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Dota 2 Guide: How To Play With Arc Warden


Arc Warden has been in the game for a while. However, people have still not understood how to play the hero. Below is a detailed guide about how to play the hero.


  • one of the best snowballers in the game.
  • strong teamfighter, very strong pusher.
  • wrecks hard disorganized pub teams.
  • very good against non-unit heroes if left 1v1.
  • late game rat menace.


  • early ganks slaughter his progression.
  • against unit heroes like Broodmother (his no.1 counter) immediately swap lanes.
  • He’s a very immobile hero that’s extremely positioning dependent. Most of the fights you take are already decided by how good you placed yourself and your Tempest.
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Credits Devian Art


FLUX – deals damage over time when there are no units around the enemy. Try to use it at lvl2 to harass your enemy in the lane.

MAGNETIC FIELD – provides full physical evasion to everyone inside the field. Buffs you, neutrals and your team with attack speed (tower ignores evasion on the creeps).

SPARK WRAITH – aka techies mine. use them sparingly because they’re mana costly. If people are dumb enough you can stack them near a tp spot in the tree, they tp into it sometimes.

TEMPEST DOUBLE – Sixth man off the bench, you cannot use consumables on him. He shares full stats with the real Arc Warden. Rapier isn’t cloned anymore. Whenever you summon him try to use his mana to the fullest. (for instance you’re jungling, kill the smallest creeps first, use the Flux from the Tempest on the biggest creep)

Arc Warden is not an easy hero to master. He’s easier than Meepo, but harder than Invoker. If that makes any sense. Microing him and the Tempest itself isn’t really a hassle. It becomes hard when you get 6(7) slotted. That being said he’s extremely item dependent.

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Extremely Item Dependent

After getting an Aquila and Boots, you’re buying a Midas. ~2100 gold for an item that gets you to your second farming (and fighting) item, Maelstrom, which is ~2700 gold. That’s nearly 6.5k early gold for farming items. Compare that stupid amount for any other agility carry:

Slark: Shadow Blade, Treads, Aquila, Wand ~5.6k early gold and he’s pretty much ready to fight.

Phantom Lancer: Wand, Treads, Aquila, Diffusal blade ~6k gold and ready to fuck shit up.

Arc Warden with those items can only properly set up to farm up the next core items that allow him to actually fight.

This guide is divided into few sections which cover up when to pick him, laning, items, skills and talent progression.


His hardest counters are those who can get into your face – Slark, PA, Spectre and illusion based heroes like CK and PL. But if they got into your face, you’re not playing him well. Positioning is the key in those matchups. Also, try not to pick him up against those pesky 5man-group-up-and-push-together lineups. First 15mins you’re completely useless to your team so you will have a hard time catching up. He absolutely wrecks every 1v1 mid matchup (except Brood) if you’re skilled enough.

Honorable mentions that don’t stand a chance against Arc are. Sniper, Shadow Fiend, Zeus, Skywrath, Clinkz, Ember and Storm pre level 6 and pretty much any melee hero that shows up.

Skill Order

Skill order depends on the matchup. Obviously, at 6 you are 3-0-2-1 which works great against any hero. If you’re against an Invoker, you will have to take a different approach and go 1-1-3-1 to be able to trade hits and kill off his forge spirit. My choice of skills is 3-1-1-1 if you’ve managed to deny a lot from them and establish the level difference. That kind of skill build allows you to bait them into your Magnetic Field which can bring you some pesky kills pre level 5.

Proper Combo

You always flux first. It guarantees spark not missing them when they run away. 1 is the Main, 2 is the Tempest.1Q, ULT, 2Q, 1E, 2E and 2W to finish off or protect yourself when diving the tower. The reasoning behind this combo is mana conservation on the real Arc.


LVL10:+8% CD reduction, It really proves it’s worth later when you’re TPing everywhere.

LVL15: I’m a firm believer that Flux range is superior to HP talent. Being able to Flux them as they flee from the fights or as you approach the fight from across the screen is OP. Also, you almost always never want to be in the middle of a fight with the real Arc. Imagine real Arc as a backline Sniper and his Tempest as an Axe. Tempest is meant to soak up the damage. Although, against PA, Slark and WR I pick up the HP talent and an early Blademail.

LVL20: Attack range. I see that Icefrog meant some kind of support/caster Arc Warden coming into the play with the CD reduction on the sparks. It is doable with the level 25 talent. But physical Arc Warden is always preferred since he scales much better into the lategame.

LVL25: Well if you’re constantly fighting take the +30 lifesteal. If you wanna play a worse version of Techies, take the spark dmg buff. It’s good when the enemy supports don’t expect it. You stack upto 3-4 sparks and they’re probably dead. But since we’re in lategame, pickoffs are very often rare. People group up and march down mid with the creeps. So, there are games when it’s good and games where It’s criminally bad to take it.


