Introduction – This will be my definitive guide to solo offlane Undying since i consider my project complete,games are recorded over the last half a year,around 4.5 k mmr,all games are solo queue.I am currently 37th on Dotabuff’s top 100 Undying players.
Here you have the list with all my games in this role,i removed 5 of them because i was forced to support since some genius last picked-randomed an offlaner and he had no where to go.
Wins/losses 83/31 – 73% winrate
Role and laning decision – Undying needs levels above everything else,so running him as a support is not an option,i also disagree with running him in a trilane,if you do that you put your self in a “make it or break it” situation,you want to solo lane him,or situationally dual lane him with a support that augments his skills.
Then,when deciding what lane to go in,offlane is the only viable option,safelane farm is wasted on such a hero,and mid lane is bad since kill potential is low in a 1v1 bottle crowing matchup.
When talking about the hero,we notice he’s really strong early game,then his strength decreases midgame,but as soon as the game passes the 30-35 min mark Undying starts growing in game impact,becoming one of the best late to ultralate heroes because of his ultimate and ability to constantly burst heal a target.The hero has a stigma of becoming useless past 15 min mark,but this is due to poor understanding of his role and poor itemization,and even with pubs not playing him properly,actual data still goes against this circlejerk that he falls hard.
For really high mmr (5.5 k plus) i recommend pairing it with a support,in which case you want to go for the dreaded Arcane boots,as for competitive i think the hero is nothing more than a pocket strat for agro lanes,it’s very hard to play him like you can do in pubs.
When to pick Undying,against who to not pick it – Deathball,Zoo strat,push strats,4 protect 1,minus armor strats,magical burst strats,Undying works with anything,so don’t fuss that much about what your team picks,focus more about opponents.
Firstly you want to try to pick it on Radiant only,Dire is much harder to get things done,i only play it on Dire if i know i will have weak opponents in my lane.
I compiled a list of what heroes you want to avoid in lane,and overall in game,remember that this is simply to point out opponents that are strong against you,you can easily pick the hero against those heroes,just don’t expect to have a great impact,judge for yourself on a case by case situation.
Laning and warding
First,i do not like blocking the pull camp,a decent team will deward you,and you can do a lot of shenanigans like getting kills or stealing farm by tombstoning the pull camp,a ward that gives you vision on backdoor ganks and keeps an eye on support movement is much more important.
If you really want to block the pull camp,ask a support to get you a sentry or buy a set yourself.Also try not to be super obvious that you have vision over supports trying to gank you,that will alert them there’s a ward and also potentially where it’s positioned.If you really want to block camp,there are plenty of warding guides out there,use them.As a small tip,don’t use the magic bush on Dire,it’s soooo obvious where you warded.
I prepared some screenshots with warding/laning advice :
Start of game movement
In terms of actual laning Undying is one of the easiest heroes to play,unfortunately you need a lot of game sense and experience with him to be effective,keeping track of Decay stacks,regen and stick charges on opponents,calculating mana both for you and them,keeping track of cooldowns and lane equilibrium,all that done on the fly is not easy.
Since you have no stun/reliable slow or any mobility skills,you either want to make the opponent initiate on you,or catch them with their pants down when out of position.
Focus on always having at least 1 Decay stack up,but do not use Decay more than once on a single target,it’s wasted mana.Be extremely careful until you hit level 2,since level 1 Undying is really weak.Try to bait the opponent by staying low hp in fights,this will encourage them to stay in tombstone range and finish you off,then at the last second use stick/soul rip/decay and get that delicious triple kill.
Unfortunately i’ve been lazy and didn’t save my games,i could have made some awesome gifs with people falling for mind tricks and netting me countless double/triple kills.Always calculate mana,ideally you want to have mana for Tomb and 2 Decays plus a Soul rip.
Big warning,keep an eye on your Decay stack duration,if the fights are really long they expire,and the lost str is health removal,you can go from 300 hp to 1 in a second and die.Also try to use regen with no Decay stacks,nets you more heal.
