Monday, April 23, 2012

Earthshaker - Beyond the Blink Dagger

After the standard core of Arcane Boots and Blink on ES, what item do we get next? Aghs looks like the most popular choice over a large amount of games. I see a lot of players get this after blink without considering the effectiveness of alternative items. This is the main reason I decided to write this article.

To set the record straight, I don’t think Aghs is a terrible choice; the buildup is really easy and provides very nice stats. I often consider it as a followup to blink. Although if you’re making scepter solely for the ult upgrade, you might want to look at what the upgrade actually does.

“Can be upgraded with Aghanim's Scepter, causes each hero hit by the initial shockwave to echo the wave twice.”
At level 16, the echo damage is 70. Now if you’re not playing against retards, you can probably expect to hit 2-3 heroes with your ult in a team fight.
If my understanding of how the spell works is correct, Scepter will add 140-210 damage to each hero unreduced. After reduction it’s 105-157.5. Not a whole lot of damage.

So what are some good alternatives?

I feel that you should make this in most situations. If you’re facing competent players, there’s usually something that’s assigned to stopping your combo. It could be an Invoker in the back waiting to tornado you when you blink, or someone with orchid or a hex. You need to be able to cast your spells so you can proc Aftershocks and stun enemies for the full 4-4.5 seconds. BKB ensures that this happens.

If you’re not too concerned about getting stunned, Bloodstone is a great choice. It’s not commonly seen but I’ve used it very successfully. You get more hp than aghs and lets you play in a more suicidal manner as dying will benefit your team with the heal. Plus the buildup is easy too and you can disassemble Arcane boots to make it which puts it in the same price range as scepter.

Really strong choices but you have to consider if you’re going to be able to get the Mystic Staff. 2700 is a pretty hefty sum for an ES. But if your team is giving you the farm for it then go ahead.

Most people don’t think about getting this on ES but the HP and evasion help a ton. Best against physical dpsers because of Disarm.

If things aren’t looking too good for your team and you quickly need something to add that extra edge in teamfights, blademail is a good option. Very cheap components and lets you function after casting your initial combo.

Ideally, someone else should be making these for the midgame where they are most effective. By the time ES gets either Mek or Pipe, it will probably be late into the game where these items don’t shine as much. Nonetheless they are decent if your team lacks a pipe/mek carrier but consider how beneficial these items will be for your team before you choose to purchase them.

These are the items I find myself most commonly making on ES after dagger. Dota is game where choices are always “it depends”. Some items might be good in certain scenarios but not good in others. Use your brain when you play and choose the item that will give you the most benefit.

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