That One Looks Angry: An Analysis of Timbersaw
By Love is DeadThu 28th Mar 2013 - 11:02pm Category: Dota 2
I cut things. It's what I do. What else would I do?
Timbersaw is a Strength based early to mid game hero capable of dealing high amounts of burst damage to multiple targets with a set of low cooldown skills. He is entirely reliant on spells to deal damage as his base damage is lower than other mid or late game oriented carries. His mana pool is, at earlier levels, closer to that of an intelligence hero.
|Base Damage||Mana Pool (1 / 16 / 25)|
|45-52||273 / 650 / 1092|
|54-56||182 / 455 / 845|
|57-67||195 / 559 / 1001|
|49-79||208 / 468 / 832|
|Mana Pool (1 / 16 / 25)|
|273 / 650 / 1092|
|312 / 806 / 1313|
|312 / 819 / 1352|
|273 / 858 / 1430|
What Timbersaw lacks in late game potential from right-click damage he gains in burst damage and utility. Strength carries are typically reliant on their physical damage and inherent tankiness, but Timbersaw’s skillset revolves around casted abilities that scale well into the mid-game similar to Puck or Queen of Pain.
I told you to stop getting blood on my blades!
Timbersaw’s bread and butter are his three low-cooldown burst damage and utility abilities, Whirling Death, Timber Chain, and Chakram. In the hands of a skilled player Timbersaw can deal 470 damage to multiple targets every 8 seconds at level 8 assuming that the player put all 8 ability points into Whirling Death and Timber Chain. Whirling Death deals 100/150/200/250 damage in an area of effect range of 300 centered around the hero while Timber Chain deals 100/140/180/220 damage with a radius of 225. Not only is the damage dealt frequently, but it has the potential to be completely Pure damage, which is unreduced by Magic Resistance and ignores Armor. Whirling Death will deal Pure damage if a tree is cut down by the blade. Otherwise the ability will deal Magical damage. Timber Chain deals only Pure damage.
In competitive play burst damage must be dealt quickly. Heros such as Lina or Leshrac essentially require a setup stun in order to land their stuns with short range and long animation times. Competitive players are accustomed to dodging abilities that broadcast the moment they will be cast, so Timbersaw would have a difficult time getting within range of Whirling Death simply by walking up to his target. Timber Chain solves this issue for Timbersaw. The ability is a hook that, when latched onto a tree, will pull Timbersaw a range of 800/1000/1200/1400. Any hero caught within the damage radius along the chain will be dealt damage according to the ability’s level. Whirling Death can be cast while Timbersaw is being pulled by the chain which means that the entirety of the damage can be dealt almost immediately from a range of 1400. Timber Chain not only gives Timbersaw the ability to initiate, but it also allows him to chase down escaping heroes.
Chakram synergizes with the rest of Timbersaw’s set of abilities. He throws a retrievable spinning saw with a radius of 200 and a 1200 range that will cut through any tree in its path. As the blade passes through an enemy it will deal 100/140/180 damage on both its outbound and inbound path for a total of 200/280/360 damage. The saw will remain stationary at the target cast point, but will drain 20/25/30 mana per second. Coupled with the 125/150/175 mana that it costs to use the ability and the fact that Timbersaw is Strength based means that keeping Chakram out for a long duration will quickly bring Timbersaw’s mana points to zero if no items are purchased to regenerate mana. The benefit of keeping the saw out is that within the 200 radius of the blade enemies will be slowed 5% for each 5% of their health that is missing and it deals 100/140/180 damage over time. Coupling Chakram with Whirling Death and Timber Chain makes Timbersaw an effective mid-game ganker with a powerful presence in teamfights who is capable of cutting directly through trees for surprise initiation and exceedingly difficult to run away from.
Finally, Timbersaw’s Reactive Armor is a passive ability that rewards building the hero with items that increase his hit point pool. Every time Timbersaw is attacked Reactive Armor adds one point to his armor and regeneration per second. Stacks of the ability scale with level at 4/8/12/16. This ability will not allow Timbersaw to stand against hard carries in the late-game, but it does increase his window of effectiveness, and can be quite irritating while he is escaping with low health and all of the opponent’s burst damage abilities are on cooldown.
You know I'm really not a fan of that dying thing. No, it's not for me.
