Tusk/Guide

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Gameplay[edit]

Playstyle
Tusk minimap icon.png Tusk is a strong initiator who can set up fights on his team's terms. His arsenal of crowd control spells can inhibit enemies during fights and ganks, giving allies a powerful edge. Tusk is a ganking specialist as he can hunt fragile heroes throughout the game. However, his skill and aggressive play style can be a double edge against him when it comes to initiating and chasing fleeing enemies as his ice shard can block his teammates from proceed with the chase and he can roll himself into a counter-ganking trap set up by his opponent. Thus, although his skillset is rather straightforward, player should exercise good judgement before consider initiation.
Pros Cons
  • Versatile in role.
  • Powerful disable abilities, especially his ultimate.
  • High movement speed.
  • Specializes in ganking.
  • Low damage without specialized damage items.
  • Low health.

Roamer/Ganker[edit]

Tusk usually serves as roamer or ganker in the team, his goal is to obtain items to boost his ganking and initiation capabilities. Tusk truly shines during early-mid game as most of the heroes are fragile during this period and a successful early game shutdown will allows Tusk to create space for his team's hard carry. When played as a 4, Tusk can reliably roam and set up ganks for the mid and offlane core. As a 3, Tusk can farm creeps and heroes to build into items that will increase teamfight capabilities and kill potential.

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Tusk
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Tag Team icon.pngSnowball icon.pngIce Shards icon.pngTag Team icon.pngTag Team icon.pngWalrus Punch icon.pngTag Team icon.pngIce Shards icon.pngIce Shards icon.pngTalent icon.pngIce Shards icon.pngWalrus Punch icon.pngSnowball icon.pngSnowball icon.pngTalent icon.pngSnowball icon.pngUnknown icon.pngWalrus Punch icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png

Talents[edit]

Hero Talents
-6s Ice Shards Cooldown2512% Chance Walrus Punch
+100% Walrus Punch Crit20+300 Snowball Speed
+150 Snowball Damage15+350 Health
+90 Gold/Min10+40% XP Gain
Notes:
  • The health talent increases maximum health capacity, and keeps the current health percentage.

Tips & Tactics[edit]

General[edit]

  • Beware that while Tusk is a strength hero with strong disables, his mediocre strength growth means that his HP pool will not improve drastically with levels, which inhibits his ability to survive initiations. As such, Tusk benefits from building durability items to give himself more HP and armor, allowing him to do more in fights.
  • Tusk's reliance on mana-expensive abilities in order to be effective means that he requires a source of mana replenishment in order to keep him in fights. The low cooldown on all of his abilities means that he can greatly impact fights so long as he has the mana to cast his spells.
  • Keep in mind that Tusk has a near-instant 0.1 second cast animation, allowing him to get his spells off quickly. Good reflexes are necessary in order to make the most of Tusk's spells.
  • While Tusk has a strong arsenal of disables, all of them are short in duration. As such, while Tusk is a strong initiator, he cannot lock down enemies solely by himself, and requires additional disablers on his team in order to take advantage of the disruption he creates amongst the enemy.
  • Due to his strong array of disables and an ultimate that scales with his damage, Tusk can be played in any number of ways.
    • Because he can be strong with only levels and does not explicitly require gold, Tusk can be a good support who gets his gold and levels by assisting his carries and setting up kills for them. Because of lack of farm priority, a support Tusk should focus on building cheap utility items and extending the size of his mana pool in order to take utmost advantage of his spells.
    • Tusk's powerful disables allow him to be played as a roamer who can initiate and set up ganks for teammates. A roaming Tusk is much more active on the map and, given the proper circumstances, can get good gold and levels through kills and assists, hampering the enemy's early game and creating space for his allies to secure an early advantage in a match.
    • Played as a semi-carry solo offlaner, Tusk can get fast early levels and gold, transitioning into becoming an effective ganker early in a game. He can use his gold to purchase items to give him more fighting power, increasing the potency of Walrus PUNCH! and improving his ability to initiate and survive in fights.

Abilities[edit]

Ice Shards[edit]

