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Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Pros and Cons
1.2 Advanced Statistics
2.0 Ability
2.1 Abilities and Description
2.2 Ability Leveling Order
3.0 Item Choice
3.1 Core Items
3.2 Starting Items
3.3 Extension Items
3.4 Luxury Items
3.5 Rejected Items
4.0 Strategy
4.1 Golden Rules
4.2 Movespeed Chart
4.3 Good Allies and Bad Enemies
5.0 F.A.Q.s
6.0 Miscellaneous
7.0 Replays

Lord of Avernus - Abaddon

In the competitive scene, Avernus reached its peak in 6.62 become the top pick and ban as a support. After some nerf, Where does he stand now? He is somewhat outpaced

Why pick Avernus?

Avernus is mainly picked because of his ability to debuff. He offers support from healing and shielding his teammates. He is quite item independent and is not a paper support hero.

He can debuff key disables such as Bane's Nightmare & Fiend's Grip, Priestess's 5 second stun, Tauren Chieftain's 5 second sleep from Echo Stomp and Rhasta's 4.75 second Shackle.
Support: Used as Caster-like, Healer
Carry: DPS, Nuker, AoE, Chaser
(Style of these 2 are VERY different and I will explain further later)

Pros and Cons:
[+] Innate "Eye of Skadi" ability
[+] Has the best and instant debuff spell in the game
[+] Need primitive items to function properly
[+] Can tank with certain builds
[+] Can deny himself

[-] No disable
[-] Mana dependent
[-] Useless when silenced
[-] Not too strong as a ganker
Advanced Statistic:

23 + 2.7 17 + 1.5 21 + 2.0
  • Affiliation: Scourge
  • Damage: 55 - 65 avg
  • Armor: 4.4 high
  • Movespeed: 300 avg
  • Attack Range: 100 (melee) avg
  • Attack Animation: 0.56 / 0.41 avg/avg
  • Casting Animation: 0.452 / 1.008 avg/slow
  • Base Attack Time: 1.7 Standard
  • Missile Speed: Instant avg
  • Sight Range: 1800 / 800 avg
His starting STR and STR growth is about average, his AGI/AGI growth is subpar. He has one of the highest starting INT and INT growth for a strength hero, falling behind Dirge and Bristleback. Remember to cancel his casting animation as it is over 1 second long.


Death Coil

  • Mana Cost: 75
  • Allowable Targets: Allies and Enemy (No Mechanical Units)
  • Damage: 100/150/200/250 (Enemy), 50/75/100/125 (Self)
  • Damage Type: Magical (Enemy), Pure (Self)
  • Casting Range: 800
  • Cooldown: 6
Primary heal and nuke. 75 mana with 6 second CD makes this spell very spammable, it is used both offensively and defensively. It can be used to deny yourself as well.

Aphotic Shield

  • Mana Cost: 85/95/105/115
  • Allowable Targets: Allies, Self, Mechanical Units
  • Damage: 110/140/170/200 (Enemy)
  • Damage Type: Magical (Enemy)
  • Casting Range: 300
  • Duration: 15 (Non-stackable)
  • Area of Effect: 700
  • Cooldown: 18/15/12/9
  • Blocks every type of damage, include pure
  • Blocks up to 200HP, any excess damage is reduced by your HP.
The best debuff in the game. In short, it Debuffs every disable except Doom. The shield gives 200 HP after reduction, so extra Armor Reduction and Magic Resistance delays the explosion.


  • Passive, Buff Placer
  • +10% MS, +10/20/30/40 AS (Self, Allies*)
  • -5/10/15/20% MS, -?/?/?/? AS
  • Duration: 4 seconds (Self) 2.5 seconds (Enemy)
  • Buff is placed before the actual attack
  • *Allies who are attacking the same unit as Avernus
Avernus' chase mechanism. You will get this buff when you are denying as well.

Borrowed Time

  • Activates when you suffer damage while being under 400 HP
  • Can be casted Manually
  • Duration: 3(5)/4(6)/5(7)
  • Cooldown: 60 seconds
  • Can be upgraded with Aghanim Scepter, improved value shown in brackets.
  • If Avernus receives 100 dmg after reduction, he first heals 200 HP, then receives 100 dmg
  • Amount heals base on the damage taken after reduction
  • Removes most negative buff, and dodges projectiles upon activation.
Healing and escape mechanism. If it is used probably, this ability can heal you to full. Once it is activated, opponents are forced to switch targets, or surround you and wait before attacking you again.

