TI Interview: rOtK on being both a player and mentor

by
Thumbnail image courtesy of Matt Demers / theScore eSports

Bai "rOtk" Fan plays for EHOME in a support role, but is a runner-up from last year's International with Vici Gaming. In the interim between Internationals, he left Vici, formed Big God with many other Chinese "legend" players, then eventually accepted a role with EHOME that is both player and mentor. EHOME finished the Group Stage with a 2W/5T/0L record, and will face Team Secret in the first round of the Winner's Bracket.

This interview was translated by Josh "Autumnwindz" Lee.

EHOME finished third in their group, and you guys didn't lose a match, how does that feel coming out of the groups relatively strong?

I feel that we really played to the best of our abilities so far after all we are a new team with two new players and this is probably only our second large tournament. In this case, the progress and process is more important than the results.

In that vein, does it feel that the training you've had has been vindicated?

It feels pretty good, because even though we're a pretty new team, the speed of our growth and maturing is quite fast. I'm very satisfying with it, and being able to beat some of those teams also feels good.

Team Secret's Zai holds you guys in very high regard because you do have three very experienced players leading two relatively inexperienced players. Is Chinese eSports structured in a way where they will respect your experience and that kind of veteran status?

I feel that in this case, the dynamic between us veteran players and the new players is a mutual one. There is a two way interaction for them, we as veteran players can share major tournament experience, but for us, they remind us of what it is like to be young again, to have that passion, that fire, it really lights something up for us.

Does the team dynamic allow for those younger players to have a moment where they say 'okay, we respect your experience but this is how it's done now?' Do the younger players have that moment where they're able to say 'just trust us on this'?

I will not just ignore them just because they're new. If I feel they're right, we will use what they say, and sometimes, if I'm wrong, I will admit it and say that they are right.

Something I asked ChauN back on the first press day, what had changed in him between winning TI2 and now, and he said he was a much more selfless player, that at TI2 he was very selfish in the way he was playing. Is it hard to become selfless like that going from a player role to a mentor role?

First of all, it's my confidence, I've gained much more confidence, especially in terms of my attitude towards the game, it kind of leads to a better amount of confidence while playing the game. Specifically, it's an attitude thing.

In the past, when I was playing, if we lost or we played poorly, I might get mad or go on tilt, but these days it's more about a good, steady attitude, and I'm able to adjust my mentality to what the game needs.

Does that come with the maturity of getting older? Or has it evolved with the game?

It's kind of not really about age, but it also is sort of about age. Mainly it's just maturity, and maturity comes from experiencing more things, and I've been experiencing more things and as such I've been thinking more and on more levels, and I've become more mature.

A lot of people had a very positive reaction to that valve player feature they did of you. Was it difficult opening up for the cameras and letting people in?

At the time, I had thought they were just going to interview me, I didn't know they wanted to interview my family. But it was after they interviewed me that they asked if they could talk to my family too. I called them, and my grandparents, they like guests, and they're very warmhearted and agreed.

When they asked me about my grandma, I just felt something, I don't really know why, but it just happened. That's just what it was.

Matt Demers is a Supervising Editor at theScore eSports, and is doing interviews from The International in Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter.

A Guide to Oracle

by 1d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Oracle was considered one of the stronger support picks towards the end of the 6.8x patch cycle and had similar draft priority in the competitive scene as the likes of Rubick or Ogre Magi.

This was despite numerous nerfs from the 6.88x hotfixes. It was only with the advent of 7.00 that his priority has fallen off, even though he's received a few of indirect buffs.

Oracle's no longer in vogue in the competitive scene, but he should still be a staple for any support player. Here's a quick guide on Nerif, the Oracle.

Playstyle

Every single one of your non-ultimate abilities is able to be cast on both allies and enemies with each serving a different purpose, some with potentially detrimental effects if used improperly. This makes Oracle one of the hardest heroes to grasp, but also one of the most versatile if played effectively.

