Valve has been extremely generous in the past few months.
First, there was the 6.79 patch that has introduced a lot of changes into the metagame for both casual and competitive play.
It was followed by the "Three Spirits" update, which finally reunited the family of elemental brothers.
And as a cherry on top, we were given an amazing "Wraith Night" mode with Legion Commander leading the battle against the undead king.
Today we would like to see how big was the impact of Legion Commander on public matchmaking and discuss her strengths and weaknesses.
Popularity and Win rate
Legion Commander, or LC, has promptly reached the the 2nd place in Popularity and it seems she has no intention of leaving the spotlight. Being a ganker/semi-carry/carry with the ability to jungle, she appeals to a large portion of the playerbase. Moreover, the skill required to pilot her efficiently is significantly lower, compared to Ember Spirit and Earth Spirit.
Win rate on this hero has flatlined at 48%, qualifying for a Tier 4 in our Pub Tier-List. However, compared to the previous additions of Ember and Earth Spirit, with corresponding WinRates of 42% and 45%, she seems rather powerful.
No Luck - Just Skills
Her skills are both straightforward and versatile. And they all come with some form of a twist.
Overwhelming Odds [Q]: An AoE Nuke that deals more damage the more targets there are within its radius. Not exactly Earthshaker's Echo Slam, but with 200 initial damage and +20 per unit it can considerably harm a poorly positioned enemy team.
It also deals an extra 25% Max HP damage to illusions, countering typical Illusion-based heroes. While it will not necessarily insta-kill Phantom Lancer's army, it will surely help identifying the main target, and will allow your team to focus it down.
As if it wasn't enough, "Overwhelming Odds" also provides movement speed. Considering Legion Commander is one of the fastest hero in game with a starting 320 MS, it is really hard to run away from her.
Press The Attack [W]: Another multi-purpose tool at LC's disposal. It can be utilized as a heal, as a DPS buff and as a debuff removal - all at the same time!
Dota 2 has a huge variety of hexes, stuns and other forms of disable. Before LC only Abaddon was capable of removing all of them - an advantage that can't be overestimated in casual and competitive play alike.
The fact, that Press the Attack also increases the attack speed of the target for a whopping 120 AS makes it an excellent late-game save for your carry!
Moment of Courage [E]: The skill that allows LC to jungle and carry. Note, however, that while the increase in lifesteal from extra skillpoint spent is very significant (20%), the chance for the ability to proc is increased only by 2% per level and to maximize DPS at the early levels it might be more rational to max out 2nd and 1st skills first, with only one point in [E].
Duel [R]: Disable? Check! Lifetime Damage Increase? Check! A huge "Winner" banner over your head? Check! This skill makes her the second manliest hero in the world of Dota 2 after Axe. And if the game takes long enough, it can transform LC into the one-shotting, rage-inducing carry we all know.
What a lot of people do not realise, is that this ability also disables most passives including Evasion, Critical Strike and some forms of Bash. In a sense it works very much alike to the [missing hero: doom-bringer]'s ultimate.
A Fitting Armor
Strangely enough, Legion Commander is probably the only hero that actually benefits more from Scarponi della Potenza than Stivali della Fase - the win rate on these items is 48.17% and 47.57% correspondingly. Another weird thing is that both of these figures are lower than the overall 48.27% win rate on this hero, while Stivali del Viaggiatore have a win rate of 85.03%.
It does not mean that going for DPS boots is a bad idea, however. But it surely shows how much extra global presence can help the chances of winning - Dota 2 was and will always be a team game.
Another "dishonourable" mention is Mano di Mida. Simply put - just don't. Legion Commander does not require extra XP that much - she can gain her levels with heavy ganking - something she excels at. And 2k gold being roughly 80% of the cost for Bracciale di Mordiggian, makes Hand of Midas a very bad pickup on LC... or any hero for that matter...
When going for the initiation item, you should firstly consider who you are playing against and whether they are going to place [missing item: sentry-wards] or buy Gemma della Vera Visione. If you are sure the enemy team is disorganized and there are no other invisibility heroes in your team, extra damage and AS from Lama dell'Ombra can prove very useful.
In all other cases Pugnale del Baleno is a safer and more reliable option. The former has a 53.40% win rate, while the latter 57.29% - showing that after almost 9 years the Dota community has finally started to realize that Sentries counter invisibility...
Despite looking great on paper, the Cotta di Lame actually has a low win rate of 47.71%. That mostly comes from the fact that initially you want to target supports, rather than carries with your Duel. Not only because it will be faster and easier to kill them, but also because they are usually the ones to have disables and debuffs that will make you rethink your decision to challenge the carry. And since supports have a very low auto-attack damage, the usefulness of blademail will be relatively low.
Even though Legion Commander has not managed to De-Throne the King and Jester of Pubs - Pudge, she is still a very interesting and effective hero to play. And she posses the true spirit of Dota - "easy to learn, hard to master". Hopefully, you have found some of my insights on this hero useful and it will help you grow as a player!
Thank you for reading!