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Lycan minimap icon.png Lycan is a remarkable pusher who can wear down buildings and force enemies to react quickly to his regular tower onslaughts; as towers melt incredibly fast under Lycan's and his units' pressure, boosted by their canine Feral Impulse. His only contribution to full-on team fights will be reducing the attack damage and armor of his enemies with Howl as well as his formidable physical attacks. Else he can surge out of the woods for a quick gank or push after he transformed with Shapeshift, moving at a haste speed of 650. Finally, good players will make the best usage of his Summon Wolves ability and scout the enemies' position while remaining undetected with invisibility at level 4.
Pros Cons
  • Great jungler.
  • Can take out Roshan by himself.
  • Terrific pusher.
  • High mobility with Shapeshift.
  • Decent damage output to carry the team.
  • May require some help in the laning stage.
  • Reliant on spell immunity for protection.
  • No reliable disables.
  • Little team fight contribution outside of damage output.
  • Needs correct micromanagement and decision-making to get the most out of him.


Lycan will most commonly be played in the safelane. With a starting point in Feral Impulse or Howl for bonus attack speed to last hit with, especially if you add a Quelling Blade icon.png Quelling Blade on top of that. Early levels in Summon Wolves is not as good since they do not deal enough damage and cost too much mana. Once you have acquired Power Treads icon.png Power Treads and Mask of Madness icon.png Mask of Madness or Armlet of Mordiggian (Inactive) icon.png Armlet of Mordiggian, you should take down the enemy tower of your lane. Then you can rotate to push other towers with your teammates if they managed well in the laning stage. Otherwise, you can farm the jungle instead and give your lane to the supports so they can catch up in gold and experience. After taking a few outer towers to gain map control, you should think about killing Roshan with Blight Stone icon.png Blight Stone or its upgrades; be sure to ask your team to help and go in with Smoke of Deceit icon.png Smoke of Deceit. From then on, you will either want something to take down towers even quicker (Desolator icon.png Desolator and Assault Cuirass icon.png Assault Cuirass) or to start properly fighting your enemies (Skull Basher icon.png Skull Basher and Black King Bar icon.png Black King Bar). In the mid and late game, you will have enough mana to Summon Wolves and have them scout and follow enemy heroes, giving your team vision to safely push and gank.

5-man push[edit]

Choose to max Howl out before the final point in Feral Impulse on the generic build (Feral Impulse scales linearly whereas extra points in Howl also comes with cooldown reduction). If your team has a couple of summons and auras of its own (Chen minimap icon.png Chen and Beastmaster minimap icon.png Beastmaster for the obvious examples), and the opposition lacks methods to clear creep waves and summons, you can force all outer towers very early in the game. With the map-control advantage, you should be able to take down Roshan and possibly push for high ground and/or the throne before the twenty-minute mark.

Since Lycan will still require a decent amount of experience to be effective, you may consider putting him in the mid lane to get his levels. As mentioned previously, his huge base damage should allow him to get his last hits (you can even use Howl to secure them further) and perhaps some denies, and he can possibly harass the enemy mid laner with his wolves.

In this scenario , you'll still want to rush Vladmir's Offering icon.png Vladmir's Offering except if someone else on your team is better suited for it. You probably won't want to skip Power Treads icon.png Power Treads since you'll want to finish the game as soon as possible so you'll need mid game items. Maybe a level 1 Necronomicon 1 icon.png Necronomicon will be more than enough and before upgrading it you can get an Armlet of Mordiggian (Inactive) icon.png Armlet of Mordiggian or a Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard to tank some tower shots at little cost.

Ability Builds[edit]

Carry Lycan
Howl icon.pngFeral Impulse icon.pngFeral Impulse icon.pngHowl icon.pngFeral Impulse icon.pngShapeshift icon.pngFeral Impulse icon.pngHowl icon.pngHowl icon.pngTalent icon.pngSummon Wolves icon.pngShapeshift icon.pngSummon Wolves icon.pngSummon Wolves icon.pngTalent icon.pngSummon Wolves icon.pngUnknown icon.pngShapeshift icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png
5-man push Lycan
Howl icon.pngFeral Impulse icon.pngSummon Wolves icon.pngSummon Wolves icon.pngSummon Wolves icon.pngShapeshift icon.pngSummon Wolves icon.pngHowl icon.pngHowl icon.pngTalent icon.pngHowl icon.pngShapeshift icon.pngFeral Impulse icon.pngFeral Impulse icon.pngTalent icon.pngFeral Impulse icon.pngUnknown icon.pngShapeshift icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
+2 Lycan Wolf icon.png Wolves Summoned25+32% Chance Shapeshift Critical Strike
+15% Feral Impulse Damage20+5s Shapeshift Duration
10% Cooldown Reduction15+10 Feral HP Regen
+15 Damage10+4 Armor
  • This attack damage talent is added as raw attack damage, so it does not benefit illusions, and is not affected by most percentage-based damage increasing or reducing effects.

