Join Date: Jul 2009
This is a simple guide for Zeus, consisting of Introduction, Skill build, Item build, Gameplay, and Tips.
I'll try to keep it as short as possible yet cover as much information as you need to learn Zeus.
Zeus is an intelligence hero with a strong nuke and a global ultimate which gives him a great strategic advantage. He is very strong in the early game as a ganker and becomes less powerful as the game proceeds to mid and late games.
Please refer to the Heroes section of PlayDota website for information on hero background, stats, and skill descriptions.
A. Skill build
1. Arc Lightning
2. Static Field
3. Lightning bolt
4. Lightning bolt
5. Lightning bolt
6. Thundergod's Wrath
7. Lightning bolt
8. Static Field
9. Static Field
10. Static Field
11. Thundergod's Wrath
12. Stats/Arc Lightning*
13. Stats/Arc Lightning*
14. Stats/Arc Lightning*
16. Thundergod's Wrath
*You may choose to go stats or Arc Lightning here. If you feel that you have enough HP and manapool, go ahead and level up Arc Lightning. If not, get stats. I personally prefer getting a few stats before I start maxing out Arc Lightning.
An alternative build is to get Lightning bolt at levels 2, 3, and getting a Static Field at level 4. This may be suitable if you're Bottle-relaying with Crow or have CM's Brilliance Aura to cover up your manacost so you can continuously nuke the enemy.
B. Item Build
Assuming that you pick Zeus, start with
1 set of Tangoes (90)
1 Salve (100)
1 Circlet of Nobility (185)
2 Ironwood Branches (53 x 2 = 106)
2 Clarity Potions (50 x 2 = 100)
Yet an alternative is to start with a Bottle.
For the suggested build, you may also get a Mantle of Intelligence instead of a Circlet and get 3 Clarity Potions to start with.
Farm and buy Bottle if you didn't start with a Bottle.
If you are doing well in lane, you may want to rush to Arcane Ring. If you are not farming well, forget it and start building basic stat items.
Bracers or Nulls are the basic items you need. Get Bracers if you want more HP for survival. Get Nulls if you feel safe and want to be more agressive with more mana.
You can choose to get a Magic Wand in the place of one of the Bracers of Nulls. This will be especially helpful if your enemy has a spammable skill. Otherwise it is still helpful because max charges (15) provide just enough mana for your ult and when playing Zeus, it happens quite a lot that you run out of mana and cannot use the ult.
You may also want to buy Boots of Speed while you are preparing for these basic items.
Now, you will want to upgrade your Boots. Your two options are Boots of Travel and Phase Boots. Get Boots of Travel if you can use it well to cooperate with your teammates. Get Phase Boots if you want an early game advantage and cost efficiency.
A dual-laning Zeus is supposed to buy lots of wards. If you are solo, let your team's babysitter/supporter buy most of the wards and only buy them every once in a while to help him/her with the burden.
The next items may vary depending on games:
- Kelen's Dagger will greatly help your ganking ability as well as survival and positioning for team battles.
- Go for Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse if your team is in desperate need for disable. Even if that is not the case, Guinsoo is always a good item.
- Going Aghanim may be considered a safe build as early Point Booster solves Zeus's HP and mana problems. I personally think Aghanim's effect on Zeus is actually not bad since it's increased damage is applied on 5 enemy heroes.
- Shiva's Guard is considerably cheap, gives good stat/armor bonus and has an excellent active ability.
- Eul's Scepter of Divinity if it can be especially useful (As in against Abaddon), if you feel it can be used well for survival and for canceling skills, and/or if you failed to farm.
- Black King Bar if you feel it's really needed.
Some other items you may also consider though less in priority are:
- Necronomicon if the other team has invis heroes.
- Dagon if your team is totally owning and you want to increase your damage input for more kills.
- Refresher Orb possibly after you gain enough manapool with some of the items discussed above.
- New items like Force Staff and Ghost Scepter though these items' usefulness are still not confirmed.
Zeus usually goes for solo mid though he can dual lane too.
This guide assumes that he goes mid solo.
