Krobelus the Death Prophet
I wanted to make a guide some time ago, I was most likely going to make it about Chen but the recent small and subtle buff to Krobelus on 6.68 made me change my opinion, she is one of my favourite heroes and I enjoy playing her. She is a hero that I can say is played on 10% of my matches and I tested a lot of builds in a lot of situations so my experience with her is quite good, good enough to share my knowledge of her with other people and not say stupid things about it.
Krobelus is a pusher, no matter how you look at her she is a pusher. She has a 4cd AoE nuke that clears waves extremely fast, I would like to say she pushes faster than a farmed techies or kunkka, but she doesnt. Still she pushes fast enough to pose a threat to enemy team and is useful in pushing strats, especially since if it comes to late game she can carry quite well with some farm advantage.
So what are the advantages Krobelus has over other pushers?
- An AoE nuke with 4 seconds of cooldown. This in teamfights is lots of damage alone, though the manacost earlygame doesnt allow for too much spam.
- She has excellent movement speed midgame with witchcraft. 12% extra MS is no joke, just with boots she has 375 MS, which is above average and enough to escape someone without an slow or stun and to catch up most of heroes.
- She has one of the best skirmishing ultimates, her spirits in 2 vs 2 or 3 vs 3 do lots of damage. And the best is that you can focus their attacks into 1 hero but that will be explained later.
- She has a silence, how many times your push was screwed by that potm casting starfall? How many times did that annoying Lina killed all the creeps in just 1 combo? Well with a right timed silence when they want to clear the creeps they wont and you will catch them out of position, silence is an spell that helps pushing in the way that prevents enemies to stop the push. Silence is also a very good skill in teamfights that can turn a total wipe into an easy victory or fair fight.
- Between her ultimate, AoE and silence she is also a good teamfighter, maybe we cant compare her to someone like Crixalis in terms of damage or Tidehunter in terms of disabling, but she has a bit of everything, DPS in ultimate, disable in silence and AoE in carrion swarm.
- She has good lane control for a pusher, Carrion swarm is an excellent lane controlling spell due to early damage, 175 damage at lvl 3 is no joke, making it a nice way to harass and farm at same time.
- She can carry, really important, she is the best second carry-pusher hero after broodmother but is an AoE carry rather than a single-click carry such as broodmother, making her better teamfighter on late-game, though likely to be focused
Now with all these pros, we have to look at the cons she has against other pushers.
- She depends on her ultimate to push, which is her main weapon in teamfights, so if your ultimate is down be prepared to run cause enemy team will try to get a teamfight.
- She lacks early game pushing, to push she with Carrion Swarm she needs mana, and not tiny amounts of mana, she needs at least 2-3 carrions to get a good push plus ultimate, and save 1-2 carrion swarm in case enemy defends which isnt there until some mana items such as void stone.
- She cant push alone, she hasnt got summons like other pushers such as broodmother or Rhasta, and is not that of a tank to get hit by tower while ultimate kills, so if enemy has some anti pushing power krobelus is kinda screwed up if she decides to push alone.
- Bad farming without carrion swarm, she has ok attack damage and not so good attack animation, so she depends on carrion swarm to farm if she is against a great farmer such as Nevermore.
- She is really fragile, however you look at her she is a glass pusher (wonder if that term exists). And not also she is fragile but she is focused always in teamfights due to her ultimate.
- Apart from silence she lacks stun or slow which is really needed in nowadays metagame, so she mostly chases with her above average MS and lets ultimate damage while finishes with Carrion Swarm, so she seriously depends on team mates to land kills or she will kill slowly while chasing and be too dependent on ultimate.
As you see she has her cons and pros. With these information we will now proceed to know when she can be picked and when she cant be picked.
[+] When enemy lacks AoE to stop pushes
[+] When enemy lacks burst damage
[+] When your team has pushing power
[+] When your team is early game oriented
[+] When your team has the upper hand in team fights or doesnt plan to have them at all
[-] When enemy can stop pushes well
[-] When there is an enemy Earth Shaker
[-] When enemy has spell power
[-] When enemy team has a lot of gankers
When it comes to items krobelus has not got many options and the few options she has depends heavily on the strategy. Sometimes you need mobility, cause your team is pushing all three lanes, sometimes your team is pushing as one and mobility isnt something necessary, sometimes you are playing carry and sometimes you are playing pusher, so it is best to build the items as game goes on rather than having a set mind of "we are pushing the shit ouf of them so Necronomicom first" then you realize the enemy has Shaker and Pit Lord but you still want to push, she is flexible so swap builds to more carry build. Swapping item builds is something that happens a lot with Krobelus, they adapt to you, in this case, Have you ever wondered how to defeat a Chinese super star team when you are not one? Make them go out of their regular play,play differently, adapt accordingly, so same here, enemy turtles then you go play carry, they benefit you eventually (well go carry unless they have Troll, Trax, Mortred, Void and Sylla, then just push).
