Style shamelessly nicked from TheGuildfordStrangler, influenced by the builds of JSZephyr and Mixairian.
Used and approved by Sean0883.
Or why another Rook tower build... Mostly because I've noticed several differences in my playing style to Zephyr's, because more info has become available and also there are a lot more nuances one has to take into account when playing Rook, all of which influence his skills and items!
Rook is easily one of the easiest heroes to play okay and one of the hardest to play really well! Allow me to elaborate:
This is a towerspamming build. You will need to spam towers, without a towerfarm around you you are dead meat in the first half of the game! Rook takes a lot of experience because everytime you do something (chase, run away, attack,...) you are comitting Rook to it, you will FINISH IT or YOU WILL DIE! Rook is the slowest hero of the bunch, and also the most obvious target (don't try to speed up Rook, no matter what you do other heroes can easily do it better (but predominantly faster )), Rook can do tons of damage but he is considerably weaker against multiple enemies (even more so than other heroes due to part of his DPS splitting over multiple enemies and creeps).
Play Rook if you want to level easily, and slowly creep across the map providing your allies with a safe haven to retreat to. Play Rook when you want to do tons of damage when they think they can easily solo you! Play Rook when you want to have lots of pushing and staying power!
- Level 1: Power of the tower (1)
- Level 2: Archer Tower or Structural Transfer (1)
- Level 3: Structural Transfer (1) or Archer Tower
- Level 4: Power of the Tower (2) or Structural Transfer (2)
- Level 5: Tower of Light, God's Strength (1), Boulder Roll (1), Structural Transfer (2)
- Level 6: Boulder Roll (1), Tower of Light, Structural Transfer (2), God's Strength (1)
- Level 7: Power of the tower (3), Structural Transfer (2), God's Strength (1)
- Level 8: Structural Transfer (2), God's Strength (1)
- Level 9: God's Strength (1)
- Level 10: Power of the Tower (4)
- Level 11: God's Strength (2)
- Level 12: Trebuchet
- Level 13: Boulder Roll (2)
- Level 14: +Save+
- Level 15: God's Strength (3) and Poisoned Arrows
- Level 16: Boulder Roll (3)
- Level 17: Stats or whatever
- Level 18: Stats or whatever
- Level 19: Stats or whatever
- Level 20: Stats or whatever
Skill Summary and reasoning:
This build is made around Power of the Tower, Structural transfer is to give you staying power (use it on your own towers and your side's towers if you have or are getting Fortified structure), only put an extra point in there if you have a rook against you or are getting harassed by two heroes against you alone. Your shouldertower upgrades are your own harassing tool (do it right after a creep wave when their hero is closer than his towers) and get God's Strength asap. It's a HUGE boost to your damage, what many people forget is that his base damage is already quite a bit higher than any other hero's damage, hitting them once or twice tends to change their mind quite fast. Boulder roll is your wildcard. Stop weak heroes who are getting too cocky and hit them once or twice to make them think twice Stop strong heroes in the middle of your tower farm to scare them shitless, or stop a bunch of chasing heroes and hit that teleport or start munching a tower! Once you're level 16 it's up to you what to pick...
Early skill choices depend on opposition, their skill and how hard they are harassing you versus your towers, if you got a Rook against you, and whether you have two versus you alone (or mostly alone).
Skill Description and Usage:
Power of the tower: A must for this build! Build a string towards the position you will hold, then space the towers about a rook length apart and slowly creep forward. Stand behind the frontmost tower (unless you're against UB or Regulus) and mash on creeps. When you get engaged by one try to pull them into the middle and start wailing on them! It looks like you're running away and this tends to get bad players (or pissed off players) to follow you They can also be used as disposable health batteries with Structural Transfer (use the rearmost). At level 4 they can put out an enormous amount of damage when focused (ie when you get one to follow you).
Structural Transfer: Used to maximise this but then I found out that I hardly ever use it past early game anymore... It's your staying power, emergency heal, early towerbashing skill! Once you got god's strength you do MORE damage than maxed Structural Transfer in half the time! Do take note that it takes about 2 seconds to setup, make sure you're well placed before using this.
