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Lich on the offlane

Discussion in 'Guides' started by kamukag3e, May 31, 2017.

  1. kamukag3e

    kamukag3e Member

    Jun 11, 2009

    Table of content:

    1. Detailed hero introduction.
    2. What are the heroes' strong and weak points.
    3. When should I pick him.
    4. Why should I play him there.
    5. How to build him.
    6. How to play him.

    Hero information.

    You can see for yourself the specific details of the hero right here, but let me underline his strong points and how should they be used.

    His statistics are mediocre, but he is really fast with a starting movement speed of 315 and as a ranged hero he is relatively safe on the offlane in comparison to other heroes.

    The ability to instantaneously kill an allied creep is his main asset to the offlane. It gives him superior control of the equilibrium and deny a major portion of the available experience for the enemy carry. It also refill his mana and gives him experience, giving him quite an advantage in the early game.
    On the side lanes the creeps before the 16 minute mark are 3 melee - giving 57 experience each and a ranged creep worth of 69 experience.
    So 240 experience each wave.
    Now Lich can and should eat every range creep he is able to in the early game, changing the experience gain from 240-240 to 170-309.
    He can use it every 2 waves on the first level and every 2 waves out of 3 on level 2.

    Frost Blast deals significant single target damage, the in-game explanation is a bit confusing but the damage on the casted target is 125/200/275/350, which is a lot more than your average nuke and it has additional 4 second 30% movement speed slow and reducing 20 points of attack speed.
    A very potent early game tool for harass and trading hits, especially if you consider the ability to refill your mana for free.

    Chain Frost is very situational ultimate can be devastating in some circumstances and can be a trivial nuke in some others. Important part to remember is that the initial cast does pierce Linken's Sphere (no longer spell immunity piercing stun).
    Also of importance is that it's applying a 65 speed slow (65% for movement and 65 points of attack speed) for 2 and a half seconds, so battle under it unless spell immune is punished hard by both taking huge amounts of magical damage and significant reduce on the fighting capabilities from the slow.

    Pros and cons.

    Superior lane control
    Great nuke potential
    Early game power spikes
    Slowing and pressuring the enemy core
    Requiring support rotation to prevent him dominating the lane
    Can be solo as a core or dual lane as a support
    Provide slow and armor, especially good against melee core

    Very weak at level 1
    Vulnerable to early game dives under tower
    (Spirit Breaker, Earth Spirit, Monkey King and Phantom Assassin as a core)
    Very weak tower defender against strong early game pushes (Chen, Enchantress, 3-man lane with durable summons (Nature Prophet))
    No disables, this is important for the late part of the game
    Unless with level/gold advantage fall off for the late game significantly

    Favorable match-ups and proper allies.

    Lich can be quite versatile and can be picked first without much thought.
    On the offlane he can face anything outside of the good counters, which can be then fixed by a dual lane with another hero.
    Dual lane is especially strong if the other hero is good in the early game and can snow-ball into the late-game. Legion Commander, Spirit Breaker, Slardar and Centaur are great example, as they have some disable, can easily snow-ball with good early game and are quite threatening on their own - even more supported by Lich.

    Other heroes should have some holds and disables, as he is lacking them and a team without good disables is easy to abuse with highly mobile enemies.

    He is especially good Lifestealer counter and in general good against Meepo, he has problem dodging Chain Frost and while the magical damage is not as good - it's still significant, but the slow in addition to the Ice Armor is a solid defense for your allies.

    Highly mobile heroes (Storm Spirit as an example) have it easy against his ultimate and with no disables can easily catch him or escape even while low on health without big risk.

    Why not placing him at different lanes.

    He is rather poor as safe-lane support compared to others, his contribution is fine, but he deny himself the ability to make pulls and his zoning ability at level 1 is atrocious, if the enemy hit level 2 or 3 before that, he can then rotate to the neutrals and still be fine, then when the Lich power kicks in it will be wasted against no opponent.
    Lich can work as a mid-lane support, but it requires coordination, something which public games are not famous for.

    On the offlane however he can be viable solo and very powerful support. So he is versatile on that position and if the enemy abandon the lane in the early game, he would be significantly behind and won't be able to catch up for quite a long time.

    Skill and item build.

    While it can be adjusted depending on the circumstances, getting Sacrifice at levels 1 and 3 is important to be able to control the creeps and make them clash near or even under your tower while sustaining your mana so you would be able to spam Blast as a harassing tool.
    Frost Blast at levels 2 and if the lane is going in your favor - 4, 5 and 7.

