dota 2, talents, bulba, draft, heroes

Three of the most insane talents in DotA

Talent Trees have been the best addition to DotA

The addition of Talent Trees came with the Reborn patch along with a breath of fresh air into hero composition. Allowing for in-game adjustments to core aspects of your hero within each game. Simultaneously removing stat upgrades that were only useful on a handful of heroes. Talent Trees have also pushed the creativity of DotA players to new levels due to the nature of some of the upgrades.

Early, a few heroes became basically broken thanks to their talent trees. Most memorably was Lina’s first talent tree that allowed her a respawn timer reduction. A small oversight on a hero that can easily justify a Bloodstone to further reduce her time off the map. This would spell the end for respawn talents. All of which were patched out a couple months later. Talents have seen a lot of touch-ups since, but a few remain extremely impactful. Not just Puck’s ridiculous Level 25 talent of +420 Gold/Min.

puck, dota 2, gpm, talents

Puck being blessed by IceFrog

Crazy Coconuts and a Scorched Earth campaign

Witch Doctor’s talent choice at level 15 is between +90 Damage and +2 Paralyzing Cask Bounces. Too bad carry Witch Doctor isn’t a thing. But, support Witch Doctor is boosted with another 2 seconds of lockdown and damage. On the surface this may not seem so powerful. A level 4 Paralyzing Cask already bounces 8 times. Though adding another 2 bounces adds another second of stun in a teamfight. The value of this cannot be underestimated. Coupled with Maledict, a Death Ward, or both can provide devastating damage from a support.

Another hero who’s teamfight presence benefits from a Level 15 Talent is Doom. Scorched Earth is already a powerful ability:

doom, scorched earth, dota 2


So let’s add another 15 Damage and Heal per second to that. Doom has largely fallen out of the meta as an offlaner and support. But, this talent turns him into a very tanky frontliner in any teamfight. Think about it in terms of HP alone. With this talent Scorched earth does 640 magic damage over 16 seconds before reductions. in a 600 range area. While also healing Doom for the same amount. If you were to catch two heroes in a gank for seven seconds; that’s an HP swing of 1155 in favor of your team. In the early-mid game this is incredibly annoying to fight into before even taking into account his ultimate.

How much regen is too much regen

The answer is a Timbersaw with max Reactive Armor stacks at Level 15. Because this is when he gains a passive +14 Health Regen. If you haven’t played against this yet, pray you never do. A Timbersaw with no items and max stacks of Reactive Armor at this point would have a cool 46 HP regen/second. Add in another 21 HP regen with a Bloodstone and you have a real problem chaining all over the place. Physical damage becomes almost useless with all Timbersaw’s armor and regen. You would need a ton of magic damage burst just to make a Timbersaw think about leaving a fight.

DotA has always been a game about talent. With MMR dividing up players into skill brackets. A pro scene rich with extremely skilled players who are always pushing the game’s limits. Talent Trees just provide a in-game nuance that further ensures no two DotA games are the same.

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Broodmother Tips

The huge, disgusting Black Arachnia the Broodmother is one of the most unique Heroes in the game. Her playstyle is such that it can lead to her winning the game very early while also possibly becoming a big liability.

Broodmother is known for her combination of strong lane control and pushing skills. Left unchecked, she can take objectives fast and easily. Countering her isn’t too difficult; using her full potential though is something not many players actually pull off.

First, let’s look at a few common mistakes to avoid when playing Brood:

-Plainly obvious, but don’t pick her too early. Certain picks can counter her completely. The ideal scenario is to last pick her. Other than that, wait until a counterpick won’t fit easily in the enemy lineup. We’ll go through details about this later.

-Don’t fully commit to a push too much. You don’t always have enough space to do that. If there’s 4 Heroes missing, you can expect you’re going to be the target; as Brood, you’re a very high priority kill.

-You don’t have to solo push/farm for the whole duration of the game. A mistake I personally make all the time, so I can assure you, it’s worth it to join some fights here and there if you can’t take towers fast.

Now, let’s see some tips to take your gameplay up a notch.