Archer tower: Take this early and love it, use it to harass in the beginning of the game (move just in range) without really engaging the enemy, be careful because other targets diffuse a lot of the damage. If the enemy's creepwave / towers / herofriends are around don't expect this to do much, cursing at them loudly does more damage!
Tower of Light: Another must have, it's a nice steady damage and has killed more than one hero trying to get away (together with Archer tower). Again you can't target this (proper placement can help but its range is longer than your vision range).
Trebuchet: Nice damage but its range is so long it'll never hit what you want it to hit... Still nice to have and sometimes scares off fragile pursuers (ie. archnemesis Regulus). Its main use is as prereq. for Poison Arrows and it slightly boosts the damage of your other shoulder towers.
Poisoned Arrows: Now we're getting somewhere, it's got a low chance of slowing (15% per arrow, for 10% for 3 seconds) but it's usually enough! Rook fires his arrows by the dozens and if you're chasing or being chased by a hero he'll most definitely will get slowed (unless maybe a spirit oak). Once you get this Oak turns into a hero-killing machine (especially with God's Strenght III)
God's Strength: When the shit hits the fan and your team just doesn't seem to get any kills and the over-fed enemy team comes knocking at your door, this is the moment where Rook can turn the tide of battle with this one skill! (Especially if the enemy team invests it in weapons instead of Citadel upgrades). With God's strength you can stand toe-to-toe with most heroes of your level with MUCH better equipment and still come out on top! If on the other hand your team is doing moderate to well and you got several kills, with the right equipment this will turn the Rook into an unstoppable killing machine!
Boulder Roll: The Rook's wildcard, an escape move, stun, and even a moderate farming skill. And a move that has saved more than one of my allies. Use this to position an enemy smack-bang in the middle of your towers for a pounding, stop an enemy that tries to run or teleport, and once in a while kill a running enemy... It does some damage but it's main use is to temporarily disable other heroes for a second. You want to scare someone, roll the boulder, smack them twice with God's Strength (and some aid of your towers) and see them scurry back (or run home for the more fragile heroes)!
Hammer Slam: One of the most damaging AOE spells, that slows the enemy when maxed! And I hardly ever use it A good farming tool. The problem is that it takes about 1.5 seconds to set it up, in that time anyone who isn't blind, stunned or simply extremely slow has teleported to town, gone shopping, restored their health, got their friends to join, teleported back just in time to see you slam the ground for 1700 damageand then promptly gank you! Heck even if you set it up with a boulder roll pointblank they will still be able to move out of your way unless maxed and then only if they don't have any friends nearby!
Favor: Amulet of Teleportation (this shaves of 500 gold on every trip to town and heightens your mobility quite a bit except maybe on prison, get Swift Anklet there) otherwise the 10% xp item to REALLY up your staying power advantage, some swear by Staff of Renewal haven't played enough favor games to know really (or more often started with 0 favor).
Start: Scaled Helm, Two Teleport Scrolls
- Vlemish Faceguard and Plenor Battlecrown (Vlemish is slightly more interesting as first item, thanks Mixairian) (congratulations, you are now basically mana stable (sometimes in heated battles you might run out after several minutes of straight battle, but it's rare) Sell Scaled when you got both!
- If you're having trouble staying in your lane / die alot get some + health or +health/sec and armor items depending on the cash you have. Nimoth, Groffling or Platemail of the Crusader (Godplate if you're loaded but can't get to the artifact store). Try to not get more than 4K armor as the returns go down a lot past that point (you get a lot less damage reduced per point of armor).
- If you save up 8K get Mageslayer, by now the game has usually been decided (in your favor I hope), if not go for the Girdle of giantkind to instapop entire creepwaves(don't forget to upgrade your citadel!)
Basically attack speed + lifesteal and armor + health/sec. Your awesome base damage gives you awesome lifesteal ESPECIALLY combined with increased attack speed (which essentially MULTIPLIES your God's Strength and your already awesome damage).
