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Doom is currently one of the most contested pick in the professional scene. The hero is extremely versatile, making him an ideal pick in Captains Mode, but is he actually good in pubs, where lane and in-game flexibility are less of a priority? Today, we are going to discuss Doom and how to play him well in pubs.
Greed is good, but…
The ability to make gold out of thin air can be a powerful tool, especially on a hero who was featured in our discussion of incredibly flexible heroes. You guarantee a “last hit” on a ranged creep in lane, get extra regeneration and gold, and feel happy about yourself. Make sure you don’t overcommit to this passivity, however.
Devour is not only about gold. In fact, come mid-game, the utility and auras from creeps can be a lot more impactful than the item you are aiming for. At level one and two of Devour, you already get access to a lot of the things your team might need. Level two of the ability also gives you access to Hellbear and Centaur with an AoE slow or stun, and this is where we see a lot of professional players start prioritizing other skills during level-ups.
The relative increase in bonus gold is also getting smaller. It doubles from level one to level two, gets an extra 50% from level two to level three, but is a 33% increase from level three to level four of the ability. Given how at this point the game is typically less about farming for Doom and given how even if Doom plays passively, his natural farming speed is much higher than at level one, economy-wise it might not be worth it.
Our ability build page for Doom doesn’t tell the whole story, but it does showcase that Dooms who max out Scorched Earth first typically win more games. They are a considerably more powerful hero at level seven and can do more in a teamfight, even when their ultimate is on cooldown.
Sure, there are extremely passive games where going extra-greedy can be beneficial, and the amount of extra gold from Devour increases in a non-trivial manner, but having a “free Radiance” with a 50% uptime and extra movement speed before the ten-minute mark should be the default.
Theory is key
Understanding the fundamentals of Dota is mandatory, especially if you are playing a hero with high flexibility and the ability to generate extra income. Your item choices on Doom can make or break the game.
Drum of Endurance and Blink Dagger are staples on the hero and while the former is just too good stats-wise to ignore, the latter can and should be swapped in some games.
Shadow Blade is a very logical adaptation against heroes with almost instantaneous escapes: you can, theoretically, catch QoP or Storm Spirit mid-animation with your Doom and it is going to work 50%+ of the time, but against someone like Anti-Mage with his Counterspell or Ember Spirit with Fire Remnants, it can get very tricky.
Naturally, Sentries and such can be problematic in a teamfight, but those same extra-elusive heroes generally have a playstyle that revolves around split-pushing aggressively into the enemy territory. Best-case scenario: you are going to punish the enemy hero over and over again. Worst case: you are going to restrict their intended playstyle while also significantly decreasing their farming efficiency.
Later on, Doom generally wants to become as tanky and as annoying as possible, so having a good split between extra damage and extra survivability is preferable in item choices. Go for items that work well against enemy heroes: Halberd against ranged cores and high auto-attack DPS, Blade Mail versus a lot of uncontrollable AoE damage, Aghanim’s against strong passives or Pipe, when dealing with tons of magic burst.
If there are too many variables and too many problematic targets, going for all-around great items, such as Shiva’s Guard or Assault Cuirass should be prioritized. Situationally, you can also go for a Linken’s Sphere-breaker, with a cheap single target item, such as Eul’s or Force Staff. The former is better against heroes with strong debuffs, while the latter is just an all-around great item. An early BKB is also not a big problem for Doom, since even at five seconds it will still allow him to find his priority target uninterrupted.
Doom is currently winning around 52% of his games in the Divine+ bracket and it feels a little bit too low, given how busted the hero is in the professional scene. Itemization mistakes, excessive greed, and generally passive playstyles are rare in the highest level bracket, but these problems still occur.
We believe that if Doom was played with, not necessarily the skill, but the mentality with which he is being played in the professional scene, he could easily be the strongest hero in pubs. Now is the best time to gain some free MMR, before the hero gets nerfed.