With all the new heroes trickling in and the current ones getting tweaks to better adjust the meta-game. Soulstealer seems to be left behind, almost never being picked in the competitive scene.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying he is a ****-tier hero by any means. He can become very strong and with a decent mana regeneration item, can successfully out-farm any range carry (except for maybe a well-geared Forsaken Archer).
Before I head into why I think the hero is slowly fading to black and not seeing much competitive light, I would like to lay some pros and cons of the hero:
- Well landed demon hands can deal up to 900 pre-mitigation magic damage to multiple targets.
- Amazing farmer.
- Last hitting allows him to get up to 60 physical damage.
- Built-in Daemonic Aura.
- Game Changing ultimate that can deal up to 1200 / 1800 / 2400 AOE magic damage, provided SS is in optimal position.
- 500 range.
- A carry that needs to get portal key and shrunken head, where as other ranged carries can just opt for offensive items like Shield breaker. Basically too farm dependent to be useful.
- His 2nd and 3rd ability improve his base attacks, while using his 1st and 4th ability take time from his ability to attack (because of long cast-times).
- Has no reliable CC (yes I know ult slows up to 25%, but that is not reliable).
- Has no innate escape ability (this, in conjunction with the above point, makes him highly gank vulnerable).
Basically, while other ranged carries have kits that allow them to deal insane damage and disable the enemy from afar, Soul Stealer is required to be up close and personal. Which forces him into investing in survivability and initiating items first before he could go the carry route.
Other major issue is the cast times on demon hands and Soul Burst. For the ultimate, I can understand why he has such a huge delay. But Demon Hands, restricting his ability to attack for about 3 seconds, if you want to use all three, is huge in a team fight and 1 to 1 exchange.
It is almost as if the hero was designed to be a contradiction between an auto-attacker and a caster (not a hybrid).
Although everything I am saying here might be coming off as exaggeration and "blowing stuff out of proportion", but facts are facts. Soul Stealer is not as safe of a pick as many others in the hero pool. Again this does not mean that the hero is completely bad, he has a lot of potential. It is just a massive grind to get there.
Everything above is just my opinion, however. I just wanted to make this topic and see how other people feel about this hero.
EDIT #1: Forgot to mention him having no escape mechanism in cons.
Last edited by foxmindedguy; 01-31-2012 at 06:16 PM.
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Just wanted to comment on one part:
And when he then has his extremely fast (in comparison) Portal Key and Shrunken head he still deals the same amounts of damage as someone who rushed their Shieldbreaker due to his high innate auto-attack damage. This gives him extreme versatility in the mid game which is his biggest strength.Originally Posted by foxmindedguy
I don't at all agree with your conclusion here.
Let the trolling commence! (no, not really, gtfo trolls)
Last edited by Ekamo; 01-29-2012 at 07:26 PM.
"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
Also I will point out that the cast time on the Hands is pretty meaningless in the late game because late game you aren't using them in fights as much as you are using them to clear waves for pushing/farming. They are also still quite useful for catching targets around corners and so on with the farthest hand. I think he smoothly transitions from a strong early game hero into a decent carry (made better by the fact that he should have very high gpm).
Soulstealer's power when farmed is not the bad thing about this hero. It's like with Defiler - how easy he is to shut down before he gets there. He has nothing to deter enemies with or escape himself nor does he have good hp or particularily high armour - he's the definition of ganker food. There aren't many if any heroes I like going up against more than SS when I have a competent team with me because I know - and this hasn't failed to be true for a long time even if very few have been unwise enough to pick him - that he will just feed. He is helpless when I come to gank him. If he needs and should get help anywhere, it's with survivability. I leave how to do so to the next persons but we should also be careful about creating an AoE Deadwood.
Last edited by Salem1; 01-29-2012 at 07:36 PM.
Note that Shadow Fiend is never picked up in competitive dota, for many of the same reasons Soulstealer isn't picked up at all: extreme reliance on having blink/shrunken, extremely easy to gank, payoff isn't worth the risk you take on having such an easily ganked hero in the roam-centric playstyle, opportunity cost on picking a hero that brings pure damage and zero disable when you could pick other heroes who bring slightly less damage and much better disable options.