  • Ice Shards is a potent nuking spell that deals damage in its path and then creates a barrier at its destination.
  • Despite not directly disabling enemies, Ice Shards is considered a very potent disable due to the barrier it creates, which cannot be pathed through except through forced movement items and abilities. Cast properly, Ice Shards can block an enemy's escape path and secure a kill.
  • Because of its nuking and disabling potential, Ice Shards should be maxed out first among Tusk's abilities. Reducing the cooldown on Ice Shards also allows it to be more readily available for gank opportunities and teamfights.
  • Ice Shards has an extremely long cast range, able to be cast from just within any enemy's visual range. Take advantage of this by casting it through the Fog of War, or to block an enemy's escape route even when they think that they're safe.
  • Keep in mind that Ice Shards will form its barrier at the targeted location, so aim and timing are crucial in order to make the most of the barrier. If Ice Shards lands short of its target, it will deal no damage and the barrier will only inhibit pursuers' pathing. If it is targeted too far, then the enemy can simply sidestep the barrier.
  • The best-case scenario is to target Ice Shards so that its destination lines up exactly with where the enemy will be, trapping them within the barrier. This will force them to walk backwards, towards Tusk and his teammates, in order to escape the barrier.
  • Try to use the terrain to your advantage when casting Ice Shards. Remember that trees will not be destroyed by the barrier, and that the projectile can travel over cliffs, so you can completely immobilize enemies by using ledges and trees to close up the gaps in the barrier.
  • Due to its low cooldown, Ice Shards can be used as an imperfect nuke for farming and pushing. The projectile's long cast range allows it to hit multiple neutral camps or creep waves in a single cast.
  • In a pinch, Ice Shards can be used to hinder pursuers' approach path, forcing them to walk around the barrier. Try to use choke points to your advantage, completely cutting pursuers off.
  • Ice Shards provides vision around the projectile, and within the barrier for a short duration after forming. This allows the spell to be used to scout high ground or inside treelines, potentially pinning down any waiting enemies in the process.
  • Use Ice Shards at the beginning of the game to block creep waves.
  • Use Ice Shards at rune spots to exclude enemy heroes, guarding the runes for Tusk's team.
  • Ice Shards can push Tusk a tiny distance forward, enough to travel up and down cliffs.
    • To do this trick, Tusk should stand right next to the cliff he wants to cross, which is easier done with directional move command. Then, cast Ice Shards by pointing the cursor as close to Tusk's model as possible. The cursor should be put between Tusk and the cliff, but still within Tusk's selection circle.
    • This trick also allows Tusk to instantly put Ice Shards between himself and aggressors, great when escaping as they will have to run around the shards.

Snowball[edit]

  • Snowball is an initiating and mobility spell that lets Tusk close the distance to enemies, bringing teammates along for the ride and damaging and stunning any enemies it hits along the way.
  • Snowball's primary use is to help low-mobility allies get within melee range of enemies during initiations. This is particularly useful in the early game when powerful allied initiators have not purchased a Blink Dagger yet, as the initiation assist can help to get off powerful but short-ranged area disables such as Slithereen Crush, Berserker's Call, Hoof Stomp, Ravage, Echo Slam, Power Cogs, and so on.
  • In a pinch, Snowball's gathering and rolling time can be used as shelter against enemy attacks and spells. Because units inside the Snowball are invulnerable, it can be used to grant up to 3 seconds of invulnerability to Tusk and any nearby allies, and then stun nearby enemies upon launch.
  • When escaping, Tusk can use Ice Shards to give vision, like on neutral camps, so he can target Snowball.
  • Be careful about which unit is targeted for Snowball, as highly mobile enemies can simply kite the Snowball back and force Tusk and any allies within to emerge in an extremely disadvantageous position. Try to target slower enemies with no mobility spells or items, or target them from the Fog of War in order to give them as little warning as possible.
  • Tusk is muted and disarmed during Snowball, but is not silenced, meaning that while he cannot use items or attack, he can still cast spells. This means that Tusk can ready a Walrus PUNCH! while rolling towards a target, or block off their retreat with Ice Shards during approach.
  • Unlike most other unit-targeted spells, Snowball is not blocked by Linken's Sphere, and will target, chase and stun enemies regardless (beware, Lotus Orb will still reflect the spell upon impact). Use this to your advantage to initiate on slippery foes and use a cheap unit-targeted ability or item to break their Linken's Sphere while they are stunned.

Tag Team[edit]

  • In the early game, harass the enemies with Tag Team's movement speed slow and bonus attack damage procs for Tusk and allied heroes.
  • Use Tag Team to deal bonus attack damage to creeps, helping Tusk farm and push waves.
  • Use Tag Team during Snowball before punching enemy hero with WALRUS PUNCH, adding effectively 350 physical damage.
  • More tips needed.

Walrus PUNCH![edit]

