Hello and welcome to beginners guide to one of Dota 2’s most iconic heroes – Rizzrack the Timbersaw. Featuring his 3 active abilities (Q, W and R) and a passive ability (E) that buffs up his survivability and makes Timbersaw one of the tankiest heroes in Dota 2. Additional to that, when given the correct lane, right set of items, and a mindset of synergizing his active abilities, you can unleash his strong carrying potential and dominate through the game.
Timbersaw is a strength hero with mediocre base stats that plays as a caster-carry-tank due to his abilities, dealing pure damage and having low cooldowns with favorable mana costs for a strength hero. His high mobility is also one of the main perks of this hero, as good Timbersaw players tend to favor an in-and-out style during fights, thus allowing his high hp regen to take place.
Timbersaw’s biggest weaknesses are due to the fact that the hero has a hard time catching up when being behind, because farming rapidly will leave you out of mana and due to the fact that his skills are relatively hard to land and time right if you are unfamiliar with the mechanics needed to make the hero work properly. With all this said, he is most definitely a challenge, but with a high reward winning system.
Q – Whirling Death – Timbersaw’s bread and butter ability throughout the laning phase and main counter to other strength heroes. Timbersaw activates his main sawblade dealing damage around him in an 300 AoE radius. Deals pure damage if it cuts down a tree along the way with the bonus scaling per trees cut, otherwise it deals magic damage if no trees are cut.
Why this is ability is so strong is due to the fact that it removes 13%/14%/15%/16% of a hero’s primary attribute for 14 seconds upon being hit by it (28% with the level 25 talent). This means that strength heroes lose a portion of their base hp along with the damage that the ability inflicts because a heroes hp scales with their strength, which makes Timbersaw a perfect counter.
Another useful asset to this spell is the fact that it can stack 2 to 3 times on heroes as it has a 6 second cooldown with a 14 second debuff duration. Agility and Intelligence heroes are not that affected by this debuff nearly as much (Agility gives armor and Intelligence gives mana) but there can be scenarios where the debuff rains havoc on the opposite team (against Storm Spirit or Morphling for example).
W – Timber Chain – Timbersaw’s main mobility spell that gives the hero incredible nimbleness when compared to his survivability. Fires a straight line skillshot with massive range (800/1000/1200/1400) that latches onto the first tree it connects with. Upon connecting, Timbersaw is rapidly pulled to the target tree which is destroyed and deals pure damage to all units he passes through along the way.
The ability has a 4 second cooldown at all levels giving you an idea of about how strong this hero’s mobility is when played correctly. Getting stunned or rooted after casting the Timber Chain will cause it to break and Timbersaw will be stopped in his tracks. Although the spell costs 60/70/80/90 mana this ability is often avoided skilling by
Timbersaw players early on during the lane simply because you can find yourself out of mana too quickly if you spam the spell too much. Otherwise if you are good at managing your spells and resources, the Q+W combo can catch a lot of heroes off guard and net you an easy kill with it’s high damage and uptime.
E – Reactive Armor – Timbersaw’s one and only passive ability which grants him stacks every time he is hit by an auto attack (heroes, creeps, towers, fountain, etc). Each stack gives a certain amount of armor and hp regen and lasts a certain amount of time but can be regained by getting hit with an auto attack again. Without this spell Timbersaw would be one of the squishiest heroes in the game due to the fact that he has a whooping 0 base armor and 0 base hp regen.
This ability if maxed early on (which most good Timbersaw players do even if means that your kill potential is low) will give you incredible lane dominance power and even allow you to 1v2 or 1v3 in certain scenarios and matchups.
This hero’s first power spike is at level 5 when you can actually dive towers for an extended period of time if you have taken 3 points into Reactive Armor (18 stacks * 1.2 armor & hp regen / stack = 21.6 armor & hp regen @ level 5). This amount of defense and tankiness is simply too much for 95% of Dota 2 heroes to be able to efficiently deal with or even kill.
However if you are up against a lane or team with lots of magic damage burst or nukes this ability can prove to be relatively useless and avoid maxing it (if for example, versus a Skywrath Mage, Queen of Pain or Death Prophet).
The other downside to this ability is the fact that it’s sometimes hard to utilize in teamfights if you haven’t gone up to at least half stacks before the fight started. This is actually the best way to deal with Timbersaw, Catch him out of position and burst him down before he has any Reactive Armor stacks built up.
R – Chakram – Timbersaw’s ultimate and highest damage spell in his arsenal. Targeted skillshot that fires his main sawblade to the targeted point. Deals passing pure damage and cuts trees upon going out to the target position and on its way back to Timbersaw upon casting R again.
