Second part of our Aghanim’s Scepter Tier list. Today we will be concentrating on utility cores, your typical offlane heroes, whose primary goal is generally not to dish out massive amounts of damage, but rather create conditions for winning fights, providing auras, crowd control and an annoying target for the enemy to waste their spells on.
Our S Tier Agh’s discussion starts with a borderline A or even B Tier Aghanim’s Scepter. In games where it fits, it is amazing. In others, it is a somewhat selfish slot that allows Earthshaker to be highly mobile and survivable, but won’t necessarily be game-changing. If you are facing enemy with ways to globally cancel your Blink Dagger or enemies with invisibility, long range nukes or high reach, going for it is the best option and the Agh’s will pay off. Otherwise, building it after Blink, Force Staff and/or Eul’s is probably preferable.
This Agh’s starts to shine once you get to level 15 and get 2s Shield Crash CD talent. It is only then that it starts to be an S Tier item, since the amount of extra damage and potential for disarm simply skyrockets. Pangolier is a lot more niche in the current patch—with no access to silence from Lucky Shot, the hero lost quite a bit of his utility, but in game where you are facing hard-hitting, auto-attacking cores he is still really, really good.
One of the more underrated Agh’s in the game, but definitely high in the list. The way Slardar was played previously, is he would build Blink and Force Staff, initiate, rotate out and then go for round two. With the changes to how Bash of the Deep works and the lower stun duration on Slithereen Crush, it was no longer an option. Slardar needs to stay on his target to keep on being relevant as a position three, and Agh’s solves tons of his sustain and movement speed problems, allowing him to stick to his target.
40% damage reduction and the ability to disengage from practically any fight can break the game for the enemy team. We’ve seen this Aghanim’s in action during TI8 and it is still as good as it was.
Global GA allows Omniknight to guarantee that he gets this spell off. Omniknight is generally the first target the enemy wants to go on, since he can easily turn around a fight, while providing great auras and saves, and the Agh’s solves most of the hero’s positioning problems. Extra 400 HP on top of it is also pretty neat and can help repair some structural damage as well.
Potential 4.5 seconds of stun on a spell immune enemy is not something to underestimate. Dream Coil is an amazing teamfight ability, but with the upgrade it stays relevant throughout the whole game. Moreover, with the +420 GPM talent and the ability to consume Agh’s, it is now much easier to continue to grow the hero into the later stages of the game, with an extra potential slot.
This is borderline B Tier, but once again, there are games where Blink Dagger simply won’t be as good. Applying Caustic Finale is kind of cute, but it doesn’t really do much in most cases, while the extended range is great for mobility, but doesn’t benefit from having potential 3-second cooldown as Enchant Totem does.
Utility Weaver was played several times in the professional scene and remains a good flex pick. Agh’s on him more or less ensures a second life on one of your cores every 16 seconds and means that the enemy will have to go on you, if they want to win a teamfight. With Weaver being as elusive as he is and with the generous cast range on the ability, it will turn the fights into a very difficult puzzle to crack for the enemy.
This Agh’s does little for DPS Windranger, but it is pretty good for a utility one. Unless the enemy has tons of lockdown and magic damage, they will have to build MKBs, otherwise Windranger will be free to run around them in circles for almost 20 seconds uninterrupted, slowly peeling the problematic target. That makes her really hard to ignore and very hard to deal with until the later stages of the game.
This is simply superb for a position three Wraith King. After getting some auras and initiation tools, the hero can build Aghanim’s and more or less ensure constant even trades or better. This makes defending highground, taking objectives or simply fighting a lot easier, especially in a less coordinated pub environment.
Double Damage+ for all your teammates is a very strong effect. Most professional teams run, when they see heroes like PA, TA or Troll Warlord with DD, or try to purge the effect off. It is not an option against Sven and his team is not at the mercy of random when it comes to actually getting DD rune. This is a strictly position three Sven item and strictly after getting sustain and initiation tools, but it is worth it.
This is an underrated Agh’s, especially in fights that don’t involve creeps. -30% damage output reduction is a low-commitment way to force the enemy purge effects or even BKB, while making the game a nightmare for supports. If you have a tanky or mobile lineup that already has ways of saving teammates, it can quickly snowball a fight, though many items still take priority for Axe.