In early laning phase, use Arc Lightning to both last-hit creeps and to damage enemy hero. Don't depend on it too much though for creeping and try to get last-hits with regular attacks if possible. Also, try to use Arc Lightning when the enemy hero is under Static Field's AOE.
Check for runes every 2 minutes especially if you have a Bottle. Rune-checking is usually what determines the fate of mid-solo. Zeus solo mid isn't weak but it's not strong either, so if your enemy outplays you at rune checking, it is very probable that you will lose in lane.
As you level up Lightning bolt, use it to harass enemy hero and keep him/her low HP.
As you are getting close to level 6, manage your mana and keep enough for your ult (225 mana) and maybe a Lightning bolt.
When you become level 6, you need to be really observant of the map. Don't use your ult just for last-hitting red HP enemy heroes. When your teammates are having a fight and even if you can't get there, use your ult to help their fight.
(For example, let's say 2 of your guys are fighting 2 enemy heroes on the other side of the map. If your teammates die and you use your ult to kill the 2 red HP enemy heroes, you may get 2 kills but still lose on the EXP. On the other hand, if you use your ult during the fight to help your teammates, you help the possibility that your teammates survive that fight, kill the enemy heroes, and get EXP for killing the heroes. And you will have 2 assists that shine like a gold medal much brighter than 2 kills.)
The times when you want to gank are when you get runes (Haste, Invisibility) and/or see chances for kills, when you are level 5/6, and when you are level 7 (which is the time when you are probably the most powerful in the game and don't want your strength to be wasted) and on.
You can choose to relay Bottle with Crow for early game if you want to.
Mid game is when the laning phase ends and the teams are going for ganking and/or pushing depending on their line-up.
Having Zeus on the team suggests that your team is more inclined to ganking than pushing, so you must move around busily to shake up top and bottom lanes with your strong nuke and ult.
This, however, does not mean that you must neglect farming. You must keep a good balance between ganking and farming. After a ganking attempt on the sidelanes, go back to your mid lane (unless you see a chance to push the tower) and get back to farming. Even a farmed Zeus becomes hardly useful in late game. A unfarmed Zeus becomes totally uesless.
Portal is the key during mid game. Always be there when your teammates are about to fight. Use it frequently for ganking and defending towers. It is your duty as the solo to participate in big fights and your presence alone is enough to change the flow of the fight.
Make it a habit to use your ult at the beginning of big fights unless you see a need to save it for strategical purposes like disabling the enemy's Dagger. Starting a fight with your ult means the enemies won't start fighting with full HP. It is also recommendable because the enemies usually focus-fire on Zeus in fights to get rid of him first, not leaving a chance for him to use his ult.
In addition, continuously use Arc Lightning to trigger Static Field.
Since Zeus's presence becomes weaker as game goes on, you would want to gank down the enemies in the mid game and finish the it before it gets too late.
If you are unfarmed for late game, there is nothing much you can do, especially if the other team gets Khadgar's Pipe of Insight. Just use your skills continuously and strategically. Use your Lightning bolt to cancel enemy's skills and use your ult to disable Dagger, which may be useful against heroes such as Earthshaker.
Use your ult to give vision of enemies when your teammates are chasing them down.
Buy sentries and Dust for pushing.
If you are farmed, use your Guinsoos or other active items well to back up the fights.
- Lightning bolt has a mini-stun. Use it well for canceling portals and for canceling skills.
- Lightning bolt gives true sight for a few seconds. Though you cannot depend on it, it may still be useful in some cases.
- Thundergod's Wrath also gives true sight just like Lightning bolt.
- Thundergod's Wrath does not damage invisible heroes but still reveals them for a few seconds.
- Do not underestimate the power of Static Field. It shocks for 11% of enemies' current HP in 800 AOE and you have two skills with short cd (Arc lightning: 2.5 seconds, Lightning bolt: 7 seconds). Keep using them in fights to trigger Static Field because it will really hurt them.
Thanks for reading. Hope this is helpful for people learning Zeus.
Any comments, criticism, and further ideas will be appreciated.
Shoutout to Heen, Woobear, Gae, Jot, jpark, Bekzod, UG, Undead, Attwo, Hyo, iMBa, and all other my fellow clanmates.