The inevitable addition of the Earthshaker Arcana is sure to invite players to try out the hero. Although he is pretty simple to execute, his abilities also have a skill ceiling higher than Drows Winrate in 7.21d. Here’s an in-depth Earthshaker guide that you can follow.
What’s so special about Earthshaker?
Earthshaker has a lot to offer to your team in terms of damage, crowd control, and mobility. Beginners playing this hero will struggle to make the best use out of his abilities, but seasoned veterans like Yapzor, have mastered his many intricacies. If a team lacks lockdown or initiation, then Earthshaker is a good pick to have in your arsenal. This is because Earthshaker has the potential to bring in top tier crowd control from level 1. It is also widely regarded that Earthshaker has the potential to make the highest impact in the first few seconds in the game, all the way to the last. This guide will help you to get a brief overview and understanding of his abilities, and then give a few tips and tricks to take the hero to the next level.
To some, this is Earthshakers signature ability, and its easy to see why. Using this spell will stun enemies for a respectable 1.75 seconds at a 1400 range from your hero in a straight line. However, as stuns go, this is a fairly mediocre stun duration. The main utility that Fissure provides, is that it creates a barrier that enemies cannot walk over, effectively trapping an enemy if used correctly.
Enchant Totem is Earthshakers bread and butter since this spell gives him the ability to achieve a wide variety of tasks. Using Enchant Totem, will quadruple your attack damage at level 4, allowing you to trade with enemies, or just finish them off. This ability is also on a very short 5-second cooldown, allowing him to use it to farm efficiently, and be more active in team fights. Enchant Totem, however, is nothing without his third ability.
One of Earthshakers simplest and most straightforward abilities. Aftershock will stun enemies for up to 1.5 seconds and deal up to 150 magical damage every time he casts a spell. This makes it synergize very well with Enchant Totem, since that ability will have a stun as well! Aftershock is what makes this hero have insane crowd control, and allows him to chainstun all enemies in a 300 AoE radius around him for insane durations.
Earthshakers ultimate, and by far his coolest ability. Echo slam affects all enemies in a 600 AoE, and deals more damage, the more enemies you hit in the AoE, making the ability able to reach unthinkable damage numbers. Echo Slam does have a base damage of 100, but for every hero you hit in the AoE, the damage goes up by up to 320, and for every creep, up to 160. Some quick math for you, if you hit 5 enemy heroes, then Echo Slam will deal up to 1,700 magical damage!
And with that, anyone reading this baseline description will be equipped to confidently queue up for a ranked game and first picking this hero. But for the super secret strategies, and ways to take this hero to an all new level, continue reading the guide.
Level 1 presence
As stated earlier, Earthshaker has the potential to have an insane impact in the first few minutes of any game thanks to his Fissure ability. At level 1, Fissure stuns for a mediocre 1 second and deals a respectable 110 damage. However, using this ability to block enemies in choke points, will give your team the chance to snag 2 bounty runes, or even get first blood.
Based on the demonstrations displayed above, Earthshaker has the potential to completely block off enemy heroes from getting access to the runes. At the same time, he can block off enemies trying to escape, allowing your teammates and yourself to finish them off.
Most high profile players opt to purchasing a boots of speed on Earthshaker at level 1. Using the early movespeed advantage can allow you to position yourself correctly, and find the right angles to land effective Fissures. At level 1, positioning is key, and Earthshakers playstyle rewards excellent positioning.
Earthshaker has recieved a number of buffs to his laning ability through armor increases, stat buffs, and mana cost reductions. Although Earthshaker doesn’t have a lot to offer during the laning stage, you can win certain lanes by abusing some of Earthshakers abilities.
A popular strategy used by top Earthshaker players, is blocking the enemy safelane creeps using Fissure. This will have your creeps die to the enemy safelane tower, ultimately pushing the wave towards your side of the map. This will increase the chances of you or your offlaner securing a few waves of free farm. The same principles carries over during pulls, since pull times with Fissure are a lot more forgiving.
Once you put a point into Enchant Totem, trading with enemy supports and carries will almost always be beneficial for you. Just 1 point into Enchant Totem, will give you a double damage rune every 5 seconds. Use this to harass enemies, or secure ranged creeps.
Farming And Skill Build
Getting an early blink is extremely valuable on Earthshaker. Since his echo slam is an instant cast ability, you are able to disable enemies before they are able to react with BKBs or disables of their own. Blinking from fog, or getting the best angles for Fissure, makes blink dagger a must-have item choice for any Earthshaker. But how are the top Earthshaker players in the world able to get sub 15 minute blink daggers? It’s all in their skill building, and how they play around their power spikes.
In every Dota game, there will be moments where not much is happening. Your cores will be in their lanes, and the jungle will be opened up for someone to use. Earthshaker is able to make good use of the jungle at level 5 onward, with a couple clarities handy. Using Fissure efficiently is the key to securing early farm.
In the screenshot above, Fissure is used to nuke 2 camps at the same time, and also use the maximum potential of Aftershock. One lesser known technique that top Earthshaker players use, is making sure to get both Fissure and aftershocks damage used on creeps. When casting Fissure in the jungle, make sure that creeps are within 300 AoE of your hero to maximize the efficiency of your Fissure use. If you’re able to secure an early level 11, you will be able to clear creep waves with Enchant Totem, and Fissure. This is only possible if you follow the 4-1-4-1 skill build. As a rule of thumb, maxing aftershock first increases your farming potential, maxing Fissure increases your kill potential.
Using Echo Slam Correctly
Apart from echo slam, Earthshakers abilities have extremely long cast points. These cast points will give your opponents an opening to disable you, or pop their BKBs before you can complete your stun. Top players will sometimes leave 2 points into Aftershock, in favor of maxing Fissure. This is done so that the 0.9 second stun of aftershock, supersedes the 0.69 second cast point of Fissure and Enchant Totem.
