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    Dota 2 – Sub’s Bench – Part 2: LC, Terrorblade and Phoenix

    Last time we had a look at heroes that had two features in common – they are not available in the Captain’s Mode and they are really unpopular among the pub players. Today we will have a look at the remaining three heroes that are yet to see competitive scene, while occasionally making an appearance in the public matchmaking.

    While the 6.81 is widely considered to be the last patch before the The International 4 we still have the chance to witness some of these heroes at the tournament. After all, the Ember Spirit was added in 6.80 without any other patch updates.

    Shall we begin?

    Legion Commander

  • Introduction
  • I remember writing about the hero quite a while ago and most of what I had to say stayed true. She has faced some minor reworks and fixes since then but have not entered the competitive scene.

    Her current Win Rate is around 45%, yet she is still 16th in popularity among the players.

    So, what does she have to offer?

  • Pros
  • Legion Commander is a relatively tanky hero. She has a decent Str growth of 2.6 per level and a Moment of Courage and Press The Attack skills that let her sustain her health pool while dishing out considerable amount of damage.

    Press The Attack can also be used to heal allies while purging them of most of the debuffs, including stun. The only other skill that allows this is Aphotic Shield.

    She can also transition into lategame relatively well, if she manages to get enough damage from her ultimate – Duel. A well-fed Legion Commander is a scary enemy to face.

    Her Duel is also an amazing initiation/disabling skill. And locking down an enemy caster at the earlier stages or an enemy carry at the later ones can greatly benefit the team.

    Recent changes to her first ability – Overwhelming Odds has got a huge buff in 6.81 making it a very strong nuke that can potentially deal 500+ damage in a decent AoE (with 5 enemy heroes). It can also be effectively used against [missing item: necronomicon-3] + Summons strats to counter heavy pushes.

    In my opinion, when it comes to the competitive scene she can be played as either a mid or a safe-lane core. High sustainability in mid with bottle-crowing and Press The Attack will put her in the favorable position against other melee mid heroes ( Ember Spirit).

    In the safelane she can get her hands on Blink Dagger very fast, and then start ganking with her low-cooldown, high-effectiveness disable. That will also create some space for the allied supports to possibly get some assist gold or lane farm.

    She can also be played as a very situational support, to counter really long single target disables ( Mirana, Beastmaster). Considering she can somewhat effectively jungle from level 3-4, it is a viable, however sub-optimal option.

  • Cons
  • Legion Commander must set the tone for the game. If she is not utilizing her ultimate to get that early game advantage and damage, she will rapidly fall-off. Hence she is a very situational and a very risky pick.

    On top of that, if the gank was on a bait with some support behind the target she can feed damage to the enemy team. On one hand you want to be aggressive and gain momentum. On the other, you have to be really cautious not to get yourself into a disadvantage.

    As a 1st position carry, without the help of Duel kills, she can start losing to enemy right-clickers as early as 20 minute mark. As a mid hero, while being dominant to most other melee heroes, she will have hard time against ranged ones. And if she is not capable of getting her core items quickly she will be relatively useless throughout the game.

  • Conclusion
  • In my opinion, Legion Commander could be a very situational pick that is only strong in particular lineups and if she has a great start. She can offer quite a bit to a trilane, with the ability to dispel stuns, while having a decent nuke that can transition into a counter-initiation and a potential kill, but if an enemy carry is not shutdown with constant ganks by her or her teammates, the late-game can be somewhat painful.

    In terms of game balance, I would say Legion Commander is pretty balanced and is not necessarily over or under-powered. Her decreased versatility and sub-par jungling (fixed in 6.80) has made her ready for the competitive scene without a lot of changes.


  • Introduction
  • Probably one of the most annoying heroes in public play that has an almost 53% Win Rate and sits right in the middle of the popularity list.

    This hero is a hard carry, an amazing pusher that can allow himself to be cautiously aggressive even in the early stages.

    What does he have to offer? Well… a lot.

  • Pros
  • Damage. Raw damage output on this hero is immense. Being the only hero with built-in ranged illusions he can be very strong with the right items.

    Slow. A very powerful, scaling slow that is now, however, dispelled by magic immunity. It does have a drawback in terms of having a relatively short cast range, but if you manage to get close and personal to the enemy – he is dead. While the changes introduced in 6.81 made his slow a lot less powerful, it is still a force to be reckoned with when used with Metamorphosis

    Survivability. If you don’t manage to get this hero chain-disabled to get him down – you will have to face him twice. That comes with one of the heroes on your team going down really fast. This aspect has also been nerfed in 6.81, lowering the Strength growth from 1.9 to 1.4. While it does seem a lot, it only translates to 19 HP per 2 levels, meaning that at level 10 he lost 95 HP. While it is a considerable amount of health, it is in no way gamebreaking.