Healing is a core mechanic to Oracle's playstyle, but he also has deceptively high burst potential, which has led to him being played in the mid lane every so often. Oracle's lack of hard crowd control and his mana costs are his biggest downfall, something you'll have to make up for with smart positioning, smarter usage of your skills and proper coordination with your team.

Skill Build

Purifying Flames (E) is your bread and butter and should be maxed first. When cast on a target it does a large burst of damage and will also place a stackable Heal-over-Time (HoT) which lasts nine seconds and heals for slightly more than the damage dealt. The effect is exactly the same on allies and enemies. Used by itself, it's your main form of burst damage thanks to it's 2.25 second cooldown, but its key usage is how it interacts with Oracle's other skills.

Fortune's End (Q) is your other damaging spell and should be maxed second. The spell fires a fast-travelling projectile from Oracle which explodes into a small area-of-effect (AoE), causing all damage and secondary effects. The first of which is a quasi-root effect that lasts longer the more the spell is channeled up to 2.5 seconds, while the other effect is a basic dispel.

Fortune's End is not a root even though it functions like one. It simply sets your target's movement speed to 0 for its duration. So Oracle does not benefit from the slew of root buffs in 7.00, sadly.

Fortune's End can be used defensively, too. The spell's damage and move reduction do not trigger on allies, nor does it dispel beneficial buffs. If any enemies happen to be in the AoE, they take the spell's full effects. Used offensively, the damage and move reduction are self-explanatory, while the dispel effect can also cancel the HoT from Purifying Flames, meaning you can take chunks out of heroes with an E-E-Q combo.

Fate's Edict (W) will be maxed last, but a value point early on is always recommended, if not mandatory. The spell disarms the target for its duration and simultaneously sets their magic resistance to 100%, which means they can still be targeted by spells, but they simply take no damage.

This is easily one of the riskiest spells to use in hairy fights. You might think you're helping your carry by making him immune to magic damage, but you also completely negate his ability to right-click.

The opposite can also be true. You might think you're helping the team by disabling the enemy carry, but he could also be your team's primary target and they just wasted Finger of Death, Laguna Blade or whatever else in what should have been a clean pick. Communication is key when using Fate's Edict properly.

It's pretty safe to use on enemy heroes when you have a team that deals mostly physical damage, such as Dazzle and Bristleback. And it's generally safe to use on your allies when they mainly rely on spells, such as Death Prophet or Tinker.

If nothing else: never cast it during hectic teamfights and only use it to eat the burst damage from Purifying Flames to turn it purely into a heal. At Level 1 you can only sneak in one Purifying Flames, but at Level 2 and up you can get in two casts. Purifying Flames' healing-per-mana efficiency goes up the more it's leveled. When paired with Fate's Edict, it's one of the best single-target heals in the game.

On the topic of healing, Purifying Flames never causes fatal damage on allies, meaning if your target is nearly dead anyways, or at 1HP thanks to Dazzle's Shallow Grave, you can spam a few Purifying Flames on the target to top them up. Though this is understandably risky.

Last but not least is your ultimate, False Promise. When cast on an ally it applies a strong dispel and locks the target's health at its current value, while delaying any and all incoming damage and healing effects. At the end of the buff's duration, all damage and healing is calculated on the target simultaneously.

While being able to delay a hero's death for 7-9 seconds is powerful by itself, especially if you save a core who can kill a hero or two within that time, the buff also doubles all forms of healing the target receives. Not only can you temporarily save an ally from certain death, but you have the potential to bring them back up to full health to wreak more havoc.

Itemization

Oracle is almost always utilized as a hard support in competitive play, so you'll be concerned less with your items and more concerned with how you ward and how you coordinate with your team. You'll maybe get your upgraded boots and upgrade your Magic Stick to a Magic Wand. It's nothing sexy, but you'll win games.

In theory, if you had the farm of a position 4 or could scrounge up a Hand of Midas, Oracle has quite a few options he could build towards. But even with farm, between wards, Smoke and TPs, you're scarce for inventory space as well. Core-acles will naturally have more options, but the viable items between both roles are similar enough.

