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Lion and Shadow Shaman are often thought of as a similar type of heroes — they are disablers, often picked when your team is lacking teamfight or ganking utility. They are also good counters for extremely mobile heroes who rely on positioning to stay alive, courtesy of a 0 cast point hard disables. And both of them came out buffed in 7.07, with the changes to hex mechanics.
Yet, despite apparent similarities, the heroes are very different, especially in the current meta. The introduction of talents, coupled with a multitude of indirect changes, made the argument between Lion and Shadow Shaman a lot more complex than “do we, or do we not need extra pushing potential?” We will be highlighting in this post when to pick the better hero for the right scenario.
There is a rather sizeable gap between Shadow Shaman and Lion win rates in pubs, with the former having an almost 7% advantage. If the heroes truly interchangeable, it would pretty much be the end of the discussion, with Shadow Shaman being a straightforward superior choice.
This kind of conclusion isn’t necessarily too far from the truth and Shadow Shaman is a better choice in the majority of games in the current meta. He is stronger at pressuring the offlaner, courtesy of a strong nuke and ridiculous level 1 auto-attack damage. Arguably, he does more with farm, and as a result is a bigger threat in the prolonged games. Yet, there is still a decent amount of arguments in favor of Lion.
Both heroes require a great deal of understanding to play effectively, but when it comes to micro moments and correct and timely usage of spells, Lion has a much higher skill ceiling. Both Lion and Shadow Shaman often double as “catch” heros once they get their Blink Daggers, but unlike SS, Lion can become a full on team initiator, if required.
Earth Spike is almost always possible to land on two targets and 3+ targets aren’t out of the question either, especially in a pub environment. This bonus isn’t as pronounced during the laning stage, but come midgame it can be an absolute game-changer.
Lion is much better at dealing with illusion heroes, especially come level 20. From the get go, he has two abilities which simply destroy the illusions, and with an appropriate talent he can pretty much guarantee an instant wipe of something like Chaos Knight’s Phantasm.
It is futile to compare Shadow Shaman’s Ether Shock damage to an instant destruction effect, even with the level 25 talent which puts the damage to 720. At this point in the game this damage probably won’t be enough to kill the illusions in the first place, while the talent itself has too high of an opportunity cost, since the +60 Serpent Ward damage is too good to pass on.
In a given teamfight, especially when team with Shadow Shaman is on offensive and forces an objective, Serpent Wards are guaranteed to do more damage than the Finger of Death. Yet there are situations where the latter can be superior.
It mainly boils down to how effective Finger is against heavily armored targets and how fast it deals its damage, which can potentially prevent heals or reposition saves. Against certain targets like Morphling or Phantom Assassin, it is much better at ensuring a clean kill — it will probably deal more damage and it will deal it much faster.
Lion’s lane sustain is one of the reasons he is often recommended to newer players. With Mana Drain they can use their spells more liberally, so not every single Earth Spike has to be absolutely effective for the hero to have an impact.
However, many players tend to disregard another quite obvious aspect of Mana Drain — it steals mana from the enemy. This effect is often an afterthought, rather than the primary motivation to use Mana Drain, yet against a multitude of heroes it can be absolutely soul-crushing.
Against many heroes, like Brewmaster, Sven, Chaos Knight etc. Mana Drain can effectively become an extra disable. You can catch Brewmaster after Blink+Clap combo with hex and prevent him from using his primal split. In a span of one second, you can prevent Chaos Knight from using two extra Reality Rifts and the list can go on.
Moreover, Mana Drain is also one of the fastest and most reliable Linken’s counters — something that can’t be overestimated against elusive, highly mobile targets.
The fact that level 1 hex on Lion is more than a full second longer than it is on Shadow Shaman only supports the idea of getting extra points in Mana Drain early and in certain games the latter can even get a priority over extra levels into Earth Spike.
There is no denying that Shadow Shaman is currently one of the top heroes in the meta. He is extremely popular (almost 20% pick rate), has a high win rate, and is often picked in the professional scene. He is in an extremely good place and you can almost never go wrong with a first pick position 4 Shadow Shaman, especially in pubs where the possibility of a third Roshan is quite high.
