The Plague Rider is a powerful mix of spell damage and support. He is a direct port of Kel'Thuzad, the Lich, trading an ice-based theme for one of plague and infection. A popular pick at all levels of play, the Plague Rider is a quality addition to any lineup. With this guide we'll be focusing on his ability to gank enemies and support allies.
A powerful laner both solo and dual laned, his game really opens up once he reaches level six and obtains his powerful, if situational, ultimate. He retains his nuking power for much of the game, but as most int heroes gradually loses effectiveness as the game progresses.
Pros and Cons
- Powerful support and laning capabilities
- Good babysitter
- Two powerful nukes and the mana regen to support endless casting
- Solid Intelligence gain and an above average movespeed
- A devastating ultimate that requires skill and timing to use properly
- Relatively item-independent
- Laughable strength gain
- No escape mechanism outside of slow
Both of Plague Rider's nukes, Contagion and Plague Carrier, and his Cursed Shield apply Infected to enemies.
Infected: reduces movement speed by 30% and attack speed by 20.
The Plague Rider instantly afflicts an enemy with a contagion, damaging and Infecting all nearby enemies.
Cooldown: 9.25 seconds
Mana Cost: 125/150/170/190
Deals 50/100/125/175 Magic damage to the target and an additional 75/100/125/150 to all enemies within 200 units. Infects enemy units for 5 seconds.
The only nuke Plague Rider has apart from a high cooldown ult, this one deals relatively high damage to a single target, and decent damage to targets in 200 range, slowing affected targets enough to land several hits. Good gank starter and finisher, and a fine harassing tool. The issue would normally be the relatively high mana cost, but with the rest of our skillset it's more of a minor inconvenience.
This is the skill that gives you your lane dominance early game. Even mid to late it's damage and slow in an area is useful in team fights and ganks. This skill will be maxed out first alongside Extinguish.
Places a Cursed Shield on an ally, granting them increased armor and Infecting anyone who attacks them.
Cooldown: 5 seconds
Mana Cost: 25
Duration: 40 seconds
Increase 3/6/9/12 Armor and infects melee enemies who attack the target for 3 seconds.
A support spell placed on friendly targets, adding armor and slowing melee attackers. While the infected bonus is nice, it is usually not worth placing more than one point in early. Late game, however, it's a useful tool against all physical damage dealers, as 12 armor and speed reductions are a significant defensive tool.
The Plague Rider end the life of an allied unit instantly, restoring his own mana. His mount enjoys the snack and feeds off the destruction he caused.
Cooldown: 55/50/45/40 seconds
Mana Cost: 25
Kills the target unit and converts 15/30/45/60% of it's current life into mana for the Rider.
This skill makes the rest of your skill-set work. It's the reason Plague Rider does well in a lane, can afford such a high mana cost ult, can spam shield on allies, and is the perfect holder for Astrolabe. You'll never run out of mana even while getting skill free denies and constantly harassing whoever was unlucky enough to lane against you.
The Plague Rider lets loose a Plague Carrier towards an enemy. The Carrier deals damage to the target before traveling to another nearby target. Any enemy hit becomes Infected.
Cooldown: 145/115/60 seconds
Mana Cost: 200/325/500
Deals 280/370/460 damage to a single target, then bouncing to another enemy within 600 units. Bounces 7 times. Apples Infected for 5 seconds on hit.
Wow. How this works is that it fires a projectile that travels towards the target and, upon colliding and damaging that target, will then bounce to a random target within 600 range, bouncing again up to 7 times. The success of the spell depends on the skill, aim, timing, and luck of the Plague Rider using it.
If used on a target alone, it nukes for the specified amount and slows them. If used on a target in a crowd of creeps, it may hit them twice and decimate the creep wave. If used on two enemies standing next to each other, you just got a double kill.
*Will also inturrupt (stun for .1 second) the target of the spell, so if you need to you can use this spell to distrupt channeling, in addition to it's other uses. This inturrupt works through magic immunity, though the damage does not.
