Lich for Best Support of the 2017 TI

Posted on Aug 27 2017 - 5:20pm by Murphy Wales
Lich for Best Support of the 2017 TI

At this year’s Dota 2 International, Lich proved to be the most sought after support hero. Despite having a 50% win rate, he was picked first or second. In addition, he played fifth position. What about this hero made him so desirable for such a low position? Well, there’s more to this hero than most expect.

Hero Breakdown

While his abilities aren’t outright amazing, Lich’s moves have longterm potential. His arsenal includes Frost Blast, Ice Armor, Sacrifice, and Chain Frost. These abilities, along with the 7.06 updates, made Lich one of the most substantial supports in the International. I’ll examine some of his abilities to demonstrate why.

Frost Blast

Upon targeting an enemy unit, the ability will deal a moderate amount of damage to that enemy and the surrounding area. Movement speed is reduced by 30% and attack speed is subtracted by 20. While the move isn’t initially dangerous, it’s a continuous source of damage during the laning phase since it has a cooldown of eight seconds. It’s also a great tool for chasing an enemy down since it cripples their attack and movement speed. In a meta where chasing an enemy down is crucial, this move is a godsend.

Ice Armor

This ability adds armor to a friendly unit or structure that also attributes attack slow to any attacking enemy. While it’s intended for defense, it may also be used offensively. For offense, Ice Armor can be cast on an initiation hero.  For example, Venomancer with Ice Armor has the potential to blink on the enemy team, cast Poison Nova, and apply attack slow should he be attacked. This provides the initiation hero the chance to also escape should things turn for the worse. Even if it’s just one less attack, that minute difference can be the deal breaker.

For defense, Ice Armor enhances heroes’ and structures’ endurance. Should an enemy hero attempt to take a tower, Ice Armor forces them to have to expend more time to damage the tower, leaving them prone to a counter attack. This move works well against heroes whose focus is attack speed. Heroes such as Troll Warlord, Ursa, and Legion Commander despise attack slow. With this move available to reuse every five seconds, Lich is a downright counter to them. It’s not outright amazing, but the longevity of its use is phenomenal.

Sacrifice

This was by far Lich’s most pivotal ability during the International. It allows Lich to devour a friendly lane creep and gain a percentage of mana proportionate to its health. It also gives you and allied heroes all experience the creep would normally provide. The potential of this ability to cripple experience gain is devastating. In the 7.06 and 7.06e update, the money and experience gained from lane creeps has changed. The experience from melee creeps has been reduced from 45 to 40, and their bounty gold extends from 34 to 38. While there is an additional melee creep for the first fifteen minutes, the significance of the range creep is increased. They provide 90 experience and 18 to 26 gold. While their economic influence isn’t as large, the amount of experience a player could lose from missing a ranged creep is frightening. In addition, denying a creep grants you 30% of its experience and the opponent 70.
Keeping that in mind, it means that by eating the ranged creep and denying at least one melee creep, Lich is denying over 102 points of experience from the enemy. This could create a massive experience gap between him and his enemies in lane. In five to eight minutes, Lich could be level six casting Chain Frost on two level four Heroes who don’t have the ability or stats to survive.

Chain Frost

On a whole, Chain Frost is a powerful but inconsistent move. Upon release, an orb of ice will bounce up to ten times between enemy units. It will deal up to 460 damage while reducing move speed by 65% and attack speed by 65. The potential damage is outstanding and, should it hit two or three enemy heroes, the attack and movement slow is great. However, consistency is the name of the game. How Chain Frost bounces is random, and should creeps be present, an enemy hero can escape unscathed. In short, the ability prefers optimal conditions.

Hero Talents

I won’t mention all the talents available, but there are three that make Lich a great choice for late game. At level 20, Lich has the option to gain 150 damage. This talent is crazy and is the very reason some players have adopted a semi-carry build. Between spells, Lich can continue to fight, making him a threat regardless of what position he’s playing. At level 25, Lich can either choose an attack modifier that slows attack and movement speed by 30% or add an additional 35 armor to structures. Depending on whether you’d like to play in a defensive or offensive manner, Lich will make himself a problem for the enemy team.

Personally, I favor the attack modifier because the armor only applies to structures. While the armor is useful, it has its limitations. It can’t be used in a fight, it’s only useful on your side of the map, and it relies on the enemy team to push. The attack modifier is practically a free Eye of Skadi and has more options. Whether it’s to catch a fleeing hero or to escape, the additional attack and movement slow provides options. Nonetheless, the armor is still significant. Should you be pushed back to you tier-three towers, that armor will allow your team to hold them off.

Verdict

Lich’s value is his ability to hamper the enemy team through all stages of the game. From manipulation of lane experience to slowing the enemy, there’s almost no time that Lich can’t be of use. The majority of his moves are consistent and easy to use. This means that both new and professional players can make use of him. For these reasons, Lich was the best support for the Dota 2 2017 International.