Image by Alexander Frey
“The scepter of a wizard with demigod-like powers.”
On May 24, 2019, the 7.22 patch brought Aghanim’s Scepter upgrades for all the heroes in the game. Some upgrades were amazing and called for an immediate nerf. Others left people scratching their heads.
Aghanim’s Scepter is a unique item in Dota as every hero now has a reason to buy it. Some heroes buy it first, other heroes ignore it completely. Some upgrades are situational and others are required for the hero to function properly.
In this article, we’ll go over the top 10 most impactful utility Aghanim’s Scepters for cores.
Nature’s Prophet excels at creating space and pushing out the lanes. An Aghanim’s Scepter enhances these abilities to outrageous proportions.
It can be annoying to play against a Nature’s Prophet whose sole intent is to push out every lane so their cores can catch up if they’re behind. If you’re not coordinated or prepared to defend your towers, you might lose a barracks or two.
A scepter upgrade for Nature’s Prophet means lanes will continue to be pushed every time the ability is up if you don’t have a way to deal with it. This is similar to losing a barracks, the lane will always be pushed in, except Wrath of Nature can push in every lane.
This upgrade essentially creates two heroes. Lone Druid’s Spirit Bear is often where all the items go so when the bear gets a few items and can roam around the map without a leash, watch out.
This allows split pushing to happen like very few heroes are capable of. If one of your lanes is pushed in while you’re pushing with your team on the other side of the map, the Spirit Bear can Boots of Travel in, deal a ton of damage to your tier three tower, and force teleports to defend the base, then Lone Druid can summon back the bear like nothing happened.
When this upgrade was initially introduced, many Ursa players built this item first. Now, it’s a situational item but still very useful.
In some ways, this upgrade is better than a Black King Bar. You can’t use a BKB when you’re disabled, there’s diminishing returns, and there’s no damage reduction.
With this upgrade, you can jump into fights without any worry at all. If you get disabled or almost die, you can pop your ultimate at any time and buy time for your allies to jump in or run at the enemy some more. With an 18 second cooldown at max level, you can use Enrage multiple times in a fight.
Void Spirit is a new hero in this game but his role is becoming defined. Jump in, do a lot of damage, cause chaos, and jump out.
Resonant Pulse helps him with the jumping in part. He gains a shield that protects him from physical damage which is always helpful. Adding a silence to this ability increases the impact he has by jumping into fights and causes more chaos.
Ember Spirit is similar to Void Spirit in that he jumps in and deals a ton of damage and jumps out.
By increasing the cast range, speed, and maximum charges of Fire Remnant, it allows Ember Spirit to be more Ember Spirity.
With this upgrade, everything you can do with Fire Remnants can be done better. You can jump further which leads to better catch or escape. You have more charges which leads to more combos and play making potential. You increase your travel speed which helps the previous two abilities. This seems pretty useful if you’re an Ember Spirit player.
One of the tankiest heroes in the game, Centaur shares this tankiness with his team by upgrading with an Aghanim’s Scepter.
Stampede is a global spell that provides 40% damage reduction and allows allies to run over cliffs in the duration. This has great save potential and opens up the potential of Stampede usage.
Without the upgrade, Stampede would mostly be used for initiations or escapes. If you get a Scepter, you turn this ability into one of the best saving spells in the game.
This is one of the more unique spells in the game. Time Lapse allows Weaver to travel back in time before he was hurt.
The Scepter upgrade grants Weaver the ability to force his allies to travel back in time as well. No longer do you have to live with the regret of running uphill into four heroes and losing 80% of your health. Your buddy Weaver will be there to turn back the clock and give you another opportunity to say, “You know what? It’s not a good idea to walk uphill into the enemy jungle with no vision.”
A well placed Time Lapse can be game changing. If the enemy blows all their cooldowns trying to kill your ally and you use Time Lapse on them, they’ll be demoralized like nothing else.
Electric Vortex has a 16 second cooldown and what the Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade does is essentially turn it into a mini black hole. Except with a shorter duration and area of effect.
Still, any disable that can affect five heroes needs to be considered before everyone jumps in to kill a Bristleback.
Storm Spirit’s natural playstyle involves jumping in and out of fights. With this upgrade, he’ll be able to jump in, disable multiple heroes, jump out, and repeat this process every 16 seconds.
This upgrade turns Dream Coil into the best anti Black King Bar spell in the game.
Dream Coil already forces the enemy to stay in one spot or get damaged and stunned. This spell, and many others are countered by a BKB but what do you do when your counter gets countered?
BKB is the answer for many core heroes to enable their rampage through the enemy team. When the enemy carry gets a BKB, the strategy becomes to run away. But when Puck gets an upgraded Dream Coil, that strategy gets turned around and you’re able to fight anyone.
Last on this list is Zeus. Nimbus is an amazing spell with so much impact. The amount of damage it does and area it controls is second to none.
Catching the backlines is one of the most important tactics in the game. It can be hard when you have to go through a Mars or Slardar to catch the enemy supports. But with Zeus being able to cast Nimbus anywhere, you have an easy access to the backlines to interrupt their play.
For Aghanim’s upgrades, Nimbus is arguably the best in the game. It does so much when it’s used and Zeus can cast it anywhere, forcing the enemy to run away or fight in a literal lighting cloud.