Tips & Tactics[edit]


  • When taking on Roshan, it is advised to use a Smoke of Deceit icon.png Smoke of Deceit to avoid being spotted by enemy observer wards. Teams facing a Lycan will do their best to prevent early Roshan kills by planting observer wards near the pit; given that a detected Lycan is easy prey while doing battle with Roshan, slipping past those wards will do wonders for his lifespan.
  • At level 7, with items like Mask of Madness icon.png Mask of Madness and Power Treads icon.png Power Treads or Medallion of Courage icon.png Medallion of Courage, Lycan can solo Roshan. Summon Wolves and tank them alternately with the hero, but do not let them die until the re-summon is ready. Keep Shapeshift just in case the enemy comes for you, so you can escape.
  • Any item that provides armor reduction (Desolator, Medallion, Assault Cuirass) or an aura benefits both the wolves and the Necronomicon units. Keep in mind that the melee Necronomicon Warrior has the second lowest Base Attack Time of the game of 0.75 seconds (after Visage Familiars), which makes him scale really well with Howl's attack speed bonus. Adding reduced armor to the mix will considerably increase your total DPS.
  • Lycan is probably the hero that benefits the most from a Necronomicon 1 icon.png Necronomicon since the summons will benefit from Feral Impulse and Shapeshift (critical strike and 650 movement speed), AND their aura will also make your own wolves stronger... There are few scenarios where you want to skip it. Although they can be inefficient in a fight, they'll always be great to take down towers.
  • When jungling, be sure to try and keep your wolves alive as long as possible, do not use them to tank damage unless their timer is low.
    • Be wary of centaurs in the jungle, if you and both of your wolves are near to the large blue centaur, it will use a stun. Avoid this by having one wolf wait away from the centaur and bringing it in after the large centaur is dead.
    • After reaching level 6, keep an eye on the other lanes, if an opportunity presents itself, do not be afraid to activate Shapeshift and go for a gank, the 18 seconds duration allows you to cross more than half of the map. If the enemy middle player is a squishy hero like Sniper minimap icon.png Sniper, you can typically kill them even if they are on full health while affected by Shapeshift.
  • There are plenty of reasons to not go to the jungle:
    • Maybe your mid lane requires the constant protection of your supports, and it is usually a bad idea to entirely abandon a lane. In this case you might as well alternate between the lane and the closest big camp and try to farm both.
    • Maybe the enemy offlaner got a considerable amount of exp, and they could kill your supports if you leave them alone.
    • Maybe your supports are already farming the jungle, like Crystal Maiden minimap icon.png Crystal Maiden with Frostbite.
    • Maybe the jungle is unsafe because the enemies have a roamer or two like Bounty Hunter minimap icon.png Bounty Hunter and/or Pudge minimap icon.png Pudge and you have no vision to see them coming, and you'd rather stay safe with your supports. You should probably consider taking down the enemies' tower as fast as possible to get an edge in map-control in this scenario.
  • Try to make rotation for ganks or Roshan kills at nights when Lycan's abilities prevail and enemy vision around the map dwindles.


Summon Wolves[edit]

  • Wolves can be used to scout runes at the beginning of the match and during the laning phase to avoid losing gold and experience.
  • Always Summon Wolves in the base when going out to jungle for the first time (at about the 0-10 second mark) since the wolves are fast enough that you can get a creep camp killed without using any mana.
  • Wolves' invisibility at level 4, very low base attack time and quick movement make them great deniers. Use them to destroy runes, aegis, and allied towers with all impunity if the situation is too risky, or too far away for you to go there in person. The most talented players will even manage to entirely body-block a hero in a narrow path with both wolves, and possibly deny yourself if certain debuffs are placed on Lycan.
  • Wolves can also be used to scout and keep tabs on particular heroes without them knowing. Select your wolf and hit M (default) and then click an enemy hero; the wolf will follow the hero but will not attack, so it will remain invisible. Do this with each wolf and you can get constant vision of two enemy heroes. This is great for setting up ganks or for evaluating whether to take a team fight in a particular area. Keep in mind that if your wolves lose vision of who they are following for too long, they stop following.
  • You can also use the wolves' invisibility to sneak past the enemy lines and teleport to them using Boots of Travel 1 icon.png Boots of Travel, hitting one tier 3 while allied creeps disabled Backdoor Protection on another.
    • With a Necronomicon 3 icon.png Necronomicon 3 and another big item such as Assault Cuirass icon.png Assault Cuirass, you probably have enough DPS to even go through backdoor protection, as a last resort while the enemy is somehow distracted.
  • Use your wolves to stack two ancient camps at once. Then you can summon your necronomicon to take them down quickly.
  • Use wolves to grab last hits of lane creeps while you attack the neutrals, useful when enemies are missing or you want to accelerate farm.


  • Use Howl before going for kills as it will make your enemies more susceptible to physical damage and also not allow them to strike Lycan or his summons back due to the attack damage reduction it provides.
  • Use Howl when killing Roshan as the attack damage and armor reduction will also work on him.
  • Because Howl's cast point immobilizes Lycan, use it just before Shapeshift.

