ESTNN’s resident Dota 2 expert, Veselin Ignatov breaks down the Templar Assassin and how to crush with her in the midlane.
The Templar Assassin is one of those heroes that is capable of carrying the game completely on her own if she managed to start off well. This is so true, in fact, that players and fans often refer to her as one of the strongest snowball cores in the game.
TA is a highly elusive and devastating hero if she’s played properly. However, the hero does have a few counters that can make her life very hard, and that’s why players have to be very, very careful when you pick her. Let’s go over some tips for Templar Assassin, and start climbing.
Laning & Hero Combinations
The Templar Assassin has been one of the few heroes core heroes that are played exclusively in the mid lane. There have been times where a Position 1 TA was viable, but those times are long gone. Nowadays, the hero works wonders with some of the most common carry heroes in the current meta.
One of the best characters that the Templar Assassin works well with is the Drow Ranger. The Attack Speed bonus that TA receives from the Drow Ranger’s Precision Aura is the perfect tool to unleash her full potential. If players can get a fast start with this kind of line-up, losing seems nearly impossible.
Additionally, pretty much every hero that has some sort of lockdown also works well with TA simply because Templar Assassin will melt through opponents health bars just that much easier. What’s more, players will often see supports or the offlaner to go for Solar Crest because of the enemy armor debuff that it provides. When you combine it with TA’s Desolator + Meld, the result is insane damage that is neigh impossible to live through.
Outside of the meta combos, Templar Assassin still remains a somewhat situational pick. That’s why you have to be sure that she is the right hero for the right game. If drafted properly. she can pretty much snowball out of control and win you the game in under 20 minutes.
In order to be effective, every TA player has to learn to be aggressive. Lanaya is not that type of a hero that can just stay AFK in her lane, waiting for things to happen. In order to be effective, TA players have to be the playmakers and the tempo setters.
Even though she is a decent late-game hero, TA’s true power is during the mid-game. Players should strive to get both Dagger and Desolator as soon as possible. Once players manage to grab these two items, TA has the potential to three-shot almost every hero on the map.
TA players would also benefit from asking their supports to stack some jungle camps for her. With Psi Blades, TA clears camps incredibly fast, which, in turn, further increases her item timing. In other words, stack those camps, get stronger faster, then snowball the game.
Sometimes, however, players may find themselves behind or stuck with supports that aren’t, well…. very supporting. If that is the case, some good mechanical play may allow the TA player to stack the camps themselves, putting them in a position to bounce back fairly decently once the player collects them later.
Remember, it all comes down to timing. Getting that Desolator after 40 minutes is much, much less helpful than getting it earlier. Interestingly, the new Aghs that were included recently seem very interesting on paper. However, it still a little bit too early to tell if it will be a viable option.
Tips & Tricks
One of the first things that TA players will have to do is to time their Refraction properly. What does that mean? It means that the spell’s cooldown is the same amount of time as its duration. This means that if you manage to enter a team fight when Refraction is almost over, players will be able to use a second Refraction during that same fight. Keeping track of Refraction cooldowns can easily turn a team fight around.
Additionally, players can also use Refraction in order to deny the enemy most of your creeps, as attacking allied units does not use any charges from the spell.
Finally, let’s not forget that TA can absorb many deadly spells with Refraction. Reaper’s Scythe and Laguna Blade are just one of the few examples out there. If players manage to time it correctly, good use of Refraction can make the enemy laner’s life difficult, to say the least.
Meld can be used in many different ways. It can one-shot the enemy, for example, but TA can also use it to dodge certain spells.
A very good example of using Meld is when TA lanes versus some very annoying heroes (QoP for example). Like every Queen of Pain player, they will try to land a Shadow Strike on TA in order to harass Templar Assassin out of the lane. That said, however, if the TA can manage to use Meld while the projectile is flying towards her, TA will be able to dodge the spell. This works with most flying projectiles (Tinker’s Rockets, for example).
Don’t forget that TA can also use Meld offensively. Imagine a squishy support hero is chasing TA across the map. Once TA reaches high ground, it’s a great idea to use Meld. In most cases, by the time that the enemy hero gets to TA, Meld will be off cooldown, which means that you can use the spells twice.
Psi Blades is a very interesting passive ability that gives Templar Assassin some extra range as well as the ability to hit an enemy behind the one that TA is attacking
It’s important to know that Psi Blades does pure damage, and that’s why it is a good idea to try and hit the enemy with it every single time. During the laning stage, this is fairly easy – just attack a creep or deny it in a way to hit the hero as well.
In most cases, a level two Psi Blades will have enough range and harass capability, so there’s no real reason to level it to four quickly. After all, TA’s damage comes from Refraction and Meld, so players will want to focus on those first. Mastering Psi Blades will definitely take some practice for newer players. As players practice TA more and more, the larger the impact Templar Assassin will have on the game.
Last, but definitely not least, we have the Templar Assassin’s ultimate — Psionic Traps. The traps are a great and simple way for TA to gain vision for her team. That’s why we often see TA players placing Psionic Traps near Runes, Roshan’s pit and the enemy jungle.
Besides the obvious usage of the traps to slow TA’s enemies, players can also use it kite neutral creeps. What’s more, when TA get the talent, she can clear entire creep waves with her ultimate. This maneuver also increases TA’s farming capabilities despite the fact that the talent becomes available at level 15.
Counters to Templar Assassin
Like we mentioned earlier, Templar Assassin has a few counters that players have to be aware of. Viper is probably one of the most infamous counters to TA, even though his current playstyle does not counter her very much, he has the ability to put her far behind in lane if played that way.
The most important thing to remember about Templar Assassin is that even if you don’t succeed at first, don’t give up. With more practice of TA’s oft-complicated kit, players will be able to carry solo queue games with ease.