A Closer Look at Neutrals

The value Helm of the Dominator brings to the table as an independent item should be obvious for everyone who reads our blog. It looks even better, when the additional utility it brings to the table is considered; neutral creeps, when boosted to a flat 1400 HP and 425 MS, are a force to be reckoned with until the very late stages of the game. They are not necessarily “tanks” of the team, or a major source of damage, but they certainly provide support in ganks and teamfights through powerful auras and active abilities.

The focus today is not going to be on the Helm of the Dominator, as the item has been discussed previously, but rather on neutral creeps as a whole. They can be a part of a Chen army, or a target for Devour Devour. And whenever you get a chance to use some of their abilities, it is better to be prepared.

Creeps are sorted from the least to most complicated, from the multi-unit control perspective.

Alpha Wolf

The big bad wolf of the jungle. Packleader's Aura Packleader's Aura is a very strong argument in every engagement and is more or less an equivalent of Vengeful Spirit’s Vengeance Aura Vengeance Aura. There isn’t really a lot to say about this neutral creep—he is easy to use and very efficient. It can help in teamfights, during pushes or even just to farm the jungle with and all you have to do is issue a “move” command (M-click) on yourself or an ally.

Kobold Foreman

Another M-click neutral, this time a lot more specific. Utilizing him is very easy, understanding when you actually need him, however, is much harder. Most of the times he is the best buddy of melee cores, who don’t have a mobility spell or haven’t reached their Blink Dagger yet. Sven Sven, Lifestealer Lifestealer, Ursa Ursa etc. can all benefit from having a 12% speed aura—it is much harder to kite an enemy who runs significantly faster than you. Do not rely on him too much though, since once you have a way to start or follow up on an initiation, having extra movement speed might become redundant.

Ogre Frostmage

With this creep, M-click+autocast enabled will leave your mind open for serious Dota, not multi-unit control meddling. However, do not underestimate Ice Armor Ice Armor. On-attack MS and AS slow on top of +8 armor can make physical DPS cores’ lives a misery. This creep saves lives and can be a direct counter to much more expensive items, such as Desolator Desolator. And the buff duration coupled with a very low cooldown can keep your whole team protected, as long as the creep survives.

Hill Troll Priest

Another creep with an autocast ability, who is low maintenance and high utility. Hill Troll Priest is probably one of the most undervalued creeps in the earlier stages of the game. +3 Mana regen is absolutely massive in a landscape, where heroes have low manapools. On top of it, he can provide a 30 HP regen per second through Heal Heal. When the ability is on autocast, he selects a random target each time, making it a lot less reliable. And casting it manually on a 0.5s cooldown is not something you should generally be focused on in a game of Dota. But in a 1v1 scenario, +30 HP/sec can be absolutely massive.

Ghost

Valve obviously didn’t bother naming some of their neutrals, which was already evident, consdering that Hill Troll Priest's healing ability is called “Heal” and his mana regeneration aura “Mana Aura”. Ghost may have a boring name, but is not a boring creep to control by any means. Her slow can make a massive difference at any stage of the game, allowing you to use her offensively, to chase fleeing target, or defensively, to slow down pursuers--her 20% MS slow is equivalent to that of a Sange after all. She doesn’t have any active abilities or auras, so her impact is restricted to slowing right-clicks, but sometimes it might just be the difference you need. And unlike other disabling creeps, her slow can be applied continuously.

Satyr Tormentor

The “can’t touch this” approach to early game, Satyr Tormentor is decent when controlled by Chen or devoured by Doom, but he is exceptional when dominated by HotD. A total of 14 HP regen from HotD+Unholy Aura Unholy Aura is almost impossible to deal with in the early game—it provides a lot of sustain to the heroes in lane, makes creeps extremely tough during the pushes and can even turn the tides in a teamfight. The added benefit of Shockwave Shockwave should not be underestimated either. It has a low cooldown of 8 seconds and can be cast four times, without mana regenerating items or abilities. 160 magic damage translates to roughly 120 on a typical hero, which is often at least 10-15% of their total HP pool in the early game.

Wildwing Ripper

One of the weakest auras in the selection is not compensated enough by the Tornado Tornado. This creep can be a great harassing tool during early pushes, and can save you some HP through the Toughness Aura Toughness Aura, but his utility now and before is probably restricted to Chen flash-farming, if it is even still possible.

Dark Troll Summoner

A creep for when your teammates don’t have long-range disables and the enemy you are trying to gank has good awareness. The absence of cast point or projectile as well as relatively good range of Ensnare Ensnare, allow you to catch someone off-guard with this ability, but the low duration of the root effect means it is primarily a setup spell. The other spell can be marginally useful during pushes, or provide bodies for body-blocking, but is otherwise almost irrelevant.