Skill Build - 2 Options:

Aggressive Skill Build:
Level 1. Aphotic Shield 1
Level 2. Frostmourne 1 / Death Coil 1
Level 3. Death Coil 1 / Aphotic Shield 2
Level 4-5. Death Coil 2,3
Level 6. Borrowed Time
Level 7. Death Coil 4
Level 8-10. Aphotic Shield 2-4
Level 11. Borrowed Time
Level 12-15. Stats / Frostmourne
Level 16. Borrowed Time
Level 17-20. Frostmourne / Stats
Level 21-25. Stats
Max Death Coil @ lvl 7. You have a spammable 6 second cd 250 dmg nuke. This build very lethal early game. You have level 1 shield, don't worry, opponents can't check this. This build lets you become extremely offensive in the dual lane to net kills.

Traditional Skill Build:
Level 1. Aphotic Shield
Level 2. Death Coil / Frostmourne
Level 3. Aphotic Shield
Level 4. Death Coil
Level 5. Aphotic Shield
Level 6. Borrowed Time
Level 7. Aphotic Shield
Level 8-9. Death Coil
Level 10. Frostmourne / Death Coil
Level 11. Borrowed Time
Level 12-15. Stats / Frostmourne
Level 16. Borrowed Time
Level 17-20. Frostmourne / Stats
Level 20-25. Stats
This build is pretty much standard, you max out shield and use this as your primary offensive/defensive skill early game.


Starting Items:

Avernus is going to spend 200 to get chick / crow / ward in the beginning, so his starting gold is likely to be 403.

/ / +

Core Items: 1844


- Standard.
- You store many charges when you are in the heat of the battle, solves your HP / mana issue.
- Cheap AoE mana regen and armor. Consider getting this for starting if you and your lane partner can abuse the mana.
- Standard item to carry at all times.
- You will be buying wards. Depending on your team, you might be the one going broke with ward battle. Here is a great guide about warding and counter warding.

You don't even need to cs to get most of these items.
Extension Items:

Acquiring these items depends on couple factors, such as the amount of wards you buy, if Pipe is needed badly etc. See what the team needs and act accordingly.


- Pipe is an amazing item in team fights and pushes. This item became pretty standard on support Avernus.
Tip: Use Aphotic Shield, then activate pipe, if you do it the other way around the Pipe's Barrier will dissapear.

- AoE Heal, Armor.

- an optional extension to Ring of Basilius. Now that armor is important and significant.

- True sight, clear ward, IAS, +MS, mana burn and feedback. Gives Str and Int, which Avernus needs.

- The +95 MS gets you to activate frostmourne more, much better mobility mid-late games when towers are down.
Luxury Items:

- Solves your mana issues, makes you more tank.

- More Tank, you can Death Coil allies no problem.

- Immolation + Frostmourne has nice synergy.

- Superior disable, gives extra mana and mana regen.

- Mediocre - If you need the extra ultimate duration and got money to burn.

Optional Items:

- Mediocre Gives Avernus a disable, Extra Int, Regen and MS are not too bad for him.

- Mediocre Mana, Armor, Damage. I may get this if they have extreme DPSer or AoE like Sand King, ES. Activate this with your ult = a dead Sand King and Full HP for you. Probably Pipe is better to counter spells like Epicenter and Echo Slam.

- Mediocre Arcane Ring is never seen in any competitive matches because 1700 just for mana is bad. If you have mana hungry team or a push build team then it is fine.

Strategy Section:
Golden Rule to Playing Avernus
  • Never shield yourself - Biggest Rule. You have your ultimate to protect you, priority goes to your allies, especially those getting focused down, or the ones initiating.
  • Using shield to Protect vs Debuff - Protect and debuff are different. If your ally is being chased down by Alchemist and (Any Hero). Yes, you should constantly shield / heal him. You might consider casting the shield after Alchemist's stun. You are debuffing him rather than really "protecting" him.
  • Time the Borrowed Time - Timing it right maybe difference between life and death. Remember, once your ultimate is used and it is on cooldown, opponents are likely to kill you.

    If you were jumped by 3 heroes, you activate ult @ around 60% health, you will heal 10-30% of the health depending on both luck and skill of the opponents. Then they are chasing you with near full health, they may not continue the chase.

