EHOME's manager: The Shanghai Major was 'a very embarrassing tournament for Chinese people'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of EHOME

Following EHOME's disappointing 9-12th place finish at The Shanghai Major, theScore esports spoke with EHOME's manager Tang "71" Wenyi about EHOME's performance at the Major, their recent roster changes and the future of the team.

What kind of preparation did EHOME have leading up to The Shanghai Major?

71: We prepared just like we did for other tournaments, not much difference. Except, Chinese people have Chinese New Year, so we had a little bit less time to train compared to western teams.

What went wrong during the group stage? How much did old eLeVeN’s health issue affect the team’s performance?

71: In our practices prior to the Shanghai Major we were already losing a lot. It was very late that we realized the tactics and strategic thought we utilized in our win at MDL would not allow us to see the same success at the Shanghai Major.

But it looks like this came a bit too late, we tried to turn things around in the group stage — in other words we needed to find a feel for things in the drafts during the group stage, reorganize our strategies, and allow ourselves to be more aggressive in early-mid game.

old eLeVeN's tooth pain possibly affected his own performances, but this wasn't the reason for the entire team losing. We are a team that should be able to cover for teammates' mistakes — so overall I think the effect of this was zero.

What was the team environment going into The Shanghai Major playoffs in the lower bracket?

71: As I'd said above, we lost a lot in our practice scrims. Prior to the Shanghai Major, EHOME had won three tournaments consecutively. This was a great boost to the players' confidence, yet at the same time their mentality may not have been heading in the right direction.

I believe many successful players can deeply understand what I mean by this. So you know, large amounts of mistakes, a lack of focus in-game, incoherent tactics — thus defeat becomes an inevitability.

Why did EHOME under perform in the Major?

71: Over-inflated confidence, incorrect drafts and mistakes throughout the group stage, pressure of the elimination brackets, lacking in organization and execution, [and] poor individual performances.

Why did the other Chinese teams perform poorly at the Major?

71: Lack of new blood in the scene, stimulation. Old players have a lack of newness in their attitudes. Too few players and teams that actually really want to win titles.

Low quality scrims/practices.

The timing of, and the existence of the Chinese New Year break.

There was a lot of drama regarding the English broadcast of the Major, but how does the organization feel about the tournament, as competitors and being from the Chinese community?

71: A very embarrassing tournament for Chinese people. Please don't ask me to recall any details — apart from the after party, everything else has been a disaster.

And that date that Chinese people will remember: March 3rd, Chinese Dota bids farewell to Top 8. From the first time I heard of Newbee to now, that day (March 3rd) was the only time I've ever supported that team.

What was the situation regarding Cty and kaka’s departure from the team? Were they traded, removed, or did their contracts expire? If they were traded, what was the cost of their contracts?

71: I think EHOME and VG are both looking for some change. Apologies as I cannot talk about contract details.

What was it like to coach Cty?

71: From him I learned a lot in terms of small details. I saw some of the the strictness that a young player can apply to himself, as well as some of the confidence from the same.

He did a lot for the success of EHOME, I don't wish to talk here at all about anything he didn't do well enough or his weaknesses. I believe that in the future he will ... be able to perform as a top player in matches both against his former team and against others.

Why choose iceiceice and Fenrir? What was the process behind getting iceiceice and Fenrir on EHOME? Did you buy out their contracts from Vici Gaming?

71: To me this was not a very hard decision to make, even though these two players were not within the suggested options given by our own players.

The first one I locked in was iceiceice, because when I was at DK I coached him before, I know how best to utilize him. He is either a 90/100 player or a 20/100 player.

Many rosters when first playing with iceiceice will see a strong chemistry at the beginning, and then afterwards they continuously drive him from being a 90/100 player into being a 20/100 player, and I don't think the fault of this lies with him alone.

iceiceice is a very good player, with exceptional momentary decision making and game reading abilities. He's also got very strong fight dictating abilities and is great at creating opportunities, etc. Many Chinese fans question my decision to sign this so-called "mega big-game choker," what I see in him is his skill and a heart that truly desires championships.

Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang as a member of Vici Gaming

Ah, and here we need to talk about Fenrir. If you're lacking a 5 position, in China isn't this the simplest of decisions? Apart from his age and height being potential issues, what else can someone say?

