They say I can’t carry, how mist-aken can they get.. – Abaddon
Welcome, this is written under my new gaming handle “Lancelot”. This is actually a revamped guide after looking through my first attempt at hero guide earlier, although this is technically still my first guide as it contains most of the original ideas that make a carry Abaddon. Yes, you heard that right. This guide is dedicated to playing Abaddon as a high farming priority carry!
Abaddon happens to be one of my more trademark heroes. He is actually incredibly easy to play on the surface level and doesn’t have a lot of complex rocket science mechanics behind the design. No chance based mechanism, no skillshots, just simple, defensive, yet versatile skills counting one of the most unique ultimates in the game.
He wields one of the best looking swords too, and thats not counting the cosmetics.
This is going to be on the more comprehensive spectrum so please bear with the wall of texts. I will try to make up with pretty pictures if I can find some I have permission to use.
Abaddon actually has a very simplistic design. In a nutshell, he is merely a durable melee hero armed with some great supportive spells. He is one of those very few heroes that can be considered a proper “tank”, simply because of how useful Borrowed Time is. However, Abaddon is quite level dependent as a support. He needs to constantly get levels: needs that max Mist Coil for higher damage or heal, needs level 4 Shield for that great cooldown when maxed, needs higher levels of Borrowed Time for a wider window of opportunity in a teamfight. He does not function well at low levels, level 2 Mist Coil is almost nothing when other heroes are level 6 and above. Level 1 of Apothic Shield is good enough at times. But you need more than that in a proper fight.
He has Curse of Avernus, which is one of the highlights of this guide, opens up possibilities for him to be played as a right-click carry. When you put Borrowed Time into the picture, you get a ridiculously durable hero who can last in fights, drop Coils and Shields throughout the fight, all the while right-clicking and slowing down stuff, which hastens his teams’ movement and attack speed.
[+]Extremely versatile, can function without farm yet extremely scary with farm, and can function well with a wide variety of items
[+] One of the built in utility heroes
[+] Built in slow in autoattack, hard to kite
[+] Aphotic Shield is one of the best defensive spells in the game
[+] Horrendously powerful carrying capabilities often underestimated
[+] One of the few natural “tanks”
[+] Can self-deny
[+] Wields badass looking weapons and out-worldly visual effects
[-] Melee, which means you have to take a lot more calculated risks to make things happens
[-] Level dependant, he is one of the biggest burdens if underleveled
[-] Not the best mana pool, INT gain is good for a strength hero to be fair, but your useful spells can tempt you into overusing them and deplete yourself dry
[-] Primary nuke hurts yourself, which can give enemies openings to punish you
[-] Base armor kinda low…. and did I mention he is melee? Borrowed time may trigger on unwanted occasions.
[-] Fairly easy to deal with if enemies are very coordinated
Heal an ally or nuke an enemy at the cost of some of your HP and mana. At first glance this looks extremely underwhelming compared to a lot of nuking spells and healing spells. When you factor in the low cooldown of 5 seconds and the fact that it has technically no projectile makes this extremely useful—in fact, most builds recommend maxing this first. The low costs and cooldown makes this an extremely spammable spell, not to mention that you have Aphotic Shield to negate the HP costs. Take this spell seriously, you will be using it a lot more than you think, and more than your enemies would have liked.
There is also this useful utility of self-denying with that self-damage of 75/100/125/150. Keep track of those numbers and learn his casting animation well. There is nothing more frustrating for your enemies to chase you over 10+ seconds only to have you suicide from Coil.
This would be your signature ability, and a useful one it is. This beauty removes debuffs upon casting on the target and soaks up damage for him. Then, it bursts when it expires (or gets replaced with another Shield) or absorbed enough damage, damaging every enemy in a 675 radius. The scaling for damage and increasing mana cost may put off players from leveling it past 1 early on, which is completely player preference as the lower cooldowns at higher levels may make all the difference in the world. The part where it deals the damage it absorbs is pretty respectable as it accumulates over time as with enough levels, there can be 2 Shields at a time which can result in bursts up to 400 damage. It is worth noting that the damage cap will be 110/140/170/200 respectively, and will go off dealing lower damage even if it did not absorb enough damage.
And that, isn’t the best part.
The dispel effect gets rid of MOST status effects. Common disables are out of the question. But did you know that big bad ultimates like, for instance, freakin Fiend’s Grip can be dispelled too? This is why this is probably your most useful spell. Rhasta’s Shackles? Check. Bane ulti? Check. Bat’s ulti? No fucks given. Someone got hit by a perfect Sacred Arrow? Press W and its gone now. And the list can go on and on.
There is actually a long list of spells that cannot be dispelled even with this, which I will go into in the later sections.
Just remember, this is your most hated spell. Make them hate you more for it. You have a simple 6 second cd spell that negates most of the major spells and ultimates on one hero. Abuse this.
Curse of The Avernus
This passive has less impact than one usually expects. To most, this would look like a passive IAS buff and a OMGWTFBBQ FREE SKADI, in one neat package, for your whole team. This is not wrong, mind you, as it even extends the extra movement speed and attack speed to your entire team (provided they are attacking the some target). In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes one can commit with this is maxing this first and expecting to come online earlier as a right-click-win carry. No, this is an awesome ability but for the love of the glorious Font please do not put more than 1 point in this before you max your other abilities mentioned above, which would have made a larger impact in the earlier phases of the game. You will need quite some luck on your side along with sheer stupidity from your opponent to make this useful early on. No, it’s not a trash spell nor a one point wonder. Just don’t get carried away with the thought that Curse can singlehandedly carry your team or reverse a losing fight just because you right clicked on somebody. In the larger picture, all this does is increase chasing potential rather than DPS.
This is not an Unique Attack Modifier. Yes, it stacks with Orb of Venom and Skadi. See why I said this is worth investing a point in early now?
