My name is Thad (IGN) Thadpole and I’ve been playing DotA 2 for 2 years now. I have played over 4,000 games, have played with many pro players, played competitively on a team, tried streaming on twitch.tv, but never have I succeeded in making a guide to DotA. Not even a small short one about a single subject. Every time I try, I end up making things too complicated, or the gameplay changes with a new patch and my information is no longer correct or I just get overwhelmed by the amount of information I feel pressured to cover.
So instead of making a comprehensive guide, I have decided to simply attempt to write things about DotA 2 that I know without much purpose and without specificity, without a goal in mind and definitely without completion or perfection.
From here it seems simple now, I just have to let my mind flow, and with that we begin my not so comprehensive probably misguided guide to DotA 2.
The mentality I have adopted is one of a nihilist that believes in passion for things. Put yourself where you want to be. You can only care about so many pubs games. If you want to learn how to play Dota to the best of your ability, you need to adjust your environment. For me, this is on a team with 4 other players playing tournaments.
Every game you get to play against better opponents is a gift to you from the matchmaking system of valve. Every scrim versus an up and coming team is valuable. You can learn much from a high skilled opponent.
Connections and impressions are how you get into this scene and that means playing well in front of your veteran members that know something about dota, teaching them something new.
The truth is you need a set of tools to play Dota and then to run wild with them. These tools include an expertise in laning mechanics, a vast knowledge of mechanics interaction involving learning hundreds of words specific to dota such as “disable” “stun” “disjoint” etc, keen reflexes toned to predictability of your opponent, and a set of logical and mathematical skills to help make the superior decision.
No one knows everything about dota, it’s impossibly large. Your goal shouldn’t be mimicry or textbook dota of repeated combinations being executed together blindly, but new and innovative techniques not mentioned in this guide, not anywhere .
Everything I know about Dota:
- Ember Spirit, 308 matches played, 58.44% winrate
Level of expertise: Mastered
Early game carry to mid game space creator to late game turtler
This hero has an exceptionally bad level 1 and level 2, low starting armor as an agility hero, and low stat gain and starting stats. He’s also melee to top everything off. The hero would be retardedly squishy if it wasn’t for his 500 damage magic shield granted to him. The heroes level of mobility is off the charts. A good ember player requires a better ember player to beat him.
The purpose of drafting or picking ember spirit is to build a snowball into an unbreakable base into inevitable ridiculous damage output. The potential DPS of this hero is high enough to get a rampage in half a second. The hero is difficult to catch farming without invisibility initiation or blink hex initiation.
Blink hex initiation is the strongest single target initiation possible. It requires vision of the target before the blink. The reason you need blink hex initiation against ember is that spells have cast points. Few spells have minimal or no cast times, and scythe of vyse is one of those items that has no cast point. Ember spirit’s cast points are very short if not close to 0, meaning that in a twitch reaction battle, ember always has the upper hand. In long drawn out games this is why linken’s sphere can be better than a bkb since blink hexes are not impacted by bkbs.
What I like about ember is that a skilled ember can beat unfavorable matchups by being patient and waiting. The heroes damage output at level 6 becomes insane and with a slight early lane advantage can turn it into lane domination. Here’s how.
Ember needs to control the runes. If he trades farm with mid by allowing the mid to clear creeps he has the potential to be “out greeded”. Many heroes are more delicate yet do more damage than ember spirit, like shadow fiend and meepo. Shadow fiend is very squishy and has no innate escape mechanisms. He has Ember spirits stats without the 500 damage magic damage shield. If an ember allows shadow fiend to control the runes, he has lost his lane.
So the first thing you must do is beat your opponent to a bottle. This will require you hitting your first 12 CS (or less depending on your starting items). This will also be assisted by you denying the first 12 cs of your opponent. A lane can be completely dominated by only hitting the creeps, regardless of the matchup.
The next thing you must do is beat your opponent to boots. If you do this, you can win your lane. Once you have acquired boots you must use them to your advantage. Ember spirit is great at this. The combo is simple. You searing chains them and run them down with flame guard. Flame guard does over 1000 damage over its duration and should prove easy pickings if you can get close to them.
The final step is to engage in free farm. Free farm is to hit creeps uncontested. No heroes trying to deny or right click you, and very simply this is how you play ember spirit.
