Ethreain the Lich, is one of the coolest Dota 2 characters. I have been playing him since I was a little popsicle, and I have had my share of freezing over the years. Lich is a very fun hero because even though he’s not particularly strong, he’s deadly and virtually untouchable if you play it right. I’ve seen Lich players absolutely dominate a game, and I’ve done the same with the tactics in this guide.
Now this hero can be a very good support, but there are a thousand guides about that already so we’re going to give our allies the cold shoulder with this one build. We won’t be carrying the game, we won’t be support, but we’ll turn the tide each and every single battle thanks to the right spells at the right time and a bunch of tactics that will make us slippery as ice. So, without delay, gentlemen and gentle women: I present you the coolest Lich!
Lich has one major disadvantage, but it’s a big one and should always be taken into consideration because 99% of the times you will die because of it: Stuns and carries. If you get stunned or caught by one of the carries you have absolute zero chance of surviving. You’re a fragile little ice-shard twinkling in the darkness, but don’t keep your cool:
1- Show up at the right times. Remember you’re not a tank and you can quickly use your abilities and retreat.
2- Buy items that give you skills to avoid your enemies. Become invisible, ethereal, faster, immune to magic or anything you deem appropriate.
Lich will barely get hit. You have a great range for your skills and if you play well you’ll always be one step away from enemy ranged attacks. You can always allow the enemy to get closer for a hit on you, but make sure you have allies close, your frozen bones are frail!
One-ult-man. Your spells are ok and your disable is fine, but ultimate is truly a freezing fantastic great skill to have because even though you are easy to kill you can allow your enemies to gank on you and use your nasty, nasty ult to kill them all even if you die. High level Lich has unlimited chain bounces, so it’s definitely not a joke!
Support or Disabler
The Lich can either go full support and save a few characters here and there, or it can focus on surviving and harassing the enemy. Sometimes victory depends on the allies you save, while some others it’s better to make sure the enemy party’s carry can’t do anything. This is just the tip of the ice-berg, the Lich can adapt well to counter most heroes if you are a good teamplayer.
Guide for Lich’s Items
Bold items are items you need to obtain. Bold and underlined items are final items.
1- Boots of Speed: This extra running speed will be very valuable early on.
2- Wind Lace: A transition item to get tranquil boots. It will make you fast like the coldest wind.
3- Ring of Regen: Even though you should barely get hit, the 1.25 hp regen of this ring is always welcome. Once these three items are finished, you’ll have item 4 already.
4- Tranquil Boots: Speed and HP regen as long as you’re not getting attacked. This is very useful to hit enemies who can’t hit back. Use your range wisely and remember that you will lose your regen AND your speed for a while if you get hit! Stay frosty!
5- Ogre Axe: You don’t really need more damage and you shouldn’t miss mana too much. A little extra hp should be VERY useful though, especially when other enemies plan to crush you.
6- Staff of Wizardry: Extra damage and mana. With it you should be halfway through Aghanim’s staff
7- Aghanim’s Staff: This makes your ultimate so much deadlier, especially if you can get it before level 11. It’s a must. The stats it gives are also pretty n’ice.
Done with these? How’s the game going so far? If you’re easily winning go for items that disable opponents. If you’re getting slain and have no chance to act just get some items that might guarantee your survival if you use them at the right times. Let’s see how the list goes:
8-Scythe of Vyse: Not all skills should be defensive. Use this to disable any enemy hero for a few seconds.
9- Force Staff: Sometimes invisibility just won’t do. Once you have this, the force will be with you. Remember: you can push yourself forward, but also your allies and enemies! Use it to lead people to their frozen doom… or to chill by your side.
10-Aghanim’s shard: At some point you’re going to want to get your unlimited bouncing ult. With the shard’s skill you can do extra damage and make sure your bounces no longer depend on creeps! Cool, huh?
Got these already? Now depending on what you want to do you should also get these other items.
11-Glimmer Cape: After your enemies figure out they should take you out quickly you’ll be walking on thin ice. This will make you invisible for a while and allow you to be slippery like ice.
12 –Blink Dagger: Your ultimate will become a devastating force, but enemy heroes may still defeat you with a hit or two. This sure you go in and out of range, like a chilly apparition. You can upgrade it to arcane if you feel like you have too much gold.
13-Dagon: Tired of being a one-ult hero? Use this for last hits, or simply to deal a ton of damage. Now you can mix hot and cold skills.
14-Necronomicon: Most Lich players get Mekansm, and I get why. Meka is a great item. However, by this point you’re probably familiar with this item, so we’re going to change this strategy a little bit. Use Necronomicon instead, and harass enemy heroes or even bait them with your trusty minions. The archer can purge and the melee skeleton burns mana.