Ah, this. One of the more underrated spells in the top scene, but is actually one of the most annoying ultimates to deal with. If you thought Aphotic Shield is an overpowered piece of shit, you haven’t known what this can do. This ultimate has zero, ZERO MANA COST and cheap cooldowns of 60/50/40. What’s more, the dispel effect is at the same tier of Shield, meaning upon activation you break free of 90% of the shit enemies cast on you. To top it off, the recent 6.84 patch gave you the ability to trigger this manually even when disabled. This means that you have one of the best, if not the best get-out-of-jail card in the entire game, and there is nothing your enemy can do about it if you have good decision making. What this does is once his HP falls below 400 and take damage, it instantly dispels almost every debuff (as long as they are not coded to be immune to dispel) in the game and heals him for the amount of damage supposed to be dealt. In other words, you can be reckless (preferably tactically reckless) with your positioning as enemies would hate to touch you when this ultimate is activated. Every time this activates, they have to take plan Bs: outlast the ultimate duration (so please level this ASAP) or divert attention to another target. This is why he is one of the natural damage soakers in the hero pool and why he can be legitimately played as a core farmer. How are they going to shut him down when he can just activate Borrowed Time and escape?
Well, they will have a job finding out.
Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention: this gets a Scepter upgrade! Once you have Scepter your nearby allies can share 35% of their damage taken with you WHICH FURTHER HEALS YOURSELF. To top things off, you get an extra second duration, which equates one extra level of blasphemous defiance.
One more protip: Mist Coil heals you in this state. And, at level 16 or earlier with Aghanim’s, you can cast 2 rounds of Mist Coil while healing yourself, which equates 500 magical damage or health healed.
Skillbuild Rationale Framework
Start out with one point in Shield.
Some would argue Coil is better since it is more versatile and, well direct (Shield is reactive, meaning you rely on enemy decisions more to have an impact), with half the mana cost. However, it should be noted that the damage is a measly 100 damage, with a penalty of 75 HP off yourself. On the other hand, Aphotic Shield can dish up to 110 damage in an area, while giving whoever that is Shielded extra 110 HP to expend. This, along with the dispel effect can decide whose blade gets to drink the crucial first blood in early skirmishes.
Max Shield or Coil, depending on lane and role.
Shield would sound like a better choice because it is simply the best spell in his arsenal all day, but the scaling isn’t very optimal. The cooldown gets better, which is extremely important, but the mana cost can be extremely taxing early on. The deflection of damage doesn’t scale very well too as the difference in only apparent between level 1 and level 4. In terms of efficiency, Coil is superior as it allows Abaddon to deal a lot more damage and be much more threatening. It has extremely good range at 800, affordable mana cost and a low 5 second cooldown. At level 5 with level 3 coil, you could dish 400 magical damage over 5 seconds in an aggressive engagement, where Shield rebound and right clicks are not taken into account, which is remarkable and underappreciated at the same time. It is difficult to make the best decision on which to skill first, but here are some simple rules. Shield is more valuable if you are going to level up slow, which the efficiency of Coil becomes insignificant (because of falling off) compared to the value of a well leveled Shield. Coil is stronger in lane where you gain consistent experience and more valuable if you wish to get kills.
One point in Curse at level 4 is optional.
It is not exactly a one point wonder, but since everyone has lower average MS early on, it can work like an Orb of Venom. The moment you land a hit on a hero you can theoretically hit him forever if he is unable to react with anything other than running backwards. Of course in practice, multiple enemies and creep aggression can get in the way of such basic schemes. So in general, to decide if you want a point in it early depends on how important the secondary spell in your build (Coil or Shield) is. If you want to stick to my mentality to the end: if I am maxing Shield in the first place, a second level in Coil might not be too important; if I am maxing Coil, a second level in Shield could mean some difference. All in all this part isn’t too important, you would build your own preference as you play more.
Get ultimate every time possible.
There will be no sound reason in the world for you to skip this. Every second of this is a world of difference if you are in the thick of a fight, which is where you should be when this is available. Every second you spend healing from their attacks will translate directly into how long you are going to last outside the fight. No questions asked, max this.
Does maxing Curse first makes sense? I am pretty sure I want to play a DPS Abaddon.
Anything can work. – Johan “BigDaddyN0tail” Sundstein
The maxed Curse is extremely potent even early on. However it has nothing on Shield and Coil in terms of reliability. You are right in assuming that maxed Curse can win games on a core Abaddon but whether you want to do it is a different story. By maxing Curse you are giving up all the best parts of Abaddon as a whole, and to not be a burden you must be good at finding farm, i.e getting every last hit you can. I would not argue that it is bound to fail because I have seen it work before and for good reason: the chasing power is one of the best in the game, if backed with decent amount of base damage from items and Borrowed Time, Abaddon can grab quite a lot of free kills against less coordinated enemies. It just happens to be so one-dimensional that I do not think it is worth discussing in detail, and I believe the results to be inconsistent.
I have seen some players skip Mist Coil entirely, and some only leave it at level 1. Why is that so?
I have mentioned before, Mist Coil can sort of fall off early in terms of dealing damage. In builds that involve maxing Shield or even Curse, it can be negligible. The all-in Curse priority build may even forgo it entirely and put more points into Shield as it is more useful when diving for kills. The one level in it can be used for clutch suicides as well.
However, I do not encourage it and have never seen a solid reason to opt for these extreme alternatives. I am just leaving this here as something for everyone to consider to build their own preferences.
The Game Plan
Get to safelane, farm cheap items: Boots, Ring of Basilius, Soul Ring, Orb of Venom etc
Help allies stay alive, control lane and get kills if possible
Get to level 6, get more active and aggressive, try to stay alive
Get Radiance if possible, Maelstrom as an alternative
Farm luxuries, carry team, win game
Sounds simple enough? Great, lets hope you won’t be disappointed
Itembuild Rationale Framework
Ring of Protection (200) + Quelling Blade (225)+Consumables
Options to consider: Soul Ring Recipe (125), Orb of Venom (275) + Boots of Speed (450), Stout Shield
This doesn’t matter a lot to be honest. Quelling Blade is great for grabbing last hits in lane and Ring of Protection can be upgraded into a nice Basilius, any consumables for staying in lane. A set of Tangoes are generally good enough, though it is worth noting that Mangoes are great to have as well. Soul Ring Recipe can be considered for an early Soul Ring, Stout Shield is for extra durability from harass, and could potentially build into a Crimson Guard later.
If you feel confident, you can go full YOLO with Boots+OoV, combined with level 1 Curse of Avernus for some surprise plays (walk up and whack the shit out of them, at this point with no boots they are pretty much free kills if they cannot react), but could backfire on your plans for Radiance.
