Table of Contents
- Skill Build
- Item Build
- Burning Spear and Helm of the Dominator
- Skill Strategy
- Combat Strategy
- Team Battles
- Change Log
So far, there are two excellent Huskar guide. I’m sure that by the time you read my post, you already read theirs, so I’m guessing that you know the basics on how to play Huskar.
My previous Huskar guide focused on the generality of Huskar, including his stats, skill explanations, early to late game strategies, etc. However, through comparing my guide with the other two guides, I have realized that my guide was too similar to theirs and it was just a simple hybrid which wasn’t quite unique. This guide will focus more on the actual strategy section such as laning properly or how to gank/counter-gank, etc.
Due to shifting my focus on the strategies, I will not have many, if not, no images at all in this guide. This guide will also be text heavy. However, if you truly wish to improve your skill on Huskar, do proceed onto the guide. My second aim in this guide is that in the future, Huskar will be chosen more frequently in higher-level games.
If you wish to read a more detailed guide in terms of general Huskar, read Afterburn’s Guide to Huskar, the Sacred Warrior. If you wish to see an abridged guide on Huskar, read Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sacred Warrior.
2. Skill Build
For complete details about Huskar and his skills, click here.
Level 01 | Burning Spear
Level 02 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 03 | Berserker’s Blood/Burning Spear
Level 04 | Burning Spear/Berserker’s Blood (opposite of level 3)
Level 05 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 06 | Burning Spear/Life Break
Level 07 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 08 | Burning Spear/Life Break
Level 09 | Inner Vitality/Life Break/Burning Spear (do not take Burning Spear if you took Life Break earlier)
Level 10 | Life Break/Inner Vitality
Level 11 | Life Break
Level 12 | Inner Vitality
Level 13 | Inner Vitality
Level 14 | Inner Vitality
Level 15 | Stats
Level 16 | Life Break
Level 17-25 | Sats
This skill build is for people who loves to play aggressively and enjoys flexibility. Berserker’s Blood is maxed out first as the passive bonuses are great! With level 4 Berserker’s Blood, Huskar can have +56% attack speed and +56 damage at 58% health. Burning Spear will then be maxed to maximize the Huskar’s harassing cability. Some people prefer to take 1 level of Inner Vitality at 4, but I find this entirely useless as it only regenerates around 85 hp including Huskar’s natural regeneration. Furthermore, it can only be casted once. I prefer to take extra damage over time than a mere 85 hp regeneretion, since I recommend that you get 3 sets of tangoes. With this build, early game kill will be guranteed as long as you play smart or your allies stun/slow the enemy.
If you plan to jungle, then follow the skill build in the Jungling section.
3. Item Build
In my opinion, Huskar is a very flexible hero. He can either be a ganker, a semi-carry hero, a tank or a hybrid of everything. Therefore, Huskar’s item build may vary on personal preference. In terms of orb-effects, the only viable options seem to be lifesteal or corruption. The strategy I will focus on is both Burning Spear and lifesteal as they seem to be the best options for Huskar. The most important items on Huskar is Armlet of Mordiggian and Helm of the Dominator. As long as you get those two items, I don’t really mind which item you get for my strategy.
Boots of Speed is a no-brainer. Bracers are gotten in order to keep your health high after you cast your Burning Spear or Life Break since the backfire damage does affect Huskar significantly. Helm of the Dominator is used for dominating creeps for easier kills as well as lifestealing your life back after ganks or when you have to fight a hero who has higher health. Armlet is just a must. It synergizes really well with Huskar. The additional 25 strength will allow his Inner Vitality to heal faster after deactivating the Armlet. Also, the attack speed bonus and damage bonus synergizes really with Huskar’s Berserker’s Blood. The degeneration can be countered by Inner Vitality or lifesteal.
Alternate/Luxury Item Build
Personally, I prefer Boots of Travel over Power Treads. Boots of Travel will allow you to push/defend more easily as well as give you more mobiliy to farm or gank. Satanic is for higher lifesteal towards late game where you won’t have to dominate creeps for kills since there will be more team battles. Assault Curiass is for the armor bonus and negation and the nice attack speed bonus. Very useful for tanking damage and supporing allies with the aura. Get Black King Bar if you get focus fired by nukes and disables. With this item, it is possible to kill an entire team alone! The 3 damage item is up to you. Get Buriza if you want higher lifesteal from the critical. Get Monkey King Bar if there are channelers. Get Radiance if no one has it since it will help in pushes/defences.
Once again, I do not like to post an item build. This is what I typically get, so please do not argue with me about the item builds. I don’t really mind what you get, as long as you get Armlet and Helm of the Dominator.
