Unsung heroes of Dota 2: Elder Titan

Elder Titan

Every two weeks, PCG Pro hunts through Dotabuff’s extensive match records to find an ‘unsung hero’ of Dota 2: a character with both an above-average winrate and an unusually low pick rate. This week, that’s Elder Titan: a hero whose 52.8% winrate is less impressive than that of some of the heroes we’ve featured previously, but whose 1.98% pick rate makes him one of the game’s least popular characters. As such, Elder Titan hews closer to ‘hero you’re less likely to have accounted for’ than ‘hero who will win you every game’—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get acquainted with him.

What does Elder Titan do?

Like Abaddon, Elder Titan is a strength melee hero who acts in a supporting role but requires a bit of gold and experience to reach his potential. Unlike Abaddon, he is fairly skill-intensive and better suited to the offlane than to a babysitting role, falling into the same ‘position three but all the gold is going on utility items’ pattern as Phoenix. With that in mind, he has a lot to offer a coordinated team: incredible lockdown, damage and control that scales into the lategame, and a devastating aura.

Why Elder Titan?

Elder Titan represents one of the most dramatic transformations of a character from DotA 1 to Dota 2. Formerly known as Tauren Chieftain, he sat so squarely inside the box called ‘names that Blizzard definitely, definitely own’ that a complete overhaul was necessary. DotA 1’s other Tauren hero, Earthshaker, became a kind of hulking bear-dog-cow in the transition. Elder Titan, meanwhile, is a great big yellow hairless minotaur who is either carrying a big industrial stapler or a briefcase depending on who you ask. I like the briefcase interpretation simply because it fits with the notion that ‘Elder’ was a title imparted upon him by the Mormon church and all he really wants to do is Astral Spirit himself through your porch to distribute pamphlets in an AoE. Right yes anyway this is supposed to be a guide let’s move on:

He lanes well against groups

Elder Titan can pull more out of a solo offlane than most other melee characters, even against a defensive trio. Astral Spirit is the key here: it allows him to harass, to secure last hits at range, and to pick up lots of damage and attack speed. While you have to be very careful not to overextend—as with any other character like this—it’s surprisingly possible for enemy supports to overextend against you. Most players underestimate just how much bonus damage Elder Titan can pick up from Astral Spirit, and if a squishy intelligence support gets hit by Echo Stomp then it might only take two or three further right-clicks to finish them off.

Teamfight your own way

That five-second sleep makes for one of the longest disables in the game if your team is able to work around it. Stack up the single-target damage on one enemy at a team and you can force a teamfight to occur with all of the enemy’s supports already dead. Alternatively, it allows for a relatively clean disengage: the AoE of the stomp is pretty large, and unless the enemy stacks up lots of stuns it’s not too hard to get it off in the middle of a fight, allowing your team to leave.

No seriously his aura is really good

100% armour reduction isn’t quite as effective as it sounds—it only affects base armour and armour granted by agility—but it’s still huge. As long as you can keep Elder Titan or his Astral Spirit near whoever you want to die, they will almost certainly die. He makes a really good partner for single-target intensive carries like Phantom Assassin and Legion Commander: glue yourself to them, hit whoever they hit, and watch the enemy carry vanish.

Elder Titan’s initiation power comes from the combination of Echo Stomp and Astral Spirit, meaning that unlike Centaur Warrunner or Earthshaker he doesn’t really want to get on top of the enemy right away: he wants to get the spirit into position from safety and Echo Stomp from there. Couple this with the colossal range of Earth Splitter and that’s 2250 gold you don’t need to save up in the early game. This puts you in a good position to get an early Mekansm, a Pipe of Insight, or whatever else your team needs.

His Aghanim’s Scepter upgrade is also really good

Aghanim's Scepter adds a six second disarm to Earth Splitter (at level 3). This is an incredible counter to auto-attack-reliant enemy drafts in the lategame, particularly if you have the setup required to land it on everybody. Coupled with Echo Stomp, an Aghs-equipped Elder Titan can potentially shut down the damage output of an enemy carry for ten seconds or more.

Items to consider

Power Treads are standard to give Elder Titan (and his aura) more durability in prolonged fights, but he can make use of Arcane Boots if the team as a whole also benefits from bonus mana. After that, almost every aura and team utility item is good on him, from Drums of Endurance to Mekansm, Crimson Guard, Pipe of Insight, and Vladimir’s Offering. Later on you can look into getting that Aghanim’s Scepter, a Heaven’s Halberd, Shiva’s Guard, Assault Cuirass: as long as you are maximising your usefulness to your team, you can’t go massively wrong. I also quite like Necronomicon on him, in order to let you get a little bit more out of all those auras.

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Chris Thursten

Joining in 2011, Chris made his start with PC Gamer turning beautiful trees into magazines, first as a writer and later as deputy editor. Once PCG's reluctant MMO champion , his discovery of Dota 2 in 2012 led him to much darker, stranger places. In 2015, Chris became the editor of PC Gamer Pro, overseeing our online coverage of competitive gaming and esports. He left in 2017, and can be now found making games and recording the Crate & Crowbar podcast.