He and I haven't had much interactions, but I like his communication style — direct, honest. I like his attitude, the only one in this new roster that said to me, "let's not go on break, I want to train."

From a few months prior to TI4 I've been frequently watching their replays, and if you've ever walked past VG's booth and heard the team's communications before, then you should also think that choosing Fenrir is the utmost of simple decisions.

Was it the team’s intention to change the roster before going into the Major? If so, did the players know?

71: The first time this type of discussion occurred was at the Fall Major, and afterwards there were more of these sounds coming into my ear, so this was a decision that had pressure behind it. They didn't know beforehand, it was March 5 when they were informed.

How concerned is the team knowing the rosters are locked until after The International 6?

71: Not including these latest transfers in the discussion, I still don't like Valve's system here. But in this case where you must follow their rules, I hold some hope and anticipation for our changes in this window. Many people have said that they think EHOME is going to be a bust after seeing our new roster, they will no longer be fans, but if I speak honestly I think that none of this will be an issue. You can find change in our future matches.

What was behind the decision to change LaNm and iceiceice’s roles?

71: About a year ago I'd already shared my thoughts on professional attitudes in this career. I said I'm willing to consider myself as a completely new coach, that I am happy to learn, to take criticism, to try new things, and change myself.

My hope is that my attitude can influence [LaNm], to allow him to feel that he is a player with a youthful mentality (even though he has already become a father). I hoped that he could be a great captain, to be able to express his infinite potential in this game.

I believed that he could play offlane, and in pubs later he did indeed find some of the feeling for that. Yet returning to the carry role was a wish of his (you should know, in the entire world he's the only player that has played every single role professionally).

EHOME's captain Zhang "LaNm" Zhicheng

The other four players and I all have confidence in him, so why not? Don't just let the idea of "legend" end as words someone says: a crazy coach, a crazy team, it all looks like it makes sense. Can you recall in your mind's eye the image of Michael Jordan making a buzzer beater to win the game and then holding his finger up to his lips and telling the home crowd to shut up? Achieve it, and then go enjoy it.

As for iceiceice's role? He's able to play any role from 1 through 4, right? Actually the only thing I can't confirm right now is whether he can still play 2. But I don't have this requirement of him. I think he can play a bit more stubbornly at EHOME, he's going to be filling in LaNm's old role at EHOME as the card that we can play to counter the opposing draft.

I've said it before, I can utilize iceiceice well.

What’s the situation with EHOME.King and EHOME.Legend? Why not “promote” one of their players to the primary EHOME roster?

71: These two youth teams haven't been as strong in performances as last year, and the two coaches for these teams have met some issues in terms of player development. But within the teams there are still two pretty good players.

As for why we haven't brought youth team players up to the first team, this might be because they aren't quite strong enough just yet. Please do not doubt my confidence in them or my feeling of responsibility towards the younger generation of players.

I don't care whether these players have public recognition, as long as I believe that they are good enough I will give them chances.

What are EHOME’s plans for the future?

71: This is a good question, we do indeed have a big plan, but right now talking about it is too early.

The new iteration of the club has only been up for a year, there is still a great difference between us and famous international teams. There are plenty of places where we can learn and improve, and that's not to mention the places where we can innovate and disrupt.

I will pay attention to and follow certain popular games, expand to other projects, achieve more success and results for our brand to reward our fans. In the short term we are working hard towards becoming a top tier international esports club.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Translation done by Josh "AutumnWindz" Lee.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, Dungeon & Dragons and first-picking Timbersaw Windranger Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90. You can follow him on Twitter.

LaNm on EHOME's recent form: 'We haven't played at our best level, but we're gonna work on it'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Nanyang Championships

In the aftermath of The International 2016, EHOME rebuilt their roster with the addition of Liu "Sylar" Jiajun and Liu "Garder" Xinzhou. Though EHOME have recently struggled to qualify for several tournaments, the team was one of eight to receive a direct invite to The Boston Major.

In their first LAN appearance since TI6, EHOME's captain Zhang "LaNm" Zhicheng and Sylar spoke with theScore esports about rebuilding the team, their recent performances and who their biggest rivals are now.

Sylar, how did you come to join EHOME?

Sylar: Because I think that I can do a really good job as a member of EHOME.

Why do you think that?

Sylar: I think that their style of play is really simple for me. I was actually going to join EHOME before TI6, but there were complications so I ended up joining after TI6.