4. Burning Spear and Helm of the Dominator
I have been frequently questioned about maxing Burning Spear when I suggest Helm of the Dominator as core items. Here is the reason why.
When Burning Spear level 1 hits a target 5 times, the additional damage will be 180 damage. However, at level 4, the additional damage is 360. The basic math craft is: 5 x [Burn damage (6, 8, 10, 12)] x 6 (time).
This is excluding the magic reduction and natural/item regeneration. For example, if you hit a target once who has Ring of Health, you will only do 4 additional damage per second or so. However, if you hit the same target twice, you will be able to do around 11 damage per second. And so on. What I’m saying is, 180 (125 for say with magic reduction and natural/item regeneration) is caused by level 1 Burning Spear. However, level 4 Burning Spear will deal around 315 damage when the target is hit 5 times minimum.
Since my item build suggests Helm of the Dominator, you will have a pretty decent disable. Go with troll as ensnare is the easiest disable as it locks the target down for 2.5 seconds and this skill is targeted. Not to mention your own disable: Life Break. Hitting your opponent with Burning Spear constantly until the hero dies is fairly easy. In addition, even if the hero gets away with 200 or so life, the maxed Burning Spear will most likely kill the hero.
Honestly, I rarely find that I have to retreat before actually killing the hero by damage over time, since my enemy just decides to fight me despite the burn damage, meaning that the burn damage can stack easily. Even if my enemy starts to run, I can easily disable them as long as they’re not super fast or goes invisible. Who knows, maybe the approximate 209 damage difference caused by maxing Burning Spear can actually get you a kill if your enemy does decide to go invisible or super fast at 200 life. Happened many times in my life!
I will try to get screen shots and matchcraft tables as soon as possible.
5. Skill Strategy
There are so many ways to use Huskar’s skills to their max potential. Here are some combination of skills that I’d like to point out. These are just basic skill strategies.
Make sure that you dominate neutral creeps with disables. Huskar’s only disable is his ultimate, so the dominated creeps are really beneficial for Huskar. Here are some neutral creeps and their abilities.
Centaur – Stun and Endurance Aura. Also can tank damage.
Furblog – Slow which gives 150 damage. Useful in early game. Also can tank damage.
Dark Troll – Ensnare and ability to raise skeleton armies.
Ghost – Frost attack. Very useful throughout entire game
Hellcaster – Very low life, but has purge. Get this guy against self-buffers or summoners.
Alpha Wolf – Not really a disable, but the command aura is nice.
Harass your enemies using Burning Spear. Either manually cast it or auto-cast it. Try not to auto-cast it during early game as it attracts creeps. Note that once you get lifesteal, or any other orb effect, Burning Spear can only take effect if you auto-cast it. Manually casting it will use the item orb such as lifesteal. My point is, once you get lifesteal, you must auto cast to harass.
Notice how Afterburn (Huskar) used Burning Spear to attack his enemy Balanar. After getting hit by some spears, even if he was able to lose Afterburn, the damage over time from the Burning Spear granted Afterburn a kill! This is why I said Huskar loses too much harassing capability without his Burning Spear.
Burn and Blood
As you get damaged, your attack speed and damage will increase. Use it to your advantage! Harass your enemies and let them attack you. Never be afraid to let your blood spill.
Break, Blood and Burn
If you cast your ulti, you will lose life. This will give you bonus in attack speed and lifesteal. Also, the ultimate will provide you with a slow, so auto-cast your Burning Spear and harass them as much as possible.
Afterburn (Huskar) casts Life Break on Lanaya then casts Burning Spear to damage her. With the slow and the damage, along with backfire, Afterburn was able to get a kill because of the burn damage and the increased damage from Berserker’s Blood.
You can either cast your Inner Vitality or just lifesteal. Inner Vitality is Huskar’s healing skill which requires mana. The heal is based on the primary stats, so the higher the primary stats, the better the heal. This should be casted on ally tanks or carries, or self for extra safety in team battles. If you want to regenerate really fast, cast Inner Vitality and lifesteal. Don’t forget that the regeneration rate will increase when the target’s health is below 40% health. In Huskar’s case, when he is below 40%, his Berserker’s Blood will be at max, so you will regenerate really really fast. Trust me.
In one-on-one combat, try to use this when you reach 40% of health, because if you cast it in the beginning, the enemy realizes your regeneration rate is high, so s/he might just run away. In addition, fighting without Inner Vitality in the beginning in 1 on 1 and dropping your health by 40% means that your opponent will think that he can own you as you only hav such few healths. Furthermore, if more enemies come after a 1 on 1 battle, the faster regen can keep you alive and you can either bait for your allies more safely, or just run away until the target gave up on you or whatever. Sometimes though, it is advisable to cast it in the beginning. I never found any reason to, so I rarely casted it in the beginning of a 1 on 1 fight. Don’t forget, if Armlet is on, you will have higher regeneration as Unholy Strength provides +25 strenght!