While the Chakram is sitting in its position though it deals a certain amount of pure DPS and slows that scales with the enemy’s missing hp, meaning low hp targets have a very difficult time eluding Timbersaw giving him incredible chase and wrap up kill potential. The ability has a relatively large AoE which means it’s good at taking down entire creep waves and groups of clumped up enemies.
The main downside to this ability is that while your Chakram is out spinning and cutting things down you lose the ability to auto attack (so don’t wonder why that Timbersaw is just sitting next to you watching as you are getting ripped apart by his Chakram).
Another downside to this spell is highish mana usage that drains your mana when casting it out to the target point as well as mana per second drainage when it’s spinning in its place. Buying an Aghanim’s Scepter will buff this ultimate ability, giving you a 2nd Chakram to play around with thus actually giving you a 5th ability and making Timbersaw a real late game carry and threat.
Chakram’s cooldowns not tied to the actual Chakram returning to Timbersaw so you can actually leave it out spinning for 8 seconds and when you pull it back it will be ready to cast again.
Gameplay and itemization:
Timbersaw operates best from a position he can farm up while still being a nuisance and threat to the enemy team thus leading to the hero being played in the midlane (position 2) and offlane (position 3) in most of his matchups. Safelane (position 1) and jungle (position 4) Timbersaw has fallen out of meta quite some time ago and isn’t looking to make a comeback soon.
During the lane you should look to keep constant agro on yourself from enemy creeps to maintain your high hp regen and armor against the enemy laners if they can’t threaten to kill you. Otherwise fall back and look to soak xp as you don’t want to fall behind too much on this hero due to before-mentioned reasons.
If played midlane items that give mana, mana regen and tankiness are your best bets at having a good game (Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, Bloodstone, Octarine Core, Aghanim’s Scepter, Scythe of Vyse, etc).
Otherwise if you are playing in the offlane position tanky items that give you auras and survivability are your best option due to the fact that you will probably end up as being your teams best frontliner.
A tanky Timbersaw can upon up wonders for his other allied heroes if he is able to soak up a lot of damage (Guardian Greaves, Crimson Guard, Pipe of Insight, Lotus Orb, Spirit Vessel, Shiva’s Guard, Blade Mail, Heart of Tarrasque, Black King Bar, etc).
Talent wise, as with any hero, see how the game is going and how it feels and from there take the option that you feel will cause your game impact or networth to increase the most. In teamfights you should look to annoy enemy backliners if you can find a good opening towards them.
All in all this hero presents a plethora of playstyles from which you can choose your items and evolve your gameplay.
Counters and synergy:
- Ursa – the bear loves playing against Timbersaw for most portions of the game due to the fact Reactive Armor is next to useless against his Fury Swipes (E) mixed with massive attack speed from Overpower (W). Ursa can burst down Timber in a dozen auto attacks so look to pair this hero with a good disabler if a Timbersaw is worrying you in draft.
- Bloodseeker – Dota 2’s fastest moving hero wouldn’t be one of Timbersaw’s greatest enemies if it wasn’t for his ultimate, Rupture. Getting Ruptured causes you to take damage as you move, so hitting a max range Timber Chain can cause you to die to this spell. Yeah, not really fun to play against.
- Lion & Shadow Shaman – 2 support Intelligence heroes with high range and long disables (7+ seconds if timed correctly). Either of these does a very good job against Timbersaw for most of the game simply because the hero is unable to use his high mobility when pinned down.
- Sand King & Tidehunter – 2 strength control heroes that offer a lot of disruption to their team allowing Timbersaw to land all his abilities that are sometimes hard to land against players that have good dodge mechanics. Bonus points if they’re clumped up together!
- Riki – roaming support with permanent invisibility that can scout enemies and set up kills in lane for Timbersaw very nicely (his Q – Smoke Cloud – silences and slows enemies in an AoE – easy setup for Timber).
- Crystal Maiden – Intelligence hero that offers a lot of support to Timbersaw through her AoE slows, root, and best of all, a global mana regen aura for her allied heroes. Having a CM on your side can cause Timbersaw’s farm and networth to explode early on leading to a potential stomp of the enemy team if he gets out of control.
If you’re a Dota 2 player that is looking to learn a new and fun hero which is fun to play, has high skillcap and carrying potential then Timbersaw is the hero for you. He is a stable meta pick in the pro scene as well which proves that he is in a healthy balanced state for quite some time now.
Otherwise try to avoid the hero in serious ranked games if you’re new to the game or unfamiliar with certain mechanics simply because the hero can feel worthless if you’re out of touch with his mechanics.
Other than that, you should find your time very enjoyable with this little Goblin-Beast-Robot guy that Rizzrack is and remember to shout “TIMBER!!” as you’re chaining to that far away tree and cutting down the 150 hp enemy hero along the way of your path. Have fun and enjoy.