Table of Contents
This guide is intended for the casual 5v5 games on Forest of Caldavar and Normal Mode. Do not expect to follow these guidelines and be successful in any other conditions.
Description & In-Depth Analysis
Items to Avoid
Enemies to Avoid
Deadwood is just another hardcore ganker, who's also able to initiate and deal decent auto-attack DPS. He is a hero that is best played solo in the middle lane, as he needs to gain levels as early as possible. Given the right circumstances, he has the ability to totally dominate the early- and mid game, and should thus capitalize on this as much as possible in order to be viable at the later stages of the game. He's is a hero that excels at quickly bringing down single targets, and catching the enemy off guard, even when they got good map control through wards by using the woods to his advantage. In the hands of a good player, he can be an extremely important asset to a team that's capable of causing unstoppable havoc on the opposing team's carry while your own carry farms your team's way to victory.
Born of the cruelly tainted lands of Newerth, Deadwood is the undead husk of the first Keeper of the Forest. All around him, living things wilt, and he has little hesitation to destroy trees or use them as weapons. Despite seeking the destruction of Newerth, he still commands the incredible strength and natural powers of a forest guardian, thus combining the cruelty of the Hellbourne with the powers that once belonged only to the Beast Horde.
Nothing here will make you a better Deadwood player, but it'll give you a good feel of Deadwood's theme and background. We can immediately draw a conclusion that Deadwood was the very first of a line of Keeper of the Forests. For some unknown reason he's now joined the Hellbourne forces. Claimed by dark magic? Betrayed to the point where his lust for revenge made him switch sides?. It'll remain a mystery for now, but it seems like Deadwood's mind was twisted from a will to look over and guard the forest, into a desire of completely destroying it. As the first forest guardian, Deadwood is very likely to be one of the oldest characters on Newerth - chances are he's even older than ol' Bubbles. His powers and abilities still remains from his time as a guardian of the forest, despite no longer being one.
Let's look at Deadwoods base stats and gains,
Damage: 56 - 61
Attack Range: 128 (Melee)
Attack Speed: 0.68
Move Speed: 300
Strength: 25 (+2.7)
Agility: 16 (+2)
Intelligence: 16 (+1.5)
What really should catch your mind at first here is Deadwood's high base damage. It's a good way above average, and combined with Uproot, last hitting should be extremely easy for you. However, Deadwood is a melee hero, so you run the risk of being harassed by auto-attacks or hit by spells every time you're going for a creep kill. Your high base HP combined with average movement speed comes to the rescue though. Starting with 625HP, you're not gonna be that easy to take down at an early gank, and your staying power in a lane is really great. Deadwood's stat gains are nothing more than average. You do have a decent chunk of strength gain, however. At lv25 you'll be quite tough with over 2.2kHP, and that's with no items. Your agility gain is not bad for a strength hero, and will supply you with decent natural armor. Deadwood's intelligence gain is not the best, and you'll need to boost your mana needs through items in the early phases of the game. You'll have an easier time at late game, but you'll still want to keep those items as long as possible to supply your mana.
Cast point/backswing: Rotten Grasp 0.15/0.85; Uproot 0/1.0; Oakbolt 0.3/0.3; Clearcutting 0/0; Willowmaker 0.4/0.6
Damage point/backswing: 0.4/0.3
Sight range day/night: 1800/800
Missile speed: Instant
Turn rate: 0.54
You got fairly good numbers to work with here. Deadwood's damage point is good. Not the best, but good. As already mentioned, your last hitting will be easy as pie with your base damage plus your boost from Uproot. Note that the damage point/cast point and the backswing together make up your whole animation while attacking, and that your backswing is the part of the animation after the blow is landed/projectile sent/etc. In other words, it is completely cosmetic and should be canceled whenever possible (also referred to as animation canceling) by issuing another command, preferably a move or hold command.