  • Walrus PUNCH! allows Tusk to uppercut the target enemy, or the next enemy he attacks when auto cast, stunning them for 1 second and dealing tremendous physical damage, then slowing them for a short duration afterward.
  • Because Walrus PUNCH! allows Tusk to land a guaranteed 3.5x critical hit on an enemy, it can scale with his physical damage. Increasing Tusk's physical damage or decreasing the enemy's armor will allow him to deal more damage with the ability, which can increase his initiating alpha or finish off enemies at low health.
  • The spell's greatest strength is that it can uppercut enemies through spell immunity, stunning them even through Black King Bar or abilities like Blade Fury. This can be useful for interrupting enemy attempts to use Town Portal Scroll during spell immunity to escape, or if they are channeling powerful ultimates such as Death Ward or Fiend's Grip.
  • In concert to the above, it can be wise to leave your punch in reserve when ganking an enemy. Enemies may attempt to simply teleport to safety after an initiating alpha strike if Tusk lacks damage output or the enemy is very tanky, so saving your ultimate for such situations can prevent them from escaping.
  • At level 18, its cooldown shortens down to 12 seconds, allowing the spell to be used to start and finish an engagement. Be mindful, however, that its mana cost also increases with level, so be sure to increase the size of Tusk's mana pool to account for this.
  • Remember that Tusk will always be commanded to attack any enemy that he targets with Snowball upon emerging. Because Tusk can still cast spells inside Snowball, casting Walrus PUNCH! during the approach, or activating auto-cast, will cause him to automatically uppercut the Snowball target upon arriving.
  • It is an active attack modifier and thus simply modifies Tusk's next attack, meaning that it is not blocked by Linken's Sphere icon.png Linken's Sphere. However, this also means that it cannot hit units in Ethereal form.
    • Additionally, it is not affected by blindness or evasion, so the resulting attack will always connect, making it particularly useful against Heroes like Phantom Assassin minimap icon.png Phantom Assassin and Windranger minimap icon.png Windranger.
    • As it is an active attack modifier, it cannot be stolen with Spell Steal.
    • Despite behaving like an active attack modifier, Walrus Punch will trigger all on-cast effects like Arcane Curse.

Walrus Kick[edit]

  • Walrus Kick, unlocked by purchasing Aghanim's Scepter, allows Tusk to kick an enemy unit away, stunning and slowing them.
  • Unlike Tusk's other spells, Walrus Kick has a 0.2 second cast animation, twice his standard cast animation but still faster than the standard 0.3 seconds. Keep this in mind when using the spell, as the windup time can still give enemies a window to act.
  • Forcibly re-positioning the enemy can make a huge difference in teamfights or ganks, as the target will be stunned and then slowed on top of the knockback. Melee carries can be sent far away into their back lines, gank targets can be knocked in the direction of allies, and so on.
  • With a 12 second cooldown, Walrus Kick has a very short downtime, allowing Tusk to use it multiple times in a single engagement. However, its high mana cost relative to his mana pool means that repeated casting can render him unable to cast his other spells.
  • Like Walrus PUNCH!, Walrus Kick will stun and slow its target through spell immunity. However, unlike the punch, it is treated as a unit-targeted spell, meaning that it can be blocked by Linken's Sphere or reflected with Lotus Orb.
  • Try to exploit terrain when using Walrus Kick. Kicking an enemy over ledges and cliffs can lock them completely out of fights, as they will be forced to traverse the terrain to return to the battlefield. However, be mindful that trees in the travel path are destroyed, so kicked victims can return through the path created.
  • Keep in mind that enemies will be knocked in the direction that Tusk is facing upon targeting them, so positioning is crucial. Initiating on an enemy with Snowball or immobilizing them with your punch can buy enough time for Tusk to re-position for Walrus Kick, particularly if he uses Phase Boots icon.png Phase Boots to move through the target to reach the desired angle.
  • Although being a regular single-target spell (unlike Walrus Punch, which is an active attack modifier) Walrus Kick cannot be stolen with Spell Steal.

Items[edit]

Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango gives Tusk health sustain in-lane, allowing him to survive enemy harass and continue gaining gold and experience.
  • Healing Salve icon.png Healing Salve also restores health to Tusk.
  • Clarity icon.png Clarity allows Tusk to replenish his mana pool from casting spells, important since all of his basic spells are very expensive and will consume a sizable fraction of his small base mana pool. In particular, Ice Shards can consume almost half of Tusk's mana pool, so having enough mana to cast his full combo can make or break getting first blood.
  • Iron Branch icon.png Iron Branch gives Tusk attributes, important for beefing up his health, base damage, and mana to increase his survivability in lane. It builds into Magic Wand later on.
  • Enchanted Mango icon.png Enchanted Mango is a useful starting item to purchase, as it gives Tusk some passive HP regen, mitigating harass damage, and a way to instantly replenish mana for casting his spells in a pinch.
  • Orb of Venom icon.png Orb of Venom is a strong pickup in any situation, but particularly if Tusk is a roamer. Applying the slow debuff can reduce an enemy's chances of escaping, and stacks alongside Tag Team to help chase down fleeing enemies.

Early game:

  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed is important to purchase early on, as Tusk relies on good positioning in order to make the most of his spells. He can more easily chase down enemies during ganks, or escape pursuers.
  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand's charge storage allows Tusk to immediately replenish his HP and mana, which can make or break fights or ganks given his powerful spells.
  • Urn of Shadows icon.png Urn of Shadows gives Tusk many benefits for a cheap price. As a highly mobile ganker, Tusk can easily get charges with which to heal himself and teammates or deal more damage in ganks; as well, Urn charges can instantly put enemy Blink Daggers on cooldown from a distance. The item also provides strength, giving Tusk more HP and base damage, and scaling mana regen to help him to cast spells more easily.