Mid 90% of the time. 10% safelane. The reason for taking the mid is solo XP and the pure potential of killing their mid over and over again. Once you hit lvl6 – it becomes 2v1.

When mid

Start with Wraith band, Branch, Faerie fire and 2 pooled tangos. Blocking your creeps every wave is very important to be able to harass them properly. Your last hitting ability is crucial those few first waves. Try not to waste level 1 mana and completely focus on your last hitting. Sub 3 min Aquila is a must. Follow it up by naked brown boots. You will need a ward to be able to see them on their ramp. This is probably your first power spike if you catch enemy offguard (not close to their creeps). You flux them and chase them down.

Some people advocate on getting Phase Boots. I haven’t experimented with those yet but I believe that +24 dmg *2 units does make a difference early. In my opinion those boots are a waste of gold that early on since you need BoTs very early to contribute to your team. When you hit level 6 this is where the fun starts. Remember the part where I’ve said to always block your creeps a bit? You do this so their ranged creep is in the river, not on top of their ramp. This allows you to place a zoning spark wraith behind the creeps.

This way enemy has 2 choices: eat up a spark or not get close to it. He eats up a spark: instakill with the above said combo. He stands there and doesn’t do anything: you deny everything and lasthit everything. If you have vision of him highground and at least level 3 flux you can attempt the combo above. If you manage to catch the first flux, which is very likely to succeed.

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Other small tricks are to never stop harassing them with right clicks (try not to aggro their creeps). It’s very frustrating for them because you have a superior attack range in most of the cases. It makes them pull back from the creeps which again leaves you with kill opportunities. There is also a trick if you fail to block your creeps. Hit the ranged creep 2 times and place level 2 spark on them. If enemy stays close you combo up. It’s all mind games from there on. Finish up your Midas after you’ve gathered those 3-4 kills.

When Safelane

you will be behind on XP, but once you reach lvl6 tell your supports to leave, same principles above apply, harass them and zone them out with sparks

The transition from Early to Mid Game

Your objective is to bring down their mid tower. From there you TP to the weakest sidelane and help them bring down another tower. With that amount of map control you finish up the Maelstrom and farm BoTs. Try to realise that this itemisation is most common in 99% of the games. If you’re against a pushing lineup I’d rather get a Mjollnir to be able to deal with them.

Mid Game

You got your Maelstrom and the BoTs sub 18mins or even less. Now what? Split push like a maniac? Join fights? These great questions don’t have great answers. It’s really tough to judge as a beginner what you should be doing. Communicate with your team. I always tell them that I will probably spend 3-4 more minutes farming up a Mjollnir by split pushing.

Try to TP to the outskirts of fights. Park your real Arc Warden behind and spam spells with him, while microing the Tempest in front. Never, ever come in as 2 unless you’re completely sure that Slark is on another side of the map. Or that they don’t have gap closer heroes capable of backlining you. In lower bracket games people seem to believe that the Tempest is an illusion so they don’t expect him dishing out full damage while ignoring him. He’s the 6th hero on your team. So to sum it up, fight with your team, gain map control, jungle their wards, ward their jungle, etc.


You can build whatever you want to. He’s such a diverse hero. SnY and Manta? E-blade and Dagons? Gotcha fam. Situational builds aside, go to build, after Maelstrom and BoTs is as follows:

Blademail, SB or Pike, Mjollnir, Orchid, Nullifier — constant fighting build against gap closers or spell spammers

Mjollnir, SB or Pike, Orchid, Nullifier, MKB — true right click build

Some games demand a Force Staff (Riki smokes, saving your teammates, double forcestaffing yourself out) while some allow for using SB to infiltrate their jungle and picking off their carry. It’s really up to your playstyle. I’ve found equal success with both, sometimes I even get both. BKB is often that 7th item in your backpack. Don’t fear to get it. If you’re against a Slark, I suggest getting a Hex instead of the Nullifier (has a projectile time, Hex is instant and not purgeable). In most cases Nullifier is preferred since it boosts your damage output.

Late Game

As I’ve said in the beginning, Arc Warden is a late-game menace. You can always keep 2 lanes pushed in. You will probably sit on 10k gold while being six slotted. Buy your carry a Moonshard if possible. With the acquired map control get the Aegis on your carry. While pushing in try to keep your team under Magnetic field since it gives them the attack speed. If you’re defending try to reach their backlines with the Tempest (Shadow Blade or Force Staff). Always keep a track on your buyback status.

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Bonus Tips

  • Try to synergize first few Midas usages (earlier maelstrom)
  • Getting chased and nowhere to run? place yourself near any trees and field that place so you can tp out or kill them
  • Learn to double forcestaff yourself, very useful skill
  • Don’t be afraid to bring yourself any sort of regen, going back to fountain is the worst outcome

So this is it for now. Feel free to discuss this guide and add some tips on the abysmally low-picked hero. If you’ve got any questions feel free to discuss here.

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