Read this First!
Before we start you must understand and agree with most of the following given information for this article to mean anything to you. You may have different names for these terms, but as long as you agree with my fundamentals in a general way we can talk about hard carries from a high end perspective.
-Each hero in HoN has a role.
-The role of any one hero is common to other heroes, and a good amount of bleed over between roles occurs with "hybrid heroe"s
-Agi heroes fall some where between two extremes, illustrated below:
Game Time when heroes are most effective:
x= Blood Hunter / Slither etc.
y= Arachna / Forsaken Archer etc.
z= Chronos / Sand Wraith etc.
-People commonly refer to the heroes in the Z category as any or all of the following terms: Carry, Hard Carry, Late Carry etc
-People commonly refer to the heroes in the X category as any or all of the following terms: Carry, Ganker, Early Carry, Roamer etc.
Now if you can understand that, you can see that nearly all the AGI heroes fall somewhere on the above sketch. Please keep in mind I am just using rough estimates on the numbers to illustrate the point clearly. The reason I have drawn this out is so you can see that when you compare heroes, you must compare heroes that are close together on this chart for the comparisons to be useful. Its pointless to compare Chronos to Blood Hunter and ask which one is the "better" carry because they each have completely different jobs.
If you disagree with my assessment then stop reading now because the rest of this article is based on the above given information. However, if you do understand and agree with most of that, keep reading.
This article will discuss 4 different heroes that are all in the Z category. These are not the only heroes in the "Late Carry" category, but they are 4 very relevant heroes that have pros and cons.
Chronos has gotten a huge boost with his makeover, and now he is seeing a lot more play at all levels. Chronos is the poster boy definition of the term "Hard Carry". Before the rework his early game was pitiful, and he had a very hard time farming. Now, His early game is still challenging but his farming and ganking power has gone up dramatically. Hist ult was game breaking before when it stunned both teams, now channelers keep right on channeling, and many spell can be cast in 6 seconds even with the reduced cast time. Instant spells work great =D.
Now lets talk about the controversial bash change. It is a lot more powerful now. You only need to get 1 level of this passive early on, this allows him to get rewind maxed out early on, improving his early game survivability. Rewind gets nerfed a bit to compensate for all the other boosts, but the fact that rewind can be maxed out right after leap is an indirect boost to it that negates the nerf somewhat.
The net result of all the changes is that Chronos has a bit easier time early on than he used to and his ult is even more game breaking than before. In exchange he gives up perma-stunning and hes a bit easier to kill than before even with his core items. The perma-stunning is not missed at all, the amount of stun that comes off the passive is plenty enough for most situations and it can be used tactically now. The agi drain means that we can now kill enemy carries while inside our bubble late game, thus ensuring we win team fights.
Even though Chrono's early game has been boosted a bit, that doesn't mean he can universally fit into any line up and dominate. Chronos needs to farm for about 25-30 minutes. So he needs a team that can give him a reasonable amount of safety to do so. A savvy Chronos player will move into the jungle around lvl 5-6 for full time, consistant farming. With the new leap, Chronos can now effectively help on nearby ganks, and the team should try and utilize this new aspect of Chronos. Get people scared of him early on and it makes farming a whole lot easier. Mostly though you want a team centered around creating opportunities for Chronos to farm up fast. THat means you may have to turtle up and defend towers with 4 if they are pushing hard. Or maybe you have a ganking line up and your early carries are keeping the game under control from the start. I love having an early game superstar like Blood Hunter or Pyro when playing Chronos because those type of heroes take a lot of the pressure off me.