Yet, completely forgetting about Lion would be bad practice. The hero is more niche this patch, with Shadow Shaman being better or equal in terms of some responsibilities they share, but there are games where he can truly shine. Think, pick smart, and you will probably find places for both heroes.
I think the biggest thing that really helps shaman out is that a lot of popular heros this patch (tinker, storm, sf etc..) are very bad at pushing, and simply having an shaman completely negates that fact. Add to that the ss/lycan combo and you can finish games out before teams can even react.
learn how to play Lion fullsupport and win more games ;)
Gimme dat dealing with lycan article
When I play hard support I'm spam-ing Lion since Windrunner's Shackleshot is now disjointable since the 6.86 patch u_u
At least incorporate it as a lvl. 20 talent (Shackleshot is no longer disjointable) instead of the "+1 Shackleshot Target" which is not very good :/
Also, just give Shadow Shaman 600 attack range but with Techies attack damage & increase his ultimate cooldown to 160/140/120 and he'll be balanced for 7.08 :D :3
SS is a good pick in 100% of the games :D
-You're ahead?: "Place Serpent Wards".
- Want Roshan?: "Place Serpent Wards".
- You want to split push (Towers)?: "Place Serpent Wards".
- Want to win?: Pick SS (Serpent Wards XD )
"Especially in pubs where the possibility of a third roshan is quite high"
Not really... unless there's an Ursa or Troll, the earliest people usually take Rosh is 35-40 mins.
Shaman's base atk damage is so high I feel. Like damn dude stop hitting me pls I'm just a timbersaw fuck. Armor not high enough for that bastard.
I think it depends on what bracket you are talking about but normally I'd agree that rosh is undervalued in the pub scene. Still, the mention of the third rosh is important when talking about SS
You know, I think the biggest point in Lion's favor here is that he can kill an illusion for 10 mana. That's such a great thing to understand when drafting. You can just RUIN a push for a Naga team, CK team, it's a little less useful against a Shadow Demon team but if they're going to feed you more and more illusions, spending all their mana and getting at maximum half the damage they expect from the maneuver, it's well worth the counterpick.
Shaman is just a better lion atm. It'll probably swap next patch like it does every year with these two.
Shaman and Lion are my two best support heroes.. I know so well their skills since I played them for 100+ games.. Both of them are good disable..
+ : high base damage at lvl 1, good SS for pushing
- : channeling shackle
+ : mana drain instant kill illusion, good SS for fast kill
- : bad at farming
So basically if u ask me which one I prefer, I would choose Lion over Shaman.. Why? Like I said, Shaman's shackle is channeling, that is the weakest point from him.. When u shackle enemy, u become an easy target or enemy waiting for ur shackle and they easily disable the shackle.. While lion got 2 disable skills that enemy cant cancel anyway..
What do I do with their weakness?
Usually I picked Shaman when I saw enemy heroes got no disable or just 1 or 2 heroes.. If my team is the first to pick, I would usually picked Lion first.. Picking Shaman at first pick is a no no.. There will be more than 2 enemy heroes that can disable ur shackle..
And for Lion, indeed his skill 1 only deals 260 damage is not suitable to farm than Shaman skill 1 and SS.. But usual at lvl 10 talent, I picked +75 damage.. So when I done max skill 1, I can last hit easily creeps to farm some gold..
Lion should be buffed. Maybe the talent tree can make Lion a better hero.
Lvl 10;100+ cast range or 90 gold/min
Lvl 15; +1 sec hex or +100 dmg Earth Spike
Lvl 20; +3 Mana drain target or + 10% spell amplification
Lvl 25 should have OP talent as at this point BKB should make Lion bad and Lotus Orb hurts a lot; AoE hex 400 or +500 cast range mana drain or Earth spike pierces spell immunity or maybe even Global finger of death (for the lulz) or Earth spike can be target building
Kappa (but still buff lion pls)
I don't think the +1 sec. Hex is good because 4 seconds are already a lot. I think moving the +300 Finger of Death damage from lvl. 20 to lvl. 15 could put Lion back in the meta =D
At lvl. 25 it could be "Hex pierces spell immunity" plus the AoE one :D
Not a single cancerous first second comments crap...gj
The only thing is , you will always go shaman because you first pick. if you 3rd or 4th picking lion wont be worth it, as a pos 4,5 support should first pick anyways, so your comment "Think, pick smart, and you will probably find places for both heroes" is flawed.
