Aghanim’s Shards are not created equal. Some of them are so niche, they can be safely ignored, while others now define the hero they are built on. Today we want to have a look at the most popular Shards in the pub scene and discuss whether they are really worth it.
By far, the most popular Shard in the game right now. The hero can safely afford it very early, and can immediately start using it for aggressive plays, since he is getting both extra damage and movement speed.
It is a mobility and DPS two-in-one upgrade that flips the original idea of the hero on its head: it was thought that Juggernaut wants to have as much Attack Speed as possible to maximize his Omnislash damage output. With the Shard build and its fixed attack rate, Juggernaut is better off going extra Attack Damage and this Shard is single-handedly responsible for the return of Battlefury Jugg.
It is absolutely one of the best Shards in the game and is a prime candidate for being nerfed in the next patch. Buy it while it is still OP.
Dota players have a hard time letting go, it seems and the Static Field upgrade for Zeus is the second most popular Shard in pubs. 9% current HP as extra damage is nothing to scoff at, naturally. It can work wonders against tanky and squishy heroes alike and the DPS increase should not be underestimated.
Zeus, with his ridiculous built-in mobility, is a very different hero nowadays, but it was a necessary step to modernize the character. He was simply too susceptible to ganks in mid and had little to no utility to be played in other lanes or roles.
Being able to “buy” what is essentially an extra level four ability on top of an already fully functional kit seems a bit too much and while Zeus Shard has a <50% win rate in the professional scene, it is definitely one of the best purchases in pubs.
Self-save that deals ~1400 physical damage is absolutely worth it in theory. Voodoo Switcheroo is an ability that makes other supports envious of Witch Doctor, as it allows a position support five fight back and sometimes even win against an enemy core.
At the same time, we believe it to be a little bit overrated. Not in vacuum, but definitely as one of the first items on the hero. Prioritize getting at least a Glimmer or Force before rushing Shard, doubly so against any AoE silences or heroes who theoretically rush Orchid.
There is a reason why Witch Doctor has a rather underwhelming Shard win rate and while you absolutely want to have it once the basic needs of your team are fulfilled, do not think it is going to allow you to “carry” the game. Unless you are playing with Chen on your team, since the Penitence + any Ward combo is still ridiculous.
It might seem that Shadow Shaman is in the same boat as Witch Doctor: a support hero who should, theoretically, prioritize getting team items, instead of going for the Shard. The big difference is that Shard on Shaman is definitely a team item.
Shackles is one of the strongest non-ultimate disables in the game. At its best it has a 50% (60% with the talent) uptime and for a hard CC this stat is absolutely insane. Making sure you get to use it well continuously and in an uninterrupted fashion is what Shadow Shaman gameplay revolves around right now.
Make sure you get Aether Lens as well. While Shard is undeniably great, Aether Lens gives you more cast range, making your Shackles even safer.
Finally, possibly one of the most broken Shards of the current patch. Getting the ability to move around is massive, but it is spell immunity that makes it ridiculous, since it more or less disallows support counterplay.
This is a Shard that can and should be rushed: Dawnbreaker can make do with hero built-in global and tactical mobility in Solar Guardian and Celestial Hammer respectively, so a Blink Dagger delay will not be too punishing.
Since this Shard also gives spell immunity, it can be rushed before BKB or bought in-between purchasing the Ogre Axe and the Mithril Hammer. This is not common in the professional scene or pro level pubs, where BKB is prioritized, but it is a valid and perhaps a stronger option in Divine- pubs.
The five most popular Aghanim’s Shards in pubs are definitely there for good reasons. Only one of them seems a little bit overrated and even then, it is still a very powerful addition to the hero’s kit.
What Shards do you think are currently underrated or overrated? Do you know of any creative Shard uses? Do not hesitate to share your experience below.