6.87 Offlane Earthshaker Guide

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6.87 Offlane Earthshaker Guide

Earthshaker is not always the most interesting or fun hero to play, because you’re often stuck supporting without any chance to farm up a quick blink dagger. But that problem can easily be remedied by playing Earthshaker in the offlane, which has become increasingly popular over the past year, especially at the pro level.

In this guide, we’re going to talk about how you to play offlane Earthshaker to secure yourself fast levels, a fast blink, and start scoring kills with Echo Slam.

Edit: updated for the changes introduced in 6.87

Skills

Fissure

Slams the ground with a mighty totem, creating an impassable ridge of stone while stunning for 1-1.75 sec and damaging enemy units along its line for 110-260 damage. 15 sec cooldown.

Fissure is one of the hardest skills in Dota 2 to master, because it is so much more than a simple stun. Given its ability to create impassable terrain, a good fissure can cut off an enemy hero from escaping your gank, block creeps, save teammates, and give your team a better engagement.

But a bad fissure can be just as detrimental, blocking off your teammates or saving an enemy hero from melee teammates.

Enchant Totem

Empowers Earthshaker’s totem, causing it to deal 100-400% extra damage on the next attack. 5 sec cooldown.

This skill works really well thanks to Afterstock, allowing you to have another extra AOE stun and damage on top of Fissure and Echo, as well as a nice boost for last hitting and ganking. Ideally you always want to Enchant in melee range with an enemy hero for the stun and damage, and so you have enough time to hit them with the boosted attack.

It can also be upgraded with Aghanim’s Scepter, which makes it a 900 range ground target ability, allowing you to jump and land at the target location and cast the spell there; you can still use the old enchant totem by self casting it.

Aftershock

Causes the earth to shake underfoot, adding 50-125 additional damage and stunning nearby enemy units when Earthshaker casts his abilities for 0.6-1.5 sec.

Aftershock makes all of Earthshaker’s abilities even better, adding more AOE stuns and damage in a small 300 range circle around the hero. Aftershock allows you to stunlock and deal massive damage to multiple enemy heroes by using all three of your spells back to back.

Echo Slam

Shockwaves travel through the ground, damaging enemy units for 160-270. Each enemy hit causes also an echo to damage nearby units for 40-70. 150-110 sec cooldown.

Echo Slam can be one of the most devastating ultimate skills in the game, because it not only sets you up to stun enemy heroes for almost 5 seconds if you catch them in a bad position, but can also deal massive AOE damage. A good echo can instantly win you a team fight before your teammates even follow up on your initiation.

The most important thing with Echo is to hang back in team fights with your blink dagger and wait for enemy heroes to stack close together so you can catch as many of them and deal as much damage as possible.

Skill Build

Many players make the common mistake of maxing out Fissure first when playing Earthshaker, but that is not the ideal way. Well, at least not when you’re playing Earthshaker as the suicide offlaner. What you actually want to do is only get 1 rank of your Fissure at level one, and then max your Aftershock first, followed by Enchant Totem.

earthshakerskillbuild

Earthshaker skill build. Source: Dota 2 hero builds.

There are several reasons for this: first off, Fissure costs more mana as you level it up, and doesn’t gain that much damage. Second, you get roughly as much additional damage with Aftershock when you cast Fissure, assuming the enemy heroes are within 300 range of you. Finally, given that Fissure is not a super high damage ability, it’s main goal early on is actually to influence terrain by blocking someone off, rather than dealing damage.

Position & Role

Earthshaker can best be classified as an initiation and support hero, similar to Tidehunter and Enigma. This means you are typically the first person getting into a team fight and looking to start off a battle in an advantageous position for your teammates, and will also spend a good amount of time placing wards and counterwarding.

In terms of laning position, Earthshaker has traditionally been played as the safe lane support in a dual lane or a trilane. However, that has been changing lately, with more and more players playing him as a solo offlaner.

Although this guide is tailored towards offlaning, you can still apply most of the information to a more standard safe lane position. But if you want to get fast farm and get kills as soon as you hit level 6 (or even earlier), then the offlane is certainly better.

Items

Starting Items

Given the difficulty of staying alive in the offlane, we’ll need plenty of regeneration. Pick up 1-2 stacks of tangos, one health potion, 2 clarities, 1-2 branches, and 1 observation ward. The ward will be used to either block the easy pull camp, or to give you vision into the enemy jungle so you know when you’re safe to walk out into the lane. If you’re solo supporting, you may also have to buy courier.

However, if you do have another support player in your game, you can also try going for the greedier build – boots, 1 ward, and 1 stack of tangos. This build will allow you to finish your Arcane Boots much faster, but also make it more difficult to stay in the lane and survive.

Finally, there’s also the possibility of going for the Soul Ring build, which helps with mana problems early on. For this build, buy a Soul Ring recipe along with a stack of tangos and a couple of clarity potions – you can finish the Ring by getting both needed items from the side shop later on.

Early Game

If you didn’t pick up boots in your starting build, they should be the first item you pick up in the early game. Ideally you will want to use the sideshop to free up the courier for your teammates, but that is not always possible in the offlane.

Core Items

Arcane Boots

Mana boots are absolutely required on Earthshaker, because of your small strength hero mana pool. Arcane will allow you to use your spells frequently and also help your teammates.