In layman terms, the correct combo Earthshakers use during Echo Slam is; Blink, into Echo, into Enchant Totem, into Fissure. This combo will only completely stunlock if you have 2 points into Aftershock. If only 1 point is put into Aftershock, then enemies will be able to react after Echo Slam due to level 1 Aftershock stunning for 0.6 seconds. The 0.69 cast point of Enchant Totem will give your enemies a 0.09 second window to pop BKBs, use hexes, or use any defensive item/ability. As a rule of thumb, make sure you have a minimum of 2 points into Aftershock before you get your level 6. Depending on the situation, having either a 2-1-2-1, or 1-1-3-1 skill build is advised.
Duh. This is core on almost every Earthshaker item build. This item solves Earthshakers lack of mobility, and he desperately needs mobility. Blink will allow Echo Slam to be used to its maximum potential since it has an instant cast point. If Echo Slam is on cooldown, then Fissuring an enemy, followed by blinkning on top of him, immediately casting Enchant Totem, will provide top tier control as well.
Earthshaker has severe mana issues. The combination of Earthshakers high mana cost abilities and low mana pool, make this here starved for mana during the first few levels. Although Soul Ring does solve his mana issues, it’s still a good idea to have some clarities handy just in case. One underrated quality of Soul Ring, is that it provides a decent amount of Strength, and HP regeneration. This enables Earthshaker to tank up before he gets his blink, and able to run down enemies.
Some games, having another mobility option on top of the Blink Dagger is required (against blink canceling ambient effects like radiance). Force staff also enables you to initiate from much farther away. Since using Force Staff in conjunction with Blink Bagger allows you to traverse large portions of the map. It can also be used to save your teammates, against heroes susceptible to kiting, such as Lifestealer and Ursa.
Tranquil Boots vs Arcane Boots
Arcane Boots are almost always the superior option, but their slow buildup and high price make them a luxury. In games where you have had a strong start, and are able to get these boots before 7 minutes, then they are a good pickup. Having Arcane Boots also allows you to choose the +30 damage talent, and skip Soul Ring.
Tranquil Boots synergize extremely well with Soul Ring. The HP removal of Soul Ring is completely nullified with the passive regeneration that Tranquil Boots provide. Tranquils are also a much more economical alternative to Arcane Boots, so if you’re having a slower game, then getting these will give you a decent boost in the early game.
Another strong initiation tool that Earthshakers love to have. This is very much a snowbally item, since it doesn’t provide much utility other than the invisibility it provides. Consider picking this item up if you’re having a very good early and mid game as an alternative to Force Staff. In certain situations where the enemy team have a hero that struggles against Break, then Earthshaker is an excellent Silver Edge carrier. In conjunction with Enchant Totem, the damage potential from just one attack is extremely high.
The ultimate luxury item for Earthshaker. Aghanims Scepter transforms Earthshaker from a strong initiator/disabler, into a mobile and elusive monster. One of Earthshakers weak points suddenly become one of his strengths, since Aghanims scepter changes how Enchant Totem works. Instead of standing in place, having an Aghanims Scepter allows you to leap away up to 900 range, and stun all enemies around you in your landing location.
Although Blink Dagger is widely considered to being a superior initiation tool, your upgraded Enchant Totem allows you to follow up on your own initiation. It also allows you to kite, escape, and catch enemies trying to run away. Aghanims Scepter also makes Earthshaker less reliant on Echo Slam, since his impact in team fights and skirmishes will be significantly improved.
Level 10, +30 Damage or +250 Mana
At level 10, you have a balanced choice between +30 damage or +250 mana. Although the mana talent is strongly advised to grab in most games, it becomes redundant if you’re able to grab Arcane Boots, or if you have a Crystal Maiden on your team. The +30 damage will synergize with any damage items you’d grab such as a Shadow Blade.
Level 15, +7 Armor or +30 Movespeed
At level 15, 2 more balanced choices are presented, and picking one or the other depends on the game you are in. Against high physical damage lineups, you should opt for the +7 armor. In every other case, the +30 movespeed is a much better choice. Earthshaker relies on sticking to his enemies, so they get affected by his Aftershock passive. Having a movespeed advantage will help you achieve this.
Level 20, +400 Fissure Range or + 50 Echo Damage
In almost every scenario, the +50 Echo damage is a much better option. Having an extra 400 range on Fissure is extremely redundant, but the +50 Echo damage can make your Echo Slams have much more impact. It’s likely that the +400 range will get a rework in the future. Side note that the +50 echo damage is doubled for heroes, effectively making it 320 damage for every hero in Echo Slams AoE.
Level 25, -2 Second Enchant Totem Cooldown or +50% Magic Resistance
The superior choice is the -2-second Enchant Totem Cooldown, since it allows for an extra stun for your Echo combo. It also synergizes extremely well with your Aghanims Scepter upgrade, allowing you to hop around the map and in fights much more frequently. There are certain cases where +50% magic resist is better. In games against high spell damage heroes such as Zeus, Pugna, and Lina, Earthshaker becomes much more survivable and just may live long enough to throw out another game-winning Fissure.
Is Earthshaker the right hero for you?
Earthshaker players are people who make the most out of basic abilities. Many of Earthshakers spells are not one dimensional, and bringing out the most potential out of them takes a lot of practice to perfect. At every turn, you will be forced to making decisions, and whether you make the correct ones or not, it’s your job to make the most out of these decisions. The items you purchase, the fights you start, and the plays you make, are all in your control, and only the best Earthshaker players will make the best out of every situation they create.
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