Bullwark of the Ages, Ashkandor, Allfather Ring are all great items to take in the end but if you're taking either of those and you're haven't upgraded Giants yet you're a selfish prick! Plus you should've trashed their Citadel ages ago as they were obviously feeding you...
Heart of life: It's useless, you have life replenish and a cheap (3/4 of Heart's cost) endless supply of mana. Not to mention that a lot of things on Rook tend to interrupt you replenishing. Not worth it!
Movespeed items: No matter what you get there are heroes that will be faster, if they aren't they will be soon! Just don't!
+Damage: You're already doing more damage than anyone else, standard. But you attack real slow! Get +attackspeed instead, much more cost efficient!
Playstyle: Now we're getting into the meat of the guide! First let me get five basic points down, once you get these points, it'll be pretty hard to play Rook badly!
- The Rook does not run - Rook predicts a gank and moves/teleports the fuck away!
- The Rook does not chase into the unknown - Rook knows a friend is intercepting and is just rolling a Boulder.
- The Rook does retreat until the enemy is within the maximum amount of towers possible - then he turns around and pounds them into dust
- The Rook does not walk, he teleports!
- The Rook is not an Assassin, the Rook is a pusher - He pushes a lane and destroys its towers
Okay now that we have the introductions out of the way let me elaborate:
1. The Rook does not run - You have to be aware of all the enemy heroes at all times, if you don't see them anywhere, they are setting up to gank you! Move to a different location / back to your base. This is the hardest to learn! You cannot run, you cannot hide, everyone thinks you're squishy and when you got three heroes on you YOU ARE!
2. Rook does not chase (into the unknown) - Only chase because you can see the area (towers), there's friends there or you know there are NO enemies there and you can take the enemy hero (all things being equal you should, heck even with a lot of things unequal you can still solo most heroes of your level - be careful though - test while in your farm)
3. The Rook does retreat until the enemy is within the maximum amount of towers possible - Setup your tower farm, slowly creep it until it as at the frontlines, then you double up your towers, a good base is 4 towers on each corner of a rook sized location, space them apart about that much and push the front. When you can (and the hero is not gonna die in the next hit of course) set up a new tower! Even if you set them next to another, don't EVER stop placing towers. If you have to move faster (and you can see the front place each tower about two Rook sizes apart (which is not much longer than your recharge time if you have no speed equipment). The reason is that if you meet the enemy or they break through the front you fall back a bit and can set up a triple tower farm almost immediatly and 4 towers not much later. Also great when the enemy is chasing another hero past all those "single" towers That's until they return Also when you are getting ganked, or when a hero thinks he can take you at low health, don't run, place yourself in the towerfarm and then start hitting back! Many forget that Rook does a ton of damage because they tend to see him running when they engage , showing them the error of the ways in your tower farm is the way of this guide!
4. The Rook does not walk, he teleports! - Unless on Prison (and only on Prison) you don't leave the base without two teleport scrolls or the Amulet of Teleportation favor item. Rook is a good pusher and even without hero kills its not that much cash you lose against all the pushing time, xp and creeps you'd lose out on otherwise. You use the first to teleport as close to the front as possible (and at the start of the game going for an early cap, possibly double cap, depending on the map. Cool thing is that by the time the other heroes have gotten close to you you can set down a second tower RIGHT halfway the map annoying them endlessly! Even if that means you have to wait a bit longer for that uber item, do a citadel upgrade, or god forbid, buy something almost as good!
5. The Rook is not an Assassin, the Rook is a pusher - Yes I promised you could pwn heroes easily with Rook, and you will... Just by pushing The moment you are at their base is the moment you've got at least God's strength II, Mageblade and some decent armor and of course a near-stable manapool. But first you push, push and push some more, once in a while a hero will try his luck, don't try to run, you're only giving him courage to do it again, move into an advantageous position (read towerfarm) and bash him into the dust! Slowly creep your towers forwards in a square about your size, stay just behind the foremost towers (so the creeps hit those, but you can hit the creeps), early game, whenever your Structural Transfer has recharged and you know there's no gank incoming move behind your creep wave and use Structural Transfer, once you got God's Strength and the towers are alone hit it a few times then move back, later, when you get some decent armor you'll use ST a lot less and just bash them into the ground, once in a while using ST to top of your health.
