Help with strange skilling terms

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#1 Edited by Christoffer (2327 posts) -

There's one thing I haven't understood in casts or coaching. When someone says (this is just a random example) "that's a common 1-2-2 Kunkka". Or, when someone says, "oh, just go 3-1-2".

What the hell does that mean? What should I skill first? What should I max first? What am I supposed to do?

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#2 Edited by EXTomar (5047 posts) -

This is shorthand for how to setup a hero for the early/lane phase of the game. So a "Kunkka 1-2-2" would be 1 level into Torrent (Q), 2 levels into Tidebringer (passive but assigned to W), 2 levels into X Marks The Spot (E). In this example beyond 5 you have to asset yourself how the team is doing and what the opponents are doing for your next pick. At that point you might possibly leave the lane to transition into the role your team assigned you (transition into pushing towers, roaming to ambush, into the jungle to finish a core item, etc).

This shorthand reflects the meta-game of Dota 2 where the start is often somewhat static but the game progresses into a state where trying to learn a predetermined setup isn't very helpful. Instead you need to develop skills to assess the situation instead of looking up what to do.

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#3 Edited by diz (1254 posts) -

Allocating early skill points affects the way a hero in Dota performs in the early game. To take your Kunkka example of 1-2-2, this skill build is reached when Kunkka is level 5. If you put your first point in Tidebringer (the 2nd "w" skill, or 0-1-0), then the game will not let you put your second level point in Tidebringer (0-2-0), so you have to put it into the 1st (Torrent) or 3rd (x marks the spot) slot instead (i.e. 1-1-0 or 0-1-1). In the early levels you can't level just the one skill continuously. That means that there are only a few different ways of reaching a 1-2-2 build.

Some people might reason that the "x marks the spot" skill is most useful when combined with the "Torrent" skill and that you can "x" someone into a torrent if you get the combo right. But "Tidebringer" (the "w" skill) is always a good early game skill and also "Torrent" can also be used without "x Marks The Spot".

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The chart above shows a skill build for Kunkka that concentrates on Tidebringer and Torrent for the early levels, so at level 5 the build is a 2-3-0 and there are no points in "x".

Your second example of a 3-1-2 build for a hero would suggest that you don't get the ultimate ability (4th "R" skill) at level 6, when most heroes have their "ults" becoming available at level 6. There are a few heroes and situations where it may not be best to get an ult at level 6, but typically most heroes would skill up their 4th "ultimate" skill at level 6.

There is no clear best way to skill most heroes since their skills can synergise with other team members and depend on certain situations too. In the Kunkka example, you may want to focus on levelling up "x" quickly so you can bring an escaping opponent back into your team's range.

However, upgrading the "x marks the spot" skill increases range and delay, so the above skill guide suggests the later levels should be skipped until Kunkka reaches level 23 and suggests levelling stats instead ( - very unusual for most hero skills). This is because it is easier to set up a "level 2" (2 second delay) "x" with a "ghost ship" or "Torrent" than it is for a level 4 (4 second delay) "x" into them.

Skill builds are suggested within the hero guides in Dota 2 and you can follow them in a recommended guide for a hero you play. You can also experiment by creating a guide yourself and messing with the skill build section to see how skills can be applied to a hero. The most important thing is to understand what the skills do and how they can work together and with other heroes in the game.

If you watch most pro matches you may notice players don't pick their first skill until they know who they will be facing in their lanes or starting skirmishes.

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#4 Edited by Christoffer (2327 posts) -

Thanks guys! (My 3-1-2 example was completely random and stupid for any random hero. But I 've heard 1-2-2 Kunkka plenty of time). This clears a few things up. I guess it doesn't say anything about the order you're putting the skills, but at least I know what to prioritize before lvl 6.

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#5 Posted by Rowr (5861 posts) -

I would advise not overly stressing about skill builds and what the "standards" are too much.

There generally isn't any single best skill builds because any given game is probably going to require different things.

Even the pro's (and especially the pros) run non standard builds fairly often. Just play a few games and experiment and decide for yourself what works best, obviously some hero's work better with rigid builds than others but most of it comes down to common sense and what you are trying to achieve in any given game, what synergises better with your laning partner etc.

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