-Bring Sentry Wards with you from the start so you can deward the enemy’s wards. No need to ask your support, you can buy them yourself; they’ll be more important than most starting items. Generally, you’ll want to start with Sentries, Tangoes and Soul Ring Recipe. Be mindful of where there can be Sentries and eat them with your Tangoes, or destroy them with your spiderlings.

-Always keep one half of your webs in impassable terrain,especially during the laning stage. That way you won’t ever be zoned out completely even if you have 2 enemy supports getting true sight constantly. You also use your Spawn Spiderlings from safety to keep up your farm.

-Get a few levels before you start bullying people out of the lane. You’re not very strong early on. The ideal case would be a level 4-5 with a Soul Ring.

-Be versatile when you’re at a disadvantage. This is perhaps the most important tip I can give. There will be times where you won’t have enough space or a very good matchup. If your spiders keep getting killed, use them to farm woods or scout, don’t just feed them. If you’re facing something like an Axe or Dark Seer, try putting some webs behind and away from their tower and farm there. If the supports are getting dusts 24/7, stay in fog, stack some spiderlings without letting them die and bully the supports away. And of course, consider starting at a different lane to gain yourself some time.

To wrap this up, a few things to keep in mind when picking Brood. As we said before, the best would be to pull off a last pick when you can see the whole enemy lineup. That won’t always be possible, so to evade your greatest enemies (Axe, Dark Seer, Timbersaw, Bristleback, etc) you generally need to look at the enemy cores and whether such a pick would fit in or not. If, for instance, they’ve already picked a woods Hero and their carry, getting an Axe to counter a Brood is possible, but it also means their carry and support would have to pull off a dual offlane. This is a painful choice you can give them; maybe you’ll get a counterpick anyway, but screwing their whole lineup over just to deal with a single Hero can be totally worth it.

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Terrorblade Counters

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As far as carries go, Terrorblade is perhaps the one that has received the most tweaks and remakes. We’ve seen him rise and fall quite a few times, and now he seems to be at his best. Both in pubs and competitive matches, he’s a pick that won’t be ignored.

Terrorblade is the only ranged-illusion carry in the game, giving him a unique way to dish out tons of damage. Even without having Metamorphosis, his illusions allow him to farm and push really fast, so giving him even a bit of space is not a good idea. Bursting him down in fights can be tricky, since a second of misplaced disables can allow him to Sunder and get back to full HP.

Let’s see a few options to deal with the demon lord:

: Earthshaker combines a lot of AoE disable time and huge burst damage, pretty much what you need to deal with illusions with the old-fashioned, direct approach. Most of the time, Terrorblades will be forced to at least get a BKB against Earthshakers.

: Another one who we’ve seen a lot in the last patches, Sven the Rogue Knight has a built-in cleave skill, an AOE stun and extraordinary right-click damage, enough to kill him before he Sunders. Note that cleave damage is pure, meaning that Terrorblade’s huge base armor will be less relevant. To make things better, Sven’s Warcry will add 20 armor to him and his allies, making Terrorblade hurt a lot less.

: Timbersaw may be lacking disables to deal with Sunder, but he more than makes up for it with tons of AOE pure damage. Illusions will die very quickly. Also, Timber will be a great pain for Terrorblade during the laning stage. Shutting a carry down early on is generally the safest way to go.

: Ember Spirit shines best when there are a lot of units for him to cleave and crit with Sleight of Fist. Not only that, but actually hitting him with Sunder can be extremely difficult. A great choice for stopping Terrorblade pushes.

: Outworld Devourer’s Arcane Orb deals tons of damage to illusions, 1 or 2-shotting them at most. Sanity’s Eclipse is also a good way of bursting the enemy down at about half hp before he can Sunder.

: While obviously not the type to manfight any carry, Lich has an Ice Armor that also works on towers, greatly reducing right-click damage and a Chain Frost that can bounce a lot between illusions. He can also be very annoying during the laning stage, taking away a lot of EXP and gold from the enemy.

: Multiple March of the Machines, bouncing Lasers, permahexes, huge burst. A good Tinker player can make Terrorblade’s life really hard.

As an extra note, keep in mind that illusion carries hold the typical disadvantage that they aren’t the best BKB users. Even if the main Hero is safe from nukes, their damage output is still dependant on those copies of themselves. Any sort of AoE disable or nuke, even when BKB is active, will reduce Terrorblade’s effectiveness a lot.