16th comment. did i do it right ?
SS has easier spells for non 4k players.
i yet have to see a triple lion stun in my rank. and the cd of the lion ultimate, that sometimes is wasted, due to 'supports dont ks'.
So 7.07 buffed lion much more than rhasta. the illusion part and the aoe hex is faar better.
Rhastas ether shock talent now competes with ward talent. which is a slight nerf, despite the ward talent buff.
as a support player, im not a friend of 'pick supports first' anyway.
Lion is amazing against squishy heroes like pa as the article stated(at level 7 earth spike+finger can insta kill pa).He is picked when you need to get rid of a hero fast as he has the highest single target magical burst damage(I think) like for example you need to kill Timbersaw with burst and SS's Wards doesn't burst they will just add to his armor and hp regen.Although Shadow Shaman will always have game impact because he can push towers kinda safe.SS also can stun lock a hero with his talent tree like hex cooldown and shackle duration.You want to get rid of an enemy fast pick lion that's it.
I'd argue that Lion relies the least on his ultimate. It's on cooldown for so long and is single target, it's more of an afterthought. Waiting for aghs to kick in isn't worth it on its own though. There are far better ways to get rid of a hero fast. Get OD, Lina, Ursa. Lion is a much better deterrant than SS is, while SS is a much better 'go for the kill' hero for single targets. You're going to have a much better time in teamfights with Lion, especially with his talents and aghs upgrades keeping him relevant later on in the game.
Guys, you forget Lion’s talent that makes his hex an aoe... it can make a massive difference.
Anyway, I say why not draft both in the same team?
You've missed some important points.
> Position 5 suitability.
* Shaman has much higher base damage and an extra 100 hp making him a more stable choice as a #5 in the early phase of the game to zone a solo midlaner/offlaner. Lion has an extra 33% range (600 vs 400) to compensate.
* Ether shock does almost twice the damage of earth spike at level 1 on a shorter cooldown which means he can push targets out of the lane more quickly.
The choice of the more appropriate #5 will mostly come down to the lane configuration and whether ether shock or mana drain is better suited against the enemy.
> Team Fight
Shaman's primary disable is channelled and short range. So to effectively use it in a team fight shaman has to stand in the middle of the fight. This means you can't just blink in and shackles without knowing the position of the enemy team because you will just die. Conversely Lion can blink, hex, spike multiple targets and then BACK OUT out of vision to return when his abilities are off cool down.
This means that Shaman, (outside of just casting hex and running away) cannot initiate as effectively in a team fight, he has to work out who can cancel his channel and track their movement and only commit the shackles when they're not in a position to kill him/cancel shackles.
This also means that blink is less of a strong choice on shaman and items that give him a bit more utility are worth considering (force, glimmer, drums, atos).
As a #4 Shaman's shackles has ridiculous kill potential in almost any lane compared to lion's kit. Lion has to forgo mana drain to even compare and even then because a hexed target can still move, shackles still comes out on top. To compensate Lion has better base movement and can buy tranquils because of mana drain so the question can also be posed about how mobile the enemy heroes are (ignoring how out of position they might be).
Shaman have strong push. And potentially more pushery.
Lion have kill-laser ulti to kill squishy enemies. Lion very nice to early kills.
Lion > Shadow Shaman
I love how at the start the article says "These heroes are more varied than just their ultimates" and there are a ton of comments that say "These heroes are the same except for their ultimates"
the most easy and brainless and op heros in this game.
Well, Rhasta can turn ganks into pushing towers, while lion cannot. Gank-> Push is the most effective play in Dota and therefore Rhasta >>>>> Lion. (against some lineups lion can still be better tho, but it's situational)
Lion OP? He is not even in the meta LuL
I like it when a Lion come across illusion hero and accidentally fast kill it :D
p.s. these two can negate Spectre's Haunt illusion easily leaving her Ult useless, especially Lion
oh and Dagger is suitable for any heroes though, just any of it, giving extra 1200 cast range from behind your tank is priceless, combining with Aether Lens, just stay sharp for shackle opportunities!
I am on a 8th game winning streak with shaman :)