Because you have abilities that synergize so well with healing, you should think about building some healing items, pair with a team that will or have a composition that has built-in healing already.

Against competent teams, Oracle will likely be the highest priority target in fights and you'll want to build items that help you not die, or at least die less.

Starting and Early Game

Your starting items will be the standard fare for a support: a mix of Wards and a Courier between your other support, Tangos and a few Clarities.

Throughout the laning phase, you will eventually pick up a Magic Stick and your Boots of Speed while maintaining proper map vision and making rotations with Smoke of Deceits. Wind Lace is also a solid pick up for your roaming and can build into an eventual Eul's Scepter.

Mid Game

In the mid game, you'll still be doing your support thing with Wards and Smokes, but eventually you'll find the farm for your boots upgrade. Typically this will be an Arcane Boots, but some pros prefer Tranquil Boots for the extra movement speed and the extra armor. Arcanes also have the added benefit of being able to be disassembled for an Aether Lens.

Consider upgrading your Magic Stick into a Magic Wand as it's a cheap way to add a bit more stats and stock more charges. Another way of adding some much needed health is to build an Urn of Shadows. Its active is particularly more effective for Oracle in 7.00.

In previous versions of Dota, an Urn HoT would be canceled by an auto-attack even if the target was affected by False Promise. However, this interaction has now been fixed in 7.00 and the Urn HoT persists throughout the False Promise duration. This is also true for Health Potions and it may be worth to keep a cheeky one in your inventory. A full duration Urn charge under False Promise heals 800 HP, on top of any other heals that would be on your ally, so definitely consider an Urn if no one on your team is building one already.

As mentioned earlier, Aether Lens is a natural progression for the Arcane Boots built earlier and the extra 220 cast range will help you keep your distance during fights.

Because Oracle has almost no farming mechanics, a core Oracle may want to pick up a Hand of Midas along the way.

A Mekansm is an obvious choice as it synergizes so well with False Promise. Additionally, if you decide to forgo an Aether Lens, your Arcane Boots and Mekansm can later be built into an even stronger Guardian Greaves.

Eul's Scepter is a solid pick up if you can afford it, and if you bought a Wind Lace earlier, you've already incurred some of the cost. The mana regeneration alone is a boost to your mana-heavy kit, while the extra movement speed will help pad your average moment speed. Moreover, the active Cyclone ability is a defensive and offensive tool since it can dispel the Purifying Flame HoT, and you can channel Fortune's End on a Cycloned hero.

Previous versions of Oracle's False Promise ultimate also made your target ally invisible, which forced the enemy team to invest in detection. This component of False Promise was removed a long while ago, but you can give your enemies a sense of nostalgia with a Glimmer Cape. This helps ensure your False Promise target takes less damage, but it's also useful outside of your False Promise timings.

Medallion of Courage is always a good pickup for all support heroes, as the active gives you a lot of options. Buff an ally, debuff an enemy or debuff Roshan to kill quicker. The extra mana regeneration is also key.

When you absolutely have to not take any damage from anything, a casual Ghost Scepter coupled with Fate's Edict makes you immune to all damage for a cool four seconds. But also consider one if you simply get focused by the physical carries.

Late Game

At some point investing in mobility will be a good option. If you're a support Oracle, you'll probably want a Force Staff as you can use it to save allies and pop it if you come under fire, which you will.

If you're running a core Oracle consider a Blink Dagger instead of a Force since you'll be casting False Promise on yourself, whereas as a support you'd want to save it for your cores. Because False Promise delays damage taken, your Blink doesn't go on cooldown when you take damage. This is, of course, also true when you use False Promise on allies with Blink Daggers.

If you build a Medallion and have some spare gold, a solid choice is a Solar Crest, which makes every aspect of Medallion that much better. Guardian Greaves are also a natural progression, if you have a Mekansm and hold on to your Arcane Boots. The 1,700 gold recipe is a hefty price tag, but it's well worth the extra aura and item slot.