LaNm, were you looking for Sylar to join the team or did he approach you?

LaNm: I was trying to invite him, but Sylar approached me at the same time, so it worked out.

What do you think of EHOME's performance since TI6?

LaNm: Not so well. We haven't played at our best level, but we're gonna work on it.

Do you think you can bring your best level of play to Boston?

LaNm: Definitely.

Who's your biggest opponent in China right now?

LaNm: Newbee.

Why?

LaNm: Because they have a really strong team and each of their players play their role extremely well.

What about Wings?

LaNm: We don't know what Wings are going to do next. So we don't know what to expect from them.

At Boston, they changed the format from double elimination to single elimination. What are your opinions on that?

LaNm: I don't know.

What about you Sylar?

Sylar: I think that we won't get as much time as before in single elimination. We have less time to prepare, so we have to bring our best to each game.

What non-Chinese teams are you looking to play against?

LaNm: Evil Geniuses. We can learn a lot from them.

How can you learn a lot from them?

LaNm: EG is a lot stronger than EHOME, so we can learn a lot from them.

Even though EG changed their roster?

LaNm: They just got a champion from the recent game and I think they're really strong?

Why did you bring garder to the team?

LaNm: His style of play is really good for the team. Because we're the ones who get the chance to attack the other team, and I think garder has the same style.

Will you stick together after The Boston Major?

LaNm: Yeah, probably.

Preston Dosza is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Wings to play against EG in Boston Major's Round of 16

by 3d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Dennis Gonzales / theScore esports / Wings Gaming

Wykrhm Reddy has revealed the Round of 16 bracket of the Boston Major, featuring a surprising Day 1 match-up between TI6 winners Wings Gaming and Evil Geniuses.

Over the weekend group stage, Wings came in second in Group A with a 2-1 record, just behind their TI6 grand final rivals Digital Chaos. Meanwhile, EG was third in Group C after a surprise loss to compLexity Gaming.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know about the Boston Major

Other significant Round-of-16 include LGD against their sister team, LGD.FY, and The Summit 6 winners Virtus.pro facing off against iG.Vitality.

Save for the best-of-five Grand Final, all matches in the single elimination bracket will be best of three. The main event action will begin Dec. 7 and run until Dec. 10.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

A Beginner's Guide to Drow Ranger

by 6d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Drow Ranger used to be thought of as a very situational pick. Often saved for the end of a draft for fear of being countered, her Precision Aura was valued primarily as a tool to buff an early game push strat. These days, Drow has shifted to become a strong all around pick no longer relegated to an end of the draft pocket pick, and the idea that she’s only strong in the early game has been thoroughly quashed.

Her popularity in pub games hasn’t changed much. This month she’s the 12th most played hero, which rises to 11th all time. She’s most commonly run in the safelane but is also a perfectly valid choice for the mid lane. It’s a bit of a waste to pick Drow in a roster with four melee heroes, but the days of almost always picking Drow with Visage, Vengeful Spirit and two more ranged heroes are behind us.

Drow has two active abilities, one of which has a 100 second cooldown and doubles as a passive. Her other two abilities affect her basic attacks. Here’s an overview of them as they appear in-game.

Frost Arrows (Q)

Adds a freezing effect to Drow’s attacks, slowing enemy movement. Lasts 1.5 seconds on Heroes, and 7.0 seconds on creeps. (Frost Arrows is a unique attack modifier)

Movement slow: 16%/32%/48%/64%
Mana: 12

Gust (W)

Releases a wave that silences and knocks back enemy units. Knockback distance is relative to how close they are to you.

Range: 900
Width: 250
Silence duration: 3/4/5/6
Knockback duration: 0.6/0.7/0.8/0.9
CD: 16/15/14/13
Mana: 90

Precision Aura (E/Passive)

Adds bonus damage to the physical attack of allied, ranged Hero units based on a percentage of Drow’s agility. Affects creeps for 30 seconds when cast.

Range damage bonus: 20%/26%/32%/38%
CD: 100

Marksmanship (Passive)

Drow’s experiences in battle improve her accuracy and effectiveness in combat, providing a passive bonus to Agility. Grants no bonus if there are enemy heroes within 400 range.

Aghanim’s Scepter: Causes Drow Ranger’s attacks to splinter on the target, hitting nearby units with normal attacks that deal reduced damage.

