Terrorblade, the Soul Keeper
Special Thanks to PieMonger for allowing me to post this guide on DotA.GG-Game.com
Sup dawgs, MC PieMonger is here to break down for you the ups and downs, the ins and outs and the highs and lows of the one and only Terrorblade. You may erase that last sentence from your mind if itís too painful for you to grasp. The Soul Keeper is a carry hero who, seemingly, has too many things to worry about. Images, melee range, Metamorphosis, SunderÖ why canít I just play a farm-for-forty-minutes-then-right-click-the-feeder-till-he-dies hero?! Because you chose to read this guide, thatís why, and now youíre stuck with this dude instead of Clinkz.
However, these things that seem to make Terrorblade too unwieldy to function as a proper damage dealer actually serve to allow him to do things that most of his counterparts can not. Terrorblade comes equipped with the power to gank, farm like a god, harass his foes at will, remain on the battlefield virtually forever and still find time to rip apart enemy teams, crack through bases and do all of those other things that melee Agility heroes usually fail at doing. He tends to be branded as weak and low-tier by the UNINFORMED MASSES, but in reality has the potential to hold his own in even the ugliest of situations, provided heís played correctly. This guide is intended to be the first step for you to begin playing TB in such a way that he is a notable force.
THOUGHTS ON TERRORBLADE
People have a lot of illusions of grandeur when playing this hero. Lothar's + Sunder + Dagon for instant killing power (doesn't work), Diffusal to Manta for early ganking and late game anti-caster skillz (sort of works, but more or less fails), stressing that you have to always cast Images out of sight OR THEY'LL KNOW WHO THE REAL ONE IS (Oh God!), Sundering Images (because it's what the cool kids do), maxing Meta + Conjure early for PUSHING DOMINANCE (because taking out that first tower at level 8 WILL WIN YOU THE GAME), and God knows what else. Terrorblade's skills seem to be all over the place, but he's actually a very focused, conceptually sound hero.
Conjure Image? Why not just a typical late game steroid spell? Soul Steal? I can get by with regeneration just fine, I'm not a retard! These skills are highly exploitable and what make this hero different from the rest and also incredibly powerful, but many people fail to understand them. Soul Steal and Conjure Image make Terrorblade one of the fastest farmers in the entire game, and the combination of the Soul Keeper's latter three skills make him an unstoppable late game force... provided he knows how to abuse his farming prowess to the fullest. Again, this guide was written as the first step for you to learn to play Terrorblade. I will teach you how to exploit his abilities to the fullest so that you can reach the point that all you need to do is attack-move to win the game.
Soul Steal is one of the most powerful lane-staying skills in the game, allowing you to tank an onslaught of enemy attacks while you sit there and drain a creep. This ability is what allows Terrorblade to solo a lane in spite of his melee range; generally, the only way to kill Terrorblade early on as a result of this skill is to chain a violent combination of nukes to take him down instantly. As such, against heroes like the Silencer or Clinkz Terrorblade is able to take whatever punishment is necessary when farming then simply get his HP right back up.
Strangles the soul of a target enemy unit and extracts bits and pieces of it.
Lasts 8 seconds.
Level 1 - Absorbs 20 hit points per second. 160 damage total.
Level 2 - Absorbs 40 hit points per second. 320 damage total.
Level 3 - Absorbs 60 hit points per second. 480 damage total.
Level 4 - Absorbs 80 hit points per second. 640 damage total.
Cooldown: 12 seconds.
Conjure Image is Terrorbladeís method of dealing physical damage. Itís also an insanely powerful farming tool especially in comparison to most other image-spawning abilities due to its efficiency and versatility. Where, for example, the Naga Siren can only use Conjure Image once for a necessary situation Terrorblade can fire off an image every time he wants to kill off some neutral creeps. We will, of course, take advantage of this aspect of the skill in every way possible.
Creates a copy of Terrorblade which deals damage. Lasts 30 seconds.
Level 1 - Images deal 25% damage.
Level 2 - Images deal 35% damage.
Level 3 - Images deal 45% damage.
Level 4 - Images deal 55% damage.
Cooldown: 16 seconds.
Metamorphosis allows you to evade the fact that youíre ****ed in any large battle due to your melee range. Although the cooldown of the skill is obscene it is enough to allow you to use it in situations that your melee range will be a severe hindrance to you. It gives you a ranged hero with images whose stats are akin to a melee hero, and that is something that should never be taken lightly.
Transforms Terrorblade into a powerful Demon with a ranged attack.
Level 1 - Lasts 30 seconds. 150 second wait time.
