So after my mixed results in taking on the role of Krobelus the Death Prophet, I delved back into the wide world of DotA2 in search of a new challenge. I took on the roles of agility (Juggenaut) and intelligence (Death prophet) heroes in previous columns so all that left was a strength hero and I’d have covered all of the basic hero types. As I’m still definitely a noob I was sticking to the 20 characters suggested for new players*:
*Thanks Dota 2 Wiki
I’d played as the Dragon Knight in the tutorial so I ruled him out immediately and looking at those that were left there was only one real choice for me…
Crixalis the Sand King
I picked this guy for a couple of reasons first, he looked bad-ass and second when I was playing as the death prophet I was middle-laning against the Sand King and he was whupping me with his sandstorm thing. I couldn’t get near him while he happily farmed my creeps – the git.
Anyway before we get started on the my trials and tribulations lets get some more info on the
man erm… scorpion? himself:
The sands of the Scintillant Waste are alive and sentient–the whole vast desert speaks to itself, thinking thoughts only such a vastness can conceive. But when it needs must find a form to communicate with those of more limited scope, it frees a fragment of itself, and fills a carapace of magic armor formed by the cunning Djinn of Qaldin. This essential identity calls itself Crixalis, meaning ‘Soul of the Sand,’ but others know it as Sand King. Sand King takes the form of a huge arachnid, inspired by the Scintillant Waste’s small but ubiquitous denizens; and this is a true outward expression of his ferocious nature. Guardian, warrior, ambassador–Sand King is all of these things, inseparable from the endless desert that gave him life.
Needless to say, after being used to a ranged hero with a totally different skill set my first attempt was… lacklustre to say the least:
Yes I apologize unreservedly to anyone who had the misfortune of being stuck with me that game I was an absolute waste of space. You see the problem is the Sand King is a very versatile creature; he can gank, support, push and initiate equally well and I was a little stuck in the middle. Also compared to the Death Prophet the Sand King is incredibly slow so I found it much harder to get out of danger if ganked.
So I went back to the drawing board and studied up on the Sand Kings skills hoping to make a better fist of it in my next encounter – and avoid some of the “banter” I got from my teammates in my first game. The Sand Kings unique skills are:
– Burrowstrike – Target a unit and you burrow towards him dealing damage to anyone in your path before bursting up and damaging and stunning your target.
– Sand Storm – Create a fearsome sand storm that deal area damage and hides you from the enemy.
– Caustic Finale – Attacking enemies poisons them causing area damage when they explode upon death (Eww…)
– Epicenter – The Sand King causes an earthquake that damages and slows nearby enemies.
After a couple of games I finally started to get the hang of it, picking up the right items to keep me ticking over. Mana regenerating items early doors so I could keep spamming the Sand Storm attack to farm creeps and combine Burrowstrike and Epicenter to take out any wandering heroes low on health. Picking up some boots to increase movement speed certainly helped keeping enemies in range and later in the game grabbing the Blade Mail stopped me getting ganked as I became less powerful compared to some other characters.
It all clicked when I finally managed to get Sand Storm to work as a defensive tactic. Instead of running when under attack I cast Sand Storm and for the most part I was left alone to recover as the enemy heroes couldn’t target me. If you have some lifesteal this works great to as when levelled you can pick of passing creeps.
In team ganks jumping in with Burrowstrike to stun let me pick up some assists and the epicenter, Sand Storm combo was good for damaging multiple enemies in big confrontations late on. In my last game before writing this column we lost as a team but I was certainly one of the more useful players picking up an number of kills and assists, but don’ take my word for it look at the stats…
In the right hands the Sand King can rule the early game, and is well worth a go if you’ve never given him a try before.
PictoPirate will be continuing his DotA2 journey and coming back with regular updates. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to teach him a lesson, you might even be immortalized on Expansive…