Bonus Agility: 40/60/80
Search range: 400
Agh’s splinter count: 2
Agh’s splinter search range: 375
Agh’s splinter damage reduction: 50%

Skill Build

Drow Ranger’s first skill point almost always goes into Precision Aura, but as always you should hold taking your first skill in case there’s an opportunity for a kill before you get to lane. The movement slow from Frost Arrows could be enough to help your team secure first blood.

Choosing whether to max out Precision Aura or Frost Arrows first follows similar logic. If your team is fighting a lot early, Frost Arrows are your friend. If you’ve got plenty of space to farm, Precision Aura will help secure those last hits for you and any other ranged cores on your team. Don’t forget to activate Precision Aura. While the 100 second cooldown is quite long, it’s better to use it than to hold it solely for tower pushes only to forget it exists.

Take a point in Gust when it feels appropriate. It’s usually safe to hold off until Level 4 or 5 unless the enemy team looks like they want to dive you before that point. The first level of Gust is a value point, finish off Precision Aura and Frost Arrows before spending any more points on your silence.

Marksmanship should always be skilled at Level 6, since the bonus Agility makes your basic attacks significantly more powerful, not to mention the 5.6 extra armor which could be the difference between dying or living through a gank.

A fun extra “feature” of Marksmanship is its ability to detect invisible enemy heroes lurking nearby (but only if they’re within the 400 search range). It’s not easy to notice unless you’re looking for it, but Drow Ranger gains a glowing particle effect when Marksmanship is active, and that effect disappears when there is an enemy hero in range. If you check your agility when Marksmanship is active, you can also notice it deactivate when your base agility drops.

In the image above, Drow's Marksmanship is active on the right and deactivated on the left.

Item Build

Starting
Slippers of Agility, Tangoes, Salve, Ring of Protection, Iron Branch

Early Game
Ring of Aquila, Power Treads or Phase Boots, Dragon Lance

Core Items
Helm of the Dominator, Hurricane Pike, Shadow Blade

Situational Items
Manta Style, Black King Bar, Sange and Yasha, Monkey King Bar, Daedalus, Silver Edge, Butterfly, Aghanim’s Scepter, Mjollnir

Drow Ranger’s item build changes depending on your team’s goals for the game, but there are a few items that are picked up most of the time. To start, Slippers of Agility and a Ring of Protection will build into your Ring of Aquila, which has great all around stats and has a little mana regeneration to let you cast a few more Frost Arrows.

Power Treads are the more popular boots on Drow, but Phase boots have their advantages as well. While Treads' attack speed helps you hit creeps faster and gives you a few stats to toggle between for an armor/health/mana boost, Phase boots let you travel between farming spots faster, kill creeps more quickly with bonus attack damage while also giving you an (admittedly limited) escape on an eight second cooldown. Both options have their strengths, so choose one over the other depending on the situation.

Dragon Lance is a fantastic item for Drow Ranger for several reasons. First up, it grants additional attack range. Since one of Drow’s biggest problems is enemies getting up in her face, this helps you to keep a safe distance from your enemies. If needed, it can be upgraded to Hurricane Pike, and used either to push an enemy away when they jump on you or simply as an escape, like Force Staff, while still offering the bonus range. It can also be disassembled and built into Manta Style and Black King Bar or Sange and Yasha, though one of the two Bands of Elvenskin used in Dragon Lance will go to waste.

Shadow Blade is useful for both ganking and escaping, though you may want to avoid picking it up if there is one or more invisible heroes on your team since the enemy squad will be more likely to carry Dust of Appearance and Sentry Wards. If you’re doing a lot of fighting, upgrading Shadow Blade to Silver Edge is an efficient way to add extra stats and utility. Make sure to carefully select the target of your first attack out of invisibility, because it will reduce their damage and disable their passive abilities for five seconds.

Helm of the Dominator allows you to stack camps with a Dominated unit, lifesteal on your basic attacks and tank up with +5 armor. It’s important not to have Frost Arrows on auto cast especially when using Helm of the Dominator, because the on attack effects of both are Unique Attack Modifiers, and do not stack. Don’t use Frost Arrows when farming creeps, and you’ll lifesteal. When attacking enemy heroes, manually cast Frost Arrows every second or so to keep the slow on them, but alternate with regular attacks, which will lifesteal. It can be built into Satanic in the late game if needed, or sold to free up a slot (since it isn’t a huge gold investment to begin with).