    Ice Armor is a good one point investment at level 8, for the slow and can be taken as early as 4, if the lane is a bit tough and requires you to be a bit more defensive. It can be used on towers and that additional armor plus the slow makes the tier 1 towers far more durable in the early levels.

    Ultimate is no-brainer, take whenever possible, keep in mind that it's cooldown is getting lower and lower, on level 3 is quite possible to use it just for farm or to delay an enemy push to your high ground and still be available for the upcoming fight.

    His talents are neat, but the first two are not that crucial and can be delayed a bit.

    +25 movement speed against 175 health at level 10
    it's not as good as the additional point in Sacrifice or the ultimate, on par with a second point of Ice Armor.
    Get the movement speed when you are ahead or the health when you face enemies relying on burst of damage. Surviving through them might give you enough time to pop-up your spells and items and just make it out alive at the end.

    The level 15 ability is a bit tricky.
    Never take the reduction of Frost Blast cooldown, it looks powerful (and it is to some extend), but only if you have the sufficient mana pool to support it. Which would require to be core and to play around mana capacity items - which you should never do with that hero.
    The additional +120 damage is my all time favorite, being core or just a support, it gives you the ability to contribute a lot more in fights if ignored after using your spells and the ability to nearly flash-farm neutrals and wave creeps after a Blast with a single hit is very underrated.

    Good GPM of +120 per minute, against the +175 cast range.
    I usually prefer to get the cast range as it allows you to stay relatively safe and still use your spells and items, but the GPM talent is your friend when you are stuck in the support role and the game is not going in your favor. It will support your economy and give you access to plenty of small and medium sized items which would sustain your or your core's life even while being without any sort of income yourself.

    Both talents at level 25 are really good, the slow is very good offensively, if you are alive that is.
    But the health regeneration is considerably more useful. Healing your buildings really fast and giving some additional sustain during moving for your allies and making them far more durable. The offensive talent is only useful when you are far ahead, facing "kite-able" melee cores and being a core rather than support.

    As far as item choice goes, I usually adapt, but have a list of items which are suitable for my play-style and the hero in general.

    Upgraded Boots - I usually prefer the Tranquil, but Arcane Boots are good, especially if you are solo so you can turn them later into Guardian Greaves and use the additional mana to melt down the enemy core with barrage of Blasts.

    Magic Wand as you won't even run really fast of item slots and it's a nice investment to become a bit more durable, especially if you couple it with other items and save charges for times when it matters.

    Urn of Shadows, take it if there is none in your team, as the charges are good way to sustain yours and your allies health high while providing cheap counter to some skills and items (namely Dagger and TA's Refraction). If there is a more suitable candidate for it in your team, skip it.

    Two Bracers for the cheap health boost which can later be turned into Rod, a really good item for the hero, who lack true disables.

    Medallion of Courage, cheap way to fix your armor, contribute more to fights and make your carry invulnerable to physical damage as you can increase his by 16 points very early in the game.

    After those basic stuff and always keeping a scroll of teleport in yourself, Solar Crest, Rod of Atos, Heaven's Halberd and Glimmer's Cape are fine choices for the support.
    Solar Crest, HH, GG and Force Staff are far more suitable if you are core, as they give a lot more utility and durability, but are far more expensive. Force with a late-game Dragon Lance are quite neat with the damage talent, and the additional perks of your other items can turn you into a very durable (high health, armor and evasion), 700 range with 300 damage and a lot of mobility, who can slow enemies (HH's maim and Blast) and is a bastion of hope for your supports to hide behind.

    Tips for the laning phase and afterwards.

    At the start make sure you block the big camp of the enemy with a ward. Pulling is one of the most frustrating things to face as a Lich, and perhaps one of the most common thing to do against him.

    Do not try to contest runes with Lich level 1, he is weak even with Blast, and he will significantly delay his whole game if he is forced to get it. Just level up Sacrifice and wait at your Tier 3 tower for the first wave to spawn, where you can eat the ranged creep and get that 70 experience alone.

    At your first level, play very defensively and especially if the enemy started with a Stout Shield, don't even try to harass him - focus on getting as fast as possible to level 2. Eating the ranged creep in a dual lane will split the experience between both of you, so getting a bit back and using the spell when your ally is more than 1,300 range away is a good way to get additional experience.

    At level 2 you can be a bit more offensive but not by much. Use your nova and normal attacks to force the enemy to burn through their regeneration and if possible buy some more, delaying their other items a bit.

    When you reach level 5 is your first big power-spike, level 3 Blast deals damage equal to level 4 nuke. And it's expected your enemy to be (worst case scenario for you) level 5 as well.
    Usually he should be level 3 or 4, and if you are alone, maybe level 2.