The way you play the lane:
Control wave on your high ground from 00:00 to 1:45
Push wave and grab rune if you have bottle, else surrender rune to farm bottle
Control wave again, trying to last hit and deny as much as possible. Look for opportunities to catch your opponent with bolas. If you have MS over your opponent, 1 point in bolas should be all you need if they are far enough out. Else, wait for level 6 and then move for a kill.
Once you have four points in flame guard, consider whether you are pressured in your lane, can you get kills if you use your remnants? Most of the time this should be yes. Sometimes four points in bolas is necessary against heroes with blink or high effective hp (viper, blech).
Sometimes it’s best to rotate off the lane. If they have a jungler, move into the jungle at level 7. Make sure you have a full mana pool and bottle to support sticky situations. Else, continue to farm and try for a rotation with the 8 minute rune (when the opponents wards fall).
Now you should be considering your first item, and we’ll talk about this later.
Obviously this is an outline of an ideal first 10 minutes of the game, but this rarely happens. Ember is a very weak laner, and slight missteps from level 1 and level 2 can result in a near impossible lane to win, and while playing ahead is easy, playing from behind is going to be what you’ll be doing more than you’d probably like, so you’re left outplaying your opponent. The first step to outplaying your opponent is making sure you don’t outplay yourself.
I see a lot of ember spirits suicide themselves by remnanting in, using all their spells, and then running out of mana and dying. Your remnant usage is 100% what will separate the good from the bad when it comes to playing ember, so let me give you my tips.
Defensive remnants when split pushing: Drop remnants out of vision of your opponent in safe and secluded areas (ie under your towers, deep in the trees). If the opponent has blink hex or blink silences, do not waste time split pushing. Nuke the wave, keep your flame guard up, remnant out after creeps are dead. Do not be greedy with bkb charges. If you are silenced, BkB and remnant out. Do not run out of mana. Remnant is expensive. If the team lacks intense lockdown, abuse defensive remnant by relentlessly running at your opponent. Cut creep waves behind towers. Push your limits. See if you can kill supports without using remnant. Remember if they commit any abilities or teleports that you don’t have to kill, its fine to remnant out. Watch the timer on the remnant located on the buffs and debuffs line above your hero abilities. They last 45 seconds and have a countdown around the edge of the buff.
Proper use of casting remnant:
Remnants leave ember spirit at 1.5x current MS. This means you want the highest ms when using remnant to move quickly, so before dropping aggressive remnants or trying to run away with remnants, use phase boots. Casting remnant breaks phase, but you will get the ms bonus. Do not be caught without a defensive remnant into slow heavy lineups. You will not move far if you get galed and are then stuck without a remnant. If you are unlucky enough to get slowed to 100 ms without a remnant, cast your remnant and start running the opposite direction of it. Your opponent will have to make a decision to keep 1 hero at your remnant. If you feel jumping to your remnant will not save you, cast another remnant and make sure you jump to the remnant you want to by casting activate remnant closer to the one you want. Many times I have escaped by just running away without using remnant, as my opponents expect me to jump to it.
Triple remnanting is when you use all 3 remnants for the aoe nuke damage. You only use 1 jumps worth of mana for all 3 remnants, allowing high aoe damage early on. I do not recommend initiating team fights with triple remnant unless it is on many heroes and your team does not lack crowd control. Triple remnanting is appropriate during the laning phase when your mana pool does not support multiple remnant jumps anyways and your burst damage is most relevant. The movement utility is much more important than the damage later into the game.
Remnants have a 35 second recharge time with a max of 3 remnants. If you are out of remnants or have 1 remnant, jumping in or being caught is more dangerous. Take your remnant down time to farm neutrals or go heal up. The pressure ember can apply to the map is weakened without remnants. Do not try to fight with 1 remnant into multiple heroes. A jump out is just as important as the jump in.
The sleight of fist remnant:
When you cast sleight of fist, a temporary remnant is dropped while you are invulnerable jumping around like a mad man every .2 seconds. This remnant can be jumped to using the activate remnant ability. This means that if you have a defensive remnant up, cast sleight fist, cast activate remnant before sleight of fist ends, you will jump to the defensive remnant, then to the temporary sleight of fist remnant, sleight of fist will end and you will be stuck without your defensive remnant, so instead what you must do is always wait for the duration of sleight of fist to end, then jump to remnant. The timing on this has been granted a grace period, wherein the last couple of sleight jumps it is safe to cast activate remnant without wasting your remnant. Thank you, based icefrog.