Once more, don't try to run, if it seems he can take the punishment of your towers and still chase you down (most heroes mid game) set yourself in the middle, pick a hero and most of the time (unless in a 3 VS 1) you will make them run away, die, you will die but your target will get killed by your towers. There are exceptions and we'll see those in the weaknesses.
Early game: Buy two teleports and scaled helm. Push with towerfarm, stick behind towers, keep eye out for ganks, if you're missing enemy heros move to your base's towers, push enemy towers with structural transfer, buy the two helmets first (unless you got pushed back early, buy whatever armor you can or upgrade towers).
Upgrades: Go for both of the first tower upgrades, especially
Getting harassed: Get Structural transfer at lvl 2
Multiple heroes in your lane: Stick more to the back than usual let your towers do the killing, get Boulder Roll early. If they chase its easier to stick them in your towers that way and you can still move back further.
Gank inc: the gank is there and you didn't see until it's too late (common to Rook due to his size), if you're at least at half health, try teleport and hope they don't /can't stun you, sometimes ST helps (especially if they themselves are low health), take note of the 1.5 second casting time, but usuall your best bet (especially if you're in your tower farm and they haven't Trashed / Frozen it) is to call their bluff and pick the weakest and bash away (specifically if you're too far from friendly towers / friendlies).
Mid game: Same as above, by now you should've reached their base, if you're getting more gank attempts, push another lane, if not wail away at their base until they do or lose, I've won quite a few games on the losing side simply because they chose to ignore me and trash my allies instead... until I trashed their citadel But usually you will get ganks! Boulder roll and Teleport is your friend, as is a towerfarm nearby! Remember single hero and you're both at same health/level, get to the farm and bash them good!
Late game: By now you should've gotten some decent armor and +health, mana isn't a problem and you should've got some decent attackspeed making your already awesome damage even scarier! If you've got Girdle of the Giants you basically one shot entire creep waves! Setup ganks on enemy heroes, whenever they run ignore and trash their structures, if they return immediatly give them a good trashing, if you see a chance, boulder roll when they run and kill them. Otherwise never chase, when you're chasing you're not using that AWESOME damage! Bash stuff, nearby heros, don't stop! Keep your towers up for harassment and keep the pressure on their structures, once you get free game on their citadel you can take it down in a couple of swings if they let you! Do IT!
Weaknesses / How to counter:
VS The Rook: Go for ST earlier, and make sure it's always one higher than the enemy rook, as only his front two towers will be hitting you just as your front towers his you'll have the advantage! Get him to chase you and boulder roll in your farm, don't ever chase him (for obvious reasons...) If he is giving you troubles this might be a moment to actually get a movespeed item!
VS Regulus: Regulus is a bitch, with one upgrade to his range he outranges your towers, it'll take him a while to actually trash them faster (and cheaper) than you can set them up. Harass early with your shoulder towers by standing a bit in front of your towers, later on that gets impossible. A dangerous gambit can be to let him hit you for a bit then pull him into your towers, boulder roll (if you have it) and hit him a few times! You will trounce Regulus with a few bashes, if he's stupid enough to go for you that is!
VS Unclean Beast: I love it when UB spits on my towers, hate it when he does the same to me though! ST early is a way to counter, let him waste his mana, don't ever run (he's faster, slows you and does a lot of damage fast) when he is alone, you can kill him in your farm. Don't leave your farm unless he's got friends, then by all means RUN! (teleport!!!!) A good UB player can be hard to play against, get a few cheap healthpots to stop his spit in its tracks, the rest ST should be able to top off. Stay slightly more to the back when he's near your frontline!
VS Sedna: Sedna is a bit of a mixed bag, she's mostly stronger with other heroes around and can make your life miserable that way. She's a general and that extrapolates your problem if she's clever! It's hard to kill her, but if you don't run she can't actually damage you that much in your farm. Still careful when you're low health, she's one of the few that can survive your towers kill your running ass and get away without dying! A clever Rook shouldn't have too much of a problem but a good Sedna with good backup can spell disaster!