So here we go:
The x2 build
This build gives you basic regeneration, some int for better last hitting and little extra HP. Feel free to swap tangoes for salves.
Justification: You need the regen. Unless you are against some retard you will need it, clarities are not recommended to start with, in any serious match there will be a crow which will allow you to get them later or a Sobi Mask for you to spam spells. The mantles are needed, Krobelus isnt a great farmer and using carrion so early leaves you no mana at lvl 3. And no team has won a game without buying at least 1 branch so we go 2 for the sake of betterness.
The me no like spammers build.
Justification: Pretty much the previous build but when facing spammers or long range initiators (Kunkka, BB are fitting examples). The stick will save your life more than once, be sure to keep your "third eye" on the stick always, that DS using Surge, NA using Vendetta, Crixallis casting ultimate, Kunkka setting up Torrent + Ship combo, they will all be warned by stick, if there was a way that Stick made a decent Noise when getting a charge and no heroes on screen I would definitely implement it just to put my third eye onto better use. The justification is the same than the previous build, though 1 tango is swapped for the stick, if you are under harass be sure to get some more tangoes/salve with crow.
That covers up the starting game, Krobelus doesnt need a lot of creeps but at least 3 creeps per minute is ok in the beginning and is what you need to be useful mid game since you are not just an expendable support, though 5 creeps per minute is best, it is not always possible. This is due to Krobelus farming depending too much on Carrion and not having enough mana to spam it early. At min 20, 80 creeps is what you need, 4500 gold assuming no kills nor tower kills, just creeps and gold per time, 1500 for PT/PB (Yes PB = Phase boots, they are useful in some situations), bottle, Perseverance and point booster or wand or something that fits.
Now you have some gold, boots, bottle, wand (or you should have unless you are being stomped hard), what is next?
This heavily depends on the strategy so here I will not give you a detailed build of each situation since it is impossible, depends largely on oponents and strategy that I would need at least 5 cases to cover up the basic builds, what I am going to give here are instructions of what item is useful when, instinct and experience will help you determine what to build.
The most argued
We have Power Treads that give 190 HP and some AS, yet they are the slowest, we have Phase boots who have some attack bonus which will help last hitting if gotten fast yet damage is neglible mid-game since you will be farming with carrion but Phase is a pretty cool ability, and we have BoT. (Arcane boots are just a no, mana regen will be gotten soon enough and you need either MS or HP, this boots grant none).
If you are playing the carry build go for Power Treads, is a no brainer, 190 HP is what you need since you need to survive the fight so Exorcism last as long as possible. No need for extra MS since you are the carry, let that Vengue stun and that fag Demon Witch waste his impale just so your ghost exterminate the poor target you choose.
If you are playing a ganker/pusher then you might opt for phase boots, they dont grant survivability but grant MS, needed for you to chase better, even after she got her MS bonus back on her passive the MS is good on her for chasing with exorcism, there will be of course that Vengue stun but dont rely always on it, without any mean of slowing you need to be faster to chase someone else failed gank.
If your team is mega pushing or the game is already late and you need to be somewhere go for BoT, there is nothing to be discussed here, you need to teleport to creeps more than to towers if pushing and if game is late you need the extra ms.
Now here is a list of items in orders of viability.
Krobelus can either solo mid or go into a tri-lane. If you are slo mid as Krobelus try to farm the best you can and use the common tactic of making 2 creeps low (1 gets low by creeps and the other gets low by your auto attacks, then carrion swarm trying to him the enemy, easy cash and harass). Bottle can be gotten if you are doing well but try to avoid ganking, you are there mid to get levels and farm, unless your tri-lane is getting stomped hard farm and farm till at least lvl 7. Basically you want carrion maxed and at least 1 lvl of silence in case of incoming ganks. You will require at least 30 creeps by minute 10 to be useful later on, though 50 is the recommended. At lvl 6 start saving mana for ultimate and 2 carrions, bring a clarity if needed to so when you are lvl 7 you can clear a wave fast and use your ultimate to push the mid tower, be sure to call at least 1 ally for this, if you manage to kill the enemy hero defending there no one will try to TP just to be attacked by Exorcism. Basically your ally will attempt a gank and as minimum the enemy will be forced to go back to base, with your ultimate on and 1 carrion swam this should not be a hard task. After he backs use the other carrion swarm at the creeps (in case there is any creep left). Tower should fall down easily. In case someone comes check first if your ally has mana and cd to cast an stun or slow, if he can then the guy teleporting in is most likely toast. Else the tower will fall down and will give your team an early advantage.