Aghanim's Scepter is an absolutely greedy choice, but what it gives you outside of your stats is a one second cooldown on Purifying Flames, down from 2.25 seconds, as well as a faster cast point 0.1 seconds down from 0.3. This is a pretty significant increase in burst, if you can cast fast enough and if you have mana to spare, but you will have to be mindful of how many HoTs you stack on the enemy before you dispell.

Ethereal Blade is a decent choice if you really want to blow someone up, especially if you already have an Agh's Scepter, but the Ether Blast is also useful as a defensive tool, moreso when combined with Fate's Edict.

If you're thinking Mjollnir, think again. Because Oracle has one of the best Base Attack Times in the game, he benefits much more from Attack Speed bonuses. If you happen to have a lot of gold lying around and are stomping, Mjoll is a fun and clownly pick up for Oracle that works surprisingly well.

Skill Tree

LVL 10 LVL 15 LVL 20 LVL 25
XP +20% GPM +60 INT +20 False Promise duration +2
Respawn Time -20s HP +200 Move Speed +25 Cast Range +250

In competitive play, there's a clear preference towards the reduced respawn time at Level 10. This is despite the fact that the 20 percent XP gain bonus is one of the best at the level bracket, but that option is likely better geared towards core players.

Like the Level 10 branch, there's a clear preference in the Level 15 branch in competitive play. Almost all supports choose the GPM +60 bonus as you'll likely melt anyways if you're initiated, but core players will want the extra 200 health.

Level 20 is where there's some variation, as the extra 25 movement speed seems more geared towards supports, but more pros tend to take the 20 extra intelligence (INT). This is likely to support Oracle's hefty mana costs and to make up for his average stat growth.

Level 25 is where there's the least data on competitive Oracle choices. Most games end before supports can get to this point. The extra 250 cast range is likely the best overall choice and it stacks with an Aether Lens. The extra two-second False Promise duration is about a 22 percent buff, up to 11 seconds from nine seconds and may not have a big impact in most games.

Laning

As a support, you'll be pulling, stacking, warding, zoning and dying. Your ganking potential is likely at it's highest when you're Level 7 and have Purifying Flames maxed, dealing about 810 magical damage for 300 mana in the span of about three seconds. About the same damage as a Laguna Blade for less than half the mana, though over a much longer period of time.

Before that though, with Level 2 Purifying Flames, if you use it on your own ranged creep you can out damage the HoT with your right-click and simply deny the creep, ala Lich. This is a powerful tool to control the creep wave equilibrium and it's not used enough.

Generally speaking, try not to leave any Purifying Flames HoTs unpurged on an enemy hero, as you'll end up healing them for more damage than you did, while simply wasting your own mana.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oraclea P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

A guide to Slardar

by 4d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Slardar is currently one of the highest priority heroes in the competitive meta, both in terms of his pick rate and ban rate. He's one of the strongest roaming, hit-and-run initiators in the game with a kit full of crowd control and mobility, and paired with low cooldowns he also excels in extended and constant skirmishes.

While Slardar has largely been transitioned from his traditional role in the offlane into a position 4 support, we do still see offlane Slardar from the likes of Natus Vincere's GeneRaL, Team Empire's Ghostik and Digital Chaos' MoonMeander

Regardless of your region and regardless of whether you're an offlaner or support player, Slardar should be added to your stable of heroes. Here's a quick guide on the Slithereen Guard.

Related: 8 Quick Tips for Slardar

Playstyle

As one of the most mobile and stun-heavy heroes in the game, Slardar is one of the kings of initiation. With a Blink Dagger coupled with a Force Staff, or just smart usage of Guardian Sprint, you can peel from the fight just as quickly as you entered, only to re-initiate seconds later thanks to your low cooldowns.

