Fresh Ideas from ESL One Birmingham

Despite being played on the tried and tested 7.35d, ESL One Birmingham came with a couple of interesting pocket strats to try out and toy with. They aren’t necessarily a great fit for everyday pubs and neither are they game-breakingly overpowered, but they are definitely a lot of fun to discuss and analyse. That’s exactly what we are going to do today.

Clinkz Clinkz built for teamfights

The return of Clinkz is both unexpected and far from triumphant, but the hero is definitely worth paying attention to. Sure, he might no longer have the ability to farm ancients as early as level seven, but his late game potential certainly increased.

The main principle Ame^^Ame^^ followed is that the Shard upgrade for farming is mandatory. You get level three Death Pact so that you can eat any non-ancient creep, max out Tar Bomb second and only then go for levels of Strafe and any kind of aggressive play.

With this 0-4-3-1 build by level eight and when rushing Gleipnir Gleipnir, Clinkz has a ton of damage on static targets. This allows Clinkz to get a timely Black King Bar Black King Bar and start joining the fights.

All items and talents should support the idea of a high burst damage, glass cannon ranged damage dealer. For that reason, getting extra range after BKB, through both Dragon Lance Dragon Lance and level fifteen talent are non-negotiable. Daedalus Daedalus is a typical follow-up to it, with later build being flexible.

The end result is a hero who can stay far away from the enemy, while still dealing a lot of damage. It is not the typical Assassin playstyle with Orchid Malevolence Orchid Malevolence we often see in pubs, but rather a more teamfight-oriented character.

It is a big question whether this build, or the usual ones will work better in pubs. We think there is room for both, but this one is certainly more reliable in terms of late game damage output in 5v5 scenarios. The Orchid one is much stronger for snowballing and can be devastating in uncoordinated pub play. Give both a try and let us know which one you prefer.

Full on map control Venomancer Venomancer

Venomancer is a rather popular pub support, but Falcons, the winners of ESL One Birmingham, think that the hero can and should be used in the pro scene as well. Strong laning stage, high pushing power and even farming potential all come into play when FLCN.SneykingFLCN.Sneyking pilots the hero.

The main deviation from pubs is that Sneyking prefers having Plague Wards maxed out as soon as possible and doesn’t put much emphasis on the Poison Sting. In fact, in most games this ability is maxed out by level thirteen and is used only as an anti-regen tool in the earlier stages of the game, with the anti-regen talent picked up immediately at level ten.

We honestly don’t know how important this talent is in the vast majority of matchups, as it only reduces regeneration, not heals, but the skill build from the current world champion is 2-1-0-0 for the early laning stage, followed up by 2-1-4-1 by level eight and a 2-3-4-2 + talent by level twelve.

Itemization-wise, depending on the situation it can be an early Urn of Shadows Urn of Shadows into Spirit Vessel Spirit Vessel, or a Guardian Greaves Guardian Greaves rush. The latter is often overlooked in terms of resource usage, as it makes Mekansm Mekansm free in terms of manacost, which can come in very handy on a hero that wants to spam spells and has a 1.4 INT per level gain.

All in all, we do feel like giving this build a try is worth it. Maxed out Poison Sting is undeniably powerful in pubs, where the laning stage can last for a very long time. However, maxed out wards allow for much more aggressive strategic play across the map and if that fails, can be a good farming option.

Closing thoughts

The patch was released a long while ago, so it is no wonder that there are few new ideas emerging, even at the big tournaments. That said, the two deviations from the standard pub builds we discussed today are certainly worth exploring.

Perhaps you’ve noticed something else interesting, be it at ESL One Birmingham or your own pubs? A trend that defies our current, well established understanding of the meta? Share your thoughts and findings in the comment section below.

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