15- Aether Lens: Even more range and more hypnotizing power, this item can be very effective.
End game gear should be: Tranquil Boots, Aghanim’s Staff, Force Staff and Scythe of Vyse, along with Aghanim’s Shard. Then, depending on the game you can use Glimmer Cape, Aether Lens, Necronomicon Level 3, Blink Dagger (arcane) and max level Dagon.
Neutral Items Guide
Trusty shovel: Not the best creep item to have and definitely not the worst, but an item you’d definitely want to keep around. Why? Because it’s wonderful: you can use this wonderful little shovel every 45 seconds to dig around and obtain either a free health/mana potion, 50 gold for your team or a creep to give you exp. It does not give you any other benefits, but that’s enough to keep it on your unused items inventory. You can switch this item with your main creep item every 45 seconds for some freebies even late game!
Philosopher’s stone: Lich doesn’t have a particularly high attack. And if you die, it’s basically free extra gold. This is also an item you should keep on your unused items inventory slots, useful for every hero.
Arcane ring: Not the best of items, but you can use this again and again to regain just enough mana for one spell early and mid-game. Use that spell wisely. I usually replace this as fast as possible.
Fairy’s Trinket: Not so much for the reduced mana cost, but for that sweet, sweet.
Spider Legs: I recommend speed for any character. Being fast can make a huge difference, and can help you outrun your enemies. Whether that be to catch them or to get away from them, that’s up to the game itself.
Trusty Shovel: Probably one of my favorite Dota 2 neutral items. Use it to dig around and then change your items while it’s on cooldown.
Spell Prism: Quickening charm but it gives you more stats. This is one of THE ultimate items you can get. It makes your ultimate better in every way plus it gives you some stats.
Mind Breaker: While not incredibly good, you can use this one to silence any enemies that would teleport next to you and then one-hit you with their skill. It may help you run away, or it may allow you to strike them.
Eye of the Vizier: More cast range for a character with a deadly ult, a disable and a slowdown attack means a lot of situations in which you may end up killing an enemy.
Book of Shadows: A very good item to have, so that you can get out of squishy situations. It works well with Glimmer Cape or Blink Dagger.
Quickening Charm: Even if it’s just a single second, having your ultimate trigger a little bit earlier can make an enormous difference in DotA. Especially if you go in, take all the damage you can, restore some health and then go back into the frey to bait your enemies into attacking you to “finish you off”, triggering your ultimate again and healing you once more.
Book of the Dead: Combined with Necronomicon, this can be a force to be reckoned with thanks to its summons.
Seer Stone: This item will grant you insane vision and range. Also you can reveal small areas of the map. What’s a Lich without its seeing stone anyway?
Ideally, a fight should go like this: You wait until your enemies strike, allow them to fight your team for a few seconds, then you rush in and ult. This devastating ultimate of yours will turn the tide of the battle if you time it right. But that’s not all you can do. You can use hypnotize (especially mass hypnotize, if you have aghanim) to disable all of your opponents while your ultimate does the job. This both saves and takes lives, as sometimes allies with very little HP can deliver their last hit thanks to your quick thinking. If you ever initiate, it should be with hypnotize: grab an enemy hero and make sure your allies are there to finish the job, otherwise you’ll be in great danger!
If the fight prolongs itself too much, you may want to use other items like Dagon, but ideally you should nuke the entire enemy party and get away before they lose their cool.
Lich is good for killing teams, but remember that you’re always walking on thin ice. If you can, let the tank tank and the carry carry.
What to do:
-Avoid getting hit. Stay out of range until it’s time to blast your enemies away.
-Use your hypnotize to disable the enemy team, especially their channeling skills.
-Rely on items that enhance either your ability to escape/surprise your enemy or that add extra disabling/damage spells.
-Frost armor is useful for escaping and protecting allies, but it’s usually not that much of a game-changer.
What to watch out for:
-Stuns and enemies that kill you fast. Anti-Mage, Phantom Assassin, Slardar (he’s fast and stuns a lot)
-Failing to ult properly, as it can ruin your team fight.
These strategies are only the tip of the ice-berg. You’re the one who should adapt them to your own play style. Be as slippery as ice and put your enemies on cooldown. You may even be cold-hearted enough to recycle some of the puns used in this guide so that both your allies and enemies will end up commending you. Remember the coolest Lich is you!
If you think you can improve this guide in any way or form, feel free to leave a comment below! It’s always good to trade strategies and learn new ways to improve.