Your ult, Corrosive Haze, functions a lot like Bounty Hunter's Track. In a lot of ways, how you play BH is how you should play Slardar. Dancing around the edge of fights, debuffing with your ult and striking at the best opportunities.

You also have the option of being a tanky front line fighter depending on how you itemize, and what your farm priority is. And this is whether you start in the offlane or transition from a support into a core. However, your bread-and-butter is how you control the tempo of the game with your map presence and how you control the tempo within those fights with your stuns, regardless of how much farm you get.

The impact of your kit is largely farm independent (other than a Blink Dagger) placing your timing window in the early and mid game, so fight early and often.

Skill Build

Whether you're position 4 or offlane, your skill build is usually static. Max Slithereen Crush first, Guardian Sprint second, getting your ultimate Corrosive Haze when you can and ignoring early levels in Bash of the Deep.

A value point in Bash early on may be useful if you can land free shots on the opposing hero, but since just about everything scales on the ability, it's generally not a great value pickup early on.

Speaking of bash, you will live and die by your Slithereen Crushes. Learn the casting animation, learn the Area-of-Effect range and learn how often you can use it. With a 2.25 stun time at max level and a fixed eight-second cooldown your potential stun uptime is absurd. On top of all that, it cannot be stated enough that both your bash abilities pierce spell immunity.

Guardian Sprint gives you one of the fastest movement speeds in the early game, allowing you to traverse the map faster than most heroes. Coupled with your two bash abilities, you're one of the scariest heroes when you're missing on the enemy's map. Chances are you're rotating for a gank or taking a fast Roshan thanks to your Corrosive Haze.

In 7.00, Roshan had the single largest buff to his base armor ever in Dota 2 history, going from 5 armor to 15 and making him that much harder to kill early on. And since Slardar has the single highest minus armor ability in the game with Corrosive Haze, he's crucial for taking fast Roshan kills.

Minus armor is also most effective against targets that already have low armor to begin with, meaning Corrosive Haze has a very strong early game window, before armor items are built. Corrosive Haze also gives vision of the target for the entire duration of the debuff.

Itemization

Your life in the early game with be a bit of a slog, since you're a melee core with no built-in regeneration, but if you can weather the storm and muster a Blink you're already halfway to victory.

Your path to a Blink is generally the same if you're a support or an offlaner, but the latter simply gets there faster. At that point the builds branch off depending on your role and farm priority — more utility if you're a support — while offlaners can favor offense-oriented items, though utility is still a solid option.

It's worth noting that, while Slardar has relatively cheap spells including one that doesn't cost mana and a passive, he also has one of the worst intelligence (INT) bases and growths for a strength (STR) hero. Some sort of mana item will be useful.

Keep in mind that you are not a late-game carry. If you build with the intention of going late against the likes of Spectre or Phantom Assassin, you will likely lose.

Starting and Early Game

For supports, stick with a Tango and Healing Salve and a fair combination of wards and a courier. Maintain wards throughout the early game, picking up Town Portal Scrolls and Smokes of Deceit wherever necessary.

As an offlaner, a good start is a Stout Shield and a Tango. From there you can either pick up a Healing Salve and bank the rest of your gold, or rush a Poor Man's Shield.

Slardar has one of the highest armor stats at Level 1, which synergizes well with the damage block from Stout and PMS. But only pick it up if you know you'll take a lot of right-click harass.

You can consider a Quelling Blade if you need help last hitting or need the active, but it's not mandatory. However, if you're really being pressured in the lane, you can build into a Iron Talon and stay in the game with some jungling.

For both roles, pick up a casual Magic Stick if you can get value from it, ignore it otherwise or even upgrade to a Magic Wand if you're getting a lot of charges. After that pick up Boots of Speed.

From here, you can either complete your Tranquil Boots, or simply save up for your eventual Blink. Na`Vi's GeneRaL prefers Power Treads for his core Slardar, but Tranquils are a much more versatile pickup and you'll want to lean more towards utility anyways.