Level 2 - Lasts 40 seconds, 50 bonus hit points. 125 second wait time.
Level 3 - Lasts 50 seconds, 100 bonus hit points. 100 second wait time.
Level 4 - Lasts 60 seconds, 150 bonus hit points. 75 second wait time.
Cooldown: 180/165/150/135 seconds.
Powerful utility ultimate that functions as a ganking tool as well as a devastating late game force once your hero is notably powerful. Sunder requires your hero to have low HP and your enemy target to have high/full HP in order for it to be effective, making it an interesting and challenging ability to use.
Sunder severs the soul from both Terrorblade and a target hero, then exchanges them, carrying part of the units' life forces. The percentage hit points of each unit are switched with the souls. Some hit points must remain on enemy heroes.
Level 1 - Range is 250, 33% hit point minimum.
Level 2 - Range is 250, 28% hit point minimum.
Level 3 - Range is 250, 23% hit point minimum.
Cooldown: 200/120/60 seconds.
Sunder is an interesting and powerful ultimate. It's probably one of the most confusing in the game, and as such I'm dedicating a section to it so you don't have to figure it out yourself. Okay, here's what I did the first time I played Terrorblade. I was at full HP, I saw an enemy hero with low HP, I ran up to cast Sunder to finish him and I ended up dying in the next two seconds (true story, good times). Wut happened to PieMonger?!
Sunder depends on how much HP you have and how much HP your target has. If you cast Sunder when you both have the same % of HP, nothing will happen. If your HP % is higher than the hero that you're casting Sunder on then you'll end up LOSING HP while the enemy gains. Basically, you want to cast Sunder when Terrorblade's HP is as low as possible and your enemy is at full HP. In this situation, the hero will be brought down to low HP and your HP will shoot up to full.
Percentages? What means? Look at the HP BARS that are conveniently located above the heads of every unit on the map, look at their colors and observe how pretty they are. That's your % HP. So once Terrorblade's HP is red and his enemy's HP is green it's time to throw out the Sunderage.
You can cast Sunder on allied heroes, your own Images, and basically everything that can be considered a hero. NOT. ROSHAN. Casting Sunder on an ally is novel, but usually stupid. You'll just die instead of him if you're using the Sunder to actually save his life from a gank, and Terrorblade as a farming carry hero should be the top-priority hero to keep alive in most cases. Casting Sunder on Images is also novel, but again rather stupid. How the hell is your Image at full HP but you're not? Ignoring that, why aren't you casting Sunder on the hero that's attacking you instead of the Image? If you have time to cast Sunder on a nearby, full HP Image that pops out of the sky then you sure as **** have enough time to cast it on the enemy hero. Yes, you can do some elaborate planning where you hide an Image in the forest, let yourself get beaten down then bring the little guy out to replenish your HP pool, but as cute at this is it's not really... very... smart.
The range of Sunder is pathetically low. You have to actually get close to the enemy hero before you die in order for the spell to be useful. However, if you manage to surpass this obstacle (early on you'll do it by being sneaky, later you'll do it because it takes so damned long to kill you) then Sunder will prove to be a lovely, lovely tool in your arsenal.
Level 1: Soul Steal
Level 2: Metamorphosis
Level 3: Soul Steal
Level 4: Stats/Conjure Image
Level 5: Soul Steal
Level 6: Sunder
Level 7: Soul Steal
Level 8: Stats/Conjure Image
Level 9: Conjure Image/Stats
Level 10:Conjure Image/Stats
Level 11: Sunder
Level 12: Conjure Image/Stats
Level 13: Conjure Image/Metamorphosis
Level 14: Metamorphosis
Level 15: Metamorphosis
Level 16: Sunder
Level 17: Metamorphosis
Level 18: Stats
Level 19: Stats
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? If the basic list is confusing to you, hereís a breakdown of how you should be distributing TBís skill points:
- Max out Soul Steal first, and in top priority. No exceptions!
- Take a point in Meta early as an emergency mechanism in ganks. It doesn't last long, but it will do what it's intended for.
- In-between Soul Steal, your options are either Stats or Conjure Image. Max out Conjure Image if you want hawtsauce creeping tools as fast as possible, or Stats to beef yourself up.
- If you havenít started putting points into Conjure Image, start at level 9. It should be maxed by level 13 at the latest.
- After Conjure Image is done and youíve got some Stat points into you, start on Metamorphosis. Start at Level 13 or 14.
- Sunder is taken at levels 6, 11, and 16, no exceptions! The cooldown decrease alone is enough to make it worth putting more than one point into it.