Golden Rule: Armlet of Mordiggian
This item will provide you +65 damage, +25% attack speed, +25 str, +475hp when activited. When deactivated, it will provide +9 damage, +15% attack speed, +5 armor, +3hp/sec. Always turn this on when you are fighting heroes. Also, this is a great Art of Mindgame tool. Use the 475hp to your advantage. When an enemy with low life is chasing you, use it and kill him! Furthermore, when running away, you can use this to get life boost and run like mad! Again, turn it on in a battle! Always turn it on!
This is Huskar’s ultimate which will eat away 40% of your enemy’s current health. Thus, Huskar cannot kill using this skill as a nuke. This skill provides 50% slow for 5 seconds, which is great as Huskar can harass the enemy while he is slowed. Use it on tank or carries as they are number one priority in team battles. Golden rule is that when you are about to die, you either cast it on green hp hero, or cast it on any hero around you who will not die in next 2 seconds so that your ally/ies can pawn him.
6. Combat Strategy
A good player needs to know the abilities of every heroes in DotA. Also, a good player has good map awareness and know which allies are near you and which enemy heroes are missing. Most importantly, you must have experience. Here are some other imporatant facts which you must drill into your minds when playing Huskar.
Always manage your life. Although Huskar is stronger when his life is low, this is only up to 58% of health. Even this might still be dangerous against nukers. Managing your health is as important as farming! Managing your health also means that you determine whether you are still good for one more fight, or whther you should return. Always try to bait for your allies. Don’t be a fool though! Manage your health!
I see so many Huskar players run away when they have low health and are beinga attacked by enemies. That is no way to play Huskar. Never be afraid to trade hits with your enemy when the opportunity arises. Your stack damage from Burning Spear is very signifcant. Enemies will, in most cases, underestimate the burn damage and the Berserker’s Blood. The lower your life, the stronger you get. Use it to your advantage. There is no reason why Huskar should be afraid of getting hits! However, be reasonable and manage your health.
In this image, notice how Afterburn (Huskar) has critical health, but still approaches enemy Lich who has Frost Armour and half health. Afterburn stood ground and fought, and the outcome was that Afterburn was richer in experience and gold, while Lich died.
Studying Your Enemy
Know your enemy, his skills and his items. Also watch the way your enemy plays. Does your opponent last hit/deny very well? Does he know when to retreat when you go up to him? Determine the level of his skills. You need to empathize and predict your opponent’s movements. Always, constantly check his health, mana and items!
Aptitude, Assurance and Aggression
The three mental A’s you need to have. Aptitude. Be smart, and play smart. Know wheter you can fight your opponent. Predict your opponent’s move. Assurance. Be confident. Never be a chicken and back away when you can just stand your ground and still make it out a live by the last hit from Burning Spear. Aggression. Be aggressive. Never hesitate to harass when the opportunity arises.
Chasing Your Opponent
If you don’t have any disables, try to cancel your animation. If you don’t have lifesteal, this is much easier. Just manually cast your Burning Spear on your enemy and click where he will run to directly after Huskar attacks. If you must auto-cast, then as soon as Huskar attacks, click next to the hero or the hero again.
Animation Canceling/Orb Walking
Well the general idea is that when your hero casts a spell, the animation takes place. Once the effect of the spell has occured, there is some delay time from casting, such as backswing. This signifcantly wastes time when chasing or running away. In order to cancel the animation, you must issue another command such as moving or attacking. By doing so, the new command will cancel the delay and perform the new issued command. Orb walking is manually casting your spell that can be auto-casted to not attract creep aggravation.
For Huskar, since he only has an average movement speed, you should cancel the Burning Spear animation. Simply, after Huskar casts his spear, click on the designated location where your opponent will go to. Once he starts moving, click on your target again to cast another Buring Spear. He also has a small delay time after casting Inner Vitality/Life Break/Unholy Strength (from Armlet) and this might change his target. Make sure you click on your target after activting your skills.
Usually the case is, if your life is lower than your enemy’s, he will get greedy and chase you, regardless of your creeps attacking your enemy. Just try to let him attack you until your creeps arrive. When the creeps arrive, cast Inner Vitality if you have, Life Break your opponent and keep attacking the hero with your creeps using lifesteal. In most cases, you will live and receive +200 gold or so. Don’t forget the 3 A’s!
