When I changed methodologies on my skill build analysis a week or two ago, one of the driving reasons was that the old version didn’t work so well when it came to heroes with very similar early game builds but divergent late game builds. Huskar and Ancient Apparition aren’t particularly hot in either pubs or tournament play at the moment, but they’re useful to me as examples of how this new analysis method is way more flexible. In these cases, the big question for both of these heroes is whether their often neglected skills Burning Spears and Chilling Touch are even worth taking at all. The answer, particularly in Huskar’s case, is a bit less than straightforward, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s start with Huskar(dota2wiki page):
Q – Inner Vitality: Scaling Single Target Heal
Scaling — Rate of Scaling
W – Burning Spear: Magical DoT Orb Effect
Scaling — Damage per Second
E – Berserker’s Blood: Stacking Damage and Attack Speed Passive per HP Missing
Scaling — Attack Speed and Damage per 7% HP
Now for the table:
There are two big stats I need to draw your attention to:
The first is that Huskar’s win rate drops pretty significantly the higher you go in the bracket (48.23% -> 45.78%). This is hardly surprising, but it becomes important later on.
The second is that maxing Berzerker’s Blood(E) first definitely appears to be the way to go. This should be even less surprising, but just to really hammer home the point, I made a quick little chart comparing the win rate of Huskar in games where he maxes E by level 8 to games where he doesn’t max E .
So Huskar’s in the Normal bracket who do not max E see their winning percentage drop by 8.5 percentage points, which is a pretty huge dip. It also points out that Huskar’s performance gap between Normal and Very High is ~5% when you look exclusively at builds that max Blood first.
With Huskar’s ideal primary easily determined, the real question about Huskar builds is how he should spend the rest of his points. To examine this more closely, I created a modified version of the Win% by Skill Point table from the previous SBAs. But instead of looking at Q/W/E by level 8, I restricted the search to builds that max Blood first and looked at Q/W/Stats by level 10. Since these builds have all spent 4 points in E and the vast majority one point in Huskar’s Ult, this leaves 5 points available spread between our three options. So how did things shake out?
At all levels, Blood(E) into Inner Vitality(Q) is the most popular. Blood into Burning Spear(W) is the next most popular, but loses ground as you move up through the brackets. Blood + Stats is always fairly rare, but still reasonably popular. The win rates paint a rather curious picture. At Normal and High, E+Stats is the strongest followed by E->Q, but in Very High E->W looks like the clear winner. In light of this, I did another focused test comparing E Prime builds with 4 points in Burning Spear by 10 to E Prime builds without 4 points in Spears.
It doesn’t occupy a huge percentage of his Very High usage, but E->W definitely experiences the least Very High Win Percentage Decay of any of Huskar’s major builds. It’s not definitive since these builds make up a relatively small portion of the entire sample (~487 games total in Very High), and it could be a trick related to E->Q just being more popular.
On the other hand, it could be that E->Q and E+Stats do well in the Normal bracket because the HP edge helps Huskar win 1v1 fights reliably and snowball from there. In Very High the importance of 1v1 fights is diminished and builds that max Spear second have better overall damage output for skirmishes, early teamfights, and non-Ancient Neutral farming. Maybe. Whatever the case, there appears to be nothing wrong with a 0/4/4/1 build. Other builds appear to outperform it in the lower brackets, but it remains resilient in all 3 brackets.
Now Ancient Apparition on the other hand paints a much more straightforward picture. For the sake of time I won’t describe his abilities, but you can check them out on his Dota 2 Wiki Page
Cold Feet(Q) -> Ice Vortex(W) is the unambiguous winner here. So is Chilling Touch(E) still a skill worth skipping for stats? To test this we just replicate the tests we did with Huskar, only this time we look at QW builds at level 10 and see how they fare when they’ve put points into Chilling Touch.
It’s not a huge effect, but it does look like Chilling Touch is might still be a bit lackluster. It does do well enough in Normal though, and it’s at worst not an active hindrance.
What needs to be emphasized though is that this is not an argument that Chilling Touch should never be skilled; it’s at best an argument that it usually does not pay off to skill it early. As always, there could be situations where early Chilling Touch is actually quite viable but that are statistically rare enough that they aren’t showing up in my analysis. What this means is that if you have a good argument for trying to integrate Chilling Touch early, by all means test it out. If you don’t any reason to believe that Chilling Touch is going to work particularly well in a given game/lineup/lane matchup, then you’re probably better off playing it safe with a standard Q->W->E build.
So to summarize:
- Always max Berzerker’s Blood first on Huskar
- Blood -> Stats appears to be the strongest Huskar build at low levels of play, followed by Blood->Inner Vitality
- If you’re doing either of those builds, only grab 1 point of Burning Spear if you need it for specific orb-walking purposes (such as attacking through CM’s Frostbite)
- On the other hand, 0/4/4/1 looks perfectly viable for Huskar, especially at higher levels of play.
- Ancient Apparition appears to generally perform the best with a straightforward Q->W->E build order. The E vs Stats comparison is inconclusive, though Chilling Touch does appear to be the stronger option in lower bracket play.