Boots of Speed (450)–>Upgraded Boots (1000 – 1400), Ring of Basilius (525),
Optional: Soul Ring (800), Bottle (700), Morbid Mask (900), Helm of Iron Will (950)
Can be considered: Urn of Shadows (875)
Boots are self explanatory, but which one to upgrade to is arguable, which will be discussed later. Ring of Basilius are gotten for the easy armor and mana regeneration, which sustains your 2 spells. This can be built into an optional early Offering if needed.
Soul Ring is great for mana and I strongly recommend it if you are familiar and comfortable with it. Sacrifice gives a lot of mana in a pinch and is solid enough to cover most of the costs for Aphotic Shield and Mist Coil. Bottle is less considered, but is also a great source of regeneration. Since you are playing as a core, it would be reasonable to get your allies to give up some less crucial rune for your regeneration needs. Mana can be quite important for you to stay functional, and even helps with farming camps through Apothic Shield.
Another factor that aids in farming is HP regeneration, and unfortunately Abaddon does not have a lot of that built in. So I included both components of Helm of the Dominator as possible options. The raw Mask isn’t the best, but it gives more options to build into, such as the HotD or Vladimir’s Offering, while Helm of Iron Will is great on its own to jungle with. This build values Lifesteal a lot, and will definitely encourage getting one sooner or later. The issue is that you may not have the time or gold to slowly invest in one if you want your Radiance in time, so pick them up in accordance to the game flow.
Urn is generally not considered on a core Abaddon, but it can be considered if things are not going in your way. The healing Urn charge can go a long way in covering lost HP during farming and pushing.
Power Treads give the most DPS for straight up manfighting and trading blows, which you won’t be doing until you get Basher as a core, or barely as a utility. Least desired, as It doesn’t give you anything you want or fix any of your weaknesses early on. Tread-switching is nifty to have, but that is as far as the usefulness of this item goes. Your impact through IAS early on is not too required.
Phase Boots is the most common pickup as it allows Abaddon to sort of chase and position with Phase and it gives a sweet 24 damage bonus, making last hits way easier. It also optimizes the DPS you get from Curse of Avernus by backing it up with damage. Generally look no further if you are going to play as a core.
Arcane Boots is also great if you are skipping Soul Ring or considering getting Mekasnm. This one should benefit you the most as it gives a lot of mana sustenance in lane and good enough to let you be more reckless with casting Shields and Mist Coils. You will be slightly lacking in damage early, but that won’t be so bad that as the game goes on.
Tranquil Boots most outstanding trait for Abaddon is the price and great movement speed. The passive HP regeneration, which allow Abaddon to heal off damage from Mist Coil easily, provided you don’t attack ot get damaged. On the bright side, this is especially incredible if gotten along Soul Ring as it gives you enough mana for most of the game, while benefiting from the extra movement speed and armor of Tranquil’s. The downside is it gives autoattack bonus are nonexistent and you will need to learn and employ different habits and approaches to farming, such as dropping the Tranquils when jungling and learning to use Soul Ring efficiently.
Still, it is worth noting that gives acceptable armor and movement speed even when broken.
Basically any boots aren’t bad so adjust according to your preferences.
Phase takes the place as the best go-to option with the bonus damage and chasing power.
Tranquils if you really like Soul Ring and could use it to accelerate your farm.
Arcane if your team don’t have any mana batteries and enjoy using spells to accelerate your farm.
Avoid Treads as a general rule, although if your Tread switching techniques are godlike I have no reason to call you out. Get Boots of Travel when the time is ripe (tip: it is way better then any of those!).
Radiance (5225), or Maelstrom (2800)
Optional: Helm of the Dominator (1850), Vladmir’s Offering (2325), Blade Mail (2200)
Now, imagine an item, so hot that enemies health gets whittled by the burn over time, so bright that they miss attacks just by being near you. Add it on top of Abaddon’s amazing skillset, and you get a one of the best Radiance carries in the game. Not convinced?
Abaddon can’t carry they say, 2 supportive spells they say.
This time around, you are a Don, so try to look like it. You are the boss of the mafia, granddaddy of all gangsters, biggest and baddest boy in the playground. Grab that Radiance, walk over enemy neighborhood and mark it yours, then watch the gold roll in while your enemies starve in poverty. Screenshot your endgame stats and upload it to Instagram with hashtag thuglife.
The little attention this build received is my main motivation for writing this as I honestly think this the best build for a core Abaddon. It is simple and effective: get Radiance as a farming kick starter. Get as aggressive as possible and deny your enemy of space to farm. If they try to gank you, with a combination of Coil and Shield, mixed with some right clicks and most importantly, the help of Borrowed Time, you will most likely get out of sticky situations or bring down one or two foes if you don’t, or even both survive and rack kills if you play like a boss. With your gang backing you up, they would have little chance of making the trade fair for them.
Remember this, you want your Radiance as soon as possible. Read the flow of the game: if Radiance is simply not possible before minute 30 you should consider switching to another path, such as Maelstrom. This is pretty achievable by getting good farm, snagging a couple of kills and having some tower gold early.
So start putting Radiance at the top of your list the moment you managed to get your boots, Basilius and decent amount of base damage for last hits, (Quelling Blade anyone?). The key here is to minimize the time you take for establishing enough regeneration and bulk to go farm for extended periods. If you are an experienced player having a Soul Ring somewhat accelerates farm, especially in the woods. You can ignore it if you think that it is going to be a 800 gold sink (allies being great mana batteries, very good mana management), as your priority is to cover that hefty price tag of that shiny Radiance as soon as possible.
Sometimes, the economy is harsh and not conducive at all for humble Abaddons to get their Radiance at a whim. Foreseeing this I present you the cheap alternative to Radiance: Maelstrom. At a cheaper price tag, Maelstrom allows Abaddon to get online even earlier for both farming and fighting. Chain lightning procs can deal large amounts of damage to a team and it extends naturally into the mighty Mjollnir, one of the best items for durable DPS heroes. You now deliver your boss factor in a different electrifying fashion.
The progression is similar to the Radiance rush, but you now get cheaper components that cost 1.6k at most, which is a steal compared to that heavily taxed 3.8k Sacred Relic. The entire Maelstrom doesn’t even cost that much! Also, with this cheaper build, it is much more viable to get that early Soul Ring and Morbid Mask, since you will be getting Maelstrom relatively faster.