Feral Impulse[edit]

  • As the description says, the aura is applied to every unit under Lycan's control. This includes his wolves obviously, his Necronomicon 1 icon.png Necronomicon units, and any unit he might have under control through Helm of the Dominator icon.png Helm of the Dominator.
  • Invest in Feral Impulse during the laning stage to resist enemy harassment with health regeneration and score last hits with attack damage bonus.
  • Health regeneration of Feral Impulse may offset some HP removal of Armlet of Mordiggian (Inactive) icon.png Armlet of Mordiggian.
  • Take advantage of Feral Impulse's attack damage bonus to select items and talents that provide strength or attributes to amplify damage gain, as items that give raw attack damage do not benefit from this boost.


  • Shapeshift is a very strong and versatile ultimate to use. When activated, it gives Lycan hasted movement speed, allowing a great deal of maneuverability in battle to chase down fleeing heroes or to escape from potentially dangerous areas. While Shapeshifted, you are immune to every kind of slow, including hexes and powerful slowing ultimates like Epicenter or Freezing Field.
  • Up to a certain extent, once you start relying on your fast movement speed, you are more vulnerable to root effects like Pit of Malice or Frostbite, especially since Lycan seldom builds a Manta Style icon.png Manta Style.
  • Shapeshift is an aura and the 650 movement speed is shared with units under his control allowing the wolves and Necronomicon units to chase as well. Unlike Feral Impulse, the aura is global; if you're desperate to get a bit of damage on a building (to finish it off?) you can always use Shapeshift and only send your summons in.
  • Go farm and keep quiet when Shapeshift is down as Lycan is vulnerable and weak during this period. You cannot gank or escape without its speed. Though, you can try to push down lanes and back off early if you feel unsafe.
  • Select talents that lowers cooldown and increase Shapeshift's duration to increase its uptime. In the late game, you can even store boots in your backpack for a better sixth item since Shapeshift has taken care of any mobility needs. Of course, you will need to swap boots back when Shapeshift is cooling down again, but Lycan would spend more time as wolf than as human.


Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango sustains health in lane.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve restores good amount of health in the early game.
  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch gives attributes for cheap; use with Tango to get more heal.
  • Quelling Blade icon.png Quelling Blade helps Lycan with getting last hits.

Early game:

Mid game:

  • Power Treads icon.png Power Treads gives you movement speed, attack speed, and ability to switch to suitable attributes.
  • Helm of the Dominator icon.png Helm of the Dominator controls a neutral creep, which will also benefit from Lycan's abilities.
  • Necronomicon 1 icon.png Necronomicon provides the units to augment Lycan's damage. The bonus strength and mana regeneration are always nice too.

Late game:

  • Assault Cuirass icon.png Assault Cuirass gives armor and attack speed to Lycan and his allies (including his summons), and reduces the opponents' armor (including their towers').
  • Desolator icon.png Desolator improves Lycan's tower pushing and increases his damage. It also synergizes with an Assault Cuirass icon.png Assault Cuirass pickup and creates a huge armor disparity.
  • Black King Bar icon.png Black King Bar gives more strength and temporary spell immunity so Lycan can shred his targets without worrying about disables.

Situational items:

  • Smoke of Deceit icon.png Smoke of Deceit lets Lycan and teammates slip into Roshan's pit unnoticed by the enemies.
  • Solar Crest icon.png Solar Crest applies armor reduction to take down enemies as well as Roshan.
  • Armlet of Mordiggian (Inactive) icon.png Armlet of Mordiggian boosts damage output of strength heroes efficiently with bonus attack speed, attack damage, and strength. It also increases survivability with health regeneration, armor, and toggling of Unholy Strength to create more health.
  • Mask of Madness icon.png Mask of Madness greatly increases attack speed to farm creeps and heroes.
  • Vladmir's Offering icon.png Vladmir's Offering gives lifesteal, damage, and armor in an aura, so his wolves get more powerful as well. The mana regeneration also helps with his small mana pool.
  • Echo Sabre icon.png Echo Sabre applies double attacks and movement speed slow for Lycan to gank easier.
  • Diffusal Blade 1 icon.png Diffusal Blade slows the target, so they will have a harder time retaliate or flee from Lycan.
  • Heaven's Halberd icon.png Heaven's Halberd boosts Lycan's survivability with strength, status resistance, and evasion. The bonus attack damage and disarm also helps him fight enemy heroes better.
  • Boots of Travel 1 icon.png Boots of Travel gives superb navigation in the late game, allowing Lycan to teleport to and push down lanes or join allies in ganks. You can target any friendly creeps, including your wolves.
  • Abyssal Blade icon.png Abyssal Blade provides a reliable stun and random bashes to lockdown a target, aiding to Lycan's lacks of disables.
  • Heart of Tarrasque icon.png Heart of Tarrasque greatly increases health and health regeneration allowing Lycan to tank more effectively. The damage gained from it is also entirely from strength, which is amplified by both Feral Impulse and Vladmir's Offering. Lycan can also run out of a fight with Shapeshift at very low HP and come right back into it after a short rest.