Blink Dagger

Like any other initiation hero, you will want to pick up a Blink Dagger ASAP to make it easier to land a very good ultimate. Earthshaker is arguably the most dependant hero in the game on getting Blink Dagger, because your skills have a small AOE and require you to be directly on top of enemy heroes to be most effective.

Aghanim’s Scepter

With the changes to Earthshaker’s Aghanim Scepter effect in 6.87, it is now good enough to be a core item. The new Aghanim’s makes your Enchant Totem a 900 range ground target ability, allowing you to jump and land at the target location and cast the spell there; you can still use the old enchant totem by self casting it.

This is an-all around great upgrade since it allows you to initiate even when your blink is interrupted or on cooldown, to chase down enemy heroes, or to get out of bad situations easily.

A quick look at Earthshaker's Aghanim Enchant Totem upgrade.

A quick look at Earthshaker’s Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade.

Luxury Items

Earthshaker has a lot of great options for luxury items, since your core is very easy to finish and can take as little as 10-15 minutes if you’re having a good game.

Black King Bar

If you’re up against a lot of magic stuns and burst damage, and find that you’re dying before, or shortly after casting your Echo, then BKB can be a great choice to help you survive.

Refresher Orb

Picking up Refresher Orb is the dream of every Earthshaker player. Keep in mind it’s not just useful for casting Echo twice, but if you have a big enough mana pool, you can actually cast all 3 of your skills again, stunning enemy heroes for a ridiculously long time along with excellent damage.

Shiva’s Guard

Shiva’s comboes together really well with your hero since all of your skills are AOE. Ideally, you want to use it at the end of your Echo -> Fissure – > Enchant Totem combo. Furthermore, it will make it easier for your teammates to finish off whoever survived your damage by slowing them down.

Crystalys and Daedalus

If you’re having a really good game and your team is far ahead, it could be the time to pick up the ultimate Earthshaker luxury item – Crystalys and its upgrade Daedalus. This will give you a chance to deal massive damage after you boost up your attack with Enchant Totem, and can easily crit for more than 2000 damage.

Gameplay

The first thing you want to do is quickly place an observer ward in the enemy jungle in the offlane, either blocking the easy creep pull camp, or simply placing it to give you vision of the area behind the trees that separate the jungle from the lane.

For the next 6 levels, your primary job is to survive, and try to get as many last hits as possible, so you can build your Arcane Boots ASAP. You should also keep your eyes open for kill opportunities. Earthshaker can easily turn the tables on his gankers if they extend themselves too close to your tower – simply turn around and place a Fissure behind them that blocks their retreat and forces them to take hits from the tower, and follow up with an Echant Totem for the additional stun and damage.

However most of the time, things will be pretty slow until you hit 6. This is when you can really start securing kills for yourself, regardless of whether you’re laning against 1, 2, or 3 people. Try to hide in the trees by the secret shop or the jungle after you hit 6 and walk up to the enemy heroes when they’re right next to the enemy creep wave and use your Echo Slam -> Fissure – >Enchant Totem -> auto attack combo. As long as you’ve hit 3 or more enemy units with your Echo, this combo is usually enough to kill almost any non-tanky hero in the early game.

For the next little while, you should stay in your lane and continue farming until you get your Blink Dagger. Although you can start helping other lanes before this, it’s not ideal because of how important dagger is for Earthshaker. Once you’ve got your Blink, you should start roaming around and looking for opportunities to gank with your ultimate, and you can also start helping with wards. The rest of the game will essentially revolve around forcing team fights when your Echo Slam is up, and farming, warding, and ganking with your teammates when it’s down.

EG. Universe's epic Echo Slam that secured the team first place and $ 6 million at The International 5. Source: Game Replay.

EG. Universe’s epic Echo Slam that secured the team first place and $ 6 million at The International 5. Source: Game Replay.

Tips & Tricks

  • When using Fissure to block off or trap enemy heroes, always target it slightly ahead of where they are to account for the spell’s cast animation; otherwise you will actually help them by placing the wall behind their location.
  • Once you’ve obtained your blink, stay in the back during teamfights so you can be sure to avoid damage that will prevent you from blinking in, and also so the enemy players don’t see you and immediately back off or spread out. The only exception to this is when the enemy is unaware that your team is trying to fight, such as when you’re smoked.
  • Echo Slam is only powerful when you manage to hit multiple heroes and creeps. Be patient and wait for the best opportunity to blink in and use it, which may sometimes mean letting your teammates start the fight and get in danger
  • The ideal “damage combo” for Earthshaker is Echo Slam -> Fissure -> Enchant Totem -> single auto attack on the closest enemy hero with low health. This combo can stun for almost 5 seconds and is typically enough to instantly kill a low hp hero and heavily damage others.

Conclusion

Earthshaker has traditionally been played as the safe lane support, but this position is incredibly boring to play and limits your levels and farm. By going offlane instead, you can secure the crucial level 6 very quickly, and farm up your blink dagger within 15 minutes.

This is not only much more fun, but also allows you to have a big impact on the game much sooner. And the great thing about Earthshaker is that he is good throughout the whole game, unlike many other support heroes – even when your magic damage starts to fall off, your stuns will still be incredibly useful in win team fights.

To close things off, here’s a video showing EG’s Universe, one of the best Earthshaker players in the world, playing in the offlane.

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About The Author
Gleb Oleinik
I enjoy playing and writing about PC video games. You can check out my blogs at witcherhour.com and dragoninquisition.com.
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