However, you will not have the dominance Radiance exerts. You don’t burn and blind them with raw awesomeness, and it is harder to dominate over their farming space as they don’t have to commit too much heroes to kill you quickly. In return, you deal respectable damage way earlier, which still translates to fast farming power. It actually has better synergy on Abaddon then Radiance, now that I think about it. It just suffers from more limitations, such as the need to be actually up front and right clicking enemies straight, making you sort of kiteable as a carry.
If you came from the Maelstrom path, is is recommended to get as much cheap but practical items as possible, especially Blade Mail, which works to discourage them from throwing too much spells at you. Maelstrom is significantly more difficult to run as a sole item, compared to Radiance.
Whether Lifesteal is needed right now is debatable. It serves to keep you farming over extended period of time in the woods, helps recover some damage when fighting to survive better, and helps recover health lost from Mist coil. It also complements Borrowed Time by stopping the automatic activation from happening too much and allows you to heal even if you are not taking hits from others. It is possible to live without it before your Radiance, but as a core you will want it sooner or later. Now the question comes, which Lifesteal works the best?
I prefer HotD or Vladmir’s Offering over Mask of Madness. Both options give similar amount of regeneration and armor, but HotD gives more damage early on, while Vladmir’s scale into late game better. However, HotD has that great creep control, which can be used for a large variety of purposes, such as pushing or ganking. Also, it extends into Satanic late game, one of the best EHP and DPS hybrid items during the late game on Abaddon. So make your pick, Offering is slightly more expensive but the components are still kinda easy to build and most importantly: aura based, where it gives various nice bonuses (mana/HP regeneration, armor, damage, lifesteal) to your entire team by just being near you. HotD’s main attraction point is the creep control utility, higher early base damage AND the option to upgrade into a high tier endgame item. Mask of Madness pales out in comparison on Abaddon, which I will explain later.
Mjollnir (5700), Basher (2950), Aghanim Scepter (4200)
Optional: Armlet of Mordiggian (2370), Mask of Madness (1800), Solar Crest (3000), Mekasnm (2300), Crimson Guard (3800), Pipe of Insight (3525)
Upgrade to Mjollnir as soon as possible if you came from the Maelstrom path. The Static Charge active is really needed for you to contribute damage to the fight if you are running the Maelstrom build as it might be very difficult to right click constantly in a real fight. There is not much need to get this if you got Radiance though as Chain Lightning is no longer necessary for AoE damage, and there are quite some options for attack speed given earlier, notably SnY and AC.
You definitely want Basher regardless of build. Every Bash you can land is has a lot of impact on the fight, as it is buffed by Curse IAS and it slows enemies enough for you to land even more hits in. It is the item that you will need to successfully trade blows with most heroes and still come out top. It is one of the turning point that signifies your entrance into the late game: a threat the enemies cannot hope to sit back and duck out, but rather try their best to duke it out or die trying. Get this, it even extends into the almighty Abyssal Blade.
Aghanim Scepter is a must have in my opinion. It gives a whole extra level to Borrowed Time, and shares damage taken by allies. There is nothing situational about this as Borrowed Time is your greatest asset for carrying the game and damage is shared regardless of damage type, making this useful against every and any type of enemy lineup. You want to milk every drop of usefulness you can get from it, so really get this. In extreme situations you can even get this without Radiance.
Armlet is not exactly situational, but I find it rather unneeded when Maelstrom is already good enough. However, if you are an avid Armlet user you can consider this as it comes in extremely cheap components and give bonuses comparable to end game items. It goes well with the next item, Mask of Madness, which the lifesteal can quickly negate the HP removal of Unholy Strength.
The most common Abaddon carry builds would involve: Armlet, MoM, Basher, as they are incredibly easy to build up.
Although I would note that Armlet does have some respectable synergy with Abaddon (draing HP with Armlet to easily suicide through Coil being one of them). I don’t recommend this as they don’t give you the best late game you want. With Radiance or Maelstrom at my disposal, I would want items that does not have to be replaced.
Solar Crest can be considered as it is one of the better anti-carry items you can get. With a considerably affordable price rag, Shine penetrates BKB, which destroys like 90% of carry heroes by blinding them and reducing their armor.
If your team still doesn’t get a Mekansm, consider getting one yourself and make Guardian Greaves out of it. By default design Abaddon makes a great Mek carrier (especially in this age of Shadow Fiends and Razors holding Mek), even as a core. But the mana cost is remarkably steep for a hero who relies on his other 2 spells a lot more but doesn’t have the best mana pool. Guardian Greaves is not at all affected by this, and gives one of the best auras for survival and the a great teamfight active: Mend, which dispells negative buffs off allies, whilst restoring health and mana at a pinch, with no cost.
It will be repetitive if I elaborated too much about Pipe or Crimson Guard, but you can choose to get them at this point by analyzing the main damage types of the enemy team. Pipe if you are up against magic heavy lineups: DP, Lina, Zeus, Earthshaker etc; Guard if you are against physical based lineup with summons: Lone Druid, Broodmother, Nature’s Prophet, Undying.
Monkey King Bar (5400), Force Staff (2250), Necromonicon (2700/3950/5200), Heaven’s Halbard (3850), Scythe of Vyse (5675), Orchid Malevolence (4075)
Abaddon mainly uses swords, so Monkey King Bar is picked up only against heroes with evasion, notably PA and Brewmaster, It is a good item to just give plain DPS but mathematically it isn’t as powerful as the rest. Still it is a solid option to have and definitely has to be gotten against the heroes mentioned.
Force Staff is kinda situational, if not seen as a total waste of gold if you are playing as a core, but this can be gotten if your allies refuse to get it. Keep this open as an option you are against stuff like Clockwerk or Earthshaker that can keep you rooted over a time where 1-2 instances of dispel cannot get you out off. Chances are you won’t really be needing it or missing it as a core, but no mobility is ever too much on any hero.
Necromonicon is for pushing strats and works in very well with Abaddon’s design. The STR and INT are very well enjoyed, and the minions benefit from Curse of Avernus, granting them even more attack speed and movement speed. If the game calls for a split push based strategy, this can be very rewarding to have. Note that try not to buy this without knowing your objectives, as every minion gives a ton gold in terms of bounty. Maximize this by binding them to hotkeys and learning to micro them well.
Heaven’s Halbard’s situation should be pretty obvious: heavy DPS heroes. Abaddon is in a pretty good position to cast Disarm as the range is pretty short and could put most other heroes in harm’s way. Not you who has the power to turn damage into healing. This even gives noticeable STR and evasion for surviving, along with extra slow through Maim. Keep this in mind to flip the tables against right-click core lineups.