Okay, onward to explanations. We max out Soul Steal first so we can bear the full brunt of whatever our enemies try to throw at us early and so we can stay away from the fountain FOREVER. Some people advocate only two levels, but with four you can tank enemy attacks while itís going, heal at the most powerful of neutral creeps without fear of being out-damaged, and basically kick ass.
Maxing Conjure Image early may sound like insanity, but itís done primarily so that you can begin utilizing it for neutral creeps as soon as possible. With your identical-looking buddies killing Furbolgs, Centaurs, Golems and even Dragons becomes an easy task at as early a level as 9. Even at a low level, also, Images will provide some capacity for you to deal physical damage relatively early on. Of course, for those of you who are less inclined to neutral creep early the option of Stats is also available to you. Regardless, you need Images during the midgame for basically everything this hero does, so max it out at 13 at the latest.
Metamorphosis is taken late, very late. Some people may argue that early points in the skill can help in farming but really, the benefits of it are minor. It doesnít last long enough to be very beneficial in keeping you out of harmís way early-on, and really Soul Steal is more than enough to allow you to bear the brunt of whatever your enemy has early in the game. We take it later in the game for ganking after your farming spree is finished, pushing towers, and large battles.
2x Circlet of Nobility, 4x Ancient Tango
Boots of Speed
Eye of Skadi
Boots of Travel
Ancient Tangos may seem unnecessary for a hero who can regain 640 hit points in 8 seconds, but theyíre used as a backup in case of a nasty lane that will nuke you to death before you can regain your lost HP. If you donít think you need them, replace Ďem with Branches or a Gauntlet of Ogre Strength.
Boots are necessary if you want to gank with Sunder early. If you DONíT want to gank with Sunder early, then zilch them and just rush to Radiance. Boots donít help you farm, so theyíre unnecessary in that regard. Get Ďem after you finish up Radiance.
Okay, Radiance. Yes, the +damage does not transfer over to Images, and if anyone, ANYONE tries to point that out theyíre dead. I will kill them. This is your only warning. Weíre getting Radiance because of the damage and sparklies it gives to your original hero, and for the sparklies it gives to your Images. The item allows you to do a number of things that will be covered later, particularly farming, harassing, being able to ignore the fact that youíre melee and hence should be useless in large battles, farming some more, farming, and farming.
Bracers are bought after Radiance for a cheap, cost-effective way of beefing yourself and your Images up. They're very nice items even later into the game.
Eye of Skadi is, I believe, an item that everyone is familiar with for Terrorblade. If not, then itís bought for the massive stat gains it gives you, greatly boosting your damage output, making you a lot harder to kill, solving any mana issues you might have and giving you a slow.
Boots of Travel can be bought before Eye of Skadi if desired. Items afterward should give large bonuses to stats such as the Butterfly, Heart of Tarresque, or Linkenís Sphere. Aegis of the Immortal is also an option.
GAMEPLAY STRATEGY: EARLY GAME
I define Terrorblade's early game basically as before he gets Radiance. At this stage in the game you will be spending virtually all of your time farming, with an occasional Sunder gank in-between. The primary skill necessary in this stage of the game is micro - you need to farm to your Relic as quickly as you can, avoid getting nuked into the ground, pop out of the trees to use Sunder before you get blown apart, and control your weaksauce Images when neutral creeping.
Starting the Game:
Terrorblade's primary role on a team is as a late-game DPS hero. If you're attempting to compose a rounded line-up of heroes Terrorblade should be surrounded primarily by caster heroes who will be spending most of their time running around and ganking while you farm. None of this probably matters to you and really, you can ignore everything I just said and not be hindered if you're playing in an unorganized setting.
Terrorblade is a powerful solo hero because of his relatively high stats and, more importantly, Soul Steal. Even though he suffers from being melee he can survive the worst of onslaughts that his foes attempt to dish out because of the lovely Soul Steal. The only lanes that Terrorblade can not handle well are ones that he's forced to fight two strong chain nukers, the a great example being CM + Lina. This lane pairing will kill you (and anything else) virtually instantly, and obviously Soul Steal doesn't help against that. Otherwise, the Soul Keeper should have no problem soloing against virtually any lane, so assertively ask that you solo the middle lane. If you get denied then it's no big deal, but soloing is optimal.
Early Game Laning:
Right then, you're a melee hero with a little over 500 HP who is soloing a lane. You're going to do this successfully by taking advantage of Terrorblade's high base damage, attack animation, and Soul Steal. Terrorblade's base damage is impressively high and is augmented by a quick, easily cancelled attack animation. As such, it should be relatively easy to time your last hits and denies so that you can keep up with ranged heroes to some extent. Run up, whack a creep, and the moment you see that the creep is dead move back. You DON'T need to wait for Terrorblade to spin around like an idiot.