Remnanting does not disjoint projectiles, but does put you in a state of invulnerability and projectiles can be absorbed during this period. Remnanting destroys trees in the path traveled, unless the travel distance is very large.
Flame guard serves as Ember’s main form of wave clear and early game damage. 9/10 games this is the ability I max first. Most mids also have some form or another of wave clear or have an ability to harass you and this will negate it. The shield is easily broken at level 1 with 50 damage, but quickly scales to 200 – 350 – 500. When the amount of damage flameguard absorbs is higher than your opponents ability to break, that is your time to look to punish positioning. Against most heroes, this will be level 2 flame guard.
When playing the mid lane, it is important to have flameguard up at game time xx:45 to push the wave to control runes. With 4 points in flameguard and while on radiant, it is possible to push the wave and farm the medium camp.
Flameguard can be purged, so know the natural purges and know how to work around it. Flameguard is removed when the threshold damage is dealt before reductions and then damage is dealt with reductions (IE level 4 flameguard gets level 1 fingered of deathed, ember will take 75 damage after reductions and lose flameguard.) You do not want to get your flame guard purged or bursted through early on because it is your main source of damage before you have right click. Flameguard damage will affect everyone in a sleight of fist for the duration of sleight. This is very important and will add a lot of damage early on.
Bolas (searing chains) is the most simple spell of ember. Very simply two searing chains are released from ember spirit and attach to two targets in an aoe around them. The searing chains will cancel channels and interrupt cast times (very important!). The searing chains does damage in intervals of 1 second in increasing amounts and duration. Antimage and queen of pain cannot blink out of bolas and it falls under the category of disables known as “ensnares”, where you can attack, cast spells but not move or blink. Only 1 bolas will be released if there is only 1 valid target. The bolas has no priority and will hit creeps if it can. Bolas can be casted from sleight of fist, and will latch from the target ember is currently hitting in the .2 second interval. Targets can be hit with bolas but not sleight of fist if they are near enough to the target hit by sleight of fist.
Bolas can be used to clear jungle camps when it is maxed as it might be necessary to have flame guard up for an upcoming fight. Bolas should be used to cancel animations but should not be used too early to prevent your opponent from teleporting out. Sleight of fist into bolas can be reliably used to remove RNG factors from who they latch onto by isolating heroes with sleight of fist, similarly to the way shadow demon uses soul catcher aoe.
Finally I can talk about sleight of fist or what I like to view as the phase shift of death. When this ability is maxed, it has an amazing 6 second cooldown, does 90 physical damage to every hero it hits in a huge aoe with a large cast range, applies unique attack modifiers (lifesteal, desolator) and can proc bashes, maelstrom and mkb. This is what makes ember spirit ember spirit, maximizes his mobility and makes him very hard to kill.
Sleight of fist disjoints projectiles as ember is invulnerable, immune to damage. It has no limit on the number of targets, as long as they fit in the AoE, and in turn no limit on its duration. It hits units in fog of war and gives vision for the duration of sleight of fist ,unlike bolas, which does not hit units in fog of war, but pairs nicely with this temporary vision. Battlefuries make this skill ridiculous late game, and incredibly difficult to make a base broken versus ember spirit as every hit will cleave in a direction in the full AoE. This skill is impacted by your item build the most, and better ember spirit players know what kind of greed they can get away with when it comes to damage.
Generic item builds:
Ember has a pretty standard build up, phase drums into damage, but he can’t always be built this way, and sometimes it’s not always necessary nor the correct build. So I’ll talk about these items a little.
Phase is obviously going to be the most common pick up, since movespeed is valuable and the extra damage for sleight is applicable.
Arcanes: The “dendi” build. When ember first was entered into captains mode, dendi would buy arcanes and rush a desolator, skipping drums and having a hyper impactful mid game, enabling multiple remnant usage early on. Arcanes also allows you to build a mekansm which is surprisingly strong, giving ember quite good tankability early on. Arcanes is definitely the great untapped potential of this hero. Corey, the carry player from Zephyr (the south korean team with Blitz and Purge as well as Merlini for a short while, can’t forget bamboe too) would play a safelane ember that rushed arcanes, enabling him to make early tps, but would later build into battlefury and play a farm intensive mid game.
