Blacksmith: Gamble with Fire
| Written for Patch 2.0.10.
Blacksmith is great fun to play, an unconventional intelligence hero, always intimidating, but can also be quite frustrating, as his spells are based on luck. So if you are lucky, it all goes well, and if not, well, then it doesn't. :) Blacksmith is one of the easier heroes to play, but no way is he trivial. There is a big difference between a good BS and a bad BS (and a lucky BS and an unlucky one).
This guide aims to help players with little experience with the hero, to understand his role and proper use in the 1400-1700 public bracket.
A little note: I know all guides tell you this, but it's true - a Homecoming Stone is invaluable. It can save your life, life of your team mate, or a tower. So always have one in your back pack.
- Fireball - This is your bread and butter ability. With Fireball, you stun and can dish out enormous amounts of damage in a flash. It is a single target spell, so you simply cannot miss, simlarly to Andromeda's Comet. And that is good. And it has a good solid range of 600, which is also good.
- Flaming Hammer - This is your main ganking tool - the slow. Again, it is a single target spell, so you cannot miss, and it lasts 7.5 seconds. Very powerful. In addition, it deals a good deal of magic damage per second, and reduces magic armor of the units hit, which amplifies all damage from magical spells. If you can, always open a gank or a hero kill attempt with this spell, and follow by your Fireball nuke. Also, your team mates should use their nukes only after the Hammer is applied to the target. The range of Flaming Hammer is very good - 700, that completely asks you to use your spells in this order. This way, you will deal a tad more damage. But of course, if there is a fleeing hero or someone with a great escape mechanism (Wretched Hag, Myrmidon), don't hesitate and stun. What I'm describing here is an ideal situation, but you will often need to stun first, then throw a Hammer.
- Frenzy - Even if you had a bad start, almost no farm, no kills, no anything, you can still be valuable to your team. Frenzy boosts attack speed, movement speed, and cast speed to targets by a considerable amount. Use this primarily on your carry and then yourself. It has such a short cool down that you can have it applied on all your team mates at once, but you can afford this only in late game when you no longer suffer from mana shortage. So, the priority is to have it on your carry and you will see the difference as he will wreak havoc.
- Chaotic Flames - A passive ultimate ability that augments all other spells. With this, you can be as lucky as to get a 4x multicast on your Fireball, dealing an absurd amount of damage, and your enemies will cry in all chat: "So ****ing lucky!!!" Your Flaming Hammer will hit all nearby enemies around your original target - and this is very useful in team fights. If you ignite all enemy heroes and your team then unleashes some AOE inferno (think Hellbringer's Malphas)... It's GG. Also your Frenzy has a chance for multicasts, which will apply the buff to several targets in a radius. When you're about to Frenzy someone, always check if they already have it so you don't reapply it in vain, wasting mana.
- Exceptional starting strength and strength gain, matching even the mighty Devourer. Survivability solved.
- Can deal tremendous damage with good luck.
- Great support for late game carries.
- Scales well into the late game.
- Relatively easy to use.
- Minimal farming utility.
- Can deal little damage with bad luck.
- Somewhat weak lane presence.
- All abilities are single target.
- Poor mana pool.
- Can be heavily countered by magic armor and magic immunity.
- Stun - a reliable single target stun never hurts, right?
- Nuker - Blacksmith is a heavy nuker, able to bring down the mightiest of opponents in a matter of a second.
- Ganker - due to his stun and slow, he is a solid ganker.
- Support - save for mana, the little bulky dwarf doesn't need much else, which makes him an ideal candidate for the support role in a team.
Max out Fireball and Flaming Hammer first and only then take Chaotic Flames. This way, you will deal a bit more damage. It's mathematically proven and the proof can be found on the forums. :) Whether to take Fireball or Flaming Hammer at level 1, that depends on the situation. Use your general knowledge here. For instance, if you happen to lane with Swiftblade, take Hammer, but on the other hand, if you lane against a double stun combination (Hammerstorm + Pyromancer), be sure to get your Fireball first.
|Level||Gank em noobs!|
|7||Flaming Hammer (maxed)|
It's pretty simple here. Just grab the typical set of regeneration items and a set of wards or a courier. And head straight to the field of battle.
- = 200
- Always useful. If you have a dilemma whether to get a courier or wards, rejoice, the dilemma is over: always prefer the courier. This applies to cases where your team mates are selfish and refuse to buy anything supportive.
- X 2 = 200
- If someone else bought the courier, get these and ward right after the rune gank.
- = 90
- Necessary regen.
- X 1 = 100
- Necessary regen.
- X 2 = 100
- Without these, you will run dry of mana as soon as you use your two abilities once. And that's pretty bad.
- X 2 = 106
- Gives you a bit of stats and will be assembled into Power Supply later.
Total Cost = 796
Core (mid game) Items
You need only two things to be effective: mobility and mana. Here we go.
- = 800
- As a ganker, these boots serve you best as they will enable you to run across the map whacking people left to right. Get these before everything else. As soon as you have them, start roaming.