Take a look at your cast points. Your cast point on Rotten Grasp is only 0.15 seconds. That's pretty fast! However, you do have a backswing of a grand 0.85 seconds. That's pretty slow... Cancel it to speed up your chase or escape. It also gives the enemy a much smaller time window to notice that you have casted it. They do hear the sound when it's cast however, so any player that's not half asleep will know that you've casted it. With 0/1 seconds on Uproot, you can literally grab your tree as you run by, not stopping at all. Oakbolt's cast point is just average, cancel the backswing for faster chasing. Clearcutting is instant nothing more to say there. Willowmaker has 0.6 seconds of backswing which is almost as long and superfluous as Rotten Grasp's and Uproot's; you do want to cancel this one too in order to get those extra last hits in. I can't stress this enough folks, cancel
Deadwood's turn rate is average, at 0.54 (or 540 degrees / sec). Now, for the sake of argument, let's say you're being chased at low HP, and you want to throw an Oakbolt at the chaser to slow it down. Deadwood will actually have to stop and turn until the target is within his 180 frontal degree arc before he'll cast. This will take some time, and combined with the 0.3/0.3 cast time on Oakbolt, it might just be a better idea to keep running depending on how many you're being chased by. In a 1on1 situation you'll most of the time have the benefit from Oakbolt's snare, but if two guys or more are chasing you you'll allow the other enemy hero to gain ground on you, maybe enough to cast it's own stun/snare that will be the death of you. It's highly situational
, so please do keep this information in mind.
We all know the four main groups of roles in Heroes of Newerth: Initiator, Support, Ganker and Carry. If you wanna be good at this game, it is crucial that you understand your role on your team. You don't win games by building and playing Glacius as a carry hero. Maybe in noob stomps, but not in pro play. Glacius was simply not designed to be played as a carry hero. With that in mind, it's time to learn Deadwood's role.
The most important factor to look at when it comes to hero roles are their skills. All 4 of Deadwood's skills are active. They revolve around (1) surprising the enemy, (2) trapping the enemy in place, (3) slowing down the enemy, and most importantly; (4) dealing burst damage. This screams GANKER
all the way, and Deadwood shouldn't be picked for anything else. Deadwood is also a great initiator
, being able to bring key opponents down in a matter of seconds. Although Deadwood dish out enough DPS through auto-attacks to be called a soft-carry
, there are far better picks for carrying, but he can certainly help the team dish out some extra, raw auto-attack DPS in teamfights later on. Now, what's a ganker's job on a team? Your job as Deadwood is to run around the map, setting up kills (remember, carries get priority on last hits!
), and just as important; constantly be on the opposing carries' arses all the time. A good ganker makes sure his own carry farms well while the enemy carry doesn't get any farm at all. At later stages of the game you'll be unloading all of your skills at the start of the fight, then whiffing the enemy down with your auto-attacks.
Skill Description & In-Depth Analysis
It's time to take a look at what this guy can do with his awesome skills and how to best utilize them,
Rotten Grasp is easily the single most skill-reliant ability that Deadwood possesses. In short, this skill has mainly three uses: Trapping
opponents, as well as escaping
ganks. Think of it as a weak, limited AoE-version of Keeper of the Forest's Root. First, let's take a quick glance at how far the range of this skill is,
Including the radius of the AoE, you end up with a max range of 1500 units. That is pretty far, which makes this skill so great at surprise ganking and initiation. Assuming you're not revealed by wards or anything, you can approach safe from the Fog of War, and cast this without the enemy noticing before it is too late.
Before we talk about how to use it, let's go over some mechanics and how the skill works:
How to Rotten Grasp:
- When the skill is cast, it will take affect after a 2 second delay. The enemy can not see the visuals of this skill before it goes off under any circumstances. No form for true sight will reveal it. It's only a cosmetic visual for you and your allies.
- Deadwood performs an animation to cast this skill, and a short sound-clip is played. If the enemy has sight on you, they will both see and hear you cast the spell, effectively giving them a heads-up.