Mid Game

For both roles, after securing your few early game items, you'll need to focus on your Blink Dagger. Once acquired, your game should open up and you should be looking for more picks on the map, building according to the enemy composition. The mid-game pickups will be fairly similar, though offlaners have more options should they choose a more offensive route.

  • Force Staff is almost always a good pickup and offers you another avenue for escape and initiation.
  • Medallion of Courage or Solar Crest are versatile picks and their minus armor debuff also stacks with your Corrosive Haze, making Roshan or the enemy carry melt that much faster.
  • Eul's Scepter gives a lot of benefits, the mana regen will keep you topped up since your spells are generally cheap. The extra movement speed will push you to the movement speed cap while Sprinting and will be useful when you're not. And finally the active makes chasing that much easier and adds even more CC to your kit.
  • Hand of Midas is sometimes picked up because of Slardar's poor ability to farm creeps, which is generally why you'd want to be farming heroes, however sometimes your hands are tied and a Midas is the most optimal choice.
  • Shadow Blade or Glimmer Cape introduce another avenue of initiation or escape. While Shadow Blade is clearly more geared towards offlaners and Glimmer Capes are better for supports, it's often been the case in pro play that the items have been interchangeable between the roles. Choose what works best.
  • Vladamir's Offering or Helm of the Dominator is a solid pickup if pushes are the name of the game and it's decent in teamfights as well. The active from HotD is less useful since there's no way the dominated creep will be able to keep up with you.
  • Black King Bar is always situational, sometimes you won't even need it, but against certain magic or CC-heavy lineups, it's what you'll want right after your Blink.
  • Lotus Orb is in an even more situational than a BKB, but good way to hard counter certain single-target heroes.

For offlaners, Armlet of Mordiggian has long been the standard pickup, however it now shares a spotlight with Echo Sabre. Armlet is a solid choice for STR cores that want to manfight, but sometimes that's not really what you want to do as a Slardar.

The passive from Sabre also means you'll often have two chances to bash instead of one, every five seconds, which you can abuse fairly well with your ability to dance around fights. Consider one after a Blink if you're greedy as it also provides solid stats.

It's not uncommon for both Armlet and Sabre to be paired to further boost Slardar's mid-game damage potential, but that's a bit too greedy for my blood. On that same now, it may be best to avoid a Desolator since you have more than enough minus armor from your ult. If you really want more minus armor, build a Medallion.

Late Game

Offlaners typically have more options in the late game, since they will have the farm to support big late game purchases, meanwhile supports will likely only have the option of picking up a variety of mid-game items into the late game. An exception is sometimes made for the Assault Cuirass, which is a solid choice for supports and offlaners alike. It's equal parts offense and defense thanks to its aura and should definitely be built if no one on the team is building one.

Boots of Travel is always a good pickup for the late game as it frees up a slot that would have been taken up by a TP and you'll always be travelling at max movement speed when Sprinting.

If you happened to build a Shadow Blade in the mid game, a natural progression is to build a Silver Edge. The extra stats alone make it a solid pickup, but you get an added option to apply a break debuff.

Heart of Tarrasque can be a solid pick up if nothing else seems particularly necessary. You gain a massive amount of health, the extra STR gives a bit more damage and the passive works well with Slardar's skirmishing playstyle. It's common pickup for Na`Vi's GeneRaL when he plays offlane Slardar.

Heaven's Halberd is a solid choice if there's a lot of right-click damage on the enemy team. The active also may force the enemy cores to build into a BKB, which you partially counter with your magic immunity piercing stuns.

And finally, if you're really insistent on making Slardar a right clicker, Moon Shard is probably your best bet as the huge boost to attack speed pairs well with your Bash of the Deep. Although, if you also need some added wave clear, Mjollnir also works.

Skill Tree

LVL 10 LVL 15 LVL 20 LVL 25
HP Regen +6 Attack Speed +25 Armor +7 Bash of the Deep +10% bash chance
Mana +175 HP +225 Damage +35 STR +20

Looking at several pro players across different regions, in both offlane and Position 4 games, there's a lot of variability for which talent branches are chosen and that's generally a sign of a balanced skill tree.