4. Extinguish/Cursed Shield
6. Plague Carrier
7. Contagion (max)
9. Extinguish (max)
10. Cursed Shield/Extinguish (max)
11. Plague Carrier
16. Plague Carrier (max)
17. Cursed Shield
18. Cursed Shield
19. Cursed Shield
If you're going to gank the rune spot, or just think you might want a nuke before level 2, grab Contagion at one. Otherwise, you can take extinguish at one for an extra deny.
Contagion and Plague Carrier are taken ASAP as they are our nukes and our slows. Extinguish is taken before Cursed Shield as it's mana supply is essential. You can take one level of Cursed Shield early if the defensive slow is important enough to delay Extinguish.
The later levels of Cursed Shield are taken after maxing our ult, as this is when the carries start to run the game. The armor boost is much more useful this late in the game, when most damage is physical rather than magical.
Skill use and synergies
When and where do I cast Contagion?
Contagion is our standard nuke, and with the mana from Extinguish rolling in we can use it to harass. In addition to dealing good damage, it places a movespeed reduction in a small AoE on the target, allowing for extra hits by you and any friendlies chasing the target. In a lane, drop the nuke and throw 2-3 swings at the guy if he tries to back up. In a fight, drop it on any enemies being focused or running, and try to find clusters of enemy heroes for the AoE effect.
Who do I cast Cursed Shield on?
What about Extinguish?As long as you have extra mana to cast it, which should always be the case with Extinguish, you should keep it on yourself permanently. Your only escape mechanism is slow, and the shield places that slow on anyone hitting you with auto attack. Also cast it on any allies in the area, especially those in danger of being attacked, as it can be kepton 8 targets at once (40 second duration 5 second cooldown).
Extinguish should be used whenever it comes off cooldown and you need mana. It's a free creep deny and a hefty mana boost. You will usually be spamming your Contagion and Cursed Shield on enemies and allies, and Extinguish is the ability that allows you to do that without running out of juice.
*The only target you will generally be using Extinguish on are friendly melee creeps at full life. The saplings and the imps.
When should I use Plague Carrier?
When used correctly, Plague Carrier is a guaranteed kill, and can sometimes net you double taps and hat tricks. Here are some examples of times you will want to ult, from best to worst.
Fights in the woods
Obviously, the best time to use your ult is when you're fighting 2-3 enemy heroes without any creeps nearby. It will only be able to bounce from hero to hero, and they either have to split up or eat about 1k in damage each.
AIf it's your team and a creep wave against theirs and a creep wave, just throw your ulti in. It may not bounce perfectly, but you're still doing a couple thousand damage overall, and a lot of it is going to be hitting heroes as well as creeps. If you think they might chase your team away from creeps, or vice-versa, you might want to save your ult and wait for it to become a Fights in the woods scenario.
Ganks, friendly and unfriendly
Whether you're the ganker or the ganked, any time there's more then one enemy hero present is a good time to ult. Normally in ganks there will be some creeps involved if you met in the lane, but any bounces have a good chance of nuking and slowing a hero, and you always have Contagion to focus whichever hero was less lucky.
Bouncing off of a few creeps
You just hit 6 and are itching to try out your ult. You have full mana thanks to extinguish, so you can cast both Plague Carrier and Extinguish. You're laning aginst defiler mid and she's at 3/4 life, about 600 hp. As you're trading last hits, it gets down to you and a ranged creep against her, a melee creep, and a ranged creep. If you ult her now, it will hit her, and the bounce off of one of the creeps will come right back to her, allowing you to finish with auto attack or Extinguish. *If she's smart, she will run if she sees the ult coming, so you may want to use fog/elevation to get the drop on her.
If you're about to die and have your ult up, go ahead and throw it at someone. The cooldown isn't that long, and it gets shorter with levels, so you might as well deal some damage before you go.
Extinguish allows you to spam your nuke and your shield, and have enough mana left over for a high cost ultimate.
