From Nuke to DPS, is this the new way to play Lina Inverse?
If the DAC’s group stage has showed us anything, it’s that the new meta includes a healthy dose of Lina Inverse.
Lina, one of the least picked heroes of the last meta, is finding herself in quite a bit of a resurgence lately as her new talents have shown to be quite useful for not only a right click carry, but also, sometimes, as a support. She has been picked 27 times in the group stage a win percentage of 70.37%, one of the highest win percentage over picks in the game.
So, what’s changed for Lina in this Meta?
One of the biggest changes that pros found favorable with Lina is her level 10 talent. Playing as Lina, once you reach level 10, you have the choice to receive either +80 Light Strike Array Damage, or minus 30 seconds on the respawn time, and, obviously, both are very enticing.
At level 10, you would probably have two points in LSA, which means, if you take the first talent, it would increase your LSA damage from 120 to 200, the level 4 equivalent of the skill. Or, if you take the second talent, -30 seconds off your respawn timer, you basically have near 0 respawn time.
The 30 seconds you save from not being dead is equivalent to a Bloodstone, a 4900 gold item, and an item that isn’t usually bought on Lina, however , if they did, this would result in an even shorter respawn timer. On top of that, you also get +475 HP, +425 Mana, +9HP regeneration, +200% Mana regeneration, and finally, an ability to deny yourself at any point.
Although, it is important to note that this is not the same Lina that we have seen plague our pubs in the past. The old Lina bought a Eul’s Scepter to set up her Light Strike Array, the new Lina, however, does away with the Eul’s as she is no longer dependent on magic damage and her LSA. The new build consists of getting and early Bloodstone, which grants mana regeneration that increases each time you score a kill or an assist which then allows you to spam her skills and you get Fiery Souls stacks which would in turn grant you bonus movement speed and attack speed, effectively making Lina a right-click carry. that can deal significant amounts of physical damage. Her level 25 talent, +40 attack speed and +4% fiery soul per stack also supports the move from early game Nuker, to right-click carry.
The build is then finished off with a Force Staff and Boots of Travel for mobility and the rest is situational. Some players like going for a Shadowblade for even more attack speed, though, some players prefer to for a Black King Bar to ensure she doesn’t get burst down immediately, and some have even preferred to go and buy an Aghanim’s scepter, just so Laguna Blade can go through Spell Immunity.
Lina has also not been limited solely to the role of carry, as Team NP showed that she is more than capable of manning the support role. And although Team NP lost that game, they showed just how versatile our fiery soul really is.
What does this mean for Lina in the future?
Well, we can’t really say for sure how Lina’s success today will affect her in the future. I’m not Icefrog, after all. But, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that a nerf is coming for a second favorite female hero (second only to Crystal Maiden, of course). Though, that nerf may have to come at a later time, as I’m sure Valve will not be releasing a new patch anytime soon, as the Kiev Major is less than a month away.
For now, though, we’ll have to endure as we will have to see Lina either lose handily in our pubs, or carry our plebeian Dota skills up the MMR ladder.