- The debuff is constantly applied to anyone initially in or entering the AOE at any given point for it's remaining duration. Should however a unit manage to escape the AOE by any means they will have the debuff removed.
- Enemies take 100 Magic damage per second, this is your only source of Magic damage.
- Enemies receive reduced armor. This synergizes greatly with you ultimate and auto-attacks.
- The skill issues an Immobilized state to the enemy, disabling any ability classified as a travel ability for it's duration. This includes
- Lava Surge
- Twin Fangs
- Like a Ninja
- Sky Dance
- Elemental Warp
- Illusive Dash
- Heavenly Vault
- Vampiric Flight
- Wave Form
- Ludicrous Speed
- Flash of Darkness
- Tsunami Charge
- :chro: Time Leap
- Courageous Leap
- Charging Strikes
- :TabletOfCommand: (Doesn't work on anyone with the debuff, regardless of who's trying to cast it)
These abilities will be disabled as long as the heroes are affected by Rotten Grasp. Use this knowledge to easily get heroes that have an annoying escape mechanism like Magebane.
- Psuedo-blink abilities like Night Hound's Pounce and Maliken's Sword Throw are not classified as travel abilities and will still work. They may use their skills to move out from the affected area.
- You can get rid of the debuff though items like Geometer's Bane, but if you end up in the AoE again it will be re-applied immediately, as the skill constantly applies the debuff in the affected area. Magic Immunity from spells or Shrunken Head completely ignores Rotten Grasp and will debuff it.
- It does not reveal invisible units. This means invisible units remain invisible, while heroes like Night Hound and Scout can become invisible while they're stuck in it. They still take full effect from the skill, however.
Rotten Grasp is your main way of setting up kills, as it allows you to get in melee range of your ultimate. Your goal is to trap your target(s) in the area, walk up to them and finish them off. Easier said than done? Sure is. Because of the 2 second delay, it is easily dodged by simply running away from the area before it goes off. If an enemy is moving (which they will be most of the time), you have to predict their movements, and aim the skill accordingly.
This skill is easiest to land if you're in the Fog of War without the enemy knowing, but let's say you're laning against someone. Sure if you're mid you can sometimes use the hill to cast safe from the fog. However, when the enemy DO have sight on you, they will try to dodge it, which is why you have to be the better player and predict where they will be heading. In this case, a good way to hit would be to: (1) Always
keep moving around. Make random turns and just move back and forth changing to circles and so forth. Be unpredictable. (2) Cancel the backswing animation immediately,
(3) then proceed to either (3a) keep walking in the same pattern you did before you casted it, assuming the enemy did not notice that you casted it, or (3b) if the enemy is competent, it will notice, so hope for the best and start walking against it to force it to either walk into you or your Grasp. Also note that while the enemy may know the direction of the cast by looking at you, they won't know at what range you casted it - behind, on top, or in front of them. It really boils down to a game of prediction. It takes practice and you'll have to study each individual opponent's movement patterns.
When ganking, make a teammate throw a stun/snare on the opponent for a guaranteed hit. Always try to make sure the outer ring of the AoE just covers the target, and place it in the direction the target is most likely to run. If you don't have the support of your teammates or they don't have a stun/snare, just study the way your target(s) move. If they mostly walk around in circles or keep to the same pattern, you can almost hit with 100% certainty. If a creep is about to die, you can set up a Grasp for that melee guy (ranged even) who's certain to walk up for the last hit. Remember, just keep trying and you'll master it in no time.
For chasing, you simply cast it ahead of the enemy, preferably at a choke point, forcing the enemy to walk into you (and your comrades) or get stuck in your Grasp.
Rotten Grasp can also be used defensively, and yes it's quite straight forward. Be it to save yourself or an ally, just cast it so that it'll hit the chasers or block a choke point for the escape.
This skill does what it says. You get 5 charges/hits with added bonus damage, and the subskill Oakbolt. Every time you hit something, you lose a charge, which means you lose the tree after 5 hits. The skill is mainly used to boost your last hitting while laning, and just raw DPS when attacking enemies.
