Orb Walking - the Subtle Art
#OW6a. Why orb-walk if you have autocast?
#OW1. Introduction#OW1. Introduction
#OW2. What is orb-walking?
#OW3. How to orb-walk
#OW4. Defining orb spells
#OW5. Who can orb-walk?
#OW6. Orb-walk tactics#OW6a) Why orb-walk?#OW7. Comparing orb-walking and animation canceling/ani-cancel
#OW6b) When to orb-walk?
#OW8. Types of Orbs in DotA
Orb-walking, essential for harassing lane enemies and chasing them down for the kill later on. So, how do you do it, and more importantly, how do you abuse its potential as effectively as possible?#OW2. What is orb-walking?
It's manually casting orb spells while moving alongside the enemy hero. These spells must have zero cooldown, otherwise it is not possible to orbwalk, since you're waiting for your orb to cooldown while you're chasing. Only orb spells can be used to orb-walk.#OW3. How to orb-walk, then?
Manually cast your orb spell, then start moving [or issue any other command] once you see the attack projectile in the air [a trick known as animation cancel].#OW4. What are orb spells and how do they differ from normal spells?
You should be within attack range still once your hero moves, so just repeat the process until you should back off, or until enemy hero dies.
Orb spells [usually] have 0 cd, and they will add a visual effect to your normal attack projectile, as well as enhance your attack. Although the spells have 0 cd, they still cost mana to cast, and are still affected by Silences.#OW5. Who can orb-walk?
One of the major differences between normal spells and orb spells is their effects on Silencer's Curse of the Silent and Last Word, on Magic Stick/Wand as well as on Harbinger's Essence Aura.
a) cause Curse of the Silent to be debuffed from the hero
b) cause the caster to be silenced by Last Word
c) add a charge to Magic Stick/Wand
d) trigger Essence Aura at its normal percentage.
On the other hand, orb spells:
a) will not debuff Curse of the Silent from hero
b) will not cause the caster to be silenced by Last Word
c) does not add charges to Magic Stick/Wand
d) triggers Essence Aura, but at a decreased percentage.
As will be mentioned below, there are only 7 heroes with skills at those shown levels who can orb-walk. For now, their icons should suffice.#OW6. Orb-walk tactics
#OW6a. Why orb-walk if you have autocast?
Orb-walking counts as casting a spell. This has 2 major effects on your gameplay.#OW6b. When to orb-walk?1. It does not draw aggro from either creeps or towers. In other words, it does not attract enemy creeps or towers to attack you, so long as your hero is not the only thing they see.That being said, you don't have to orb-walk all game long. Once your IAS exceeds your casting animation speed, you can do without orb-walking, and proceed straight to autocasting your orbs.
2. Orb-walking heroes usually have a shorter casting animation compared to their attack animation. This helps in chasing, especially for Viper and Drow, who both have potent orb-based slows.
Orb-walk is used for harrassing to good effect, and is often the way to get first blood in orb-walker lanes [Huskar and Viper are potential candidates for this].#OW7. Orb-walking v Animation canceling/ani-cancel
So, when to orb-walk? During the laning phase, and when chasing, you'll find that orb-walk shines. Laning is for the harassing, and chasing is for when you don't want that enemy to get away. Cast orb -> move -> cast orb again -> move -> rinse and repeat until enemy dies, or until you should back off.
It is mentioned above that orb-walking involves animation canceling. However, there are differences between normal animation cancel and orbwalking.#OW8. How many different types of orbs are there in DotA, and which of them can be used to orbwalk?
Orbwalking uses the spell cast animation. For all of the orb-walkers, they have a cast animation which is shorter than their normal attack animation. This gives them a slight advantage in terms of chasing, since they don't spend most of their time doing some funky animation which doesn't help you.
Item-based orbs [cannot be used to orb-walk]#OW9. Credits
Lifesteal - Mask of Death, Mask of Madness, Helm of the Dominator, Satanic
Chain Lightning - Maelstrom, Mjollinir
Greater and Lesser Maim - Sange and Yasha, Sange
Cold Attack - Eye of Skadi
Corruption - Desolator
Feedback - Diffusal Blade
Hero-specific orbs [can be used to orb-walk]
Bone Fletcher - Searing Arrows Level 3 onwards
Drow Ranger - Frost Arrows Level 1 onwards
Enchantress - Impetus Level 1 onwards
Netherdrake - Poison Attack Level 3 onwards
Obsidian Destroyer - Arcane Orb Level 4
Sacred Warrior - Burning Spears Level 1 onwards
Silencer - Glaives of Wisdom Level 4
dotaportal.com for the hero gifs, playdota.com for the skill icons, you for reading this guide and providing feedback.#OW10. Changelog
12/7/09 - submitted guide
17/7/09 - redid layout for guide
18/8/09 - after icing the guide for a while, redoing and retouching guide based on posters' suggestions, added section "orbwalking v ani-cancel" (incomp.)