and you are both next to the creeps meaning you can’t chain him reliably. Once you have level 6 you can leave a Remnant behind and dive him in order to force his Primal Split, and then zip away once he uses it.
A decent lane for Ember, just make sure you get a magic stick and focus on csing, ignore denies due to Arc Lightning’s high damage. You can use the Flame Guard to mitigate some damage in case you’re low on HP but full on mana and want to use bottle. When you hit level 6 you can try to get a kill, but make sure to pop Flame Guard after his bolt or it will get removed and you will have no damage. You can keep raindrops in your backpack and only make them active when you want to go for a kill so your Flame Guard stays up longer – otherwise you’ll lose them very quickly to Arc Lightning harass.
Quite tough to deal with for any melee. Use creep aggro to get what cs you can while keeping your distance. The link range is fairly long and even if he gets it off for just two seconds that would be enough to out last-hit you. If he somehow fails his link, get aggressive on him while it’s on cooldown. You have great killing potential if a support ganks, and you can also attempt a kill at level 6, but just keep in mind that if you don’t burst him with magical damage you will have no right clicks to seal the deal and he’ll be whipping you for red numbers.
vid Similar to Razor, but more difficult to deal with. Will easily out last-hit you even with just one point in Nethertoxin, and the orb-walking means he can push you back to the tower without taking any aggro. Thanks to his Corrosive Skin it is highly unlikely that you will kill him, and if you don’t burst him he can just kite you down afterwards. The lane is very one-sided, but come mid game the Viper cannot do anything to you as you splitpush and bounce around during teamfights.
Fairly easy lane if he goes for Quas Wex, just make sure that you always use Flameguard after his Tornado and/or before the EMP, because the Tornado removes it (counts as a dispel) and it will easily tank the EMP, also making you lose less mana as you cast a spell. The EMP can additionally also be dodged with SOF, as long as you’re aware of the timing.
An Exort Quas Invoker will be more difficult to deal with as he deals heavy physical damage, and is likely to still get a single point in Wex for Tornado in case you decide to dive him. Getting a solo-kill isn’t really possible unless he screws up badly, so simply get what you can out of the lane or get a support to gank him.
Fairly easy lane – you can dodge/absorb the Powershots, push the lane faster if a rune is about to spawn, and compete well for last-hits despite WR’s great attack simply because you’re melee. Being a squishy int hero she is also very killable, just make sure to not waste time missing your attacks when she inevitably uses Windrun as you chain her, but rather move to position between her and her tower, setting up for a potential bodyblock that could get you the kill. Of course, be wary of getting shackled under the tower. A 3-0-2-1 build at level 6 will give you more damage, and the lower level Flame Guard should not be an issue as it is very easy to dodge Powershot if you have initiated and are right next to her.
This lane actually favours Ember a lot in the first 3 or so levels, but how it’s played over-all depends heavily on OD’s skill-build. If he goes for max Astral (0-3-2), he won’t be able to contest CS or harass you without casting it, and once he’s used it, he’s a rather easy kill. Keep in mind that even if the Astral will pop your Flame Guard, the dps still works during the Astral, meaning that if OD wants to get some cs he will still take a fair bit of damage since his attack range is low.
If he goes for an early orb-spam build (1-1-2 with double null), you should try to get the most out of the lane and deny as much as possible for those first few levels. After that, simply keep pushing the lane with Flame Guard and keep taking runes to regenerate.
If the Sniper is babysat by a support (like he often is), there is very little you can do 1v2 other than get exp, perhaps the occasional last-hit and call for a gank. Still, you are good versus Sniper later on in the game since you have so many ways of closing the distance on him. You should never get hit by Assassinate as you can dodge it with both SoF and Fire Remnant. If the Sniper is entirely alone, however, you can try to kill him as soon as you have level 2 Flame Guard, since his low level Shrapnel will take forever to break through it. Many Sniper’s go 2-1-0 at level 3, meaning their attack range will still be fairly low and leave them vulnerable.
There are very few heroes that can hold their own in a 1 versus 1 scenario facing a Shadow Fiend on the mid lane. Two razes at any level will be enough to bring down your shield. However, SF is squishy so if you manage to get close to him and then activate your Flame Guard, only the z / q raze will not be enough to bring it down and you could score a kill. Of course, if the SF plays passively by just pushing out the lane, there is not much you can do other than farm at your tower or jump him when you see he’s about to raze the creeps. Similarly to Sniper, he will often have some fat Ogre babysitting him.
7. Spell Use, Item Use and Combos
When going for a kill on the enemy mid, create a situation in which the Searing Chains are guaranteed to hit – either by running past the enemy creepwave and isolating the hero, or by activating flame guard as the creeps are low hp, killing them while engaging on the enemy. While you should get very familiar with the radius over time, it can still be useful to hover over the skill to see the circle on the ground in order to get those tip-of-the-edge chains. Lastly, you can take a risk and attempt to Chain the enemy with more than 1 creep around. Whether it lands or not is entirely up to the DotA gods, but if it does it will definitely catch your opponent off-guard.
In the early game, Flame Guard is your only farming spell as SoF deals pathetic damage to creeps without a Maelstrom, which means you can’t go wrong with maxing it even if you sacrifice some aggression, as it will allow you to keep up your farm and not fall behind despite a lack of kills. You can use it to farm stacks or several creepwaves. When pushing, you can also use it to clear out the creepwave while you’re hitting the tower, and it provides a nice buffer of EHP in case you get initiated upon.