In a tri-lane things are different, you will want a ring of basillius badly due to the armor and mana regen. You can work well here thanks to your Carrion swarm, a good damage AoE nuke that has quite low cd (2 times per clash). Just try to stay in the back and last hit/frag the best you can since you are quite fragile and enemy will try to focus you. Basically the same as soloing but the levels will come down slower. When you hit 6 try to force the clash against the enemy since your ultimate will surely bring someone down.
Soloing a side lane is the worst thing you can do since you have no escape mechanism and the only thing you can use as defense is your silence which you generally want to keep at lvl 1 till at least lvl 9.
Now is when things will start to become fun, you or someone in your team should have a RoB which will give the creeps a whooping +2 armor bonus to tank the tower. Tier 1 towers should fall easily to your ultimate, try to make a surprise push (BD if needed to) and kill these towers fast, then run, carrying a TP scroll is a must and using it is recommended. You should have some good mana regeneration already so it is ok to start spamming Carrion to farm. When someone in your team finishes the meka is time to take Tier 2 towers, you are a decent meka carrier but not optimal since you need HP and you teammate can give it to you through mekansm. Generally after min 25-30 all tier 2 towers should be down if your ultimate was used properly and you should have lost all of your tier 1 towers and some tier 2 towers, if you still conserve tier 1 towers it indicates things are going well, if you also lost all your tier 2 towers things arent going that well. Of course this is relative to the picks each team has, so if you are a pushing team I would panic a little if enemy still conserves all T-2 towers on min 30.
Now I have been telling you all day to push, but never told you how to push, so this section explains in detail how to push and how Krobelus can do an amazing job at this.
How to push
I wont talk here about how to push Tier 1 towers since this ones fall pretty easily to some ninja ultimate if they were not taken on early game, this section focuses on how to push Tier 2 towers and Tier 3 towers, and also how to take raxes if enemy doesnt have the Tier 3 tower protection.
Your team is the one pushing in this moment, you and your teammates should have all the ultimates up, and the best thing is if a critical enemy hasnt got the ultimate (such as Enigma for example or Tidehunter). In this scenario one of your teammates has mekansm which is pretty easy to obtain due to all the Tier 1 towers being taken down. Since pushing with men advantage is the same but easier I will considerate a 5 vs 5 push.
There are 3 towers that can be pushes, I wont classify them as top, bot, mid, but as Long lane tower, Mid lane tower, Short lane tower.
Of all of the Tier 2 towers the one you want to take down first is the Middle lane tower since this tower controls a huge area, and grants a fast teleport to most of teamfights and Roshan, prevents your team to roam in their territory and allows the enemy team to have a safe area outside their base.
The middle lane tower has 3 access. The lane access, the ramp access, and the same height access. From enemy side, from north, from south respectively. As Krobelus you generally want to come from height with 1 disabler, while your teammates push from the lane. This means first and specially that you are not seen, so you are not focusable yet, second that your team is spread out so no AoE can take them, and third the disabler can save your life if enemy anticipates you are there, with your superior MS you should be able to buy enough time for your 3 teammates to do considerable damage to the tower or safely run away if they decide to protect tower. But of course generally even if anticipated enemy team wont have enough heroes there to kill you considering how tanky you are with a Linken or a Bloodstone and that all of your team is close, basically 4 or 5 of them have to come from a direction that does not allow you to run to your team.
Your 3 teammates are there right next to you on the ramp, now is the moment where you land some Carrion swarms on creep waves, some of your teammates land some summons and some hits are done to tower, generally enemy team counters with some of their AoE to clean creeps, if this keeps all day it means Tower is taken down easily, so normally they will attempt a teamfight upon you. Since you are uphill it means you are out of initiation range, and enemy team will eventually want to initiate upon you, so this means that either they initiate to fog or take a long path to catch you. Watch out for skills that give vision, but generally initiation upon you is not that bad since you are away from your team, so soaking up the initiation can be good considering you have Linken and that a teammate has mekansm, just try to dont run to your teammates and keep spread out. The most common scenario is that your teammates are initiated upon by Enigma, ES, TH, some
Now that middle tower is taken down you will generally want to move to the long lane tower (top scourge tower, bottom sentinel tower).
It is important to note that Sentinel tower is surprisingly harder to take down than scourge one. This is due to the fact that to be fogged as Krobelus you have to be quite separate from your team and the shortest way is through enemy team and tower, so that is a no, but of course this is never impossible.