Primary Role: Late Carry
Secondary Role: Mid game Initiator
Pros: Game breaking Ult, Agi drain makes him a carry-killer, early game now less painful, he can gank a lot better with the new leap
Cons: Still needs 25-30 minutes of solid farming to be effective, easier to kill than before, does not fit well in every line up
Sample line up: :chro::fors:Chronos, Pyro, Pest, Forsaken, Hellbringer
Despite the Pseudo-Nerf to Stalk, Madman is a viable Late Carry. Madman lacks a game breaking skill like Chronosphere. To compensate for this, Madman has a much easier time farming than Chronos and he requires less items to become effective. Madman has the ability to help initiate fights with barrel roll, though many Madman players fail to use this facet of his skill set. The barrel rolls skill naturally combo with just about every other hero in the game, some more so than others. Madman can swing team fights in your favor by leading off with a barrel roll followed by a stalk. This safely softens up the entire enemy team, stuns them in position for other heroes to use follow up skill and sets the stages for Madman to mop up whatever easy kills are left over.
All four of Madmans skills scale perfectly to late game. The combination of Stalk and Barrel Roll give him all the escape mechanism he needs to farm up heavily in the first 20-25 minutes. If the other team is playing sloppy he can use these skills to help on nearby gank to great effectiveness, and I want to stress that as well. His early game is solid and mostly stress free compared to a hero like Chronos or even Sand Wraith. The ability to farm up quickly and the universal appeal of having a huge, long range, AoE stun on your team is why Madman is on this list.
One of the best things about Madman is the fact that he is a late carry that has some early to mid game utility. Coupled with his great disable, this allows madman to fit in just about any team that is looking for some scaling DPS. Madman can farm safely on your long lane, then clear the jungle efficiently. This allows him to reach his effective mark around 25 minutes in your average game, which is somewhat faster than other heroes on this list. You will need to compliment Madman with a game breaking ult to make up for his lack of one, and that needs to be seriously noted. Madman is very friendly to AoE and blinking teams as well.
Primary Role: Late Carry
Secondary Role: Disabler, Initiator
Pros: Easy to farm with and high Str+Agi gain means less items needed, long range AoE stun+damage, fits well with just about every balanced lineup
Cons: Lacks a game breaking Ult
Sample Lineup: Madman, Magmus, Slither, Demented Shaman, Tempest
Magebane is another Hard Carry that lacks a truly game breaking ult. Like Madman, Magebane has an easy time farming, but unlike Madman he lacks any sort of disable. Because of this lack, Magebane has less ganking power than Madman early on in the game when enemy mana pools are still low. The good news is this liability disappears by mid game and his ganking skills improve rather quickly. Magebane has decent lane presence from the start, and he has the ability to get some early game lane kills with the right partner ie Vindicator.
Like Chronos, Magebane can move into the jungle full time very early on if your team composition supports such a move. This will net the team more exp. When I play Magebane I like to be ready to hit the jungle at the 7-8minute mark with an Iron shield and a Mask of Death. The jungle is a very consistent source of gold and exp and I can normally get my core items by 25 minutes or so. After you have your core items Magebane becomes truely scary in a hurry. His turbo attack speed kills heroes in seconds and drains their mana so they cannot escape or fight back. Magebane is an excellent chaser and hes bloody hard to kill. Magebane's -cast speed aura does not scale well and has limited use in the early game, but his other skills are good enough to make him a viable pick in a lot of situations.
Magebane can fit well into most lineups, though ganking heavy teams use his skills most efficiently. Safety isnt much concern for Magebane since he has a spammable, instant cast speed blink. This lets you have free range in you choice of support hero for the team. Magebane works very well with stuns / grips. Your overall team strategy should be focused on isolating a hero either via gank or other means. Once isolated, the gank squad disables it for Magebane to finish "In the blink of an eye".
