Monday, April 21, 2014
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Hero Analysis: Week 2 – Sand Wraith

    We kicked off our Hero Analysis Article last week with a report exclusively looking at one of the least used heroes in the game. This week, we’re focusing on a hero that sees a lot more action with a great deal more success. He sits in the middle of the pack in terms of usage at 52, but currently possesses the second-highest win rate in the game.

Sand_WraithHero - Copy
Desert's Curse
96px-Sand_Wraith_Desert's_Curse - Copy Target a location or unit to shoot a line of Sand dealing 50 / 100 / 150 / 200 Magic Damage to anyone hit. Enemies that are hit or walk through the Sand take -8 / -12 / -16 / -20% Movement Speed for at least 3 seconds. While on Sand or for 3 seconds after leaving Sand, you may walk across any terrain.
96px-Sand_Wraith_Deserted - Copy The Sand Wraith deals an additional 15 / 25 / 35 / 45 True damage to enemy heroes who have no allied units near them or if they are affected by Desert's Curse.
96px-Sand_Wraith_Dissipate - Copy Passively grants 4 / 8 / 12 / 16% Damage Reduction. Damage reduced is reflected to all enemies in an area as Magic Damage.
96px-Sand_Wraith_Mirage - Copy Activate to spawn an illusion of yourself next to all enemy heroes on the map. Illusions last for 4 / 4.5 / 5 seconds. You may activate this spell again and target a location to teleport to your nearest illusion, taking its place.

  Sand Wraith is a Melee Agility Carry that is able to maneuver around the map with ease, but requires a large amount of farm to make use of his skills in the late game. Depending on his early game skill build, Sand Wraith can dole out great early game damage, or be able to tank a large portion of damage. Let’s examine some strong points with Sand Wraith

  • Desert’s Curse is a unique skillshot/targetable ability, that can effectively zone squishier enemies out of crucial teamfights, or target their most mobile enemy, giving Sand Wraith more room for increased movement. It gives Sand Wraith immense kiting potential when casting it into the woods for baiting or ganking, or singling out a single target to pursue.

  • Dissipate is practically a free and permanent Barbed Armor, granting damage reduction, and reflecting damage to nearby enemies in an area. With the proper items, Sand Wraith can deal large amounts of damage to the enemy even when stunlocked.

  • Mirage is one of the best anti-initiating tools when utilized properly. With proper ward placement, a Sand Wraith can know when a Magmus or Pebbles is preparing to initiate with a Portal Key. Casting Mirage will create copies that automatically attack the enemy heroes, dispelling the Portal Key potential. The proper utilization of Desert’s Curse and Mirage can allow Sand Wraith to pick off squishy support heroes from the middle of their team, and then disappear back into the woods before they can react.

    Sand Wraith has great damaging potential if he can acquire items like Mock of Brilliance, Dawnbringer, and Frostwolf. But to obtain those items, Sand Wraith depends very heavily on snowballing in the early game to become a threat for the late game. A good kill lane or gank in the laning phase can severely cripple Sand Wraith’s potential.

  • In the early game, Sand Wraith is entirely dependent on farming a reasonable item base to stay relevant for the late game. Early stun locks can keep Sand Wraith from escaping with Desert’s Curse, and poor positioning can seriously impair early gold and experience gain.

  • Sand Wraiths mana in the early game is quite low, allowing very few uses of Desert's Curse early in the game. The damage from Desert’s Curse is negligible, as the ability focuses more on the utility of the slow/speed change. Sand Wraith needs an ally to be able to follow up to keep enemies trapped long enough to deal the damage necessary

  • Sand Wraith is practically only physical damage besides Desert’s Curse. A Void Talisman can effectively bait him into diving a low-health hero, only to be unable to finish off the enemy.

  • Finally, Sand Wraith has barely any crowd control at all. Besides Desert’s Curse, and the occasional Nullfire Blade, Sand Wraith struggles to keep enemies in place long enough to deal damage.

Sand Wraith excels at babysitter teams. Team compositions that revolve around giving Sand Wraith access to  unlimited farm and support lay the foundation that Sand Wraith needs to excel. Stuns, slows, fears, and silences are Sand Wraiths best friend.

Some notable allies to pair Sand Wraith with would include Keeper of the Forest, Master of Arms, Blitz, Tempest, Glacius, Myrmidon, and Empath. Each one of these heroes have multiple ways of benefitting Sand Wraith. Whether with powerful crowd control like Empath’s Illusory Veil and Keeper’s Root, or buffs that increase Sand Wraith’s capabilities like Blitz’s Quicken, and Master of Arms Master’s Call.

Sand Wraith has the potential of easily carrying a late game, but getting there relies heavily on his allies teamwork and composition.

Again, feel free to comment and critique this analysis, add your own tips and tricks, and submit requests for next week’s hero discussion!

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