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Dota 6.88b

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Three weeks before the International 6 kicks off, we get another small, balance patch. The most notable changes consist off:

* Timbersaw strength gain reduced from 2.1 to 1.8

Our favourite tree-hater has seen a lot of play since 6.88 was released; not only that, but a late game Timbersaw with a few items is not exactly easy to bring down. 0.3 less STR gain means 150 less HP at level 25, which isn’t a lot at that point. I don’t believe this nerf will affect his potential too much.

* Metamorphosis mana cost increased from 50 to 100
* Metamorphosis no longer lingers after reincarnation/death

This, on the other hand, will hurt Terrorblade a bit more. Carries are generally quite dependent on how well they can use a second life, through buyback or Aegis. Not having his real ult (as people sometimes refer to Metamorphosis) after respawning gives the opponent more options to deal with the Hero.

The extra mana cost may not seem huge, but a couple less spells during the laning stage can mean a lot more than expected.

* Beastmaster Boar XP bounty increased from 59 to 60/70/80/90

The nerfs to Beastmaster continue. He’ll now have to be more careful with his summoned pigs; don’t forget he can have two at a time, so killing them both will result to up to 180 XP. Despite, he’s still a pretty reliable Hero to ignore.

* Lane Creeps now give 20% of XP when denied by neutrals rather than 0% (normal player denies give 50% XP)

An interesting buff to offlaners. Enemy supports denying their creep waves to neutrals will still give some XP. Perhaps now we’ll see attempts to completely zone the offlaner out rather than pulling the waves.

* Astral Imprisonment damage increased from 75/150/225/300 to 100/175/250/325
* Arcane Orb intelligence duration increased from 60 to 80

Outworld Devourer went from being zero to Hero then back to zero during the previous two major patches. I believe he still has good potential, but people tend to overreact to certain changes. The extra 20 seconds on the Arcane Orb duration will boost both his lane control and his overall fighting capabilities.

Going back and forth in nerfing and buffing a certain Hero is mostly due to the community’s reactions to the Hero. I don’t think he was that broken back in 6.86, and I don’t think he was that useless before these buffs either; hopefully, this will bring him to a point where he’s be considered valid. I don’t believe he’ll be considered overpowered again, due to his inability to damage spell immune units.

Full patch note can be found here:


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New meta or same old Dota mentality?

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“New meta” is one of the most overused expressions in Dota and other games of the genre. Short for “metagame”, it means any sort of information coming from outside the game’s boundaries (mainly people’s observation) that will affect in-game decisions.

Simply put, we pick Hero ‘X’ all the frickin’ time because we ourselves, as external factors, observe they’re broken, and not because the game itself urges us to do so.

Obviously, the meta is something that changes constantly. That much is for certain, since that’s the very purpose of balance patches. How much it changes every time though is a completely different story.

I’ve been playing nine and a half years and I’ve seen Dota evolve so many times, I could hardly say it’s still the same game. There is however a single element that hasn’t changed one bit. That element is the majority of the players’ perception of the meta. We could argue that this isn’t a part of the game per se, but I really believe the community has affected it nearly as much as the developers.

It’s always been the professional teams that decide and set the meta each time. That by itself makes sense; they’re the ones making a living out of the game, so they got plenty of reasons to investigate more than the average player. Although, it’s not right to even say “teams”, since it’s only a handful of people that discover what works best, and the rest just copy them.

Of course, most people won’t understand what and why exactly they’re copying. That, too, makes sense, since Dota is a very complicated game. It’s extremely difficult to break it all down into numbers and decide why X in case A has a 2.3% chance more to win than Y in the same case.

What I’ve noticed though, and this is the real issue I want to address, is the complete lack of originality for most people. Observing and learning from good players is one thing, but this community takes it a step (or 100) further.

I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve seen it. Every Hero in the game is average, until some Dota celebrity uses them with a bit of success. The first time I noticed was back when Crystal Maiden’s aura became a global effect for the first time. She was still ignored until a pro team (I believe it was Meet Your Makers) started using her.

