Snapfire is one of the most enjoyable heroes to play in all of Dota 2.
Her unique set of spells and beefy attributes allow her to play as both a bruising frontliner and as a ranged nuker, shifting between those two roles multiple times in each fight. That fun set of spells has made her a favorite of many.
The trouble is that when a hero that is meant to be a support reaches a sufficient level of popularity, it inevitably leads to players trying to fit them into a carry role. Though there are still fans that insist that the more questionable core Vengeful Spirit or Crystal Maiden can work, Snapfire does have legitimate potential as a position two or three hero.
Here’s how to build Snapfire as a carry, the right way.
Don’t get early levels Snapfire’s Lil' Shredder
The bread and butter for support Snapfire players is maxing Lil’ Shredder at level seven. By activating the spell ahead of an initiation, unloading six shots into an enemy, reactivating the spell once it comes off cooldown, and mixing in a Scatterblast and Firesnap Cookie, Snapfire can deal over 1,000 damage before activating her ultimate. This makes her a strong burst threat, and a great setup hero for roaming ganks.
Some might fall into the trap that this is how core Snapfire should also be leveled. After all, her late game potency is wrapped up in Lil’ Shredder. In reality, that’s an almost guaranteed way to lose a game.
Though a properly executed volley of spells from Snapfire deals strong damage in the early stages of the game, the potency of that combination falls off hard in the mid game. This leaves Snapfire generally ineffectual in team fights, especially if her ultimate is on cooldown.
Instead, carry Snapfire players should look to max Scatterblast and Firesnap Cookie by level nine.
This gives Snapfire a much greater presence in team fights, lowering the cooldown of her strong stun and slow abilities. More importantly, it also greatly improves her wave clear in the early and mid game, letting her more effectively push and farm.
This positions her to explode in the late game when she gets the level 20 Lil’ Shredder talent. By drawing on Snapfire’s actual right-click damage instead of the flat amount offered by the spell, she becomes a legitimate physical burst threat alongside her already strong magical damage.
Focus on mana regen early, attack modifiers late with Snapfire
Snapfire is capable of wiping out a creep wave in short order when she has levels in her Q and W. The trouble is that while her greatest strength is her spells, she has the kind of mana pool one would expect from a strength hero.
This can be remedied with Arcane Boots and Eul’s Scepter. These items, combined with the extra mana from early neutral items such as Arcane Ring and Faded Broach, give Snapfire enough mana regen to comfortably farm into the mid game.
Once Snapfire has that foundation set, it’s time to start building towards the late game. Scatterblast and Firesnap Cookie are both strong through the mid game, but Snapfire’s late-game potency in a core role relies on building around the level 20 Lil’ Shredder upgrade. Building around Snapfire’s ability to deliver six quick hits with extra debuffs makes her a physical burst threat in the same vein as Ursa.
This can be empowered further by adding extra attack modifiers. Javelins provide an immediate impact for Snapfire by adding the chance to deal extra magical damage, with one or two hits likely to come through on each use of Lil’ Shredder. They can also be built into Maelstrom and Monkey King Bar, two of Snapfire’s best late-game items.
Should the game progress further, Daedalus has the chance to proc with each hit from Lil’ Shredder while Desolator helps her with its armor reduction debuff.