- Don't cast Soul Steal on heroes. EVER.
- Always use Soul Steal on full HP creeps who arenít getting attacked. Try to stop using the spell before the creep can die in one more hit so your foe canít deny it.
- If you're in danger of being blown apart because of extremely low HP or because of a stun, heal with Soul Steal at the safety of your tower. In situations like these, the Ancient Tangos you bought will help a lot. Use them instead of Soul Steal if your enemy can just run up and nuke you to kill you.
- When Soul Steal is maxed you can take a lot of punishment. Let the enemy hero sit there and whack you and watch his HP go down due to your creeps attacking him.
The above list should be enough to get you by in nearly every situation. Don't use Soul Steal on heroes. Just don't. It doesn't work unless the enemy hero has cerebral palsy, and being cruel to the mentally ill is sick and depraved. Don't cast Soul Steal at inopportune moments. Make sure you've got your creep wave in front of you before you do it (...). If your HP is horrifically low then your enemy will probably just kill you with a nuke while you're using Soul Steal. To counteract this, use it when the enemy creeps are at your tower and pull back if your enemy tries to dive at you with a nuke. Remember that you have Tangos!
Soul Steal can also be used against neutral creeps (surprise). When maxed, Soul Steal does nearly 700 damage, allowing you to take down monsters like Centaurs and Furbolgs without losing virtually any health. Simply running into the forest and finding a creep to Steal HP from is a good way to avoid getting nuked while using the spell.
This is really one of the easiest spells to use in the game, and I hope that this section is more than enough for you to use it correctly. Just remember to use it where you're not going to get nuked into the ground and you'll be fine.
Early Game Sunder:
Once you hit level 6 you have Sunder at your disposal. We'll be looking at how you can use Sunder at this stage in the game without getting killed. First of all, no one cares about a level 6 Terrorblade. No one! Heroes with slivers of HP can kill you easily even if you're at full health at this point in the game. Hence, Sunder is only useful if you've got an ally to take advantage of the hero you damage.
In order for Sunder to work you have to have low HP, but not so low that you die in two hits. An orange HP bar is a good sign that Sunder will both deal significant damage and not cause your death. Getting to low HP isn't very difficult; go neutral creeping for a bit and you should get kicked around enough that your HP will be low. The hero in your lane may prove to be more than enough help for you if he's being aggressive: simply let him beat on you and neglect to heal with Soul Steal, then leave your lane and go a-hunting. You need to have Boots in order to get close enough to use Sunder. The range of the spell is very short and you need to get close enough to your target so that you can cast it.
Find a hero with full HP, or close to full HP. MAKE SURE there's a half-competent, useful ally in the lane of the enemy you're going to Sunder or you're just wasting your time. Simply pop out of the forest, run up to the enemy hero and cast Sunder. An ally throws a nuke, you beat on your target a couple times and kerpow, you've just gotten a kill at level 6 with Terrorblade. Having orange HP rather than red when doing this will allow you room to mess up without dying instantly. You can also towerdive if your HP is orange without dying too quickly, again allowing you more leeway when doing this manuever.
Target choice and/or good micro are essential to doing this properly. If you're good enough and know how to use the forest to your advantage then you can do this to nasty heroes like Lion before he even sees you. If you're not confident in your Sundering ability then aim for a hero like the Beastmaster who can't readily disable you (unless he's level 6!). Ganking with Sunder isn't a necessary step in the game. If you're farming well and want to get to your Radiance as soon as possible then let Sunder sit in the background and just keep going. Use it instead on the hero in your lane when your HP gets low to scare him away.
Early Game Conjure Image:
If you decided to take Images over Stats early then congratulations, you have a tool that the infidels don't. There are two uses for Conjure Image early on: harassing tards and creeping neutrals, the latter in particular being the reason why you would max the skill early.
Since your hero is obscenely easy to kill and you're a potentially deadly force later on in the game it's pretty likely that an enemy hero (or heroes) will stop by at some point and try to kill you. Hopefully he will fail at doing so, and you can retaliate afterward when he leaves the lane by calling up an Image and sending it after him. Images die quickly at this stage in the game but if they're not getting beaten on by creeps (since the enemy you're doing this to is outside of a lane) they take some effort to take down. Either your enemy is going to take some damage from the Image or waste his mana to kill the Image quickly. Either way, you've used the skill to cause discomfort to your foe without suffering any losses yourself.
