No menu items!

    Dota 2 – The New Slardar: Support Clockwerk

    Warcog loading screen by Chemical Alia & DrySocket

    Clockwerk has been in and out of the meta for years now, without many significant buffs or nerfs. While he has been a dedicated offlaner for most of the time, there have been instances where Clockwerk was played as mid or even as a support. The current meta sees a resurgence in such a positional shift with numerous 4 position Clockwerks. But what allows the hero to be played as a 4 position support? Before we can answer that though, it is important to figure out what makes him strong in the meta in general.

    Patch History

    The last significant direct nerf against Clockwerk dates back to 6.78 when Power Cogs stopped affecting spell immune units–this was 4 years ago. Ever since, all abilities have received buffs, mostly small ones, but buffs nonetheless. Significant buffs to the hero occurred in the form of increased base strength (24->26) and strength gain (2.7->3.2) and then the recent buffs towards the strength attribute in 6.87 and 7.06, which increased the health gained per strength and the health regeneration respectively.

    Despite this rich history of smaller, incremental buffs over a long period of time, Clockwerk has not been a dominant pick, especially during a time when offlaners largely relied on farming the jungle to get back into the game. At The International 2016, Clockwerk was picked only once and remained unpicked at the Shanghai Major. While he has gained in popularity since, he’s still only been picked a total of 26 times at both the Boston and Kiev Major, both times with a rather lackluster win rate (39% and 23% respectively). Now, at the Manila Masters, Clockwerk wound up being the most picked hero at the event. Pub players also only recently picked up on this trend of buffs and Clock’s pub win rate has steadily increased for a while now (currently 52%) and especially in 5k+ MMR games he’s picked up a lot of steam. Here, he’s the 17th most picked hero this month and musters a 54% win rate, which is the 5th highest in the bracket.

    So why now, what makes him good in the meta right now?

    An emphasis on laning

    For a while now, the meta has emphasized the laning stage quite a bit. is a stellar example of a team that is able to snowball off of a strong laning stage. While previously, teams have focused on heavy roamers, such as Earth Spirit or Monkey King, the focus has shifted towards lane stability. Every line-up has a strong laning support that can ensure the success of the safelane by zoning out the opponent’s offlaner.

    With 720 HP at level 1 and almost 2 armor, Clock can trade hits with just about anyone and will likely come out on top. With a base MS of 315 and early Boots, it’ll be difficult for most heroes to not be trapped inside Power Cogs. Even running down an opponent with Battery Assault is an effective method to zone out an opponent. The new Tranquil Boots also add to this, as they provide more movement speed and are built out of a Wind Lace. Because of the early Boots build, Clock can effectively roam between lanes and rune spots, more so than most other supports in the current meta. Right now, Clockwerk is the ultimate nuisance in the pro meta.

    Ever since 7.06, denying creeps provides XP to the denying team. As an traditional offlaner, Clockwerk doesn’t need many items to be successful, but he needs experience and levels. This XP change in 7.06 allows a support Clock to be much more effective than he would’ve been before.

    A lot of these changes however also encourage an offlane Clockwerk, so why support?

    Drafting Flexbility & Mid game threat

    6/13 Clockwerk picks at the Manila Masters were support Clockwerks with the remaining picks resulting in an offlane Clockwerk. Very reminiscent of Slardar in the past year, Clockwerk has become the newest “flex”- pick (more on that here). Picking a Clockwerk early isn’t easily punished, as he could be either support or offlane. There are also numerous combo options for Clockwerk, as he can set up skill shots or at the very least obstruct an opponent’s escape path. There’s also a unique interaction with Shadow Fiend which teams have started to optimize. Denying Power Cogs inside the fountain can allow a Shadow Fiend to start the laning stage with around 15-18 souls.

    Apart from a solid laning stage and the flexibility he provides during drafting, a support Clockwerk also offers most of the benefits a core Clockwerk would in the mid game. Strictly speaking, Clockwerk doesn’t need many items or any to be effective. Though if he can farm some, he can be a utility hero/core, as no utility item is necessarily bad on him. One could argue that Blade Mail is one of the best items to get, but support items such as Force Staff, Lotus Orb, Glimmer Cape or even a Mekansm are all good on him. What helps with this flexible itemization is one of his level 10 talents which grants him 4 extra armor. As a result, he isn’t reliant on becoming tankier through items and it makes him more difficult to kill, which can make a huge difference for a support, certainly for an initiating one.

    In the mid game, Clock provides a lot of vision and map control through his roaming and positioning, as well as his Rocket Flare. Through his long range of initiation, he also applies a lot of pressure onto the enemy by not showing on the map. While the same can be said about any core position offlaner, a support Clockwerk isn’t punished as much by falling behind on farm.

    In teamfights, Clockwerk has always been able to change the flow by positioning himself appropriately and zoning out heroes through Power Cogs. Rocket Flare provides a vision advantage and Hookshot can be a key (re-)initiation tool. To add to all of this, he also counters a variety of currently popular heroes. Cores such as Bristleback or Troll Warlord are best dealt with by kiting them around or singling them out.

    Tournament trend or new meta?

    The recent rise of Clockwerk could easily be written off as a tournament occurrence. Every LAN event has its own meta and some heroes or playstyles often come and go with those tournaments. Ratteltrap could be in that category, certainly since 7.06 is a rather new patch. That said, one can still expect to see more of him in the upcoming events. With a lot of focus on supports in the first pick and ban phases, Clockwerk becomes an incredible weapon in the drafting tool of any captain right now.

    As seen on Dotabuff

    Latest articles

    Related articles