Treads: Ember doesn’t really benefit from the attack speed so much, but these boots pair well with other stat items. If you’ve ever seen the SEA player Meracle play this hero, you will understand the decision more. Treads pair best with manta style and butterfly in situations where you are stuck “manfighting” heroes that can jump on you, like PA and spectre where the sleight of fist spam is not applicable.
Stick and wand are quite useful. In active games, a wand is sometimes good enough to replace drums, or perhaps throw in a bracer. A wand enables your small mana pool to be increased, almost doubled. Highly recommend this item with active mid games. A stick is also quite useful in the mid lane versus heroes like zeus and storm spirit and should be picked up from level 1.
Drums are very strong on this hero with good timing. They give you a lot of mana pool that is much needed on this hero. Drums instantly up your mid game presence, allowing multiples of all your spells to be casted, and with their low cooldowns is very strong.
Ring of Aquila: If you are playing a safelane ember spirit, I highly recommend this item. The stats and regen are both very useful, and ember is quite a strong split pusher in the sense he is difficult to catch. I usually build basilius on my safelane ember, opting for a ring of protection to start with over a stout (because generally you are not under harass, or the offerlaner is melee).
Battlefury is going to be the “go to” first item because it makes your second and third item come faster. Definitely the best option to go for after your mana problems are solved if you are looking to take the game beyond the 30 minute mark. If you are the teams only source of physical damage and late game security, I wouldn’t pick any other item.
Desolator is very very very strong as a first item. If you are going to buy desolator, be ready for a hyper impactful mid game because the physical damage output is so high. Your sleight of fists on low armor heroes are going to be doing 300~ damage. Definitely going to suck to be the intelligence or strength support versus you. Do not buy desolator as a second or third item. First item or not at all. The sleight of fist additional damage is most relevant when armor values are low early on. An additional battlefury will almost always be better later on. Additionally, desolator applies to all heroes you hit in sleight of fist, providing your team with extra physical damage all around.
Black king bar is sometimes the unfortunate necessity of the matter. If you are playing against silences, hexes, lots of disables, orchid rushers, get some early stats and then buy a black king bar. Your mid game is the most important part to be impactful as your mobility is relevant and flame guard and bolas are at the peak and if you are getting shut down or picked off because you went battlefury, well that’s just a damn shame. Some heroes you should ALWAYS buy bkb against (looking at you, silencer).
Orchid malevolence is my only little invention. I remember the first time I bought it very well. I was sitting mid, farming up, pretty passive game for me, 0 deaths, 0 kills 0 assists. My offlane was feeding very hard, which made it hard to gank and their offlane had like a puck or something that was really hard to gank so I was left farming mid. I had 4k gold saved up, with brown boots. I hadn’t bought an item because I wasn’t sure what I needed. The safelane weaver was 7 kills 0 deaths and had ultimate orb perseverance at like minute 12. We had like 1 stun, so we were basically about to get shit on not being able to CC weaver as they start pushing our safelane tower and I 1 shot buy the orchid. Brown boots bottle into orchid. It worked like a charm, just like an orchid on storm spirit. He ended up finishing his linkens after 20 minutes and by then I had farmed up a desolator as well. Had I needed to, I would have followed up with a BkB. Now whenever I see a weaver, I always think to build orchid. This item is very potent versus any heroes reliant upon their escapes.
Manta Style is sometimes the right item to get first. If there only disable is 1 single target silence, or projectile stuns to dodge and split pushing is the name of the game. The phase drums yasha build up gives you a lot of movespeed which is valuable, and more mana to work with once the manta is finished.
Mekansm: Similar to shadowfiend, this hero doesn’t need damage right away due to his skill set and can turn into an objective gamer with a mekasm. I recommend having arcanes and not drums as the mana cost is quite high.
Boots of Travels: To me, boots of travel is similar to midas in that it has a kind of wide range of appropriate timing but is generally relatively early. Super early travels give you a lot of sustain in combination with a bottle, and make your trip to base free as long as you leave a remnant behind. I generally do not get BoTs myself, but see them as a valuable long term investment and more active midgame with a larger mana pool and more sustain. Teleport scrolls add up!
Second items, third and fourth items
Battlefury: You generally want to get a battlefury at some point in your build up as it just pretty much core, but by no means a requirement. The item doesn’t fall off, everything about this item is beneficial at any point in the game. This item was made for ember (pretty sure at least).