All of that wouldn’t be such a big deal, but as I said before, I think the community’s reactions really affect the developers’ decisions. Icefrog tends to buff underpicked Heroes and nerf overpicked ones, which at first glance makes sense. However, this whole mentality has a major flaw, and that is the comparison between pub games and pro games.

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The in-game experience changes A LOT between these two cases. Things just don’t work the same, which is why we get a 39% win rate Wisp in pubs, while the Hero is one of the most preffered in pro matches.

Naturally, this leaves certain Heroes with good potential in the “underpicked” pool for way too long, which causes Icefrog to keep buffing them, which in turn causes them to be overpowered.

Timbersaw is a good example of this. I don’t want to call him overpowered, not yet at least, but we have to admit he’s been quite scary lately. In 6.87, he received a + 0.2/0.4/0.6 Armor/Regen bonus in his Reactive Armour and the indirect +4 starting Bloodstone charges. They’re decent buffs, but nothing too extraordinary. Why did they affect him so much you ask? Well, they didn’t. Timbersaw still had great potential as a Hero. He could still deal his insane amounts of pure damage while jumping around like a maniac.

The Hero was fine. It’s just that no pro team had paid any attention to him for quite some time. Naturally, we didn’t see him as much in pubs, either.

Another example is Sven. He kept receiving buff after buff, the moment he still had the potential to cleave through an ancient stack, get items quickly and burst people down. Echo Sabre sealed the deal, and now he’s a monster.

I won’t argue that it makes sense for pro teams to only go for what they consider “overpowered”. If victory equals getting paid more, of course they will. For pubbers however, to keep picking Leshrac over and over and over again, it’s a whole different story. There have always been tons of other option, but they were always ignored.

Trying something alternative or half-way innovative will at best earn you some good flames,mainly by great players with very deep knowledge of the game, because “it’s out of meta”. This mentality, the good old Dota mentality, hasn’t changed one bit.

Slark Counters

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The fish that escaped from Dark Rift has been one of the most dreaded pubstompers in the game. His popularity in competitive matches has also been rising lately.

Slark has good solo kill potential, the ability to be a constant threat around the map and great survivability. He can deal with most Heroes pretty effectively and he can be quite hard to bring down. Slark works best when given just a little bit of space, and in pubs where team coordination is a bit lacking, that bit of space will go a long way.

Still, every Hero in the game can be dealt with, given some prepartion.

Well except Invoker maybe

What we need against a Hero like Slark is a lot of burst damage, preferably AoE. Because of Shadow Dance, right clicks and single target spells aren’t as effective. Vision providers can also hinder his gameplay a lot.

: Our beloved tree hater has tons of AoE pure damage with very low cooldowns, good armor, and he’s hard to chase. A perfect match for Slark who counts on getting pickoffs a lot.

: While Torrent+Boat stuns can be disabled, Kunkka is still a Hero with tons of AoE damage, plus Ghost Ship’s buff will allow his teammates to survive the duration of Shadow Dance. X is still a good spell to initiate, even against Slark.

: Well, this guy is good against pretty much any lineup anyway. He can stun a Shadow Dancing Slark for over half the duration. A well placed Silence on an unsuspecting fish can mean his end.

: Axe possesses one of the few reliable disables against Slark. Berserker’s Call can’t be dispelled and lasts 3.2 seconds, enough to waste most of Shadow Dance. Plus, he’s great against melee Heroes anyway.

: Did you call for AoE? Maybe Earth Spirit is more reliable than the King nowadays, but he still can dish out a lot more damage if that’s what you need.

: Always great for those elusive targets.

: This guy was THE counter back in the day, before he got hit by the nerfstick. If Slark’s HP is low enough, Bloodseeker will give vision of him and negate Shadow Dance’s passive effect. Also, fast Heroes don’t fare well against Rupture.

: While his stun is near impossible to hit on Slark, he still has tons of AoE damage that can pierce through the fish’s defenses.

: A well placed Ice Blast will take away Slark’s huge HP regeneration for a good amount of time.

: Also great amounts of nuke damage, paired with the ability to give vision and true sight.

Special Mention: Illusion carries

  : These are the types Slark is less effective against. His Essence Shift really falls off against them, as it won’t reduce their damage output/HP as much.