Scythe of Vyse and Orchid fall under the same category, where you have to deal with slippery shit like Slark, Puck, Queen of Pain or Weaver. Both Hex and Soulburn crush these if they are not prepared for it coming from Abaddon. Orchid is generally easier to build and the silence duration lasts longer, not to mention it gives quite a lot of DPS power. However, Hex is a stronger disable: it stops enemies from attacking, using their items or simply running away as well, making it much more versatile and generally dreaded. From a surface level, Orchid might seem better for a hero like Abaddon because of the extra DPS and easier buildup. but for the sake of the Team, Scythe is a better option. Make your pick.
Sange and Yasha (4100), Eye of Skadi (5675), Assault Cuirass (5250), Shiva’s Guard (4700), Satanic (5950), Abyssal Blade (6750), Silver Edge (5450), Guardian Greaves (5300), Octarine Core (5900), Lotus Orb (4050), Refresher Orb (5300), Divine Rapier (6200)
Sange and Yasha doesn’t seem to add much on paper (you might have realize that Curse gives similar types of utility), but backed with Basher and your other core items at this point, this is actually one of the best items you can get. The light buildup makes it extremely possible to get early and provides a good mix of DPS and the movement speed bonus, allowing you to just maim and overwhelm any hero you caught up with. See this like an extension to your Curse of Avernus and you can feel the drastic difference SnY brings. It can also be disassembled for the Sange component to be used in Heaven’s Halbard or Silver Edge.
If you want to take things even further, you can forgo the SnY’s movement speed and go with the luxurious Eye of Skadi. Before you pass this off as overkill, be mindful that this gives everything you would want and could use: massive amounts of HP and mana, great and all-around stats that helps dishing out damage, and Cold Attack, a already powerful slow debuff on its own, that stacks with Curse of Avernus. If you are looking for the best possible item for a single slot, look no further.
i really recommend Assault Cuirass on Abaddon. It fixes any existing armor issues which boosts your survivability in the most efficient manner, juices up your damage output with attack speed plus armor reduction, and happens to be a great aura for your team. It happens to be the type of item that you can go for all the time regardless of build, role or core items.
An alternative to your armor needs would be Shiva’s Guard. Generally it couldn’t be compared with AC in terms of damage output, as it is more defensive in nature with its attack speed reduction aura. However, it has a great active Arctic Blast, which is one of the best teamfight control spells in the game through nuking and heavily creepling all enemies within a huge 900 radius. It can also be disassembled to be part of Hex or Octarine Core, making this actually a viable item even on a DPS oriented Abaddon due to the versatility when dealing against lineups that can kite Abaddon around, not just a hipster’s alternative to AC.
Satanic is less gotten on Abaddon because of the huge price tag, but on my build this is a pretty viable luxury since it extends naturally from HotD. In general, this makes you way more troublesome to kill over your bulk, Borrowed Time, stronger Lifesteal and Unholy Rage. It might not be too suitable against enemies that can really kite your face around the bush all day, so keep note of the enemies lineup and items before you invest some extra 4-5k gold into this.
Abyssal Blade is your natural upgrade to Basher although there is no real need to rush it, unless you really need Overwhelm to handle certain enemies, such as BKB spell channelers, very mobile but squishy heroes or DPS carries.
Silver Edge is notable for being a Shadowblade upgrade, so you might be questioning its usefulness here as the main purpose is to scout and sneak on enemies, which is somewhat against Abaddon’s manly upbringing. However, I strongly recommend this as an anti-carry option as Silver Edge’s Shadowwalk backstab induces a Break, disabling passives and reducing the target’s damage output. A less well known fact is that the damage reduction applies to all sources of damage, which includes spells and items, leaving them no choice other then flee or fight a disadvantageous battle. For a unusual carry like Abaddon, these is one of those extreme measures to take against heroes that dish a lot of damage single handedly. The sneaky factor is a great plus on top of all that.
Guardian Greaves is a nice choice if you went for Arcane Boots or Mekansm, despite your core position. Mend, which is already a great teamfight active on its own, does not cost mana and provides another handy friendly dispel on top of Borrowed Time and Shield. Some may call this overkill, but being such an amazing item with no drawbacks, I would argue that every team should have one: if no one gets it on your team, it wouldn’t be a waste for you to get it.
Octarine Core primarily serves as a durability item on you. It is a great option if you are just looking to have more HP and some regeneration. Spell Lifesteal benefits Abaddon a lot through my build because Radiance Burn and Chain Lightning trigger it, along with Mist Coil (as a nuke only, you can’t Lifesteal from just healing) and Aphotic Shield, indirectly making Abaddon way more difficult to bring down. Not to mention the amazing Cooldown Reduction which improves Abaddon’s spell presence by about 25%, giving a 3.75 second cooldown to Coil and 4.5 second cooldown to Shield, which is extremely effective in practice as you would be trying to cast as many Shields as possible. That, and Borrowed Time’s cooldown becomes 30 second at level 3, giving the amazing ultimate a downtime of merely 23 seconds with Aghanim’s Scepter.
Another newer item, Lotus Orb, works quite well on Abaddon as well with the new groundbreaking active, Echo Shell, which applies a shell on a friendly target that recasts every single-target spell against the caster over 6 seconds. Against lineups with a lot of single target spells, this is effectively a 6 second invulnerability buff. I recommend this as single target spells typically have superior damage and debuffs, which threatens and annoys Abaddon the most and this item resolves those issues easily.
At the end of the list, we have Refresher for extreme lategame measures where you need up to 14 seconds of immortality, and the almighty Divine Rapier for desperate measures.
FAQ: Item Build
There are too much options when it comes to luxuries and I do not know which one to really choose from. Any suggestions for newer players?
There is a general rule you can stick to, then learn form your preferences. To get the most optimal damage, balance your attack speed and damage per hit. To get he most optimal survivability, balance your HP and armor or magic resistance. For example, if you already have Shiva’s, for surviving it is better to get say Octarine Core or Skadi over Lotus Orb or Assault Cuirass, although this can be slightly misleading since we are not factoring in the other mechanics and aspects. But if the luxury suggestions are too confusing to take in, the aforementioned principle can be used until you build your own preferences.
