Dota 2 Hero Guide – Ember Spirit

Xin, the Ember Spirit, is a melee agility hero known for being extremely elusive, while also having the ability to deal absurd amounts of burst physical damage to teams that dare to stick together in his presence.

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His signature ability, Sleight of Fist, allows him to instantly apply physical damage to all units within a target area—with each strike applying secondary effects such as critical strike, attack modifiers, and most importantly, cleave. The latter effect allows him to mow down entire teams in the blink of an eye, while staying perfectly safe due to Sleight of Fist’s built-in invulnerability.

Image via Valve

Meanwhile, Xin’s other abilities help him lock opponents down and survive even longer. Searing Chains causes him to bind two enemy units at random within a small radius nearby, keeping them rooted in their places and preventing escape while also burning their flesh in the process. Flame Guard conjures a burning shield that surrounds Xin’s body, absorbing up to 500 magic damage at max level while immolating all enemy units that come into close proximity. Flame Guard in particular is used to accelerate Ember Spirit’s farm, which he needs plenty of as a carry or solo mid hero.

And finally, there is his ultimate ability Fire Remnant, which projects an afterimage of Ember Spirit himself onto the battlefield. As long as the remnant is active and Xin has the mana to do so, he can instantly jump to the image, no matter where he might be on the map. Upon arrival, the remnant explodes, dealing a small amount of magic damage in a small radius. Fire Remnant grants Ember Spirit truly global mobility, the likes of which can only be rivaled by heroes like Storm Spirit and Nature’s Prophet.

Late in the game, Xin becomes a damage-dealing machine, ripping through enemy teams with ease thanks to the bonus damage from Sleight of Fist. When equipped with a Battle Fury, his adversaries fall one by one, until nothing but ash remains. However, he is also notorious for being difficult to play, requiring quite a bit of game knowledge and mechanical skill in order to use properly. Precise unit control is the key to success with Ember Spirit, making him a hero reserved for more experienced players. His overall fragility is also exacerbated by his decidedly average attribute gain per level, leaving him with less health and mana to work with naturally.

Ember Spirit Skill Build

Even with his versatile kit and design, Ember Spirit really only has one skill build—which covers both of his item builds at the same time. We’ll get into his item builds in the section after this one, but for now all you need to know is that Xin can go for either physical or magic damage.

Physical Ember is the traditional route, which leverages the power of Sleight of Fist and its mechanics in order to dish out the pain. In spite of that, though, Sleight of Fist is not what you should max out first in this case—but rather Flame Guard, as it helps you farm the rather expensive items you need to make the build work.

Searing Chains will go up alongside Flame Guard, as it is your only escape mechanism (albeit a rather unreliable one) until you hit Level 6. It also helps you go for kills in the lane, should your supports be nice enough to rotate and help you out. Sleight of Fist should not be touched until Level 10 at least, due to its terrible early game scaling. Your other abilities are far more important.

The build is pretty much exactly the same for Magic Ember, with the exception of putting points into Fire Remnant at every ultimate level and a few talents. Physical Ember doesn’t need to do the former, because Fire Remnant’s scaling only improves its magic damage. Its cooldown and all remain exactly the same otherwise.

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Our recommended skill builds, therefore, are as follows:

Physical

  • Flame Guard
  • Searing Chains
  • Flame Guard
  • Searing Chains
  • Flame Guard
  • Fire Remnant
  • Flame Guard
  • Searing Chains
  • Searing Chains
  • Sleight of Fist
  • Level 10 Talent: +25 Damage
  • Sleight of Fist
  • Sleight of Fist
  • Sleight of Fist
  • Level 15 Talent: +1s Searing Chains
  • Fire Remnant
  • Fire Remnant
  • Level 20 Talent: True Strike
  • Level 25 Talent: 2 Sleight of Fist Charges

Magic

  • Flame Guard
  • Searing Chains
  • Flame Guard
  • Searing Chains
  • Flame Guard
  • Fire Remnant
  • Flame Guard
  • Searing Chains
  • Searing Chains
  • Sleight of Fist
  • Level 10 Talent: +250 Flame Guard Absorption
  • Sleight of Fist
  • Fire Remnant
  • Sleight of Fist
  • Sleight of Fist
  • Level 15 Talent: +60 Flame Guard DPS
  • Sleight of Fist
  • Fire Remnant
  • Level 20 Talent: +10% Spell Amplification
  • Level 25 Talent: -25 Remnant Charge Restore Time

Ember Spirit Item Build

Here’s where things start to get really interesting. Remember when we said that Ember Spirit can go for physical or magic damage, depending on what the enemy team’s draft is weak to? His item build will dictate the flow of each path way more than his skill build.