    To prepare for that thing, you have to get your mana full a bit before that (if required, eat a melee creep, which gives more mana, but less experience) and to put an observer ward to prevent unexpected rotations and flanking.
    After that make him suffer, harass with spells, try to kill him - but don't be over eager, a single death can easily make your advantage vanish and while your damage output shouldn't be matchable by a single enemy, core with a support can easily be your demise with Lich's low HP and armor for the early stages.

    At level 6 you can ether try to burst with your ultimate once again the enemy core or whoever is in your lane at that point, or make a sneaky rotation to your other lane and do the same to another hero - getting back to your lane afterwards - Lich is not a good at pushing after a kill, let that to the heroes in those lanes and continue with the pressure on the enemy carry.

    Later in the game, do not be overconfident - it's one of the biggest mistake you can make.
    Lich is fragile even when far ahead in therms of experience, as his health without items is low, so chasing and diving should be out of the question. Also while his power-spikes are usually early and you feel that you are far ahead, enemies starting to hit theirs at some point might cover the difference and be able to claim your life, turning you into a big bag of gold and experience.

    In both cases if you are support or a core, you should stay from behind and use ultimate and spells reactively and not as initiation tools. A good placed ultimate, when the enemy already used their mobility tools can be devastating even without a stun to set it up.
    As a poor support, you should value your life and stay in the back, and as a core you should value your life even more and stay in the back, providing counter initiation options and protection for your allies.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  2. mapdesigner

    mapdesigner Member

    Aug 11, 2011
    Hi Imba
    However you!
  3. kamukag3e

    kamukag3e Member

    Jun 11, 2009
    If anyone used/tried this guide, please give feedback for your experience, thoughts and complains.
  4. Skulls_n_Souls

    Skulls_n_Souls Member

    May 17, 2012
    Got a few questions. Keep in mind that these are all theoretical questions - I haven't tried him on the offlane yet.

    1. You didn't mention at all Aghanim's Scepter and Veil. Are they back pick ups on the hero? I find Veil reasonable as its components are cheap and help you in lane (helm). Can you comment on those?
    2. Isn't one point in FA good on lane? It helps you trade well, with a possibilty to achieve a kill with stacking slows (going 2-1-2 at level 5)
    3. Usually, if a hero doesn't scale up in the late game you'd want to rush GG boots asap as an offlaner(e.g Ogre) since they are too powerful when early.

    I'll try it soon...if I don't get a mid pudge >.>
  5. kamukag3e

    kamukag3e Member

    Jun 11, 2009
    1. Both items are very, very situational.
    a) Veil is not boosting anything important (stats wise), the Magic Weakness ability is also wasted on him to some extend. His spells are limited to two - unlike the heroes which usually build it that have plenty of spells on low cooldown - and one of those two is unreliable.
    The only occurrence where you can buy it is when your whole team have plenty of spell damage and no one else will buy the item himself - but that would rarely be the case.
    Keep in mind that for the same gold you can have a variate of other items which will boost hero's utility, a simple Spirit Vessel will prevent Blink Dagger usage and high regeneration/healing abilities, which could potentially give you higher chance of killing an enemy.

    b) Scepter is very-very-very situational on Lich. Perhaps only against Meepo.
    First it's cost is really high for a support, so the timing would be late and you will be naked for the whole game going for it, while otherwise small items which you can have instead would supplement your team with plenty of abilities and much-much earlier (Force Staff,Glimmer's Cape, Solar Crest and Spirit Vessel etc.).
    On top of that, just count how many times 'additional' bounces (or more than the default 11) actually happen.
    Most cases the enemy is split or dead before the ultimate stops.

    2. Ice Armor gives nice boost (at level 1) of 3 armor and 8 points of slow, but that's not that much, before the changes the slow was the same on all levels, now just 8 points are not that influential and 3 armor while nice can be easily overcome by some heroes having different starting stats.
    Also, a single point spend on it is significantly lowering your offensive power when you hit level 5.
    Blast with it's 8 seconds of cooldown is easily able to be used twice in a kill attempt comparing 2 usage of level 2 Blast vs level 3 Blast is a staggering difference of 400/550 damage, 150 damage is huge in the early game when the health pools are still small.

    As stating in the guide itself it's O.K. to level it up early (level 2 or 4) when the enemy is very aggressive (perhaps a 3-lane which can easily dive), but it will hinder your chances of making kill at level 5 and bounce back to be on the offensive.