VS Oak: Oak is the hardest to play against imho, he can do tons of damage, run past your towers with nary a scratch (not only due to invulnerability but also due to the tons of spirits around him, difusing all your awesome damage He's got a good harassing tool that debuffs your speed even more (not to mention the extra damage you take negating all that lovely armor). And he's got damage to boot. And if you're really unlucky killing him means you lose your towerfarm each and every time Oh and he's a General to boot!
VS Queen of Thorns: QOT on her own is even less of a problem than Sedna, even if she'd go for (*gasp*) uproot! But she's a general, she's got extra minions and when she Bramble shields assassin Heroes it's starting to get real annoying! On her own she's not much, but with friends she gets annoying!
VS the Bear Torcher (I mean Torchbearer, still think the Bear Torcher is cooler... although he'd need a wrestling outfit, a torch in his left hand, a bottle of Vodka in his right... and moustache, to make it perfect...): Not much to be said, in frost form he can be annoying, in both forms just stay out of his way, if he gets close and looks like he's doing something, boulder roll and go bash him! You or your towers will make short work of him. If he likes to harass, get Structural Transfer and Boulder Roll early. Problem solved!
VS Erebus: Erebus is fragile and can't siege very well, although he's a good finisher if you run! Don't run, stick to your farm give him a good trouncing, and if he uses that silly Mist form place a tower near him, move out of it, place another around it and place yourself in the direction of his best path of retreat, when he appears he's dead meat Just don't feed him and he shouldn't be too much of a problem. He's a general so that's sometimes a bit annoying but as we agreed sticking to your farm is the best course of action!
In General: The Rook is weak to ganking, large numbers of hostiles tend to diffuse his damage (that's why Girdle of Giants is such a must have late game), the best way to get past towers? Move with as many creeps, heroes, etc, as possible!
Towers getting harassed: Sometimes they focus on the towers and end up killing them faster or as fast than you can set them up! Staff of Renewal can help here (thanks Mixairian). If that fails stick to your frontal towers and set them up between (maybe even slightly behind, don't forget to upgrade those), then push from there. This gives you at least a fallback place while you get your allies to come and harass the enemies (or simply hold out if need be).
Conclusion: Rook isn't squishy but he can't get away easily and hence will go down a lot! That's why most think he's squishy! That's why Rook is hard to master, you need to know when you run before you should and know when to stay and bash before the enemy does Anything you do with The Rook is a commitment that will either see him dead or the enemy dead (or running). Because of his name he gets quite a lot of harrasment and other unwanted attention because a running Rook is not using his awesome godgiven damage (Pun most definitely intended). Learn to not run away when it won't resolve anything, and find out how much staying power that friggen' walking castle truly has!
Extra tips / Comments:
- Eat your town's towers / buildings! One simple upgrade of 600 measly gold allow them to regenerate (so buy it)! If your towers get take down fast this might be your only staying option (or survival when Regulus is starting up that Snipe!)
- Gank incoming? Teleport away! That's why you should always have a scroll on you! The Rook can stand up to an enormous amount of punishment and I've more than once gotten away because the ganking party used their stuns to soon / forgot to interrupt!
- Want your teammates to love you? Do a structural transfer when they have to get past an enemy tower (to cast fire circle, gank that annoying Erebus, get back past them with 10 health,...) You'll get the towers focused on you and your teammate should be able to get past unscathed!
- Teammate in trouble running for his life with a gank behind him? Bowling time (yes that's boulder roll...)
Allright I hope you've enjoyed this guide, and most importantly, learned something new from it. Be it to be used with me or against me I've played about 50-60 games with Rook having played between 5-10 games with all of the other heroes on average. Each time I swap to another hero I tend to love that one more than the previous one, all except for The Rook! The moment I played him I knew this was the hero I was looking for! There's nothing more awesome than hearing him pound the crap out of a building! (Well maybe hearing him pound the crap out of the other team )