In short, Oakbolt has two main uses: Chasing
channeling spells. Look at this image to get a feel of its range:
- When cast, removes all charges of Uproot.
- If cast on units (enemies), performs a mini-stun, which in itself is extremely useful to stop channeling spells or Homecoming Stones.
- It also deals Physical damage and applies a 75% snare. You normally deal more damage with auto-attacks (boosted by Uproot) so don't even use it when you're on 1 charge left, unless your opponent is running from you in case you want a slow. If you're opponent is low enough to die from one or two auto-attack after you can use it to kill it faster.
- Your opponent will basically be crawling when initially hit, which makes it easier to follow up with a successful Rotten Grasp.
- If you're on your way to a lane to gank, it's a good idea to make sure you pick up a tree early, so that Uproot will be off cooldown when you arrive, allowing you to use Oakbolt and immediately pick up a new tree.
- You can use Oakbolt to snag last hits, or harass your lane opponent. However, try to do this only on your last charge of Uproot. By continuously spamming Oakbolt on your opponent, they will either keep backing off, denying them last hits, or just take it and ignore it, which gives you an excellent opportunity to surprise them with a quick, animation canceled Rotten Grasp.
- Being Physical damage, you can throw this on Magic Immune units! They will take the damage, but neither the mini-stun nor the slow will take effect.
Clearcutting is the skill I tend to use the least. However it does have alot of uses to it, it is also Deadwood's only ability that "technically" scales. You want to use this skill to surprise
the enemy, escape
ganks and boost your DPS
through increased attackspeed.
How to Clearcutting:
- When activated, you gain treewalking, which is extremely useful. Your treewalking is also different from normal treewalking because it destroys any tree you walk through.
- While destoying trees is pretty badass, it does leave a trail that other heroes - allies or enemies - can follow.
- With 4 charges, not only do you get +60 Attack Speed and more Movement Speed, but you're also immune to slows with 100% Movement Slow Resistance (does not apply to AS)! You can basically laugh at Zephyr as you walk through his ultimate at full speed or escape Slither/Armadon's otherwise annoying slows.
While you'll most of the time use this skill only for escapes or the speed boosts, it can be used as a ganking tool. Let's say you're Hellbourne, and the enemy is pushing the top lane. You can walk deep into the forest at some point and hide, safe from enemy sight. From here you can prepare yourself for a successful Rotten Grasp, because it's not an angle most people will be expecting a gank from, letting you catch them off guard. Run or or preferably blink in with Portal Key and quickly take down a key opponent if you're able to, while your team follows up immediately after. You can gank during the laning phase like this too, but it's not recommended as most of the time you can just approach like a normal ganker. Alternatively you can use this skill to run straight through any tree you were hiding behind before you casted that Rotten Grasp, instead of walking around it.
Don't hesitate using this skill for pure DPS whenever you're entering teamfights or whatever. Simply build up charges for the AS-boost.
Using this skill as an escape mechanism is great. Whenever you see the enemy coming to gank you just activate the skill and juke the sh*t outta them! Simply run into the forest if it's thick - or straight through to safety if there's just a few trees around. While they may be able to follow your tracks, you will constantly be under the Fog of War. You also get a 12% speed boost with 4 charges to help your escape. With Portal Key, you can easily avoid damage this way for 3 seconds in order to blink away. Any slows or snares will be a waste on you if you're close to trees to build up your charges.
If Deadwood's right arm is this awesome
, why doesn't he always use it? This is Deadwood's signature move, his very own verion of Falcon Punch; Deadwood Punch! Notoriously known to one-shot people, Willowmaker is mainly used to deal burst
Physical damage. Look at the skill in mid-cast; would you want to get hit by that?
Let's get the facts straight:
How to Willowmaker:
- It's the Physical version of Pyromancer and Witch Slayer's ultimates - only better!