Daedalus: First, never get this item first. You’ll be critting for maybe 200, since you can’t crit off sleight of fist damage and desolator is way better single target damage, but with a desolator or battlefury, the damage is much better. I highly recommend always following up a desolator with daedalus instead of a battlefury right away as it maximizes your single target damage, allowing upwards of 700 damage crits on low armor heroes.
Linken’s Sphere: This item is generally very strong and will make you that much slipperier like a weaver and slark and gives you time to react to ganks. Ember also benefits from the regen and stats. I suggest this as a third item, as linken’s is expensive and will make the beginning of your late game underwhelming if you are not drastically ahead in net worth.
Eye of Skadi: Definitely not an ember spirit item, but sometimes the right one. Generally you shouldn’t be looking to “tank up” as this is not the purpose of the hero. Eye of Skadi should be purchased for its ability to allow trading right clicks with other heroes. Skadi is very good against heroes that are dependant upon attack speed and move speed, like tiny and spectre, heroes you will definitely be stuck man fighting at some point. Skadi should definitely be a 4th item. It’s a very underwhelming item damage wise and will leave you pointlessly tanky with little armor to back it up.
Butterfly: This item is probably one of the most situational items. The item is for doing tower damage, and assuming you have a manta style to benefit from the stats as well. I have rarely bought and purchased this item myself and probably not in situations that mattered. I suggest you look towards Meracle to get a better understanding of how it’s used. He is the master of objective gaming and will split push you until you break down and cry using the strangest and bizarre ways. Naga players….
Monkey king bar: To negate miss chance and evasion. Doesn’t benefit ember in particular. Chance to proc on every sleight of fist hit, which is nice.
Assault Currias: Against abbysal carriers, and high physical dpsers, desolator into assault curias is very strong. Stacking minus armor scales very well, and with a desolator is basically a minus 12 armor aura (if you hit everyone with sleight of fist as well). Armor is a very valuable stat on ember spirit, with 500 magical damage shield, physical damage is a weakness of ember’s. Assault currias also maximizes your tower damage. If there are unavoidable bkb piercing disables, this item can serve as your survivability while not hindering your damage output.
Rapier: Buy this when you have at least a battlefury and a crystalis and the game is looking grim. I have turned many games around with a timely rapier. Rapier is all about building reliable damage. Double battlefury into rapier is also quite strong, but battlefury crystalis is very high single target damage, cheaper, however less reliable. Do not buy when you are ahead. There is no point. Your hero may be mobile, but by no means is it forgiving to mistakes.
Satanic: Good if you don’t have desolator and are somehow taking damage in between sleights (ie global sources, heroes that can close the gap, sniper). Activating satanic and sleight of fisting will most likely always put you to full hp, plus the 25% passive lifesteal is quite a bit of sustain already. If your fights are very long, this is a great item. I mention sniper because his auto attack range and your cast range + sleight of fist is very similar. Yours is still larger, but not by much. This item also pairs great with items that do provide you tankiness like assault currias and butterfly, and can make you unkillable in the right situations.
Mjollnir: Kind of a weak choice in my opinion. Needs a mention though because despite being weak, it does provide similar creep clear to a battlefury and will not slow down your farm at all, plus gets the active ability, which isn’t great for ember spirit but could serve an axe on your team very well. I see it as an alternative to battlefury and usually not as good.
Abbysal blade: Basher by itself is quite weak on ember as the cool down on basher still applies and you will only bash 1 hero in sleight of fist (or none). But the active on abbysal provides you with 5 second of disable between bolas and abbysal blade, allowing your allies to catch up. The damage from abbysal is quite nice and it can be disassembled into a rapier. Against hard to CC targets like antimage, this item can prove useful.
Vladimir’s offering: This item could serve you well if you are playing a farm intensive mid game and are farming lots of neutral camps, similar to an antimage. However, it is an investment of a slot that cannot be upgraded, and ember spirit very frequently runs out of slots and would prefer to have a satanic or additional damage later on.
Every other item has been mentioned, you should be doubling down on your damage at this point, and starting to eliminate items that might be unnecessary at this point. Replacing a desolator with satanic and bkb with linkens are sometimes sensible decisions to make.
For this section I will talk extensively about mid-lane match ups, overall game match ups, and how to itemize against these heroes. I will also discuss synergies with ember if there are any.