Mostly no changes over the itemization table i did half a year ago,some small adjustments though
General thoughts: Undying is cool because you can use a large number of items,each tailored to your specific matchup in a game,that being said he is built extremely bad in pubs,the only item that is made often and is actually good on him is blademail,but item is way overused,and it’s less effective outside of the trench,as for the other items build a lot on him,Arcane,Pipe and Vanguard,i will explain why i think they are sub par.
I will simply copy the itemization summary i did a while back,with changes due to more experience gained and also patch changes.
1. Starting Items
This is my current starting build,i used to replace one of the RoP with a stout,and that is still the best EHP you can get,but i just like this double ring build a bit more,it’s also exceptional if you use Tranquils since you actually upgrade both RoP.You can add another branch or a clarity if you want,i don’t like to go with just 1 slot free to the lane though.
2. Minute 1-5 items
Basi is super good,you have one of the highest base dmg at level 1 in the game,then you gain more dmg from Decay,and the +6 dmg from Basi makes you hit like a truck.Stick is mandatory,and it should even be purchased before Basi if they have spammable skills they are using on you early.Even 2-3 charges in the first minutes can make the difference between getting a first blood and you feeding one.
Consider getting an Orb of Venom as your first lane item if you smell kills coming and you got a few early cs,it does so much work againt certain lineups.It’s also great if you have the misfortune to land on a 1v1 lane,you can easily dominate the lane with it.
You have 3 choices here: Power Treads – My favorite boots on him atm.Amazing with wand on agi,helps you use spells on int,and str gives you that extra tankyness you need early game.You have awesome right click early game,but your agi gain sucks ass,so the extra IAS helps a lot. LEARN TO ABUSE TREAD SWITCHING,IT’S THE TIGHTEST SHIT Downside: They are slow.
Tranquils – Ideal in lanes with aggressive harass,allow you to stay in lane,the armor is really good as well.Even broken they are pretty fast. Downside: Gives no stats or mana/health
Phase – Extremely situational,good if you’re crushing the lane and the enemy has a hard time running from you.Really good with Orb of Venom,get some Decay stacks,and start punching people,drop Tomb and get them delicious kills. Downside: Can bite you in the face in the mid game,also no stats.
4. Core early game items
Disclaimer: When i say “core” i mean an item that is really beneficial on the hero most of the games,always adapt items on a game to game basis.
Wand – No brainer
Mekansm – So good for Undying,the armor is what he needs most,and the burst heal and +2 armor synergies so well with his skilset and overall teamfight presence.
Insist you make it even with Viper/Razor/Chen/Enigma in your team,they can focus on getting other core items.
5. Situational laning/early game items
Orb of Venom – Already discussed.
Bottle – You get a first blood,you think you can crush the lane even more ? Get a fast bottle.Also really good if your mid doesn’t buy one since you have access to one of the rune spots fairly easily. (I wrote this months back,now it’s even better with the rune change).Great item if you are against a lane that drains/burns mana.
Urn – Really good on him.Why i rarely buy it? As a player who has done plenty of support games,i know how valuable that item is for a support in terms of cheap hp,especially in games that are going bad,so i usually leave it for them.
Medallion – Good if your team is going for fast and easy Roshan (if you’re Dire),also really good for the yolo Phase/Orb of Venom build.
Soul Ring – Nope,just get a bottle,cheaper and much better with 6.82
Cloak – Casual or for later when you make Pipe,situational if the enemy has lots of early game magical burst.
6. Core mid/late game items
Armlet – So good,amazing EHP per cost,all on a hero which doesn’t care about the hp loss since he has so many items and skills that regain health.Even if you are not in a game where you can right click people,it’s still a solid choice.Build it late,after Shiva’s,it’s a selfish item,you don’t want to rush it,it’s only when you want to get cheap EHP.
Shivas – Armor,Mana,active that synergies so well with his skill set,Undying is constantly moving between position 1-3 as the BEST Shiva’s carrier in the game based on winrate.