You suggested many items that have Unique attack Modifiers, isn’t these going to conflict with each other?
This is not really an issue as Lifesteal works perfectly with Cold Attack. Chain Lightning will override the other UAMs only when it procs, so the 3 UAMs can work with each other quite efficiently.
Abaddon is a STR hero, doesn’t this make him a good BKB carry?
I daresay it is my allergy to BKB is one of those motivators for me to come out with this. BKB is a major gold sink on Abaddon and it will probably be classified as a waste of gold for patches to come. You don’t have to be magic immune since your damage output is done by simply being there. Also, Borrowed Time has been changed to be activate-able even when disabled so even if you are caught with tons of disables, pressing R can dispel that easily. Really, there is no need to invest in it, especially if your other items are generally much more useful.
Not saying Abaddon is a perfect example of a carry being exempt from needing magic immunity to function, but the 3.8k gold is too difficult to be justified, especially in an era where there is a huge variety of spells that give no shits to magic immunity. Imagine yourself against an Abaddon who spent some time getting his BKB and delaying his damage/EHP items, would you even find him threatening?
Why isn’t Drums mentioned? It has been part of a lot of highly rated guides!
I cannot really advocate stuff that I didn’t try or have much success with. Drums falls under the kind of item I don’t really enjoy having as most of my cores or pre-core items have a way larger impact. Drums isn’t worth my investment if it is going to just delay my items without becoming anything that makes a difference. It merely makes Abaddon seem as if he is 1-2 levels ahead, having my core carry items are much more important then that.
Why don’t you get Mask of Madness?
To be perfectly honest, I rate MoM higher than Drums for Abaddon.
MoM into Basher has been commonly accepted as “viable” for quite a while, but that have been done so much that I do not need to advocate it in my guide. Note that MoM doesn’t work on Abaddon like how it works on, say Faceless Void or Sniper. You don’t proc bashes or bonus damage naturally (it matters because Basher is another 3k and has a 2.3 second cooldown limiting it) and your base damage honestly isn’t impressive for a melee hero. Also, the amplify damage component might not actually be as synergistic as you imagine and can hurt you more than being helpful if your timing is off.
Both Offering and HotD beat MoM in farming, utility, and sustenance, and both are greater items late game. Although being the most gold efficient in terms of DPS, Mask of Madness simply loses out to these 2 in comparison. It isn’t very impressive in comparison when it comes to late game performance, where you get sufficient amount of attack speed from other items.
The late game is more about maximizing the performance of every slot you have rather than maximizing gold efficiency.
Early Game – Mid Game
Get safelane. Yes, you can probably run solo mid decently against more passive mids, but I would bet there are better heroes on the team for the middle lane as Abaddon isn’t really a great ganker. A solo mid needs to take responsibility for controlling the tempo and momentum of the team. if you don’t have game sense that is light-years ahead of your enemies and allies, I would not recommend middle lane at all. Safelane is where you can get the most farm while being able to keep your partners alive and healthy, easily minimizing casualties with just 2 spells, and opening up opportunities for counter ganks.
Remember, Abaddon’s farming speed is not the fastest. This is why Arcane Boots or Soul Ring is recommended as it speeds up the process by allowing you to use Shield to somewhat flashfarm.
Once you hit level 6, you can afford to be more reckless and aggressive. You can either make the move and dive for potential kills if the opportunity presents itself, or proceed to look for farm all over the map. When jungling, be careful as because of your low armor, Borrowed Time may just go off at points where you don’t want it to. To overcome this, you might want to buy a basic lifesteal, although I try to avoid this by using Salves or having allies rejuvenate my mana or HP, or simply go to lane.
Remember to be patient with farming as you have Borrowed Time (unintended pun). Do not overcommit yourself when you are not getting the space you want. Borrowed Time has a short cooldown of a minute, and it will very likely be available when you need it, which is part of the beauty of Abaddon’s design. When you find yourself low on HP and mana to continue farming, and close to triggering Borrowed Time, go and actually join a fight when you see one, walk in straight into the blasting zone with activated Borrowed Time and quickly move out to safety without committing to get kills. Not dying can accumulate a lot more gold then committing for kills and risk feeding. You can learn to see Borrowed Time as a Mekansm that costs no mana with longer cooldown.
If you have to, walk up to something that can deal a lot of damage over 4 seconds, press R and soak it up, throw in a Q for a quick self-heal if possible. Then go back to your farming routine.
Note that without lifesteal, you basically cannot farm ancients so refrain from going to ancient camps. It is times like these will make you consider if Soul Ring into a Lifesteal item is going to help you. Thankfully you can opt for these items and somewhat delay Radiance as Abaddon isn’t exactly useless without it. His first 2 spells is enough to make him extremely useful early on, so while Radiance should be your priority for this path, there is no need on insisting to rush it no matter what.
Always keep in mind that Maelstrom is there as a great alternative.
Remember this routine: hide and farm when Borrowed Time is down, help out when needed in fights with spells and Borrowed Time, every time you are low replenish your health with Borrowed Time if necessary, stack camps and farm them with Shield, and only return to base when Borrowed Time is down with no mana left.
Not dying equates to having a lot of gold, and Abaddon is good at that.
Mid Game-Late Game
Congratulations if you got Radiance before the 25th minute, it is still nice to hold it even it is gotten later. You have already committed your effort to its glorious beauty, might as well make the most out of it. Notice you are actually way stronger than before, you can dish out a respectable amount of DPS with that extra 60 damage boosted with Curse of Avernus, your very presence burns down the health of your enemies, and you are racking in tons of farm from the burn effect. That is not even counting the latest blessing from IceFrog, a 17% miss chance on burned units. Your enemies will want you out of the fight as soon as possible, but alas that comes with a price over your Aphotic Shield and Borrowed Time. You are nearly guaranteed to dish out incredible amounts of damage over time by just being there, your Shield rebounds and Mist Coil nukes add even more damage, all of these could just accumulate into kills.
In short, no one can actually fight you on even ground with you having a Radiance, and they will need to commit a lot of resources into putting you to sleep.
You should now feel like a true Don or a massive raidboss, a melee parallel of sorts to Medusa. Most importantly, you now have a great farming tool which can translate into even more items that help you do even more damage. Moar damage.
At this point, start establishing map control.