This bad boy needs to be talked about first. This hero sucks to play against. The pure damage glaives, the silence, the disarm, all is very painful to deal with. If you get disarmed, you will only deal 90 damage to each unit in sleight of fist, not proc anything, and most definitely not cleave anything (this is impossible against a silencer, since you will always be silenced and disarmed in the same time, but deafening blast heaven’s halberd applicable). The last word silence cannot be avoided by casting sleight of fist and casting remnant will trigger the silence which means you cannot remnant away from a silencer if you do not already have a defensive remnant up! Because silencer has two silences, global silence and last word, I do not recommend building manta, but rather BkB. Silencer has nothing against BkB, he cannot deal any of his damage to you if you BkB.
If you are laning against a silencer and anticipating it, buy a set of tangoes and a salve. Scale flame guard level 1 since he has no way of popping it, and push the wave into his tower. Silencer’s harass is ridiculous. Expect to be heavily outlaned and look to make things happen elsewhere on the map. Ember does have kill potential as silencer is low armor low hp pool, but generally not likely until level 6. You can avoid more of silencers abilities by approaching the lane with flame guard already active. If last word is put on you before you cast flame guard, the damage will not be mitigated by flame guard.
So to lane against silencer and to win, you must out creep clear him, but with the ability to orb walk as a melee hero, it will be tough! Scale flame guard level 1 and try to get the full duration off. Curse of the silent and last word will both take time to do their damage, so you should get the full duration at level 1. Pushing the creep wave into silencers tower will eventually make it push back into yours, allowing you to farm safely against a stronger laner. Approach the lane with flame guard and scale sleight of fist at level 2 or 4. If silencer casts last word on you, sleight of fist to prevent the disarm and disjoint incoming glaives simultaneously. Disjoint incoming glaives with sleight of fist anyways. Next, make a move to bolas if you have a favorable number of creeps at this point, which you should since you’ve been pushing with flame guard. This is where you can pick up kills. Pay attention to the duration of flame guard.
If you have made it this far, you have passed the hardest part and will now start to outlane silencer now that you have a bottle (hopefully) and have better creep clear. Do not waste time in the lane. Shoving the lane into silencers tower repeatedly will force him to stay to defend his tower and allow you to make moves around the map. If your safe laner is ready to make a move or can efficiently jungle, give mid to a support and take the safelane if you need to catch up or finish an item. If the silencer rotates off the lane, stop pushing the wave and engage in operation free farm.
I recommend buying drums and a wand versus silencers because he will be draining your mana and stealing your intelligence. Time your bkb purchase with their first 5 man push/inevitable gank squad whether it be a blink on centaur or a mek on viper you want to be ready to fight when they are. Otherwise, this hero shouldn’t control your item choices beyond a bkb and this game is yours.
You will lose a lot of lanes versus a silencer mid, and it takes practice. You are playing a harder hero with a lot of intricacies that interact poorly with silencer, and some things can only be learned through experience, the hard way.
This hero plays very similarly against silencer in lane, but once the laning stage is over, viper proves a minor adversary as he does not provide reliable disable versus ember spirit. Attack speed is very unimportant to ember spirit.
Again, scale flame guard level 1 and shove the lane into viper, looking for bolas when you have a favorable amount of creeps. Dodge harass with sleight of fist when possible. Beware level 6 as if you are caught out, your low armor will serve no match to nethertoxin and viper strike.
Viper strike is dodgeable with sleight of fist if they are enough targets hit by sleight of fist, as viper strike is a fairly slow projectile and will not be disjointed if ember spirit finishes sleight before the viper strike reaches him. Desolator is a strong choice versus viper as he has high magical resistance and is prone to physical damage. Be persistent with defensive remnants as getting slowed by viper in bad places can mean your imminent doom. Corrosive skin will not proc on sleight of fist, but will proc on flame guard. If you sleight of fist while flame guard is up, corrosive skin will be procced.
This lane should be expected to be lost in the sense the ember spirit will be outfarmed, but never underestimate the power of a skilled ember spirit (or overestimate the skill of your likely clueless viper :P) and this match up can be effectively played, with patience. Slight missteps will result in larger punishes if the viper is proficient. This matchup should be practiced.
This hero is dangerously good versus ember spirit. With enough magical damage to remove flame guard early on, this lane can be painfully hard to win and should be avoided at all costs. Buy boots first if you are anticipating this matchup.
If you are stuck with this lane, be prepared to give up on it completely as it can very quickly become completely unplayable. Inform your safelaner that your lane will likely be lost and he should prepare to move mid or rotate in the jungle so you can catch up at some point.