Eul’s – One of the most underrated items in the game (this was written before the Eul’s Renaissance,damn i’m such a hipster),absurd utility,highest among all items,cheap and easy to make,and it gives Undying many things that he needs.It’s also a counter for the only thing Undying can’t do anything against,channeling abilities (including tping out).
7. Mid to late game situational and luxury items
Pipe – Enemy has high magic AoE,no one else on your team is making it,then make it,no brainer.
Vlads – Upgrade for your Basi,only make it if it also helps your team,if you only make it for yourself it’s a waste of gold and slot.It’s a cheap way of boosting your team’s dps even if there aren’t many melee heroes,it’s like a cheap Aghs is that aspect.Very good with Armlet.DO NOT RUSH IT.
Force – Don’t like the item on Und,Eul’s is much better,is good against some heroes that you either need to kite or escape (Shadow Shaman ward trap,cogs,etc)
Veil – Only make this if your team has really good magical dmg potential,don’t make it just for you,the armor is really good and the item in general augments your ulti.
Atos – Health and Mana,relatively cheap,easy to make since components don’t go over 1.1 k,amazing active ability.The only reason not to make it is if other items have more priority.
Blademail – Has 3 uses :
Stops the teamfight focus on you. Punishes heroes who focus you. Good for countering uncontrollable dmg like DP ulti,Sky ulti,Huskar ulti,etc,don’t make it against regular opponents unless you are in potato bracket,a decent player will just stop hitting you.
Hex – Really situational luxury item,it should not be a pickup 90% of the time,you lack the mobility to snap and use it on someone.If you have the gold,and your team is desperate for lockdown,go for it.
Heart – Luxury 35-40 min item,if the enemy mostly has phys dmg,i suggest you go for Armlet,otherwise Pipe and Heart makes you laugh in the face of any magical burst they have.
Halberd – Good EHP item,build it if the enemy has a very strong rightclicker who has managed to get item advantage.
Aghs – Used to be shit,now it’s good.Aghs always had very good stats for Undying,unfortunately the bonus it gave to your ulti was really small,now it adds a flat 10%,and that’s insane late to ultra late,it amplifies ALL sources of dmg.
Skadi – Another 35-40 min luxury,works really well with Armlet,it’s another late game tank item similar to Armlet and Heart,this one is really good at shutting down enemy carryes,especially melee ones.I personally think it’s better on Undying than Heart.
Crimson Guard – Another item people think is core on Undying,but it Vanguard is shit,how can this be core? Terrible item most of the time,extremely good situationally,most against illusion based heroes or small phys hits (like Razor ulti).
8. Don’t make these items category
“Casual” Hood – Are you not immediately upgrading it to a Pipe? Then don’t make it,it’s the cost of a Mek and it gives your team nothing,the regen is also overkill and not needed.You have problems early with magical dmg? Just get a Cloak,it’s 4 times cheaper.
Arcanes – Gives you mana,nothing more,and not even sustained mana since it gives ZERO mana regen.
Vanguard – Terrible,gives no armor,gives you regen which you don’t need,buy a Mek with that gold.
In conclusion i want to say two things,and this applies to all heroes itemization,not just this one.
One,ALWAYS adapt items on a game to game basis,don’t be that guy who has identical items for 2 dotabuff pages worth of games.Yes,some heroes work in almost all situations with the same items,but there are very few heroes who do that,and especially when you start going into 3-6 slot territory.
Two,ALWAYS adapt items to your playstyle,just because i say an item is trash,that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful with it,and it goes both ways,if i do really good with an item,that doesn’t mean you will do too,in the end you should use what you feel gives the best results and suits your playstyle,you own with Arcane Boots/Blink Dagger/Dagon Undying ? Then keep doing it,regardless of what others tell you.
I changed this like 6 or 7 times already,this is what i use now: Decay-Tomb-Tomb-Rip-Tomb-Rip-Tomb-Decay-Golem-Rip-Golem-Rip-Decay-Decay-Stats-Ulti