Lich is a go-to hero for many when it comes to playing as a support in Dota 2. His abilities are pretty easy to understand and his role is clear, so therefore, he’s a great choice to learn early in your Dota career. Even when you become more of an expert, he remains a great pick, with him showing up in the pro meta fairly often.

In order to find out exactly how you should be playing Lich we caught up with two of the best support players in the world, Kim ‘DuBu’ Doo-young and Troels ‘syndereN’ Nielsen, and asked them how to play the hero.

“Lich is an annoying hero because you don’t let opponents get what they expect from the lane. The best way of using Lich is following the opponent’s key hero (mainly carry) and annoying him,” Kim ‘DuBu’ Doo-young explains.

Frost Blast is a targeted nuke that deals damage and slows the targeted unit and any others in a small AoE around that unit. The primary target will take 50/100/150/200 damage, while the AoE damage is 75/100/125/150, with everyone getting a 30 percent move speed slow down and a 20 attack speed slow down for four seconds.

“My go-to skillbuild on Lich is either 3-1-3-2-3-4-3-2-2-T-2 or 3-2-3-1-3-4-3-2-2-T-2,” syndereN tells us. “Although occasionally maxing Frost Blast after Sacrifice or getting at least one or two additional skill points can be valuable.”

Ice Armour

A screenshot of Ice Armour in Dota 2.
Ice Armour makes allies stronger

Ice Armour is a spell that can be targeted on allied units and buildings, giving them 3/5/7/9 armour for 40 seconds. With a five second cool down, this spell can be cast on multiple allies at the same time, and the low 50 mana cost helps as well. When a a foe attacks a unit or building with Ice Armour applied they will get a 8/16/24/32 percent move speed slow down and a 8/16/23/32 attack speed slow for two seconds.

“Usually Ice Armour is a higher value skill point than Frost Blast, but consider whether the defensive or offensive tools your hero offers are more valuable at the time in the game,” syndereN tells us. “Make sure you keep Ice Armour up on as many heroes as possible all the time while still sustaining mana. The spell makes a huge difference in fights which isn’t always easy to see, since it’s fairly subtle in animation.”

Sacrifice

A screenshot of Sacrifice in Dota 2.
Sacrificing creeps give a big advantage

Sacrifice allows Lich to deny a friendly creep and convert 30/50/70/90 percent of the creep’s health into mana. Casting this when no enemy is within XP range means that the creep will give no XP to any opposing heroes, making it easy to give a core a good lane advantage. With a 60/46/32/18 cooldown, and almost always granting a positive mana return thanks to a low 25 cost, you should always be using it.

“Mostly, you want to max Sacrifice first. It’s the way you dominate lanes and get yourself levels,” syndereN explains.

Chain Frost

A screenshot of Chain Frost in Dota 2.
Chain Frost does a lot of damage

Lich’s ultimate is cast onto a single target, sending an orb of ice their way and dealing 280/370/460 damage as well as applying a 65 percent move speed slow and a 65 attack speed slow for 2.5 seconds. Upon contact with the enemy, the orb will then bounce to another enemy or neutral unit within 600 range, up to a total of 10 bounces (and that’s without Aghanim’s Scepter). If there’s no unit within 600 range the spell will end. Chain Frost has a 100/80/60 second cooldown and costs 200/325/500 mana.

“Be patient with Chain Frost,” syndereN continues. “Lots of players use the spell very early in the fight, when sometimes waiting those extra few seconds for the fight to develop can get the enemy heroes into a really bad position so they can’t escape the bounces.”

Talents

Level 10: +25 Movement Speed OR +175 Health

Level 15: -4 second Frost Blast Cooldown OR +120 Damage

Level 20: +120 Gold/minute OR +175 Cast Range

Level 25: Attacks apply 30 percent Movement Speed and Attack Speed Slow OR Ice Armor Provides +30 HP Regeneration

A screenshot of Lich surrounded by trees in Dota 2.
Lich has a lot of possibilities

What does this all mean? Which talents should I pick?

Lich’s talents are mostly pretty useful, so they should be moulded to the game most of the time. At level 10, +175 health is always nice, especially if you’re being targeted a lot, as it’ll certainly help in most situations. At level 15, it depends on how the game is going, but mostly the Frost Blast will be better off, as Lich’s rarely will right click that often. At level 20, the cast range is always nice, but if you’re behind, then the extra gold really does help. If you ever manage to hit 25 as Lich, then Ice Armour regen makes your cores a lot harder to kill, and the slow is rarely that useful in the late game.

What about items?

With Lich being a support in most cases, you should be looking to buy things such as Wards, detection and of course the courier at the start of a game. If you do manage to get some gold, then team-based items are the best shout, keeping your comrades alive and fighting is your best bet.

“Itemise cheap, useful items for you and your team. Tranquil Boots, Urn of Shadows, Force Staff/Glimmer Cape (or both) can be good choices,” syndereN explains.

“Most likely buy Glimmer Cape and Force Staff,” DuBu tells us. “If it’s a good medallion game, then you go medallion. If you have a survival item, you can be kind of front and get attention, but if you don’t, it’s better to stay back.”

OK, so how do I beat Lich?

Lich is pretty easy to kill off, especially with any kind of lockdown, so if you can get to the back lines then he’s easy to take down at any stage of the game. Black King Bar’s obviously negate a lot of his power, so they should be high on your wish list, and Force Staffs can help you get away when slowed. In the early game, you need to accept that you’ll most likely lose one lane thanks to Sacrifice, so be prepared to draft a hero that can catch up in the mid game and potentially farm ancients to counter the lost lane.

“Lineups that are very mobile and therefore don’t transfer Chain Frost very well can be annoying to face, in particular if they don’t get bothered as much by your presence in lane either. Examples would be Queen of Pain or Puck,” syndereN tells us.

When should Lich be picked?

“Lich is generally strongest when it can enforce a 1v2 match-up, or when you’re shutting down a key hero of the enemy,” syndereN tells us. “It’s often a good pick against mid heroes that depend on getting a good start, especially if Ice Armor is also useful against them later. Good examples could be Templar Assassin and Shadow Fiend.”

Lich should of course be picked when you need a solid support, and ideally when the other heroes have some good lock down, as Lich is a little lacking in that department. If you plan on dual laning Mid then he’s a great option, and he is also solid if the opposition is going for a four protect one strategy. Master Lich, and you’ll have plenty of options at your fingertips.

Source: Redbull