    Flash-farming. With the illusions that deal 60% of damage clearing jungle becomes trivial. And that can be achieved with the main hero still getting XP and Gold in the lane.

    He is a definite 1st position that needs his supports to save him, but at later stages he becomes the God of pushing and a very hard carry. Unlike most carries, the gank-kill-push transition is very easy for Terrorblade.

  • Cons
  • After a long wall of praise for this hero, let’s see what drawbacks he has.

    Terrorblade is somewhat easy to shut down. He really needs his items to be effective. And unlike other hard-carries that require a lot of farm ( Faceless Void, ~ Naga Siren) he has no escape mechanism.

    That, in turn, forces the whole team to play around him. And from what I see in the competitive matches, 4 Protect 1 strategies are neither popular nor really effective.

    The hero is also very level dependent – he needs all of his skills to be a force to be reckoned with. And with constant protection required he needs the trilane, especially since the enemy team trilane would prefer to disrupt his farm and hunt him as early as the zero minute mark.

    Most importantly, however, is that good teams will have a way of chain-disabling him for long enough for him not to be able to get that “second life”.

  • Conclusion
  • This hero still requires quite a bit of work even after the 6.81 patch. While he remained a very strong hero in puvlic matchmaking, he might be unfit for the competitive scene. He heavily relies on his teammates for the first half of the game and creating space for a single hero might not be what the current meta can allow for.

    At the same time, his comeback potential is similar to the one of Naga Siren and he will probably be able to win games that would seem lost without him.


  • Introduction
  • Phoenix is not a very popular hero, only placing 73rd in our list, however he does have a decent Win Rate and a really interesting skillset.

    From what I understand about the hero, I feel like he should be played in an offlane, where he can not only stay realtively safe due to his Icarus Dive escape ability, but also disrupt some farm for the enemy carry with Fire Spirits.

    So, how does he match up against current popular offlane picks?

  • Pros
  • Phoenix is somewhat hard to pin down without instant disables, since any projectile based ones can be “semi-evaded” with Icarus Dive. The hero will still get stunned and take the damage, however this will happen in a relatively safe place 1400 units away from where the disable should have connected.

    Having Fire Spirits to slow down attack animation of the enemy can also help him to harass the enemy, stay safe from auto-attacks and possibly secure some farm, while the attack speed debuff will give an edge at denying the gold and a portion of XP.

    In a teamfight a well-fed Phoenix can not only dish out considerable amounts of damage while healing teammates with Stop Sun Ray, but also put the enemy in an awkward position – they will have to choose whether to focus the Supernova “Egg”, keep fighting and face the crazy AoE stun, while eating a decent amount of damage, or run away.

  • Cons
  • With proper bans of instant stuns/disables, it is really hard to kill Phoenix in an offlane. However dedicating some of these bans to supports just to give Phoenix some easy time might not be the most optimal thing to do.

    Additionally, his Stop Sun Ray is really hard to utilize to its full effectiveness. And even if it is used effectively, it still requires quite a bit of gold/XP investment to be threatening, rather than simply annoying.

    While Supernova might wreck pub games, most of the professional teams with high levels of coordination will not suffer so much from it without a proper setup from the Phoenix’s team – it will rarely be the case when half the team is running away, while the other half is dying to not let Phoenix be reborn.

    The 6.81 patch has also introduced a variety of small nerfs to the hero, one of which increases the cast point for Icarus Dive. While it does not completely destroy the ability, it still give a very distinct window of opportunity for heroes with comparable cast times.

  • Conclusion
  • My personal opinion is that the hero is well balanced and has the highest chance of appearing in the competitive play out of all 5 we discussed in this and previous blog posts. He is a good off-laner that can be devastating with a proper setup, while not being in any way overpowered.

    Additionally, any gameplay with Phoenix is usually very flashy and seeing him piloted by a flashy player can be very enjoyable.

    Closing Comments

    That is it for our Sub’s Bench blog series. I really hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. While my opinion might not be the one and only truth and I might have missed some valuable information, I have tried my best to analyze what the addition of these heroes to the competitive scene might bring.

    It might not be the case we will see all of them in the nearest future. It is highly improbable to say the least. But a new hero played by a professional is always exciting and I personally can’t wait to see Na’Vi Funn1k play Phoenix or DK.Burning Terrorblade.

    As always,

    Thank you for Reading!

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