- It deals Physical damage, which is why it's so superior to Magical nukes early game, as most heroes will have <5.5 Physical armor. However it scales worse into late game.
- It stuns for 1.5 seconds, which is always handy for some extra time to finish people off. But the real deal behind this is that it goes through Magic Immunity. Yep you heard it, Deadwood is one of the few guys who's able to stun Magic Immune units.
- This makes him great at stopping carries because he can stun through their Shrunken Head. You can also stop Magic Immune channelers this way.
- Since it's Physical, any reduction in Physical armor will boost it. Rotten Grasp, Sol's Blessing and Shieldbreaker are some ways to increase the power of this skill.
- Criticals and anything that could normally proc on auto-attacks won't. Attack modifiers are not applied (with the exception of Frostwolf Skull), and neither is your auto-attack damage. This means, in order to use this with a Shieldbreaker, you'll have to hit your target before you use Willowmaker on them.
- The skill is blocked by Nullstone, so make sure you trigger its cooldown by throwing an Oakbolt at your target before you use it.
- It lowers the targets strength by 20% on use. This means that the target's max HP is actually reduced for 5 seconds. It is applied before the damage, and goes through Magic Immunity. It will only reduce health gained from raw strength, however. This means that HP gained from say a Beastheart will be unaffected.
- To give an example, let's imagine a target with 0 Physical armor, thus taking full damage, and 1100 HP, spread out at 150 base / 950 strength:
There is no rocket science into using this skill. Point - click - kill. Or so many people seem to think. I've been accused several times for "picking a cheap, R-click-hero", which may be true - Willowmaker will definitely one-shot the squishiest targets during the early stages of the game. However, people seem to forget that you have to be in melee range
to use the skill. Any decent player won't just let you run up to them and hit them, which means you'll need the aid of an ally - in which case most people are dead anyways - or hit them with a successful Rotten Grasp. This is why mastering Rotten Grasp is so essential in becoming a successful Deadwood player.
So, when do you use this skill? Use it whenever it's off its low cooldown, because it'll snag you a kill most of the times. Using Rotten Grasp first when you go for a kill will not only let you get up in melee-range, but it'll also reduce the target's Physical armor
which boost your damage as it's Physical. In teamfights, don't waste this skill on weak heroes like Glacius (especially not if he just unloaded his whole arsenal) for cheap kills. Save it for the most dangerous opponent like the carry, or a key disabler.
Don't fret using Willowmaker if you find yourself in a tight situation, a 1.5 second stun can be the difference between getting killed or making an escape.
I've seen many different ways of building Deadwood, but honestly, I can't see any other skill build for this hero than the following one:
2 Rotten Grasp
3 Uproot / Rotten Grasp
4 Rotten Grasp
5 Rotten Grasp
7 Rotten Grasp
8 Uproot / Clearcutting
Rotten Grasp is maxed first for obvious reasons. It's your main way of initiating ganks and to get in melee range of Willowmaker. You want to max Uproot next for more DPS (and farming) and the slow duration in Oakbolt. Get Rotten Grasp at level 3 if you wanna go really offensive and think you can kill your opponent that early. In rare cases where you're
getting ganked a lot by the enemy, one level of Clearcutting at level 8 is all you need for treewalking. Deadwood Pun... erm Willowmaker is skilled whenever possible because it's awesome, without further ado. The bonuses of more Clearcutting charges are too great to be left for stats, so it'll be maxed at level 14.
Your initial items are mainly aimed at giving you better survivability and staying power in a lane, as well as better last hitting power.
Deadwood, with his high base damage and Uproot, shouldn't have any problem getting last hits, which is why I like to get two Crushing Claws on him rather than a Logger's Hatchet. Feel free to get one instead of the Claws however if you're not that comfortable with your last-hitting skills, or if you suspect facing other heroes with high base damage like Pebbles or Blood Hunter.
The two Minor Totems will be used for your Power Supply, but I wouldn't bother upgrading your Claws into Bracers unless you really feel you need them.