Strategy Guide for Lion the Demon Witch by kalorful (as of v6.

59) Introduction
With the recent buff to mana drain, Lion is now an awesome soloer, capable of defeating many of the conventional solo heroes such as Viper, QoP, and even Shadow Fiend to a certain extent. Stick a few wards in the river to keep Lion’s solo mid safe from ganks, get a chicken to ferry some tangoes, and Lion can own mid indefinitely, keeping the opposing solo low on mana with the constant threat of a quick FINGER OF JUSTICE. A well farmed (or leveled) Lion is truly a force to be reckoned with. At lvl 11 he gains the ability to output an instantaneous burst of 650 + 290 = 940 magic damage on a cooldown of 90 seconds, while having the ability to replenish to full mana after every gank. Whilst his innate low hp and lack of AOE damage and disable prevents him from being widely used in competitive games, a well-played Lion can certainly rip up your average public/TDA, and provide kickass burst and single target disable potential in higher level Clan wars.

Skill Build
Impale: 1, 3, 5, 7 Mana Drain: 2, 4, 8, 9 Hex: 10, 12, 13, 14 Finger of Death: 6, 11, 16

Why max Mana Drain early game?

Mana drain allows for essentially unlimited spam of impale against the opposing solo. Impale-drain forces the other hero to either back, or stun you and lose mana. If they hang back, you can drain creeps to keep up your mana supply. Overall the constant readiness to impale creates a LOT of lane control. Mana drain allows you to pretty much fully replenish mana after every gank. In practice, this means that Lion only needs a few healing salves to maintain his ganking, as his mana will always be replenished by mana drain.

Early game Level 4 Mana drain FUCKS UP enemy mana pools. Sven/Leoric won't have any mana left to bolt should you complete a 4 second drain. (Very feasible if they are not chasing you, but your allies)

Alternate Skill Build
Impale: 1, 3, 5, 7 Stats: 2, 4, 8, 9 Hex: 10, 12, 13, 14 Finger of Death: 6, 11, 16 You should take the impale/stats build when facing laners that Mana Drain does not own. Examples include pro Shadowfiends (triple razes you during mana drain). In that case you should take stats for a better chance to last hit, and extra survivability against razes. I've had some success using the impale/drain build against SF in the past, so don't let this note discourage you. Impale stat is recommended when you are facing a dual lane. MD only affects one hero, so whilst it is totally rape against enemy solo, you have a much higher chance of getting owned when facing two heroes and mana draining.

Item Build
Laning Items

The stout shield effectively protects against potshot attacks from opposing ranged heroes and damage from enemy creeps when you potshot enemy heroes after impale stun. Tangoes provide quick and dirty regen for a cheap price. It allows you to stay in experience range safely and last hit/deny even after heavy harassment. Branches are there to buff stats and give a GG

Core Item Selection

Lion’s items are very situational. It depends on how well you managed to farm in lane and what the heroes are like on the other team.

Explanation of Situational Core Items

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Get this if you manage to farm up 3k in lane before 15 minutes Get this if they have 1 or more low HP carry heroes which need to be shut down. Lion’s impale-dagon-finger combo deals extreme burst damage, and is available every 90 seconds. Mana is not a problem, because of lvl 4 mana drain and Lion’s naturally high intelligence. The dagon build gets Lion out of the lane and go on ganking sprees from early-mid game.

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Get this if you manage to control your lane very well and have mystic staff before 15 minutes. Get this if the other team has heroes which are vulnerable to extended disables (blinkers/WW/AGI dps in general) A guinsoo Lion is very gamebreaking if the opposing team does not have BKB/Repel. The extra 1k range disable has extreme utility in all situations. The guinsoo build however, requires Lion to farm in lane for an extended period of time. The loss of Lion's ganking capability early game must be weighed up against the gain in disabling ability mid-late game.

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Get this when there are no tank heroes on your team to absorb damage/initiate. With Shivas, Lion can absorb a substantially more amount of physical damage and survive long enough to deal out a second round of impale + hex. An extra bonus is that you get an AOE 200 damage and a 40% slow. Helps DPSers latch on and deal out ownage.

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Get this as a matter of priority, when there are invis/mana dependant/techies on the other team. Provides overall awesomeness, buffing strength as well as providing more dps and boosting movement speed. Aim for 35 minutes at most to get necrobook 3. Its important that you get the ganking done ASAP with the higher levels of book.

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Get this if you screwed up in lane. You played too aggressively/defensively, forgot to last hit, and made stupid mistakes like blatantly ignoring 5 missing dots. Do not fret, you can still salvage the situation by going Euls. Euls gives Lion more movement speed to land those gank-turning impales, gives an extra disable, and provides Lion with a reliable escape mechanism. Euls should really be a last resort choice on Lion. Despite it being the cheapest item, the disable it provides is not as powerful as hex or arctic blast, and does not have the offensive/defensive power of either item.