    3. The hard-lane do build Guardian G., but Lich is usually played as a support - so even if rushed will be there quite late and won't have the same impact. If played as a core, Lich actually scales pretty decently with some utility/durability items such as Hurricane Pike, Solar Crest, Halberd and Cape.
    His damage is sufficient (thank's to his level 15 talent, and he reach it very fast thanks to being solo and having Sacrifice at his disposal) and Cape with some agility boost from Pike gives him enough attack speed to increase his normal attack DPS (the same if he is support, but a bit later).

    Guardian Graeves is now not as potent items at it was before, it's usefulness is mostly based on the huge power spike it provides but then falls off (similar to a Necronomicon), so building it late is not of such a use and rushing it is not an option for the Lich, who don't have ability to farm (and especially if support - the opportunity to do so) and mana issues - which require Arcane Boots to be build first.
  6. Skulls_n_Souls

    Skulls_n_Souls Member

    May 17, 2012

    It's not an ideal match. I mean I was up against a safelane Viper. I just played passive (hiding in the trees) until I got level 2. Then I showed myself, but still played defensively. When I started nuking kunkka, I felt I could've killed him a few times. They tried to kill me when I hit level 6 which ended in viper dying and Kunkka barely escaping.

    I was sooo far ahead on levels. It was insane. The viper killed me once but it was bad judgement by my side. But after that he couldn't do it again. Basically just spamming Blast until they're low and going for the kill. Eventually they invested 4 heroes top to kill me.

    I should've got Atos before Pike.

    I'll try it once again soon.
    Good guide
    kamukag3e likes this.
  7. kamukag3e

    kamukag3e Member

    Jun 11, 2009
    Playing passively when you are alone and facing multiple heroes is fine.
    Regrettable that you missed kills, but dying in the process of getting a kill is worse, because being ahead in experience mean that you give higher bounty then the opponent (experience wise).

    Go for the kill and heavy harass only when the opponents leave the carry alone and make rotations - this way when you are aggressive, no one will be able to actually kill you, and if they rotate back to support their carry - your team faces less pressure from rotations and supports.
  8. Abdulink

    Abdulink Member

    Aug 8, 2010
    My favorite offlaner. I prefer a quick Boots+Windlace and a few nulls and rushing midas and eventually transitioning into Battle Lich. Getting to 20 fast secures games easily.

    Precisely. The most important thing is to not die.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2018
  9. kamukag3e

    kamukag3e Member

    Jun 11, 2009
    I think that nulls are extremely bad on him, so is Midas.

    First there are plenty of more useful items which he can get his hands onto, second he doesn't need mana, nor damage to become relevant damage wise - only attack speed and utility, as he has pretty high damage naturally and by his level 15 talent.

    Second is - the hero is with strong early game presence, which significantly falls during the middle game. If you go for Nulls into Midas, it will still be weak, he really needs utility and durability at that point, because other power spikes kicks in will easily be able to burst him down once being caught.

    Investing a lot of money into them is bad, you can try going for some more durability (health, armor or spell resistance first, depending on the enemy lineup) with some AS and utility is what will make him able to have his usual impact and not lose his advantage.

    I've seen a lot of players go for your average support build (with Mekansm and Force Staff) and fall hard, because he lacks disables as support and healing during fights is not happening when you are burst down yourself in a second, nor able to contribute anything outside of some small magical damage, because their lack of attack speed.
    Or some which go for a complete carry build, not emphasizing on the fact that the hero is really fragile on his own and not having disables means he cannot take face-to-face trades with any normal carry, even when significantly ahead in therms of gold and experience.
  10. Abdulink

    Abdulink Member

    Aug 8, 2010

    I agree with you, I have stopped going Nulls and go Atos now, it's much better.

    But I still believe if you can get a fast Midas, it's incredible. Basically you wanna hit that level 20 ASAP and get the gold talent.
  11. kamukag3e

    kamukag3e Member

    Jun 11, 2009
    Yes, Lich really enjoy good talent tree and appreciate extra experience gain and the attack speed is not wasted.

    I'm really thinking about it and will try implementing it in my builds. The only problem I see is that it will delay other items and will change timings a bit. The downside is that Lich is extremely fragile without items and Midas is not doing anything on that matter. Will give feedback after few games.

    Thanks for the input.
  12. kamukag3e

    kamukag3e Member

    Jun 11, 2009
    Tried few games building Midas, but I don't feel it's as impactful as other items.

    Yes, Lich indeed appreciate both the extra attack speed and additional experience, but the timing is awkward and it leaves him very vulnerable with his low health while being usually ahead in experience and sometimes kills - thus putting a big bounty on himself while being extremely easy to be burst down.

    It also delay the utility which he can provide by buying some small supportive items such as Urn, Medallion, Cape, Force Staff or similar, which usually have greater impact the earlier they are in presence.