If you need a lot of single target damage in the late game, Butterfly, Daedalus and Monkey King Bar are all good options. If you’re focusing on pushing, or are faced clearing heavy illusion spam from the enemy team, the combination of Aghanim’s Scepter and Mjollnir will melt through everything in your path. Mjollnir is yet another Unique Attack Modifier, so if you have Helm of the Dominator or Satanic, you won’t lifesteal when the lightning procs.

Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.

Lights, Camera, ActionSlacks: The Story of Jake Kanner

theScore esports Staff

From doing funny Gyrocopter voices to interviewing some of the best players in the world, Jake "SirActionSlacks" Kanner's journey in Dota 2 has been an adventure.

SirActionSlacks didn't always plan on a career in Dota 2, but TI4 opened his eyes to the possibilities, and now he's a crowd-favorite community figure. Meet the man who injects a little comedy into everything he does, from broadcast interviews to his own stream — this is the story of Jake Kanner.

For more video interviews and highlights, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

How to play Zeus

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Zeus might not be the most popular hero at the moment (he’s 36th most popular this month, and has been picked in only 10.7 percent of games) but his win rate has remained around 53-55 percent during that time, meaning he has the 12th highest win rate this month.

While Zeus is most frequently played in the middle lane, there’s nothing stopping you from taking Zeus to any other lane, as long as it doesn’t hamper your team’s composition too much. Even support Zeus can work, but this hero excels with farm as it allows him to build items to increase his damage output and boost his mana pool and regeneration. Simply put, all that stuff allows him to chuck a ton of lightning at his foes.

And when I say a ton of lightning, I’m not kidding. All four of Zeus’ abilities consist of hitting enemies with bolts of lightning.

Here are his abilities as they appear in-game:

Arc Lightning (Q)

Hurls a bolt of lightning that leaps through nearby enemy units.

Jumps: 5/7/9/15
Damage: 85/100/115/145
CD: 1.6
Mana 65/70/75/80

Lightning Bolt (W)

Calls down a bolt of lightning to strike an enemy unit, causing damage and a mini-stun. When cast, Lightning Bolt briefly provides unobstructed vision and True Sight around the target in a 750 radius. Can be cast on the ground, affecting the closest enemy hero in 325 range.

Sight Radius: 750
Sight Duration: 4.5
Damage: 100/175/275/350
CD: 6
Mana: 75/95/115/135

Static Field (Passive)

Zeus shocks all nearby enemy units whenever he casts a spell, causing damage proportional to their current health.

Range: 1200
Health Reduction: 4%/6%/8%/10%

Thundergod’s Wrath (R)

Strikes all enemy heroes with a bolt of lightning, no matter where they may be. Thundergod’s Wrath also provides True Sight around each hero struck. If an enemy hero is invisible, it takes no damage, but the True Sight is still created at that hero’s location.

True Sight Radius: 500
Duration: 3
Damage: 225/325/425 (Agh’s Damage: 440/540/640)
CD: 90
Mana: 225/325/450

Skill Build

Unless a situation arises in which you can get First Blood by put a skill point into Thunderbolt at Level 1, you’ll always want to start with Arc Lightning. Zeus’ attack damage is a paltry 45 at Level 1, and combined with one of the lowest attack ranges outside of Melee heroes or Templar Assassin and a lengthy attack animation, it’s likely that your mid lane opponent will have a pretty easy time denying creeps. Arc Lightning has a much longer cast range than your attack (850 vs. 350) and a cast point (the time it takes between a spell being cast and the spell taking effect) of just 0.2 seconds. This means you can sit farther back in lane while still easily securing early last hits.

Your second skill point should go into Static Field. This is a value point, meaning that you don’t generally need to invest more than one point into it initially. By putting a single point into it, you’ll get the value from having that extra four percent damage but since the increase between levels is not substantial you’ll want to wait before putting more points into it in favor of boosting the power of other, more potent abilities first. Now, when you last hit with Arc Lightning, you’ll deal a little extra damage to the enemy mid laner.

Next up is Lightning Bolt. This is the ability that you will want to get to max level first. In the early game, a 350 damage nuke on a six second cooldown is nothing to scoff at. Even at Level 2 or 3 (175/275 damage), a couple of Lightning Bolts on an already weakened hero can get you a solo kill, or at least push the opposing mid laner out of the lane to heal.