Scouting is another way to use early game Conjure. The idea is simple: if you think a gank is being planned, call up an Image and run him in the general direction of where you think the hero or heroes are. Optimally they'll try to chain it to death and you win many times over, and in the worst case nothing will be there and you've wasted a negligible amount of mana. It looks stupid when you're wrong though, so don't do it incessantly for the sake of dignity.
The other, more practical use of early game Images is to creep neutrals once the skill is at level 3 or 4. Simply call up an Image, run yourself and your clone into a creep camp and take the bastards down faster than you would if you were alone. Micro is important here; have your Image tank the creeps first until his HP is low, then pull him back and have the creeps focus you instead. You can creep neutrals incredibly efficiently at a very early stage in the game because of your lovely Images, and this will greatly increase your farming prowess.
Early Game Goals:
Your goal early is to farm to Radiance. You want it before 30 minutes, and you succeed at doing this through the power of Soul Steal. When the skill is at level 4 you can creep every neutral in the game excluding the big nasty creeps (Dragons, D.Spawns, super Golems) as well as stay in your lane indefinitely. The 30 minute goal is more than feasible even if you end up dying a couple of times to ganks, provided you farm quickly and efficiently. Conjure Image will allow you to farm even faster once it reaches level 2 or 3. To give you an idea, try creeping the Dragon (or Dragonspawn) creeps (usually a dangerous task until very late in the game) at level 10. Kill the small one by hitting it, Soul Steal the other little one to death, then micro your Image so that itís not right next to you (avoiding the splash damage) and kill the final one. You should only lose about 400 HP and 180~ mana total.
Once you finish Radiance the early game is over, and itís time to move on to the next section.
GAMEPLAY STRATEGY: MIDDLE GAME
The middle game for Terrorblade is the time that he has Radiance and proceeds to farm to the gamebreaking item, namely Eye of Skadi. Radiance will allow you to farm at unprecedented rates, gank to a limited extent and defend against enemy attacks if your team requires your assistance. Your hero is stronger than he was early and is more than just a Sunder and neutralling machine, but youíre still only partly out of the gutter. Whether you complete your next farming hurdle or not is likely to decide whether your team wins the game or not, provided that that hasnít been decided yet.
Conjure Image: Sparklies Now Included!:
Your images are now bolstered by increases in your base stats from leveling up and Radiance. As such, you can now use them to power farm and to cause havoc against your enemies. HOW SO, PIEMONGER?!
Try this: an enemy Ė Visage Ė is farming in his lane. Conjure an Image when you have Radiance and run it up to Visage, then have it start whacking him. Observe what happens. Visage takes damage. You farm a couple of creeps because of Radiance. Visage is annoyed. All you lose from this is a small amount of mana. This is one reason why we buy Radiance first, because it is a sick-nasty way to bolster the power of your Images early on. Simply call up an Image, send him hurdling into a lane and cause destruction for a good 10-20 seconds. While all of this is happening youíre farming neutrals in the forest. Caster heroes will have to throw spells at the Image in order to get it off of them, Agility heroes will be forced to stop farming and get rid of it, wasting time and HP.
Even if there isnít a lone enemy in the lane for you to bother, simply sending an Image at a wave of creeps will make you money fast without you having to do anything. Again, while the Image is doing the dirty work you can go and try to gank someone with Sunder, or run to the next lane or into the forest to farm more creeps. No other item serves to strengthen your images during the midgame like Radiance can, and that is why we buy it first.
Radiance and Conjure Image mean you can farm faster than virtually any hero in the game, excluding maybe Visage or Furion (Visage is a ****** anyway). Proper use of Conjure is crucial to this being true, however, and this is done by multi-tasking with your multiple farming machines.
There are a number of variations you can do with this tactic, but it remains largely the same. To give an example, Terrorblade is in the forest. He wants to farm neutrals but there is also a big juicy mob of creeps waiting to be mopped up. You can do both with Radiance. Conjure an Image, charge him into the lane and have him nab the creeps and use your original hero to clear the neutrals. You can change the process somewhat by swapping the role of Image and hero Ė this is advantageous in that your main hero is more able to score every creep in the lane, but is problematic because a lone Image sometimes isnít enough to clear a neutral camp, or just takes too darned long. Repeat, and move to somewhere else when it seems as though your enemy is getting suspicious. Speaking of whichÖ
Terrorblade is easily ganked. It takes very, very little time for a half-assed team to figure out youíre chilling in the forest and sending an Image into the lane every so often to do your dirty work, and as such you need to be ever-diligent while farming. Watch your mini-map constantly (shouldnít be difficult, as all youíre doing is waiting for the camp to get eliminated) and pray to the Elder Gods that your allies are buying Observer Wards to keep track of stray bastards. If youíre caught then youíre probably dead; all youíve got to save you is Sunder and maybe Conjure if your enemies completely and utterly suck at everything. Sunder probably wonít help you if youíre caught alone against 2-3 heroes at this stage in the game so the best way to counter getting ganked alone in the forest is not to let it happen. Keep moving! There are plenty of neutral camps, so migrate about when itís obvious your enemy knows whatís going on. Really the only hard part about Terrorbladeís middle game is keeping an eye on the map for ganks, so focus your energy into doing that if the enemy team doesnít blow.
