Mekansm is one of the few support items in Dota 2 that is able to heal teammates for a significant amount. But should you get it on every support hero?
Classic support pickup
Mekansm has been in Dota 2 for many years now, having been added to the game all the way back in 2005. It is one of the few items in the game that can heal teammates reliably during combat, in contrast to consumables like Healing Salve and “disappears on hit” effects like Urn of Shadows’ heal over time. This makes it particularly valuable as a support item, since support heroes typically don’t do much else after using their cooldowns in a teamfight.
Looking at Mekansm’s stats on paper, and it becomes obvious that it is indeed meant to be purchased primarily by support heroes. For one, its passive ability Mekansm Aura grants a flat health regeneration bonus in a rather sizable radius. Health regeneration is valuable to all heroes, of course, but supports especially are expected to be active in the lanes going up to the mid game. Additional health regen helps with this, because it allows support heroes to avoid having to run all the way back to base for a refill at the fountain.
The mana cost of its active ability, however, is what really determines which heroes are meant to purchase it. 225 mana for a 250 HP area of effect heal isn’t exactly the best deal in the world, especially for heroes that don’t have a large enough mana pool or gain a good amount of intelligence per level. In fact, after its mana cost was indeed bumped up from 150 in Patch 6.82, non-support heroes such as Viper and Razor dropped Mekansm from their list of core items.
It is, therefore, important to weigh the pros and cons of buying the item on certain heroes. The benefit is great, but so is the cost in terms of mana.
Burst heals save lives
Regardless of which hero picks it up, though, one thing remains certain: Mekansm’s burst healing in teamfights can and do swing entire engagements around. There are few things quite like receiving 250 points of health back in an instant after tanking some nukes and direct damage abilities, and more often than not it allows teams that run Mekansm to retaliate with their own spells. This is even after getting jumped on first by the enemy team through fog of war or Smoke of Deceit—provided, of course, that the Mekansm holder survives the initial salvo of enemy spells.
That last point is especially important. Support heroes that have Mekansm in hand should do their best to avoid getting targeted first in a teamfight, which is usually done by sticking close enough to friendly heroes to deter any sudden movements. Of course, one should not be too close to teammates at the same time, especially when facing an initiator like Magnus or Earthshaker who both capitalize on teams that clump up together.
If the Mekansm holder does avoid getting picked off, then the rest is easy; wait for one or more of your teammates to get low in terms of health (preferably after enemy spells have already gone out), then pop the active ability to get them back into fighting shape. Do note, however, that you will likely not have much left in your mana pool after using Mekansm, which leaves less room for firing back with your own abilities. This is remedied by purchasing intelligence/flat mana bonus items, of course, so Mekansm is best paired with things like Null Talismans, Soul Ring, or Arcane Boots.
Saving inventory slots
Another great thing about Mekansm is the existence of its upgrade, Guardian Greaves. Made by combining Mekansm with Arcane Boots, Guardian Greaves retains the active effects of both of its components, while simultaneously freeing up one inventory slot. The latter can be surprisingly valuable in the late game, where inventory slots start to become a resource of sorts.
The best addition, though, is the basic dispel upon activation. Being able to remove a handful of negative effects in an instant (given that you aren’t disabled or stunned) can mean the difference between life or death in the mid to late game, and helps make supports far less vulnerable than they would otherwise be without it.
Be sure to keep Guardian Greaves in the back of your mind as a late game option. It is, however, somewhat expensive for a support upgrade, and we recommend only getting it when an additional inventory slot is absolutely required. Otherwise, you are much better off saving the gold for your next big item, especially if that item is something like a Scythe of Vyse, Rod of Atos, or some similar game-changing pickup. Guardian Greaves can certainly wait.
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