Bracers are good on Lion all game. Cheap cheap mana and hp pool boost. Stack 2-3 bracers on Lion along with any core item to maximize survivability. If you still haven't bought guinsoo and you have money for a mystic staff, go for it now. If you bought guinsoo, you should aim to improve your survivability. I suggest Mek if no one has it on your team, or a soul booster -> bloodstone. They both take care of hp regen issues. Upgrade boots to either BoT or Treads depending on circumstance.

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Items after Core


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IMO Lion should only ward to protect himself early game. You shouldn't buy a lot of wards whilst you are farming your core item. It wastes the lane control/gold that you create early game.

Warding is totally acceptable after you buy your core item/s.

Laning Strategies
Queued Mana Drain This is perhaps the most critical aspect of laning early game. First stand a long distance away from the opposing hero. Tell Lion to impale, and whilst he is walking towards the enemy, hold shift and R to queue a mana drain immediately after. This allows for minimal wasting of drain time. Dual Laning Sometimes there's a better solo than you are. You will then be laning with another allied hero. In this circumstance, Mana drain remains a potent tool for lane domination, however you must judge whether it is worth more than stats in the survivability and extra damage that it provides. Personally I'd still suggest Mana drain for free impale spamming, but exercise your own situational judgement. Potshots Take lots of potshots. You have a stout shield to effectively protect against creep agro. Take potshots to grind down the opposing solo’s hp to a nice impale finger combo. Handling Mana Usage Use mana drain often. Whenever Impale is cooled down, use it. With mana drain you essentially have infinite mana whilst in lane, so it makes sense to spam impale as much as possible to create lane dominance. Using mana drain on creeps is acceptable if the opposing solo is hanging back. Impaling Ground It could be useful in a pinch to get that extra range landing an impale-finger kill, or to impale through fog. It also masks the act of Lion blatantly running towards the other heroes, so it can increase the chance of landing an impale if used well.

Level 4 Mana Drain
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Once Mana drain is leveled up to 4, it can be used effectively as a sort of silence on heroes. Sven running after your red hp friend? Impale and drain! Mana drain takes away 100 mana per second so early game it murders the mana pool of strength/agi heroes and even some intels. Some good uses of mana drain are to prevent BH from windwalking again, to prevent jugg from using omni after spin, and to drain Panda out of split.

Important! Do not use mana drain if you are relying on burst damage to kill enemies. For example, that Sven with orange health WILL die to you and level 5 Lina if you impale + LSA + DS + Normal hitting, even if he bolts one of you. But if you mana drain him, the lack of damage could mean that he makes it back to tower before your impale cools down.


Go in first if it’s a 2 on 1 or 3 on 2 gank. Lion's disables are targeted ranged spells, which means that you can take out someone before they disable you. In even teamfights however, always try to let the tank go in first. This is because Lion gets owned by spell/physical damage very easily. You can easily be bursted down by the rest of the enemy team during your casting animation thanks to your low hp/armour. Let the tank absorb a few stuns, then mop up the other team safely with your disables.

Breakdown of Ganking with Book on Lion
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Make a macro for numpad 7. Impale, then use macro. Quickly group minion and Lion together using Ctrl-1. Right click to get them to approach and attack the stunned hero. Tab once for level one book, twice for level two and three, and press R to mana burn. Use hex and continue beatdown administration. Finger to finish if necessary. Continue beating down other heroes with minion assistance. Leave it as boots for as long as needed. Lion needs an early book/guinsoo/dagon to be at maximum effectiveness. Upgrade to BoT when you have obtained the core item. Treads are ok if you can't farm BoT. It gives extra MS and utility DPS whilst buffing HP considerably.

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Treads or BoT

lion_13_5_dagon_5_rampage.w3g ( 529.83k ) Number of downloads: 323 This replay is a Pub replay of me as Lion soloing mid. It demonstrates the amount of grief Lion can inflict on low hp intels/agis with an early dagon. It also involved aggressive lane play against QoP which ended up being very rewarding. Higher quality replays soon to come!

The majority of the credit goes towards Negi. His miniguide about stout shield + mana drain Lion formed the underlying concept of this guide. Honourable mention to Patccmoi, for writing about the 'gamebreaking nature of guinsoo lion'.

And finally to Eozm, whose lack of early lvl4 mana drain greatly distressed me and spurred me on to write this guide

This is probably my prettiest guide so far. I haven't seen any premium guides for Lion yet, so I hope this one will make it~ "hint hint nudge nudge" Peace out! The writing of this guide shows that full-time work and DotA hobby can co-exist!

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