TIDEHUNTER CORE ITEMS
(Buy these items or we can't be friends.)
For all of his stellar qualities, Tidehunter's almost painfully mana inefficient, a gas guzzler if there ever was one . Consequently, no other form of footwear better complements Tidehunter than a pair of Arcane Boots. To provide a bit of perspective on the matter, Arcane Boots will bolster Tidehunter's existing mana pool by an additional 250 points—that's more than enough for two extra Gushes. Once you throw in Arcane Boots' active ability—it feeds you and allies within a certain radius 135 mana—there's really no other reason to opt for different shoes.
Blink Dagger is Tidehunter's little black dress : simple, perfectly suited for every occasion and an absolutely essential part of his wardrobe. Though a somewhat costly investment—2150 gold isn't exactly lunch money—it's one that is worth its weight in precious metals, primarily because it circumnavigates Tidehunter's biggest weakness: his lack of maneuverability. With a Blink Dagger, Tidehunter won't have to worry about his torpid turn rate or his minimal talent at crowd control. Instead, he'll be able to pretend to be a freakin' ninja albeit one that has more in common with sashimi than the folk who eat it.
HOW TO PLAY TIDEHUNTER
Early game is an interesting beast. Depending on who you talk to, the correct method for playing Tidehunter can differ drastically. For some, like a friend of mine who routinely engages in high-level games, Tidehunter's natural habitat is either the offlane or the aggressive trilane . In the former, his role is to harvest as much gold and experience as possible, to disrupt his opponent's attempts at creep-based agriculture and be as much of a pain as possible without compromising his safety. If he's part of a three-way, Tidehunter's role changes a bit. Here, he often finds himself instigating contact between neutral creeps and his own or aggressively spraying bodily fluids of some variety on the enemy.
For others, like Loveless and this errant League of Legends player on DOTAfire , Tidehunter can be more of a supportive character or an aggressor in a two-man show. It varies, really, especially in public games where nothing is really impossible.
Depending on the setup of the match, Tidehunter's skill build will change as well. Should Tidehunter be positioned in the solo offlane or in any other similar scenario, Anchor Smash will take priority over Gush. Inversely, if the Hero ends up responsible for catalyzing kills, Gush often gets maxed out first. Regardless of the situation, however, Kraken Shell is usually left for last. Though it offers increased damage reduction, its importance is far outweighed by the other skills in Tidehunter's repertoire. (Needless to say, Ravage is leveled at every possible opportunity.)
Once mid-game approaches, things become less ambiguous. Ultimately, Tidehunter was created for one purpose and one purpose only: to initiate fights and to mitigate all incoming damage, something that becomes all too easy after the introduction of a Blink Dagger. With the aforementioned accessory, Tidehunter will be able to catapult himself into the center of his unsuspecting enemies to cast Ravage before following up with an Anchor Smash and the usage of Gush on anyone attempting escape.
The rest of the game generally follows the pattern: Blink. Ravage. Anchor Smash. Gush. Rinse and repeat. What usually varies toward end game are the items that you purchase after that all-so-crucial Blink Dagger. If the other team is heavy on stuns or magic damage, it's not uncommon to see a Black King Bar or a Pipe of Insight fitted into Tidehunter's shopping list. Shiva's Guard, however, is frequently the tertiary purchase of choice, thanks Tidehunter's normal placement in any team fight. Should the game drag on long enough, a Refresher Orb can make an appearance as well. More eclectic picks such as Vladimir's Offering, Assault Cuirass and even Radiance have all been made to work—it's largely up to the individual. So long as you don't deviate from the core formula, Tidehunter can be a swimmingly easy Hero to captain.
Cassandra Khaw is a street dancer, an entry-level audiophile, a voracious reader and an itinerant freelance journo for places like Tech Hive, PC World, Indiegames Blog, PC Gamer and more. When not otherwise working at a weird hour, she can be found chasing down confederates in DOTA2 is a desperate attempt to keep them healed. Like every other hipster Asian out there, she started playing DotA about a decade ago and still misses Riki's original Ultimate.