It is important to remember that you can save your supports a significant amount of gold by frequently casting Lightning Bolt on the ground where the enemy might place wards. The ability provides True Sight on the cast location, allowing you to find and destroy enemy Observer and Sentry ward. Once you’ve got enough mana to spam it, Bolt often and keep your enemies in the dark.

Take Thundergod’s Wrath as soon as you hit Level 6, and be on the lookout for narrowly missed ganks in other lanes. If an enemy hero gets away with less than 200 health, then it’s an easy kill for you. Alt+clicking you ultimate will alert your team that you are ready to steal their kills help out with this global ability. Remember that while this ability reveals invisible enemies, if someone goes invisible with low health, your ultimate will reveal, but not deal damage to them. Make sure to reveal them in another way (such as with Lightning Bolt), then ult for the finish if needed.

After Lightning Bolt is maxed out, make sure to max out Arc Lightning. Then it’s another point in your ult before switching to Static Field and finishing that off at Level 14.

Item Build

Starting
Tango, 2 Clarities / Null Talisman, 2 Shared Tangoes

Early-Mid Game
Bottle, Arcane Boots, Aether Lens, Veil of Discord, Eul’s Scepter, Force Staff, Blink Dagger

Mid-Late game
Bloodstone, Refresher Orb, Octarine Core, Aghanim’s Scepter

Zeus’ item build allows for a decent amount of creativity on your part from game to game. You’ll always want to grab a Bottle as quickly as you can in the middle lane and secure those runes. Arcane Boots are next as the mana is an obvious plus, but you’ll be disassembling those for a Bloodstone or Aether Lens sooner or later.

If you grabbed an early Null Talisman, you can sell it, but it builds into Veil of Discord which is arguably a core item on Zeus. The stats are pretty nice, but the active is what it’s all about. Target the ground with Veil to place a “Magic Weakness” debuff on any enemy in the item’s 600 radius. For the next 16 seconds, any magic damage taken by someone hit by Veil will have their magic resistance reduced by 25 percent, effectively increasing your spell damage. In the late game, a double blast from Refresher/Thundergod’s Wrath with Veil applied is devastating (provided your enemy doesn’t have Black King Bars to block it all).

If you find yourself with plenty of cash early on, Bloodstone is still a good item despite the existence of Octarine Core. The mana regeneration from a Bloodstone with boosted charges from kills means you’ll never need to go back to fountain, but if you’re dying and losing charges it pales in comparison to Octarine.

The fun thing about Octarine Core is that it reduces cooldowns, and Zeus’ cooldowns are already quite low (with the exception of his ultimate, but even that goes from 90 seconds to 67.5). The cooldown reduction combined with the mana regeneration adds up to non-stop lightning.

When you skip Bloodstone, your Arcane boots can be disassembled to make an Aether Lens. Almost everything about Aether lens seems tailor made for Zeus — extra mana, a range bonus on your spells and +5% spell damage. Even the +8 health regeneration is nice to have.

Sometimes Zeus can get away without building a mobility item, but his movement speed isn’t great, and if you’re having trouble keeping up with some particularly mobile heroes on either side of the river, consider Eul’s Scepter (movement speed bonus, 10 Intelligence, and Zeus’ favorite — mana regeneration). If you want something a bit cheaper, Blink Dagger and Force Staff are pretty good too.

Aghanim’s Scepter is sometimes thought to be core on Zeus, but the damage isn’t so significant that it should be the first thing you pick up. The stats on the item are not bad, but Veil is an obvious better choice with 12 Intelligence and six Strength/Agility/Health regen/Attack Damage/Armor compared to Aghanim’s Scepter’s 10 Strength/Agility/Intelligence and 175 Health and Mana (a minor increase considering that’s less than half the cost of Zeus’ ultimate). If you want to go all in and build Aghanim’s and Refresher, it turns a 640 damage nuke into a potential 1280 damage nuke, but enemies can dodge your ultimate with Black King Bar, itself a relatively inexpensive item.

It’s better not to put all your eggs in the Thundergod’s Wrath basket and instead build items that increase your mana regeneration, keeping you casting all your spells over a longer period of time. At a certain point, Black King Bar lasts just five seconds. You can wait. You can’t run from heaven.

Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.

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