After casting your ult, Contagion sorta works as an extra bounce you can use on whichever target is hurting the most. Make sure to keep auto-attacking and nuking enemies. That's what all the slow effects are for.
Friends and Foes
People we like
The easiest way to ensure full effectiveness of your ult is to make sure the enemies you're fighting can't dodge or mitigate the damage dealt in any way. 2-3 enemies disabled by a Tempest ult can only watch as your ult travels toward them.
AoE damage dealers
A teammate who can clear a wave of creeps makes any fight a Fight in the woods, our favorite kind of fight.
Plague Rider is an excellent babysitter, allowing carries to get the farm they need to do well mid-late
As our late game deteriorates, their game peaks. Our ridiculous damage output simply shifts to slowing enemies and shielding allies while the carries deal with the bad guys.
People we don't much care for
Search and Destroyers
While our shield will protect us to a minor degree, heroes like this will have their way with us. With no real form of escape, our only hope against these types of heroes is to out-dps them. Heroes like Magebane who have enhanced magic defense are doubly effective against us.
Heroes designed to shrug off high damage output will have an advantage over us. Best to have allies and play support with the slows, because Tanky-strength types will just shrug off many of our attacks.
Any type of magic defense or magic immunity will counter Plague Rider's most potent attacks.
Here's some happy news: Lich is one of the least item dependent heroes in the game. This frees us up to buy supportive items for the team, while covering our basic needs cheaply.
Minor Totem x2= 114g
Runes of the Blight x3= 90g
Monkey courier= 200g
I'll leave the extra 199 gold up to you, you can start on your Fortified Bracelets or, if you didn't get courier, get a Trinket of Restoration.
Monkey Courier - 200
Marchers - 500
Fortified Bracelet - 510
Power Supply - 519
Astrolabe - 2306
Total - 4035
You'll want to build these three in whichever order the situation demands. For example, if you're getting nuked out of your lane, finish the Refreshing Ornament (part of the Astrolabe) and then make a Fortified Bracelet.
With the ability Extinguish, Plague Rider will always have the mana necessary to keep both himself and his teammates strong with Astrolabe.
So what next?
Really, these items are all Plague Rider needs to do his job correctly. That said, if you do even a half-decent job you'll have a steady cash flow, and there are many items you can buy to enhance your game.
My preferred build: Wards of Sight, Post Haste, Puzzle Box, Totem of Kuldra
Wards of Sight-200 (two)- Plague Rider will normally be the best candidate to buy and place wards on his team. For a measly 200g every 6 minutes you gain an invaluable source of map awareness.
If you don't know where to place wards, here's a helpful guide: http://forums.heroesofnewerth.com/sh...ght=ward+place
Post Haste-2700 (500 of that in the core)- The best boots upgrade for Plague Rider, adding a superb +95 movespeed and a teleport function.
Portal Key-2150- A useful item on any hero, Portal key allows Plague Rider to do two things. Firstly, it acts as an escape mechanism if you can stay out of danger for 3 seconds (the duration of the slow on Cursed Shield). Secondly, it allows for us to blink in for a surprise ulti, affording enemies less time to move out of the way.
Puzzlebox (2 upgrades)-2350-3250-4150- An extremely underused item, the Puzzlebox gives a variety of stats we'll find useful, as well as two summons with powerful abilities, such as a movespeed aura and see invis.
Nome's Wisdom - 2300 - Gives supportive auras to teammates. The 25% heal effect can also be quite effective on Plague Rider, as he has unlimited mana which can translate into unlimited health regen. His two nukes are quite spendy, as well, so he heals quite a significant amount when he casts them.
Stormspirit-2800- A good disable item that can shut down a hero for a short time.
Totem of Kuldra-5675- Pretty standard support item for an int hero with money to spare.
Staff of the Master -4300- Gives us a slight damage boost to our ultimate. Really, the mana we gain is worthless and the ult improvement minor. There are better items listed above.
