Rise of the Lifestealer
Everyone’s favourite Gollum-like thing is currently one of the most common carries to go with. Having a 5% increase in win rate compared to the 6.86s, Lifestealer munches his way through pubs and competitive games pretty effectively.
In a meta that favours fighting and getting objectives early, it’s only natural that N’aix will do well. He’s one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, position 1 Heroes. Usually, carries need to wait for the point of the game when they have their BKB along with some damage to fully participate in 5 on 5 engagements, but this monster doesn’t care for any of these.
Obviously though, that’s only half the story; Lifestealer has also received a lot of other improvements, mainly item-wise. His +0.6 Strength growth and the extra armour on Armlet were nice. What really made a difference where the additions of Blight Stone and Echo Sabre. They’re very cheap for what they do, especially on this Hero.
Blight Stone means a mini-Deso, with roughly 1/10 the price. This is a huge damage improvement for Lifestealer, since Feast deals physical damage and apparently so does Rage through the increased attack speed; all that with just 300 gold. This Hero can deal crazy amounts of damage with Phase Boots+Armlet+Blight stone (=3860 gold).
Echo Sabre is usually the next item choice. More strength, damage and attack speed are always welcome, and the plus int/mana regen are nice to deal with his mana issues. The double attack is also very efficient on N’aix. Feast is applied twice, thus double damage and lifesteal. Again, this is another very cheap for what it does item.
Added to his concept, these items allow him to fight even better than he used to in the early-mid game. Generally, people consider purely late game carries to be a risk (especially in competitive matches) because they can easily become a liability. Those that can help with the team’s objectives without requiring a 25 minute babysitting are more reliable.
Lifestealer does fall off a bit compared to other carries going into very late game though. This is mainly because if his Rage gets kited, he loses a lot of damage and survivability. Despite this weakness, having a built-in spell immunity as a right-clicker is a threat that can’t easily be ignored.