Mid game:

  • Phase Boots icon.png Phase Boots's bonus to attack damage increase damage done with Walrus PUNCH!. He can use the active to keep close to the enemies during Tag Team.
  • Drum of Endurance icon.png Drum of Endurance gives Tusk attributes that give him more health, damage, and a larger mana pool to work with. The active improves his mobility and gives his team an edge when engaging the enemy.

Late game:

  • Blink Dagger icon.png Blink Dagger is powerful in many situations. As Tusk requires good positioning to use his spells, Blink Dagger can allow him to immediately get within range to cast a disable. In a pinch, it can also be used to jump on top of a beleaguered ally to protect them with Snowball, or as an escape mechanism after casting Snowball to protect himself long enough for it to come off cooldown.
  • Aghanim's Scepter icon.png Aghanim's Scepter unlocks Walrus Kick, greatly increasing Tusk's impact in fights and ganks. The item also makes Tusk tankier and improves his mana pool to sustain his spell casting.
  • Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb gives Tusk increased survivability when initiating against powerful enemies. Besides giving him more armor to aid survivability, Echo Shell allows Tusk to use the enemy's unit-targeted spells against them should they attempt to target him during initiations, and can otherwise give him a larger window to act while the enemy hesitates. The scaling mana regen also helps Tusk to maintain casting his spells.

Situational items:

  • Stout Shield icon.png Stout Shield is particularly useful if Tusk is played as an offlaner, as the damage block will give him increased resistance to enemy harass. It can be upgraded later into a Vanguard icon.png Vanguard to increase Tusk's beefiness and increase his survivability during initiations.
  • Bottle (Full) icon.png Bottle is very powerful on mobile initiators like Tusk, since he can roam and set up kills for his team, and as such benefits from always being at full HP and mana should a gank opportunity arise. As well, he can take advantage of runes to increase his ganking power.
  • Desolator icon.png Desolator gives Tusk increased bonus damage, and allows him to apply an armor debuff to enemies, particularly when combined with Walrus PUNCH.
  • Shadow Blade icon.png Shadow Blade increases Tusk's physical damage output, and gives him yet another initiation ability. Shadow Walk can be used to deal tremendous physical damage to a gank target with Walrus PUNCH!, or can be cast to escape in a tight situation.
  • Heaven's Halberd icon.png Heaven's Halberd helps make Tusk a better all-around fighter through its various bonuses. It grants more strength, status resistance, and evasion for increased survivability, and a disarm to shut down enemy carries.
  • Assault Cuirass icon.png Assault Cuirass is a strong aura and fighting item that, while expensive, can greatly improve Tusk's damage output. The increased armor makes Tusk much tankier, and the attack speed helps him to deal more damage. The aura can be easily utilized due to Snowball giving Tusk a way to get close to enemies, and its armor debuff can increase the hitting power of Walrus PUNCH!.
  • Solar Crest icon.png Solar Crest gives Tusk armor and attributes to make Tusk tankier, and the mana regeneration helps to sustain his expensive but powerful abilities. Using the active on an enemy during initiation can increase the amount of damage they take from Walrus PUNCH! and allied attacks, as well as lowering their movement and attack speed.
  • Silver Edge icon.png Silver Edge can greatly augment Tusk's initiating power. Besides improving Tusk's damage output, applying a break to an important target can disable their passive abilities, making them a much smaller threat in an engagement.
  • Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail is a powerful survivability item that fills in many of Tusk's deficiencies. The armor makes him tankier, the intelligence shores up his small mana pool, and the damage improves the potency of Walrus PUNCH!. Using the active can discourage enemies from attacking Tusk, and can allow him to use his HP pool offensively against gank targets who try to fight back.
  • Soul Ring icon.png Soul Ring provides health regeneration, allowing Tusk to roam more independently, and lets Tusk dip into his HP pool to cast his spells, allowing him to be more active on the map.
  • Arcane Boots icon.png Arcane Boots increases the size of Tusk's mana pool and gives him a means with which to replenish it, along with that of his teammates. Being able to easily sustain his own mana pool allows Tusk to stay on the go and use his spells to set up kills for his team.
  • Force Staff icon.png Force Staff is a strong utility item that increases Tusk's mobility. It provides intelligence, improving his mana pool, and gives him HP regen to keep his health topped up. The active can be used as an initiation booster to help Tusk position himself to cast his spells, as a quick escape, or can be used on allies to re-position them for various purposes. It can also be cast on enemies to dis-position them, or to break an enemy Linken's Sphere during initiation.