How to play Lycan, the rising bogeyman of patch 7.30

Kenneth Williams • August 23, 09:30

After enduring several patches in the bottom tier of both win and pick rates, Lycan is quickly becoming the terror of 7.30.

Patch 7.30 paid special attention to heroes from the “zoo meta” that dominated patches 7.25 through 7.28. Lycan got a ton of cool buffs which skyrocketed his win rate from 43.32% to 54.75%, easily landing him in the top tier of heroes.

That 11% win rate increase is thanks to several handy 7.30 buffs. Aghanim’s Shard, Howl, and Summon Wolves all got small but extremely impactful tweaks. Here’s how to use Lycan’s 7.30 buffs to their maximum potential.

How to build Lycan in Dota 2

Lycan relies heavily on his wolves during the laning stage so level one should go in Summon Wolves. Level two goes in Feral Impulse. The health regeneration and bonus damage are both great in the laning phase. Max Wolves before Impulse taking Shapeshift as soon as you can. Save Howl for last, as the percentage buffs become stronger the later the game goes.

Lycan’s starting item build is flexible depending on the matchup but he always wants a Quelling Blade and some stats. Gauntlets of Strength can be turned into Bracers if the lane is rough or sold later. 

Lycan wants to rush Helm of the Dominator, even before boots. Getting a Helm of Iron Will first should give enough armor and regen to lane indefinitely. The goal is to eventually get Helm of the Overlord, which is one of the most powerful pushing items in the game. The ability to take control of ancient creeps and make them super tanky is what pushes Overlord into the realm of being overpowered.

In addition to Helm of the Overlord, Lycan’s Aghanim’s Shard is one of the best in the game. The ability to spawn a wolf with creep waves was a joke when it was first added in 7.23. But the latest patch made Lycan’s lane wolf a low-priority unit for enemy creep aggro. In combination with 20 extra wolf damage at level 10, Lycan can passively push and earn gold from all three lanes.

For situational items, Lycan is very flexible once he has Helm of the Overlord. Skull Basher is great for additional lockdown against slippery targets like Slark or Storm Spirit. Orchid of Malevolence and its upgrade Bloodthorn can do the same. Nullifier is better for heroes that rely on natural movement speed like Leshrac or Bloodseeker. 

What lane is Lycan?

Lycan is very versatile but the hero is most successful in the mid lane. Lycan can also be played in the safe or off lane, but he’ll get less experience in favor of stable gold. The only real difference between the two builds is the starting item kit. Side lane Lycan starts with a bit more healing and mid Lycan starts with more stats. The general build and game plan for Lycan are the same for all three positions.

The best neutral items for Lycan

Unlike some heroes who synergize with very special neutral items, Lycan uses them to supplement his below-average stats. The main thing to look for is bonus strength. As a strength hero, every point makes Lycan dish out and tank more damage. Tier one stat sticks like Ocean Heart, Broom Handle, and Chipped Vest are great on Lycan.

Some neutral items like Titan Sliver, Elven Tunic, and Paladin Sword make Lycan tankier through other means. Essence Ring is usually reserved for off-laners, but Lycan makes great use of the extra mana regeneration.

How do you counter Lycan?

Even without his trademark Necronomicon, Lycan’s units can be a hassle to deal with. The wolves can slow enemies to a crawl while dominated jungle creeps shred towers. One of the best ways of dealing with Lycan is to pick heroes that can clear out his army. Leshrac, Naga Siren, Sven, and Bristleback are some of the best heroes for clearing out Lycan’s minions. Heroes that can instantly kill or convert creeps like Doom, Enchantress, and Chen can also be useful in dealing with Helm of the Overlord. 

Another way to counter Lycan is to fight split push with split push. Nature’s Prophet is one of the best heroes for countering Lycan since he can teleport directly to him and stop his push attempts. Sprout is also one of the best spells for trapping a Shapeshifted Lycan.

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