Primary Role: Late Carry
Secondary Role: Mid Game Ganker
Pros: Hard to kill, Deadly in 1v1 situations, combos insanely well with other gankers, decent AGI gain
Cons: Lacks game breaking ult, Lacks Disable, low STR gain
Sample Line-Up: Magebane, Plague Rider, Electrician, Andromeda, Vindicator
And finally we come to Sand Wraith, and in many ways the Sand Wraith discussion is the whole purpose of this article (besides talking about the high end viability of the new Chronos). In the interest of full disclosure I will start out by saying that I am not a huge fan of Sand Wraith in HoN. I think that for meta-game reasons Sand Wraith is less viable in HoN than he is in Dota. I realize that Sand Wraith's high hero win% is in conflict with this opinion but my explanation for this is that it has become a commonly known fact that Sand Wraith is a very difficult hero to use properly. The result of this is that only the really good players play him consistently. On top of this, the recent nerf to Dissipation makes him less game breaking than he was before.
That said, I think Sand Wraith is an EXCELLENT pick in a lot of drafting modes, and thus deserves a place on this list. Now thats out of the way lets talk about what Sand Wraith brings to the table as a Late Carry.
Sand Wraith is a game breaking Hard Carry with a wicked AoE maim. He farms moderately well since he has some escape potential with Deserts Curse. He can also farm a lane longer than the other carries on this list due to his ult doubling as a teleport. All of Sand's skills scale decently well, and he has decent STR gain.
On the downside, Sand has a very tough early game. He has almost no lane presence, though occasionally he can facilitate some early kills with the maim on Desert's Curse. He needs a babysitter and there is really no way around it. More importantly though, the nature of the way he deals damage and breaks games open require more farm than any other hero on the list.
To make Sand effective you MUST assemble a team that can afford to buy him lots of time to farm. Sand needs a ridiculous amount of farm to become truly game breaking. It really doesn't help that the damage from Dissipation is Magic instead of Pure. That said, Sand Wraith's ult unlocks a few tactics that can mitigate his pathetic early game IF used wisely. Sand can port in and finish off any hero on the board that is in critical range. It is important to build a ganking team that buys sand plenty of time to farm up while allowing him the chance to get a few easy kills via his ult.
Primary Role: Late Carry
Secondary Role: Disabler
Pros: Game breaking, moderate farmer, AoE LONG distance maim, global chaser / finisher, excellent STR gain
Cons: Needs tons of support and doesn't combo well with other heroes, takes longer to farm than any other hero on the list, nerfed Dissipation makes him less game breaking, poor AGI gain
Sample Line up: Sand Wraith, Blood Hunter, Keeper of the Forest, Wretched Hag, Plague Rider
After comparing the roles, strengths and weaknesses of these four carries we can see that each one is viable for different scenarios. I think that post nerf Sand Wraith is the least viable of the four. Chronos is potentially the most game breaking of the four, but he fits into fewer teams than Madman or Magebane.
I look forward to hear your comments regarding my opinions on HoN and these late carries. Thanks for reading this.
Nice, and I agree about Chronos being the most gamebreaking. good read =)
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Maybe we can move my "SotM on int heroes" thread into that lonely subforum too...
I like this article, interesting read. I'm a little concerned with Chronos's balance, but I'm sure S2 will be onto it.
moved to articles i might start shuffling more stuff into here.
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Massive approval. Very much truth here.
Are people suggesting that Sand Wraith needs a slight tune-up?
TDL has a couple strange problems imo. Look at her AoE silence for starters. At first looks like an excellent way for her to be useful in team fights, but the truth is she is more of a finisher than an initiator. Silence is less useful at the tail end of fights, and thats where TDL is going to be showing up most of the game.
Another problem she has is that all of her skills are needed early on and its a serious pain to farm with her until she gets her skills online. Shes also very easy to gank, her escape mechanism is highly suspect. Why dont they just let it be a true blink instead of making her follow the crappy pathing. If you have to go through trees to escape you can get screwed easily.
Really good read. I especially like the Chronos overview, it really addresses why some are calling him OP.
thanks for your time and effort, would have loved it even more if Dark Lady was also in your mix.
/agree with the conclusion.
TDL is competing with Magebane more than any other hard carry because they fit into the same sort of category. Magebane and TDL are both great at ganking mid game while they are finishing off their core items. The problem is that Magebane is clearly better at chasing and escaping, so why would you pick TDL? Her silence is basically a non-issue due to the fact shes a cleanup carry.
