It’s been a while since I’ve done a SBA, so I thought I’d take a look at one of the more unusual cases from Dota 2 Hero Winrates by Game Duration. Spectre stood out as the only hero with an extremely favorable late-game profile in the top 15 heroes in VH win percentage (5th in late-game skew; 12th in overall win percentage) while also boosting the single highest win percentage in the sample in games with a duration lasting longer than 42 minutes. For all the negativity I’ve seen thrown her way, Spectre has actually been a rather solid carry in pub games since the 6.75 buff to desolate. This success hasn’t quite translated to the competitive scene, her win rate there in 6.78 has only been 43%, but she’s still an actually viable hard carry option for standard matchmaking games.
Let’s start by looking at her skill builds. First for reference:
Q: Spectral Dagger— Nuke that slows target while speeding up Spectre and allies. Allows Spectre to pass through impassable terrain.
Scaling: Damage, Move Speed, and Mana Cost go up.
W: Desolate — Spectre (and illusions) do bonus pure damage every time they attack an enemy hero with no nearby allied units.
Scaling: Damage goes up.
E: Dispersion — Reflects a portion of incoming damage to her enemies. This damage is not taken by Spectre.
Scaling: Percentage of damage reflected goes up.
So first the build breakdown.
As an experiment, I also made a chart detailing the raw number of games observed of each build in the sample (Normal is slightly inaccurate in raw numbers, but is proportionately accurate).
The big trend here as you move up out of Normal towards Very High is a trend away from Dispersion builds and towards either Spectral Dagger or Desolate builds. As usual Split builds also become less common. Now let’s add in win rates.
And unsurprisingly, those two builds (Q->W and W->Q) are also the two best performing builds in High and Very High. They’re close enough that I’d leave it up to personal preference on which to max first. Dispersion is definitely a huge portion of Spectre’s late game presence, but Spectral Dagger and Desolate combined with smart ult usage is what gets you to the late game. You can add a point in Dispersion somewhere between levels 2 and 4, but past that you’re really better off skilling for aggression. Incidentally though, builds that entirely skip Dispersion in the first 8 levels don’t actually do so bad, so full on Dagger+Desolate appears to be a relatively viable option as well.
Incidentally, 75% of VH Spectres skill Spectral Dagger first compared to only 50% of Normal Spectres. Probably the right call there VH players.
Moving on to items, we have what will probably be a pretty unsurprising set of findings for many of you.
Let’s start with the boots. Spectre’s Desolate benefits from attack speed, so Power Treads seem like the obvious choice, but Phase Boots are actually the hot pickup in Very High and are actually more successful overall (56.86% vs 53.54%). Like Lifestealer, players are often emphasizing mobility over raw DPS.
As far as core damage items go, we see Manta Style, Radiance, and Diffusual Blade as the standouts in Very High. My impression from the stats is that the two most prominent build paths for Spectre are Radiance into Manta or Diffusual into Manta, with the Diffusual build being slightly more likely to sidetrack to Drums of Endurance. Meanwhile, on the Normal end of things we have Crystalus (Daedalus came with only a -3.9% decrease) and Sange and Yasha. Daedalus can be passable as a late-game luxury here, but it appears to be outclassed by Heart and Butterfly given the way they synergize with Dispersion and Desolate respectively.
I’m actually a bit skeptical on Drums. The observed win rate for that item in Very High is 56.03%, while the observed win rate for Vanguard is 57.79%. It could be that Spectre is just highly likely to sell them off in winning games, but a similarly priced item getting outperformed by Vanguard is troubling, and I’d honestly prefer to look at what’s going on here more in depth sometime in the future when mass parsing is a possibility.
So to sum it everything up.
1. Spectral Dagger -> Desolate and Desolate -> Spectral Dagger look like strongest builds overall.
2. An early point in Dispersion is fine, but it should not be maxed before your other two skills.
3. At least two of Radiance, Diffusal, and Manta should be considered core. Heart is the standout luxury purchase.