Timbersaw’s main weakness is his heavy reliance on mana. Even with a respectable mana pool for a Strengh hero, 273 to 650 to 1092 at levels 1, 16, and 25 respectively, he will require items that boost his mana regeneration. This means that gold will have to be spent on items that do not increase his base damage or attack time, which hurts the hero’s late-game potential. For the earlier stages of the game a bottle will allow him to gank without returning to the fountain after every fight. However, he will need something more powerful to stay relevant going into the mid-game. One item that aids Timbersaw’s ability to steamroll is a Bloodstone. The item cost (5050) means that in order to attain this item Timbersaw will have to be allowed a considerable level of farm. The cost is somewhat mitigated by the fact that an Energy Booster is a common item in both the Bloodstone and Arcane Boots, which are also necessary. The Arcane Boots can be disassembled and the Energy Booster can be reused when the rest of the items for the Bloodstone are acquired. Innately a Bloodstone adds 500 hit points, 400 mana, 9 HP regeneration and 200% mana regeneration. Mana regeneration increases by 1 point with each charge gained on the Bloodstone, which are acquired when an enemy hero dies within 1675 range of the hero holding the item. In addition to these benefits the item also heals teammates within range, reduces the gold lost, and respawn time. Finally the item allows the dead hero to acquire experience from kills within the range of its death as well as provide vision with a range of 1800.
An Orchid Malevolence could also potentially solve Timbersaw’s mana problems. The item provides an additional 25 intelligence, 150% mana regeneration. As mentioned previously, Timbersaw must purchase items that focus on increasing his mana pool and regeneration instead of damage and attack speed. The Orchid Malevolence mitigates this problem slightly by also providing 30 damage and 30 attack speed. Like the Bloodstone, the components to this item, the Oblivion Staff, provide necessary additional intelligence and mana regeneration, but the total cost of the item is much lower (4125). The Orchid’s active ability, Soul Burn, silences the target for 5 seconds and amplifies damage by 30%, which is dealt when the ability wears off. This can be exceptionally effective for picking off heroes and has been commonly seen on other mid-game ganking heroes such as Storm Spirit, Queen of Pain and Nature’s Prophet.
A Black King Bar, which grants magic immunity for a period of time, will completely counter Timbersaw, as Pure damage is a form of Magical damage. Once this item has been purchased by the carry, Timbersaw will have to focus on taking out supports. A Pipe of Insight is another item that inhibits him from dealing damage, and could help protect the supports during a teamfight. Due to Timbersaw’s weakness against Magic Immunity, he will likely not be picked in a lineup against Lifestealer. Conversely, Phantom Lancer’s ultimate grants him and his illusions Magic Resistance, which is ignored by Pure damage spells, so Timbersaw may be picked as a means to deal with Phantom Lancer’s illusions.
Trees? What do you mean there's trees out there?
As a slower melee hero with only one ranged, non-ultimate ability Timbersaw will struggle to stand against heroes in the middle lane. There aren’t many trees in the middle lane at close range which, somewhat ironically, decreases the hero’s effectiveness. He should, however, be able to fit into aggressives tri-lanes. Given popular heroes with a stun such as Nyx or Rubik and Timbersaw’s mobility with Timber Chain, poor positioning could be severely punished. The high presence of trees and likelihood that fights will take place near them in a tri-lane means that Whirling Blades will likely deal Pure damage and there will be no lack of trees for Timber Chain to latch onto. The problem with putting Timbersaw in a tri-lane is that if he does not succeed in the tri-lane he will struggle against his opponents in the mid-game when he has the most potential. Timbersaw also is capable of standing solo against another solo hero in either the top or bottom lane. In this lane he has access to nearby trees and will not likely be fighting against a top-tier 1v1 hero capable of pushing him completely out of lane. Due to his farm and level requirement he will be ineffective going into the mid-game if he is faced against a tri-lane alone.
Timbersaw is an undoubtedly powerful hero if he is able to snowball with an early lead. His skill-set allows him to get kills in the earlier parts of the match as well as initiate fights, chase down escaping heroes, and escape from heroes himself. He is a Strength based hero reliant on his mana pool and regeneration, and can be difficult to kill without burst damage due to his fast movement with Timber Chain and damage resistance and health regen from Reactive Armor. Situationally, Timbersaw should see play in competitive matches if the team captain drafts for a fitting gank-oriented strategy. Timbersaw is somewhat of a unique hero who was released in Dota after Dota 2’s debut, so it may take some time before teams are able to train with him and discover the most effective use of his abilities.