What about Scout (serious), hes another hard carry imo who is very effective, in fact remove Madman because you never see him anymore, and to be fair Magebane is too squish now, he really needs like 40 minutes of farm to truly rock the game... the only one out of them 4 is chronos who can participate like 20 mins into the game , hes alot better mid game now but loses out as well late game, theres something about him but his normal melee damage seems pretty low...
And to be fair the King of Carries atm is Puppet Master, throw in harkons and a Blacksmith and HB on your side and its gg.... also Zephyr is a better carry then all of the ones you listed cept Chronos...
How does Chronos only need 20 minutes of farming but your magebane needs 40? This makes no sense to me as they both scale with attack speed and thus usually get similar item builds.
Puppet Master isnt the king of anything. Hes a disabler / carry hybrid. Average at both roles but there are specialist (like the 4 on the list) that are better at their respective roles. Puppet only has 1 steriod skill that scales his DPS late game. Compare that to Chronos' 3.
Last edited by KnightDavion; 02-18-2010 at 10:24 AM.
But the thing is Puppet doesn't need three steroid skills when 1. His core item is probably the best dps item in the game and not easily countered especially by non-carries who don't buy Shrunken Head and 2. his farm is excellent, more so than pretty much any other carry aside from Zephyr, Wildsoul and Warbeast (TDL if she has Runed Axe).
Additionally, he has two disables which function perfectly well late-game, and a crit. Yeah, so Chronos has a bash which stuns enemies to stop them from attacking you/running away, but Puppet has disables that stops people from running and forces them to attack something they don't want to. That's why I think giving hard carries like Puppet actual disables is a dangerous thing, I mean imagine someone like Phantom Assassin if she had a hex (and the mana to use it) instead of just the simple slow/nuke?
Now TDL is indeed tricky, as she probably has the best DPS out of any melee carry, but is still incredibly squishy and cannot be relied upon to quickly frag an enemy AOE caster in the same way as Chronos. Rarely will TDL silence an entire enemy team the way Chronos can, but she can gib a squishy like Plague or Tempest in seconds provided good farm. Asking her to go first, however, is a dangerous prospect that will get her killed.
Her ult is obviously not as gamebreaking as Chronos but it is nearly as good if she can isolate a caster and whack him, plus it allows the team to initiate better. Not as good as Chronos, but as far as ults go for carries, it's one of the better ones.
One thing I don't get is your statements about her lack of farming ability. Now even without Runed Axe, her animation and damage are great and can be boosted by her two buffs. Runed Axe just takes her farming to a new level, but she's easily on the same level as Mage and years ahead of SW. Sure, her blink sucks for escaping compared to MM/SW/MB/Chronos but she can pop the ult if things look dire.
I think she should've been included for analysis if only for the "hardness" of her carry. I am pretty sure an equally farmed TDL could rumble with Magebane and Madman and come out on top by a good margin, but in real games her farm will be way better contigent on getting Runed Axe before the team loses.
I agree with your assessment of TDL, but the question remains, in what scenario would you rather have TDL than Magebane or Madman? Magebane is the hero she competes with the most, at least in my mind, because they are bother blinking carries without a game breaker.
Magebane ganks better, comes online earlier, escapes better and has similar single target DPS.
TDL's ult and silence are a mystery to me. I just dont think they synergize well with her other abilities. The silence should just be a permanent orb, with its brief duration I really don't think that would be OP. Her ult is ok, but it needs a little more something to be called gamebreaking.
2.5 seconds is pretty good I think. She has like 60% uptime on Dark Blades at level 4.
I think her real problem is that her ult is not a gamechanger, like you say. And it doesn't help that all her abilities can be purged off.
She'd be a lot better if her ult added, say, 10/20/30% miss chance to affected heroes.
i wouldn't really call mm a hard carry. he's like on the swiftblade level of carrying. replace him with tdl or something