Want to learn how to build and play Magnus like Team Spirit’s Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov? You’re not alone.
According to Dota Plus, Magnus’ pick rate has gone up 11.6% in Divine and Immortal ranks since the start of The International 2021. Team Spirit off-laner Collapse flexed his Skewering skills in the TI10 grand finals against PSG.LGD. Now his signature hero is the fourth-most-popular in the game. His insane ganks with Horn Toss helped his team earn $18 million, but you can leverage it to earn some MMR in ranked Dota 2 matchmaking.
Here’s how to play Magnus in the offlane and mid positions, plus how to counter him.
Magnus is one of the most flexible heroes in Dota 2. He can be played in almost any role, but Magnus is most commonly an offlane core or midlaner. Empower allows him to shove waves quickly and clear the jungle, and Skewer lets him pull enemy heroes out of position. Reverse Polarity is an extremely powerful ultimate no matter what position Magnus plays.
Magnus can also be played as a support hero. Empowering a melee carry like Phantom Assassin or Lifestealer allows them to farm incredibly quickly. Horn Toss, Skewer, and Reverse Polarity are still big threats on a hard support. In a pinch, Magnus’ base abilities can even be used defensively. Is an allied Drow Ranger getting ganked? Just Skewer the attackers away, though beware that this will probably cost your own life.
To play Magnus like Collapse, you’ll need to take Magnus to the offlane. Collapse’s Magnus build maxes out Empower first. Get Shockwave at two to help secure ranged creeps kills and a value point in Skewer at level four. Max Empower first and use it liberally on yourself and your cores. For items, get brown boots and Magic Wand before saving up for Mekansm. Headdress and Buckler can help sustain creeps and pressure towers. Try to get Mekansm and Blink Dagger around 15 minutes, then save up for Aghanim’s Shard.
After Blink, Aghanim’s Shard is the most important part of the offlane Magnus build. Horn Toss grabs an enemy in front of Magnus and shifts them behind him. The brief .75 second stun prevents them from escaping, plus it deals a decent chunk of magic damage. Blink on targets, Horn Toss them, and then Skewer them into your awaiting team. This build is all about tempo and ganks, so don’t be afraid to buy Smokes of Deceit. Ask supports to stick around and use Reverse Polarity to grab two targets with one Skewer.
Offlane Magnus is Team Spirit’s jam, but mid Magnus is also a signature pick of PSG.LGD mid Cheng “NothingToSay” Jin Xiang. NothingToSay used mid-lane Magnus to win $500,000 at the WePlay AniMajor, cliffing Artour “Arteezy” Babaev multiple times in the process.
Mid Magnus is about dishing out an incredible amount of physical damage. He can start fights, but he prefers to end them with a big Reverse Polarity. Once you have Echo Sabre and Blink Dagger, you quickly become a massive threat. Those items alone are enough to kill supports solo and cores with a little help.
For mid Magnus, grab a Bottle and go for Power Treads. Echo Sabre provides mana and a way to clear creep waves in just a few seconds. Blink Dagger and Black King Bar help to maneuver in fights and always land spells. After that, it’s all damage. Silver Edge and Daedalus are both extremely powerful since Empower damage works for crits. Mid Magnus’ talents are also a little different from the offlane build. Mid Magnus is there to counter-initiate with your ultimate and chop multiple enemies down in just a few hits. Prioritize damage and fight whenever Reverse Polarity comes off cooldown.
The same traits that make Magnus so versatile also make him difficult to shut down. Instead of a specific item or hero, countering Magnus requires playstyle changes. To avoid Reverse Polarity, avoid bunching up in team fights. Once he jumps in, try to disable him during the combo.
A quick disable is key to stopping Magnus from getting off his spell combos. Orchid Malevolence or Scythe of Vyse are good itemization options, but there are some heroes that have very strong disables as well. Skywrath Mage, Lion, and Shadow Shaman can all catch a Magnus with a silence or hex before he has the chance to charge after blinking in.
It’s also worth finding creative ways of canceling Magnus’ Blink Dagger. Fae Grenade or damage-over-time spells like Ogre Magi’s Ignite are great for preventing big Reverse Polarities. Vision is also very important for a ganking Magnus. To shut him down, keep track of the enemy movements and ward near the river. If you’re still looking for more Magnus counters, you can get more info from the Dotabuff Magnus hero page.