Subs' Bench - Part 1: Earth Spirit and Broodmother

With almost three months until the International 4, we are probably going to see a final, "stable" patch in Dota 2. While some balance fixes are inevitable, I don't think they are going to be as huge as what we saw in 6.80 - an excellently balanced and interesting patch.

What we can get excited about is the possible release of existing heroes into the competitive scene. Today we will have a quick look over some of these heroes and see what they can bring to the table.

Earth Spirit Earth Spirit

  • Introduction

Most of you probably remember the 6.79 Earth Spirit, with an instant stun-initiation, great follow-up, high mobility and a decent amount of AoE damage.

After the latest nerf this hero sits at a shameful 32% Win Rate and seems to be rather unfit to the competitive scene. However, much like with the Ember Spirit Ember Spirit, it might be the case that it is not the hero who is bad, but rather us being unable to unlock his full potential, before some professional players will show us his true strength.

  • Pros

Any hero that can compensate for his team's poor positioning or is capable of disrupting the positioning of the enemy team can be seen as extremely strong in the right hands. There are several things that come to my mind when I look at his skills.

Boulder Smash Boulder Smash can be used as a very good initiation tool, allowing your disabler to get close enough to the enemy in a matter of seconds. A free level 1 Force Staff Force Staff is a force to be reckoned with.

This surprise factor cannot be underestimated, since it effectively increases the range at which the enemy heroes can be considered "out of position". In a trilane vs. solo offlane situation, the enemy hero will have a harder time getting experience since getting into the range can be very punishable. In a trilane vs. trilane situation this skill can also help saving fleeing teammates, creating some distance between the enemy and the target they are trying to focus. This mechanic is somewhat similar to lanes with Tiny Tiny, while not taking the core spot.

Geomagnetic Grip Geomagnetic Grip can be used to instantly silence an enemy from a range of 1100, or to save an ally that is caught off-guard. It also won't break any channeling spells performed by teammates, making full-duration Black Hole Black Holes and Freezing Field Freezing Fields a reality.

Channeling spells are usually very strong on purpose. They have a very significant drawback - any disable will instantly interrupt them. And in most cases the heroes that have these spells belong to the support role. Farming Black King Bar Black King Bar on Bane Bane or Shadow Shaman Shadow Shaman will probably take quite a bit of time, since they will also have to buy wards and generally lack farming space. Having a hero that can allow his teammates to channel their spells from a safe distance can make a lot of teamfights turn in your favor.

His Ultimate, Magnetize Magnetize is as annoying as it ever was, dealing considerable amounts of damage, even at level 1 of the ability. Most people tend to disregard that all effects from Earth Spirit Earth Spirit skills (stun/slow/silence) will be shared by every enemy hero who is currently magnetized.

In a tight cluster of a teamfight, landing any of these effects is a lot easier. While catching the whole enemy team in your ultimate is somewhat improbable, having several heroes suffer from any of the effects is already a huge contribution to the flow of a battle. And since the magnetize effect can be refreshed, it is possible to land several of these abilities in a succession.

  • Cons

A lot of the aforementioned features are really hard to execute effectively, even by a pro player. It will require impeccable positioning from the Earth Spirit himself, as well as high levels of coordination within a team.

On top of that, the hero's only escape mechanism can be easily disrupted by simply walking in front of the forming boulder, making him a poor choice for an offlane. It is also disrupted by any stun/disable.

In the middle lane, Earth Spirit Earth Spirit will probably suffer from his melee range and inability to farm. He will not be an easy target to gank, however he won't pose as much threat mid-game as, for example, Invoker Invoker or Ember Spirit Ember Spirit would.

If he is played as a support, he will most likely suffer from low amounts of XP - he really needs his levels to be effective. He doesn't offer much in terms of teamfight potential, apart from his positioning tricks until level 6, where his ultimate is capable of dealing a decent amount of damage.

Conclusion

As you can see, a lot of the Hero's effectiveness (or lack of it) comes from the ability of a player to pilot him effectively. On one hand we have really nice early "force-staff" initiation possibilities and "unbreakable channeling" tricks. On the other hand, we have some really unreliable, easy-to-dodge/hard-to-hit stuns.

The hero might be a bit too weak for the competitive scene in its current form, however, minor buffs to the damage/effects on his skills could put him in the category of heroes that are situationally effective, fun to watch and really hard to play.

On top of that, he might fit very well in the current meta of blitz-attacks and constant engagements/re-engagements favored by many professional teams.

In the unlikely event of this hero being released before the TI4, we will probably see a lot of teams running him as a "pocket" strategy. Professional Dota rapidly evolves during the course of big competitions and having one more hero in your pool that your opponent is unaware of can be very useful.

