Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Soul Ring Overrated?

Soul Ring is an item that has many attractive features which makes it a popular choice among players. When I was still fairly new to Dota I remember rushing Perseverance on every hero. My thoughts on it were “Hey, this item gives me imba regen so I can stay in lane. AND I get mana from it so I can spam spells!”
 I would always start the game with no starting items and quickly rush Ring of Health and farm the Void Stone asap. I was so blinded by the benefits of the item that I didn’t realize they weren’t enough to make up for the costs.

This is actually a big issue for a lot of players. After a certain item choice works well for them in a few games, they continue to get that item in every game afterwards. Of course, they will probably lose a few games but the problem is that they won’t realize the reason for them doing poorly in those games is BECAUSE OF THEIR ITEM CHOICE.
I’ve had several successful games with my Pers first Beastmaster and Sven by spamming Axes and Stormbolt on my opponent and easily winning the lane. I’ve also lost several games with the same heroes and build too but I clearly remember thinking, “I lost the lane cause I faced a better hero” or “I lost cause I kept getting ganked because my teammates are noobs and don’t call MIA”. Not once did I ever consider that my losses could be the result of my item choice.

Back when I was making Perseverance, Soul Ring didn’t exist yet but I’m pretty sure that would’ve been my item of choice on every hero if it was released. It’s basically a mini Perseverance. You get HP regen and tons of mana to work with. It’s also much cheaper and easy to get from the side shop. What a great item!
But just like other items, there are situations where they work and situations where they don’t. Just because you won a few games with Soul Ring doesn’t make it an auto-buy every game.
As a note, there are some heroes where Soul Ring benefits them greatly regardless of the situation. For example, Brood, Tinker, and DK all make great use of the item. I’m mainly referring to heroes where getting soul ring may be questionable such as Sven, ES, Pudge, etc.

There are a few cons to the item which make it weak.

You pay 150hp to get 150 mana. This is fine if you’re in a strong lane and don’t expect any ganks on you. You get to spam spells and apply heavy pressure on the enemy as well as pick up some good farm.
However, if you’re against a strong lane or good gankers, Soul Ring use can leave you at vulnerable levels of hp. This can make you an easy kill.
Also, there may be times where you’re under attack and need to use Soul Ring to cast a spell. But the last thing you want to do is kill yourself faster by doing 150 damage to yourself.
So if you’re expecting heavy pressure from enemy heroes, Soul Ring is probably not the best choice.

The second con is that Soul Ring doesn’t increase your max mana pool. I know that you can go above max mana with Soul Ring but this mana is “artificial” and there are still going to be issues.
The cooldown on Soul Ring is 25 seconds. Most spells have a cooldown much shorter than 25 seconds. It’s very likely that you’ll use a spell twice or even thrice after a soul ring use. For low mana pool heroes like ES or Pudge, this leaves you sitting at uncomfortable levels of mana.
This is bad because you might run into situations where you’ll need to cast 2 spells, like Hook and Dismember, but Soul Ring will only grant you 1 spell. This mana choke issue happens a lot when Soul Ring is purchased.
Consider saving 200g more and getting Arcane Boots instead. They give a much bigger mana pool and have huge benefits to your team.

Lastly, Soul Ring largely promotes spell spamming in order to harass, farm, or both at the same time. Spell spamming greatly increases the chances that you get caught in a situation where using one your spells actually matters in getting a kill or saving your life. But instead, you just used that spell to get a last hit on a creep and now it’s on cooldown. GG.

Next time you want to buy a Soul Ring, consider if what you gain from the item can really make up for its costs. You might have to spend the 800g in other ways and learn to manage your mana better.

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