This sounds so good on paper buts does a lot less in practice, except for some specific cases. Sure, it is possible to stack a lot of damage amplification on targets, but they are generally not that static and Beastmaster himself doesn’t typically deal a lot of damage. But if you are in a position where you know you will need to defend highground, it becomes pretty crazy at stalling the game. It can also be an interesting greedy option in lower level pubs, but having auras, saves for your teammates or extra utility is more reliable overall.
12-second CD on a 2-second stun that goes through spell immunity is a great upgrade, but there are also strategic implications. This allows Clockwerk to be more risky with his hookshots, since misses are not as punishing, and that means more initiation power as well as higher mobility. Borderline A Tier.
There are games where you will absolutely need it and there are games where the effect is redundant, but overall it is a great upgrade that can really help with problematic heroes, while ensuring tanky right-clicking enemies don’t get to just turn and fight through the effect of Doom. It is good in maybe 20% of the games, but when it is good, it is great.
A weaker version of Sven’s Agh’s, but the one that works all the time. It is feasible this gets your team 100+ damage and for teams with low pushing power it can be a godsend. It is also one of the best stalemate breakers in the game, since even if the enemy buys back, they already “fed” your team tons of damage.
Tankier illusions and lower cooldown are already pretty good, but the ability to dispel and break focus on one of your cores is what makes this Agh’s good. Position three Chaos Knight is not unheard of and is a good lane dominator. Given how the hero has problems farming, it might even be a preferable position for the hero and Agh’s suits it really well.
Come level 20 this is a potential 500x2 damage nuke, but most of the time Bounty Hunter can probably do more with a simpler BKB. This might be good in games against high armor targets and if you get an amazing start, but there are more reliable builds for the hero that involve either more damage from auto-attacks, utilizing Track crit, or higher utility.
Four seconds of BKB-piercing disable is never bad and an extra target sounds good on paper, but it is quite easy to counterplay. This is probably borderline B Tier in pubs, but not as amazing in higher level games, since there are typically answers to Lasso.
Once again, having auras is simply going to be better, at least in most cases. Having access to extra abilities can be great and can probably have comparable utility if Brewmaster is played perfectly, but no one plays Dota perfectly and the limiting human factor makes this suboptimal or at least less reliable.
140% base damage from illusions is no joke and this is borderline A tier in ~15% of games, but Dark Seer is mostly less about damage and more about teamfight disruption and control. Having more utility and allowing your DPS cores to do their job better will be more optimal in most cases.
The damage is only substantial if you land a 3+ man Black Hole and channel through the whole duration, but then, you would win a fight in 80% of the cases anyways. It does increase in value dramatically against enemies with high HP pools and is borderline B Tier against something like Dragon Knight, but otherwise having more reliability on your control is preferable.
This is kind of cute and interesting and is pretty good with Blink Dagger when you are jumping supports, but surviving through the enemy response after the initiation or having ways to kill supports faster takes priority. Most players will delta-split with Force Staffs after the jump and then you are on a single priority target anyways.
This is borderline B Tier. Extra attacks needed to kill the egg and the ability to save teammates should not be underrated, but frequently it can also kill your teammates. Turning into a potential Death Star wasn’t the buff we would like to see, but it is pretty interesting, since it can deal a ton of damage, especially to tankier targets.
Potential AoE 12 armor reduction against enemies with armor on the lower side can be devastating, but it is rarely the item Tidehunter wants. Once again, Auras are the name of the game and their effect is typically much stronger. Given how Agh’s can be consumed later, it can be justified as a 5-th or 6-th slot, but striving for Shiva’s and Refresher is typically better.
This is kind of ok on a DPS Mars and close to worthless if your team doesn’t need the extra DPS. Going for utility and control is going to be preferable, unless you know your team is going to have damage problems and you will need to contribute more physical damage to win the game with a Vlads+Desolator build. In pubs this is probably a tier higher.
We are not exactly sure what this does and who would want it. It does line up enemies faster for Skewer and sometimes will allow extra targets to be caught in Reverse Polarity AoE, but this is so unreliable, situational and does nothing otherwise, it is not even worth considering. We are serious—if you have gold to spare Moonshard on utility Magnus is going to be better.
Minus armor effects are great and we love them, but this doesn’t do much for the hero in most games. Bristleback really needs all the survivability items and then auras to stay relevant in terms of DPS and being able to frontline—the hero is surprisingly easy to blow up once enemy gets any source of Break.