- = 546
- Invaluable on Blacksmith. This will keep your mana pool healthy and can save your life when a gank goes bad.
- = 1275
- Due to recent changes to this item, you can easily afford it now. It is very helpful to yourself as it boost your miniscule mana pool by a large amount and is also helpful to your team mates during pushes or simply between ganks. When you're getting this item, always grab Pickled Brain first.
- = 100
- Spare change should be spent on supporting your team at this stage. Between ganks, keep warding and anti warding. Not only do you help protect your team by gaining great sight over key areas of the map, but you also help yourself, because the sight will tremendously help you gank people you would otherwise simply not see.
- = 100
- The more you deny enemy sight, the more control you gain. And control is everything!
Total Cost = 2821
- Spellshards are debatable. Sure you will deal more damage to targets if they don't have Flaming Hammer applied to them, but other than that, the item does nothing for you. The regen is negligible for your mana pool and the other stats are trivial, too. But, you know, feel free to experiment - to each his own.
Mid to late game Items
If the game gets to this stage, you will need to increase your survivability a bit to stay alive longer, because now you can spam your spells much more often due to your ultimate (it shortens cool downs of your abilities a lot). And you will also need to increase your mana pool to be actually able to spam those spells. Let's see then.
- = 2050
- Most enemy heroes have their nukes maxed out now, so you need protection. This enables you to survive to deliver more damage and Frenzy your carries. That's the whole point.
- = 4700
- Gives you a lot of mana, damage, great protection from carries (high armor gain from this item works wonders with your large health pool) and a good solid areal disable. Invaluable.
Total Cost = 6750
If the game goes any longer and you can afford more items, simply use your sense. Remember to always keep warding, even if the game goes for 1.5 hours. Your support role never ends. The item build I describe should work for general cases in a public game.
You are a ganker. Simple as that. Always, I repeat, always roam the map and set up ganks, whenever possible. There is a good technique in public games for setting up a gank. When you decide for a target to gank in a different lane, ping yourself a few times and then ping the target a few times. Repeat this until your team mates in that lane notice you incoming. It's also always good to write a simple message in your chat prior to the gank, something like: "ganking mid". Use your judgement to see if it's better to open the gank with your stun or slow first. Preferably, use your slow first. Keep warding, anti warding and stacking creep camps for your carries between ganks. If you get completely out of mana, don't worry, just stride back to your base, regen and run back to whack more people. Striders will make this possible without losing too much time.
One thing to note is that you should not be afraid of getting kills during ganks or team fights. Sure, if you absolutely can be sure that your carry will get the kill, let them. But if not, don't speculate too much and whack them enemies before they escape. The luck nature of your Fireball doesn't help this either.
Even though you are a support hero, you cannot babysit at all. Never go to a lane with a carry who needs a lot of farm. Your presence won't help him too much. Rather go with another disabler (Hammerstorm, Pyromancer, Myrmidon) to dominate your lane. The moment you earn enough gold, buy Marchers, and the moment you earn more gold, buy Striders. Use your courier to ferry you these items. If you can, farm as much as possible. If you cannot, just wait for gold to get Striders. Whether you're dominating your lane or getting raped, doesn't matter. As soon as you get your blazing boots, start setting up ganks all over the map. Use Mana Potions during striding so that you're always at full capacity. If you are successful with ganks, it will create a plague of fear above your enemies; their carries will be afraid to farm, you carries will be able to freely farm. Additionally, from my experience from public games, if every single gank of yours goes well, you will sow heavy discord amongst enemies and they will crumble and give up, often earlier than necessary.
Not much changes during the mid game. Gank as much as possible and be present at every team fight. Start Frenzying your carries and yourself if you can afford it. You will see the difference. Work on your core items. That shouldn't be a problem if at least a few ganks go well. You will have enough gold from kills and assists to purchase your gear. During team fights, even though you're somewhat tanky, do not go right into the fray. Stay on the edge and nuke them enemies down. Your mobility inside a team fight is minimal (that's the downside of Striders) and your attack damage will not likely make a big difference anyway. However, your nukes will!
Your nuking power decreases a bit in the very late game, but due to your Frenzy, you are still very viable. At this stage, always run around with your carries and keep them buffed. Level 4 Frenzy on 2 or 3 heroes makes a HUGE difference, not to mention that you can keep it on all 5 heroes. Keep supporting, warding, etc., but if the situation permits, there is nothing holding you back from getting a gear to help carry your team. If the game really goes for that long or your carries aren't doing well, get some of the following items and just pwn em noobs:
- Harkon's Blade - magic armor debuff stacks with your Flaming Hammer and you can deal absurd damage.
- Kuldra's Sheepstick - with Kuldra's hex, you can even whack a farmed enemy carry one on one if you get a multicast. Besides, you will never run of out mana with the regen.
- Sacrificial Stone - helps you get beefy as hell if you get a few kills.
- Nullstone - get this if the enemy team has dangerous single target abilities.
- Behemoth's Heart - you will be very difficult to take down and your nukes will come more often at their faces.
There are, of course, many different ways of how to play Blacksmith. I present you one that works for me most of the time.