Broodmother Broodmother

  • Introduction

The most unstable hero in the game as of now. With constant reworks to the Spin Web Spin Web we have seen getting in and out of favor of the pub play. The latest nerf introduced in 6.80 has made her the 8th least played hero in-game, only losing to some micro-heavy supports and Earth Spirit Earth Spirit. Let's see what the mother of spiders can bring to the table of competitive play.

  • Pros

The hero is pretty straightforward. You dedicate yourself to a lane and you push the hell out of it, while staying relatively safe.

In later stages Broodmother Broodmother can even transition into a decent anti-carry akin to Viper Viper, that is not exactly capable of dishing out crazy amount of damage, but can make enemy carry much less of a threat, especially if he doesn't have a Black King Bar Black King Bar.

Coupled with now popular Lycan Lycan and some good micro, she is probably capable of destroying unattended towers in seconds and will require constant attention. Though we have to note that the Howl Howl buff will only apply to the original Spiderlings, and not to the secondary Spiderites.

Another very underappreaciated feature of hers is the ability to scout. With a decent sight range of 1400/800 (day/night) a single spider can always keep runes in check, look out for enemy ganks, block creepspawns and generally be a nuisance. I strongly believe that the game of Dota 2 requires not only Gold/XP advantages, but also an information one.

  • Cons

A lot of her utility comes from the ability to push with a lot of small, very fragile "summons". And these "summons" are a double-edged sword, as each of her spiders will give a decent amount of XP and Gold as a bounty.

If played incorrectly, she can and will feed the enemy team their levels and items very fast. And that is where I expect to see a buff to the hero - these "summons" are way to easy to kill with any AoE even if Broodmother Broodmother is played at a decent level.

Another problem of hers is that she is not exactly useful in a teamfight. In the current meta having a BkB on your cores is almost always necessary, and since her anti-carry ability Incapacitating Bite Incapacitating Bite is blocked by magic immunity she doesn't offer as much utility as other popular picks - Centaur Warrunner Centaur Warrunner, Clockwerk Clockwerk etc. This leaves the team with Broodmother Broodmother at a disadvantage - 5v4 fights are not fun for the team in a minority.

And last but not least - Broodmother is a rather "greedy" hero, meaning that she needs her items to be effective. Even at something as trivial as pushing. Having [missing item: necronomicon-3] is somewhat of a must, but she also needs her general mana regeneration items to never leave her lane.

  • Conclusion

Personally, I am not a big fan of Rat Dota - it is usually very boring and frustrating to watch. I acknowledge the level of strategic thinking that is associated with it - not everyone can be an effective rat. But I still prefer big combos, intense teamfights and manly initiations.

At the same time, having an extra hero in the Split-Pushing pool should not be underestimated. And since at some point in Dota 2 history Broodmother was a popular competitive pick, she might come back for a while.

The probability that she will be released into the Captain's Mode are relatively high - an older version of her was already in the game during TI1, with a moderate success. Currently she is a little bit stronger than she was, however now there are a lot of heroes that are capable of withstanding solo lanes better, while retaining the split-pushing potential (Nature's Prophet Nature's Prophet) or having more impact on teamfights (Centaur Warrunner Centaur Warrunner)

Closing Comments

Today we had a look at two heroes that are not in Captains Mode and are very unpopular in the pub scene. Both of them have their strengths and weaknesses and it would be very interesting to see some professional players pilot them.

It is really hard to make predictions about the release of the heroes into the competitive environment, especially the ones that have not been tested by the community enough. At the same time, each of these heroes (like every hero in Dota) are unique in their own way. And there are certain lineups that can benefit from each of them. Be it team-fight heavy lineups that could use positioning tricks of Earth Spirit Earth Spirit or pushing/split-pushing lineups that could use Broodmother Broodmother in case Furion was banned.

Next time we will have a look at a more popular heroes that are still not available in CM - Legion Commander Legion Commander, Terrorblade Terrorblade and Phoenix Phoenix.

As always:

Thank you for Reading!

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crwdns1033:024crwdne1033:0
nmaGane

    ok

    ZeUs!

      it would be really cool if earth spirit is released for competitive play before ti4... he possesses lots of potential!

      Adrα

        Brilliant blog post!