Mud Golem

A very similar deal to Dark Troll Summoner, but with the added benefit of damage and longer cast range. It pays dearly for it, however, since the stun duration is only 0.6s. Timing the death of this creep is crucial to unlocking his full potential, since with two “shards” you can deal up to 375 magic damage and stun a target for a total of 1.8s. With HotD, you can dominate a different creep, to force the Mud Golem to split, making it a very powerful combo. Dropping the item, however, no longer works, since creeps are now bound to heroes, rather than to the HotD item itself.

Hellbear Smasher

One of the two “melee range ability” creeps is surprisingly good, when considering the Swiftness Aura. Once again, the creep is better with HotD because of the MS gain, he can still be an integral part of a Chen army or a good Doom meal. As a part of an army without the additional MS, he will require a setup to be consistent with his Thunder Clap Thunder Clap, but the ability's effectiveness is often enough to net a successful kill during a gank.

Centaur Conqueror

A simple, yet effective 2-second stun on this creep makes it a good companion in the majority of cases. Yes, War Stomp War Stomp will probably require a setup, unless you are using HotD, but it is generally worth it—a disable is a disable, after all. It should be noted though, that the ability has a massive 20s cooldown, relatively long cast point and can be only cast two times, without additional mana sources. A lack of any auras on the creep also make it a better one-time gank companion, rather than a loyal friend for the duration of the game.

Harpy Stormcrafter

The best lane bully with a massive cast range nuke on a low cooldown. You need to win a lane? Chain Lightning Chain Lightning can do it for you, if she is acquired through an early dominate ability. You need to constantly apply pressure or outpush a lane you currently don’t want to bother with? Harpy can do it. This creep is an early game powerhouse, which will require a decent amount of micro, but will pay for it big time. However, come midgame, her role will probably get restricted to Linken’s popping or Blink Dagger disables. As such, it is usually not worth it to dominate this creep with HotD.

Satyr Banisher

Half a Diffusal Blade Diffusal Blade, which can still be cast on allies or yourself—Satyr Banisher will require timely micro, but can be a lifesaver in certain scenarios. Dispelling silences, roots and hexes? Check. Slowing down fleeing or pursuing enemies? Check. Dispelling positive buffs from the enemy? Check. His mana pool will only allow for 4 casts of the ability, but they can result in a massive change in a teamfight or gank momentum, especially considering Purge Purge is on a 3-second cooldown. And despite the nerfs to the cast range of the ability, it is still one of the better offensive and defensive tools, especially with 425 MS from HotD.

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39 comments
NAG_CHAM'pa

    First!

    Helm of dominator on ogre magi + Centaur + bloodlust is hilariously good.

    This comment was edited
    -TIFFANY-

      Hello 2nd

      This comment was edited
      4k Anger Management Practice

        What about the cloak aura creeps like small ursas and cents?

        I do get them on Enchantress vsing a Zeus/Tinker, like a free Pipe of Insight passive.
        You can STACK creep cloak auras indefinetely, which nobody knows for some reason.

        This comment was edited
        CabroniMacaroni

          Man, I can barely keep track of what I'm doing

          Triturate

            What about the poison wolves

            Cheshire.Elkie

              You know, most people comments on article with "First!", "Second".
              Can you stop being childish, and appreciate the content presented to you? They worked hard for that too.
              A better response would be criticism, asking questions, etc.

              Rated 'K' for Kevin

                Purge creep is the best.

                SirFalcon

                  2 important factors that were overlooked.

                  Dark Troll's skeletons are the very best for farming the early jungle with Chen or Enchantress. You can get hand of Midas in well under 5 minuets if you happen to start with the Dark Troll. Also the skeletons benefit from Lone Druid's Battle Cry which can be devastating during a push.

                  Harpies, all of them, have the greatest vision in the game, even greater than that of an observer ward. A patrolling or force staffed to high ground harpy can provide superior vision and will not decay after 6 minuets.

                  1iceTea

                    ^Quality comment

                    evillibrarian

                      The skeleton warriors from the Troll make useful scouts. In fact, not one mention of scouting with neuts in this post. What would one expect from DotA players though ;)

                      Ascalon This Way [一一ン]

                        Cool, didnt know that with the Harpies and the Vision.
                        Thats pretty nice and good to know.

                        I didnt even know about the move-click so creeps do follow.

                        HAWGT

                          why isn't there a filter to remove first, 1st, etc... comments?

                          Sarllo

                            the purgue of satyr banisher is equal to diff blade? i once use it (as doom) on omni (before 7.00) and didnt purgue any of his skills..

