DOTA 2 Hero Wars, Episode 1: Lifestealer vs Skeleton King

DOTA 2, surprisingly still in beta, is an ever improving, glorious, super addictive free-to-play MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) video game. The awesome part about this game is the intelligent match-making; based on your level, wins and MMR (Match-making Ranking), a player is put into a random group of 5 vs 5. But this is only one small aspect of a huge DOTA universe. The core understanding of the game comes with the knowledge of gameplay progression, team strategies, hero selection and item building.

DOTA 2 currently comprises of 97 heroes (and counting), both dire and radiant included, divided into 3 categories (Strength, Agility and Intelligence). The 5 hero team selection is supposed to be a composition of all the necessary categories along with their respective abilities (AOE damage, stunner, nuker, pusher, carry, tank, initiator, support etc). A well farmed carry cannot change the game by itself if the 5 opponent heroes are logically picked, same way a feeder might drive its team to the end very soon. One really has to play the game a lot and dig into the roots to ace it. Speculating is an essential part in DOTA, an item build of the same hero may vary from game to game, a team strategy might be different for every game. Each hero brings along a counter, it all depends on the hero selection.

We at ILL Gaming are not super DOTA pros, but are analysts. And we bring to you a series of hero wars, containing essential information on both the hero and its counter, and how to go forward in the game.

In our first of its kind episode, we shall be covering the 2 most sought after late gamers, Naix (Lifestealer) and Ostarion (Skeleton King); both deadly as hell if allowed to farm. Lets see what happens if both are pitched against each other in an equally farmed contest. And no third heroes or deaths to disrupt them.

Skeleton King vs Lifestealer

Skeleton King vs Lifestealer

Phase 1: Early Game (Level 1 to 6) [0-12 minutes] 

Both have natural lifesteal, very less attack speed, and both need armlet of mordiggian by the 12 min mark to be really effective. With a booty of 603 gold to start with, gloves of haste along with 1 tango is a good option.

Skill Build:

Lifestealer – Feast (level 1/3/5), Rage (2,4), Infest (6) [Should jungle throughout]

Skeleton King – Hellfire blast (level 1/5), Vampiric Aura (2/4), Critical Strike (3), Reincarnation (6) [Will be in lane mostly, but can go jungle after 2 gloves of haste, quelling blade and Helm of Iron Will, that's about 8-9 mins]

Item Build:

Lifestealer / Skeleton King – Armlet of Mordiggian, Boots of Speed (Strength Treads if possible)

Battle 1 – Both heroes with same inventory at level 6. Skeleton King wins mostly because of reincarnation, disable (stun) and critical strike.

Phase 2: Mid Game (Level 7 to 11) [13-20 minutes]

The farming is much faster now and the target should be 500-700 gold/min at least, since there are no other heroes.

Skill Build:

Life Stealer – Max out rage and feast, Open Wounds (level 10/11)

Skeleton King – Max out Hellfire Blast, Vampiric Aura (8/10), Critical Strike (9/11) [Reincarnation 2nd upgrade is not needed at level 11 because its a 1 vs 1]

Item Build:

Lifestealer – Maelstrom, Skull Basher, Strength Treads, Armlet of Mordiggian.

Skeleton King – Hyperstone, Skull Basher, Platemail, Strength Treads, Armlet of Mordiggian.

Battle 2 - Skeleton King overpowers Naix quite comfortably, with extreme attack speed and lifesteal on both ends the battle seemed equal at first, but skeleton king with the important disable (stun) and critical strike pawns his opponent.

Skeleton King - The Victor!

Skeleton King – The Victor!

Phase 3: Late Game (Level 12 to 16) [20-30 minutes]

Gold earning rate is super fast now and Naix is given the Aegis of Immortal this time to equal Skeleton King’s advantage.

Skill Build: All attributes maxed out for both except Stats, Skeleton King is with 3 levels of Stats and 1 level of Reincarnation.

Item Build:

Lifestealer: Desolator, Mjollnir, Armlet, Strength Treads, Skull Basher.

Skeleton King: Desolator, Strength Treads, Skull Basher, Armlet and Assualt Cuirass.

Battle 3 – The best lifesteal, extreme speed, undying battle of DOTA 2 comes alive. And the winner, in spite of Aegis with Naix, is Skeleton King. The critical strikes are proving to be overwhelming for the little devil.

Phase 4:  Very Late Game (Level 17 to 25) [31-50 minutes]

The game is totally imbalanced towards Skeleton King, the bone king is outlasting his opponent quite easily. We got rid of the treads all together to bring in some extreme items. Lets see what the final battle brings.

Skill Build: Everything maxed out at level 25 for both the heroes.

Item Build: 

Lifestealer: Desolator, Daedulus, Mjollnir, Satanic, Heart of Tarrasque, Abyssal Blade

Skeleton King: Desolator, Heart of Tarrasque, Abyssal Blade, Assault Cuirass, Divine Rapier, Monkey King Bar.

The Final Battle: There is no Aegis this time and the crits are ranging well above thousand from both sides. Skeleton King stuns and begins to devour Naix, but with satanic on, the least expected happens. Lifestealer literally eats Skeleton King both the times. Naix totally goes ballistic on Ostarion and creates a mismatch of sorts.

The game was hell bent towards Skeleton King for a good 45 minutes, but the end result is totally insane considering the ease with which Lifestealer feasts on our Bone King, in spite of all the crazy inventory (Divine Rapier) Ostarion had. By this it is no way proved that Skeleton King is a weaker hero, he is super powerful if farmed well and can diminish any team provided the correct item build.

Lifestealer wins!

Lifestealer steals the game!

Note: This item build was very specific, according to the situation and will definitely vary when playing a team game. A good suggested team build for both would be:

Lifestealer: Mjollnir, Abyssal Blade, Daedulus, Desolator, Heart of Tarrasque (to replace armlet of mordiggian later), Strength Treads.

Skeleton King: Strength Treads, Desolator, Assault Cuirass, Abyssal Blade, Heart of Tarrasque (to replace armlet of mordiggian later), Black King Bar or Monkey King Bar (based on disables or evading heroes in the other team).

Desolator, Skull Basher, Armlet, Treads and Hyperstone are essential items for both the heroes, be it any game.

These items should be built as per the game transforms and not as per your own wish. Skeleton King without BKB against a disabler team might get pawned in spite of having deadly inventory. For instance, Skeleton King to counter a strong Phantom Lancer should have Battlefury.

There are countless interesting and breathtaking encounters to bring forward in DOTA 2, and we shall be doing exactly that, along with various helpful stuff. So keep a look out for our next episode.

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