—-My player ranking on Tusk
Tuskar has always been my favorite hero. I played him often in dota 1. And with the recent buffs to him in the patch, I would not be surprised to see him picked in some pocket strats. I have used this guide to win a 70% of my games with more than 50 games played since the release of the patch. The few games I did lose, they were great games, and close.
Tuskarr’s strength lies in his nuking potential, lockdown control, and his most valuable and under rated skill. Snowball. With that said, like most heros positioning is KEY.
This guide will be for a mid tuskarr. He is uncommonly picked which I find works to my favor. People underestimate his power.
Skill Build You should be maxing your ice shards first, as this is your main source of damage. Picking up one in snowball then one in sigil is fine, but I typically skip out on sigil until level 8 because of Tusk’s mana problems early.
MY Build Q-W-Q-W-Q-R-Q-E-W-E-R-E-E-W-Stat-R-stats
Ice Shards (Q)
Mana Cost level 1 90/90/90/90 Cast Range 1800 Damage 70/140/210/280 Cooldown 19/16/13/10
Ice Shards will be your main nuke to use in lane to farm your bottle. Once you have your bottle, it allows you to spam this skill one or two times to nuke down the enemy hero to a level you can blow him up with your other skills.
What also makes this a powerful skill is it is similar to earthshaker stun, it can block off enemies trying to escape in a choke point, or save your carry from getting right clicked to death by the enemy carry. The latter will take a lot of practice, something only a few hundred games that can be honed. Use shards on heroes to block off escape routes, or slow their escape at least for your team to follow up. Using this skill to secure a kill is not always the best option.
Move slow: 10%/ 15%/ 20%/ 25%
Atk Slow: 30/ 40/ 50/ 60
Mana Cost: 75
Pretty self explanatory, slows move speed and attack speed, I often see this picked up earlier than shards and snowball, but I see that as a mistake. Most enemies already have a slow attack speed or average move speed, the damage mitigation isn’t significant enough considering that nukes are more used to get kills in the early game. Make no mistake, this skill can not be underestimated. It provides vision for enemies trying to escape, throw it on a move command on an enemy, and it will make it rough for them to escape.
Another point I will make is Sigil can be PICKED UP by snowball adding another source of damage. Afterwards, the ward will not be on a move command and must be manually moved again.
Walrus Punch! (R)
Crit Multiplier 350%
Slow Duration 2/3/4
mana cost 50/75/100
Move slow 40%
One mistake I also see with this skill, is people will not level this up because of the mana cost. That’s fine. If you are playing a 4 or 5 position, you might not get your ult off more than once in a fight anyway. The cooldown and slow is pretty crucial when you are playing mid however.
And the most important skill….
Base Damage 80/120/160/200
Bonus Damage per unit 20/30/40/50
Stun duration 0.5/0.75/1/1.25
Mana Cost 75
This was the biggest buff tuskarr received in the latest patch. A 650 move speed. Before, players would buy items such as phase treads purely for the extra movespeed it offered. and most of the time, heroes with a MoM could just walk away. This is nearly a level 3 spirit breaker charge now. 9/10 times, you wont run away. You can also pull heros in WHILE moving now, which is another huge buff. Before you had to cast snowball, pull what heros you wanted in, and then activate. This costed crucial seconds you normally need for the element of surprise or initiation. Now you can simply CAST-ACTIVATE-PULLIN.
When I get into the build I will point out how crucial this skill is to escaping and how you need to lane with it. This skill can also Be valuable to stun multiple heroes. Just target that one support sitting in the back and you supply value for everyone.
Starting: Tangos, Stout, 2 Branches
Alternate situational items: Mango, wand
My items I usually build leaves me 200 gold for my bottle. If you get the rune, even better for you.
Early game core. Bottle, phase, blink, tp scroll
The bottle is crucial for sustaining tuskarr. He is normally in the middle of fights, spends a lot of his mana pool early, and roams more often than farms to take advantage of runes.
Phase is great for some extra damage for your ult. It also helps you escape sticky situations if creeps are blocking you in after a snowball-iceshard combo.
TP Scroll. Because you will need to be in every fight to make the impact to give your team the advantage.
Blink. Most cases, blink is great on any hero. Tusk is no exception. It allows for far reaching initiation, saving allied heroes (blink snowball) if they are stunned and an amazing escape. If you find yourself in a sticky situation , just snowball an enemy hero, or creep (I’ll explain what is better in most situations.) and blink after. You can stay inside snowball for 4 seconds, giving your blink the time to come off cooldown.