Don’t forget, Huskar has excellent regeneration. Not only from Inner Vitality but also from lifesteal. Use it properly as stated in the Combo section above.
Huskar is an overall a pretty balanced hero. I believe that he is capable of any lane situation as long as you play correctly. Huskar’s main role is harasser and farmer. Huskar does need to farm a bit for his items, such as Armlet of Mordiggian and Helm of the Dominator, etc. Honestly, there are just too many combinations of lane partner/enemy(ies) you can encounter. I can’t really cover much on laning. However, whatever the case is, always last hit/deny creeps. Here is the general concept.
1 on 1
This is probably the easiest. Just harass your opponents by manually casting Burning Spear so that you do not attract creeps. You will be able to dominate your lane if your enemy is a melee hero. You might also be out harassed if your enemy is a nuker or long ranged harasser such as Silencer, Enchantress, Leshrac, etc.
1 on 2
This might be tough or it could be really easy. If the lane is double nuker and double stunner, either ask for lane switch or lane partner as you will be out harassed. If the enemies are both melees, it will be much easier as you can just harass both. I cannot really cover much detail on this as there are too many combinations of heroes. Just basically play safe, smart and know when to harass. Watch your opponents and determine whether they have good cooperation or not. If they are very uncoordinated, the case usually is that you will be able to dominate your lane.
2 on 2 or 2 on 1
This is like 1 on 1 lane except you have an ally. Again, watch your opponents’ cooperation. Try to go for a kill if your ally is a disabler. Coordinate properly with your ally and try to go for a kill!
Afterburn (Huskar) was harassing Lanaya at level 1 using Burning Spear. She was forced to stay away from the creeps, making her unable to farm. This is why Huskar’s Burn is such a great skill early game to establish lane control.
Basically, there are three ways Huskar can farm.
The general concept is that Huskar can farm better with lower life as Berserker’s Blood will increase his attack speed and damage, giving him better ability to farm. Huskar’s attack animation is nice and his base attack time is quite low as well. Make sure you can dominate your lane so that you can farm more easily.
Hero killing isn’t really considered “farming” but I just included it here as killing heroes give you gold. Try to kill heroes as much as possible to get money for your items. But always work within limits! Don’t go killstealing without permission!
Neutral Creep Killing
I only do this when dominating creeps and killing the creeps that I have attracted or just simply getting my life back. However, if you decide to go jungling, then this will be your main early game farming method. See below to learn how to Jungle with Huskar.
With the permission and help from Sonicspear and Xenterex, I have included a Jungling Section. I personally don’t do this, but if you really enjoy jungling, then go ahead. This requires a different Skill Build though, but still follows the Item Build recommended.
Assuming that your ally buys a chicken for the team, buy 3 Circlets of Nobility in the start. Creep pull the camp at x:45 and x:15. If you have any spare time, you can either kill the easy camp, or attack the hard camp. Sonicspear advises that you go for the easy camp unti level 3. In 15 minutes, you should be able to have 4 Bracers and Boots of Speed. Also, because of Huskar’s Berserker’s Blood, he is capable of taking the hard camps from lower level.
Here is the recommended Skill Build for Jungling Huskar.
Level 01 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 02 | Inner Vitality
Level 03 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 04 | Inner Vitality
Level 05 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 06 | Life Break/Inner Vitality
Level 07 | Berserker’s Blood
Level 08 | Inner Vitality
And so on. Raise Burning Spear when you decide to start ganking heroes. Sonicspear and I both agree that with this, you should follow the recommended Item Build suggested, which includes Helm of the Dominator as lifesteal is needed.
Here is a replay to help you by Sonicspear. Sonicspear_Huskar_Jungle.w3g ( 67.67k )
This is a replay by Xenterex, with normal mode. Huskar_Xenterex1.w3g ( 76.3k )
Huskar is capable of solo ganking hero from level 1 due to his stackable orb-skill which. However, I suggest you farm your items up first before you go for hero kills. Also, use domination to your advantage. I see so many people in pubs get Helm of the Dominator and never dominate creeps. Disables are your friends! Huskar doesn’t have disables until level 6 or whenever you decide to get Life Steal.
Determining the Role
Huskar can have many different roles depending on his item build. He can either be a tank, a carry, a ganker, a supporter, or everything! This might depend on your allies and enemies. Just know which role you are going to be and adjust to that.
Know your hero and know your enemy. Check his items, levels, skills he raised, health, mana. Those are the must. Also, see which hero is up against you. If he is a nuker, just play with aptitude. It’s always great to have allies such as dominated creep or actual ally!