Ganking, Sort Of:
If you donít feel like farming at this point in the game (why not?!) then donít fret, because Radiance allows you to kill heroes through your powerful physical attack and the dominance ofÖ an early Radiance! These arenít the best ganking tools in the world, admittedly, and thatís why farming is the better option at this stage in the game. Basically, just whack the hell out of a hero in conjunction with allied spells. You also still hold claim to Sunder, which you can use in the same manner that you did earlier in the game. The only difference is that now you donít die to a single Magic Missile, which is pretty hawt. Run up to a hero, Sunder, have an ally nuke, beat down the rest of the enemy HP. Go back to farming!
Defending in Pushes:
Provided you have Radiance before the enemy team can attempt to break into your base you wonít have to suffer a 4v5 handicap; rather, youíll be playing a 4.5v5 disadvantage. Terrorblade, like similar heroes, sucks early-on. Heís very, very Níaix-like in this respect in spite of my hatred of people comparing the two. This is another reason why we get Radiance early, because itís the cheapest way of making your hero actually useful earlier in the game while at the same time augmenting your prowess in other areas. Basically, Conjure up a couple of Images, spread Ďem apart a bit so the Sparklies get everyone, and keep a rabid trigger finger on Sunder and hit it when your HP gets low. Radiance is your best friend here, as the Sparklies will cause significant damage to your foes and canít be escaped unless your Image or Images get wiped out by an AoE nuke or two.
Really though, if your team is remotely decent your base shouldnít be getting pwnt at this stage in the game - rather, a greater dilemma you may have to cope with is the enemy locking the map down and taking total control over the battlefield, taking advantage of Terrorblade's early weakness as one would do to a weak team that attempts to field Clinkz. This results in keeping you from farming, your team from doing anything and basically shutting the game down before a rax is even thought about getting taken. This situation occuring depends more upon your (and their) team's prowess then your own skill with Terrorblade, and I just threw it in for the sake of illustrating to you a big reason why this hero and others like him tend to fail in high-level play. Keeping your base from being destroyed early-on isn't a big deal but your team losing every gank and hence losing any chance of holding on to any chance of winning because of Terrorblade's early game misery is a harsh possibility.
Middle Game Goals:
Farm. Farm like crazy, because once you get Eye of Skadi you are uncontested as the strongest hero in the game. Only gank if the opportunity is extremely available to you (400 HP Sniper farming past river, etc) and hope that you donít have to stop pushes. If you do, then read the previous section for some guidelines on how to deal with the problem. Just keep farming. How fast can you obtain 7,000 gold with a Radiance-wielding Terrorblade? Fast. Fast as hell, provided you are diligent, watch for ganks and have a team that can hold on in a 4v5 situation. I wonít give you a time table here because it can vary wildly, but you want Eye of Skadi. When you get it the twilight of the game has been reached.
GAMEPLAY STRATEGY: LATE GAME
Terrorbladeís late game is defined in this guide as when he becomes a game-breaking force. We will be looking at how to handle your hero in large battles so that you can take the fullest advantage of Terrorbladeís late game dominance.
At this point in the game you will want Metamorphosis to participate in large battles. It allows you to stay out of the ugliest area of the fray and hammer a hero with your massive DPS from a safe distance. Donít use Metamorphosis to farm. Donít use it to push perimeter towers. Use it only when you need it to kill heroes. The cooldown of the spell is ENORMOUS and not having it in a crucial battle can easily mean that your team loses. Itís that big a deal. Only use Meta in battles. Thatís all you need to know about it.
Conjure Image, Part Trois!:
You no longer use Conjure Image to farm and be a nuisance. You now use it to kill everything that gets in your way. Earlier in the game having three Images up isnít necessary unless youíre creeping a really nasty Neutral camp,but now youíll want three up all the time. Eye of Skadi means you can cast the spell constantly, so abuse it like youíve never abused before. Eye of Skadi + Radiance Images are absolutely gross. They can single-handedly outgun enemy caster heroes in one on one combat. They take a great deal of effort to kill and they make your enemy cry. So yes, I was lying about no longer using Conjure to be a nuisance. Keep running them into the battlefield and forcing your enemy to expend their resources on them.