You can farm into their woods, plant wards (you or your team) and take over their space, and they will need to 3 man gank you to reclaim it back, which will equate to more space for your team. It’s a win-win for you regardless. Continue to do this, capitalize on farming and starving them, and soon it will be an unsurmountable battle for them if things go right.
Notes in Clashes
The following are general tips for Abaddon to participate and contribute in skirmishes.
-When your allies call for a clash or gank, look at your lineup and Shield whoever that is going to do the initiation.
-You can cast Shield early so that after the first Shield breaks, followup with another Shield to dispel anything disruptive. This is especially important against silences. Observe the participants and try to predict the sequence.
-If your enemy has silences or disables, be mindful of your positioning. Here is the deal, your enemy would want to stop you from using your spells if you show up within range, but chances are they are equally happy to use those disables on others if you are out of range. Use this to your advantage and waste their efforts by purging disables off your allies.
-If you got caught by a 3+ second disable, move in deep and hope they commit enough on you to trigger Borrowed Time to purge it off,
-Alternatively you can trigger it manually but this is often disadvantageous if things are not going in your favor, avoid this unless you really need to save an important hero, such as core hero, or a initiator getting caught before he can do work
-Remember to put Coil and Shield to good use, those extra damage or heal will eventually add up to make a difference, learn to decide when and how to use them and develop your battle intuition: is that Coil more useful as a nuke even though damage is reduced or will it make more difference as a full 250 HP heal?
-Your spells are pretty low cooldown, you should be able to use Coil and Mist at least 2-3 times each for a fight.
-Move in after the first bout of disables from your enemies are used, and move in deep and engage whoever that dies the fastest.
-Until you got your other luxuries, there is no need to be selective on who to engage and kill first since you do not have disables to effectively do such work, just go in and be mindful of your health, Borrowed Time and burn as much enemies as possible.
-Keep your opponent cores in mind, no need to overcommit if they have escape mechanisms
-For you, the first half of the fight is over the moment Borrowed Time activates. Borrowed Time duration is a critical period, do as much as possible during this: cast Coils, attack heroes, soak as much as damage as you can etc.
-Have a plan B if fights don’t go well: communicate with heroes that excels in cleanup, you can actually go in and die for this, hoping the burn does enough damage to make it possible for your allies to cleanup
-Another plan B is to quickly get attention from enemy firepower by TP-ing right in their faces mid fight and screw with their minds. This is best done before or during Borrowed Time.
-Remember that suicide with Coil in an option. You will have an easier time with Armlet and/or Soul Ring. Mist Coil removes 75/100/125/150 HP from you, it is not easy to do it without any of the above 2 items. All you can do is learn the animation and get used to he 0.452 second casting time and watch your HP.
-If you are running Maelstrom, focus on targets that your allies are attacking for the Curse buff, this works even best against enemy cores that have no escape mechanism
-Quickly change targets if the target use Ghost Scepter, throw in a quick Mist Coil for cheap damage
-Cast Mjolnir on yourself if you have it, more often than not Abaddon is the best Mjolnir buff candidate
Ending the Game
In the late game, you will realize your spells stopped being as overwhelming compared to earlier. Coil doesn’t heal a lot nor does it do significant damage, it might barely scrape off 1/10th of the enemy’s total health. Shield doesn’t fall off too much, but the damage rebound factor isn’t that impactful unless you hit like all 5 enemy heroes with the blast. Your major contribution is now limited to buffing your team with Curse, dispelling with Shield and joining the fray with Borrowed Time, along with whatever items you built for dealing DPS. Of course that doesn’t mean you won’t be using Coil at all, as mentioned earlier it has incredibly low cooldown making your damage or heal accumulate, just don’t expect to achieve a lot with the usage.
Regardless, be a team player. Join fights and stay around your team as much as possible. Naturally, if your Borrowed Time is down, stay safe away from fights as the worst thing you can do is get caught without it and die without contributing much. Make sure your items are up and progressing as the game goes. Make sure to be there during a high ground push or defend as it is usually the most outcome-defining stage of a game, and your team will need every ounce of help you can provide.
During defending high ground, you will realize that Abaddon is actually very good the job. He is deceptively good at turtling and stalling pushes as long as has enough regeneration to sustain the spells since they have relatively short cooldown.
Stand at the front lines near the defending creepwave. but don’t jump into the fight before your other heroes do. If no one makes a move, keep them at bay by dropping Shields on creeps and whittle away at them with Coil. However, make sure your allies are there to respond if they decide to jump on you. In this case, be the most obvious target but do not commit fully before anyone else. The game is not decided until they break your last towers so stay focused till the end.
If you are going to push high ground, go in first while quickly followed up with your initiating or disabling heroes. Its a matter of who be making the first move, and if you do you get the befit of getting some good heals off Borrowed Time. Focus whoever that is the easiest to take down, as late game fights are usually decided by outnumbering them in terms of living heroes and buybacks available.
Once again, stay clear of silences and dispel whoever disabled with Shield and hope for the best. When you win a fight convincingly, if possible go straight for the T4 towers and throne instead of playing it slow. This is great to your advantage as enemies would be very frustrated at this point and will try to mindlessly stall through spells and disables, which you can easily deal against with Shield. Playing it slow is usually the general consensus of most public players, but this is not recommended unless you are really not ready to end it: don’t give your foes time to come out with a strategy to work against you, as core Abaddon is not exactly the most flawless carry in game.
To Pick or Not to Pick
The Medic Association: Dazzle, Witch Doctor, Juggernaut, Omniknight, Treant Protector
There is something about the way heals benefit allies, they are incredibly strong if a lot of them are used. Teamed with these allies and other heroes that can dish out serious damage to heroes and towers but suffer from survivability issues, you can start unstoppable rape trains that flattens entire teams as soon as your cores are functional.
The Balls-Deep Guild: Axe, Slark, Timbersaw, Weaver, Phoenix, Spirit Breaker
Heroes that focuses on diving in deep to grab kills love Aphotic Shield. Going in with extra couple hundred of hit points to soak and reflect is one of the best stuff they can dream of having.
Balls-Deep Guildmasters: Clockwerk, Bristleback
Both of them dive in too, but they do the job exceptionally well if you lend your hand. They do relatively more damage over time and can trap or zone out a lot of heroes over a longer duration. Clock can do it from a great distance, and Bristleback lasts extremely long while hitting like a truck. These 2 are your most want partners in the mafia world, seek to get them as your pals.
