K.I.S.S – Keep it simple, stupid. Great advice, hurts my feelings every time. Sniper might be one ugly SOB, but he is one of the best heroes to learn Dota with. He was once played during a tutorial, to introduce players to ranged hero mechanics and he currently sees a lot of play and a considerable win rate in the newer-player meta.
This guide is aimed at keeping things simple with Sniper, and will give you a clear game-plan on what you’re trying to achieve ability and item wise. Then, once you’ve learned to keep things simple, you can adapt that game-plan to counter your opponents and accentuate your team.
The Keep It Simple Stupid guide will help you lay the ground work for what your builds will look like, and give you the platform you need to play Sniper and get your experience up.
However, with that said, the following item and skill build suggestions are in-order, but the more you play Sniper (and Dota in general) and the more experience you get, you’ll come to know that no one builds is going to solve your problems every game.
No two Dota games are alike, and therefore no two builds you work towards in-game should be alike. But for now, keep it simple, and you’ll get there.
We’re going to need some regen for early in the laning stage of the game. Damage is unavoidable. Between harass, bounty rune contesting, power rune contesting, we’re simply going to need our health back. Tango achieves this. Generally if we’re playing mid, we can ask our team’s supports to contribute to this by providing the shared Tangoes.
Observer and Sentry Ward.
We’re playing mid, so we’re getting one of the starting wards. With our enhanced attack range, and being a range hero to begin with, being able to see across the high-ground is a huge benefit.
Ideally we’d like to deny the enemy the same luxury we’re enjoying, so we pick up a sentry also. Try to keep an eye on when the observer ward disappears from your mid-lane opponents inventory, and you’ll have a fair idea where your sentry needs to be to de-ward it.
We’re quite vulnerable early, and we have low base damage. So, getting some stat items to begin the game with will help mitigate those issues. Some bulk with HP and armor, and some damage from our primary stat gains. Overall stats are usually never a bad idea, and the Circlets will build into early game items.
Slipper of Agility.
Slippers will further improve our base damage, allowing last hitting to be easier. With easy last-hitting, you’re stressing less about gold and gaining the advantage over your opposing mid-lane hero. Anything we can do to make things easier is a good thing, so we grab slippers.
Everything that can be said about slippers relating to last hitting, can be said about FF. It provides of ease of last hitting, and can be consumed should the need arise for a quick health gain. Use it to last hit and survive engagements, simple.
Early Game Items.
Double Wraith Band.
We’re turning our starting items into a double wraith band; the extra stats will help us stay alive in the early stages of the game wherein we are most vulnerable. Whilst also keeping our enemies at arm’s length with the extra damage, whilst we get in our last hit gold.
Grabbing power treads ensures that we’re not left behind in the game mobility wise. We can get around the map, and get to engagements when we need to. The treads themselves allow us to swap between a bulk of HP and regen, plenty of mana and mana regen for abilities, or right click damage with the agility boost.
Maelstrom’s usefulness in the build is twofold. Firstly we’ll be using it to accelerate our farm. With the extra wave clear, this means we’re getting gold faster, and can upgrade to late game items easier. The second is to spread around our heavy right click damage. This is what we’ll be taking enemies down with in team fights, and the extra damage in AoE is always welcome.
Dragon Lance takes snipers ability to deal heavy damage at an extreme distance, and turns it up to eleven. This combined with your passive ensures that you need not be near the teamfight, to decide the outcome of the teamfight.
Desolator is a huge powerspike for Sniper, and once this is obtained you can be certain that if you’re surviving in teamfights and the enemy hasn’t got you extremely high on their priority list – well, they’re going to heavily regret it. Strip their armour, finish them off before they even know you’re there.
‘Nir is the natural progression for right click heroes that using Maelstrom to farm or spread the damage. We’re getting a large chunk of attack speed, and the shield to boot. There isn’t much more to say than this is a straight upgrade in every way. Defence and offence.
The pike is good for many of the same reasons as Mjollnir. It is a straight upgrade for it’s predecessor in both stats and utility. Whilst it doesn’t grant any additional range, it does provide good overall stats, and the ability to push.