    However, your is auto-activated @ 400 health, the enemy heroes are well aware and will just hug you until the duration is over.
    I am not saying to act like above every time, because there are many factors to consider and it was a very generic and vague situation.
  • Don't randomly cast your shield - Even though the shield has a short 9 seconds CD, be smart when casting it. If you cast the shield on an ally ahead of time, enemies will focus down another hero. Cast shield when you know who is being focused down.
  • Never be the first one to flee - If your team is fleeing, stay at a safe distance to heal and shield allies. Don't shield yourself and run like no tomorrow.
  • Never be the first to die in a battle - Losing any hero is bad in battle, but you are not those heroes where it is okay to die as long as you pulled your spells/combos. You need to stay as long as possible to protect your allies, especially your carry.
  • Calculate your Mana and Health - Just because an ally is low and you spam Coil on him, you may find your health dropping really fast and causing your ult to activate. Learn the balance between Mekansm and Coil. Coil = 75 Mana, Mek = 150 Mana, they both heal 250 HP.
Movespeed Chart:
Avernus can get speedy, compare your MS to your opponent and use it to your advantage.

Good Allies:
Long Disablers:

Make use of Frostmourne


Further Aggression with protection / nuke

Invisible Units:

Further Aggression with protection / nuke

Best Babysitter:

You should quit dota if you lose first blood in your lane. You and Dazzle just can't die, period.
Bad Enemies
One hit KOs

Culling blade will go through Borrowed Time and Aphotic Shield if it meets the HP conditions.
Reaper's Scythe will go through Aphotic Shield. If Borrowed Time is activated though, it will heal you instead. * Needs Confirmation

Silencer / Disablers

Avernus is played as a caster, so long silences such as Silencer, Bane and Bloodseeker will render Avernus useless. Mana burners plays a similar role to silencers. Hex'ers will completely nullify the shield.

Q: Why Frostmourne lvl 1 early?
A: Optional. 5% slow and 10% +MS boost may net you kills easier in lane. If you can pull creeps then Frostmourne helps you clear creeps faster/easier so you can get back in lane asap to minimize danger.

Q: Why level Shield over Death Coil at level 1?
A: Shield offers 110 hp while Coil offers 100 hp. If enemies are doing first blood attempts, then instant debuff will help a lot. On top, the shield deals damage AoE while Coil is single single. This may be insignificant, but it can save lives.

Q: Why not max out Frostmourne before level 14?
A: Optional. Frostmourne only useful if you hit a target. If you are just staying back can only heal and shield, then it is practically useless. Since all levels of Frostmourne gives 10% +MS, at the very least have level 1 Frostmourne before level 10. If you find yourself able to hit enemies down, then maxing it is fine. Stats gives you more HP/MP to cast your spells.

Q: Why finish Frostmourne by lvl 20 then?
A: Mandatory. Your mana pool is big enough at this point, even if you can't hit any heroes, you never know what can happen. It also helps you farm faster. Frostmourne is a great ability to focus down enemy quick, and help chasing.

Q: Borrowed Time @ lvl 6, 11, 16?
A: I don't delay it because I like to use the death coil while borrowed time is activated. When Borrowed Time is level 1, there is a 30% chance that I mess up a heal attempt with death coil because the 3 second duration is too short. Instead of trying to heal myself, I hurt myself.

Q: Why RoB and not just a Sobi Mask, What about Void Stone?
A: RoB has an aura which helps your lane-mate and pushes. Sobi Mask is a cheap item to give bonus regen, it can be sold without losing much, Void Stone seems like a waste to sell if you need slots.

Q: How to I debuff myself when I am stunned?
A: You can't idiot, if your ally got stunned, and if you cast a shield on him, his stun/negative is gone instantly. You can remove other buff on yourself when you aren't disabled.

Q: I only play pubs, should I follow your guide?
A: This one is controversial, if tryhards are failing. I don't see a reason not to step it up and carry the team. If the carries are doing decent, try following what I recommended.


Killing Roshan:
With Frostmourne, your team can take him down pretty quick with the +40% IAS . When there is a chance, go for it. I am serious about this. Make sure secret shop or the sentinal hill is warded.

Aphotic Shield Instant Debuffs
I am not a pro mechanics person, but these are from experience:

Any Stuns
--> Targets stun, AOE stuns, POTM's Arrow, Unstable Concoction etc.
Any Slows
--> Frost Arrow, Enchant, Torrent, Grave Chill, Life Break etc.
Tauren Chieftain's Stomp
Entangle Based Spells: Overgrowth, Frostbite, Entangle
Pit of Malice
Shadow Strike
Fiend's Grip

What it fails to:
Doom --> Can't be shielded
Ensnare (Meepo, Naga) --> Net and Shield will still be on the hero
Culling Blade --> 300HP with Shield = Death
Reaper's Scythe --> it blocks up to 200 Dmg
Mark the Spot --> You just can't get rid of it

Needs confirmation:
Curse of the Silent, Viper Strike, Song of the Siren, Shackle, Roar, Soul Rip, Open Wounds, Charge of Darkness,
Rot (think the slow is instantly removed, but if you contact rot again it slows), Burning Spears, Electric Vortex