For the physical side, the item you want to go for the most is Battle Fury. Not only does it give you plenty of passive regeneration (for both HP and mana) and extra attack damage, but the cleave also works with Sleight of Fist. Against teams that tend to clump up together in teamfights, a Battle Fury-buffed Sleight of Fist can deal a ridiculous amount of burst damage—all on a short cooldown of six seconds when it is at max level.

Later on, you’ll want to augment your raw damage with a Daedalus, which also works with Sleight of Fist. Every single strike that Sleight applies has a chance to crit, which can be absolutely devastating if the timing is right. Daedalus also helps you farm using Sleight of Fist, which normally deals half damage to creeps. With the passive crit and additional damage in your pocket, Sleight then becomes a viable waveclearing tool in the late game.

From there, protective items will likely be necessary. Even with how naturally elusive Ember Spirit is, it takes just one stray disable to seal his untimely death. Thus, a Linken’s Sphere or Black King Bar (or even both, though only in extreme cases) should always at least be considered. The former is a lot more preferable, though, as it gives you more stats across the board compared to BKB’s +10 strength. As a side note, you might also want to consider a Manta Style, particularly against silence effects.

Late game choices for the physical build include a second Battle Fury (no, that’s not a joke), or even a second Daedalus in order to increase the proc chance. An Eye of Skadi is also an excellent choice, particularly against heroes that run fast and carry BKBs at the same time. The additional stats are always nice for a hero like Ember Spirit, who needs as many as he can get.

On the flipside (meaning the magic damage side), there lies a totally different item build. Veil of Discord will be your first core item, and your primary magic damage amplifier. Once you hit Level 20, the amount of magic damage you can dole out with Veil and the spell amp talent becomes surprisingly large. After that, you’ll want to go for a Maelstrom, which works in tandem with Sleight of Fist so that you aren’t just limited to Flame Guard and Fire Remnant damage going into the mid game. Later on you’ll have the option of upgrading it to a Mjollnir, which benefits your teammates as well.

Speaking of the late game, the one item you really want in that stage as Magic Ember is Octarine Core. The spell lifesteal helps sustain you in teamfights, and the reduced cooldowns effectively mean that you deal more damage in a shorter amount of time. Combined with the Remnant talent at Level 25, you can also confound your opponents with clever use of the jump mechanic. Once that’s squared away, we recommend purchasing a Shiva’s Guard—which adds more area-of-effect magic damage to your arsenal. The additional armor is nice as well, as is the attack speed reduction aura versus enemy carries.

A special note on Ember’s boots of choice: Boots of Travel is incredibly effective on him due to the fact that Fire Remnant exists. With it, you can split push and farm across the map, while keeping an insurance policy in the form of a remnant placed somewhere else on the map. If you get jumped or sense that you are about to get ganked, simply teleport away to safety. We highly recommend getting Travels, no matter which build you choose to go for.

Ember Spirit Combo

Ember Spirit’s main combo in engagements is very tricky to execute at first, and will take quite a bit of consistent practice to master. We’re talking about the Sleight/Chains combo, which involves quickly hitting Q to cast Searing Chains right after Sleight of Fist’s animation goes off. This requires good reflexes and timing to do, so we’ve attached a short video showing just how to do it in this guide.

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Of course, you’ll want to add Flame Guard on top of this as well, as it does deal a good amount of magic damage over time to heroes that you can get up close and personal with. More importantly, though, it protects you from high-damage nukes, which can instantly delete you from the face of the earth.

Fire Remnant will also come in handy during teamfights, particularly against heroes that try to escape your wrath. Use it to chase them down while also dealing additional magic damage along the way. Sometimes, though, it is better to just use it as an escape mechanism, so it does pay to leave a remnant in a safe spot before initiating.

Ember Spirit Counter

Xin’s greatest enemies include those that can instantly disable and/or silence him before he is able to jump away to a remnant on the map. Combined with his low base health, getting silenced pretty much spells Ember Spirit’s doom, unless he has Manta or BKB with which to purge it off. Silencer, Night Stalker, and Skywrath Mage all do extremely well against Xin for this very reason, and can hound him all game long.

Ember Spirit also does not have the ability to fight one-on-one with true hard carries such as Anti-Mage, Sven, and Drow Ranger—due to his reliance on Sleight of Fist in order to deal physical damage. Consider drafting heroes that can outcarry him in the late game, with BKB carriers in particular being good choices as they can simply pop it in order to break out of Searing Chains.

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* FirstBlood® is NOT AFFILIATED, AUTHORIZED, LICENSED OR ENDORSED by Dota™, Dota 2™, Steam™, Dota 2™, the Dota logo® and Steam™ are trademarks of Valve Corporation.

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