As said, you need to have three Images up during battles. Your damage output is greatly hindered without them, although another reason why we get Radiance is so that your hero CAN deal damage even if your Images get dispatched. Thereís really very little to keep in mind with this skill at this point in the game. Have three Terrorblades up at all times, and use Ďem to beat everything into the ground.
Late Game Sunder:
For virtually the entire game prior to now Sunder was used as a decent ganking tool and a possible lucky lifesaver in a nasty situation. Now that your hero takes about 10 Magic Missiles in order to take down Sunder can be utilized with great control and intent to truly maximize its power. Basically, letís say that two infidels try to take on a lone Terrorblade. The first infidel gets the shit beaten out of him by TBís massive DPS, then when TBís HP hits the orange/red the other infidel is hit with Sunder. Both enemy heroes are dead, and Terrorblade has lost about 400 HP. You couldnít do this before because your hero was weaksauce and went down in a few nukes but now youíve got 2.5k HP, Images that seem just as difficult to kill as you are and the psychological advantage of being absolutely ****ing terrifying. Basically, now you can start using Sunder as a second life without nearly as much fear of death. Obviously, if 5 heroes are focusing you alone then you canít, but in realistic situations itís more than possible.
Late Game Goals:
Win! With Radiance and EoS no hero - even with items superior to yours (excluding, of course, Mortred with 12 Rapiers and things of that sort) - can hope to stop you by himself. Provided your team doesn't utterly fail and you didnít actually make it this far by luck the enemy team shouldn't have any way of taking you down. You destroy buildings incredibly quickly, have Sunder to keep you on the battlefield twice as long as any other hero and basically are incredibly terrifying in every single way. The hard part of the game is over, and now the only difficult thing to manage is making sure you have Meta ready in crucial battles.
Other than with Sunder and in situations that you're just using Radiance and attack-move to contribute somewhat to a battle, Terrorblade is not a ganker. He does not lane well with allies, he does not have anything to chain, he does not have a method of dealing instant damage and he dies hilariously quickly for a very large chunk of the game.
As such, a Best Allies list for Terrorblade is STUPID. Okay, Sunder + Reaper's Scythe kills an enemy hero instantly. A successful Sunder + ANYTHING kills an enemy hero instantly in a realistic game. What Terrorblade wants in terms of allies is a team of heroes who can hold their own in a 4v5 until Terrorblade can farm up the appropriate items that will turn the game into a 7v5. Gankers, casters, powerhouse early-gamers, etc all fit this mould. Bane Elemental, the Queen of Pain, the Necrolyte, the Lich, and Pugna are just a few heroes I can list off the top of my head. You won't directly be doing anything with these guys but they'll allow you to chill in the forest while they hop around giving the enemy team something to sweat over. That, above all else, is what Terrorblade needs to win.
COMMON QUESTIONS AND CRITICISMS
This section is primarily to scare away Scron before he tries to post (if he still exists, even). LET'S SEE IF IT WORKS.
Radiance is stupid, Sacred Relic is too much to farm, the damage doesn't carry over to Images, getting Eye of Skadi first is better, etc.
First of all, the more classic build of going right to Eye of Skadi is definitely not a bad way to play. It's certainly not a death sentence build like Dagon Sunder is (and arguably like Manta is), and it can turn Terrorblade into a monster of a hero in just the same way that this build can. It is, however, not as good (I state this as fact, bitches!) as going Radiance before it.
Going Radiance on Terrorblade is not a unique concept that I thought of one dreary autumn day while masturbating to myself. It's a relatively common build but I'm aware that a lot of people aren't acquainted with it and I know that people on this forum are unfamiliar with its dominance and even its viability. Radiance is, as you may know, an incredibly powerful item in itself, especially if it's farmed quickly. The easiest way to win a public game is to straight farm Radiance on the Necrolyte, and if a hero like the Necrolyte can destroy everything with it (in public games, albeit) then that suggests that it's pretty badass. The power of the item is augmented, however, by the transfer of the Sparklies over to your Images. I believe that even if one could farm Eye of Skadi as fast as they could Radiance on Terrorblade the latter item would still prove to be stronger for a notable portion of the game. Sparkly Images are incredibly annoying to your enemy and turns you into one of the best farmers of the game, probably in the top 3 or 5. Visage and Furion are two contenders, maybe Manta Tinker, maybe Doom Bringer, but Terrorblade is up there at or near the top. His farming prowess is nowhere close to this level if he doesn't have Radiance, and although spending so much money on an item would be foolish simply for farming benefits it happens to be one of the largest farming augmentations in the entire game (contending with Aghamin's on Furion) and strengthens you in other aspects that have been mentioned throughout the guide. It just rules.