Plague Rider can do well either as solo or dual-laned. He works best with a weak carry type, as he makes a ridiculously good babysitter. This is because he has unlimited mana from one skill so that he may harass his opponents constantly with his nuke, even while denying creeps and supplying armor to his partner.
My advice: If your team has a competent solo I.E. Valkyrie, give solo mid to her. If you don't have any allies suited to the task, Lich is an excellent solo laner.
Solo Lane 1-7
Grab your items and head mid. Try to grab the rune at 2 min in if you can. If you're laning against something like Thunderbringer with a bottle, try to beat him to the runes. Otherwise, you have extinguish for mana regen and bought items for health regen, you should do fine. If the enemy gets a bit close to the creeps, use contagion and throw a couple auto attacks at them if they back up while slowed. Try to last hit allied and enemy creeps and bide your time until 6. *Every use of extinguish is a complete deny of both gold and experience for the enemy in addition to mana gain for you.
Once you reach 6, you can either try to bounce your ulti off of the creeps to get a kill on your rival, or try to push your lane to his tower (so he has less time to call you missing) and gank either top or bottom. Coordinate with your allies if you choose to gank their lane. Use extinguish to get at least 390 mana, the amount you need for Plague Carrier and level 4 Contagion. Target an enemy with Plague Carrier and use the slow it hits them with to cast Contagion as well. If Plague Carrier bounces back on them they should be dead, and if they aren't finish them with auto-attack.
Dual Lane 1-7
So you went top or bottom with an ally. If they also have a nuke, or a disable, or both like you, feel free to play an aggressive lane. Spam Contagion and use Extinguish to get your mana reserves back. If the enemy gets a bit close to the creeps, use Contagion and throw a couple auto attacks at them if they back up while slowed. Try to last hit allied and enemy creeps and bide your time until 6. *Every use of extinguish is a complete deny of both gold and experience for the enemy in addition to mana gain for you.
Once you hit level 6, take your ult and use Extinguish until you have enough mana for Plague Carrier and Contagion. When you do, tell your ally you're going to nuke, for an example, Pyromancer. Target an enemy with Plague Carrier and use the slow it hits them with to cast Contagion as well. If Plague Carrier bounces back on them they should be dead, and if they aren't finish them with auto-attack.
Mid game 8-14
At this point you should have Marchers, some wards, and be started on your Astrolabe. Your job is to gank as hard as you can. Ward the rune spots for map awareness, and keep an eye on which enemy is doing what. If they push too far, call a gank on them and use Contagion/auto attack. Whenever your ulti is up, Extinguish until you have mana reserves and try to hit a lane with two heroes. Remember to use Contagion on the weaker of the two, which will generally be the one you just used Plague Carrier on.
Once you finish Astrolabe, team up with allies and start pushing towers, especially if your ult is up as well. At level 9 you will have Contagion and Extinguish maxed, allowing for nonstop spam of Contagion and Astrolabe. Your goal in this stage is to either push hard so that the game nears it's end early, and your hero's late game deterioration barely starts to kick in, or to weaken your enemies carries with enough ganks and free-farm denial that they never become powerful.
Late Game 15-25
This is when your hero starts to lose power and carries begin to pick up speed. You should still be buying wards for your team. If you've been doing well you should have a few luxuries by now. Look for good times to use your ult whenever it's up. Once you get Cursed Shield, keep it up on any nearby allies. Really, as with most int heroes, you've either decided the game by this point or you will have to rely on your teammates to finish the job. Keep in mind, however, that your ult is still devastating in most games even when most players have 2k hp.
Last edited by Padawanabee; 01-02-2010 at 11:11 PM.
Nice guide, personally tho i start off with 1 lvl in extinguish so you can start denying creeps from the second they spawn and outside of the enemy exp range.
Pretty good guide, pretty much follow it to the T, however I sometimes get Barrier Idol if I get REALLY farmed up and the enemy team make up is conducive to it.