Scale bolas level 1 against razor. If he moves in to static link, back up immediately and guarantee the bolas lands, and move out of range of static link. Now attempt to last hit with your gimped ass damage or be zoned out because you don’t have a stout shield and by no means can you trade right clicks with this hero. You cannot break static link with sleight of fist, do not try.
This lane should continue on like this for quite some time. There is not much you can do with this lane. Once you hit 6, place a defensive remnant, and instead of bolasing, remnant back when he casts static link, avoiding all drained damage and putting static link on cool down. This will make your lane much more manageable. Consider picking up a stout and quelling blade at this point, since you will be able to more effectively lane. It’s okay if you only have 5 or 10 cs by level 6, this is your time to catch up. Some heroes lose much worse to razor and have no solution.
Beware of long stuns and being caught without a remnant versus a razor. Minus armor and physical damage is a huge weakness of ember spirit, and a strength of razor’s. Beyond the laning stages and early mid game, this hero should be fairly weak to ember spirit as static link is nigh impossible to get off on ember once he hits level 6.
By far my favorite mid match up ever, ember versus TA this is always one hell of a bloodbath. Both heroes counter their strengths and utilize their weaknesses of each other well with flame guard burning refraction charges and meld absolutely destroying ember spirit.
This lane is won by never trading right clicks with TA, but effectively harassing with flame guard and bolas. The low ranged of TA makes catching out with bolas easier, but the ridiculous damage output of TA must never be forgotten. Sometimes even though the TA is in a bad position, you cannot capitalize because the TA will always win if they man up.
To tell the truth, I struggle versus this matchup a lot. It’s very very hard to play as the ember spirit and much easier to make the mistake. It’s important to capitalize on missed meld strikes and important to have points into sleight of fist during man fights, as it will deaggro aggro’d creeps on to you while your creeps will remain attacking your opponent. It is also possible to disjoint the meld strike with sleight of fist, but very difficult especially when TA is doing it from close ranged. Sometimes the TA will hide in meld and punishing with flameguard gets you killed with back to back meld strikes. When TA has maxed meld and max refraction, you will die in two meld strikes and 3 hits. Be weary if TA hits 6 before you as psionic traps will be enough to bring you down.
I do not recommend attempting to itemize specifically against a TA but rather ignoring completely. In the mid and late game, you should run away from this hero and rely on your teammates being able to kite her or tank her damage for you while you stand back with 3 battlefuries or whatever your game calls for. If you can kill the other 4 heroes, TA is no 1v5 hero.
It is likely you will be outfarmed in your lane, and going battlefury after phase and drums can help you outfarm your opponents. It will also deter the TA from going manta style, and punish her if she does.
Queen of Pain:
This matchup is not very much fun to play. Queen has a high base damage and requires good execution of abilities to not be completely destroyed. QoP has better wave clear and is difficult to kill. Let me begin.
Scale sleight of fist level 1 to disjoint the dagger. This is quite difficult to do, try to hit as many targets as possible with sleight. If the queen animation cancels the dagger and you sleight of fist, it has a very long cooldown level 1 and you will end up eating the dagger. Try to disjoint as many daggers as possible while hitting your cs. Do not try to deny too much as you might eat a scream of pain or two. Don’t use flame guard until you have two points in it as both dagger and scream will remove it.
Consider only 1 point in sleight of fist, prioritizing flame guard and bolas for the additional disable as QoP cannot blink out of bolas. If sleight of fist is proving to be a very useful way to dodge harass from the dagger and right clicks, consider no points in bolas instead opting for harassing and pushing the wave instead of going for kills. This might help you win your lane. Four points in sleight will allow you to spam the QoP out of lane.
Be cautious of QoP’s level 6 as flame guard will not protect you from the pure damage of sonic wave. The sonic wave is easily dodgeable if you have a defensive remnant already placed, as the cast point and projectile speed are very reactable.
QoP is a typical orchid rusher, so keep an eye on her item progression and stay out of lanes when she has it and is not on the map.
Desolator into BkB would be my recommended items if the only hero I knew you were against was QoP. Using your remnants to chase a QoP is the hardest aspect of killing her and paying attention to where she blinks is important.
This is a hero that outlanes ember pretty badly too. Pure damage laser and enough magical damage to remove flame guard with march of the machines leaves you often at the mercy of the tinker who completely controls the lane. Definitely ask your supports or jungler to make a move on the tinker before he’s level 5 or 6 and has a lot of points in march because a kill on this hero and reaching level 6 early will make your lane significantly easier to kill.
