TerrorBlade got put into Captain’s Mode a little while ago and, while he is a little situational, I think he might be one of the best heroes to play in pubs if you want to get some easy wins.
When should you pick TerrorBlade?
First I’ll start by saying when you shouldn’t pick TerrorBlade. The main problem that a TerrorBlade can encounter is not being able to use his ultimate, Sunder, on an important target or at all. As such, people like Slark and Phoenix, and people with invisibility, can cause you problems. Invisibility can and should be countered so you aren’t as likely to encounter big problems, but it is something to be aware of as you won’t want to fight without some detection. Weaver, also, is an annoying one to play against as you can use your ulti on him and then he will be able to get rid of the damage.
Other counters include heroes with long lock down like Medusa and Faceless void, but that is more a problem for your positioning. BKB is an important item if they do have a lot of lockdown that doesn’t penetrate spell immunity. TerrorBlade can also have problems with people who fight from a long range, so Drow Ranger is especially bad and you may need to consider adding a Blink Dagger to your build at some point so that she can’t gust you back when you get close to her. Not just this, but your ultimate has a fairly short range so you will need to be good at positioning in order to get good ones off.
When you should pick TerrorBlade is another matter. He does especially well against Anti-Mage if you put him in the offlane as your illusions from Reflection (Q) get his Mana Break ability and so he will lose mana each time they hit him. Abaddon, Bloodseeker and generally heroes that rely on outlasting the enemy carry in team fights don’t do well against him as he is able to ensure that their large health pools end up meaning nothing. He isn’t amazing against Phantom Lancer as he has no area of effect but, if you do end up against a PL, it is more about your personal ability to locate the real PL rather than any of the illusions.
How to Play
I like to start with Tangoes, Slippers of Agility, 2 Ironwood Branches and a Quelling Blade. TerrorBlade, for the first few levels, can get very punished in lane so it’s good to have a bit of breathing space when last hitting until about level 5. You should start with a point in Reflection and have 3 points in that by level 5, maxing it at 7. The other 2 points should go into Metamorphosis and, obviously, skill your ultimate at level 6. You can often catch people off-guard at level 6 and get a quick kill if you have someone else there to stun your opponents. Use Metamorphosis sparingly; only use it if you think that you can get a kill. You can spam out your Q as much as you want, especially once you have Power Treads as it is only 50 mana and has a 16 second cooldown at max level, 22 seconds at level 1. Every creepwave, when they come into last hit, you can throw it out and they will take between 50-150 damage depending on the hero. It’s also useful for being aggressive as it slows your opponents when used. Your Mirror Images, again if you tread-switch, can be used to tank for you in the jungle. By level 10 you will be doing an awful lot of damage so, despite their lack of tankiness, you won’t have a problem clearing the jungle.
In terms of items, the first thing you want to do is turn those Slippers of Agility into a fully fledged Ring of Aquila. Then, predictably, it is Power Treads. Many builds advocate for a Linken’s Sphere or Skadi first, but it’s much better to build Manta. With Manta completed around the 15-20 minute mark you can split push with manta illusions while you farm the jungle with your Mirror Image, which you will have started to put points in after level 9.
Some like to skip leveling up the ulti a second time at level 11 as all it does is alter the cooldown, bringing it from 120 seconds to 80 seconds. I like to get another point at level 11, and max it at level 16 because this is a very aggressive build and I personally think that playing TerrorBlade passively puts you in a bit of a dangerous position. His solo-killing potential is huge so, in reality, the enemy have to send 2 people to deal with your split-push or they will just be feeding.
After finishing Manta you will probably have to make a choice between Black King Bar or Eye of Skadi. As mentioned, if you are playing against a Drow Ranger than a quick Blink Dagger may not go amiss after Manta, but, for the most part, you will want BKB or Skadi next. After that it is pretty much up to you. Butterfly is good, MKB is also useful or a Satanic if things go super late game.
Satanic has the added bonus of making your enemy’s jaw drop when they are about to kill you and then you regen, and then you can sunder them as well. However, I think Satanic isn’t a great item. It’s good if you are a hero that wants to be in the fight for as long as possible but you can’t kill quickly. BristleBack or Death Prophet are two examples of where it might be useful but if you are against something like a Gyrocopter then other items may be preferable. Abyssal Blade, for example, may be good for your late-game, but I think Basher is unnecessary early on as you already have a 5.5 second 25% slow by level 7 and you are going to be building Skadi at one point anyway.