Over and over in our blog posts, we stress how important flexibility is. Being able to adapt to changing circumstances and deviating from default builds in games where it is necessary is a crucial skill for any Dota player. While most players are well aware of that and act accordingly, many still underestimate once crucial mechanic that can allow you to be even more flexible — item disassembly.
This is probably common knowledge for the vast majority of players, but we thought we should cover it. Arcane Boots can be disassembled and in many games on support heroes, they should be. There are several important reasons for it, some are meta-specific, while others are going to stay relevant regardless of what patch the game is played in.
Right now, as a support, not being able to stay on the map is a pretty big problem, especially for position five players. With unlimited courier access, a support who is more efficient in using their resources is going to benefit from more experience, some extra gold, and crucially, the ability to help their teammates.
For that reason, Tranquil Boots are incredibly popular right now: players can occasionally spend 100 gold for a couple of Clarity potions to keep their mana levels up, while continuously regenerating HP between fights.
At the same time, one or two usages of Arcane Boots can be very important for you and your teammates. This is especially relevant when as a support, you get a surge of gold from a kill or from tower destruction, but need to refill resources to, once again, stay on the map.
With Aether Lens being a very natural item to build on some support heroes, when such situations arise, it is well worth it to go Arcane, use them a couple of times to help out your teammates with their mana issues, be it to fight or to speed up their farm, and then disassemble the item to get Tranquil Boots and Aether Lens some time down the road.
Be mindful, however, of whether your teams need a specific save item. In many games, you might be forced to go for an early Force Staff or Glimmer Cape by the enemy hero composition. In situations like this, it is perfectly acceptable to keep your Energy Booster unupgraded in your inventory: the extra mana is actually pretty important on some heroes, so it is not a complete waste. Afterward, once you’ve solved the safety problem, it can make sense to finish building your Lens, or go for Lotus Orb, if there are nasty effects you will need to dispel from your teammates.
More of a hyper-specific late-game scenario, rather than a default progression, but Lotus Orb can be disassembled to get Perseverance back and build a Linken’s Sphere from it.
This can actually make a lot of sense on support or utility heroes, when dealing with hexes in the later stages of the game: Linken’s is a pretty terrible item for most cores, and is often more of a forced adaptation, rather than a natural progression, so, if you have enough funds on a position three offlaner or on a support, you can make your carry’s game much easier, while doing your job.
Plate Mail can then be used as a part of Shiva’s Guard or just kept in your inventory: casual +10 Armor is never bad, honestly. Finding a use for Energy Booster can be slightly more problematic, especially in a late-game scenario where mana issues become less of a problem, but Aeon Disk can be a good way to progress the item if your hero doesn’t really benefit from Aether Lens.
Mask of Madness
One of the more straightforward items to disassemble: Mask of Madness is a great farm acceleration and early game DPS tool that frequently gets a bit too risky and unreliable to use in the midgame. For that reason, getting the components back and going for the Satanic + Butterfly combo is usually what most carry players do.
There are possible deviations, sure, but on most heroes you want to accelerate your farm speed on, going for Vladmir’s Offering is unintuitive. It is a utility item, while Satanic is a much better self-safety one. It is more egoistic, but carries do have to think of their own plan to win the game first and foremost, at least in the majority of games.
Quarterstaff into Butterfly is the default most of the time: the item is great even on Strength heroes, since it gives a respectable amount of AS and Armor. If, however, you feel like you don’t really need the extra Armor or the Evasion, going for Orchid into Bloodthorn is an option that should absolutely be considered.
Probably one of the most important items of the patch that can now be disassembled, if necessary, making it even better. You don’t need Silver Edge in every game: sometimes there are simply no passives worth breaking. But on some heroes, the simple farm acceleration and mana regeneration from Echo Sabre is just too good to pass on.
Instead, once the item has, hopefully, won you an engagement or helped with a couple of ganks, you can disassemble it for a very multi-purpose Ogre Axe and a bit specific, but nonetheless important Oblivion Staff.
The latter only has a single progression path, apart from Echo Sabre — Orchid Malevolence, which in turn can be later combined into Bloodthorn. Bloodthorn is an incredible, but pricey DPS item, however, on heroes who really lack Attack Speed but have great Attack Damage values, it can be pretty good. The added utility, available once you get Orchid, is also very nice, since it can allow you to skip BKB for a while if the enemy only has a single problematic source of lockdown.
Ogre Axe is somewhat more interesting. While going for BKB is probably the default option for heroes who really need spell immunity and get kited to their death otherwise, there are definitely other options.
Sven can really benefit from getting his hands on an earlier Aghanim’s Scepter: great gap closer, combined with silence from Orchid can ensure he gets his one or two starting kills with relative ease, and snowballing a fight from that situation is quite easy. Alternatively, on other heroes, going for Sange into Halberd can be a very worthwhile adaptation: if the enemy mostly relies on auto-attack damage from ranged heroes, there is no better item than Halberd.
Sange, Kaya, Yasha and derivatives
Halberd, as well as S&Y, K&S and K&Y, can also be disassembled, though we don’t really know of a good way to use this. Sometimes you might go for an early S&Y and then realize you really need a Manta or a Halberd, and it can come in handy, but, again, this is really specific.
Halberd, theoretically, can be progressed into Butterfly, but then you will have to find a use for the Sange component, which will typically mean S&Y on a hero, who wants to have a Butterfly in the first place. But that feels a bit like going backward in your build, though not necessarily bad from an inventory management perspective.
Perhaps a late-game Trident recipe can be a part of this discussion, but players will have to be really unlucky to not get anything better for their cores than the Trident as one of their T5 item drops.
Leave us a comment in the section below, if you have any ideas regarding the disassembly of S&K&Y derivatives.