I recommend starting with a salve and a set of tangoes, along with a stout shield. Try to get tinker to use his mana at level 1 and use your regen early, but not missing last hits, trading harass for them. Rocket damage becomes obsolete once you have two points in flame guard, so if he has chosen to scale this, and you catch tinker out with bolas, he will not be able to break flame guard. Definitely max flame guard in this matchup, as a march of the machines tinker will tear through anything less than maxed making diving him dangerous. You must be wary of your magic damage taken and not get caught running away through a march of machines with no flame guard.
Once you have a point into remnant, if you jump on him with flame guard and bolas and he doesn’t march of machines immediately, it should be an easy kill on a low hp low armor int hero like tinker. If he tries to laser, cancel the animation with sleight of fist. If you initiated with sleight of fist into bolas, use remnant to cancel the animation instead.
Outside the laning stage you need to pressure this hero before he gets his blink and hex by being up in his jungle. If tinker opts for anything but hex, he is making a big mistake. Tinker is a hero that your playstyle very much depends on his execution of ability. A bad tinker does not warrant being itemized against, but a good one cannot be itemized against.
Good tinkers will buy a hex, or a bloodstone first. Sometimes BkB is the item to get versus this hero, and sometimes it’s linkens. Tinker has no BkB piercing damage, so you are completely immune to this hero with a BkB, but as a hero that frequents a hex, a BkB can prove useless if you are continually getting caught out or jumped, wherein a hex is countered quite badly with a linkens.
Ember is a hero that can catch out a tinker quite easily with sleight of fist giving vision, but doesn’t usually have the damage to kill him by himself only being able to interrupt 1 teleport, and flame guard likely getting removed by walking in march. Dives into tinker are easily turned around if you are not careful diving into march. Buying a desolator versus tinker and maximizing your single target damage is ideal since Tinker will be by himself most of the time, and will increase your tower damage. Expect a long game as tinker and ember are some of the best base holders in the game.
Q/w invoker lane is played like this. Buy a magic stick early on but don’t use the charges on it. CS safely using auto attacks. If invoker tries to tornado emp you, pop flame guard after the tornado or dodge the emp with sleight of fist. Keep 10 stick charges in case you get caught by emp so you can pop them and remnant out always.
Q/e invoker requires a lot of investments into cheap items to help lane effectively. Get poor man’s to reduce damage from forged spirits and quelling blade to compensate for the difference in auto attack damage. Invest in a basillius for armor. I recommend maxing sleight of fist in lane as invoker is a low armor hero. Force him to sit in quas. Be careful of ice walls.
Remnanting out of invoker’s eul’s comboes is not reliable if the deafening blast is timed properly so keep this in mind.
This is by far the hardest hero in the game to kite. A lot of times a sniper and ember spirit will have similar builds with 1 or two utility items and a lot of damage. It’s important to remember that this hero is still possible to kite. Keep him in place with sleight of fist bolas comboes and do not try to run at him. The only way to effectively clear the game is to remnant in, which is not ideal in late game team fights. The sniper needs to be focused early on as his dps is generally very high. Try to use all your remnants defensively, poking with sleight of fist and searing chains, then remnanting out of his range. This hero is still kiteable, just much more difficult to.
The trick is to build a networth advantage by using your superior mobility to catch sniper before he has hp items. Once sniper has a skadi and a satanic, you can forget winning that man fight if you don’t have rapiers to back up your dps. Sniper is a very slow farmer and can easily be outfarmed with a battlefury ember spirit. Snipers will play greedy and push too far thinking they can get away with being out of position. Build an early networth advantage and try to predict snipers movements in the mid game.
Heroes you want on your team:
Need I say more? Empower is amazingly powerful with ember spirit.
Defensive supports can make playing ember a lot more forgiving.
Another Agility Hero/Physical DPS:
Ember doesn’t really hit buildings so this is recommended.
Wrapping up Ember Spirit:
Ember Spirit is an incredibly high skill cap hero that I do not even begin to understand the unfound intricacies of this hero. I’m sure his playstyle will continue to change as the meta heroes adapt too. Ember is a great counter to illusion heroes and lineups lacks hard, nondisjointable disables. He is a fairly weak laner countered by many heroes, but always leaving room to outplay.