                            Magnathustra

                              Great Post -- I wish it had been a little more comprehensive & discussed all of the creeps, including the ancients and how to deal with them as LS, etc., but on the whole this was incredibly helpful.

                              My take away is that the Centaur with stomp or the alpha wolf are the way to go if you just want the best creep for "most" situations.

                              a kitten

                                I need to get into HotD and creeps, this is going to be a great list to start out with. Thanks.

                                smax

                                  @Sarllo right now they both states 'Basic Dispel', so they should be the same

                                  Chosen

                                    A lack of any auras on the creep also make it a better one-time gank companion, rather than a loyal friend for the duration of the game.

                                    ;-;

                                    bws

                                      Inb4 2k scrubs like me prioritize on getting the wolf because of laziness

                                      Dental Techinician

                                        hi dota buff guys
                                        hi mom
                                        im famous

                                        Brock Hall

                                          @SirFalcon

                                          The vision tactics you described are certainly possible, but I don't see them being massively important. Spending that much gold to get an item that can be so helpful in teamfights, only to use its main draw to sit a harpy on high ground for more than six minutes seems like a waste. By the time the team has both helm and force staff the cost of wards is fairly inconsequential. Still, it's a cool trick if coordinated correctly. For instance, you could send your harpy to high ground before a push, and when you are established in the lane you can grab another creep to initiate when the area the harpy is watching is no longer a priority.

                                          I fully expect Valve to make changes to helm, but the time that it has been at the top has been valuable for people that haven't given micro much thought, and your tips are proof of both how strong the item is and how much micro can add to a players strength.

                                          Fight Machine

                                            Which ancient creep is the best for life stealer impregnation?

                                            Brock Hall

                                              @Fight Machine

                                              In terms of a vehicle for a naixbomb probably the centaur as it will stun, but all controlled units share naix's ms. You can get Ancients later so probably the dragon with his fire breath.

                                              Icecream,NoIcecream

                                                -------------------------------
                                                last please

                                                fx(tilted)

                                                  What trouble me the most is when morph sells hotd to get other item. If you have 300 attack damage which is very likely you can have up to 90 damage. It is even better than daedalus and mkb to some extend and the biggest upgrade is you can put on back pack. Also do wolf damage stack?

                                                  This comment was edited
                                                  Cram it up your cramhole

                                                    Is it popular for any 4 position supports to pick up HotD?

                                                    TracyCarnage-

                                                      wtf I hate chen, totally.

                                                      PIG

                                                        @fx(tilted)

                                                        People aren't building hotd on Morph and if they did, they would definitely sell it to free up an item slot. He has more than enough attack speed from Treads + Agility and he gets all the regen he needs with linkens. Hotd isn't the item for Morph.

                                                        NAG_CHAM'pa

                                                          You forgot to mention ensnare pierces spell immunity. It's really useful against jug and LS If you pick up a hotd

                                                          Rubick stole my ♥ (of Tar...

                                                            I tried to use Hill Troll Priest's heal but I don't get how it works ?
                                                            I mean I do understand how the skill works, but I've tried to set auto cast for it (in "special unit hotkeys" for "neutral creeps") and he just casts it once and... stops lol

                                                            Anung un Rama

                                                              what about the timings? the key timing and camps for farming jungle (if it is possible as you say) or the core heroes for jungle farming =( i want more info ahah, but is a good post.

                                                              SirFalcon

                                                                @Rubick
                                                                Right click the heal, like a toggle, to turn on auto heals

                                                                gtb.sg

                                                                  Hum what about the centaur 2 sec aoe stun creep D:

                                                                  LemonSnickett

                                                                    Pick Chen:
                                                                    Get 2 SATYR TORMENTOR and Spam Hadouken at your enemy.
                                                                    Even better, 2 WILDWING RIPPER and throw tornados while your enemy try to farm.

                                                                    Loreleí

                                                                      No comment on Ancient creeps?!

                                                                      Daddy_Fucker_Jones

                                                                        This is certainly helpful for players who haven't thought of the new HotD micro meta.

                                                                        cat cafe

                                                                          If you take Enchantress or Chen for a level 1 gank, try to get the zap bat, as you can pretty much kill any hero in the game at the 1 minute mark with it by yourself.

                                                                          Sykes-

                                                                            Most of good support, who understand the game will buy domi. Mostly when their carry have a great potential push ability like juggernaut, luna, sf, drow, etc. Even they dont have that, dominatior creep also can be use for gank.

                                                                            Me, mostly play safelane core almost every game buy domi for pushing potential or even stacking ancients.

                                                                            [IR] Culverin

                                                                              NERF the new ancient creeps. why they keep using their spells it shd be like all other creeps when there are 3 enemy near camp spells should be used by neutrals. cant farm these new volvo ancient creeps even with sven...