Just two months ago we wrote a whole piece on how Omniknight was one of the least viable heroes in the game. It was absolutely the case back then, but after a series of buffs and some global meta changes, we are happy to report that there is now a reason to pick this hero.
At the time of writing, Omniknight is sitting at 50%+ win rate in all skill brackets and is the most successful in Divine+ games. Granted, his popularity is still quite low, making for a rather small sample size, however, at least it tells us that in the right hands and in the right game, Omniknight can and will be useful.
What is perhaps even more surprising is that in the first couple of weeks after the patch, Omniknight was winning close to 65% of his games in Divine+ — an absolutely incredible result and what caught our attention initially. While the sample was even smaller back then, we knew that if the hero is played correctly, he can be a very good fit for the current meta. How to play Omniknight correctly is going to be the biggest focus of this blog post.
Finding the Lane
Once again, looking at our guides page can provide tons of useful information and it seems Omniknight in the higher level brackets is the most successful when played as a position three offlaner. While trying the hero in a support position might be a good idea in certain games, we feel in most cases Omniknight is a bit too greedy and item-dependent to be a support.
Despite some pretty sizable buffs to the Purification cast range, Omniknight still tends to be on the frontline during team fights: he can’t afford to stay way back until after he gets his Aghanim’s and that item is not necessarily a priority for the hero.
You want to be able to give out timely heals, you want to be able to dispel some annoying stuns from your teammates and you want to be able to cover your whole team in a protective bubble. That means Omniknight will be close to the epicenter of the fight and he will usually be the priority target for the enemy team.
The hero needs to be tanky or survivable to be effective, so having some farm priority is generally preferred. You can, theoretically, play a sacrificial position as Omniknight, but then it is just easier to pick a more versatile and less item-dependent support.
Omniknight’s two basic active skills are what makes him so effective: in fact, in many games, high-level players simply skip Guardian Angel until later levels to be better at small-scale skirmishes.
Naturally, Purification is typically maxed out first: it is a pretty strong heal and a great nuke as well. Other abilities have varying degrees of priority, depending on the game.
When playing against melee cores, you have to consider their overall movement speed and mobility, to understand how many points in Degen Aura you need. One value point is typically mandatory, regardless of the game, but the Aura’s effectiveness almost doubles when going from level one to level two, so when facing heroes who can be easily kited, getting a second point relatively early can be very beneficial for your survival. Otherwise, maxing out Heavenly Grace as soon as possible is usually preferable.
Timing on skilling Guardian Angel is also game-dependent: if you expect the enemy to start looking for full 5v5 team fights, or if your team wants to start playing proactively, it might be a good idea to get it as soon as level eight or nine. In more passive games, based on ganks and pickoffs, it can be delayed until levels 11 and 12.
Talent-wise, there are no clear winners at level 10: both talents have their games. Do note that the Heavenly Grace upgrade talent does increase regeneration effectiveness of the spell by 50%, which is quite respectable. Our advice would be to get the movement speed when you are expected to tank for your team, with squishier, glass-cannon cores on first two positions, and go for the regeneration one when you have something like Sven or Ursa as one of your cores.
Going for +70 damage at level 15 is typically a bad idea: you can technically build Omniknight as a right-clicking core, but following that logic, you can, technically, build CM as a right-clicking core as well. This logic might not be flawed, but it requires some extraordinary circumstances to pay off, so Purification cooldown is definitely a better option in most games.
Level 20 is when many players will have to make a pretty tough decision: while both talents are great, you don’t really need the extra slow on Degen Aura if the most problematic DPS hero on the enemy team is ranged. Having a 100%+ uptime on Heavenly Grace can be absolutely broken in certain games, not to mention more access to a strong dispel.
Finally, there is level 25 and, honestly, at this point in the game the enemy will most likely have a way to dispel your Guardian Angel, so a more reliable and effective heal is probably the way to go. It is better stat-wise as well, though the sample size is pretty small.
Omniknight is definitely making a comeback: the hero’s resurgence is based on many different factors, but it is absolutely possible to finally recommend playing him. There are many popular physical damage-only cores in the game, there are more melee carries and there is slightly less emphasis on constant team fights and early laning stage.
Is Omni a good fit for every single game? Probably not. However, when playing with glass-cannon, greedy cores, and with enough catch and initiation on your supports, he can be a very strong character. On top of it, he is ideal in pub games, where your supports don’t intend to have any save, refuse to pick in the first stage of the draft, and generally don’t look like they are going to do their job well.