Avernus' Spell Synergies
  • Shield, take some damage, Death Coil = 450 dmg nuke
  • Heal Allies twice with 40 HP loss: Shield + Coil + Coil
  • Borrowed Time + Death Coil = 250 Nuke + 125 Heal
  • Borrowed Time + Fountain Dive = Full Health
  • Borrowed Time + Scroll of Town Portal = Escape if they have no disable
Mechanics that you Might Want to Know
  • Shield's absorption is calculated after reduction, higher physical and magical resistance will delay the shield.
  • Shield's maximum absorption is 200 HP. So Finger of Death can kill you if you have 200 HP.
  • Aphotic Shield can't be purged and while Frostmourne's buff can be purged.
  • Shield will not protect you from knocking off Clarity or Flask effect
  • Frostmourne will activate when you deny creeps.
  • Frostmourne will activate before the actual attack, you may get the buff without actually attacking anyone.
  • Borrowed Time heal is calculated after reduction. You won't heal much if you have a lot of physical / magical Resistance.
  • Borrowed Time and Blademail are independent. You can activate both without conflicts.
  • When Borrowed Time & Shield are active, Shield's effect will be turned off temporarily.
  • If fleeing, cast Shield first, then activate Phase Boots because Phase is based on Windwalk.
  • If Barrier (Pipe) is active, it does not block Death Coil self-damage.
  • Armlet degen's has no synergy with Shield and Borrowed Time.

Kiting with Aphotic Shield:
  • Traditional Shield and Harass
    Shield, then click attack hero (raise creep aggro), charge in and harass, then break shield.
    At higher levels, you can use your death coil to force the shield to break.
    Do this cautiously as 1 disable + Creep Aggro can kill you early.
  • Messing enemy's last hits:
    When an ally creep is red HP, cast a shield = no last hit for enemy and some damage to him. If no one is attacking the red creep then you can hit it to burst the shield.
  • Anti-Tower Hug
    Similar to above, when enemies are tower hugging, give them no chance to last hit and "safe tower hugging" by casting a shield on the creep that the tower is attacking on. This might push them far enough to not get any XP at all.
  • Anti-Push / Quick-Push
    Again, cast it on a creep. Delay enemy pushes or speed your team's push.
Note that these are things that you can do when you have extra mana to gain some lane control, these aren't mandatory. Overdoing these will cause you to be out of mana and enemies will take advantage.

The Carry Avernus:

Carry Avernus is viable in certain circumstances in competitve dota. The role and playstyle of Avernus completely differs from the support Avernus. If he is used as a carry, make sure it is decided during picks so that you aren't compete farming with your lanemate.

Either you are solo mid (against a solo), or laned with a babysitter.

- Easier to CS, you will need to cs a lot
- Farm this by 10 minutes, your CS should be between 35-65 at the 10 minute mark.
- Standard
- Increases your survivability and duration in a battle.
- Get this between 20-30 minutes depending on the game
- Farm the entire map while still can teleport to battle
- More damage, Armor, Life
- More Attack Speed, Armor and Damage
Skill Build:
Level 1. Aphotic Shield
Level 2. Death Coil / Frostmourne
Level 3. Aphotic Shield
Level 4. Death Coil
Level 5. Aphotic Shield
Level 6. Borrowed Time
Level 7. Aphotic Shield
Level 8-9. Death Coil
Level 10. Frostmourne / Death Coil
Level 11. Borrowed Time
Level 12-14. Frostmourne
Level 15. Stats
Level 16. Borrowed Time
Level 17-25. Stats
How to play:

Focus on last hitting. It is important that you don't die at early levels, so shield is maxed early. If enemies poke you, shield up. Frostmourne maybe useful in certain situations if you can take advantage of the mobility to last hit. Don't go too rambo on shield + creep aggro.

Use Death Coil to finish in team fights so you get the gold, Death Coil's range has been buffed from 600 --> 300--> 800.

After you get your Radiance, make sure that you can stay in the battle as long as possible so that the Burning Aura and Aphotic Shield's AoE damage is dealt for the longest duration possible.

You will need to shield yourself a lot so that you can get in so that Frostmourne and Radiance +60 dmg is used. Don't try too hard to shield allies.

With BoT and Frostmourne, your MS is 435, pretty fast.

Abaddon the Lord of Avernus
Author: Vindicate
Map Vers.: 6.61c

Frostmourne Hungers!

Guide to Competitive Avernus

Date Posted: 08/04/09
Last Comment:11/02/2012
Total Votes: 118
Current Rating: 8.12
Views: 263033

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