The Matyr: Huskar
This guy gets more dangerous as his health goes down until he bleeds dry, both Shield and Coil keeps his health at a reasonable level. He goes in with Life Break and throws Burning Spears which can accumulate into huge amount of damage over time, backed with your Shield and Coils to endure the hurt, and hurt even more with Curse. Did I mention you can overcome one of his only few weakness: disables, while he doesn’t give a shit to silences which counter you? This is one brand of terrorism they don’t make anymore.
Coiling him while he is tethered to you more than break even your health cost.
Scepter Sponsor: Alchemist
Need I say much? Save 4.2k gold plus getting to save one more precious slot for other stuff.
Ironic Destiny: Legion Commander
It turns out that LC’s antagonist in the game lore can be one of her more valuable partners. His entire skillset can be dedicated to help LC win Duels and survive huge fights where she doesn’t do so well in. Both of you have purges to take care of each other. Ah, the bittersweet irony.
The Oracle tier mate (Further supported by Reddit)
Oracle is such an amazing hero that he deserves his own category, especially if you are the core hero. He provides insane amounts of heal: Purifying Flames can be absorbed by Shield, reducing the damage done to you and triggers the rebound damage without needing to rely on enemies to break it. This essentially equates endless HP regeneration, allowing you to mercilessly throw Mist Coils on your enemies, along with Purifying Flames which can result in a lot of easy and unforeseeable kills.
I haven’t even got to Borrowed Time interactions. The most obvious part is under Borrowed Time, the nuke component of Purifying Flames heals you, and further heals you with the follow-up regeneration buff. As a further plus, under Oracle’s ult False Promise, Borrowed Time eventually heals TWICE as much. Core Abaddon is one of the closest beings to immortality with a good Oracle, so keep this in mind.
Things that slay you before you can automatically borrow time: Lina, Lion, Axe, PA, Sven
In general these guys aren’t exactly scary if you took my advice about keeping up in farm and levels seriously. Technically only Lion is worth worrying about early on, as only he is capable of reliably destroying you in one damage instance before the 400 HP threshold, the others requires slow reaction on your part and extreme luck on their part. It takes Lina to have at least level 2 Laguna Blade to do the same, and even stronger with her Aghanims. PA and Sven with good RNG late game can tear you apart with 4 digit hits, although you should be instinctively triggering it by then. It is now much more difficult and risky for Axe to cull you, unless you didn’t regenerate enough health during Borrowed Time, in practice Culling Blade shouldn’t bother you too much. Just keep in mind that these heroes are capable of doing that so keep your fingers on R ready.
Silences: Orchid, Skywrath Mage, Drow Ranger, Earth Spirit, Death Prophet, Silencer
I especially dread Skywrath, as Seal has no projectile and impossible to avoid normally, and it amps up Finger of Death and Laguna Blade, making killing you much more easier. Again, now you can manually activate Borrowed Time to get out of it, so from this aspect alone it is no big deal. However, this gives enemies much more space to work around in fights, so really, avoid silences like the plague.
Slippery Pussies: Puck, Storm, Weaver, anything with Blink, Force or Euls, Chen’s Test of Faith
I have addressed them in the luxuries section so deal with them accordingly with Hex or Orchid. They actually can’t really threaten you, but they can often trigger Borrowed Time before you want it to while you are unable to do anything about it. These can be avoided by banding up more often, discouraging them from coming in, but in general there is nothing much you can do about them until you actually do enough damage to threaten them or disable them with items. The most common solution however, is to simply bulk up through EHP and regeneration.
Extraordinary Cockblockers: Clockwork, Earthshaker, Disruptor
Nothing much you can do about them. if Fissure or Cogs catch you in a weird position where you are separated from the fight zone, you are kinda screwed. Hopefully you did consider Force Staff when you face them. Disruptor can be extraordinarily tough to play against as Glimpse is one of the best Borrowed Time counters out there, consider some cute stuff like a timely self-cyclone to bypass the spell.
Unwinnable Fights: Troll, Bristleback, Ursa, PA
Even if they don’t tear you apart before Borrowed Time, these heroes can dance out of it and eat you after it expires, or ignore and still fight you through it.
This is why Aghanim Scepter is so important as a general item, every extra second can change the outcome of fights against these monsters. To win against them you cannot play fair: disarm, Hex, Break or anything, don’t let them get the upper hand on you. If you are a core, you stand a relatively good chance if you got Basher, MKB (specifically for PA) and other DPS items. Still try not to fight these (farmed) guys directly and focus on their supports, and turn on them when the job is done. They are one of the reasons I recommend ending the game quickly.
He halts healing, which means he halts Borrowed Time. However, Frostbite is easily dispellable so it isn’t a huge issue, a single Shield can do it, and if he blasts before Borrowed Time, the activation will just remove it. I put it here as it would be doing readers a huge disservice for not mentioning this at all.
Witch Doctor cannot do anything against Abaddon. Death Ward triggers Borrowed Time, Maledict doesn’t worry him whatsoever. Abaddon would have very little to consiider if matched against a WD, and WD needs to worry about Abaddon walking over his corpse with no cost.
Bloodseeker can’t really do anything against you in Borrowed Time. Run during Rupture to heal even more HP! All in all, your spell set makes the game much more difficult for Bloodseeker.
Necrophos hates playing against you, since you can potentially foil every Reaper attempt he can get. Often Coil, Shield and/or Mek is enough to stop Reaper from delivering the killing blow.
Techies mines (both normal and Remote) cannot actually kill you if just trigger them with Borrowed Time online, and with somewhat healthy HP. For a little criminal like Techies, anything that he fails to kill with mass mines qualifies as a counter.
Beastmaster, Bane, Batrider all have powerful game breaking BKB piercing disables, at an acceptable cooldown. You negate that with one spell: Aphotic Shield.
Anything low armored with no kiting powers generally can be overwhelmed without too much effort.
At long last we are finally done with discussing the way of a truly bad Don. I personally enjoyed the process of writing this piece of work and sharing my thoughts on one of my all-time favorite heroes, Abaddon. I will try to make reading this just as enjoyable as well. Take your time to practice and learn the hero well, while building your own preferences for items and skills. This is by no means holy scripture to win games as Abaddon, but rather a beginning that could hopefully lead to more and more innovation in builds. Feel free to contact me for further questions and I hope you will find me working on more Dota 2 hero guides!