Situational Items. Desolator, Silver Edge, Black King Bar, Drums, Battlefury
Deso increases the damage your ult deals by a significant margin. Enemy supports will melt after this this if they don’t have any escape mechanism. Silver Edge is one of the best items on Tuskarr now. In combination with your ult, It’s a slow, extra damage, initiation tool, escape, adds break. The uses for this item are endless. Very situational however. I don’t think I need to explain why.
Black King Bar. Because sometimes, when your barrel of fish is empty of fucks, you need a backup plan as to not get nuked down. Tusk is very susceptible to counter initiation. Once he comes out of snowball, that is the time to jump on him. Drums offer great early game benefits. Helps all aspects of Tuskarr’s abilities, and adds a little bit of pushing power. I rarely get this, but it is useful most times.
Battlefury is usually my 2nd item after blink. In a game that looks like it will turn into a 45+ min game, battlefury will make your farming/pushing potential skyrocket. One punch on a creep wave will usually bring it low enough to just shards the rest for clear the wave in less than a second. If you have blink in combination with this, You can push a wave to the enemy t3 from your t3 in less than 1 min.
Good Match-ups mid If you find yourself against… mag, sniper, ember, razor, nyx, puck, storm, WR, zues, lina, invoker
Bad Matchups mid ShadowFiend, QoP Silencer, OD, TA
A lot of these choices I put in here may surprise you. Ill start with the bad match-ups mid vs tusk
These heroes all have the ability to screw with your lane control.
SF has great nuking potential. With high base armor, and incredibly strong right clicks, if you don’t get rotations mid, expect a hard game
QoP’s dagger has a strong nuke potential, it can be dodged, but it takes a lot of practice, avoid this match-up unless you feel very confident with your skills. She can also escape your combo which is annoying
Silencer forces Tuskarr to use abilities when he doesn’t want to. It’s usually better to just avoid this match-up if you can. Mid silencer is weak vs ganks, so rotations will be needed
OD and TA are pretty self explanatory.
The good match-ups all have something in common. They have low armor, low hp, and no escape mechanism (excluding a few.)
Mag. If he tries to push you towards his tower, let him. Snowball the enemy creeps in the mid and just casually walk back for a lousy 75 mana. You can then force him out of lane with shards and a few right clicks
Ember is tricky. Never initiate on this hero. If he maxes his Flamegaurd, your lane will be tricky. Just don’t dive too hard. If he doesn’t, you win your lane. nyx puck. force them to use their defensive spells, to either farm or escape, and then initiate on them. You will usually come out on top.
Storm has taken me a bit to get used to. but I have a 80% success rate against him mid. He is incredibly vulnerable early, use that to your advantage. Use your snowball defensivly to avoid remnant, and you should be able to nuke him down.
Invoker, If he goes quas exort, just snowball when he cold snaps you. EZ. Quas wex is a little bit more tricky.
Dont initiate on lina. Her LSA is pretty strong counter to you. If you see him use it. You can initiate on him. Avoid getting slaved and youll come out on top.
To snowball and to not snowball.
Some things you need to look at in an instant when you decide to snowball in mid lane ( not ganking) 1. Do I have lane creep advantage? Am I snowballing from my highground? 2. Am I close to the enemy hero? 3. Can the enemy hero blink or escape some how before i stun them?
If you are using snowball defensively, Try to cast it on lane creeps, most people will think you are using it on a hero, so they might walk away towards their tower thinking they will get a couple tower hits in for the kill. Snowballing creeps will prevent this.
Shards should be used to last hit AND harass. If they did not bring enough regen, you will force them out of the lane after 2 min. easy.
Shards can also be used in the jungle if you are on radiant side to stack BOTH camps. I will usually throw them at the 51 mark, and pull the smaller camp at 54 to walk back to the lane. This can provide a lot of farm for you or your carry later on. Practice a few times
When you are ready to start ganking (usually level 6) make sure you have a tp. Look out for a chance to counter initiate. Look for heroes that have no escape. What makes tuskarr great is his reach. Huge reach and great lockdown. initiating from your t1 tower on an enemy will give time for your allies to catch up and throw in their spells or right clicks.
In a larger team fight, you have specific targets. Whether that be the weak supports that can cause major damage. ie lion lina WD or the carry that needs help being lockdown. ursa slark spec. It’s all feel, such is the nature of dota.
Save your allies when you are able, but don’t put yourself in a position you cant get out of. Tuskarr is a fast paced hero. You NEED to find kills in order to accelerate your farm. But again, don’t force fights that aren’t there. Enemies will rotate just as quickly as you can.
I am adding some screenshots giving great examples of great use of shards. If this post gets some attention, I will answer any questions I can, debate the builds, add a google doc of damage output with items (Deso phase with armor values etc) and some videos of plays you can make with snowball.