Four levels of Soul Steal is unnecessary!
Four levels of Soul Steal is not a universal choice, and I'm aware that it's probably more common to stick with 3 points or even 2. Four is the best! It is worth constraining Terrorblade's tight skill point ration to max this skill out, because it is just so useful in getting you to Radiance and even has its uses beyond that point. Getting three points instead is not optimal, in my opinion, but it won't ruin your game.
Getting Conjure Image early is moronic. One AoE skill wipes Images out instantly!
Nukes can kill early-game Images, but then again we're not using them to fight the Death Prophet. As scouting, occasional harrassing and primary farming tools it doesn't really matter if they die to nukes quickly - they're never going to get hit by one! Even at level 8 or 9 your Images pack enough punch to take down Neutral Creeps single-handedly. That's why getting the skill first is an option, for the farming power and simply so that you have it maxed the moment you get Radiance. Getting Stats over it, however, is a viable option as well.
Meta is better than Stats or Conjure early.
Meta doesnít last long enough and the cooldown is too long to be useful in anything beyond brief encounters with enemy heroes, such as ganks or large battles. Since youíre relatively useless in ganks until youíve farmed a huge amount of shiz, I take Meta during the mid/late game. Soul Steal only isnít enough when youíre against a disgusting chain-nuke combo - something that no single hero can hope to successfully fare against with or without (temporary!) range. I can assure you that 550 range every time we enter into another Ice Age will not save you from Bite + LSA + Nova + Slave in any way whatsoever. Meta's purpose is to assist you in battles which a single point more than does the job of doing early on, not to farm as a ranged hero.
Terrorblade sux, Viper is better!
Although I believe that the Soul Keeper is a far more powerful hero than what most people assume (certainly not Níaix-tier, as he is occasionally grouped) Iím well aware of the fact that heís not a powerhouse. I would rank him around mid-tier to mid/high tier, or good enough to be considered in a Ėrd game but overlooked for a more conventional carry if possible and certainly not intended to lane against an engineered Sentinel death combo. Visage and Viper are obviously tougher cookies than Terrorblade is but no one plays competitive LM 100% of the time (and in the case of the people who actually need this guide, 0% of the time) so thatís ratherÖ irrelevant. The biggest problem I see with this hero is his inability to gank or hold his own in ganks during the middle game. This can result in the enemy team gaining total map control and you being totally unable to do anything about it. Hence, when facing a strong team as Terrorblade you need to have a strong team behind you as well.
You made fun of Manta Terrorblade!
And I'm not saying sorry, bitches!
I will not be answering questions to this guide as that would require me to regularly view the forum, so someone else will occasionally come around and do the dirty work for me. I will periodically update, however.
The format of this guide is a tribute to Renegade, and if it burns your eyes then you can go to hell! It's only going to be changed if a moderator deems it to be so bad that he arbitrarily does it himself. No screenshots for Terrorblade, I'm afraid, as I'm a newb and I think they're only useful for showing the area of spells and concepts beyond that of clicking a hero and casting Sunder.
This guide is short, but to me Terrorblade is just knowing how to build, farm, and attack-move. If you can get these things down everything else is just mindless clicking.
Played by MasterJoe:
I start with Necrolyte, but someone on my team gets Terrorblade and doesn't want to play him. I swap him and head off to middle and solo. My starting items are 4 Branches, 1 Circlet, and 2 sets of Tangos. I solo against PotM, and I have a pretty bad start in terms of CS. I pick up my Relic at around 23 minutes, and complete my Radiance and get Boots at around 30 minutes. After this, I always keep a TP scroll with me and complete 3 Wraith Bands. My team is doing fairly well while I farm, but the enemy QoP and PotM pose a problem. PotM and QoP are both farming pretty well.
I help in a couple team battles, and I try to farm my Skadi. While we Roshan, the enemy team gank us. I think I score a triple kill. Watch how I use the Radiance immolation to kill the fleeing PotM. Everyone on the enemy team dies and on our team, only Venomancer survives. After getting my Skadi, we start to push and we take down their mid raxes. We proceed to taking down their top rax, then their bottom, and we win the game.
Pretty good game I would say. It has some pretty good players.
One thing I want to say about your guide is to add in Wraiths after Radiance/Boots. Waiting until Skadi to have decent DPS with images isn't good. You want some cheap agility, and Wraiths give exactly that.