For the Level 10 skill branch, the 6 HP regeneration bonus is slightly more popular among pros, but compLexity Gaming's Zfreek and B)ears' YapzOr lean slightly towards the 175 bonus mana.

Your choice may be related to what items you plan on building, definitely pick the mana branch if you don't plan on building items that give mana, like Force Staff or even Echo Sabre. It's also worth noting that Slardar and Terrorblade are the only heroes with an HP regeneration bonus talent at Level 10.

It's another tossup for the Level 15 skill branch, with many pros switching between the two branches. The bonus 225 HP is probably the best all-round choice, while those trying to eke out as much DPS or BPS (bashes per second) can take the Attack Speed.

The Level 20 skill branch is probably where there's the most consensus among pros as they often choose the extra +7 Armor, which is a decent boost to your effective HP, especially since you're a beefier STR hero.

Furthermore, the 35 bonus damage branch is the lowest damage bonus out of all Level 20 talents and many hero's Level 15 damage bonus branch are better. Further still, one of Necrophos' Level 10 branches gives him 40 bonus damage... take the armor.

Finally, Slardar's Level 25 branch introduces another tossup with both choices being solid. The 20 bonus STR is likely your go-to as it gives you a lot of what you need, more health and a bit more damage. However, the 10 percent additional bash chance on your passive is a higher risk, but also potentially higher reward depending on how fights play out.

Laning

Whether you're running Slardar as an offlaner or as a support, you should have a pretty standard laning phase for a melee hero. You have fantastic Level 1 armor, however your HP regen is the standard 0.25 HP per second, so don't get careless.

You're in your element when you're on the offensive. Your stuns are incredibly disruptive during skirmishes and your Guardian Sprint ensures your target doesn't get a away if they choose to turn tail. You'll also be able to roam faster thanks to your Sprint, but be careful when it's used as the 15 percent damage amp debuff can hurt.

Once you get your Corrosive Haze, you should almost always keep the debuff on nearby enemy heroes. At a 25 mana cost, 25 second duration and five second cooldown, uptime should not be an issue. Sometimes the debuff alone is enough to make the enemy pull back in the lane.

Corrosive Haze is also one of the best tools in the game for taking Roshan, thanks to his buffed 15 base armor. Keep this in mind.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oraclea P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

Returning to Dota 2: A Brief Guide to 7.00's Map

by 5d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Dota 2 is a complex game that takes years of practice and trial and error to fully master. Experienced players have hours upon hours of play to rely upon, their efforts rewarded with a complete understanding of, among other things, how the map works.

Leave it to Valve to change that with the 7.00 update.

On top of a myriad of other changes, Valve has significantly changed the Dota 2 map, creating new jungles, pathways, camps and ward spots for players to memorize and navigate. The changes have taken some getting used to, and it makes the experience of learning to play Dota 2 not just daunting for newcomers, but for returning players as well.

While it will still take plenty of practice to learn the intricacies of the map, here are the big changes you need to be aware of if you're returning to Dota 2.

Roshan went on vacation and moved upstream

One of the biggest changes to the 7.00 map is the changing position of Roshan. Formerly located next to the bottom river rune spot, Roshan has migrated upstream to the top left of the river, with his pit being completely inside the river as opposed to jutting out of the wall in his previous location. In addition, the pit itself is smaller than it's earlier incarnation, making it more difficult to properly take and hold and making teams more susceptible to Slam.

With these changes, Roshan is much more difficult for the Radiant to push into and the Dire to access, as his location is now in a more neutral than his pre-7.00 hovel. Dire does gain some slight advantages elsewhere in the map though, as the absence of Roshan means that their safe lane tower and jungle will likely remain up for a longer period.