End Game Items.
Money King Bar.
Monkey King Bar’s usefulness is twofold: the first is that Sniper loves all the stats that it provides. A huge boost to your damage per second once the bar is built. The second is that it pierces evasion, providing you a method of taking down the opposing team’s carry who has built for it.
Black King Bar.
Changes are with the build we have, that we’re going to be a fairly high priority. The enemy team wont want to leave you alive to pick them off one by one in a teamfight. So, they’re going to jump you and attempt to shut you down. BKB ensures that spells that would hinder your ability to counter, or escape, will fall on deaf ears.
Our final listed item here is a simple one, in that it’s purpose and use are quite straightforward. Daedalus means you’re melting heroes and dealing out huge damage numbers. That’s what we’re grabbing it for. We want to hurt heroes and we want to do it heavily.
“Consumes a charge to launch a ball of shrapnel that showers the target area in explosive pellets. Enemies are subject to damage and slowed movement. Reveals the targeted area. Shrapnel charges restore every 35 seconds.”
Shrapnel works fantastically as both zoning tool, and a scouting tool. The area of affect ability can be used in places wherein your team lacks vision, but would like it. And whilst the damage might seem inconsequential, it quickly adds up. So, if you don’t want an enemy crouching in on your farm, or you want them to suffer by accessing a specific part of the map, deny them with this.
“Sniper increases his accuracy, giving him a chance to deal extra damage and briefly knocks back his enemies.”
If the enemy cant get close to attack you, you’re not very likely to die. Combine this with a high attack speed, and you’ll constantly be knocking foes away from you, whilst dealing heavy damage with your rightclicks and ultimate.
“Extends the attack range of Sniper’s rifle. Can be activated to double the attack range bonus for 1 attack.”
Think of take aim as a passive Dragon Lance, that can be activated to get in the last shot that you need to secure the kill. The more you level this up, the further away you can be from your enemy. If they can’t see you, they can’t kill you.
“Grants Concussive Grenade. Deals 125 damage, knocking enemies back 425 distance, slowing them by 50% and disarming them for 3 seconds. Radius: 375”
CG is the shard ability for Sniper, and I find myself of the opinion that the shard on Sniper is very, very rarely worth it. The ability just isn’t that impactful. If you’re relying on this solo, there are better ways to spend your gold, and if you need it in a team situation, you’re probably already screwed.
“Sniper locks onto a target enemy unit and, after a short aiming duration, fires a devastating shot that deals damage at long range and mini-stuns the target.”
I cannot stress this enough. Assassinate doesn’t need to be used to finish off foes. It takes a huge chunk of HP and absolutely can be used first up. Your team will follow up on this HP chunk taken, and unless you’re planning on the KS, you don’t need to assassinate only as a finisher. Use it to interrupt a getaway, use it to set up combos with your team. It does not have to be a finisher.
Level 10: +15 Damage
Honestly there really isn’t a bad choice here. The heavy boost to rightclick damage early can help you build into some really high networth quickly with kills and farm. However the cooldown reduction can serve in builds wherein you want to be spamming assassinate. I usually find myself going with the rightclick damage more often, so I’ve recommended it here.
Level 15: +30 Attack Speed
This one is a much easier choice. Very rarely, if ever, is shrapnel going to be the focus of your build and the main source of your damage. However on the inverse of that, Sniper builds that focus on attaining as much attack speed as can be obtained, are common and effective. Grab the speed.
Level 20: +28 Knockback Distance
You’ve got a huge knockback distance, and huge attack speed. What does that mean? The most fun part of Dota gameplay as a carry – manfighting. You can rightclick until you’re happy, and they can’t. That’s what its all about. That and shrapnel damage isn’t really an option for the same reasons it wasn’t at level 15. Knockback just too good.
Level 25: +100 Attack Range
Boom. Another form of attack range. We have dragon lance or pike, we have the passive, and now we have the talent. Again, shrapnel is our other option here, but the attack range that we can have a this point in the game is ridiculous.