As I have stated previously in the Combos and Combat Strategy sections, just trade hits and be smart. Predict your opponents movements. Heal yourself if you need to. Know which orb you want to use. Aptitude, assurance and aggression are the mental keys to your victory. Don’t forget, stupidity is not aptitude!
If there are enemy heroes missing, then either go back to the fountain if you have critical life or go near your ally for safety and/or Double Heal yourself. Mostly, the enemy heroes are coming to get you with greed. Now if it is one hero that is gone, and you know you can fight again, then do so. Enemy heroes will underestimate Huskar’s regeneration and will regret it.
11. Team Battles
Team Battles occur during big pushes, usually in the middle lane. Here are some helpful tips.
Determining the Role
Just like above. Huskar can have many different roles depending on his item build. He can either be a tank, a carry, a ganker, a supporter, or everything! This might depend on your allies and enemies. Just know which role you are going to be and adjust to that.
Before Team Battles
Know the roles of the enemies. Decide which hero to take out first. Just like ganking, know your opponents’ items, skills, health, mana, levels, etc. These are crucial as knowing these can affect your battle significantly. If there is tank or carry, know when to cast Inner Vitality before engaging. If this is unnecessary, save it for later.
During Team Battles
You will mainly use Life Break during this stage in order to take out either the carry or the tank. Most of the time, the carry will have BKB on, so either save it until it finishes or cast it on a different hero. Make sure that you take out the pesky carriers before you shift focus on anyone else. Don’t forget aptitutde, assurance and aggression!
After Team Battles
Heal your allies and heal yourself by lifestealing. Keep pushing and know when to return. If all enemies are alive and most of your enemies have regenerated, then stay. The cooldown time also affects them as much as they affect your teammates’. It is advisable that you push as much as possible before retreating.
The English spoken is quite different as I played Malaysians (I’m Korean).
The replay might not showcase my strategy, as I have hard time playing good games.
I was finally able to play an okay game. It had many noobish deaths. Check it out! Garena_Huskar.w3g ( 824.16k )
Here’s a 1.22 patch replay by ha107642 using my playstyle. I haven’t been able to obtain 1.22 patch as of yet. I’ll upload his replay. n1huskar.w3g ( 465.84k )
To me, Huskar is a very fun hero to play with. He isn’t your typical strength hero, nor is he your typical troll. He is the only troll with self confidence issues. If you wish to play well, you need good teammates who has great general knowledge of the game and knows what they are doing.
The main reason why I have changed my guide was because I wanted my Huskar guide to be focused more on the strategy. Many people tend to have this thing with not reading the “strategy” section of many guides as they are very dull and boring and doesn’t outline specific strategies. I hope that my guide helped you. However, if you disagree with my playstyle, then that’s fine with me. Don’t forget, this is my strategy. I strongly encourage you to try your own strategies and create different ways of playing this great hero.
I’m not sure if this quote exists in the world. Someone else probably said it, but this is why I thought of while writing this new guide. Practice makes Permanent. Keep practicing, but you’ll never be perfect, which is why you will practice forever. However, the skills you have obtained through your effort will be permanent. All you need to do is drill in the concepts in your mind and practice! I hope you enjoyed reading my text-heavy, image-less guide and still learned something out of it. Comments and feedbacks please! Thank you!
14. Change Log
5/25/2008 – Guide Finished
5/27/2008 – Edited Item Justification part along with the In-Depth Skill and Item Strategy, Inner Vitality part.
5/30/2008 – Edited In-Depth Skill section and added new replay!
5/31/2008 – Rewrote entire guide to shift focus on strategies more than anything else.
6/01/2008 – Changed text colors and re-formatted table of contents. Erased Enemies section.
6/02/2008 – Added Jungling section.
6/05/2008 – Added Burning Spear and Helm of the Dominator section.
6/07/2008 – Edited Laning section. Added Animation Canceling in Combat Strategy. Edited Conclusion.
6/18/2008 – Edited Animation Canceling/Orb Walking section in Combat Strategy section.
6/24/2008 – Added screen shots with permission from Afterburn.
7/06/2008 – Due to popular demand, added my Item Build.
7/26/2008 – Added a 1.22 replay that was played by ha107642. Many thanks to him.
All my friends for disliking Huskar which made me use him lol.
Kalorful for writing Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sacred Warrior.
Afterburn for writing Afterburn’s Guide to Huskar, the Sacred Warrior.
Afterburn, again, for providing me with screen shots.
Sonicspear and Xenterex for providing the Jungling section.
ha107642 for providing replay for 1.22 patch.
Gotank for the first actual in-depth criticism.
Jthy for moving the guide to appropriate location and adding my guide to list of complete guides.
All the people who read this guide and commented on it.