I like to take shield at level 2. It's mana cost is super cheap and it lasts forever almost. It can definitely help to save you from an early bloodlust when 99% of heroes don't yet have movespeed. It also discourages people from harassing whoever you're babysitting (if you are babysitting). If you last-hit well, you shouldn't really need extinguish before level 4. Contagion doesn't do that much damage before it's fulyl leveled up, and you don't want to use it too much or else you'll push the lane. My build would be
Extinguish should be maxed first imo. Other than that, goodguide (as always ).
I usually get shield at lvl 4 (or not) depending on my lane/their team.
1. Cast ultimate on group of 2 or 3
2. Watch it go boom
What about frostfield plate + port key. I have not tested it yet but seems natural. Blink in slow and ult. Solves the problem of them out running your ult. Its just also a great item.
Frostfield Plate adds 15 armor and 30 intelligence. The armor stacks with diminishing returns with the 12 armor shield we already get, and 30 intelligence is basically 30 damage for us.
If you want to spend 4700 on the aura and the effect, go for it. I personally believe the money could be better spent on a Totem of Kuldra. We have enough slow, hard disable would be a better buy.
Updated with the new changes, not sure where Behemoth's heart fits into things, gonna play a couple games with it first.
should i post a guide on plague as well i have a slightly different build then yours but it still works out pretty well
If you want to post a guide then go for it. The forum could always use more quality guide writers, and I never put too much work into this one. Alternatively, you could say how yours differs, and maybe I'd change my guide a bit if you had some good arguments. Maybe see if anyone agrees with you, and write a guide if your build is more popular. Either way I'd probably defend my build a bit, the arguments might show which build is better, or a third option neither of us had thought of.
The key part of a guide is the gameplay portion though, really. If you take the "wrong" ability at level 2 and delay an extra level of another until 10 you're not going to lose it for your team. But a lot of the people reading guides have only played the hero a couple times, and may not know exactly how the bounces on Plague Carrier work, yet.
Id just like to add, that plague carrier + kraken is just made of win.
His ult usually kills creeps when it pulls, and if he pulls 2 or more heroes your ult almost guaranteed double, triple or quad kills xD
well starting items i usually go for 2 minor totems, one health potion,mana potion and a mana battery (thing dont remember exactly what its called but it makes power cell) that works for any lane including solo middle lane.
Starting build: Mana potion 1x
Health potion 1x
2 Minor totems
1 mana battery
Core Build: work on enhanced Marchers first finish power cell or power supply whatever that items called. then i go for staff of the master and a refresher orb for ultimate after that if i get ganked alot and its still not end game yet i go for some strngth items maybe beast heart chances are you most likely wont need beast heart but it never helps just to be safe Power supply helps restore health + Mana early game so that helps Enhanced Marchers = quick escape from gankers. Late game a refresher orb helps in 5v5 mid lane or whereever your teamates are all bunched up along with the enemies. Combined with a staff of master it will boost the ultimate so that will help out alot as well.
This guy dishes out 550 damage on his ulti so 14 bounces with a refresher orb will genocide a whole team if they dont jump out or run chances are some creeps will get hit from a pull as well.
My skill build is
then finish extinguish
and then the rest of the way stats
Personally, I find the following to be optimal in terms of core items:
(Insert whatever your team needs here)
Chances are, that last item's gonna end up a Stormspirit, Puzzle Box, or Nome's Wisdom, since you're not going to have the opportunity to buy anything better than those in a high-level game, methinks. Of course, if you can, then Totem of Kuldra wins.
I'm thinking of eschewing Rune of Blight, and starting Courier + Minor Totem + Trinket of Restoration, 603 gold exactly. 3x Rune of Blights is only 7-ish regen for 48 seconds, whereas Trinket is 2 regen forever. And I can build it into either Refreshing Ornament->Astrolabe or Shaman's Headress first, as circumstances dictate. Any downsides to this plan?
This is a really well written guide, but ...Really?A devastating ultimate that requires skill to use
I just don't see how the checklist of
1. Multiple heroes? yes/no
2. Creeps present? yes/no
Unless of course you mean yelling at your screen JUMP TO HIM helps.
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