        PMA

          You guys are ES haters. He just become one of the most boring heroes to play. I agree that he was pretty strong and needed the nef, but this nerf was retard. I mean, now you cant do anything with him, because you never have enough stones. His ultimate became useless. They could just do another kind of nerf, like delaying stones placement a little bit, giving a chance do enemy avoid instant stun. RIP ES.

          crwdns1299:0crwdne1299:0
          idc win

            Es is still viable, i outlane most ppl. unfortunately the problem is coordinating with random people. the biggest nerf was the rock cooldown time which is manageable to a degree unless the other team constantly pressures you to fight for like 10 minutes straight

            in a party setting im about 95% with es, unfortunately as mmr is in a place where most people don't communicate, nor speak a uniform language you just spiral downwards with badluck. like last game i was forced to lane mid with boots first es.... because someone picked es and joined the game then made me swap him meepo :/ 5k at its best :/

            Shia's Sensational Scruff

              Broodmother, to me, is honestly overpowered. I have a 65% win streak with her, at the moment, and am on a 7-win streak. Her ult giving 80% life steal with 150 damage is just ridiculous, and the ability to run lane with 15hp regen once you pop a tango just allows such aggression it's insane. I, however, am very for her being buffed and added to captains mode! She'll be interesting there though, since she can be so hard countered. Someone like axe is just indomitable in lane against her, and AOE clear works miracles. She'll be a last pick for sure if at all there.

              KWLK`

                TLDR =)

                ..G

                  Eat shit, i mean earth spirit was one of the heroes i enjoyed the most until he got nerfed to crap, I still pubstomp with him, but its nowhere near it was before, I hope they dont wreck ember spirit in the next patch cause he is pretty imba aswell right now.

                  Lorelei

                    "Another problem of hers is that she is not exactly useful in a teamfight. " - She is rather useful (in my opinion) if you can get there and set up a web before the fight starts, she can run around wrecking supports with an orckid + her ulti, and she makes for a good chaser with her slow/movespeed buff in webs and as you say when the enemy carry's bkb runs out she will reduce their effectiveness alot pretty much putting a timer on the fights (the length of the bkb). I love broodmother, but shes so easy to counter pick with good and wanted heroes. i hope they do something with the little spiders

                    HyperFrost

                      ES' stun is not shared among Magnetized targets. Only the silence and slow. Get facts right before posting please.

                      BearlyCivil

                        The problem with Broodmother, in team fights, is that she needs her web to get the buff, if she is outside of it, she is easily kited like Ursa. She does fits the rat lineup instead of direct team fights
                        I do want to see ES get added to CM, to see some flashy plays, but ES is a weird hero to balance, and you really need a decent team to be effective, the #1 problem in pub

                        Deku

                          I wanna see Legion implemented into CM, brings quite a bit to the table. Can jungle her, mid, and maybe even off lane though I haven't tried it yet. Works as a semi carry, with very strong mid-late game. Duel is a free stun, and even gives bonus damage, making her a great ganker. I wanna see some Legion in pro play. Looking forward to it.

                          crwdns1299:0crwdne1299:0
                          Dr.J

                            where is my veno?

                            mllcg

                              phoenix was nerfed too much. in d1, she was better

                              Aiscence

                                A friend play a lot ES and it's like a chen, very high skill cap but he is as strong as before if you train him.

                                Ciro Gomes

                                  Earth Spirit continues to be a good hero, but it's a lot harder than it already was to play and the worst problem of the change on his skill it's the time of the rocks charge. Most people that either didn't play with him or don't know how to play, don't even realise that this was the biggest nerf on him, the change on the skills was really bad, but the hero would be still great and playable, but the rocks taking so much time to recharge was his biggest nerf, he lost a lot of qhat he could do. I think that if this was fixed and the cd became what he was before he would be a great hero again (and he wasn't imbaleced before, he was simply nerfed because people didn't know how to play with him and didn't know how to play against it).

                                  Fleakachu

                                    Very nice post

                                    Gustaphos

                                      Didn't know that about ES and his magnetic ability for channeling heros to not interrupt their channel. Would be nice for the dotabuff admins to post other odd combos like that for dummies like me.

                                      Thanks

                                      ravishankar guruji

                                        Nice One Admin :)

                                        E V I L   D R E E T T O

                                          i love earth spirit

                                          pjalle

                                            "Geomagnetic Grip Geomagnetic Grip can be used to instantly silence an enemy from a range of 1100, or to save an ally that is caught off-guard. It also won't break any channeling spells performed by teammates, making full-duration Black Hole Black Holes and Freezing Field Freezing Fields a reality."

                                            Freezing field follows CM's position though. So yeah, it might let her get a full channel off, but not nesecarrily anywhere near any enemies.

                                            Martblni

                                              Part 2????

                                              Weasels Ripped My Flesh

                                                @ Killua Zoldyck
                                                I do not understand how ES is hard to play at all and his win rate dropped so much. I am honestly glad they nerfed him. Even after it he is still one of my best heroes.. dunno what people are actually doing if they pick/random him.. it is no damn rocket sience..