Dota 2 is a very dynamic game and as a result it enjoys a lot of changes that come in every 2 or 3 months that upset the meta (the proverbial Apple cart) and force both pub players as well as the pros to rethink, reimagine and rebuild both their hero pools as well as item builds.
Since we are covering a hero build that could be used at the very basic level and also at higher end, lets have a revisit at Necrophos’s core strengths: He is a nuker with a spammable heal and very decent damage for early-mid game harass and pushing; He can deliver a lethal single target ult and is generally one of those cores that will scale quite well into the mid game while potentially screwing up his opponent’s lane. He farms decently fast and holds his own in a 1v1 situation, making him a strong midlaner or an offlaner. Its also why some people have toyed with the idea of running him as a farming core (position 1/carry) and successfully executed it in various scrims.
At the same time Necro is also quite weak to ganks. He doesn’t have an escape built in and normally can’t deal with heavy nuke damage and/or tanky carries that can sustain his initial burst before leveling him out in the same exchange. Its why running him offlane does tend to leave him vulnerable as he can’t successfully trade unless he has a lane partner present or has an overwhelming early lane advantage. The same is true mid and sustained ganks are something he can’t deal with and once he falls off in either lane, he has a lot of difficulty recovering farm and gaining any sort of lead.
Enter the Witch Blade: A mid-game item that sets you up as a decent right click DPS carry with additional slow that can make your combo quite broken if used correctly in certain situations. Necro has above-average base damage and the attack speed and projectile speed is quite welcome especially when its coming from an item you can rush in under 12-13 mins easily and even under 10 in ideal farming conditions. It allows you to chase enemies with the slow, deal an absurdly high amount of damage due to the added damage and attack speed and provides the one thing that Necro lacks significantly: armor; necro has one of the lowest starting and ending base armors of all heroes in the game and this makes him a much more well-rounded entity.
This also stacks incredibly well with his shard ability (death seeker) and is particularly powerful at a time when BKBs have yet to show in teamfights and this pocket strat can take enemies by surprise. Especially since necro is seen as a weak, low armor unit with below-average attack speed and generally is not run like a carry despite having abilities that can scale very well in teamfights and the late game.
So go ahead, try building your Necro around a witch blade and let us know how it translates to your ingame impact and overall utility as a necro core player. We personally thing it’s the strongest item in Patch 7.31C if used correctly. Let us know of alternate builds in the comments below.