Shrines - A Valuable new tool

Shrines are a new building type in Dota 2, with both teams having five inside their base and one near each of the Radiant and Dire's Secret Shops and new Ancient Camp locations. They look like this:

Rather than just being decoration, Shrines have a unique ability on a five minute cooldown that can heal allies around it. When an allied hero right clicks it, a wide AOE healing spell is cast that regenerates HP and MP every second for five seconds, with the total healing value increasing with each minute. It's a dependable tool that your team can use to recover before or after a fight, but it is also vulnerable to enemy attacks once a Tier 3 tower dies.

Runes

Runes have now been divided into two different categories to make way for their location changes: Powerup Runes, such as Haste and Double Damage, and Bounty Runes.

Powerup Runes are much the same as before, spawning in one of the two river locations, though the Runes will only spawn at one river location at a time. For returning Dota players, not much changes in terms of these Runes.

Bounty Runes, on the other hand, have received a number of sizable changes. No longer spawning in the river, one Bounty Rune spawns in each of the four jungles once every two minutes. They also only restore two bottle charges now, compared to the three charges prior to 7.00.

Ancients and Neutrals

Alongside a new jungle comes new camps for players to harm. For both the Dire and Radiant, there is one new Ancient in their primary jungle alongside a medium camp for their secondary jungle.

Beyond that, the biggest change made to neutrals is their spawn timer, as they now spawn every odd minute after the initial 0:30 spawn time. Jungle control is more important now than ever before, as teams need to pressure the enemy jungle to secure an early game advantage and ruin the other team's farm.

Beyond that, minor adjustments have been made to the location of every creep camp, with the entire jungle terrain being adjusted accordingly.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

8 Quick Tips for Slardar

by 5d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Slardar is currently one of the most versatile heroes in Dota 2, able to flourish in the offlane and as a position 4 support. He has also been used in mid-game oriented compositions in the safelane. It's more important than ever to know the minor details about the heroes, so here's some quick tips on Slardar to help you crush your opponents.

Related: A guide to Slardar

  1. Keep Corrosive Haze on cooldown during fights. It's a huge damage amp for physical damage, such as your right-click and Slithereen Crush. It's easy to forget about it since it has a five second cooldown. It lasts 25 seconds and only costs 25 mana, so uptime should not be an issue.
  2. Armor counters minus armor debuffs, so keep that in mind when drafting against Dragon Knight, Sven, Timbersaw and Lich, who have or grant a lot of armor.
  3. When chasing a target to lineup a Slithereen Crush, keep in mind the ability's animation time. If you don't lead your target enough, they will simply run out of the ability's small Area-of-Effect. Learn to cancel the animation if you know it won't land.
  4. Diffusal Blade's Purge active can no longer be self-casted. So, feel free to be a jerk and insta-lock Slardar when facing Riki or Broodmother or any other invis hero that builds a Diffusal, since Corrosive Haze reveals invis heroes.
  5. Be wary of heroes with low cooldown dispells, such as Oracle, Abaddon, Legion Commander and Slark. They can dispell Corrosive Haze, your bashes and offensive dispells can cancel your Guardian Sprint.
  6. With a Blink Dagger and Echo Saber, and when jumping on a single target, it may be best to open with your two auto-attacks to fish for a stun with your passive, then chain it with a Slithereen Crush afterwards.
  7. You have one of the highest armor stats at Level 1, as well as the second highest agility gain for a strength hero. However, you also have one of the worst intelligence bases and growths. Keep this in mind when building items.
  8. Avoid using Guardian Sprint in the middle of a hairy teamfights, due to the damage amplification debuff. Use it to get there faster, when you need to escape or the fight's already won and you need to chase stragglers.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

$250,000 Masters Manila tournament announced

themasters.gg 6d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

ESL and the Mineski-Events Team have announced a $250,000 Dota 2 tournament for the end of May. The eight-team tournament, dubbed The Masters - Manila, will run from May 26-28 and take place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Only Evil Geniuses' attendance at the tournament has been confirmed.

Click here for the full article via themasters.gg

related articles