It's pretty much all down to gank vulnerability in DotA. He stopped seeing use when very active roaming became popular.
In HoN, harder to say.
Basically, What I honestly think what nerfed him the most was when s2 buffed melee hero's giving them the 125 range and hatchet throwing. Most Melee hero's against ss, lose for example:
I honestly dont pick soulstealer in banning pick, or hardly play him. too many counters I rate.
"Needs Portal Key and Shrunken Head to be effective"
I don't agree, at all. Moreover, he farms well so this isn't hard to achieve. Other heroes that are greatly Shrunken-realiant (Like Maliken for example) need similar farm to be effective too in the same sense (by initiating/cleaning up).
SS is a good hero, others are simply easier to use in terms of laning, versatility and most of them have disables.
Gank vulnerability is exactly why he's not picked in HoN as well.
That's the story of Soulstealer. No slow, stun, silence, blink, etc. Not incredibly mobile either.
I don't see the need to take the risk of choosing SS.
Gets raped pretty hard by Tundra all game even with shrunken. Tundra isn't picked that often, but he's still a good viable pick. Plus for someone who is very susceptible to being ganked, he sure is very reliant on retaining souls (auto-attack damage for early-mid game, maximizing soul burst damage for mid-midlate game). His ult requiring him to be in the middle of every fight doesn't help either.
I'd be interested to see the effect of giving him a small ms buff, say 305.
Rule 1. Don't get ganked.Gank vulnerability is exactly why he's not picked in HoN as well.
Rule 2. Don't get ganked. (Generally speaking)
Saying that a hero is vulnerable to ganking cracks me up. It's like saying - "This hero has only 295 ms. Scout has 325. He'll chase me everytime! This is outrageous!"
Soul Stealer is a though carry, mid/high skilled player hero (It's not like Predanoob or Scout, where you can leave it to auto-attack creeps while taking a shower). It's the team's job to protect him or keep them busy while he farms, so that it can clean-up the game late-game. If you don't understand key roles in DotA/HoN, then you best go back to LoL where "Chronos can't fight the tower @ level 3. This hero sucks" is totally normal.
Don't change Soul Stealer.
Surprised none's mentioned that he just received a rather substantial buff in the latest major dota patch.
- Movement speed increased from 300 to 305
- Agility growth increased from 2.4 to 2.9
- Necromancy soul cap increased from 8/15/23/30 to 8/16/24/32
And if I'm not mistaken, in Dota, SS/SF still has a Demon Hand/Raze manacost of 75 rather than 80. Also, it seems like in Dota, SF can still beat his lane in many match ups, seeing as there's no Monkey King, Panda or Chipper, while Tundra, Devo and arguably Pharaoh are weaker in Dota. His problems there is more due to Smoke of Deceit and a roaming metagame; in hon he just gets raped solo 1v1 in so many lineups.
Last edited by Ekamo; 01-30-2012 at 07:06 AM.
This is, SS was easy to gank before too, and some games he was even ganked pretty often in tournament games (with scores like 0/6/2) after the laning phase alone. Still he was played.
I'm thinking that it might be so that all the latest "snowball carries" (he is one, actually) 'snowballs' harder than he does. If an SS gets fed 4 kills and 3 tripple-stacks in the jungle (something which is -very- common in a trilane jungle) nothing can stop him in the midgame. But you know what? Ra only needs 2 kills and his helm. Nomad only needs his Ghost Marchers if even that, Moreover Nomad scales shitloads of hard. Pebbles farms decently and is more versatile in terms of laning, he was already in the game when SS was popular though (OMG RLY).
Yes, it's a bad thing to say I guess that "He has been used in his current shape before and with success", I must say that I think there's reason to say so in this case however.
I wouldn't be surprised if he would be picked up soon again, wouldn't be super surprised if he wasn't either, but that's not the point. He's not broken bad. He's just harder to fit in a laning phase as it looks like now. At least people think so.
He was more popular in the "trilane era". For good reason, he needs to be overleveled to be good. Against a trilane he will always be so unless enemy trilane gets fed or he loses mid -brutally-.