Dota 2 Guide: Understanding How OG Made The Io Carry Work

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Anathan “ana” Pham
Anathan “ana” Pham OG

The International 2019 is over and at the end of a tough battle, it was OG that held the Aegis high. Not only did OG get a second Ti championship, but they did it back-to-back. A lot of people are still talking about Dota 2's biggest tournament and the roster shuffle that followed.

During the tournament, there were a number of plays that caught the attention of both fans and players. One of these was the Io carry strat that OG pulled out for the tournament. In today's guide we look at what OG did that made it work.

To start off, the Io as a carry strategy is not new. It has been done before, though it has been mainly limited to pubs. This is likely one of those rare moments when such a strat was done in a tournament as large as TI. Io has typically been seen as a right-click heavy carry, though not many have managed to find success with it. This resulted in the hero being mainly used for support. However, even then Io was infamous for being an imbalanced lane support hero, resulting in a nerf.

Io carry.
Io carry. Valve

Going back to using Io as a carry, many players focus on making the hero as a pure damage-dealing core. OG instead made Io a utility carry and proof is that the team used Io in five games and won all of them. So how did OG do it? Here are some of the things that OG did to ensure the win:

Strong Dual-Lane

In the initial part of the game, despite OG's ana playing Io as position 1 or 2, they used him the way you would a support. Thus, OG made sure to pair Io with Elder Titan or Tiny. The reason is simple since these heroes get the benefit offered by Io's Tether. This allowed the tethered heroes to be able to trade well with their lane opponents.

Focus on Farming

With the other hero taking care of the lane, this allowed Io to focus on farming. If the other hero had problems in the lane, Io could simply return and tether. By not focusing solely on lanes, this also allowed Io to be able to join fights when needed. One important thing that others missed is how ana made sure to get Helm of the Dominator. This allowed ana to take control of another unit like an Alpha Wolf, Tether to it, and utilize the farming aspect.

If you're still a bit confused, here's what the Tether skill does:

Tethers Io to an allied unit, granting bonus movement speed to both. When Io restores health or mana, tethered units target gains a larger portion of that amount. The tether breaks when the allied unit moves too far away, or Io cancels the tether.

That means as long as Io has a unit it Tethers to, the sustain is always present, especially when it comes to farming.

Timing is Key

Now before we discuss the importance of farming, we first need to look at another one of Io's skills, which is Spirts. What this skill does is:

Summon five particle spirits that dance in a circle around Io. If a particle collides with an enemy hero, it explodes, damaging and slowing all enemy units in an area around it. Creeps take minor damage from touching a particle spirit, but do not cause them to explode. When its duration ends, any remaining Spirits explode.

So why is farming important? Because it ensures that Io get two important timings. The first is that farming allows Io to get the needed gold in order to buy Aghanims Scepter. In their games, ana managed to get Ags within 15-20 minutes. Note that in those five games, OG won in an average of around 28 minutes.

Spirits is a good skill, but is an active one. What Ags does for Io is that Spirits now passively spawns around the hero constantly every second for a maximum of five. This effectively gives the hero "unlimited" spirits.

The second timing is just as important. By the time Io gets the Ags, the hero should hit Level 15. If not, the team should allow Io to get Tome of Knowledge. Reaching Level 15 is important since Io now gets access to his second talent tree. Rather than go for the +8 Health Regen, ana went for the +75 Spirits Hero Damage.

With this upgrade, the base hero damage of Spirits is 20/40/60/80. With the Level 15 Talent, this becomes 95/115/135/155. Remember that damage is for each spirit. Combine that damage output with the fact that Spirits now passively spawn around Io.

Once Io hits these timings, the other items are merely formalities, so to speak. You can go for Maelstorm if you want increased damage or Heart of Tarrasque for improved sustain.

With these wins, it will come as no surprise if a number of a number of players on pubs are going to try out the strat. If you do, there is one important takeaway to OG’s Io strat. The strat puts heavy emphasis on team play. You need to have a good team behind you if you plan on using Io as a carry. On the other side of the coin, if a team member wants to play as Io, then make sure that player gets the needed help in order to reach the needed timings.

So, ready to give Io a shot?

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