-> The Sleight of Fist -> Searing Chains sequence is the most basic combo you need to reliably hit if you want to play Ember anywhere close to effectively. It is not difficult, just go into a lobby, practice it 20 times and you’re golden. Landing the combo on someone in the fog (example) is slightly more difficult since the Chains need vision to latch, and SoF on a single target will only give you vision for an extremely short duration, meaning that if you mess up the timing the Chains will miss. The main difference is that you need to wait around a tenth of a second before using Chains after SoF, unlike when you have vision on the target and you can simply press both as fast as possible. Once again, however, a few attempts in a lobby and the consistency with which you land it will get a lot better. Lastly, when chasing a target with creeps around that you want to SoF+Chain, position the SoF AoE-circle indicator in such a way that only the hero is in it (example). Keep in mind however that the AoE of the Chains is still 400, so even if you only SoF your hero target, they might still latch onto creeps if they are close enough.
When using Fire Remnant to chase (i.e. throwing it and jumping into it), make sure that you wait a bit before you dive into it (example). This is because moving into a close-range Remnant will be done with an MS of 1300, always faster than the 2.5x your base MS that the Remnant will be flying at. The Fire Remnant has a casting range of 1500. With BoT you will have 410 MS, meaning that the Remnant will fly at (410 * 2.5) 1025 MS, taking (1500/1025) ~1.46 seconds to reach the targeted point. Moving into the Remnant at 1300 MS means it will take you only (1500/1300) ~1.15 seconds to reach the targeted point. Therefore you want to wait (1.46-1.15) ~0.3 seconds before starting to move into the remnant, which translates to when the Remnant is about (0.3 * 900) ~270 units away from you. This is, of course, if you want to jump all the way to the maximum 1500 range. If your enemy is closer, you can start moving into the Remnant earlier and you will reach it before it has reached the targeted point.
If you went for the higher movement speed build, with BoT+Eul’s+Wind Lace+Talent you will have 490 MS, meaning that the Remnant will fly at (490 * 2.5) 1225 MS, taking (1500/1225) ~1.22 seconds to reach the targeted point. Moving into the Remnant at 1300 MS means it will take you only (1500/1300) ~1.15 seconds to reach the targeted point. Therefore you only need to wait (1.22-1.15) ~0.1 seconds before starting to move into the remnant, which translates to when the Remnant is about (0.1 * 900) ~90 units away from you. In simpler words, almost as soon as you release it.
Fire Remnant’s travel speed is equal to 250% of your current movement speed, as established earlier. This means that if you are very slowed down in the middle of a teamfight and need to remnant out, shooting it will be ineffective as it will take far too long to reach where you want it to (example). However, if you use your Fire Remnant during a SoF (example), you will fire it from a SoF position, potentially allowing you to get away.
If you want to get out of a bad situation with a previously placed Remnant (for example during a teamfight or when split-pushing) keep in mind that despite the instant cast you still need to turn and face your Remnant before you can jump to it, which with Ember’s turnrate takes 0.15 seconds for 180°. To avoid this, you can use SoF in front of you which will go off instantly as you won’t need to turn, and then Remnant out during the SoF (example).
Lastly, if you are about to die and have Remnants left, always drop one before you die. It’s very important to make this a habit. In the early game, if you respawn in less than 45 seconds you can travel back to the Remnant and immediately be in a good position to farm or fight, without using a TP scroll. Ideally you want to leave it at the edge of the trees so that it is just outside enemy vision, but will not leave you stuck in the trees when you travel to it (example).
Furthermore, you always have the option to buyback and get into the fight again instantly by jumping into the remnant (example).
Since you can pick up items while travelling to a Remnant, it can be a very safe way to take runes without putting yourself at danger (example). Keep in mind that Remnants can be targeted through the minimap, making long-distance jumps easier to manage.
8. To Farm, or to Gank
This depends on your team. If you are the only hero with lategame damage, your draft sucks, but you should still adapt and focus on farming and playing safe, meaning you make sure you don’t die and don’t go for solo kills on supports if they put your life in danger. Going for an early Maelstrom into Mjollnir is somewhat mandatory in this case.
Ideally, you have a harder carry on your team and your goal is to make space and be the secondary damage dealer. This gives you more freedom to pressure the enemy – naturally, you should still avoid death because you are extremely difficult to kill as long as you use your spells well. Make sure you get your Veil/Arcane/RoA at a decent time, meaning around ~11/8/9 minutes. After you get it, you will usually be the strongest hero on the map and should look to force fights. Because leaving Remnants behind is such a huge safety net, you should look to farm more dangerously past the river, freeing up the safer farm for your team. Of course, doing this does require solid map awareness and reflexes. Make sure to use your exceptional mobility to also grab a lot of bounty runes – not only do they sustain you with your bottle, they can accelerate your gold and experience gain a lot.
Lastly, make sure you clear waves and push lanes! Do that as much as you can. Pushing waves is what Dota is all about, by clearing creep waves and pushing a lane you create space for your team, keep your towers alive, and get information on the whereabouts of the enemy team (if they are defending you see them, if they’re not defending you know they’re up to something). Ember is one of if not the best and safest wave-clearers and creep-skippers in the game vid. If you get good at pushing waves consistently without dying and while managing to keep your mana, HP and TP ready for potential fights, I guarantee you’ll climb MMR in no time.
9. Closing Words
That’s it for the guide! I hope you found it informative – if you did and wish to see more from me in the future you can support me by following me on this blog, twitter, facebook, 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 remember – balance, in all things.